This whole quarter system -- we need to rethink this. Seriously. THREE final periods? I'm done with writing papers. I'm done with shlepping my laptop to the library, turning up my ipod, and trying to drown out the coughing/shuffling/whispering of the undergrads. I'm done with trying to cram research into my weekly schedule of reading/preparing for class/ TA-ing. It's freaking JUNE and I'm in freaking CALIFORNIA. The last thing I should be doing right now is sitting in the library trying to construct an argument for how curiosity cabinets relate to Venus's curiosity/taxidermist shop in Our Mutual Friend. But then: that's exactly what I should be doing. The pity of it all is that I would love to be doing this research, if I could work at my own pace. (Which isn't a possibility, since if I took an incomplete to work on it over the summer, then I'd be cutting into my studying time for the qualifying exam.) Woe!
It's been awhile since I've updated. And I actually DID stuff last weekend.
Friday: Highlight of the evening was dessert night in the studio building. Chocolate sorbet is surprisingly good. But I'm sticking with my high-fat premium ice cream.
Saturday: Read all day, in anticipation of an evening out. Our CA took a group of us (we're beginning to actually get to know one another, right as we're also beginning to move out) to see Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Side note: This movie is freaking incredible. It's even more incredible because Gore has actually been traveling around the world trying to raise awareness (he even visited Stanford last fall). Cuz we know the oil companies (oh, and the puppet government that serves them) ain't gonna take global warming seriously. In fact, the Competitive Enterprise Institute would have us believe that CO2 is so "natural" and "essential to life" that it's A-okay to release as much of it as possible into the atmosphere, without worrying about the fact that we're at drastically higher levels of CO2 than ever before. There's a huge difference between the past balance of CO2 to other atmospheric gases, and the current f-ing up of that balance by burning fossil fuels.
And the logic behind this ad campaign boggles the mind. So... lead is naturally occuring, so that must make lead... GOOD FOR US? (You might also substitute: smallpox, bear attacks, earthquakes, etc.) And um... red wine in moderation is beneficial to our health... so we should drink AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE? (You might also substitute: basically any food, even water, as about anything in excess can be detrimental.)
Anyway, Gore's movie is a must-see. It's nice to get the facts...after all, there are no articles being published in peer reviewed journals that don't take global warming seriously (In other words, no respected scientist is claiming that global warming doesn't exist). But it seems controversial, because you get these organizations and businesses arguing for the right to do whatever the hell they want without government interference. They fund these campaigns to make global warming seem like "just another theory." And Bush of course employs people affiliated with oil industries in his environmental agencies. Really good idea, right? Because that's totally unbiased.
OK. End of side note.
After the film, we went out for ice cream. I got the same thing that I always get at Coldstone: cake batter w/ yellow cake smushed in & whipped cream on top. DEAR LORD. So good.
Sunday: Busy day!
I woke up early -- earlier than I ever get up unless I'm traveling -- in order to go on a kayaking trip. Monterey Bay again, and I met another awesome CA, who was my kayaking buddy. We were out in the actual bay this time. The sea lions were lined up on the rocks barking and flopping about, the seals were balancing precariously on the tops of pointy rocks, and the pelicans were periodically diving into the water. I felt very muscular afterwards, especially as the wind was against us on our way out (making our return trip incredibly easy, on the plus side). The highlight was seeing the sea otters though. They were wrapping themselves up in kelp (so as to stay in one place), and M. and I drifted close to three groups of them -- some off in the distance floating, and the closest sea otter holding her baby on her stomach. SO CUTE. The cuteness kills you. You just want to pet them and hug them (for no apparent reason, except that their fur looks so soft, and their noses are so round, and their eyes so close together... it's completely inexplicable).
Afterwards, we tried to find the fried artichoke stands we saw on the way in, but missed them. Unfortunately, this was a chance for the other girl in the car to insist on going to Santa Cruz for tacos. OK. So this bothered me, because I needed to be home early for Jill's birthday dinner. And I said on the way in, that I needed to be home early. And yet... Ok. So this woman is like "oh yeah, it's right at the juncture of the highways..." leading us to believe that the place is easy to get to. You know, because that's what you do when you're trying to get home in a timely manner: you stick to food places along the highway. So we get off the highway, and we hit TONS of traffic. For the like ten mile drive through downtown SC to get to this place. And the woman is like: "Oh it's never like this... really? why would it be like this on a Sunday afternoon?" OMG. It's a beautiful, sunny day in June. It's freaking Sunday afternoon -- when people go home from vacationing. AND YOU DIDN'T THINK THERE MIGHT BE TRAFFIC??? Just like, maybe the slightest chance that it MIGHT be a bad idea? People astound me.
Anyway, so Las Palmas Taco Bar isn't a bad place (in fact, they have a pretty amazing veggie taco for the price), but it totally isn't worth going 45 minutes out of your way. Especially when you have to inconvenience others in order to get your freaking beef tongue burrito (*I kid you not*)
So. After that debacle, I hurried through my preparations for Jill's potluck dinner. I set the sushi rice to cook as I showered, and got I think 9 rolls of mango/ mango & avocado sushi. Always fun!
We had a lovely evening -- It was kind of a bookend event, as we had our first cohort love event (also a potluck) back in October in the same place. And EM made her famous cake!!
The rest of the week... not quite so exciting. I was reading one of those lost Victorian classics, Self-Help by Samuel Smiles, while trying to do research for a final paper, as well as reading about the grotesque for class... The best part, was watching Spirited Away over at Will's co-op -- Incredible film, awesome group, and yummy pizza.
Actually, I've been eating tons of pizza lately. Pizza Monday night with that film screening, pizza on Weds as I was ordering lunch for our final lecture, and pizza again tonight for our meeting with the second years about the quals exam. Which was also noteworthy. We were actually meeting again, as a cohort, in the room we had our Intro to Grad Studies class in. We sat in the same places -- I had the warm fuzzies. Those bookend moments... when you're like, whoa, I totally HAVE changed since then.
And then, it was rather reassuring to talk with the second years... Although I wasn't expecting to hear that I'll be reading nearly all day everyday. I refuse to miss out on actually living life this summer, in order to prepare for quals. There's got to be some balance between Andrew & family time, enjoying the outdoors, spending time with friends, and, of course, reading. I can't help but feel that there's something really wrong about shutting oneself in the archives to the detriment of every other relationship/passion that one has.
Well. On that note -- I think I should probably do a tad bit more work before bed!