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It's always calming to find out that, that thing you were stressing about for your class? Other people in your class were not even really thinking about that yet, and are not really freaking out about it at all.

Meet my inflated view of the sources I need for my annotated bibliography. And meet reality: no one else has more than about two books. I have something like four or five that I can read, not to mention about 40 shorter papers that might have ramifications for what I want to write about. This? Is kind of great.
Diane Duane's Young Wizards series has some really interesting theology attached to it, and I hold Duane responsible for some of my early development of a social consciousness and commitment to not being afraid to change.
One of the more interesting bits, introduced in So You Want to Be Wizard and referenced (and sometimes portrayed directly) is the concept of Timeheart, a sort of heaven analog:

So You Want to Be a WIzard p42 "[Nita] read about Timeheart, the unreal and eternal realm where the places and things people remember affectionately are preserved as they remember them, forever."

This sound seriously like something I just read in Charles Hartshorne's Reality as Social Process about the memory of God.

"The value [ of the lives of people who died young in war] does not even depend necessarily upon "immortality" in the conventional sense. It depends rather upon this, that all the beauty of their past experience, all the delights and shades of feeling, none exactly duplicating those of any other child or youth, are added once for all to the store-house of beauties which is the divine memory, wherein all that we are is destined, in spite of our faults, to be imperishably loved by the cosmically social being, the one whose zest for the varieties of life is inexhaustible, and from whose consciousness nothing can die away and be lost." p42

*blinks* Holy crap, the page numbers match up.

Seriously, am I the only one who saw this??

Dreamwidth anyone?

Anyone here have a Dreamwidth account? Pros, cons? general thoughts?

My Body is Awesome!

I have hereby decided that the world needs to know a number of things that are simply fucking awesome about my body.

1. Whack-A-Mole- - I am one of the most moley people you will ever meet. If I've got a body part, it's got a mole. If they come in sets of two, at least one has a delightful little mark that says, "Look at me! I'm different! HAHAHA!" Some of them grow little hairs that need plucking, but this is part of Having Moles, and it is not that bad.

2. Iron Fist! - My hands are very square and I have very short fingers (toes, too.) The only person I've ever met with shorter hands was an Asian woman several inches shorter than me- I have bitty little hands. They are really strong and great for detail work- years of needlework later, I can still do small, focused work with my hands that it takes other several tries to get done. And look! I'm typing!

3. Travel-sized! I am five feet and one and one quarter inches tall. Yes, I do include the quarter, because it's mine, dammit! I fit into airline seats with room to spare (lengthwise. No one fits comfortably widthwise)! I never have high-water pants, they are always just a little bit too long! I have learned tricks to deal with tall things in high shelves, and this is the real reason why I always will own a ladle- they are perfect for scooping down tall things.

4. Hark! My ears are fucking adorable. Like, whoa, tiny, pink, squishy plump little delicacies perfect for nibbling. And they have a good number of holes in them now for pretty objects. Yay for ears!

5. Flexy! I am very bendy for someone who rarely does stretching exercises. I can touch my palms to the ground without bending my knees! And my joints never hurt except when I have the flu.

6. Cute nose! To be honest, I am working on this. I did not like my nose. I thought it was too wide for my face. But! I have decided that my nose is actually pretty awesome! I put an extra hole in it for pretty things, and it did not complain! It keeps my glasses up! It lets me smell delicious foods that would otherwise be less than fully appreciated! Truly, my nose is a marvel.

Projects

To keep my mind off of my schoolwork and on the loveliness of my life, I have taken up some projects.

The Garden:
My family home had a large yard with a patch that had been turned into a garden. Part of that was some weird staple-like structures that my mother convinced wisteria to climb, but the other part was a small veggie garden. Though not very productive, the garden did produce enough small tomatoes to make me addicted, and made me really like gardening.

I'm in an apartment, so I don't really have enough space for a proper garden (and I've missed the chance to get in on the communal gardening area's alotment for the rest of the year), so I'm going with a small selection of herbs to aid in my new foodie-focused home cooking. I have:

Mint!- this is an actual plant in an actual pot that I purchased cause I knew that I would be ripping leaves off this sucker inside of a day. It's making water tasting that much better, and there is some serious planning going on in my mind about drying some leaves to make tea.
Rosemary!- I am addicted to rosemary, and it's even better when it's fresh. The little plant is zooming happily upwards in its own pot.
Peas!- These are actual seeds, and the first and most vigorous to have sprouted so far. I am planning on putting them in their own pot and trailing them across the railing outside to make them grow upright. I love fresh peas, even if it takes forever to grow them.
Chamomile!- I have hopes for tea, here. And I also wanted something that would flower, since the rest of the garden is herbs.
Herbs!- Dill, cilantro, parsley, and chives. All things that I use and like, and all of them fairly green and leafy. There is no space left on the windowsill of my kitchen, and that's how I like.

The Jewelry:
I have lately been feeling that I don't have enough variety in necklaces- I have a fair number of pendants and a very versatile string of peals, but I don't have enough in the way of colorful beaded necklaces. I have a friend who makes necklaces and her stuff is lovely, but her aunt prices things and this makes it rather expensive to consider. So, I bought myself some stone beads off an etsy vendor and I am resolved to try and Make Things with them. I already have some ideas with regards to combinations, I just need to get some wire and stuff together. I love the fluidity one has when one makes jewelry- you can just take something apart and it's not ruined or lost- it's just in pieces that you can put back together again.

I've also got hopes for some matching earrings, and that would be fine indeed. The total cost of this project is probably going to end up around twice the price of one necklace from my friend, but I will hopefully end up with somewhere between six and eight necklaces and a few pairs of earrings, so I think that it's a good idea.

Princes of Serendip

I ran into the Boy on the bus heading downtown yesterday, as I was going to check something out for my boss, and we ended up meandering about downtown for a good long while.

H&M with a male shopping buddy was interesting. He had opinions and was useful, and basically confirmed my general ideas of much of this year/season's fashions- 1) baggy does not look good on me. 2) sleeveless does not look good on me. 3) Belts save many an outfit. I ended up with a summer dress, a lightweight top that can be either fun or office-y, and a nice wide belt that serves to make shapeless garments much more fun.

After H&M and all the walking I kind of needed to collapse, which we did over at his place goofing off with Trivial Pursuit ( I won twice, which makes it the kind of game I want to play more often.) I bought some stone beads off Etsy which I plan to turn into a set of necklaces, as I do not have enough decent jewelry (or enough decent costume jewelry) to work with.

Well, hell.

It feels like summer vacation. This is a weird and unproductive feeling that only makes the fact that I have no classes today worse.

In recent days:

1. I have gotten a new phone and lost previously acquired phone numbers through not having saved them to my SIM card but rather only my phone's memory. That said, I am much happier with the new phone, with has the full keyboard that makes texting so much easier.

2. My on-going saga with the Electric Company, by which I called them every month since January to ask what the heck they think they are trying to pull (which I say in a much nicer way) could perhaps just maybe be coming to an end soon. Today, finally, the service rep called her supervisor over and they have told me to call back in 10 days to make sure the credit has gone through and that the mistaken charges have been taken off.

Today the woman I talked and to whom I explained the situation involving mistaken addresses and inappropriate transfers told me she followed the story very well. I said, "Thanks, I've gotten some practice telling it."

Is is weird that I feel like I have a really good method of dealing with servicepeople and suchlike on the phone? It's a weird skill to feel like you have. It mostly comes down to having a good book on hand while you're waiting on hold and having a clear grasp of being in the right.

3. I have an episode of Supernatural waiting for me to watch when I get home/have the time. This season has been overly dark, to my taste, but I am still hopeful.

4. I am reading Tillich and I am happy with him, shockingly. I am told this is something that I should not be, but I am.

5. Dried strawberries! They keep popping up in the grocery store. They are chewy and delicious.

6. I have just had a meeting with the boss at my next-year internship and I feel much better about the whole thing and much more clear about the issues. We set out a good set-up for my time there and we chatted afterwards about my critique/ thoughts on a class that he recently taught and I recently attended at the Place of Work, and he thought I had good points. In the near future I will devise a nickname for him.
Doctor Who- The Eleventh Hour

As the new Doctor, Matt Smith has a clear sense of fun and a personality. Currently, that personality seems to owe a lot to the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, but I think there were undertones that I think Smith will be able to develop into a full fledged version of the character.

As for this episode, I think that it was much more about the personality of the Doctor and his new companion than any other plot. The introductions came fast and funny, and I actually think that it was brilliant to show the early childhood of a companion as an introduction to the character- the child actress and the adult were both very in tune with one another and shared elements of the character across the time period.

With that said, it was a little bit... pat? I guess I would say. This episode introduced the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor in way that showed how awesome he was in the lineage of the actors who've filled the role, started to hint at ways in which he would distinguish himself as a character, and had some truly funny moments that arose naturally from the progress of the plot. But the focus of the episode was clearly on scenes of character development with the Doctor and Amy, so those aspects of the plot were strongly emphasized over the others.

There's nothing I can pinpoint as particularly weak or alien to the spirit of the series, but had this plot served as only an introduction to Amy, I think there would have been more room for emphasis on the action of the plot. I never really felt the danger of the possible world-destruction, and there's one moment, where Amy halts the Doctor's forward progress by locking the loose end of his tie into a car door, that made it feel very much as if the writers were fine with breaking the tension of the oncoming apocalypse to give the characters another cute moment of interaction. It's good, it works, it's a fine introduction to the new actors and new TARDIS and tone for the upcoming episodes, but it very much felt like an introductory episode.

There was one visual effect that I thought was very out of place- in trying to locate something in a large crowd scene that had caught the Doctor's subconscious attention, the camera zoomed around and back and forth over the paused scene in a way that reminded me strongly of a prolonged analysis in Sherlock Holmes and several other films. It was flashy and it stopped the action and I think that it worked a lot better to merely have the camera focus on the Doctor as he monologues and tries to discover what caught his attention. The "Doctor-Vision" camera was honestly rather distracting and I hope that they abandon it in other episodes with a more modest effects budget.

In local news, I have found a recipe for Pasta con Sarde that looks delicious and would satisfy my fish craving with lower cost than buying salmon and much less mercury. It was featured on Grist.org here http://www.grist.org/article/2010-04-05-pasta-con-sarde-the-gateway-drug-for-sardine-obsession/ I will be trying it out later, if I can find pine nuts on short notice.

This Friday, the Roomie and I are hosting a party that has become the afterparty for a heavily-lubricated social event at my school. There may be prospective students and there may well be alcohol brought from one event to the other. I look forward to it.

In the "Window Seat" by Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu's concept for this video is thoughtful and visually stunning. It was an uncomfortable watch, primarily because I kept being distracted by the reactions of the people caught in the one-take public shot. Ms. Badu, however, was stunning, poised, and powerful, just walking down the street alone.

My favorite description of a small woman of incredible personality and poise is that "she made everyone else in the room feel like gangly giants," and that's the kind of reality-altering power that this woman has as she walked down the street removing her clothes. Everyone else around her looked uncomfortable and out of place, while she looked like a queen.

This is not really a blog where I talk about popular issues or public debate- mostly I'm in it for the analysis, the art, and the random moments where I can just really let my brains pour out. But Window Seat is, in both song and visuals, a stunning project, and I really do think that this is excellent work. This makes me want to look up the rest of Erykah Badu's works and music and see what I've been missing.

The end of the video is shocking and, in my opinion, does not seem to garner the attention it deserves. Yes, there is a naked Black woman walking down the street, but what Badu uses her nudity to symbolize here (inner strength and honesty to the world about her beliefs) is commendable- the actions of the unseen gunman are not. The parallels to JFK are obvious but never the less still striking.

Gr. I am thwarted.

Stupid smart Amazon that prevents me from using them to get my books for no shipping costs.

On another note, I am flabbergasted by the sheer number of people selling old library copies of sci fi and fantasy books for under a dollar on Amazon. I compiled the entire Young Wizards of eight books (minus the most recent volume) series for less than a dollar! If only my nefarious scheme had worked. But, sadly, the shipping costs were not to be defrayed.

On Appearances

I purchased a large red leather purse-briefcase yesterday, large enough to hold my computer and my documents with a certain amount of flare.

The process went something like this:

Beanie: I am out of my meeting early and the Boy will not be downtown for an hour! Oh, here is a shop having a very cheap sale. I will go in an look at things.

After several minutes, I develop exacting standards- the bag must be leather, professional-looking, have flat shoulder straps of good quality, zip at the top, fit my (rather small) laptop and several books comfortably, have a light-colored lining, little metal feet to keep the bottom from dragging in the dirt, and it should be somewhere under $100. The last criterion is negotiable, but since there's a clearance sale going on, I feel okay about trying to stick with it.

I found about three bags that very nearly meet my standards, and I successfully talk myself out of buying all of them- I liked them all, but I was not certain and I kind of wanted to get a second opinion. When the Boy arrives, I kind of give up on sticking around in the store. I offer to go somewhere else, but we have a lunch reservation somewhere and we stick around. I go back to the bags, describing what I'm looking for and leaving out the fact that I have already talked myself out of getting things. I show him the last few that I was looking at, and he picked out the same one to purchase that I did- I had kind of wanted his opinion because he can actually offer good opinions on fashion-y ideas.

So, I ended up getting a nice red leather tote that works for my purposes- I emptied my backpack into it, and its a snug fit, but an actual fit. I am pleasantly surprised.

And, that was the random thing that I was holding in my brain.

Because you really can't expect to make a decent impression with a nylon backpack, no matter how comfortable it may be. Which is sad, because it would be a nice world if people really did judge you based on a well-intentioned assessment of your character, but I don' t think the world actually works that way. So, for reasons totally unrelated to me, I needed the damned bag.

And, quite frankly, I liked it. It's nice to have something pretty and tough and useful all in one item.

ETA- wow. I am really uncomfortable with spending money and making lots of justifications for it. But I did kind of spend a great deal of money while my friend was here, and I should cut that back a bit.
So, yesterday marked the sixth month that me and the Boy have been "together." We went out for sushi uptown at a place he picked out, and he feels like we don't go out enough. As a homebody, I don't really have an opinion, but I kind of feel bad about that. (I am kind of a worry-driven person. It actually works out okay for me, so I am not going to worry about it. Ha! I made a funny.)

Anyhoo, I will be going to Good Friday services in a few minutes at the church I've been attending for several months. Good Friday is a really good litmus test for me about a church and pastor's ability to deal with heavy and deep subject matter- Good Friday is not a celebratory service, and it should not be. There are hard themes here and they must be dealt with effectively.

I have seen Good Friday done wrong- moments where, instead of accepting that this is a moment where it appears that the forces against change and the new movement of Jesus Christ have defeated Jesus and won, pastors skip that dark and hard moment and just move right on to the "death is overthrown" part. I think that shorts out my person experience of the memorial moment and it cheapens Easter. There is no Easter without Good Friday.

Also, in the funerals that I have attended as an adult, the Good Friday vs. Easter vision has been extremely helpful in experiencing the wake as a period of time to grieve a death so that at the funeral, we can fully celebrate the life of the person who has left us. My mother has always said that she was a big fan of the "Irish Catholic way of dying" for just this reason, and I think she managed to pass that feeling on to me effectively.

Anyhoo, I am on my way.

April is an Awesome Month

Diane Duane's A Wizard of Mars, 9th in the Young Wizards series, will arrive on Wednesday!* Which is not really April, but technically the book is coming out in April in stores, so I will name this mere early April Awesomeness.

Jim Butcher's Changes, the 12th book in The Dresden Files, will be coming out on April 6th, and I have preordered a copy! For kind of ridiculously cheap, for a hardcover book, but this makes me consider actually becoming a real preorder kind of person.

Doc Films is having a month of lots of really good movies, many of them Oscar-fodder, which means that there will actually be movies that I *want* to see during the time of the Quarter when I can, in fact, see them. This is all to the good.


* She commented on this blog once, and I just about had a heart attack from the sheer, unadulterated coolness of having a favorite author saying "Hi."

Info Dump

Despite my firm conviction that I would make copious notes about all the touristing that I have accomplished over the last few days (thanks to my out-of-towner friend R.), I came back from each day too strung out and overwhelmed to make good writing. Fortunately, she made some decent notes, so I can do a fairly decent info dump now.

Saturday
Friend arrives! At ass o'clock in the morning. Blessings, they are sometimes mixed. The public transport trip to and from the airport is kind of annoying as all get out, especially when you are making it on four hours of sleep and a general state of health that could only distinguished from a hang-over by use of special tools. She napped while I created an incredibly tasty chicken and dumpling stew that I use to make guests feel stuffed. This gives me a tactical advantage in making them do things I want.

Sunday
The Boy and his Friend, who are among the slashiest pair of heterosexual men that I have ever seen, take Milady R to the original House of Pancakes while I go and hang out with Jesus. Afterwards, we meander around Hyde Park a bit and stop into Rockefeller chapel to run around and try to find all the secret entrances to the towers that would make excellent water-balloon delivery stations. Milady R has some homework to do, so we headed back to the ranch after The Boy made us dinner at his place and finish that up before heading out to my roomie's house-sitting gig.

Monday
Just.... Wow. Monday, we walked a hell of a lot. We started with the Art Institute, which I had seen once before but not fully explored properly. We discovered that the American artists were not actually as bad as we had predicted- I think we only strayed that way to get a look at American Gothic, but we ended up staying and discovering some particular aspects of the collections that I want to re-investigate. Ivan Albright's incredibly detailed grotesque images challenged my brains particularly- my loved it but they made my brain scuttle away because the images portrayed with so much loving detail were so disturbing. The man has a way of making even just a white lace handkerchief seem blacked and scorched.

The Matisse: Radical Invention exhibition there was also particularly intriguing- something that caught by eye was a series of four sculptures of a woman's back that got progressively more abstracted (in very different ways each time) as he revisited the same image over again. Also, there was an image of a fish bowl in front of window that I really liked.

There were statues, there were some paintings by Georgia O'Keefe, it was a good visit save for the hungry Beanie issues- I often forget that I will need to eat, and it my museum-buddy is not hungry, I just hold off until I get crabby.

However, this time I was happy I had waited because dinner came at the original PIzzeria Uno, and it was delicious and think and cheesy. I was a very happy girl at the end of the night, but getting off my feet was a wonderful bonus.

Tuesday
Since the weather was actually warm and decent on Tuesday, we went to the Lincoln Park zoo. On the way we got sidetracked by an unfocused exploration of the Washington Library, which boggles the mind for the sheer size of the collection there- there were often three copies of the same book! As a good lending library should have! Since I am constantly disappointed by the meager selection and terrible turn-around time at the local branch library, this renewed my faith in the Chicago library system.

At the zoo, the gorillas and the big cats were the stars of the show, but I have a special regard for the Mixed Penguin exhibit (like Mixed Nuts, only much more awesome.) Afterwards, we followed a route through Old Town that took us into some very German-feeling areas and lead us to a nice dinner on the cheap at the Old Jerusalem Restaurant. We had Arabic coffee, which is strong and dark and not acidic at all. It makes me deeply happy.

Wednesday
Museum of Science and Industry! German submarines! Ice cream! and other cool things! We had dinner at home, revamping my dumpling experimentations into another fun stew.

Thursday
I'd just like to note that the Field Museum's collections of gems and jewelry make me want to take Neil Caffery there was my guest, just so he can case the joint and tell me all the secret history behind everything. The Diamond exhibit was amazing more for the collection of shiny objects of incredible price rather than the science behind them, and quite frankly it was much too full, but it was a great time to ooo and aaa over all the pretty things. We took Milady R back to the airport, and then went over to Comrade N's digs for a tapas experimentation, wine, mango lassi, and fine funny company.

Friday
Today I tried to get done all the shit that I was supposed to get done over the break and failed to get done. I now have homework in all of my classes. It's back to business at the U of C.

Vacation has been good to me.

Holy Crap, I have done a lot in the past three days. This is, of course, the purpose of having a devoted touristy friend over, so that I go out and become aggressively touristy for several days.

So, I have logged several miles walking all over Chicago in the past few days, and seen much that is new and wondrous in this city, and significantly worn out some shoe leather. Life is good, however, and I will have a few days at the end of all this to be productive and get ready for the new quarter.

So, now I am hanging out watching a terrible Sandra Bullock movie and chilling enjoying my belly full of tasty food and my slightly achey feet.

Sneaky Joy.

I do so love it when I can include "St. Something-er-Other" in my bibliography. It's rather silly, but a good deal of fun.
This icon , called the Fatherhood or Paternity Icon, depending on how you translate the Russian "Otechestvo" is a heretical and bad icon. This is because it depicts God the Father in the form of the Ancient of Days, which is forbidden. Icons may not show God the father except in certain understood symbols. Also, showing the Holy Spirit as a dove except at the instance of Jesus's baptism (where the Holy Spirit canonically showed up as a dove) is also not okay. But lots of people do it anyways.

Russian has words that distinguish "azure" from "(dark) blue" with much the same emphasis that English distinguishes "pink" from "red."- They are perceived as related but totally different colors, like pink and red in English.

In signing up for a school that has quarters, I am signed up for a full 50% more finals per year! Great fun!

Icons often show a distinct kind of perspective called "inverse perspective"- this shows objects increases in size as they get farther away from you. This is done deliberately- you are not supposed to be able to think that the icon is reality, because it's NOT! Verisimilitude was a not a virtue in the icon-writing business.

There is a really good kind of mint green tea ( that originally came out "mink grean" and I was tempted to let it stay that way for my own amusement.) at the other library's cafe that I think I might go have.

Huzzah!

I have just discovered the process by which I can cause iTunes to consider my audiobooks as actual audiobooks, not just music. This makes me really, really happy.

There's nothing quite as jarring as putting your library on Shuffle and then suddenly finding yourself in the middle section of a novel you haven't had a chance to read yet.

Twilight- Apologia pro librum meum.

I've read all the Twilight books, and at one time or another I owned a copy of each of them. I read them based on the recommendation of a friend who has similar tastes in recreational reading. Those tastes are, by the way, fairly varied, but we neither of us mind a book with some flaws to it if there is an interesting story, and think that readings levels are suggestions, rather than mandates.

She rec'd Twilight to me while I was in Austria and needing fun books to read, and she told me that I would like the story and find the main character kind of whiney and annoying. And it was true- I find Bella kind of whiney, and sometimes annoying, but she has enough internal life that I was willing to keep reading. And, that was fine, actually. I was in it for the story, and while I was reading it, the story was actually quite engaging.

So, I kind of devoured the books in a lump one vacation, and I went back to Austria soon thereafter and that was that. There was no Twilight culture in Austria, and so I didn't get overwhelmed by it. It was, in a way, like my reaction to Americana while I was abroad- when it's not everywhere all the time, I like it. When there's too much, I rebel like a cat on a leash, but when there's just a little, I'm happy.

So I chatted with my friend about the books, and we both agreed that Edward was rather too perfect and that Meyer's attitude toward sex was antiquated at best, and then I found out that she was a Mormon and, to be frank, it explained a lot. I liked Jacob for his attitude towards the whole suddenly-a-werewolf thing, and Bella's stupid insistence on staying with Edward (who was portrayed as being too perfect for me to like him, and too pateralistic, and, frankly, aside from liking each other, they didn't seem to have any fun together- what's the point of being with someone if they can't make you squirt milk out your nose?), well, it just seemed kind of Juliet-ish.

And I don't mean that in any kind of a good way- it means she's throwing herself and her hopes away on a boy she met at seventeen. It means she does not seem like she values herself as anything more than what she is now- there's no room for change or progress or anything. At seventeen, she's who she wants to be? Really? Because at seventeen I wanted to get the hell out of my hometown and get a real life. Now, when I look back at my seventeen-year-old self, I'm kind of embarrassed. I've come a long damned way, and I frankly like myself a lot better now than I did at the time. I cannot imagine a person who, at seventeen, is exactly where she wants to be without thinking that person is monumentally short-sighted and just plain wrong.

So, I kind of had an opinion about Bella and her choices. I was pretty well on Team Jacob, but on the whole I thought the books were a little silly and that there was no real reason to be so entranced by the whole series. The story was decent, but there've been better, and there've been worse. I've read a lot
of vampire fiction (Vampire Diaries, Anne Rice, Sunshine, The Time of Feasting, Dracula, Fang, Vamped, the Silver Kiss, Salem's Lot, I am Legend, the Historian, and a selection of LJ Smith) and Twilight? was really just another take on the issue for me. Some new elements, but generally the pattern of a girl falling for a vampire was not a new plot to me, and vampires were something that came in a variety of shapes and colors, only one of them sparkly. And I had no problem with that- it was just one way of telling the story, and if Meyer wanted to tell it like that, fine by me.

And then I got back to the US.

And there were people who really, really liked Edward. And who really liked Bella. And who really, really did not view the whole issue as vaguely funny, but were emotionally invested. And, even then! I was not annoyed by this. There are books on silly, silly topics that I am totally passionate about, and I can bore you with my strong opinion. But it was like the time in 6th grade, where I was reading Harry Potter and other kids in the school had read it. And wanted to talk to me about it. Which had never happened before in my entire. freaking. life. Suddenly, it was there, and having admitted to reading the books, it was assumed that I had a strong opinion about them. And that I would really like to discuss them. And that I was A Twilight Fan.

And that, gentle reader, is where I went off the rails. Because, here's the thing: I read what I want. I read juvenile fiction at age 23 because I like it and I think it's smart and that the stories can be intriguing and there need to be more powerful women in my fictional repertoire and because I give a damn. There are books I am willing to fight for. There are books that I am willing to go to the mattresses for, books I will acknowledge as silly and fluffy and light reading and I will still say that they are important and valuable because reading them brought me an ounce of pleasure and opened my mind by a hair's breadth or by a hundred yards, books that that ran to my heart as straight as a Roman road. I am not ashamed of the "trash" that I read.

I read Twilight because I wanted to. And if I read it again, it will be because I wanted to. But right now, with all the fuss and botheration, with all the foolish young women who want desperately for some perfect man to come and swoop them up at seventeen like I wanted some perfect man to swoop me up at seventeen, I have to say that I will not fight for Twilight. It's not good enough. It's not worth it to me. It's neither as bad as its worst enemies say nor as good as its proponents claim, but quite frankly, I just don't care. This book did not touch me enough for me to care. This book did not excite me enough for me to really care. And this book sure as hell did not make me think a new thought about my life, except "Dear God, I am so glad my head is not that screwed up." There is a reason that I viewed this book as a guilty pleasure, which is that it neither reflected life as I knew it nor painted a new life as I might wish it to be. It was a story. It was entertaining. I read it cause I wanted to. And now I don't want to anymore.

At best, Twilight was harmless. I want something better than that.

woot!

I just found out (ok, yesterday, but I've been too busy to post since then) that I got the summer internship in Chicago that I wanted! Yay! There's even some money.
There's a girl in the Harper library sitting across from me. She's quite pretty the common kind of way of girls of about 19- slender, dyed blonde hair from a pretty decent salon, dark eyes and eyebrows to let me know it's fake, but really horribly ugly chunky black glasses. And she's been cursing and swearing at her computer as she violent taps the keys for the last ten minutes. Ouch. Nice going, my dear.

I think I've earned a drink.

Last night I stayed up late and watch the Oscars in toto for the first time since I was smart enough to realize they were phenomenally bogus. But the Boy and his guests wanted to watch it, so we did and stayed up much too late.

Then, I had one of those conversations with the Boy last night that are vaguely painful and pretty upsetting, but need to happen, and went to bed and did not get enough sleep.

Then I woke up and threw up from stupid morning sickness brought on by stupid birth control. And the Boy was nice about it but I felt crappy about it anyways.

And then I went to school and I spilled boiling water from my tea on my hand.

And then I went to the library and sat for several hours and worked on my paper and I feel really good about much of the paper at this point.

And then I got an email from the nice lady at the fellowship committee to tell me that, though they have received the extra copies of the application, essay and resume that the secretary sending the packet on my behalf neither made nor sent and that I had to send express on Friday, that same original packet did not contain transcripts from either my undergrad nor my graduate school. So I called the nice lady, who is *shockingly* well organized, and she told me she could take them as pdf's, so I ran home, got them, scanned them, and emailed them.

And that's been my day.

I am shockingly not very depressed about this.

I am still working on my paper, and I have hot chocolate. All is well and right in the world.
Some thoughts that have been making their way through my head recently-

- Meeting people is nice. And, generally, most people are quite happy to meet and talk with you. I am told (by an incredibly biased source that I am charming, and I consider this to be a great asset on that front.

-I have quite pretty legs. Go me!

-Process theology is looking more and more interesting to me.

Huh.

You know, I have a vivid memory of my mother telling a child-me that the movie she was watching was the story of a girl born without tear ducts and her family helping her get surgery.

The movie was "Boys Don't Cry."


...

I think I'm still going to giggle over this when I'm her age.

Genre: The Graphic Novel

From http://sightergoliant.livejournal.com/14203.html

1) Read my 5 genre-picks
2) Comment with your 5 picks in a new genre, specifically recommended for the initial poster
3) Post 5 picks from that genre on your own journal, tailored to a general audience
4) Special Rule: your "general audience" picks can be the same as specific recommendations, too, nobody's keeping score.

So, I read a lot of graphic novels/ comic books, and I think that you should read the following:

SANDMAN- by Neil Gaiman- This is not my favorite series, but it is by far one of the seminal works in the medium. The protagonist, Dream, is the anthropomorphic embodiment of dreams. The stories run an incredible range, from those based on Greek mythology, to totally original works. One of my favorites is "Midsummer Night's Dream," the "The Dream of 1000 Cats" and "World's End," all of which are metatextual retellings of other stories from other genres.

KABUKI- by David Mack. Kabuki is a lovingly illustrated series with a heavy use of water color and ink, with beautiful gradual transitions from one image to another, all of which are symbolic to the main character. The main character is Kabuki, whose mother was an Ainu comfort woman raped and left pregnant in a coma by the son of the elderly general who protected her and intended to marry her. The daughter grew up trained to be a hired killer after her rapist father returned to carve the word "Kabuki" into her face. She works for as an assassin for a group called "The Noh," but the story tells of her gradual escape from them and the psychological prison in which she lived while working for them. The writing and tone are slow, dream-like explorations and the art is expansive and experimental- Mack works with collage and watercolors, depending on his mood, and the work is enthralling.

LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN-Alan Moore- This, this, this is a book for people who enjoy layered reference. The main characters are refugees from 19th century fiction, treated as if they were real people living in a shared world. Moore is incredible dense when it comes to his references- every shop name in London is a reference to something from contemporary literature. Characters include: Mina Harper, Dr Jekyll, Captain Nemo, Alan Quatermain, the Invisible Man, a brief appearance by Sherlock Holmes, and the ancestor of James Bond. The art is not my favorite- overly angular, but it fits with the spikey tone of the story. It's short- two volumes so far, but I think you would like the attitude of the main characters. No one's a hero in this book. No one.

LUCIFER- Mike Carey. This is a technically a spin-off of Sandman, in that the Devil we see Carey writing is introduced by Gaiman, but this series takes the war between God and the Lightbringer to new levels. Carey's depictions of hell is creative and unique, with long running plots that evolve, twist, and resolve into something utterly new before the end. Nothing is predictable, and everything is possible. Including Lucifer's ultimate challenge- a new, godless creation beyond the end of space and time.

ASTRO CITY- Kurt Busiek- This series is an exploration of the superhero mythos without being a deconstruction of it. Each issue is a short story focused on one character from the millions that make up Asro City. The characters are reimaginings of classic comic book tropes, but are incredibly full of life and their own take on classic issues and problems. The art is beautiful, and it's clearly done by someone who loves the superhero genre so famous in American comics but with a clear awareness of its strengths and flaws. A little research shows that most of the place names for the city are variations on the names of famous comic book authors and artists.

Crap.

As in, that's what I feel like.

In the aftermath of a very nice birthday party for a friend, I got the tipsy Boy home and became invested in making sure he drank enough water, and forgot to do so myself. As a result, I now feel like I have the sinus headache from hell, and I am just watching TV until I feel better.

I will soon run out of Dexter episodes. I think I might want some toast as well. Minor health related vacation from life is in order.

I am still waiting for my noserings to come in the mail.

Brain Hijacked By Tana French

I just finished reading a book I bought yesterday, one of those mysteries that actually will not let you stop reading until you get to the final page because you cannot stand the possibility of another second of not knowing.

It's been a while, but I just had my brain totally hijacked by Tana French's IN THE WOODS. And I am thoroughly unsatisfied with the ending, but I also absolutely know that any other ending would probably have left me annoyed and unconvinced- the way it worked out was perfect for the character.

Just as a note, this review contains no spoilers. Safe to read.

So, this novel is about the slow unraveling of Adam Robert Ryan's adult life as a Irish murder detective as he tries, and perhaps fails, to confront his childhood memories of a murder.

In the 1980's, three small kids hitched themselves over the back wall of a yard to go play in the woods. At six thirty that day, one of them missed dinner. By the time the search was over several days later, one child had been recovered. His fingernails were broken off into the bark of the tree he had been clutching for hours. His shoes had been poured full of another child's blood, and then put back on his feet. He remembered nothing about the events, and was shuffled off to boarding school and changed his name.

This is the set-up. This is the hook, but it's far from the whole story. The actual story is about the brokenness of childhood as seen by an adult, and how you can't really ever be the people that your childhood self thought you were going to be when you would one day become a grown-up. This is the story of a man whose future was stolen, who became a detective not to solve his own mystery but because he could not return to the person that he was supposed to be before he lost his childhood and his two best friends, and then proceeds to destroy his present for himself. This story breaks your heart.

And it's a story about a place- a patch of ground covered in trees. As we start the story, the woods are dying- the last days of an archaeological dig are coming to an end before a motorway paves the lot of it flat. But the woods themselves are as much a character in this as the rest of the cast. The woods hide the monsters who killed two little children and never gave them back, but the woods were also the best playground these kids had, the safe place they knew like the back of their hand.

And I've just finished reading it, and spoiled nothing for you, and here's the thing: I still want to keep reading. I want there to be more.

Crap. I think I've got another favorite author.

Gr.

I'm told I have great stories. Here's the startings of another one.

I moved into my current apartment in Chicago August 9, and called the Electric Company to get the apartment moved to my name. Bills came and I paid them, so I thought things were peachy.

Then in January I got a notice that, though my meter was running, I hadn't paid them anything since August! And that I should sign up and pay my bills like a nice person.

But I'd been getting and paying bills for months already. So I was just a titch confused by this letter. I called, and found out, I'd been paying the wrong bill.

Get that: for months, they had been charging me for the wrong apartment's electric bill. Who I was paying for? The Laundry Room.
When I checked the bills I'd been getting, it was pretty clear that I was right- they had been all labeled "LNDR" from the start, not the number of my apartment. Which is clearly an error on their part, because that's not the address I gave them, and that's not something I could have gotten wrong myself.

So I canceled the account for the laundry room, and was told that the credits paid towards that bill for all those months would be paid toward my new bill. And I was okay with that, because I figure the laundry room is going to be taking more juice to run four washers and two dryers than I am to run my fridge and some lights. I had not lost any money, and I figured that I would probably be found to have paid a month or two's worth of my actual electricity use already. And I waited for that bill for about a month.

Now, I have the bill, which correctly reflects what I should have been paying all this time (yay for math!), but which does not reflect the credits I already paid. They want me to pay for the period from August to January, again. They did not transfer the credits that I had already paid. They are in fact making me pay for it twice.

I'm figuring that this is just an honest error, and that I can call them up today, which I plan on doing as soon as I finish breakfast, and get this fixed. Since the error in question is so clearly something that they did, and a very bizarre problem at that, I figure that I can get them to agree to switch the credits, and that it was just something that they forgot to do with the new account, but I am still going to have to spend the morning dealing with this.

Remind me to tell you guys sometime about the time that my refunded security deposit on another apartment got written out to my landlord-company and they cashed it without telling me.
Favorite quote from yesterday:
Scene: I am sitting on the couch downstairs while The Boy finishes up the last bit of his homework before bed. The olympics are on- women's speed skating. The Boy's Roommate's girlfriend sits down nearby.

She: So what was all that yelling we heard? We heard The Boy yelling from downstairs. Did something happen in the games?
Me: Um. We were watching figure skating.


So, I finished the Boy's present, which was lovely mint brownies cut into heart shapes. Which, BTW, is a bitch to do.

Sunday-
Church, where I was a lector and fudged a line, and was on chalice, and then headed over to get picked up by the Boy and our friend with the car, and went to see a free performance at the Chicago Cultural Center by Third Coast Percussion.

After that, me and Boy went back to Hyde Park by bus and we made dinner, which was great. Most of the menu was from various Alton Brown recipes. but it was very cute. And then there was figure skating watching, and other things, and a good time was had by all.