December 31, 2007


Here's some brief highlights from my visit to the Twin Cities so far:

Today Amy gets back from Indiana, so we get to see her and reunite in all of our roommate awesomeness. It's good being back with my old friends again. Nat and I were saying that we're more reserved with other people - not that we're not ourselves, but we're different. I know personally I swear less and make less sexual innuendo when I'm not with my roommates. But I suppose that's just me.

Andrew leaves tomorrow for Ireland, so we're hanging out today and it'll be fun. More pictures to follow.

December 26, 2007

Right now I'm watching a crappy Sandra Bullock murder movie that I've seen the end of on TV probably 4 or 5 different times, but never the whole thing. It's probably 20 or 30 minutes into it (if that), and now I realize there's a reason I never saw the whole thing. It just sucks. Here's my tip - avoid Murder By Numbers. Sandra Bullock suuuuuuuucks.

On Christmas Day, my family and I went to see the new National Treasure movie. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a good movie, but it's entertaining. You know, plot holes, some cheesy lines, overacting, the works. Dad liked it, and both him and Mom talked their way through the movie - "it's the second desk!" ect.

I also saw Blood Diamond for the first time the other day, and let's just say, Leo is hot. I mean... conflict diamonds are horrible and we should strive to end the demand for high priced diamonds which put countries in civil strife over the gems. No seriously, Western meddling in the affairs of nations with resources in high demand has proven to be disastrous (diamonds, oil... hell, even spice in the Middle Ages). We should not mess things up elsewhere, anymore. Let's try that for awhile.

Tomorrow I have doctor and dentist appointments, then either tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning I'm heading over to the Twin Cities to see the roomies and Andrew before he leaves for Ireland on the first. It'll be fun. Nat's coming up for New Years and it'll be the first time I've seen her since graduation. MOK Unite! We're going to come together and form some monster evil fighting machine, like when the Power Rangers fought the Puddys. Sweeeeeet.

Ok. I'm going to watch the rest of this horrible movie.

December 18, 2007

Footnotes always make me look smarter

It figures... I'm just editing the last paper I have due for the semester before I can pack it in and call it done, and something has to go wrong. I used an idea from a book we read this semester, and the author quoted someone on that idea. So, I request the book from the library, pick it up to find the quote to make sure the first author accurately depicted the second author's idea... only to find out the first author cited the quotation wrong. It's not from the second author at all - not on the page he cited, not in the surrounding pages, not in the sections dealing with that thematic topic, not anywhere. So, now I have to put in a footnote saying, "Author 1 is a screw up. I don't know where he got the quote from, but it's not author 2." That's kind of the point I was making in my paper anyway, that Author 1 reads the Bible not critically enough, but now I can also make the point that he's not careful enough to make sure his citations and footnotes are correct.

December 14, 2007

Uh, this is freakin' sweet.

Who wants to go see this movie with me?


I'm just taking a study break and eating my lunch, listening to James Taylor's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It finally snowed, so now I can listen to my Christmas music without feeling bitter ('cause that's how Christmas music is supposed to make you feel - bitter).

It snowed once before, but only a little bit. Not enough to last through the next day. It was a magical time when it snowed before, though. It snowed the day of the Tree Trimming party, just 30 minutes before it started. The Tree Trimming party is where YDS takes off for the afternoon and comes together to decorate the (locally-bought) tree, and our dean of students, Dale Peterson, hangs the first ornament. It was a lot of fun and made me realize how much I've come to enjoy and appreciate the community YDS has. I mean, I wrote on my application that I wanted a strong community feel as a part of my education, but it was one of those things you wrote because it sounded good and I knew YDS was all about community. Oh, the irony. Jaded woman says she wants to join school because of the community and then truly comes to appreciate the very thing she exploited in order to gain admission. Sounds like a Christmas miracle! Watch for the 3 night mini-series on your local channel.

It's reading week right now, so classes finished on Tuesday and next week is finals. I wrote out a schedule of things I wanted to accomplish each day, and surprisingly I've stayed mostly on task. True, I've done things not on the schedule, like my laundry, but I was hitting rock bottom in my clothes choices. I wore my super holey socks - more holes than socks! But otherwise, I've been really productive. I did write myself inspirational notes and put them all over my apartment (by my desk, over the sink, in the bathroom mirror). Who isn't inspired by "BE PRODUCTIVE STOP MESSING AROUND"? I am, that's for sure.

I'm already finished with two classes - Political Economy of Misery and Iconography of Christian Art. I had a group presentation in my Misery class, so that was over on Tuesday. For my iconography class I went down to the Yale Art Gallery and wrote about a painting they had there - you know, symbolism and possible uses in the future. So those are done. The only classes I have left are Ruth and Esther and New Testament. I have a paper for Ruth and Esther and I started writing it yesterday. I'm already over half done, so I feel really encouraged by that. I want to finish before I start studying for New Testament, which I've planned out for tomorrow and Sunday. The NT test looks to be the devil incarnate, so I'm either going to A. Study and not sleep for three days, or B. Feign pregnancy and go into labor right before the test. Maybe fake my own death, too. We'll see.

The test really is hazing. We have three essay questions to answer and have to outline one of the Gospels or Acts (minus Mark). It's just a big kick to the ovaries because I know I won't need to know that much detail in my future career. Whatevs.

I'm going to go work on my paper some more before I go Christmas shopping with Olivia (whoo!). I'm also going to Tartuffe tonight with Becca, so that's exciting. I enjoy both of their company greatly. Tuesday my friends and I are celebrating the end of OT/NT by going over to Mike, Caleb and Marshall's house and I'm making Chicago style pizza. Whoo! More on that when it goes down. Paper now. Christmas music too.

December 11, 2007

There must have been the conditions, the setting that would allow it to exist in the first place.

I just finished my last day of classes for the semester - yahoo! Tuesday was my day with my very good classes - Ruth and Esther, and The Political Economy of Misery class. Very informative and enlightening while not over (p)reaching; focused on the Important Stuff without beating you over the head with it. Anyway, I thought I'd share with you a bit from the group presentation we gave today. It was on The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and we had to present on the book as tied into what we'd been talking about in class in terms of race, class and gender. Anyway, here is my bit on gender and body image:

“But even before the little brown speck, there must have been the conditions, the setting that would allow it to exist in the first place.”

In the video, we saw the ballooning and shrinking of women and the heavy black marker of plastic surgery. Call it negative body image, but there must have been the conditions, the setting that would allow it to exist in the first place.

Many characters in the Bluest Eye hold unattainable standards of beauty; it is no surprise and no coincidence these characters are female. Claudia destroys the blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned dolls she is given at Christmas. Pecola finds her eyes won’t disappear with the rest of herself, and hides behind her veil of ugliness. Polly fixes her hair up like she saw Jean Harlow do in a magazine and remains engrossed in the films she watches.

As members of our society, every day we’re bombarded with images and ideals that demand more than we have to offer, yet we strive to meet them anyway. We push and pull and stretch ourselves beyond our means, judging others and ourselves with the weight of the world on our shoulders.

This is what women had to live up to in the 40’s.

Betty Grable.

Ginger Rogers.

Jean Harlow.

Rita Hayworth.

Shirley Temple.

This is what we’re faced with today.

This image is from Axe and Tag Body Spray commercials. Axe is owned by Unilever, which also owns another company: Dove, the company who produced the Onslaught video. What message does that send?

Claudia eventually concludes this: “The best hiding place was love. Thus the conversion from pristine sadism to fabricated hatred, to fraudulent love. It was a small step to Shirley Temple. I learned much later to worship her, just as I learned to delight in cleanliness, knowing, even as I learned, that the change was adjustment without improvement.”

And here is my entry from my last dialogical notebook. At the end of Dr. Towne's book Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, she suggests living in everydayness as a way to combat all of the -isms we encounter daily:

Living in everydayness seems too simple, too easy. Where is the commission and subsequent report? What big action plan is there to convince people of the drastic change needed?

I think the Bush Civil Rights Record speaks well enough for the big action plans and commission reports. This document drives home the point that government – especially a government run by New Haven’s favorite son – will do little to nothing to make our society one where everyone lives with hope. From Omi & Winant’s reminder that Regan suggested civil rights work was finished to the bullheaded manner in which Bush regards civil rights issues, the government has failed the people again and again. It is thoroughly discouraging to be shown so bluntly of how the issues I care about are utterly disregarded by those persons in power.

It seems to be about what looks good on the front page of a newspaper; “President Bush frequently speaks about the importance of diversity and exhibits such a standard within his own Cabinet. However, his actions with respect to affirmative action are not in line with that professed commitment as he has undercut programs designed to achieve diversity” (ix). Or how about Title IX funding? The report states, “President Bush attempted to redirect Title IX enforcement, but ceased his effort after overwhelming public expressions of support for the law” (xii). See, he’s listening to the needs of the people. Every time I read a newspaper or watch CNN, my hopes for an equal society grow a little dimmer. The nation takes on Orwellian overtones of all are equal, but some are more equal than others.

The government cannot help us, but we as individuals posses the ability to live deliberately in everydayness. Everydayness, while seemingly simplistic at first, can dwell in an abstract form if not taken seriously. The practice of living in everdayness is grounded in our day-to-day being, but what that truly means is “we must order and shape our lives in ways that are not always predictable, not always safe, rarely conventional, and protests with prophetic fury the sins of a fantastic hegemonic imagination (and theological worldviews) that encourage us to separate our bodies from our spirits, our minds from our hearts, our beliefs from our action” (Townes 163-164). Intentional, measured, deliberate, resonant lives.

Everydayness reminds me of the end of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, where Emily is brought back to Grover’s Corner and shown the minute, day-to-day living. After being shown one of her birthdays, she asks, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?” Everydayness is living life every, every minute. Only after Emily has died does she realize the importance of everydayness in her life, the grand moments of weddings and first kisses along with the small moments of walking home from school and birthday mornings. Likewise, while big sweeping social programs are important in some aspects, the moments in between our heartbeats and breaths are the ones most important for enacting change. By living intentional, measured, deliberate, resonant lives, in conversation and community with like-minded people, we can pull the richness out of our experiences and work towards eradicating the systematic misery surrounding us.

I got a H- (meaning pretty damn good), so I thought I'd share.

December 5, 2007

Living Awkwardly, issue 2

Poor Eyesight
If you have poor eyesight, as I increasingly do, you realize that sometimes you just look ridiculous. For example, when approaching someone that you think you might recognize, you have to get close enough to them to see the specificities of their face. In the process of approaching them, you have to look them in the face to try and distinguish features. From the outside, it looks like you are blatantly staring a stranger in the face. This is 100% true, because you are blatantly staring someone in the face. They may think you know them somehow, or that you want to say hi. Once you realize you have no idea who this person is, my suggested strategy is to avoid eye contact, but if you do make eye contact, smile a little bit (no teeth). Do not say anything unless they say something first. Then hurry away as fast as possible.

Obscene Library Books
Due to my wide variety of interests (often obscure and completely random, sometimes offensive), I read a lot of books with strange titles. Recent titles of books I've read include Pornified, Sex with Kings, Cunt, Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Female Chauvinist Pig, The Undertaking, The American Way of Death, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers, and Virginity or Death (all recommended, by the way). In researching my honors project, I checked out a lot of books that included any mix of the words "Mel Gibson," "Passion," "Christ," "Violence," "Martyrdom," "Masculinity," "Blood Sacrifice," ect. I've learned that at some point, either in a checkout line or at the circulation desk, another individual is going to be look at the books you check out and judge you from their titles. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to buy your books online. You will never get the "WTF?" look from home delivery. The person packaging your order may make the look, but if you can't see it, it doesn't exist. If you're not made of money, you'll have to endure the silent judgment at some point. If you know someone who works at the library, try to go when they're working so they know of your odd quirks. Otherwise, keep your eyes down and make the whole ordeal as fast as possible. Minimize whatever conversation is necessary. Sandwich the questionable book between two safe buys, like travel guides to non-exotic locals like Cleveland and computer manuals. Plus, if you're really uncomfortable about whatever it is you're buying, just pass it off as a gift. This tactic doesn't really work at the library, though.

Or, you could always woman up and take pride in what you read.

Frequent Mailbox Checking

If you feel the need to obsessively check your mail box, do so when no one is around. If someone is around, make sure to not check your mail box the next time they're there. If they only see you do it once, then it may just be the only time you've checked your mailbox today. The key is audience.

Be awkward like fauckward!*

*There is no perfect rhyme for awkward, but I think it fits nicely this way.

I think I'm losing it

This morning I set my alarm twice to make sure I made it to my morning class, one an hour before and the other one a half hour before class. I slept through the first half hour of my morning class yesterday, so I wanted to make sure I made it to the whole thing this morning since exams are coming soon. I got out of bed at the second alarm (since the first one just made me roll over), got ready in a bit of a rush and ran over to the school just as class was starting at 9:00; I thought I was even going to be a few minutes late.

I arrive at my classroom to find it empty except a TA. Was class canceled and I didn't get the e-mail? Where is everybody?

"Am... am I early?"
"Um... Class starts at 9:30."

This is a class I've had all semester and here, the last week of classes, I show up a half hour early. Figures. I rock.

Then I killed a butterfly because I used a disposable cup for my coffee at the refectory waiting for class to start, surrounded by the second-career students who naturally wake up at 6 because they've been conditioned to do so by corporate America.

December 3, 2007

I'll show you some modesty...

The Modest Survey

Does that piss anyone else off too? I'm glad to know they're taking the time to tell me what THEY'VE decided is immodest. Let me run out and change my wardrobe now.

47.5% of their all-male respondents chose agree or strongly agree to "A purse with the strap diagonally across the chest draws too much attention to the bust." How about 100% of me, myself and I say that a purse with the strap diagonally across the chest means I've never forgotten or lost my purse in the entirety of owning one, I don't have to worry about it being stolen, and it's more comfortable.

71% agree/strongly agree with "The lines of undergarments, visible under clothing, cause guys to stumble." You know what causes me to stumble? Teenage boys thinking it's their place to tell me what they have issues with in the way women dress.

63% agree/strongly agree that it's immodest for girls to reach into their shirts to adjust bra straps. Let's see you wear one and then complain about it being immodest to fix it.

I think the thing that annoys me the most is the presumption and audacity to do a whole survey of what specifically males think is immodest. Where's the partner survey on what girls think is immodest? I think being a jerk is immodest, but no one's asking me to rate it on a 5 point scale. Other gems of this survey - conceived by two teenage guys (big suprise). The logo alone is infuriating. It's a girl covering her the lower half of her face, suggesting that guys can go ahead and tell us what's not modest and we'll comply, but they sexualize the image nonetheless. Go on head, fill out the survey and we'll hop right to, fixing our immodest lifestyles so you won't "stumble" anymore. Let's just cover ourselves right up so YOU don't have to worry about being tempted into sin. We can't have you wear a burqua, though, 'cause that's what the terrorists make their females wear.

I'm adequately annoyed now, thanksverymuch.

December 2, 2007

The Daily Show, circa 2002

When I was in high school, I remember watching the Daily Show once and they had a segment on a zoo in Japan that did a mock-up of if a bear got loose in the zoo, and instead of a real bear, they had a guy running around in a bear suit. Let's just say it was hilarious! Thanks to the lovely magic of the internets, it is now online for your (and my) viewing pleasure.

December 1, 2007

I'm such a Grinch

It is officially December, and now the holiday season. However, I'm having a bit of a hard time getting in the holiday mood since it doesn't feel like the holidays. Hell, it doesn't even feel like winter. If I had my camera, I'd show you what it looks like out my window, but let's just say it involves lots of brown leaves still on trees. What I want to know is why they always put snow in pictures of the Puritans. This is prime Puritan country and there is no snow anywhere. It's barely even cold enough to snow. Right now the CNN weather report for New Haven is 31 and sunny. St Paul? 18 and snowing! That's the weather I'm talking about! Why did I bring a box of mittens and hats and scarfs if I can't even use them? I might as well make my own mitten tree, if I had a tree to decorate. Yesterday I hung up my Christmas lights around my bedroom window. It looks very festive, compared to the non-winter crap outside the window. I don't know how I'll do if I end up doing PhD work in California. At least there they won't taunt me with the "appearance" of seasons.

Stupid Connecticut.

I have a lack of Christmas music on my computer, just that one CD Katie George brought over to the Mirror last year. Today I perused iTunes' holiday music selection to see if I could find anything worthwhile. They had a bunch on sale, but I just couldn't find one worth committing to. My test for a good Christmas CD is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I don't know what it is about that song, but it hits me right here (imagine me pointing to my heart). If I hear Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and feel misty on the inside, probably a good cd. If not, probably not. So, sorry Sarah McLachlan. I cannot endorse your Wintersong CD, even if it is only $7.99. You did weird tremolos and I can't have that. Hell, I even dipped into the worst compilation company ever, aka the shitty Now That's What I Call Christmas, and they failed me. Although how much can you expect from a company that puts out Now That's What I Call Thanksgiving? I might have to individually search by song through iTunes to find the best of each version. It'll be intense. Anyway, I'll find something awesome in time for Christmas.

Stupid iTunes.

By the way, does anyone else think the lyrics to Baby, It's Cold Outside sound a little iffy? A little like a roofie? I can't think of James Taylor slipping anyone a date rape drug while I listen to Christmas music.