Wednesday, October 31, 2001

halloween. right. wow. it didn't really register earlier. so far it's been a much better day than yesterday or the day before. there's a gorgeous full moon out -- i can't stop staring at it. i started a poem a few months ago w/ the lines,
if love is a room, it has a glass ceiling
through which the moon, seen from a thousand angles,
inspires a thousand odes.
but i never wrote more than that. at my co|motion meeting over dinner, one of the sarahs suggested we go out and howl at it after. i heartily agreed that we should; somehow we dispersed, tho, and forgot.

still, today's been all right. i wish fucking comments would start working again (sorry guys.) i'm residually a little on edge: one of the sharples staff (cafeteria folk) in a green mask that looked alarmingly and illogically real scared me so badly i screamed "jesus christ!"
i'm in the library, biding time. maybe i'll go watch part of a movie. nothing scary -- i couldn't handle horror. something pretty and calm and soothing. or funny. i laughed a lot at dinner and it was really good for me.
happy halloween. someone put a little basket of candy in my mailbox with no card attached. i gave some to ross who ate it without any ill effects so i assume it's fine and besides reasoned that anyone who hated me enuf to kill me would do it in person (right?) mmm, nonlethal york ....
i also got a sweet note from jolly, my roommate from last year. her mom, an elementary skool teacher who continuously made sure our room decorations matched the appropriate seasons and holidays, outfitted us with bags of treats which we put some of out on the door for people to take at will. we also served to visitors and consequently had polkadots of hardened chocolate on the floor and wrappers everywhere for months. cleanliness was not our first priority.

talked w/ lana last nite. she tried out for the vagina monologues (which, as one of my flatmates has pointed out, should more aptly be called the vulva monologues, but i guess that just doesn't have the same ring to it.)
i still haven't read them; i should.

interesting discussion on hesitant firmness as to whether thanksgiving is a secular holiday. i never considered what william said, that technically you're thanking god. to me it was just a be thankful in general type thing, if for no other reason than b/c you got to get out of skool and eat a lot of good food w/ your family. hmm.
but that's a month away. we should focus on the now: halloween! anyone have good memories associated w/ halloween? let's get some positivity on this site, yo.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

times of stress. today during stat, i couldn't even pretend to concentrate. instead i wrote paranoid poetry, both pieces bred of my impression that people dislike me. at times like this, my senses of such things can't really be trusted.

polisci was a little better. at least we didn't get our papers back. that would have been more than i could handle. ben chided me over lunch for even attempting to write three papers in three days -- my first three of the year, no less -- which is what i had to do before break. the responses to the two of them i've gotten back were so disheartening that i haven't recovered yet. i take this shit more personally than i should. still, how are you supposed to continue believing in yourself and your abilities when professors have no words of encouragment and the work keeps piling on?
it makes me think i'm not cut out to be a student. one of the first things they tell us here, during orientation, is that no matter what anyone says or does to us, we're still worthwhile people. we laughed about it at the time; little did we realize the degree to which that would come in question.

more precisely, the question of whether others see you as worthwhile. what you think of yourself is less relevant. especially if you're like me and your perceptions of yourself are all tied up w/ the perceptions' of others.
and if your friends make you feel stupid at the same time that your professors are shaking their heads at you, how are you supposed to retain self-confidence? how can you shrug off both?

ben held me while i watched the sky and tears dripped into my ears -- that happens when you're lying on your back; it was strange feeling them pool there. he told me i have to convince people i'm serious. get through to them. it's frustrating that i'm even in this position, but i guess the kids i grew up w/ were so sensitive to each other that this wasn't necessary. i hate confrontation. i hate making other people upset. but i can't stand this drama either.

in other news, i spent the afternoon film midterming w/ jeff. that went speedily. we have another inclass part tomorrow but hopefully it won't be too esoteric. interview for our grant this morning. hopefully we made a good impression. jeff and jolly fed me lots of chocolate. now i have to go meet the cast for our first group meeting.

Monday, October 29, 2001

i sometimes wish blogger had titles for entries so that i could write fun things like "misery and apoplexy" or "frazzlement." frazzlement's a damn fine word and it's a particularly apt way to describe what i'm feeling. everything's been so up and down recently -- i get acclimated into one mindset and then another mindset plows into me going 130 mph from the opposite direction and takes me for a ride. then just as mysteriously i'm dropped off and back on the first again. i'll be surprised if i get done w/ this semester and my hair hasn't turned newspaper- gray.

where's my stability, my reserves of calm logic to fall back on? like life keeps prodding me forward into obstacle courses w/o giving me twenty seconds first to tie my shoes. oy, mixed metaphors: see what condition i'm in? meanwhile either i'm imagining it or a lot of people really dislike me, more than used to -- but what did i do? -- and even a lot of the ones that supposedly like me think i'm stupid. i don't know. maybe stressful situations just bring out the oversensitive, cagey, extravagantly-saracastic-on-the-surface and wildly-depressed-right-below part of me. (all my friends from home are reading this and snorting, 'Maybe?')

phillyben came over to videotape me reading poetry for a multimedia art project he's working on. over lunch, we had a stat study session involving 2 members of co|motion. both, being w/ PB and being w/ the do-gooders, cheer me up. then once again i'm crushed by how damn inferior i feel to this skool and the people in it. copenhagen shouldn't seem like a glorious escape -- i don't want to feel like i want to escape -- yet, how should i put this? ... i do.

Sunday, October 28, 2001

right, and: shout outs to my dear friends lana and ben; lana for finding herself (yet another) soulmate and having herself a gay old time; and ben, for finally working his way over to this site. cheers!

to anyone (*cough*swatties*cough*) reading this, please feel free to sign the guestbook. no pressure to be witty clever or poetic. i just like to know who my audience is and it weirds me out a little when people tell me in person and not on the site.
i feel considerably calmer. had a nice dinner w/ becca, went to stat review, remembered i'm taking the goddamn class PASS/FAIL, shared a chai, and went to the concert to hear ross play as many instruments as possible. i realized that folks only look sexy playing either a) guitar or b) saxophone. drummers and pianists look kinda spacey, trumpet players constipated; accordion players, while charming, just look way too wacky. cello and violin type instruments look classy but not sexy, per se -- ratio of elegance to sexiness: 10:1.
rebecca wants me to note that she disagrees. all right, duly noted. consider this an argument and feel free to voice your opinion. cello and guitar, equally sexy? adam rogers v. lisa simpson?
i am walking around the library barefoot. the mirror in the girls' bathroom assured me that i look quite as frazzled as i feel. lovely weekends like this past one (haha, funny that it feels like it's PAST even tho it's still sunday afternoon) make me forget the imposing, coming week: then it all hits me all at once.
this, incidentally, is a spinoff of one of bunny's methods, i.e.: reward thyself for every increment of work done. i just read 50 pages of polisci so -- i get to babblebook. and what better to babblebook about than the lovely weekend?... so -- ben and i went into philly to see ben (the other ben, my oldest male friend, whom we shall call PB for phillyben). our original destination, the gayborhood xandos was closed, so we went to Last Drop. the guys manning the bar were visibly distressed at the disappearance of my hot chocolate and fussed over the creation of a second, equally-special one. another guy, bald paunchy fifties tiny-mustache cute, approached PB to tell him he looked exactly like a guy from a movie, although, as he put it, "i don't know what you look like without clothes." the man seemed rather inclined to find out, and lingered to tell PB that he looked like PB does now when he was PB's age.

after a while, PB took us to his new house on south street to show off his poetry, art, and paraphenalia. the atmosphere relaxed. it hadn't been bad to begin w/, but at this point the two bens became actually friendly, or so it seemed. we had three-person discussions. it was very chill; we laughed a lot. no hostility. heaven.
leaving him made me upset, in conjunction w/ a few other people-related things and possibly fatigue. i got over it before too long with, you know, help.

didn't see much of the barnies. ross's band is performing tonite -- i'm going to try to make it, altho i have stat review for our midterm tomorrow, Co|Motion meeting, a movie review to write for tuesday, a brink article for tomorrow, and a film midterm due wednesday to start. well. ross darling i'll try.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

i was just talking to a friend of mine while doing laundry -- he had a mini-breakdown last nite, one of those demoralizing someone-i-like-just-wants-to-be-buddies experiences. i know those all too well, or at least i used to. i lived for four months in israel w/ my graduating class and started hanging out a lot w/ a guy i'd never spoken to before. we got along great, connected, all that crap; he was cute and we both were lonely; and every once in a while, he'd comment on how hot some girl was. crushing. i endured it, only telling him how i felt much later, once i was hundreds of miles away from up-close rejection. in the meanwhile i felt rather awful about myself and wrote reams of poetry on the subject.

in short, i know how my friend here (college friend, now, not the high skool guy) feels. i told him that, altho i didn't expect it to help. it's universal human drama. up until the last couple hundred years, everyone realized that happy endings were mostly only for the folks who could afford them; that love and tragedy were inseparable dance partners that made for great, if tear-jerking, art. now people expect love to come trailing happy endings like a boy with a wooden duck on a string. hence the hollywood fluff machine.

now i'm in ben's room. he's behind me, eating cheese-flavored popcorn and reading pynchon. he's even finding ways to relate the two. this evening, after my first meeting w/ the For Colored Girls ... cast, i'm taking him into the city to meet the other ben. boyfriend meet oldest friend. i'm apprehensive. no matter of nerves or flip cyncism can make me forget how lucky i am, tho.

Friday, October 26, 2001

just got back from apple picking w/ three of the do-gooders: sorelle and two sarahs. the wind blew our faces bright red and we huddled down in our sweaters and each others' hats. we took pictures of each other posing w/ the trees, which were spindly, weighed down by the apples, and more or less our heights. then we sat in a circle, played nostalgic games, told stories. laughed a lot. of course, ate too much apple. you don't have to pay for the ones you eat in the fields.

after we all wanted to go someplace warm and indoorsy. trouble is there aren't any cute coffeeshops around here. we drove down various streets, making fun of signs we passed (cvs advertised, "generic prozac now available!"; arby's brightly lit, 20-ft cowboy hat billboard, etc.) didn't find what we wanted and settled for Nifty Fifties, a diner whose window dressing invited, "come watch us do it!" they didn't specify what. the only veggie thing on the menu was french fries. i got a diet coke. it tasted strange and then sarah told me that was b/c it was diet "cola". i looked at it distrustfully but drank it anyway.
we had as much good discussion as we did apple -- perhaps even more. ("why do the protestant signs have a cross w/ flames on both sides of it? did they have a different jesus, one who was burned at the stake?") very relaxing and autumnal. would have preferred coffee after -- or real diet coke -- but that's quibbling.

returned Harry Potter III this morning. tried to obtain IV and found it already taken out. i growled; resigned myself to finding another way to clear my mind. very glad it's the weekend tho i don't have a costume for the halloween party tonite. might not even go -- last year it wasn't that great. ross is waldo, becca lydia from Beetlejuice. that means they'll both be going around w/ cameras. what could i be? hmm ...

Thursday, October 25, 2001

working w/ sorelle cheered me immensely. she was frazzled to but we had to get this thing done so we both put our frazzlement out of mind. somehow it worked and we a) finished and b) had fun.
at the subsequent group meeting, for which a whopping two other girls of the eight showed, we chatted more, then went, at sarah's suggestion, to the top of parrish to scream. apparently everyone is having a stressful time of it. at first the sunset was so pretty -- a peach baseboard on the deep blue sky -- that all we did was "aww..." but then we recollected what we'd come up there for. "aww" became "argghhhhhhhh!" to our infinite satisfaction. then we went back inside.

apple picking tomorrow. whooo fun. then sat. nite, an eddie from ohio concert at bryn mawr. lana has already expressed jealousy.
read thru half of harry potter III in the library; took it out unashamedly to read more. it relaxes me, what can i say?
i'm exhausted. to all of you who are confused by this "now you see it, now you don't" blogging, i apologize. i'm just trying to remedy as much as the damage as i can and placate those i've hurt. god, this is ridiculous. i guess i should be moving on but mind is stuck on the subject. not that i can discuss it here. a part of me very much wants to, at least the abstract issues. we had a whole conversation in high skool about whether teachers could be friends w/ students. in college it's automatically different b/c both are adults, or technically anyway. i'm definitely a fan of the idea: i've always liked talking to older folks and profs are more than usually knowledgable. but there are a thousand sticky little complications. at the beginning of this year, i read blue angel, which my friend donny leant me. she said i would like it; i didn't; that's not the point, tho. the story was about the little miscommunications and misunderstandings that can occur in such relationships and the disasterous effects thereof. the book was totally overdramatized, like oleanna, which i also read this summer and wasn't a fan of.

i don't want to inhabit a world fenced in by the severe limitations each of those works implies. one in which you'd have no freedom, where you could never trust that the person you're talking to won't use words out of context and ruin your career. that's awful. but i guess the flip side of the coin is you can't trust everyone either.
i don't know. i need to think about all this more (don't really have a choice: can't think abont anything else.)

more grant writing this afternoon w/ sorelle. i met one of the sarahs and her yesterday and we worked on it. again it was one of the highlights on my day. hung out w/ bunny later, who swung from being lethargic to dancing energetically on his bed while i looked around to make sure all the blinds were shut. later still, reunited w/ jolly and mo at paces (the three of us lived in a cluster on the same hall last year) joined by a nicely toasted rob. it was a nice day except for the mess at the end. even that will pass, tho. i guess.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

um ...: what does one say to this? i wish i could print it out and post it on the walls of this dumb skool. it's the kind of thing i know i need to read more often b/c it's very easy to forget. not just to forget, either: to trivialize, to dismiss. the world seems queer-friendly now! look, there's that new ellen thing fridays, right? and there are regularly gay couples in mainstream movies like american beauty. they're not central but they're there and at least they're functional. if pop culture's cool w/ it, it must be accepted by people as a whole.
but like saying any --ism no longer exists, it's wishful thinking.
moreover, we were talking about a similar issue in film class this afternoon. feminist criticism which rose in the 70s, pointing out that the gaze is male and the women subjected to it are frozen, passive, powerless. dutifully, a number of moviemakers tried to reformat mainstream movies to give women more agency (yay buzzwords!). the idea was partially that when audiences accepted these new images of women, their views in real life would come around also. so scenes featured women in suits, not bathing suits; behind desks, not men.
many critics remained unsatisfied. another skool of thought arose, maintaining that the system couldn't simply be patched; a whole new system needed to be developed, an alternative original system in which film conventions were inverted from the start.

it's a similar thing. can queer portrayals on tv/in the media simply be patched? or like women in film, does there need to be some kind of formal renovation? maybe one's already happening. i can't think of too many really good queer films i've seen. the only one that comes to mind is boys don't cry -- does that count? well, if it's a new genre, of course it'll take time to find itself. feminist film still has a ways to go. i mean, quick, try to list five films directed by women. when you're done frowning into space, ponder the fact that that revolution supposedly started in the 70s. thirty years ago. and people say there's no need for feminism ....
highlight of yesterday was definitely the meeting w/ the do-gooders. they're the most adorable group of girls, i swear ... everyone makes sympathy noises together and has the same frowny-concerned face when any of us has a problem. they're also really cool; i don't mean to sound condescending. they seem perplexed when i revealed that i refer to them as "do-gooders" and when i said that i don't self-identify. i just get a sense when i'm around people who are better than i am. they're sensitive social-leftists who try to improve the world but aren't self-righteous about it. that's impressive.
one of the sarahs (there are three) and i talked a lot about folk music -- she grew up in that scene, lucky *grumble* -- and politics and race relations. great conversation tho it wasn't too conducive to grant-writing. another of the sarahs asked me if what i write here is true. i stared at her. well, she said, defending herself, it would be cool to have a whole fake journal. i mean, i guess, but that would be an awful lot of trouble. anyway, i assured her that yes, this is all true. if it were fiction, i wouldn't talk about my frizzy hair or blotchy skin or mood swings. (wait, have i been talking about those, or just dwelling about them? ... )

marc found me yesterday in mccabe while i was working frantically to finish another history paper and print before the library closed. he told me i looked awful. i thanked him.
i finished all right, tho once i printed it out i refused to look at it. the film screening pre- that was fun. we watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which was a lot more self-aware than i expected and very entertaining, and a german film about sexual liberation via porn called The Virgin Machine. this is supposed to be the feminist film week. we'll see.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

it's always funny to realize you have so much more work that you expected. i assumed this week would be easy but i keep discovering stuff that i'd forgotten i'm responsible for. ("go drug trade!" --elena, who's here to eat lunch and covet the apartment. she laughs at our jokes: what a kind guest.) oh well. i guess if it were too chill a week, i'd fill the time mulling over nonconstructive things and somehow end up depressed.

at 4, the do-gooders, officially self-named Co|Motion as of sunday's meeting, meet to write grants til 8. but becca, who's back from paris, is making dinner at 6 and i'll probably come home for that; then film screening this evening, 7 - 10. i love averaging one movie a day. stupid external things, like my 2nd history paper in 2 weeks being due tomorrow, prevent me. too bad.
ross accused me of being anti-john. let me clarify: i am anti-john doing what comes easiest, i.e.: playing the sappy, gotta-love-him roles. same reason i don't have much respect for tom hanks or julia roberts. at this point, those people don't ACT, they just appear, and smile, and say lines, and old women everywhere clutch their bosoms and wipe a tear from their eye. tom hanks used to play assholes but he's foresaken those challenging roles -- challenging both for him and for audiences -- to play white bread parts. i don't want john cusack to go down that road. robin williams has, albeit to less success. i miss the robin williams of fisher king (ooh, jeff bridges. now there's a good actor). even if robin always played likeable parts -- a litlte bit of mork in everything he's done since? -- they did use to vary a little. not so much now.
tell you what, john. i'll forgive the 80s fluff as youthful indescretion if you wise up now. and for god's sake stop the backsliding.

top five actors you can't pigeonhole: the brave, the inconsistent:
choose among:
* steve buscemi
* philip seymour hoffman
* edward norton
* john goodman
* jeff bridges
* brad pitt
* cameron diaz
* frances mcdormand
* chloe sevigny
* winona ryder
* catharine keener
* uma thurman
or add your own!

Monday, October 22, 2001

at some point this afternoon, my human interactions began to feel unnatural. again i wonder if this is somehow related to this kundera book which is somewhere between a novel and a long mediation on the human condition. maybe a combination of that and the movie i saw this afternoon: serendipity which i had to review for the phoenix. actually i had planned to see iron monkey, which i'd been informed is a chinese martial arts flick by the choreographer of crouching tiger but with no pretense at plot or seriousness. at literally the last second, i changed my decision and walked under the sign that said "serendipity."
i have nostalgic connections to the word (to which my friend ari, hopefully no-longer-pneumatic, can attest) and i enjoy high fidelity so much that i have softened considerably towards m. cusack. my attitude pre- that was a bristly reaction to his 80s fluff. i realize now that my softness belongs to rob gordon; m. cusack is an unapologetic fluffmeister. he is best at being the adorably self-obsessed, serious romantic whose steps out of bounds are envied and indulged rather than critiqued by the world. personally i like him best as an asshole. no matter.

the movie put me in a sour mood. i can't tell if i'm drawn to this kundera book or repelled by it. i haven't had a real conversation w/ anyone in six hours.

last nite the bunny (cheerful, shorn) wanted to sleep early. compliant, i prepared to go to bed. when i reentered my room, i found him watching the opening credits of when harry met sally. it has always been a dream of mine to watch that, my favorite movie, with someone i love. but one friend of mine was ridiculed by her boyfriend's friends for asking her boyfriend to watch it w/ her; i consequently became determined not to ever demand it of anyone.
last nite, it was just there: what i always wanted. i didn't even have to ask. & it was just as wonderful as it would have been in my imagination, had i ever been so silly as to try to imagine those circumstances. yet today i go about my life, no different, cognisant of the fact that i'm lucky, somber (now that the bitterness has faded) regardless, thoughtful. maybe i just need to find someone to talk to. maybe it's as simple as that.

Sunday, October 21, 2001

on the way to the train station, w/ a warm container of saag on my lap, my mother talked to me about luck. she's never had much and she compensates by working hard. some people recognize that they're lucky and don't need to slave away at things. my theory is that luck works best when you don't assume it'll be five steps ahead, busy leveling all inclines for you. my father used to quiz me about the moral of macbeth. what was his downfall, he'd say. overconfidence, i'd answer. this was long before i'd read the play. i only knew his description of the story, and he lingered on the gruesome end. macbeth assumed he was invulnerable, but more than that, he assumed trees could never get up and walk towards the castle, that every man was born of woman. simple facts, maybe, but they contributed to his demise. the lesson: take nothing for granted, even the laws that keep trees plugged into the soil.

i learned various other things from my parents that stick with me. my mom always said not to take any wooden nickels. that meant don't be stupid. they both said don't talk to strangers which is stupid advice and i didn't listen. if i didn't talk to strangers, i wouldn't be here on the internet now, babbling away at the abyss. ben just arrived. he's gotten himself a haircut. haircuts are dangerous things: they change one's image, one's self-perception, and they make people reevaluate their opinions and impressions. i have kundera on the brain. oy. while i'm reading a novel, it becomes difficult to isolate my thoughts from the author's. when i gobbled up Angela's Ashes, i drove myself crazy by internally-monologuing in brogue.
my dog threw up on my sweatshirt this afternoon (i guess i deserved it for throwing the sweatshirt on her head, if not for constantly calling her Dip.) i can hear the washing machine quietly digesting the stain in the next room.
today was packed and fun. lana came over friday post-shabbes. i fell asleep not long after. it was my first platonic nite in over a week; i was exhausted. this morning, i woke her up w/ eddie from ohio, who remind me eternally of summertime. breakfasted w/ the newspaper, grandpa's challah and mom's baked apples, and then off we scooted w/ judah to his very first publik skool football game. on the way, lana pointed out that i seemed to be expecting a scene from rural ohio, not d.c. she was right: all the players, all the cheerleaders but one, all the members of the marching band except one drummer and the fat bereted tuba player, and virtually all the folks in the stands were black. judah is small and pale; and if that wasn't conspicuous enuf, he was wearing a shirt w/ large hebrew letters on the back. still he seemed unfazed.
lana and i were more interested in watching the cheerleaders than the game itself, in which very little happened, football being the most boring american sport. there were three varieties of girls: the official cheerleaders, who wore the team colors and pranced around; what we called the RoboCop girls who were decked out in shiny silver body stockings and boots and pranced around w/ flags; and inexplicable girls in white skin-tight tanktops and booty-shorts who pranced around miming having sex with the air in front of them. lana and i discussed (a) objectification, (b) that we felt bad for the girls who bulged out between the skimpy sections, (c) that maybe we should feel worse b/c these girls didn't seem to have issues; *we* did, (d) feminism, and (e) how different all this was from jds.
everyone was eating the hamburgers and slices of pepperoni pizza sold near the bleachers except for the white couple directly in front of us who unwrapped yuppie sandwiches from corner bakery.
we wandered off before the game ended, altho we later surmised that "we" won. judah showed us more of the skool. funny that he's the only one of the three of us who ends up getting a normal experience. he seems to be taking the good (computer classes, a cool curriculum) w/ the bad (metal detectors, cops).

went home and watched Truth About Cats and Dogs, which, along w/ WHMS, has the male protagonist i'm most in love w/. he's funny, artsy and cute, and he goes for jeneane garofolo. what more could one ask? jamie joined us & we ended up in adams morgan for ethiopian dinner followed by chilling at Tryst. back at lana's, we gushed over her finally found-and-developed pictures and grabbed doubles. much discussion: how are skool folk different from home folk; how have we changed; bunnies. typical fuelo talk. they asked me who i vent to at skool. i realized i don't really vent to anyone -- then i found myself venting to them.

as always, it was refreshing and lovely. tomorrow i head back, to write grants and be apprehensive about getting papers back and start rehearsals on the show. so much traveling between worlds. so surreal.

Friday, October 19, 2001

okay, now i'm in d.c. sheisse, so much traveling. i'm tired of lugging that ugly green bag around (technically ben lugged it around nyc for me this morning but still, i'm tired of looking at it.) we roused ourselves early to go to Jazz At Noon, this group of cheerful geriatrics that has been performing for thirty years. ross's granddad sings. ross ben ross's grandma and i clustered around a table w/ ross's great aunt harriet, hailing from berkeley, and another ny couple whose relation to the rest of us i didn't quite catch. no matter. we had a cheerful if mediocre lunch. ben and harriet talked war. the lady of the couple, who was across from me, gathered my information. she might have a job for me in nyc in the summer. ben, ross, ross's girlfriend alyssa, and i are considering sharing an apartment in the city -- ross's grandparents have one to spare. i'm skeptical.

used the train ride to reflect. well, first ross and i had a trademark conversation; he deboarded at philly, and for the next two hours, i reflected. it really was a great trip. i told my dad about it after he picked me up at union station. i omitted the playing strip card games part, which left me in my underwear rather quickly b/c (a) i was drunk and (b) i have little aptitude for competitive things to begin w/. the boys disrobed mostly out of fairness. it was very comfortable, sitting around mostly-naked watching the snow fall. i told my dad about the drinking -- i knew he wouldn't care -- including the fact that i mixed possibly the worst bloody marys in recorded history. ben to comfort me said, "what does Joy of Cooking know about bloody marys anyway?" the margaritas i made previous to that were better. ben made us white russians but we were eating chips and salsa by that point and that's a revolting combination.
tuesday, when we arrived, and thursday, when we left, the weather was as sharp and clear as a chime. wednesday, our full day, was alternately soggy and harsh. we braved its bipolarity to trek to the general store for tortillas which they didn't have. didn't matter. the cold made us giddy and we sang against the wind all the way home. it was a very condensed day: ben and i didn't emerge til 2, and by 8, i was soused. in between we played monopoly and ping pong. ross baked excellent apple pie and bruschette.

what else. some reading, some publik radio. it seems like a short stay but it wasn't so much. the weather seemed happy to see us and happy to see us go; i guess we were there the right length of time. i'll add more details as i remember them. for now i have to go talk to my grandparents. finally, after so much time w/ other people's, my own family.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

well! i'm back in galynker country, sitting in ben's mom's house's basement w/ ben & ross. ben drove up and back (like lana did lo those many months ago to falconridge ...) this time at the end of the journey we were greeted by the wooden house on the island that up til that point i only sorta believed existed. well! not only is it there, it is as beautiful as advertised, in a totally remote tiny little town, surrounded by water that ben revealed is only blue b/c it reflects the sky (friends, even if, as per the "transmogrification" conversation below, you think i'm dippy, i hope you realize i'm not that dumb.) (and for the record, i remembered it was "transubstantiation" 15 minutes into the carride but there was nothing i could do about it then.)
anyway, we had a fabulous parent-free time about which i will expound at length later. so, doubtlessly, will they. it will yet another postmodern metameta thing. i can't wait. for now, i need to sleep. tomorrow we head into the city for jazz at noon, featuring ross's grandfather, and then ross and i train it out of here. i'm getting back in time for shabbes dinner. saturday i'm accompanying judah, my little brother, to his and my first high skool football game. he had his first day of his new (publik) skool yesterday and he called me in the mountains, exuberant at how well it'd gone. thank god, thank god. they allowed him a schedule of virtually all the things he likes: computers, math, and science. my dad is apparently still stewing about lawsuits. i doubt that'll happen. who has the energy, let alone the time? it's more important for judah to just get on w/ things -- that seems to be the consensus.

so! last note: i now have another blog as well, a joint one: hesitant firmness. the four of us represent all four regions of the country: ne, s, midwest, and west. we're all collegiate and friendly and much fun should be had by all.

Monday, October 15, 2001

well, bunny's typing away on one computer, posting, so i may as well use my time efficiently. after our walk around chappaqua, ross ben and i came back to ben's mom's house (i am never ever putting my children thru divorce. not that i'm having children. but i digress.) and watched the first two episode's of a monty python flying circus dvd we rented. we also got touch of evil which we're saving for tomorrow. around this time, ross finally got in touch w/ ruby who, expectedly, weaseled out of the arrangement. ("weaseling out of things is a very important skill to learn, son. it's what separates us from the animals.... except the weasels" -- homer simpson) just as expectedly, ross got upset.

we drove down to scarsdale anyway so that we could all dine w/ ross's grandparents. it was my second set of the day, having brunched w/ ben's earlier. i like grandparents: they're more relaxed than parents, generally, and they care less about whether they like you and consequently more often do. the pressure is off. ross's grandparents took us to chinese ('david's jade palace' -- could that fly anywhere but in new york?) staffed by the most animated waiters i've ever encountered. the fella taking our order sat down w/ us, sighing about how tired he was.
after, we returned to their chateau, and ben finally got the final word from his father on the adirondacks. it's a go (ross and i danced in the kitchen, imitating the ministry of silly walks we'd watched earlier.) we leave tuesday. ross and ben dueted in celebration. r.'s grandma and i sat watching, and i told her the time they spend playing piano together is the only time it's certain they won't quarrel.

now we're back; tired; in better moods. my mouth still tastes like chinese food which i don't often eat. it's too heavy for me; there's too much sauce. but it was a fun evening. there's a fun roundtable happening at the parish where the minister is oddly awol. i wonder if one can be a vegetarian and a catholic. or, more precisely, if one can take mass and be a catholic. is the whole flesh/blood thing an issue?

Sunday, October 14, 2001

this has to be quick as we're in the middle of the chappaqua publik library. last time i was here we didn't get to see chappaqua proper so now we're getting a thorough tour. ross is still with us -- he's going back to scarsdale, where his grandparents is, this afternoon. ruby will be there and the idea is that he and ross and ruby's friend will drive up to the adirondacks. the jury is still out on whether or not ben will have a car in which he and i can make the trip. since ruby is returning so quickly, ross definitely wants us to come so that we can drive back later, at our leisure.
if it doesn't happen, i don't know what i'll do. family dynamics are stressful and i kinda feel like if i'm going to have to deal w/ them, i may as well deal w/ my own. i was planning to go back to dc this coming weekend anyway; i could just go early. spend some quality time at umd w/ the fuelos. or return to the barn and chill there, venture into the city, see a lot of movies. i could also keep imposing on ben's parents -- blah. i just want something calm and cool and thoughtless; i need recuperation time.

Saturday, October 13, 2001

magically, at some point during the day, my enduring headache got bored of tormenting me and wandered off. it might have also been just having five hours or so of No Stress, b/w working out break plans (heading off to ny tonite, will stay w/ the bunny, then up to wanakena w/ him, ross, and ruby) and now. we barnies went walking at one point and ended up in the company of my sclp group, the do-gooders, who were in a circle on parrish beach (a big ol' stretch of grass) around organic peanut butter, whole-grain bread, baby carrots, and a few kinds of chocolate. we chilled w/ them for a while, laughing, lazing, enjoying the sunshine. bliss. saw rabi departing and almost yelled "hello!" as per instructions but she was too far away and firmly sealed off in earphones.

now we're making instant-dinner. at 8:30, the bunny and pop will swing back to pick us up. the only dark spot in all of this is that, while packing, i found my long-unconsulted tarot cards. i am not a superstitious or spiritual person; still, i'm perversely, irrationally attached to my cards. and they did not portend entirely good things. often it's hard to figure out precise meanings til later. before this semester, for example, i did a bunch of readings and the chariot, a card that means "war" and which i'd never gotten before, kept appearing. didn't make any sense to me. now of course it does.
so i started doing spreads and got a little spooked. the tower is not a pretty card and it popped up twice. it stands for drastic changes, revelations, upheaval, etc. i'm at such a comfortable point in my life (this past week aside) that that's far from what i want. i guess i'll just have to see.
also got some of the good, stable cards, the ones i'm more used to (wheel of fortune, two of cups, eight of pentacles [twice each], ace of swords.) that last refers to retreat, solitude, calm. word.

Friday, October 12, 2001

eating Newman-O's to elvis costello. they don't taste as good as oreos but they aren't put out by hellbound philip-morris and besides, as ross got them in the mail today they were free.

free like i'm free! like we're all free! except i have the durned headache, i'm giddy. all decked out in shades of purple, which is my manifestation of happiness. dinner in the city tonite. later, bday party for the k-ster. becca was in bed with eBoy this morning when i called. hilarious. bunny has fallen off the face of the planet, or at least off a building.

"the universe has no rules. it has habits. and habits can be broken"
-- and --
"a sense of humor, properly developed, is better than any religion yet devised"
(wisdom courtesy of tom robbins, Jitterbug Perfume)
that first means that anything's possible. anything: immortality, true love, two objects occupying the same space, flight ("the knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss"), going backwards in time, writing books of poetry that actually get read. it can happen.
my favorite authors have always tended to be the folks who embraced that philosophy and didn't let themselves be constrained by physics or reality. having never learned physics, i wonder, am i subject to it?

Thursday, October 11, 2001

magnetic fields song that's been in my head all day:

If you knew how I long for you now that you're gone
you'd grow wings and fly home to me home tonight
and in the morning sun let's pretend we're
bunny rabbits Let's do it all day long Let abbots,
Babbits and Cabots say Mother Nature's wrong
and when we've had a coupla beers we'll put on
bunny suits I long to nibble your ears and do
as bunnies do Let's pretend we're bunny rabbits
Let's do it all day long rapidly becoming rabid
singing little rabbit songs I can keep it up all night
I can keep it up all day Let's pretend we're bunny
rabbits until we pass away Let's pretend we're
bunny rabbits until we pass away

i'm done w/ my papers. all of them. done. can't think about them anymore. still have stat hw and a few sorta housekeepingy things but then i'm done, man, DONE. ready for break.
there's something wrong w/ the counter on the Thoughts? link. new thoughts show up but they're not counted. don't be weirded out; your comments didn't disappear. it's just a blogger phantom playing tricks making it look like they did.

bigger problem: adam, my older brother, just called to inform me that my little brother was just kicked out of skool. he made a list during class of all the kids who were picking on him and another "enterprising young lad" (adam's words -- he can be a very colorful orator) gave it to an administrator calling it a hit list. the skool panicked and expelled my brother more or less on the spot. my dad's in new mexico and my mom was working. they didn't even conference w/ my parents or wait til they were there and could take him home. apparently my little brother told my older brother he planned to WALK to 14 miles. he was furious; there's no reasoning w/ my little brother when he's furious. adam smells law suit -- both my parents are lawyers. he's near-furious too. i don't have the capacity for fury right now, altho i acknowledge it's outrageous. as adam said, the damn skool has permanently tarnished his reputation. he doesn't own a gun, has never shot or even held a gun. he's no threat to anyone. it's preposterous.
adam thinks time, newsweek, washington post. i think poli sci paper. because what i am supposed to do? how can i, from 90 miles away, possibly help?
to no one's surprise, i broke down last nite. left the apartment to keep from exploding at becca; sat on the porch instead, hoping i wouldn't wake anyone up on the first floor. told myself after a while that i was being ridiculous and wasting time so i made it back upstairs. subsequently broke down again as i searched desperately for my little address/phone book. poor joel who didn't really know me prior to living w/ me this semester was trying his best to help, following me around the apartment asking helpfully "do you think it could be here?" and "where was the last place you saw it?" as tho i was rational enuf to answer.

i gave up the search, tried lana, left a trembling message, and found myself in the kitchen corner facing the screen door. becca calmed me down enuf to go to sleep. i woke up feeling less outwardly crazy but still an internal mess. little things make me jump. i mistook the time of my class and sat sweating in kohlberg uncomprehending how or why the schedule had changed until jonah explained. made it to poli sci where i faked coherence for an hour. maybe it was the barely-restrained hysteria somehow but it seemed to make more sense today. and he gave me an extention (sort of.) i can hand in the paper after 6 tonite or even tomorrow. i can do that. that pushed the hysteria farther down.

still i'm very much on the brink and the feeling that the folks around me all are too doesn't help. i want to call people, elsewherefolks who could conceivably be sane, but i still can't find my phone/address book. so it goes.
i can barely move. the barn is in psychic disarray. fall break that dweam within a dweam is actually adding to our stress level. a man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for? i forget who said that. feel free to let me know. the point is, i have no more will to reach and no patience to grasp. Too Much Fucking Stress. i'm glumly facing the prospect of another night-that-becomes-morning-while-you-watch. i have no interest in writing this, my third, paper. i'm totally burnt out b/w dealing w/ that and Other People (cue Belle&Sebastian) and now fall break plans as well.

i was happy earlier b/c my phoenix article appeared online today: babblebooking. totally uncut and i still like it even after reading it in print (that's always the test.)
becca's having a shindig at her place tomorrow nite that i anticipate being too exhausted to attend. a pity. but she may come out here for ross's bday party. ross is very upset b/c if i don't go to the adirondacks (i.e.: see smith instead) he has no break plans. everyone has fucked him over and it isn't fair so my conclusion is almost entirely that i should go to the mountains. but a small persistent part of me wants to visit liz. i haven't seen liz in a long time and liz can work wonders for tension relief.
is that selfish?

happy coming out day, everyone. and happy birthday slacker, if you're reading this. you're also usually good for tension relief but i haven't seen you in a while. it's hard to be healed by even yr strongest good vibes over such distance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

i am fried. in history this morning, i started addressing one of Bruce's questions but halfway thru suddenly stopped. i couldn't remember either what i'd just been saying or what he'd even asked. it became funny, the class laughed, bruce was cool about it. still. i don't think i can do this much longer. my poor memory is being eroded by waves of chai-sugar.

less than 24 hrs til this polisci shit is due. legislative veto! who cares?
i feel kind of bad b/c last nite at dinner rebecca cleared her throat and informed us she had come to a minor epiphany. the "minor" aside, this was an announcement and it was important to her. "i realized i'll never be a good actor," she said. joel and ross treated that pretty lightly. (altho of course i don't remember WHAT jokes were made -- oh god --) i felt bad but i didn't know what to say. it reminded me, again, of my old friend shira. she entertained the dream of seriously being an actress; she wanted nothing more than to perform. one day she asked me, honestly, whether i thought that was realistic. i was torn: finally i resorted to metaphor. "you're like a carrot," i said. i forget my exact logic. it didn't even matter. i kept elaborating and talking in circles on the same theme until she unearthed the point. at no time did i ever have to say, "sorry, darling: no."
now she wants to be a lawyer. she'll make a damn good lawyer.

don't think that story had a moral. it just always depresses me when people can't be the things they want to be. when i was ten, i read this book called Bobby Baseball about this kid who wanted to be a pitcher. he was all right, good enuf for little league or whatever, but at some point his coach (also his dad) broke it to him that he wasn't going to make it as a pitcher in real life. that book made me weep. like Little-Women-beth-dying weep. the unfairness of things. i used to weep like that at hearing bernadette peters sing, too, knowing i'd never have a voice like hers. but i'm not going to be a singer anyway, or an actress, altho i once very much wanted to be both. doesn't make me weep anymore.
yeah, stress. whoa. ben called me a typical swattie when i talked him tonite (2 a.m.) b/c i mentioned postponing sleep to the weekend. ross and i have been working own our crazy history papers for five.five hours. it was like the kama-sutra reinvented for intercourse w/ laptops: we tried every conceivable position, even the ones that make you sore.
i don't know if my paper is at all coherent. at this point i can't really recall what the criteria for a good paper is. specially since nothing i learned in high skool applies (they HATE block quotes here, and theses aren't Like Gods. bizarre.) i have to be awake & aware tomorrow b/c i have to write my third and worst paper -- worst as in hardest and worst as in, well, worst. i have this sinking feeling that i assume is a premonition for the direction my gpa will take.

BUT things could be a lot worse. fall break is coming. i get to see liz (right?) and then the adirondacks. i'm safe and sheltered and privileged and loved. i have intriguing dreams. (some professor just told us about an author who wrote a book about something i've always wanted: in the story, people are allowed to tape their dreams. of course what happens is that they all become fixated on themselves and they lose interest in everything else. to be expected, i guess.)
khadijah finally sent out the cast list that we agreed on. YES. DONE. ahh it's all falling into place ....

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

i just spent an hour and a half eating lunch w/ louisa, a neurotic jewish new yorker (that should get a prize for redundancy) who was in becca's-and-my play last semester. i wouldn't say that we're close friends but we get along well -- she reminds me of an old friend of mine, shira, who's now at columbia (migrated TO new york: no surprise there). she regaled me with stories about the lesbian community here, all the craziness and spit-connections and concealed/unrequited passions. we could only extrapolate how beyond the pale life must be at, say, smith.

anyway, it was fun and quite diverting. two more papers to go.
i had yet another vivid, bizarre dream last nite in which (lss) i was in love w/ a boy who i thought i could change. i couldn't; and out of sympathy for my situation, he went away. i went around thereafter offering a bowl of "soup of a young girl's heart" to people i saw. it was exactly that: clear broth mixed with strings of heartflesh. stefanie fox said, "oh, i'd love to try that -- but i can't, i'm vegan."
i don't recall trying any of it in the dream. i guess that's also redundant, eating your own heart, once you've gone to all the trouble of taking it out of you and making soup out of it for others. wait! is this some kind of metaphor? should i be learning something from this?
ehh, too tired. if my subconscious wants to communicate something to me, it'll have to be a lot more explicit. b/w stress and worries about other people (poor ben, for example) i have a very limited capacity for picking up on subtleties.

Monday, October 08, 2001

thoughts distracting me from my history paper:
did everyone see this? "And to America, I stay to it and to its people this: I swear by God the Great, America will never dream nor those who live in America will never taste security and safety unless we feel security and safety in our land and in Palestine" (bin Laden's concluding remarks, as translated and reported by the washington post.) rather frightening, no? yet i haven't heard anyone talking about this. are we just not taking it seriously as a country? it sparked riots in gaza; they seem to be taking it damn seriously.
at the same time, nowhere in the speech does he technically claim responsibility for the attacks. an oversight? or is he just capitalizing on someone else's action, trying to lasso the repercussions to begin an all-out large-scale holy war type thing on the west?

here, take your mind off it.
will you ever be the master-chef for our barn? asks ross. hell no: i'm too scared of failure on a large scale to prepare food for people. i can make everyone sandwiches. i'm comfortable enuf w/ my own abilities for that.

went on IM for the first time this semester this afternoon. (swat)becca's iMac has it installed. five of my friends popped up shouting "ester!" including old-friend michael, the 25 (is it 26 now?) year old millionaire. he proposed. he's proposed before. he hasn't seen me since i was sixteen under very odd circumstances; i guess i made an impression. hey, in a world where tinman actually meets and dates folks he chats w/ over the web, maybe it's not so crazy. and as joel says, it's good to have fallbacks, right?

(like 17 year old catholic boys, eh? i like the juxtaposition w/ descartes.)

portishead is one of the few bands i like despite the fact that i can't make out the lyrics. the problem of course is that you can't sing along. ross has it on now; the best both of us can do is vaguely hum or beat out the rhythm on the floor like chimps.
this shit is weirding me out. dropping bombs and dinners? what the hell? i can just imagine people panicking, running from flak and fire and suddenly getting smacked in the head w/ a leg of kentucky fried chicken. think how disorienting. america, make up your mind. are we killing these folks, or feeding them, or making like the witch in hansel and gretl (fattening them up to kill them later)? if the latter is george II's master plan, i sincerely pray that he remembers the moral from his early-reading days and not just the coolness of the story. the witch dies, georgie! they push her in! ah well; i guess there's only so much i can do.

in other news, i'm done DONE with one of my papers. handed in'n'everything. only 2 more to go and i still have roughly as much hair as i had when i started. if by the end of this week i'm not even half-bald, i'll know i was as successful as i could hope to be.
been feeling sentimental lately. wonder why.
ross and i had history class this morning on the seduction theme in early american culture. we had very different reactions to it:
mine: la la la di da; i can't believe i dreamt that; ooh those wacky early americans (etc.)
ross: it's the beating of that hideous heart!

that's my interpretation anyway. didn't even occur to me til he approached me post-class wide-eyed and grasped my sleeve: "i'm not a rake, am i, ester, am i?"

he wants me to write (he says while laughing) that this is all crap. very well, ross. if it soothes your conscience.

Sunday, October 07, 2001

jocelyn came upon me in mccabe while i was alternately looking forlornly at the last bit of cash money i have to my name ($1.45) and the pitiful selection of baked goods they sell at the mini-coffee bar here. i guess i shouldn't complain: already i've marveled that we ever got along w/o snacks sold in the library. joc didn't have any money but she volunteered to run back to willets to grab me a yogurt from her room. no one's eating them anyway, she promised me, and it was no trouble since somehow it was all in the right direction. too weak to argue, i let her go. she has since returned and the dannon has since revived me. i had a panicked few minutes there when i thought all my work this afternoon was lost (it isn't); now that my blood sugar has evened out, i'm feeling less on the brink.

today was all work and meetings. granted the meetings were enjoyable -- during the sclp one, we drank tea and brainstormed new names for our organization; during the Red Sky one, we made signs and listened to dar -- still, much running around, and the constant, patient breathing of a paper down my neck. must compose now. must be brilliant.
if there are any stray muses wandering around the internet, looking for occupation, i'd really appreciate some help. in return, o holy one, i pledge, we will name our group-formerly-known-as-sclp after you.
we assembled a cast w/o too much trouble (despite my constant muttering, 'this is like pulling teeth ...'). we had a perhaps unprecedented level of haranguing recruiting and negotiation; in the end tho no compromises were made. either 5 or 6 very talented young women of color will be joining us in putting on this crazy play. i was really happy w/ how it turned out. our crew is excellent, too: very sharp. our stage manager lillian is quietly efficient and very calming.

after skipping around mccabe in celebration, i barned it. (to ross, who is alone this morning and adorable in a flannel shirt: "what did i do?" ross: "you said, i have a lull. you sat and worked at my computer.") ahh right. i started my article for the phoenix that su wants about weblogging. or more specifically my weblog. i finished that last nite sitting on the floor in the corner of the common room by myself at 1 a.m. with ross's computer on my lap. i kinda like it: i tried to strike a chord betweeen presenting an accomplishment and being self-deprecating about same. i mentioned justin hall as a direct inspiration, quoted from his Relationship Resume. i told an abbreviated version of the ben story. at the end, i also paid tribute to the other swatties who have webpages. i have no idea what of it or how much she'll print. very vague assignment.

talked to the other ben briefly, we discussed him coming here which he seemed briefly excited about tho it never panned out. talked to marc briefly, he invited me to a late dinner and promised that he rob and jolly would rush home to hear me read at the wrc coffeehouse. that didn't pan out either as it happened; and ross and becca, who i reminded nervously three times before i walked out the door, didn't make it in time to hear me either. no worries: ben was there as was stefanie fox, who later read, and r. block. and dan schneider, this crazy freshman, who declared my poetry "fabulous!" he laughed loudest of anyone during the 4th poem, runway model:

The sun sets, like a woman gently laying her bruised body
down, over me on the runway
while I think of your next girlfriend:
the lights of the runway forecast the
smart, tidy shine of her hair;
its length, the length of her thighs.
Maybe she will be a fireman�s pole like you:
I�m always shimmying up and sliding down you; maybe
she will simply lie there
Maybe she will not tell you to smile more
or anything so frivolous; she�ll encourage
the growth of a goatee into a bonzai tree that she can cultivate. She will be spiritual and serious and tall, so you won�t have to stoop
to kiss her, and composed, so she�ll never laugh
during love when you cover her mouth to stifle
her impassioned �ah�s. She will not �ah.� Perhaps
she will say �Yes.� Perhaps �Precisely!� Perhaps
she will orgasm in japanese. Regardless,
she will be suave.
She will you call Benjamin.
She will not have a stomach like a rabbit curled up
beneath her skin or breasts like pots of water for which
your hands are lids; she will not have a stomach,
and her breasts will be perky-tight like
dashboard dolls. And it goes without saying
she will never wear the same outfit twice.
I cannot compete with her. Superiority is her nature:
it would be foolish to try. You may grow old withher
but Ben, oh Ben, if you want to be young,
come find me in this plane, lost in the night as in
the shadow of a lover leaving, flinging me hours states
months away from you.

i asked ben after if he had been embarassed or anything. 'no,' he said, 'there was only one girl who turned around to look at me and she was looking at me anyway.' you know, he doessmile more now. it's wonderful.
after, a contrite, melancholy rebecca, ben, and i went to see Raising Arizona, which made becca sniffle. it's not my favorite coens but 'twill serve. and now to work all day, and email jill at ross's behest.

Saturday, October 06, 2001

auditions begin at 1. khadijah and i met yesterday to debate the issue: how to cope w/ a low number of auditionees? well, logically: reduce the number of parts. we consolidated roles and more people have signed up so i have much to hope for (i think.)

bought a long burgundy topcoat yesterday at the church thrift sale for $5. it's missing a button but otherwise works, altho becca turned her nose up at it for being "formal." ross and stefanie fox, who came over for lunch, approved (ross was acting conciliatory b/c he hadn't meant, he said, to upset me by arguing so much.)

also bought jitterbug perfume, one of old favorites by tom robbins, for a quarter.

later the band started practicing loudly in ross's room and i fled to kohlberg. i started writing a poem comparing my period to a traveling circus in that it appears suddenly and is enuf of a spectacle to startle and absorb my body's full attention for a time. before i could conclude, ross appeared, followed by becca, and we launched a length, fullscale discussion on monogamy (monamory?) rebecca and i had one view, ross another, to wit: becca and i focused on the potential for "bad" (pain for either or both of girls involved); ross focused on potential for "good" ("i know there might be no way for this to end up pretty, but it's pretty now," sez he.) i have trouble compartmentalizing; i couldn't understand. maybe it's a boy thing?
by the end, we were all three dancing on the tabletops to Rubber Soul. no hard feelings. no recriminations. we just have different opinions.

dinner later w/ sam and maria who performed for us at Rose Tattoo, our equivalent of amateur nite. met up w/ ben at the pterodactyl hunt -- a crazy swat tradition in which everyone tries to kill various "monsters" in an effort to accumulate enuf "wealth" to try to defeat the "pterodactyl". becca and i wandered around w/ orange ribbons in our hair.
ben and i ended up in his room talking talking talking. don't even recall what time we fell asleep. i'm still in the clothes i slept in (well, somewhat) so i should go change. gaaaa auditions. gaaaaa three papers due this week. this is going to be interesting.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

well, at long last becca and ben met. 7.5 months after the relationship starts, i introduce one of my closest friends to my boyfriend. waiting for the train on the platform, becca and i discussed why. our opinions mean a lot to each other; always have. maybe i understood that i needed to form a judgement entirely on my own.

after dinner, ross and the two of them conducted a roundtable on the subject of blogs. each of them has a very different character
so it should come as no surprise that they approach webjournaling in different ways. i took notes, becca mediated. "what about sex?" she asked at one point. "who's your audience?" "what are you hesitant to print?" all confessed that they're afraid of being boring; the boys insisted, however, that they write primarily for themselves. (why not just get notebooks then? i think there's definitely something about the internet that makes diary-writing acceptable -- more legitimate -- for them. maybe for boys in general? i wonder how many male bloggers, or bloggers in general, keep external notebooks.)

the other becca, who was conspicuously quiet during dinner and escaped to mccabe thereafter, cut my hair last nite. no one noticed today b/c i kept it back. changes tend to be weird for me and illogically difficult to deal w/.
but i do like it.

it was all very meta to be sitting up there talking about what we write on our websites. (penn)becca made direct reference to that: we'll go back and write about this, she said, and then it'll be interesting to read what we each have to say.
i haven't thought too much about this website in terms of analysis. maybe now that i'm writing an article for the phoenix about it, i'll have to reflect. why *i'm* doing this, what purpose it serves for me, who my audience is, etc. a phase thru which every writer must pass, no? over and over again ....
speaking of the phoenix, my review of don't say a word came out this week (titled, 'don't waste your time'). after mocking douglas roundly in the first paragraph, i said:
Wow: if he were a Jew, I�d have his children. Unfortunately, Jewish men in these kinds of thrillers are never the folks that get to be the Ideal Husband, Ideal Father of an Adorable Daughter, and Ideal Hero. Those roles are reserved for the dignified, pure-white likes of Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Arnold. Not to mention, of course, Douglas himself.
the line generated a few titters on campus, which i was proud of.
then an illustrious professor emailed me, gently correcting: douglas is jewish. at least, his father is.
ah well. that'll teach me to be so damn clever.
i need break. i really need to relax, to just spend, as kat says, some quality time Not Thinking.
i feel like all i've done for the past two hours is argue. ross is inexhaustible. we quarreled while shopping: how much should we buy, what, could we carry it all back. as it was a huge load, i made the executive decision that we would abscond w/ the cart, which we did. still a poor substitute for a car.

also helped rob lug boxes earlier. he rewarded me before by buying me lunch and later by telling me i looked like a renaissance painting. he's taking Arth 1 -- i guess such images are fresh in his mind.
pennbecca is coming over to see the barn, eat dinner w/ us (and apparently 50 others...) and meet ben at long last. i'm a little nervous which for me is normal. as you can tell from their journals, they're very different people. but i love them both so whatever.

i'll have to finish this in a bit. i'm stressing suddenly. now w/ lastminute additions we're making dinner for 8; i'm tense; ross reproachful. i don't mean to be antisocial. it's just that this is a very high maintainance household and i can't always deal w/ it. i have to go pick up becca.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

"secretly i want to be in charge of women's reproductive systems"

"from now on, people who leave their shit on the dining room table will have it removed."
"how 'bout from now on, people who leave their shit on the dining room table will have their dicks removed?"
"that works too"
"wait, we should make that gender-inclusive ..."
--barn convo in our NOW CLEAN common room (really! come see! it's amazing)

came home to find our pipes murmuring HOT WATER. our sluggard landlord finally came thru. joel was in HouseCleaning mode -- he can be impressively singleminded when he decides to be -- he had singlehandedly made our common room and kitchen liveable again. after applauding him roundly, and disappearing to take a much-needed and much-enjoyed 20 minute shower (my hair today looked like the exxon-valdez disaster, like a fucking oil spill, like i'm saying you could see the spectrum in each individual strand, i'm not kidding, i had people following me all day b/c they were mesmerized the purty swirling colors) i attacked our mountain of dishes.
what a satisfying feeling. my hair is wet and calm against the back of my neck, the room around me is tidy and spacious, and we're about to eat dinner. my film paper deadline has been extended. aimee mann is singing in the background. yes, all is right w/ the world.
i'm supposed to be doing (read: copying over becca's) stat hw. walked into kohlberg and found joc, who was poring over dante and was glad (seemed glad?) for an interruption. it's hard to tell w/ her sometimes b/c she can be elaborately political -- hmm, how to phrase this. i witnessed it a lot last year: she goes out of her way to make people feel comfortable, cheerful; she laughs a lot and listens to what they say; but the authenticity of each interaction is kinda questionable. she's excellent at deflecting personal questions, when she wants to, and keeping herself pretty unknown. b/c i lived w/ her last year, i had a greater-than-average opportunity to experience joc in all her forms, but in large part i think she's still a mystery. i'm often still onguard as to whether she is actually as enthusiastic as she seems or whether she's acting for politeness's sake. paranoia in friendship w/ other folks would probably be enuf for me to drop the friendship, yet w/ joc it's worth it.
so i just hope she's being authentic w/ me and leave it at that. whether or not i'm being naive.

becca is struggling w/ questions that i was struggling w/ last year at roughly this time. can you be friends w/ someone after you break up w/ them? i think it's difficult, more difficult than people lead you to believe, just like everything relating to sex and relationships. when you invest a lot in something, even if only lasts 3 weeks, darling, you can't expect to just snap out of it and be ready to move on. people are emotional: they brood, they dwell, they deal w/ self-doubt and put themselves thru agonizing self-examination (yuck).
my advice is don't be hard on yrself and don't expect too much.

jackie a. sent me a sweet email, altho she mentioned that she's not auditioning after all for the play. this leaves us in a bind: so far hers was the only name of the signup sheet. is our cast going to be all bryn mawr girls?
and here, incidentally, is her take on the above issue:
we're not together anymore, but sometimes i feel that we've taken out the in-love-ness and the sex and left behind the rest of the relationship, including much of the dependence on each other and almost all of the dysfunctionality. we still fight, we still have the same old problems as before, either in the same form or slightly altered since we're no longer romantically attached. and it's not good for me, nor is it good for her, and sometimes i feel like i absolutely must distance myself to some significant degree from her, but i never do, nor does she. and things never change.
granted, that seems like it refers to much more intense relationship but some of the themes are pretty universal. sometimes it's just hard to be friends after. History is hard to forget.

gaaaaa stress! too much, too much. i just need to make it to this weekend.
and what do you mean stop blushing? sheesh ....
(course, i'm linking it to, ain't it? i guess i'm just a narcissist too.)
also check out the minister today; he's in fine form.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

full recovery. well, almost full. my voice seems to have been switched w/ that of some guy: i've been speaking in his range all day. sarcasm becomes difficult when you lack the subtle intonations. i hope wherever he is (whoever he is) he's using my inflections for all they're worth. also singing loudly, spontaneously, in public, which i only wish i could do. the best i can do is croak.

mentally better too, you'll be i'm sure gratified to hear. but we're losing patience w/ rick, our landlord, and his refusal to give us back hot water. he turned it off b/c of a leak in the basement (three floors below us). the situation is getting dire. our dishes have piled intimidatingly high b/c rebecca insists we have to wash w/ hot water; we none of us have showered, and while i can at least tie my hair back and cover it w/ scarves, the boys perpetually look like someone has just shouted "boo!"

about to go see the birds for film class. i'm trying not to think about the huge quantities of work i have to do for this week. i'm accomplishing it task by task, looking forward only to the next hour. if i can keep this up thru friday, i will not only remain sane, but will be very proud of myself.

Monday, October 01, 2001

okay okay i know i've blogged a lot today; this is the last one, i promise.

three things happened late-ish that each individually Made my Day.
1) khadijah and i held a private audition for one of her friends. the auditionee was very nervous; i don't think she's acted much before and it's scary material. she didn't quite understand the monologue so we kept trying to explain it to her in different ways, trying to get her to loosen up and deliver the speech more naturally. finally she got it -- and she started to cry. simultaneously, khadijah and i jumped up asking "are you okay?" "yeah," she said. "it's just i thought this was about a girl telling a story. i didn't realize it was about her being hurt by her friends"
she was affected, seriously affected. and it was just an audition. wow.

2) meeting of The Brink, SuWu's literary brain child. suzanne was nice to me and she's just the kind of person that, if she's nice to you, it translates as a beneficient: "yes, you are worthwhile. now go and do good." i was inspired, man.

3) got an email from a girl in my SCLP group. she mentioned that she found my poetry and read thru some while procrastinating. "gratitude" she said made her cry. christ, i said. i will love you forever.

becca's back from florida. the barn, reunited. slight discords overlooked. my own personal melodrama re: having too little drama receded. khadijah and i working well, thinking alike. (course, she also mentioned that she found and read this so khadijah, if you want to say a few words yourself here on that subject or any other, leave a thought).
g'nite folkles. i'm too fucking lucky. i don't deserve it, man. someday ...
king of pain is playing now in kohlberg, where i've been for two and a half hours now, alternatively reading my polisci book on Chadra and looking for distractions. i went to say hi to ben around 1 and he threw a blanket over my head. i slept for two hours. no bad dreams this time.

i showed the DIS (copenhagen program) representative around before lunch, running into garrett, who was mooning around the study abroad office, and corralling him in accompanying us. he's looking for a place to escape to next semester. the rep and i gave him lots of DIS info. garrett and i aren't close friends by any means but he's a good guy and a funny guy and i feel bad for him. he says he's been depressed here. who knows if scandinavia is the answer? to my mind, tho, it couldn't hurt. and if he's going to go somewhere and he doesn't seem to care too much where, why not keep me company?

i do feel better than i did. wired, actually, buzzing. it's a false high -- and "high" is definitely overstating. at least i'm not sluggish. there are two prose magazines, both new, on campus this semester. one is independently run, one is a child of the established Creative Writing Institution, small craft warnings. i'm going to a meeting of the first tonite and the second wednesday. i'm still bitter about small craft warnings, i may as well admit it; i have a rather nonadmirable propensity to keep grudges like stuffed animals. i have a whole colorful collection.
well, maybe not so many as i once did.

i had dylan's "most of the time" in my head all morning. no one writes simple, forlorn songs like bob. anyone know what album it's from? ross and i couldn't recall.
lying in bed last nite, after somewhat regaining perspective, locking my door and writing in my real notebook, it occurred to me that maybe what was upsetting me, in addition to the rain and swirling graycold that has been our weather for the past five days, was the general lack of drama in my life. ross's drama probably drew my attention to my own lack thereof. in the past, solutions to this lay in glass, either little bowls or bottles, both of which are found now in philly. also i have the comfort of what ben and becca (the OTHER ben and becca) think of me -- old perspectives, maybe, but warm, complex ones.

i dreamt i lived in the basement of a building full of arabs. i was helping, a relief worker, i guess -- i kept having to explain to people about muslim customs and religious practices. when i left the compound finally, exhausted, police surrounded me and tried to put me under arrest. i kept arguing that i wasn't who they thought i was but they wouldn't be swayed.
the only other salient detail was that i had a crummy little bathroom and the girl across the hall had the a black-and-white marble palace. bathrooms always appear in my dreams. they're my most common motif.
what the hell do they mean?

i have to escort a danish representative around campus. i have to feel better. my mouth still burns from the chai. it helps on all counts.