Sunday, December 30, 2001

about to go to brunch at my grandparents', only, this being my family, naturally we're running late. last nite what i thought was just a matriarch-patriarch-brood dinner turned out to be a matriarch-patriarch-brood + friends-relatives-and-wellwishers surprise event for my parents' 25th anniversary. held at la ferme, a fancy french place to which i hadn't been since lisa's batmitzvah ohsomany years ago. the kids all had disposable cameras on their tables and i took a picture of geoff looking soulfully into someone else's eyes -- i don't even remember who now -- but he tracked me down, grabbed the camera, pulled the roll of film out and tore it apart. emotions ran high in middle skool.
this being my family, everyone was running around taking pictures last nite. as the centerpiece of the evening was a science-fair type display board covered w/ photos from the last 25 years, it seemed both appropriate and redundant. to me, both my parents look better older which is rather odd. my mother takes excellent care of herself and she really is lovely, although she's never believed that.

the banquet lasted 3 and a half hours after which i was just too tired to do anything else. liz and i had spent the afternoon cheering each other up, pawing thru Second Story, buying $7 worth of diet soda at Giant, and eating no pudge w/ alexandra. after that excitement, cosmic bowling would have been plain anticlimactic. ended up having a fun conversation w/ the fella and reading some more of quixote. i complained to my father that i was tired of reading depressive lit and he threw that at me.

Saturday, December 29, 2001

after the passionate, wholehearted excitement that was wednesday through thursday, it's understandable that friday came with a little bit of a let down. after all, how can you top oatmeal sponges and "you a dyke baby! dyke baby! maybe you grow up to be -- P.E. teacher!"? i mean, really. but yesterday did have its perks: amelie w/ tamar, her friend brett from skool, and johnny, who is in the final stretch college-admissions wise and looked even broader than i remembered him. the film itself was charming and lovely. my only complaint is a strange, general one which is that i wish more women made films. film and media are such strong influences on audiences particularly in america but surely in other countries as well and nearly all movies or t.v. show you see -- even the ones supposedly about women -- are produced, directed, and/or written by men.
of course that's not necessarily bad. it's just that no one stops to think about the fact that what they're being constantly exposed to are men's ideas/ideals/portrayals of women.

later in the evening, lana and jay swung by. we watched bottle rocket w/ my cousins and hopped from room to room talking. today everything's still up in the air. maybe reading: i picked out four books -- one i'm half through, one i've yet to start, one i've started, and one i loved and could reread. it's cloudy and cold outside (how am i going to handle scandinavia?). i'm cocooned in fleece. could call ross in wanakena, where he's hopefully-happily reunited w/ his girlfriend. for the past semester she's been living in buddhist monasteries in japan.
more pics:
this of (from top, L --> R) liz, lana, annie/ (bottom) me, jamie:
my bday party

and this of (L --> R) jamie, me, becca, lana. in philly. and ain't it gorgeous?
fall in filly

Friday, December 28, 2001

some pics, in celebration of sccs working again:
from left to right: sorelle -- liz -- sarah k -- addie -- and me

and the swattie webloggers:
from left to right: cathy -- jesse -- rabi -- ross -- ben
swattie webloggers
so as per more than one request, i hereby provide the information that the quote on my heading is from the e.f.o. song bleecker to broadway and i kinda got it wrong (oops). the actual thing, which i will swiftly correct, is, "some seem to think i'm neurotic but i'm not -- i just like to think about things over and over and over and over again." good stuff. and hey, did you know that bela fleck plays the banjo on that album? yeah, you bet.

it's been a fun couple of days. after meeting tamar and nomi for a two-hour long excellent yuppie lunch where we discussed taboo topics (sex, religion, margaret cho) at oblivious teenager volume, we argued over whose house to go to to make the cookies. first one, then another; then shopping, quarreling throughout about what to put in the cookies. raisins/craisins? cloves/chocolate chips? ultimately at nomi's we, joined by liz, made oatmeal cookies via instructions on the Quaker canister, only substituting applesauce for margarine and foregoing the sugar b/c apples are sweet, right? tamar and lana, whose curiosity was prodding them, used instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal, formed their batter into one heart-shaped cookie and baked it in the toaster oven.
needless to say, everyone's came out pretty badly. ours tasted spongy except for the parts blessedly marked by chocolate chips (at least we had the presence of mind to throw those in.) tamar and lana's apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal toaster cookie was absolutely inedible but they munched through it staunchy regardless. then we watched hedwig, without a doubt one of the best queer-themed movie i've ever seen and one of the best films i've seen this year. made me happy. thereafter darling rick and yoni, who just got a prestigious internship at the washington post for the summer and who is tripping off to india in a couple weeks -- assuming india's still around then -- joined us. now if only sccs would start working again, my life would be fuzzny ...

Thursday, December 27, 2001

still over at lana's (to whom i'd link only the blog she just set up isn't appearing and whose other blog she can't access. i wonder if blogger's being difficult or if this is a test of her resolve.) we had granola bars for breakfast so i can still taste the Chewy-ness and for some reason we're listening to classical music. i think she must have put her setlist to random. six hours of sleep -- god it's like being back at college. we stayed up scanning pictures and putzing around on the net after liz, liz's sister alexandra, and ari, who, with his new haircut and a tie that he had swept around his neck like a cape, looked like prince charming, left. we had watched margaret cho's i'm the one that i want and laughed our asses off and sat around the kitchen table telling stories like giddy old women.

pre-lana's, we were over at annie's enjoying colin firth and comforting her for having bought self-rising flour which produced, just as her mother warned, puffy pasta when she boiled it. that stuff's only good for baking cookies, said her mother; and lo and behold this morning tamar suggested we come over and bake cookies. we're heading over there in a minute. yesterday was all fun; i'm hoping for more of the same. irritatingly sccs won't let me into my email account -- what's up with that? sorelle? elizabeth? sysadmins?

last nite trying to teach lana to make links, i kept going thru the formula with her. she typed "target" and "new" and then paused, unsure of how to connect the two. "what would annie say?" i prompted. "equals!" she squealed and typed it in. :-) she's set. and i-so-clever

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

okay chinese dinner followed by royal tenenbaums. i enjoyed the movie while in the theater but on the ride home my family debated, derided, and eventually declared it dumb. i'm so used to seeing things by myself at this point and forming opinions untouched by theirs -- now i'm not sure what i think. i can't tell if i've been swayed. in any event i can honestly say, i enjoyed it at the time.
got home, talked briefly to lana, lonely all by herself in rockvile, and ended up getting in an extensive conversation first with my mother and then with both parents about college and sexuality. my father surprised me by taking a less accepting viewpoint than i always assumed he would take. surprisingly also my mother took up my side. interesting. frustrating at the time, actually, but interesting. are parents obligated to accept their children's decisions by a certain age? what difference is there between accepting and supporting? what's a parent's role by the time a kid gets to college: to offer guidance and advice because kids aren't able to make intelligent, informed, mature choices until 32? or to generally acclimate themselves to the idea that kids are independent people who are going to make choices now that are, in their minds, not only intelligent, informed, and mature, but the only course of action?
apparently parents view this differently than their college-age children. who knew?

the conversation made me realize a number of things. first off, i'm lucky. i'm in a conventional, superficially-acceptable relationship (i.e.: w/ a jewish male, and one who isn't a rock band drummer at that.) second, many attitudes that swatties are swift to write off as bigoted exist in smart, non-republican parents and probably in the vast majority of the world. it's humbling.

tired. sleep. good luck to those of you who need it and a lot of admiration for those of you who have to face these kinds of things much more extensively and consistently than i do.

Monday, December 24, 2001

home. sick, too, but that's a recent development. something i ate yesterday disagreed w/ me so violently i was ill all nite so i've been sleeping on and off all day. yuck. up til then, though, being home's been all right. the drive went faster than usual even -- adam and i traded bits of insight we gained from the semester, first across the table at a dinner we stopped to have in Springfield Mall (where everyone thought we were dating as everyone generally does because we look nothing alike: the cashier made some cute winkwink comment to adam as we were both scrounging up cash to give him) and then in the car. snap decision when we arrived back in d.c. c.8:30 to see a 9 o'clock showing of lord of the rings; essentially we paused only long enough to throw judah in the trunk and we sped off.

so worth it. i'm sure everyone out there has read 50,000 reviews of this movie and i'm sure everyone says the same thing but it's worth repeating. the first five minutes had a battle scene more well-done than any i'd seen before and from then on i was riveted. i mean, yeah, the dialogue was stilted in parts, there wasn't much character development, the story's pretty rote, but i could not look away. [except when someone grabbed a sword out of a monster's stomach and cut the monster's head off with it.] the cinematography and direction were excellent -- jackson, director who years ago made the creative, visually stunning Heavenly Creatures, favored these sweeping shots that gave the viewer a number of perspectives all at once and full view of the gorgeous sets. ohh. ohohoh. coolest movie i'd seen in ages.

the next day, on a more chill note, i hung out first w/ lana and annie and then w/ lana and liz. each interaction had a different flavor, of course; both were fun. we hung out, shopped briefly so liz could replenish her supply of facial ornaments, worked on artsy stuff -- photo albums and journals -- and then watched some like it hot. campy -- intriguingly complex in terms of gender roles -- enjoyable. poor marilyn monroe though: i've seen three films with her recently and in each she's had to say, "i'm not very bright." liz and i discussed whether she actually wasn't, if she was just the well-intentioned ultra-feminine sexy-innocent performer she's forced to play, or if that was just the box every filmmaker put her in. hard to know except that i can't imagine any of the characters she plays committing suicide and she did. so.

tonite: my mother's making an elaborate dinner which i won't be able to eat; tomorrow we see royal tennenbaums and go out to chinese. i've never been to an actual christmas celebration. at least i never felt out of it or resentful growing up, although how that was pulled off i'm not sure. merry christmas to those of you who're inclined that way and happy alternative traditions to the rest.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

LAST NITE: sorelle elizabeth brigid kate and sarah c. joined ross and me in sitting in a circle on the floor of the common room playing I Never with wine. we went through two whole bottles and made a dent in a third. pretty tame questions; chill fun; and it didn't take long for all of us to develop a buzz. i'd never drunk that much wine before. bid farewell to dear brigid who caught that shuttle at 4:20 out of my life for the next 9 months.

THIS MORNING: sorelle arrived pre-noon and she ross and i wrangled with various possibilites to how to combine a good last lunch w/ everyone's time constraints. we settled on take-out and managed to get ross to his septa train with one minute to spare. we sat on the grass outside sorelle's dorm and ate our sandwiches at leisure, bonded over rent -- funny: first you love it, then you hate it, and eventually you grow to love it again, if for no other reason than it's such good common ground -- unveiling the sad truth that though we had hidden desires to be exciting characters (mark in eliz's case, mimi [she has the best songs!]) in mine) we're all joanne.
after last minute "packing" (running in circles, fretting over what she's forgetting, etc.) eliz finally allowed herself to be driven off to the airport. which left sorelle and me to find the one unlocked door in kohlberg and hang out there. then to ben's to troop obediently beside him to the pizza place and watch him eat lunch.

back at the barn now, alone. times like these i never know what to think. i don't know what to expect so i can't think about what'll happen next: adam could walk in right now, or in an hour, or he could call and say he got lost. when i get home, i could stay home; or i could call mi girls immediately (lana! who has been rendered incoherent, as far as i can tell from emails and bizarre comments, by the appearance of long-lost summerfolk; nomi! not in new york; liz! should be back from smith already; exhausted; looking for a good heterosexual nondramatic break; etc.) the point is there're too many possibilities. so i'm sitting stubbornly staring at my stripped bare walls, pretending that nothing but this monitor exists, not the bags behind me, not the prospect of dane-land in front of me. nothing.

Friday, December 21, 2001

towards the end of yesterday i got rather stressed again. emailed myself the wrong version of my paper, had to run back to the barn to send the right one and then dash back to campus to print it out and bring it to bruce who greeted me w/, "where's the first draft?" i babbled at him for a few minutes and he waved me away. i picked up the form signed by valelly that he'll be my advisor (yes!!) and dashed to mccabe where i stationed myself at a table where ben had put his stuff and kept my nose more or less in the book for the next couple hours. stat's impossible. it's all just formulas that i vaguely understand that have to be applied in terrible frightening word problems about lyme disease and pregnancy-inducement (phil ...?) anyway it doesn't matter. i took the test, declared myself finished when stefanie did and the two of us and susannah barely made it outside before we screamed so loudly kohlberg shook.

i bought everyone drinks and had so many points still that the lady at the coffeebar sold me a whole box of granola bars. said goodbye to marc, whose room was in an unparalled state of disarray, and went back to the barn where ross and i danced for a little in the kitchen and then went downstairs to watch Pulp Fiction on renee's big tv. we contemplated taking shots everytime someone said "motherfucker" but were intimidated by the number of times that happened in the first 10 minutes alone. the wine-swillers arrived eventually and we went upstairs, sat in a circle, passed a bottle around and told stories.
brigid arrived later after the others left while i was on the phone with my dear friend liz from home who i will see in a matter of days (!!) i ended up going back to campus after all.

this morning sorelle and i drove stefanie to the airport. i've spent the rest of the day with people i'm going to miss a lot/ who i really wish i'd met first year/ who make me feel finally completely content in this place. of course i can't think about it. today i have to packpackcleancleanpack, and say more goodbyes. non-party tonite with no structure and no time frame tonite. much to do before then.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

rebecca left this morning around dawn. she had promised to wake me up to say goodbye; instead she stuck her head in my door and said, "ester!" i managed, in my disorientation, to sit up and squint, and she threw something soft and about the size of my palm at me. "bye," she whispered. "bye," i whispered. i tossed the palm-size soft thing on my bedtable and immediately fell back to sleep. when i woke up more effectively later i looked over and recognized that it was actually a homemade pillow, about 3 x 3, with a maroon heart on one side and an "E" stiched on the other. it smells good and i know there's a name for soft palm-sized pillows that smell good but it escapes me at the moment. anyway, she's gone (bye becca ...). joel left yesterday while i was on campus, leaving as a goodbye a note in the bathroom. i'd say we're an unsentimental bunch except that it'd be a damn lie: as evidence of that, in fact, i have an inscription in my notebook from becca that's so gooey it sticks to your fingers as you read. in the best way possible.

i'm supposed to be finishing up my history paper which is due at 5. then i have a stat final at 7. briefly this morning i decided to let the stress come crashing in but at lunch i ran into brigid and emilyjacob who calmed me down. now i'm just skating thru, waiting til 10 at which point i'll be DONE and i'll return to the barn and swill wine from the bottle w/ anyone interested in joining me. oh and the package mi madre sent me like two weeks finally arrived, containing two items of clothing, both green, one of which ross says defines me as a person. ross and i are the only ones left. wow.
let me know if you're interested in wine. oh god leaving soon -- won't be back for nine months -- that merits a real wow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

i just got back adorably-incredibly-cute pictures, including one fabulous one of the swattie weblogging community (dude, we should get funding) minus jackie, who missed our taboo procrastination session. that was the most successful errand i've run today although i've gotten a lot done. not skoolwork, of course, but, like i just said to my friend nomi in reference to love, isn't that totally overrated? ... hey, one of those was a non-sarcastic comment: try to guess which!
so one of the things i did do was write and hand in my sophomore paper declaring myself a special-major in AMERICAN STUDIES (ross: "couldn't you choose something less obvious?" me: "like AMERICANT?" that'd make a great slogan: "never say AMERICANT!") and a minor in film&media, though after that final yesterday maybe i should rethink that. yikes. in the paper i cited the capital steps as an influence and made reference to the fact that when i was an irritating little nine year old (as opposed to the irritating less-little nineteen year old i've become ...) i used to pester liz's father about why he was a republican. i had fun writing it, although naturally not as much fun as ben had writing his.

hey! my brother adam got accepted into his study abroad program in sydney. talk about last minute -- they'd been stringing him along. it's finally official.
ross and co. are going carroling tonite. i guess i'll be staying in and writing history or studying stat. ho ho ho! ... bastards. i suppose i deserve it: i did watch most of rushmore yesterday w/ becca and then the incredibly true adventure of two girls in love which was exactly as good as the title would suggest. (me: "is it really true?" elizabeth: "yes, ester. it's a documentary.") i wasn't allowed to laugh or make snide comments cause everyone around me was transfixed and near tears. ah well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

just took a blah film final. my consolation that is it wouldn't have been any less blah if i had studied, which i didn't; i opted for personal contact instead (come on, isn't that what college is really for? the classes are just a front. they're there to dupe your parents into consenting to spend $120,000 so that you can spend four years away from them being influenced by and influencing thousands of kids your own age.) i regret nothing. last nite i went to our last co|motion meeting where we exchanged Secret Beacon of Light gifts. stefanie's for elizabeth was by far the most extravagant and funny. it was a large box with a note that read, "for when your father or grandmother come to call" and played on elizabeth's fear that either of those people discover that she is an agnostic lazy queer.
stefanie had filled the box with evidence to the contrary: schedules detailing elizabeth's daily grind including "meeting with platonic girl-friends" and "straight pride meeting. make signs: Straight is Great! etc."; letters -- one from a boy tearfully professing his love and, moreover, his respect for her decision to only date within her faith; another from a prof commending her on her stellar work but advising, "for the sake of your health, please get some sleep"; and pictures of hot boyz to hang on her walls.

second prize for coolest gift went to sarah c., cadelba's beacon, who among other things made a booklet of poetry that i flipped through enviously. my beacon, as it turned out, was sorelle who made me a friendship bracelet and two cds, one a mix, the other a copy of e.f.o.'s quick. it was very sweet. my gift didn't go over so well -- i had to explain it and explanations usually kill a joke. in this case people laughed once they understood but, you know. not the same. *shrug*

nothing's getting to me recently. not finals stress, not sudden co|motion crisis (we've been informed only 5 of us can actually be counselors this summer), not leaving, not not-skiing, not break. yesterday ben and i celebrated having weathered tenmonthsofwhat by sliding down a flight of stairs on our butts the way i used to when i was little. i've had a lot of great conversations with people recently and i'm feeling very love-radiant. incredibly, nothing else matters

Monday, December 17, 2001

oh boy oh boy, sophomore paper, ho! i'm still waiting on this silly package mi madre sent me. it was supposed to arrive like a week ago and i'm anxious, mostly b/c i'm craving distraction. my options are:
1) continuing the process of photo albuming (sorta a "best of ..." thing b/c the album i got has a very limited number of pages)
2) continuing my sophomore paper (abandoning the honors idea, as nori advised [if you can call that kind of fury 'advisement'. sheisse! i had no idea it was such a contentious subject. but it's not just her: i've inquired of six people in a row and each has told me the same thing: no, you crazy wench. i think i'm getting the hint.]) ben advises only 2 seminars -- anyone else have thoughts on that?
3) studying for my film final tomorrow. ... nah
4) writing my history paper (due wednesday.) ... yeah right. i put my the energy, effort and creativity into the Mill-iad. i have none left over for some dinky actual assignment, y'know, the kind that doesn't involve rhyming "condemn misses" with "nemesis." hey. how clever is that? (christ, i'm channeling elizabeth ...)
5) beginning to take apart my room, the very idea of which nearly makes me cry. oh dear. must think of something else; must distract self ... see #1

Sunday, December 16, 2001

hello blogger; good morning. how'd you sleep? a little late in the day to finally roll out of bed, isn't it, blogger? well, that's all right, i understand; it is finals period after all. i do wish you hadn't eaten my last two attempted entries -- no, no, not too angry. don't worry, darling *blows blogger a kiss*

at the moment i'm trying to figure out my course schedule for the next two years. i have to compose and hand in my sophomore paper afore i go. i'm doing a special major in american studies. the question is, should i submit myself to the Honors program or should i just be a reglar ol major and be able to minor in film and media? the plus of doing it honors, as far as i can tell, is that people will think i'm smart. if anyone has further insights on this, please feel free to share them. since i'd very much like to minor in film&media, i'm thinking maybe the respect factor is a little shallow and dumb. but hey, i couldn't think it too shallow and dumb -- after all, i am here, aren't i?

i found a maggot on a piece of chocolate i was eating this afternoon. i shrieked and threw the thing across the room. i cite this as example of why the spark's gender test has now decided i'm a woman after all. they're even 80% sure. last year they were 86% sure i was a man. of course last year i would have been just as likely to throw a piece of food with a maggot curled up on the top of it across the room but maybe that part of me was more repressed then.
becca on the phone this morning said, referring to her autiography, "it's a sad, sad story. about why i'm sad." priceless.
and am i the only one who thinks segway is the best invention evereverever? and can't wait to see millions of senior citizens zooming their way around cities? and advertisers sheepishly, grudgingly, teeth-grittedly revamping their campaign from "cool new gadget for kids!" to "helps arthritics get around! free with AARP membership!"? heh heh heh

Saturday, December 15, 2001

i've been up a whole 2 hours and i've yet to start my movie (chungking express, a wong kar-wai film which was the one of the best i saw over the summer; and as i was renting them five at a time that's not saying nothing. funny: i guess i must have seen about 50 but not that many made an impression on me. happiness definitely did; network and bonnie and clyde (mmm faye dunaway); breaking the waves and hilary and jackie (mmm, emily watson); lock stock and snatch (mmm guy ritchie) ... what else? i'll have to look back. to be fair, some of my rentals i'd seen before. classics like harold and maude earned a new, deeper place in my heart. well. i'm babbling. moving on.)

second day in a row i've woken post-noon. also second day in a row i've woken past noon having gone to sleep post-4. damn conversations! early in the evening, before i realized i'd be staying almost til damn yet again i went on a downloading bend. ross walked in at one point, smelling of cigarettes from the wild trivial pursuit party happening downstairs, and looked uneasily at my playlist. shins, strokes, johnathan richmond, ryan adams, white stripes, poe -- that's not the music i listen to! i defended my experimentation; he left, returned moments later with the white stripes album, and descended to rejoin the fracas.
this morning he wrote a sweet meditation about the purity of my music taste. i'd point you to it but it's already been buried under seven thousand more paragraphs of text. it included the line, "Ester is actively developing her own musical identity, one that in some ways is more honest and concrete than mine." ha HA! that's right, baby. oh yeah. funny -- my "musical identity" is such a compilation of different influences -- i was downloading richard shindell, beth orton, dave carter and tracy grammer, and sara and tegan with equal speed.

ross gave me a roches' album for hannukah whose sentimental value i didn't immediately get, and rebecca knit me a magenta kerchief i immediately donned. i dreamt that ben brought me a blank card and was going to be fill it in but couldn't find a pen. finally did laundry yesterday. yay! finally to watch movie.

Friday, December 14, 2001

wow oh wow. i just handed in the Mill-iad (how's THAT for a title?). ross came up w/ the idea like two minutes ago that we record me reading it aloud on the same cd on which he's recorded his and blair's musical, Fall River! so we're going to do that as well and hand that part in tomorrow. at this point i couldn't even care less if it satisfies the prof. i'm psyched that i've done it (7 parts, 5 pages, single-spaced, with a stanza from the canterbury tales Prologue of the Wife of Bath as an introduction.) it made my mother cry. everything makes my mother cry -- but still.

last nite rebecca was up to her elbows in latke batter, churning out tray after tray for the sixty or so people she invited over to the barn for a hannukah party. what w/ finals and stuff, not that many showed up, so i went knocking on doors to invite people to partake. i hostessed a little; then sorelle appeared and after we lit candles she steered me to campus where we dropped off papers and picked up small craft warnings, the official, traditional lit mag on campus. we found sarah k. and addie, two of the lovely co|mo firstyears, sitting in kohlberg flipping thru a copy. sarah laughed that every time she picks up a publication floating around she sees me in it. (i have a story segment in red sky night, the new fiction zine i'm also on the board of; two poems in scarlet letters and two more in small craft. three of the four poems are about ben so people keep asking me if he's okay w/ that. they've asked him too apparently. as both of us have web sites (read: exhibitionist tendencies) we're generally okay with things like this, but for the record, yes, i asked him first.)

anyway we chilled in kohlberg for a couple hours, then persuaded sarah and addie to accompany us back to the barn where we listened to the best mp3 list of folk music you could imagine, greeted elizabeth, who had the good sense to show up, and demonstrated various talents. sarah k., for example, has a killer hand-llama routine. possibly the cutest thing ever. rebecca came in and joined us at some point and after the co|mo girls left, she and i sat up talking until 5:30 a.m. about things we should have discussed months ago. ross and joel joined us around 4:30 because what we were discussing what relevant to them and the barn as a whole.
hugs all around, followed by sleep.
interrupted briefly by a knock at 6 a.m. and a sheepish ben. what a bunch of ridiculous folks we are. real sleep tonite. oh boy!

Thursday, December 13, 2001

everyone's going over the top for this murder! assignment. catharine and amalle made a video documentary about mill girls. ross and blair made a musical. i sang two parts for them this morning: lucretia, sarah maria cornell's mother, and gossip #2. they recorded four scenes and the whole thing is damn clever.
as for me, well, i wrote a story the other nite when i should have been doing polisci. i could give that in. but i was too inspired by the creativity of others; to measure up, i began writing an epic poem -- part Homer, part Browning, part Capital Steps -- about smc's life. if it ends up being awful, i'll hand in the paper after all. meanwhile it's fun.

this is by far my most interesting final-type project. after this it's all tests (2) and papers (2.) of course everyone's in the same boat. so to tide you over, here's a portion of my attempt at barding:
Sarah earned wages, the which could have bought her
passages home -- and any good daughter
would return in a flash like a goldfish to water.

But although she ought to,
the girl opted not to.

Sarah chose to give money, rely on, seek favor
from Methodist churches: she begged them to save her,
forgive and ignore her egregious behavior.
She may have been giddy, too conscious of dress;
she may have spent more when she should have spent less,
but her praying was earnest as was her distress.
She feared the slow torture of brimstone damnation.
If only she�d learn how to master temptation!
Put vanity off and forego fornication!
her Methodist sisters said, There�s your salvation.

But although she knew right,
the girl couldn�t do right.

Off she was sent, packed with guilt and frustration.
heh heh heh. :-) hannukah party tonite at the barn. hopefully i'll stay awake thru this one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

this is the cutest thing ever: bear hug!. it arrived via liz-at-smith and greeted me in the midst of stat shitwork w/ becca and stef. last nite the three of us met at 8:30, intending to get a substantial chunk of it done. instead we sat at the table, drank moon cycle tea -- so reminiscent of home -- talking about sex and history and ... well, that's about it but it lasted us six hours. i covered an entire sheet of paper with doodles. the highlight: a angular naked woman with googly-eye breasts and stick-straight-up hair proclaiming, "i live to serve you, phil!" we didn't get much stat done; by 4 we gave up the pretense and went to sleep. today we worked all afternoon until we finished just a little after five.

co|motion met in my room to watch a movie without me. i met up w/ them and they took me to sharples, sarah c. (the "c" stands for "cool") announcing formally on the way that she's very sorry i'm leaving and wants to be friends w/ me, which melted my cold stony heart. (stuff like that thrills me to no end.) fun sharples holiday dinner featured fondue and wandering waiters offering deceptively good-looking sweets. eventually elizabeth and i wandered to kohlberg to do dramatic readings of choice literary magazine poems. i have two in scarlet letters, the all-women mag: question marks and flower. i kinda like "question marks" because it has the word "shat" in it so i think i'll put it here:
question marks

Smoke rises like question marks
above our heads. Neither he nor I has a cigarette but the city
seems to exhale wearily all around us.
He stops to take a picture of a pigeon
who has alighted on a ledge at eye level. It would never occur to me
to photograph a pigeon, tho I kicked one
once in Venice. They cover the stone there
like cigarette butts, grey and filthy with fingerprints. Later that evening,
one shat on me. Maybe even the same one.
The birds here are decorous: they pose. And
what will come of this, I wonder as I wait. A new appreciation for fowl?
does anyone really know what she wants?
Maybe just to be looked at like a park-bench pigeon,
fleetingly fascinating, hunted with a flash. Maybe just an end to question marks.
He clicks. Still side by side,
we glide on. (spring 2001)

i really did kick a pigeon in venice and i really did get shat on. my brother didn't stop laughing for a week. and i really do want to be fleetingly fascinating. see? sometimes poems tell the truth. (do you like it, darling? it's only the beginning, you know. just wait til small craft warnings comes out. hehhehheh)

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

i like how autumnal my recent color scheme has been. i also feel like leaping in circles and shouting for joy because i managed to pull off my polisci paper -- don't ask me how. as of last nite at 1 a.m., i was back in my red mrs. claus pajamas, staring at two paragraphs, one of which was composed merely of question fragments (like "what am i trying to say here?"). this morning, i had class til 12:35 -- and the 8 page paper was due at 5 p.m.
immediately after my last class i bolted home, barricaded myself in my room, typed furiously, edited, typed, did some spontaneous new research, typed more and finished by 4. 4!! i had enough time to make a cover page, works cited page, walk over to campus to print it out, and hand it in 20 minutes before the deadline. ross came w/ me and we lingered in the building on the fringes of the history department party to which we had technically been invited but of which we felt no part.

we discussed what kind of people do which kinds of majors, hung out outside valelly's door watching my fellow class members arrive at the finish line, sweat still adorning their faces, and hand over the paper like a baton. i considered going in right then and asking him to be my major advisor (american studies -- he's american politics -- that's as good as anything, right? plus he likes me; plus he kinda reminds me of my dad.) i didn't; said a brief, satisfying hello to the triplet, and have been leisurely hanging out at the library since. dinner mit ben next, and then nonstop stat work til 5 tomorrow -- but after that, for a while, i can relax again. for a while.

Monday, December 10, 2001

eating vanilla yogurt out of a dish reminds me of being young. my family had a series of young dutch au pairs who fawned over us kids as much as they scorned american chocolate. as proof of their disdain, they supplied us with "real" chocolate, sometimes in the form of brightly-colored boxes of sprinkles that we, delighted, used to decorate our yogurt. after they left we continued the tradition until i read the twits and realized sprinkles could actually be concealed ants. that dented my appetite. besides, native sprinkles never tasted quite as good.

i'm supposed to be writing my polisci paper about why american people believe money is corrupting their public officials. i'm working on my history story instead. of course the history story is due friday and the polisci paper is due tomorrow. i like using one assignment to delay doing another; that feels sophisticated somehow. hey at least i'm getting shit done.
the tarble lady alerted me that i'll have to use $9 worth of points a day to polish off the number i have left on my card. anyone who's interested in helping me is more than welcome.

Sunday, December 09, 2001

i'm flying high on bubbles of diet coke, erin mckeown, and excellent interactions w/ people. first i had my final For Colored Girls ... rehearsal. only three of the actors turned up. one injured her ankle during the dance concert last nite; another is AWOL. but the three who came were beyond words. wow. i can't articulate it. that rehearsal -- mostly two scenes -- was the best college theater i've seen. it was emotionally real, honest, and unpretentious in a way that makes theater the most personal invasive medium there is. i often forget that; i get discouraged b/c i see so much that leaves me bored or unmoved. partly i think because this material is so beautiful and so direct. it can't help but get to you. and the actors are wonderful. i started crying twice -- maria had to give me a hug. she has the abortion monologue and she's comforting me.
definitely one of the things i've done here that i'm most proud of. i only wish i could see the actual show (february 22 - 23, people. miss it at your peril.)

i arrived back at the barn in time to grab something quick to eat and meet the swattie webloggers minus jackie (we missed you jackie). first cathy, who went immediately to the corner she inhabited during our last party, followed by jesse, fresh from a vietnamese lunch, and someone i assumed was rabi. ben traipsed in last and we tried to figure out what to do. the idea of Chuck-E-Cheese got everyone excited; then of course we remembered none of us has a car. someone suggested a board game and ross disappeared to dig up Taboo. jesse produced two bags of candy from Chinatown, we settled in a circle on the floor, divided into two teams (jesse rabi me vs. ben cathy ross) and started to play.
it never got competitive as we didn't keep score. but damn was it hilarious. for people who'd never spoken substantially before -- at least in my case -- we found a similar wavelength really quickly. at one point rabi said "chuck-e-cheese ..." and in unison jesse and i shouted out, "tickets! toys! prizes!" and then the right answer, "pizza!" as near a miracle as we get in these godless times.
after we exhausted both sides of nearly all the cards (creatively too. for your information, the irish eat corned beef hash; rocking chairs are really frightening; and the stuff you put on your chin before you apply a blade to it is shaving cream) an hour and a half later, we took so many pictures you'd think it was the end of a family reunion. i was ecstatic with the success of the venture. when i get the pictures developed i'll post them. but yay! more people who aren't intimidating after all. oh-so-good to know.

co|mo tonite at 8 for the first round of hints for Secret Beacons of Light, our nondemoninational nonoffensive answer to Secret Santa. before that, time w/ liz. and i came up with an idea for my history story! oh mercy. pinch me please.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

so far the only thing i've done affirmatively today is make plans to do things affirmatively later in the week. downloading like mad from audio galaxy. not laundering, sweeping, putting things away, creating a short story/play about the life of sarah maria cornell (if i failed at writing her biography, would should a fictional biography be any easier?) or researching polisci. life offcampus often feels lonely: i envision a cross-section of the barn revealing eight people in eight rooms on each of three floors, working on their monitor tans. i'd call someone but i've always had trouble with that. if people want to talk to me, wouldn't they call me? my mouth tastes like nutrasweet, which in bulk resembles novacaine. it's raining.

didn't watch a movie yesterday as per stern instructions to self. did a little hannukah shopping. we don't have a hannukiah. that's all right, i don't think we had one last year. it feels more like we should make an effort this year though. maybe not. who cares. ooh lethargy, you old scoundrel, you; i haven't seen you in ages; how you been? how's that guy you live with, what'shisname, apathy? what's he up to nowadays ... ?
why can't i write poetry anymore?

Friday, December 07, 2001

this weekend is packed. i think my schedule of events shapes up as follows: student dance concert this afternoon (sorelle and joc are performing); boy meets tractor improv comedy this evening; shabbes dinner at ruach as prepared by becca -- she's slaving off five hot stoves as we speak; why war? party tonite. tomorrow: rehearsal in the morning; night of scenes in the evening. sunday: rehearsal til 4; meeting w/ swattiebloggers?; co|mo at 8. in between all that i have to write a story or a play; a short paper; a long paper; and start studying for finals.
i also have to get all my denmark stuff done, including making a last-minute snap decision: do i want to live, as previously stated, in a dorm with international and danish students or with a family? in the dorm, which functions as a co-op, i'd have my own room and bathroom and share a kitchen w/ 14 other folks. w/ a family, i wouldn't have to take care of my own food needs (that's a big issue as appliances other than toaster, fridge, and microwave intimidate me to the point of imbecility.) that's ... pretty much the only plus other than built in company. in a house with other people, assumedly, i won't feel as totally alone as i assume i will, at least initially, by myself in a dorm.

it'd help so much if i were organized. ah well.
the stress is beginning to show on people; people are starting to fray. so far i'm doing all right in keeping things in perspective, i think. i don't feel overwhelmed.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

sometimes life feels delicate and i have to think how lucky i am that i get to experience life that way -- that i'm tiptoeing through cathedrals or post-shower forests rather than trudging through bloodpuddles, carrying my own severed arm. or something. that i'm happy and get to write about it. that i get to hold and be held. that my only limitations, besides the common (gravity, eventual entropy, &c.,) are essentially my flaws, not circumstances or handicaps. when it really counted, i've never had anyone tell me i can't do what i want. granted i've always tried to keeps my goals and desires modest so as to maintain that trend, but still.
the whole business is intricate and fragile; it could crash down on me at any moment; a thousand things could happen to trip it up, many of which are extremely likely. or maybe just growing up will throw off the balance. who knows. the point is, i'm lucky now, i'm happy now, i'm going to denmark where the only word on the cheat sheet easy enough for me to pronounce is "beer" -- either the danes will think i'm an alcoholic or they'll figure i'm a great sport. (what's "beer" doing on a list with "hello" "how are you?" "dinner was great" and "help! my arm's been blown off" anyhow?)

lock, stock ... at 12, not 11. hope to see you there. i promise i'll be more coherent then. in the meanwhile, dinner? QSA? the muslim-feminism lecture? ... or *shudder* homework?
skipping stat as we speak. granted i have no right to skip, no reason either. i got sleep. i woke up feeling refreshed and calm, being held like a stuffed animal.
i don't have anything major to do today; in fact, it's the height of self-indulgence to skip a thursday morning class b/c after 12:35 on thursday, the weekend begins. somehow though i just can't muster up the guilt. rebecca and i are sitting in my room, discussing the ancient "state for the jews" or "jewish state" question, which is at least ten times more productive than scribbling down whatever phil scribbles up on the board. (so much israel recently. two good conversations w/ louisa and one w/ susan roth, with whom i left the Offended Jews discussion dinner. she lamented that the leftist partyline is anti-israel so everyone assumes she is and should be. she's a communist in brightly patched jeans who doesn't shave, votes green, plays the acoustic guitar -- has a folk show, actually --, loves notes from the underground ... hell, i assumed she was anti-israel.)

lock stock and two smoking barrels tonite at 11 for anyone who's interested. should be a good distraction from all this politics.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

so i am: Economic Left/Right: -3.25 and Authoritarian/Libertarian: -5.90 (courtesy of political compass). practically a dittohead by swarthmore standards, eh? i wonder what questions threw me in one direction or another.
much better conversation than expected w/ ben last nite about the ellis talk -- i'd been apprehensive b/c i know we'd disagree; we have before on this issue and ones like it. then a great conversation w/ louisa this morning about israel/palestine in general and religion. retrospectived w/ ross last nite and didn't get as much sleep as i should have. well i'll remedy that today.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

i just got a breathtaking compliment from jackie. i'd been feeling a little weird since the jewish-muslim dialogue followed by my film class screening of celebration. it's the first the dogme '95 film, a well-acted, intense drama about dysfunctional family life. i appreciated it without being moved, maybe b/c i've been exposed to the subject matter before, albeit in a less sophisticated way.
the combination of the two events was a strange one. i didn't realize i was upset about the dichotomies set up by the "dialogue" until i left it. no one challenged the speaker, mark ellis, over the course of the 2-hour panel, partly perhaps b/c he was pleasing and made jokes, partly b/c his comments were left ambiguous. it was only implied that true jews (him and the small minority of dissenters he spoke for) would, for the sake of conscience, dismantle the state of israel. that there were only two paths: his, the right one, the path of secular community, dialogue, individually apologizing to palestinians, and returning the jews to a position of vulnerability by ridding themselves of a homeland b/c Power and empire are bad; or the other, the path of staunchly, blindly supporting the state of israel. there was no place in his structure for dissent without thorough denial of israel. i felt like he was trying to morally bully me into his corner and i resented it.

stef and i left together and immediately both found ourselves raising questions and objections. when i got back home, i found an email from the jewish advisor suggesting that those of us who felt a lot was left unresolved could meet for dinner. i signed up for that; i hope stef does too.
and then lana pointed out jackie's comment. you know, i really would love to gather the swattie webloggers together to talk in person. i've still never met rabi and i've only had fleeting conversations w/ cathy and jesse. it's so late in the semester. doubtless everyone's going nuts. but wouldn't it be fun guys? come on, wouldn't it?
rushmore arrived today as did a surprise gift from my aunt jane. i don't remember under what circumstances we were discussing the thing but its title, something to do w/ "pettigrew," is familiar. 4 packages in 4 days! i feel so special. i think i'll forego checking my mailbox for the next week or so and just coast on the glory.
andandand despite doing as badly as i expected to on my stat II midterm II, i was STILL not in the bottom quarter of the class. yes! score! it's okay to be dumb as long as you're not the dumbest: that's what i say.

yesterday's congregation of sarah c., rob, ross and me over barton fink went well. wednesday nite's shaping up to be lock, stock... nite in company of two of the triplets, topped w/ sunday's taped episode of simpsons none of us has seen yet. i'm psyched. before i get there though i have to write my thing for the phoenix (assignment: rate something consumer-reports-wise. only about a thousand times better than "write a bad review of a show about which people are humorless and for which people will hate you". god. i think i'm going to rate fun experiences w/ bizarre substances. out of what, though? hmm ...)
saw ghostbusters last nite -- i'm averaging about a movie a day. funny how both ross and rebecca had negative reactions to bill murray. well sure his character's sexist -- the movie is sexist. i refuse to think he himself is a bad guy. he strikes me as sad, and besides that he's sarcastic and witty without really being mean and he has pretty eyes. how can anyone dislike bill murray? why does liking him make me conventional? that word has come up a lot recently. i keep saying people accuse me of being conventional; of course no one has outright, it's a subtle thing. maybe it's all in my head. at any rate, i make many exceptions for charming/funny people. i think they deserve more privileges and indulgence than others do. hell, it's better than rewarding folks for being power-hungry or good-looking and haughty or rich. come on, who's with me? (liz i know you are ...)

Monday, December 03, 2001

honest discussion yesterday, post-co|motion, of what our parameters are as people. what we can't forgive, what we can't stand. some turning to each other and saying, please never do this, or when you did this, i felt _____. led to a decent amount of brooding but the good kind (i think). at any rate the openness makes me happy. it implies a certain level of trust.

finally downloaded a satellite (sp?) and i've been flailing in the musical wilderness since. any suggestions? most of what i've accumulated so far has been falconridge stuffs (neilds, efo, lucy kaplansky, erin mckeown,) good-old-folksy stuff that's come highly recommended (catie curtis, lucinda williams, tegan and sara) and stuff that i'm approaching warily, sniffing as i go (melissa ferrick.) *shrug* trying to avoid those people i'm already on a first-name basis with (ani tori alanis joni bjork bob)
oh lord lucy kaplansky's version of it ain't me babe just came on -- gorgeous, gorgeous.
anyone know anything about Poe?

two of my three movies via half arrived today: lock stock and two smoking barrels and barton fink. rushmore the third is on its way. as i'm not particularly swamped this week, i sent out an open-ended invitation for whosoever's interested in watching either w/ me. they're both fabulous, weird and unique. still lusting after chungking express and network, both of which amazed me when i saw them this summer, but i think i'll wait to see them a few more times before i put them for-sure on my favorites list. that's usually my m.o.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

so much train travel: metro, septa, amtrak ... the nice thing about amtrak is that you're relatively assured of two hours of peace, and in the faceless placelessness of a train, it seems that anchoring yourself to a solid book is the most appropriate thing to do. i've picked up barth's sot-weed factor again which i started over fall break but put down b/c i was simultaneously reading two other books in which the protagonists were arrogant misogynists. however good the writing was in each (no one could argue the objective merit of delillo, kundera, or barth) i just couldn't stand it. i finished the other two and left sot-weed -- kind of an odd choice considering it's the most entertaining of the bunch. at least it recognizes that its protagonist is an jackass and makes fun of him for it.

brigid just arrived, a vision in a purple sweater vest, and invited me to see amelie in the city w/ ross, two of the blonde lodge girls, and her. the former three are all in a french class that demands a viewing -- brigid is providing transportation out of the goodness of her heart and desire to see the thing. i've spent enough money on entertainment this weekend, tho. i think i need to stay in one place and reflect on the state of the world, or at least the state of ebenezer cooke's.
i'm glad i went. it's always worth it to get off campus and i'm always thrilled to see lana and jamie. the mckeown concert didn't quite measure up, only b/c she opened while susan werner dominated. werner's energy is quite different and more appropriate to the birchmere's 35+ audience; she's just more conventional. mckeown is spritely, sprightly, spunky, and clever. we all left humming "la petite mort," which was the peak of the concert: mckeown got the whole roomful of sedate arlingtonians shouting, occasionally moaning, "oh estelle!" jamie lana and i, of course, needed no coaxing. lookalike-comfort-friends my ass. they're just two of the coolest people i know.