Tuesday, December 31, 2002

last night we weren't going. ben was sick, hoarse, crackling, in no condition to get out of bed let alone drive. this morning he went to discuss the matter with ross and rebecca on the phone. he came back with a black scarf around his head and a white one around his neck, kissed my cheek, rousing me from a dream of a bomb in a bible in a playground, and said, "let's go." will it work? who knows. off we head into the frozen north.
happy new year everyone. see you in 03.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

i just found one of the primary ghosts of my adolescence through the internet. twenty minutes of google searching and boom, there she is: address, home phone number, even bizarrely her age. a standard site option flashed, "do you want to buy [her] flowers??" well, no, but apart from that i don't know much. should i write? should i call? when you haven't seen or spoken to, heard from or heard about someone in five years, what's the protocol?

thankfully i cycled past crisis as soon as i wrote about it. i guess that got it out of my system. that and several more movies: breathtaking chicago -- who knew richard gere could sing?, or that a severely-waifed-out renee zellweger could make catharine z.j. seem bulky?, or that a musical could be so successfully transplanted to the screen? i enjoyed it as much as adaptation. so far they're my two favorites. two towers, however exciting and visually stunning, suffers from a less-than-mediocre script and characters who seemed more than ever like Types. catch me if you can, which i saw today with two members of my family on the rare suggestion of my father, is enjoyable and well-done. unique among spielberg's films for its sex, it compensates for making the encounters entirely devoid of chemistry. still, it's in no way a film worth remembering.

as for the not-in-theaters, last nite liz and i watched kissing jessica stein -- good for romantic comedy, good for a mainstream queer flick, overall seemed lacking somehow. their 3rd act breakup came so suddenly, and the direction was irritatingly irregular throughout -- and attempted to watch the first episode of twin peaks. a half hour in or so we turned it off, befuddled, tired of waiting for the trite to magically, surreally, lyncially become, well, magical, surreal, and Lynch. why was it so popular? what gives?
i'm slowly putting together my Top Ten. having not seen about schmidt or the hours i'm reluctant to. for the other 8 so far i'm thinking, in random order:
y tu mama tambien, chicago, adaptation, monsoon wedding, punch-drunk love, catch me if you can, secretary, far from heaven. maybe instead of secretary, bowling for columbine -- but secretary was so damned unique. i'm sure talk to her will displace something too once i get around to that.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

i think i'm in the midst of a slow creeping crisis. not the melodramatic kind, mid-life or quarter-life or existential or identity. it's just -- suddenly i want to lock myself in a room and write and write and write, and at the same time i want to keep seeing movies and keep reading books cause i have nothing to say. my father made fun of me for tracking down two libraries over the five days we were in florida, but had i been really insistent i'm sure we could have found more. the truth is i don't entirely know where babblebook is going, anymore than i know where i'm going (existentially) or my sociallife is (identitalllly). (from which we can infer that perhaps this crisis is of the aforementioned varieties, as objectionable -- in terms of verboten cliches -- as that is.) in between fielding calls, i wonder why no one calls me. i pull old notebooks from the recesses of the closet and pore over them, turning pages coated, hatted and mittened with nostalgia, looking for an answer as to why my journaling has grown infrequent and perhaps forced.
i spent a lovely xmas day with becca and, for a few hours as we revelled in a free showing of funny girl at visions, 40% of the jewish population of the metropolitan area. now i'm off to get my existential ass out of my existential house and to existential bethesda to shop with my perennial partner (in crises and in health) liz and perhaps ari too. no sign of lana, without whom no time at home could be complete. perhaps all i need is another good book, or a kick in the ass, or to lose at tennis.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

... and i'm back. not quite so brown as i hoped. my skin has to do that sunset thing: blaze red then fade to a more civilized twilight. there wasn't enough time to devote to that process when there were so many relatives to be visited, smalltalked with, laughed with, appeased, and met. my father and i spent the majority of the five days together, reading or playing the word game, driving or watching movies. i dragged him to Two Towers, he dragged me to the everglades. boy am i glad i waited til i got home to see Adaptation -- had i seen that bit with the gators, i'd never had had the courage to do an airboat tour. recently having seen Jaws was bad enough.

i think about death too much. it's terrible. my imagination has never let up on me. any new piece of stimulus i feed my brain it translates into a creative new potential torture device. in my room as a child i learned to sleep on my back rather than curl up facing the closet (from which monsters/demons/eyeless doll-children could emerge) or the window (through which robbers/rapists/eyeless doll-children could climb). facing one invited its attackers or demonstrated that you naively expected to sleep safe. more than death even, i've always feared being proven naive, dying from a cause i didn't imagine beforehand.
i'm better now. no i'm not. i sleep 5 times better when there's someone else in the room, tho when people ask me don't i mind having a roommate, it's easier to smile and illustrate how awesome brigid is ("you know she brought three bottles of bootleg liquor with her from home? and we play procrastinatory computer games together ...") i have learned how to sleep on my side. that's something.

and THAT's a tangent. the point is i'm home. liz and i ventured out into the cold today to see Adaptation and it was wonderful. a glorious meta-meta-meta movie that poked fun at conventions while showing that, if you're brilliant, no rules need apply. for erev-xmas, a holiday my family has never celebrated, my mother is making a goose. between cooking and preparing and packing for the trip to florida she and my grandparents are taking tomorrow, she hasn't slept for the past two nights. tonight my grandparents are coming over to not-celebrate with us (we have champagne!) and it will be beautiful: her feasts always are. she will fuss that i'm going hungry, even though every other plate on the table is piled high with vegetarian stuffs. i'll want to record every moment because, between good films and good novels -- franzen's Corrections fell open in my lap every spare second in miami; now i'm three-quarters of the way through the equally compelling kavalier and clay -- i'm filled with frenzied inspiration. how it'll manifest itself ultimately i don't know yet. perhaps in grant writing, cuz really that's what i have to get done.

merry xmas out there, to those of you who like that sort of thing. and to those of you that don't, dance, laugh, and thank god that tomorrow, once again, that one innocent, purely happy little day, will bring the xmas song season to an end.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

i have an hour. this is more or less the only free hour i've had in two weeks, since this bloody finals craziness began. but it's over. i handed in my curriculum project ("a rose is a rose is a rose by any other name would smell as sweet: a multi-cultural survey poetry class") at 12:10, only 10 minutes late. i may have written the thing in record time, seven hours between last nite and this morning. still, a showing of harold and maude? who was i kidding?
i packed like a fiend after lunch -- it's easy when everything's dirty -- and even did the Good Girlfriend thing ("i seem to have forgotten my clothes. can you pick them up for me?") the least i can do i guess for someone who takes such profound-looking pictures of me.

so, somehow, miraculously, i have an hour. i've said most of my goodbyes. with not enough time to watch anything, i play freecell disinterestedly and browse webpages and mourn the end of this semester.
winston: "this is not the end. it is not even the beginning of the end. but perhaps it is the end of the beginning."
me: "no, you doof. it's just the end."

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

few fascinating things have happened to me of late. i've written (i COUNTED) easily over 50 pages this finals period -- that left precious little time for the fascinating. i've still managed to enjoy myself. the advanced poetry reading last night made me nostalgic. not anticipatory, even tho i'm going to be in the workshop next semester. who understands these things. my group of people won't be as pleasant, it doesn't seem, but hopefully it'll still be interesting.
mostly i've been nostalgic in general. this was a great semester, possibly my favorite. at the very least it ties with freshman spring. which is better, falling in love or being securely nestled in it (1 yr, 10 months, as of today)?

enough schmaltz. (isn't yiddish a great language. technically schmaltz = chicken fat. the perfect image.) (why do i never get tired of parentheses?) i guess i have stuff to look forward to too; i'm just not as skilled or practiced in that. i'm taking tennis again next semester, and five credits, and i'm directing -- officially! -- the mainstage production of next semester: oscar wilde's an ideal husband. more immediately accessible, i'm showing harold and maude this evening in my room. come, you're welcome: watch one of the greatest romantic films of all time and help me finish off the kahlua.
when i get home my dad's taking me to florida for a few days. i'll attend the family gatherings, nod and smile, and whenever i get a free moment i will conk out under the nearest palm tree. when you next see me, i'll be brown as a pretzel and twice as salty.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

man, this trent lott thing just gets better and better. i'm crossing my fingers that the government continues to be absorbed by iraq's 12,000 page version of war and peace in arabic and doesn't pop its head up and provide some distraction (anything! quick, drop a bomb! no, who cares where -- look! there! belgium! fine.) before this mess gets as messy as it's going to be. trent lott, racistfuckhead, ousted for being a segregationist? it's priceless. besides, if he actually RESIGNS, the DEMOCRATIC governor of mississippi gets to appoint his replacement. imagine! a 50-50 senate! now that's justice.

if you rearrange the letters TRENT LOTT you get ESTER HAS TOO MANY FINALS TO THINK STRAIGHT. i've had one small lovely break: friday evening city dinner+movie with pennbecca. i didn't enjoy personal velocity as much as my parents enjoyed frida -- funny cuz the first has received far more glowing reviews than the second. after septa tried to make my life as complicated as possible, i hitched a ride home from 30th street with the chairman of the history department, his wife (an english professor at temple), and their daughter returning from U-Vt. oh, and another: the immortal eddie izzard's dressed to kill yesterday evening. if you rearrange EDDIE IZZARD it spells CAKE OR DEATH? usually that's a pretty easy choice. during finals though, gosh, who can say?

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

who has time to write these crazy days? 9 page paper due monday, huge history project due wednesday, 15 page film paper due thursday (i'd forgotten about that last one. heh heh. at least i convinced the prof to move the deadline to thursday from its initial deadline, noway-day at impossible o'clock.) so far i've been handling it relatively well. stef, eliz and i bought a lot of junk food early in the week, knowing we'd need to bunker down and stay up past 7, when the dining hall closes. vending machines, while okay for some, can't provide anything that compares to duncan hines icing with or without graham crackers. or mmmmmmmm milanos.
even with i'm done with this batch of crap, i have 3 finals, a curriculum project and all my observations to hand in. this may be the worst finals period yet -- it's certainly up there. bizarre since i enjoyed such a managable semester. anyway, the point is i'm sane, even if i am sore, and it will all be over soon.

Monday, December 09, 2002

i've never eaten so much grapefruit in my life. the whole room smells of it (tho better citrus than dirty laundry, eh?) everyone marveled, peeling one after another, at how incredible they were. only a single grapefruit of the batch remains, snug and smugly yellow in my fridge. perhaps it will serve as reward when i finish the other major thing i have due early this week. i just handed in a history paper, whose construction mostly absorbed my weekend.
i did manage to get in some culture. senior company put on paula vogel's minneola twins and the dance concert presented an impossible number of gay men with impossible bodies doing impossible things. perhaps because the latter engaged me on more, er, physical levels, i enjoyed it more. both were nice though. i've seen a lot of movies this semester and less theater or dance than usual.
of course i watched movies too. when harry met sally, my hands-down, no-argument, sentimental-and-otherwise favorite (harry burns = still my ideal guy); friday night with a cheerful kahlua soaked group. raiders of the lost ark the following evening. felicia and i knew both by heart and often turned to each other to mouth the lines that you simply can't let go by.

having covered theater, dance, and cinema, all that remained was voice. last nite as stefanie, elizabeth and i each busied ourselves at our respective word processing stations around the room, stef murmured a line that sounded like, "i dreamed a dream in time gone by ... " like hunting dogs, eliz and i perked up and howled along. we made it all the way through that song, and then, of course, "on my own," cuz we're such a room full of eponines (did ANYONE like cosette? she's such a little pure-soul heroine, the kind of girl who says "papa" and wears white dresses. why on earth did that marius prefer her? how much of a bastard was that kneejerk revolutionary to hold eponine, who was DYING FOR LOVE OF HIM, and damned cool besides, and then forget her entirely the next second?).

Friday, December 06, 2002

HEY!! aw, what a good day. beautiful sun glinting off six inches of beautiful snow, plus all the artwork made with it or juxtaposed to it (the bright green cactus for example that popped up next to my history building, with an appended sign that reads, "MOMENT"). my beloved nervous this morning before an important interview with Mr. Watson, but looking beautifully suited up regardless. my fondness rekindled for the three beautiful women professors i have this semester, each a swatticon in her own way. a huge box of grapefruit so big each looks like athletic equipment, and burstingly pink on the inside. ohh they're so good. straight from florida, in the middle of december! thanks, mom. an equally sweet, if less citrussy, response from katie (of magicwand4katie fame).
and, a tenth review at triggerstreet, this one by a gay man. hands down the most positive so far. i'm glowing. joepat says, "Cute Story. I liked the way the story flowed and how it kept my attention. I am not an experienced screenwriter but I did feel that the characters were fully realized and the voices rang true in my head. I twould be easy to imagine this story as a film. It would also make an excellent stageplay as well."
fruits! my food AND my people.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

hey! two more straight american men reviewed my screenplay and didn't hate it. that makes the ratio 5 scathing to 3 moderate, with 1 lukewarmly positive. in celebration of that, and the snow, and the general good luck experience by most folks around here today, i bought two movies at half. neither of them, harold and maude or heathers, were too cheap, but i figured i owed myself a festival o' lights present. and, as i said, it was a snow day ("it's like raining snow," commented my beloved). no class -- teacher couldn't make it. this looks promising. cathartic discussions. an aborted attempt to watch molly ringwald be pretty in pink. the truth is, redheads shouldn't wear pink. any film that begins with that abominable a style choice is as big a mistake as that is.
being charitable, sarah kelly and i gave it a chance. but the only thing i gained from what we saw was an increased, further solidified appreciate for not having to come of age in the 80s.
i love away messages/AIM info bits. they're so telling. (screennames abbrieviated to protect the perverse)

sl15: "snow, snow, you make me glow"
hm83: "hilary from freshprince: who are all these ladies, and why do you feel like you have to have sex with them?
leon phelps: well, hmmm, let me see...have you ever had sex?
lp: "hannuka party and much drunkenness"
t2: "WWBD?"
b101: ":-) :-) :-) :-) :-)" (he's in love)
and my little brother: "I am not available because I am playing a computer game that takes up the whole screen."

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

okay, for love of lana (and elke -- hi elke): the canadian response to what apparently has been generally dismissed as an immature, uninteresting screenplay, worthy only of serving as a sex education video for midwestern gay high skoolers. in comparison, high praise indeed: "Some witty writing but an incomplete third act: Hi Ester, This is my first crack at a review so please bear withme. I found your writing to be very easy to read and the script moved along at a pretty good clip and kept me interested in what was happening to these characters. I really thought some of the pop culture references were hilarious - the mourning for Martha quip in particular! I found that your characters, while interesting, lacked a little originality - which is fine I suppose but I found myself thinking that these people could have been taken out of central casting (thora birch in ghost world or american beauty etc..). I struggle with that in my wriing too - how to keep situations and people fresh and not cliched. It is clear that you have a tie with these people and I think you could easily make a few edits to tighten them up and give them some unique attributes. The biggest suggestion I could give would be to fill out the third act - I found the story ended just as it was heading toward some real conflict and tension. I'd like to know what happened to htese people. Enjoyed it and hope you can flush it out at the end and make it work! Cheers."
as previously noted, the only [other?] positive review came from the only female to read the script. sn = mango. hint hint, nudge nudge.

more importantly, david horowitz spoke here last nite. by nearly all acounts, he was sensationalistic, abrasive, and pompous; worse, he didn't substantiate any claim he made about the "hate-america left." it's true, leftists tend to be more critical of the u.s. its good points, i guess, are considered too obvious to state. follow me here: the country is like your offspring. a lot of factors shaped your country before you arrived, like genes contribute to the identity of your child. but instead of dwelling on the immutable genetic makeup of your kid, you as a parent concentrate on your child's potential. you attempt to mold it, share your morals with it, affect its character. you don't focus just on the things you love about your kid -- obviously you love your kid if you've held onto it and let it hold onto you for this many years. you challenge your kid, expect the best from it; and when it lives up to your standards, you give it a hug. right?

to compensate for that little ranty thing, enjoy the following link: this is the story of one woman's fight for justice from the noble savage {from lara, amazingly, and not ross who also picked it up somewhere}. if katie writes, acts clever, and and self-deprecates while self-promoting like a swattie, it's because she is one. so's jonathan franzen! what a small world.
oh, and my review of far from heaven.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

perhaps my belly is growing. ( +4 femme points for noticing, -13 for not caring) frankly i think it's the only way to survive the winter. when i went home, another of my aunts asked me if i'd lost weight. i lashed out at her. perhaps i shouldn't have. i know it seems like an innocuous -- or flattering -- question, but since to my knowledge i have not, it just makes me think that everyone's mental image of me is as chubby. you know?

today, for the last time, i woke at 7:15 to toddle off to my ed observation at a not-so-local (hence the inordinate amount of travel time) middle skool. these observations had the potential to be fascinating windows into education in america. but they weren't. teaching's not for me. it seems like these exhausted women expend as much energy on disciplining as they do on imparting information; that's not fun to watch let alone enviable. ultimately, spending two hours in a classroom felt like having to spend two extra hours in a classroom, only one in which nothing i didn't know was taught.
in going to my last observation, though, i missed rabi's radio show. she'd invited me to come read poetry. that's one of two very recent ego-salves. as the other, a male finally reviewed my screenplay at triggerstreet and didn't pan it. he had insightful comments and constructive criticism, and he even pointed out parts he really liked. naturally, he's canadian.

Monday, December 02, 2002

on the bus yesterday stef and i argued over which of us is femmer. i don't remember why we decided being femme was better than the alternative -- somehow it just came up, so we had to fight about it. we didn't reach a conclusion. it did however remind me of an exchange i had with my aunt. have you, she asked me, become interested in the domestic arts? i nearly choked on my broccoli. when i recovered, i handled the question most suavely and democratically ( +2 femme points). no aunt marge, i said. i cooked for myself a little in denmark, but generally i just want to live in a dorm for the rest of my life ( -15 femme points). i think the unfortunate idea is that since i'm the only girl cousin of the 6 of us, the responsibility will eventually fall to me to host these extraordinary dinners and occasions for which the blooms are famous.
in response, i can only say: this morning brigid asked me for the second time, in the same plaintive tone, whether i had a little sewing kit. the answer, folks, is no. i mean, you can search through the pile of my dirty laundry (incl. 2 pairs of sheets) on my unvaccumed floor, or you can just take my word for it.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

the soda machine failed me but sorelle came through, offerring the remnants of her last nite's smirnoff ice. flashbacks to copenhagen: sitting on the square, next to the fountain, watching everyone else drink beer, trying to enjoy the sunlight and pretending it was as warm as it felt like it could be.
(me: ooh, already i feel buzzed.
veronica: you've had three sips!)

but i'm back at swat. maybe i'm high on the latkes and chocolate gelt sorelle brought from home, or the shorter-than-expected bus ride with stefanie. when has a greyhound bus ever arrived an HOUR ahead of schedule? we took advantage of the gift by dining out lusciously in chinatown. we had a great bonding talk throughout, as we'd been having since about noon. a perfect cap to a largely enjoyable weekend. the previous night stef had accompanied me to a typical fuelo gathering -- all my friends sitting around in nomi's living room, talking. luckily she got along well with everyone. the love, indeed, from all sides, was palpable.
other friend situations were enjoyable too. watching notorious c.h.o. with liz and her little sister. shopping (and finding a great cheap pair of purple pants) with a newly giddy lana. long conversations about sex/gender, sex + gender, SEX GENDER, and life in general.

family time was a little more up and down, of course. 20 people, mostly relatives, streamed in and out. my incredible mother just kept on chugging, producing, with my uncle, first a thanksgiving feast; then, the next night, a shabbes and 1st night of hannukah feast. tonite latkes, but i'm missing those. housing dozens of cozens, washing dishes, keeping everyone happy, distributing presents. she amazes me. all that family, however, did mean a lot of sorrowful talk about kenya, one uninvited comment about "[my] friends, the palestinians and al qaeda," much small talk, and some mockery of my friends at skool and skool itself. it was worth it for the hugs and the scrabble, and certainly worth it to take showers in my shower and sleep in my bed.
only 20 days of skool left in which to do everything i need to do. holy god.

also, yay!, why didn't anyone tell me? aldaily is back.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

after dire warnings from everyone and their mother about snow, today burst on the scene as fresh and pristine as a newly cleaned toilet bowl. my brother drove down from cornell yesterday and slept over with the intent of leaving early-ish this morning. while he was forcing his way southward, ben and i wandered into the city to see far from heaven, the new todd "velvet goldmine" haynes flick. initially i was suspicious: i've seen parts of the original douglas sirk melodrama and in no way could i conceive of anyone wanting to remake it. but you have to give him credit. haynes maintained a smooth, authentic 50s tone without descending into parody, and he simultaneously updated just enough of the details to make the story believable to viewers now.

on the way home, ben and i discussed the inter-racial relationship around which the story revolves. that julianne moore's character's love interest is not just a gardener but a black man is one of haynes' twists. their interaction bears racial -- as well as class -- baggage. setting up the black man as a counter to moore's gay husband has the potential to enforce the stereotype of "savage" virility, but the interaction they have remains so chaste that that fear dissipates. they never even kiss. that makes the drama more wrenching somehow: not only is it impossible for two adults, one white and one of color, to have a romantic attachment, it's even impossible for them to be friends. at least in the 50s.
and that's the second question. placing this story in the 50s is safe. attitudes then are easily catelogued, and you can portray the drama and hypocricy of them without having to exaggerate. what about nowadays? in some parts of the US, the social stigma remains nearly as intense as it was half a century ago; in others, it remains, just in subtler form. a film that attempted to address that issue would really be something to see.

still, i enjoyed far from heaven -- more than velvet goldmine, i think. marc, who my brother kindly let hitch a ride to dc today, informed me that sir haynes is actually good friends with one of my professors, the one i'm taking a film seminar with next semster in fact. it is possible he is the one who will be called in to evaluate my honors project and honors standing at the end of next year. that would be the most frightening two hours of my life.

happy turkey or vegan equivalent, folks. wish my dog luck, she's back in the hospital. be well.

Monday, November 25, 2002

my moods are predictable. i lose a scrabble game and get a nasty review at trigger street: i droop. i win a scrabble game and get accepted into the poetry workshop: i perk up. now i've lost another scrabble game, but i'm still in the poetry workshop (although it may or may not be good. plus the last guy to hate my screenplay listed con air and tombstone among his favorite movies.) words, words, words.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

i cleaned like a maniac today in preparation for tonite's comotion meeting. exposed the top of my desk to the air for the first time since day 1; exposed my carpet; filed things away; just generally tidied up, in conjunction w/ brigid, and while ben read shakespeare in the window seat. the results are quite satisfactory -- my mother would be proud. if only i liked the cleanliness enough to maintain it.

my friends convened at harvard for the vs. yale football game, and more specifically to visit ilana in her new nest and see the new bunny she's dragged in to keep her company during the cold winter months (ahh mixed metaphors). after some deliberation i decided to hang out here, attend the formal saturday nite and just relax. it worked out well. a group of us set out for goodwill in preparation for the dance. i didn't find a pretty but did happen upon a perfect hardback copy of the corrections for a dollar. then at the end of our 3 hour spree, someone found me a blue feels-like-silk kimono robe. someone else suggested i wear it to the formal and i was tempted; in the end decided against it.

then, at the formal, couples galore! stefanie, with an improvised outfit that looked straight out of chicago, and her elizabeth, in a suit. both looked fantastic. sarah c., the latest loveless girl to turn her fate around, a vision in aqua, especially with her new bunny as an accessory. ross in a hilarious ivory suit, complete with cowboy hat and bolo tie. for once i got to be in a couple on the dance floor too, as ben wasn't djing, but we spent more time in the casino set up in the back room. i figured out a decent strategy for roulette but was too timid to make substantial amounts of money. of course when i gathered courage my luck ran out.
speaking of luck, i need some to get through this final stretch. so much due, so much not done. tomorrow they post the list of who made it into the poetry workshop. i wasn't worried about this until someone reminded me. i think i need to work myself into the "it doesn't matter" mindset, which is of course easier said than done.

Friday, November 22, 2002

i have this theory that college oversensitizes us to such a degree that we will not be able to function in the real world. reemerging into a space where, for instance, people don't recognize either the validity of the judgement "heteronormative" or the damned word itself, will be a jolt. but that said, i found this article laughably offensive. tyra banks should shed 15 - 20 pounds? models should be seen and not heard -- "and for supermodels, silence should be mandatory"? and the ending -- where the author quotes the fiancee's admission that she likes to talk and then advises the bachelor, "run"? my god! that's not hypersensitivity, is it? people out there find that ridiculous too, right?

at least we have solidarity in our indignation here. at this point the phoenix exists entirely to make people angry and give them something to bitch about (here's my review, btw). but that's not so bad. it creates a sense of community. yes, sometimes it seems like it's an aggrieved, self-righteous one, but we also learn together too.

hmm. i was starving but located a squirreled-away banana. howzaboutthat. i also happened upon a fortune cookie whose fortune reads, "you will turn the scraps of misfortune into a beautiful quilt." to what that refers, i couldn't tell you: the fact that drama board has decided we must audition for an ideal husband next semester instead of this? my life of late otherwise hasn't been too misfortunate -- indeed i'm virtually "ms. fortunate". after a harsh start, november eased up on me, and i'm grateful. so long as it stays that way.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

in about five minutes, tim wise is going to start speaking. as you can tell from my comfortable, trix-are-for-kids t-shirt wearing position here at the computer, i'm not going. it's a shame: he's an anti-racist activist and i, like everyone, need some good anti-racist instruction. but he's not talking about anti-racism, he's talking about anti-zionism. there are two positions on this campus on the israel question, just like there were 100 years ago when people started raising it. there's zionist -- right wing, and then there's anti-zionist -- the left. except "zionist" means "im tirzu," in english, "if you desire it," and the group is vocally in favor of a two-state soltuion. "anti-zionist" means "jato," technically "jews against the occupation," who're also in favor of a two-state solution.

you wouldn't think there could be such an abyss between two groups who would be happy with the same outcome. yet there it is, an abyss large enough to comfortably fit every individual, pundit and college student, who's ever been moved to voice an opinion on the subject.
i keep my distance. in betweens like i are meta-marginalized. with no place on either side, we're shifted upwards to merely observe and be ignored. and, in my case, to bitch about it online.

my excellent excuse for not going to hear mr. wise was my film class showing of star wars. having decided, however, that i'm not in the right mindset for the Force, i returned to my room to write about my underwear. it's new, y'see, and black. it's boxer briefs. i've never felt so securely packaged. wearing them i'm constantly reminded of the first time i came in contact with black boxer briefs. when i was fifteen i went to miami to visit my camp friend, and idol, emile. she was tall and thin and blonde, and the cute little CK underwear looked like it was made for her. on me it looks like what's beneath has been edited out, like the underwear should read "CENSORED" in chalky white letters. ever since i met emile i wanted to be more like her; maybe this is just another step along the way.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

oh, i imagine, the many many things i could be doing. working on any of the four major projects/papers i have due in the coming weeks. going to the gym maybe -- i hear people do that. cleaning my room, clearing off my desk (it's five layers deep), hanging up sweaters ... yawn. no, no, it's november 19, which is a different anniversary of sorts, and in honor of today i'm going to focus not on what i'm not (i.e., industrious, atheletic, tidy, organized) and instead dwell on what i am ( ... well, at the very least, the kind of person who remembers bizarre anniversaries).

brigid: [knocks] are you naked?
ester: oh, hang on. [opens door] no, sorry. i was just getting dressed. in fact i'm wearing two sets of clothing.
brigid: hmm, too bad. well, i think i'll go shower.
ester: copycat.
brigid: okay, i'll never shower again. that'll show you i don't want to be like you. ... wait a minute: gloria steinem showers! i'm so torn ...

i heart my living arrangement. i am trying very hard not to dwell on the possible depression that will set in when at least two, and possibly three, of my closest friends leave this immediate vicinity. as the move will quite possibly make two, if not three, of them sublimely happy, it is quite selfish of me to think in these terms -- and worse, to mention it to them.

quick! think of something else. my desk! presently boasts, just in front of me, the following items: a small stuffed one-eyed duck; an empty water bottle; a box of floss; a plastic spoon; an unused coffee cup top; a copy of fires in the mirror; a tape dispenser; catie curtis's truth from lies; two bandana; and an orange and black toy gun-like object that i think you're supposed to use on potatoes. and that's just strata I.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

i know i've pledged to be apolitical, but this is too adorably ridiculous to ignore. (WILPF, take notes.) {via east/west}
weekends are such interesting things. they're there simultaneously to allow enjoy yourself and to sleep, except those two things are often at odds and you end up feeling guilty choosing one over the other EVEN IF by SLEEPING you manage to ENJOY YOURSELF.
yes. weekends are strange. this weekend i've spent more time than usual with the ben, appropriately tho accidentally because today is our one-year-and-three-quarters-of-what. we sat next to each other at harry potter 2: actually better than you expect friday and othello: not shakespeare's finest last night w/ ben's english class. i saw a terrific production of othello: inverted a couple years ago at the shakespeare theater in dc. patrick stewart played the tortured moor as the only white man in a black cast. that blew me away. this one just ... well, you know. it was ordinary.

hp2, while ordinary in some respects -- still-too long; still-directed by christopher columbus (motto:"who needs instincts when you can mimic steven spielberg"); and still-scored by john williams (motto: "here, let me hit you over the head. now cry!") -- is better than the first one and largely enjoyable. in parts it's scary, in parts it's clever, and it keeps you absorbed. sadly it leaves out my favorite line from the book: "never trust anything that thinks for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain." but it does make the character of lockhart much more appealing than the book does. thanks, branagh.

so one-year-and-three-quarters ... 21 months ... feels like a rather substantial time to spend with one person. well, i'm impressed. on one hand, we're both stubborn and opinionated, we both like to be right, and in our respective ways, we both want to be known. on the other, we're music v. movies, djing v. dancing, dancing v. watching, all lines v. all curves, serious v. sarcastic, widespread v. tightknit, self-possessed v. self-conscious, masculinity issues v. femininity issues, ego v. ego. somehow, through copenhagen, swarthmore, philly, new york, san francisco, dc, and the never never land of the world wide web, we've managed to make this work.

Friday, November 15, 2002

i am coping with this: "Convenient and tidy but a writer with potential. I may be wrong, but I would wager that the writer is either a teenager or a college student, or both. It reads like it was written by someone who is young and lacks the life experience to add the depth and richness her story and characters deserve for this kind of plot. Millie's redundant cheerful food-making for the girls shows a two-dimensional appreciation for what parents are and do; the other parents - Dale and Nora - are treated two-dimensionally also, as if written by a person who is neither a parent or full-grown adult. Only more life experience can cure these ills. It's a one goal story - essentially, "get to the part where she comes to her parents," but it begs for more creative twists and deeper layers than that. If I am wrong about the writer's age, then her writing is immature and she simply needs to write more. But she has potential! The dialog is quite good - not earth-shattering, but natural and funny in spots. The emotional interaction is fairly relaistic. But the author's understanding and portrayal of Christians and Christian beliefs is cliche and lacks depth or thoughtfulness. Throw-away tags like "fundamentalist" and "Republicans" and "Seventh Heaven" references says more about the author's bias and agenda than about a thoughtful understanding of her characters and conflicting views that conflict with the gay/bi/rainbow views. This movie would have a very limited audience because the story is just two insular and convenient, too "small" and self-promoting - not universal and mature enough for a broad audience." thanks to the folks at trigger street.

my grandparents heard about this other screenwriting thing and passed the tip to my mother who passed it to me. unlike greenlight, you don't need to pay anything -- you commit to reading 2 scripts. once you've done that, you get to submit your own. your reviews are posted as are other contestant's reviews of yours. it's a little stressful, if instructive (and i'm trying hard to focus on the instructive part).

the other review thus far: "A book maybe...? Certainly not a feature film -- indie or studio. The writing is good and there are some really nice lines but that's about it. It's one long conversation. Nothing happens, and that's not good considering the medium. The author has something to say but needs to be a bit more compelling about how it's said. Yes, I'm a guy, but you gotta give me something I can sink my teeth into for for 8 bucks a ticket."

on a scale of "shrugg-off-able" to "crushing," these register around "doubt-inducing." maybe i've jumped the gun on this whole screenwriting thing. or maybe i shouldn't let the opinions of someone whose bio reads "I write screenplays. I eat pizza. I drink beer. And I miss Dean Martin." shake me to the core.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

i understand how the choice of this woman to stand for the dems in the house could be controversial, but it just makes me happy. very little exists on the political horizon, just a gloating pink mass of republicans.

but enough about politics -- that's my brother's domain this year. i've sworn off it except for a bare-minimum, subsistence-level to keep me generally informed. have i mentioned i've been happy? maybe i've been scared to. hey, it's been a week or so even at this point. much of the happiness stems, of all things, from confrontation. sometimes you just have to step up and talk to the people who are upsetting you. sometimes that actually works.

not everything's been golden. last night for our film class's showing we saw jaws, which thoroughly freaked me out. i am not meant to see movies like that. i take them much too seriously. (and who really needs to see a great white methodically chewing his way upwards through a screaming man who finally expires with a last gasp of blood? not to mention the film's first victim, the naked woman who dies after five minutes of orgasmic writhing?) now harry potter 2: equally disappointing on friday, now that i can handle. one hopes.

my review of 8 mile. feel free to disagree, but please note that the onion's review, written AFTER mine, supports me 110%. funny always = right.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

m: we listened to this kenny g. song at my observation today
b: tell stefanie! he's like her cousin
m: i thought he was black
b: [breaks a rib laughing] he's whiter than white
m: but he plays saxophone
b: so does bill clinton
m: exactly!

[moments later, as b. exhibits a picture]
b: he's got awful hair.
m: brigid, that is culturally insensitive

[later, with b.'s boyfriend]
k: you know who warren g. is, ester?
m: warren g. harding?
k: right. our black president.

Monday, November 11, 2002

i should be writing my movie review IF NOT starting on all that homework i need to get done this week. but having just watched five episodes of season II sex and the city -- the fetish one, the pastry chef one, the jon bon jovi one ... why do i have friends who encourage me in these fixations? -- i'm more in the mood to post. again. besides, it's shira's birthday. when i'm 77, sedate in my vibrating sharper image rocking chair, i will retain a fuzzy recollection that shira was born on 11/11. shira, my most neurotic friend, and one of the people in my past who most shaped my personality.
she introduced me to the girls who became indispensible friends. but she also encouraged me to sing at the top of my voice, think i was pretty, try out for shows, not take rejection to heart, and write. while the other kids we knew in sixth grade were busy being sixth graders, shira thought of herself as perennially thirty. then, in seventh grade, while the other kids started playing around with relationships, she and i contented ourselves being obsessed with each other. we bickered, we compromised, we played basketball and walked an invisible dog, just like a couple. our parents even hated each other.

then, just like that, it ended. she fell in love with a guy who could do everything for her that i could and be someone whose fingers she could suck in public. i was devastated. she broke my heart as much as any stupid middle skool boy could have, and besides, i didn't have a stupid middle skool boy to distract me. that was when i got bitter about love. of course, my bitterness was compounded when the next best friend i had did the exact same thing, only with a boy that we both had a crush on.

it worked out all right. i developed a healthy thin-layer of cynicism, and she ended up changing skools -- cuz by the time she looked up from her consuming relationship shira realized she hadn't just lost me but everyone. in fact, we all learned something from shira: as kahlil gibran advises, we have relationships now with spaces in our togetherness. she goes to columbia now and is dating (i hear) some guy who's attending penn law in the fall.
Full of controversy until I retire my jersey, till the fire inside dies and expires at thirty -- eminem
i saw his movie yesterday in philly, and by "his" i mean nominally curtis "L.A. Confidential; Wonder Boys" hanson's: 8 Mile. for the first time i understood his appeal. it's not just that he's hot, in that pouting, Raphael-cherub, boiling-beneath-the-surface way; or that he's talented (he wrote the raps and they're pretty impressive). he's compelling, like james dean is compelling, because like ol' jd, you half expect him to explode while you're watching. he seems to expect no less of himself.
the film reminded me a lot of saturday night fever -- the working-class kid who's set just a little apart from his friends, who has a special talent that's going to boost him seriously above them and the rest of his violent world any day now. snf made travolta a star; this starts with one pre-assembled. and the fact that 8 mile may be a glorified version of the adolescence of a particularly angsty homophobic misogynist makes this even more of a draw. people like me, who have never listened to hip hop in their lives, are streaming into these theater to see whether their and the media's judgements of eminem are justified, rationalized, or dismissed.

political baggage aside, 8 mile is a good film. it's well-directed, well-scripted, self-aware, gritty and grim. it elicits a serious respect for its central medium, not just as performed by our generation's elvis, and some for our generation's elvis, too. if nothing else, he can rhyme and he can perform.

on an entirely different note, co|motion met our girls yesterday for the last time until january. i went straight from quilt-making with them (each square a representation or homage to an admired woman) to presenting, with sarah, our proposed production of an ideal husband to the drama board. it's possible that she and i will be putting on the main stage production of the spring. our actors will need to insult each other wittily and confidently too. i guess that's a respected skill that never goes out of style.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

after one final swandive yesterday, my emotions seem to have leveled out. a week of ups-and-downs isn't too awful, especially when you consider that this is apparently a seasonal pattern of mine. i celebrated my rediscovered chillness by watching an inordinate number of SATC episodes and the always-wonderful empire records, and then drinking wine and playing Taboo with an eclectic group of people in kross's room.
this has been the strangest season for bunnying. who would expect all that bleakness to be conducive to all this love?

Thursday, November 07, 2002

i can't stand either of these men and they're both coming to campus. bizarrely and tiresomely, both are jewish and both of the students quoted as bringing them -- one ultra-left the other ultra-right -- are jewish too, so the entire article centers around jewish infighting.
we're not the only minority group clawing each others' eyes out via the phoenix either. last week's "coming out issue," including an interview with a friend of mine, sparked a furious response among people in his community. even people i thought he was friends with hit the high-ground running. i've never even heard the word "integrationist" before: what does it even mean and why is it so bad? so what if some queer folks are also mainstream in other respects? i understand that for some, not making waves would be a denial of identity. but why should that be mandated for everyone?
moreover, i think, someone's vision of "a straight couple and a queer couple sharing a white picket fence" isn't meant to be taken literally. it's a reference to MLK's oft-quoted speech about little black children and little white children; it's also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "american dream". what it means is that someone visualizes a state of normalcy between people of different orientations. i don't think the person who voices that vision deserves being called "racist, classist, transphobic, and ablist, to name a few." some people in the world are meant to be radicals, "anti-integrationists" and whatever other labels they choose. but to vilify others who don't make that choice, especially in such a public space -- and especially when you know from experience that the person in question is very much none of the above -- , seems short-sighted, sanctimonious, and cruel.

so much drama on campus. tonite's also the showing of bamboozled, advertised widely as the antidote to the dangerously naive action perpertrated by billy craig. he's become the fall guy for the flaws in everyone's racial consciousness. if i knew him personally, at this point i might feel sorry for him too. maybe i'm just growing conservative and soft in my old age.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

i know it's arbitrary and abstract, fleeting and meaningless; that its importance is time-specific and by the time i'm 70 i'll have forgotten 70 times over; that it pales seriously in comparison to the republicans taking over the senate; that its ability to determine my intelligence, let alone my destiny, is dubious -- but it still feels so damn good to get an A.

also, to shake us out of our melancholy, sarah c. and i have decided to put on a production of an ideal husband. i'll direct, she'll stage manage, we'll co-produce. together we'll draw wit like blood from the turnip that is a swarthmore winter.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

from my mother's email, re: my previous entry:
"November can be difficult. Peek around corners until you find a prompt. Alternatively, a good movie, a good haircut, a pretty walk through the fall
leaves (if you're warmly dressed) or just a good cry can be very cleansing. I hope things pick up soon, tho. You're young and beautiful and healthy and
the world is your oyster, even if you don't feel that way at the moment. :) Love. Mom."

and from an old friend's:
"oh honey,
1. stop being ross with the quotes."
i wish i weren't so damn sad. it seems ridiculous: this is still the best semester i've had so far, even if my interest in my classes is waning. i love living where i do, among people. something's always happening -- granted, often behind a closed door and not something you want to walk in on, but it's college: it's wonderful. it's just sadly also november, when it really hits home that it won't be warm again for six months; that you can't frolic so you should probably work though you don't want to, you slacker; that, aside from holidays, there isn't much to look forward to. i would do something spectacular if i could only think of what, and if everyone around me weren't as mopey as i am. (or lovestruck, but if you're mopey, that can be worse.)

happy birthday to my brother who turned 22 in new orleans. where better? i hear the weather's lovely there during the winter. maybe i should pack everything and go. who needs a Watson to see the world?

everybody wants a little sweetness, and nothing wrong, nothing wrong, nothing wrong ...

Sunday, November 03, 2002

when did i get so competitive? rockstar matt rubin made a face at me at sharples today: "you didn't go somewhere you would have otherwise gone cuz you were afraid your ass might have been grabbed?" sadly it's true. for the same reason i skipped two classes over the course of the week, spent a ridiculous number of evenings in my dorm and the bulk of two consecutive days in the city. not that i didn't have fun both times. yesterday stef-eliz and i met up w/ ben and ran into brian, my favorite sophomo, and we hung out at millenium queer coffee, shopped buffalo exchange, ate vegan pizza and bantered. a super nice swat van driver took us home, chatting cheerfully the whole time about his nuclear family and how he and his wife got together in high skool and have stayed in swarthmore their entire lives and spend their free time together. "it's almost like we're best friends, not husband and wife."

then, as we deboarded, a figure draped in scarves threw herself at me, grabbed my ass, and then chased down elizabeth and after a much more extended struggle killed her too. that was it. total anticlimax -- i didn't even get those fightin' endorphins to soothe me. instead ben took me to his art building and sketched my feet. i didn't want to get up this morning and have to face a day without the distraction of competition but he made me.

darling liz offers comfort:
Lizplus: i think of it this way, you have to be rejected 42 times before you can win
ishtar42: really?
Lizplus: that is what im going for
ishtar42: huh.
Lizplus: yeah i think so
ishtar42: interesting
Lizplus: i mean if you won right off the bat then you wouldnt appreciate it was much
ishtar42: maybe not
Lizplus: so i dont get upset when i get rejected i just think of it as getting closer to my quota

wisdom. meanwhile i think i'll get some videos from the library i no longer have to be scared to walk to and wallow.
all i want to do is sing the saddest song, and if you would sing along, i will be happy ...

Saturday, November 02, 2002

on campus is scary. i escaped yesterday into the city for bowling for columbine and lovely msbecca. we filled our stomachs with indian food, then carried them over to cosi and essentially paid for warmth. once i made it back to my room, i didn't leave again, opting instead for hanging with eliz-and-stef, in matching pastel pjs. the ASSmaster emailed all of us to declare the five finalists, of which eliz and i are two. but now the rules are different. now dorms are no longer safe spaces. lock that door!

darling kross, in apology for setting me up to be killed, made me a construction-paper cd carrying case with burned copies of belle&sebastian, billy bragg, beth orton, eliott smith, and the hedwig soundtrack. it will stand even if nothing else good comes out of this crazy game.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

the phoenix this week bordered on ridiculous. two articles on a spread read "beer healthier than milk, PETA says" (featuring an actual scientist verbally hitting his head against a wall) and "sperm is an anti-depressant." the second, which argues that women who have unsafe sex are happier than their more cautious counterparts, was an import from a new york paper. while i couldn't track down the original article, i did find an intelligent, amusing reaction to it. the idea that women, after reading the phoenix, will throw all their condoms in the trash, shout "happiness over health!" and embrace their new protection-free, giddy lifestyle, would infuriate me -- except that i'm so damn well-skooled in the ideas of natural selection.

happy halloween, folks. and if you happen to be someone i care about, please, choose milk.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

for your reading pleasure, another of my brother's articles. this one's more liberal: it's about gun control, in which he firmly believes. last time, stef asked me incredulously if we were from the same family (because her family is entirely composed of tree-hugging AIDS-activist queers). this one should establish that we're clearly siblings. see how he references movies constantly too?

in a different, ironically wonderful vein, Black people love us! an old friend directed me to this site during a discussion of how a swattie went in blackface to the halloween party. he "apologized" to the campus as a whole and defended himself at the same time. huge deal, of course. most of the people i heard talking about it condemned the action (and the kid) in the strongest possible terms. others, more privately, have shrugged at me and said the kid was just naive. but how could someone never have heard of blackface? never seen pictures of al jolson, or bamboozled, or shots of amos and andy? if he was just naive, how dangerously naive did he have to be to think black students -- or anyone -- would not mind him stereotyping black people just because he didn't mean to be insulting?

most everyone has a moment here when you realize much of what you thought about racism and systems of oppression is wrong, and that you can't live in a merry oblivious state of colorblindness. this poor idiot's moment happened to come in one of the most public spaces on campus; he infuriated a lot of people who had no qualms about letting him know then and there. but i don't think him concluding that now he has to be conscious of race or careful not to offend is such a tragedy. he should have that responsibility. anyone in a position of privilege does.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

too late, kross sent me an email suggesting we not announce the kill. i'd already, as promised, reported to his object as soon as i returned from my sojourn to new york to watch kross's band play CBGB's. he found out before we left that i had him (he won't tell me from whom, but if someone who reads this website is responsible, i will track you down, you vile betrayer) and arranged to have my newest enemy make an attempt on my life. expecting that, i brought my careful roomie brigid along to guard my ass until i boarded that van. once safely in, kross turned to me in exasperation and said, "why can't you just die?"

i can't answer that. i never expected to really get involved in this game, let alone make it through weekend 1. but for whatever reason, here i am -- and last night, there i was, in very close quarters with my object. naturally i got him, and he was a good sport about it, and subsequently he was such a rock star on stage it made petty battles fade away. we walked out of CBGB's quite friendly, and into this:

man on street (whispering): acid, acid ...
ross: what?
me, steering ross away: he said Acid, love.
ross (disgusted): oh, that's what he offered me before.

three cheers, cuz i haven't mentioned it here yet, for another rock star: go LANA! another Loveless Girl title stripped away. i'm almost tearing up w/ pride and joy just thinking about it.

Monday, October 28, 2002

a kill! a kill! not mine, but still an astonishing event: the death of my enemy. alex revealed that he was being pursued by G. but when i called G., G. revealed that actually he was just pretending and S. had alex. this morning then i called S. i enlisted him as a temporary partner: i would serve as bait for him to get to alex if he would act as my bodyguard.

a slow cautious walk through the woods brought eliz, well-protected and paranoid, S. and me ten steps to the classroom door. just then, alex leapt out from behind a car. i threw myself on the ground. eliz threw herself across me. S. and alex circled each other, sumo-wrestling style. finally one lunged and the real tussle began.
alex is quick and scrappy, but S. has long arms. before long the two had moved close enough to where i was lying that i could reach up. alex instinctively grabbed my hand and i grabbed his and pulled him down, exposing his ass to the air and S.'s embrace.

bad guys, 0; ester, alive. now S. has me but under our deal i have amnesty until i leave for nyc. YES. last year's champion is brought down.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

i'm very much unused to sustaining injuries. rarely in my lifetime have i ever put myself out in a position to be hurt, whether from climbing trees, riding roller coasters that go upside-down, or skiing down black diamond slopes even after numerous lessons (skill-wise, i'd advance to black diamond, then let fear propell me back to the safety and comfort of the blue squares). or whether from contests, for that matter. i submit to publications on campus but i can virtually count the number of times i've submitted poetry to the real world on one hand.

the result of my timidity, or excessive desire to protect myself, is that i have little experience coping. every few seconds i do something normal with my hand for which i am rewarded with a preachy twinge. i'm fascinated by the bruises around my left knee. when i woke up saturday morning i phased through my typical bitter reaction to rejection. ben calmly let me rant about how i'd learned my lesson: no more movies about queer poeple, cuz "i know values are paramount, but my values are Paramount." i railed at the film industry, despaired of my own chances to ever achieve anything.
and then, after a bit, i was spent. since that morning, when people have asked me about the contest, i've replied honestly with very little ire. consequently people haven't demonstrated an excessive need to pity me, which is what i feared most. i didn't think out this strategy; i couldn't have planned it if i tried. but i think it means that, even if unconsciously, i'm getting better at this getting hurt / losing thing. (i even know, as was established in a convo w/ ms becca this evening, that the not-writing-about-queers thing isn't possible. she pointed out i'm surrounded by them. to ignore their influence would be artificial. so fuck paramount, or miramax even, if they don't like it: i'll find myself a capital-a Ally to make movies with, and if no one else my beloved queer-folk will come to see it.)
[*ring, ring*]
T: hello, worth health center
M: hi. i sprained my thumb, uh, wrestling. is there anything i should do for it?
T: hmm. do you have some bone disease you've never heard of?
M: no.
T: just ice it, take some tylenol, and don't engage in any other athletic activity today. you don't have a rugby game or anything?
M: well, no, but what if i have to, uh, wrestle again? should i tape it or something?
T (frostily): i would just advise not doing that.

stress and frazzlement. i've discovered the hard way whose target i am: alex, the boy who WON last year. ruthless soul, he leapt on me as soon as i walked into the dining hall this morning for brunch. luckily i had a book down my pants (thanks, rilke) and i managed to keep him at bay as we rolled around on the floor. someone handed me a tray which granted me a two second reprieve -- the rules hold that so long as you have both hands on a tray in the dining hall, you're off limits -- until he lunged at me again and wrested the tray from me, spraining my thumb in the process. he's a small guy but MAN is he tough.
we wrestled further. i kept screaming, "someone get me a tray!" until someone not distracted by the other kills happening two feet away (eliz's double kill: first her opponent and then her opponent's opponent, who turned out to be her girlfriend. sorry, stef) got me one and i held onto it for dear life.

i made it, shaking, to a seat. he returned a few minutes later, like the specter of death, and without even blinking pulled me and my chair down onto the floor. as i clutched the tray to my chest, he methodically reached into my pants to get the book. once he realized i had taken it out and put it on the table, he calmly picked it up, placed it in his bookbag, and walked away.

eliz and i lingered for a while, then dashed to the nearest dorm to hide out for a while. cautiously and circuitously, we made it back to our dorms, where we both intend to stay for as long as possible. alex actually lives one floor from me. i should leave a horsehead in his bed or something. oh man oh man. and dealing with conflicting loyalites is hard.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

well, so i'm one of the un-special 9,750. while i was dancing last nite at the coming out "end of the word" party, i got a flash of it. that, in conjunction with not being drunk enough to feel unselfconscious or unjudged dancing, zapped me of all energy and i trudged home through the sudden, appropriate downpour to find my suspicions confirmed.
the party rocked, though, for which a hard-working ben is to be thanked. he managed all 4 hours of djing all alone and people really responded. they were assisted adrenaline-ly by the drag king show beforehand and then by the presence of said drag kings on the dance floor. at points the show dragged but it also hit a few incredible high points, particularly with a skit which began with eminem, who was then joined by elton john. together they morphed into 'nsync, i think -- some boy band -- and sang an expressive love duet. they're not the first to posit that the new elvis is secretly gay; jonah linked to a nerve article that spells it out and also implicates sir john. played out on stage by drag kings, though, it's even more entertaining.

i have my ASSassins target. hopefully my paranoia will protect me until i get a chance to carry out my plan. and perhaps a strategically placed Fed Ex envelope.

Friday, October 25, 2002

off to an ASSassins pre-party where the ass master reveals to us contestants whom our object is. i won't last five seconds in this game. i can't even keep sorelle from grabbing my ass on a regular day, and worst of all, i squeal indignantly.
the way it works is, you get assigned one person whose ass you have to grab (with both hands, and so the other person can feel it) within 3 days. if you haven't accomplished that goal, the assmaster comissions the death squad and they get medieval on your ass. yes, i will be henceforth using the word "ass" a lot. ass ass ass.

greenlight reveals the oh-so-special 250 and pats the other 9,750 on the head condescendingly. i am very very scared. but two slices of cinnamon toast in sarah c.'s company at dinner, a trip to the pumpkin patch and an aborted attempt to pick apples co|motionly have bucked up my spirits. we'll see how it goes.
now i need to go drink wine.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

in honor of coming out week, poor rusty! and in honor of my family, here's my review of punch drunk love and my brother's latest crazy article ("is he crazy?" "nooo, just ignorant.")
i'm trying to listen to fiercely independent college radio but it won't work. fiddlesticks. i'm glorying in the world of sloth at the moment, in an attempt to balance out the world of pain that was this week, monday - wedesday. in the throes of that pain, i managed to write the 2 papers and get them handed in on time, and make my observation, and not sleep very much, and win one great game of scrabble, and go to all of my classes on wednesday except the very last one cuz by 7 p.m. i was just tired of pain.

sarah k. and i trooped back to my room and quickly established there was nothing either of us could do to make the other feel better. then we promptly had a conversation that made both of us feel better. three cheers for that.

i've done much bonding with people recently. perhaps that's a Return from Break thing. complex interesting conversations with sarah c., analytical ones with sorelle, tenderness with ross, and then of course with ben, who is the best person in the world for me to be dating. last night he sent me an annotated copy of the final draft of my screenplay. his notes, in blue text, consisted 90% of him writing [ha] or [ha haaa] by the jokes. i grinned all the way through and felt better about the script than i had in weeks.
and my ed prof postponed the due date of our second paper to monday. that nicely facilitates my sloth. if only the weather were nicer so i could slothful outside.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

for my observation this morning, i pushed myself out of my yummy purple flannel sheets at 7:15 and into the cold blue yonder. brigid hiked with me to about where the trolley was supposed to pick me up and take me to upper darby high skool. since she had a class, she had to turn back before we reached the endpoint and consequently i didn't find the actual trolley pick-up point until after the one i was supposed to catch had passed on. after a cold blue while, another came, and i got off at the right stop and power-walked and managed to arrive only 20 minutes late. except, upon closer inspection, it turned out i was at the wrong skool.
a pleasant secretary volunteered to drive me to beverly hills middle skool, which is where i was supposed to be. there, at last, two hours after i'd gotten up after four hours of sleep, i met the transitional education program class i'll be sitting in on seven more weeks.

the teacher of the 2 of the 3 class periods i sat in on is the head of this refugee program. on one hand, she's cheerful and affectionate with the children and seems quite skilled; on the other, she insisted the students call her "miss" ("because i'm not married") and kept telling the girls to "sit like a lady." she introduced me around as "miss bloom" and requested that the children identify themselves and their backgrounds. one by one, they voiced places i'm dimly sure i could find on a map: liberia; ghana; sierra lione; eritrea; sudan. most speak understandable english. just glancing at them, you wouldn't be able to tell that they aren't native born african-americans. but then little details pop up to remind you: two of the girls, when introducing themselves, added that their favorite thing to do is eat.

on a very different note -- in a very different world, even -- back at swat, flirting is a hot topic of conversation. people insist it's a perfectly valid, positive act, that there's nothing wrong with identifying as a Flirt. yet when they themselves are suggested to be Flirts, they become defensive. although i've participated in the who is v. who isn't discussion, no one has ventured to pin me in either category. just as well. quite likely i'd be offended whether the decision were yea or nay. funny that such a meaningless frivolous thing strikes such a chord in people.
sarah chirps, Time to write! time to write? i'm trying to finish two papers for wednesday; i have a third due friday. my first observation tomorrow morning for which i need to rise at 7:20, heaven help me. general nervousness as the stress of the semester descends which, like the cold, i'm afraid won't retreat again before winter break (or, in the case of the cold, maybe not until spring!)

at the co|motion meeting, as we went around the circle checking in, four people in a row described visiting other colleges over break and deciding that they were quite sure that they made the right decision in coming here. only at the tail end of a break have i seen swatties so sanguine. check back during finals week, when no one has washed their hair for longer than they can remember or can speak except in fragments of theory so that typical conversations run: "meta?" "postmodern." *nod* "yeah, man. patriarchy. yeah." that's the acid test.

i also saw punch drunk love at last and was quite pleased with it. for some reason the theater was filled with senior citizens. when the film ended, i alone rose laughing; most of the people around me remained in their seats, looking perplexedly at the screen. it's been a long time since i left a theater feeling like skipping the way to the train station. it would have been nice to have someone to share it with. well, i guess in a small way that's what my reviews are for.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

this kind of thing is so against my principles and at the same so weirdly compelling {lara's link}. like the samsung smut (scroll down if you've forgotten, but remember, the same caution applies) it's not the same without the music in the background. maybe it only works as mesmerizing distraction when you have 250 pgs of No Ordinary Time left and two papers to start.
on the plus side, i'm back where i belong. seeing my friends settled at their respective places i realize i could be happy elsewhere. but not quite as happy. swatties are just so uniquely, adorably quirky -- such a combination of pretention, dorkiness, and a need to be special -- i want to hug them all. where else would i fit in as well?

insanely, apparently, the copenhagen metro is opening. they predicted it would be done in four years last spring. who the hell finishes anything ahead of schedule? the metro served as a running joke when i was in denmark, sort of as a substitute for "when pigs fly." {tinka's link}

Thursday, October 17, 2002

cambridge, massachusetts. ilana's apartment-like triple. we're in the midst of a crisis here -- a small scale one, as world crises go; micro, not macro, as i seem to be saying every hour on the hour today -- but nonetheless an annoying one. last night around 2 a.m., after the guest lana and i had been entertaining was getting ready to leave, lana discovered that laptop, complete with nearly-complete Justice paper, had gone off the deep end. computer crashes are the worst: there's no country you can bomb to make those go away.
other intermittent crises (identity! ahhehgrhhh!) have added to the atmosphere of stress, so despite the fact that today is miserable-weather-yesterday's polar opposite, we've been dragging around cambridge trying to keep spirits up. dinner at the co-op plus fun evening plans might help. but if worst comes to worst, we can take the laptop out back and have ourselves a hanging. send the good vibes, people. and a windows xp startup cd if you've got one.

other harvard observations: it's not so posh as i envisioned, actually. but it's more mannered. here, everyone shakes hands, and there's this foreign air of gallantry about the men that continues to take me aback. when they hold doors, it's not because you're a fellow human being but because you're a woman. come to think of it, both places i've been reminded repeatedly of my feminininininity, whatever the hell that is / amounts to. at smith, the butches kept holding doors for me and carrying my packages and i felt veritably Pink.
here, one wonders, are the boys so mannered cuz the families that send them here expended much energy acculturating their young ones? or do they arrive on harvard's doorstep in swaddling cloth and absorb, absorb, absorb?

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

lana's so excited about her classes she wants me to come to all of them. i guess that's the magic of harvard. but today i woke up at 11, the time that her Justice lecture was supposed to start. (meet me in front of the red brick building, she said.) apparently the prof is the character on whom those wacky harvard-grad Simpsons creators based mr. burns. a good-natured, ironic homage to one of the U's most respected men.

i did accompany lana to a class yesterday. good practice in ed observation! i even took notes. maybe i can submit those instead of the observation i skipped last week cuz i woke to the sound of rain. in lots of ways it seemed very typical: the two boys talked as much as the five girls combined, tho one girl said seemingly everything that came into her head, using as many polysyllabic words as possible. at one point she said "homosexual studies," which nearly cracked me up. but generally the class kept my interest for two hours despite the fact that i hadn't read any of the texts, and that's impressive.

rain chased me up here. terrible, stupid rain: we were going to go a-frolicking today. perhaps we can salvage those plans, or perhaps we can trade them in and go see punch drunk love. cambridge is much how i remember it, and with the students criss-crossing the quad it's almost unbearably collegiate. lana's uber-cute here, comfortable and settled. it seems like it could be a happy place.

meanwhile, my brother is publishing articles and outraging people at an alarming rate. he's outnumbering me in letters to the editor, 2:1. maybe i should start writing about politics. tho if i did i wouldn't be quite so tough on the folks who voted for ralph. after all, they're friends of mine.

Monday, October 14, 2002

we played Outburst last night, the same edition ilana and i played in n.c. and shrieked over, and of course we [liz, sarahk. and smithie-christine] shrieked excessively at the cards. "______ man (fill in the blank)" produced "fireman" "policeman" and "mailman" and our favorite: "WOMAN." other cards' topics: "things a woman wears on her face" and "things a woman wears" ("high heels" "garter" "slip". duh.) but the most awesome one, which i searched through about ten thousand cards before finding, was "birth control methods": "abstinence" "visectomy" and (drum roll please) "homosexuality." whahoo!!

a cheerful group it was. we'd just partaken of the food christine and sarah had prepped for us at christine's uber-cool house. i can't deal with the living situation here; i am collard-green with jealousy. posh houses, adorable veggie co-ops, signs that say "trans friendly space" on bathroom doors, hard wood floors, comfy kitchen-like dining rooms, as opposed to ski-lodge type dining halls. not to mention noho itself, which even in the rain yesterday made my eyes turn like pinwheels. in the company of our highskool friend rachel, in town for a barmitzvah, we wandered through coffee shops, juice bars, and thrift stores. oh western massachusetts, you slay me. dead in a rainbow puddle, peered down at by cooler-than-thou hyper-pierced gender-indeterminate indie baristas: that's me.

cambridge tomorrow. more or less posh/leftist/colorful/enticing?

Saturday, October 12, 2002

oh my god, i'm still laughing. a person in liz's class made this website. unless you are my mother or another close relative who has no interest in salacious material (i mean it, it's for your own good), click the link at the bottom of this beautifully made page that asks "what's your favorite way to waste time?" i mean it: it's for your own good.
so what if i started a webjournal, sez liz, standing next to me eating sesame chicken (she's the worst kind of vegan -- she has no principles.) oh she's wonderful. i'm using her computer now, which translates the cute little cursor/arrow thing into a rather distracting bowl of fruit. she's about to go for a run in the pouring rain. speaking of pouring rain, it hasn't stopped all week. dry for three weeks, then this week it's nonstop. like it's nature's time of the month!

i love how my committed de-politicization lasts only until my father calls and i have fight with him about iraq for an hour. he opened up a can of rant (re: opec) on my ass, managing to get in references to lenin and ralph nader. i can talk a lot but, man, you should get my father going: he can filibuster his way out of anything, leaving opportunity only for his opponent to stammer things like, "maybe, but --" or "hang on a second!" or "dad, i am *not* knee-jerk leftist cannon-fodder! i just don't agree with you!" arguing with my father is eye-opening: it reminds me what the outside world is like, and that intelligent people who didn't vote for bush really are willing to follow the monkey-faced half-literate oilest-of-oil-men cowboy into war. because they really think it's the Right Thing to Do. just like leftists think it's the Right Thing to Do to march in protest.

exhausting. not as bad as travelling yesterday. through mother nature's untamponed onslaught, intrepid adventurers sarah k., our mutual friend and co-Co\Motioner addie and i started our trip at 2 p.m. on a septa train into philly. sarah and i arrived, drenched and half-sentient but senses of humor still functioning, to smith at 1 a.m. the first bus to new york took twice as long as it should have; then our layover in port authority (motto: even if the busses never pick you up, the sketchballs will) followed the same pattern. the last leg of the trip, curiously, once sarah and i parted from addie, was quick and comfortable. but 11 or so hours, under any circumstances, is tough.

even periods come to an end. assuming this one does, elizabeth and i will venture into northampton, shop and eat. if not, we'll keep chugging through the four videos we rented from the library and take a lot of baths. (they have bathtubs here.)

Friday, October 11, 2002

so, war, perhaps (you mean my phone call didn't make a difference?) but never mind that right now. i have a feeling this is how i'll force myself to be all semester/year. i don't want to be part of the galvanized, indignant left. i certainly am not part of the slobbering, war-mongering right. i don't want to wear love beads or hemp or laugh at those who do; i don't want to spray protesters with hoses or be sprayed.
o, apathy.

kross's party went on last night, despite the rain. banana birthday cake done justice to; cheesecake untouched (people thought it was just cheese, nestled as it was all serene like among the grapes.) some folks danced towards the end. mostly people ate drank and chilled. it worked for me and although it perhaps was not the most rousingly successful of all of kross's endeavors, i knew the majority of the goodly crowd and so felt comfortable and enjoyed myself. not a small feat.

today i go off to smith, despite the rain, buoyed by a giddy sarah k. hard to believe that break's starting. i'm skeptical, tho my last class was canceled and i skipped my second to last. but, giving it the benefit of the doubt, i'd better start packing.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002


t: common cause
m: congressional switchboard?
t: no, common cause. but i'll transfer you. would you like to make a donation?
m: not right now?

[soft jazz]

t: switchboard.
m: i vote in pennsylvania?

[soft jazz]

t: [mumble whisper]
me: i'm sorry, whose office is this?
t: santorum's!
me: vote no on war!
t: duly noted.

now you go.

oh, and i've been officially APPROVED. validated! approved!!

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

ben made the next watson round! excellent. now i'm glad i slept in a field with him (come on, wasn't it obvious i was going to?) even though "sleeping" is really too broad a word for my burrowing deeper into my sleeping bag, stealing his hat, waking every few hours to squint at a gray sky, and shivering from the cold. waking up made it all worth it: ester, he said: don't you have class?
it turned out i didn't, at least not for another hour and a half. we looked around: we'd slept in the middle of a circle of stones on campus and the sun was busy glinting off each of them and the blue sky beamed down at us. our companions had crept away sometime earlier, apparently. by the time ben and i had made our way there, around 1 a.m. -- we had to shuffle slowly down the path through the woods, aided by my small yellow flashback and constrained by ben's old man slippers -- the four of them had already fallen asleep. once again, no chance to talk with kross's chicklet. oh well.
i came back here after tennis and lunch, ostensibly to crash, but an urgent phone message from the history department drives me back into the breach. we few special-honors-major-wannabes, we happy few, we band of brothers ...
i finally finished my review of "secretary," which i titled "taking more than dictation." but they never keep my titles anyway. i got started on it late: rob, ben's roommate from last year, challenged me to a game of scrabble. with a break in the middle to run errands, it lasted from 7:30 to 11:15. even allowing for the gap, i think that's a new record. now i have to make a snap decision whether or not to go sleep in a field. on the plus side, i could wear my bright red yummy fleece pajamas. on the minus side, i would be sleeping in a field. and it's cold outside.

i managed to write my new sophomore paper, hand it to some people, request a grade report, and apply for the honors program today. still more red tape to cut through (one professor whose signature i requested informed me, "this is just bullshit you know." oh boy do i) but i'm moving forward. with any hope i'll be either approved or brutally shot down before break, and i can go to smith certain of my fate.
i get to go to smith!
man, i'm just sitting next to an open window and i'm cold. what the hell kind of impulse drives people from their wonderful comfortable beds and into itchy grass and sleeping bags? forget it. i'll put on my yummy fleece pajamas here, dance around, and sleep where the bugs can't get me.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

yesterday morning i rose at 11. now it's 9 and i'm up while my pretty one sleeps. a difference in the rollicking factor, no doubt. friday night took me back to freshman year. sarah c. asked what i would wear to the party we'd agreed to attend. i pointed to a perfectly respectable shirt in my closet and she emitted a shriek. within seconds she was out the door and back with armfuls of her what-would-be clubwear if she went to clubs. with the advisement of marc, one of my oldest friends here, we settled on tops: mine, black lace. it matched surprisingly well with my black lace-fringed zebra-print skirt-slip.

stef and eliz, and stef's friend from home, joined us and we wrangled eliz into a hottop of her own. it went beautifully with her haircut, acquired that morning in bryn mawr, midwifed by a cosy lady who knew her stuff and attended by both stef and me. so we set off for the ball and danced with sorelle, kross + chick, and my new favorite sophomo who looked at me, pulled his student ID from his pocket, and said, "it's a good thing i brought my library card, cuz i'm checking you out."

good times. last night was a different sort of fun: a thought-provoking secretary in the city, excellent but rushed indian food with city-becca, and dumb city comedy. stef and eliz and i, on the way home, attempted to improve on the improv. 185 weblogs walk into a bar ... i saw a movie about sunday mornings that was so bad (how bad was it?) ...

Thursday, October 03, 2002

i'm enjoying this lying mofo thing immensely. of course, i'm also in a vicious-ish mood, which is the same reason i'm foregoing seeing dukakis speak tonite and, when i was tabling with eliz for local high skool outreach, i horrified her by using phrases like "be a chickenhawk," "recruit" and "indoctrinate the young." basically i'm glum because i lost in scrabble to kross, 10,000 to 1. silly and spoiled of me. i comforted myself on the walk to dinner with the fact that at least i'm prettier than he is. then of course i got called chubby.
my earlier political memory is my father despairing over dukakis, knowing that the d-meister would never make it to dc. poor guy. well, at least i'm prettier than dukakis. or i'd like to think so.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

my favorite advice columnists were right on today. that pleases me. i would like to be an advice columnist, i think. or a film reviewer. or perhaps some super-special and unique hybrid of the two where i draw on cinematic precedent to suggest solutions. that is a terrific idea that requires a creative and clever name. a prize for the best suggestion: go to.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

so i've done it. i've submitted true love waits to project greenlight. the final two revisions i did essentially on my own, though i took into account the hundreds of comments i've received from the people who've read it (and, really, thank you all.) but the deadline's tomorrow and i have too much else to think about this week to worry about continuing to nitpick, or worse have other people nitpick for me. so, there it is.

while i was in process of converting to pdf and uploading, i got a call from the woman whose class i've going to be observing for Intro Ed. i'm one of the last people in my class to be assigned an observation: apparently the bureaucracy at upper darby is intense. but she sounds very sweet. she described the class as a special project for which they only got a grant last january. it group sixth grade refugee children together -- some of whom function at a third-grade level -- and teaches them at a pretty individualized pace. she warned me that they become attached quickly, that they will probably like me immediately and cry when i go. sounds certainly unique, almost overwhelming, but if she can teach it surely i can handle sitting in for 8 weeks.

Monday, September 30, 2002

sleep being for the weak, eliz and i decided at midnite to choose the path of strength, the path of pizza and film. we took turns calling our respective Others, laying bets on whose would reply best. they tied, both accepting with minimal/no thought, which is why, of course, we're dating them. the pizza was only eh, but an ideal husband was as lovely as i recalled, and it instilled in me the same desire to live inside a cinematic adaptation of an oscar wilde play.

many pleasant things happened over the weekend. i spent saturday in philly researching thrift shops for this week's phoenix article. birthday-girl addie ventured in with me and we met my friend ben who insisted everything you need to find is on 13th street and consented to try on a lovely red dress for us in the drag clothes corner of a gay hairdressers' next door to spruce street video where my Other ben worked this summer. we moved too swiftly to shop, unfortunately, but addie and i had to get back: i had a date with kross, his mother, and three boyz.
sitting at the table with them all, the last-year-at-this-time male-dominated feeling crept over me, the feeling of being little. honestly it's been about a year since last i found myself in a situation that could catalyze that reaction. it drove me crazy in/out of the barn. that dinner just left me tired and crabby. addie's girlz-only birthday party thereafter revived me. stef made me liquid ecstacy (soy milk, kahlua, just a bit of rum: yum.) to sip while we lounged and laughed and composed swat to-do lists.

sunday afternoon we reunited with the co|motion campers for the first time since the summer. my legs ache from an hour and a half of capture the flag. i never used to be the kind of person who would do any running in that game, but more and more i'm becoming lots of things i never used to be. for instance, with any luck, an american-cinematic-and-social-studies-special-honors-major.