Friday, May 31, 2002

finally saw empire strikes back last nite, which i liked most of all. considering i've now seen the series (2 - 4 - 1 - 6 - 5) i have a better grasp on the whole thing, if not the phenomenon. my little brother sniffed at the movie box and threw over his shoulder as he ascended the stairs, "star trek is better." if trekkies are trekkies, what are star wars-ians?

liz came over to keep my feet warm as we watched the final sequence, full of stories of how much fun the girlz had at the lake. naturally i didn't make it to the i.g. concert, although i did manage to stay up half an hour later than usual. and now dearliz is off for her three-month stint as a fledgling artiste in nyc. i don't have the energy to be jealous, though it goes without saying i'll miss her immeasureably.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

another day of nothing, though miraculously it hasn't gotten old yet. i accompanied (really, that word looks like it should have a 'g' squeezed in there somewhere) my little brother to a midday showing of insomnia. like jonah, i was impressed but not over-so. the unfortunate part of going mainstream is that so often one's films no longer have real impact. my favorite example of this phenomenon is tim burton who in his indie days produced damn clever memorable flicks: beetlejuice, edward scissorhands, nightmare before christmas. then he got glossy and big-budget and has lately produced nothing but forgettable fluff. planet of the apes for god's sake.

not that i want to draw an equivalency. just, as interesting and as gripping as insomnia is, it's a far cry from how original memento was. i left the theater thrilled after memento. memento doesn't bother with morals; if there's a lesson to be drawn from it, you have do that drawing yourself -- it isn't coughed up to you from the throat of a contritely dying man. i liked insomnia but i don't expect it to stick with me. a more apt comparison actually might be to aronofsky whose first pi left me ecstatic and whose second requiem for a dream was good, more generally palatable, far less unique, and burdened with a lesson. what is it with hollywood and morals? ironic, don't you think, that the moviegoing public has to be lectured by the pious preachers of that desert of depravity?

in response to tinka's recent declaration, i've been compiling a list of Non-Boring american authors. simply from scanning my bookshelves, so far i've come up with: steinbeck, salinger, miller, poe, vonnegut, morrisson, marrion zimmer bradley, ntozake shange, mark twain, ken kesey, sylvia plath, and michael cunningham.
must be well enough for indigo girls tonite. mild relapse last nite convinced my mother i have a parasite. if i name it, is it more likely to stay or leave? liz once said you only name the things that die. maybe i should name it henry james -- two birds with one stone, init.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

sickness also simplifies. the key is to give into it. you have to love your sickness: the going to bed at 9 p.m., the inability to conduct phone conversations (hey, you never really liked them anyway), the fact that it requires you an hour and a half to eat a plain bagel, the fact that if all you have the energy to do is lie around you may as well catch up on all that tv and all them movies you'd been starved for in copenhagen. you have to love that you can read without guilt (presently, as sir don, tho as amusing as i remembered, was a little heavy -- literally: the only edition we have is a super-hardback, which is why i couldn't lug him to europe -- , the history of danish dreams by peter hoeg. oh, i can't do the little slash-o anymore. oh i may cry.

the point is, sickness has perks. i can't remember the last time i went four days eating so little. while in some respects it's killer seeing the container of oatmeal raisin cookies my mother bought specifically for me on my return and know i can't indulge, i also feel very buddhish. maybe that's just the malnutritioned lightheadedness talking, but who's to say? the doctor thinks i have a stomach infection; various nonessential parts of me are undergoing tests. meanwhile i'm just floating around. i watched jedi yesterday -- there was one terrific line that now i fear i've forgotten. oh! i remember (and am grinning again): "now you will pay for your lack of vision!" genius.

Monday, May 27, 2002

sickness complicates the simplest things. sleeping, eating, leaving the house ... more particularly, in my case, escaping to a pretty lakeside cabin where ilana schemed to take six of us. only now five cuz even if i did feel up to task by tomorrow, i'd be afraid of an encore and of making my friends play nurse and being in yet another strange place while i shiver and suffer. it's unfortunate but i'm trying not to think about it. my friends also surprised me with tickets to the indigo girls concert thursday nite so i'm focusing energy on being well in time for that.

reacclimating to family is an interesting process too. i talked to my wacky brother in australia this morning, who complained that the weather there has reached arctic levels ("in the forties!") i examined my conscience thoroughly and decided i was justified in having no sympathy for him at all. otherwise we bantered pleasantly. it's easy from a distance. my little brother, much closer by, is much as i remember him, only with an alarming hint of a mustache. he rented me jedi and oceans eleven, the second of which we watched with ari when he graciously came over to return my bag. i left liz's house, where a group had gathered yesterday, in such a state of distraction that i'd forgotten it there. in return, i fed him watermelon and tea, sprinkled with his contribution of fresh ginger.

after four months in F-706, my bed and my room felt comically large. but i'm lying in it, reading (about to pick up don quixote where i left off in january), trying to making it mine again.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

my last hours in copenhagen were adrenaline-driven and episodic. there wasn't time for anything else. one last walking tour around the downtown, including nyhavn to make a reservation for that evening's last group dinner. packing preparations. souvenir shopping -- buying amber brooches for my mother and grandmother with much trepidation: i have no experience with jewelry -- followed by one last excursion to UFF. one last fancy dinner, enjoyed by all, and then one last period of chilling at DIS. then farewells. then i got sick, and had to pack anyway, and managed to snatch a couple hours of sleep before rising at 6:30 to finish packing. andrea the ubersweet met me at my dorm, cheerful despite the hour, and between the two of us we managed to lug all my luggage (really, do you think that's where the word comes from?) to the airport and get me on a plane. 12 or so hours later, i was home, dc was muggy, i was still a little sick, but safe. since, my parents have been hovering lovingly and fretting over my inability to eat without becoming queasy. i'm seeing a doctor on wednesday.
how does it feel to be home?

Friday, May 24, 2002

more on clones: alex has an intellectual take, some parts of which, i feel, are more respectable than others. (jar jar = sartre? come on). clearly he has the creds ("i stopped counting how many times i've seen star wars when i hit 100") and i respect his analysis. but i will not back down from my position that h. christiansen simply is not good, at least in this movie. as though he graduated from aaron spelling's skool of acting, his range extends from Sulk to Throw Tantrum, from Quiver to Smoulder. the times when he's acceptable are when he's downplaying. to his credit, his delivery of "yes, master" was excellent.

four word film reviews, via kat, produces these priceless capsules. my favorites: "lucas poops, everyone applauds" "'dawson's creek' in space" and "yoda's diability benefits withdrawn."

Thursday, May 23, 2002

almost all of today had a Last feeling to it. Last final. returning books. graduation ceremonies (speeches and fake diplomas followed by cheap champagne). picnic in bakken -- bread, strawberries, cheese and chocolate. rides, including a hands-on haunted house where we were groped in the dark and screamed for real. lots of pictures. sentiment. maybe the Last time i'll see these people. anne and krissy, for example, leave tomorrow on their two-week tour o' europe. stories told, laughs relaughed, a bottle of wine shared between anne and me and i'm buzzed and content.
technically i still have all of tomorrow, even if i will spend it packing. my plane doesn't take off til 10 a.m. saturday.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

it's late but i'm on an adrenaline rush. CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD and ignorance, for which i hope you'll pardon me. could some self-identified geek please endeavor to explain the following:
1) if the clones were the product of the evil bounty hunter, why are they fighting for the good side?
2) if the clones *are* essentially jango fett, how are they possibly fighting for the good side?
3) how did amidala fit so many different outfits into that one tiny (and abandoned) suitcase?
4) why is she so important anyway, aside from the fact that she will eventually be luke's mother?
5) why was george lucas allowed within a light-saber's distance of the screenplay? never have i witnessed such horrific torture of words. it was heartrending: every cliche, no matter how aged or overworn, was thrown mercilessly into the arena and forced to stagger around, borne up only by the feeble efforts of hayden christiansen. can we all agree he was awful? granted it's not an easy job, showing one man's subtle struggle with his character and eventual descent; and george lucas wouldn't know subtle if it chopped his arm off, so hayden's pretty much feeling his way in the dark. the desire for power came through. the distrust of democrary -- right, not a good sign. but i just didn't buy that this pink-lipped blue-eyed mamma's boy was going to end up a fearsome dictator. maybe episode III will make everything clear (and if lucas is smart, he'll bribe peter jackson into directing it.)

i enjoyed the movie when i wasn't sent into convulsions by the dialogue or john williams' score (the bastard is responsible for the equally overblown music in a.i.). r2d2 had some good lines. somehow, impressively, ewan mcgregor managed to remain cool even with a beard and a distracting haircut. (in what century do mullets come back into fashion?) the action sequences, the last quarter, was by far the best part. you could sense how relieved lucas was to drop the blood-from-a-turnip attempt to create credible romance, and focus on what he's good at. exciting jedis, lights flashing, yoda kicking ass.
largely it was fun. i don't regret going. now i just have to see empire and jedi straight through so i can have more than just fuzzy notions of how everything fits together.
how big of a snob are you? (via mefi). i know, i know, internet quizzes are so passe (or lj) but this one merits extra attention because i was clicking happily through half the questions with no idea what they meant. yay for the inscrutable british!
for the record, i was 67% snob, which is not beyond redemption. considering i spent the last couple hours browsing dollar-store-equivalents, i feel like i should get more points. maybe enough to balance out my predisposition to judging people by their shoes (but what else are shoes for?)

star wars tonite (again that's prioritizing, not procrastination). tinka supplied me with english definitions for the scroll so that i can get the gist of the opening sequence in the language god/george lucas intended. i can't say i'll try to be excited ... but i'll try to try.
there's a difference between procrastination and prioritization. last night i prioritized people over studying and i don't regret it. heather made a chic salmon-and-white-wine dinner finished off with classical danish (read: openface) apple pie and tiny glasses of italian alcohol that smelled like windex and didn't taste much better. we lounged around like classy olderfolk with no constraints or tests for which we had to run home and cram. in fact, it was only after half an episode of the simpsons, two of judging amy, and one of friends that i finally forced myself out the door and back into reality.
one today, one tomorrow. aight, here we go.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

three done! is it just me, or is five finals in four days a little excessive? ... no matter. i'm more than halfway through, even if the two most difficult are still to come.
tonite, in stark contrast to last nite which i spent wandering around dispiritedly and studying for my jews in europe and contemporary european film tests, i am going to be social. heather's throwing a dinner party. i'm always up for being fed.

i have to admit i got a little carried away finishing my last jews in europe essay. it occurred to me that perhaps this is the last such class i will take, and after 13 years of education in the subject that's no insignificant matter. i used the opportunity to blow off some steam in what i hope was a redemptively humorous fashion. then i slammed my pencil down and dashed from the room.

only two more to go.

Monday, May 20, 2002

as i wrote the english professor at my skool (who sent me [as part of a massmail list, not because i'm special] fifteen emails addressing me as "english major," which is a terrific lie) i want this woman to come speak at swat. i've never been the most vocal fan of her novels. in fact, when i first read handmaid's tale i got so angry i had to leave the restaurant. (i don't recall why i was reading in a restaurant, although i do recall which one [tara thai in bethesda]; my mother raised me better than that) most likely it was my first exposure to feminism, and i mistook the critical satire for her own personal ideas. or maybe i was just at that innocent age when injustice could still incite. a couple years older, i read it again and loved it, though without the passionate that had attended my initial reaction.
it's a cold book, as many of her books are cold. cat's eye, the favorite of my 12th grade honors-english teacher, didn't make me feel as much as it made me think. bluebeard's egg repeated the same themes. robber bride i barely remember. blind assassin, which two of my dear friends bought for me last year, didn't leave too deep an imprint, although i admired the idea, and frankly i'm not rushing out to devour more novels.

oh, but the lady's poetry. oh but the words. if i find fault in her books, i can only stare and dribble at her writing. i keep selected works on my shelf -- at the moment, it's the only book of verse with me aside from the perennial portable dotty p..

this is procrastination. i have 2 finals tomorrow, and 2 more distributed over the 2 days after that. funny to think my blessed compatriots are all done. i must do something to stave off mopeyness. studying unfortunately doesn't cut it.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

once upon a time, i was quoted claiming to prefer monkeys to children, never wanted to be married or fantasized about my wedding day, hated the color pink and rarely wore heels, and laughed at the end of gone with the wind.
where did it all go?
not that i, like a good girl, sobbed when rhett gave scarlett that final and oft-repeated kiss off. the end left me entirely unaffected. but through other parts of the movie i was inexplicably in tears. as i have very little sympathy for the south as a matter of course, i can't understand what wrung that water from me. i mean, sure, i starting weeping halfway through titanic when it first came out, and terms of endearment continues to get to me no matter how many times i see it, and don't even ask about breaking the waves -- but i figured those were abberations. i figured in general i'm a solid, atypical, astereotypical female. does falling in love, like giving birth, alter your hormonal structure? maybe love should come w/ a surgeon general's warning, or at least a Nutrition Information + ingredients label.

stupid finals start tomorrow. stupid way to spend a last week in a sunny country. even if i am all raspberry-painted and pained.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

another perk of [free] membership to the DFI: [free] internet, in this case as i wait for GWTW to begin. what type of people will show up, i wonder?

i went to meet the CBCBCs hoping-against-hope to develop the germ of a watch tan. the danish sun walloped me for underestimating it with a long, narrow glare down my left arm. my first burn of the season! it makes my arm look patriotic: white and red. but for all that it also hurts, so i'm not as gung-ho as i could be.
the gathering itself was fun. for the first hour and a half, 'twas just me and tinka ("please stop calling me webmistress: it sounds s&m-y"). she brought homemade bread and i bought cheese. the intended ritter sport dessert melted into nutella. i also contributed a six-pack, the first i've ever purchased myself. but i drank diet coke.
then rasmus and elizabeth showed up within seconds of each other, making four of us, one for each corner of the checkered blanket. we people-watched, commenting on the sunbathers, the bottle-collectors, the yappy dogs, and talked film. star wars dominated, of which i could say little, but tinka invited me to see it (in her case, again) with her on tuesday. i guess i must. if nothing else, it's cultural currency.
i will resist the temptation to be maudlin (my last friday night in copenhagen! over!). it will not require tremendous effort because i'm riding high for no too-apparent reason. it's gorgeous out, once again. so innocently, purely gorgeous that all those warnings your skeptical brain zaps you with (you're being gullible -- when you let your guard down, when you least expect it, BAM! tornado!) melt away. today is a goofy-smile day.
appropriately, i'm dashing out the door for an impromptu picnic/goofy-smile day celebration w/ tinka in the park where andrea and i enjoyed an impromptu picnic celebration of last day of classes yesterday. possibly other CBCBCs will be joining. i have magnetic field's washington dc in my head from the superb side A of the mix ben made me. last nite at alburtsland we prepared a birthday party for a friend of andrea's who played a Godot on us, much to andrea's dismay. we ended up watching flashdance, a ridiculous 80s male-fantasy flick i'd never seen before. much fun. and i've been so ecstatic for ilana -- and so glad i don't have to spend the summer weakly intoning "poor thing" "there there" etc. -- that i've been nearly dancing since she told me she's 3 for 3. down with sympathy! up with success! it's about damn time.

Friday, May 17, 2002

i wonder whether "torn" or "mixed" is the right word for what i'm feeling. "torn" brings up unwelcome memories of that not-even-written-by-her natalie umbruglia [sic cuz i'm too damn lazy] song. but "mixed" doesn't hit the passionate note i'm striving for. i'd use "ambivalent," referencing v. redgrave's speech in girl, interrupted, which, if prompted, i could quote at length ("on the contrary, ambivalence implies very strong feelings indeed ...") but i think the connotative meanings would be lost on possibly the majority of folks who haven't seen that movie. you slackers you.

my point of course is that it's a beautiful day. and i mean by world standards. i mean indisputably. okay, maybe it's a little too breezy, so even while sitting in the sunshine you must continue to readjust -- pull sweatshirt on; push up sleeves; take sweatshirt off; repeat. but imperfection accentuates true perfection, like the age old example of cindy crawford's mole. it's a beautiful day. people are zipping by on their bikes, including, now, the fire-engine-red free ones. people are laughing. i wanted quite badly to blow off my last class -- of this semester, of DIS, ever -- and sit on the square with representatives of all of copenhagen and drink smirnoff ice while i can still buy it, hassle-free, and consume it in public. i want to walk around taking pictures of everything i'm going to miss. maybe i'll do that this weekend. i don't know whether i want to go home. on the other hand, i don't know whether i want to stay.
on a more immediate, practical level, i don't know whether i want to go see GWTW tomorrow at the dfi even if i can't find accompaniment (should there be a g in that word?) oh the cruelty of indecision. i'm glad in some ways that, as to some things, i simply don't have a choice.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

in the spirit of collecting nostalgia, after i finished my paper with a flourish, i joined the girlz for dinner and tivoli. it's this cultured, well-manicured amusement park in the middle of copenhagen, filled with pricey restaurants, silly game booths, outdoor theaters for very short silly shows, lots of lights, vendors, and rides. the usual, really, only more graceful. that it never changes is part of its charm. anne had gone twelve years ago and could still recollect where things were. i couldn't compete with that: i'd gone two years ago, with jamie of course. but everything was as i remembered it. the handful of roller-coasters, the so-excellent fun house, the really intimidatingly huge Drop tower thingy i was too scared to go on then and too totally disinterested for now.

we watched the same shows even. the first, a pantomime, for which denmark is supposedly "world famous," struck me as just as ridiculous this time around. it's basically bad ballet. costumed types (the clown, the big-nosed miser, the sweet idealistic girl who wants to marry for love) hopping around in toe shoes, telling a story in exaggerated gestures. not even to particularly good music. the other is vaudeville in three acts: a cabaret singer, two contortionists, and two guys on unicycles. we laughed. but, along w/ the other old folks, anglo tourists, and kids in the audience, we enjoyed.
what else do i need to do before i go?
heh heh heh. this guy's becoming my hero simply for being funny. i'll believe anything anyone tells me so long as s/he makes me laugh in the during.

lana got into grinnell! = rockstar. and i just finished my last criminal justice class. teacher jeanne distributed fl�debollers (pronounced "marshmellowy goodness"), one of the many bits i will miss about this lovely country when i leave in nine days. ... nine days! why are we wasting time with papers and finals? i'll be forced to leave with so much salt licorice uneaten, so much hash unbought, so many royal family members unsaluted, so many CBCBC's unmet ...

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

another wednesday, another essay. i arrived at noon intending to start working (this one's on Bergman and his midcentury modernist masterpiece Persona). instead i chatted with mel, found the bag of andrea's books which she was panicked she'd lost, was hugged three times then taken out for unreasonably gooey pastry by andrea as a reward, read through the Guardian, selected siegfriend lenz's the german lesson for future procrastination, and finished off the piece i'm submitting to DIS's writing contest inspired by my conversation in the park with "monika" about dk, and politics, and dk politics, and the weather.

interesting issues being raised by the poem. is the implication that all intellectuals are sickened by the word "perky" wrong or offensive? should i change it so that a person or more people could relate [better] to it?
more generally i'm wondering whether/ to what extent a piece like this should be taken only to represent the author's voice when it's trying, at least on some level, to represent Womankind. what my responsibility is to try to please as much of Womankind as communicates their unease to me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

i'm intrigued by the folks from saudi arabia and iran who've trickled through here. please, leave a comment or sign the guestbook or email me, and give me a hint of how you happened by or what you think.

after an interesting conversation about body issues with miss lana and another with the young gentleman, who begged me not to get bogged down in same, i felt more or less well-vented. i also resolved to wear this green-and-floral polyester dress i'd bought at UFF a month ago. this morning, a staunch blue sky seemed to approve of my plan and i've been flitting around in the dress since, acruing much-needed compliments ("hey, is that a new shirt?"). i also got some refreshing grades back -- another kind of external affirmation on which i shouldn't be so reliant; but what are you going to do.

andrea asked me whether i write because i like what i write, or just because i have to. that struck me as such a strange question. i'm a contributor to the internet, the world's largest vanity press, for the love of gaudi. we're all mad here, at least about ourselves, at least in part. right?
characters and casings

a man must tell a woman she is
(perky, a word that sickens an intellectual,
must nevertheless describe her breasts; her scope
must be large while her tags read small)
70 times before she believes him,
and even then
(our IQs as high as our weights
are low; original ideas must fill
heads of prepackaged hair)
though he is as honest as a scale,
she feels naive.

Monday, May 13, 2002

hmm. inevitable return-from-travel letdown, fatigue and sickness, or just plain depression -- it's hard to tell. i toddled along on a tepid trip to h&m, where i got a pair of pants on sale that need to be hemmed. looking at the cloth puddles around my ankles in the dressing room, and then up at my squat, unsmiling reflection (ye gods, what a waste these hips will be if i never have children) i decided it'd be preferable -- and in the longterm more useful -- to be stretched myself. have the tall skinny blonde women woken up from hibernation or am i just suddenly noticing them everywhere because i've been away and back? maybe now that summer's hovering on the horizon, they've shed their coats and are out in full force, flaunting already-bronze corners.

alitalia was kind enough to return my duffel bag this afternoon, taped up with bright blue indications that it's been security cleaned. i hope they enjoyed pawing through my dirty shirts. lots of mail today in fact: a letter from pakketrans in german; a contract signed by my boss-to-be at americans united inviting me to formally accept my position, which i will do with pleasure; and a lovely carepackage from the young gentleman, who knows that oatmeal cookies are the key to a young lady's heart (especially a young lady in an otherwise empty kitchen.) he included a promising-looking mixtape that unfortunately i have no means to listen to, but i'm in the process of tracking down a walkman.

i'm not too consistent an a. o. scott fan, but this review made me smile and yearn to be back in my old caustic-critic position. (registrated required. sorry about that.)

Sunday, May 12, 2002

chutzpah: (n., yiddish): nerve; shamelessness: e.g., The chutzpah of that girl -- not only did she take the book lying on the floor beside my bed [in the hostel,] but then she told us we couldn't turn off the light at 11:30 to sleep a little before rising for our 4:00 a.m. cab because she was reading it.

in fact, she never returned it, and what makes it worse is it was a DIS library book. luckily i slipped it from them -- a minor larcenous habit of mine and in this case a smart move because at least i won't get continually fined.
if i had been coherent last night i'd have fought for the book and the darkness. andrea lacks the spleen for such battles. but, just as in my first night in barcelona, i exhibited a new tendency to get violently ill three bites into dinner (and over such lovely paella too). either i'm under stress and under-hydrated, or i've developed an allergy to food in the evening. either way, it's not pleasant.
it took about 12 hours before the shaking,weakness,nausea mamboed out of my system, during which time i had to do the pre-dawn packing and transport thing. andrea nursed me, and at heather's suggestion i nursed sugar water on the plane, which helped. i deboarded in copenhagen, securely stomached, but very much showing my having traveled Sloth Air (boots, untied, above white atheletic socks; green ill-fitting pajama pants; rumpled over-sized Bomb Them All t-shirt sticking out beneath clashing green hooded sweatshirt; and maniacally frizzy hair.) worst of all, i can neither shower nor sleep since our bags got misplaced in milan, and with mine my towel and my sheets. hopefully we'll all be united in clean, deep slumber by this evening.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

i just peeled off my fleece, grimacing, and made a mental note that fleece is not the wisest over-thing to wear in rain. ah well. not to dwell on the weather, but it�s been the only really disappointing part of the trip - even today, the one day that guaranteed the kind of calm, beneficent sun we were craving. moving on to more positive things, HIGHLIGHTS:
last night -- the three of us dined on excellent (yes, miss becca, vegetarian, or at least seafood) tapas w/ three georgia tech boys we met at the hostel. as the blurb i found online promised, it was an ordeal for which you had to brace yourself, throw your arm through the happily gabbing crowd, and grab something from a tray on the bar. we washed it down with glasses of a mix of whitewine and champagne and it was perfect
-- ten steps outside the restaurant, onto a plaza, we encountered a folk-costumed troupe of troubadors. we followed them for a minute or two before one player whisked me to the front. the guitar-players formed a circle, serenading, around the gently-twirling duo of a tall man in black and me, and another larger circle of spectators formed, clapping. at one point during the song, my partner asked my name. ��i��m giovanni,�� he said. ��do you like it?�� i nodded, dazed. ��good, i like it,�� he said, and pulled me cheek-to-velvet. when it ended, he kissed me on both cheeks and bowed over my hand. my face remained red for the next hour
-- two pitchers of sangria on george orwell place w/ the tech-ians, and a clever, well-hidden bar where we toasted heather�s 22nd birthday at the exact moment (12:15).

we�d needed a good evening too as we spent the afternoon walking, walking, walking, first to and through the picasso museum, then to not-near-finished gaudi/y cathedral and then up the 400 steps to the top of the turret. we discovered, to our outrage, that there�s only a two foot long platform with a balcony nearly too high to see over, apart from which the only option is 400 steps back down. in ludicrousness it matched the ��labyrinth�� in budapest. at least, just as there, senses of humor propelled us along.

montjuic this morning and the olympic stadium, after which we decided to give barcelona�s favorite son a chance to redeem himself. parc guell, which he designed, we all agreed would be prettier in summer, and as it has no drainage to speak of we would have had to wade in knee-deep to get the full effect. but the mosaics mollified us. if i could link i�d find you pictures of lizards and whatnot to make you grind your teeth in jealousy.
we leave tomorrow morning around six a.m. not too long a trip but really, it�s been lovely. we�ve had fun and traveled well together, which is always the make-or-break factor. paella tonite and i�ll be near-perfectly satisfied.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

it�s raining. but it�s not copenhagen rain, and it hasn�t been relentless. while we kicked stones by the mediterranean and sat by the marina, with variations-on-the-strawberry-theme in cones, the sun and warmth suited perfectly. while we ate our first real spanish meal under umbrellas, rain made soft comforting noises without getting us wet. altogether, it�s been lovely.

travel made yesterday seem inordinately long. heather and i flew separately from andrea; we reconvened in the airport later than expected because of various delays, and finally got to the hostel, only a block from the cathedral in the gothic quarter, after midnight. our cab driver insisted the place didn�t exist so we were rather gratified to find it: and it�s clean, and colorful, with cheap breakfast. at the moment, a british couple behind me is playing scrabble, heather and andrea are drinking tea and scribbling away in journals, and bjork is crooning.

i clap my hands with joy whenever i see palm trees. when i wasn�t paying attention, heather took a series of photographs of my getting acquainted with one particular one near the aquarium (someone who�s been here: is the aquarium worth $11? we couldn�t decide.) like seasoned travelers, we�re conquering the city on foot, and as we strolled through Parc de la Ciutadella, admiring the gorgeous fountain and declining offers for weed, we tried to remember the words to piano man and american pie. andrea�s still working on that now: she has her headphones on and keeps saying things like, ��paul is a real-estate novelist. paul! who�d have thought?��

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

alliterative addendum: pacified by pastry, steeled by sunlight, bolstered by beauty -- having taken heather to marvel at the same park tinka ("monika") took me to marvel at, butts on grass and licking fingers -- i've decided that as the vacation begins today, the loveliness here counts. it do. i scamper off to spain, content, without expectations. the hostel has net access, by the way, so you will continue to hear from me there. my goals: don't think about politics; find vegetarian tapas; see dali; take what comes; enjoy.
i am packed. i am ready. i am perilously balanced. so when rasmus writes to tell me to check the weather in barcelona, i don't panic. and when lana posts of a drastic change in plans that will keep us separate summer-long, i take deep breaths.
but i can't guarantee a measured, positive ester outlook if i some third slingandarrow comes at me.

if anyone else has a surprise, do not, i repeat, do not, unveil it now. news of your real gender identity can wait. meanwhile, i'm going to go bask in copenhagen sunshine and not think about the fact that (oh irony) it might be the last time i see the blessed blue til i return.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

in a new record this afternoon, i was hit on by a forty year old man in a suit. all i was doing was walking up str�get -- purposefully too, not ambling or batting my eyelashes at passersby; purposefully, like the natives; i know the drill -- and he sidles up to me in danish. "sorry?" i say and he promptly translates his pick-up line into english: "isn't it nice that the weather's getting warmer?"
yes, i agree (though it's maybe 12 degrees out, still green wool coat weather). small talk progresses til it's revealed that i come from dc and have an interest in political science. oh, says my companion, that's interesting: i work in the government, for the ministry of immigration. a policy person. i query him re: his involvement with the current government and he claims to be both "neutral" and a "humanist," launching into a lecture about the failures of w./nordic europe to live up to the challenges of globalization. this takes us to gammel torv where i'm tempted to part ways and go to dis, where andrea's waiting. but my writerly instincts win out.
"would you like to go for coffee?" can't, i'm meeting a friend ... but if he wants to keep talking, i'm up for continuing the stroll. reluctantly he agrees and we walk another couple blocks, buoyed by his discourse, until we reach r�dhusplassen, the city hall square. he gestures towards one of the many open-air cafes: "are you sure i can't get you a drink?" i shake my head. he starts to look pitiful: "even orange juice?"
we compromise on a bench. awkardly he asks me a few questions. while i answer, he looks at not-my-face, then down at his lap; in a flash i make the mental shift from writer and woman, and it is time to go. i stand up.
"can i have your phone number?" i cloak my refusal in the logic of my leaving in a few weeks, and as a last resort he offers me his name. you can look me up, he says. you know, if you ever need material.

material all right. just not the kind he had in mind, i'm sure.
the western world is in an uproar and it's an interesting time for an american to be in europe. it seems as though the two super-powers -- assuming that the EU counts as one -- are getting angrier at each other by the day. summing up the rage, from one side, is a polemic from the spectator (via mefi and worth reading, even if you don't agree). others are trying to just calm everyone down.

is this just the hyper intellectuals shrieking at each other because that's what they do best? are they out of touch with the man on the street? yet, wasn't it the man on the street who shot holland's openly-gay openly-rightist (do those cancel each other out? or was one or the other that made the man a target?) politician? if, as tinka told me yesterday, september 11 isn't what sparked this craziness in europe, what did?

at the risk of sounding cold blooded, i appreciate the complexity of the situation. from a writer's perspective, it makes for good narrative. so many different motives, no easy answers. the killer, apparently, was a white male with a shaved head. nowadays, who the hell knows that what means.
also interesting, though more specific to the u.s.: an examination of the textures of the left (via arts and letters)
(krissy: "ester, don't you have class right now?" sometimes the world[wideweb] is too damn fascinating.)

Monday, May 06, 2002

today i met tinka and lived. it was unreservedly beautiful out and i basked, bare-armed, in the sun, ten minutes early to our assigned meeting place, with some half-formed notion of spotting her first. of course as soon as i let my guard down, i heard someone greet me by name. crushing: i was hoping the hairdye would serve as something of a disguise ("oh yeah," she deadpanned, "you look like an entirely different person.")

within minutes she'd taken me somewhere i'd never been, a lovely spot of hills and trees orbiting a lake. i got used to her british accent and we discussed politics and dogs and the whole blogging thing until the day grew less friendly and the drunks more loud. she claimed to be an atypical dane, which is vexing: i've had two Conversations with natives, neither of whom views him/herself as normal. well, where are the typical danes then? ... oh right. jutland.
anyway, it was certainly a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in "meat space", as my criminal justice guest-lecturer dubbed the non-worldwideweb-world.

i'm also wearing a thong today, an interesting first experience via heather, who bought andrea and me sets to match one she already had. as ilana put it, indisputably, "you don't scream THONG." heather knew that too, of course, which was one of the reasons she chose them as presents. while i admire that shrewdness on heather's part, i'm not sold on the physical reality of the thing. it makes me more conscious than i like to be of my posterior with which, up til now, i've had a cautious, distant relationship. like with a prison pen-pal.
and does anyone have any suggestions, dammit, as to what i should read next?
temperance paid off yesterday as the more i did nothing, the more my health improved. if i were mathematically inclined i could chart that. i spent most of the day in fuzzy slippers, at one point recognizing a kindred spirit, similarly shod, coughing my cough, in a fellow DISer a hall(a)way. i talked to my parents, who insisted on both being on the line at the same time, and read some blixen stories, including babette's feast, quite confused on how anyone could make that into a movie.
anne called, inquired after my well-being, and i made the decision to attempt Chai and Dye: Part Deux. because when one's eyes and nose are red, shouldn't one's hair match? she skipped on over and we dove in, ruining 2 cheap dish-towels we'd bought for the occasion ("when i was done, the towel didn't look like no goddamned maxi-pad!"). it hadn't occurred to me that i would be doing her hair but she coached me through it, and once more suitemate sapna walked in on me playing salonista. more successfully, might i add, although perhaps it's just easier to dye than snip.

so now i'm more burnt-sienna than i was. in this state, i'm set to meet the webmistress herself this afternoon on the steps of city hall. she's confident she'll know me on sight. honor of honors, i also received an email invitation to join the copenhagen bloggers coffee and beer consumption consortium (did i get that right?) in some (what else?) coffee and beer. unfortunately i'll be in spain but my eyes grew moist and i rested a hand on a heart in the pure joy of inclusion and acceptance. even the theoretical kind.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

just my luck: yesterday evening, while i was reading anne's tarot cards as compensation for her having brought me home, the phone rang. karen, my soon-to-be supervisor, in copenhagen as planned, wanted to know if i could meet for a pleasant sunday city lunch. my half-voice spoke for me. alarmed, she said, don't push yourself, it's not crucial. i really wanted to meet her, so we compromised: she'd call at 9:30 the next morning. if i was better we'd make a go of it. if not, we'd wait til i'm back in dc.
groaning, i returned to anne and finished the spread. we'd been drinking tea and i'd made my way through two bowls of oatmeal for strength. then i bid her adieu. being the lovely resourceful young woman she is, she rigged up curtains for me, on the assumption that my lack of sleep was less sadism and more sunlight, the which crashes through my wall of windows directly opposite my bed. one forgets that just because it's not warm that doesn't mean the sun ain't shining. and at full wattage by 8 a.m., so even a cloudy sky glows like a bulb.

but though i nyquiled myself into slumber, i woke feeling possibly more miserable than before. karen called again. there was no hiding it. with promises to convene back home, we hung up. i drowned my sorrows in more nyquil and slept til 2.
now actually i feel half all-right. i'm tempted to go back to dis and watch more riget -- we got through 3 episodes yesterday before i more or less collapsed. i'm not sure i should chance it. being well for barcelona is vastly more important.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

as expected, i have no voice to speak of (heh heh.) i can't believe my body held off the harsh, insistent copenhagen cold for three months only to finally succumb come may. the concert was the catalyst but i knew i'd been heading towards this point for days. i recognized the signs. and this morning i arrived in full-blown nose-blowing mode. welcome to ill, population: 1: you.

when i'm sick, there's no hiding it. i wake up looking like roadkill. by noon my condition is visibly upgraded from Cross the Street and Hold your Nose to Extend Pity and Offer Tea. by night i'm back to something you want to kick back to the gutter.
i get along as best i can, doing things that don't involve talking. this morning after six hours of sleep (what sadistic impulse in me refuses me a deep, dreamless eight?) i curled up and finished smilla, the character of which i liked more than the story. now i'm at DIS about to watch riget, van trier's creepy series. if i can hold myself up, tonite'll be chai and dye w/ anne.

Friday, May 03, 2002

... yeah, like it was even a decision.
first i found out i got my intership. which means i have two jobs for the summer, either of which by itself would be worthy of cheering. but both! my lord --
then, the concert. katie and andrea switched gears and we all bussed over, marveling at the room as we entered, slightly bigger than the 9:30 club in d.c., loosely filled with more lovely lesbians than i've seen in one place since Mothertongue. couples everywhere, hands lingering in short hair; beer, cigarettes; everyone smiling; not a single bare midriff or pair of high heels to be found. but men too (this is why europe is cooler than america): men with women, men with men. and some people whose gender you can't tell by looking which fills me with joy. we take places in the second row, slightly to the right of the microphones.

first three people come onstage as though straight out of a soap opera. petite, earnest-faced blonde woman, dressed in black; a man like those seen on the prows of ships, bulging and protruding every which way yet curved incongruously over a delicate electric violin (you don't get muscles like that playing the violin!); and a third, darker, smaller man in back on the keyboard. charming scottish accents, ballads crooned. rocky switches his violin for an equally fragile instrument and we continue to watch him with astonishment. a diamond twinkles on the lady's left hand.

twenty minutes after they leave, just when andrea announces, "i'm bored!," they come on. i've never seen them live but i recognize them from pictures: emily, full and blonde, pleasant-faced sharp-eyed; amy, hunched, mousy hair, eyes lost since squinted away. each holds one guitar. it's a sign: it's a back-to-basics kind of night. which means:
least complicated/ power of two/ three hits/ land of canaan/ galileo/ closer to fine/ go go go/ shame on you/ mystery/ chickenman/ cold beer and remote control
not in that order, of course; and others i'm sure i'm forgetting; and interspersed with old-skool sounding songs from their latest album. nostalgia stands behind me the entire time, poking me in the ribs, especially during mystery. by the end i'm bruised and dazed, and we troop out, though my voice refuses to come with me and remains shiny-eyed and sighing where i flung it on the stage.
HAVING been to tivoli once before (with jamie, two years ago) and having been to an indigo girls concert, despite having a long-standing sentimental attachment [particularly] to their early works;
and SEEING as it's rained for 85% of today and shows no signs of remission;
SHOULD I go, as planned, to the amusement park OR
to the indigo girls conert?

there's more than one answer to these questions/ pointing me in a crooked line...

Thursday, May 02, 2002

i like this guy. he's precisely the representation of what i imagine u. chicago to be. my dad went there and tells affectionately nostalgic stories like how his brilliant roommate would stand on a chair, blast symphonies, and conduct in his underwear. he (alex, or alex-as-self-represented-online) also reminds me a little of johnny.
while i'm at it, i've also been reading malpractice pretty regularly and denniskim. but i haven't really decided what my criteria for linking should be; i think too much and every once in a while i get shy about it. what is linking exactly? the equivalent of buying stock in a person, or painting their doorpost with blood, or reccommending a film? speaking of which, gwtw is showing at the dfi and i'm torn: forego melodramatic revisionist/racist claptrap, or go, prepared to revel in o. selznick sentiment on the big screen for the first time?
and speaking of which again, jean m. auel, i see, has finally released the long-awaited sequel x4 to Clan of the Cave Bear. oh when i was young and didn't know better, the books i read (and read and read, cuz in my book, anything worth reading was worth chewing like cud). i plead a nascent fascination with anthropology. back then, i was impressed partly because i assumed they were true.
i should make horror movies. i know exactly what to do. having lived near-20 years as a jumpy and over-imaginative nervous female is excellent preparation. what's scariest, just as what's funniest, is incongruity. what you don't expect: the face behind yours in the mirror. the figure in the chair in the corner. the unsmiling child. men in bear suits. men in bunny suits. in a pinch just men will do. especially in alleys.

i burst out of a nightmare at 3:45 this morning. as i watched the blue outside my window grow more and more vivid, to a soundtrack of birdsong, three notes on repeat, i reflected that i've never noticed sunrise or -set in this country. why is that? smilla kept me company for a long hour before i could finally drift off again, til 8:30 -- time to drag myself back to DIS and finish this paper. joy of joys, it's done, and i have a whole day of stresslessness to enjoy.

also: a reminder of why i love my skool after all. matt rubin, the spokesperson of the fascists, incidentally, is our dearly-beloved student body president, and a personal friend. i wrote one of my favorite poems with him on my lap and he gave me the only compliment i've ever had to look up in the dictionary. all hail, ruby.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

anyone have any wisdom about bulgaria? cuz now's the time to share it.

perhaps because i kept thinking "both! both!" yesterday evening, when stressing about Job, i dreamt last nite i was a hermaphrodite. it was a passing condition, and there was much more to the dream, including a troop of little girls staring at me as though they'd been betrayed and something about donuts.
having spent nine straight hours staring at this computer, i feel as surreal now as i did waking up. it bears mentioning that despite the physical differences inherent to my hermaphroditic state, emotionally i could detect no change. i wonder whether that means my mind isn't particularly gendered, or that i'm not capable -- even in dreams -- of knowing how i would think if i were [half] male.