Tuesday, December 30, 2003

where everybody knows your name

this is the second library ben and i have been in in two days and in both, the librarians have known their patrons personally. that's enough to make me want to move to small-town vermont, especially when they're cute and yuppie (but they still have cheaper gas than even rural upstate new york) and victorian and decorate with tasteful xmas lights.

til now, it's just been the two of us in my grandparents' lovely house. two friends are joining us today as should be a segment of ben's family. in the serene interval between our arrival and theirs, i've read 2.5 lemony snicket books, bought 1 audio cd (of book 3: the wide window), watched four movies, cooked, slept, walked, washed dishes, missed my grandfather and my dog, and laughed at ricki lake.

the movies, in order of sublimity, are as follows:
1) breathless. as good as everyone says it is; maybe better. this godard 1959 classic set the new age standard for sexyviolence and nihilism but unlike the vast majority of other such movies ever made it succeeds in seeming unique, beautiful, & surprising. extra plus: it features a fantastic female character who chooses independence over love.

2) caddyshack. actually funny. who knew?

3) my life as a dog. as ben sez, it's what gives foreign films a bad name. sure it's sweet and well-acted. it's also meandering, weirdly paced, long, and somewhat pointless.

4) bridge over the river kwai. speaking of long and somewhat pointless. sir alec as a self-important colonel who feels like civilization rests on his shoulders does not disappoint but the rest of this film, about the brits under sir alec's command in a japanese prison camp forced to build a bridge, would make edward said choke on his own vomit.

still left to see: shampoo, amarcord, jules & jim, & i'm blanking on the others, all courtesy of the chappaqua public library. and sometime we truly intend to get some skiing in.

Friday, December 26, 2003

a kander-and-ebb kristmas

no chinese food today, as it turned out. i did however find myself wandering around dupont circle, unsure of where exactly visions was, until i realized that all i needed to do was follow the jews.
sure enough, they led me to the free screening of cabaret. i think i liked it better this time -- the first time i saw the film i was skeptical of the ending.

then i took the metro home and participated in the following scene:

two middle-aged black women and one young white woman stand on a usually bustling street corner made eerily vacant by christmas, dark, and cold.

a vintage blue car slowly pulls up to the curb next to the three women. the older white guy inside rolls down the passenger side window and asks, "any of you ladies need a ride?"
the two older women give him a definitive No and he moves on.

several minutes later, a run-down red car pulls up to the curb next to the three women. the older white guy inside rolls down the passenger side window and asks, "can i take you ladies somewhere?"
the two older women give him a definitive No and he moves on.

the three women exchange incredulous glances. this is northwest washington, connecticut avenue -- what on earth is going on?

a minute later, a black suv pulls up to the curb next to the three women. the young white guy inside signals to the crowd. the older women open their mouths to give him a definitive No but are silenced by the young woman moving to accept the driver's invitation.
she turns around and explains, "this one's okay. it's my brother."

fin

my parents bought me a laptop for hannukah. bless them and bless this giftgivin time. and bless vermont where i'll be for the next week. mm, vacation -- my last winter break ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

happy december 25th!

i overdid it on the nyquil today and ended up sleeping through christmas eve dinner. not that we celebrate yoshke day. another jewish family came over and my mother made ducklings and roast onions and i was upstairs, blissfully sleeping in pants and socks.

that, despite having recently seen 28 days later (scary) and 21 grams (sad).

i only have one grad skool application left to send out (scary? sad?). this feels somewhat like a cusp-of-the-future moment. an old friend and i were wandering around a mall and she dragged me over to kay "the k stands for kheap!" jewelers and for the first time in my life i came face to face with diamond rings.

check out the Design Your Own Ring link from that site. it's currently making the hair rise on the back of my neck. then of course there's the spending guidelines which recommend the traditional 2 months of salary. they even offer a thingy that calculates for you what that would be.

it's kind of like an online quiz, only creepier. for instance, "what shape reflects YOUR love?
The luxurious oval shaped diamond is a definite favorite. Oval shaped diamonds are guaranteed to leave an everlasting impression of luxury regardless of how they are worn. This piece is destined for lovers who demonstrate both creativity and dependability. Fun-loving women who allow their true wild-side to shine through often prefer this shape as well."

or -- like captain planet -- heart!: "Heart shaped diamonds beautifully and simply reflect a relationship that is meant to last "happily ever after." Although the heart is feminine and delicate, its spectacular shape captures all the attention it deserves, as this shape is very difficult to cut. The heart shape conveys the endless love that exists between two people and reinforces the genuineness and passion that only true love shares."

ew ew ew. ew. but the alternatives are also gross: she'll never know .... as seen on tv.

funny how i started off talking about christmas and ending up talking about consumerism. actually, that's a pretty hackneyed point; i apologize. i'm going to see movies with the jews tomorrow at visions. very exciting. have a happy holiday everyone and may you give/receive all the shiny objects you wish.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

acetaminophin

that's a stab in the dark, btw. i never claimed to be a speller.

of all my weirdo pseduo-phobias -- bathrooms, driving, lighting matches -- the one i most still need to address is taking pills. curing headaches via nyquil for its painkillers seems somewhat roundabout.

i haven't been able to accomplish much recently. i'm paralyzed. my little brother has the flu and i'm so paranoid i'll get it all i do is wash my hands. but um. i am having a good break.

Friday, December 19, 2003

the return of good movies

now that i'm home, i can turn my attention to movies EVEN MORE exclusively. (i enjoy my life.)

my father and i went to a matinee of return of the king in a huge two-tier theater with a curved screen and an audience that shrieked when the lights went down and throughout at Classic Movie Moments. sometimes i clapped along with them, giddy, as a testament to the fact that for the first 2.25 hours i was swept away by this film.

i think my resting heart rate for the duration of rotk was 106. that's about what it was the last days before i heard from swarthmore and i know because my p.e. teacher made me take my pulse in front of the class. when he realized it was over 100, he looked at me like i might be crazy, or dead.

the POINT is, it's such a kickass film it feels like a workout. you break out in a sweat. you alternately tense and relax. and afterwards you feel goofy and fulfilled.

my only quibble is with the last half hour. what is with the 10 different endings, each schmaltzier and more mythical than the last?

it's so good though. isn't it? so scary, and thrilling, and well-directed and well-paced. i even thought the script was better. check plus, peter jackson. and thanks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

peddling donuts

me: would you like to buy a donut for an excellent cause?
lady: oh, i'd like to but i just can't. i'll give you some money though.
me: thank you. are you sure you wouldn't like the donut?
lady: no ... go give it to someone thin.
me: YOU'RE thin.
lady: you haven't seen me naked.

in less than two hours of selling, veronica and i sold 108 real donuts. many we sold more than once, since many soft-hearted administrators "bought" donuts, or even whole boxes, without taking them. virtually all of them were on atkins and they weren't convinced when i told them these donuts were low-card. they did, however, find veronica and me excessively cute.

i'm done w/ everything. it's a great feeling. i handed in my film final and my screenplay draft (held together w/ clothespins) to my prof at the same time. she was much more excited about the screenplay, which left me a little miffed i had bothered at all with the finals.

who cares! tomorrow i go home. top five movies to see:
#1 Return of the King
#2 Big Fish
#3 21 Grams
#4 Mystic River (finally)
#5 damn, there was a fifth. it's escaping me now. no matter! happy break, everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

!!!

i finished! i finished i finished i finished my first draft. 109 pages, half of which it took me a semester to write and half of which it took me this past week. ignoring that -- and many other things, including its roughness -- i am very excited to report i have a full, functional first draft.

and no, you may NOT read it, no matter how well-intentioned you are, until i have spent the requisite few weeks revising it and feeling more solid about it.

meanwhile, just celebrate with me. YEAH baby!
poor miss moore

i braved the snow this morning for blue pancakes and far from heaven with k-ross and msrabi.

that was my third retro film of the weekend. #1, on friday, over milk-godivaliquer-&-kahlua cocktails in plastic cups, was the disappointing fast times at ridgemont high. by the near end, one of my companions had wandered off, another asked if we could just stop watching, and i had been playing snood for twenty minutes.

more successfully, #2, on saturday, following a grocery run that took several of us into philadelphia for a classy dinner at whole foods, wayne's world. so pomo it makes clueless look positively mild. and still fun to watch.

perestroika tonight, which i've never seen produced before in any form, will serve as #4. before i leave on wednesday, i should round off the retro to a round #5, i think. perhaps only if i indeed finish a draft of audacia.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

dum da dum

i've hit page 92. that means 100 will be a piece of cake -- and i'll have written 50 pages in less than a week -- and i should almost definitely go for a full draft, however long that turns out to be. oh dear oh dear. it's rather exciting.

how do people feel about flashbacks? what's the consensus? annoying or better than chronological story-telling. it's so hard to know.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

hilarity ensues

howl, howl, howl, howl, howl.

not me. the wind.

i'm on page 72, which would be excellent if it seemed like i could stop at 100 but i'm not sure i can. it is very difficult to keep the big picture in mind when writing a screenplay. individual scenes are so important, and making sure one scenes leads logically into another, and keeping the story moving.

i've seen lots theater recently -- senior company last friday, angels in america sunday (beautiful, btw; i can't wait for the next installment), the directing pieces last night -- and lots of film: thelma and louise, waiting for guffman, the tall guy, being there (i fell asleep but i could tell it was lovely). even dance: the gammalan concert, terpsichore, and k-ross's party. all this art should be having a tremendous effect on me. perhaps it's the kind of thing that would show up in an x-ray.

anyway, back to plowing ahead in the story of audacia dangereyes. maybe it'll be okay if i don't finish a whole draft so long as hit 100 pages before i go home.

Monday, December 08, 2003

out of the ________, into the _________

high pressure situation day! first i had dinner with my future, or what i hope is my future: killer indy producer and actual breathing living Member of the Academy christine vachon. (i keep thinking vachon means "pig" in french. subsequently i keep thinking this is wrong. i only just learned today that "liebstod," the only german endearment i know, means "love-death." anyway!)

christine vachon arrived in pajama pants, which looked like they once belonged to m.c. hammer, tucked into black combat boots. now THAT, my friends, is a new york filmmaker. her clothes said Fuck hollywood, as did her attitude, her lack of makeup, and, in fact, her oeuvre. damn that's hot. i wish i could be a successful creative non-sellout.

after dinner, during which i failed to make an impression on ms. christine -- to be fair, there were about 15 of us and patty's son stole the show -- i heard her speak, watched clips, and participated in a Q&A. that always means, for me, that i sat scribbling quotes into my notebook and looking intently at her JUST IN CASE she should happen to be tortured by the thought, "who IS that girl with the pigtails and the intense gaze?" and immediately sign me to my bright and glorious future.

there was no signing involved. there was nothing but me saying goodbye and thank you as i left, holding the leftover lasagne patty let me take home to feed my weeklong guest. now i'm going, braced, to the trans workshop where hopefully i will not accidentally say something offensive or expose ignorance any greater than everyone else's about the issues at hand.

christine vachon says she's fearless. i wish i could be fearless. i mean, for god's sake, christine vachon is only christine vachon and the cool kids are only the cool kids (hi cool kids!) and someday i'm really going to be somebody ... or something.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

update!

roy h. is speaking here tonight. the zionist group is bringing him as an example of an israeli college student. allow me to say, WHAT??

for those of you who don't know, or vaguely remember, roy h. went to my high skool. i retain only a vague impression that he was hot as he graduated several years ahead of me.
his younger brother, m., however, is an infamous holy terror. m. rode the bus with me and would tell casually about his sexual escapades in the beit midrash. (dude! we had to PRAY in there!) one time he came to one of my brother's parties at our house and in trying to run from the family room to the patio didn't realize there was a GLASS DOOR in the way.

he fell on the door, shattering it the way you've never seen anything shatter in your life but only dazing himself. his mom came to pick him up soon after. my mom wondered how to break the news to her.

the ensuing conversation went as follows:
my mom: you son had an accident and shattered our glass door.
his mom: oh dear. ... i hope you have insurance.

i don't mean to imply that just cuz m. is a delinquent his brother is. but, uh, the odds are against him.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

edit

i've taken this down in the interest of not embarrassing myself any further. thanks for the supportive comments.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

my outrage is better than your outrage

because mine gets published! check out my letter to the new york times magazine. it's the last one on the page and it's in reference to an article from two weeks ago (unfortunately you have to pay for it now. the intro paragraph should give you an idea). judson said the author medicalized gender. if i were really smart, i woulda thought of that -- but i was smart enough anyway to get published.

forgive my bragging, but i am 2 for 2: one letter in the washington post last year, one in the times.

in other non-outrage related news, i'm back from what has never been my favorite holiday. of late my family has been hoofin it up to vermont and celebrating there. after a few days with all of us in that house either micromanaging or snapping pictures it usually gets a little, um, special.

this year we gathered in dc. it seemed in some ways like an extension of the funeral, since it was the same folks gathered in the same place. but there were also important holiday elements, like more corners to escape to and more tvs to watch and a computer to fight over. ultimately it was really good and i enjoyed seeing my family under less strenuous circumstances.

and no, i did not eat the turkey, but, yes, i had plenty to eat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

cake or death

cake, please!
okay, here's a real question. how many movies have you walked out of or stopped?

my list:
  • waking life GOD that film is a pretentious waste. those conversations are not deep. they're intellectual roadkill. we have those conversations during the first week of college before we realize college students are meant to limit their conversations to the subjects of teleology and poop.
  • playing by heart
  • age of innocence
i mean, as a general rule, i don't see bad movies, so as a general rule i don't stop or walk out of things no matter how badly they are in need of stopping or walking out of. case in point: love, actually to which i subjected not just myself but four others on friday.

a bit of advice, gov. when you're making a romantic comedy -- or eight at once -- you do not need to begin with a pious lecture to your audience about how Love is All Around Us.
your audience is watching your movie either because (a) they believe that already, fervently, and expect you to back them up; (b) they are skeptics reasonably willing to be convinced; or (c) they think liam neeson, emma thompson, alan rickman, & colin firth are terrific actors and wouldn't be in a movie all together if it were rubbish. for the (a)s, the lecture is redundant. for the (b)s, it induces vomiting. for the (c)s, it starts heart palpitations and alarm bells ringing and the unpleasant thought, "christ, what i have gotten myself and/or four others in for?"

romcoms are by definition not radical acts of resistance against the man (tho wouldn't it be could if they were?). still it's downright CREEPY to populate a supposedly sweet movie with adulterers, wannabe-adulterers, chronic sexual harassers, and men in positions of power who take advantage of their female underlings. especially when you're not given time to know these people or understand their intentions, if they have any besides "it's christmas! i'll do what i like!" in the spirit of jesus, the original hedonist, of course.

rant To Be Continued and To Lead Up to a Point about Do The Right Thing.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

teleology

at dinner tonight, someone brought up teleology, which, in respect to history, refers to the belief that events happened because they had to, one after the other, to lead up to the present moment. more than anything it affirms the endpoint. the present.

teleology falls under the rather expansive category of Things That Are Not Okay.

i do not espouse teleology. i find theory tedious in general; i'm not going to spend my valuable snood-playing time decided whether to identify as 40% New Historicist, 40% Feminist, 20% Kid in the corner who didn't do the reading.
however, when i dismiss ani difranco or the indigo girls [simply?] because they featured prominently in a rearview mirror part of my life, i am being teleological. ditto when i make fun of my old poetry or old friends or pre-swarthmore modes of thinking.

they should teach classes here in how not to be disdainful of the past. (SOAN 087: RECLAIMING ANI. 1 credit. cross-listed under MUSIC AND DANCE and EDUCATION.) it's SO tempting. so easy. who wasn't an underdeveloped twerp at the age of 13?
it might be a touchy subject to me because i still look more or less the way i did when i was 13. under such circumstances, naturally i would want to differentiate myself from my tween self as much as possible, in the only way possible.

but um, i was kind of cool when i was 13. i didn't care what people thought of me. i spent no time or money on fashion. i wrote limericks. i asked out a boy. even after that didn't work out (see entry, November 19) we remained friends. my posse of friends were the coolest people ever; i didn't NEED a boyfriend. in fact, when a boy asked me out -- a boy i thought i really really liked -- i surprised both of us by saying No.

good to remember. go ahead, try it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

unlucky in love day

apparently word spread that i managed to convince several people in our class that our film teacher would be showing porn classic deep throat instead of midnight cowboy. after seeing cowboy i almost wish i'd been right: i'm discovering a newfound antipathy on my part to films that are THAT depressing. unless, like, say, Happiness, they're also THAT good.

the plan this evening is to celebrate Unlucky in Love Day, which dates back to November 1994, by going into the city, toasting each other with $3 margaritas and watching a free screening of high fidelity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

blueberry pie

i needed to write six pages of my screenplay this afternoon. i wrote eight, AND did my laundry, AND put it away, AND wrote my review for the phoenix (on the station agent, one of three indie, character-driven, written-and-directed-by-a-white-man flicks i've seen lately. two of the three have starred the remarkable patricia clarkson, who is to this year what carrie-anne moss was to 2000).

the way i see it, i have earned my right to enjoy tonight's screening of midnight cowboy. after that, however, and more or less for the next two weeks, it's back to work.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

between 3 and 6

my first night back at skool, i considered a play, a movie, an evening of games, and decided i wanted quiet. a book and a bed.

at 1 a.m., the fire alarm went off.
at 1:45 a.m., the fire alarm went off again.

at 2, i finally crawled back into bed. at 3:30 i finally fell asleep.

i woke at 6, at 8, at 10. at 10 i got out of bed, urged by an unusual feeling of activity around my nostrils. i wish i could say i woke up, bleeding out of my face, after dreaming of mountain climbing or hand-to-hand combat with donald rumsfeld.

it has stopped. my worry that all of a sudden today someone will point at me and shriek, "ohmygodBLOOD!" has not.
otherwise, i'm fine. it's good to be back.

Friday, November 14, 2003

shiva

the jewish ritual of mourning involves spending a lot of time sitting in little chairs. they look like something out of a fairy tale, especially set among the high-backed chairs and sofas of my living room.

already my time among the little chairs is winding down. tomorrow my cousin eric drives me to skool, barring the same kind of unforeseen circumstance that detained us earlier in the week. i've been gone since last friday. i'm braced to see that skool life has managed to continue without me, but people have been exceptionally sweet.

i spoke at the funeral yesterday.
i shoveled earth into the open grave.
when the limo dropped us back at the house, the electricity had gone out. it came back on just before the 7:30 service in my living room. before then, the candles everywhere and sheets over the mirrors gave the appearance of a seance.

and now, what.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

everyone says "not yet," no one says "yet."

yet.


as it turns out, it was the end. i'll be at home for a while.
for whom the phone tolls

as it turns out, this is not the end exactly. this is the beginning of the end. i head back to swat tomorrow morning in time to make it to my film class. but of course for the rest of november i'll be hovering over my phone, waiting for it to ring.

at least i got a chance to sit with my grandfather, to thank him for everything he's done for us, particularly the challah he made every friday night for shabbes dinner. he got to call me ester bloomie. he got to hold my hand. i'm his only granddaughter. he's my only grandfather. at least we got a chance to say goodbye.

Monday, November 10, 2003

i look

three red bumps plotted on my face like the vertices of a triangle. glasses. hair parted straight down the center, pulled straight back into a ponytail. i don't know how many days i will wear these clothes. i only expected (packed) for a weekend.

family trickles in by plane, train, car, phone. everyone murmurs, feeds each other. when the need strikes each of us, we move to a different room in my grandparents' apartment and face a different wall, a different window. or sometimes. we hold each other. the rabbi comes when called, surprising pleasing me, and stays, encouraging my grandfather's stories. for the rabbi's sake, my grandfather speaks more than he has all day and in a stronger voice. he likes to say the word, to call him simply "Rabbi." the rabbi listens until the tape in the player runs out. he speaks to my grandfather with respect, not the way you fear people will speak to a man in the last stages of cancer.

the siddur sits open on the kitchen counter to the "viddui" page.

my father sits open in the kitchen dressed for the yeshiva, white button down shirt, dark pants, dark kippah, reading, not the New York Times, but "Psalms." he says things in yiddish to my grandfather, who answers in kind.

deli, chinese in the fridge. i make tea. everyone loses it but no one really does. it is as though we carry ourselves in our fists. politics. movies. a day passes, a full day, not just the time between lunch and dinner. there is no lunch and dinner. there is tea, deli, chinese. coffee cake. my grandmother tells me gently i made the tea too strong. i make more.

inevitably, because the family has gathered, it feels like a celebration. we make jokes. we suggest movies to see. we try to watch the english patient but who has patience for it even outside of this apartment? my grandmother amazes me. my uncle amazes me. everyone amazes me. my father, my mother. my grandfather tells the rabbi, She'll be America's Poet Laureate someday.

he is conscious, at least for now. he knows who he is, who we are, if not who we'll be. of course, he amazes me. the rabbi asks him, Do you want me to read the viddui, the confessional? my grandfather says, Not yet.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

thank heaven for ...

- rational human beings and courts that work with them:
Allowing Congress to practice medicine without a license endangers the lives and health of women," said Vicki Saporta, chief executive officer of the federation.

- billionaires with consciences:
When Ray Kroc died in 1984, she took control of the San Diego Padres, which her husband had purchased 10 years earlier. And though Ray Kroc had been committed to philanthropy, opening the Kroc Foundation in Chicago to support medical research, his wife took giving even more seriously
my dad gave the salvation army $1 million once, $1 to each of three other national charities. it wasn't his money to distribute, it was the government's, but it pleased him that for once government money was being allocated the way it should be.

it makes me wish i had a lot of money to give away. first i'd have to have a lot of money, which would also be nice.

- tamara jenkins, writer-director of slums of beverly hills, is going to be my honors examiner. for you non-honors-program-swatties, that means my senior year will culminate in an intense discussion with her about my screenplay thesis. she will read and then grade my thesis. considering that slums is the most authentic, effective film about an adolescent female, this is (a) intimidating, and (b) um, fucking amazing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

planning my last semester

how about:

- film theory & culture (req. seminar, only 1 credit, w/ patty)
- film production workshop (hands-on camera experience)
- VAMPIRES in film, lit, and music (!!)
- olde english (learning the lang, man)

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

die bold!

swarthmore makes it into the new york times, and not in reference to its football team! the article is in the business section, which sucks a little, but it's also FIVE PAGES LONG. and, if i may say so myself, sympathetic toward the students involved.
�It�s very different from the way that Diebold has been doing things.� Mr. Rubin, who has received a cease-and-desist notice from Diebold because of his research, said, �The solution is to stop selling insecure voting machines and not to continue threatening students who are only trying to protect our democracy.�
that's right! tell 'em! democracy!

i'm feelin peppery cuz i just saw the one-and-only blacklisted american film, salt of the earth (1954). it deals with so many issues that it's hard to know which straw broke the projectionist's back: the mexican-americans demanding equality? the women demanding respect from their men? the workers standing up to the evil white mining bosses? the fact that the film was made by a member of the infamous hollywood 10?

the dvd case says it was the only american film to be shown in china for fifteen years, which probably makes it the most watched movie of all time. it's funny: of the messages in the film, many of which are revolutionary, especially for 1954 (!!), the one that comes across least strongly to me is communism. it's about workers' rights and the power of unions, but not in a What Would Mother Russia Do? kind of way.

Monday, November 03, 2003

how to teach the worst workshop in history

[censored out of worry/wisdom. if you want to see the full text, you can find it as a friends-only entry on my lj. if you REALLY WANT to see it and don't have a damn lj, leave a comment and i'll email you the entry.]
november and november and november ...

usually november is one of those months where depression claims me, like february. by "usually" i mean "habitually," at least here. the past three years i've gotten beaten down by november, by assassins or paranoia or plain old american malaise.

come to think of it, novembers in high skool were never too hot. one november i fought with my best friend on and off and passionately all month, culminating in a letter that went on longer than the month itself that i wrote over thanksgiving weekend at my cousins' house in westchester.
another november -- november 19th, to be exact -- i asked out a male friend of mine over the phone. he laughed and said no. later, when he realized i hadn't been joking, he apologized to me, chagrined.

yeah, november. up to no good.

the weather hints otherwise, to the point where i'm not sure what to believe. the store i wanted to go to today was closed. the movie i saw was mediocre. i missed my train by three minutes. the next movie i saw was mediocre too. none of it made me sad, though, ameoliorated as it was by company, the afore-mentioned weather, and frank o'hara's lunch poems.

the smartest course of action seems to be, Stay low, don't try anything risky, don't play assassins, don't give in to the feeling that your friends have stopped liking you, and enjoy the unseasonable warmth.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

it feels like june!

or at least may. it's AMAZING. i almost regret not getting up til 2. almost.

at around 2 last night my body had definitely had enough. it was enough of a rough week (what with my exorcist-type relationship with the toilet that one morning, and the two nights made possible by NyQuil) that even though i was feeling up to celebrating halloween by halloween, i reached my tolerance early-ish. this made an unfortunate shivery walk back to my dorm from ross-n-reb-n-ian's place.

but the party at ross-n-reb-n-ian's place was largely delightful. my costume went over well. the glasses, as it turned out, MADE the costume: what's a nerdy half-earnest superhero without glasses? i carried around a vinnie's tampon case -- black and red, it matched the rest of me: red stockings, topped with red'n'black thigh-high socks, my red'n'black velvet suit, a red'n'black tablecloth cum cape -- filled with Consciousness Raising slogans.

when people asked who i was, i presented them with a notecard that read something along the lines of "What would bell hooks do?" or "Look at your vagina in a mirror!" with the exception of one person who merely Looked at me, as though to say, What, do you think you're funny?, it was a hit.

terrific costumes abounded. reb made a frighteningly accurate droog. kross flitted around as a neon bug man. we had 2 greek philosophers, several characters from harry potter including a basilisk, donatella versace, charlie chaplin, buffy and willow, AND, my favorite, little adam as eminem.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

costume

i'm going to be CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING GIRL for halloween. i have a whole superhero outfit planned. first i thought i'd go ahead and be PROBLEMATIC MAN! but, i mean, you know, i am a girl and all, and this isn't sager. kross might be PROBLEMATIC MAN! together, we'll be a team, fight injustice and randy goldstein wherever they may hide.

and if someone shows up in blackface to THIS YEAR's halloween party, PROBLEMATIC MAN! and I will handle it, the PROBLEMATIC! and CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING way.
points

point 1.: it's exciting that the campus has finally gotten itself into a controversy that has nothing to do with either issues of queer identity/representation or israel/palestine. it doesn't even matter what i think, particularly, although after reading various opinions, pro and con, including professor tim burke's, i still don't have a strong opinion. that's okay! this isn't queer issues! this isn't israel! i CAN be kinda here, kinda there, not totally invested. and what a relief that is.

point 2.: i have abscesses in the cornea of my left eye. no, i don't know what abscesses mean, or how to spell the word. i had to go to chester/crozer yesterday to have a cheerful doctor tell me to keep wearing my glasses at least until saturday and put in two kind of eye drops ten thousand times a day. he did say whether this will cure me; i can only assume it will.

meanwhile this has rather affected my week. constant headaches, in one instance exorcist-type projectile vomiting (green, no less!), & lots and lots of sleep because my vision in my dreams at least is not impaired. i always wonder in these situations whether i'm being punished for vanity, or pride, or one of the other seven deadly sins in which we jews do not believe.

in fact, i only believe in a punitive god when it seems i'm being punished. i try to take it meekly: i'm wearing the glasses and even somewhat getting used to them, though i once declared i would not leave the room in them. now i need only design a holloween costume around them ...

Monday, October 27, 2003

fish are jumping, and the cotton is high ...

is that how you spell cotton? oh well. we high-an-mighty authors do not have time to check piddling potential spelling errors.

my biggest coup of the weekend, easily, was finding one of my favorite cereals at the dollar store. it wasn't even expired! cereal = the best food you can eat straight out of the box.

the rest of the weekend was fun too. ben recounts it in detail. yes, once again, he came up this weekend, rather than even allow for the possibility that in my loneliness and frustration i run off with someone else. except, here at swarthmore, who would that be? my male friends are gay. my female friends are gay, and in relationships. attractive strangers don't exist here. you think you see one, and it turns out to be a tree.

the capitol steps, my first political/satirical influence, made that joke several times when they played here saturday evening. twelve years after i last saw them, i still found them funny. the packed auditorium seemed to agree with me, and seemed to appreciate, as i did, that they -- in particular one group member, the father of a swattie sophomore -- made such an effort to personalize the second act.
granted, that boiled down to, You all are ugly and have no sex and will never make money in the real world! You should have gone to Harvard! but, like, in a funny way.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

calendar girl

i am going to be swarthmore college's ms. december.

or rather, the woman in charge of the december parents' newsletter has decided to do a thing on me and my poitri. she's going to print "our visit," aka the t. s. eliot poem, as well as my poitical inspirations, plans for the future (ha), and a picture. the picture scares me. after all, ich ne look like this pas:



although wouldn't it be great if i did? i mean, wow.
an xiety

i've resisted this for some reason. now i give in. witness!: margaret cho's blog. she has a beautiful tribute to elliott smith, who everyone in america and his mother must realize recused himself yesterday.

when i was little, one of my good friends told me a story repeatedly about her aunt who stepped in front of a metro train. the story drove me crazy cuz the aunt's name seemed to be ester -- was my friend telling me this story to prepare me for my own future? was she dooming me?
turns out the aunt's name was hester, or hesty, or zesty, maybe, something different enuf from mere ester that i didn't need to worry.

that is my first association with suicide. i am very, very lucky.

lately i've been having dreams where i'm so tense i wake up scared i'll twist my neck again and have to drag my sheepish self back to the chiropractor. it doesn't make sense to me. in waking life, i'm calm -- honestly -- even happy. in dreams, the small stuff i don't usually sweat is all there to haunt me.

also, via the nytimes, another kind of coming out altogether. i guess i'm glad for these women, that they can be proud of themselves and flaunt their bodies, regardless of what methods they used to obtain them. the suicide rate for women with breast implants, however, is astronomical. reading the article, particularly the doctor's warning that your life may not change that much, i could understand why.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

politics. (sorry.)

i'm not disagreeing with krugman. he's a smart man, he knows his foreign policy, he knows his history. but ... well, let's back up. according to the globe and mail, mahathir refuses to apologize and insists that the world's reaction to his statements prove his point:
Mr. Mahathir has refused to apologize for his comments, insisting they were misinterpreted and taken out of context. In a newspaper interview published this morning in The Bangkok Post, he said reaction to his comments proves that Jews control the world. "In my speech I condemned all violence, even the suicide bombings," he said. "That was the whole tone of my speech, but they picked up one sentence where I said that the Jews control the world.

"Well, the reaction of the world shows they control the world."

He said his comments were only partly reported by the Western media because "many newspapers are owned by Jews".
this blog entry, from "edstrong: the only radical left," um, scares the shit out of me. it quotes some of the rest of mahathir's speech. this is the context out of which mahathir insists his "offensive" comments -- "the europeans killed 6 million jews out of 12 million, but today jews rule the world by proxy. they get others to fight and die for them" -- were taken:
[The Jews] survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking.
They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others.

With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.

We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains also.
so is this the part that received the standing ovation justifiably? the part that summons to fight "we" and "them," "them" being goddammit a tiny group of people to which i happen to belong? no offense to christians, but why do jews need to take the heat for bush's 99% christian administration and its policies? especially when jews vote, as a bloc, democratic?

back to the initial point: krugman also conflates america with the jews. that's my problem with his article (linked above). krugman sez,
And bear in mind that Mr. Mahathir's remarks were written before the world learned about the views of Lt. Gen. William "My God Is Bigger Than Yours" Boykin. By making it clear that he sees nothing wrong with giving an important post in the war on terror to someone who believes, and says openly, that Allah is a false idol � General Boykin denies that's what he meant, but his denial was implausible even by current standards � Donald Rumsfeld has gone a long way toward confirming the Muslim world's worst fears.
why is THAT confirming their worst fears? boykin = goykin. rumsfeld's goykin too. neither of them has anything to do w/ the rothschilds.

if mahathir is urging the muslim world to fight the west, even just by thinking, i'm part of the west & that would affect me. but if he is urging the muslim world to fight the jews, EVEN JUST BY THINKING, even just as a political tactic, as krugman suggests, that affects me more. krugman doesn't suggest a solution except, implicitly, that since jews are taking the heat for the evil of this administration, it will help to get a new one. if that's what it takes, i don't care who it is -- dean, clark, gep -- but for god's sake, go get 'em.

Monday, October 20, 2003

first drafts

protesting my screenwriting prof charging us students $15 per screenplay, i found this early copy of adaptation on script-o-rama. the changes are amazing. the love interest is totally different! susan orlean kills herself! you have to read it to believe it.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

coming out week

out of the closet on bush hating. an interesting, even-handed analysis of the bush-hating issue. it raises the important point that by constantly insulting bush's intelligence, critics come off as insulting the intelligence of the average american.

it'll be an even more important point during the ensuing election. berating bush for stupidity might very well alienate folks who don't find him stupid and enforce the opinion that bush-haters -- & leftists in general -- are a bunch of snobs.

on that note, the post also has a good article on our man clark. it seems like he could combine the admirable aspects of dean (courage, speaking-ability, directed rage) with legitimacy on national security / foreign policy issues and, crucially, height.

also, in case it needed stating, i officially no longer care about baseball. it was a fling; it ran its course. now onto a new fixation: um. i'm open to suggestion.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

from the bottom of this cub fan's broken heart

i kept having to get up and leave the room while watching the cubs get trampled, and i don't even care about baseball. i did think about sarah and that poor adorable woman with the bright orange hair and white cap who the cameras kept bouncing back to for reaction shots. at the end of the game, she cried.

yesterday was all heartbreak, wasn't it? the ferry accident, after which the captain slit his writs and shot himself twice but didn't manage to kill himself; the bomb in gaza which killed 3 american diplomats seeking palestianian student to whom to award fulbright grants.

well, i had a good day. not to be contrary. but after all, i woke up on the hardwood floor of my boyfriend's new unfurnished apartment. that's such a very bohemian start to things. later i enjoyed an autumnal dog walk (i've had few of those since sheba died), a dinner with friends, and an exciting sox/yankees game to tie the series again.

mom says, You know so much about baseball all of a sudden!
i say, I read about it on the internet.

Monday, October 13, 2003

angry white men

the bloom family did something remarkable this evening, something i can't remember ever doing before. we gathered around the tv, with dinner as a backdrop, to watch game 4 of the sox/yankees playoff. no, we don't care about baseball. and i could count the interesting things i have to say about baseball on the fingers of one hand, and have one finger left over to express how i feel about yankees.

after saturday's brawl, which my mother, grandmother and i heard about in the hotel room in rochester, and then after yesterday's game was rained out, i figured tensions must be at their peaks. hence, drama: and i like drama. so we turned on the game at the top of the 3rd and were riveted thereafter.

my parents make delightful color commentators. to wit:
my mother: oh! that was a bad swing!
my father: that was so low, he needed a shovel for that!
i wasn't too much better. mostly my reactions were limited to gutteral sounds or pointing out herpes sores on a pitcher's lip. or saying, didn't mussina use to play for the orioles?

in honor of columbus day this morning i read the columbus chapter in lies my teacher taught me. in honor of columbus day this evening i did my patriotic duty and cheered as the dogged underdogs won the game to tie the series.

Friday, October 10, 2003

mawwiage ... mawwiage is what bwings us
During Marriage Protection Week, I call on all Americans to join me in expressing support for the institution of marriage with all its benefits to our people, our culture, and our society. ... I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies.
all together now folks: oh for god's sake. why does w. need to go out of his way to set aside a week for the devotion of marriage? our entire culture is built around marriage. only in a culture like this could a happily independent, citified, ambitious, east coast 21 year old like me have an anxiety dream about my theoretical wedding: how will i pick the right hoop skirt? what if i can't step to the beat down the aisle?

there's also just something amazing to me about a culture that sanctifies what is already santified, codifies what is already codified, and urges the culture as a whole to reaffirm the segment of the culture that is traditional, mainstream, and safe. one-man-one-woman unions are not in jeopardy, not of being beaten up on the street, not of expiring from lack of interest.
i mean, what's next, a week devoted to mayonase? to movies that end happily? to love? (wait, we have that already.) to disney world? to time-warner? to MONEY? ... wait that's really good. we should do that. & w., look!, february is wide open.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

reasons to clap, in case you needed one
  • i got a job! one on campus, not in the real world, but it bodes well. i get to work with books and history and elisabeth oppenh. and i may get to personally transcribe and edit a quaker's diary from 1770 - 1820!
  • week after week my column in der phoenix has been buried somewhere around the bottom of the 4th page of the living section. i kept meaning to query my editor about this but couldn't bring myself to on account of it seeming petty and self-involved. this week, without any particular change on my part, my article ("fans of fine food" ... again, not my title) appears as the lead. ich complain nicht.
  • i may have gotten a job offer for the real world as well. that one's more nebulous and can only be discussed once/if it's nailed down.
  • my lovely friend tamar is here, if not for much longer. she's the last of my good friends to come visit me here In My Element.
  • the weather!
  • the weather!
  • fall break!
  • the weather!

in honor of life seeming benevolent, i will help myself to a chai.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

traveling mercies

have i mentioned i think anne lamott should be canonized? "operating instructions" is the only -- and i mean ONLY -- piece of any kind of art -- EVER -- that made me feel it would maybe be okay to have a baby. at some point. eventually. plus it made me laugh, cry, and do the chicken dance: it must be good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

ugh

i adore my film professor and i'm enjoying her class, but why she can't pick a happy movie for us to watch is beyond me. last week it was birth of a nation followed by within our gates. gates was considered so potentially-inflammatory in its time for its depiction of the lynching of innocents that it wasn't even released in america.

the week before we had the searchers. john ford + john wayne = john racist texas propoganda.

this week, the jazz singer followed immediately by the crowd. easily one of the most dismal message movies i've ever seen, the crowd tells the story of a man who desperately wants to be Somebody but must realizes he never will and become content with that.

from the first twenty minutes or so of the jazz singer i could have sworn i'd seen the thing before. then i realized i was thinking of the simpsons take off with krusty and his father. if you happened to find that portrayal stereotypical, you should see this one. still, the jazz singer's treatment of jews is nothing to the blackface routine.

together it's overwhelming. i think i need to crawl into bed, pretend schwartzenegger is not about to elected to office, & not think about movies for a while.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

irish baby-boomers

i appreciate it when random-seeming tidbits convene in a way that creates a coherent subject, something conducive to writing about. VIZ.,

first last night i read gail collins's stand up women, an article in the nytimes magazine about how new york city has no statues of actual women (you know, as opposed to hera and alice in wonderland). particularly noteworthy in this piece of course is her paragraph on victoria woodhull, my whoa-man.

this morning i read evil maureen dowd's article which unironically includes the phrase "feminism died in 1998." not acceptable, maureen. even aside from that criminally stupid declaration -- which puts feminism's life-or-death at the feet of icons gloria steinem and hilary clinton -- she bursts at the seams with in jokes, chatty cattiness, and exhausting pseudo-clever wordplays.
witness the following:
It was no surprise on Friday that Mr. S was backing off his promise to release those "Springtime for Hitler" outtakes from George Butler's 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron." No dummy, he knew years ago his "Nazi stuff" could be trouble. He bought up the incriminating evidence, 100 hours of histrionic interviews, for a mil, and worked with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, giving it a mil in guilt gilt.
she means "gelt" not "gilt" and anyway: ugh! can you even unearth her point under the blizzard of blather?

interestingly, once i started researching gail collins, i found this slate article comparing her and dowd. it seems to give collins the advantage but it also paints collins with the same brush that i use above on dowd: "This is not commentary, this is hyperactivity." why do both feel they need to move a mile a minute, whirlwind into each sentence a jab or a jibe? why, in essence, do they write like bloggers? unlike the famed skimmers of the internet, people who read the nytimes are supposed to have an attention span.

as an answer to my rhetorical question, slate also offers this: Oh no; It's a Girl! apparently men are more likely not to leave their wives if their wives, like good wives, produce blessed boy-children. it presupposes that divorce = men leaving their wives. i'm not an economist, i have no idea whether most divorces are in fact initiated by men. although the article does not address that point, it makes some interesting other ones, such as:
One of Dahl and Moretti's most striking bits of evidence comes from shotgun marriages. Take a typical unmarried couple who are expecting a child and have an ultrasound, which more often than not reveals the child's sex. It turns out that such couples are more likely to get married if the child is a boy.
however the article, while pretending to address the subject evenhandedly ("Dahl and Moretti wisely decline to speculate, and I will follow their example") seems to relish its conclusion: "Maybe boys are just more fun to have around."

Saturday, October 04, 2003

wow

omg, wtf, my friend jamie just placed FIRST in her age group in the triatholon that she ran/swam/biked in the cold and rain. and she's taking care of my boy while he's homeless in CP so the dogs and drunken frat boys don't get him. jamie = my new hero.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

lost & found

my review, which will probably appear under some hideous title in the phoenix on thursday of "Lost in Translation":
The bourgeoning subculture of fan fiction pairs two romantically-unaffiliated fictional characters and creates for them a story of their own. The internet overflows with fan fiction about Harry&Hermione from Harry Potter, Xena&Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess, and various Star Trek captains with each other.

Whether consciously or not, what Sofia Coppola has created in her new film Lost in Translation is a piece of fan fiction that ingeniously pairs Bill Murray�s character, Herman Blume, from Rushmore, with Scarlet Johansson�s character, Rebecca, from Ghost World.

Devising a fantastical erotic scenario for those two characters would be untrue to both. Instead Coppola simply places them in the same swanky Tokyo hotel. Their mutual sense of alienation, coupled with insomnia, is enough to guarantee that Murray and Johansson will meet and recognize the other as a kindred spirit.

Murray�s character, an aging movie star, is in Japan to earn $2 million shooting whiskey commercials. Johansson�s, a 22 year old Yale grad, is in Japan accompanying her husband, a photographer, who is shooting movie stars.

Both spend their copious unstructured time wandering around the hotel or the city alone � and then, once they meet, together. It is in this aspect of the film particularly that Coppola reveals herself as a skillful director. Whether Johansson is examining Tokyo�s video arcades and high tech billboards, or temples and a flower-arranging class, Coppola herself maintains the same calm pace.

The effect produces more than a consistency of tone. Coppola captures vividly what is like not to be in Tokyo, but to be an American tourist in Tokyo. To view the city at arm�s length, fascinated by the details and equally unwilling to attempt to delve beneath the surface.

Neither Murray nor Johansson speaks Japanese. Much of the film�s humor derives from simple yet effective sight gags (Murray in a packed elevator of Japanese business men, standing a head taller than the rest of them) and typical cultural miscommunications. Without being offensive, the film manages to be surprisingly funny as well as, eventually, touching.

The relationship that develops between Murray and Johansson is what allows both to transcend the limits of their original Rushmore/ Ghost World characters. That relationship feels far more believable and, at the same time, more complex and unique, than what Hollywood usually comes up with.

Naturally, since they are Man and Woman, and even more so because as individuals they are so similar, sexual tension creeps into the story. At no point does it disappear, but, refreshingly, at no point does it take over. It becomes just another layer of their many-layered friendship.

Bill Murray deserves special praise for elevating wry, truly funny disaffection to an art form. If you couldn�t tell from Groundhog Day or if you thought Rushmore was a fluke, his performance here should erase all reasonable doubt: the man has talent.

Coppola�s previous film, The Virgin Suicides, while generally well-regarded, was also self-indulgent and slow. At moments, Lost in Translation feels like it could use some tough love editing. But as a whole it succeeds where Virgin Suicides failed, managing to be a thought-provoking, visually remarkable mood piece. The risks she takes here, such as prioritizing character over plot, pay off: they establish her as an artist as well as one of the most successful practitioners of fan fiction to date.

Monday, September 29, 2003

seen

EXT - UPENN SEPTA STATION - DAY

Two college seniors sit side by side on a red bench waiting for a train. SD, tall and lanky, carries one bag. ES, shorter and not-so-lanky, carries three. both look shaken.
ES
well.

SD
yeah. that ... was pretty awful.

ES
i think the worst part was when he made the class hate you for actually having done the assignment.

SD
or how 'bout when he made fun of you for being vegetarian?

ES
do you want a drink?

SD
do you have one?
from one bag, Es withdraws a statuesque bottle of WHITE CHOCOLATE GODIVA LIQUEUR. from another bag she withdraws TWO PLASTIC SHOTGLASSES.
ES
do you see any cops?

SD
the conductor ...

Es and S.D. hang their heads as the CONDUCTOR passes by, bellowing for a station stop. once she's gone, Es pours out two shots.
ES
to the most disappointing class ever.

SD
hear hear.
both drink.
ES
i think i'm going to need another.
S.D. extends his empty cup. Es pours liberally.

now here's where it gets fun! reader, choose your ending:
a) out of nowhere a police officer appears. he reads Es and S.D. the riot act on having open bottles of alcohol in public. fortunately he's convinced by their chagrin and apologies and lets them off with a warning -- but not before Es and S.D. miss their train and have to covertly drink more while waiting for the next

b) out of nowhere the despised professor appears, begging their pardon for having wasted their time over 4 weeks worth of classes, for pretending to be funny, for the racist cosby joke, for making Es say to the entire class of UPenn students, "i didn't date in high skool," & for insulting the semi-colon. unswayed by the apologies, Es hits him upside the head with the bottle of WHITE CHOCOLATE GODIVA LIQUEUR.

c) out of nowhere jesus appears. be patient, jesus counsels. bide your time. bite your tongues. believe me, in the next world, we have a special place for people who pretend to be funny, and a corner roped off for those who make racist cosby jokes.

d) none of the above. but the godiva was damn good.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

mi y'hiyeh veh mi ya'mut

coming home for rosh hashanah, the new year, means, primarily, the party my mother throws the afternoon of the first day. (the holiday lasts two.) essentially the same people come and feast on essentially the same menu. my friends grab plates of food and adjourn upstairs to eat on my bed and catch each other up on what's happened in the month since we've seen each other.

this year neither of my brothers came home to host with me, and sheba wasn't underfoot shnoring bits of turkey or meat. but as usual, people drank and had a merry time and stayed all afternoon, cornering me whenever i ventured downstairs to tell me i looked lovely and have i started college yet, or have i finished, or what am i doing next.

the party passed more quickly than it often has. i'm delaying the going back to college, even though i haven't been sleeping well in my old bed and even though my friends are heading back on schedule. surely it's my duty to hang around until the last of the poached salmon is et.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

be published

the washington post is publishing 600-800 word opinion pieces by undergraduates during the month of september. guidlines can be found here. send send send! think how depressing twill be if the results are dominated by young conservatives.

Monday, September 22, 2003

youth is a passing thing

I'm feeling bizarrely sad. The basement of McCabe isn't helping matters. Neither is the flourescent light or the chai I bought to get the taste of onions out of my mouth after 3 pieces of Belgian chocolate didn't do the trick. Even so I'm reluctant to return to my room, having ventured out for the purpose of doing homework (in which purpose I've been thwarted by the library gods) because i don't want to not-find ben there. i know in my head i'll not-find ben there; i'll find sex and the city: season 4, which will be a comfort, but not a ben-sized comfort.


at least my class today was good. last week i chose to crawl under the table and shoot myself rather than listen to the prof continue to ramble on about the cosby show, attractive v. unattractive female movie stars, cave paintings, and the like. it's supposed to be a screenwriting workshop for god's sake. he was treating it like a 3-hour marathon comedy special. even chris rock doesn't get 3 hours.

today was better. today at least we discussed movies. or, well, he talked for the vast majority of the time. maybe my standards have fallen precipitously. but he talked about the movies we were supposed to have seen; that's something. he said intelligent albeit uncited things, things he could have stolen from any number of people -- still, worthwhile, interesting things. it's nearly impossible to copywrite ideas anyway.

incidentally the gender genie determined from the above entry that i'm female -- barely. there was a 3 point difference in my scores. my use of "the"s nearly pushed me to the other side: apparently "the" is a typical masculine word. "but" is a typically feminine one.

maybe it's best to simply marvel at the genie and not bother trying to understand the underlying logical principles. maybe that's a typical feminine response. but!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

meat tenderizer

a bee stung me! in sharples, our dining hall, which looks like a ski lodge, is never called a cafeteria, and isn't usually a WWI battlefield where killer bees lurk in trenches waiting to jump out and attack.

a bee! stung me! i thought that only happened to whiny children, or people misguided enough to wear yellow. and honestly, it hurts. now i understand why people are afraid of those damned creatures. the one that got me didn't fall down and die, like they're supposed to; he merely continued on his merry masochistic way.

my hand swelled up and a nurse sprinkled meat tenderizer on like it was fairy dust, then sealed the deal by handing me a medicine bottle in a plastic baggie. that's ice, she said helpfully. just hold it with your hand.
i walked out of the medical building and back to my room, tenderized and clutching ice in the form of a bottle of pills, and i heard a girl behind me giggle to a boy, "what, did she get stung by a bee or something?"

also, i got my fortune told in philly yesterday, but more about that later.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

ben takes good pictures

there are a bunch of me but these are the 3 i like:

and and

here's one of my illustrious father:



course, you could just investigate the lot. do it fast if you're on the eastern seaboard, before isabel gets you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

welcome to the monkey house

gephardt-dean

gephardt? dean?

clark??
trade-offs

i have long flowy curtains in my room now (located mostly around the window, although one, longer than the other, trails on the floor). i am also afraid of cockroaches. brigid found one in her room yesterday and kindly stopped to tell me about it before she went to bed. how she could have gone to bed, without even the reassuring presence of flowy curtains, i don't understand; it was hard enough for me in my situation.

also, i have a carpet. for some reason when i arrived at my lovely room in one of the nicest buildings on campus, i never thought to look down. turns out i live on linoleum. luckily shorey had a spare rug and she was willing to walk it with me all the way from her 15-minutes-away dorm. unluckily it smells rather rank. presently it's sitting out in the hallway until it learns to behave itself and smell like a civilized carpet.

shorey also hung the curtains. or is it hanged? it is useful to have useful friends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

put yourself in my shoes

imagine: you're too tired to write a substantial entry. dispiriting days do that to you. also going to sleep at 3:30 for no better reason than because you've watched too many scary movies recently and are frightened to turn off the lights and be alone.

waking up and rushing off, disoriented, to tennis, only to swing vainly at every ball -- in one case, even attempt to serve and manage to thwack yourself in the back with the ball -- in another case, snapping unadvisably at the chill tennis instructor whose only offense was to ask you AGAIN to define for the class what a continental grip is -- should teach you that this, as a plan, is flawed.

a whole day spent in philly with nothing to show for it. 3 hour long penn class merely pissed you off and the registration gaffe afterwards exacerbated it, as did having to tred carefully in your tractionless platform sandals so as not to fall in the sudden soddenness of the afternoon. thank god for your friend s. kelly who procured falafel and SATC with you to calm you down and walked you to the train.

actually you're fine. you had a lovely weekend with your boy and his family. your hair withstood the humidity today remarkably well. so what if you don't have a movie review this week? go to sleep; everything will be better tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2003

it's about purity

driving up to new york on september 11th felt distinctly eerie. none of my fellow passengers seemed unduly stressed out. a few of them wore "i [heart] usa" buttons or t-shirts with flags, but quite possibly no more than normal in this day and age.

to avoid traffic, or something, we approached ny city via jersey city, which was a jumble of ethnicities you never see on television. women in saris, muslim men, a barefoot barelegged black baby running in circles while a couple watched from a porch, a few quickwalking youngish white folks but for the most part skin color ran the gamut from peanut butter to coca-cola.

stores boasted, Cheap _______ ! [nails, fish, shoes], some strictly in arabic.

i have to admit i held my breath while we crossed the bridge. i have to admit i thought, in the words of my predecessor, If i die, i die. i even may have thought it in hebrew, for extra kicks.

of course, nothing happened. i was glad to be getting off campus though. i wanted no part of any remembrance of the day, not leftist not rightist. for me it was enough to spend the day in class (normal) and travelling to new york (uneventful) and urge the arrival of september 12 as quickly as possible.

speaking of 12, here's my review of thirteen. por favor, ignore the shittyass titling, courtesy of my editor who hates me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

and you know i'm never hyperbolic. yesterday just bit. i tried to make things better by being pretty: i walked around all day in a bright pink skirt with striped pink'n'purple knee socks and barely any black, by my standards, just a shirt and boots to balance it out. it didn't work. everything just went wrong yesterday, in minor but increasingly irritating ways until i finally had a mini breakdown, read 5 chapters of hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, and conked out.

today, i was determined, should be better. and indeed it has been! it's been gorgeous outside. i feel pretty enough in my spiffy new (black) pants and new (black) shirt that says "hottie" in letters that look like they were spraypainted. i've eaten chocolate coconut cake, watched dressed to kill, read a whole wonderful book of dykes to watch out for, played tennis, watched the simpsons, seinfeld, and west wing, and am in the process of ordering pizza and watching some like it hot. i've made plans to visit my boyfriend tomorrow, with whom i had this exchange:

him: they're teddy bear feminists.
me: what the hell are teddy bear feminists?
him: feminists who give teddy bears to people.

this, need i say, is the life.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

this is why i keep him around

what a perfect way to relax after a helter-skelter day: to the streamed sounds of wfuv courtesy of m'ben. 8 - 12 pm on sundays this station plays the hard-to-classify music i like so much. gershwin-y, cole-porterish, 20s-30s music to which you can just see swishy skirts travelling in circles around a dance floor with three piece suits ...

after exercising my legal right -- hell, virtual obligation -- as a 21 year old to drink the past two nights, i'm taking it easy now. of course i did a lot of co|motion stuff this afternoon/evening before i allowed myself to take it easy. and of course the night where a group of us got drunk on pina coladas and vanilla vodka and played charades was in and of itself easier than the night where a small group of us saw depressing though quality art filmage, then brooded over cocktails.

in general i've felt older recently. an interesting feeling, and one that is probably not unconnected to being a senior. while i like the frosh i've met, it's not watching them run around that makes me feel like a senior, exactly. it's something else that i'm trying to put my finger on, something related to the feeling of unshakable familiarity & comfort -- even, perhaps, the beginning of a sense that i could be (soon) ready to move on. (not now, and not too soon, but, perhaps, soon.)

Saturday, September 06, 2003

at last!

well hi there, blogger. nice to see you too. yes, it's been a while, hasn't it. where have you been hiding.

since i've just emptied my mind at the lj i have little left for blogger, even though out of love and loyalty of course i tried blogger first.

i did, at elizabeth's mom's behest, see a chiropractor this week. twice, even. my neck feels almost entirely better, but don't tell friendly dr. boy-band-frontman-on-steroids because he wags his finger at discussing symptom disappearance. the focus of chiropractic care is to make your spine work at 100%. if your symptoms go away, that's merely a fringe benefit.

still: my neck feels better. ben came to visit; surely that helped too. he found it weird to have so recently graudated and returned. i found it comfortingly normal.

also, my first film review of the year, dirty pretty things. yes, the title sucks. i apologize. i'll do better next time. the review did garner me the first compliment i've ever received from my editor.
stay tuned next week for my review of thirteen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

ester incapacitated

ouch. i've done something uncalled for to my neck and now my leftward mobility is curtailed. i can't lift my left arm, even to do my hair. this severely limits my options so it's a damn good thing it's already getting dark.

stefanie, daughter of a chiropractor and very much a true believer, informed me that ice is better than heat; that sleeping on more than one pillow is toxic and sleeping on your stomach is a death wish; and that i need to go get myself Corrected. she and eliz frequent a chiropractor about 15 minutes away by car so they don't see this as a big deal, but i find it a little scary. i mean, it looks like it hurts.

if by tomorrow i still can't turn my head to the left, i'll go with them. but ugh.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

the rumors are true...

... parrish, my dorm, is eerily quiet. there's more noise outside my window at the rose garden/roundabout than in the hallway outside my open door. speaking of my door, why aren't people knocking it down? don't tell me this is one of those situations where i'll have to learn to be assertive again. you think i came to college to learn?

currently i'm eating leftover sesame tofu with my fingers, then wiping my fingers on my jeans and using them to type. this bodes well for the future, both in terms of hygiene and the condition of my keyboard. but i have no silverware. i have no roommate either, and no boyfriend (well, at least none within arm's reach). something, people, has got to give.

well, i have a pretty view outside my window, which is taller than i am, and my walls are so tall i can barely even see the ceiling. the ceiling is like a dimly glimpsed horizon. it may well just be a mirage. everything's white, except the furniture (light wood stained) and the floor (linoleum. what? who ordered linoleum? not that i'm complaining, mind you. the other dorms i've lived in on campus had cinderblock walls and floors made out of compacted grade F meat). (still, i could use a rug.)

if you are someone i know, or the sibling of someone i know, you should stop by parrish 246 and get the awkward first "oh hi!" moment out of the way. i swear i'm not intimidating: at the moment, i have sesame sauce dripping down my chin. mmm, sesame ...

Saturday, August 30, 2003

one brother gone, one brother going

who is this man
and why does he start each day
by rolling out the white carpet
as though he expects a paint-covered god

what are the blue odorless flowers sprouted
along the carpet, following the banister up six
flights of stairs

why are rooms
changing tones like mood rings

she wouldn't understand
the books spat from shelves, either,
the knickknacks plucked from walls

she could have tried asking
the house, which
in twenty years had never before gone under
the knife, but the anasthesized house
could not have answered

she would have dashed
out the door every day the man
was painting it and crouched, waited for us
on the lawn to coax her back in
to what we'd reassure her was her home
still
the biggest shift to me
is not the bathroom, cornered
and stripped at last
of the paper i've hated for years, or my brothers'
suitcases piled in the hallway like oversized
building blocks the biggest shift
is having to imagine her
confusion, instead of petting it away.

Friday, August 29, 2003

i have a cellphone

i do. i didn't expect or ask for one -- that's always the best way to get something. my older brother's heading off to iowa, where his plan doesn't work. instead of cancelling the plan, the t-mobile lady (not catharine zeta-jones, sadly, but i guess she's at home nursing) convinced him to give the phone to me.

at the phone store the phone guy, who reminded me a little of our foreign study coordinator, and my brother badgered me into getting the best phone available for $50, instead of the $50 one that's less reliable but better looking. so my phone is sweet but ugly. hopefully it will grow on me. please feel free to say helpful things like, "don't worry, the good-looking ones break your heart in the end."

i have this phone for a year. in the best of all possible worlds, adam will return from iowa, and i'll head there, and we'll handoff the plan again. meanwhile, call me. i leave for swarthmore this weekend for my last year. i won't think about that. instead i'll play bowling and check my email on my sexy-ugly phone, for which i now need to think of a name.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

no, eliz, you're just a follower

i haven't been in the dc public library in years. i would prefer to put the number at around 10; in fact it's probably closer to 3 since i came here to borrow the LOTR books instead of buy them. since i ended up never bringing them back, the guilt kept me at arm's length til desperation beckoned me in.

actually the reason for the gulf between the time i came 10 years ago and the time i came 3 years ago is also attributable to my library kleptomania. it's terrible, absolutely terrible. the only stealing i've ever done! i don't deserve to be a swattie, or at least to be thought of in the same breath as true, socially-minded leftists who never steal, or only from corporate congloms which deserve it.

since reading nickel and dimed i've become vehemently anti-walmart. fyi.

i find it funny that they even allow me onto the computer without checking my record here. if there's a black list, i'm on it. if there's a ten most wanted list, i might be on that too. oh dear. i wouldn't be here, listening to the inexplicable minnesota accent of the librarian helping a woman in a housedress behind me, if a storm hadn't racked our area, depriving many of power and my house of internet.

at home mostly i've been filling out applications. out of convenience/laziness, i've narrowed down my choices to: stanford, nyu, columbia (film), ucla (film), bu, emerson, and iowa. in the course of this, i've become as dissatisfied with my poetry as i've ever been. it's too late now to burn the lot and start over. maybe when/if i get into some grad skool program. i'll view that as a new chance.

if not, i'll do as ben discreetly suggested. see myself as a recreational poet who writes things for people when they need them.
(at the time, less than pleased with that prospect, i said, "they could just buy a hallmark card!" to which he replied, "there are no hallmark cards for ... pain ...") talk about a niche market.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

"itchy, scratchy seek poochie"

my new salon personals profile has reaped me an invitation to be the playmate of a 30-something new jersey couple. i don't know between which lines about dorothy parker or lars van trier these people read "swinger" but i got a kick out of it anyway. at least they can quote the simpsons.

i'm back from the beach. it was beachy-keen, you could say, if you were lobotomized, for example, or a cheery redfaced fella. i came the nearest i've ever come to buying a two-piece. that is to say, i tried one on. it was bright red, the idea being that people would be so dazzled, or blinded, that they wouldn't notice my not-quite-washboard stomach.

the primary drama of the trip occurred last night as we wound our way home from delaware via new jersey and pennsylvania. my mother called my grandmother and discovered that something was wrong with my grandfather. immediately my father shifted from Speed to Fly. immediately my not-quite-sturdy stomach reacted. when we finally made it to our house, merely a stop for my parents on their way to the hospital, they discovered that no one brought the new keys to the new locks on our new door.
ultimately we had to ask a family friend, an ex-priest and present sociology prof at umd, to break into our house for us. you wouldn't necessarily think that an ex-priest or a sociologist could possibly be useful in the real world. but believe me, this one is a lifesaver. this morning he and his wife served us brunch.

Friday, August 15, 2003

counter culture

it's a common correction of a common misconception that housefraux in the fifties had sex drives. but even better, sez this article, apparently they had sex records and went to hear sexy stand-up routines. not bad for a generation of women in bobs and girdles.

i'm off to the beach for a week. hopefully our power will manage to stay on throughout. & i will manage not to think about grad skool or the GREs even once.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

shaken, not stirred

the fucking gres, man. why didn't anyone tell me they were hard? or was that what people were telling me implicitly with their raised eyebrows when i told them i didn't feel like studying?

well, at least they're over. i did fine on the verbal, which is what counts. but it's hard not to be affected -- and by "be affected" i mean "have your eyeballs leap from the sockets and plummet to their gooey deaths on the keyboard" -- after seeing your beyond-pitiful score on the math section. they need to make up a new word for how pitiful my math score was. & by "they" i mean the assholes responsible for putting clearly imaginary words in the verbal section to trip me up.

sigh. let's just hope it gives the admissions people at iowa and nyu a good chuckle before they admit me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

personal

i updated my profile at salon. i'd completely forgotten i had one; i posted it in 2001. it was completely out of date. still, i can just hear the naysayers now: internet is on its way out, who would answer a personals ad, don't you already have a boyfriend? what's next, friendster?

i say, you can never be too careful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

past

a random oldie, revised:
you are a cat


No matter how many times
I kill you off:

drop you out of poetic windows;
drown you; chloroform you; then
wipe my hands
on a page,

you come back, dripping, merry,
your eyes greener than ever,
and your fur still soft

You curl up against me, purring,
and though I hear it�s bad for cats,
I feed you warm milk words.

Monday, August 11, 2003

the pillow book

last night i dreamt that henry ward beecher walked in on me hugging a boy, pulled a gun and shot the boy six times through. i screamed and screamed but didn't wake up. for the rest of the dream, in which i was supposed to be under beecher's control, i had to pretend that boy hadn't been murdered and that i didn't keep seeing replays in my mind.

it couldn't have been what i was reading before i fell asleep, because i was reading sei shonagon, a copy of which i only just located at second story books years after i stopped looking. the snicket books are lodged close enough to the forefront of my mind to potentially cause nightmares, and so are ehrenreich's nickel and dimed and c mcc's member of the wedding, both of which i began recently. but holding literature responsible -- isn't that what nazis and censors do?

it couldn't have been what i was eating, because i had fruit salad for dinner, and nothing bad ever happens on account of fruit salad.

i suppose it could have been what i was watching. the sopranos are notoriously violent and they showed the episode last night where dr. melfi gets raped in the parking garage. but i watched sex and the city immediately thereafter and the wedding was so cute that surely it gooed and cooed over the morbid residues in my subconscious, rendering them harmless.

or it could have been a result of the general recent topsy-turviness. my grandfather's still in the hospital, recovering from kidney failure. my house still seems to expect my dog to return. the house itself is in the midst of a face-lift. and i'm applying to mfa programs.

i managed to write a draft of my Who Am I, What Do I Want admissions essay today. perhaps that will inspire dreams of satisfaction and optimism tonite.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

all about the gay

as occasionally happens, when one is lucky, my train ride -- which extended an extra hour, as often happens when one is NOT lucky, or every tuesday and thursday -- was brightened by the presence of a stranger. i did not handpick my gentleman companion. friday afternoon amtrak rushes wrest the power from your hands and put it in fate's. but fate's hands deposited me gently beside an elderly distinguished african-american man, a man who revealed himself to be, once we began to talk, once of the gayest adults i have ever met in my life.

he dressed as though awaited the second coming of the 70s. he wore three chunky silver rings on one hand and two on the other. one after another he mentioned his "friends." he said, "the other night, when i was watching sex and the city..." he quoted dorothy parker. or, misquoted, actually -- i got to correct him. mostly i listened, starry-eyed. he invoked lana turner. in fact when i confessed i hadn't seen imitation of life he nearly leapt from the moving car and with me in his well-maintained hands marched to the nearest blockbuster in aberdeen, maryland. he told me about living in miami. he told me about working in television. and last but not least, he picked up on a subtle reference i'd dropped into the conversation and said, "that's right: i pulled a scarlett o'hara."

my family greeted me at the train station and we all went out to dinner. we parked, as usual, in a church lot next door to a family friend of ours. he pays for the parking lot lights; we get to use one space.
after dinner upon returning to the car we heard a distinctive voice. "mr xxxxxx?" i said, turning around, and my brothers turned too. there, standing next to us, was our old science teacher & our unanimous favorite. born a catholic in the wild, he converted to judaism later in life and got a position at our school for spoiled jewish kids. he used to urge us to embrace our faith with, well, a convert's zeal. if my friends and i, the good kids, talked when we were supposed to be praying, he would approach us and beg, "if gold rusts, what will iron do?"

and here he was, in dupont circle, on shabbes, in a church parking lot, standing very close to a man who looked like he belonged to the church. (he didn't seem amused when we explained our deal with the lights.) mr xxxxxx exclaimed, we exclaimed, we said hi and made introductions. but the awkwardness was palpable. we knew he was gay, of course, but i never would have imagined that even in his other life he would not wear a kippah.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

i'd never had granola for breakfast before. that shit is strong! first i couldn't even finish the 1/2 cup. then it knocked me out: having contact-ed and everything, i fell back into bed and slept until 1. there should be a warning on the bag, or something.

what prolly assisted the granola was that i spent yet another night meaning to go to sleep straightaway and instead staying up all-hours talking to el(she who once was lazyqueer)iz. with no apparent desire to accomodate our need to Would You Rather... each other til the early a.m., her alarm went off both this morning and last. ugh.

of course i should be doing stuff to prepare for my departure on friday. so far i haven't been able to motivate myself. but instead of focusing on the negative, i should be proud of what i have done:
  • watched the first part of kissing jessica stein and the last of american pie 2
  • went up to the counter of the cafe where i ate lunch yesterday to ask for a doggybag and had the guy at the register ask, "what, do you want my number?"
  • crossed the brooklyn bridge on foot
  • nailed down 2 recommendations for the grad skool process
  • learned from my parents i racked up a whopping $450 cell phone bill because (heh heh!) no one told me the plan wasn't an unlimited one (heh heh!)
  • spent only change on lunch today
  • made plans to visit hipster brooklyn so i can cross that off my to-do list too
  • bought a train ticket home. bye bye ny ...
that's relatively extensive, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

i think i'm having a blog identity crisis. i'd call a specialist for help but my phone mysteriously stopped working. i'd turn to my constant companion for advice but tragedy whirlwinded him away to his family late last night.

my life is neither boring nor depressing. somehow i just can't seem to write about it. maybe cause the issues occupying thoughtspace are at once weighty and banal (death, for example. and the future. ha! what's to say?

except, i miss my dog. i'm bracing myself for going home and for the first time in 12 years not having her smiling goofily and wagging her tail, shedding, looking vacant, or plopping melodramatically down on the carpet. my family's had to cope with her sudden cancer and sudden death up close. i've had the luxury of condoling via telephone and letting my last days in new york city distract me.
right there, that's guilt, see? a domestic species: familial, it says. don't tap on the glass, you'll wake it up. just look.)

i'm still doing stuff, running around research, reading screenplays at work. but it's all winding down.