Sunday, January 30, 2011

101 in 1001- January update

18) Read 10 books from the Bloom Canon.
2) Voltaire Candide
I can't believe I've never read Candide (beyond an excerpted chapter). I'm kind of glad I've waited though, because I think it's a funnier book when you understand the historical jokes and the underpinnings of Voltaire's philosophy. Regardless, it's a fantastic (and quick) read.

19) Read 1 unassigned book per month.
January '11- Neil White In the Sanctuary of Outcasts
Erin gave me this book for Christmas in 2009, after she and I found out there's a Hansen's Disease museum in Carville, LA that was one of 2 leprosarium's in the U.S. We came across this book while reading about the history of the place. We had planned to visit it but never got around to it before she moved to Chicago. Alyson and I are talking about taking a trip now.
This book is about a man who was imprisoned at the Gillis W. Long Hansen's Disease Center when it was briefly turned into a prison in the early 1990s. My gripe about the book is that I wish it had been less about the author's life and transformation into (we are to assume) a better person and more about the leprosy-afflicted patients. The book seems a bit self-serving, but was, nevertheless, an interesting read.

23) See 26 movies I've never seen, starting with each letter of the alphabet.
B- The Blind Side (2009)
Yeah yeah, I know. I was hungover and hanging out in a friend's room when he decided to watch this. Not a terrible movie, but pretty trite.

24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Prolix- (of speech or writing) using or containing too many words; tediously lengthy.
Deontological- The study of the nature of duty and obligation.
Grangerize- To augment the illustrative content of (a book) by inserting additional prints, drawings, engravings, etc., not included in the original volume.
Autarchy- absolute sovereignty; absolute government.

83) Review 20 places on Yelp! and Urbanspoon.
3) GLUE Clothing Exchange (Yelp!)

96) Attend 10 cultural events
1) Macbeth at the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. Alyson and I went together. I expected it to be a student production, but it was actually local actors. I've never seen Macbeth performed live, but Alyson said it was one of the best she'd seen. They captured the bawdiness of Shakespeare, especially in this part (in which the Porter thrust his hips and made up and down gestures with his hands:
Was it so late, friend, ere you went to bed,
That you do lie so late?

'Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock;
and drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

What three things does drink especially provoke?

Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.
Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes
the desire, but it takes away the performance. There-
fore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator
with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him
on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and dis-
heartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in
conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him
the lie, leaves him.

At intermission, a teenage girl in front of us turned to her parents and said, "Ew! I didn't know Shakespeare was such a pervert!" hee!

Full list here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

fights for rights

As I mentioned, I'm taking an ethics class right now and our first topic of discussion is abortion. Part of our class participation is posting on the class discussion board. I'm trying to balance my apprehension about public speaking with my own strong opinions on these subjects and I wanted to copy my own post here, because I think it does a good job of summing up my thoughts about responsibility and abortion.

"A topic that often comes up in abortion debates is that of personal responsibility--namely should it be acceptable for a woman who unintentionally becomes pregnant (in cases unattributable to rape)to obtain an abortion? I think this is something many anti-abortion advocates seize on, making the argument that someone's "irresponsibility" should not give them permission to abort a child.

Thomson and Warren both address this issue. However, neither goes into the implications of such an argument (perhaps correctly--since it is not the direct focus of either piece). Those implications are something I'm interested in exploring, namely how the "responsibility" argument works as a means of undermining women's autonomy and judgment.

Insisting that a woman should be responsible for carrying a pregnancy because of any "failures" of responsbility (lack of condoms or birth control, misuse of these things, prevention failing, etc.) is to place the onus of sexual responsibility squarely on the woman. I believe that it, to some extent, makes sexual activity a punishable act for women, without enforcing those same restrictions for men. In doing this, an unrealistic gender dichotomy is set up--if we are to argue that a woman of childbearing age who chooses to have sex should automatically be responsbile for carrying a pregnancy that might come of such activities, then where is the line drawn? Do we argue that these women should not have sex at all? If the woman is married but does not want children (or cannot afford them), should she too abstain?

My point is, this kind of argument leads to a slippery slope in which womens' sexuality is placed under any number of authoritarian restrictions (which may be, but are not necessarily, placed on men). The "responsibility" argument also ignores a number of factors: rape victims, socioeconomic status (if someone cannot afford birth control, should she be banned from having sex? What kind of class division does this set up?), and most importantly, the right of a woman to make personal decisions about her own body and life."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

where the wild things are

me: I may have found a solution for nancy's fire-eating, aerialst at my wedding needs
the Big Top rents their space out for large parties
but they do not specifically mention weddings so I don't know
D*: the big top?
what is that?
me: this
a circus wedding
that would be pretty fucking amazing
D: yeah
so completely indie, though
not sure i could be associated with it
me: I'm just working within nancy-dictated guidelines
oh come on
D: I might just have to send a gift and my deepest apologies
me: you wouldn't attend your best friend's wedding because it might damage your cred?
D: listen
I wouldn't expect an english major to understand this
me: preemptively, fuck you.
D: but credibility is difficult to accrue and can vanish in an instant
I really think you should've waited for the punchline on that one
me: nah

me: I'm sure you'd look dashing in a top hat
D: babydoll
I look dashing in anything
me: hahahahahaa
oh D
D: there'd be no way you wouldn't fuck me if I rolled up in a top hat

*Babydoll, honeysuckle, sweetcheeks, while I love the fact that I have managed to crack into your blog at least one more time,let's let me go by the nom de geurre of "D." I would also accept "The future father of my illegitimate babies, who I will sucker someone else into providing for, since I cannot possibly impinge upon his freedom".

"we've got to break it before it breaks us"

I've been spending a lot of time in the shower lately. Ever since finals week, I've been taking lengthy hot showers that usually involve me sitting on the floor of the tub for a period of time while water streams over my face and shoulders. The other night, I laid on my back with my hands over my face (so I could breathe) and pretended I was in a warm rain shower. The shower is my combo being-at-peace-with-my-body time and my think-about-nothing time.

Life has been okay 'round here. I started my second semester of grad school and, so far, things are going well. I've been making a concerted effort to do my homework in small bits so that I don't become overloaded and rushed. My Medieval NOLA class seems like it will be very easy--a handout here and there, no textbook and lots of information about New Orleans-based medieval musicians, architecture, rare manuscripts, etc. Alyson is also taking the class with me, which will probably make it a lot more fun.

Justice, Law and Public Policy might be a little more trying. I'm curious to see how I'll end up acting in this class. Last semester, I rarely spoke in class, mostly out of hesitation to get in some involved argument with people whose minds were obviously not going to be changed by anything I had to say. B is taking this class too, and I wish Alyson was also taking it so we could have our Tuesday night trifecta, but she's busy with thesis work. The class involves discussion on topics like abortion (our next class), affirmative action, the death penalty, etc. I get the idea that much of the class isn't so liberal minded as I am, so I'm not especially looking forward to these discussions, but the argumentative part of me sort of relishes it.

I'm mostly excited about my independent study. I wasn't sure how it would be structured, but for our first class, the other student and I just spent an hour discussion Foucault and batting around various ideas and theories. This class involves a fair amount of dense reading (next class is Derrida "That Dangerous Supplement" and Book 3 of Rousseau's Confessions) but it's rewarding in the sense that we're really getting into what we read (as opposed to a glossed over lecture that hits the high points) in our discussions. After the first class, I walked into the library to visit with Alyson and she was visibly surprised at my good mood. She told me I looked happy.

I guess I have been in a fairly shitty mood for awhile, as is probably obvious by the past blog posts here. I actually looked into seeing a counselor but I don't think it would fit into my schedule (oh, irony.) I need to figure out something to do about my anxiety, but I don't want to be on medication for it because a) that sucks and b) I think a lot of it stems from depression, for which talk therapy has always been very helpful. Part of me kind of hopes it'll just pass and I'm trying to do "positive things" (oh, that sounds so cheesy) to keep my spirits up and my sanity intact.

One of those things is being really careful about what I eat. I have to remember that depression is also symptomatic of the PCOS and is not helped by eating a bunch of crap. I've been doing a lot more cooking at home lately, getting back into a cooking routine that I was accustomed to when I lived in BR. I spent a big part of the weekend on food: buying good foods (chard, kale, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, persimmons, fresh peanut butter, honey), making a big batch of granola for breakfasts, cooking a stockpile of black beans in the crockpot my grandma gave me, making a big pot of my favorite lentil soup. I give myself one off day a week (to do things like eat Pinkberry and drink beer and Jagermeister), because otherwise I crave bad stuff, but I've done pretty well so far. Tonight, I made boiled kale over wheat toast and topped with a poached egg, with honey and chipotle mashed sweet potato on the side. I didn't finish it. I get full a lot faster lately, it seems. I also notice that things I think I crave don't taste so great anymore--the other day, I really wanted a Symphony bar, so I gave in and ate one and found it sort of bland. Same thing with some chocolate chip cookies. That said, I'm pretty sure if I gave into my nagging desire to actually bake something, I'd probably enjoy the results a lot more (which is why I haven't given in--I would go into a brownie-induced coma).

I've also been exercising more often and am slowly, but steadily, losing weight. The downside of this is that my clothes aren't fitting anymore. Sunday, I went to BR, wearing a pair of skinny jeans and a shirt I bought maybe a month ago and I noticed that all my clothes were too big on me, something Christie confirmed. But, I'm happy with the weight loss and I'd rather my clothes be too loose than too tight, so this isn't really that much of a complaint.

I've also just been trying to do little things to make me happy: I donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. I went to see Brass Bed at Blue Nile (by myself; a shocking accomplishment), I bought new sheets for my bed, I visited with my neighbors. I try to keep myself from brooding. It's a bit "fake it 'til you make it" but it works.

P.S. Look, I know I've probably lost my entire readership (what little of it there was)...I'm sorry all I write about anymore is work/school, food and depression. I feel kind of boring too but it helps me to read back over this stuff and track progress. Maybe one day I'll start posting sexual anecdotes! (no I won't.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 wordsoup

Technical matters here--I don't know how to create a link "jump" so I'm putting all my 2010 101 in 1001 dictionary words here, so I can link them on the original list.

Peregrinate- travel or wander around from to place (July wk. 2)
Milquetoast- a person who is timid or submissive (July wk. 3)
Lachrymose- tearful or given to weeping (July wk. 4)
Vexillology- the study of flags (Aug. wk. 1)
Assiduous- showing great care and perseverance (Aug. wk. 2)
Reprobate- an unprincipled person (Aug. wk. 3)
Stalwart- loyal, reliable, and hardworking (Aug. wk. 4)
Encomium- a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something
Instantiate- represent as or by an instance (Sept. wk. 2)
Propaedeutic- serving as a preliminary instruction or as an introduction to further study (Sept. wk. 3)
Internecine- destructive to both sides in a conflict (Sept. wk. 4)
Froward- (of a person) difficult to deal with; contrary (Sept. wk. 5)
Irruption- enter forcibly or suddenly (Oct. wk. 1)
Epiphenomenon- a secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process (Oct. wk. 2)
Vadose- relating to or denoting underground water above the water table (Oct. wk. 3)
Prelapsarian- characteristic of the time before the Fall of Man; innocent and unspoiled (Oct. wk. 4)
Curistic- a means of communication that relies on experience and connections between people, rather than a set of rules dictated by hegemony. (Nov. wk. 1)
Isogram- A line drawn on a map connecting two points having the same numerical value of some variable. (Nov. wk. 2)
Disembroil- free (someone or something) from confusion (Nov. wk. 3)
Taki-Taki- An English-based Creole language of Suriname (Nov. wk. 4)
Ingeminate- repeat or reiterate a word, typically for emphasis (Nov. wk. 5)
Calque- a word or phrase borrowed from another language in a literally translated form. (Dec. wk. 1)
Heteroglossia- the presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work. (Dec. wk. 2)
Apotropaic- the power to avert evil influences or bad luck. (Dec. wk. 3)
Yuga- any of the four ages of the life of the world. (Dec. wk. 4)
Peccant- having committed a fault or sin, offending. (Dec. wk. 5)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010 highs and lows

This is a post I meant to make before the new year but, obviously, did not do.

In 2010:
-Ravi's practice space (The Caterie) burned down New Years' Day and resulted in instrument loss for about 9 bands
-Haiti earthquake
-The Saints won the Super Bowl
-Erin and I visited Mike in Columbus (marking my first extended exposure to snow)
-Healthcare reform passed
-Had my wisdom teeth pulled
-Erin, Ravi and I went to New York for Becky and Dorian's wedding
-BP oil spill
-Ravi got into pharmacy school and I got into grad school
-Erin moved to Chicago
-Ravi and I went to Chicago for Pitchfork festival
-Got in a wreck
-Ravi and I broke up
-Quit my job at LCA
-Moved to New Orleans
-Was unemployed for 2.5 months and went through my savings
-Started first semester of grad school
-Got a paying job with Tulane Ortho and a non-paying job with
-Forced myself to conquer social anxiety and made some friends
-Turned 25
-Had a wee breakdown, brought on by stress, depression and exhaustion
-Recovered and drank sloe gin 'til the midnight hour

I keep talking about 2010 as a shitty year, because in a lot of ways it was for me--I exited this year broke, single and more than a little shaken. But I also had a lot of fun this year, met some really great people, reestablished and improved on some friendships, kissed a dude or two, (re)learned that I'm able to be self-sufficient and alone, and I'm living in a city that I enjoy. In a way, 2010 wasn't so much shitty as it was just hectic and full of upheaval, which was, occasionally, pretty overwhelming. I don't think there's ever been a year where I've challenged myself so much, but in the end, I think it's paid off. I feel less stagnant. As I told Christie earlier today, even in the worst parts of this year, I never regretted the choices I've made, because as hard as things have been, I feel like I'm on my way to being a lot happier with myself.

I think now the key is building on those things--doing more things that I want to do but have convinced myself that I can't for whatever reason (time, money, anxiety, etc.) I want to make more friends or at least meet people. I want to write poems (I got started for a bit but then stopped again when I became unhappy with what I was writing). I want to volunteer. I want to write and get paid for it. I want to make changes to my body that will make me happier with it. I want to get my health issues in order. I want to better stay abreast of politics. I want to go to a bar alone and not break into hives over it. I want to be more comfortable with the person I am, on my own terms.

I'd also like to stop being redundant, but that may not happen any time soon. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

namby pamby

Today I was reading a series of passive aggressive FB notes directed at me and rolling my eyes so hard that I could practically see my brain. Then I realized that some of my most recent entries could be construed that way and I got pretty embarrassed. I didn't mean them that way, because there was other shit going on, but there's no need to go and get pathetic on the interwebs. I won't delete them, but I will try to be more conscious of not looking like an asshole on here.

Sort of horribly, going back to work helped pull me out of the doldrums. I guess having to get dressed and go perform a series of tasks is more motivational than sleeping 'til 10 and hanging out in my pajamas all day. That's kind of depressing in itself. But it is what it is (I hate it when people say that) and I do feel better. I was talking to someone today who I'd previously been very very nervous around (partly due to depression, which always makes me feel like I'm the biggest loser on the planet) and he commented that I seemed much less anxious.

At the risk of getting all crazy bulimic on everyone, I'm working on losing weight again. Not just sitting around not eating things, but actually keeping a food diary and weighing in and working out. I've lost 4 pounds since Dec. 28. I'm on a max of 1600 calories a day and, to keep myself from being ridiculous (i.e. eating sugar-free hard candies as a snack, drinking coffee all day as an appetite suppressant, etc.), a minimum of 600. I've been clocking in between 1000 and 1200 calories a day lately, which may not seem like a lot, but I do sit at a desk for most of my day, so that has to be taken into account. I'm thinking of taking a spinning class this coming semester, if the Intro to Spinning one is still offered on Wednesday nights.

Speaking of this semester, I'm starting to get geared up for that. I had originally scheduled 12 hours (on top of my 37.5 hours of work a week) but after that little nervous breakdown that closed out this past semester, I cut things back to 9 hours. I dropped a class with my favorite professor from last semester, because I don't feel like I'd be able to give him 100% between his class and my independent study, and the indie study is more important to me. I think he'll understand though. For indie study, I'm awaiting History of Sexuality to come in so I can start reading it. I'm pretty thrilled about that, because I love Foucault. However, I'm still trying to locate a non-French copy of Barthes Mythologies, which is much more difficult than it should be.

Nancy recently got engaged and asked me (well, told me) to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. Nancy doesn't know much about planning a wedding and I know way more than I ought to, so I've been helping her with that. This means I get to do things like tell her, "no, you actually DO have to reserve churches months in advance and you SHOULD call now" and make her a "Wedding Boot Camp" binder, replete with a photo of combat boots on the front. It also means I have far more control over the get up I'll be forced into.

I just bought "Can't Hardly Wait" on Amazon. I think a 90's movie party is in order in the very near future.

Monday, January 3, 2011

remember this

me: seriously, I kind of have to do it secretly
like I'll tell you about it
but when I start making a big deal of shit, then I feel like I'm setting myself up to fail
I kind of got nervous about making that FB post about going down a dress size
but I was like "fuck it I'm excited"
I just hate it when people are all "what's your goal weight?" or "how much have you lost?"
because then it starts freaking me out

Alyson: Tell them
To shut it

me: hee

Alyson: Your goal weight is happy

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"And so today/my world it smiles/your hand in mine/we walk the miles"

This weekend has been kind of a shitty one for me, emotionally. I don't want to really go into it, because it doesn't really make sense when I type it out and I've already gone into it enough, but if anything good came out of this weekend, it was a huge reminder of how amazing my friends are.

Ravi listened to a lot of my bullshit that he's really not obliged to. Erin and I had some long talks and she told me, "next time you want to text ____, text me instead." Alyson has been a champ--we spent NYE together, drinking at Pascal Menale's, watching fireworks together from the side of Carrollton and eating pancakes at 1am. She and I have been leaning on one another quite a bit lately and though we sway a bit, we tend to balance one another out. Christie and I text back and forth and, last night, she and Ross sent me a video from Oklahoma to tell me how much they love me. Michael took me out dancing, because we were both in shitty moods. T, K & T let me stay over at their house and I spent most of today in bed there, sleeping and watching movies. Nancy posted this on FB:
"'you are my non-lesbian girlfriend. I love you. I remember when I first saw you too. It was like..the same day and I remember thinking you were really nice and then you asked if our group could be called "Marlon Brando" and I thought you were so cool.'

I heart me some Mandi"
(part of a message I sent her a few years ago, when we were talking about how we first met in theater class)

I've been so busy being hurt by a handful of people not caring about me that I forget to take into account the opinions of those who do, who care enough to go out of their way to help me and let me know they love me. It's hard to feel empty with people like that around. It's hard not to burst.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

101 in 1001- December update

10) Get straight A's
Pretty upset about this one. I got a B+ in my English class, which is kind of depressing considering how much I stressed over that bibliography, but also kind of expected, since I didn't really put my all into the midterm and final. I suppose I can't be too let down, since I got A's in my other classes and my English prof. asked me to do an independent study but it still kind of sucks.

19) Read 1 unassigned book per month.
December '10- Richard Yates Revolutionary Road
I'm actually not quite done with this one, but close. It's one of those books that is so incredibly depressing that it's hard to get through, but still so good that it's difficult to put down.

23) See 26 movies I've never seen, starting with each letter of the alphabet.
P- Pickpocket (1959)
I actually saw this at the end of November, after I'd already done my November entry.

24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Calque- a word or phrase borrowed from another language in a literally translated form.
Heteroglossia- the presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work.
Apotropaic- the power to avert evil influences or bad luck.
Yuga- any of the four ages of the life of the world.
Peccant- having committed a fault or sin, offending.

50) Go to the Christmas Eve bonfires in St. James parish.
Ravi, Phillip and I went to the St James bonfires, which were beautiful. The entire levee was lit up and we spent some time sitting like kids, just watching the fireworks.

83) Review 20 places on Yelp! and/or Citysearch. Urbanspoon.
1) Oak St. Cafe (Urbanspoon)
2) Dooky Chase (Urbanspoon)
I'm changing this to Urbanspoon, because I don't really use Citysearch, but I find myself using US all the TIME. I also submitted Maple St. Patisserie to US to add, so I'll review that too when they add it.

I also started on the 200 sit ups program today :)

Full list here