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Dread Pirate Nilly

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[23 Apr 2006|11:35am]
Yesterday I bought two of those tall plain candles that (I think) Catholics light in celebration of saints. I'm not a devout Catholic girl by any means, but I keep lighting them when I write, maybe as a sort of subconscious prayer that the barrage of papers I have to complete this weekend will be blessed by divine magic. Sometimes very little in life seems blessed by divine magic, even though I know I have it pretty good.
I sometimes think that organized higher education's really not for me, even though, according to my strong grades and the quality of my papers and class conversations, I supposedly "belong" there. I just feel as though school is sort of a non-reality, and I'm sick of putting off life all the time. I live in other people's novels and have no time to write one of my own, no time to acquire outside, real experiences---I read Emerson and think, well great, I'm doing the exact opposite of what he indicates an American scholar ought to, and in part, it's because I spend all my time reading these sort of campaigns rather than having time to live them. I've been dreaming of getting a dog lately, in part because I am in love with them in general, and in part because I really want something that will force me to live a little bit more--not spend so much time slaving over books and papers and stressing over tests.
I know a dog's probably not the real answer. I probably need some sort of personal "fuck it all" reformation, but I feel like I can't afford to sacrifice my scholastic duties for happiness now that I'm heading toward grad school. And besides, the truth is that I also crave having a dog in the same way that other women crave having children. The maternal clock is ticking for something with a cold wet nose, quadruple clambering paws, and a flopping tail.
This summer, my friends. This summer.

68 degrees out right now. Hot for Oregon in April.
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[05 Apr 2006|02:53pm]
Got a summer job fighting wildfires outside the neighboring city. Am absurdly excited.

Hate all of my classes except Jewish Writers, because Professor Stein is brilliant and constantly bursts into hilarious Yiddish accents while making sweeping, flapping gestures with his arms. It's a good time, especially at 8:30 AM. So bizarre sometimes that I feel half asleep still.

Am moving in with Andy this summer...into a small but spacious house with a front porch and without immediate neighbors, or so we hope. Lots of barbequed salmon and cooking breakfast burritos in our skivvies. Doing self-teaching-sessions together, focusing on directors and biographical films. I'm also independently studying this summer, in my spare time: angels. Female poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Musicals, until I finally get the hang of not shattering into fits of hysterical laughter at the first character who randomly starts singing---as I am prone to do.
Most inappropriate.

Have decided in advance that I am going to be Margot Tennenbaum for Halloween this year. Will be looking for a fake fur coat and a little-kid stripey dress. The rest of me already looks quite a lot like her, short of the black eye-makeup. I want to see just how close I can get the resemblance.

Migrated back to the Corvallis karate dojo and am 100% happier already---fell asleep with a smile on my face last night, which is how I know it's the right move, despite the hour-long latenight commute. Also, I got to do bow kata last night for the first time in ages. I whacked myself in the knee but am otherwise feeling splendid. Bruised, yet ebullient.

Except, to reiterate, that I hate all my classes (minus Jewish Writers). Why did I have to get the really nasty pompous professor who goes on screaming tirades on the first day of class? It put me in a terrible mood. He was quite literally shouting at our entire frozen-stiff, wide-eyed and slack-jawed group of 300, for no particular reason---something about how plagiarism is a danger to our immortal souls, and those who plagiarize are Evil. Capital E. I agree plagiarism's really indecent, but he just wiped out any professorial credibility he might have had in one fell swoop---why should I sit there and listen to a little boy throwing a tantrum on the first day of class? Is the raised voice really necessary to prove the point? It was truly spectacular, as though we'd insulted his mother or something: he was raging. It was beyond insulting to both my integrity and intelligence, but undeniably, it was also kind of hilarious at the same time. I was laughing so much at him that I had to duck behind the seat in front of me, so I wouldn't be seen.
Jeezie Creezie, would you look at that.

Other news: seeing the Shins, Sufjan Stevens, Rogue Wave, and the Flaming Lips all together at Sasquatch in late May. Am particularly excited about the first two, both being in my top five list of favorite bands/artists of ALL TIME, flourish.

Compulsively downloading fonts lately even though I don't dink around with web design much anymore. I made printable bookplates with J.Otto Siebold-ish birds on them, using the font from the titles of the Harry Potter novels. If I ever get the site going again, I'll put them out there for anybody to print. They're right swell.

One last thing: do yourselves a great big favor and read Myla Goldberg's Bee Season: beyond brilliant. Opportunities for discussion are boundless. I heart. I wish I could teach it to my classes, but it has too much sexual weirdness in it to be appropriate for public school. Nevertheless, everybody ought to read it. Everybody.
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[05 Mar 2006|09:50pm]
On Amazon.com,
a book entitled "What to Expect When You are Expecting."
If you're not "expecting" a homo sapien in the first place, my guess is that you probably shouldn't be having children. But that's just a personal opinion.

Yes, I know they're trying to be clever, for chrissake. I know. But it's so weird to me that we use such passive vocabulary concerning issues of sexuality and reproduction. Using language like that completely disregards all of the feminine effort and self-sacrifice that goes into pregnancy---it equates the female role in pregnancy to waiting for a package to arrive from UPS. Most women only wish pregnancy was that simple and selfless. (I don't wish anything of pregnancy, except not to ever experience it myself---but that's another story.) How about a book title like "What to Expect When You're Playing Host to Some Unknown Creature For Nine Months and Your Body Doesn't Feel Like Your Own"? Much more appropriate, in my opinion.
I don't know what I'm getting at, either.
I don't know why I care.
My parents will likely see nothing but a horde of greyhound granddogs from me---why I write this kind of thing is beyond me, really.

In other news, quite some time ago I decided that I am going to pursue a career in teaching 11th and 12th grade English---and within a year from now I'll (presumably) be off to grad school to get my Masters in Education from the University of Montana (I finish undergrad in three terms). I decided public school education the way to go instead of teaching at university level, because ultimately it allows more living mobility and the opportunity to really inspire a wide variety of kids who might not have access to the class-segregated world of higher academia. I'm actually ridiculously excited about this decision---I'm already contemplating the sort of stuff that I want to teach, and how I'm going to teach it. I've decided so far that I am definitely going to teach a section on Joseph Campbell and heroism in literature and film, focusing primarily on Homer, Tolkien, comic culture (which I'll have to learn a great deal more about), and even J.K. Rowling. To connect Homer's Odyssey with more contemporary culture, I am going to draw parallels between the text and "O Brother Where Art Thou," which should be pretty fascinating.

Also, I am teaching a huge section (possibly during Black History Month, but not necessarily) on poets of the Harlem Renaissance (with special focus on Langston Hughes, whose every published work I own), the origin of the blues (with particular attention to Robert Johnson), and the writings of both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. I need to find out more about notable African American women too---so far the only ones I know I'll focus on are Maya Angelou (of course), and maybe Bell Hooks (although she is a really radical feminist, even for me).
So. Excited. About. Future... can't wait to get started.
I know that curriculum is largely assigned in public schools (there are three teachers in my family, so I am familiar with the realities of public school teaching)---but I fully intend to circumscribe the rules whenever necessary so that I can really get kids into poetry and literature. Because Henry James just doesn't do it for sixteen-year-olds. (Sorry, Henry.) Dave Eggers, though, just might---Myla Goldberg could---David Sedaris will. Even if he is obscene, or maybe because he is obscene. Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Ursula Le Guin, Anne Sexton, William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, Hunter S. Thompson, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Benedict Anderson even... these will all be regular visitors in my classes. Will Shakespeare. Eddie Izzard---oh God, I am definitely teaching something with Eddie Izzard. Lots of NPR as well.
I also plan to organize a free after school karate program, particularly focusing on women's self-defense, because I think it's absolutely necessary that all independent women learn how to ensure their own safety without always having to lock the door.

When I am a teacher, I will use and enforce proper grammar and full-sentences, by the way----in formal settings at least. But this is informal. My point is that I actually am capable of writing, and am not such an idiot as I generally appear on Livejournal.

Completely sidetracked from work... must go. Abrupt closure here.

Subjects Andy and I are going to study together this summer for fun:
Famous directors with whom we should be more familiar.
Shakespeare (comedies specifically). If there's one thing I've learned about Shakespeare, it's that you can't ever know him well enough.
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[10 Nov 2005|05:51pm]
I love foreign packaging.

Direction: CHUKA SOBA Japanese Style Alimentary Paste.
(read: Chuka Soba Japanese style nutritious pasta.)

Chuka Soba:
Boil this Chuka Soba in hot water for 4 minutes, remove to basket to drainwater quickly. Fry pork, shrimp, onion, cabbage, and your other preference vegetable with salad oil & season them by salt & pepper, and lastly add dissolved potato starch.
And then fry this Chuka Soba anewly with salad oil, remove from pan & serve to dish. Add these pork, shrimp, & vegetable over Chuka Soba & season with "Yaki Soba Sauce" or "Soy Sauce".
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[06 Nov 2005|05:33pm]
Got the VW Golf... a 2001. He is silver and smooth and has a moonroof and I am in auto amour.
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[03 Nov 2005|10:13pm]
You know, if you substitute the words "Tony Danza" for "Tiny Dancer" in that one song of Elton John's, the result is really pretty hilarious. Yep, really.
Especially considering the whole sexual orientation thing o' his.
"Hold me closer, Tony Daaanzaaa..."

What ever happened to Tony Danza?
He probably makes low-budget pizza parlor commercials now or something. Mama mia.

Last night I watched Wes Anderson's "Bottle Rocket," which I think was probably his first film (although I'm not sure)---and it was genius. Yet another movie to add to my monstrous list of must-eventually-buy DVDs... One of the best things about it is that Luke Wilson is almost the spitting image of my friend Patrick, from Texas, who now resides in Missoula Montana. Same eyes/mouth/subtle southern-something that Luke Wilson has. Kind of lovely, really.
I hope to God this doesn't send a barrage of screaming women speeding toward Montana to win his amour.

We saw The Decemberists play again two nights ago, over at The MacDonald Theater (about four blocks from my humble Cupboard). Excellent show, as expected. When Colin Meloy said that his two favorite places to play were Oregon and Montana, Andy and I were two of the approximately five people who actually cheered for Montana. A lot of people booed, but that's only because they have no idea what they're missing, naive leetle bastarrrds.
I still want to go back to Missoula.
Colin Meloy's from Helena, and the lyrics in "Apology Song" are about places in or near Missoula (which is a fairly short drive from his hometown). My friend Megan actually worked at the Orange Street Food Farm, where the bike was supposedly stolen from.
Put that in yer pipe and smoke it.
Ahh. Missoula.
I want.

And now I must stairstep and watch Big Fish.

And also:
1. I get my Golf tomorrow! Silver and shiny and be-moon-roofed!, and
2. The White Fudge Oreos are now on the shelves again. Like heaven in a box, but sinful as all hell.
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[27 Oct 2005|10:40am]
A warning: this is a long, profane rant about my stupid druggy neighbors and how they kept me up all last night with their noise... It is mostly written to allow me to vent, so that in my sleep-deprived derangement I am not tempted to take revenge somehow. It is not profound or well-written. I don't care.
Last night the couple who just moved into the apartment next to mine did some sort of crazy drug, and the woman was having an Extreme Wig-Out until 3 AM. (Three in the morning. No exaggeration.)
I could hear her through the walls. She started bitching about something at 1, and literally did not stop until 3: it was just this string of garbled profanity, endless and harshly-pitched, totally inconsiderate... I asked them to quiet down, since it's midterms week and it was 3 AM, but it did no good, of course. Fucking tweakers. They were really lucky I didn't just call the cops; next time I certainly will. As it was, I just pounded the wall a few times before finally cracking, lunging at the wall, and shouting something along the lines of "It's three in the morning on a Wednesday, goddamnit! Chill out and get some fucking sleep, you idiots!"
At three in the morning, I do not mince words.
Andy decided to go home at three so that he could get a few hours of sleep before he went fishing at six... I don't blame him. The neighbors finally quieted down after he left, but I still got no sleep and now I have to write a paper and study for two midterms that are both scheduled for tomorrow.
Goddamnit, these imbeciles owe me something.
I really have no sympathy for people who get fucked up on some stupid drug and can't control themselves. I wish they'd eliminate themselves from society, maybe go play in front of oncoming traffic. I'm half surprised that they didn't do so during their tweak-out.
It's probably bad for my karma, but I exaggerate not.

Must have coffee.
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[24 Oct 2005|11:46pm]
I just spent 40 minutes frantically stairstepping while reviewing German verb flashcards.
I feel like a character from a Wes Anderson film.

Andy is threatening to make a documentary of my bizarre habits, which I guess is fine as long as I can provide the soundtrack. And as long as he doesn't take any footage of my ritual eyebrow pluckage.
Plucking eyebrows, I know: total vanity... but give me a break; I can't go looking like my Uncle Mike, who has eyebrows out to here (envision arms wide and eyes wider). He looks a bit like Animal from The Muppets, only he's not burgundy.
Anyway, the plucking is necessary, mark my words. If not for the plucking, my eyebrows might very well begin a campaign of world domination.
Other than the brows, I am not a hairy girl at all though... It's pretty weird.

And that'll be all.

Absolute balderdash, I know. Hush.

I wonder where Neal went... I can't get ahold of him, and nobody knows where he is. It's starting to get to me.
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[24 Oct 2005|01:04am]
For those of y'all who have ever watched or like the Simpsons:
I think I forgot to mention that I essentially live in the hometown of The Simpsons. Quite literally.
The story goes something like this:
Matt Groening actually went to this college (University of Oregon in Eugene) and based The Simpsons' hometown upon a neighboring town about ten minutes away, called Springfield. It's a rather cracked-out community, in all honesty. I think there are some pretty major meth problems in Springfield, because when you drive through there are all sorts of shady-looking people just lurking about at really odd hours of the morning... it's really odd. At any rate, Springfield, as you know, is where The Simpsons' humble abode is located... and it is supposed to be in Oregon, (not Massachusetts or wherever else,) whether I like this fact or not. Actually though, the Springfield in the Simpsons is really a combination of Springfield, Oregon and Eugene---the neighboring city where I currently live.
Some other bits of incriminating evidence that pretty much confirm that Springfield is based upon the general area where I'm living:
- a 3-eyed fish actually was caught in a river very close to here, although I'm not sure which one it was. I think it might have been in a really polluted area of the Willamette, but no guarantees. Andy would know I guess.
The Willamette is also known for five-legged frogs, but most of the river is actually very clean. There are just certain areas where the water is currently being "fixed." And they're gnarly, to say the least.
- Moe's bar actually exists, except it is called Max's. It looks pretty similar to the one in The Simpsons, and it's where Matt Groening and company used to hang out during college a lot of the time, apparently. It is approximately two blocks away from my house, and on Thursdays it has peanut night, in which everybody eats a lot of legumes and chucks their shells on the floor... it's customary, apparently. I think they vacuum them up later. I hope so anyway.
A lot of Sociology majors hang out at Max's, or so I've heard. They say it's a good crowd of kids.
- A statue was actually beheaded by students in a graveyard located on the U of O campus grounds---and this was duplicated to an extent in the episode in which the citizens behead the statue of the pioneer Springfield.

So yeah. This is my life, kids. If I see Bart around, I'll let you know.

Saw Iron and Wine with Calexico on Friday night, which was a pretty amazing show. Calexico played all of my favorites (Pepita, Guero Canelo, Alone Again Or...) and performed some songs with Iron and Wine off of their new album, In The Reins----and it was really well done, and the trumpets were gloriously loud and-and-and----trumpety. The best part though was that James Mercer (from The Shins) just spontaneously showed up (!!!!ahahaaa!!!!) and played The New Slang and Saint Simon, accompanied by Iron and Wine, about halfway through the show. Nobody seemed to recognize him until he said "I'm James Mercer..." and then the entire crowd went crazy.
I felt sort of like I was seeing The Beatles or something. The Shins are seriously that amazing to me...
The weirdest part about this whole thing is that I always kind of joke about The Shins randomly showing up at some concert I'm going to in Portland, since they live there an' all... and then, of all people, James Mercer shows up at this one, my birthday-present concert from Andy.
I can't quite tell you.
Some benevolent force is on my side, certainly-certainly.

My friend Alex (from Montana) was saying the The Shins have a secret side-project going at the moment... he came across some songs composed by them, but he couldn't remember exactly what the new band was called when he was talking to Andy on the phone.
I must find out.

Midterms are this week and it's already past 1. Gack. Off to bed.
Goodnight kids.
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[19 Oct 2005|06:34pm]
Gross. I'd almost forgotten just how miserably gray Oregon can be. The sky is a dirty charcoal gray and it's been one of those days that just feels like perpetual nightfall... like the world never quite awakened this morning and is still wrapped up in gray flannel pajamas, zonked out completely. But that's just the perception from Oregon, I guess. Elsewhere I'm sure there was, at some point today, actual daylight.
Unless you've lived here for 20 winters, you cannot possibly fathom the true definition of "rainfall."

I have the first cold of the season. I wish I could name it something spectacular, you know, like they name hurricanes and tropical storms... but I suppose the word "cold" would have to have more syllables to sound at all impressive. This cold feels like a Horace though, for sure. Headcold Horace. Not bad, what with the alliteration and all.
It's wreaking havoc in my sinus at the moment. I've sneezed 45 times today, at least.

Does anyone else think that Sabby Piscatelli (the name of one of the OSU football players) sounds like some sort of terminal illness, or maybe a really gnarly STD?
"I'm sorry, sir, but it seems you've contracted the Sabby Piscatelli...and your chances for recovery are slim"

I am losing faith in humanity lately. Really. am. But this has nothing to do with Sabby Piscatelli.
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[17 Oct 2005|11:40pm]
So I know someone whose parents actually lived in the Amityville House of Horror.
Six degrees of separation, they say...
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[11 Oct 2005|10:38pm]
Damn. I looked at the grad school statistics for the University of Montana's M.F.A. Literature program, and it might be sort of a toughie to get into: 10-20 students enter the program out of the 30-70 who apply every January. Admission is even harder for the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing: 20-30 students enter the program for every 200-400 who apply annually...these numbers are stressing me out something fierce. I'll almost certainly get in becuase of my GPA and teaching experience, and also because I attended UM for a term as an undergrad... but nevertheless, I can't help worrying a bit. I don't really want to go to school anywhere else, except maybe UT Austin. Missoula feels like the place I ought to be. I'm more homesick for it than I ever was for my real home here in Oregon.

This song reminds me of walking up Mt. Sentinel in the morning and watching the city slowly awaken.
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[10 Oct 2005|02:05pm]
So. It appears that I might soon come into acquisition of a silver 2002 Volkswagen Golf.
My brother is trying to buy a truck, and he's selling his current vehicle to my parents and I... which means that for the first time in my life I might actually have a car with airbags, working windshield wipers, a left turn signal, a full paint job, a driver-side door that opens, an intact muffler, and interior that consists of more upholstery than foam... all of these luxuries which my Chevy Celebrity and Pontiac Grand Prix either never had in the first place or no longer had by the time they came into my ownership. It's rather exciting stuff, kids.
The sale will probably occur in the next 3 to 6 weeks. It's going to be completely bizarre to me to drive a vehicle that has any style whatsoever... I will most definitely feel like a yuppie, which is a frightening but hilarious prospect, considering my generally very low-budget lifestyle. I haven't seen the car in person yet, but apparently my brother really spruced it up... it has tinted windows, a really nice stereo system, nice rims, and (aieee) a moonroof.
This is really really weird to consider.
I can't quite tell you.
I shall laugh at myself when I drive it. I kid not.

Needless to say, I'll have to come up with a name for it that completely doesn't suit the respectability of the car, just so that I feel somewhat at home driving it. So far I've driven Old Moldy and The Enterprise... I'll have to think about what to name this one though. It will be considerably tougher, I think, because (thankfully?) it won't have half the character of my last two vehicles.

Am loathing school at the moment... it is completely suffocating me with work. Last night after a weekend of frantic speed-reading I was up until 4:30 in the morning writing a huge essay about Oliver Twist, and I got four hours of fitful sleep before trudging my way to class to get my ass kicked by a German test, first thing in the morning. If you can think of any academic situation much worse than that on a Monday morning, pray tell. This request doesn't apply if you're attending an Ivy League school: if that's the case, consider it your own damn fault.
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[05 Oct 2005|10:12pm]
Found a new karate dojo. The highest ranking Sensei is a bit of a windbag (in that he talks constantly... nothing to do with flatulence), but I think it'll be a good experience anyway, even if the talking does drive me a bit insane. There are only two women, including me... so we'll see, I guess. I'll keep at it though.
Bruised myself already, which is always a good sign. Or something like that.
Am off to wash my salty self.
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[30 Sep 2005|03:47pm]
Internet. In apartment. Yes yes yes.

Here's what went on:
September 20
Music: Shout Out Louds - Track and a Train

Ahh. I am settled into Eugene finally, after two days of mad unpacking action. My apartment (which I've aptly dubbed "the cupboard"---for reasons which need not be explained) still smells a bit like a hotel, but at least now it's festooned with all of my favorite trinkety goodness. A big, gaudy bouquet of feathers from my parents' peacock, Hector, sits on top of my desk, and a bulletin board above it is decked out with clipped illustrations from a 1950's book about bird behavior and pictures from Where the Wild Things Are and J. Otto Siebold books. This print is hanging over my couch, a massive butterfly-shaped Chinese kite hangs above my bed, and my collection of abandoned grocery lists are ceremoniously displayed on a wall next to the kitchen sink. The avocado green fridge is plastered with Magnetic Poetry pieces and a Magnetic Fields poster, and wind-up Miss PacMan toys are sitting on its top in retro primary-hued radiance. Back in the living area a bendable Gumby figurine acts as bouncer to the bookshelf, which is tiny but packed with some of my favorite books:
Anne Sexton: The Complete Anthology,
Nobody's Perfect by Anthony Lane,
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd,
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris,
AnOther by e.e. cummings,
Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson,
Every Living Thing by James Herriot,
Play With Your Food by Joost Elffers,
and Tolkien's </u>Lord of the Rings</u> trilogy.
I had to leave a ton of the books back at home, but I'm hoping that the next time I move I'll settle for a longer time and take all of them with me---probably back to Missoula. I really miss Montana, a ridiculous lot, actually. I want to buy a house there.
But now I'm here, and it's alright so far.

Tomorrow, assuming that I can glue the rearview mirror of my car back to the goddamned windshield for a fourth time (stupid Pontiacs), I plan to drive around town and figure out where the good grocery stores, parks, and running trails are. I might stop by some dojos too and check out their classes/prices/atmospheres/man-woman ratios/machismo levels. Hopefully I'll be able to find something kind of like my old dojo with Sensei Reed, where there were actually a few women and nobody was pulling a Rex-Kwando act out of their ass. We'll see. I think it might be hard.

September 29
Saruman to Gandalf: "You know whom I speak of. A Great Eye, lidless, wreathed in flame..."
Yesterday evening while watching The Fellowship of the Ring, I was thinking: maybe the Dark Lord just had seasonal allergies and all he really wanted was some Claritin. I know that when I have allergies, I certainly develop an insatiable urge to bind the world in darkness. Gosh. Who doesn't?

Last night I dreamed that a small hairy Mongolian man was chasing me around and throwing armloads of rocks in my general direction. He brandished his spear and ran at me full tilt. I told him that I would sue him, by golly, but he didn't seem to understand.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm so stupid in my dreams.
I broke his spear with my mad grappling skills, and promptly awakened in a cold sweat. And then I laughed, ate chocolate pudding for breakfast, and went to karate practice.

Haven't met any really cool people here yet, although there's some hope in the karate kids. The boys seem nice, but I'm sort of skeptical about the one girl in the class. She seems to want to compete with me but doesn't really know enough to do so, although she pretends to. Today after class I found out that she doesn't know Heian Nidan, the second basic kata... so she must be pretty new to the whole thing, I'm guessing.
That's okay.
I'll teach her and maybe she'll be nicer and less competetive.
It'd be nice to have just ONE friend who's female. Right now I have none, aside from Gretchen, who's millions of miles away.
They compete, you see, and I can't stand it.

That will be all.
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[22 Sep 2005|11:08pm]
Righto. After a week of mass insanity, I am pleased(??...) to announce that I am now a resident of Eugene, Oregon. I vow I shall not fall into habitually wearing tie-dyed t-shirts and making frequent and obnoxious references to "herbal supplements" as a result of this move. No, no: my neighbors have those squares fully covered. But they seem pretty nice and definitely laid-back, kind of like the kids I met in Montana---so this might not be so bad really.
This week I'm getting internet service at The Cupboard---my 70s-mod pint-sized abode on Patterson Street. And this means that I'll be around again, particularly in the winter when I'm indoors most of the time due to monsoon Oregonian rainfall and an endless barrage of lit assignments.
But for now I have nothing to say, except this:

The Secret of NIHM.
Dare I say one of the top three best animated American films of the last thirty years.
I wonder when it was, exactly, that kids' movies in America started to soften so much. For the film to meet today's kid-friendly standards, multiple scenes in The Secret of NIHM would probably have to be cut: the rats being injected and suffering, Nicodemus with his creepy eyes and warty fingers, lurking in the dark... the sword-fight, the owl, the sinking of Mrs. Brisby's house. And there were a lot of parts to the story that remained unexplained---details that a five-year-old would have to question and speculate about rather than watch passively. It's not nearly as one-dimensional and soft-cornered as today's family films, which don't demand half as much audience interaction, and in general are somewhat shite.
My favorite movies as a little kid didn't have plots that were immediately spoon-fed to me off silver platters. Look at how bizarre The Neverending Story is. And this film, The Secret of NIHM. And The Goonies, for that matter. Look at how hilariously politically incorrect Sixteen Candles is and how dynamic the characters in The Princess Bride are. What happened to this kind of entertainment?
There are a few exceptions, but I think it's largely disappeared.

If anyone has any somewhat-recently-released-movie suggestions that might restore my faith in modern cinema, please post.
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[16 Sep 2005|02:26am]
One of my literary criticism textbooks arrived in the mail today, and in seven words it completely characterizes the literary misery that will mark my fall term at the University of Oregon.
The book's title?
Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent.

I'm pretty sure it's in English, but I'll need it translated into Stupid Western American before I'll be able to accurately describe what it's about.
This is exactly the sort of thing that leads people down self-destructive paths of compulsive clove-smoking and Kerouac-quoting.

Actually I'm really excited about the class since the book arrived.
I keed, I keed.
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[12 Sep 2005|10:16pm]
Autumn has begun. The roots are lapping up rain and the world smells puddle-wonderful (as e.e. cummings would have it), and I have begun compulsively drinking hot cocoa and preparing for winter hibernation. It's almost time to pull out the nubby old wooly sweaters and scarves and to carve up pumpkins and run through corn-mazes with only Glo-Sticks to light the way, and to make costumes for Halloween and and and and... and to gather leaves and press them in the old thesaurus, and (gasp) to celebrate my 21st birthday.
I am ancient. The classic rock stations have begun to play songs that were on the radio when I was in fifth grade, and I feel like a precambian fossil every time it happens.
But the cocoa shall keep me young. With an abundance of cocoa, I shall endure.

About three days from now I'm moving out of the Corvallis area and into Eugene, in preparation for school at the University of Oregon. I found an excellent studio apartment two blocks away from campus, and it's decently priced and has a certain amount of funk that makes it perfect for me. Among its better features are the scrubby patch of rhododendrons right below my kitchen window, which I plan to festoon with Christmas lights promptly upon moving in, and the outlandishly loud apple-green formica in my bathroom.
No claw-footed bathtub or pets allowed this time around, but for $375 a month (including all utilities except electric), it was about the best I could do. Not bad, not bad.

Last night I compiled the Autumn 2005 Mix:
1. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Baby C'mon
2. Sparklehorse - Sick of Goodbyes
3. Ben Kweller - I Need You Back
4. Shout Out Louds - My Friend and the Ink on his Fingers
5. Bright Eyes - Grateful
6. The Arcade Fire - Une Anne Sans Lumiere
7. Belle and Sebastian - If She Wants Me
8. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Spanish Dance Troupe
9. The White Stripes - Hotel Yorba
10. The Beatles - The Ballad of John and Yoko
11. The Shins - Turn a Square
12. The Ponys - I'm With You
13. The Decemberists - Sixteen Military Wives
14. The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want

This was last year's mix (Autumn 2004):
1. The Aislers Set - One Half Laughing
2. The Talking Heads - And She Was
3. Pavement - Roll With the Wind
4. The Magnetic Fields - Famous
5. Belle and Sebastian - I Don't Love Anyone
6. Stephen Malkmus - Pink India
7. Beulah - If We Can...
8. Blind Melon - No Rain
9. The Shins - Gone for Good (live version)
10. Cake - Shadow Stabbing
11. Calexico - Corona
12. Bob Schneider - Round and Round
13. Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
14. Dispatch - The General

The Black Keys are playing in Portland this Friday. Can't decide whether or not to go, since I'm moving on Saturday and don't want to be dead tired.
Missed the White Stripes. Am still beating self up over it nearly a month later.

In other news, a German scientist figured out how to make diesel fuel out of dead cats, of all things. I kid not. 20 cats to fill up your tank. Bet the exhaust fumes are damn near lethal.
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[22 Jun 2005|05:12pm]
One through nine.

1 song you've been listening to a lot lately:
Martha Wainwright - Factory

2 people you've been told you look like:
Milla Jovovich
The band camp girl from American Pie

3 things you like that almost* nobody else does:
Popcorn-flavored Jelly Bellys (*it's me and Carmiebob: they're ours.)
Sore muscles
Other people's messy handwriting

4 of your favorite books:
Sue Monk Kidd - The Secret Life of Bees
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Maxine Hong Kingston - The Woman Warrior
Geoffery Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales (yes.)

5 of your favorite bands/musicians (as of now):
The Decemberists
Paul Simon
Bob Schneider (from Lonelyland mostly)
Wilco (always in the top five)
The Shins

6 movies you love:
The Goonies
The Life Aquatic
Edward Scissorhands
Sixteen Candles
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

7 unusual truths:
Eating celery makes my tongue tingle and go numb. I think it's an allergic reaction, but it makes salads endlessly entertaining, so I eat it anyway. Someday I'll probably regret it, if I live to regret.
In the seventh grade I memorized a significant chunk of Beatrice's part in Much Ado About Nothing, by myself and for no particular reason.
I do 200 crunches and 30 pushups almost every night. Yet somehow I'm still pretty much a wuss.
Two days ago I accidentally hit an opossum with my car, and I am still in mourning. It was glowing white in my headlights and was looking straight at me before I hit it, I swear. But I saw it too late.
My parents almost named me Jasmine, which would have been endlessly cooler than my real name---the same one as a fashion designer you might have heard of. (First AND last name are the same. Any hope for originality has been stomped out with stilettos bearing my name on the soles.)
I can jump horses and pole vault, but I can't turn a cartwheel.
I have three tiny butterscotch-colored freckles under my left eye that make the shape of a heart.

8 things you do when you're alone:
paint canvases and furniture
shop at Goodwill
compile mixes for the iPod
run, stairstep, practice karate (interchangeably, so these are one)
crochet, mostly armwarmers and scarves
drink hot chocolate
deconstruct/reconstruct my clothes
bake tarts (but right now my apartment has no oven)

9 recommended songs from different artists:
Calexico - Guero Canelo
David Bowie - Queen Bitch
The Decemberists - Sixteen Military Wives
Seu Jorge - Starman
Pavement - Cut Your Hair
Martha Wainwright - Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
Bob Schneider - Big Blue Sea
Cat Power - He War
Loreena McKennitt - Marco Polo
Minus the Bear - We Are Not the Football Team

10 things in your room:
1. Green rubber 50's swimcap with ridiculous kooshball-looking flowers all over it, which I have written many a love-letter about in this 'ere livejournal.
2. Circular legless tabletop, which I'm painting to look like a porthole into the ocean. All of the fish are realistic-looking but have ridiculously vibrant colors and strange appendages, like unicorn or rhino horns. It was inspired in part by the Life Aquatic.
3. Vinyl zip-up pencil case covered with small cartoon deer dressed in hula outfits.
4. Rosie the Riveter lunchbox, which has picture of Rosie flexing her WOmanly musculature, with the caption "We Can Do It!" (It is appropriately filled with contraceptive pillpacks.)
5. Skateboard whose underside I am still painting with a boneyard Tim-Burtonesque theme. I need to get my camera to show you this stuff, because it's some of the best painting I've done... but I can't find the battery charger, which is driving me insane.
6. Tacky state dinnerplate collection from Goodwill. On the wall are Florida, Kansas, and New Mexico, each with equally tasteless but wonderful retro illustrations, and gold rims. The rest are put away.
7. Huge butterfly-shaped kite that my aunt brought from China when I was in third grade.
8. Used, well-worn cowboy belt that I bought in a Missoula pawn shop, which has a tarnished brass buckle that reads "Missoula Centennial 1883-1983" and makes me miss Missoula every time I look at it.
That place is so beyond wonderful.
9. Bright yellow Matchbox Japanese tour-bus, covered in Japanese characters and little smiling flowers who are singing. It was too campy to resist.
10. Mosquito netting around my bed, which will probably be useful this time, considering that I have no screens on the windows of my ghetto little apartment.

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[21 Jun 2005|08:21pm]
A few years ago the OSU art department put up a show of artworks that were made by department professors. In one of the pieces, 70-some randomly patterned dinnerplates were displayed in neat rows along the wall, and on each plate a list of favorite foods was written. Lasagna, corn-on-the-cob, fresh watermelon, mom's macaroni, everything from apple pie to swordfish, pomagranate to rocky road icecream.

I stood there reading the plates for probably twenty minutes before I realized that they were the final meal requests of deathrow inmates.
It was really a heartwrenchingly powerful work. I just realized today while cooking my dinner that I probably think about it at least once every couple of months, and I saw it years ago.
Suddenly so humanized in their last moments of life.

I miss the Missoula kids something fierce. Norman Maclean might be right: the amount of assholes you meet increases exponentially the farther you travel from Missoula, Montana. I'm coming to realize that Oregon is not the friendliest of places after all... not that anyone's been particularly rude or anything; there's just no eye-contact or smiles or bantering strangers that are so integral to life in Missoula. Here it's so much different... everyone has their own agenda and they could give a damn about anyone else. I am trying to love Oregon as much as I used to, but after a lot of consideration I think I'd rather live in Montana. More my type of place, my kind of people, even if it is landlocked. It's likely I'll go there for grad school--either there or the University of Texas in Austin. I have it narrowed down.
Just keep telling myself and maybe I won't miss it so much right now. Keep on keep on.

Somebody's producing a Narnia film that's coming to theaters during the Christmas holiday.
Not sure what to think of this yet. I have my doubts that they'll be able to keep the movie afloat while still remaining true to the text though. The characters are so much less personable than Tolkien's, for one...
We shall see.
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