Monday, November 22, 2004

Books that I've Read (since February 10th)

It's that time of year again where i feel the need to sit back and assess things like what i've been doing with my time since i graduated from Hampshire College. I've been working, and now, a year later than i had hoped, i am finally and sincerely applying to grad school.

That having been said, what else have i done with my time aside from work the obligatory American 40 hours a week (not counting lunch)?

At least i can consider myself somewhat well read.

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
Toni Morisson's The Temple of My Familiar
Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
Tom Robbins' Even Cow Girls Get the Blues
and Still Life with Woodpecker
Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklynn
Terry Pratchett's
The Color of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Monstrous Regiment,
Wee Free Men,
and A Hat Full of Sky
Gregory Maguire's Wicked
Elizabeth Peter's Crocodile on the Sandbank
Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence (restarted and finished)

I'm still in the middle of Tolsoy's Anna Karena.

Still reading Kenneth Graham's Wind in the Willows aloud to Dan, and thanks to allergies, surgery, and the cold season, i have yet to resume for quite some time.

I've also been reading Bitch Magazine regularly. It's good stuff and fulfills some need to be up on contemporary cultural studies.

currently working on Aurelie Sheehan's The Anxiety of Everyday Objects

Sunday, November 21, 2004


like all good sagittarians, i need projects. my current project is applying to grad school in whatever step. i've got all the testing out of the way, and now i'm on the final frontier -- applying. this has me freaking out almost as much as the general test back in june. my neck is killing me, and i sent off an email to my professors from hampshire asking them their advice/words of wisdom about the programs at boston college, northeaston, yale, and uconn in terms of american literature and cultural with interdisciplinary approaches. hopefully i hear back from them soon... especially since two of them are on sabbatical.... i suck.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Where'd you put the keys, girl?

This is going to be the non-update of all non-updates. Of course, it feels like a lot has happened, but really i'm just stressed with work and have been too tired to do shit when i get home.

Still and all, i went to the French Speakers' Meetup Group on Wednesday night and had a great time. I was hesitant because the last time, though encouraging, didn't exactly present me with a group of people i would normally want to hang out with in normal life, so the conversation had been forced and awkward. This time, however, was a totally different group of people, and we carried on conversations, made fun of each other, argued about liking the hot or cold better (if you don't know which one i prefer, i'm pretty sure i don't actually know you), and had a grand old time. It was fun. There was a dude from Maine, a cute couple (one from Zimbabwe and the other from Finland), a dude from India, and generally a good crowd from around the rest of the country. And they were all friendly and forgiving of my tired tongue. I had a hard time speaking (i forgot the word for FRIEND! That's the practically first word everyone learns!), but my comprehension was GREAT. i felt wonderful about that, and still do. Last night i went grocery shopping! I hadn't done that for a month! Tuesday night I went to see The Incredibles with Dan, Razz, and Lyrica, and that movie fucking ROCKS! I wanted to see it again immediately afterward. It was tremendously cute, and i definitely want to own it.

One of my best friends from college is going to visit this weekend! She'll be at a conference most of the time, so the 5 hours that i have her for, i'm hoarding her. But hey - 5 hours for a whole weekend is still more than i normally get to see her. Otherwise, daN and i hope to get pizza by the slice in the North End tonight. To be accurate, i want to get pizza by the slice, and he's kindly accommodating me. Mmm. Pizza.

Monday, November 15, 2004


More on the elections:

"Nation's Poor Win Election for Nation's Rich"
What Do You Think?: The Republican Majority
Liberals Return to Sodomy, Welfare Fraud

Movies that i really want to see (in theatres now or recently -- things i wish i had money to see but don't):

I Heart Huckabees (renter)
The Life Aquatic (unsure)
Team America (waiting for it to get to the Somerville Theatre)
Motorcycle Diaries
Vanity Fair
Sky Captain

...There are probably a whole lot more. But i don't remember previews at all. Everyone (Well, ok, Dan) complains about previews giving the whole movie away and negating the need to see the actual movie. The thing is, i don't remember movies. Or most books, for that matter. When i reread, it's actually a surprise to me what's coming up next. And unless i've seen a movie as many times as i've seen Monty Pythong's Search for the Holy Grail or The Princess Bride, chances are that i'm not going to remember it word for word, or even event for event. THAT's why i was so worried about the GRE English Subject test, incidentally.

My Dad came down to visit this weekend! It was really cool to see him, and to be able to show him around our new neighborhood (see posting from Sunday, November 7). We went to see Gregory MacGuire speak at Porter Square Books on Saturday afternoon, which was really cool! He's a pretty funny guy, and i got to ask my lit-geek questions about the topic of writing and rewriting history that i found thematic in his retelling of the Classic Oz tale Wicked.

That was great fun. I love getting to be a lit-geek in an accepted public forum.

And i got to show off in front of Dan and Dad, too. (Not that it was showing off. Sigh.)

We went out to dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen after spending close to two hours looking online at different restaurants and reviews, just trying to figure out where we'd like to eat. We all pretty much came to the conclusion that there's just way too much to choose from living in a city, and we miss the ease of having a significantly smaller by just as varied list of restaurants in Rockland or Portland, Maine. After dinner, Dan hung out here while Dad and I went to get beer at the Cambridge Brewery. I got my usual Charles River Porter (which is excellent, by the way, if you're a dark beer kind of person.) and we sat at the bar and chatted and chilled. It was very relaxing, which was great of course, since i had had that exam that morning and was quite tired by that point.

In the morning, he actually slept in, and then we went to KRISPY KREME!!! YAY!!! I LOVE KRIPSY KREME! It's my Disneyland. When we got there, the production with the Dr. Seuss donut machine had ceased, so we each got two donuts (i got an original and a chocolate glazed, while Dan and Dad went with two original) and some coffee...and some of those awesome Krispy Kreme mugs... Then we noticed that one of the gainful employees was greasing the cake making donut bowl. Then we noticed that the selfsame employee had plugged in the bowl, and had also plugged in glaze fountain. The suspense was killing me! What mouthwatering deliciousness was the creator going to create? I had to stay until i found out. Furthermore, i wasn't leaving until i bought one. Or three... but i shared. But good GOD. Don't eat three donuts in one sitting. Particularly if two or more of them are cake donuts. They were making the crullers. I thought i was going to die -- in two senses: One, i thought i had died and gone to heaven because it was so rich and yummy. Two, i was so blastedly full i thought i had died and started the "dead and bloat[ing]" process.

Dad left shortly thereafter for Maine, and then Dan and I watched South Park the Musical before heading over to Q's to watch the Pats game and eat their pizza. It was a good time. I feel quite fortunate to have had many friends move down to us rather than having to make too many new friends down here. That's always hard.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Good news! All my hard work studying for the GRE English Subject Test paid off!

Err, well, that's overblowing things a little bit. What i meant to say was that I studied a little bit, and turns out the small amount of preparation that i did (yes i acknowledge that i should have prepared more) actually made something of a difference. There were a couple of questions on something that i think came from The Canterbury Tales, and generally the reading i did of random middle English poets helped me to remember what the language looked like at different periods of time. That actually really helped. And i could think to myself, "Well, i don't think that guy wrote then, and that guy is much later than that, so it has to be between these three other people." And that's how a lot of the test went.

And actually, my heart leapt with glee when the first question on the test was on none other than Toni Morrison whom i have spent a good deal of time studying, and then another question on Jane Austen. It seems as though ETS is making more of an effort to consider having people other than the cannon on the test. Also, there were a lot of Harlem Renaissance author questions on there, and i was generally able to answer all of those without a problem.

AND! (here's the part i'm really excited about) when i saw the passage, "O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars/ Are in the poorest thing superluous,/ Allow not nature more than nature needs,/ Man's life is cheap as beast's." Which is OF COURSE King Lear's reaction to his daughters Regan and Goneril's decision to take his horsesmen away from him (though he starts the play by divesting himself of his rule, dividing his kingdom and power between his three daughters. Regan and Goneril are the mean ones and Cordelia is the one who takes him in the end.) I was all over that question! That's one of my favorite passages!

So all of this sounds like very good news, and it makes it sound like i did very well on the exam. It's still entirely possible that I bombed. I certainly didn't finish the test (i probably answered about 2/3 or 3/4 of the questions), and i had to make educated guesses about most of them. There are only a few on which i was certain, and the rest was a little bit of process of elimination and then guessing from what i had left. All i'm asking for is a 500 or more so i'm not automatically discounted from Brown's program. That's all i'm asking.

We'll find out in six weeks.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Things I'm Thankful For

In the current political climate, and given my current angst about applying to grad schools and taking the freakin' GRE English Subject test this Saturday (i've given up on real studying at this point), it's easy for me to forget about some of the things in life I love the most. I never forget about how much I love Dan. But it's nice to browse through the pictures on my computer and be reminded of the other things I have to be grateful for. Here are a couple of them.

I could have just as easily titled this post, "Things I Like to Do in my Spare Time."

We like to sit around on each other. Posted by Hello

One of my two favorite holidays - Friendsgiving. Posted by Hello

Depsite all appearances, I'm the only one drunk in these photos. Posted by Hello

We like to play pin the donkey on the tail. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


OK, so i admit that i REALLY should have started studying for the GRE English Literature subject test A LOT earlier. A LOT earlier. Like, weeks ago. Six or seven of them. But every time i thought about doing it, i would get trapped in thinking about how in the world i would study for this stupid test, that is supposed to be able to test the knowledge covered by all English majors across the US.... WHAT? NO two English departments are alike, to the extent that they can't decide whether to call it "English" or "Literature" or something else anymore. Not to mention that my focus is going to be more on the contemporary American Studies side of things, which is almost explicitly not covered on this test. Nope, i have to know how to distinguish Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur from Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, and of course i already knew that the latter is all in prose! That's how i tell them apart, naturally!

Oy as you can probably tell, i just get too pissed off about the existence of this test to be able to actually study for it. And now that it's down to the wire... it's a too little too late. Earlier, i had a chance of doing well. Now? It's going to be all about process of elimination on those few on which i have any clue whatsoever.

Did i mention that the test is 2 and a half hours of multiple choice? No writing, no breaks?

But the way i see it is that i did really well on the general test, i got a perfect score on the writing, my transcript is great, and my recommendations will be pretty damned good. I don't think this test is going to make or break me, if anything was going to.

And if it does, well, let's put it this way. For what i want to do (and let's not tell the grad schools this, because it would make me look bad because they want to admit people who will make them famous) what i really want to do is to teach English at some no-name college or university and see how many lights i can turn on in heads who didn't know they cared. I'm not interested in starting out by preaching to the choir at liberal arts colleges full of liberal arts students. Not yet, anyway. I really want to get the bored minds of this nation thinking. And for that, UMass Amherst or UConn would certainly do. But i really want to go to Brown. For that, i should have started studying earlier.

Regretfully going to sleep now,
Lindsay the Spokeschicken

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Your friendly neighborhood bio-firms

When it starts getting cold, and the sky turns that delicate pastel color at the end of the day when the bare trees sillouette resolutely against the pale horizon, I have always had sense of peace. This is my time of year. However, my sense of peace has been upset lately by the sheer amount of bio-firms in our neighborhood. The trees in our skyline meet with humungus, unimaginatively named bio-firms who pump out this strange smell from underground, emit loads of light polution, and we're pretty sure they're all working on manufacturing the undead (or, at least, that's what it smells like).

Here are a few of the aforementioned unimaginatively named neighborhood bio-firms:
Genzyme (the most prevalent and evil of them all, we're pretty sure)

Rather than having a neighborhood sprinkled with quaint mom and pop stores where you can find the perfect loaf of bread or cereal that costs too much, rather than a convenient drug store around the corner that is owned by an elderly Portuguese gentleman, and rather than a cozy diner that makes the perfect pie, our neighborhood proudly sports its bio-firms.

"Honey, look who just moved in next door!" Posted by Hello

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Good Map

Courtesy of Lyrica - this map is more realistic and less....controversial than the other one below. I think it's what we should submit to Canada when we appeal to join them. Please do have a look:

Get ready for more employment outsourcing, everybody! Posted by Hello

This is really what we felt in the United States of Canada when we saw all the red on that votes by county map. Posted by Hello

If we went through Canada, we could totally get the West coast with us Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Words Cannot Express

I really thought Kerry had a chance. Living in Massachusetts, or the Northeast at all, for that matter, has apparently skewed my view of progressive and conservative. I know people who think that Massachusetts is terribly conservative, despite the whole gay marriage thing, despite the recycling initiatives, despite the intellectual activity, and despite the fact that Massachusetts is entirely run by democrats (with the exception of the destructive Gov. Mitt Romney and his cronies). In fact, I know plenty of people, myself included, who think that democrats are conservative by virtue of being a part of the outdated two-party system.

The fact is the the rest of the nation thinks that democrats are threatening the moral values of the country -- this, in an election where 25% of the voter turnout (according to the Boston Globe this morning) claims to be "Evangelical Christian," the community most adament about preventing the possibility of gay marriage, restricting the possibility for abortion, and generally the community who sees it as their God-given duty and burden to save the rest of the us from ourselves.

The people who voted Bush because of fear of terrorism really are possibly the furthest away from possible threat. John Stewart (god, i love that man) pointed out while the Corn Palace in South Dakota may be an attraction, it certainly isn't getting Osama's attention as a Sodom or Gemorrah-type city of sin. New York, the state most threatened and the only one that has been attacked by a foreign terrorist group in this whole hullabaloo, went with Kerry. Who do you think the rest of the fear-driven voters should have voted for? Well, thanks again, Evangelical Christians, for saving us from ourselves, because clearly, as Stephen Colbert states, their safe distance from the threats of terror allows them an objective viewpoint that the people closer to "ground zero" actually attain. Clearly. Not to mention that all the terrorism in the midwest has been domestic. Hmmm....

And so i ask myself, "Really, how do we join Canada, or suceed?" Sure, there's been a lot of talk about it, and no one thinks it's going to happen. But if anyone saw that map in the Globe this morning, it's clear that the rest of the country doesn't want us, and i'm not so sure we want the rest of the country either. Can we really govern ourselves fairly under one president and one party with literally half the voting populus outraged, depressed, disillusioned, and conveniently all huddled together in one general geographic location?

The answers are complicated.

On the second question:
I don't think we can govern ourselves like this. Or allow ourselves to be governed like this. I mean, for pete's sake, Bush has already taken away enough of our freedoms. A co-worker speculated that if it gets bad enough, maybe in the next election the people will be ready for a change. I'm not necessarily sure about that. Evangelical Christians hold the viewpoint that the harder things get, the more it proves their point that God told them that the work of God isn't easy. But maybe the other 25% who voted for Bush will be tired enough of it. But here's the other problem: when you mention the word economics to a midwestern pig farmer (or a backwoods Mainer, for that matter), their eyes glaze over a bit as they fail to see the connection between decisions about taxes and how that affects health care, the price of pigs on the market, and the price of gas. To many of them, "economics" is an elective that you can take in high school that has no real connection to the real world.

Furthermore, stances on gun control, abortion, the environment, education, health care, religion, economics, etc have been neatly separated into two parties that are clearly not representative of how everyone in that party feels. The two party system operates on the notion that there are two viewpoints of the world. The current election certainly makes it look that way, but when you think about how many people voted based simply on economics, simply on foreign policy, or simply on the issue of the possibility of gay marriage, all perhaps without the slightest consideration for the other issues at stake, it becomes clear that there are a lot of different concerns out there that really little to do with a political party and more to do with issues that could and usually should be dealt with in the state legislature. And who represents us in Congress? The Senators.

And how well do they do that? What kind of accountability is there if they don't appropriately represent the state? Not much now that their terms are SIX years instead of two years. At least when it was two years, they had to represent more accurately, because otherwise, they'd get voted out. If it's six years? That's a lot of time to be able to misrepresent with no accountability.

The idea of being able to get out of the black and white two party system is ludacris at this point, since so many issues and motives are conflated and confused.

So back to the first question: just how DO we suceed? Would they let us? I mean, Maine might be able to sneak away without anyone noticing for a while, but the entire Northeast? It would certainly be nice.

So while i sit at my desk trying to convince myself for the umpteenth time that i should be studying for the GRE English Subject Test that I have in a little over a week, all i can think is this: I want out. I don't want four more years of THIS.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Onion Election Guide

'Tis classic. In times like this, we all need someone to turn to to remind us who we really are. I have no television, but The Onion the the clips of The Daily Show at always keep me honest. Bring this with you to the polls. The sense of humor might help you deal with all the republicans you've been able to avoid.
> >sjebcut: The Human mind> >> >> >

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh, and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt

But on a more serious note, the human mind is a very important thing. Tomorrow, we are going to witness yet another great American tradition, and hopefully it won't turn into the second great presidential race catastrophe in a row. So just get out there and vote. I have the fortune to actually be in Boston where the Kerry rally is going to be after the elections while the polls close and the vote counts roll in. There are a bunch of us down here, and I think that since Dan and I don' t have TV, the least we can do is be there to show our support and maybe even get updates from time to time. If anyone would like to join us, take the Green line to Copley and hop out. You should see the stands all set up.

Tomorrow will be a tense day. We'll have to attempt to carry on life as usual when we'll all be wishing we could help somehow. I could have volunteered and lobbied for paid time. Coulda shoulda woulda. Maybe next time around we'll get our priorities straight. But i'm going to save the sarcarsm for later. Now is a time for sincere prayer.