Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Playing With My Peach Tree Mom

I had the most disillusioned Tube driver in London tonight on the Jubilee line from London Bridge, as presented here:

[PA system crackles to life]
Driver: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The next station will be Waterloo. Isn't that lovely? I'd like to take this train upstairs at Waterloo and take us all on a long weekend in Paris, but instead this train will terminate at Willesden Green. For all of you alighting at Waterloo...[wistful pause]...have a wonderful evening.
[PA system clicks off.]

It was doubly odd because I've never heard a driver announce a stop before. They usually only get on to announce why the train is stuck in an overheated tunnel or why service is terminating abruptly at the next stop (or the other day when they announced that our safety was in jeopardy and we needed to leave the train immediately--turned out there was a broken door.)

There is not enough music in my life.

Tomorrow night is the invitation-only event at City Hall that, I've been informed, also comes with free wine. I have no idea what to wear to this thing, but it will be fun anyway. Especially since I'm technically coming out in my free time so I'm not expected to work, but I get to charge the hours over anyway. Not that I'm getting paid, but it sort of makes up for last week, when I didn't go to work until Thursday (and I don't work Friday.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Called A Train Full Of People Jackasses To Their Faces Today

I only have five minutes and a broken shift key, so I'll try to tone down the wordiness. I had my big meet-the-mayor day at City Hall. Our event was on the ninth floor and the view is spectacular, given that city hall is built right next to the Tower Bridge and across the Thames from the Tower of London. The launch of our annual report (which is what I was there for) went well and the mayor was very polite when I shook his hand. Also I got free lunch. And several compliments on my hair. So it was a pretty good day.


EDIT: I forgot to credit a couple of things. Yesterday's artwork was brought to you courtesy of the Tate Modern. It is of course "The Metamorphosis of Narcissus" by Salvador Dali (painted in 1936-1937.) And two posts back, the equation "the whole world + the work = the whole world" (also at the Tate Modern) was proposed in white neon by artist Martin Creed in the year 2000.

The painting at the top of this post is my current favorite (once again, credit the Tate Modern -- that place is packed with all things great and crap.) It is "Merry Go Round" by Mark Gertler, painted in 1916 at the height of WWI, which is why everyone on the endless merry-go-round is in uniform and screaming in unified terror.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hastily Beating Plowshares Back Into Swords

I should be writing my last brief for my art history class, but I don't really feel like it. It's not due until Tuesday so I'll write it Monday night when I get back from PELA. Speaking of which, I really should start writing that PELA paper sometime soon.

I did basically nothing today, besides some light cleaning and a little eating. And I read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," which is a classic and is probably worthy of that title. It made me want to go to Russia, which is clearly not its intended effect, as it's about a day in one of Stalin's concentration camps. But you know, once I get a hold of an idea, it's hard for me to let it go.

I've been staying up til morning and then sleeping til afternoon all weekend and I'm going to regret that come tomorrow. I didn't get out of bed today until 2, although I'd been awake for a while. I didn't have any reason to get out of bed, so I didn't bother.

I have a song from Thom Yorke's solo album, Eraser, in my head. The song is called "Harrowdown Hill" and it makes me inexpressibly happy whenever I hear it, even though it's not a happy song. Thom Yorke's work tends to have that effect on me. Maybe it's shockingly corny and adolescent, but there are a lot of songs with lyrics that really speak to me, and that's one of them. Particularly the part that's stuck in my head right now:

"But I'm coming home
I'm coming home
To make things right so dry your eyes
We think the same things at the same time
We just can't do anything about it."

It's a song about revolution, of course. Technically, I'm a song about revolution.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Whole World + The Work = The Whole World

I'm using the time between the performances and the eliminations on X Factor to write this little note. Greg left for the US today, sparking thoughts of how close the end is for me as well. I'll be home December 17th..."home" being relative, as I don't have an address right now. I'm hoping the thing with Charlie works out and I don't have to scramble for housing at the last minute like I did last year when I was desparate to get out of the dorms. We all know how well that went. It's hard to be homesick when nothing stays the same, so I just end up being sad for things I can never have again. And that's a lonely place to be. I have hope, though, that the Charlie thing will work out. And Robby and I have set a plan to live together next year, so that's one monkey off my back. It should work out that Robby and I are moving in together at the same time Charlie is leaving for the service, providing all of our plans come to fruition. Then that's a whole year down that I don't have to worry about having a roof over my head. I've come to a point in my life where I've grown to detest moving, yet I still find myself doing it every few months. I think that this problem and its attendant factors are probably why my hair is falling out. I have stress.

I also have cramps but I don't think that's a factor. Although it might be a factor of why I'm so moody today. I spent the majority of my awake time today at the Tate Modern, and it was so crowded that I started to get really pissed. See, I'm filled with a lot of pedestrian rage anyway. I constantly shout at people in my head, like, "Oh, great, please get off the escalator and then stop abruptly so I have to leap around you! It keeps my cat-like reflexes sharp!" Anyway, I have a lot of anger. So today, mix all that unfocused rage in with a huge dose of fluctuating hormones and a dollop of excrutiating pain, and I'll be damned if I didn't physically attack someone. Well, "attack" is an overstatement. But this lady kept walking really slowly in front of me and weaving unpredictably so I couldn't go around her, so at one point she stopped and I just plowed into her. On purpose. I saw her stop. I'm not gonna lie to you, it was pretty satisfying. I said "Oh excuse me" and stepped around her, and she gave me a really weird look, but she didn't reply. I felt a little bit bad afterward, but...that's not really true. I felt like I should feel a little bit bad afterward. But I didn't. Not a bit.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I Would Have Sung The Monster Mash

I've been planning on going to the Tate Modern today since I skipped the class session there on Tuesday (legitimately! I was sick.) But I woke up this morning after a late night last night and couldn't convince myself to put pants on, much less drag myself to an art museum. I have to go before Tuesday, but maybe not today.

Last night, as you are aware, was Thanksgiving. Here in Britain they don't believe in Pilgrims and Indians and the peaceful conjunction of the two, so we had to make our own celebration. First we (and by we I mean practically every American I'm here with) went to the CAPA Thanksgiving dinner buffet at the Holiday Inn. The food was (surprisingly) delicious and plentiful, although the stuffing was a disappointment, and they didn't have cranberry sauce. (That reminds me of a short tangent: I mentioned it was Thanksgiving at work, and all of the Brits I work with confirmed that the thing they associate most with American Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie. I don't know, but it makes me laugh.) After dinner there was a quiz, at which my team (me and Greg and the Texas kids) were soundly slaughtered by the table next to us (Tory and Erin and a bunch of other people.) In the name of good faith and Ken House sticking together, we all left together and went up to the Texas kids' room for a good old-fashioned Rowdy Thanksgiving Bash.

I may have forgotten to mention this, but the Texas kids (Brantley, Rob, and Anthony) took advantage of a recent sale of Stella Artois at the Sainsbury's and come home with...I want to say it's 23 cases? I've never seen so much beer in my life. They're saving the bottles to make a Christmas tree. Anyway, Tory and Erin and I joined them and several others to drink beer and dance around and sing Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" loudly while sitting on the window ledge (maybe that was just me.) Tory was DJ and she has mad skillz, but right after an absolutely inspired party-wide sing- and dance-along to "Bohemian Rhapsody," some girl that I've never seen before but that apparently lives upstairs came down and asked us to keep it down. Maybe it was 1 in the morning at that point, but it was a holiday, and frankly she should have joined the party instead of bitching about it. Anyway, we didn't keep it down (I don't think we could have,) and she lodged a complaint. After reports that you could hear the party all the way down to the first floor (we were on the fourth,) somebody in authority finally came up and told us to shut up or get out. We tried keeping quiet but it wasn't as fun, so the volume started edging up and up. I got pretty tired around then (it was 2 AM) so I left to check my email and go to bed. Needless to say, it was a pretty great Thanksgiving.

I am trying to get my laundry done but we only have two washers for 60 people so I have to time it right. Not as easy as it sounds.

Oh, and apparently I'm going to City Hall to meet the mayor on Monday. I wish I had more than one suit.

"I hope they show the part where the settlers traded guns to the Indians for corn, and then the Indians shot them and took the corn." (The Simpsons)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Please Don't Ever Say "Her Inner Lining" To Me Again

It's Thanksgiving! I wish I were in Duluth at my (not my) grandma's house with my (not my) family. My adopted family, I guess.

I am watching a bunch of boys try to tie a tie and it's pretty damn entertaining.

I was sitting in a staff meeting at Respect today when all of a sudden my left eye started to hurt. A lot. I ended up pulling my contact out but the damage was done. After the meeting ended I went into the bathroom, pitched my contact lens, and then tried to flush my eye out but it was swollen and scarlet. After a few minutes it returned to a vague pinkish, and it didn't look like it was half the size of the other one, so I went back to work with only one contact in. It's getting a bit better now, four hours later, but it still hurts and I can still really only see well out of one eye. I have no idea why this happened, it just did.

Also, when I got home the key-card reader on my flat's door had stopped reading key-cards. So I'm locked out until the building manager can get back, which won't be until at least 6:30 PM. And I have to be at the Thanksgiving dinner at 7:30, and everyone decided to dress fancy, leaving me very little time to solve this problem.

I think all this is punishment for the amazing time I had last night, after Tory scored me a free ticket to the sold-out Muse concert in Wembley Arena. I rode the Tube for an hour and a half and got there just as the opening act (the Noisettes, who sucked, even though they are fronted by a black girl who wears a tutu while playing guitar and screaming) finished. The concert was FANTASTIC, better even than when Robby and I saw them in July. Except that I was alone for this one, which wasn't the most fun thing ever. But the set list was great (they played the whole new album, then a bunch of oldies, including Feeling Good, which is one of my favorites.) And I danced like a maniac, because I hate dancing but I love Muse, and I have to express that in movement.

It occurs to me that the eye thing wasn't the beginning of my punishment, as on the way out of the concert I took a spill on the stairs and banged up my knee pretty badly. I cannot walk on wet indoor surfaces at all.

My eye hurts and I don't like stories about anal sex gone horribly wrong. And yet, here we sit.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Je Suis Souffrir, Aussi

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to hang out with the Texas kids until 3 in the morning, bitching about how there are no naked girls in Playboy anymore and watching Brantley play Counterstrike, when I clearly should have been in bed because I'm. Still. Sick. You know that part in the movie The Wedding Singer (shut up, you totally saw it and secretly enjoyed it) when Adam Sandler sings the song he wrote and it ends with "I want to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie, put a bullet in my he-e-e-e-ead"? Well, I sing that constantly in my mind whenever I don't feel awesome, which is basically always in the hideous pollution-filled city chambers of London.

Anyway, the point is, I am once again not at work. I had every intention of going, but I got to the pharmacy and realized that I felt just crap and if I did show up I wouldn't be capable of doing much work, so I called my boss from there, bought some Vitamin C and Zinc and Paracetemol, bought some food for lunch and went home. Unfortunately Erin is taking a nap right now when I want to lie down and read, so I figured I'd lie down on the couches down here and read, but I've taken a closer look at the couches and that thought is not so appealing. So it's all sitting up all the time, even though I feel like my head weighs 45 pounds and I keep having waves of hot and cold flashes.

I wish I were watching the new James Bond movie right now. It looks totally badass. I don't think Daniel Craig is particularly attractive, but he has that darkly brooding quality that I find appealing and that has been lacking from the James Bond role since Sean Connery left it. Instead of being a vacuous pretty-boy (Roger Moore) or a psychopath slapped into a suit (Timothy Dalton,) Daniel Craig looks like he knows a thing or two about seducing a lady and bareknuckle boxing. And that's just hot.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms

I didn't go to work again today. Well, yesterday I worked from home, technically, but today I just didn't go. And I didn't go to the Tate Modern to play on the slides, either, so I have to go Friday to make it up. I just didn't feel like getting out of bed, and I felt the coughing and congestion were a pretty good reason.

I did not spend my time fruitfully. Although I did apply for a job. It's in Saint Paul and the commute would be a nightmare but otherwise it would be a good job. Academically, however, I utterly, utterly failed at using my time wisely. For instance, I'm supposed to have read yet another play by tomorrow and have I even looked at the Cliff's Notes? The answer, my friend, is No I Have Not.

Instead, I read the Wikipedia plot summaries for every single episode of the original Twilight Zone series. Hence the title of this post.

I keep thinking about the holidays and fervently wishing that I'd made a different choice this year. I don't even know where I'll be living come Christmas. I keep promising myself that I'll spend Christmas day volunteering, but most likely I'll spend it balled up on somebody's couch while they're out spending time with their family. I'm like the Moe the Bartender of your lives.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Like the Singing of the Wee Angels

ardia24 : mel gibson made a movie about mayans
mickkeli : oh, right, i heard about that
ardia24 : finally, they are getting some screen time
mickkeli : did he show them killing jesus?
mickkeli : because we all know that's how it really went down
mickkeli : next he's going to get drunk and stumble into a taquiero and start shouting about how the mayans are the cause of all the wars
ardia24 : mayans killed jesus
ardia24 : jews killed jesus
ardia24 : i think he's just in a blame circle and needs to sit and think about who REALLY killed jesus

Amsterdam: Because You Need A Sobering Reminder

It will shock and awe you to discover that I'm sick again, so I'm working from home today. And by "working from home," I mean, "writing on Blogger and eating chocolate biscuits." I never should have discovered the joys of chocolate biscuits.

So, I've returned from Amsterdam, which is in itself rather heroic. I learned an important life lesson when I was in Amsterdam, which is that I stopped doing drugs for a reason. Also, I am allergic to hash, which is a life lesson all its own.

I swore off drugs of all kinds (except OTC and legitimate prescriptions) when I was 22 years old; coincidentally the year I both got my first full-time job and totally withdrew from social contact. I was living in my hometown, which I hated, and having excommunicated myself from the prominent drug culture I was left with no friends and no desire to make new friends. This unhappy situation lasted until I moved back to Minnesota just before I turned 24 -- I went back to social interaction, not so much the drugs.

Fast-forward to Amsterdam, on Friday. We arrived in the evening, took the worst tram ride ever, checked into our hostel, and then went out and had dinner and a joint. (I had decided to take a break from sobriety while I had the chance.) We walked around for a long while and then smoked another joint, walked a bit more, then went to bed.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast, where I saw Rachel just long enough to swear at her, and then we went to the Anne Frank House. It was kind of depressing but certainly not as bad as Auschwitz. They had more space than I thought, but it was still far too little space for eight people for two years. After the Anne Frank House we went to the Heineken factory, which was pretty awesome. For 10 Euro we got entrance, three free beers and a free gift. The exhibits are well-planned and interesting and I'm all about free beers, although I did force ("force") Chris to drink my third because, sorry to the Dutch people, I just don't really care for Heineken.

After the Heineken factory we had lunch and then went to a coffeeshop. This was where the mistakes really began. Tory, Chris and Brittany smoked another joint, while I opted to purchase a hash space muffin instead. (In the years since I was 22, I'd forgotten how much I dislike smoking pot. It makes my face feel funny and uncomfortable and it constricts my throat.) I happily ate my muffin, and then some indeterminate amount of time later we decided to go shopping.

Luckily, I'm not the shopping kind, which saved me a lot of money although I was not excited about wandering through a bunch of stores when all I really wanted to do was chill out somewhere. My space muffin was taking its sweet time creeping up on me, but everyone else was pretty much gone. Chris was buying everything he could find that was purple (because purple is the new black -- read a Vogue every now and again) and Tory and Brittany were just sort of wandering around looking at everything. I got really paranoid that I was going to get lost so I was just making a supreme effort to keep track of everyone. I don't know how long this went on, I just know I got more and more disorganized and hungry as the minutes dragged by.

Some time later, probably about two hours later, we stopped into another coffeeshop and smoked another joint. This was a bad choice on my part as I was already pretty much boned by the hash muffin. I can't really remember what happened after that, except that I know at some point we ate some dinner, and then I passed out in my bed at the hostel at not later than 8:30 PM.

I woke up several hours later to the alarming fact that I am allergic to hash. See, I'd smoked hash twice before, and both times I ended up vomiting, but I'd been drinking both times so I assumed that's what the problem had been. This is apparently not true, as I'd only had two beers on Saturday, but I threw up many, many times that night. My head felt as though my eyes were shrivelling and my skull was trying to implode. I drank some water but I just threw it up again. I finally got back to sleep much later, but when I woke up at 9 AM for breakfast my head still hurt quite badly. We wandered up through the red light district on Sunday before we had to catch our train, and my head hurt so much it was blinding. Tory delivered health care in the form of Excedrin, and I breathed in the fresh cool air outside, and I started feeling a little bit better, although I was thinking quite seriously about throwing up in the street. We stopped at a coffeeshop that miraculously had a chair in front of an open window. The window was set in a wall that dropped straight into a canal, so I knelt on the chair and leaned out of the window and thought "If I'm going to throw up, this is the best place to do it." The wind from the water and the coolness of the air, plus the pain medication, finally made me feel remarkably better, and by the time we got onto the (what would turn out to be the first of many in a slowly spiralling nightmare of) train(s) I was feeling pretty well.

The point of that long story was that I am done with recreational drug use. Amsterdam is a good place to learn this lesson.

It will not surprise you to learn that right now I have the hiccups. There's probably a lesson in that, too.

EDIT: Christ, I'm tired. It's 3 PM and I think I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?

I've noticed that there's something odd about my right knee. Well, technically I noticed it right after I moved in to this building and started going up a lot more stairs than I'm used to. It doesn't hurt or anything, but whenever I take a step up a stair, my knee makes a really loud gristly tearing sound that's rather distressing. And it feels like I'm popping bubble wrap under my kneecap with every step. I live on the third floor (which is technically the fourth floor,) and the other night as I was headed up the last flight of stairs my neighbors Kelly and Margo were sitting at the top, so I said, "Hey, listen to this" and then demonstrated. They both pretty much flipped the fuck out. I demonstrated a few more times, because it is gross in the way that's really fun and interesting, but they made me promise to have it looked at when I go home. If it continues, I probably will.

I'm going to Amsterdam tomorrow morning by train and by ship. I'm pretty excited about all of that. I really hope one of the people I'm going with knows how we're getting there and where we're staying, because I have absolutely no idea beyond that it involves both a train and a ship.

I have a song from Jesus Christ Superstar in my head, but I don't know the words unless I'm hearing it, so it's just the same couple of non-consecutive lines playing over and over. The part that mostly features is "God, thy will is hard, but you hold every card..."

I'm really, really glad it's the weekend. I wish it was a weekend that involved sleep.

P.S. It'll interest you to note that the actor who played Saint Peter in the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar went on to a fairly lucrative and successful career in pornography, according to the IMDB.

I'm Shirking At Working Right Now

Picture me as Gob Bluth waking up this morning and saying, "I've made a huge mistake."

Although I have a policy about both drinking on weekdays and spending money in bars, last night I massively failed at everything. I think it went wrong in the first five minutes, when Kendra and Greg and Brantley and I decided to "start the evening off right" with a shot of tequila. That shot turned into several more shots (I think I capped the evening at four but Kendra clearly had the record with at least seven) plus a number of Snakebites. We had a debate about whether you can get a Snakebite in the U.S. It's lager, cider, and blackcurrant liqueur mixed together, and it is universally considered delicious. Anyway, I had three, between shots. All this was accomplished before 11 PM, which is the joys of drinking in a culture where the bars close unbelievably early.

It was a really good time, with dancing and singing and nobody throwing up or making an ass of themselves (well, mostly.) And we were in a Private Function area so we didn't have to deal with Other People's Problems, which was nice. However, when I had to get up at 9 this morning and go to work, I really, really regretted the whole thing. Mostly the tequila.

Here's a snapshot of what it's like living in London: This morning I stepped out my front door into a light rain and nearly ran into a man in a white lab coat who was staggering down the street carrying an enormous open box of raw meat.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

She's In The Oubliette

I made pasta with eggs and plum tomatoes and a little feta and some macadamia nuts for dinner, and it was pretty delicious.

I had a day at work. It certainly was a day. I was working at a conference about women in prisons that one of my employers organized. It was incredibly interesting but kind of stressful and I was pretty tired by the time I left. Then I had to go to the early Theater section, which is much different from our cozy little class that I'm used to. Then I had to go to this alleged meeting which was actually a lecture that I was coerced into by my study abroad program. Because they're insistent that we take a class called "Maximizing Study Abroad" that is a total waste of time, and because it's a total waste of time, they're becoming increasingly desperate to make us pay attention to it. So we (we being only the kids from Minnesota, which seems horribly classist, or some sort of ist, at least) had to sit still in a uncomfortable chairs for two hours and listen to a talk about Muslim women and whether they should be allowed to wear the full-face veil. I don't profess to have an informed opinion on this subject, as I don't know any Muslim women who wear the veil, nor do I know anyone who's particularly opposed to it. But it seems to me that the veil is sort of like a yarmulke and we should probably just let it alone. But the point is, that meeting was interminable.

I'm going to Amsterdam on Friday and I should probably find out when my train leaves.

Oh, and here's this:

Random student: "What about Chris? Would you fight him?"
Drunk Boston kid: "My roommate? No, I wouldn't fight him. He's a man. He has a penis."

Then later:

Random girl says something to Drunk Boston kid.
Random student: "Hey, watch out, you're a girl so he'll fight you."
Drunk Boston kid: "Yeah, you've got boobs, I'll kick your ass."

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Think Gary Glitter Shops At My Grocery Store

I am not the kind of girl who learns lessons, so I made a staggeringly poor choice this morning in drinking a grande Chai latte from Starbucks and eating a chocolatey bun with it. Which basically equates to setting off two or three megatons of caffeine dynamite in my delicate system. Simplified: I Want To Die.

The phone on this desk keeps ringing and I'm sure as hell not picking it up.

Robby and I spent a long time last night working out details for my Future Plans via AIM. I bounced ideas off of him and he offered support between rounds of homework. It worked out pretty well as I found an M.A. in International Development program with a concentration in health at a school that seems A) really nice, B) really cheap, and C) particularly suited to me, as it contains a haunted insane asylum and is allegedly built over an Indian burial ground. Plus the campus is gorgeous, at least in the publicity photos, and the college town it's in seems really pleasant. (I just realized I talked around where it is. It's Ohio University in Athens, OH.) So currently the plan is:

*Graduate in Spring 2008
*Leave for my Peace Corps tour in late 2008
*Return in late 2010
*Start at Ohio U in 2011

Of course, this plan banks heavily on my being accepted to both the Peace Corps and Ohio University. I'm pretty used to getting my own way with things, academically, so I should probably be more worried about that than I am. Although if nothing works out I'm still going to SUNY - Stonybrook for my MSW. I'm quite sure I can get in there. Anyway, it's nice to have a plan in place.

Also, I will be 31 when I leave for Ohio if I stick to this schedule. Thirty-goddamn-one. Sometimes when I have to confess how old I am I'm just as shocked as the person I'm talking to. I guess it's a cliche, you know, you're only as old as you feel or whatever, and in the grand scheme of things I'm still just a wee baby like the rest of you. But it's still a bit of a shock to say, "I'm going to be here in five years" and then realize exactly how long five years is. How long and how horribly, horribly short.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It Never Occured To Me

I should be writing my art history paper right now, but I'm having trouble working up the proper amount of enthusiasm for this Dadaist sculpture. (Credit Where Credit Is Due: This is 1978's "New Stones -- Newton's Tones" by Tony Cragg, currently on exhibition at the Hayward Gallery's 'How To Improve The World: 60 Years of British Art.')

It occured to me recently that when I go home I will be utterly without a computer, as my hard drive exploded shortly after I left town. Lila gave it to her father for repairs but I'm pretty concerned that he's going to find my porn so I should probably have her go get it back before he forbids me to set foot in their house again.

I want to listen to music and CD formatting is just not what I'm looking for. If only there were some sort of device that would store thousands of songs to be played in any order on demand...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Simon Loves Ray

First of all, and this will come as no surprise to those of you who have shared a bed with me, my feet are cold. Cold in the way dead people's feet are cold. They say your feet and hands get cold because the blood is rushing to warm your internal organs; if that's true my liver is at a toasty 200 or so right now.

I've been shopping for graduate school programs again. Some people clean or drink when they get bored -- I irrevocably alter my future plans. I had decided for a time to go to nursing school, because it's only 16 months and the skills would be invaluable in my future work (not to mention give me much-needed fodder for my hypochondria.) But then I realized that you need all sorts of prerequisites to go to nursing school, and the admissions process is structured so that you can't just do it to kill time while you figure out what else you ought to be doing. So I haven't ruled it out, but it's not my first choice. I've actually decided quite firmly that upon graduation I will be joining the Peace Corps, so I'm sort of structuring my plans around that. At least that's two years taken care of. I've waffled a couple of times, mostly when I've been without internet access and thus felt totally adrift. And once or twice when I realize how much I miss you, and by you, I mostly mean Robby. Sorry, all the other yous. But I suppose everyone who stands on the brink of a major commitment waffles once or twice. After I return from service I can get into a number of different programs as a Fellow, which affords me tuition discounts (in some cases, waivers) and all sorts of other options, which only strengthens my commitment. Plus I get to study another language, and that's just always a tick in the Positives Box for me.

Oh, and let's not forget the student loan forgiveness.

Now you're starting to think you should join up, too.

Nobody's been home at my flat since yesterday and I fell directly into my old habit of morbid self-reflection, which takes its form in my refusing to get out of bed or put real pants on. Also I meditated on suicide but I decided to look for graduate programs instead. Not that I have anything to kill myself about, I just like to know what my options are.

I've been watching British TV and there's things about it to love, like X Factor, which is somewhat like American Idol in that they both have singing and crying and Simon Cowell, but with more actual development and definitely more involvement by the judges. Also instead of Paula Abdul they have Sharon Osbourne, which is way more hardcore. I've been watching X Factor for weeks and I'm quite involved in it. Also I've discovered I'm sexually attracted to Simon Cowell. A fit older man with authority and a bit of an anger management problem? What about that wouldn't I be attracted to?

Now you know why I'm not dating anyone.

Well, that and the crippling personality disorder.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Let's Go Get Lost

Housekeeping update:

I didn't realize I had my comment settings on "registered members only." This has been fixed and you should all have the ability to comment now. And I encourage it, so that I don't feel so horribly isolated.

Also, this internet cafe is playing the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Road Trippin" and I fucking love this song. It's the last track on Californication and you should find it and listen to it if, for some reason, you are one of the few people who doesn't own Californication.

If It Weren't For My Horse

Internet at Kensington House is broken, which is quite typical, as I need to register for classes in 13 minutes. CAPA thoughtfully provided me with a free voucher for one hour of internet at the internet cafe down the block to compensate, which should be plenty, as I've thoroughly researched the classes I need to take. I've pretty much given up hope of graduating before Spring 2008, which is semi-depressing and will be yet another $15,000 or so down the ever-growing maw of my gaping debt monster. But this does afford me the opportunity to take a class or two that I really want, instead of just classes I need. Ah, well. Que sera, sera, etc.

Last night was Tory's birthday party and my plan not to get wasted got blown out the window. Which was unfortunate as I had to get up and go to work this morning when what I really wanted to do was die. I hadn't had that much to drink, in the grand scheme of things, and I stuck to beer and wine. In retrospect, sticking to beer and wine might have been what did me in, as I am far more familiar with my liquor limits. But the point is, I had the spins pretty bad and I decided that throwing up would solve that little issue, but I ended up cramming basically all of my fingers all the way down to my lungs in my efforts, and I was thanked with the violent bruising of the delicate membranes at the back of my throat, which has hurt like hell all day. I don't know how bulimics do it.

Warning: the preceding story was graphic and disgusting.

Also, Kendra bit me on the throat last night and bruised my ladylike neck, which also hurt. Add in the hangover, and it all makes for a very unproductive day at work.

Oh, and now both of my jobs have got me answering the phones, which is not for me. Not so much. And there's no easy way to communicate that I'm just an intern and can't help you if you call, so today some lady called and started going on and on about how we told a violent offender that there was no need for a perpetrator-treatment program in his area and that's why he couldn't get help. Which doesn't sound like us, but the point was that I was not the person she should be yelling at about it. And then I kept trying to tell her to hold and she kept talking over me. That being said, I really relish the fact that in both of my jobs I A) never have to call someone at home, and B) never have to worry about identifying myself. Which is a dramatic improvement over my last job.

I have to go register for classes now. Hopefully that all works out.

PS I have terrible heartburn. I blame Tim Pawlenty.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Have To Pay $55 To Go To My Office Christmas Party

My eyes have been itching for several days and sometimes I rub them so hard my contacts fall out and I have to pop them back in without benefit of cleaning. And I rarely look in the mirror so I'm pretty sure I've been walking around with mascara smeared all over my face. I'm a sexxxxxxxxy lady.

I had a stressful day at work, as I have to keep calling all these libraries and asking if they got the information I sent them, and I have a theory that most of them threw it away and now they don't want to lie to me so they say they haven't gotten it. Also they've decided to make me start picking up the phone when it rings even though I don't know the answers to anything that anybody could ask, up to and including "What is your address?" I'm really self-concious about both my violently American accent and my total ignorance on British phone manners, in addition to my crippling stage fright regarding phones, so it all adds up to a party.

I had to give a group presentation in my internship class tonight. It went alright, I guess. I wasn't terribly formal which is my biggest problem with public speaking. But the point is, the first group that went gave a presentation about football hooliganism that ended with giving everyone in the class a can of beer. It was the best presentation ever.

That reminds me of this little exchange about rugby:

J (with sympathy): "Oh, you didn't make the team?"
Kyle (with sincerity): "Dude, I'm not very good."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sorry, We Had Other Commitments

I'm waiting for my group to get here so we can put together a 12 minute skit about British and holidays. This literally makes me want to die.

Yesterday I went to Belgium. It was exhausting. I had to get up at 4:45 in the morning to make my bus at 6, and the bus pickup is like a 10 minute walk from my flat in a neighborhood I'm pretty familiar with and I still got desperately lost and barely made it. Belgium was nice though. I ate a Belgian waffle and some Belgian chocolate and some frieten which are like fries but sort of thicker and more delicious. I saw an antique flea market and a sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Michaelangelo and I touched the blood of Jesus. Well, I didn't touch the actual blood, but in the Basilica of the Holy Blood (which actually has a Flemish name that is utterly inconceivable as an actual word) is housed the cloth with which Joseph of Arimathea cleansed the body of Jesus after the Crucifixion. And it's kept in a little crystal case and you can touch the case, so I did, because who would pass up an opportunity to touch the blood of Jesus? It was pretty amazing, actually.

On the way home we watched Ocean's 12 because it was too dark to look at scenery, but we had to get on the ferry from Calais (France) to Dover (England--of the White Cliffs, you know) and so I missed the last 10 or 15 minutes. I was sad because I was pretty into the movie. I didn't see the first one but it wasn't that hard to pick up, I guess.

Oh, and don't think I didn't get lost on the way home, as well. Actually I was standing on a street corner in my neighborhood trying to remember which way to turn, and these girls on the opposite sidewalk shouted over to me. "Hey," they shouted. "Do you know the way to Harrington Gardens?" "No," I shouted back. "Do you know the way to Cromwell Road?" "No!" It didn't go well but I found it eventually.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh, I Love A Good Oom-Pah Band

Things to do today:

*Print my e-ticket for my trip to Belgium tomorrow
*Write a two-page paper for that ridiculous joke of an online study abroad class
*Try to revise my tactics on completing that completely serious melodrama of an online human sexuality class
*Resist the urge to climb back into bed and stare at bad British TV until I feel not so hungover
*Get the song "Smoke Two Joints" by Sublime the fuck out of my head
*Work on my internship portfolio, and by work on it, I mean read the paper that describes what I'm supposed to have been working on for the past six weeks or so
*Go see some fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night
*Keep on keepin' on

Last night somehow spun out of control when all I wanted to do was go to the store and buy a bottle of wine, and then somehow it was three in the morning and I was eating spicy homemade macaroni and cheese, made for us by a couple of drunk Texans. And that's after the rave light performance where one of the lights flew right out the window and somebody went to go get it, after the impromptu dance party/Sublime singalong in the kitchen, after the drunken trip to the grocery store at 2:30 in the morning. Not to mention time at the pub and the drinking game. I have to say, I really do love it when a party comes together.

I miss the ability to drunk-dial. Transatlantic drunk dials are the worst idea ever.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I've Even Got the Month of May

I worked out my class schedule for the upcoming year. It came as quite the surprise to me that I'm actually a senior now, as this whole time I'd been utterly failing to count the 24 credits I transferred in with. So, contrary to popular opinion, I will not be graduating on time. Technically for me to have graduated on time I would have graduated in early 2003.

Anyway, my class schedule is horrible and depressing. My Mondays and Wednesdays are free until 4:30p, and I don't have class Fridays, so I will allegedly have time to get a job with which to pay my rent. So that's exciting. But on Tuesday I'm in class straight from 11:45a to 8:00p. And all of my classes are educating me about the various ways in which families become horribly dysfunctional, so, you know, that'll be a hoot.

Oh, and all of my classes are in Saint Paul, in case you wondered. Which is unfortunate as living in Saint Paul would fast-track me to the cold metallic taste of a shotgun in my mouth. Saint Paul is where social lives go when they retire. It's like Florida without the shuffleboard.

Our Time Is Running Out

Sometimes even though I don't have anything specific to be happy about I just feel happy anyway. Today I'm opting to be happy about doing data entry until my arms hurt from lack of movement, and people who are so filled with joy that it's hard to be unhappy around them (I recently met one. He's got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in his heart and dammit, it's hard not to smile at that.)

Yesterday I helped to run a conference for social workers on rebuilding the mother-child bond after escaping from domestic violence. It was, as predicted, depressing. Although my part of the conference, i.e. running the reception desk and making sure everybody was where they were supposed to be at all times went very well. We had a small art exhibition in the main lecture room that consisted of pictures and notes drawn by child survivors of domestic violence under the heading "I want the government to..." They were pretty much all heartwrenching but by far the worst was the one that said "I want the goverment to...stop my Daddy from finding me!" Signed Sam, age 8. There was also one that said "I want the government to...protect my Mum because I have tried but I'm only 15."

On the plus side, I was typing up the evaluation forms today and somebody went out of their way to comment on the transportation directions to the venue and how informative they were, and that was all me. It's little things that get you through the day, etc.

I like Blogger okay but it doesn't give you the option to brag about what you're listening to these days. Today it's the Scissor Sisters new album "Ta-Dah!" thoughtfully given to me by Robby after I massively failed to buy it myself.

I have a shit ton of homework that I'm somehow in denial about doing. Among other things, I have that distance-learning class that I've been enrolled in since January and was supposed to be done with in October; pretty sure I have almost half of the assignments left. The professor promised me an Incomplete but I'm really pushing it, I think. It's not like I'm doing anything useful when I'm not doing homework--usually I'm laying around reading free newspapers or staring mindlessly at British television. Speaking of which, go to YouTube and search for clips of "That Mitchell and Webb Look," which is my favorite show. Unless the Google pogrom of YouTube has begun and all the copyrighted material is gone already. They stand to lose millions--what else is YouTube for but for looking for something specific and usually copyrighted?