Professing * Reflecting

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Strange things (sublime, ridiculous, and potentially offensive) that have occurred to me lately

  • Yoga, as it is practiced in groups in the U.S., is essentially a culturally revered form of the otherwise maligned circle jerk.
  • There is such a thing as grocery store check-out line Munchausen's syndrome. GSCLMS involves seeking not sympathy through illness from medical doctors but seeking negative attention from the unwitting by taking too many items through the express line, digging around for coupons that "were just right here,"and/or quibbling over the price of every single item in one's cart. The GSCLMS is always at the grocery store at rush-hour shopping times and pays only with checks.
  • America's obsession with drinking and whatevering is out of control. Drinking and driving is not a moral issue; it's a transportation issue. Addiction is a totally separate issue.
  • Nancy Grace is the Dolores Umbridge of CNN.
  • Suicide only makes sense, in the sense of actually making sense according to normative logic, to the unsuicidal. For the suicidal, life ceases to make sense as a viable option.
  • Persistence is wildly creative.
  • Jesus was a narcissist.


Monday, July 30, 2007

This is terribly sad

I just found out about the suicides of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake. Glenn O'Brien posted a tribute today on Theresa's blog, The Wit of the Staircase. R.I.P.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

I am obsessed with this haircut

(Above pics from two of my favorite fashion blogs, Face Hunter and The Sartorialist)

I realize these cuts are not exactly the same, but you get the general idea--big, thick, rocker-girl fringe/bangs. One of the reasons I think I love it so much is because it reminds me some of my favorite rocker babes:

Grace Slick

Marianne Faithfull

and, last but not least . . . Leather Tuscadero (Suzi Quatro).

I really deeply truly want this haircut BUT I do not know if I can have the rocker-girl fringe/bangs, because I have very wavy hair. Think Sarah Jessica Parker but thicker or, in short, snaky Medusa curls. So it might look less Slick/Faithfull/Tuscadero and more like the woman on the right in this photo . .

Not so bad, right? BUT my real fear is that it will look more like. . .

. . .70s album cover hair

or 70s teen heartthrob hair

. . .or, last but not least feared, 70s Zeppelin head.

You see my quandary. Please advise.



Eastbound and down

Do you know how sometimes someone mentions something to you--something small, random, interesting, funny, even profound that breaks the din of incoming mental chatter for a moment but is ultimately no more or less remarkable than other tidbits--and then suddenly that something starts to appear everywhere? You begin to run across it for no reason whatsoever in your reading and conversations. References to it multiply exponentially over a very short period of time. Because of your sudden and sustained exposure to it, your knowledge of it increases pretty much by osmosis.

Two of these somethings have popped into my life recently: Buddhism (especially in relation to Pema Chödrön) and truck driving. What's more, because they appeared at about the same time, they seem somehow connected to me.

It's not like I have just discovered Buddhist ideas. I've read a little here and there. I've known (in the casual and in the Biblical senses) those who have seriously studied or practiced some form of it. I came across a Pema Chödrön quotation on a blog a couple of months ago and suddenly I am finding books by her in my study that I never knew I owned, I am hearing people on the subway referencing her, and I am finding her words on everything from junk mail to bumper stickers. I know that part of this is just because it's new on my radar, so I am sensitized to any mention of it. Still.

Truck driving has always been part of my life in that my father drove trucks before he joined the military, went to college on the G.I. Bill, and then started a family and an engineering career. Many of the men in his very large family were and are truckdrivers, including my grandfather's twin brothers and their sons and grandsons. It was this conversation and the decision to top the WWMD (What Will Medusa Do if she doesn't get tenure) career list with "trucker" that opened the floodgates on trucking references.

What does it all mean?? Because I am thinking it means something, and that in itself is remarkable when I think about it. Not so long ago I had reached a kind of extreme limit of cynicism** in which I was finding myself not believing in anything and, what's worse, not feeling the romantic mourning for ideals lost that I believe is part and parcel of the cynic's mindset. Now I apparently believe in the wisdom of the Buddha and the big rigs. It's a start.

**Or, in common parlance, severe depression


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sleepwalking through my Saturday

Note to self: You might want to move that bottle of Melatonin away from that bottle of Vitamin B12, as they and the tablets they contain look exactly alike.



Friday, July 27, 2007

Poetry Friday, Milton

They ferry over this Lethean sound
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But Fate withstands, and to oppose th’attempt
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The Ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. (Paradise Lost 2.604–14)

While doing some research this week, I stumbled across James Dougal Fleming's "Meanwhile, Medusa in Paradise Lost," a nifty little article about Medusa's cameo appearance in everyone's favorite seventeenth-century epic poem. What the hell is Medusa doing in Milton's Hell, especially as it's occupied at this point only by the fallen angels? Is she one of Milton's many many many mythological allusions? Clearly not. She's present, guarding the River Lethe from the fallen angels as each and every one tries to drink from it. For Fleming, Medusa ultimately represents semiotic instability within the poem. She is a sign that cannot be, but nevertheless is, shown. She is a "metanarrative sign" that works to interrupt narrative: "Medusa, placed in the story, severs story, like a hole in the road." Wicked cool, huh?

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

A truly great text message

"I luv u. Let's get hitched!"

I am not going to offer much explanation except to say that More Fun appears to be well into his cups and feeling rather jovial on this fine summer evening. And, yes, he does propose to me every single time he gets drunk.



Apparently I am thinking at 21% (which explains a lot)

My personality test results! They actually make a lot of sense to me, intuitively if not intellectually =). As seen at New Kid's, Crazy's, and everywhere.

Click to view my Personality Profile page



Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chihuahua Wednesday, the Return!

Are you asking yourself how you survived this long without la Chalupa?

Here she is displaying the patience of a chihuahua saint as the nieces and nephew prepare her for my surprise birthday bash . . .

. . .and during a more quiet moment on Mama's porch with her friend, the very lonely garden owl, whom she developed quite a fondness for

She sends her most happy summer wishes to her viva la Chalupa friends of the internets!



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Because sometimes a girl has to shop . . .

In lieu of a post about summer work/writing strategies that has been brewing all week, I present you with the bargains from today's accidental shopping spree, which happened in lieu of actual work this afternoon. It truly was an accident. I was running a quick errand and there it was--a massive sale at one of my favorite shops. What was I to do?? So while I apparently cannot afford audio books, I can afford . . .

Raspberry satin Keds (a.k.a. my new ruby slippers)

Morphine Generation tank (the mirror design and memento mori sold me)

This cool shirt/dress made of very nice cotton that kind of looks like a lab coat but that is also kind of fabulous. I would not wear it alone like this (because, you know, I am not Beyonce or a stripper/pharmacist) but you get the idea of its possibilities. Apologies for the blurry pics and the very messy bedroom floor.

And this patent leather belt (toile shirt is an early summer purchase from Forever 21) . . .

It could have been much much worse. I had to bite my own hand in order to walk away from this pair of True religion jeans (40% off) and an adorable embroidered dress(60% off but still $91) that reminded me of these little cotton Mexican sundresses I wore as a kid. Grand total? Fifty buckaroos. Fitty.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Calling all audio book lovers!

I have come up with the awesome-in-theory plan of using my elliptical time to listen to books on my iPod. I am planning to start with Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, which I have read multiple times but which I MUST MUST MUST re-read (or hear read) before The Golden Compass is released in December. (By the way, I was flipping out during the preview for it in the theater and was positively overstimulated by the time the Potter, which I was there to see, started.)

Anyway, I was just going to buy the books to download. Expensive. Like $25-$30 per book. I might as well buy the actual CDs so that I could also maybe listen to them in the car as well, right? Then I considered joining one of the audio book rental clubs like, at least for a short time at a reduced special offer price (about $8 a month for three months), but then I realized you only get one book per month.

Any ideas? Should I just suck it up and buy them? I am not usually such a cheapo, but the money. . . it is tight.



Sunday, July 22, 2007


And I pronounce it good. (The Potter, that is.)


Friday, July 20, 2007

'Twas the day before Potter!!

I will admit it. I am giddy like a child. Who else is picking up a copy at midnight and reading it immediately? Just me and 12 million twelve-year-olds?

I haven't figured out a way to stay awake if I want to keep reading all night. Coffee? No-Doz? Would trying to score some cocaine for the purpose be inappropriate?* Heh. Now that's a Saturday Night Live skit I would love to see, Harry Potter Crack House.

*Explaining the joke ruins the joke paranoid tenure-track asterisk: This is only funny if you know I do not do drugs.



Thursday, July 19, 2007

How DO they do it?

Because I can't tell you how many times people have stopped me on the street to ask, "Has anyone ever told you you look 70% like Rita Hayworth?". . .

as seen at Canada's



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Televisions in the attic: the early fallout

Not being able to turn around without running into a television is going really really well so far. To wit,

1. I was in the kitchen--the one televisionless room in the garret--cooking dinner the other night. I was feeling oddly uncomfortable, but I could not quite put my finger on why. It just seemed quiet somehow, which did not make sense because I had music playing. I decided to replace the music with NPR. Yes! Voices! This was better. But they were strangely disembodied, I thought, and--long story short--I brought my laptop into the kitchen so that I could watch The Closer on DVD while cooking dinner. Sad sad sad.

2. I am addicted to The Closer and some episode of some season is likely to be on on the laptop or any one of my t.v.'s at any one time. The Grand He mentioned the show the last time I saw him, saying he loved it and it reminded him of me or us or some mysterious something that made me too curious not to want to check it out, but I hadn't had the chance to Netflix it until recently. I am almost through Season Two. I love it. (By the way, my sister claims she can't watch it for more than five minutes because Sedgewick 's Southern accent is so badly done. I think I've been away from the South too long for it to bother me, though I do cringe over certain words like "because" and "thought.") I see several obvious reasons it makes The Grand He think of me and a couple of not-so-obvious. I am not sure I am at all comfortable with some of these reasons.

3. In the past week and a half, I have had dreams about this person, this person, and this person.* I should not know who these people are much less be hanging out with them in my dreams.

4. Now first on my WWMD** job list is truck driver, not only because of this conversation between my father and his grandchildren but also because of the best reality show of all time, Ice Road Truckers. Turns out my father is also a self-proclaimed fan of this show. This is an amazing statement, because my father (being a staunch character, as Little Edie might say) is not the sort of person who claims to be a fan of anything. He also fully supports my fallback career plans. As he sees it, truck driving is my heritage. Of course, I am not aspiring to the ice road trucking. No. That would be like the RI of truck driving.

5. Silence has become a beautiful thing again. Sometimes I find silence distracting, but now . . . ahhhhhhhhhh.

*TMI asterisk: One of these was a really great sex dream. I am not saying which.

**What Will Medusa Do (if she does not get tenure)

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Medusa needs some new shoes

I am feeling very lame for not blogging for the past few days, but it is because I am actually working, which is a very VERY good thing. I am not too busy, however, to indulge in a little retail therapy

I desperately need some new casual heels and I fancy me some wedges. So which of the which? Keep in mind that I do quite a bit of walking on these crowded city streets. Also feel totally free to tell me if you think both are hideous. I am bleary-eyed from looking at thousands of Zappos-->women-->casual-->sandals-->wedges.



Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's my great honor to accept . . .

. . .a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award from Lina!! Thank you, dear Lina! Here's what she says:

'Dusa blogs about all sorts, and is very witty, and damn intelligent. Very interesting lady.

I love when people call me smart and witty, but really we all know it's only because I have awesome hair and three T.V.'s in my house.

It's my turn to tag five more bloggers, and I am very excited to award:

1. Artichoke Heart: Artichoke Heart is not only a true rocker but a 21st century poet sorceress. Those of you who know her poetry know that she is the rare sage with the heart and the humor of the ancients and the sensibility and sensuousness of the most forward-looking seers. Those of you who know her blog know she is the hilarious daughter of a mother who makes her sing "Happy Birthday" when she washes her hands and the keeper of kitty cats who make her feed them only the most gourmet of slices, the coveted Jennie-O. I love her and miss her so much when she doesn't blog, even though I know she's off joyously tilting windmills to a soundtrack part Morphine and part deliriously inspired soul.

2. Lucyrain: Another recently absent blogger whom I admire and love. I think we are in similar situations regarding tenure, although I suspect my situation is more dire. Our sensibilities are similar, and more often than not I find myself uttering "Yes! Exactly that . . .exactly yes!" to her posts. I wish and hope for you all the happiness and joy in the world, Ms. Lucyrain.

3. ozma: OK, this nominating the not blogging so much for the moment bloggers is becoming a pattern. I am so enjoying your voice, ozma, and I am looking forward to your return!

4. Hick Chic: Hick Chic doesn't know that I read her blog, and I have been meaning to de-lurk over there for some time now. In short, she rocks the Northern Hemisphere. Not only is her hubby a Canadian audio God of sorts, but she is also a funny and beautiful and totally lovably insane fan of Johnny Depp and horses and tractors and barns and bridles and bits and movies and books (Did I mention she's writing one of her own?) and her kids and fuchsia hair and unruly eyebrows . . . and, anyway, just read her blog. About the time I first started reading her blog nearly--I can't believe it--a year ago, she wrote this post about the death of her horse, Champ. That post was among the most beautiful tributes I had ever read and made me cry for about two weeks and somehow began the healing of many of my own past losses. So she's deserved a big shout out from me for some time. Hick Chic, you rock.

5. New Kid: New Kid is lovely and sensible, and when she flies off the handle I feel completely confident in flying off the handle with her. (Note: Normally when I fly off the handle, I am 97% sure I am a loathsome brat.) She is kind and brilliant at the same time, and I think I know that's a rare thing.

All of these Rockin' bloggers make me stop everything to see what is going on in their worlds when I see something new from them. Rock on, babes!


Can you say "hegemony"?

Why is "promoting an alternative ideology" such a vicious, brutal, and bloody affair, according to the President of the United States in this morning's news conference? Because some people need to be forced to accept that they want liberty.

Thanks, W., for providing such a brilliant and pithy example of hegemonic logic.

And that concludes this week's installment of Thursday morning barrel-fish shooting.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My one birthday resolution

As some of you know, I make jokey resolutions on New Year's (because who can successfully resolve to do ANYTHING in the dead of winter and the middle of the academic year?!) and my year's serious resolutions around my birthday. No long lists this year. Rather, just this one:

I resolve to develop more productive sensible and productive work habits.

I had phenomenal work habits as an undergrad, but they went seriously south at some point during graduate school. I have still managed to get a phenomenal amount of work done, but I have to admit--to myself, to the world--that my habits are bad, nasty, abysmal. I procrastinate, I panic, I self-flagellate, I take to my bed, I take to the drink, I work in long crazy irregular no-sleeping no-showering spurts, I run away with rock-and-rollers, I talk myself up, I talk myself down . . . I do everything but devise a sensible work schedule and stick to it. No longer! If I can pull off the quit smoking birthday resolution of 2005 and the fitness resolution of 2006, I can do this!

So again, I resolve to develop more sensible and productive work habits.

I would love to hear your suggestions and stories, as well as any strategies that have worked for you. I hope to do a longer post about this at some point, once the resolution has been put into practice.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

A t.v. for every 300 square feet??

Recently a friend who was moving away gave me her ginormous television. I now have three televisions in my 900 square foot attic: the ginormous one in the living room, a giantish one in the bedroom, and a small one in the study. While I am loving the fact of a t.v. next to my desk in the study and while I can sort of justify this embarrassment of audiovisual riches with the fact of my field of research, I still can't help feeling a bit ridiculous. It's kind of like I am living in an electronics store or in this scene of Slacker.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Catch up on my reading with me

Some of my favorite reads, after a long break from the internets:

If I did not read the Daily Oliver every single day, I would be a lesser person:

"Hugo and Oli earn a few extra bucks by posing for OSHA posters. Today’s shoot: keep walkways clear of equipment to eliminate injuries due to falling."

Ozma on overcoming the terror of not enough:

"It isn't enough to eat out with or buy the dishwashing liquid that smells like pears very often. But it is enough."

The brilliantly unsentimental maternal voice of Dooce makes me cry at least once a month:

"In fact, whenever Dora turns to the camera and asks the audience a question, GEORGE! always has a thoughtful answer and has only occasionally told her to shut it, which I think shows incredible restraint on his part. Because when Dora asks me questions I’m usually tempted to throw a rock at her head."

New Kid gets it right for me in the profs with kids debate:

"I think there's a vast difference between not wanting to have children of your own - EVER - which, incidentally, describes me - and expecting never to have to interact with kids ever again."

A recent interview with the always understated Werner Herzog:

"My pilgrimage was 1 million steps in rebellion against death."



Lunatic moon child

As seen at Lina's . . .

You Are The Moon

You represent the unconscious side of life, what happens in dreams.
You are capable of great genius - but also of great madness.
Emotions tend to be primal for you, both your fears and your fantasies.
Your intuition is always right, listening to it is the difficult part.

Your fortune:

You are about to embark on a very important journey - and a very difficult one.
Some of your deepest dreams will be realized, as well as some of your deepest nightmares.
Follow your creativity and visions; stay away from your weaknesses.
You are taking a voyage to the center of yourself, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

My very favorite birthday present

My mother gave me this poster advertising a 1995 Wright Gallery show and featuring "Judy Had Spent Too Much on Jewels and Tuna." Are ya'll familiar with Roller Wilson? If not, welcome to his world. It makes me indescribably happy.



Friday, July 06, 2007

Chalupa update

The Chalupa is quite the calm traveller and she loved loved loved the Deep Red, the kids, her cousin dogs, ALL! THAT! GRASS!, and my mom's and sister's houses, which must have seemed positively ginormous in comparison to the garret. She was particularly fond of the nieces, a certain fuzzy zebra-print pillow in Katydid's room, carpeted stairs, balconies, and the neighbor cat.

What she did not like: hardly anything, just walking in the cemetery (she refused to walk over graves and there was lots of leash-tugging to get out of there as soon as possible) and the American Airlines flight attendant, Anne Marie, who caused a huge scene trying to make me make her stay in her carrier under the seat while we were trapped on a 90 degree tarmac with no air and the Chalupa was overheated and a crying and mortified (due to Anne Marie's yelling and scene making) was trying to give the very calm Chalupa in her lap some water. Anne Marie, you are a crab-faced, sour-souled, petty-minded asshat. Plus, you have seriously bad hair. I am sure that's why you hated me but that's no excuse to be mean to my dog.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

City mirror, Country mirror

I am back home, trying to find my bearings. On the one hand, I need to find them. On the other, I am thinking my current bearings, or the bearings I left a few weeks ago, suck.

I really am a mirror of sorts, the kind that absorbs and reflects its environment. What a different environment--physically, psychically--the Deep Red is. First, there's this laid-back and lazy and misty and breezy and lush and decadent mood to the place. Next, there is the energy and joy and love and angst and silliness of four children. Finally, there is the serious stress and dissatisfaction and anger and anxiety of my mother, my sister, and my father--bad enough individually, volatile when mixed. I absorb it all, each and every bit. This is the "zen" of me. My flexibility is the tendency to empathize to the point of losing any sense of my own perspective, needs, or desires.

Now this chameleon mirror is struggling to adapt to the old city surfaces, a home that suddenly seems unfamiliar and thoroughly unsatisfactory. Is my life a shambles or am I? Is my perspective skewed or is my life here really the barely glued together broken thing I am seeing it as right now?

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