Professing * Reflecting

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This week's wardrobe inspired by . . .

I am feeling a casual vibe this week, probably because I spent the weekend hanging out in bars with bassists. I want to be a bit slouchy or in jeans or, apparently, in Paris.

I also seem to be, judging from last week and this, obsessed with blue-green shoes.

I rarely wear jeans to school any more, only on the occasional day when I am not teaching and sometimes at the tail end of the semester. This week is full of important meetings, so I have not been at all casual, but I do have a menswear mixed with chunky baubles and girly bows and Paris cool thing happening. Though I could never be as cool as Lou Doillon. Maybe if I had the long-coveted rocker bangs. Or if I were French. Or the daughter of Jane Birken.



Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Day of the Anniversary!

Hello my friends of the internets! One of the years ago today, I, the Chalupa, came to live with the Mama Medusa. Here I am on that day:

And here I am today!

Even though I strike the serious pose of the commemorative portrait, I am the happiest of pups. And do I not look rather trimmer indeed?

Celebrate! It is the day of joyousness to mark the year of joyousness!



Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 7

A Baseball Game

Baudelaire went
to a baseball game
and bought a hot dog
and lit up a pipe
of opium.
The New York Yankees
were playing
the Detroit Tigers.
In the fourth inning
an angel committed
suicide by jumping
off a low cloud.
The angel landed
on second base,
causing the
whole infield
to crack like
a huge mirror.
The game was
called on
account of

Wow. "The game was called on account of fear." It feels like that happens a lot.

I still think I am dreaming in Brautiganese. Smoking cigarettes with Johnny Depp, doing coke with Dennis Hopper--it's all of a piece. Depp and Hopper, at least in image, are my rockstar poet-philosophers. If I could generate an image of Baudelaire, I am certain I would dream-smoke opium with him.

Two of my real rockstar friends and favorite bassists of yore, Feste and Demetrius, are reuniting for few shows this weekend. I will see them tonight at my favorite pub and I might even wander down to see them play in one of my favorite towns on the planet tomorrow night. Music! Friends! What a nice dark days of winter treat.

Labels: ,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good to know I can always go back to temping

81 words

Touch Typing

As seen at Bad Ass's.


The United States Postal Service is under no obligation to deliver your mail

Did you know this? I did not know this. See, I was under the impression that if you were to give a package to the United States Postal Service and were to pay the required postage fee that the United States Postal Service would in fact deliver that package to the address specified. Ha! No no no no nooo.

In actual fact, unless you send your package Priority Class (pay extra), send it Registered (pay extra) with a return receipt (pay extra), and/or insure it (pay extra), the United States Postal Service may or may not deliver that package. If you pay only the basic postage rate, they are not responsible for the delivery of the package. They can lose the package. They can deliver that package damaged. Or they can deliver that package, as was the case with one I recently sent to myself from the Deep Red, with big holes torn in it and with most of the contents missing.

So the basic postage rate is apparently a fee paid to the USPS to take your package with no promise of delivering it. So you are paying some people to take your stuff. A robbing fee, if you will.

In brief, in the exact words of a customer service representative of the United States Postal Service to me, the "United States Postal Service is under no obligation to deliver your mail (Miss)." Huh. I thought that was pretty much the only thing the United States Postal Service was obliged to do. I must have been thrown off by the whole "postal service" thing.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Medusa's road rage vocabulary list

I was reluctant to post this, if only for the google hits* it will generate, but then I figured you all might enjoy some mid-week filth.

I drive to school each day in the infamously bad traffic of Crowded American City. Not only am I a good driver, but I am also a good Crowded American City driver. Which is to say that I am a complete asshole. You have to be or you will not make it a block in this town. Those of you who have lived in CAC know I do not exaggerate.

To be a good Crowded American City/complete asshole driver, you have to possess a variety of skills and strategies. For example, one must learn to navigate by the stars or the sun or the Dunkin' Donuts constellation pattern, since signs here are either non-existent or completely useless and grid systems are considered to be for the weak and the stupid. One's nervous system must also be highly sensitized to traffic flow, ready to merge or not to merge, to cut off or be cut off, to make the left turn in the 3.5 seconds before one light turns red and the other green, etc. Strategic selection of music is also crucial to the success of a complete asshole driver. You need a soundtrack for proper execution of certain maneuvers. You do not want to be calmly listening to NPR during a particularly hairy merging situation, for example. Perhaps most important to your success as an asshole on the road is your ability to swear loudly and creatively.

Yesterday, while trying to ease my frustration in rain traffic--you know, because it's completely understandable that people forget how to drive the minute rain falls from the sky in a town where the average precipitation is only OVER 40 INCHES A YEAR--by getting the Led out and alternating between singing loudly and screaming obscenities, I realized that there are words I utter only while driving. Strange words. Ridiculous words. Confusing words. Words that are not a part of my normal speech, which is by no means free of filth. So here's the partial list of road-rage favorites:


What's apparent to me here is that in the car I either become a 14-year-old boy or I develop some temporary form of Tourette's Syndrome.

*Google searchers: While we see some thematic linkage and dominant imagery here, we cannot entirely account for these specific combinations of words or define them precisely. There seems to be a heavy focus on the lower stratum of the body and its functions, with an interesting tendency to tie this area and these functions to "face."


Monday, January 21, 2008

This week's wardrobe inspired by . . .

I am feeling a little fashion schizophrenic this week. I might go uptown and simple . . .

. . .or I might stick with what has become The Uniform for me this season--this basic silhouette and some funky splashes of color (tights or shoes or gloves) on a more neutral backdrop.

I suspect I will do both.

It occurs to me that the real underlying influence for The Uniform is my first important role model:

Dear dear Pippi, my childhood hero. I read every one of the Astrid Lindgren books over and over again. I saw the movies in the theaters and didn't even notice the insanely bad dubbing. I went as Pippi three Halloweens in a row. I named my first dog after her. And now apparently I dress like her.

I think I'm cool with that.



Friday, January 18, 2008

Brautigan Friday, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 6

Salvador Dali

"Are you
or aren't you
going to eat
your soup,
you bloody old
cloud merchant?"
Jeanne Duval
hitting Baudelaire
on the back
as he sat
out the window.
Baudelaire was
Then he laughed
like hell,
waving his spoon
in the air
like a wand
changing the room
into a painting
by Salvador
Dali, changing
the room
into a painting
by Van Gogh.

Is it just me or is it getting hard to imagine Fridays without Brautigan? What are we going to do when we run out?

Today, a bonus prose-poem from Jeanne Duval's cloud-peddling lover:

The Soup and the Clouds

My madcap little beloved was making me dinner and through
the open window of the dining room I was contemplating the
moving architecture that God fashions from mists, the marvelous
constructions of the impalpable. And I was saying to myself,
in mid-contemplation: “All that phantasmagoria is almost as
beautiful as the eyes of my beautiful beloved, the monstrous
little madwoman with her green eyes.”

And suddenly I received a violent punch in the back and I
heard a husky and charming voice, a hysterical voice, a voice
made hoarse with brandy, the voice of my dear little beloved,
saying, “Are you going to hurry up and eat your soup, or aren’t you,
you goddamn cloud merchant?”

--Charles Baudelaire



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I may have been impregnated by aliens

Aliens because no bassists have been around (in that particular pregnant-making way) in recent months and impregnated because I am acting in what I consider to be pregnantly ways. Or maybe I am just behaving in the manner of the Real Live Bona Fide Gen-u-ine Crazy Person I may have become.

To wit:

--I am nesting like a madwoman. The nesting includes all manner of intensive spring cleaning (yes, in mid-January--remember, pregnant with alien or batshit crazy), reorganizing, and redecorating plans. I have even hired my ex-boyfriend, The Bassist of 2005, to finish the Unfinished Built-in Bookshelves and Work Space of Doom--the bookshelves begun by Demetrius before he was hired to play bass for rhymes-with Dowie Hay and left in middle of the project to go on tour with that little punk-ass bitch, Dowie Hay. I tried to finish them, but in turns out I am not handy with wood. (Shut up, Beavis.) Narcissistic String Theory Guy added some touches here and there, because he enjoyed playing with curves and angles, but they have remained woefully unfinished, unpainted, and pretty much unusable. Enter The Bassist of 2005 to finish the job--this month, for an excellent rate. Hurrah! Yes, all the bassists I know are also carpenters, and I apparently have to have had sex with anyone who becomes involved with the shelf project.

--I want to eat everything in sight as long as it is: not good for me, fattening, and/or outrageously starchy, salty, or sweet. Right now I would eat nothing but chicken wings, hashbrowns, and Golden Oreos if I could. (Warning: Do not go the way of the Golden Oreo. I provide the link only so that you can learn to identify and avoid this dangerous cookie. It took me a full year to lose the 12 pounds I gained when I quit smoking pretty much by replacing cigarettes with Golden Oreos.)

--I am craaaaaaaanky. Yesterday I flipped off an elderly woman in a Buick (granted, she cut me off and made me skid on ice), had a fight on the phone with my dental hygienist (what do you mean I can't keep rescheduling my appointment at the last minute indefinitely??), and verbally castrated a couple of Uppity Boys* in my first class (usually I save verbal castration for week two at the earliest).

So what do you think? Am I with extraterrestrial child? Have I finally gone mad? (It occurs to me that the preceding two questions do not constitute an either/or proposition.) Or is it a deep dark cold days of winter thing? Do I just need a drink? An oreo? A bassist?

*Do you know the Uppity Boy type? The ones who try to undermine the authority of an attractive young(ish) professor by flirting with her in class discussion? I have been teaching only upper-level courses for a few semesters and so I haven't encountered it in quite awhile. Jesus, is it obnoxious.

Labels: , , ,


Monday, January 14, 2008

This week's wardrobe inspired by . . .

It's snowy in these parts, my friends. I looked like the above while shoveling for 2+ hours earlier today. I will try to clean myself up and look more like the below while teaching this week.

It's going to be pretty hard to rock my 3 1/2" fake Chloe boots on the icy paths I have to travel, but I shall find a way.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 5

The Hour of Eternity

"The Chinese
read the time
in the eyes
of cats,"
said Baudelaire
and went into
a jewelry store
on Market Street.
He came out
a few moments
later carrying
a twenty-one
jewel Siamese
cat that he
wore on the
end of a
golden chain.

I wrote a poem once featuring, in one line, alley cats spitting diamonds. Jewels and cats. I wonder if I was channeling Brautigan.

Just before I woke up this morning, I had a dream that I was having hashbrowns and doing cocaine with Dennis Hopper. Swear to god. Is that not a Brautigan line? I am dreaming in Brautiganese.

I wish I could stay in this dreamy poetic place, even (especially?) if I am all jacked up on dream coke. I am already feeling the pull of the semester's stress. I want to feel the excitement. I am happy about my classes, my students, my (impossible and tantalizing) research projects. But then there are the frustrations, mostly generating from The Toxic One--a whirlwind of audacious stupidity into which I have a hard time not being sucked. I did a really really good job of resisting its tug last semester. Must stay that path.

And until Monday? I am going to hang out with alley cats and iconoclasts and cokeheads.



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Guess what you have not had enough of in the new year


And so, voilà!

At Mama Bear's house in the Deep Red . . .

. . .and before the holiday with her best pal, Phooey.



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Do you have a receipt for your excess baggage?

Just for the record, I feel like I paid much much more for it than $75 USD.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Then something happened, something difficult to describe. Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive.

Over the break I finally watched Paris, Je T'aime. I am totally in love with it. It is running a close tie with The Lives of Others for my favorite film of 2007, though I guess both technically came out in 2006. I was excited about it from the time I heard of it. A collection of short films by some of my favorite directors--including my very favorite, Alfonso Cuarón--and with a group of amazing actors, including my Maggie.

I did not expect "14e Arrondissement" by Alexander Payne to be one of my favorites, but it was. We find Carol, played by Margo Martindale, to be the most pathetic person in Paris. The fanny pack. The bad French. The dorky earnestness. But then . . .but then this moment, these lines, that look on her face.

Do you remember the NYC blizzard of February 2003 followed by the freakishly warm weather? I was there at that time with a lov-ah, one of the one real loves of my life, holed up in the Carlton Arms on the Lower East Side. The however-many-inches of snow was melting and slushing in the 60+ degrees heat, and we were lying on the bed with the windows open. I turned to him and said something to the effect of, "I remember wishing this, exactly this, a long time ago." I know, cheesy. But, oh my god, if you've ever felt it. Something both a memory and a desire, realized.

Labels: ,


This week's wardrobe inspired by . . .

I am a ridiculously avid reader of fashion blogs. For a couple of months now, I have been posting wardrobe inspiring pics on my sidebar each week. I have been surprised by how I tend think of them and follow them when I am getting dressed each day, whether it is the entire look or maybe just the shape or a touch of a certain color.

I thought I might start including them in a post each week when I renew the sidebar pics. If you click on them, here or on the sidebar, they will take you to the originating blog.

This week's edition: I don't have to look particularly professorial again until next week.



Friday, January 04, 2008

Poetry Friday, The Galilee Hitch-Hiker, Part 4

The Flowerburgers

Baudelaire opened
up a hamburger stand
in San Francisco,
but he put flowers
between the buns.
People would come in
and say, "Give me a
hamburger with plenty
of onions on it."
Baudelaire would give them a flowerburger
instead and the people
would say, "What kind
of hamburger stand
is this?"

The first Brautigan of the new year! Hurrah!

All is well in the Deep Red. The drama has died down, I am getting bendier and bendier and mellower and mellower with the stretching (it really makes you sore, though, huh?), and I feel truly relaxed for the first time in a while. If it's only for a day, I'll take it.

Today I am having lunch with my niece and then going for a little makeover of the Medusa locks at a NEW salon with a DIFFERENT stylist in THE DEEP RED. I know, livin' on the edge in the '08. This weekend, the Chalupa and I travel home.

Have a happy first weekend of the new year.



Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! It's a beautiful day in the Deep Red. I have a couple more days here and then I shall return to Crowded American City. My New Year's thoughts are simple. I do not feel about 2007 as I did about 2006. All in all it was an okay year, which is what I think I wanted and needed--some stability. That said, I am looking forward to a sparkling fresh new year.

My New Year's resolutions tend to be tongue-in-cheek (e.g. the wildly doomed "budget for cocaine" of the coming-of-age decade), and I tend to make "real" resolutions only on my birthday (e.g. the wildly successful "quit smoking" of 2005). I have one this year, and I am quite serious about it: light stretching. By this I do NOT mean figurative stretching of any kind, i.e. intellectual, spiritual, creative--not that I am opposed to any of these, but these are things I tend to do easily and greedily and therefore do not need to resolve to do. No, by "light stretching," I actually mean literal light stretching of each part of the body each day. And do not even suggest that this sounds suspiciously like yoga or some other kind of Fascist Stretching Regimen. Note I did not say I resolve to be a fascist hippie in 2008.

There are other big and important things that I plan and want to do in the '08, but this is my one and only resolution. As I somehow decided in the comment thread about leftovers below, I am also bringing back my motto of the dissertation-finishing year, "It is what it is," for the '08. This is hilarious in many ways, to be explained when I return to regular blogging, but I am also quite serious about it. Other things I must remember to blog about: the most vile 24-hour illness I have ever had in my life, which I am convinced almost killed me and which I will refer to as simply The Evil and about which rest assured I will only discuss in the most metaphorical of details; the oh so very emotional, so very dramatic family visit; and the blindingly dazzling super-fabulousness of Lenny Kravitz (I feel I might save this one for Crazy Medusa's Lounge).

Until then, the Chalupa and I wish you the happiest of happy new years!

(Medusa image by David Revoy)