what a week

January 27, 2008

It has been a very busy week.  Lots if appointments and upheaval.  On Tuesday we discovered that Ashes had injured his leg – again.  We decided to wait and see if it would get better.  When it did not get better by Thursday we decided to take him to the vet (and braced ourselves for the expensive bill).  To our surprise the vet thought that it was just a muscle strain and sent us and a very surly Ashes on our way with some meds and only a a $75.00 bill.  He seems to be getting better now.  He has started using his little box again (rather than our closet, the bathroom and our living room rug.  Collateral Damage: 2 blankets, I sheet, 1 afghan, possibly one 5 x 7 rug.  

Wednesday  brought some surprising news,  a flurry of phone calls and appointments, a pretty painful tow stub and accidental neck injury from flailing around afterwards, and a great conversation with my class.  

Thursday was relaxing – I really did nothing but read.  

Friday was a blur – lots of back pain and googling.  But I also managed to make a pot of chicken soup and a batch of marinara sauce.  I was also my nephew’s birthday.  He is 6.  

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day 11am-6pm in the emergency room.  After several hours and many tests they determined that the excruciating back pain that had me pacing the house and praying (screeching) to sweet Jesus for two days was sciatica.  This diagnosis, I should say, came after 6 hours without any pain meds (the doctor forgot to order them!!) and a couple of pretty invasive procedures to make sure all the lady parts were okay.   I’ll just say that when I was planning my weekend a catheter and an ultrasound wand  were not what I envisioned.  Anyway, the doctor thinks that it is probably just from sitting on a  chair all day working on this damn dissertation.  Dan and I will be hitting the treadmills as hard as I can right now to try and get this thing cleared up.  It really needs to get cleared up.  

So that was the end to an overwhelming week.  For now,  I’m off to ice the back with a  bag of frozen peas!  Check out this brilliant “green” alternative to buying some throwaway ice packs.  The dead eyes are from the vicodins  I took this morning.  




January 22, 2008

So I have neglected this little  blog for a few days now.  I have been trying to come up with a bangin’ topic for a post.  I think I put too much pressure on myself and this caused me to be unravenous.  I never really did come up with a suitably interesting topic.  So here is a brief rundown of the last few days. 

Dan and I went to see Juno last Thursday.  I liked it a lot and he did not think it lived up to the hype.  We both thought the step-mom was one of the best (and least hyped) parts of the movie.  

On Friday we went to see Sweeney Todd with our friends Joe and Sara.  I shut Dan’s request down earlier in the night because I can’t stand gore of any kind  – even the theatrical kind.  but when Joe called and I had to put my fears of vomiting and nightmares aside and salvage some pride.  It was worth it because the movie was pretty good.  the gore however was disgusting.  I was surprised that Dan liked it because the musical aspects of it were much more than we thought they would be.  

On Saturday  we cleaned the apartment, which was getting pretty filthy (at least by my standards).  We also finally took the Christmas decorations down.  I did not think it was ever going to happen, especially when I realized that it would mean ripping the storage closet apart to get to the Christmas bins.  But we prevailed!  I managed to recruit Dan into some errands to get a few more organizing materials.  Much to his dismay I also slipped in a little simplifying,  which created quite a bit of garbage in the process.  However, die some pretty aggressive lobbying on Dan’s part, the pile of “stuff we should sell or throw away” was much larger than what actually ended up going.  I did convince Dan to get rid of/sell a broken Playstation 2,  a Dungeons and Dragons board game, some dried up Warhammer paints, a very old and slightly moldy Battleship, some other board games and a tacky crystal chess set.  I could not convince him to let go of his Lord of the Rings cards or his Lord of the Rings game even though he has not touched these items since we moved in here four years ago.  He remains convinced that they will once again see the light of day (same goes for the Warhammer models that he has not played with in five years). While cleaning out the game closet we came across Yatzee and Dan challenged me to a game.  Let me preface my retelling of the results of this game by saying that Dan is the master of Yatzee and it drives me crazy.  He never fails to pull off at least two Yatzees in a single game – no exaggerating.  I am convinced that he is in league with the Devil.   Not only did he pull off two Yatzees in the game we played on Saturday, but he got both on his third roll after declaring he was going to make a Yatzee.  Not only did he declare it – he made a spectacle out of it – “Bam”  *he rolls the die* “Yatzee!”  Furthermore, both times it was on the 2s.  

On Sunday we watched football.  I hate the Patriots and I am not confident that the other Manning brother will get it done.    We also did a crap load of laundry on Sunday.  

This is how today went: reading undergrad papers for a paper competition,  coffee. meeting,  registration/enrollment problems,  short term loan paid off ($836),  library,  bookstore,  coffee,  Karate Kid III,  late night paranoid run to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test (negative), some HGTV,  reading,  and we’re off to bed pretty soon.  

Confessions: I broke my no unnecessary items pledge.  I bought two books today –  David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Barbara Kinsglover,  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.    I know I should have got them from the library but I forgot while I was there and I gave into temptation.  But I have promised myself that I am going to pass them along to some friends when I am finished.  I already have a few people in mind.   That is kinda like recycling and I don;t add to the stuff.  I have also been terrible about eating out and not bringing along my reusables.  I have been putting the baggus to good use though.  It is a process.  



January 16, 2008

I have a confession to make.  My christmas decorations are still up.  I have not removed a single one.  As a result, the festive decor that brought me so much joy in December is starting to make me feel a little sad.  It is getting droopy and the tree has not been turned on in weeks because turning it on would me that I can’t ignore the fact that I have not taken it down. The cats have pretty much dismantled the bottom half of the tree at this point, and the ornaments, which have been chewed and pawed at for a month, are laying in a heap on the TV stand or crammed back onto the top layers of the tree.  It is starting to make the house seem a bit trashy.  It is the equivalent of leaving the outdoor lights up all year.  My mom actually suggested that I leave it up until Valentine’s day and decorate it accordingly.  Maybe that is a great idea. I could decorate it for Valentine’s day, then Easter and on and one.  We actually did this in college when all six  of my roommates realized that no one had bothered to take the tree down.  But seriously, this job has to get done.  It was on the to do list for last weekend but Dan and I just tried to ignore it by busying ourselves with dissertation and teaching concerns.  Actually, that fact that I have been so busy in the den working in the dissertation has probably contributed to my ability to disregard the fact that we have failed to end the Christmas season.   Sadly, i think it is also contributing to my lack of motivation to dive into my next creative project.  But then again, failing to start a new crafty project has also contributed to my ability (and desire) to grind off academic work for 12 hours a day.  Maybe we should leave the decorations up until I finish this thing.  

anatomy of a “man cold”

January 15, 2008

I nearly choked on my own laughter when I saw this incredibly realistic portrayal of the infamous “man cold.”  Brilliant!

via dooce.  

on the bright side

January 15, 2008

Not much to talk about today.  It was a work day.  I think that I am finally in the right state of mind to wrangle this dissertation monster.  I am feeling more motivated and excited about finishing than I have in years.  We are in good spirits around here and just trying to stay positive and focussed. 

I had what I can only describe as a failure to launch with my class today.  I could not seem to get them motivated or excited about the material.  there are a few students who really seem to enjoy participating but I have to find some way to reach the rest of the class.  I think it has to do with the logistics of the class.  It is in the late afternoon (when everyone is hungry and tired from a long day) and the seating arrangement is less than ideal.  Of course, it could be the topic.  I think that my students find the topic (youth culture in 20th century America) uninspiring. Maybe I should have stuck with the topic I chose last year (Second Sexual REvolution in America).  I am trying not to take the lack of enthusiasm personally.  I have to come up with some innovative way to conquer the apathy.  I am feeling hopeful that I will be able to capture their attention in the coming weeks.  

Dan and I are off to watch Superbad!  


January 14, 2008

My baggus arrived yesterday and I have already put them to good use at the library and the grocery store.  However,  I just sent Dan to the store to pick up a few items and I think that he may have forgotten to bring some along.  I don’t think he is enthralled with them as I am.  I picked up the latest issue of Domino at my local Barnes and Noble the other day and as usual it is beautiful.  It is the “organization” issue but there did dot seem to be too many articles on organization.  which was a bit disappointing.  I was looking forward to seeing plenty of stylish organizing tips.  I have also gone ahead and ordered the subscription.  I will be ordering the subscription for Real Simple and Bust before the day is out.  

We started using Netflix again.  We had abandoned it a few months back after several of our returns were stolen from our mailbox and we assumed they would just cancel our subscription.  Happily they did not.  How do we know they were stolen?  Well, the dumb ass who took them from the apartment return box was kind enough to leave a trail of empty Netflix return envelopes in the elevator and hallway.  This also helped solve the mystery of several others that had gone missing.  The offenders are probably the same people who smoke in the hallways and butt out their cigarettes on the carpet.  For the most part we live in a pretty quite building but there are a few miscreants who can’t adjust to living in civilized society.   Anyway, Superbad and the first disc of Big Love Season 2 arrived.  I greedily finished all three episodes of Big Love and we will probably watch Superbad tonight if we can get enough work done this afternoon.  

Speaking of work (aka the neverending dissertation), after receiving a pep talk from Dan and a strongly worded reminder from the Office of Immigrant Students and Scholars letting me know that my visa runs out at the end of the semester, I have finally been granted the kick in the pants I need to finish this thing.  It is time.  I am soooo over it.    This also reminded me that I set a January goal of getting my name change and immigration paperwork in order.   Guess what yours truly will be doing next week.  Yep, spending my afternoons reading secondary literature for her dissertation while waiting in endless lines at various government offices.  I can’t wait!  We also made a dent in the debt today – we paid off a credit card.  $418.00.  We are feeling very good about it.  Now I I just have to hide said credit card before we start to ring it up again.  Oh and that reminds me, while I’m treking to all of the admin offices on campus this week I also have to pay the $800.00 emergency loan I took out from the school last semester.  Being in grad school has definitely led to the accumulation of several little financial indiscretions.  My tax refund can’t come soon enough.  I know Mastercard will be very happy on that day.  

watch instantly

January 11, 2008

Today I discovered the “watch instantly” function on Netflix.  My first indulgence – Helvetica.  As the website for the film describes, 

Helvetica is a feature length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture.  It looks at the proliferation of one type face (which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year) as part of a larger conversation about the way that type affects our lives.             

Call me a dork but I loved it.  I guess the background here is that I have basically chosen the wrong career.  Don’t get me wrong, I heart history but design is really my first and deepest love (not that you would guess based on my header).  All forms of design, graphic design, typography, architecture, interior design, etc…  I am a aesthetic junkie.   So a film about the history of typography is just my thing.   I was sucked right into the dramatic history of Helvectica – the typeface that apparently rules the world.   It is a history of typography complete with generational tensions, revolutionary reactions, and political implications.  what is particularly interesting about the film is the way the narrative structure plays with your emotions and convinces you at every step that Helvetica is simultaneously the most democratic, the most oppressive, and the most subversive typeface ever created.  I was torn.  I  love the utilitarian simplicity of Helvetica.  But is it because I have been programmed to accept it as a default because of it’s ubiquitousness?   I personally have love for both the clean lines of Modernism and the messy mash-up of the Postmodern aesthetic.   In the end I do not have to commit to one or the other since my profession requires 12 pt. Times New Roman – the most oppressive typeface of them all!  Here are a few of the typography/graphic design books that inspire me:  

Pictured Above:  1. Steven Heller and Gail Anderson, New Vintage Type  via Design, Typography and Graphics Magazine 2. Michael Perry, Hand Job: A Cataloge of Type via Book by Its Cover 3. Steven Heller and Mirko Illic, Handwritten: Expressive Lettering in the Digital Age  via Book by Its Cover  4. Ellen Lupton, D.I.Y Design It Yourself (there is a companion website but for some reason I can’t link to it)