pushing20

maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets. -arthur miller

3.30.2005

I am officially turning in to a vegetable.

The second part of my Spring break has turned into a week-long veg-out. I'm not complaining at all- I'm enjoying every minute of it. Every afternoon spent sprawled out on Crazybrains' bed watching HGTV, every Real World/Road Rules Challenge marathon, every episode of anything in prime time that I don't get to watch when I'm at school. (As a side note...Crazybrains and I once watched TV for 24 hours straight. But that's a (highly entertaining/ridiculous) story for another day.)

I'm also doing my little food tour of Manhattan, trying to hit as many of my favorite places as possible before I go back to the land of dorm food. So far it's been two great sushi dinners, two different Chinese restaurants, Indian food, falafel, and lunch today at one of the best sandwich spots in the city. Needless to say, I am running out of money. I have $100 in my checking account. oops. There's a bit more in my other account up at school, so I'll make it 'till I get back to work for the summer.

I went shopping today (...yeah. shut up.) and got some good new things. Giant sale at Express, so nice new tank tops. Cute undies from American Apparel. Shiny new aviator sunglasses because I busted mine on the beach. A purse that was half off in 9West, which was totally unnecessary but makes me happy. Also, I'm an Adidas addict (I've gotten like 7 pairs in the last three years), so I got these:



I'm in love with them. Plus, they're kinda carrot-y, which adds to the vegging going on this week.

3.28.2005

Beach Reading

One of the best parts of going to the beach is getting lots of time to read things that weren't assigned. I read three full New Yorkers. I'm just about caught up on those now (until I get back to school, of course). There is almost complete turnover on my sidebar in the "Currently Reading" section. So here's what I'm currently reading/read on the beach:

-I finally finished Founding Brothers. It violated my usual "no books with footnotes on vacation" rule, but whatever. Completely loved it, but then I am an unabashed American history nerd. I'm allowed to be an intellectual snob, I'm in college.

-Native Son (by Richard A. Wright) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey) are for class, so I didn't touch those while I was away. I've read Cuckoo's Nest before so it shouldn't be too bad to run through again this week. The other is a bit intimidating, but I have until a week from today to get through it.

-Last Spring break I read Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and totally dug it. I read You Shall Know Our Velocity a few months back and didn't like it as much, but this week I read most of How We Are Hungry: Stories and am really enjoying it. I think Eggers has a strong, interesting voice in his writing. Plus, I've seen him interviewed in a few places and he seems like a smart, thoughtful guy. I recommend all three, I guess, but mostly the first.

-I haven't started Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies yet, but hopefully I will this week. I read her book The Namesake for my Asian-American history class last semester and thought it was really good, and this one is supposed to be even better.

That's all I'm working on for now, other than some People magazines leftover from the plane. Loooove my People.


Also, I can't find my cord to connect my camera to my computer. Arrrrgh. Might have to wait to get up to school to find it. Oh well.

I'm Baaaa-aaaack

So I'm back from the DR. I'll just say for now that it was totally awesome and relaxing, and I have a very nice tan.

Here's a picture from our flight to Santo Domingo, last Saturday. I'll post more as I get 'em off of my camera and from my friends.



We decided to be huge losers and wear our matching t-shirts that we had made (front: giant flamingo and drink on tiny island, saying "WWRFC Spring Break '05", back: "I apologize in advance to the peoples of the Dominican Republic for any damage to persons and/or property that we might cause".)


Now I'm back in NYC. Saw Nanno Saturday night before she went back to school yesterday, and then yesterday went to the Cloisters with Crazybrains to get some culture and for her to prep for a job interview there. Today I am emptying my suitcase and watching too much TV.

I love Spring Break.

3.18.2005

18 hrs 'til I land in Santo Domingo...

(not that I'm counting or anything.)

So I'll be back in a week, hopefully tan, relaxed, and as malaria-free as I am today.

Until then, goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow!

3.17.2005

Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are yours because everyone else is asleep. - Catherine O'Hara

I'M DONE. I finished my American studies paper about fifteen minutes ago and took my chem test earlier in the evening. Chem didn't go well at all, but I like my paper, so that's something.

Most importantly? MIDTERMS ARE OVER. AND I'M GOING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. aaah. Perfect.

I hate going to bed at 5am. For some reason there's a big line in my head between 4 and 5. 4am still feels like nighttime, but 5 is definitely morning. I'm not even that desperately tired--we took a little road trip to the Dunk around midnight to caffeinate, plus I get kinda amped up when I like what I'm writing and I hit a rythm.

Next post will find me in New York City, on my couch at home. Then I can delete most of the smart books from the "currently reading" section and add some good beachy stuff (though mostly I'll be catching up on 3 weeks of New Yorkers. Yet another reason why midterms suck).

So in conclusion, yay.

3.16.2005

Bad day, funny comic.

By this time tomorrow I should be on a bus to NYC.

I have to write a paper and take an exam before that, so it's not as good as it sounds. I don't have high hopes for my chem test...I'm picturing a situation where I sit down to take it and do a little Inigo Montoya move, where I ask my ancestors to point my pencil in the right direction. As I said though, I'm not hopeful. I still have a few hours to do problems and study, so we'll see.

After the test I get to come home and write a 7-page paper that I've barely started reading for, so that should be a blast. I think it's going to be about the growth of TV news in the Sixties, with a focus on how the Kennedy assassination in '63 was covered. Maybe. Or something.

I was reading the Washington Post today, and as I do every day I checked out what Tom Toles (their editorial cartoonist) had drawn. I thought it was funny and was good political commentary, so here it is:





Wish me luck...

3.14.2005

Malaria free is the way to be

Today an email went out around 10am from my friend who's putting together the spring break trip saying that there's been a malaria outbreak in the Dominican Republic lately, so we need to get some malaria drugs before we go. All 18 of us met up at our college Health Center a few hours later for prescriptions.

While we were there the nurse checked our immunization records, and it turned out that a few of us were about a year away from my tetanus shot wearing off. They offered to give the booster right then and there. Unlike half my teammates, I ain't no needle-fearing sissy, so I rolled up my sleeve and was out of there in like thirty seconds.

So now all you rusty nails out there can watch out for ME for the next ten years, 'cause I can step on as many of you as I like.

Midterms = Hell

I'm stuck in midterm hell. I handed in my poli sci paper (on the opportunities for power in the contemporary American Presidency versus the possibility of leadership) at 7. I finished writing it all of 52 minutes beforehand-- left just enough time for dinner before class. So that's one down!

When I get overwhelmed by school work I try to take things one at a time: hand in one paper, move on to the next, then finish studying for an exam, etc. The problem this week is that everything is happening at once. So psci is done, but my p-chem exam is Wednesday evening, and my American Studies paper is due Thursday. Chem is going to have to take precedence for the rest of tonight (not to mention I have to prep for tomorrow's lab) and tomorrow night, which leaves NO time for my amst paper. I'm trying to squeeze in my research when I have free hours during the day; I've printed a bunch of articles of jstor and am working my way through them slowly. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow I'll have my topic nailed down tight, and will be able to sit down and write after my test Wednesday night. I talked to the prof a few days ago, and we were kicking around some ideas about broadcast journalism in the 1960's. All interesting stuff, but I don't quite have an angle on it yet. It'll come, hopefully. Or else I'll miss my bus outta here on Thursday afternoon and be VERY sad.

3.13.2005

Laundry, and HOLY SHIT it's snowing again

I discovered this morning that I am so completely out of clothes that I had to borrow a sweatshirt from the Dish just to go down to the laundry room. The situation is officially dire. I just hope I have enough quarters.

In weather news, the snow here is officially never, ever stopping. I read it on the internet, which means it's true. Luckily, in a week I will be in Punta Cana, where the forcast for next weekend is 82 and mostly sunny. Now that is what we call a light at the end of the tunnel.

Link-Pimpin' Sunday

In the spirit of the Real Genius quote from a few days ago, this entry is "yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility". (Responsibility in this case being my poli sci paper.)

Anyway, here are the things sucking up my precious time today, and many, many other days:

Egg Radio

I'm loving this internet radio station right now. It's been on more or less nonstop in my room for the past few days. No commercials, tunes not limited to top 40 stuff, but at the same time not music-snobby at all. Today alone I've heard James Brown, Radiohead, Lo-Fidelity All-Stars, Velvet Underground, and Schoolhouse Rock. Best of all, between songs you get clips from Family Guy, Princess Bride, Young Frankenstien, and others. A display of all-around excellent taste. Check it out.

Utter Wonder

I just added this link to my sidebar. C. Monks has a blog, stories, and some other things up on the site. He's insanely funny. Pretty much the site I was dreaming about when I created the "Waste Some Time" links category. For one of those moments when you feel like an idiot laughing at a computer in a crowded room full of quiet people working, check out the "Letters to Star Jones" section in your school's science library (like I, uh, didn't. I swear.).

The Redhead Papers: Straight to Hell
An entry from a site I read sometimes that demanded more widespread attention, because few people can bring The Funny as effectively as Erin does here. Warning: if you are offended by pope jokes, stay the hell away. But "popecoaster"? Hee.



More links to come, especially if you dig those.

3.11.2005

Good riddance, Yoga Nazi.

My yoga class is ending next Wednesday. How does a non-yoga-ish person like me end up in yoga three days a week, you ask? Well, I'm required to take 4 quarters of P.E. before the end of my sophomore year, and I got two from rugby, one from snowboarding, and needed one more. Yoga fit in to my class schedule, and Jen offered to take it with me, so I figured what the hell.

I'd heard good things about Yoga as a PE class-- easy, low-stress, and you get to lie down in the dark at the end of class. Turns out there was a new yoga teacher this quarter though: the Yoga Nazi. No "Mountain pose" or "Downward facing dog", the Yoga Nazi did it all in Sanskrit. Sanskrit, folks. We had to recognize words like "tadasana" and "trikonasana". Not easy to take after an hour of p-chem.

Plus, the Yoga Nazi had crazy eyes. They kind of bugged out and you couldn't tell where they were looking. She earned her nickname by basically berating us when we did the poses wrong, and making us hold them 'til we fell. Nice, right?

So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the last 6 weeks I've gone to the wrestling gym and done whatever the Yoga Nazi told me. I'm glad there aren't mirrors in there, becuase I would wager that I look pretty ridiculous in chandrasana, among others. At least my Sanskrit is getting better, right?

I surprised myself, in that I didn't hate yoga entirely. I might take it again next quarter...If the Nazi is gone.

3.10.2005

A little of everything today...

I'm taking a break from everything and watching one of my favorite movies of all time, Real Genius.


Chris Knight: You didn't touch anything, did you?
Mitch: No.
Chris Knight: Good. Because all of my filth is arranged in alphabetical order. This, for instance, is under 'H' for "toy.
Mitch: What is it?
Chris Knight: It's a penis stretcher. Do you want to try it?
Mitch: No.
Chris Knight: I'm just kidding. It's yet another in a long series of attempts to avoid responsibility.


Val Kilmer (who has no sideburns at all in this movie. Literally no hair on the side of his face) plays a genius in college working with Mitch, a 15-year-old genius (and some other people) and they are developing this laser for a professor, who turns out to be evil, and the laser turns out to be a part of an evil government weapon to kill people from outer space. It's one of the funniest, most quotable movies ever. Seriously. Awesome beyond awesome.

Also, my very first real spring break trip ever begins in 9 days. I'm going to the Dominican Republic with a bunch of my rugby teammates. We're all really excited. I would be slightly more excited if I was in better bathing suit-shape, but whatever man. T -9 days 'til beach-&-booze time for an entire week. Niiiice.

In my English class today we were talking about Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. My prof is an older African American gentlemen, and very...professorial. Lots of cardigans worn over shirts and ties with tie tacks, and a beard that he strokes thoughtfully. So when he brought The Funny today, I was surprised. In one part of the book the main character's first husband is going to buy a mule so she can plow the fields with him.

Prof. S. commented: "His & hers plowing mules...like his & hers jetskis. " (thoughtful pause) "Well, not really."

Hee. I like school.

3.09.2005

In other news...

Moving on from yesterday's melancholy, I think we should all have a little giggle at Dan Rather's crazytalk. I know he's supposed to be all Texan and folksy, but his "Ratherisms"? MAKE NO SENSE. This guy agrees with me, and drew a cartoon in honor of Rather's last day as CBS anchor.

"We used to say if a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a handgun." -Dan Rather

Well, thanks for trying Dan. I'm gonna go watch the news on NBC, with the rest of America. Sorry, but Brian Williams was REALLY funny on the Daily Show yesterday, so...yeah. Bye.

Sometimes, we forget to remember.

Today was the fourth anniversary of my grandmother's death.

I didn't remember until I listened to a message from my mother about an hour ago, and the felt pretty guilty for not picking up the call earlier, when I just hadn't really felt like talking to my mom.

"I just wanted to tell you it was today, if you hadn't remembered. Not that you have to remember the exact day. But it would be nice if you took a few minutes to think about Roo, and how much she'll always love you."

I felt terrible for not remembering, and then just terribly sad. Roo (my brother couldn't say "Grandma Ruth" when he was little, so "Roo" it has been ever since) was great. She was far ahead of her time. She earned a BA from Smith and then two MA's (from Northwestern, I think), all in a time that told women to get an MRS. She was halfway through law school when she dropped out to get married and raise three daughters. She went back to teaching a few years later, and continued to teach and tutor until she got sick.

She was great. Even though she was all the way in Chicago, Roo was the one I would call frantically from the library whenever I had papers to write and no idea what to write about. She delighted in getting copies of my school papers and projects in the mail, and later over e-mail.

She was bullheaded, constantly getting in heated debates with my father over his Judaism, with my uncle over his politics, with my mother and her sisters over everything. She was an intellectual snob of the worst kind.

Roo got diagnosed with breast cancer when I was about twelve. She fought it for almost three years, and up until the last few days was every inch herself. I think she knew when the time was running out. I saw her for the last time the first weekend in Feburary that year. My brother, father, and mother went out a week later. My mom stuck around in Chicago for as long as she could, but a few days after she got back to New York it was over. Roo had waited long enough to see us all one more time. On that last visit with my mother she sat at a table with all three of her daughters and they talked for hours with a tape recorder taking it all in. The tapes are still in a box, untouched. I don't know if any of us are ready to listen to her stories again, in her own words, as much as we miss her. On my last day with her, we sat and did puzzles in her living room. I can't remember what we talked about.

For lots of reasons both mundane and emotional, the headstone didn't go up for about two years after she died. So in March of my senior year of high school, the whole clan stood in a circle around a shiny new headstone and passed around a bottle of champagne and talked about her. Talked to her. I cried because I wished that she would be able to see me graduate from high school.

"She would have gotten a real kick out of seeing me in a cap and gown, is all. Out of yelling at me about where to go to college. The whole thing. "

Everyone agreed. Roo would have liked to see all four of her grandchildren earn as many diplomas as they could carry. She'd be watching, they told me.

Now I'm sitting here, crying again. Because I'm afraid I don't remember much at all.

3.07.2005

I was watching C-SPAN, I'll admit it.

So I was taking a break from my english paper last night and flipped on the TV. I ended up watching C-SPAN's coverage of the British House of Commons for about half an hour. My grandmother was a huge anglophile, and watched this stuff all the time. When visiting her in Chicago I would catch some of it, but I hadn't seen it at all since she died (about four years ago) until last night.



So Tony Blair was in there talking to the House of Commons about the British Health Service, pensions, loss of jobs, and a few other things. Blair had to stand there and answer every question the Conservative party leader could throw at him, and then questions from other members of the House. Debate was fierce, funny, and thoughtful on all sides. Here was the Prime Minister (!), having to come up with facts and arguments at the podium. He was leaning over it, getting angry, yelling.

The following is what I wrote in the back of my notebook as I watched:
"This is REAL debate. With supporters on each side shouting out their yays and nays, asking questions to their leaders. Members of the labour party are challenging their own prime minister, not kowtowing to whatever his office tells them. This is DEBATE. This is GOVERNMENT."

The lack of real debate, of visible thought, in our government is appalling. Bush held sixteen press conferences in his first term, as compared with 84 in George H.W. Bush's four years, and literally hundreds by FDR during the New Deal era. We have gradually allowed our leaders to become less and less accountable for their actions, and I don't know how to change it.


For now? I'll start with finishing my poli sci reading. sigh.

3.06.2005

Happy Birthday to The Dish


Dish,

Now that you're 20, I expect that you will act like a responsible adult.
Just Kidding.
Here's to being as wildly irresponsible in the coming year as we were in the last.

-bex

3.04.2005

listening to Ben Harper VERY quietly right now, and trying not to move

Last night was far drunker than I meant it to be...After drinking too much sangria with my friends I ended up playing 4 games of beirut with three football players that I don't know AT ALL. And that was after playing Super Nintendo drunkenly with more guys I don't know. Nothing like the SNES to impress the fellas. heh.

The night ended in my bathroom, where I spent some quality time on the floor by the toilet. I have a whole new appreciation for the automatic flusher we've got in there. Also? Sangria was better goin down than coming back up. (Gross. Sorry.) The bathroom connects my room to the Dish's room, so she heard the whole thing. Excellent friend that she is, the Dish made sure I wasn't dying and stuck me in bed.

I missed chem this morning. Bad, bex! bad! I don't even remember hearing my alarm, though I do remember waking up when my Eternal Sunshine poster fell off the wall. I'll deal with it later when my brain is less sluggish.

I'll end this with an appropriate Langston Hughes poem (I'm going through a bit of a phase, bear with me):

Morning After

I was so sick last night I
Didn't hardly know my mind.
So sick last night I
Didn't know my mind.
I drunk some bad liquor that
Almost made me blind.

Had a dream last night I
Thought I was in hell.
I drempt last night I
Thought I was in hell.
Woke up and looked around me--
Babe, your mouth was open like a well.

I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don't snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don't snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o' woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.

3.02.2005

My new charger has a little blue glowy light, which is a vast improvement over the old, non-glowy, non-working charger.

I support musical piracy, because it lets us all be pirates, and who isn't in favor of that?


arrrr, matey.

3.01.2005

Technical Difficulties

No big post today or for the next few days, because my laptop charger died. My poor little powerbook is now running on fumes. I've been borrowing a power cord for like an hour at a time from people in my dorm, but that basically powers my quality time with Excel for chem.

The new charger is ordered (ebay is my new bestest pal), and should be here soon. But for now, every minute I spend on my computer is very stressful because the only thing I can think of is "Holy crap my battery is down to 12% shit shit shit SHIT I am never going to finish my paper and I'm going to lose all three of my readers on pushing20 if I don't post and fucking shitty HELL." (aaaaand exhale.)

So I'll just say that we've gotten over a foot of snow since yesterday, and it is beautiful here. Every tiny twig and pine needle has its own little white blanket. Country snow is a whole different can o' beans from city snow.

What I do miss are those moments in the city when it's snowing really hard, and if you're in the right spot (especially on parts of 5th Ave, though certainly in other places around the city) and you put your hand right up under your eyes and look at just the tops of the old buildings, blocking out the cabs and the people and the streetlights, you can imagine for a second that you're in New York City in 1895 or something, and it is completely magical.



(battery is down to 9%. crap.)