Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spring in Minneapolis

Amazing garden at the Seward Cafe
Clouds over Franklin
Watching the sun set and a huge storm come in down Franklin
You know. For your recipes.
 A caterpillar crawled on me!
The Street actually being recognized! Barnes and Noble is actually making an attempt at selling this novel to people! People are actually being encouraged to read it! I almost lost my mind with joy.
On 19th, I think.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Dudes

There are two fabulous gentlemen in my life who, as of recently, I consider my new best friends. They are so great! Thanks, you guys, for being so smart, engaging, challenging, funny, completely ridiculous, for introducing me to all kinds of exciting new things, drinking with me, cooking with me, and for providing me with many trollz and lolz.

I will chase your hats whenever you need me to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saturday: Spent most of the afternoon and evening sitting around my friend's apartment, reading aloud the masturbation chapter from Ulysses and having awesome conversations about our ideas about the chapter and recurring themes, images, phrases, etc. that show up throughout our section and the book as a whole
Sunday: Spent most of the afternoon and evening going through "Scylla and Charybdis," highlighting the passages I was supposed to read for my group's performance

Last night: Read aloud a chapter of Ulysses based on dialectic and Shakespeare (Hamlet, specifically).
Just now: Sat around with a bunch of writing tutors and friendly visitors, politely discussed and disagreed about Thoreau, read a fellow English major's paper on Jane Eyre, felt an overwhelming urge to re-read Jane Eyre, talked briefly about Ulysses and Illuminatus!, had a little chat about Emerson and strategies for being a good reader.

Have I mentioned how much I just. fucking. love. being an English student?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Daley and the Long Roman Candle

I also have to say "thanks" to Ulysses--both the book and the class--for giving me the opportunity to spend my Saturday sitting around drinking whiskey and reading aloud with two dudes, while they tell me things like "I really like what you're doing with the climax part of the reading, but the orgasm has to be way louder and more ridiculous. Make it raunchy!"

Just in case I am leaving some mysterious person in the dark here, some context:
Even though I am but a lowly sophomore, I am currently in a senior seminar focused solely on the reading of James Joyce's epic-ordinary-day "novel," taught by my dear and trusted adviser.  The twelve of us in the class have now finished reading the book (and those who haven't, really, get to pretend they have), and rather than writing a big final paper or something like that, we decided to do a marathon reading of the book. We are reading each chapter of Ulysses in groups of 2-4 students, in various public locations around the Augsburg campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, with most readings lasting between 45 minutes and two hours. Sometimes there is nothing else going on but people reading right from the book, but a few readings got a little theatrical; one student actually cooked a kidney on a hotplate in the library for the performance of "Calypso," for instance.

All of my group readings are this week, starting with "Scylla and Charybdis" (Stephen argues with older literary dudes about Shakespeare) tomorrow night, followed by "Sirens" (musical-word-sounds-chapter, takes place in a pub with awesome raunchy barmaids) on Wednesday night, and, finally, "Nausicaa" (the public masturbation chapter that got the book banned) at noon on Friday. I am really excited for all of them, but especially "Nausicaa."

After this week, things are still crazy. The whole class will read "Circe," the hallucinatory-red-light-district-chapter that's written like a play, all the men in the class will read "Ithaca," and the whole affair will be capped off with all of the women in the class reading "Penelope" together in the Augsburg film studio.

Another cool tidbit is that apparently the oft-mentioned adviser was born on Bloomsday, and my birthday is the day after (upon which about half of the book takes place anyway). This year, the dates are going to correspond to the days of the week in the book and everything, so I hope that we will have a celebration of some kind.

Anyway, Ulysses has basically taken over my life, for better or for worse. Probably better.

If Only

I just had a dream that a bunch of Republicans from Congress were descending on some coffee shop (it looked exactly like the Caribou on Fairview and Randolph in St. Paul) to protest something having to do with garbage disposal and "government waste" and taxes. I ended up interrupting John Boehner as he was on his way to dig through a dumpster, and we ended up standing between a little, dusty sedan and a gigantic, organge SUV, talking about what was going on. He got tearful, and the conversation (and dream) ended with me reading him a short, reflective paper I wrote for Ulysses class, which he deeply appreciated.

How you know you are an English major: when your dreams involve emotional persuasions of shitty people through the power of captial-L Literature.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The good news is

For the first time ever (though now that I think about it, it may be the first time I have tried), I have convinced one of my peers that Fight Club is actually stupid.


Grrrr I hate it so much and it makes me feel like a generational traitor or something. Which is too bad, because seriously, fuck this movie.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Uggggghhh. Running on about three hours of restless sleep after a long night and long morning of storms, culminating in a 6:30 AM bike ride back up the hill to St. Paul. It was for a good cause: quality time with new, cool people in my life.

But damn. I am exhausted.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Just had a dream that there was a big tree right outside of my window (there is not, in reality) and that sitting on it was a HUGE pileated woodpecker, who had a big, fluffy shock of crimson plumage running all the way down its back. In the dream, I think I recognized it as some new or rare species or something, and was all excited to call Colin Irvine and tell him about it.

This was tied, I think, to the fact that in my semi-awake real life, I heard a bird call this morning that was totally unfamiliar to me. I didn't have the energy/awakeness to sit up, look out the window and see if I could figure out where the bird was, but instead went back to sleep and dreamed that I discovered a new kind of bird. Also, there really is a woodpecker somewhere around my house who gets really enthusiastic about that whole "pecking" thing early in the morning; it has woken me up almost every day in the last two weeks, since I opened my windows for spring.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I do not like when white people get all woe-is-me over the most inconsequential shit. "Someone called me a cracker! How hurtful!"
I just don't understand how anyone can have so little self-awareness, not to mention total ignorance of context. Your ever-so-briefly hurt feelings are not the same as hundreds of years of slavery and oppression and abuse. Get over yourself.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I just found out, by Googling myself for the first time, that the PDF of the first issue of the famed Highland Park Free Press is online and can be downloaded. Though I am still upset that I was pushed into making my header a terrible pun, damn! I think I was a better writer when I was 17 than I am now. And you know, yeah, it was kind of silly, because it was a high school newspaper, but I think that considering our resources and the fact that Grace and I were the last two people standing by the end of the year, we put together a pretty damn classy paper. Good on us, younger selves!

Also, I liked my bangs when I was naught but a teen. Maybe revisiting those sometime in the near future...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

So here I am in Iowa City, a pretty delightful little town that has greatly exceeded my expectations! Though it doesn't necessarily satisfy my permanent residence requirements of tall buildings and a little grittiness (yes, even in Minneapolis), I actually kind of feel like I could stand to live here--not something I experience very often in Small Town, Midwest.

I am currently sitting in the cafe above Prairie Lights Books, where the coffee is tasty, the WiFi password is "gertrudestein," and there's a sign taped to the counter advertising "PUNK BRUNCH record and book swap." There's a comic book store, an independent record store, and, of all things, another Mesa Pizza, which sustained my hungry and drained-from-car-ride-self last night. There's a pedestrian mall, a few nice-looking boutiques and a thrift store, a charming combination of old brick buildings and new glass ones, and many cheap, beautiful Victorian-midwestern houses with big porches and towers (my favorite). I am entertaining fantasies of graduating from Augsburg, camping in the Southwest for three months, and then scoring a totally-awesome job at the local bookstore/publisher/letterpress/newspaper here, or later, maybe a teaching job as a young hotshot Ph.D.

The most obvious problem with these imaginings (and the very real city itself) appears to be the overwhelmingly large population of big, dudely, corn-fed bros, who were out stalking the streets with backwards baseball caps at all hours of the evening. A brolight: last night, when we got the bar where GBV were playing, I tried to show my very clearly underage ID to one of the four bros working the door, but as I mumbled something about "under 21...mark me if you want..." he snapped, "You need to start paying attention to what's going on!" as he looped a yellow wristband around my arm, indicating that it was totally cool and definitely legal to serve me alcohol. Oops! Gotta love a hypbrocrite. This allowed me to wash down my delicious Mesa with a PBR, which seemed like an infinitely appropriate combination for this particular show.

So even though I am out of money, and I am probably going to bomb my art history test tomorrow (unless I can get an extension--fingers crossed!), I am not so sad that our stupid flat tire caused us to stay here for a little longer than planned. It was worth it to hear GBV play "Over the Neptune" and to discover a cool new place.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oh weird, bro

So usually when I meet other people my age who like the things that I like (usually music-related things) I get really really excited and it makes me very happy to know that my opportunities for cool conversations have expanded.
Then last night, I noticed that I have been having more of these interactions lately.
Then I realized this has been happening almost exclusively with College Dudes.
Then it dawned on me that maybe that is because many (many many many) of the things I have liked since I was about 16 are just College Dude type things to like.

I can't tell if this is cool or kind of disappointing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Old Best Friends and Soul Songs

Had a really delightful, silly time last night with some of my favorite people and oldest friends, two of whom indulged me a great deal by letting me play soul songs and dance around the basement for at least an hour. Of course, then I had to help both of them walk the five blocks to my house and nurse them back to health with offers of a warm den, water, and cupcakes, but I don't mind being a caretaker of debauched people, luckily. Anyway, maybe it has something to do with spring being in the air and all that, but I have had soul on the brain and these are a few things I have been really into lately:

Monday, March 21, 2011

I am working my way through Carlos Saura's flamenco trilogy right now; last night at the Nelson house I stumbled into the first one, Blood Wedding, and tonight I watched Carmen. I hope to see El Amour Brujo tomorrow. Carmen was good (such incredible dancing!), but I preferred Blood Wedding--while I enjoyed the textual interplay and overlapping "realities" of Carmen, the sparseness and subtlety of the set and dialogue combined with emotionally intense dancing in Blood Wedding were totally amazing.

Also, it helps that Antonio Gades is the sexiest communist ever.

Anyway, it's always nice to come across things I like, especially when it sort of happens by accident. And since I've somehow managed to see The Room AND Troll 2 in the past month, it was heartening to watch something that's actually, you know, good.

Bonus: There are a ton of opera references in Ulysses, and the ones about Carmen just got a lot more interesting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Minor Threat does not stop being cool after age 16.

Still great.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Not to push it, but

The Dum Dum Girls are so good! I haven't been excited about a lot of music lately, and I am embarrassingly under-engaged in both contemporary literature and music, but these cool ladies are just continually impressive to me. And dang, I liked them to begin with, but then I found out they did this!


I am skeptical of Smiths covers as a rule, but I think this is an excellent example of how to do it right. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Important Questions About My Life

Why does Ira Glass have to be my parents' age? Whyyyyy?

Joe and I have been watching the TAL television series lately and oh man. I just love him.

I have a few other, similar questions after seeing the Men's Style issue of the NYT Style Magazine today, this photo spread in particular. Anya, if you ever read this, it looks like I have no right to make fun of you for your thing for old dudes anymore. Guilty as charged.

And the other question:
Why did I stay in bed until 1:30 today? WHYYYYY?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today I Had An Idea

That sometime (over the summer?) I want to re-visit and possibly write about a bunch of movies that I watched constantly when I was a kid. Many of them are definitely bad, most of them are probably really weird, and I may still enjoy a few. A preliminary list:
  • The Secret of NIMH
  • Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
  • We're Back (dinosaurs!)
  • Homeward Bound
  • An American Tail (and Fieval Goes West)
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • Land Before Time (though Tanner continued watching these up to like the 43rd or whatever, I will stick to the first one)
  • Back to the Future (first and second)
  • Calamity Jane
  • Milo and Otis
  • Fiddler on the Roof (I will watch the whole thing, but as a kid I rarely watched the second half)
  • Bringing up Baby
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • Grease
  • Fantasia
  • The Little Princess (pretty sure this is hella racist, in retrospect)
  • The Secret Garden
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version, obvs)
  • The Three Lives of Thomasina
  • Mary Poppins
  • At least two Jane Eyre movies, though I'm not sure which ones
Movies that I didn't necessarily enjoy or watch a lot, but that have haunted me since my child-self saw them:
  • The Last Unicorn
  • Watership Down -- this movie ruined my life
  • That weird animated version of The Hobbit
  • Little Nemo (what was the actual name?)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Writing Advice

The comma. At this point in my life, I am over-zealously in love with commas and all of their wonderful functions. A huge part of my recent work on the Augsburg Honors Review editorial board has been duking it out over a shitty paper that refuses to use commas, and that experience, paired with one frantic night of editing my former room mate Anya's history paper a few months ago,  has really made me realize how much I love them and how important they are. The Review submission in question totally neglected commas, and it made the paper a disaster in my eyes--it was almost unreadable, because I could never figure out what the author was saying. I am the first person to admit that I have become a huge asshole/enthusiast over nitty gritty grammatical stuff lately, but I really do believe that getting the little stuff right leads to better writing overall. The past two semesters in the writing lab have taught me more about the importance of nitpicky shit, like punctuation, than any academic experiences over the course of my life.

Unrelated: Chloe or Tara, if you are reading this, I am eating noodles with Braggs and parmesan right now. I love and miss you, your crazy home, your wonderfully insane parents, and the foods I always ate with you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I have overheard two young women (I believe both in the Augsburg Women's Studies program) declaring themselves as definitely-not-feminists this week. Bums me out.

UPDATE: this comic restores my hope in humanity.

It's a Sickness

I want to see GBV again so baaaaaad! Why are you only playing festivals in the spring, guys? I can't afford those ticket prices and I don't care about seeing the other bands. Waaaaah.

Man, especially if I get into Oxford, one more time would be a really excellent U S of fuckin' A sendoff.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ain't no Bible

Like the King James Bible.

During my Religion class last semester, I was shocked by how clunky and ugly the language of the new translations (/"dumbed-down translations") is. The King James might be harder to understand sometimes, but it's so much more poetic and interesting than these icky newer versions I heard recently.

Maybe someday I will actually try to read the Bible again (could certainly be helpful for Ulysses) so my opinion, which is based on my 8-to-13-year-old perusings, can at least be somewhat valid.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Writing Advice

I want to start regularly posting good writing advice that I come across in class, in the Writing Lab, and in conversation.

"Cut you darlings."

If I had to choose my favorite or most useful piece of advice I've received about my writing, it's "cut your darlings." The professor who taught my first-year composition class (who is now my dearly beloved adviser) told us this in maybe the second week of class, and I swear it changed my life; something about that phrase seemed totally irreverent and liberating. It was as if I had spent my whole academic life until that point waiting for permission to highlight and delete. When I run into one of those times when I can't figure out what I'm trying to say, it's oddly reassuring to have this reminder that my paper and my subject are more important than that one perfectly articulated paragraph, and, by extension, my ego.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh James,

For better or for worse, we are going to spending a lot of time together over the next few months. Happy birthday you damned weirdo.

But really, it turns out that I love Utah and Ulysses. My poor mother is probably dying of shame. I guess it would have been to weird had I turned out exactly like her, so I had to mix it up a bit. Sorry, Mum! I promise I'm still city-loving, hairy-legged, feminist, vegetarian, coffee-drinker at heart, I just have soft spots for crazy narration, literary puzzles, and red dirt.

Can I just say

That the academic hiring process looks like an absolute nightmare. I am currently helping my department interview and evaluate three different candidates for a position at our school, and I get exhausted by doing about half of the work and running around that the candidates and professors have to do. I can't tell if I feel thankful and privileged to have this insight into a process I will almost definitely undergo someday, or if I should just give up now because the whole thing looks so grueling and absurd.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I am mad.

In support of women who have been raped, women who are poor/uninsured/on Medicaid, all women, actually, and the amazing Sady Doyle,  I have written a letter to my representative for what may be the first time ever. You can read if you like, after the jump.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not to be totally irreverent...

...but did anyone else notice this quote from the NYT article about Jared Loughner a few weeks ago?

“He would get so upset about bigger issues, like why do positive and negative magnets have to attract each other,” recalled Mr. Gutierrez, the friend who joined him in target practice in the desert. “He had the most incredible thoughts, but he could not handle them.” 

Dude actually wanted to know "fuckin' magnets, how do they work?!"
As far as finding humor in terrible situations goes, this is pretty choice.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stuff I've Seen Recently

The best surprise I've ever found in a public bathroom:

Hello again

Survived last semester! And here I am, trying to figure out how to survive this one. It should be easier to preserve my mental well-being this time around, but that also means that this is what my Saturday night looks like:

Add to that image the fact that I am the only person home right now, it is -5 degrees outside, and the Cure and my cats are keeping me company. My advisor says that the study of English Literature is like the aristocracy of academia, but somehow I appear to missing out on the glamor.

But of course I also kind of love this.

Current procrastination tools: Annals of Online Dating and Shitty First Drafts. I'm trying to expand my blog horizons (because I like totes have so much time for that), and I have been enjoying these two immensely.