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.