Monday, May 29, 2006

bad at acronyms

I saw a person wearing a t-shirt today that had a large "FBI" on the front of it with littler printing underneath. Since the person was a woman, I was thinking it probably wasn't "Female Body Inspector." Though if it had been, I really would have thought about that for a while. What it was was "Full Believer in Christ." WTF, mate? WTF is an acronym that stands for What The Fuck. FBI definitely does not stand for Full Believer in Christ by any acronym rules I've ever heard. If you want the jesus in an acronym (à la WWJD), shouldn't he at least be in the acronym? Just a thought.

Friday, May 26, 2006

the beta version of me

So last night I got swept up reading the entirety of my old livejournal for some reason. I mean I guess it's part of the reason we keep journals, right? To read them retrospectively? In any case, it was an interesting version of me from 2001 through the move to California. I never blogged about anything with much gravity, not 9/11, not how disheartened I was by all the rejection I got at the end of my senior year, not how truly bizarre a time I had teaching in NY. Mostly I just wrote about silly stuff, and I still find a lot of it quite funny. So I'm going to do a highlight reel, so this is going to be a long post, but it's condensed goodness!


b) conversation of the day, yesterday. was with jonathan and t, crossing the street in chinatown.
jon: malia, the light's red.
malia: but there are other people walking.
jon: but we don't want you to die. there'd be an awful lot of paperwork for theresa and me.
theresa: i don't feel the same way. i'd do any amount of paperwork for you, malia.


6:00 pm - haha...

So when I was walking into my building just now, there was a Baldwin loitering out front. I looked him dead in the eye. Which Baldwin? No clue.

current mood: baldwinesque
current music: is one of them in a band?


Funniest thing I heard a kids say today. One of my students was doing the making out with himself bit, that turning around and wrapping your arms around yourself routine. He was telling the other kids that he does it on the subway sometimes and that the other people start to stare and wonder. And then one of the kids was all, "Wonder about what? Your girlfriend with no legs?"


5:11 pm - funniest thing ever

So I have my one student with severe, severe "on the mind, out the mouth syndrome" as my pops calls it. He comes in today, fanatical, screaming about there being a dead person on his train this morning. Evidently someone realized the stank in the car was not redolent of homeless person; that was the stank of death. So the train stopped and the paramedics came and took the dead guy away. The point of all this was that he was late to class on account of the dead person on the train. Best excuse, ever.


Best thing I saw yesterday: They have all these signs in subways from the Pork Coalition or somebody, whoever it was that came up with the "Pork, the other white meat" campaign. So the pork poster in the subway station yesterday said:

"Stop and smell the pork roast."

Somebody had written underneath it in that graffiti-style handwriting

"or just run and let the pork catch up with you"


So after figure skating today, I moseyed on over to the Space Sciences building to eat lunch, stow away my skates in my personal locker room (my lab), and do a little work. Lo and behold, the computers Nico and Vero deny my attempt to log in. My first thought was dang, I've been fired and they didn't bother telling me... Then I realized they can't fire me because I am a student and don't even get paid. Phew! So after a quick peek into the adjoining lab to see if Dave or Dae-Sik (grad students) have any ideas on how to remedy my situation, I mosey on down to Don's office (Don is the stoner astronomer/ Linux guru/ socialist from the angst part II entry). I tell him that I can't log into the computers, he starts typing frantically, then starts cursing frantically as he realized there has been some sort of computer catastrophe. He tries to fix one of the computers by doing something involving computer jargon I don't understand. He tells me to go back to the lab and wait for him while he gets coffee. I mosey back to my lab. Dae-sik comes over with a deadly serious look on his face.
"He killed my processes," he said in a hushed and controlled voice. This may be the most Dae-sik has ever said to me; our previous interactions have mostly involved me taking his post-it notes or me telling him that his wife is on the phone.
"Oh," I reply.
Short pause.
"One day, I will kill his processes....I will get revenge."

I got the idea he didn't mean so much "processes" as he did "family".

From now on, I'm going to be extra polite when I'm taking his post-it notes.


9:58 am - instant karma

Just a few minutes ago, Ryan was sitting on the couch making generally gross snotty noises associated with his consumption.
"Ew," I said.
"Nothing comes out when I do that," he replied.
"Ew," I say again. "It all goes back into the recesses of your giant head?"
Ryan makes an I'm-going-to-cry face.
"Don't worry baby. Your head's so big because it's full of dreams," I replied.
I then tossed my head back as I was laughing and smacked it really hard against the top of the couch.
"Ha!" he said. "The couch smote you!"


He said, "Fry up the potatoes."
I reply, "Are you sure you want me to do this?"
He says, "Sure, go ahead."
So I drop a bit of butter on the frying pan which instantly turns to brown sludge. Smoke starts to billow out of the pan, and as calmly as I can, I say to Ryan, "I think the butter is burning." He sees the plumes of smoke emanating from the kitchen and reacts promptly, turning on the stove's fan, opening the outside door, and putting a box fan in on of the living room windows in an attempt to blow all of the smoke outside the apartment. In his haste he lost the bagel he was eating. He took over potato frying duties when the smoke cleared and we could see/breathe again.
Forlornly, I comment, "I think I'm hopeless."
Ryan replies, "Baby, maybe you are."

Ryan later found his lost bagel behind the television.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


So there's this thing with "genre fiction" right? It's not considered "literary" and is much derided by the whomever, yet the NYT has gotten on board with its relevance in the here and now and are doing the serialized (quel anachronism) genre fiction in the Sunday magazine (along with the humorous 1st person essay and the graphic novel, these three things being some sort of zeitgeist as it were).

I, too, have gotten on board.

Among the five bazillion things my 19th c mystery lit class taught me:
a) Whatever line there is dividing genre fiction and literary fiction is stupid and imaginary.
b) How awesome it is that genre fiction can both have totally relevant commentary on anything at all and be fun to read. How much more I buy into said commentary when the writer obviously isn't taking her/himself waaaay too seriously as seems to be the case with most writers of mystery.
c) Though he may be one of these taking himself too seriously sorts, I can in fact enjoy the Dickens.

I confess my dilettante status in the canon of "genre fiction"--although I'm now quite well read in the 19th-c mystery, I'm not yet caught up to my Raymond Chandlers and my James Ellroys. My sci-fi is dismal at best. Some Ray Bradbury, fast forward to Jonathan Lethem, Ender's Game, and that about spells it out.

I just finished reading Octavia Butler's Kindred, her totally scary novel about time travelling to the antebellum South. And of course I feel crappy and bandwagonriffic for only hearing of her when she died earlier this year. In any case that book is going to haunt me for a while. So mostly I'm just saying read that book.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

two posts in one day !?

Actually, Muskrat Lovely made me want to write something about where I'm from. I set out to write about the Elvis impersonator who read at church with his pompadour and his white shoes. I wanted to write fiction. And I wrote this:

There is a place in Virginia where you can find cruciform crystals on the ground. Fairy Crosses, but who crucifies a fairy. I read about it in Rock & Gem. I wanted to go there more badly than any of the places where the rocks fluoresce or drip or float. Where I lived there was iron in the hills. Natural magnets but I never found one. Had to go to the rock and gem collection at Harvard to see one from my hometown. Our celebrity rock. We found slag instead, leftovers. It was something like obsidian, but more opaque. It cleaved like obsidian and there’d be this glassy bivalve shape, blue like a robin’s egg or that sea green color I was so wild about. It went into the box with the others, the conglomerate from the beach, the gneiss from the hike in the High Peaks. Even the fragment I picked up from the rubble pile when the movie theater collapsed. It was a piece of concrete with a shard of tile mortared to it. The tile was blue and translucent, not at all like pottery. There was something geologic about it, hence into the box. There was also a small square of marble, very dark with almost no veins, from when they were redoing the church. It must have been cut from a slab to make room for molding or a door frame. I must have removed it from a box of scraps, stealthily. That marble could have come from anywhere.

documentary film festival!

It rages on in San Francisco--here's the info-- and I couldn't be happier. Well I guess I could be happier if I had more time to go to more of the films, but what are you gonna do? So far I've seen two films and they've made me think all sorts of different things.

Cracked not broken--a movie about a crack whore. Made me think about people with addictions and what the breaking point is between being a functional addict and giving in to it to the point at which you'll sell your body and lose everything. The film didn't really address it, which is probably why I'm still thinking about it.

Muskrat Lovely--a movie about a beauty pageant/muskrat skinning competition. This one got me thinking about how I grew up, and what it is to live in a town with a local beauty pageant that means a lot and where hunting/fishing/trapping are huge parts of so many people's lives. How easy it is to laugh at those people. How hard it is to portray them with dignity. I think this movie walked the line between mockery and homage that was interesting--made me think of other "look at this kooky bunch of people!" documentaries that I've seen. Errol Morris does it best (duh).

One of the shorts before Muskrat Lovely was Aluminum Fowl--watch it here. I don't even know what to say about it except watch it.

So what's on the summer reading list? Tempting me is my two volume Eugene Onegin translated and commented on by Nabokov. I'd also like to read some more mystery--Wilkie Collins, Dickens, Doyle. And my summer project is to learn Galois Theory as Emil Artin wrote about it. And to finish some of the knitting projects I've got going. Doable.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

rhymeswithmaria: now a blog exclusively about pigeons

snazzy, right?

So I was washing my hands in the sink half of my bathroom today and i heard little peeping noises. I looked out the window to discover that a pigeon had built a nest out of twigs and shit, but mostly shit, on our windowsill and there were two baby pigeons in it! I was under the impression that the pigeons we see are actually the baby pigeons and they will someday grow into their full 8-12 ft wingspan mature selves and fly off to taunt pirates at sea, but in fact baby pigeons exist! They have black skin and very sparse yellow feathers. They look like dinosaur birds. Doro and I named them Steve McQueen and Maya Angelou and we love them.

Friday, May 05, 2006

it's been like a hundred years since i've posted.

i exaggerate.

but two things:

my new favorite movie of all time is sherlock, jr., a buster keaton silent film from 1924. he's so genius. that movie is so awesome: it is simultaneously an homage/sendup of sherlock holmes, a metafilm, a jackie chan-esque stunt spectacular, and a laugh a minute. i'm not into freud at all, but watching that film with psychoanalyst goggles on (or even using retroactive psychoanalyst goggles) is spectacular. every window/frame in that movie is a vagina.

my new favorite poem of all time is the rime of the ancient mariner. it makes me wish laudanum would come back in fashion. i don't think i'd personally be into laudanum, but if more people were writing poetry whilst under the influence of it, poetry would be much more exciting.