Wednesday, October 31, 2007

the CTA presents: "THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO!!1"

I was just thinking how annoying all the little Yahoo flash thingies were getting, and how glad I would be if they would just go away and then I realised that today is Halloween and yes, Virginia, they would be going away soon. You know what that means.

Halloween candy on sale!!!

Some other pals of mine have expressed dissatisfaction with October for a variety of reasons too numerous to get into here. I like fall. It seems like with fall comes the traditional Move To A New Place, whether that's Stevens Point, Boston or London. Fall is a good time to get to know a city: everyone's fairly friendly after the heat of the summer has cooled off and the Christmas caos has yet to set in. In London, it was the best time of the year: the hordes of tourists had gone home, and the rain had finally stopped for a while. (you laugh...) My favourite seasons is summer, high summer, and I'm genuinely frightened about this coming winter. I don't like snow or being cold, and Chicago has both. Getting out may become priority one.

As some of you may have heard, or not, the Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA"), the organisation responsible for the buses and L, will be cutting bus routes and raising fares on November 4th. This means I personally will be paying $84 a month for my CTA Gold Card Plus, which offers unlimited rides. With the fare hike, this card becomes an even BETTER deal, since the train fare is set to rise to $3 for one ticket. So even if I took the train to work and back, 5 times a week, that's, uh...$120 a month. Versus $84 a month for unlimited travel. And there are no zones: I could ride for miles and miles and miles and miles on my $3.

Here's why I hate the CTA (apart from: "not the Tube"). Because this is not the first time something like has happened. They are going to have a budget shortfall, and rather than taking a cold hard look at why their consumers don't want to pay for the services (reasons: crappy slow buses, dirty trains, surly unhelpful employees, waiting out in the rain for hours) and then attempting to fix their problems LIKE ANY NORMAL BUSINESS, they are whinging that the money coming from the state government hasn't kept up with inflation and therefore they are receiving less than their share. Hence the "Doomsday" scenario. I'm not making this up--that's what they're calling it. The "Doomsday" scenario. No, a doomsday scenario is the US government taking back their Katrina trailers, this is just poor planning on the CTA's part. I'm equally po'd at the state legislature for acting like a bunch of drama queens in getting the budget together. Part of the problem is the political quagmire that Illinois, and Chicago particularly, operates under. Part of the problem is no one can make up their minds whether or not the CTA is a publicly-funded service or a private business. If it's a public service, give it more money, fix it and make it go. If it's a business, stop bailing it out and make it accountable for its actions.

Either way, shut up with the whinging. You knew this was going to happen. Anyone with an an ounce of business sense could have seen a shortfall coming. STOP calling it a "Doomsday" scenario, put your big-boy pants on and get it worked out. There are a LOT of people in this city who rely on the CTA--sh!$$y, slow and surly as it is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paint fumes

I think that we finally have everything we need to start putting the bathroom back together (paint, check. plaster, check. moulding, check. copy of "The Tempest," check.) Now the hard part: getting it all up and looking pretty. Who thought this would be a good idea?

I had my first day of work at LB today. I think it will be a fun place to work, the only problem being, of course, the temptation to spend my paycheck every time I walk in the place.

I also read a thing in the paper today about Barack Obama not wanting to be vice-president. Not that anyone has asked him yet. Cooler heads than mine have calmly suggested that a Clinton-Obama ticket would be invincible, and I have to admit that it is pretty appealing. I don't particularly care for Clinton, but she has a strong support base--and being veep would give Obama the one thing he needs most: experience. And of course nothing would prevent him from running for the top job in the future. But he has said he's "not campaigning for vice-president" which sounded slightly petulant to me. We all want to win, honey, and we understand you're in it for the glory (or, as Nelson might have put it, "I shall return from this crowned with laurels or cypress"), but then again, this is politics, innit? I wish he hadn't cut himself off so abruptly. America hates a loser. Witness John Edwards, who lost with Kerry four years ago--even though he should by rights be the most appealing candidate, (white, male, protestant, village-of-the-damned perfect children) he's only third, probably due to a lingering aftertaste of the 2004 elections. (remember those? yeah, me neither. too much drowned sorrows) I just shudder to think what will happen if Obama doesn't get the Democratic nod or loses out on the presidency--he'll never get a chance to run again. As Mrs. Lovett sais, "Ah, wait, love, wait. Soon will come/soon will last." So hopefully he'll maybe reconsider if it becomes apparent he's got a poor chance. (which, btw, isn't helped much when he's supported on his South Carolina tour by an ex-gay gospel singer. THIS fan base, at least, isn't best pleased.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

No Drama in the Theatre

I am very sorry for being a whingy b!&@h princess when I have nothing to really complain about.

I have awesome friends on two continents who are helping me with my applications.

I have a roof over my head and a soon-to-be-awesome William Shakespeare bathroom.

I have a job(s).

I'm finally making contacts about getting one of my plays put on.

I'm going dancing on Wednesday.

I have a roommate who ordered "A Cock and Bull Story" on Netflix.

I talked to three of my awesome friends this weekend, all of whom have assured me that I am, infact, awesome.

I have a birfday coming up.

I got a Lord Nelson bookmark in the mail, courtesy of an awesome friend.

so really, I have nothing to complain about.

I'm sorry for being jealous.

Much love,

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Plaster & Lath

As some of you know, we have a rotted windowsill in our bathroom. The window is in our shower, and the sill hasn’t been properly maintained or painted, so it’s all rotted. I have been hinting for months (ever since I moved in) that it needs to be replaced/repaired, etc, but have met with resistance. Largely because, well, it’s the shower, and the problem with fixing it is that our shower would be out of commission for a few days. But finally, after my hints escalated into threats of not paying rent (prompted by the appearance of a lovely line of black rot dripping out of the windowsill and multi-legged bugs), I came home yesterday to find my roommate cheerfully ripping the sill out. Yay! I put on my work clothes and away we went with abandon. The sill gave way to a waterlogged piece of laminated masonite, which was glued to drywall the consistency of wet flour which was screwed on top of the original lath. After we scraped some more, we found original plaster up near the ceiling and there we stopped. I marveled over the sturdy construction technique and despaired of the mildewy black lath (spongy, but drying nicely) and we went over to the Crafty Beaver for some materials. It was at this moment we both realized we were gonna need a piece of drywall and we had no way of getting it home. Oops. Well, everything else fit in my roommate’s Saturn (after we shoved the CPR dummy out of the way—don’t ask), so we have all the other bits: new moulding, sill, etc, everything cut and painted and waited to be installed on top of the drywall, which has yet to arrive.

I know most of you are probably thinking “why are YOU doing this?” when it’s technically the landlord’s problem. Well, even threats of non rent payment weren’t enough to get him moving, but he did offer to pay for materials. And the roommate has construction experience and I know how to plaster and paint with the best of them, so we’re going to knock it together. At least this way it will be DONE and I can finally lift my soap without fear of dislodging a silverfish. The hole in the wall is about four feet by six feet, exposed brick and lath (God I do love that word—so descriptive!), and neatly covered by a painter’s plastic dropcloth while we wait to hear back from an old friend about borrowing a truck…God willing we should have the hole covered up tonight and the whole shebang painted and caulked sometime tomorrow. After that I can proceed with my plans to create a William Shakespeare bathroom…you laugh…

Friday, October 26, 2007

the greene eyed monster

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm jealous. Lately everytime I get an email from a friend all I hear is the good news about projects they're working on, or trips they're planning, and I go all green-eyed, thinking about how I'm here, bored and not doing anything near what I'd hoped to be doing. Oh, it's easy to say that I'm just getting my feet under me or that this year is a "rebuilding year" but I know people who are happily employed in their field or at least using their degrees. And I'm proud of y'all, obviously you've worked at whatever it is harder than me and you deserve your success and I'm proud of everyone. And jealous. Ooooo, ragingly envious.

I hate that I can't seem to get any momentum going. Everytime I do a show I end up working for awhile, then I can't get back into it. And I have no idea how to do this professional playwright thingy. Somehow, just taking a jump and bumbling into it--which is how I normally do things--doesn't seem to work here. Somehow people seem to think, at my age I should know what I'm doing.

Yeah, that makes two of us.

I'm so happy that everyone is successful and enjoying reaping the fruits of their labors. I just wish that I could figure out how I could it as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jumping through hoops

You'd think if I was smart enough to think about a PhD, I'd be smart enough to figure out the application process, but nooooo...

After weeks of being sidetracked by the GRE, I've returned to the application itself, a fun little mix of electronic applications, getting transcripts from two continents, putting old papers into MLA style (not to mention American spelling), and figuring out how the hell recommendations are supposed to work. The Graduate School (not to be confused with the Theatre Dept) wants electronic forms. But does the Theatre Dept want hard copies? Who knows?! The supremely unhelpful secretary who answered the phone with "Well, what's wrong?" (aimed not at me, but at someone else in the room--please hold) told me I should call back Monday.

Monday I wanted to be mailing. Bullocks, this is stressful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Little House

While I was at home, I re-read "These Happy Golden Years" which is the last book but one in the "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was given these books by my grandma, at the rate of about one every four months when I was a kid, so I used to anxiously await the next installment. Sunday night I got through this book in two hours. (couldn't sleep, what can I say?) I was struck by not only how well the book portrays life on the American frontier, but also by how much it shaped my opinions and ideas when I was growing up. I always identified with Laura: we both have brown hair, an inherent dislike of shoes and love of reading are irredemably attached to our childhood toys. But beyond that, Laura really influenced my ideas of how the world was supposed to work--for example, in "By the Shores of Silver Lake" her bulldog Jack lies down to sleep and never wakes up again. It was a cruel shock to me to learn that sometimes people have to make that decision instead. Or, more directly, the idea that at some point in every woman's life, Almanzo Wilder would just appear and, after a decent interval, you'd get married and that would be it. (A recent conversation with a college friend confirmed my suspicion that I was not alone in thinking that Manly was, I quote, "hot") Again, a bit disconcerted to learn that's not always the case.
But Laura also helped show how women can be strong and independent: she's not afraid to work to help her parents, and she tells Almanzo flat-out that she will not promise to "obey" in their wedding vows. Heady stuff for a twelve-year old.

So after reading the book, I decided to learn a little bit about the "real" Laura's life: I knew that they had moved to the Ozarks at one point after the books ended, and I learned through the miracles of Wikipedia that she became a respected chairwoman of the Woman Farmer's Association and journalist. And, of course, in 1932 she started writting "Little House in the Big Woods" and the rest is history. (another trait we share: A Wisconsin birthplace.)

I was a little aggrieved to see, after a few more clicks, that the "Little House" universe has been expanded and exploited to include several other series of books that are ghostwritten by other authors. The books deal with Laura's family--her mom, grandmother, great-grandmother, and daughter--and tell each girl's story, designed to appeal to the readers of the originals. And, I suspect, compete directly with the American Girl market. We do love the stories of the feisty American girls overcoming bullies and history, but not when the dolls are being sold to us for sixty dollars a pop (additional outfits not included).

I guess my happy memories of these books are all wound up in the hazy, halcyon memories of my childhood, when Laura's adventures were easily re-enacted without the help of expensive toys. Not to mention my set of books--knocked about, dirtied, torn, chewed on and taped up--are a treasured present from my grandmother. I haven't decided if I'll let any potential future offspring indulge in the knockoffs of the original series, but I already know that I will buy them their own copies to knock about as much as they like.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trafalgar Day isn't a REAL Holiday

One year ago I was attending a symposium on "Sex and Lies in Nelson's London," and two years ago I was watching in fascination as British Marines danced the hornpipe at Trafalgar Square. Today I'm waiting on chocolate-chip pancakes.

Mmmm. Pancakes.

The test didn't go as well as I'd hoped. The score I got was better than average, but not the glowingly brilliant number that will ensure me instant access to any institute of higher learning. So this is a problem. Obviously if I'd sucked, then another round of GRE would be in order, but since it's only blah, I'm not sure if I'm up for taking it again. Of course, with my weak admissions application, I could probably use a strong test score. We'll see.

The fun part about the GRE is that you take it on a computer, so the questions automatically get harder or easier depending on whether you get questions right or wrong. So by the end of the math section I was literally getting questions like, "What is a SQUARE?" Although, I did better than I thought I would on the math section.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying being home and being petted. We went out for fish on Friday and then over to the Mr. & Mrs's house so I could play with the beasties. (they have TWO chocolate labs and they are very happy to share, so I am now happy to report that my best jeans are covered with brown hair and dog slobber. Aw.) And yesterday I went and visited with Grandma for three hours, and we only politely mentioned Bill O'Reilly once. Or twice. Or mabye three times. But the important thing is she didn't have to reach for her heart medication, so I guess I was not too politic. Today mom and I are going shopping--mom has a list of places, and dad has helpfully written "Packer shirts/sweaters--new? (For all of us?)" on top of the list. Dad and Mom are taking a road trip which includes two Packer games next week, so they will need some new shirts. Dad always wears Packers gear when he travels. Don't believe me? You should see the photos of us from Scotland. There we are: St. Andrew's Golf Course--and there's dad, proudly supporting the Green Bay Packers National Football assosiation. *love*

And it totally unrelated news, for all you slavering HP fans out there (okay, me) I was shocked to read a report last week that JK Rowling has outed Albus Dumbledore. At a reading of her book, she was asked if Dumbledore ever found true love, and JK "quietly" responded that Dumbledore is gay. I was completely surprised. Not only because this is a major character in a children's book, but because JK has shared something about the character that's not explicitely stated in the "canon" as we call it. I love that she recognises that the characters have a life beyond the pages of this book. Ironically, I responded exactly how I did when anyone else comes out, first with, "Really?" then with "OMG!" then with, "I'm proud of you," then, finally,
"And?" I always maintained HP is a radical book, now I'm sure of it. Whoo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


There I go again, being pishy without counting my blessings. I forgot to mention yesterday that I was offered a part time job at one of my favourite retail stores, the one that starts with an "L" and ends with a "ane Bryant." You may think taking a job as a shopgirl is beneath my dignity as a holder of two degrees. Well, this girl would like to eat next month, not to mention divest herself of the extremely generous discount offered employees.

I have also decided to re-apply at Colonial Williamsburg for next summer's re-enactment fun. I was thisclose to getting a job there last year, but they wanted me to start on March 21st which was (as I'm sure you all remembered) the day of my grand re-entry into the US and subsequent ticker-tape parade. Hopefully they'll be dazzled by the fact I have only added to my knowledge of colonial times in the intervening year and offer me a job.

Am also getting bad cramps, which I hope means the womanly time will start tomorrow, meaning that the brunt of the agonizing pain/heart palpitations/hand shaking/double vision (oh yes, it realy is that bad) will be Thursday and can be shunted aside by sweet, sweet generic allergy medicine (which doesn't cure allergies so much as knock you unconscious) instead of arriving Friday and causing a wee distraction. I have countered the pain slightly by eating cassoulet today, which is a hearty French stew/casserole that includes (yes, Virginia) sausage and Duck. Well, we all knew I was a bad vegetarian. But the cassoulet had the happy effects of dousing the growling Beast lodged in my right hip and also causing fond remembrances of Paris to swirl through my head.

I apologise for talking about bodily doings so much; I blame the fact that I have been reading religiously for the last couple days.

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert has announced his candidacy for president. Meanining that FINALLY there is a candidate who has caused me to do some deep soul searching about my unabating love for Barack Obama. Sure, Hilary Clinton is less sexy than Barack, but Stephen definitely MORE.

Also: update on the roommate situation. Any suggestions for getting your "liberated" male roommates to do the dishes? Both have told me they've "lived with women" before and so they're "used to" helping out, implying they're "doing me (the woman) a favour" instead of acting like "human beings" and picking up a "sponge" once in awhile. Yet when I returned home yesterday, the counter was still liberally strewn with dishes. Not gross, disgusting three-day-old soaking cassoulet dishes, just empty drinking glasses and cereal bowls that need a wash. Maybe I'm just being paranoid that I'm the only one doing the dishes--but oh wait, I am. When Rich did them last week (last week!!!) he only did half of them because they didn't fit in the drying rack (curious, I could make them all fit) Sure, I could nag them about it--but why? I'm leaving tomorrow, and I'm planning on spending tonight hunched over my favourite table at A Taste of Heaven on Clark Street (not the best scones in the world, but pretty close) feverishly getting in some last-minute cramming. And if the dishes are there when I get back on Monday, why, I'll just continue to blithely ignore it.

Because if it doesn't bother them--I'll grit my teeth and not let it bother me.

Now, not replacing the TP in the bathroom...this will be addressed at the next meeting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ow! Ironic brick!

This from an email I received from a professor of colonial studies (who, I am happy to report, reacted much more enthusiastically when I emailed him):

"Frankly, I wouldn’t try calling historical sites. The person on the phone is not going to be able to answer your questions and they are often as much invested in preservation and maintance of the site and don’t really have the resources to answer specific historical questions. You’d have more luck working with historical organizations or with academics."

Cheers, mate.

So, I have flipped my schedule around and will spend tomorrow morning working, tomorrow evening studying, Thursday morning working, Thursday night traveling, Friday morning pacing anxiously, Friday afternoon taking the GRE, Friday night eating fish and celebrating Friday night with my parents.

I am incredibly nervous, stressed out, irritated, deydrated, upset, angry, stressed, overprepared, hungry, tired, stressed, carnivorous, lonely, maladroit and stressed.

Also I suspect I'm going to be getting the monthlies on (you guessed it) Friday. Most women are blessed with acne, cramps and/or a slight upward swing in emotional tendencies. Only I am lucky enough to combine near-bipolar mood swings with crushing, agonizing pain. Not that I'm blaming female hormones for the way I'm feeling today, but the only other option is the fact that I'm just like this naturally. Rarrr!

In other news--Sunday night is Trafalgar Day. I tell all of you this so you have time to lay in some rum so you can toast the "Immortal Memory!" But not--dear God, please not--"Admiral's Rum" which is a travesty. No, Pussar's if you can afford it, Bacardi if you can't.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Calling Independence Hall

Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a nationally registered historical landmark. That means all you American taxpayers out there are funding conversations like this one:

Most Unhelpful Tour Guide EVER: Independence Hall Historical Site. Hel—(phone cuts out for a second, Nicki looks at it to make sure it’s still working) He-looooo? Helloooo?

Nicki: Hello? Hi—I’m doing research for the play 1776 and I was wondering if you had any information about, um, like, Philadelphia in that time period, or the men who attended the Continental Congress or anything about that era?

MUTGE: That’s a pretty big chunk of time, you should start by doing some research, that’s a lot of information.

N: Well, I have some information, I’m just looking to fill it out.

MUTGE: I think you need to do some research on your own. I mean, there were 56 guys who signed the Declaration of Independence.

N: Well, there’s only 24 characters in the play—(rising, thinking she’s going to give this woman some names)

MUTGE: Yeah—that’s like basic American history, you should look in a history book or do some research on our website, I can’t really help you.

N: (sitting back down, confused) Yeah, I got your website, that’s how I got your number, but there’s not really a lot of information there. Do you have any info about, like, the time period, or?

MUTGE: See, that’s like, what I said, it’s basic American history. I don’t have time to sit here and give you a history lesson—you need to read a book or something.

N: Okay, seriously? I have, like, a stack of books here that comes up to my waist. I know what happened—what I’m looking for is insider information about Philadelphia during that time period.

MUTGE: This is just basic American history.

N: No, I got that—I got all the facts, but I’m looking for more specific things. Like, do you have any brochures about Independence Hall?

MUTGE: Only what we have on our website.

N: Yeah, but your website isn’t very helpful. I clicked on the link that said “Pictures and Multimedia” and all I got was a schedule for the powerpoint presentations that are available in Philadelphia, but I’m in Chicago, so…

MUTGE: This is basic American history. I mean, I’m sitting here at a visitor’s center desk, I don’t have time to give you a history lesson.

N: I’m not asking you to give me a history lesson, I’m just wondering if you have any additional information, or any brochures you can send me.


N: No brochures?

MUTGE: Not for what your looking for.

N: Okay, well, thanks.

MUTGE: *hangs up without saying another word*

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happiness is...

...three libraries in two days.

All right.

Good thing number 6 about Chicago: they have a LOT of libraries here. With good reference material. Sometimes more than one copy. And all the Goldsmiths alumni know what I'm talkin' about.

So I am incredibly stressed/irritable/nervous/upset/etc about this test on Friday. I know that My Entire Future is not riding on one test score, but since this is one thing I have a little control over, one thing I can prepare for, I've been studying for it with the single-minded fervour demonstrated by Sir Christopher Wren when it came to that cathedral project. Am I over-prepared? ...possibly. I have practised and practised and upped my vocabulary, and written good but brief analytical papers. Okay, I'm ready. But the test isn't until Friday. Now what?

Rather than continue to study/freak out, I decided to hit the libraries yesterday and today and gather some material for a dramaturgical assault on 1776. What is dramaturgy? It is researching anything the director asks you to, which might be historical items, the production history of the show, and/or interpretive essays on the text. The director wants me to focus on the historical interactions between the real people in each delegation. Which means: Lot of shiny happy primary material that has to be distilled down to a level where actors can understand it. ("Actors" meaning "people who work very hard and who are also doing their own research but who don't have enough time for all these interesting things," not, "bloody actors!")

The end result of two day's labours is a stack of books that would make Hermione tear up with approbation and cause Mr. Norrell to shoot me covetous looks. Oh bliss. Oh joy. If only Madison could see me now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

dream gig

Before I went to bed last night, I made myself come up with a list of good things that happened yesterday, since I was feeling so negative. This is what I got:

1. Finished my sewing project--a canvas bag
2. Weight: Holding steady. Hipbones: projecting.
3. Had lovely fish for dinner.
4. Received $8 tip for no reason
5. Got a postcard
6. Payday
7. Wrote two more scenes for a play.

Today was cold and I'm still pretty cranky. I bought a new pair of mittens though, thinking they were extravagant, but glad for them when the sun went down.

Oh yeah--and I'm going to be the dramaturg on a production of "1776." Can you say "dream gig?" Finally I'll get to use that degree. On a play about men in breeches signing important historical documents. *happiness*

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Than A Headache

I'm desperately hoping that this odd torpid feeling I have is nothing more than a headache, or the response to a change in the weather. (yeah, remember what I said about it being too hot? I take it back!!!) My sinuses are pressure-y and I am exhausted, even though I got nine hours of sleep last night. I'm feeling particularly spiteful towards my roommates ("Morning." "THOSE DISHES AREN'T GOING TO WASH THEMSELVES!" --well, at least no one has left their coats on the chairbacks, because that's a particular peeve of mine--oh wait, we DON'T HAVE ANY CHAIRS.) And my nose tries to run occasionally, but again that could just be the weather.

On the plus side, the downturn in temperature means I can break out my fabulous brown coat which has featured so prominently in every picture of me taken outside for the past year and my London scarves, which instantly up my trendy-factor. Bonus point: my coat is so big it still fits even when I have my suit on.

But I am a little scared that I will get sick. I'm due for a whopping great cold, but RIGHT NOW is not a good time. On average, I'm getting about an hour and a half with my GRE study materials each day, not to mention I have another six places I want to ask/beg for a job this weekend. Also, have to figure out how to inflict MLA-style on my Assassins paper and eventually submit an awesome application to Madison that will guarantee me instant admission, even though I have zero confidence in my abilities right now. I have concinved myself I'm not going to be accepted, but instead will be stuck in Chicago forever paying ever-higher taxes. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm nursing a low-grade Feminine Complaint. I'm sick of studying and everything I write is shite.

And now I'm done complaining.

It's probably just a headache anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

maybe baby

If you're like me (i.e. you have a lot of time on your hands while you sit around waiting for the gods to smile down on you regarding certain applications), then you might find the following blog interesting: This is written by a woman who's undergone massive IVF treatments to counter her infertility. (not to give the ending away--but her last entry was about telling her son about her father's death) It is funny and heartfelt and absolutely fascinating. I've learned more about infertility treatments and the Workings of the Inner Female than I ever cared to know.

Now, I know that I want kids. Someday. That's what we all say, isn't it, girls? Except that with people I know getting married, people I know having babies, I suddenly realised that Someday could be Today. Well--nine months from now. (I should note for the benefit of any parents reading, this topic is purely hypothetical.) But I'm also not kidding myself about little bundles of joy falling out of the sky--babies are a life changing event, and I wouldn't have one without another parent around. So say Mr. Father-of-My-Hypothetical-Children is the next person who walks through the door. It's going to take a year or four before we decide to have the kids, and now I'm thirty. All the rationalising you can do about putting off grad school ("meh, I've got time") doesn't apply. This is purely evolutionary after all. I have a window of time.

And now I'm discovering just how unfun and agonizing not getting pg can be. And I'm not even trying! (I sincerely apologise to anyone who's ever tried and failed. I am co-opting your experienced opinion and probably being incredibly selfish.) But as a woman who never really considered the fact of babies, and who thought that getting knocked up would be a fairly easy thing to do (in the future) now I'm already concerned. What if my hedonistic lifestyle and addiction to Midol is slowly eating away at my fertility? What if the pain on my right side isn't horrible cramps, it's actually endometreosis? God--how do you even SPELL that?!

I know that I'm just being paranoid--and that, let's face it, of all the current issues in my life right now, this is probably the least pressing. But it worries me. I try to be a well woman, and this includes the bits that can make other humans. How do I know if they're okay and in working order? I don't. I just have to trust I'm not severely screwing myself up unknowingly and that--when the time comes--if the time comes--everything will work out fine.

I'll let you know in a year or four.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Whole lotta nerve goin' on

President George W. Bush has got a lot of nerve asking Congress to extend the No Child Left Behind Act when he recently vetoed the amendment to SCHIPS, what would extend healthcare to more children. I saw Prez W. giving the speech this afternoon, urging Congress to act, a speech that was peppered with words like "deserves," and "the right of every child" which begs the question: Why do Americans deserve a good education but not healthcare? (note I did not say "good" healthcare--I've seen what free healthcare looks like, and I'm under no illusion that it would be perfect. But it would be there.)

I understand the point of No Child Left Behind, and I agree with it, the same way Churchill agreed with Stalin during WWII. Of course we need to make sure schools are not passing children through without them being able to read, that kids are not falling behind because they're black/female/disabled/in a poor neighborhood. I have no problem with the basic idea of No Child Left Behind, even, up to a certain point, to the idea of "rewarding" well performing schools with money. The children are our future, to use a hackneyed phrase, and we can't invest enough money in them.

But why should we have to choose? The fact is--kids are unable to get healthcare on their own. They can't. They're kids. They aren't employed, and they can't exactly go signing up for programs on their own. If mom and dad are unable or incapable of providing health insurance, then all the literacy classes in the world aren't going to help them. Far be it from me to suggest that the reason we can't have both is the fact that our resources are diverted "elsewhere," but this definitely smacks of partisanship. My God, sir, how can you indifferently wave your hand and say that the children of your own country are undeserving of basic healthcare? I'm not talking about cancer treatments, or recovery after a fall on the baseball field. I'm talking about monthly checkups--it happens (or, rather, doesn't happen) in this country. In America.

It's enough to make me partisan. I almost want to say "no SCHIPS? Then forget your NCLB!" But of course--that doesn't work either. And of course many of my loyal readers are probably rolling their eyes at me, since I had he advantage of both health insurance AND a good education (not to mention apparently unlimited access to my orthodontist). America is not throwing good money after bad when we invest in our kids--on any level. We don't laugh at farmers when they plant clover only to plow it under in preparation for next year's harvest--why should we laugh at attempts to nurture our future citizens?

Monday, October 08, 2007

I did it

All right, I admit it, I jinxed the Packers last night. Coming from Green Bay, being a Packers fan is less a choice than it is a way of life, so I was excited to watch them trounce the Bears--my first chance to watch a game in about nine months. (For obvious reasons they don't show Packers games here, but they do show Bears games.) I ordered a pizza from Giordano's and, right before kickoff, I benevolently called my friend Cathy (a die-hard Bears fan) to wish her a happy game. The rest is history. Tho I don't know whether I should blame the Chicago-style pizza or the incredible hubris for the loss. Either way, Packers fans, I apologize.

Today I have nothing to do. I was thinking about taking advantage of all the Persecution of the Indians by Christopher Columbus Day Sales and maybe buying a kitchen table, but I didn't want to contribute to a holiday that was celebrating the beginning of several hundred years of horrific subjugation. Instead I'm going to finish hemming my curtains and study up on the math part of the GRE. I took another practise test last night and I improved my score 69% on the verbal section. And no, I did not figure out that percentage on my own, which might explain why my math score went up exactly 0%.

Meanwhile, I turned on the BBC World News last night only to discover their lead story was about an off-duty police officer shooting 6 people in Crandon. My relative joy at hearing the word "Wisconsin" in a British accent were immediately offset by the horrific nature of what happened--yet that didn't stop me from rankling at the statement "Crandon is a tiny town about 225 miles north of Milwaukee; truly the wilderness where people hunt, fish and shoot." Yeah, DEER. Hello world, meet Wisconsin. I've read more articles about what's happening there, but it still feels incongruous to have the first word come from the Beeb.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The big 5-0

So today is a landmark of sorts--I've lost fifty pounds. I wasn't aiming for a specific number, but I finally managed to get over the "plateau" and now I'm down to--well, I still want to see the south side of 200, but it's a lot closer now that it was three weeks ago. Lest you think I'm Being unhealthy, however, let me tell you that it took me about two years to get to this point—so that’s like a half a pound a week on average. Woot. I had a job interview this morning that did not go well—I arrived late because of the BLOODY CTA!!! and then I couldn’t remember my ACT score. It’s ninety degrees today and I’m absolutely dying—I keep forgetting to shave my legs so I can’t wear shorts (hey, if I’m going to submit to the American beauty standard of thinness I might as well go whole hog and buy into the shiny-legs theory as well) and I was feeling grumpy so I thought I’d get an iced tea and a doughnut. And now my stomach is unhappy:

“What is this. Is this…is this a doughnut?! What the hell?! Oh, you are going to suffer…”

I think it’s probably partly the weather tho. Come on, rain!

I am happy—my new roommate and I painted the living room last night in a burst of energy. Nothing bonds roommates like painting and arguing about musical theatre. New Roommate says that musical plays are bad because it breaks the rules of plays by telling not showing. I was aghast for a whole minute at that before I (gently) explained that musical theatre wasn’t beholden to the “rules” of drama because musical theatre is a different art form. Then he called Sweeney Todd a melodrama and I had to excuse myself and go take a shower to cool off. I think we’ll get along, as long as he never talks crazy ever again. But the living room is nicely painted—I’m a little embarrassed at the boring color I picked. In the end I couldn’t bear the idea of a cold living room, so I went with “Brickdust” which is kind of like chocolate milk. I’m hoping it will be less beige once I get some pictures up on the walls and the curtains hung. Right now I’m off to the Laundromat to wash out our rug, and then I’m going to sew up the curtains. Hancock fabric was having a sale so I got fifteen yards of sheers $28. woot.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Halloween comes early this year! Trick or treat!

Click on it! It's the new Sweeney Todd trailer! aaaaa!

Much has been made of Johnny Depp singing--and from what I can hear in the ten seconds that's in this clip, I'm not overly impressed. But the sets! The costumes! LONDON! It's so pretty! I'm more excited than I was before. Whoo! Sweeney! Sweeney! Sweeney!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


This week two things are happening: I am going to finish "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" for the fourth time, and we're getting a new roommate. Another underemployed theatre people. These two things don't have much in common with each other, only that when my old roommate moved out, I realised just how much stuff was actually hers. The apartment is literally echoing with the empty space. So I have decided to redecorate. The reason I mention JS & Mr. N is because my dearest wish would be to decorate in a style faintly reminiscent of the Empire period, but, alas! low fundage prevents buying the lovely Empire style desk that I saw at Macy's today. (the floor model was only $3,999.98!)So I have decided to put to use some of those skillz I learned in theatre and from watching shows like anything on TLC and see what I come up with.

I also think of JS & Mr. N because of the chapter where it's describing Lady Pole's very first dinner party after she gets married, and how big a deal it is that she gives a dinner party which is entertaining, that it is a mark of a good feminine mind. And I started to think about how one of the benefits of having one's own place is that one gets to finally inflict their personal tastes on everything. I am quite looking forward to it--although, as much as I would like to paint the bathroom ceiling black and hang glow-in-the-dark stars, I probably won't. (Our landlord is generally rather forgiving when it comes to outlandish wall colours: my room, for example is a lovely terracotta that was not of my choosing, but I like it) Since I have roommates, I think I'm going to paint the living room a sort of French-grey/lilac/lavender/bluey thing, like the colour of heartbreak, and do the ceiling in sky blue, then get some yellow pillows for the sopha, and then it will match "The Fighting Temeraire Taken to her last Berth to be Broken Up" which I finally bought a frame for.

We also need a kitchen table and chairs--I think I'm going to try to find a mishmash of chairs and paint them all to match--and eventually some other odds and ends. But, it's chiefly the living room I'm concerned with right now, as that is the room where I like to study. Although a kitchen table would be nice too: I'm getting sick of eating my cereal on the floor.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I haz a headache

Yahoo has decided to take a break at the exact moment when I'm trying to email my resume to another theatre company, which is frustrating, to say the least. Whoever said that looking for a full time job is a full time job wasn't kidding. I wanted to be done with all this stuff by this point so I could go and work on a play, but instead I'm going to have to push the play back so I can study.

I read a story, a million years ago, about a princess in another country who had a magic wishbone that would grant one wish. And everyone was harrassing her about what to wish for--some people wanted her to wish that the king had more money, that her sisters would make good matches, that the war would end, that the baby (who had a black eye for some reason) would get better. The princess, being incredibly smart as most princesses in these stories are, wished for it to be a bank holiday about to m onths in the future. Suddenly there was enough money (because taxes were due), the war was over, the sisters had all married foreign princes and the baby was all better. That's kind of what I feel like right now: I wish it was about four weeks in the future so I would know about the jobs, have the GRE over and done with, the application for Madtown handed in, and have this draft of the play done.

Meanwhile, I gotta do something while Yahoo tries to load:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Liberally biased

My good friend Laura sent me the above video, which is about Conservapedia, the conservative alternative to Wikipedia. Wikipedia, for those of my readers who don't know, is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, the theory being that everyone knows a little about something, and eventually the whole thing will be mostly truthful. Teachers won't allow you to quote Wikipedia directly, but they do require updaters to cite their sources, so you can check out the firsthand material if you're writing a paper or something. Generally, they're pretty good. And, according to Conservapedia, pretty liberal. This video uses the definition of "homosexuality" as an example: on Wikipedia it "...refers to enduring sexual and romantic attraction towards those of the same sex..." Conservapedia does not start out with a clear-cut definition, but gets straight to the heart of the matter: "Sexual relations between men is condemned in both Old and New Testaments. It is forbidden directly four times in the Bible"

Conservapedia then goes on to have pictures of Moses, a brain infected with AIDS, a rock of Methamphetamines, a picture of Sodom and Justice Antonio Scalia, which might lead the casual viewer to suspect that there's some sort of agenda going on here, since there are no happy homosexual pictures, like a nice clean house or Freddie Mercury.

In the interest of science, I decided to conduct my own investigation. I don't really have an opinion about the homosexuals (tho I'm pretty sure Conservapedia got it wrong on the Mark Foley bit), so I thought I'd see what Wikipedi and Conservapedia had to say about something I am deeply, passionately, all-consumingly interested in.

Like Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Both Wikipedia and Conservapedia have the picture posted above, but that's where the similarities end. You would think, due to the constant love and deference Nelson showed to his king and country Conservapedia would have more to say about him, but the entry is barely two pages long--and all it has to say about his time in the Mediterranean: "...Nelson was content emotionally during the months spent there. On board his ship was a well-trained crew, and amongst his crew was his son whom he had taken on board; waiting for both was a loving wife. And it was during this time that Nelson changed from an enthusiastic young officer to a genius of a commander. Some of his success in his mission was due to the British minister in Naples, Sir William Hamilton." And there's absolutely no mention of Lady Hamilton. Nada. Someone who konws nothing about Lord Nelson (which doesn't include my faithful readers, I trust!) would think that Nelson was happily married with a doting wife, isntead of passionately in love with the wife of his best friend. Who eventually bore him a daughter. (the mistress, not the friend) Scandalous, true, but no more so than some of the scandals that have seized our nation's leaders--and at least Nelson stuck around instead of flitting off to a new woman every few months. Wikipedia on the other hand, has much more information about Nelson, including people who helped him, like his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling. Also Wikipedia gets his title right.

I was pretty surprized to see Conservapedia fail theNelson test so badly. If there's an entry, I thought, then surely it will have been lifted from Wikipedia--how liberal could an entry be about a man whos last words were "Thank God I have Done my duty?" Apparently too liberal for some.

Conservapedia's Nelson
Wikipedia's Nelson

Monday, October 01, 2007

full of it

i would write more but i has a lap full of cat