Archive for December, 2007


So, I was taking a leisurely look over my book lists, and I discovered something disturbing: I only read 50 books in 2007 and most of those were for my courses. I have absolutely no idea what I did over the summer, but I sure didn’t pick up the reading slack. And I have no idea why I recently had to purchase a new bookcase if I wasn’t actually reading anything (oh that’s right, not reading as much as I would like doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t get attacked by random books in the bookstore!). So resolution #1 for 2008: read more than 50 books. (ETA: Hah!  I can’t count!  I read 51 books, mwa ha ha)
On the resolution front, now that the holidays are more or less over (although we have a second Christmas coming up when my parents come to visit later this week), it’s time to get to that age-old New Year’s resolution: eat healthier and exercise more. To that end, we went shopping today (argh, I hate malls) at a sporting goods store (argh, I hate sporting goods stores) and tested a couple of higher end treadmills. Do we have room for a treadmill? Not really. But if we don’t do something soon, we won’t have room for ourselves….ok, I exaggerate, but as we live in a region of frozen sidewalks that no one bothers to shovel, it makes more sense to work out indoors, and I refuse to join a gym because 1) I just don’t like them and 2) I’m a lazy person (hence the need to exercise more in the first place). If it isn’t relatively easy, I won’t do it. As the queen of rationalization, I can talk myself out of getting into the car and driving somewhere to work out. But I can walk. And if I can walk in the privacy of my home, even better. So a treadmill it is.

Oh, and all of those books that I wanted to take with me? There were a few surprise entries at the last minute, but in the end, I only had time to finish one book: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. And I loved it. But I’ll try and review that next time, as it’s time to make some dinner, and we don’t want me to have bought a new treadmill for no reason, now do we?


How sweet it is…

To be finished!  I actually turned in the last of the papers of doom on Wednesday, but last night I imbibed a bit too much at Apparent Dip’s department’s Christmas party (damn that vodka!), so I count that as my official entry into the next three weeks of getting a head start on next semester’s reading relaxing.  But now I find myself once again faced with the eternal dilemma for book lovers: what shall I bring with me when we head down to Washington D.C. for Christmas?  We’re driving, so weight isn’t a problem.  My problem is, that I generally like to take a wide selection (a sort of cross-section if you will) of my bookcases.  Because as much as I love making lists, they don’t really do it for me when it comes to personal reading.  I have to be in the right mood.  And thus I need to bring as many books as I can so that I will have one for any mood that might strike me.  I am well aware that bringing a ton of books is a sure sign that I will actually be so wrapped up in hanging out with family, playing with my nephew, cooking, etc that I won’t actually read anything.  But not bringing books is not even an option.  I might as well leave the house naked (and we don’t want me frightening little children do we?).

So, here are the potential candidates at the moment:

  • Our Mutual Friend ~ Charles Dickens (it’s a big, fat book with tiny print and it’s Dickens.  What more can I say? It’s screaming for me to read it)
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood ~ Charles Dickens (Dickens’s unfinished last novel)
  • East Lynne ~ Ellen Wood (a sensational novel I’ve wanted to read for a while now)
  • Demons ~ Dostoyevsky (because winter = Russian reading in my mind and I’ve been feeling deprived since papers and grad apps have been distracting me)
  • The World to Come ~ Dara Horn (A novel that weaves a connection between the painter Marc Chagall and an American Jewish family, the Ziskinds.  I have been wanting to read this for a looooooooong time.  I also have her first novel, In the Image on my list)
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union ~ Michael Chabon (I’m currently reading this one, so it might be finished by the time we leave)
  • Dreamers of the Day ~ Mary Doria Russell (I won an advanced review copy through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers Group)
  • Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World ~ Mark Pendergrast (my desire to bring some non-fiction with me + and my well-documented love affair with coffee = a perfect book)
  • Thomas Hardy ~ Claire Tomalin
  • Trust ~ Cynthia Ozick (Ozick’s first novel about a nameless protagonist on the search for her ever-elusive father)
  • Foreskin’s Lament ~ Shalom Auslander (Auslander’s painful–and darkly humorous–memoir about his Orthodox Jewish upbringing and the impact it has had on his life as an adult)

I have no idea how I will whittle this list down.  If anything I’ll find more books to add.  Any suggestions from my readers would be greatly appreciated.

And if I don’t blog before we leave, have a wonderful holiday season!

still alive


These seminar papers are kicking my ass this time around.  One down, one more to go, and then I will be back in the blogging business–I hope.  I just haven’t had time to eat or sleep in the last few days (seriously, I’ve had maybe 8 hours sleep in the last 3 days combined), but I have been drinking enough coffee to keep a small cruise ship afloat.

The positives?  I’ve discovered a new diet plan!  Here’s how it works: leave your writing until the very last minute, glue your laptop to your lap, and type like a madwoman for five straight days.  Eat sporadically, if at all.  (It helps that Apparent Dip is out of town. When I’m alone I forget to eat sometimes and he would totally be sabotaging this diet plan right now.  Dinner?  Hah!  Hah, I say!)  Seriously folks, I lost 4 pounds in the last 2 days alone.  At this rate I will be in the negative digits by the time I’m finished with grad school.  This diet could provide some competition for my other previous weight loss plan: appendicitis!

Ok, nose to the grindstone…

Random bullets about me

This is my take on the 7-things meme that’s been going around. I haven’t been tagged, but it sounded like more fun than writing my papers, or writing blog posts about writing papers. So without further ado, I bring you some random bullets about moi!

  • When I was younger, I heard that cops made you recite the alphabet backwards if they thought you were driving under the influence. I didn’t think I could do this if I was sober, much less if I was three sheets to the wind. Though I never planned on being in this situation, I felt I should be prepared, so I recited the alphabet backwards to myself every night before I fell asleep.
  • Despite my preparedness for the above, I don’t actually drink that often. Thus, I am a lightweight. Nevertheless, when I do imbibe a few, Apparent Dip drives and tries to get me to drink water before bed, while I swear at him in other languages. Over the course of my life I have studied Spanish, German, French, Russian, and a key phrase in Hungarian. That’s a lot of swearing (I’m especially fond of the Hungarian phrase).
  • I tend to faint at inopportune times. I once passed out on an airplane. Apparent Dip was trying to get me back to the restrooms because I didn’t feel well, and the next thing I remember was waking up to several flight attendants hovering around me and an oxygen mask on my face. They let me keep the mask.
  • I am stubborn. Stubborn to the point of being utterly ridiculous. That saying “You’re as stubborn as a mule?” Well, it should be “You only wish you were as stubborn as Sarah over at Loose Baggy Monster!”
  • I am something of a medical mystery. Six years ago I was living in Palo Alto, CA and commuting to school in San Francisco every day. One day I made the drive home feeling rather ill. Within a few hours I was most definitely very ill. But, I had no insurance or money, Apparent Dip was away for the weekend (and we didn’t have cell phones at that time), and I was raised with a mentality along the lines of “don’t be a weakling, it’s probably not that bad, so just suck it up.” So, despite evidence to the contrary, I convinced myself it was just a stomach flu and it would eventually pass. It did. But it was actually appendicitis.
  • That’s right, my appendix had ruptured, or leaked or something, and I survived. Two years later, I became ill again. Horrible pain, fevers so bad that I sweat through all of my clothing, chills, etc. I wouldn’t go to the doctor until Apparent Dip had his mom (a pediatrician) call me and tell me to go to the emergency room. Based on the ultrasound, Apparent Dip declared that it looked like a giant hurricane had moved in off the coast of China in my midsection. Nine hours later, we still didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I discovered the joy of Vicodin when in extreme pain.
  • A few months later I was scheduled for “exploratory surgery.” The operation was to be about an hour and a half long. Four and a half hours later we finally discovered what was wrong with me (actually, Apparent Dip discovered what was wrong…I was still wrapped in a fog of anesthesia). My appendix had apparently ruptured, but my body created a sac to collect the poison, which they removed. My appendix, however, healed itself, and I still have it. Because we only pieced together what had happened ex post facto and it wasn’t on the list of potential outcomes for the surgery, it couldn’t be removed for insurance purposes. I’m rather attached to the little bugger and I’ve named it Fred.
  • The PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) in my left knee has been damaged/torn for the last 13 years. I tore it when I fell on my kneecap during a snowball fight during my first year in college. At the time I was also a dancer in our college’s dance company, so despite the fact that I couldn’t bend my leg, I performed on it a week later (I’m stubborn, remember?). Over the next 11 years every doctor I’ve had dismissed it as being inconsequential. Turns out I need surgery, but for right now, I’m just walking around with a torn PCL.
  • I cry very, very easily, except when I’m in physical pain. I cry at commercials on t.v. (no matter how many times I’ve seen them), chick flicks, and anything else that is remotely sentimental. I also had the bad habit of crying in front of my advisor in my old ph.d. program. I would go in feeling on top of the world and end up crying. No idea why. My main accomplishment in this new department/field, is that I haven’t cried in front of a professor yet.
  • I have a noticeable stripe in my right eye.
  • I’m a bit, um, competitive. Apparent Dip and I joke that I have more machismo in my little finger than he does in his entire body. Case in point: he once had the misfortune of being the ref in an intramural soccer league that I played in. He had to give me a yellow card for swearing at the other team. Example 2: I get so worked up while watching sports on t.v. that I have to leave the room. Example 3: When Apparent Dip used to play soccer in an indoor league in college during the off-season, I often got into verbal sparring matches with fans from the other team. This is why I restrict myself to activities that are largely based on competition with oneself…well, until March Madness/college basketball comes around that is. Then the gloves are off.
  • Despite the fact that I am a perfectionist with borderline OCD issues, I hate throwing away wrappers of any kind. When I knit, the ball bands remain littered about the house, and you can always tell when I’m the one cooking (or eating a candy bar).
  • In writing this list, it has become clear that without Apparent Dip I would either be dead or surrounded by wrappers, or possibly both.

So I’ve learned my lesson…

I will never, ever try to write on George Eliot again. I’m getting to the point where I feel like there’s nothing to say that either she or some other critic hasn’t said before (and much more eloquently at that).

Good news: I have a draft of a statement of bullshit purpose! Huzzah! Now I just have to write a Statement of Teaching Purpose and I’m ready to send in that application.

Bad news: I still haven’t started my seminar papers (see above). I’m reaching the delusional phase where I try to convince myself that a thesis statement really isn’t necessary…

Oooooh, spicy!

Well, the statement of purpose is 50 % finished and 100% lame, but what else is new where these things are concerned? But, because I like procrastinating, I thought I would discover what spice I am–and really, who wouldn’t want to know that? (As seen on Dr. Brazen Hussey’s blog.)  Gotta love it.

Your Score: Fennel

You scored 50% intoxication, 50% hotness, 75% complexity, and 25% craziness!

You are Fennel!

You’re a cool cat. Crisp, clean, fresh, and extremely complicated. You’re like quantum physics or modern jazz. Think Niels Bohr meets Ornette Coleman. You may look normal now, but once you sprout, you look kind of, uh, funny.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test