Archive for March, 2008

I apologize for the rather dry content…

…but changes are afoot chez Loose Baggy Monster.  This always happens.  Apparent Dip and I move into an apartment and we set things according to the oh-so-carefully-thought-through plans we made re: the layout.

And then, seven months later, we change everything around.

This is the first apartment we’ve been in for quite some time that we want to stay in (and we’ve collectively had 11 apartments in the last 9 years, so that’s no small feat).  We’ve repainted the living room and the dining room, and now, because spring is here, we’re on to the next phase.  A phase that requires us to repaint the tv room and turn it into my own library/office (the tv is going out in the living room after all.  We wanted to keep that as a reading room, but because the upstairs neighbors’ tv is loud, we don’t sit there as often as we like.  Now we can engage in dueling tv noise competitions.)  It’s a phase that will take both weekend days (and then some) to accomplish.  And it’s a phase that requires me to take ALL of the books out of my large bookcase so we can move it into my new space.  Which in turn means that I will take all of my books in the entire apartment down and reorganize them because I am obsessive-compulsive about things like that.  I tried, I really tried to play fast and loose with my book organizing, but it doesn’t work for me.  In my newest bookcase I mixed genres, disregarded alphabetization, and let Dickens cozy up with Foucault.  But it feels rather unsettled.  Would it be going to far to organize my shelves according to the Library of Congress numbering system?  I mean, after all, it would be rather interesting to see which sections have the best representation on my own shelves–my guess is that the PRs and PSs will win out, although DS (Jewish studies) might have a go.  Think of the procrastination possibilities!


It MUST be Spring

How do I know this? Because I have super-duper scientific evidence and mathematical equation-like-thingies for proof, that’s why:

  • I cleaned! I actually (with no prompting from Apparent Dip) cleaned up the backlog of books around the dining room table (my research area) and the tv room (my other research area). Now all that’s left is the pile o’ doom on the couch in the living room (my third research area). But I cleaned! Me cleaning = pigs can fly = spring.
  • I got my hair cut. It’s been six months or so since I last went in. Not pretty. I wanted something funky to go with my super cute glasses. I finally had some length to play with so I wanted to get a pretty severe A-line cut where it was almost short-ish in back. What did I get? Well, she went drastic in another way: she cut the front way too short and the A-line is barely noticeable. In two weeks I’ll have a blunt-cut bob. Argh. Oh well: bouncy new ‘do = spring.
  • I’m making plans to start running. I have to buy a knee brace for the PCL-missing knee, but I really, really need to get running. My brother is getting married in August, and I would like to look better for that. Plus, when I say that I used to be a ballet dancer, I’m tired of getting looks from people along the lines of: “What, like the hippos in Fantasia?” Desire to exercise = spring.
  • I actually like the sunshine. When I lived in California I used to joke that I had reverse SAD. Sunshine depressed me. Wake up? It was sunny. Middle of the day? It was sunny. B.O.R.I.N.G. I’m a midwestern girl, so I missed the crapshoot kind of weather–it was like a choose-your-own-adventure thing where you had absolutely no choice. The possibilities were endless. Plus, being a pale redhead, I have generally avoided sunshine at all costs. But now, now I deliberately walk on the sunny side of the street–I need that vitamin D. Sarah seeking out the sunshine = spring.

So, as you can see, despite the fact that the weather is only grudgingly breaking out of the thirties (and then for only about an hour a day), I have willed spring into existence. It’s here all right. Or else.

Blame it on March Madness

Ok, ok, I’m finally coming out of my college basketball-induced haze and my cranky pants are safely stowed in the closet again–so back to blogging I go! I think that March is a crappy month all around, and between the realization that I only have 5 weeks left of the semester, my discovery that I have something like 80 books checked out from the library, and weather that can only be labeled as schizophrenic (no offense to any schizophrenics out there) I tend to go into antisocial mode. I am repeatedly surprised by the realization that really, deep down, I’m rather an antisocial person (although, whether I’m surprised by it, or surprised that I’m apparently dense enough not to catch on more readily by now, I don’t know). How someone who likes to talk as much as I do can be so, I haven’t figured out yet. But in any event, I declare that March needs to be over. Now.

On the reading front, I’ve been reading some beautiful, but rather depressing books lately. Robinson Crusoe isn’t really beautiful, but it is depressing (for me anyway) because it’s so money-driven. All human relations are based fundamentally on economic value. I only have about 50 pages left of Charles Chesnutt’s eminently readable novel about the Wilmington race riot of 1898, The Marrow of Tradition. And I have to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for my American reading group tomorrow. I don’t know why I’m so hesitant to start this one. I think part of it has to do with my inner snobby bookseller self, the one that automatically shies away from any book that is so heavily touted by EVERYONE I encounter. It’s something I need to work on.

This weekend, besides watching basketball games nonstop and reading two knitting-centered mysteries (it’s like eating ginger after sushi, it cleanses the mental palate), I also picked up two books at the bookstore. Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke, which is also depressing because it deals with war, and Ron Rosenbaum’s The Shakespeare Wars. I’ve read Rosenbaum’s Explaining Hitler, and while it is flawed (show me a book that isn’t and I’ve got a bridge to sell you somewhere) I heartily enjoy books that examine scholars themselves. The only problem I have so far with The Shakespeare Wars is Rosenbaum’s cranky and un-engaged dismissal of theory. Now, I think theory (sorry, Theory) can be too much for me in large doses (I need to read it in bursts–I actually love it while I’m reading it, but when I’ve finished, I feel like I’m about to float away because my brain has become so wrapped in abstractness), but I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And I don’t agree with people assuming that all theory is based on relativism (Rosenbaum erroneously conflates it–the whole kit and caboodle–with deconstructionism and then doesn’t define deconstructionism correctly/well). That’s flippant and disingenuous. And it makes Rosenbaum sound like a cranky old fart, and I think he’s better than that. But beyond that, I’m looking forward to the rest of the book. Scholars are a weird bunch, particularly when the subject at hand involves figures like Shakespeare or Hitler.

One last thing. The pictures that you see in my header have all been taken by my amazingly talented father, who is a photographer. I realized that I don’t really have a nickname for him on the blog (my mom’s self-chosen moniker of Queen Mother is sooo apt that I don’t want to mess with it). He sometimes leaves comments as Harleyman, but I’ve decided to designate him as El Diablo, although it’s not because he’s devilish (Funny story though: A priest in my religion class at school once told me that my dad was going to hell because he was Jewish. Now for those who know me, you know that I don’t appreciate anyone messing with my family, and this priest had already told me that my dogs weren’t going to heaven either, so I politely informed him that I would rather go to hell as well, because it sounds like more fun). Anyway, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due! Although if the pictures ever look messed up, it’s because I played with them and cropped them…

Not too shabby…

Sorry for the lack of content lately…I have a cold thingy that makes me grumpy and tired, so I’m taking it easy (and pretending to write two research proposals at the same time). So here’s some fun instead (as seen at Imani’s)

Your Score: Rabbit

You scored 17 Ego, 16 Anxiety, and 15 Agency!

IT was going to be one of Rabbit’s busy days. As soon as he
woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.
It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a
Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought
About It. It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh,
and saying, “Very well, then, I’ll tell Piglet,” and then going
to Piglet, and saying, “Pooh thinks–but perhaps I’d better see
Owl first.” It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody
said, “Yes, Rabbit ” and “No, Rabbit,” and waited until he had
told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn’t consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit’s real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger’s bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he’s not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don’t stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b)what can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don’t see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don’t have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don’t succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test written by wolfcaroling on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(wolfcaroling)

A Weekend of Do-Nothingness

It is spring break.

To celebrate this fact, I allowed myself to do nothing this weekend.  NOTHING.  The result? I was really, really efficient.  Although Apparent Dip and I slept in really, really late on Saturday (gearing up for the worst day of the year: spring’s daylight savings day), we nevertheless accomplished a boatload of errands before 1 p.m.  It was rather frightening actually.  I’m not sure what to do with myself when I get things done like this.  We even cleaned (and not “cleaning” as in: “hey, let’s move that pile over here, and that pile over there.”  No, this was real, honest cleaning!).

We went to a yarn store, where I subjected AD to the horrors of helping me choose a yarn for my newest project.  Luckily, the store had a pet bulldog who could distract him at crucial moments (i.e. when I paid for said yarn).  I’ll post pics soon…I promise.

And then I spent the rest of the weekend knitting.  No reading.  At all.  We even weathered the time change yesterday, although it was rough–in a household managed by three cats and a rabbit, losing an hour for no good reason ranks right up there with the apocalypse.  We tried to soften the blow with catnip and toys, but I don’t think it helped much. The bunny, as always, has no clue as to what’s going on.

And now, I’m actually looking forward to get back to work on my research projects, which are threatening to get out of control if I don’t put a lid on them soon.  Hooray for spring break!


A couple of days ago, the full extent of my nerdiness was exposed yet again. I had just finished an email conversation with my brother, in which I was explaining my deep, abiding love for the footnote (and my unhappiness with endnotes [a pale imitation of the footnote, if you ask me] and parenthetical citations). That’s right…I have an intellectual crush on the footnote. (I also love prefaces, epigraphs, etc. Paratexts and I get along famously). I loved dipping into the Chicago Manual of Style and I’m rather saddened by the fact that I now use the MLA Style Manual more often (for some reason it just doesn’t seem to be as exciting–that’s right, I used the word exciting to describe style manuals–as the Chicago Manual).

So is it wrong that I wish I could skip out of work and my reading group today so that I can run home and meet the UPS person when they deliver the following?


Ibid by Mark Dunn (who wrote the inventive Ella Minnow Pea) is a fictional biography of a three-legged man told entirely through footnotes. I have no idea if it’s good or overly gimicky, but I had to buy it. It’s been calling my name for years now.

And the historian in me absolutely demanded that I get The Footnote: A Curious History by Anthony Grafton.

Be still my beating, nerdy heart.

C’est finis

Well my friends…I did not get the fellowship. But I am fully funded (with health, dental, and visual insurance of my very own) so I’m a happy camper. In fact, I think it’s better this way to be honest (and I’m not just saying that to make myself feel better). I really do believe that I need to break out of my comfort zone. Thus far in my ever-lengthening graduate career I have been on fellowships many a time. I’m comfortable there. But truthfully, it can also be an isolating experience: while the rest of my cohort would talk about their classes and students, I had nothing to add. Moreover, in my past departments, being one of the select few on a fellowship meant that many people were rather pissy with me when the issue of funding arose. It’s not fair, because I worked my arse off to get that money, but there you have it. So in many respects, I’m rather looking forward to being right on par with everyone else. I’ll get great teaching experience, my tuition is paid for, I’ll get to know my fellow students a lot better, and….I have an excuse to leave my current position (huzzah!).

So all in all, I think I have been incredibly lucky and the best is yet to come. Thankfully, the “best” includes spring break next week. Although I still have to show up to work every day, I have a whole week to dedicate to my research projects (one of which is floundering a bit) and to catch my breath. Hah! I say that now, but I can guarantee you, in a couple of weeks I’ll be shaking my head in a bewildered fashion, wondering where all my time went. For now, I’m getting ready to dive into the second half of George Meredith’s The Egoist (I have to finish it by Thursday); Edward Bellamy’s rather trippy novel Looking Backward, 2000-1887 (pub. 1888); and Pope’s Rape of the Lock. The fun never ends chez Loose Baggy Monster!