Welcome To My Bed

Orchids, intertextuality, and doctoral programs.

Everywhere, orchids.  In the mystery man's house when Donna takes over the Meal-on-Wheels program on Twin Peaks; in The Orchid Thief (obviously), driving people mad with covetous desire; in poems I read by accident.  Everywhere I turn, these strange plant aliens have popped up.  For two weeks, all that I consume has been nothing but orchids.

I like to think of texts (a term a define broadly as anything that can be read, where read means consumed and interpreted, so books, film, TV, songs, etc. are all texts in one way or another) as creatures that speaks to each other if you let them.  This probably stems from any critical work I've ever done: I don't believe in writing on a text by itself.  There always has to be another text to let it talk to.  Blame this on my college experience.  Hampshire doesn't just read books.  Hampshire reads books in context of other books.  Change the context, and the entire experience of a novel shifts.  Typical assignment: read your assigned novel of the week and come up with an essay topic, then look for articles supporting your thesis; if there are articles supporting your thesis, pick a new topic.  This is how you keep critical work from stemming only from the hybridization of two formerly held notions about a text.

I got into a conversation recently about graduate school.  (I have a lot of these higher education talks while half-daydreaming at my minimum wage barista job.  Call it wishful thinking.)  My conversation partner seemed to believe that holding an advanced degree meant you were some kind of brilliant, original thinker.  If only.  I've met plenty of people with advanced degrees who aren't worth the paper their diploma was printed on.  And here's why: a PhD program can't teach you to be an original thinker; it can only teach you to organize your thoughts in an academically acceptable scaffolding.  No one needs to be brilliant to be called, "Doctor".  They only need to be observant enough to find where critical lines about any given topic intersect, then point out those intersections and move the conversations about the given topic a slight stumble forward.  Simple and plain, most dissertations do little to advance their fields other than repackage information.

But the fact remains, I get dizzy when I imagine completing a doctoral program.  Something about being not only allowed, but required, to spend that amount of time rooting around in a library looking for unarticulated truths reminds me of Indiana Jones.  In a much more musty, sedentary way.  But the adventure is still there.  Conversation between two texts assists in interpretation of both.  Conversation between more than two texts creates an exciting web of interconnected ideas that helps sift out new things from my brain, and also helps mine for images I didn't know I had in me.  Textual excavation is also a process of self-discovery.  Regardless of the acceptable critical perspective on literature or any text, my own favored method of interpretation has always been emotional.  How does a piece of art make me feel?  It is that gut tug that makes any piece of art resonate past the year it's written in.

Back to orchids.  They grow in the most strange ways, latched onto the sides of trees and the edges of cliffs, roots dangling in the air.  They don't bloom for their first seven years of life.  They have odd, ugly faces, wear funny hats, die easily when removed from their misanthropic swamps.  How like artists.  We know little about how or why they grow the way they do, but the more strange and rare they are, the more eagerly they're pursued.

Small happies.

You can read a poem of mine here, published on the thirteenth. I recommend leafing through the whole sixth issue of Phantom Kangaroo and getting thoroughly spooked tonight before bed.



This song makes me happy, especially when it comes on at a dance night.



This show is my new favorite.

And now I'm going to work, and then to New Jersey. See you across state lines, post floating tattoo appointment and Long Island Gaga concert.

Outdated social commentary.

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In my car stereo as we speak. I am a decade and a half too late, but I am still loving being in a time warp. I want to wear baby doll dresses and combat boots. I want to scream along to Courtney Love. (Unfortunately, or maybe thankfully?, I was too short to reach the shelf that they were keeping "Celebrity Skin" on. I plan to go back with taller shoes later this week.)

Also, Aly and I watching Queer as Folk. I love this day.

Also also, soon I'm going to buy a typewriter. The lady at the typewriter store and I had a lovely conversation this afternoon. In another two weeks, I'll pick up that blue Remington that I feel in absolute lust with. I need to go sell clothes at Plato's Closet. I feel like Marla Singer. I'm kind of terrified that soon I'll end up raiding laundromats to fund my currently non-existent pill habit. I don't want to be a book character, at least not one like that.

Get a grip.

Barely enough time to sleep with how much I've been working lately. Only this is keeping me sane. And this:

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I have read and watched so much about vampires over the past few days I feel drained. Sorry. Bad pun. But seriously. Right now it's about small pleasures, at least until I find enough time to post the second installment of my trip to Jersey. Until then, it's waiting tables in questionable weather for me.

Sports-related revelation.

I watched the NBA finals tonight. And was legitimately freaking out about the Lakers. New hero:

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But really, who am I kidding? Derek Fisher's clutch three-pointers all over the place are where it's at. Maybe I'll actually stick with the sports thing this time because I have no team allegiance. With baseball, loving the Mets was a definite downfall in the end. All that Willie Randolph bullshit last summer really soured me on the whole scene. But with this, I am simply enjoying watching a good game. Yelling at the television never felt so good.

New lover.

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In my dreams of course. Yesterday I watched this documentary Kill Your Idols that was a free on demand movie from the Sundance channel, and though I've always loved and been fascinated by Gogol Bordello, I am now absolutely smitten with Eugene Hütz. The documentary was about no wave and its influence on the New York music scene since the 80's, and though I'm not sure I could regularly stomach Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, I have found a new thing I'd like to research the shit out of. Also through the documentary, I found Black Dice, which is now in heavy rotation in my iTunes. I think the cats hate me now. They keep staring over at the strange noises coming from my laptop (either Eugene yelping or bizarro feedback and electronic noises) like they'd like to murder me.

To escape their intensity, I am going to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for falafel burgers and mock krema. Afterwards, I may or may not talk about the strange nature of graduation at my school. I am still trying to process what happened yesterday involving diplomas and Bobcat Goldthwait. And yes, you did read that correctly. Also, I think I might have a big throbbing crush on Ken Burns. He's almost too adorable in person.

"Searchers found the remains of a body..."

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Clearly I am back in Jersey, because the only movies available to watch are on video. The bulk of them from a company called Feature Films For Families. Oh yes, it's good to be here.

I'm watching network news for the first time since last year, and it's incredibly disgusting. Maybe since I've been exposed to so much cable news since being at school, and the differences are jarring. But it's more likely that I'm appalled to see fat cats and broken water mains getting more coverage than financial policy or the effects of the financial crisis or anything to do with the armed forces. Maybe the problem with local news is its near-sightedness. There was apparently a water main break near the Holland Tunnel this afternoon. But Diana Williams probably couldn't tell me any war statistics. This is not to say that slam poets are better harbingers of news than those paid to deliver it (although in this case, I'd be prepared to say as such). I just wish I felt like the Eyewitness team cared about things that are real. God forbid they scare their core audience of senior citizens. Being in Philly, immersed in heavy political commentary for the past couple of days, has soured me on this filler.

Weren't news anchors once determined journalists? Do they even care about New Jersey's fattest cats? I don't begrudge the weather man, only the people who are supposed to be synthesizing things for the people who will not seek out any other news source. I'm bordering on ashamed here.

Lazy Sunday, sort of.

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That dress is barely cold (I haven't even attached the pockets yet), and already I'm knitting something new. I don't know where the space in the day comes from, but I'm making headway. It is in what I have lovingly referred to as a mac 'n cheese type yarn, and I'll post pictures when it's finished, or close to being finished, because we all know how impatient I am.

As CUPSI gets closer, I feel an eerie calm falling over me, and I'm not sure if I should be alarmed about it or not. Kat has lost her voice for the time being; we haven't finished working out our group piece yet; I need to get a new poem off page that Charlie is convinced will score well. Everything seems to be stacking up against us, but I am convinced we'll pull through and make a good showing when we end up in Philly in a few weeks time. And as an addendum to that note about future travels, I am very excited to be making my way back home for some serious basement cleaning, Spring break will most likely be me knitting, reading, sleeping, and purging my house of all the things I have pack-ratted away since middle school. Taking the train home from Philadelphia costs $12.50...something about that seems old-world romantic to me, and I don't know why. I have a feeling I'm going to do a lot of writing on the train, both to CUPSI from here in Amherst and from 30th Street home. I can't wait.

The Oscars are tonight. James and I are reprising our pool from last year, making it our first real annual tradition. I feel kind of old saying that, but I like it. I hope we do it again next year, even if we can't watch together. I am sure the night will precipitate a rant of some sort, so stay tuned for some movie talk (which I haven't had the time or energy to accomplish in too long). Until then, I am entrenched in literary theory.

In post-script, James has my copy of High Fidelity, but every time I suggest we watch it, he makes some disgusted comment about John Cusack. I just don't get it. That man is a god to me...

Freaks and Geeks

James Franco on Freaks and Geeks is such an asshole, but I am still so in love with him. This may explain a lot.

Good TV doesn't have a prayer.

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It seems that I am late on this one, but I've started watching Freaks and Geeks lately and am falling in love. Specifically with James Franco, but it's probably impossible to avert that in any context anyway. I wish I didn't have to read a novel and do a bunch of writing exercises this weekend, because then I'd have time to plant myself in front of my TV and watch the whole season. Maybe even enough time to watch it twice through. Mmm, oh the days when I had time for such things. Christmas break and Entourage; summertime and too much Dawson's Creek. I miss those days.

As for now, I need to get underway with The Bluest Eye and food preparations for the Super Bowl. And also write my poem for the day. Among many many other things.

Flabbergasted.



And people take her seriously? She bastardizes everything she believes in. It's just embarrassing. If I still considered myself a Christian I would give her a piece of my mind for speaking for me. But really, I don't know what to hate her for first.

Armchair tourist, as per usual.

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James and I just started watching Long Way Round, this BBC travel documentary where Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman (co-stars from The Serpent's Kiss) take a motorcycle trip from the UK, through Eastern Europe and Russia, fly across the Bering Strait and continue through America to New York. He has already seen it before, but I've only seen their second endeavor, Long Way Down, which I loved. And now I'm loving this one too. They run into the strangest people. I think it's in the second episode when they're in the coal mine town and have a very interesting experience with the locals. And Ewan plays an acoustic cover of "Running to Stand Still", which is awesome.

It's hard not to notice while I'm watching the show that Ewan eerily reminds me of someone I spent some time with this summer. James refuses to believe me. But then he doesn't know the guy, so I'll trust myself on this one.

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On another note, I made a delicious hearty chicken soup from scratch the other night and I am sad we ate it so quickly. It was probably the best thing I've ever cooked.

Guilty pleasure, if you could call it that.

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Most women my age probably wouldn't agree, but I am kind of in love with Entourage. And not because I have any kind of crush on one of the guys (although if I had to pick, it would be a tough call between E and Ari...I know it sounds crazy, but I stand by that). If it was something so simple, it would probably be more about my love for Lloyd. However, while most of my peers have spent too much time obsessing over Carrie's shoe closet, I prefer settling in and rooting for the guys. Even though most of the female characters, barring those in positions of power and even then there's a fine line, are simple sex objects. Even though there's really no one I can relate to now that Samaire Armstrong has been off the show for ages (and every other female character has massive cans and is acting sexy all the time). Even though it is just the kind of show I should put a feminist foot down about. Not that I'm a militant feminist, but some things are a little over the top.

Okay, I admit, everything points to me ignoring this show like I ignore most of television, especially the TV that occurs on channels I don't even get. But I can proudly and happily say that I watched the entire latest season of Entourage today, and it was the best season yet. And I don't believe in guilty pleasures, I just believe in enjoying the things I enjoy, regardless of how much they don't fit with my personality. Britney Spears. Vampire novels (vehemently excluding Twilight, which I refuse to dignify with italics). Funyuns. Smirnoff Ice. And Entourage. Hopefully the next season will be at least equally as delightful. Although then I'd probably have to follow through on the drinking game James and I devised based on how many times per episode I gush about loving Lloyd. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. I'd just end up slightly hammered, at best.

Comfort food.

Yesterday was a really gratifying day. The drama of the weekend has died down considerably, and I feel much more functional than I usually do. I saw Sean and got to show him a bunch of the work from my welding class, which was really fun, mostly because nobody really gets to see any of it. Also, I've been dying to catch up with Sean. All semester we've been busy or off doing our own thing, and as of recently I've been making a serious conscious effort to see the people I want in my life. He is leaving for IWPS today or tomorrow, and then when he gets back Jan-Term is the last time I'll get to spend with him on campus. Sophia and I plan on throwing him a wonderful graduation party.

Georgie and I went to SAGA together and I got to vent frustration about the shit that's gone down, and also meet all of his friends. I had an extra class in Lemelson to present our final crop of projects, which was great. I'm heavily considering taking a sculpture class next fall. I got so much out of this one, and I have always wanted to work in three dimensions. After class, I went over to see James. My mush was incredibly sick with a migraine, so I made him a very light dinner, made sure he was all tucked in, and left a lot earlier than I had planned so he could get some rest. I ended up hanging out in Dakin with Georgie and his hallmates, which was a really great time. We gave ourselves henna tattoos and told ridiculous stories, and then when his friends decided it was time for bed, he and I adjourned to his room for more talking. I explained the weird hallucination I had Friday morning, and he agreed with me that it was probably some form of synesthesia, and he also believes that my precognitive dreams are real. We stayed up discussing things until about one-thirty, and then decided that it had gotten late enough.

So, the day was satisfying, I felt loved. But now to get to the actual point of this entry. For the past several months, my night time falling asleep TV show has been the first season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But recently I realized I was on the last disk, and had just been playing the same two episodes over and over again. So when I got back to my room last night, I switched back to an oldie but goodie, delving into the fourth season of one of my favorite things to vegetate in front of.

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I finished the third season back in September, and I am amazed that I had yet to even glance at the fourth, especially when the fifth is still in its shrink wrap on my DVD shelf. So much Creek left to experience! A perfect cap to a very satisfying day.

Nervy.

Tomorrow is a big day. My first presidential election that I can actively participate in. I'm not at all sure how I feel about it. Just scared. Hopeful. Too many things.

I have about 102 pages of Mrs. Dalloway to read for tomorrow at two, and I'm trying to decide if I should go to bed now, or finish it before falling asleep. I read the book years ago. I could give up altogether, but that would be careless of me. I could just truck for an hour and see how far I can get. Yes. That's what I'll do. Instead of watching Michael Palin's BBC special on the Himalayas. Which I really wish I was watching still. There were yaks at the end of the last episode. They were so weird and wooly.

Here he is with an elephant.

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I give up on doing work. I feel over-encumbered lately. At least there are barely six weeks left until winter break.

New month.

I was trying to ignore that yesterday was the first day of October, but it got to me anyway. I don't know what to do about the passage of time ever. Except write in my journals. However, today, with the passage of time, I plan on using many moments strung together in order to make a care package for my little brother. Usually, it works the other way around, and people send care packages to you at college. And even though I could use one right now, I am going to send him one. Because I want him to listen to good music and read good things and just generally become a person I have a lot in common with. Generally, this shouldn't be difficult. I have a lot of free time today that is vaguely tied up in other things. Two shifts at the reference desk is a bit much, but I think I can handle it. And if I hurry, I can take some pleasure in the extra feature that Slam Collective is putting on tonight, a special Thursday night event. I get out of work at the library around ten, and the reading allegedly end until eleven, so maybe. Just maybe.

My brain is swirling with pre-orders and paychecks. I am trying to figure out the safest way to send the bulk of my paycheck home on friday without the threat of it getting lost in the mail or stolen if it is just cash floating around. I think I'm going to a write a card and put it inside, just because that seems easiest and least conspicuous. Or maybe I'll send it locked up inside my brother's care package. I am very paranoid about such things.

I think the cause of my long-standing illness has something to do with neglected dental work. I haven't seen a dentist since probably before high school. Insurance is such an odd thing to try to wrap my head around.

We finished the first disk of the first season of Californication, and besides it being brilliant and hysterical/poignant/too good/everything I wish happened on TV, I can't help worrying that if James and I ever end up separate, he will be that person. It would kill me.

I need to get dressed and eat breakfast. It feels like the later I stay up, the earlier I wake up. Maybe the throbbing dull pain-like feeling that isn't quite pain in my jaw is making it difficult for me to sleep late. I don't mind it so much, I just don't want to owe anything to discomfort.

I want to go record shopping. And finish my novel. Instead, I will go to class today, and write a paper tonight while I am at work. I have no idea what the parameters are. All I know is that it's due tomorrow.

Picture in picture.

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Yesterday, my sister came up from Providence to celebrate my birthday a little earlier than we should have (t-minus one day and counting now!), and we climbed Bare Mountain, which I'm pretty sure is one of the tallest mountains around here. My legs are still sore today, owing mostly to the fact that mountain-climbing is not an every day activity for me. But I feel amazing. We had such a good time scaling rocks and laughing at the odd people we met on the trail. James came along as well, and the tree of us had a picnic lunch of peanut noodles at the summit, looking out over the whole Pioneer Valley. When I get my first roll of film from my new/old Olympus developed, I'll find a way to scan everything so that it'll be more clear how high up we were.

Post-mountain, Kaitlin and I went shopping, and saw many many horrific things in the process, including a blouse that looked like it had teeth. Dinner at Amherst Brewing Company, for the burgers that taste like fall. I felt left out, being the only one unable to drink. It's so odd to me that James is equidistant in age from myself and my sister, but I only really felt the weirdness of it when they were talking about The X-Files while we were walking through a corn field on the way back from the mountain. I was hardly ever allowed to watch The X-Files when I was little, and I never saw the first movie; Kaitlin and James were both obsessed. Two years matters so much more when you're little.

After burning Kaitlin the first car mix she's gotten from me in awhile, I dispatched her to her cats before she got a parking ticket, and then headed over to James's house to get silly. I drank my forty quietly and watched the first to episodes of Upstaged!, a show about theater and the weird people involved with it that James and our friend Evan made last year. I have a very small role. This year, Evan wrote me in as a butch lesbian, a role he thought I could do in my sleep, especially because when he last saw me, my hair was probably about an inch long. Imagine his surprise when I returned to school this fall looking like a girl again. We can make it work though, I'm sure of it. Anyway, James and Evan's housemate Micah was watching the show with his friend Dan ("Man Beast"), and Evan and James decided to do live director commentary while we were all shit-faced. It was the best way I could think of to end a very full and fulfilling day.

As I expected to, I slept so well last night. But really, I cannot wait for more birthday festivities. Entering my twentieth year, also know as turning nineteen, has already yielded me two season's of Dawson's Creek, a new journal, the promise of dinner at Olive Garden, and so much more. One of the many reasons why I adore fall.

Fall Essentials

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It hasn't been time for a list in awhile. But now is definitely the time. The leaves are starting to change. It is below forty degrees outside. I am sitting at the reference desk in the library waiting for someone to ask me about something. They won't. So let's enumerate the things I deem integral to the passage of the coming months.

1 - Movies that feel like fall.

2 - Ryan Adams' Love is Hell on vinyl.

It is impossible to find. There are only rumblings of it on the internets at large. I am very distraught. I want this album, I need this album. With the highest quality sound available. I ran my mp3's of it into the ground this summer, which is not even possible. But if it was, it would've happened.

3 - Dawson's Creek.

I don't care what anyone says. My sister just sent me season four for my birthday, and I could not be more excited to watch twenty-somethings pretend they are in high school. Yessss.

4 - Mountain climbs.

5 - NYC.

I miss Maggie, and she is all the way in Brooklyn. Plus New York in the fall is my favorite, hands down. Yes, I know I live in New England and we supposedly have the best foliage ever. But to me, there's nothing like a brisk walk down Bowery when it gets frosty out. Or a sidewalk table at Virage for french sandwiches and delicious conversation.

6 - 40s of Miller High Life.

Champagne of beers. Duh.

7 - Spliffs.

8 - Writing as much as humanly possible.

9 - That burger with apple chutney at Amherst Brewing Company.

10 - Photoquests when the leaves start changing.

11 - Bicycling at night.

The wind toothing its way through even my heaviest jacket does not deter me from loving every second of the ride to and from James's house.

12 - Sex. Obviously.

13 - Reading more than my brain can handle.

14 - Tins of Bali Shag.

15 - Free piercing at Lucky's for my birthday.

16 - New tattoo.

Depending on the money situation, this one may or may not make the cut. But I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am trying to be diabolical and am hoping to save the fifty dollars my grandparents gave me for my birthday to go towards one. Because I know how against it they are. And they never have to know what their money was spent on. But I'll know. And I'll smile about it all the time.

17 - Strong coffee, chai tea.

18 - Sending and receiving snail mail.

19 - Hampshire Halloween!!

20 - Making awful choices about the things I put into my body.

Save for the multi-vitamin and fish oil I take on a daily basis, the semester so far has been nothing but bad times for my body. Ramen, various illegal substances, among other things. But mostly I just haven't been eating very much at all. The reason this is an essential, is that the food in the dining hall here is nigh inedible. Being on the full meal plan without a kitchen at my disposal is situation very different from what I got used to last semester. That is to say, deciding when I ate and what I ate. Which made me want to eat. The dining hall is a fate worse than death. So I will stick to my Trader Joe's microwaveable noodle boxes and sesame crackers in the middle of the night. I am sure I can survive the winter this way. Absolutely sure.