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.

Trip or Treat 2010.

Like any diligent type-A crazy, I am working til close tonight and then running over to campus for my last Hampshire Halloween. This time of year makes me want to be witchy every chance I get, but besides wearing black boots at every opportunity and lace tablecloths as scarves on the colder days, I don't get much opportunity to be serious about it. Until today. I bought a whole host of deeply discounted Halloween make-up at CVS this morning and happily painted myself up with oily black and liquid glitter and nail polish that looks like swamp slime. "Happier than a pig in shit" is a start, but doesn't exactly touch on how many smiles I've flashed today. Mostly because I look like this:

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My costume isn't so complex which is a blessing for my wallet--I owned everything but the make-up and the wings before today--and I will reluctantly admit that it was inspired by a writing session I had recently where I was listening to my favorite album by the Books and realized I needed to dress up as the angel of death.



HIPSTER SCUM. I know, I know. But the effect of the costume is that I look nothing like a hipster. In fact, I look more like I'm larping, which is somewhat embarrassing. I decided not to get dressed twice today, so I've been wearing my costume on errands and got my wings stuck in the bank doors just a small while ago. The people in line seemed horrified at the sight of me. Good thing that's what I was going for.

If you paid the $20 ticket fee for non-students (or if you happen to be a student), I'll see you on the dance floor tonight. And hopefully not impale you with my feathers.

What dinner parties are made of.

Last night on our day off, Jericha and I decided it was time we threw a dinner party for a few of our co-workers. No, that sounds too sophisticated. We told them to bring beer and we would make food. We christened this gathering an impromptu meeting of the Right Honorable Ladies Society, our salon that usually takes place on Thursday nights, but instead of food for thought, we mostly stuck to the dinner aspect of things. And feast we did, on my momma's old faithful baked macaroni and cheese recipe, accompanied by heaps of bok choy. We have strange tastes, but the food we make always tastes amazing.

Alongside the supply of Shipyard Pumpkin that we mostly sipped in the alley during cigarette breaks while getting hit with doors and drenched with rain, there was quite a bit of giggling for one very special reason. Jericha had a flashback to childhood (I cannot remember what it was triggered by) that lead her to the following video:



Not only did we find where MJ learned his footwork, but we asked a lot of questions that supplied endless laughs as well.

Good food, good friends, and good ol' youtube. Welcome to the typical gathering of the 21st century.

Where the quiet part of my heart lives.

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The leaves in the suburbs put farm country to shame. Hadley asparagus may be delicious this time of year, but I will take rhubarb any day of the week, if only because it means I get to play with knives in the backyard, all while donning my peacock-print Tina Turner dress. And since I can't have her fabulous, giant hair at the moment, I suppose I will settle for wearing the old denim jacket I unearthed in the basement this afternoon, to be rocked a la 1984:



And just because I found this somewhat disturbing, here she is dancing seductively with a giant shoe?



If I have time to be watching all of this, it is thoroughly summer. I am in the midst of my only real vacation for the next string of months and I've already managed a close encounter with a deer on the Palisades Parkway, locking my keys in my car outside Sean's new apartment, getting lost off the BQE, a brief layover in Clinton Hill to visit the men of Black 29 Productions, the "recession special" at Gray's Papaya, a dentist appointment, and two massive loads of laundry.

Also, mostly so that my sister knows what I'm talking about when I say "those cats that wave at you in Chinese restaurants", I bought this:

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I think that I may have a super power that allows me to turn pictures the color of my hair?

I haven't named him yet. (Suggestions welcome.) He will match perfectly with all of the old furniture my grandmother has nearly been carrying to my car herself--since I've been here, I've been offered all manner of dressers, shelves, end tables, lamps, etc. from the vast stores in the basement, attic, and garage. It would seem that my family has enough furniture for three families. I can be almost certain that none of it is new. Curb shopping coupled with pack rat tendencies makes for interesting after dark navigations of the living and dining rooms. And every visit I've made for the past year, I forget they moved the location of the kitchen garbage.

And because I haven't written any solid lists in the past few weeks, here are all the things that would be in my dream apartment: a fire pole, an iron spiral staircase, floor to ceiling bookshelves, talking candlesticks/flatware/appliances that sang with me so the chores went by quicker, an endless supply of avocado salad (avocados, orange peppers, red onion), and that stained glass fake Tiffany lamp that used to hang over my Gram's kitchen table.

I love New Jersey. I refuse to speak ill of it. Cos when I'm here, even on the days when it's hotter than Tina's legs in any given mini skirt, I get grass naps and New York as my great big humid backyard.

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Spoils for the new treehouse.

I am overwhelmed with excitement for my new place. My FIRST new place. No more couches and futons in my sister's living room, no more campus housing, no more long-winded free writes about the pros and cons of living in my car. In celebration of our impending move (a month from tomorrow!), I went shopping on my break between shifts yesterday. In light of working two back-to-back doubles this weekend, I thought it only fair to provide myself with a little TLC. Or, in this case, to acquire some preliminary kitsch for the new abode.

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I am a huge proponent of walls covered in all sorts of magic--it shows up in nearly all of the pictures I post here that my room is decorated mostly via thumbtacks, masking tape, photos, postcards, and various collections of objects--but I have surprisingly little framed anything. While browsing yesterday, I came across this photo on the cheap and immediately squealed with delight (internally). The NoHo pride parade was on Saturday, so maybe that had some influence on my decision, but truly, I was thinking more of my uncle's magnet collection on his refrigerator and his framed saying over the kitchen doorway, something about the queen being in today. Speaking of which, Mother's Day with the uncles is coming up mighty fast. Can't wait for mimosas and bagels and omelets and lots of laughter. Because of this holiday, my concept of a satisfying party is one that encompasses all three meals and all varieties of sunlight (as well as all kinds of alcohol), and lots of old stories.

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I have a quiet wish to tell fortunes at carnivals for a living. Add it to the list between hair dresser and flight attendant. So this is more for studying that anything else. I have a feeling I'm going to have a difficult time remembering all of the different meanings of broken life or heart lines, but that's what the picture's for, right? Also recently added to my arsenal of fortune teller necessities is a tarot deck that I haven't had the time to sit down and memorize. Oh summer, hurry up and get here so that I can teach myself to predict the future. Not pictured, but equally important to all of this silliness is a Ouija board Cass found at the swap shop when she was in high school. Note that this list doubles as the list of things to hide if our parents visit, just so they don't jump to conclusions about us joining a cult.

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Needless to say, Grössby's favorite is the Jacques Cousteau shower curtain.

I was going to include a caution message about disregarding the foil in my hair, but it didn't make its way into any of the pictures. So. Beyond the edge of the frame in each of the preceding pictures, a portion of my hair is wrapped up in foil marinating in bleach. We'll see what happens once we kick the mohawk up a notch. Derek was giving me a hard time the other night about my wimpy efforts at badassery, which galvanized me in the decision for a little craziness. When one of my co-workers made a comment about how frequently my hair changes, I was reminded that it was time for another little drastic switch. No Elmer's just yet, but there has been tell of Manic Panic. I mean, it has been over a month. And in the words of the irritatingly catchy Sheryl Crow, "a change would do you good". Although, I much prefer her in "All I Wanna Do", simply because singing "I like a good beer buzz early in the morning" always manages to freak somebody out.