TV: What's better than whole wheat?
"My bed is better than any bed that's... not my bed." -Buffy
"i would swim across lake michigan/
i'd sell my shoes/
i'd give my body to be back again...
to be alone with you"
"promise me we won't go into the nightclub
i feel so screwed up when i'm in there
can't tell the bouncers from the customers
and i don't know which ones i prefer
promise me we won't go into the nightclub
i really think that it's obscene
what kind of people go to meet people
somewhere they can't be heard or seen?"
"It's not that you expect anything of this particular book. You're the sort of person who, on principle, no longer expects anything of anything." -Italo Calvino, If On A Winter's Night a Traveler
"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
- John F. Kennedy
Oh yeah, that's right. Right at this moment I feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. Like taking ninth grade math.
I saw a crazy movie on TCM the other day. It might be the weirdest and most sublime movie I have ever seen. It was about one of the world wars, I think II-- not inherently hilarious, I grant you-- but the roles were all played by DOGS. Real ones. Attached to strings like puppets. Talking in funny English- or German-sounding accents. They wore little army uniforms and tiny helmets. I squealed like a little dog-loving girl. I tried to tape it, but for some reason it didn't work. Stupid VCR from X/S Wares.
I loved Nick Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree. The problem with it, though, is that it is a make-work book. By which I mean that usually, my book-reading goes like this: 1. Want to read a book. (score: 0) 2. Read it. (score: +1) But for this book it was more like: 1. Want to read a book. (score: 0) 2. Read it. (score: +1) It makes me want to read about 10 more books. (score: -9) NOT COOL!
So, the first of Mr. Hornby's recommendations I'm making my way through is Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family, which is AMAZING. It's a non-fiction book that took ten years to research and write, and it shows. Anyone who has ever made remarks about the laziness of poor people should read this book, because it makes it so clear how naive that assessment is. In this book, the children are doomed by the time they're BORN. There is so much domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse, and every other kind of abuse around that the things non-poor people think poor people need-- structure, good decision-making skills, budgeting skills, contraception-- seem totally pointless, like making dinner by dropping a grain of rice into a swimming pool. It made me realize how EXHAUSTING it must be to be poor.
I have been reading so much more in the past few months, and the reason behind it is so weird, that if I tried to express it to you I'm sure it would sound like a platitude. part of it is, as I've mentioned before, procrastination: I prefer reading to school, but it seems like kind of a good use of my time, so I feel less guilty about it than watching TV. But the other reason is that I am taking this class this semester, and we've been talking a good deal about what people read, and how, and why. And whether. At the beginning of term, we had to write these little one-page descriptions of ourselves as readers, and I wrote something like, I wish I could have read books without reading them. I don't read as much as I used to. I think school has made me tired. Re-reading that, it seemed like such a pathetic excuse. I used to TEAR THROUGH books. These past few days I've been doing that again, and it feels great. I'm on my fifth book this week! And I've been getting books from the library, which means less poverty (that's grad school poverty, not ghetto poverty-- I feel obliged to distinguish) which is cool. I hadn't realized how much I had missed it.
So. There you go.
Also, I had a big presentation on Monday, and a time-consuming but fruitless assignment due yesterday, and so since noon yesterday it is official Jocelyn's 2 Days Off. ("I'm still going to class," I told James. "And doing reading. But not homework!") So if you want to do something crazy, irresponsible, and spotaneous, I will go with you! I'm ready! I have no commitments until tomorrow! Except the aforementioned class. And reading. But tonight I am RENTING MOVIES. I know. Crazy, right? I might eat as many as 4 low-fat raspberry newtons! Or do all my dishes! Or file my taxes!
Note to self: be cooler.
Stupidest Song Lyric Ever
Sunday, March 12, 2006 @ 10:12 a.m.
"What you gonna do with all that ass? All that ass inside your jeans?" -Black Eyed Peas
Seriously. It doesn't even rhyme. Not that song lyrics need to rhyme, but ones this stupid do.
Although I like the part about boys buying her "ice-ees." I realize this means diamonds, but I always think of the cold, refreshing beverage. I wish someone would buy ME icees. I like the blue ones. And raspberry.
James and I went to see The Libertine on Friday, and I sang this song for him while we were waiting in line. He loves hearing about my "lovely lady lumps." (The movie wasn't very good, by the way. They did mention Thomas Otway, and I wrote a paper on him, so that gave me a little tremor of excitement. But they didn't even discuss his pathos. And apparently 17th-century England was SO DISGUSTING. Mud everywhere! "Apparently, in the 17th century, no one was hot. Not even Johnny Depp, who really IS hot.")
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
nothing to report... and yet it's so long
Saturday, March 11, 2006 @ 10:05 p.m.
When i read Nick Hornby's book Songbook it made me want to buy (/download) all these songs. I discovered a band I sort of like because of him, Teenage Fanclub. And one of my favourite Aimee Mann songs, "I've Had It." And he says that he likes "Thunder Road," in spite of the fact that it contains the word "redemption," which is a sentiment that I sort of agree with although the cowboy junkies' version is better. (Speaking of songs with funny words in them... I am really into Geoff Berner at the moment, and he has a song with the word "gentrification" in it. Seriously.)
Now I am reading his book Polysyllabic Spree, and it is having the same effect but with books. I love the way Nick Hornby reports on his reading, sort of unassumingly, not embarrassed at giving up or skipping ahead, but also not embarrassed at liking Victorian novels or glorying in the literary or intellectual. He seems like he'd be prepared to like, or dislike, anything. I wish I could hire Nick Hornby as my personal Media Selection Consultant, and he would just choose things for me to read and listen to. I've already added two new books to my amazon wishlist as a result of this innocuous-looking little book, in spite of my promise to myself not to buy any books at all in the month of March. (So keep in mind, I bought it for $15 but it will end up costing me much more.) Because I bought eight or nine new books in February. And that is too many. Especially since I read them instead of doing homework, which makes them Guilt Books. And also because I am about to have one less job, so I need to save my money to buy cheap but filling food, like elbow macaroni. And onions. (This is for real. I put onions in anything. They are cheap and add bulk. Plus I kind of like the oniony taste.)
Although I will still have two jobs, and that is more than many people. Plus I go to school, and apparently that is sort of like a job in and of itself. Or so I am learning, as I spend the whole weekend-- hours and hours-- working. And not in a good way.
Jocelyn: Plus it's really cold in your apartment.
James: Well, I run hot, so I gotta keep it cool.
It's true, James does run hot. Actually I'm not sure what that means. But James says he's always trying to make it onto my website with his witticisms, and I hate to see effort like that go unrewarded. And our other really funny conversation from yesterday is actually far too lewd to be included here-- as unlikely as that may seem, given that I once wrote a monologue about sperm. These days I try to be as bland as possible, because apparently websites such as this one can be read by potential employers. Not to mention people who know you. And strangers.
Actually I do have one thing to report: my Freedom To Read Week project (to re-read Anastasia Krupnik) grew into a desire to own, and re-read, all the books from the Anastasia series. There are nine, or twelve, depending on whether you count the spin-off series involving her younger brother Sam. (I don't.) And I have now ordered all nine of them. So. that's good. Buying used books over the internet makes me feel like a "Hero. Librarian."
the miracle of new life-- from the cupboard!
Tuesday, March 7, 2006 @ 08:31 p.m.
dispatches from the new world
Thursday, March 2, 2006 @ 10:41 a.m.
A little magnetic tag fell out of a book I bought at Chapters. Thinking myself unbelievably clever, I taped it into my paper journal "for better security against terrorists." Now it sets of library and store alarms. Stupid Jocelyn. It set off the Rutherford Library alarm earlier in the week, and I told the woman at the security desk, "Don't worry, I'm not stealing any of your materials. I'm in library school, so I understand that stealing from libraries is morally wrong."
I am soon to be partially unemployed again-- I quit my job at the bookstore. I will be finished in less than two weeks. I've been relatively happy there, but now that I've given my notice all these things are getting on my nerves and I can't wait to be gone. I've decided, in a very self-help-book kind of way, that I am worth more money and less aggravation. Or at least different aggravation.
Last night I went with James to the Museum (now the Royal Alberta Museum, Since The Queen Visited It) to hear Chris Turner talk about The Simpsons. He also talked about climate change, which apparently is his new research interest, and he freaked me out. I want to go live in an igloo heated (cooled?) with solar power.
we lost a lot of good men in the attic
Friday, February 24, 2006 @ 09:11 a.m.
I wanted to make an orphan Sim, so I made her mother a crazy Miss-Havisham type in a prom dress and a tiara, and then I locked her in the attic until she died of starvation. It wasn't pretty, but I had to do it in the name of science.
In the 24 or so Sim-hours before her death, she kind of passed out and lay on the floor. She would periodically get up and look out the windows with what I interpreted as longing (although, since we are talking about Sims here, she may well have just been looking for the mailman so she could hit on him), and her little thought bubbles had pictures of walls. So poetic. The good ones always die young. Especially when you lock them in the attic.
Point of interest: there was no access to a bathroom in the attic, so Miss Havisham peed on the floor. As you can see from the picture, there was no furniture or anything for her to amuse herself with. And yet she managed to procure a mop and clean up the pee-puddle, her face burning with humiliation! Like, lady! You're starving to death in an empty attic! Don't wory about the pee. I know I wouldn't. I'd be like, Finally, a chance to pee on the floor with impunity. or im-pee-nity.
When I think about how much time I spent in front of my computer yesterday, it literally frightens me. I feel like passing out on the floor, dreaming of walls. And qualitative research.
anything can happen, but nothing ever does
Thursday, February 23, 2006 @ 09:30 a.m.
one: my extra-special annoyance for today is that i am using the open-source version of office now, and its automatic numbering wizard is a bitch. even worse that microsoft word. it thinks EVERYTHING should have a number, and it keeps indenting things i don't want indented.
two: ultimately, i numbered the body paragraphs with written-out numbers because i got tired of fucking around with it. the computer is more annoying, but ultimately i win with my superior tricking abilities. human beings: so adaptable!
what i've been doing
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 @ 03:56 p.m.
1. cataloguing my books using librarything.com! Is it fun? Yes it is! Is it nerdy? Definitely! I've been enjoying the process of making up my own tag system, and trying to achieve perfect cataloguer consistency. I love tag clouds, and anything that generates them is pretty much guaranteed to fascinate me.
2. Making a new Mix CD for my dad entitled "Chimpanzees Driving Bobsleds? Say No To Gordo Goes Digital." This title is a reference to the fact that my dad used to listen to nothing but Gordon Lightfoot in his car, which is why I started making him mix tapes in the first place. And also to the fact that monkeys secretly drive bobsleds in the Olympics.
4. Writing research participant consent letters. And yes, in case you were wondering, I do write a mean one. Thanks for asking.
Thursday, February 16, 2006 @ 06:48 p.m.
"He spoke of us as if we were a kind of New Age Zelda and F. Scott-- diving into hotel fountains without care or repercussion, thinking we were beautiful and damned when really we were just okay-looking and pathetic."
-Margaret Cho, I'm The One That I Want, 173
We'll look it up again tomorrow in the dictionario
Sunday, February 12, 2006 @ 12:00 p.m.
I'm concerned about my dictionary. I looked up the word "misogynist" today because I didn't know how to spell it. This is what the good book says: "having or showing a hatred and distrust of women SYN see CYNICAL" I'm sorry, but a misogynist is not the same as a cynic. I hope this is an error, but I fear it may be more systematic. This dictionary itself is misogynistic!
I am calling for a boycott of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 7th Edition. Although, it was published in 1967-- perhaps it's time for an upgrade. Since no one else has dictionaries from 1967, boycotting them shouldn't be too hard.
I am completely unable to work. The looming mass of assignments and readings paralyzes me. This sounds very melodramatic, especially from a girl who was just calling out a dictionary, but I'm serious. I'm lost. I'm having a vocational crisis, and also, paradoxically, I feel overcome with lethargy. So I do nothing, except read books that aren't relevant to anything.
The unrelated books represent a kind of alternate world, a version of reality where I have no responsibilities and am never bored. I can wander into this parallel world and become a different person, someone who is doing the things I secretly want to do. They don't mean that inherently. This is a dichotomy that I have constructed.
It is the books' world, I just live in it.
Friday, February 10, 2006 @ 09:56 a.m.
this is what i look like really close up, and blurry
this is my apartment. my sims have similar christmas lights, i think it gives it a nice sort of "student" cheeziness. the whiteboard on the wall says "authorized personnel only (NO DOLPHINS)"
my bed was looking particularly inviting yesterday. this one will make it into my pretentious photo book, sleeping for beginners. once i solve the mystery of sleeping for beginners that is.
Oh, also: last night James said "movie-rati," and my brain skipped the word "literati" (which is a real world) and went straight to "glitterati" (which might as well be) and it took me a long time to piece together what had happened. Because "movierati" and "glitterati" have nothing in common semantically, you see. I thought the communication problem was on his end but really it was on mine.
Words I have invented recently: antigonize ("it's like a Greek tragedy or something"), 8-track mind (ie., "he's so out of touch-- he has an 8-track mind.")
library-free update! safe to read!
Thursday, February 9, 2006 @ 03:18 p.m.
A couple weeks ago, we were at my parents, and my sister was watching TV, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came on. We were making wild guesses as to what the family would be like: their children are orphans! (to which James promptly added, "orphans with diseases!") their father is a soldier in Iraq and also a fire fighter! They have foster children with AIDS and cocaine addictions! And my final suggestion was: "They have rescue dogs!" It turned out they DID have rescue dogs-- tons of them-- and RESCUE HORSES. Ty Pennington and crew built them a kennel and a stable. It was hilarious. I totally called it.
"Golden girls have to suffer. We have to make the things that hurt us beautiful and encourage others to do the same. Then we get rewarded in the end for being good but we can't think too much about that when we are suffering or our suffering wouldn't be real suffering... Men are silly and weak and that is why we have to help them" -Susan Swan, The Last of the Golden Girls, 47
I have a coworker who is in palaeontology and so yesterday I learned some things about the agnathans(which are jawless fish). They are gross and look like sperm. I also saw a fish skull from a fish that was 10 metres long. (I tried to find a picture for you but I don't remember what it was called.) We had a rather long conversation about it, concluding that, "you gotta figure, that fish-- it just eats WHATEVER IT WANTS." It was helpful to talk about dinosaurs with an adult because I realized that every single dinosaur conversation I have ever had took place with someone under the age of 8. I also learned that there were reptiles around at the same time as dinosaurs, and not all reptiles are dinosaurs. So there's your fun fact for the day! (Hey, I promised no libraries, I didn't say anything about jawless fish)
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 @ 12:48 p.m.
Just remember: no matter what goes wrong, we still live in a world where this can happen.
Freedom to Read Week
Wednesday, February 1, 2006 @ 02:37 p.m.
Freedom to Read Week is Feb. 26th to March 4 this year. If you get a chance, read one or more banned or challenged book(s):
Books that have been banned and/or challenged in Canadian libraries include works by Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Judly Blume, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Lois Lowry, J. D Salinger, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, J. K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Laurence, and Kurt Vonnegut. I will be re-reading Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik books, which were favourites of mine as a child. It's a travesty that there are still people around who don't want readers to have access to great books-- and who don't give readers (both children and adults) the credit to believe they can select and understand their own reading material.
best day ever
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 @ 04:56 p.m.
Staple of school libraries everywhere: the ALA "READ" posters. You can buy them online. They even have Britney Spears, which I find sort of hilarious. What are the chances she's read a book, EVER? They probably had to lend her one to hold for the photo shoot.
I ordered a new computer and I get to pick it up later this week. I am SO looking forward to faster load times, being able to play the Sims2, burn CDs, and, uh, homework. Yeah. Homework. The nominal reason for buying it. Finally, I will be able to operate my USB devices without problem! I love the future.
James bought Battlestar Galactica season 2 so I'll be vanishing into his living room for about 48 hours. We're also ordering KFC. See you guys later.
So library-centric. Sorry.
Saturday, January 28, 2006 @ 10:05 p.m.
You know, I always sort of thought that I would need to view a lifetime's worth of movies to bestow the title of "best movie in the world, ever," that maybe when I started to get old and forgetful and infirm and talk about "walking birds" that i would annnounce it, in some kind of ceremony. But that is no longer going to be necessary. I rented The Librarian: Quest for the Spear and it is the best movie EVER. I never thought I would utter the words, "It's lucky that Bob Newhart is such a badass!" or that I would feel a little tremor in my heart when Noah Wylie said "You know, being a librarian is actually a pretty cool job." But I did! and I do! Plus, it also had Olympia Dukakis, Jane Curtin, and the evil girl-version of Wolverine from X2, all on hiatus from a variety of unsuccessful sitcoms I would assume. And they're making a sequel. Be still my heart.
I can totally see my library school having screenings of this movie. We could all practice our hand-to-hand combat and ancient languages, and eat popcorn. Seriously though, I like the idea of librarians as superheroes. I want to be an information superhero.
Lately, on my mind: new computer - chimpanzees eating spaghetti with forks (I saw a documentary) - John Ford - green tea - Stupid Rory! - book collectors - health food - disgusting restaurant food - Ferris Bueller - the frustrating lack of counter space in my kitchen, and the fact that I need a better knife block. and money, always money. Apparently you can never have enough! (ALthough I think for me, the difference between what I have and "enough" is only about $200. Think about it)
This is an effigist's worst nightmare
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 @ 01:21 p.m.
From these two incontrovertible premises he deduced that the Library is total and that its shelves register all the possible combinations of the twenty-odd orthographical symbols (a number which, though extremely vast, is not infinite): Everything: the minutely detailed history of the future, the archangels' autobiographies, the faithful catalogues of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of those catalogues, the demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue, the Gnostic gospel of Basilides, the commentary on that gospel, the commentary on the commentary on that gospel, the true story of your death, the translation of every book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books.
-Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel
The words of this story are so wonderful that I would like to write them in rows around 360° of a room. I wonder how small the words would have to be. Jorge Luis Borges both moves me to tears and confuses the hell out of me. I think that's an ideal state in which to live one's life. Dramatic and sentimental but true.
I am reading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood right now, after seeing the Phillip Seymour Hoffman movie abouts its writing. It's really interesting, and some of his phrases are arresting. The movie made him seem kind of selfish and manipulative and unlikeable, and as I watched it I remember thinking, I hope he's a good writer, or else all these people around him endured all this drama essentially for nothing. And he is. So I know that's a load off your mind.
Meghan and I went to see Tristan and Isolde, and it was OK, surprisingly not-crappy. But Meghan and I are maybe not the true romantics that the movie would like us to be, because we both seemed to agree that she should have just settled for Rufus Sewell. I think that in real life, marrying the guy who is crazy about you and deciding to be content is a perfectly legitimate narrative choice.
I had this terrible nightmare last night that every single riding in Alberta elected a conservative MP. Oh wait... never mind.
Thursday, January 19, 2006 @ 04:53 p.m.
In the photo above, James is wearing the monster mittens I knitted him for Christmas (also known as the Worst Mittens Ever) and the Homer Simpson slippers my sister gave him. You're going to get either boyfriend pictures, or puppy pictures. it's unavoidable.
These days I am crushing on Death Cab for Cutie and thinking about the human brain. I get these Spam emails that are rather annoying and funny at the same time. They all originate from the same company, but the phrasing changes every time as do the addresses and names. They are ads for an online store of some kind, and I don't know more because I refuse to click on any links. The amazing thing is this: I ALWAYS KNOW THEY'RE THE SAME. The text and everything is different. Thunderbird cannot detect them as spam. But I can. This is because the brain is better than a computer at picking up tone, and idiosyncrasies of vocabulary. That's nice to remember, that we're not just inferior adding machines. We can detect the implied.
At the moment I am cooking chicken cordon bleu in my slow-cooker. It smells like heaven, and mozarella cheese.
I'm feeling somewhat better. Better than what, you ask? Better than before, when I was feeling less better, and didn't have anything to write about because all I did for about two weeks was watch Gilmore GIrls and play tetris on my gameboy. not that those aren't noble pursuits, but if I continue on like that, eventually they will stopp giving me student loans. And then where will I be? So back to school, trudging though, less enthusiastic now. I said to my dad something along the lines of, I don't know why I'm so tired, and he replied, maybe it's because you have been going to school nonstop for 18 years. and the man may have a point there. This may be the kind of tired that only a real salary and evenings off can cure-- and those things don't appear in my image of the future for at least another year and a half.
As a depiction of my existential angst, I wrote this in my journal last week:
I'm suddenly struck by the thought that my attachment to cultural materialism is only an academic incarnation of my old bedfellow and archnemesis: irony. Is it just another way of avoiding sincere engagement or belief? I feel like I'm not the same girl I was a week ago.
For Christmas, I gave James an old Nintendo. We've got it all set up now and playing it is actually kind of fun. I was never allowed to have one as a kid (although I must have had friends who did, because I have a vague memory of Mario sliding down a flagpole) and so I can now enjoy it retroactively, with a healthy tinge of nostalgia! We played this fighting game in which we were matching '80s twins with different coloured jumpsuits, and we were trying to kill a crime lord. And I asked James, "What did this guy do to us anyway?" and he replied without even looking away from the screen, "Stole our girlfriend or something." Our girlfriend?