Thursday, 29 January 2009

O, Canada

There was a period during the financial crisis last year (like, before this became a fairly reasonable question to ask) where one of my favorite topics of conversation was what people would do if everything collapsed. (It's a sort of less optimistic view of "when the revolution comes, where will you hide?" because I'm presuming that nobody will be in any position to provide austere, minimalist shelters, much less food or water.) My answer was that I'd try to trek to my grandparents' place in Minnesota, which is out on a lake, surrounded by woods, and full of canned foods that older people like. Also, they have a liquor cabinet and my parents don't.

Anyway, Tanya Gold just did a piece on post-apocalyptic survival in the Guardian, and it is awesome. I think my new answer to the collapse of society is to find Tanya Gold as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Lily Allen

Genevieve and I saw Lily Allen at the O2 Academy last night, and she was phenom. Most of the stuff was from her about-to-be-released album, but she did a couple classics (LDN, Smile, Littlest Things), the new single (The Fear, or as I call it as I dance to it in my room, "The Deeply Problematic Song"), and a song that I thought would be terrible when she was like, "it's about George W. Bush!" but was actually insanely catchy (Fuck You). And she was adorably Lily Allenesque (rumpling her hair, drinking two pints of white wine in rapid succession). AND SHE ENDED BY COVERING WOMANIZER. I went to the drinks in Worcester afterwards and was flipping out about this, and people either politely nodded or said, "who's Lily Allen?" and I was like, I can't believe nobody else is wetting their pants upon hearing this. It is the awesomest thing that has happened anywhere on Earth in 2009.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Fun With Anthropology

N: when people ask me what you study
N: i'm like... um... cultural studies
R: i say globalization and sexuality
R: which is what my thesis (ugh my thesis) is actually on
N: ooh, good one
R: i just dabble in porn and children's tv

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Why One Knocks on Wood

When we were cooking dinner, David was like, "so, what did you do today?" and I became kind of self-conscious about the fact that my major accomplishments were things like catching up with Aaron over breakfast, reading a chapter of Power/Knowledge, and going grocery shopping (although that was kind of an accomplishment, because I got tofu chicken and lychees and bulgar wheat and I don't exactly know what bulgar wheat is but it's going to be insane). I basically accomplished nothing during the first twelve hours of my day.

And then I somehow made up for it by ordering £80 worth of pizza, buying tickets to Greece, eating a plate of tiramisu, and running the agendas down to the MCR meeting within the next twenty minutes. And as I was trying to recall whether it's faster to go through Luton or Gatwick, I was like, fuck, I bet Pizza Hut doesn't deliver and then my phone vibrated in my pocket with the alarm I set to remind me to send off an application this afternoon, and I also realized I forgot to do laundry and that I'm supposed to meet with my supervisor tomorrow. My time management skills are atrocious, and there is a 90% chance that I will secretly eat the leftover tiramisu for breakfast tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Pornography and You

Dear Bristol Palin,

Here's some ammo for when you're the Senator for Alaska in 2040 and I'm trying to get confirmed for something. You're welcome.


Who Are These People?

The Oscar nominees were released today, and the Guardian had a story on a poll about what people liked and disliked about the broadcast. HOW DO PEOPLE NOT LIKE JACK NICHOLSON. Cutting to Jack Nicholson laughing hysterically every time somebody does something awkward or offensive is obviously the best part of the Oscars, and one of the only reasons I keep watching. I would personally pay for whatever drugs he takes before the broadcast if he promises to keep it up.

Oh, Boogers.

My college finally got fed up with us using the room below mine as storage, so they've decided to move a total stranger from another college into it. And aside from it being awkward because we're the only two people in this building, I have to share my bathroom and kitchen and not be a diva about it. Now I have to share my cupboards, and not leave dirty dishes in the sink, and actually wear pants when I go downstairs at night to take out my contacts, and not sing power ballads in the shower. I feel repressed already.

Monday, 19 January 2009

This is the Youth Vote

R: i've been telling people i'm ambiv about the inaug
R: i have no plans yet
N: em and I are getting beers
N: and peanuts
N: you know classy stuff
R: see if you can get some pbr
N: i thought about getting arugula and goat cheese
R: god bless america

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Eat It, Peter Pan

Yesterday I made stuffed red peppers with couscous, zucchini, mushrooms, chickpeas, halved cherry tomatoes, and diced onions in them, and they actually resembled stuffed peppers. I thought they were really good, AND either a) everyone else thought they were okay or b) everybody lied to me to not hurt my feelings because it would have been like kicking a puppy to tell me they sucked, and either one of those things is fine by me because the important thing is that nobody threw up or died and that means they were passable. (Bonus: I now own fennel seeds. That's twenty grown-up points to me.)

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Best Global Project Since the UNDHR

CBC Radio in Canada is putting together a mixtape of 49 songs from north of the 49th parallel for Barack Obama, and you can vote on the songs that they should include. This is tremendous. I should probably be making dinner, but realistically I'll probably spend the next twenty minutes agonizing over what to pick.* (The choices are so good! Why are all of my favorite musicians Canadian!?)

Then I will freak out and go back to transcribing interviews and stalking legislators on the internets, which is how I spent the first eight hours of the day parked at my desk. But at least Barack Obama will have the greatest gift a country can give, and that is a mixtape with a sufficient amount of folksy angst and pathos.

*Seriously, how do you decide between Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," the Weakerthans' "One Great City!," k.d. lang's version of "Hallelujah" (which is my favorite version, although I know that's heresy), and "Feel It All" by Feist? I think I'm going to go with k.d. lang in the hopes that he'll share the mix tape with Rick Warren. Anyway, you can vote once in each of the four sections, but that's the only section I remotely care about.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

On Being Stripped of My Humanity

Update: I'm transcribing about 15 hours worth of interviews from this summer, and since I started with the ones that turned out well, I'm reaching the point where I have to hold the tape recorder up to my ear and fiddle with the volume knob as I replay a sentence four or five times to hear my informant over the roaring sound of ambient music that my Talk Book found more interesting than the interview or the occasional ringing telephone placed right next to the tape recorder that both deafens and scares the hell out of me. I predict I'll be deaf by Saturday.

I'll also have lost the sense of touch, since my bathroom still looks like a bomb crater and the shower I snuck into this morning suddenly ran out of cold water for no apparent reason. My first thought was, "can showers run out of cold water?" quickly followed by "OH NOES I AM SECOND DEGREE BURNING." The jet from the shower didn't turn off, but it somehow kept its water pressure and just blasted out scalding hot water that left streaky pink burns down the front of my chest. Between the collapsing floor of my old bathroom and being firebombed in the nude, I think my college is actually trying to kill me.

Lost in Translation

"That reminds me of this time I went to a sex dungeon just outside of Hartford."
"Not to sound clueless, but before you go any further, you're going to have to elaborate on this a little bit for me."
"Oh, sorry. It's a city in Connecticut."

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Quote of the Day

"I always forget that sex can be for procreation."

Bonnie and Clyde

Sydney got back from France yesterday and brought back a jar of honey, which is so good that I moved it downstairs so that I wouldn't eat it with a spoon after I finished eating it on toast this morning. (It helps that the crew is still ripping apart my bathroom downstairs and has spilled into my kitchen, and I've stayed upstairs because I feel self-conscious stepping over their pickaxes and dynamite to get anything, especially since they've been working since 8:30 and I'm still in my pajamas.) Between the honey and the box of Cap'n Crunch I brought back, it turns out that we both show affection through food trafficking.

It should maybe worry me that some people romanticize the idea of power couples who kick ass in their respective professions, and that I romanticize the idea of power couples who have a knack for smuggling. (This is nothing new, this is why I think a certain grandmother who occasionally smuggles spices into the United States in her bra is a modern-day Profile in Courage.)

Monday, 12 January 2009

Good Joke, Everyone

I woke up this morning to the fire alarm, fumbled for my jeans and keys, and made it down just in time for them to shut off the klaxons and thank everyone for following the drill. And then I gave up on trying to go back to bed, but when I scooped up a bundle of clothes and pattered down to the bathroom, there was a maintenance crew inside ripping up the floor. I stood there and blinked at them, and then turned to make a cup of coffee in the kitchen. When I came out, they had taken off my bathroom door.

I don't think they understand what a crippling blow this is to my social life. I'm supposed to have the first soup o'clock of the term in about three hours, and I look like I spent my vacation living in a cave.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Jenny Is Dead

So maybe I'm a terrible person, but this totally makes my day, if not my year. They rewrite Jenny to have a different, more obnoxious personality every season, and this time it's finally "corpse."

(I'm also taking bets on which of the women will sleep with the detective, who will so, so obviously turn out to be a lesbian.)

Friday, 9 January 2009

It's About an Education, Not a Degree

I meant to transcribe four books tonight. Instead, I've been screwing around on IMDB. Did you know that back in 1984, Fergie (as Stacy Ferguson) used to be the voice of Sally on the Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show? Or that she was in a single episode of Mr. Belvedere? And now she's playing the irrepressible prostitute in my most-anticipated movie of 2009.

I seriously need to do work, or I'll never be asked to be on Mr. Belvedere.


I accidentally slept until 1:15. Boo, time zones. I had all these grandiose plans to do all the work I meant to do over the past month this afternoon - which was clearly impossible, but pretending it could happen made me feel less guilty - except now I've reduced the list to "gym" and "buy groceries" and that means any critical thought about transnational sexuality has to happen on the elliptical or in the produce aisle. (I think I'm unconsciously preparing for Plan B, which involves failing my thesis and becoming a go-go dancer instead of an anthropologist.)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Homeward Bound

I was just going to be like, "I'm on the bus back to Oxford!" but then I was like, yikes, this blog is turning into Twitter lite. So here are some fun details:
- The pilot was like, 'it's insanely cold today' and I stepped out of Terminal 5 and laughed. I was like, the inside of my nose hasn't frozen yet, this is child's play. And this is why it's good to check in with North Dakota every winter.
- I'm eating a sugarless cookie from a bakery in Brooklyn that does not taste remotely like a cookie, but is still strangely good.
- Like every time I return from the US, I've scrapped my five year plan and I'm at a level of emotional volatility that is usually associated with the third trimester of pregnancy.
- I'm totally going to curl up in bed and hibernate with indie movies as soon as I get back to Oxford, hopefully thwarting time zones and falling asleep before 5 or 6 in the morning. I just bought a bootleg copy of Snow Angels and British Airways promised that I could see the Savages before only letting me watch some terrible movie where Shia LeBoeuf was being harassed by robots, sort of like Transformers except a) it had more paranoia and totalitarian undertones and b) it had fewer fire trucks who suddenly turned into gigantic monsters. So basically, less awesome.

Monday, 5 January 2009

We're Number Six! We're Number Six!

I just went to a bar in Southie with another Harvard grad and two businesswomen, and we were like, what, trivia night, we'll totally clean this up. Um, we definitely just took 6th place out of 7 teams. My major contributions were "Rosie O'Donnell," "Russia and Georgia," and "they were all arrested."

We might not have even deserved 6th place.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Adventures In the Best of Intentions

Ryan's Awesome Novice Vegetarian Sandwich
(Serves 1)

2 pieces of wheat bread
a tomato
half a yellow pepper

Toast the wheat bread. Top with lettuce, tomatoes (cut into cross-sections), pepper (cut into strips), blackberries, and Tostidos. Squash with open palm until crunching is audible. Eat.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Because I love impulsive decisions that profoundly affect my life so, so much, here are the New Year's Resolutions I arbitrarily made on the 7 train under duress:

1. I'm giving up meat. I've been thinking about doing this for a while, mostly because of the environmental impacts of eating meat, but also because it's grossed me out more after taking that class on the politics of food in college. (This does not include the duck I had on New Year's Day at Cafetasia. Lo, the perils of making resolutions on January 2nd.)
2. I'm going to be communicative and emotionally transparent. I think I make this resolution every year, but I think I'm getting incrementally better at it because nobody has angrily accused me of not having emotions since mid-2007.
3. I'm adopting a new religion. I've always been way into the social justice tradition in Catholicism and thought about taking up liberation theology, but I'm having a harder and harder time reconciling that with any association with the Vatican and the hierarchy of the Church whatsoever. So yesterday, think I narrowed it down to (from more to less hierarchical):
- Episcopalian
- Quaker
- Agnostic
(Bahai and Unitarian were my runners-up, but Buddhism also had a strong showing.)
4. I'm going to do something physical that cannot possibly be competitive. I was going to do ballroom dance this year, but I could envision that quickly getting away from me. I'm thinking something like yoga, again. Or gymnastics for grown-ups.
5. I'm going to figure out a five-year plan. This is sort of inevitable because my degree ends this year, but it'll feel awesomer if I can pretend like I made it deliberately and can proudly check it off my list. I'm all about the gimme resolutions.