Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Jerusalem, Mecca, Lourdes, and Oslo

I don't really think of myself as having a strong ethnic identity (I'm basically really Aryan, and I guess I should probably be glad that that's never been a particularly compelling part of my life), but I'm like half-Norwegian and I did vow that I'd visit Norway at some point while I was in the UK. I'm already going to Greece with Tess and David and then possibly going to the US for a weekend in April, and then I have about 500 major assignments in Trinity Term that make it pretty much impossible to do Turkey, Spain and Portugal, and the Hungary/Austria/Czech Republic triple-header that I wanted to do before going back to the US.

But then it turned out that a couple of friends of mine are going to Oslo in May, and I was like, hmm, something primordial in me wants to go and kayak in a fjord and eat lefse somewhere outside of my grandparents' kitchen and revel in social democracy, and so I booked a ticket pretty much immediately and now I am going to Norway to become a viking, the end.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fun and Games for Mardi Gras

So this pretty much confirms that I've got some seriously miswired synapses, but see if you can figure out what it completely awesome about this sign in the basement of the Taylorian library:

Monday, 23 February 2009

Abopalypse Now!

Jamie and Mark and Ed basically had the best idea ever, and that is an apocalypse themed bop on Thursday. I need to do something awesome for a costume, so I've been trying to brainstorm ways that we might be on the brink of the apocalypse. (This is not depressing at all.)

I only have two stipulations: someone is already coming as global warming, and I refuse to wear anything that says Palin in 2012. Given that, the front-runners thus far are:

- a bad mortgage
- nuclear proliferation
- space junk
- coral bleaching
- water scarcity
- bird flu
- fundamentalism
- a zombie

If nobody comes up with anything else, I'm just going to fuse these together into the best costume ever.

Where Pop Culture, Anthropology, and Feminist and Queer Theory Collide

The Oscars are like my golden opportunity every year to furiously scribble a bunch of pieces about the politicization of pop culture for marginalized groups. I wrote a quick post for Agendered on the topic, and today, I have a (better) piece in the Oxonian Review of Books about Milk and the future of the LGBT movement in the US.

(I realized that the ORB launched today because I got a Google Alert, and this is when it pays to narcissistically set up Google Alerts for yourself. It's also helpful when you suddenly get a barrage of reactionary comments on a piece in a progressive magazine and are totally floored until you find out that your piece was linked by WorldNetDaily. Flattering.)

Friday, 20 February 2009

Crushes on Semi-Famous People #38


Like everyone else, I have a huge crush on Maggie and she's basically the reason I go to Marie's. (That, and the fact that there are no other socially-sanctioned places to publicly belt out the entire score of "A Chorus Line.") If anyone can find me a recording of Maggie singing "Fifty Percent," you will make my entire weekend. She gives me goosebumps every time she sings it.

EDIT: Brian wins!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

We Are All Bree Van de Kamp

I'm on a hyperdomestic kick lately, which may be a form of Stockholm Syndrome brought on by being trapped at home writing for most of the past week. Despite the fact that I cannot cook at all, Sydney and I decided to make cookies on Valentine's Day and they turned out awesomely. We were brainstorming our favorite types of cookies and Sydney was torn between snickerdoodles and ginger cookies, and I would probably kill a person for frost-your-own cookies, so we just fused them into frost-your-own snickerdoodles with crystallized ginger in them. The fact that they turned out well is kind of a miracle, because we didn't have any sort of measuring cups or spoons, and the cookie sheet I brought was too big for the oven and had to be inserted diagonally and flipped halfway through baking to smooth the avalanche of molten dough that was slowly goozing down the pan. It ended up being a sheet of soft cookie, which we then attacked with heart-shaped cookie cutters and frosted with green and purple frosting. (I take no responsibility for the colors, that was all Sydney.) The first batch was all internally gooey and the second batch was kind of perfectly fluffy and round, and they were more or less the best cookies ever.

And then on Monday, we had to get rid of a bag of carrots and we like, hey, how about carrot soup? I kind of don't think this is how you make soup, but we blended up a bag of carrot sticks, put it on the stove and threw in a splash of milk, a dash of olive oil, a shitload of nutmeg and cinnamon and a lot of sugar, and it actually resembled soup. (I think it helped that we served it in bowls with grated cheese and toasted pita bread to eat it. You can pretend anything is soup if you camouflage it correctly.)

And then last night, I made s'mores with Team Awesome for two hours before killing half a bottle of wine and deciding that it would be an excellent idea to make cookies for a party tonight because I had meetings all day today, and this is how Sydney and I ended up making orange cinnamon cookies with dark chocolate chips at midnight. (We had measuring cups this time, but we were like, ewww, that's a lot of butter, let's substitute a banana! and crap, we only have a roasting pan, let's make a cookie cake! Magically, it worked, and now I have a totally unrealistic view of how easy it is to cook delicious things and I am totally making huevos rancheros this weekend.

Clash We Can Believe In

R: "I was just watching MST3K before coming downstairs."
D: "Which episode was it?"
R: "'The Robot Versus the Aztec Mummy.'"
D: "Samuel Huntington would love that."

Monday, 16 February 2009

Why Soup O'Clock is Like But Not Really Like the View

J: "I don't eat mushrooms because they're slimy."
M: "But they're not slimy."
J: "Fine, because they eat other things. I don't eat carnivores."
R: "Pigs are carnivores."
E: "I think pigs are omnivores."
J: "I don't want my food to be eating other animals."
E: "You just don't like scavengers."
R: "No vultures?"
M: "No Tyrannosaurus Rex?"
R: "No zombies?"
J: "No."
R: "...that seems fair."

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Thanks, Minnesota!

Having MPR suddenly play Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" for no apparent reason is about the most uplifting thing that can possibly happen to a person during an all-nighter.

EDIT: Except having the Butchies immediately afterwards. I'm only 50% sure this is actually happening and that I didn't fall asleep and dream this.

EDIT, AGAIN: I say this now, but everyone's favorite lesbian drama will be leaking onto the internet around 3am, and there's also something energizing about powering through for mangoes and vanilla yogurt with Jennifer Beals.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

25 Things

I refuse to post these on Facebook and I'm thesising all day, so this is my fake post for today.

1. To date, my proudest accomplishment is still taking 10th place at the Cass County Spelling Bee in sixth grade.

2. I think I’m a mean person. I have to leave the room when people fall down the stairs because I can’t stop laughing and it’s rude.

3. I’m terrified of pigeons and bats. Once, a bat cornered me in a bathroom for a full fifteen minutes and I tried climbing out of the window. We were on the third floor.

4. Alanis Morissette’s “21 Things I Want in a Lover” pretty much exactly describes the 21 things I want in a lover.

5. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I accidentally rhyme.

6. The three worst moments of my life were: 1) when I got into a car accident and sort of trapped a baby in the back of a sedan, 2) when I was mugged twice by the same person, and 3) when I accidentally stabbed Megan Walker in the hand during our Halloween party in second grade and she had to be rushed to the emergency room for stitches. She couldn’t stop crying and was dressed like a clown, and that somehow made it so much worse.

7. I'm still really close with my best friends from junior high and high school, although I’m awful about keeping in touch with the people I care about. I hate talking on the phone and using Skype and don’t answer emails promptly, which may have something to do with this.

8. All of my proudest accomplishments were the direct result of someone else’s low expectations. I applied to Harvard to spite my dermatologist, who told me that I should try for something more realistic.

9. One of my weekly rituals is doing the New York Times crossword on the elliptical on Sundays, and I get irrationally upset when I don’t have time to do it.

10. Once, my ex-boyfriend and I made out in a stairwell in front of Antonin Scalia.

11. I’m so worried about not being able to do everything well that I don’t end up doing anything particularly well.

12. I kind of fetishize domesticity, even though I know this is wrong. I show affection by cooking breakfast for people, and one of my goals in life is to be featured in Vows. I usually don’t share this with strangers, or anyone who I want to take me seriously.

13. I’ve always been a really picky eater, and I still don’t like most cheeses, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, or condiments of any kind, oil, cream, any salad dressings, or soda. I’ve learned to like oatmeal, eggs, raspberries and blueberries, sweet potatoes, and pasta, but only in the past couple years.

14. I’ve never read anything by Judith Butler in its entirety.

15. I took third place in the girls’ 400 meter relay in fifth grade. It’s a long story.

16. I get along really well with my parents, and I think they’re two of the best people I know. I didn’t realize this was weird until I left for college.

17. In college, I always wanted to be a part-time go-go dancer, but I think I channeled that exhibitionism into blogging. Blogging is like stripping for people with laptops and skinny legs.

18. I’m blind in my left eye, except I can never be called “Left Eye” because the rapper beat me to it and then she died, and now it would be weird.

19. I miss Atomic and Diesel and Hi-Rise more than I miss most people.

20. Every time I see a story about a celebrity in rehab or prison, I think to myself that if I became their best friend, I could probably get their life back on track. I get this savior complex from my mother.

21. My most-watched movie is Bring It On, which I’ve seen over fifty times. It’s not even my favorite movie, but there was a month where Brady and I watched it every day. Sometimes three or four times. I try not to quote the movie, because one of my worst qualities is that I quote lines from movies and TV shows that are really painfully unfunny when you try to explain them to people.

22. I can’t learn languages to save my life, which is a pretty unfortunate quality in someone who wants to do transnational human rights work when they grow up.

23. When I was sixteen, I was the assistant stage manager for a local production of “No Sex Please, We’re British.” I developed a knack for fixing a cowgirl skirt with “Ride ‘Em” emblazoned in lights on the back and a bra with spinning maces on each nipple using duct tape and extra batteries.

24. When I was little, I wanted to grow up to be like Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

25. I still do.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Epic Fail.

I'm so fragile right now, it's not even funny. I totally didn't write 1000 words yesterday, so I intended to write 2000 words today but only made it through my usual 1000 and in the meantime, my pile of books has expanded like the Blob so that it covers the floor and most of the flat surfaces in my room. I did emerge from staring at my computer screen long enough to go reheat a bunch of stir-fried lentils, vegetables, feta, and soy-based chicken this afternoon, and as I zoned out by the microwave a piece of pseudochicken exploded about a foot from my face and blew lentils all over the inside of the microwave and I ducked and almost started to cry.

And now I'm going to go to dinner, and I'm going to embarrass myself because when people are like, so, what's new with you, basically all I have to offer in return is, "I'm worried that my view of globalization is Eurocentric," and "I found out today that it takes about two minutes and fifteen seconds for soy-based chicken to detonate at 800 watts." And then people will politely nod and scoot down the benches and then an Awkward Radius will develop around me.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

This is For You, Roberto Retamar

In the interest of intellectual self-flagellation, I'm going to see "The Tempest" the weekend that I turn in the first rough draft of my thesis. I've pencilled in a nervous breakdown about imperialism and the ethnographic project for March 5th.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Silver Linings

So the presentation was a disaster, but not an unqualified disaster. It was a qualified disaster.

For instance:
1. It is over.
2. By putting it together in terrible-looking slides, I think I figured out my argument.
3. The commentary from the audience was really constructive and helpful.
4. Afterwards, Brian brought us cookies.

These are obviously not ranked in order of importance.

Monday, 9 February 2009

T Minus Ten Hours

I just wrote "in the servus industry." This is not looking good.

Beep Beep

I'm slowly and painfully putting together a Powerpoint presentation on my thesis for the rest of the MPhil candidates tomorrow, and I kind of underestimated how much backtracking it would take to put it all together. (I hate Powerpoint, and all of my presentations end up looking marginally more professional than if I would have just bought a box of Crayolas and construction paper and made it myself. This is my least favorite thing to do, ever.)

The upside is that I was dreading revisiting the first three chapters I handed into my supervisor, which I haven't really looked through since I handed them in half-consciously about five minutes before each of my deadlines. It turns out they're kind of awesome, and they actually make a linear argument. (I'm as surprised as anyone.) That doesn't mean that I won't be up all night trying to put them into a logical order, type up a script, and illustrate it with fun pictures, but it is kind of encouraging that I apparently do my best work when I'm frantic and not necessarily awake.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sunday Morning

I just realized I have four tracks by different artists called "Sunday Morning," and all of them are about love and Sundays.

If forced to actually spend a Sunday morning with any of these people, I kinda think my top choice would be Ani DiFranco, because a) seriously, how cool would that be, and b) she promises that we would lounge around in bed and then make eggs together while we read the paper, and you can't argue with that. Maroon 5 might be a runner-up because they'd be fun and it sounds like we might not be wearing clothes, whereas Lily Allen seems kind of emotionally abusive. And I would definitely put on my clothes and sneak out before waking up No Doubt, because I think calling someone a parasite, like drinking, is only socially acceptable after noon.


I spent last night at the launch party for Agendered, a new feminist blog and web magazine at Oxford, and it was awesome. Any event combining Queer Studies Circle, a lecture on feminist sociolinguistics, slam poetry, champagne, pyramids of Ferrero Rochers, blogging, my favorite people from Team Hertford, Team Rhodes, and Team QSC, and the overlooked highlights of the Britney Spears canon is obviously bound to be excellent. In related news, I read three pages last night, and will spend the next two days tweaking out about my presentation on Tuesday.

I'm blogging for Agendered (this week, about castration and lesbian separatism) and wrote a review of the L Word for the first issue of the magazine, and all of that is up and running. (I wrote the review in September and tweaked it just before Season 6 began, but HOW GOOD IS SEASON 6. SO GOOD.)

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Winter of Our Content

So it turns out that I'm kind of a baby about the cold, which is embarrassing when you grew up on the tundra and you're supposed to have ice water running through your veins. Everyone was like, "yay, snowball fight!" and I was like, um, I'm going to need to go get mittens, and by "get mittens" I might actually mean "make coffee and snuggle with my space heater while watching old clips from Flight of the Conchords."

But I'm used to the sort of blizzards where cars spin off the road and visibility is zero and skin freezes in a matter of minutes, so I think I especially appreciate this kind of snow, where the beauty to inconvenience ratio is skewed in the beauty direction. And I was running to the gym and realized that I was going twice as fast as everyone and not falling over all the time, and I realized that growing up on a slab of permafrost for the first eighteen years of my life totally gave me the footing of a mountain goat. I'm kinda in my element right now.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Jogging with the Type As

1: "It's on my gym playlist."
2: "Do you name your playlists?"
1: "Yeah, mine is, 'Run, Baby, Run.'"
2: "Mine is, 'Run, Bitch, Run.'"
3: "Hmm. Mine is, 'Run, Motherfucker, Run.'"

Sunday, 1 February 2009

What Happens to a Dream Deferred

Those of you who spoke to me at any point in April of 2007 probably recall my temporary obsession (and I do not use the word "obsession" lightly) with candy pie. Tiffany and I got together while I was at that emotionally scarring conference on torture and human rights at Northwestern and went to Kafein, where they had "candy pie" on the menu and listed chocolate chip cookie dough, caramel apple suckers, different candy bars, and a couple other things. And I was like, "I'll have the candy pie with everything, please!" and the waitress was like, "you have to pick a flavor" and I realized that you could not have the candy pie equivalent of mulligan stew, because it hadn't been invented yet. (Clearly, I was not too stressed about it. I got the chocolate chip cookie dough pie and there's a picture where I look like I might pee my pants because I'm so excited about it.)

So on Friday, David and I were looking at menus and I saw "fruit pie," and I started waxing poetic about candy pie and kind of wouldn't shut up about it for the next twelve hours, and was like, "I'm totally going to make it for dinner tomorrow. I am going to make candy pie."

AND I DID. I can never give anyone the recipe, because there is no recipe, and I literally just wandered down the candy aisle at Sainsbury's being like, "YES PLEASE" and throwing stuff into my basket. The closest we came was a post-it note where we wrote: "pie crust," "dough," "candy," and "awesomeness," and then drew a picture of a pie. But basically, you buy a pie crust, chop up about a billion miniature Mars, Milky Ways, Snickers, Malteasers, Galaxies, truffles, and caramels, and throw in a bar and a half of dark chocolate and then put them in a bowl in a bath of piping hot water and stir it until it all melts with chunks of candy in it. And then whisk instant pudding powder with a half pint of milk, mix that into the chocolate lava until it's sort of fluffy, and pour it all into the pie crust and refrigerate it for like fifteen minutes before smashing up digestives and crumbling them all over the top. I think you could probably reheat it without it liquifying again, but I'm not a scientist, so we played it safe and left it in the fridge for like two hours before eating it with ice cream. The best part is that you can use virtually any kind of candy, although I think it's good to mix it up and use stuff with soft fillings like caramel and nougat and peanuts inside it to give it texture and keep it from turning into a block of crusty chocolate when it reconstitutes. (We ruled out Skittles and gum when we were picking out candy, but otherwise it's all fair game.)

(I hadn't realized this until today, but Tiffany and I basically like to rendezvous on different continents to eat novelty junk food together. It is excellent. And now if she visits England, I can make her candy pie. I also tried to tell everyone at dinner that it was healthy because I used 1% milk instead of 2% milk, but everyone sees through that pretty quickly. And I would post pictures of the finished product when it was sliced open and gooey, but five of us may or may not have eaten the whole pie before I remembered to do that.)