Thursday, 30 December 2010

Goodnight, Moon

We (somehow) made it to Bratislava this afternoon, met up with Yussi, got hot chocolate, and wandered around the city for a bit before hopping across the border to Vienna and meeting up with his parents for dinner. My body isn't sure whether it's currently 2:45pm Fargo time, 8:45pm London time, or 9:45pm Vienna time. All it knows is that it has gotten like 10 hours of sleep on the past few days, half of which was on an air mattress in Merinne's living room and half of which took place in any number of half-darkened planes, buses, and cars. And for that reason, I think I'm going to take an ill-advised amount of cold medicine now and sleep for twelve hours.

The Mediocre Race

I love that no matter how much we plan in advance, every trip that David and I take is like an episode of the Amazing Race. The alarm didn't go off today and, by sprinting, we somehow made it on the Tube, the EasyBus, and our RyanAir flight to Bratislava, which is about to take off. We decided on the bus that we should make a checklist of all of the things we have to do on time and call this trip a success if we get anything above a 90%.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Meme I Am Shocked to Find Does Not Exist

By chance, Brady was on the same flight as David and myself back to Chicago, which would be fun regardless but was especially fun because the flight attendant was AWESOME. Her name is Maura, and she's with American Eagle, and she has a sassy Midwestern accent and does a dramatic reenactment of the flight safety procedures and tells people going to Cincinnati that she's sorry and she is literally the most fun flight attendant I have ever had. I Googled her name thinking that she had to be an internet phenomenon by now, but somehow, she isn't, which I can only explain by thinking that people who fly from Fargo to Chicago maybe aren't in a hurry to write about that flight on the internet. I assumed she would be on tee shirts by now. If you're on that flight in the near future, a) call American Eagle and tell them she's awesome, and b) bring a FlipCam.

Monday, 27 December 2010

So Long, Midwest

The weird thing about Christmas is that it has slowly become less and less about actual Christmas and more about the weird traditions that have developed after I left for college - having my annual M&M Cookie at Atomic Coffee, going out for Gay Martini Christmas with my mom and Brady, buying my new annual pair of Sketchers, and the Yule Log that my friend's dad makes every year, which is delicious.

Now all of those are checked off the list, which means that it's time to start packing for our trip across Europe that starts tomorrow. I've come down with a terrible flu literally in the past twelve hours, which is probably some kind of divine punishment for letting my little sister talk me into watching Bridalplasty with her last night. Transitioning from being at home with my family and having a car, a kitchen full of food, and a bottomless pot of coffee in the kitchen to being transient in Europe with a backpack and bronchitis is going to be rough.

Monday, 20 December 2010

One-Upping the Virgin Birth

Best Christmas sighting so far, at the thrift store in the old Pamida in Detroit Lakes, MN:

"Nativity Scene, 13 pcs. (Mary Missing.) $10."

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Early New Year's Resolutions

I just hit 50,000 words on my dissertation, meaning that I'm technically halfway done. (The "technically" is because I'm halfway done if I decide that I should attempt to submit something that is incredibly disjointed, missing a number of footnotes, and lacks any theoretical framework for large portions of the text. Realistically, I'm going to have to heavily, heavily rewrite and edit parts of this after I present it to my department and get their feedback about two and a half months from now.) Still, this puts me on track to have 60,000 words and about three chapters by the time I get back to Oxford, which would be a huge relief.

I realized I'm also nearing New Year's and have to figure out my resolutions for the upcoming year, one of which involves scaling back my use of Facebook and Twitter and using this blog more, since I'm increasingly realizing that I'm weirdly more self-reflective and less self-involved when I take the time to write like this than when I post brief and snarky posts directed to a semi-captive audience. (The other resolution I've developed is to begin assembling a dowry for myself, which was triggered by visiting New York and realizing that all my friends have spent years acquiring all the furniture and dishes and things they keep in their apartments, whereas I will be settling down somewhere in July with approximately two suitcases full of clothing, most of which I have had since my freshman or sophomore year of college. I think setting aside enough money to afford a bed and a set of dishes is probably a good investment.)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A Lot of Night Music

As one might have predicted, I landed at JFK, dropped my suitcase at Brady's, and the two of us went directly to Splash for Musical Monday. We made it in time for two-for-ones and managed to catch four Patti numbers in the three hours we were there. It is times like this when I miss New York in an almost physical way.

The whole week was kind of fun and nostalgia-inducing like that, though. The next day, I went to Amy's for breakfast and went down to my old office to say hey to everybody, went uptown to Soho for a meeting and got the casing on my MacBook replaced at the Apple Store, had the veggie press at Grey Dog, and then saw A Little Night Music with my brother. (It was awesome, and I finally understand why people like Bernadette Peters. Since junior high I've been like, I don't understand, she sounds like a child, this makes no sense to me. And I saw her in Gypsy as Mama Rose, which was equally weird to me, but then I saw this production and was like, oh, it all makes sense now. Elaine Stritch was awesome, obviously, but struggled through a couple of parts - including forgetting the lyrics to Liaisons and having someone yell a prompt from off stage - and it was kind of hard to watch. I maintain that this only heightened the poignancy of the role. When in doubt, reach for Brecht.) And then we went for drinks at Eatery and caught up, which was lovely, because it always is.

The next day I got that ridiculous vegan oatmeal date scone at Whole Foods that I eat when I feel good enough about my body that I give myself permission to consume a small cake of oil, went into work again because I wasn't really sure what else to do, then went up to Columbia and poked around the law school before going to the Hungarian Pastry Shop to catch up with Abby, and then for beer at Valhalla with a friend of mine, and then for gay Thai with Brady, and then Bartini with Brady and Lee et al., where Bebe was performing and I got myself some cheek kisses and skinny vodka and Red Bull cocktails that I felt filthy ordering but were actually pretty good. And now I'm rocketing toward DC to spend time with David, in a replay of pretty much every weekend from mid 2009 to mid 2010. Somehow, during all of this, I managed to read Lefebvre's The Sociology of Marx, Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks, and a few essays on development anthropology, so it's not even like I was a total slacker between the rediscovery of my favorite pastries and the singing off-key in bars.

I can't decide whether all of this means that I have to move back to New York in the fall or if it means that I have to perpetually be on the brink of moving to New York. It seems like a win-win.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Musical (Su)ndays

The only really unfortunate thing about my flight back to New York tomorrow is that I'm going to get in too late to rock over to Musical Monday at Splash, meaning that I am probably going to go a full calendar year without shrieking when Donna McKetchnie does her insane neck rolls during Turkey Lurkey Time. BUT. The realization of that fact has not stopped me from watching some of the Musical Monday staples all morning. Seriously, this is what my procrastination has become.

BEA AND ANGELA. This is a Brady and Ryan staple. We have perfected the dance from 2:05 onwards. (Whoever choreographed it is absolutely terrible.)

"And as for pimps, pimps is something you don't need to get your daily business done." This is my motto, and I wish to have it on my grave when I die:

In this perpetual favorite, watch for the Patti LuPone swing-and-miss at 4:27. It is classic.

This was our apartment's anthem last year. Note all of the subtle chess imagery. Art!

I still flip out every time I see this, and it makes me wish I were a gay man in the 70s just so I could belt it in a very loud club without people staring at me, like they do in, say, a bar:

This was actually my favorite movie for most of high school. I had two copies of it on VHS.

Someday I want my face to be as expressive as Lucie Arnaz's:

And, of course, Annie, which always causes Emma to actually clap her hands in excitement because it comes on five minutes before we're planning to leave and we all have a few glasses of wine in us and basically shout it at strangers:

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Add a -40 Windchill and This is My Upcoming Christmas

I actually think this is way cuter than Teenage Dream. I'm a sucker for reappropriated duets.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Queer Thanksgiving

One of my favorite made-up holidays we started during undergrad is Queer Thanksgiving, where everybody just brings whatever they feel like bringing and it ends up being a weird, fabulous potluck where people leave with stomachaches, just like normative Thanksgiving. I write saccharine posts about this every November, so we will just leave it there.

But Gay Thanksgiving is obvious enough that it has been autonomously started by thousands of people, and in the absence of Queer Thanksgiving, I was kind of excited to have a Gay Thanksgiving tonight. I threw together some stuffed peppers - I will be eating a giant mass of stuffed pepper filling for approximately a week, and also my kitchen looks like someone detonated a bag of couscous - and hustled over to our Gay Thanksgiving.

It was totally charming, and kind of exactly what I needed as I wind down this term. When you spend all day deleting and retyping single paragraphs, seeing humans whose company you enjoy is surprisingly reenergizing. Within five minutes, a stranger was like, "hey, we met like five years ago in your undergraduate library," and I was like, "behold, the magic of Gay Thanksgiving." I also took a ten minute break from my otherwise sterling vegetarianism - which has exceptions for seafood, novelty, or meats consumed while abroad - and ate a slice of turducken. I ended up catching up with people for like four hours before walking home in a food euphoria and then it began to snow, and I was like, oh, my faith in made-up holidays is totally restored.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Vag Magazine

Emma has gotten me hooked on the Upright Citizens' Brigade's "Vag Magazine" webisodes, which are a sendup of feminist magazines and are tremendous. I watched all six episodes back to back after David and I got back from the Christmas Market yesterday, where I was sprayed with fake snow and developed mild frostbite after being too busy to buy a coat, hat, and gloves after throwing mine out during our bedbug infestation last spring. Fennel is possibly my new favorite TV character. (Sorry, Eric Stonestreet.)

This is what I miss by not Googling "vag" periodically.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Finishing the Hat

I've been listening to the Sondheim on Sondheim soundtrack on a loop for approximately the last twenty-four hours, and it is getting to the point that I'm going to have to thank Vanessa Williams in the acknowledgments of my dissertation. Nobody told me you could do Sondheim mash-ups. IT IS SO GOOD. I'm running on a deadline to finish my first two chapters, so it's totally possible that she will be the only thing keeping me awake as day breaks tomorrow.

Monday, 22 November 2010

So Begins Phase IV of Operation: School Until I Die

"Oh, sweetheart, you don't need law school. Law school is for people who are boring and ugly and serious. And you, button, are none of those things."

I'm apparently all of those things, because I just got the green-light for law school. I'm trying not to watch Legally Blonde all afternoon. And failing.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A Brief, But Long-Coming Rant

Is it a good sign if you can't explain a piece of queer theory that you're writing to someone over dinner? Is that a bad sign? I DON'T KNOW. I thought I knew exactly how I was wrapping up this journal piece that's due at the end of the month, but it turns out that when I try to explain these ideas out loud, and somebody is like, "give me an example," that is suddenly impossible. (I almost was like, "you don't need an example, just think in abstract and unverifiable terms." And then I hated myself deeply and so I resigned myself to rewriting it.)

I've been staring at a blinking cursor and three documents full of disjointed paragraphs that now have next to nothing to do with each other and do not make a coherent argument no matter what order I put them in. I also made a really good frittata. I'd call it a wash if the writing I have to finish by the end of the month wasn't very, very close to giving me a nervous breakdown.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Obnoxious DPhil Update

25,000 words down, 75,000 words to go. As long as I don't think too hard about how much of that is actually usable, that's semi-encouraging. More importantly, it legitimates me watching four hours of queer cinema tomorrow night, which is really all I need it to do.

Monday, 1 November 2010

This is What We Call Declining Quality

I just sent in my first set of weirdly scattershot paragraphs to my supervisor, with a note saying that I realize that it's all over the place but that I think it's productively all over the place. (When I wrote up my MPhil thesis, I basically wrote the first two chapters meticulously, then ended up scrapping them entirely when I ended up writing about something completely different. I think he understands why I'm taking this approach.) But although the transitions are weak, a lot of the ideas are there - and there were over 10,000 coherently structured words on the page, which puts me at 10%. I hope it's okay that the death knell for this blog will probably be its slow decline into percentage points, until it can be replaced by an illustration of a thermometer and then finally a blank page that just says 404 page not found. That is when you'll know I'm a doctor.

Sunday, 31 October 2010


I just hit 8,000 words on my DPhil (8%, for those of you playing along at home), and every time I feel deep despair, I think about how someday I could be an anthropology professor just like Betty White.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

One in a Million

D: "But it's my very favorite thing in the whole world!"
R: "You say that about everything."
D: "Yeah, well, I have a lot of favorite things."

Sunday, 24 October 2010

We're Number One!

Emma was visiting from London today, and I made us vegetarian cottage pie tonight for dinner. Even though the meat was actually reconstituted soy proteins, it resembled cottage pie enough that I almost hurled our Pyrex baking dish to the ground in euphoria, like a football. Between this and not poisoning our lactose-intolerant dinner guest on Wednesday - or everyone, because I decided to cook shrimp for the first time on a whim and just slipped it in without telling anyone - I'm pretty proud of myself.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Quote of the Evening


- David, upon getting trapped in our duvet cover.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Jesus Camp

I tried to explain Easter to David this morning, and he was like, "wait, so you're telling me Jesus was REAL?" and now he's watching YouTube videos by evangelical Christians trying to piece this one together. It may be a very long day.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

DPhil Update

Argh, I'm totally terrible at blogging now that I have to cook and do laundry for myself again. (Cue Sarah Jessica Parker singing "It's a Hard Knock Life.") I've been moderately stressed with all of the pre-writing stuff I have to do for my DPhil - like, oh, sorting out all of my archival material, since the box I shipped it in apparently exploded and I received about 1000 crumpled, dirt-stained pages that are completely out of order or just flat out gone forever - but starting to get a grip on things. I wrote the first 1,750 words of my DPhil today, so, you know, only about 98,250 to go. At this rate, I will be done in like mid-2013.

I'll be a pro at cooking Indian and Thai food, though, which is how I've been spending most of my evenings since I got to Oxford. I'm storing up nutrients for the spring, when I will be subsisting on Sainsbury's Basic crumpets and the salt of my tears.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Somebody Call David Axelrod

"Basically, we just need to trap all of the Democratic candidates in a mine for the next month."

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Welcome Back, Fool.

This is the first all-nighter I'm pulling of what is hopefully my last year of my PhD. I've been spending the past week getting all of my stuff finished up, and tomorrow is the day that I'm planning to start working intensively on the dissertation to the exclusion of all of my other random projects. I'm religious about arbitrary, self-imposed deadlines, so I'm pulling an all-nighter to clear my plate before dawn.

I think I've said this before, but all-nighters are not as fun without genetically modified apples from 7-11, stale bagels, and a sunny yellow dining hall to work in. I keep getting up to get lukewarm coffee and then realize I have to make it myself and then sigh and sit back down.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

These are the Smartest People in the World

Yesterday, on the way back from Kate Nash, I saw a guy lying prone in the bushes being poked by a police officer and two men shouting into the entryway of Magdalen, "LAY HER ON HER SIDE, NOT HER BACK! ON HER SIDE!" This was before 11pm. On a Tuesday. I've missed you, Strongbow Kids.

Return to Ox

To the surprise of absolutely nobody except myself, everything after the roadtrip has been completely madcap - I got back, stupidly watched Live and Let Die until approximately 2am, woke up and went to my last day of work, frantically threw things into suitcases and fell asleep, woke up and hiked to the top of Lion's Head, had breakfast with Anna, picked up my luggage, and went directly to the airport to get my VAT refund and promptly spend all of it on wine.

This is how I flee a country.

I couldn't sleep on the flight and somehow watched both Sex and the City movies back to back. (This included loudly watching Liza Minelli's cover of Single Ladies six times in rapid succession, which the man next to me did not enjoy at all. Then again, he refused breakfast, so his judgment is clearly terrible.) I managed to stay awake for the trip into Oxford, picking up my keys, unpacking, and grocery shopping, which is pretty impressive. I forgot how easy it is to adjust to Oxford after you have a phone, bank account, registration for all of the various libraries, and a halfway decent memory of how all of the streets fit together and where to get coffee. (After my first arrival, I consider it a success whenever I don't have to nest in a bed of towels in a fifty degree bedroom.)

Friday, 24 September 2010


It's been a hectic last week of finishing up work in South Africa, which is why I'm kind of glad that I agreed in advance to go camping along the Garden Route this weekend. There is something kind of liberating about throwing two pairs of underwear, a toothbrush, and three bottles of red wine in a backpack and being like, peace, and see you on Monday. (And then it will be like, BAM, last day of work, BAM, flee the country, BAM, arrive in England, all before Wednesday. I am not prepared for this whatsoever.)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Parting Shots

Today, Ma looked at me and said, "I'm actually going to miss you. You're a very easy person to be around. And you're not full of shit at all."

I need to record this for posterity because want somebody to read it at my funeral someday.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Current

I can really only vouch for their programming from about 2am to 10am CST - boo for the many time zones between the Twin Cities and Cape Town, but yay for Lindsay Kimball - but I've been rediscovering how much I love MPR's The Current. It's my go-to radio station whenever I'm working on a big writing project, and everyone should go stream it for free on iTunes and donate to MPR, because it is fantastic. (Probably even if you're not an expat who only has half a Liz Phair album and a handful of Gregory Douglass songs on his work computer.)

Monday, 20 September 2010

An Inexplicably Penitential Thing I Will Probably Never Do Again

Watching the Constant Gardener and Hotel Rwanda in the same weekend is probably among the worst ideas I've ever had. If you ever want to feel intense despair, I highly recommend it.

(Diamonds Are Forever was on afterwards, and that didn't even help - I just sadly thought that I should probably rent Blood Diamond one of these weekends.)

Friday, 17 September 2010

In Which I Earn Back Pretty Much Exactly What I've Paid in Insurance Premiums This Year

I finally went to the doctor, and it looks like the bone dislodged at some point between the x-ray and the appointment, leaving nothing but very bad scratching in my throat and a bunch of muscles that are perpetually contracted, strangling me but giving me a sort of impressive looking neck. We found this out by attacking me with a tongue depressor and, after that failed, feeding a camera through my nose and down to my voice box, which is weird and unpleasant but now checked off of my bucket list. The doctor shrugged and asked how late I usually eat, and I told him I usually drink coffee and have toast right before bed, and he explained that my throat wasn't healing because acid crawls into the base of my throat when I lie down. Lovely.

So now I'm on a low-acidity diet, eating and drinking nothing for three hours before bed, and doing shots of Gaviscon after every meal. The really notable part about the whole experience is that I've been so worried about getting a throat infection that I failed to notice that September has flown past, and that I have just under two weeks left until I leave South Africa. I thought about that yesterday and panicked thinking about all the stuff I have left to do, and then Anna asked if I wanted to roadtrip through the Garden Route over the long weekend just before I leave, and I was like, yes, definitely. I'm going to tell people my flirtation with death has made me appreciate things like roadtrips.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


I got an awful night's sleep last night, and woke up about a dozen times to a mosquito that repeatedly tried to fly in my ear and my mouth and kept trying to suck blood from my face. I woke up this morning and saw it on my ceiling, and I savagely killed it - like, half-naked, with a noise, and with actual blood on my hands. I felt so invigorated that I got up early and jogged to work, and have been flying through my projects all morning. This is not a healthy way to finish my PhD.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Dear Everybody I Know Who Thinks the Free Market Efficiently Delivers Health Care:

I went to the hospital as instructed this morning, and was told that the doctor could see me for a consultation about removing the bone fragment from my throat on Thursday. I asked if they had anything earlier, and the receptionist was like, oh, are you busy on Thursday? And I was like, oh, no, I'm free on Thursday, it's just that there's a bone lodged in the lining of my throat, which I prefer to keep clear for such functions as "eating" and "breathing." The doctor is solidly booked, and the ER can't look at it unless it's actually an emergency, so I set up an appointment for the end of the week. (Remind me to bring this up the next time my grandma rhapsodizes about privatized medicine and how good it is at not rationing care.) In the meantime, I'm waiting by my phone for any cancellations and self-medicating with a small stockpile of Coke Light that I picked up outside the hospital. The bubbles are my last hope.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Life Imitates Art

Tonight's James Bond movie on eTV is On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which is triply famous for being the one where James Bond gets married, for starring George "Who!?" Lazenby, and for being based on the book by the same name, which I incidentally finished reading this morning. I'm not even ashamed that I plan my Sundays around these anymore.


I remember approximately nothing from high school algebra, but a Saturday in the office - being in pajamas the entire time = 0.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Adventures in Respiratory and Skeletal Health

Ugh, it turns out I have a bone fragment lodged in the back of my throat. Of all the ways I could potentially spend my last two weeks in South Africa, the prospect of throat surgery is somewhere at the bottom of the list, around, say, getting carjacked or losing my passport. I can allocate approximately twenty minutes to throat surgery, and anything greater than that will cramp my style.

(On the upside, I looked at the x-ray at the hospital, and I think doing yoga over the past two months has really helped my posture.)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Medical Slapstick

I have this persistent lump in my throat, and I'm kind of concerned that it's a fish bone from a sandwich I had about a week ago. It doesn't hurt, and I don't think about it most of the time, but there's a lump very low in my throat that I don't remember having there prior to spitting out another bone from this sandwich.

Apparently, it could be a phantom bone, which allegedly happens when you swallow a fish bone and fuck up the lining of your throat a little. (I learned this from Yahoo!, where the barely-insured like myself get all of our foolproof medical advice.) After a week, though, that's starting to seem implausible and I suspect that there's just a tiny bone painlessly but sort of worryingly hiding in my throat.

I plan to do shots of lemon juice tonight to see if I can soften the bone, and if that fails, I think I'll finally go to the emergency room tomorrow to see what they suggest I do about it. The saddest part is that, as embarrassing as that would be, it would probably rank third on my list of mortifying ailments that I've had to go get fixed in a foreign emergency room. I'm at the point where I count my blessings when I don't have to ask a volunteer to translate my problems into Dutch.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Giving Tree

I'm sorry, I know this is old, but this is my favorite by far - any reference to Boo Radley is instant gold.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back on the (Eskom) Grid

I thought I'd be posting all kinds of whimsical updates from my roadtrip, but then that didn't happen - partially because of spotty internet access, and partially because I preferred to sit outside and read novels. (I finally had time to read the Mail and Guardian from cover to cover, a bunch of Namibian dailies, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, American Pastoral, the Yiddish Policemen's Union, Eva Luna, and Rubyfruit Jungle, which I am a terrible lesbian for not reading years ago.)

It was a fun trip, though - I went to Victoria Falls and took a boat trip out to Livingstone Island, went into Botswana for the day to take photos in Chobe, spent a day in Zambia, and then caught a very long, hot, and crowded bus trip to Swakopmund in Namibia, where I went sandboarding and quadbiking and splurged on kudu steak and kabeljou to supplement my backpacking diet of oatmeal and pasta with veg. I also ate a kind of gross amount of German pastry while I was there - the town is super-German, so I figured I might as well binge-eat apple strudel while I'm there.

It was really sweet getting back - I hadn't seen Anna for a month because her trip to Canada overlapped with my roadtrip, so we caught each other up on the happenings on our respective continents, made dinner, and watched the South Africa-Australia rugby match with Ma. It gave me the warm fuzzies, and makes me a little sad to think that I'm leaving for London in just over three weeks.

(That said, David and I just closed on this adorable flat on the top floor of a house down the block from the anthropology department, making our move back to Oxford suddenly seem very immediate and real. The fact that I'm getting all sentimental over conversations about whether or not David should bring a printer for the apartment probably means I'm ready for the move.)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Do It, Rockapella

It's been a hectic week of frantically transcribing interviews, putting together law school applications, and working on the book - and then today, it finally hit me that I leave for my roadtrip tomorrow. Oops.

I think it's a good time for vacation - for a variety of reasons, I've been on a very unsatisfying Type A bender that mostly involves being self-critical and pushing myself too hard for no apparent reason. This is exactly when it becomes a good idea to go sit in the Namib and hang out with yourself for a week or two until you can behave again.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Adventures in Currency Exchange

I spent 45 minutes this morning at ABSA getting US dollars for my trip through Zimbabwe. I had to go to a special branch, bring my passport and airline ticket, fill out forms with my addresses in the US and South Africa, withdraw cash from an ABSA ATM and bring the receipt for the money along with the money to the teller, sign a receipt, and then go out to the ATM another time because they also need a receipt for the money used to pay the commission and fee.

In the US, it takes less work than this to get a gun. (I thought about mentioning this to the teller, but thought better of it.)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

There Was Something in the Air That Night, The Stars Were Bright, Tumelo

I know I shouldn't be spending any more money ahead of my roadtrip through Southern Africa, but yesterday, I bought a ticket to Mamma Mia! - mostly, because it's supposedly a "proudly South African" take on the musical, from the sets to the costumes to the performers. I can't tell you how embarrassingly excited for this. It has everything I love - Swedes, camp, reappropriation, and absolutely no plot whatsoever. I live for things like this.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

525,600 Minutes, or Something

I was planning to hunker down and work on a couple of projects yesterday. Instead, I agreed to roadtrip through the wine country with Roxanne and a couple of her friends and start drinking immediately after breakfast.

By the end of the day, I had accidentally tossed back like twenty half-glasses of wine, eaten what had to be like two dozen pieces of sushi in Obs, agreed to go on two fieldtrips (to take salsa lessons and get baptized as an Anglican), and unexpectedly gone to a documentary about game parks and the eviction of the Masaai at the Labia, which is obviously now my favorite theater. I transcribed zero minutes of interviews and made zero changes to my CV. I'm not good at math, but those things somehow balance out to a successful day.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Are You There, God? It's Me, Ryan.

Yesterday, Ma and Anna were both out of the apartment, making it the first night I had been entrusted to take care of the place alone. I thought I did a really good job - I fed the cats, watered the plants, gathered and washed the dishes, made myself dinner, swept the kitchen, and put in laundry. And then I read a few journal articles, rewarded myself with Borges, and fell asleep.

So you can imagine how terrifying it was to wake up to something crashing downstairs and the cats freaking out at 3am. As this happened, a series of thoughts rapidly flashed through my head, beginning with the thought that I really don't want to die in a burglary. I realized that all of my pants were in the laundry. I realized that there are bars preventing me from escaping from pretty much any door or window in the apartment. I realized that I don't know what the equivalent of 911 is in South Africa. (I do now, because I looked it up over breakfast this morning.)

I'm not much of a praying person, but God, if you're listening, all I ask is that if I go downstairs at 3am, there are only the number of cats that there are supposed to be, rather than every stray cat in the neighborhood fornicating with slash murdering each other all over the living room. That's all.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Embarrassing Moment

Okay, so this is only embarrassing because I never get homesick - I attribute this to a couple of things, including the fact that I haven't lived in one place continually for more than nine months in the past seven years, or the fact that I've never lost a friend or family member and still think of the universe as a place where everybody is around when you finally make your way back to them. I can psychoanalyze this to bits.

I can also psychoanalyze the fact that I just heard "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and became cripplingly homesick for the first time that I can remember. Like, why am I here, and why would I ever give up those Tuesdays singing with Brady at Marie's kind of homesick. It's a scary feeling when you think you're immune to it. And I hate that of all the things in my life that could make me feel that way, it was Andrew Lloyd Webber who did it.

Photos from Kirstenbosch

I'll put more of these on Facebook, but this is why I love botanical gardens:

Monday, 9 August 2010


Today is Women's Day, so I don't have to go into work - and because I didn't leave the house yesterday and am starting to go stir-crazy, I paid an obscene amount of money to take a cab to Kirstenbosch today to run around and play and take a ridiculous number of photographs of trails and flowers.

I accidentally ended up on a hiking trail, which is typically how I end up on hiking trails. (Once, I climbed Devil's Peak in a polo and khakis, alone, with a bag full of books and a muffin but no water, map, or cell phone, because I decided to do it and then my taxi came while I was in the bathroom. Another time, I got lost in the woods in Germany for almost four hours because I couldn't read the signs and I was going to a chapel that was hours away, until I was found by a kindly jogger. I wandered through a Filipino rainforest for two hours because I wanted to hike from Sabang to the Underground River, and was like, I can definitely handle the Jungle Trail, and the Monkey Trail is for losers, and I ended up scrambling through a ravine, falling down a hill, and fording a river. In most of these cases, the thought of my own death crossed my mind.) This time, it put me high above Kirstenbosch, looking down on the basin of irrigation water, going the wrong way around the edge of Table Mountain, and realizing that I was now on a mud trail that may or may not have been a real trail. So I turned back, found what did appear to be a trail, and spent a little under two hours traipsing around along the base of Table Mountain on the Silvertree Trail.

I have a propensity when I'm trying to stay alive to talk to myself. I did this for most of the Silvertree Trail, until I realized that just ahead of me, there were two British hikers, who could probably hear everything that I was saying. I remember saying "I think I smell a gorge!" at one point, and realized they were ahead of me right after a bird made this loud noise and I shouted back, "you shut up, I'm going as fast as I can!" When bored, I sang Poker Face a la Leslie Knope. I think I also told Robert Frost to go to hell at one point. And then they laughed at me when I passed them, probably because I was blushing very, very intensely. Hiking is no fun when other people are actually around.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Date Night

Tonight, I went out with my high school girlfriend, who's now an anthropologist here in Cape Town and who I haven't seen in about seven years. I rushed out of work just after five, slightly late for our meeting and disheveled from a day of meetings and editing, and she saw me and broke into a smile. "You look pretty much exactly the same," she said. "That's because my haircut makes me look like a teenager," I replied. And she said that we're getting to the age where now that's a compliment, and we laughed like old people.

We sat down and got mojitos, took turns doing the obligatory summary of the past seven years of our lives, and then talked about the friends we'd stayed in touch with or lost track of over the years, about barefoot anthropology, about sex panics, sewage, and witchcraft, about how much we love shitty television - I was like, "I watch Gossip Girl" and she was like, "I watch Merlin, on the CW," and I was like, whoa, you win - and then we had breakfast for dinner at a vegetarian cafe and talked about how bad we were at constructing sandwiches from a menu. I didn't realize until afterwards that we had talked non-stop for over five hours.

I feel weird saying this for a variety of reasons, but it was probably one of the best dates of my life.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Waiting for Godot

I missed Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot when I was in Oxford and it was playing in the West End, and then I missed it when I was living in Hell's Kitchen and it was playing on Broadway, and then I got to Cape Town and it was playing at the Fugard, and I went last night and got a student ticket in the third row for $20. (Sometimes, being terrible at life is just being awesome at life in disguise.)

If you're in Cape Town, you should definitely see it - it's a good production, and the Fugard is beautiful. At the end, Ian McKellen was really close to the front row bowing, looking pretty much directly at me, and I was like, oh my God, I'm staring directly into the face of Magneto. When I was six, this totally would have made me wet my pants.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Licence to Kill

I remembered yesterday that eTV is showing Bond films every Sunday at 8pm, which brings back all sorts of wonderful memories of Bond marathons being aired by TBS pretty much every Sunday of my young adult life. Yesterday, I rewatched License To Kill, which I love because Timothy Dalton is about the least suave James Bond there has ever been. When he dives out of airplanes, he flaps like a bird. He frequently lands on things with a dull thud. When he says really bad one liners, he says them awkwardly, like he is embarrassed to be reading them. He gets sweaty a lot and yells at people, and regularly hurts the feelings of his androgyne sidekick. He's a man of his time, in that he's sort of a cross between Roger Moore and Gerald Ford.

It's also generally a good movie to watch with people and laugh at. A young Benicio del Toro plays the slimy henchman, and if you watch the credits, someone named Sheila Goldfinger did the jewelry. I've already blocked off my schedule this weekend to watch Goldeneye for the seventh or eighth time. (When we saw Alan Cumming at the National Equality March, I wanted to be like, "I loved you as Boris Grishenko!" but was torn between that and "your role on the L Word routinely made me uncomfortable!" and I ended up being quiet and behaving myself.)

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Angsty Yowls of the 49th Parallel

I'm making a mix for Anna's upcoming trip to Canada, and managed to put together a whole mix tape of travel-themed songs by Canadian artists using nothing but my iTunes. Some were easy, like Amy Millan's "All the Miles," the Weakerthan's "Relative Surplus Value," Po Girl's "Movin' On," etc. Others were harder, but still kind of hint at the theme, like Broken Social Scene's "Windsurfing Nation," KD Lang's "One Day I Walk," or Rufus Wainwright's cover of "Across the Universe."

Others are obviously just inappropriate. Tegan and Sara are not literally singing about taking someone anywhere, Avril Lavigne's "Sk8r Boi" is not primarily about skates, Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket" is not really about hailing a taxicab. It's a long flight, maybe Anna will fall asleep before the end of the CD.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Panic Fun

Yesterday was a kind of draining, stressful day. Today, I agreed to join a team for a trivia fundraiser that will possibly be conducted in Afrikaans, got started on the process of applying to law school in the fall, set up drinks and dinner with my ex-girlfriend who is somehow an anthropologist in Cape Town, and sort of impulsively booked a half dozen tickets to backpack through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. One or all of these plans will backfire, but for now they seem pretty fun. I also bought Turkey Lurkey Time for my work computer and listened to it on a loop as I edited all day. I'm really grasping at straws, here.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Status Update of the Month

Brady: Tickets: $40. Blue Moons: $12. Donna McKechnie telling me after the show that her neck and shoulder problems are a direct result of Turkey Lurkey Time: Priceless!

I know I post this about every three months, but it's impossible to stop watching. Donna McKechnie's neck is surreal.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The One Where a Creature Bursts from Dian Fossey's Stomach, Killing Everyone Present

We finished watching Avatar last night and I made some offhand remark about liking Sigourney Weaver because she's such a versatile actress. And then we tried to think of other things Sigourney Weaver has been in, and could only remember Alien and Gorillas in the Mist. We also realized that Avatar is basically just what you get when you combine Alien with Gorillas in the Mist.

(Later, I remembered Heartbreakers. I still think she deserved an Oscar for that.)

Monday, 26 July 2010


This is the view from my bedroom. This is unlike any other view I have ever had from any of the many other bedrooms in which I have lived, which tend to have a) tundra, b) the upper portion of a tree, or c) a couple fighting across the street.

And this is the view from our patio, which looks out onto Signal Hill and the City Bowl. See that, in the distance? That is where I trudge to work in the morning.


And Mike and Anna, whose facial expressions do not do justice to how excellent the wheel actually was. I'm still recovering.

All the Gin Joints in All the World

Anna's birthday party was on Saturday, which meant that I spent Saturday and the early portion of Sunday being swept along from dinner at Grand Daddy to drinks at Buena Vista to dancing at Casablanca. Casablanca was excellent - there were tons of people, Anna and I did shots of Jagermeister at midnight, and then they played Single Ladies and I pretty much gave up any pretense of dignity. (I gave it up with my yoga instructor, who is blonde, German, and insanely fit. The whole time I wanted to be like, "Simone! Simone! Look at my posture! Note how my back is straight as though there is a string going from my spine to the ceiling!" but I stopped myself.)

I barely ever go to straight clubs with straight friends, and it was kind of fascinating watching everyone flirt with each other in a kind of sexual roulette all night. One of my friends was like, "I think all the guys are really into this girl because she's a little crazy," and I was like, "yeah, that seems plausible." About two minutes later I looked up and the friend was dancing on the bar, which had been doused in liquor and set alight. I was like, "oh, heterosexuality," and then Poker Face started and I went totally buckwild.

Yesterday, the craziest part of my night was watching half of Avatar until the power went out and Ma and I conspiratorially ate half a bag of cookies in the dark while Anna tried to get a hold of the power company. I like my weekends like that.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Hair Fail

I had a brunch meeting with a colleague in Rondebosch today, and since I was already there, I thought I'd look for bookstores around UCT, and then I thought maybe I'd grab lunch, and then I decided to stock up on toiletries, and then I realized I should probably go grocery shopping, and then I saw a haircut place and was like, "well, my hair is getting shaggy, and I might as well get it cut since I'm out and about." (If you give a mouse a cookie, etc., etc.)

I'm usually not at all uptight about my hair. My hair has been the color of a fire truck, it's had blond highlights that made me look like a sick leopard, and once, I insisted that if I was going to go as Batman for Halloween, I had to dye my hair black so I would look like Bruce Wayne when out of costume. (I was a little Type A, even as a child.) Generally, I can cut my hair really short or let it grow freakishly long and out of control, as David somehow tricked me into doing last year by telling me how great it was that I looked like a lion. It looks fine at pretty much every stage in between. I'm not that picky about these things.


Until today, I just assumed that haircuts done entirely with clippers only existed in prisons, the military, and Britney Spears' home when she's going through a rough patch. I was like, "I just want like a half inch off the top, and to get rid of the shaggy parts around my sideburns." And then the guy nodded thoughtfully, pulled out the clippers, and shaved a giant stripe down the side of my scalp. After three or four of these, he was like, "does that look okay?" and I looked up and thought, no, no, that most certainly does not, but you can't really ask him to paste your hair back on your head at that point. You're basically in it to win it, and I decided that whatever lofty and opaque vision he had for my head would probably be better than whatever bastardized compromise he'd have to make if I flipped out. So I was like, yeah, fine, but that's about as short as I want it.

And then he proceeded to shave off pretty much all of my hair - which, when you think about it, is probably about all you can do when you cut hair by running a clipper over someone's head. As Anna put it, the upside is that I probably won't need another haircut this year. The downside is that the gel I bought beforehand is probably the worst $10 I've ever spent in my life.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Will Run for Cake

My biggest accomplishment today was surviving my run, which was actually more like a trot. (Anna kicks my ass at yoga, but I realized today that I run like a fucking gazelle.) We're near the base of Table Mountain, so the route is positively stunning as the sun is rising, and it felt fantastic to just run after being cooped up behind bars, gates, and electric fences for the past month.

And then I went to work and had carrot cake for breakfast, in what is perhaps the best illustration to date that I run because it feels good, not because I'm trying to lose weight.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Run Baby Run

Anna and I vowed to go running tomorrow morning, which will be painful seeing as a) I haven't gone running since the unseasonably warm beginning of December, b) I had a lamb sandwich and two pieces of chocolate cake for dinner tonight, c) I didn't bring running shoes, just my Sketchers, and d) I won't have Garbage screaming in my ear to make me run faster. The only thing spurring me on is that I want to return to the UK with a single chin.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Ryan Wins the Night

IGLHRC finally won ECOSOC status today on a 23-13-13 vote, which was an epic win for everyone back in New York, and also the world. (The way that these battles for ECOSOC status have played out since I worked on this at ILGA in 2006 has been fascinating and disheartening and maddening - in equal measure, and often simultaneously.)

On top of that, it was Ma's birthday today, and when I asked for birthday suggestions, Anna said that chocolate was always a hit, particularly when people knew to go for quantity rather than quality. My brilliant idea was to go to this boutique bakery in town to get her a very, very chocolaty birthday cake. That way, it was festive, it was an instant party, and it was something she really liked. HAT TRICK.

And it would have been brilliant, except that said bakery is closed on Mondays, which I learned when I got there and stood with my face pressed despairingly against the glass, looking past the "CLOSED MONDAYS" sign, the chairs upturned on the tables, and the dark till at the bakers going about their business in the back. What was brilliant is that I called as soon as I got to work, and I convinced them to give me a dark chocolate cake if I could be there before 2pm. And so I did, and gave them 180 rand in an alleyway in exchange for this gorgeous dark chocolate cake with glitter and fresh rose petals sprayed around the top. It was among the best pieces of cake I've ever had in my life, ever, and not just because I bought it like it was crack.

And on top of THAT, I finally picked up a wireless router after being in this apartment for three solid weeks (technology: 20, Ryan: 1), and even if it took me three hours to set it up and configure everything so that I could actually pick up a signal across the apartment, I did it, and here I am.

Hits and Misses

I uniformly failed at the plans I had actually made for the weekend (to finish a journal article that has now been ruining my life for the past two years, to pick up a wireless router so I'm not AWOL all weekend, grocery shopping for fruits and vegetables to stave off scurvy for another week, etc.) but I did succeed at other, less critical but still important things. I went to yoga, and felt that all weekend. Anna, Mike and I went to the Waterfront, where we rode the Wheel of Excellence (because I insisted, because I'm twelve and because you can't pass up something with a name like that), got a drink, and then sat in a bookstore to plan our respective trips to Canada, Switzerland, and through Namibia and up to Victoria Falls. I finally watched Up in the Air. I sorted out my library of PDFs so I can actually find things when I have to start writing in October. I went for a long drive down past Camps Bay, which is beautiful and where I have to spend a weekend sometime when it's warm out. I finished a pile of books for work, finally read Camus' The Stranger, and started reading Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, because it was on the bookshelf and because I should oddly probably read it for work and my PhD. As far as failures go, it was an epic success.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Come Rain or Come Crime

I was leaving the house this morning as it was drizzling when Daleen stopped washing dishes and looked up.

"Are you planning to take a taxi?"
"No, I was just planning to walk."

She thought for a second, and was like, "I think you should wear a sweater." I was already wearing a zip-up sweatshirt, so I said I thought I'd be fine, and she was like, no, you also need a sweater. I ran upstairs, put on a sweater, and was like, "okay, see you tonight!" and she stopped me again.

"Don't you have a windbreaker?"
"No, I'll walk fast and beat the rain."
"You need a windbreaker."

So she ran upstairs and got a windbreaker, and I put it on, and I looked like a marshmallow trudging off to work. And she nodded with approval and said, "there, now you'll stay safe."

It wasn't until I left the house that I thought, dry, or warm, maybe, but I don't think layering keeps you safe. And then I realized that she was probably halfway trying to keep me dry and halfway trying to pad me for if I get stabbed. She thinks of everything.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Compound Adjectives

I don't know what's more embarrassing - that I'm getting my PhD and I had to have compound adjectives explained to me by my boss, that I'm learning grammar from what looks suspiciously like a Geocities website circa 1996, or that this is apparently a big enough problem at Kent Law that they need this resource. All of these things make me sad.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Coping Mechanisms

I realized yesterday when I was at Clarke's that I've spent twice as much on books as I have on food since I got to Cape Town. Partially, this is because Daleen is a phenomenal cook. (Yesterday, she made bean soup, mutton, meatballs, rice, carrots, squash, and potatoes for dinner. Today, I took my two-day old pasta and damp roast vegetables out of the fridge and my stomach burst into tears. It knows what it's missing.) But partially, this is because I've tracked down a bunch of books that are a) published in South Africa and way easier to get here than in the US or UK, but b) still ridiculously expensive. I basically need to get a library pass to UCT soon or else I won't be able to afford food and then I'll have to eat better. Wait, what?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Plugging In

I've been terrible at updating anyone on my life since I got to Cape Town, mostly because the flat doesn't have wifi, and I've been tearing through my research projects at work to finish in time for me to take a week of vacation in Namibia in September. I'm planning to crack this weekend and buy a wifi router for the flat, mostly because Skype would go a long way in helping David and I work around two 9 to 5 jobs and a six hour time difference. And with that, I will probably be online more, and puttering around in a cardigan with cats at my feet and a cup of tea and a novel in my hand significantly less. (My feelings about this are mixed.)

The last week has been excellent, though - we did the Fan Walk for the semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands in Cape Town, which involved a lesbian bar that everyone basically had to rip me away from because I had an Amstel and they played You Shook Me All Night Long and I was like, no, get away from me, this is my home. I went out again when two friends of mine from college were in town, where we somehow ended up going clubbing with two Brazilian guys, evenly splitting the conversation between English, Spanish, and Portugese, and worrying that the less-balanced one was going to die of a heart attack somewhere around his sixth whiskey and Red Bull. It was fairly epic. A couple nights later, I tagged along for the going away party for the woman who rented my room in the flat before I did, who is going back to Montreal. At least three people were like, "you also have a Canadian accent," and I was like, no, nothing quite that sexy, I am tired and there has been champagne and my vowels are getting away from me.

Mostly, though, I've just done a crazy amount of work that I didn't have the uninterrupted time to do in New York, often while sitting in front of the space heater and watching Oprah with the cats and my host mother, Daleen, while she knits sleeves and says things like, "I'm as full as a female badger." Most of you can probably understand how happy this makes me.

Monday, 5 July 2010


Jesus, I am so glad I no longer go on first dates. (It's probably because my relationship is founded on early date suggestions like, "how about we go shopping in the red light district and see if we can run into the guy you're seeing?" or "how about we accidentally crash a faculty lunch in the history department and have sandwiches anyway?" or "how about we ride a mechanical bull and draw on each other with magic markers?" The point where a long-term relationship developed is somewhat unclear.)


While I'm in Cape Town, I'm renting a room in a flat owned by a friend of a friend and her mother, which kind of reminds me of the setup I had that blissful summer in Brussels when I ended up having two fabulous gay foster dads by accident. I tagged along with Anna for yoga and salsa over the weekend, and she's totally fantastic. Her mother, who's a retired teacher, is this really kind, warm woman who makes homemade jam, knits, bakes, and makes clothes, but also really likes extremely violent Steven Segal films and says "fuck" occasionally. I'm obviously head over heels about this woman.

This morning, I walked downstairs and she looked me up and down and said, "I just made Anna a pair of jeans. When you get tired of those jeans, I will make you a new pair. Okay." and then she went to make toast. Swoon.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Oh, Joni

Joni Mitchell's "Blue" is like the best soundtrack for nomadism, ever.

Ow, Ow, Ow

I just tagged along to Anna's yoga class in a big industrial loft in Woodstock, and now every part of my body hurts but I do feel newly energized about this whole becoming fit in South Africa thing. The problem is that I think there might actually be something medically wrong with my legs, because I've never been able to keep them straight, even when I was a child. Rickets? Scurvy? Unclear! I'm hoping that doing yoga every weekend and practicing will help, because something tells me that if I have scurvy, the next three months of meat and potatoes are not going to do much in the way of bone density.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Cape Town, Ho!

I made it to Cape Town! On Wednesday! I'm usually more on the ball about running off and exploring right off the bat, but I postponed that to get 27 hours of sleep over the past two days. It was magical.

I've still had time to get unpacked and settled - I'm living with a friend of a friend and her mother, and they are both totally lovely. The mother is also a fantastic cook, and I've eaten enough chicken pie and bobotie that I think putting a moratorium on my vegetarianism was a very good idea. Also, I was like, "I will jog in Cape Town, and I will come back looking fantastic!" and I'm beginning to realize that I will instead stay indoors, not job, and eat a great deal of white rice and potatoes. The silver lining is that this is probably a good way to ease back into living in England. The flat has a small barrel of instant coffee and a cat named Violet who has become my best friend, so I'm pretty much set. I do not require much to be happy.

When I tore myself away from the house and walked into town yesterday, I managed to pick up a phone, buy toiletries that I forgot or that exploded in my suitcase, and go to a book launch of Sasha Polakow-Suransky's The Unspoken Alliance at Book Lounge, which I managed to finish a few hours before I gave it away and hopped on the plane. Otherwise, I've been trying to figure out what to do about internet, as it turns out that my room in the flat does not have it. (I somehow totally neglected to ask this question when I was inquiring about the place. Oops.) I'll be online at work, so it would actually be a kind of nice incentive to hunker down and get some writing done at home, but it makes Skype with David considerably trickier, particularly when it's combined with the seven hour time difference. I suddenly feel obligated to put "long distance" from New York to DC in scare quotes.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

While I Was Not Sleeping

I got about five hours of sleep before seeing David off to his bus on Monday morning, and then spent the rest of the day frantically and unsuccessfully trying to track down travel adapters, rand, and luggage for my flight to South Africa. I gave up eventually and spent the night having a last dinner in NYC with Brady and Emma, calling people to say goodbye before I left, and then struggling with the dawning realization that I had forgotten to mail a box of files and some gifts from a friend that I now had to integrate into my luggage, and that it would not be physically possible for me to wrestle three suitcases and a messenger bag to the airport by subway, and that it was well after midnight and I had to be at JFK around 7am.

I made it to the cab by 6:45, literally drenched in sweat from our crazy hot apartment and dragging all of my luggage down to 9th Ave, fell asleep and had to be gently awoken by the cabbie, and made it to my flight and took off on time, which was pretty much a whole series of small miracles right in a row. My plan was to sleep on the 15 hour flight to Joburg, except then I sat next to a woman who took up her seat and half of mine, which made it a) impossible to sleep and b) impossible to watch TV, because her arm was everywhere and had enveloped the controls in my armrest to turn on my television. I didn't want to be rude to the woman, because it probably sucks to have someone draw attention to how much space you are taking up, and also she was reading the Origin of Species and I was like, I think I like you. (Instead, I waited for two hours and made my move when she bent down to get something from under her seat. Every film seemed to be a romantic comedy from the last two decades starring Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, or both Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, so I watched the Darjeeling Limited, which I liked because I was not in the mood for a plot or any sort of intensity whatsoever.)

I made best friends with the flight attendant and she gave me a sandwich and let me shuffle back to her cabin in my socks for coffee throughout the flight, so that helped. And now I'm in Joburg and about to leave for Cape Town. I feel bad that I'm going to get there and pass out unexpectedly at some point before tonight. My body literally has no idea what time it is supposed to be anymore. All I know is that I'm hungry and I hope I get another sandwich.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

On the Steps of the Palace

David and I went to a party last night in Columbia Heights where I only vaguely remember running into someone who described how she and her friend once went as Romy and Michele for Halloween, complete with matching pink sequined nighties. Obviously, this woman is my hero, and I kind of want to be her best friend. The only problem is that this is literally all I remember about her - not who she is, where she works, anything - and I will probably never see her again. She is basically my gay Cinderella, and I'm going to spend the rest of my life going to house parties asking people how well they fit into platform shoes.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down

I'm on another mini-hiatus to DC starting tomorrow, and then I get back to New York and it's a quick and dirty blitz of Book Club, the Doctor Who finale, Pride, and a quasi-finalized party to toast the end of this past year. (I've clearly been watching too much Gossip Girl and feel the need to end every episode of my life with a large benefit, gala, or party in which every character is sort of ridiculously present.)

In the meantime, I'm frantically packing so that David and I don't have to do that when we get back, because I strongly suspect that that would be an emotionally fraught way to spend our last weekend in New York for a while. The only thing more depressing than packing up your life is realizing that you can pretty comfortably fit your life into two boxes, a suitcase, and a garment bag. And that both boxes are full of books. I want to leave New York and have people shake their heads and say, "oh, Ryan. He was well read but very, very poorly dressed." I think I'm on track.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Heart is Light but the Bag is Heavy

I came to DC planning to finish a bunch of articles and type up notes on a bunch of books so that I could leave them in the US and not have to haul a small library across two continents. I have torn apart and reassembled two of those articles and still don't really like the way they're hanging together, and I'm not making great progress on the books. Boo.

In fact, I just finished a wonderful lunch with one of my coworkers from back in the day at Democracy, and I somehow ended up leaving the office with the last two copies of the journal plus three copies of books I've been meaning to read. When I worked there, my two favorite things in the world were a) ideas and b) raiding the journal's bookshelves. I don't really know how I'm going to get through these before the end of the month, but I suspect it will involve a great deal of frantic reading just before dawn on June 29th and potentially giving them away at JFK that afternoon. I also think I have to haul them around the farmer's market at the White House tonight. I know this was a bad idea and that I will be stressing about work at the end of June, but I'm also going to have pretty awesome shoulders.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Yesterday, we were going to bed after David's second day of work and he commented that full time work is exhausting. It's not that I'm done with work - I spent all day yesterday agonizing over drafts that I've been working on for like a year - but it's fundamentally different when you can do your own thing uninterrupted and eat pastries for every meal. Oh, graduate school.

It's made me think a lot about routines, though - I had dinner with a coworker of mine here in DC who asked what my routine for writing up my dissertation would be, and was telling me about how Maya Angelou has this whole routine where she checks into a hotel, has them remove all of the pictures from the walls, writes all day even if it's gibberish, has a light lunch and writes some more, leaves the hotel, goes grocery shopping at Zabar's or whatever, sips a little wine and leisurely cooks a delicious meal for herself, and then edits whatever she wrote that day, even if it is terrible nonsense. I was telling David this, and he mentioned how Jess Valenti said somewhere that she and Andrew have a strict policy of powering down all of their gadgets after 8pm, and how that is romantic. (I was like, "I hope you're not telling me we're not watching Glee at 9pm, because we definitely are.")

I was thinking about this, and how my routine involves waking up, eating breakfast and watching trashy television on Surf the Channel, going to the library in my pajamas and despairing about the journal articles I cannot humanly read in a year, giving up and making soup with Team Soup O'Clock, and then sitting in front of a computer and banging out my requisite 1000 words of terrible prose for the day. Sometimes, I give up and shop for slightly damaged groceries at Sainsbury's.

This is one of the many, many reasons why Maya Angelou is phenomenal and I have the work ethic of a magpie.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Different Strokes

It's been approximately 100 degrees in my apartment. I'm sleeping fine, and I chalk this up to growing up in North Dakota, where heat is so rare that we are biologically equipped to store it up in our bodies like polite solar panels for use in the winter months. David grew up in North Carolina, and has been miserable all weekend. As things heat up in New York, we've started a running list of different strategies we've used to be able to sleep through the night in a stale, humid apartment:

- get rid of any extra bedding
- open french doors and windows to circulate air
- sleep with fan trained directly on him
- stack pyramid of ice cubes in front of fan, believing that this will function as a makeshift air conditioner
- splash ice water on self every thirty minutes
- jump out of bed and run to the shower
- sleep upside down
- intermittently and loudly groan in agony

- go sleep on the couch

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Perfect Storm

It's my last day of fieldwork tomorrow, if you don't count a) a board meeting on Saturday, b) the meetings I have lined up for the rest of June, or c) the fact that I'm doing more fieldwork with the same group of people from South Africa for the duration of the summer. But it is kind of the last day, and that is making me weirdly sad. Tomorrow is also the day when Dunkin' Donuts is giving away free donuts with the purchase of any beverage. The fact that there is a Dunkin' literally two minutes from my office is making me a little apprehensive, because the combination of distress and free and accessible donuts does not generally turn out positively for me.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Books, Books, and Book Club

It's my last three days of fieldwork in New York before a month of reading, writing, transcribing, consolidating, shipping, packing, brief but furious reveling, and and flying to Cape Town on June 30, and I'm sitting in the middle of a canyon of files and cassettes and unread books and I'm starting to think that that month isn't going to be enough. Meh, I'll cross my fingers and hope I make headway.

Perversely, I might sprinkle in more reading for pleasure just to make everything else halfway manageable. It was actually kind of sad that tonight was potentially my last book club with Wendy and Emma - after I picked The History of White People last month and not very many people showed up, we switched to fiction tonight and we had the whole group back together for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I think I finally realized why I liked the book - it basically transposes a queer family and a whole network of artists, immigrants, bohemians, gay men, and independent women onto the 1950s, and I am apparently a sucker for ahistorical progressivism. I told Erika this over email, but I'm really going to miss book club at Oxford - reading things that don't have anything to do with gross violations of human rights is pretty much the only thing that keeps me from coming across as a sociopath at parties. The books piled up around me do not bode well for any parties in the month of June.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Things I Miss But Not For Long

I realized in New Haven today that I really do rank the places I'd like to live based on the ratio of independent cafe/bookstores to people. And New Haven does really well in that category. Also, it made me miss Oxford, because there are castles everywhere and I miss having castles. I feel like this is actually a pretty good time to finish up my fieldwork and start planning my trip back to the library for writing up.

Monday, 31 May 2010


Apparently, the best cocktail for convincing someone that Cambridge is a cool and desirable place to live involves Hi Rise, Daedalus, Veggie Planet, Diesel, Punjabi Dhaba, and Darwin's. I thought David would be impressed by the three course meal in my old dining hall, a day pass to Widener Library, and all the glory and splendor and preternaturally green grass of Harvard at Commencement, but it turned out to be the vegan peanut curry that did it.

And today, we're going to New Haven, where I am banking on used bookstores and the attention span of a magpie. Yay!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Our Slow Ascent to Fame

Lately, Brady's been assembling motley teams of theoretically intelligent people for trivia at Mercury Bar, where we've reliably come in toward the bottom of the pack but occasionally win for best team name. (Nobody understood "Elena Kagan's Ex-Boyfriends," although Brady has won for "Deport Justin Bieber" and tonight's winner of a round of free shots, "What Willis Was Talkin' 'Bout.")

Tonight, Brady, Emma, David and I totally took sixth place of fourteen teams, despite the fact that we were badly lacking in the categories of a) sports and b) team members who know about anything prior to 1984. We're steadily climbing up the ranks every week, so I think we're going to go back in June with our sporty friends and someone over the age of 25. (If you are 40 and I ask you what you're doing next month, please don't be offended if I promise to buy you sangria in exchange for information about Three's Company and the USSR.)

Thursday, 27 May 2010


I'm going back to Harvard for Commencement tomorrow, mostly because I feel obligated to go to the HGLC's annual dinner but also because I want to drag David along to show off the place where I spent very formative years of my life. (It'll be a little different because I'll be drinking wine in the dining hall instead of staring at a blinking cursor and eating stale bagels at 4am, but I'll take what I can get.)

I realized that it's now been three full years since I graduated, which was also the last time I went to the HGLC's dinner in Lowell. I was thinking about how much I've matured since then, and how I think I'm more self-aware and self-assured, and how I think I have a kind of direction in my life that I can be proud of, and how excited I am about moving to the UK with David next year, and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

And then I promptly walked into a door with a cup of coffee in my hand and spilled it down the front of my shirt, which would not have been so bad except I also spilled Thai on myself at dinner. I have very fond memories of packing up my room in the twilight hours after the HGLC dinner three years ago, and somehow, I'm currently sitting in my room finishing up my notes from the day, buying tickets, and packing before my bus leaves in a few hours. I think humility is an important part of maturity.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Love Hurts

I don't know if this is Kath Weston's fault or if I just love dinner parties with my nearest and dearest this much, but I badly needed Emma and Brady to hang out tonight for pasta with ricotta and broccoli, homemade bruschetta, and chardonnay. And it was wonderful. This is in spite of the fact that I badly stubbed my toe while I was putting the bruschetta in the oven, and only realized after I got back from watching Glee that I think I split my toenail and noticed a greyish crack on my pinky toe that is starting to seriously hurt. Regardless, the chardonnay is helping.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Return to Blogging!

I think I might start blogging again, and weirdly, it's because I feel like Facebook's new settings are cramping my style and I can't express feelings on Twitter. (It's still up for debate whether it's healthy for me to use technology as a way to express feelings at all, but there you go.) I think blogging might actually be healthier; I don't have the same expectation that everyone will read it, and I can freestyle a little better. I will think of it as Infinity Twitter.

This is objectively the worst time to start blogging again, as I'm supposed to go talk to a high school tomorrow (what?) and then a queer alumni dinner at Harvard weekend (yay!) and a ton of work during my last week of gainful employment (frown!). But I have a feeling this will be a useful outlet when I'm in over my head and need to yell things into the ether. (It's pretty reliably when I do my best writing, so here's hoping I pull through again.)

Rhubarb Crisp!

It was my eighteen month anniversary with David this weekend, and we spent the weekend lazing around and cooking and reading in parks. (This was mostly because I have something resembling the plague, but it was also very romantic.)

The highlight was when we made Mark Bittman's rhubarb crisp recipe from the NYT. You can tell from the photo that we cheated and added strawberries, but it was totally delicious. (I feel like you could add arugula and gasoline and this would probably be delicious. The trick is butter.)

Monday, 17 May 2010

If By Food Pyramid You Mean Food Plateau

Today was the kind of long day at work where I realized that my entire diet today consisted of carbohydrates, except for coffee and two glasses of wine, which was as close as I got to eating fruits and vegetables.

So basically, today was a total success.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A Time to Binge, A Time to Purge

Today was the 9th Avenue fair, and Brady, David, Lee, Leah and I spent a good chunk of the afternoon hyperactively flitting from stall to stall, eating fig and mascarpone in phyllo dough, guava and cheese and spinach and cheese empanadas, tofu and corn fritters, fried Oreos, and green tea cupcakes, and then iced coffee for the walk back up 9th Avenue. It was very kid-in-a-candy-store, if by "kid" you mean "graduate student" and by "candy store" you mean "Whole Foods."

Spelling all of that out is actually making me fairly nauseous, and the only thing militating against that is the idea that I'll be walking for god knows how far tomorrow at the AIDS Walk. If you want to sponsor me, you can donate by clicking here. I'd like to say there's still time, but the sad fact is that it's well-known that I'm a dismal fundraiser. I'm a much better walker.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Betty White! Again!

This weekend was David's graduation in DC, so it was two full days of roof parties and receptions and touring the EU Embassies, which left us precious little time to be at his place for Betty White on SNL. This was actually fine, because there are few things better than coffee, french toast, and 45 minutes of uninterrupted Betty White on a Sunday morning. And it wasn't until I got back to New York tonight that I realized that there are outtakes on Hulu, which have pretty much made my day:

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

My Life Would Be Easier if OCS Had Done This Six Years Ago

Tonight, I skipped the Time 100 - literally five minutes from my apartment, with an invitation from my roommate - to go hear a paper on historiography and social justice in post-apartheid South Africa and Israel. I didn't think twice about that until I saw the clip of the red carpet on the news tonight, and I still feel like I chose wisely.

Plus, it makes me feel better about the fact that I already know that Miley Cyrus' new single, "Can't Be Tamed," will eventually be the ringtone on my phone. I also hate that people are like, "this video is way too sexualized for Miley Cyrus," and my first reaction was "this is the first thing Miley Cyrus has done that I don't have to feel creepy or ashamed for watching."

Some people grow up and regret not becoming a celebrity or athlete, and I'm like, whew, thank goodness I'm on my way to becoming a legal anthropologist. I really dodged a bullet there.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Quote of the Day: Car Bombing Edition

R: "I think they handle domestic terrorism differently."
X: "Well, they should round up every white man in their mid-40s. And bomb Connecticut."

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Flea Markets + Desserts = My Utopia

Since David just finished his thesis and I just launched into my last month of fieldwork, we're celebrating by making this a (relatively) low-key weekend in New York. Yesterday, we went to one of the last screenings at Tribeca with a couple of friends of mine, and spent today sleeping in and making banana pancakes, going to the market at Lincoln Center for strawberry rhubarb pies, wandering through Central Park to the Guggenheim for a date, and then coming back and making ridiculously heavy black bean and potato empanadas and generally vegging out in front of the TV. I'm kind of glad we didn't pick up dessert, because tomorrow is the New York Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, and I plan to eat my weight in desserts from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Honestly, being vegetarian is about the only thing that will keep me from gorging myself until I barf. That, and depriving myself of solid food from now until then.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

My Life is Less Complicated Than Stealing A Baby. Or: Success!

I just had one of those days where I am not only overwhelmed by everything but then handle all of those things kind of incompetently, and then feel really useless. (I have a creeping fear of the bedbugs returning, I'm waiting on my funding for the upcoming year, and it turns out South Africa Airways does not have a confirmation screen to confirm that the dates are right. The highlight of today was when, after a full afternoon of shopping for flights, I accidentally bought a $1650 flight on the wrong day instead of the $1250 flight I intended. I called them immediately, but was told it still takes $250 to fix this. Boo.) It helped that I went to dinner at Room Service with David and a bunch of friends and saw The Kid, which was all complex with its gay politics and its adoption politics and its homelessness politics and at least made me feel like my life is not as complicated as I sometimes pretend that it is. (The lesson I took away from it is that the easiest way to get a baby is probably just to kidnap one from a crowded public venue. I do not think that was Dan Savage's intention, but there you go.)

Close Enough

B: "How am I supposed to translate? I don't have the Francis Scott Key."
R: "Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner."
B: "You know what I mean."
R: "The Rosetta Stone?"
B: "Exactly."

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Man Vs. Nature

I've been AWOL for a variety of sexy reasons, but one of them is decidedly not sexy and that is that we totally have bedbugs. We've had the occasional bite and been in preemptive lockdown mode since January, but that is not helping, and we've finally convinced them to send the exterminator again tomorrow. My room is now furnished with only a bed, which is actually kind of calming in a minimalist, Buddhist sort of way, until you remember that the reason is not simplicity as a virtue but tiny bugs that live in the parquet floor you thought was so pretty when you looked at the apartment. I think I've actually been remarkably level-headed about this, given that I have given up furniture, personal effects, and all clothing that does not fit in a two week rotation stored in garbage bags, but I've spent the past five hours prepping for the exterminator and just bought a teddy-bear shaped jar of animal crackers and accidentally stress ate the larger portion of its head. The bugs get nothing but reconstituted flour tonight.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Glee, then Panic, then Glee

There is perhaps nothing more panic-inducing than going to a viewing party for the return of Glee and being fully prepared - to the point that you know the guest stars, have readied the drinking game, and know that it will begin at exactly 9:28 EST - than having someone accidentally sit on the remote at 9:17. It was the most frantic and tense ten minutes in recent memory, which not only tells you something about how much excitement I have in my life but also how bad we all are at operating rudimentary technology.

We managed with a minute to spare, were so thrilled by Sue Sylvester's reenactment of Vogue that we promptly went to Marie's - making this the fourth or fifth time that we have gone on a Tuesday promising to stay for an hour and broke that promise to nobody's surprise but our own. I'm lucky we didn't have a Glee Club in high school, because I suspect it would have ruined my life.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Yay, Panels!

Today's educational fieldtrip was to the Off-Broadway Alliance's "New Directions for Gay Theater" with Christopher Sieber, Michael Urie, Leslie Jordan, and a bunch of other people involved in productions with gay characters and themes this season. Fun!

The whole Hell's Kitchen crew ended up going - myself, David, Brady, Leah, and Lee - and we obviously arrived precisely at noon, because I was militant about getting there in time for bagels and coffee because grad students get a free pass when it comes to complimentary food and because I haven't done theater since high school that means I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself in front of these people.

It was surprisingly good, and there were a bunch of solid questions and thoughtful responses about the politics of representation, typecasting, labeling and marketing, and the usual stuff that comes along with queer media. The lesbian in the audience beat me to the question about lesbians, which was fine, as I'm pretty sure she asked it more convincingly than I would have. It was a nice change of pace - as we've all established, I'm a sucker for panels, but most of the ones I go to have to do with treaty bodies and grave violations of human rights, and do not involve me falling in love with Leslie Jordan.

I'm actually going to see The Kid at the end of the month with a couple of friends, so I can report back on that in approximately three weeks. Which is good, because the fact that my Sunday involved a panel, laundry, and writing two conference papers clearly suggests that I need to get out more.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

My Inner Boy-Child

I'm posting this photo from Street Fighter for David because he didn't get my reference to Blanka yesterday, and this is less scarring than trying to explain him as the product of a torrid affair between the Hulk and Pikachu.

Also, because Street Fighter is objectively the best game ever. I had a dream afterwards about the Chipmunks and the Chipettes competing in what seemed to be a cartoon version of Project Runway. I really, really need to stop drinking coffee immediately before bed.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

This Is Not What Is Typically Meant By 'The City that Never Sleeps'

I just had dinner over a journal article about sexuality and lobbying at the African Commission on Human and People's Rights. I've got five items on my to-do list before bed, and I'm still drinking coffee to power through it. There's a very good chance I'll only go to sleep when I pass out on top of my pink highlighter at the kitchen table in a couple of hours.

Whoever said Thursday is the new Friday is clearly wrong, because my Thursday is the new Tuesday at 2pm.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Family Pilgrimage!

Since New York apparently speeds through spring with a week of drizzle and the aggressive appearance of 100,000 tulips, it is now summer, and that means I have no excuse to avoid running in the morning. This started on Tuesday when Lee and I went for a run by the garbage piles and heavy machinery of the piers in Midtown West, and will (theoretically) continue tomorrow when I try the park and see if there are fewer piles of trash and bulldozers in our way. (I know there are approximately as many yuppies with dogs, which I actually kind of like on my jogging route.)

And with the warm weather comes my family, who are all heading up here at the end of April, when my brother and I will play host to our parents, younger brother, and younger sister. I go slightly overboard planning trips like this, and overcompensate for my family's tendency to be like, "we're up for pretty much anything." The result is sort of like if Rick Steves was in charge of leading the Bataan Death March. And while I'm a pro when it's my mom visiting Oxford or my little sister visiting New York, it's considerably harder when it's my 24 year old brother, both of my parents, my 18 year old brother, and my 14 year old sister, which automatically makes the majority of activity involving sports, art, museums, non-American food, and alcohol out of the question. (Only one of us is wrecking the last item, but I'm not pointing fingers.)

So basically, I'm looking for fun ideas in New York - I'm making them do all of the touristy stuff they want to do when I'm in Baltimore for the first day of their visit, and then planning frenetic activity for the rest of the weekend. I am totally open to quirky ideas, including those that involve splitting up strategically so everyone can have fun and nobody kills each other. This is so much harder than it sounds.

Monday, 5 April 2010

In Which I Binge on Nostalgia

I spent this weekend at a conference on sexuality and the law at Harvard, which was actually the first time that I've been back to Cambridge since the beginning of 2009. (And that was January, when it is less pleasant to walk around and marvel at things because I'm prone to frostbite and wiping out on brick sidewalks, and more fun to hide in cafes with your favorite people.)

What was particularly weird was that I felt like I knew more people in Boston this time around than I did the past two times, possibly because a whole bunch of them are prodigal children who left for a couple of years and then decided it was high time to go rack up another degree. I hopped a bus to South Station on Friday and raced to campus for the luncheon kicking off the conference, where I promptly ran into a dozen colleagues, one of my favorite professors from college, and Lee's former roommate before actually putting a fork to my mouth. This got even weirder by the final dinner, when I ran into one of the other writers for the progressive monthly I wrote for in college and a friend of mine from Oxford, who is German but apparently doing a fellowship at Harvard all year and prone to crashing free dinners when the opportunity arises.

The whole conference was great, partially because the presenters were all academic or activist rockstars, and partially because being away from a university setting this year has made me swoon any time someone sticks a panel in front of me and tells them to talk about something sexual. Without fail. It also let out early enough that I was able to go back to Lowell to grab dinner with some of the tutors I really liked, to go to a dinner party with some of my favorite people from the activist circles in undergrad, and to run around on Sunday catching up with Leana, Mischa, Devery, and other besties from back in the day. (I also got to swing by Darwin's and Hi-Rise, but not Diesel, continuing the trend of confusing cafes I love with people I love and treating them somewhat equivalently when deciding how to spend my time.)

And then I hopped a bus with one of my coworkers back to Boston, and was promptly dumped in the middle of the chaos in Times Square in which four people were shot on Easter. I was like, "my, it's rowdy for a Sunday" and kept on listening to NPR podcasts in what was apparently intermittent gang violence. New York has its exciting parts, too.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Paula Deen + Dumpster Diving = My End of Month Cooking

Because I'm arbitrarily trying to stay within my monthly budget, my cooking at the end of the month is always especially fun and innovative. I just tossed a fried egg on top of garlic rice, black beans, and grilled zucchini, onions, and tofu with a ridiculous amount of cayenne pepper on top of them. That was pretty much the end of what was in my cupboards. So! My choices tomorrow are either to throw some vegetables and tofu and pasta sauce into what might potentially pass as a pie or calzone, or to make sandwiches out of Pop Tarts, dried cherries, and leftover chocolate from Valentine's Day. I am so sick of vegetables that I'm actually leaning toward the latter.

UPDATE: I was looking for recipes for pies like the kind in the UK, but ended up finding a recipe for a pie with a rice, egg, and cheese crust and grilled vegetables, olives, tomatoes, and cheese for the top. I don't have olives, tomatoes, and cheese, so I'm attempting to make a vegan pie out of the brown rice, tofu, and leftover vegetables in my fridge. The prognosis is not looking that great - the crust almost slid out of the pan when I showed it to Brady, and I'm kind of concerned that the pan is too big and it will become rock solid when I bake it for an hour. It helps that we are also raiding the dregs of our wine collection, which is why I'm drinking something that I described as carbonated grape juice but Brady immediately identified as cheap communion wine. And it is. And I'm now passing the time looking for bulk communion wine for our kitchen.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The Endearingly Awkward Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

So although I've periodically backed up and purged my archives on this blog, my first blog - from 2003-2004 - has just been kind of languishing on the internet for the past seven years. I just reread it, and it was actually kind of cute - I fairly obsessively documented my first year of college and adjusting to life in Boston, my first friendships, my first kiss with my first boyfriend, my first time leaving the country, etc. (It is remarkable that I was not expelled, ostracized, Nexted, or killed in at any one of these firsts.) It was also kind of embarrassing, because I was 19, and also because I don't think I was quite aware that blogs were, you know, available at any time to anyone with a computer. And that you should think about that before you describe Larry Summers dancing.

Still, between this and all of my other archives, if I ever want to read 1,500 pages about my life between the ages of 19 and 25, I've got myself covered. I can also sum these years up by saying that I am as clumsy and prone to writing extensively about baked goods as I have ever been. Some things are just not going to change.