Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween: my photo essay

Some of the several pictures (shrunk to blogger proportions) from last night's Halloween party...

Chris, Jeff, and Ritchie as the Axis of Evil:

Benja and Kieran:

Jeff, Kieran, Jake, and Kara:

Jeff and Kieran:

Simone and Ryan:

Jake and Kara:

Rich, Kieran, Ritchie, and Kara:

Ryan, Simone, Chris, and Jeff:

Jake, Kara, Kieran, Rich, and Ritchie:

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Devil with a slutty white tank top on

It's settled: I'm going as a deviled egg. Wearing all white with a yellow circle on my tummy and devil horns and tail. It's pretty cute, except for where the only suitable white stuff I could find was at Abercrombie and Victoria's Secret and it's basically the sluttiest egg costume of all time. Chris, Ritchie, and Jeff are going as the Axis of Evil: the Ayatollah, Kim Jong Il, and Saddam Hussein. We'll see who offends the most people.

This morning Ritchie, Chad, Pankaj, and I did the Pumpkin Push 5k in Seward Park. I finished in about 24 minutes, reminding me yet again that I really need to do some speedwork. It was a nice race, though, and we did get to take pumpkins home with us. And everyone else did really well: Chad PRed, Pankaj finished his first race ever, and Ritchie finished in under 20 minutes. And I accomplished my mission of getting people to do races with me.

Bring on the drinkin.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Once, I was a dinosaur.

Okay people, it's getting serious. I need a Halloween costume for tomorrow night and my existing ideas are kind of lame. Let's get going with those suggestions.

I'm doing a short race tomorrow morning and then I have the afternoon to figure out what I'm gonna be. I want suggestions, starting five minutes ago.

Don't let me down.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Halloweenie list-maker

Now that my party is over I need to find something else to plan in ridiculous detail and make lists about. Currently I'm soliciting ideas for my Halloween costume.

My apartment is clean again, but we still have orange lights and orange and black streamers up in the living room. It is disconcertingly like Princeton.

I've also been checking out the upcoming list of shows I might motivate myself to see:

Sat, 10/30 USE/Aqueduct (Crocodile) -- I have to figure out if this is going to work with Halloween parties
Wed, 11/03 The Handsome Family (Tractor)
Fri, 11/05 Super Deluxe/The Divorce/Mon Frere (Crocodile)
Sat, 11/06 The Faint/TV On the Radio/Beep Beep (Showbox)
Fri, 11/12 Magnetic Fields (Moore) -- I already have tickets to this
Mon, 11/15 De La Soul (Showbox)
Thurs, 11/18 Dolour (Chop Suey)
Sat 11/20 Razorlight (Chop Suey)
Sat, 11/27 Neko Case and Her Boyfriends/The Sadies (Neumo's)


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Party post-mortem

There was leg-wrestling. I got serious fashion props from Jan. That about says it all.

(However, since I'm me, I'll continue to say more anyway.)

When I was cleaning up from the party this morning, I was amazed at the sheer quantity of alcohol we managed to go through. I should have had more faith in our invitees and their friends. Because Miriam was out of town, it's the first time I've thrown a party like that in years where there hasn't been at least one other linguist present. I thought only Cassies and Justins and TomMcFs and Heathalouises* drank like that.

On the matter of alcoholic linguists, I was thinking this morning that I need to find a place like The 700 Club in Philly here in Seattle. Such a place clearly has to exist here, somewhere, but I haven't been able to track it down. I think I'm going to make that my mission over the next month or two. (Ben? This is your cue to pop in and helpfully provide me with the information I'm looking for.)

*honorary linguist

Saturday, October 23, 2004

To do list

Have I mentioned that we're having a party? Have I mentioned it seven hundred times?

I've got a ton of things to do today. After I finish breakfast I'll go running, and then it starts: cleaning, cooking, shopping for more alcohol, hair appointment, setting up, notes to neighbors, and picking out the all-important party outfit. We bought the snacks last night. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to have time to shop for party clothes sometime today as well. I'm trying to decide if I should cancel my hair appointment. This has been a week of making lists and buying little orange lights and reminding people several dozen times a minute that we're having a party.

Did I tell you that we're having a party? And that it's tonight?

I'm soliciting party outfit advice. Late but I'm still asking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More on google-stalking

I've been taking a little poll lately: how often do you google-stalk yourself? It has been suggested to me that google-preen might be a more appropriate term for it. Either way. How often? Every week/month/year? Never? Constantly? I'm asking in the name of research. (Me, I'm an every 3-4 weeks kind of girl.)

Secondary question, purely rhetorical: for how many readers of this blog is one of the hits on their top page the acknowledgments section of my dissertation?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice is now a Seahawk. Which is to say: whoa.

Of bow-ties and punditry

Have you seen the clip of Jon Stewart on Crossfire?

He lights into them pretty hard in a way that it appears that they were not expecting. Perhaps they were thinking, "But he's never like this with Larry King!"

Tucker Carlson's attempt to chastize The Daily Show for not being hard-hitting enough with its guests is something that Jon Stewart takes particular issue with, pointing out that his show follows a show about puppets making prank calls and CNN shouldn't be looking to Comedy Central for tips on media punditry. I see his general point, and god knows I love Jon Stewart, but I wonder if he's not being a bit disingenuous here: the point of his interview segments isn't full-on debate, but even Stewart himself acknowledged in a post-Kerry episode that he might not have made the most of the opportunity he had with the Kerry interview.

I don't rely exclusively on The Daily Show for information about current events and most of what I learn I learn in non-televised form, but The Daily Show is my only real TV source, and I don't think I'm unusual in that for my demographic. What's more, I bet there are heaps of people who really are relying exclusively or near-exclusively on The Daily Show for their news. That may highlight a variety of problems, but at least one of them is the inadequacy of other competing sources.

I'm trying to work in a way of saying that Stephen Colbert is my own personal demi-deity, but nothing clever is coming to mind. So I'll just say it outright: Stephen Colbert! Whoo!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Kiss On My List

It turns out that Hall and Oates is coming to town the same night as my party. Well, by "to town" I mean that they're playing in Everett, which is to Seattle like Wilmington, DE is to Philly, or like Paramus is to NYC. It's pretty hot.

I went and checked out their webpage, and I think you'll agree that their legacy as sex symbols lives on based on the front page alone:

I think we should get them for an after-show.

We need a montage.

We went with a bunch of people to see Team America tonight. I may be the only person to feel this way, but I liked it way better than I liked the South Park movie, even if Kim Jong Il sounded a little too much like Cartman. There's a nice Heather Havrilesky interview with Matt Stone and Trey Parker on salon:

We also saw a preview for the new Wes Anderson movie and I'm pretty excited. Nothing says quality film like Bill Murray in a wetsuit. We're getting to that time of year when all the good stuff starts showing up in theaters. I still haven't seen I Heart Huckabees and I'm wondering what you guys think of it if you've seen it.

Lesson I learned last night: tequila and midori do not mix.
Lesson I learned this morning: tequila and midori do not mix.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Puritan work ethic will bite you in the ass.

One of our neighbors has some friends visiting who are in the middle of a year-long trip around the world. One of them is just beginning, and a couple of others have been traveling for about half a year now and they're about to move to Whistler for the winter season. It sounds like they've gone just about everywhere. They look really, really tired, and I'm really, really jealous.

I have one American friend who used to just take contract jobs so that he could take scheduled time off for travel (Ben?), but he's the only American I've ever heard of to do so. These friends of our neighbor are Australian. And so I started thinking why it is that so much of the rest of the world, whatever their resources and opportunities for travel, takes time for vacation in a way that we just don't. It's not just because we typically only have a couple of weeks of vacation a year; I think that's effect rather than cause of some kind of weird Puritan work ethic that's gotten culturally imprinted on everything, everywhere. Even where we try to get out of hard work on a day-to-day basis and congratulate ourselves when we are able to, we feel sort of guilty about being perceived as societal slackers. We currently have a spate of reality shows in which entrants compete to show who can work the hardest, the smartest, and the most relentlessly.

It would never occur to me to take a year just to travel... and yet it should, because what a great idea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


The ever-entertaining America's Next Top Model is on this very evening, right this minute if you're on the east coast, which fortunately I am not. Are you watching it? No? Why not? If it isn't because you have a TiVo and will watch it later at your leisure, you have no good excuse. (Do you have a TiVo? No? Why not? There is no good excuse.)

It was pointed out to me that if I really believed in my mission, then I'd have a fanpage-blog for that as well as for The OC. I have to admit that I'm not that hard-core, but I do read the summaries and commentary at, and that has to count for something.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Let's hear it for the one random unidentified zealot!

More on google-stalking, etc: thinking about stat trackers for websites as a sort of meta-level stalking, whereby you can see the IP addresses and paths whose visits to your site originate as google searches for your name. Someone at work was saying today that he used to look up every IP address that ever visited any of his subpages until he began to find it rather depressing: all the visits were from his mother, his girlfriend, and one random unidentified zealot rather than from the multitude of visitors that his overall hit count had led him to expect.

Teenage mother, cuckolder, successful litigator, prom queen

Anne suggested that it would be easier if, when talking about people on TV shows, we substituted names of people she knows so that she can follow along more easily. In this way I've been a teenage mother, a cuckolder, a successful litigator, and a prom queen all in the last week. (Only one of these was ever true of me. Which one?)

I've been thinking lately about my time at Penn and my last couple of years of grad school in particular, which I guess is another way of saying that I've been thinking about the last four or five years. One of our interns from the summer is thinking about getting a Ph.D., maybe in linguistics, and she asked what I thought about that and whether it seemed like a good idea. Of course whether it's a good choice depends on a range of factors, not least of which are your intended department and your basic personality and how it is likely to fare in the psychodrama that is a doctoral program; of the fact that it is a psychodrama do not allow yourself to doubt. There is a near 100% overlap of my friends who go through existential crises every three and a half minutes and my friends who finished, or even more so, got close to finishing without actually finishing, a Ph.D. Normal people go through this stuff like normal people, when work or family is tough and no more than once every year or couple of years. Not so most of my grad school friends, most of whom still don't know what they want to do when they grow up and are variously concerned about it or drinking too much to be concerned about it. The exceptions, of course, are the people who realized within the first couple of years that they wanted to bail and took a masters and left and the ones who finished feeling strong and who probably entered into their professional lives with pretty good jobs.

I'm wondering if I'm going to reach a point where more of my friends are basically stable and settled than are not, or if everyone is always going to be in chaos because I've made friends with people for whom chaos is a kind of stability.

Either way, I'm seriously ready for a good night's sleep.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Bloggable OC

I'm moving my The OC fanpage off my babel site so that everyone can post their witty, snarky comments about Mischa Barton's eating disorder and Adam Brody's trousers. This year I promise to be more consistent about maintaining it.

November 4, baby.

Limoncello: not meant to be consumed by the cupful

Friday night I went to see the Badly Drawn Boy show with one of my neighbors and some guys that I work with. Owing to one thing and another, where "one thing" means "not enough food earlier in the day" and "another" means "vodka," I don't actually remember a lot about the first half of the show. The second half I do remember, and it was pretty fun. After the show when Ritchie and I came back here to drink some more I learned a valuable lesson about limoncello: it's not supposed to be consumed by the cupful. I finally went to sleep around 7 in the morning and when I woke up several hours later things were a little blurghy. After copious water, food, and a long-ish run, I felt vaguely human again. It turns out that I'm going to have to stop saying that gin is the only thing that gives me hangovers, assuming that waking up and not being able to distinguish between someone pounding on the door and something pounding in my head is indicative of a hangover.

I can't believe that more of you haven't posted your instant happy songs. Ben! Erin! Heather! I'm relying on you here, people.

Lately I've been thinking again about what I can and can't blog about. The last few weeks have been pretty eventful for me both personally and professionally and yet none of it is in this forum. The thing about blogs is that it turns out that maybe people read them. And so I've been posting and posting, but only peripherally about the things that I've really been thinking about.

One thing I've been thinking about is the phenomenon of google-stalking, which pretty much everyone does and no one admits to doing. And I don't think there's anything really inherently that creepy about google-stalking the people you're actually friends with or know well, even though no one admits to that either. There is something kind of creepy about unabashedly admitting it, somehow. I'm wondering how many people, when they meet someone new or make new friends or start dating someone or whatever, now have it as their first instinct to google that person just to see what's out there. I wonder how many of them admit it, both in general and in specific ("Hey, I googled you, and saw that you used to row crew in college/act on a minor soap opera/model for balloon pornography/go to Princeton.") I wonder how many people mind being a source of curiosity.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I have a mandolin

This has been a hurrendous week, and yet I'm in an oddly good mood. Maybe it's because I've been listening to this Strokes album non-stop since acquiring it, including several very loud play-throughs the last couple of evenings. No complaints from neighbors yet; fortunately the complainy neighbors are on the other side of the apartment from the stereo. I don't know why I didn't get this album sooner, and I can see why it was on so many people's best of 2003 lists. A couple of those tracks in particular are part instant happy, all instant adrenaline.

You know how that happens, where a particular song is just instant adrenaline, or instant melancholy, or instant happy? I wrote an essay about this last year even if the fact that it seems like a kind of Nick Hornby topic makes me annoyed with myself. At least a couple of you even read it. No matter. Some of my instant happy songs:

Head On -- Jesus and Mary Chain
100,000 Fireflies -- Magnetic Fields*
Crash -- The Primitives
He's on the Phone -- Saint Etienne
I Don't Do Crowds -- Camera Obscura
King -- Belly
There's Too Much Love -- Belle and Sebastian
Math Doesn't Miss You -- Discount
Nothing Better -- The Postal Service
He's My Star -- The Poster Children
Good Vibrations -- The Beach Boys
Your Father and I -- The Beautiful South
The Laws Have Changed -- The New Pornographers
Whenever You're Around -- The Ocean Blue
Happiness Is All the Rage -- The Promise Ring
And yes, I admit it: Walking on Sunshine -- Katrina and the Waves
And oh god, I admit this one too: Burning Up -- Madonna, and what are you gonna do about it?

So, you guys... your instant happy songs? What are they? Even the ones you should be ashamed of. Even/especially if it's "Burning Up."

*I think you'll admit that it takes a special kind of weirdo to designate a song as instant happy that begins with the lyric: "I have a mandolin, I play it all night long, it makes me want to kill myself"

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Kiss me now that I'm older

First thing's first: spent a lot of time this afternoon listening to the most recent Strokes album and that Keane album that Ben recommended in this very blog a month or so ago. Totally grooving on both of them. The Strokes turn out to be magic music for fixing the little sorting bugs that I'm working on. Keane reminds me a bit of Rufus Wainwright crossed with Thom Yorke. (That's a good thing.)

Second thing's second: I think I scared the carpool boys by telling them that I have a DJ coming to my party. Now granted it's a friend (well, a friend of a friend), but that combined with the tiara that I plan to acquire and wear means that you know it's going to be an awesome party.

Third thing's third: this afternoon I got tickets to see Badly Drawn Boy on Friday night. And so my resolve to get my butt out to see live music more often rages on unchecked.

Okay, you knew it was coming. The vice presidential debate. I haven't actually read any media reactions to it yet since I just got finished watching it on TiVo. I think Cheney won pretty decisively. Edwards really disappointed me -- I was expecting a better performance from someone trained as a litigator. Cheney was able to capitalize on the experienced elder statesman stuff, and I suspect that the polls in the next couple of days will bear this out.

I'm glad that there are two more presidential debates and no more vice presidential ones. I believe that Bush will do better in the town hall format than he did in last week's debate, so I'm really glad that the final debate is going to use the original format. Of the four candidates, I think Kerry comes across the best in the debates hands down, but I have to say that Cheney edges Edwards out for second place.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Marquis de Sod

The title of a local landscaping business, as seen today at lunch on the side of one of their vans:


Their slogan:

"Let us whip your lawn into shape!"

It makes me wish I had a lawn so I could hire them to landscape it.

Short stories

I can't believe that none of you lame-os had a thing to say about the debate.

Though it matters less, I think the vice presidential debate tomorrow should be very interesting, and much closer than the first presidential debate last week. I expect that both Edwards and Cheney will play the age card in different ways.

On to other things:

I've finally moved to reading Oblivion, the recent David Foster Wallace collection of short stories that I bought when it first came out. I'm only a story and a half in. So far I'm enjoying the second story more than the first, but my overall impression of both is that he's done it better elsewhere, where "it" is the same ol' same ol' story technique.

I've been thinking lately about writing and genres, and in particular about short stories and who's written them better than most anyone else. I keep coming back to William Trevor. If you haven't read his short stories you really ought to. For twentieth century stories I put him up there with Flannery O'Connor and James Joyce. And Joyce possibly aside, it's remarkable how much better they are writing short stories than they are with longer forms. O'Connor and Trevor have both written solid novels, but their short stories are transcendant.

If the debates failed to elicit a response from you, dear reader(s), I can only imagine how a post on writing and genre is going to do.