Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Material girl no more.

Last night I had a dream that Madonna's boyfriend was trying to trick me into having unprotected sex with him and I was worried about getting an STD. I don't have to walk to the psychic on the corner to tell me that the boyfriend is UCLA and the only thing it's trying to infect me with is abject poverty. In 2003 I was one of 2 psychology graduate students in America to get this one kind of fellowship (it typically goes to students in the Arts and Humanities). It's "need based," meaning that your institution decides how much of it you get and keeps the other part for itself. Funny how they've decided that I only "need" ONE FUCKING THIRD of the entire fellowship. The fellowship is portable, meaning I could pack my bags and go to one of the other schools that consistently finds a way to justify giving their students the entire (or close to) amount. But moving would of course be a huge pain and I'm so close to the requisite two years you have to live in a place before sweet things start happening right and left. And I'm finally starting to like graduate school in a way I haven't before-- I'm in the 'zone.' As one comment contributor put it, "hate life. it's annoying because i'm like really into school right now." Indeed.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The juicy* bits: Installment 1

This is the first (of 2, excluding Friendster) guy I dated from the internet. Yep. I'm coming out of the internet-dating closet for once and for all-- but I'm more bi than full-on internet. And I always C - R - I - N - G - E whenever I even imagine the awkwardness that can ensue.

So yeah, this guy. Even though his profile was similar to how it is now, only months after I broke up with him did I realize that this guy couldn't have spelled out, "I AM REALLY INTERESTED IN GETTING IT ON. AND ON." more clearly if he'd leased a billboard. But I was younger then (sigh). . . and it was 2003.

The funny thing is, this guy was totally into being a "boyfriend." He always wanted to do 'couple-y' things like cook dinner, go to concerts, ride his vintage bikes to street fairs, and go to his company parties at swanky estates in Malibu. Once he called me just to tell me about his day at work and I was totally flummoxed.

One problem was that most of the time his job ended at 6, and mine didn't really end ever (well, it wasn't *supposed* to)-- in fact, I attribute getting a B in the first half of advanced statistics to having spent too much time playing Connect 4 and pool and too little time understanding estimators and predictors. Ultimately, I traded up (or thought so at the time) for a model that was certainly more intellectually and ideologically similar to me (e.g., the dude in the profile was skeptical that Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" had anything to do with political motivation), but certainly not emotionally available or inclined to jump into full-on 'boyfriend' mode anytime this century. And basically I've been dating versions of the second guy ever since-- well if I meet them in real life. I've never creeped into "tell me about your day" territory with anyone else from online or some other contrived dating experience.

Of all (not like it's *that* many) guys I've dated in LA, it's only this one that I ever think about in a counterfactual, 'what if,' kind of way. It's not that the only reason we broke up was about Radiohead or schedules, but I think-- 'yep, that is the alternative to being in these faux relationships with people I think are cool and smart,' and obviously I keep choosing the latter for some reason.

*not THAT juicy, but better than Dorothy Hamil.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Trainwrecks: metaphorical and otherwise.

I've never been one give credence to omens, but today could've been the day to convert me. I'm making the usual morning walk - it's a bright sunny day and I'm listening to some tunes on my iPod as I walk down Bundy to catch my usual #2 Big Blue Bus to school. I get to the crosswalk and see that the orange hand is flashing-- taunting, rather than reassuring me to cross. The light is a long one, but I confirm that all the cars are staying in their places before I cross. There's a black BMW in the crosswalk, but it's stationery. As I'm crossing, I become aware of a huge, metallic, black mass that is moving toward me, yep, "Oh, my God, it's finally happening," I think as I realize I am now learning what's it's like to be hit by a car. I beat on the hood to get the driver's attention. The front right tire kind of grabs me and spins me away from the car and toward the ground. By the time I'm upright and turned around, the driver is stopped, looking out from behind the mafia-grade tinted windows with what I expect is his most genuine, "Oh shit, what now?" face. I just wave him on. All I needed was for him to stop running over me. Of course by this time the orange hand is sternly still and I'm in the middle of the street and have to dash out of the way of an oncoming red Jeep.

No one at school had a camera, so I had to wait until I came home to tutor to capture the treadmarks. I was glad I had a skirt on and didn't have to get pants drycleaned. I checked the Craigslist Missed Connections to see if anyone had posted something to the woman they ran over with offers of presents or other delightful treats, but no luck as of noon today.


Too bad that wasn't the worst thing that happened today. It turns out that I either reported my income from last year twice on my FAFSA or I'm getting totally screwed out of my fellowship by UCLA-- neither options are good and both are nausea inducing, but I'm going in tomorrow to pitch my case and at least get a figure that lets me sleep over the weekend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Evangelism Spotlight: Jane Hamilton

At some point in all the bookshopping I did in the Pacific Northwest this month, I picked up The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton. It's her first novel and won the 1989 Pen/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel. Rightly so. This book is good. If you're looking for a good novel about rural poverty in Illinois-- look no further. Even though the subject matter isn't exactly uplifting, Hamilton's dry wit brings complexity to these characters and saves them from becoming stereotypes.

I also recommend Disobedience by Jane Hamilton. This time the narrator is an adolescent boy making sense of his mom's infidelity and his dad and sister's obsessed devotion to Civil War reenactments. My favorite piece from this book: ". . . because I don't think the truth, uh, the truth, is going to set me free or get me back to Kansas or bring me to Jesus-- and I'm not sure, but there's no guarantee that telling would be a magical experience for you either."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What's on your bulletin board?

A helpful message from the ever-delightful main office that greeted us Franzies on Thursday morning:

An egregiously obnoxious message that appeared on various bulletin boards on Monday morning. I would be willing to bet that this "highly" gifted boy is actually some kid with school behavior problems ("he's just not challenged in the classroom") and who runs his family ("Sorry, Sarah and Dave, we can't come to dinner because little Miles, who's highly gifted you know, refuses to eat in the presence of anyone other than his two doting parents. We want him to be confident that he's our first priority as not to stunt his ego development."). I would also bet that there is a strong, positive relationship between the 'giftedness' of this child and the insufferability of his mother.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cute dog, annoying people.

Still dogsitting. I'm not a *dog person*, but this dog I'm watching is hilarious. Her name is Ellie and she really likes for me to be in the same room where she's taking a nap (her favorite pastime). So a lot of the time she's jingling down the hall (well, her tags are), encouraging me to follow her so she can nap in the living room. She usually trys a couple of times before she gives up and naps in whatever room I'm in. And she's a bad influence on sleeping in. She must watch me set the alarm every night, because she hops in bed every morning about 20 minutes before I'm supposed to get up, curling up beside me and pinning me into the covers.

I've been watching the BBC's The Office on DVD this week-- at first I thought, 'yeah, that's funny,' but now I'm addicted. Watching the 'bonus features' DVD only made it worse.

Annoyances of the day:
1. An undergrad emailed me yesterday at 4:45, wanting to set up a time to meet with me "asap!" so I could sign something so she can do research with one of my advisors. I told her I'd definitely be in my office between 10 and 12. I was-- even though I wanted to go work in another lab, I stayed here. Did the girl who gave me her cell phone number so I could 'get in touch with her right away' show up for me to sign her 'very important' form?


2. My office is connected another office that 2 people share. I use their refrigerator and microwave and usually keep the door between us shut. One of them (who's all into mindfulness and goes on meditation weekends) always leaves the light on when he leaves. Nonsequitor: UCLA sent around a memo a while back telling people (like we care) that during the summer vacation and winter break holidays (at least when the university is officially closed) they're not going to heat and cool rooms that don't temperature sensitive things (e.g., animals, computer servers)-- this saves like $200,000 or something-- for turning the air conditioner off on Sundays!

Friday, April 08, 2005

A film, a dog.

Earlier this week I went to a screening of Lipstick and Dynamite. It's a documentary about women's wrestling in the 40s and 50s. What's funny is that these women were totally feminine, in the makeup and dresses kind of way, but they also said things to each other like, "Hello, fuck face." It's about 60/40 old footage/contemporary interviews with these women who are mostly between 65 and 80 now. I say people should see it. I think it opens today.

I've been dogsitting for the latter part of this week. I've found myself having one-sided conversations with the dog.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Puberty on ice.

After I got back in town at the end of last week, I finally managed to twist enough elbows to pay a visit to the Culver City Ice Arena. It was TOTALLY AWESOME! Well, for one, it was fun to ice skate, even though the rental skates* are brown and are of course totally crappy. In addition to reliving the glory days of fulfilling a physical education requirement at SU by taking figure skating from Michelle Bacon** at Chaparral Ice in Round Rock, the people-watching was unbeatable. I kept wishing I was doing some study on adolescents because I just know I could've bribed them with Dove ice cream bars and they would've happily completed my survey. . . Even though I didn't come of age in an ice rink like these kids were doing, we did have a rollerskating rink in Liberty and I was in middle school for 3 years, so I know young teen drama when I see it. Girls busied themselves with exchanging really important information with each other as they did laps around the rink in the outfits they'd been thinking about all day. Some kids tried on new grown up things, like swearing. I heard them shout to one other, "Hey, what the fupshh . . . " more than once. I think they were almost brave enough. . .

When I was leaving I saw a flier to get 10 ice skating lessons (and a couple of free admissions each week) for $100. I think I may do it this summer.

*Before my little sister was born and my mom still thought that "good moms" stayed home with their kids, we used to drive to this roller rink in this town 20 minutes away all the time to skate. I would always ask for the white skates with the rainbow that this other girl wore, but my mom told me that the rink must run out of them before we get there. And seven years later I found out the truth about Santa Claus, too.

**Michelle Bacon was hilarious in that "persons who take themselves way too seriously" sort of way. We had written and performance mid terms and final exams. She was totally into this other skater Jacque who came to visit for a while, even though he was about 10 years younger, and 2 tiers cooler, than her.