Saturday, May 31, 2008


Today being Saturday, I of course spent almost 14 hours at school.

14 hours. That's a damn long time. However, it was a useful 14 hours of Saturday at school! I:

1. attended the second half of the ECHO conference (does anonymizing the blog mean I should change the name of the conference? Okay, I'll call it REVERB.)

2. read most of the useful bits of the two books I needed to read for my paper due Monday.

3. wrote four pages of said paper.

4. ate unbelievable quantities of delicious cheese.

5. cursed myself for a fool for eating all that cheese and not washing my face this morning. This is a surefire recipe for a giant face pimple. Which is on the way and already starting to pain me. Stupid post-puberty persistence of pimples.

6. came up with some more ideas for my paper due Wednesday.

7. got a ride home with Z2 and the cute boy from the REVERB conference.

8. saw the last half hour of The Birdcage, one of the best films in existence.

Sadly, I will be back at school for at least four hours tomorrow. Because the score I need for my Monday paper is non-circulating. Both copies. Because otherwise people would keep checking out this 17th century sacred Jewish song collection all the fucking time. Really. It's so popular. Luckily, the library is only open 1-4 on Sundays, so I can't possibly work with the score any longer than that. I'm glad there's no way my paper can possibly take longer than that.

To alleviate the bitterness of that last paragraph, here's a fun story I read while researching for my paper (paraphrased):

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who went for a walk among the common folk. Some lazy jerk sitting around on his ass called out, "I'd tap that!" The princess replied, "Over my dead body," and walked out of the story forever. The jerk, being a jerk, interpreted that as "I'll meet you in the graveyard for sexy sexy sex." He went to the graveyard and jerked off for a week or so, waiting for her. For no apparent reason, this caused him to become a holy man, and people came to his cemetery for the rest of his life to get his blessing.

Isn't Kabbalah bizarre? This is a fourteenth century rabbi's story, retold by a seventeenth century rabbi, then by a twenty-first century scholar, then by me. I think my version is the best.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


There is a fly in my apartment. It is loud and large and getting in the way of everything.

I cannot smash the fly because I have a very fragile cake in the oven, and smashing the fly would probably make my cake fall.

My cake will probably fall anyway because my oven is made entirely out of crappiness. This means I had to rotate the cake halfway through--NOT a good idea for a delicate cake--and I can't leave it in after shutting off the oven, the way I usually do, since the oven won't cool fast enough and the cake will burn.

I am supposed to be writing my final paper for Divine Love, but instead I am blagging. Because I really really really don't want to write this paper. I care very little about medieval and Renaissance Jewish mysticism. Why am I writing about it, you ask? Because I didn't want to put the time into this class that thinking of another topic would involve. Now my laziness is coming back to bite me in the interest-in-my-topic.

And the stupid fly is still buzzing around my living room. Grrrrr.

(On the positive side, I will soon have a cake. If it falls, I can't serve it at the conference and I'll have to eat it all myself!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Memoriam

Last Friday, unbeknownst to me, witnessed the passing of U. Utah Phillips. His official obituary is here, for those who are interested in learning more about this remarkable man. For me, the Golden Voice of the Great Southwest was the truest kind of musician; he made his living making music, but he worked awful hard at other things, and his music worked for those other things too. Check out his We Have Fed You All A Thousand Years if you want to get a good idea of who he was and what he did.

Those of you who grew up in Protestant churches (or sang in them for money, like some Jews I know) may be familiar with the Old Hundredth, the tune that goes with the Doxology prayer. According to Utah, most of what he said in all of his performances could be summed up in this version of the hymn (authorship unknown):

Praise Boss when morning work bells chime.
Praise Him for bits of overtime.
Praise Him whose wars we love to fight.
Praise Him, fat leech and parasite.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

WTF, internet?

In the course of researching for a paper, I needed to think of as many synonyms for "woman" as possible. I figured the intertubes would help me with this, so I googled woman and synonyms.

Several of the resultant websites included the following list, in various permutations:

cleaning lady, charwoman, womanhood, cleaning woman, woman, adult female, fair sex, char

Now, I am as willing as the next feminist to believe that there is sexism lurking behind every tree, but even I had no idea that the internet thinks all women are cleaning ladies. I was hoping for words like "girl" or "female" or "lady," but ones I hadn't thought of yet.

Since the internet has failed me, I must ask real people for help. I am compiling a list of show tunes written by men that claim to define womanhood. So far my list includes a ton of obscurities and the following flawless gems of representation:

I Enjoy Being a Girl (from Flower Drum Song)

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

How Lovely to be a Woman (from Bye Bye Birdie)

These three may end up being all I need for my paper, but if anyone has any additions, I am happy to take suggestions. Any thoughts, mysterious blog readers?

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Five minutes later, I remember to plug this movie that I saw last night. Go see it! Marisa Tomei, the Cusacks, Hillary Duff (was actually great!), Ben Kingsley, Dan Akroyd, and excellent, excellent satire. Everything that was over the top was so explicitly acknowledged as over the top that it came across as realistic. Too realistic, in some instances. I cannot handle human-on-human violence, and there was a fair amount of it. But necessary, for the most part.

If this movie comes near you, please see it. I did not enjoy it uncritically, and I have many things I'd like to discuss with you if you see it, but I don't want to be spoiler guy.

However, I will tell you that the guide voice in the talking car/plane/various trucks is Montel Williams. Almost as cool as the real life Eddie Izzard guide voice one can install.


Today I accomplished nothing useful. I intended to read for class and to start my final papers, but instead I sat on my ass, napped, drank tea, and ate soup.

In my defense, these are perfectly normal activities when one is sick. I believe one is. I spent the day alternating between dizzy spells, with headaches attendant, and periods during which I told myself I was just making it up and needed to get back to work.

Regardless of how justified my unproductivity may be, the upshot is still this: Two days of my four day weekend are gone with no work to show for it. This is a problem. I was at a point where I thought the remaining work was a perfectly manageable amount, as long as I didn't fritter my time away.

And today, I frittered. The remaining work is still quite manageable, I know, but each passing hour of non-work makes me feel guilty and stressed. And my throat hurts.


While the above would be a decent ending to the post, I must mention the fact that my last week has been full of guests. I had important times with all of them, even if not every moment was the height of pleasure. At least two long-awaited discussions took place. Results may vary. Side effects apparently include headaches, dizziness, sore throat, achy joints, incoherent sentence structure, and matzo balls.

Only one of those was a good thing.

In conclusion, I am still feeling petulant and sulky about my health and lack of productivity. But the reheated toddy I forgot to drink last night is helping with that.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Fabulous weekend became, in an instant, fantastically shitty Monday. It must be my time of the month. Both Z1 and Z2 told me this week that I look like a lesbian.

Moloko is my Friar today. I know she doesn't read this, but I wanted to announce it anyway. Thank you!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

California is the new Massachusetts

Go California!

You rock!

(this is not to be construed as an endorsement of the LA Times, whose website I find to be reprehensibly news-free, as a rule.)

I don't understand spam

I have suddenly started receiving staggering amounts of watch-related spam. Have I been visiting timepiece-oriented porn sites without knowing it? I am perplexed.

Two years ago, I received a similar influx of spam in various east Asian languages. It is far more likely, I'll admit, that I was visiting an Asian porn website than a clock porn site, but in fact I wasn't.

Why do these things happen? The intertubes confuse me.

Also, Pygar is dead. Sadness!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thematically disparate

I can see the (near) future. Within five weeks, I will finish this quarter and achieve summer vacation! This is a very short period of time. I will totally be able to do this.

I recently acquired (from Fenchurch) the complete Papermill Playhouse recording of Children of Eden. This replaces the highlights recording I got (from Une Pipe) some years ago. I must say, listening to the complete soundtrack after becoming very familiar with the highlights brought tears to my eyes. The full version is far, far superior to the highlights, as it includes the reprises and contrafacta that make the music work as a unit instead of a series of disconnected songs. Stephen Schwartz, I have a newfound appreciation for your skill.

This weekend I need to write a 10-page paper on a 2-page trio sonata from the early 17th century (c. 1614). How I am going to do this is a subject to debate. If only the professor hadn't specified in the syllabus that "your paper...should have a point..."

Music in LA readings this week are all about Disneyland. Hilarious.

I bought a 7"-diameter exercise ball for Nikolai, but he has thus far been too cranky to try it out. Perhaps tomorrow night he will take it on its maiden voyage around the living room.

The Turn of the Screw is just an amazing opera. If you haven't seen/heard it, please rent the movie. There are three movies at least; I like the one from 2004, but I haven't seen the others. It makes me shiver and cry and think and all sorts of good things. The 2002 CD conducted by Daniel Harding is my recommended recording; all the other ones I know of use an adult woman for Flora, and that's just weird.

I think that's all that my head wants to spew tonight. Now that the pressure is lessened, perhaps I will go to sleep ridiculously early and wake up refreshed. Hah.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Exciting mystery!

For the third time this year (or at least the third time of which I know), a drain in our apartment decided spontaneously to reverse directions and spew disgusting water up instead of down. Here's the $64,000 question:

What are our upstairs neighbors flushing that makes our kitchen sink (and once, a toilet) spit up brown, oily, murky water?

The follow up question is, will the sink continue to do this all night, as it is far too late to call the handyman tonight? It's at peak capacity right now, holding steady for two hours so far, but I worry that as soon as we go to bed, disaster will strike. At least this time I'm not home alone, in the middle of preparing a seder, covered in honey and matzo meal.

Final Jeopardy Question: Why can't I have clean, dry mysteries that involve cute boys? Well, maybe not entirely clean and dry...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh, the tubes

You may have noticed the new comic in my list on the left. But probably not. Here is a link to something that made me laugh out loud, a rare reaction when I read webcomics. Cat and Girl in 'Tom Tom Club'. Please lose yourselves in Cat and Girl, the newest time sink interfering with my graduate education. Thanks go out to Carmen Sandiego for inadvertently bringing this comic to my attention by posting one episode of it on her husband's facebook wall, thereby simultaneously posting it on my stalkerfeed.

The top of my next list is the ESP game. Do this, everybody! It's an experiment in human computing that allows you to waste hours and hours of time while actually accomplishing something marginally useful: labeling every image on the intertubes with a searchable word tag that makes sense. Plus you get points! Everybody loves points! Even those who, like me, hate-loathe-despise-and-abominate Raymond.

And the last list I use to decorate that barren patch to the left of my text is the blagademic list. I am toying with the idea of scrapping this list, as the bottom two of the three are only marginally awesome. However, Bitch PhD is my new home away from physical reality, and it needs to remain. Four women with doctoral degrees post on all sorts of topics, and post unbelievably well. BitchPhD herself is my favorite, although the others are fabulous as well, and she actually answered my efanmail! While the blog in and of itself is worth time, the comment threads are where the time really disappears. Today I got to mention both The Wrestling Princess and The Enchanted Forest Chronicles in a comment relating to toddlers and gender roles. Hooray!

If any of y'all have suggestions for better lists or more items to put on the current lists, let me know. I love to redecorate.