Monday, December 13, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Has Some of "Those" Experiences

We all have them from time to time. A fully grounded real world experience that is the equivalent of a full on out of body experience. Deep within finishing off this blasted LLM (itself a rather out of body experience) I keep having these sorts of experiences all the time, and find that I quite enjoy them as at least they keep me laughing. They include:
- the look of sheer amazement on my now ex-boyfriend's face when he realized that breaking up means no more of those great kisses hello. You could almost see the gears grinding together to figure out that that was the starting point of what wasn't going to happen any more. What part of "we're through" he was failing to understand, I don't know.
- calling a friend, and listening to her two and a half year old clamber to talk to me on the phone. She didn't quite make it, but within two seconds after Mommy put the phone down, we all discovered that la bebe knows how to hit "redial." The following conversation, of which I understood fully five words, was completely transcendental. I may have promised a kidney.
- having someone attempt to pick me up by saying "You! Come over here!" I kept on walking by, so he gave chase. I turned just as he put his hand out and transfixed him with such a stare that he froze in his tracks.
- Discovering that a 90 page government report is the answer to tomorrow's academic exam fears.

Two more days, and the degree is over. Wherever shall I go? Whatever shall I do? I may even have to get one of them there career things......nah, I'll just apply to divinity school. The next person to make a lawyers and lack of ethics jokes gets one of them there transfixing stares.

Monday, December 06, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Marvels Without Seeing

Apparently, blindness ain't what it used to be. Stevie Wonder has ridiculed Eminem's new video. Now, Stevie's got a right to his criticisms, and the words he's used seem pretty valid, but I just can't get past the fact that he hasn't actually *seen* the video. And he's not going to either. Which is a shame, since of course I definitley prefer Stevie to Eminem. Stevie's got the music thing going on, and Eminem's got the flash in the tawdry gotta create a sensation to sell records thing going on. But for a blind guy to comment on the contents of a music video (which don't relate to the song lyrics) well......there's better advocates.

Which reminds me, I was told a great story over the weekend. Bill Cosby apparently relates going over to Ray Charles' house at some point, and when he goes in, it is pitch dark. Makes sense, as why would Ray Charles turn the lights on? All the same to him. So Bill shouts out "Ray! What are you doing?"
"In the *dark*?"
Then, of course, when Ray just burst out laughing and couldn't stop, Cos realized what a silly thing he'd said.

Back to papers.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Goofs Up

Dateline: the library. I officially drove myself crazy today while working on my paper and wondering "what the heck is that buzzing sound?" Given that the computer lab has been tropical of late to say the least, and the computers occasionally start whirring for no known reason, apart from the fact the sound wasn't giving up, I just let myself be annoyed but didn't give it much more thought. It was just one of those things that happens in the lab.

Of course, 90 minutes later when I picked up my backpack and discovered that the sound had been the weight of my books pressing on my electic toothbrush to make it whirrrrrrrrrr, I was ready to throw myself out the window.

Yours in insanity, but with exceptionally clean teeth,
Anne xxxooo
In Which Our Heroine Dreams of When the LLM is Over

The LLM is over. Soon. Thankfully. As of December 14, I've got all the post-LLM time I can handle (of course, I have to get ready to leave the country and in the meantime have promised to try to set up lots of funding and sponsorship for a local charity. You know, because you just never can be too busy.)

But first, I have to get through these damn papers. The deadline is midnight Monday. I'll make it, and it won't kill me, but it *is* going to hurt.

And then....a blissed out week of just ordinary work work and getting ready to head to England for two weeks at Christmas and for New Years. Courtesy of the frequent flyer miles on my account, this is costing me next to nothing. As in, half the price of having my tooth pulled. And infinitely more fun. It also lets me set up trying to get myself one of them there job things while I'm in London for those six months.

In the meantime, it involves spending a lot of time in the library. Where I again re-discover that dreaded class of citizen, the day camper, I mean student. Now, Suffolk's night program is filled with all these PhDs from MIT and Harvard. Up there at teh top of the class they were a competitive bunch and kept me on the top of my game. But the night students and the LLM students all have a reason why they're in that particualar program. The night students are there because it is the best night program in the area, and they're over qualified and also holding jobs. The LLM students are here because they want this certain program, which is offered in no other law school in the area, and only very few in the country.

I've said it outloud, I'll say it on line. The day students are here because they couldnt' get into a better law school.

What do I base this assertion on? Simple observation. I've been spending WAY too much time in the library over the last couple of years, and there are way too many day students in my LLM classes. They are noticable at 100 yards. Basically, because even though they've had the same lecturers that I've had, they singularly failed to have learned anything. This becomes obvious when you hear them speak about the law. It turns into "wow. You paid a lot of money for tuition, you turned up and you just failed to learn anything. Anything." I once questioned a presentation by a day student with the opening line of "Are you honestly trying to tell me that....." That was rude of me, but I was just so shocked that anyone failed to grasp such basic concepts. Yes, it was true. He *was* trying to tell me that. I checked results later. He'd flunked the bar. I wasn't suprised.

I remember starting here as a night student, and a day student had written an article in the school paper about not getting a job. It was obvious why she hadn't - she couldn't even write a persuasive article about not getting a job. Grammar errors everywhere. You had to feel for the girl.

Other night students have noticed the same issues. It really is just shocking, and someone ought to give these students a short, sharp shock PRIOR to graduating. Because they're not getting one after!

Anyway, must get back to papers. And trying not to focus on the idiocy and LOUD TALKING that makes it so obvious.

Love to all
Anne xxxooo

Thursday, November 04, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Gets a Wee Bit Antagonistic

We all know (or at least I know, and if you're a faithful reader, you know as well) that there's someone who has yet to ID himself to me down at the Department of Justice who checks in and reads this blog every week. This happens whether I write something on it or not.

This, obviously, concerns me. Mostly because I consider the DOJ under Ashcroft to have been filled with facsist weenies. And also because I think the DOJ under Gonzalez is going to make me nostalgic for the Ashcroft days. How scary is that?

Want to know what happens when this sort of power isn't checked?

This is what happens.

To all you at the DOJ fighting the fight for civil liberties, my hat's off to all seven of you. To the rest of you out there denigrating what America ought to be, you're getting your wish, and I'm leaving the country again for a while. End of Feb, for at least six months. Of course, I'll still be posting here, so you can

xxoo Anne
The Day After
I've said it before, I'll no doubt say it again. I hate George W. Bush. I can't believe people voted for him. Don't these people like having jobs, or health insurance, or a country without a massive deficit, or civil rights? Or do they really like sending their sons off to war, terrorist attacks (didn't anyone else find it weird that the only president to suffer foreign terrorist attacks on US soil claimed he was the best guy to fight it?), the cronyism of Haliburton and the simple fact that the abortion rate under Bush has actually risen?

I e-mailed most of my foreign male friends this morning and proposed marriage. I'm awaiting the answers. Of course the new boyfriend still has an Argentinian passport, so that could be the answer. Time to flee, peeps.
Yours under threat here in America.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Attends a Beautiful Event

Well, I went to Canada. It was fun! I even handled the flight up there and back well, which for me is a miracle and a half. I handled the flight up there by being too stressed to have to worry about the plane crashing. This sort of thing will happen when a girl doesn't book her flights by herself. When instead someone books them for her online, I offer this top tip: review your flight plans closely. Not because there might be an error, but rather because it helps to know the difference between what time you land and what time you're going to take off. You guessed it. I made all my plans (including, eek, my packing plans) around taking off at 3:30. So I planned to be at the airport at 2. Of course, it turned out that my flight left at 2. Quickly, reconfigure everything. Then reconfigure again as this reconfiguring meant that instead of Bill taking me to the airport, I was going to have to take mass transit. Not a problem in and of itself, but it means less time. Your final calculations will reveal that you have forty minutes to pack, take a shower and leave the house. Time to get a move on.

It was later revealed that it was a miracle that I got there at all, since of course I left my travel wallet behind.

Friday, October 15, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Makes a New Start
Well, with my having returned from the great gay Canadian Operatic Wedding complete with featured show tune by the happy couple, you no doubt want to hear all about that. And I'll get to it, but I'm in the process of a whole new start on things. New job, details on new place to live, all sorts of the new, some of which I have been forbidden to blog about (a statement which my stupid mind then begins to categorize - have I been restricted via trade secret or a covenant not to compete? Does it matter? I'm still forbidden either way.) The lesson learned from that is don't agree to anything while you're still dazed and sleepy, as you'll agree to things that maybe you shouldn't. Never mind, i have agreed, and I will stick to both the letter and the spirit of the agreement. But first I've got to figure out the new job. Why didn't they give me a phone?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Learns the Definition of a Good Party
Ah, that was quite the BBQ last night. Re-defined "good party." How so? Well, a good party is no longer one with sufficient booze (although that was the case), or good entertainment (although that was also the case) or even one where the police are called (although come to think of it, that happened too.) It turns out that a *really* good party is...... where you clean up with power tools.

Having been a little more than slightly intoxicated (and the fact that my cell phone battery died, which means that I couldn't retrieve the phone number for my taxi service), the spare room, a clean t-shirt to sleep in and listerine (no spare tooth brush, but I survived.) was offered, and I took it. I woke up this morning to come downstairs and discover Mike doing the clean up, bless his wee cotton socks. He'd done a pretty good job, but somehow a shot glass had slipped into the garbage disposal, and was not going to be extricated. My initial impression was that I would at least give it a damn good try, and suggested using tweezers. This didn't help, but it did seem better than Mike's attempt, using a large wrench. I felt so clever, but I didn't know what I was in for. In the end, Mike broke the glass and fished the pieces out. Even breaking the glass proved difficult, but the wrench did the trick. Then, getting the pieces out (don't want to jam up the disposal) seemed like it was going to be ok as Mike has one of those chain mail or whatever gloves, so that he wouldn't get sliced. But that wasn't working as he couldn't feel anything to get it out of the drain still. The solution?

Shop vac. Mike hauled it up from the basement, and then just stuck the hose down in the drain and flipped the switch. Worked like a voodoo charm.

I admit, such a procedure never would have occured to my non-technical mind. But it did make sense after such a good party.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

In which our Heroine Plans a Little Vacation.

Gosh golly, I'm going away for five days! I have known for a bit that I was going, as it is for two friends' wedding, but as I had not yet bought the ticket (much shuffling of paychecks had to occur) it somehow didn't all seem permanent.

But then yesterday, in the middle of another get away (a day trip along the coast to Portland with Bill and Les - so much fun!!!!) James and Eric phoned to ask me my travel dates, as they were going to use their air miles for my ticket! It is just so incredibly sweet it makes me want to cry. My friends are so fabulous! I feel that I should do something to say thank you, but I am baking their wedding cake (a croquembouche), making fortune cookies, a witness in their wedding and reading a poem (e e cummings, but I don't know which one yet.) For extra fun Emma is coming over for the wedding as well, and we're staying with Reid. As if that wasn't enough of a reunion weekend, my friend Jamie from last year's Head of the Charles (he stayed with us and won!) happens to be in Toronto that week as well on business!

Overwhelming thought: must buff up and lose 90 pounds in a month! Just kidding. But some buffness never hurts.


Monday, August 16, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Starts to Worry About Herself
Apparently, the faucet was only the start. Today, I replaced the toilet! It was too easy. I repeat again, I am not becoming a plumber!

I am, however, starting to become a little hyperactive. Replacing the toilet wasn't enough. I then did all the stuff that needed to happen to prep the bathtub for re-finishing (it is a little dingy) and am now picking out colour schemes to re-paint the cellar. Then I started re-arranging all the furniture in my room. What is a girl to do?

Actually, what this girl is going to do is settle down and start baking. I've been commissioned to bake a wedding cake in October and I need a bit of practicing.

Oh yeah, and school starts Wednesday.......
In Which Our Heroine Watches the Olympics
Finally, it is that time. We've all waited for it, and now it is here. Time for me to get all worked up over the fact that Bob Costas covering the opening ceremonies is one of the most offensive things out there. At least this time around, when he and Katie got bored, they just shut up. No more waffling on about how to pronounce triskadekaphobia, and how the nation of Brasil considered the entire month of August cursed. Gee, Bob, we're watching the parade of nations' atheletes at the Olympics. Why don't we discuss the sports they might be competing in?

Of course, for me, the Olympics mostly involves falling asleep while trying to stay up to watch the rowing events, which are all shown at 3 in the morning. Why? Because they're showing them live? Hardly. I guess it is because NBC doesn't consider tall, hot sweating hotties in spandex as worthy as gymnastics preliminary competitions. Or even advertisements. I miss watching the Olympics on the BBC - great commentary, no ads. I'm all nostalgic for my youth, and it wasn't that long ago!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Succeeds
Ah, finally. I'm here. I've been trying to post for a couple weeks now, but there is some sort of compatibility issue between the new software and the new computer. So let's see where to start....

Adventures in Plumbing!
Aha! I have a great new landlady. Unlike our old one, who wouldn't even fix our doorbell when it was broken for weeks on end and we lived on the third floor (we fixed it in the end and took it off our rent), never mind things like the stove or the holes in teh linoleum, my shiny bouncy new landlady is not just willing to fix immediately, she's willing to upgrade. The shower head I brought (so that I can fit under to wash my hair) from three moves now was starting to leak at the joints, so on the condition I would leave it when I moved, she bought me a new one. A *better* one than I had. She's also re-done our floors, and when the sink started to leak from the top (it was very old) she bought a new one to replace it. I offered to install it.

This is where I went wrong. Now, in my landlady's defence, she offered to get a plumber. Heck, I was given the ability to call a plumber the second I didn't want to do this. But everything I read said that this was a relatively easy thing to do. Of course, everything I read also said that the trickiest bit about it was getting the old faucet OUT first. And this proved to be far too true. Gosh. And gosh again! Oh, the effort it took to get that thing out. The nuts would not budge. I even called Kit in the middle of it to say "Look, I've sprayed them with WD-40, what else can I do?" to which the answer seemed to be "Let's just double check you're trying to turn them the right way (I was, thankfully) and then just apply the force.

Force was applied. Unfortunately, the nuts were so firmly on there that the pipe stabilizing it at the top broke off so the nuts were now on a freely spinning bolt, but the faucet was still not going to come out. Kit had told me what I would have to do in this case, which was cut the bolt through. I could use a jigsaw, provided I had a hacksaw blade on it. A quick trip to Home Depot later, the blade was on. In the end, I was down on my knees grateful for the electric jigsaw - the pipe turned out to be so thick it was hard enough to cut with the jig - I can only imagine how much it would have taken to do it by hand!

Once the old faucet was out, the new faucet was put in. That part took ten minutes.

Then it took half an hour to clean up, mop the water off teh floor, put my sopping wet clothes in the laundry (I had, in fact, finished the job off topless as I refused to drench another shirt. WHo knew plumbing was so erotic?) and get on the sofa and refuse to budge!

Monday, June 28, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Confirms Her Brand Loyalty
Rowing, ah rowing. Bit of a passion of mine, which makes it highly weird that I really haven't been out this year. Until yesterday that is. Once a month in the summer my boat club hosts their "Harbor Rows" where you row down the Charles, through the locks, out into Boston Harbor down to the tea party ship, turn around and hang out by the USS Constitution for the 8am cannon fire, flag raising and playing of the national anthem. I have wanted to do this for so incredibly long I can't tell you. I think it was actually a big motivator behind joining this particular club.

First, I had to get a partner. The rule is you can't row it in a single for safety reasons - the locks, the swells in the harbor, that sort of thing. After Kit gave his usual no response response, I happened across the fact that Heike wanted to get back to rowing. We were a go! Bright and early (5:30. Um, well, we were scheduled for 5:30. I sort of mis-set the alarm clock and got there at ten to six. Bad me.) down to the boathouse, managing to snag my favorite Empacher double. But then alas alack it was taken away from me so that two guys who were heavier than Heike and I could row it. We had it pried out of our hands with the opportunity to row the shiny shiny new Filippi double. You know, try it out, put it through its paces.

Never again.

I have rowed, and in fact raced Filippi heavyweight doubles before and they were fine. Not great, but fine. But they've obviously done something in the new models which removes it from the category of fine and drops it to the category of "you've just got to be kidding me." They can be good boats, but from what I can figure out they're designed by little tiny Italians for little tiny Italians. If you're a lightweight, get a Filippi. If you're a big strong girl like me (or big strong guy), get thee an Empacher. This boat was so horrid that I had to swap out on the way back as the shin splints were that bad! No, and I mean no reach at the catch, so no real oomphage through the water, bad biomechanics therefore the shinsplints (no part of my body is sore today, so it wasn't a fitness issue, but my shins are still hobbling me seriously), and the gunnels were shaving the sides off my hips like a good parma ham. No no no no no. From now on, go Empacher for me or go home. I remember climbing into the Knauth down at the boathouse for the first time - it was like it had been custom designed for me. Ooo, the orgasmic bliss of that boat. Ok, so it has now been converted to a pair, but the other Empachers at the boathouse fit me just as well so it wasn't a one off. I think you can tell who the boat is deigned for in the mere length of the footstretchers. In the Filippi, even in the old one I was in danger of it slipping right off the end. Ditto in the new one. In the Empacher I've got bags of room. Case closed.

Boating nightmare aside, the harbor row was without question one of the coolest things I have ever done. It was all fabulous, much more fabulous than I had imagined except for what I thought would be the coolest part - the locks. I had expected much more swirling water and things. Frankly, it was so gentle you never would have even noticed what was going on apart from a quick glance at the tie ups on the side and going "Hey! Did the wall just move?" Good from a safety standpoint, and I'm certainly pro safety, but sometimes safe just isn't as exciting as you want it to be. I still had my wildlife siting of the day, but it was a very big jellyfish with an exceptionally long stingy tail which made me want to be extra certain that I didn't fall in. This was a whole new set of interesting issues I'd never thought aabout being in the harbour which apart from jellyfish included:
1) the fact that I've seen two con towers to submarines there in the past, and couldn't shake the feeling that at any minute we were about to start rising up into the air....
2) big signs by the coast guard cutters telling us not to come within 100 feet. The signs were posted by Homeland Security. It raised an interesting question - what exactly would they DO to us if say were were 75 feet from the cutter? Send another cutter after us? The wake alone would swamp us, and then we'd be jellyfish food. I know I'm a big girl, but these were big jellies.
3) the swells. They were mostly pretty gentle, but they took a little getting used to.
4) The wakes. Those harbor ferries throw up a pretty good one.
5) The cannon fire. Of course, we were there to see the cannon fire, but still an interesting thing to get used to. Don't get startled and let go of the oars.
6) The bridges on the way down. Rowing under the Zakim and the other bridges was pretty cool, but rowing under the Museum Way bridge until we knew for sure was a bit dicey. I think it is the first time I've ever been on the water and had to watch my head!

Thursday, June 10, 2004

In which our heroine gets all hot and wet and loves it

I've waited some long months now for this evening. Long, cold, in fact freezing cold months where I just held on to a determination that some day I would once again be gasping in the delerium of being all hot, wet and sticky.

Tonight was the night.

Although the week started off cold and miserable again, the last two days have been building towards a thunderboomer. But not til the sun went down, I was sure of that. So I headed off for practice on the river, and between river water and good old fashioned sweating, my muscles got loosey goosey and I was glistening all over in a way that some would term "a healthy glow." I went back to work to finish some things up, then strapped on my clipless pedal shoes and hit the roads at speed. Still loose, filled with the energy that good exercise brings to your muscles, I sped out and noticed that it was coming. Just on the edge, but there were the sprinkles. The spatters. The rain was coming. And for the first time in achingly long, it wasn't cold rain that chilled to the bone. It was the sort of rain that was like riding in a warm bath, with the air still humid and the water invigorating. I wheeled across the Mass Ave bridge and noticed that the lightning was coming, but was over the harbour. Good views, but only minimal risk of electrocution, which is good for me. (Andrew remains convinced that I will be struck by lightning. I feel sure that he has a bet somewhere on it.) So I arrived home and burst through the door, lusting for some food and having that incredibly sexy feeling that I've heard Liz refer to as her "rowing goddess stance." I understood it at that moment. I was empowered and ready to take on the world.

Tel was home, and noticing my hunger for something good to put into my body, she presented me with a copy of the new book by her friend Steve Almond. It is called "Candy Freak" and is supposedly about one man's quest candy and the role it plays in his life. I say supposedly, as I will only start reading it tonight. Tel had been to the reading on Tuesday, but I'd been unable to go. Turns out she summed me up to him while he was inscribing it.

"She rows so she can eat candy." said Tel.
"Sounds like my kind of woman." said Steve.

The inscription reads as follows:
"Anne - strong women NEED candy! Freak on. Steve Almond."

Sounds like my kind of man.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Remembers Her Childhood
When I was growing up, I have distinct memories of the OPEC led gas crisis. Shortages, lines, everyone was concerned with mileage, mileage, mileage. Cars started to be engineered for better mileage, and we were taught in schools all about alternative energy sources, and the shortages of fossil fuels - pollution, the fact they were finite, and acid rain came up a lot for good measure as well. Which is why I'm baffled with all the problems in rolling out more hybrid cars.

The Insight by Honda and the Prius by Toyota have been on the market here for a few years now. The Prius is in fact in its second incarnation - they re-did it to make it look a little sportier. Plus, there is now the Honda Civic hybrid, which you have to know how to spot (it is where the antenna is. Oh, and there is a logo on the back.) The Prius has a massive waiting list, and they're hard to get ahold of around here, although there are plenty of them around. There is a new one parked in the driveway around the corner from here, and I like to ogle it a lot. And I love Kit's Insight. (Love that car! I got to drive it twice. Happy happy memories. Zoom zoom zip zip, and the fuel economy!) Kit has been explaining stuff about hybrids to me via e-mail, and he is attempting to demonstrate how upping the mileage on his Insight to incredibly high levels doesn't save as much petrol as getting 11 mpg out of a Hummer instead of 9. I thought I grasped the concept, but I lost it. At any rate, this whole exchange was prompted by the Ford Escape hybrid, which isn't out yet, but was doing test drives around Manhattan on Monday. The figure I heard on Monday on the radio was that it got 30 mpg, and the one in the article I read was actually 38pmg. What I can't figure out is why, during the gas crisis, we already had cars making this kind of mileage, but how America abandoned them in favor of the SUV. I won't diatribe against SUVs here, there are plenty of other places to do that. Suffice it to say I don't like them, and when I had to drive one the other day I felt far less safe than ever before. Why has it taken so long for the hybrid to get to the market? The other hybrids have been there for so long! I'm not even explaining this well, I'm so confused.

I guess I'm confused about other stuff as well. Starting with the current govenment. I can't believe the stunts they're trying to pull over 9/11. If you question the administration at all, you're considered unpatriotic. And now that the stuff is exploding all over themselves and they're covered with muck, now they're trying a new tactic: blame the Clinton administration. You've just got to be kidding me.

There is knitting to be done, and I'm going to go sit and do it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Re-Joins the Working Classes
I'm a renaissance woman, it turns out. First, I got myself one of them job things. I'm now a furniture mover for Gentle Giant movers. Scarily, I like it. It is the sort of job where if the people weren't so great, it would really suck, but the people are incredible. Even more, the money is astounding. I've got all the hours and overtime I could possibly want, and amazingly people tip movers pretty often. The tip thing is a bit wild. I had tips before at Burdick's - but they didn't count for much. On a spectacular day, they might be a dollar an hour for the hours you'd worked (which never added up to the full 40 anyway). Here, sometimes you don't get them, but I've been tipped up to an extra $100 a day.

I have more to write, but I'm working too hard.... updated soon.

Monday, March 08, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Waits for the Secret Service to Arrive at Her Door
Now, I know from my website tracker that there's someone at the Department of Justice who reads this weblog far more faithfully than I update it, but I think this time the Secret Service could be dispatched. No, I have not threatened the President. That's against my theories as a pacifist. But I did send Dubya an e-mail. I was provoked to do so by those truly appalling ads invoking 9/11 for him to get re-elected. The whole thing was just too much to take. I mean, he's toting it around as he champions his "leadership" in the days following, but I don't really remember him actually *doing* anything that made me feel inspired that someone was in charge. Al-Queda? Still going, last time I checked, despite lots of my hard earned tax dollars flowing towards his great plans. Civil liberties? Not so many as we used to have, thank you Mr. Ashcroft. (Ok, I admit, I consider John Ashcroft's acute pancreatitis to have similar origins as the guy who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's new movie getting whacked not just once but twice by lightning during filming. Which just goes to prove that the difference between schadenfreude and religious belief is pretty much a question of interpretation.) Jobs? Nope. What does that have to do with security? I know I feel a lot less secure not having a job.

So anyway, I lost it. It just seemed like rubbing salt in very open national wounds to use those images in what is basically a job application to the American public. And I was mad enough to track down his e-mail (, should you wish to do the same thing) to drop him a note to say "I didn't like this and I wanted you to know it." Except I dont' think he got it. It bounced back to me saying there was too much mail in the queue. Maybe everyone else was just as incensed as I was, but sadly I doubt it.

To get this off my mind, Liz and I took advantage of our local art house theatre to see a combination of five academy nominated short films at one go. An incredible evening, if a bit schizophrenic. It started off with the incredibly powerful "The Red Jacket" (Die Rote Something in its original language), which is somewhat set in the middle of the Bosnian conflict. In showing just how powerful not seeing something can be, there is a moment where the main character is shot. You don't see the bullet wounding, or the victim as it happens, but that shot got fired and I swear to you my heart stopped, my breathing stopped, time just suspended. I was too horrified to even gasp. From that 15 minute film, it went into the Oscar winning animation short, which was hysterically funny. And all the while my mind was still reeling from the movie I'd just seen. Then another movie set in Llubjanka during the Bosnian conflict, only not quite as shocking (it wasn't meant to be), but still there were bombs going off, which makes the mind shift again. Then more animated comedy. Then another serious drama short, only this time in present day France. Another excellent film, but very taut psychologically. Euow. My mind is still mulling it all over. But the overwhelming thought is to do go watch it again while I can!


Monday, March 01, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Watches the Oscars
Didn't *anyone* notice that LOTR:ROTK was about 45 minutes too long, and needed severe editing at the end?

Sunday, February 29, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Gets Through Feburary

January was bad. February was better, but between Valentine's Day (past) and Leap Year Day (tomorrow) it seems to be all about the romance. Valentine's Day, I won't go into. Everyone knows what that's about. In the States, it is just a time where if you're single the forces conspire against you to make you miserable. Leap Years Day rolls around every four years and is traditionally the day that women were "allowed" to propose to men. If the man said no, they were supposed to give you gloves to cover up the fact that there was no ring on your finger. Tomorrow is Leap Year Day. I have no one to propose to. Maybe that's why when I was listening to music the other day, my mind was in the right set to wonder about the obsessive nature of love. Or maybe I should say the obsessive nature of SOME loves.

Take, for example, the loves that seem to inspire a lot of music. There is a song that I used to like (it had a catchy tune) that talks about how it has been a year since the call telling her he didn't love her any more. She's been east, she's been west, but she's still not over him yet. The tune, it is still catchy, but I can't listen to the song without thinking "It has been a year, Julia. Get over it." It reminds me of the only time my heart was broken. I talked to a friend's mother, who gave some sound advice. "Whatever you do," she said as I lay there paralyzed and trashed and crumpled and unable to get out of bed, "whatEVER you do, do not, I reapeat to you, DO NOT under any circumstances listen to mushy love songs on the radio." She was right. She had the wisdom of years behind her, and she was right. I noticed later on. The songs are all either "wow I'm so wildly in love i can't stand to be apart from you for even a minute" which frankly I find this more than a bit obsessive and scary, and the "we've broken up, but I still love you and always will forever because you're so great." which I find even scarier. It was right around this time that my musical fascination with Kirsty MacColl began. She seems much more real. A sort of "love is great, it doesn't always work out, men can be horrid, but you know we women aren't entirely blameless." When friends break up or get dumped, I send them Kirsty MacColl's greatest hits collection. And when I have to deal with certain aspects of the dating world, that's the musical point I turn to. Of course, when I'm trying to stay a bit more positive I go straight for the Marisa Monte's "Balharinho Bom." It is all about love and sex, but it is all in Portugese, so I don't get too obsessive about the lyrics and the obsessiveness thereof. I just let the mood wash over me. But I digress.....

I've been in love twice. Both times it didn't work. The amazing thing is that I've said the words "I love you" to two men, but they weren't the men I loved. Actually, in thinking about it, I did tell one of the loved men that I loved him once. As I recall, I kind of murmured it, and yet he heard it. I know he heard it because he got up out of bed and left and came back that afternoon to dump me. The dumping didn't take, but I had learned my lesson. Keep your declarations of love to where it doesn't matter. Except that it does matter. That became obvious with the next guy. He was big on the love thing. I wasn't there, but I convinced myself that instead I wasn't there *yet.* The first time he said it, he didn't say it. We were having a picnic, and he had made sandwiches. There were stickers on the baggies around the sandwiches, and he went to great lengths to make sure that I got the right sandwich, and the sticker was there for me to read. There was a little puppet saying "I love you." I admit, I just leaned sharply to the left and dodged that bullet. The next time he tried, we were goofing around about something silly I had done, and he said "Yes, you're a goof, but still I love you." This time, you could hear the whooshing sound that bullet made as I leaned to the right - it was that close. The next time, the pressure was applied directly. I drove him to the airport. He got out, all suited and booted for his business trip, kissed me goodbye and uttered those infamous three little words. The words lay there. He flew away. I drove back to my sister in laws (it was her car). There were a couple of postcards protesting love (it was a week long business trip) that arrived a few days later and when he came back, the pressure was on. I held out as long as I could, but I caved. And I have to say that when I said it, I firmly believed it. The belief though, wasn't enough. It turned out not to be true. Even when i look back on teh relationship, it is mostly just a blur. And of the four bits that aren't a blur, three aren't even great. I just don't even miss any part of him at all, but I did tell him I loved him., and I really tried to convince myself that that statement was true. There's something really sad about that. Actually, there's a lot sad about that. It confirmed my belief to never, ever ever say those words if I didn't mean them.

The first guy I loved tap danced across my heart in golf spikes, then came back seven years later, tried to make amends, but unfortunately backslid and did an encore of that tap number. I find it easiest to just realize that I still love him, but just can't be anywhere near him as while we've tried to talk about it, it is obvious he doesn't understand the pain he's caused, which means to me that having done it twice, he will do it again.

The second time I fell in love was far bigger and harder than the first. It was the same instant "I knew in the first minutes" sort of lightning bolt thing, and I found out later it apparently was for him too. We should have stuck there. But instead, I left for South America, where my horomone condition kicked into high gear about three weeks before coming home. By the time I got home, I was no longer myself. Too much adrenaline 24/7 just left me wondering "Hey, this guy seems pretty great. How about I'm actually nice to him once in a while?" It affected everything. Credit to him, he hung in a good long while. Longer than I would have. But at any rate, I wasn't the girl he fell in love with (heck, I wasn't the girl I fell in love with!) and it didn't work out. We talk now occasionally, but I think he's rightly on guard. It is all a shame, but life trundles on. Of course, as we all know, I'm now happily medicated and back to my old self, but he and I haven't really talked about it. I don't think we're back talking *that* much yet. It is far more superficial. No Marisa Monte there!

The thing is, for both these men, while I can't be near the one, and the other makes me sad to think about where our relationship could have gone if I was healthy (although interestingly, I'm very much in the present when I talk to him now), and I didn't really tell either one I loved them (I was too much not myself to tell the second one. I couldn't trust my own emotions then.), I don't regret either relationship. They were what they were, and I learned a lot. But I still can't understand the obsessive mentality of it all. I would have done anything for these men to protect them or keep them from hurt or harm. But I feel the same way about my friends. I realize that all kinds of things are going to happen to them, and many (most, really) are going to have nothing to do with me, or nothing I could do. This whole obsessive thing still doesn't raise any bells with me. They're men. I don't regret them. I still love them. But theyr'e not perfect, and neither am I. I still can't listen to the drippy love songs, though.

Still, no one to propose to tomorrow. My hands will never even get gloves.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

In which our Heroine keeps plugging away
As if death and flying trips halfway around the world weren't enough, they all caught up with me and I caught "viral syndrome" which seems to be what the Emergency Room is non-committally calling the flu these days. Whatever it was, it was truly horrid, and even more problematic was the fact that I needed to get to hospital and everyone was busy and couldn't take me. And my roommate was in Canada, so I was stuck on my own until I was told (by a friend who wanted to help, but was holed up with the same flu) that taxicabs take credit cards. I've never been that ill in the back of a cab even back in those college days when I on a tear I'd have to come home from night clubs. But Alex met me at the ER while I was sort of slumped over a registration desk and was a good little doobie while I mostly just laid there and moaned and slept. The nice doctors and nurses pumped me full of fluids and drugs and sent me home. Alex was a little skeptical, and I was too delerious to notice, but I got home, slept and when I finally woke the next morning I was far far far better. I was down to being ill the way normal people are ill, and without it interfering with my other medications.

It laid me out for a week, and then training had to commence as it was far too late. I have to say, it is pretty weak stuff at the moment. But fundraising is heartwarming and going well enough. There is something to be said for the fact that none of these people knew Jock, but they're all willing to contribute. Somehow this makes me feel better.

I did do the maths, though. I raised more money for charity last year than I earned. I wish I could say the same thing while having earned more. Somehow asked me how this made me feel, and after thinking about it for a second the asnwer came out: poor but socially worthy. There are worse ways to be.

It is Valentine's Eve. And theres all kinds of people coming to me for advice on romance. Not that I know what to say. One has her husband having affairs, another is about to leave her live in boyfriend, another can't sort out a chap and has declared "this isn't as fun as it was." Makes me almost glad to be single.


Yours in remembrance of Valentine's past,

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In Which Our Heroine Tries to Pay Tribute
As many of you are aware, I have just returned from the funeral of my friend Jonathan (Jock) Smout, who died in an avalanche two weeks ago. (
Jock and I had been friends since our first day of college, when we were in the same entryway in our hall of residence. One of my favorite stories of him was an erg test on the first day of our second year. We were being measured on wattage per stroke, and when he saw how well I was doing, he came over and quietly coxed me to an even better score, all the while warning me to maybe lay off a little as I was beating his score, which as a member of the men's varsity 8+ was a bit much. I unfortunately walked away afterwards, getting about 10 feet before suffering a massive seizure in the hallway. When I woke up in the hospital the next day there was the usual card signed by all the members of the squad. In large writing in the middle was the note "Serves you right for beating my score. Love, Jock"
Though winter training was overdue when I planned to start it two weeks ago, and for obvious reasons it was again delayed, I have decided to compete in the world indoor rowing championships (CRASH-Bs - here in Boston on February 22. I have done this before, and it is quite fun, which is rather bizzarre for an event that conveniently has bins lying around for you to be sick into when you've finished. I only have a month to train, which isn't much, but I will be racing as a tribute to Jock. To further pay tribute, I will be using the occasion to raise money for the Huntingdon's Disease Society of America. ( Huntindon's Disease is a genetic disease which is completely fatal. This disease was quite prevalent in Jock's family and he lost a number of family members. He twice ran the London Marathon to raise money for funds to battle Huntingdon's, and I feel this is a very fitting tribute to his memory and to carry on his work. The HDSA is ranked one of America's top philanthropies, which means that by far the majority of the money raised there goes to actual research and work. It was founded thirty five years ago by Nora Guthrie, widow of the great American songwriter Woody Guthrie, who himself died of the disease and whose children are at risk of developing it (symptoms do not appear until the late thirties, early forties). I feel confident that money given to them is being given to a worthy organization.

I hope that you will help me in this tribute. If you choose to do so, please send me a cheque made out to the Huntingdon's Disease Society of America. Do not make them payable to me! I will spend checks made payable to me on booze, fast living and other reckless things not considered charitable, and as such will not be tax deductible the way ones payable to the HDSA will. Please send your cheque to me so that it arrives before Feburary 22, 2004. E-mail me for the mailing address - I don't think posting in on the web for strangers to read is a good thing. And feel free to come down to the Reggie Lewis center on the day and watch me sweat it out!

Thank you for your help and your consideration. I'm developing a drastic training plan right now!

Much love,


Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In Which There are Updates
There is a lot to write about Christmas. It was great. Harters was here, lunches were had with old friends, new friends were made, much beer was drunk. Jim was here for New Years and Christmas, and that was great joy. Ethan got married, David's wife had a baby girl and Nils got engaged. I tried to write about it last night (and it was loooooooooooooooooooooooooong) but it didn't go through for some bizarre reason. Unfortunately, the holidays came to a hard end with a phone call this morning that informed me a good college friend had died in an avalanche in France. I've copied an article I found on line below.

Avalanche skier attended county school

A British skier who died after being caught in an avalanche in France was a former Shrewsbury School pupil, it emerged today. Management consultant Jonathan Smout was on holiday with friends in the resort of Tignes when the accident happened.

The former public schoolboy was pushed into a hole by the impact of the avalanching snow.

The 34-year-old Briton was part of a seven-strong group of skiers, which included an instructor, who were travelling off-piste when the avalanche happened on Monday. No-one else was injured in the accident.

Mr Smout's father, David who lives in the Scottish borders, said: "We were told Jonathan didn't really have a chance, that the compacted snow would have been like being hit by concrete.

"Jonathan was a very loyal son who lived life to the full. Skiing was one of his great interests, along with mountain climbing."

Mr Smout lived in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and was employed through an agency by Barclays Bank.

He had been a boarder at Mowden School in Northumberland before attending Shrewsbury School and later the University of Nottingham.