30 June 2013

0 june: a revue

'he’s one of those subtle alcoholics where you can barely tell he’s drunk — except for all the SCREAMING and the SMASHING and the RAGING. seriously, are his drinks also laced with anabolic steroids?'

'i am taking my entertainment future in my own hands.'

'please delete this email immediately! when work hacks into your mail and writes the story of our life, i don't want there to be a chapter on my loose stools!'


'your ankles are crying.'

'i feel like my delay in marraige is allowing the wedding dress technology to catch up to what i need.'

'dating yourself! go to movies when you want! take yourself to a nice dinner! enjoy the company of you! that is so bad-ass.'

'it's always my goal to stay as sober as the soberest person i'm with.'

'this cauldroning is no joke!'

'fruit does not turn into doughnuts in my mouth!'

'you guys could have adorable pale babies together.'

'knock that stuff out and continue with the progress that is Your Life. '

'i applaud your being OUT THERE!'

'about the engagement and pregnancy of jennifer love hewitt...i feel like i have lost a competition or something '

'the easy jet. what would your mother say...'

'i liked the girl all right, but she REALLLLLY liked tim tebow. he needs to quit finding such hardcore republicans. his sense of humor is much too filthy for a conservative girl.'

"let's not ever make that our move, k?"

'you’d think i’d remember the details about the event that had me opinionated to the point of wanting you to look like captain caveman.'

'is this why people go to makeup counters instead of walgreens?'

'and i've completely lost track of j.simp...'

'possibly because it looks like he is unleashing upon her a urine stream of hearts.'

28 June 2013

2 in honor of k.smartt's berfday, a photo montage

2 FJ: a brief, incomplete report on aaron carter and the unfolding new kids on the block turf war

i was going to ask if ya’ll are ready for this but i don’t think it is possible to be ready for this so suffice it to say no, you are not.
so hey, remember a little band called new kids on the block? these guys…
i mean, you should because, well, AWESOME. Continue reading 

27 June 2013

0 i hop

s: did you know the international house of pancakes wasn't international?

o: WTF?! LIES!

s: no, they've just opened the first international one in dubai.

o: then how could they call it the international house of pancakes for all these years?

s: well, i mean, they had french toast.

o: french toast, friend, is NOT a pancake.

s: well, it's in the pancake family and it is international.

o: clearly you are not as intimate with the pancake family as me.

s: i always was a waffle boy.

0 t-minus 84

the problem with getting older, wiser, better at what you do is that you're then constantly forced to confront the horrible awfulness of everything you did before.

i'm writing letters again. it is fall 2010 all over, except now i look at the letters i wrote then and see they are purely amateur. and now i am staring down two projects, the next 10 years if i'm lucky and can swing biography as an actual job. so there's both more pressure and no pressure because i'm pretty sure it's a crapshoot and whatever will be will be.

que sera sera and all that.

but i'm writing these letters. better letters than i did in 2010. because this is where things begin... with rejections from fancy addresses... the signatures of famous people... interviews with their less famous relatives. in all of this, i am a begger.

that's the difference between fiction and non. in fiction, you write what you want. in non, you write what you want but you have to beg for it. you are dependent upon other people. you are, in a way, pillaging their stories to make your own.

i don't know how i feel about that. it seems quite a disreputable thing.

a few weeks ago, at a conference, a.s. byatt said she never wanted her biography to be written. she would go running away from any biographers that approached her. she was sitting in a room of biographers at the time and you could feel the atmosphere tense. not because people were offended by what she had said, but because the very fact that she said it suddenly made her more interesting, it made  her story take a shape it had not had, so that precisely because she said she feared biographers, it seemed a biography must be written about her.

there is, i fear, something ungallant about the whole genre. or, at the very least, there easily could be. even when done well, it is still a pillaging.

26 June 2013

0 hi society

there is a part of me that could, i think, really be a hermit. this part is amplified by the fact that i currently cannot breathe through my nose or speak through my swollen throat, but it's there nonetheless. and i don't mean hermit as in creepy unshaven dirty person surrounded by dusty magazines and empty take-away cartons. i would go to the grocery store and shave my legs. but still. it is sometimes so hard to be out in society. am i right? or is this just me?

in maph (and the TEN YEAR anniversary of our maph year is coming up, so there'll probably be a lot 'o maphinsicing in the coming months), we had this enforced weekly social hour that was, in end, a social experiment intended to increase our endurance of awkward. in which case, DONE. at least for that one year.

every week at social hour we had to stand in a room with increasingly drunk people we didn't know very well, with nothing to do but make small talk and eat hors d'oeuvres that, at the time, i avoided because they were exotic and which i now realize were simply falafel.

because maph was sort of the run-off program for the people who didn't make the cut for PhDs and  the swan song for recent graduates who didn't know what to do with their lives (which combines for an cocktail of disgruntledness, pretentiousness, binge drinking, and primal fear), i always thought the awkwardness of these things was a particularly maph phenomenon. later, i came to see it as more of a university of chicago phenomenon.

however, now that i'm at an english research institution, i've realized that the university of chicago is founded on the principles of the english research institution, and so maybe the british are to blame.

0 huzzah.

2 btw

the only time i regret being single is when i'm sick and, therefore, have to peel myself off the couch, leave my house of no coffee and nothing to eat but cheese, olives and boiled eggs, and stumble out into the world, coughing and gasping, risking death to attain the really, really important things that will enable me to survive.

24 June 2013

0 ladies first

the root of about 76% of everything i do comes back to the notion that we need more visible women in american life. narratives with heroines. stories of unconventional lives, unusual jobs, unorthodox choices. photographs of vastly different varieties of beauty. and also that we need to acknowledge the impact such visuals have on girls.

this runs the risk of sounding shallow, as it's couched in terms of visibility and visuals and images- which are often glossy, superficial things- but it's not. this runs deep.

i find i'm having to situate jackie explicitly within the context of first ladies and so i've been thinking about first ladies a lot. i'm finding that the role of first lady is a tricky gig to explain. the easy way out is to compare the first lady to british royalty, but the argument's faulty. monarchy, these days, operates regardless of gender. the monarch is the monarch, whether the individual is male or female. the first lady is always going to be a lady until it's a man, and then we ain't gonna call it that anymore.

in thinking about first ladies, i've been thinking about pretending. about how, as a little girl i used to put on my mother's slippers and nightgowns and dance around the guest bedroom to michael bolton songs, devising routines so innovative that i medaled in the imaginary olympics multiple times. and how i acted out scenes from the documentary about the making of gone with the wind and pretended i moved out west to be a doctor named michaela and taught in a one-room school house in prince edward island, whilst surreptitiously writing stories that were accepted by women's magazines in foreign lands. i imagined i could sing like tori amos and dance with michael jackson and that i rebuffed all of the advances of all of the celebrity men i was in love with then who attempted to seduce me on an imaginary beach.

the one thing i never did was pretend i was president. honestly, until last week, it hadn't even occurred to me that this could've been something i could've pretended to do. first lady? yes. all of the time. from a length of purple and white checked fabric pilfered from my grandmother's attic, i fashioned an evening gown with which i wore an ill-advised hat. i waved to imaginary crowds and made lists of all of the charities of which i would be patron. i was an excellent (if slightly dotty) first lady, but that was the closest to power i allowed myself to be.

i could only ever be married to the president. imaginative as i was, being president was beyond my dreams.

0 PS90210: “well, there’s always california university” (part 2)

Alrighty, ya’ll. part 2! if you missed part 1, then go here. so’s same episode except we’ve got some new problems this week.
next up: how to cope with the fact that you’re graduating when everything reminds you of scott “guns can be fun” scanlon? how to say goodbye “in private”? how to gracefully handle the fact that your friends have made up a song and dance about your love life? and what pensive faces are available to cue a photo montage?  Continue reading 

21 June 2013

7 summer!

i've supervision today (HORRORS!) and so ain't no writing getting done, but howsabout this... INTERACTIVITY! tell me about your summer plans! truth: i likely will not recall them come monday (as we all know i cannot retain travels), but- as i'm stuck on an island for the foreseeable future, let me live vicariously. to quote aiden from sex and the city:  pop tart, where you been and what you been doing? (except put that all in the future tense so it'll be grammatically correct for this situation)

20 June 2013

1 so i saw the great gatsby, the movie of the book i find underwhelming starring the man my 16-year-old self loved

and, in spite of his extreme tanness, the quivering of his jowls when he blew up at tom buchanan, the horror of his swimming costume, and the fact that he is maybe a total tool in real life when it comes to the ladies, i think i'm in love again.

2 the commute

18 June 2013

1 i am now going to give you maybe the greatest gift ever

this is a gift of several parts. like where you pack a tiny yet brilliant thing in six boxes of increasingly big size.

firstly, do you remember that clip of the kid playing the jurassic park theme on the melodica, which was the most amazing thing ever?

yeah, that's key to understanding the awesomeness of what i'm about to give you so i'll give you a second to go watch it and recover... 

did you watch it??




part 1 of this story:

point 1: i'm increasingly convinced that, after jackie's three more years are up, i want to write the life of tonya harding

conclusion: every time i think of tonya harding now (which is multiple times an hour) i hear the jurassic park theme song played on a melodica.

part 2 of this story: 

my dad has inherited joe's french horn, i think. if it's not a french horn per say then it's some type of huge horn in that section of the orchestra. in the last month or so, inspired by that melodica player, he has been teaching himself how to play it. 

essentially, he is just playing it like a kazoo. it creates a music akin to nothing so much as farts. and the only song he "knows" is the theme to jurassic park.

as this is something that obviously needs to be experienced outside of the family... mon cadeau pour vous!

3 the shatting

i hate, loathe, despise and abominate birds. this is a well known fact

yesterday, i was sitting in the park doing some work. i could've been on a nice wrought iron bench in the lushness of the victoria embankment gardens, but no. instead, due to time constraints and just plain laziness, i opted for a wooden bench in this concrete park plopped on top of the tube stop. 

fyi, if a park is entirely composed of concrete it's pretty safe to say it doubles as a bird bathroom. 

so this was, admittedly, a rather squalid scene. 

in retrospect, the unfolding of events seems quite obvious, but i was nonetheless taken aback at the time when, whilst i sat there industriously working away... A BIRD SHAT ON ME. 

i'm not even exaggerating. this wasn't like a bird shat near me. or beside me. or just beyond where i was. no, no. the bird shat on me. there was a gushing noise and then suddenly a heaviness in my hair and a white blob on my dress and, literally, a whole spray of shit across page two of version four of my jackie assignment. 

the good thing about being shat on? the day can only get better from there. 

0 :)

17 June 2013

0 ps90210: “well, there’s always california university” (part 1)

And here we are, at long last. remember LAST JUNE ELEVENTH when we started this season? we were so young then, ya’ll. i lived in a whole other country and brenda was french. a lot has happened and we’ve come a long way to get here, the last hoo-rah of season three… ‘commencement.’
as has been the case in all the recent episodes, there’s whole lots of senior shit going on here. we’ve got the senior wills, the senior breakfast, and- drumroll- graduation! huzzah.
you know what else we gots? PROBLEMS. you know it!
what to do when you come into your millions? what to say when your BFF can’t write a speech and you’re pretty sure she’s in love with you? what to do when you misnumbered your multiple choice test? what to do if you might not graduate? what to do when you’ve gotten into the university of minnesota but everyone you know’s going to freaking california U?
btw, the subtitle of this episode could be: how all of our characters- but one- winds up attending california university.  Continue reading 

3 9(ish) years ago, partner and i went to europe... since i'm reminded of this trip ALL OF THE TIME now i live in london, let's look back









on the rhine