Thursday, July 06, 2006


i am so bored at work, that i thought i would post blogs instead of bothering mika with my emails of EPIC length. it is fun to correspond with her, but i feel like im writing her WAAY much more than she necessarily has time to read and respond to.

today has been a day rife with mysteries. mystery one concerns a package that we apparently have to pick up from the post office. it is for me. which adds to the mystery. and its from Beijing. SOO mysterious!

mystery 2 has to do with pizzas that were delivered to the office. $100 worth of pizza to be more precise. which no one was willing to claim, pick up, or pay for. by pizza-ing?

i guess i should talk about the 4th, which just happend a few days ago.

so janis and i went down to Williamsburg to see mika for the 4th. it was quite a long drive, and my butt was definitly getting tired by the end of the drive. it was also deathly hot, and mikas house does not have central air, though her room had a window unit. so we spent some time in her room, playing with Eric's hamster Nestor, and watching pete and pete. we had lunch at this really cool indian place with a cheapo buffett, and then played around in big lots, the after college meca. we planned on going to see "an inconvienient truth" but when we got to the theater, it was sold out, so we wandered around CW until we were too hot to move, so we went into the bookstore and drank iced coffees and talked until we were actually cold from the AC.

post pete and pete we went into the HOTASBALLS living room and watched part of the Project Runway marathon on Bravo. before we could see the very end though, it was time to depart for the fireworks, which we actually found a perfect spot to view them. we had originally faced a different direction, but once the fireworks started it was not at all difficult to turn towards them. ive always had a thing about fireworks. its not the noise that bothers me, its the fact that fire is falling from the sky, most likely onto your personal head. so, i was quite happy with our spot. close enough to get the full effects of the fireworks, far enough away to avoid flaming death. the one downside was that there was this woman behind us who insisted on assigning each firework to a pie flavor based on said firework's color. completely annoying, but thats the risk you run in america. there are always going to be annoying tourists around. accept, and move on.

post fireworks, janis and i needed to skedaddle, because i had work in the morning after the 3 hour drive home. but get home we did, and into bed.

the next day i neglected to look at a calendar, so i was unprepared for the visit from aunt flo, and her husband mr. cramp. there was quite an advendture to come up with absorbant materials, but luckily my mom came through, and i did not have to suffer the embarrasment of asking a co-worker.

today has been pretty slow, other than the mysteries, both of which have been solved by now, thanks to the hard work of the Sparta Gumshoes.

i have to get back to pretending to work now. there isnt much for me to do, because i did all that i have been asked to so quickly that my bosses are having trouble coming up with things to keep me occupied. well, back to pretending to work. ill probably leave another post tomorrow.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Style lesson 10

in this final lesson Williams discusses the ethical responsibilities that writers have towards their readers. he talks about the importance of trying to be clear so that your readers wont have to try to understand you. he says that responsible writers make ideas no simpler than they deserve, but no more difficult than they have to be.

he sites the golden rule of writing as: "Write to others as you would have others write to you." (Williams 179).

he then warns that if you are consistently hard to understand and seem to the reader to be arrogant, then a reputation will build. you will be thought of as incomprehensible and arrogant. the personality that you infuse into your writing is vitally important, as it shows your reader your personality, you should make it one worthy of a reputation.

he says that it is vital to both be clear and memorable, "what really counts, after all, is not what we understand as we read, but how well we remember it the next day." (Williams 180).

he describes clarity as an idealogical value, one that is collectively agreed upon by a community.

he then delves into an in depth analysis of Lincoln's second inaugurational speech. his main point for the analysis is to show us that though Lincoln used manipulation in his words, he was still within the ethical bounderies. he makes his point by steering his listeners in a certain direction, and he never is unethical in that respect.

this book all in all was an OK read. it wasnt something that i would read on an airplane per se, but it was ok as a class text. it never outright put me to sleep which is a positive for an assigned text.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

journal for chaucer class

Nun's Priests Tale

This tale really interested me because Chanticleer is such an odd character. He is clearly an animal because of his animal instincts, such as having sex with Pertelote 28 times in one day, yet he has extensive book learning.
Pertelote was also an interesting character since she tells Chanticleer that she does not love him anymore since he is such a coward. This is clearly hyperbole, but the choice of words is interesting especially considering her reaction when he actually does get abducted. Her claim to no longer love him because of his cowardice is completely discounted after Chanticleer is kidnapped by the fox.
The fox is another character that interested me. I would think that a fox who was clever enough to trick Chanticleer into singing with his eyes closed so that he could eat him, would see through the obvious trick that Chanticleer eventually gets away with. This eventual trick at the end makes the tale seem like it was ended just to have an ending. It seems to me like Chaucer was looking for a simple way to end the tale, so he chose the easy way out.
I really liked the different proof that Pertelote uses to prove to Chanticleer that dream are not important. She uses a lot of philosophers, and makes herself sound very intelligent. But then Chanticleer annihilates her with sources against her argument which made me think that he was simply trying to show off. Though Chanticleer clearly disagrees with Pertelote, it seems extremely unnecessary to me that he would need to outline so many sources against her argument. That particular scene made me feel a little bit more hostile towards Chanticleer, he seemed so antifeminist and pompous.
I also noticed that the tale refers to “Jakke Straw and his maynee”. I especially liked this reference, and the footnotes say that it was a reference to the peasant’s rebellion that had been going on when Chaucer was writing the Canterbury Tales. This makes me wonder why Chaucer would feel like it was important to include political themes in a tale that on the surface is a light hearted moral beast fable. This particular reference makes me wonder whether Chaucer actually meant this tale to be a political commentary.
All in all I really liked this tale and I’ll get more insight into it when I prepare and give my presentation on it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

even more discussion questions for my sex class

Pg. 67 “In hunting societies, for example, female gender variance was signified by a girl rejecting the domestic activities associated with women and participating in playing and hunting with boys.”

This definition seems to me to describe the tomboys that I grew up with. It is interesting to think that in a different society, the athletic and boyish girls would be considered to be a part of a third gender. Would these girls necessarily have to become third gendered individuals? Or could they simply continue to be normal women, with personalities that coincided with those of tomboyish women?

Pg. 67 “Where male gender variants did not fight, they sometimes had other important roles in warfare, like treating the wounded, carrying supplies for the war party, or directing post-battle ceremonies”

I was wondering if these jobs that here are mentioned to be done by the male gender variants, were there any war type jobs available for women? I thought that usually it was the women in the village that treated the wounded or carried supplies, but if the job was taken by the gender variants then the women would be left out.

Pg. 68 “homogender, rather than homosexual, practices bore the brunt of negative cultural sanctions.”

I find it interesting that in our culture we shun both homosexual and homogendered relationships; although I was wondering if there is a difference in our culture. What I mean is that in the Americanized version of gender, there is really no difference between gender and biological sex. I wonder if the class thinks that there could be a difference in the American psyche between gender and sex.

Monday, May 01, 2006

copy cat of MAXIM article

i found this article in Maxim magazine and it was so ridiculous that i had to copy cat it here.

you should read the original first, my post will make much more sense if you read the original.

How to: Cure a Straight Man
Turn an Unkempt, Unhygeinic Straight Man into the most Fabulous Shopping Partner.

1. Win him Over
Reel him in with your feminine charms, if he believes himself to be straight, then if necessary use sex to get him into your camp. show yourself to be warm and inviting, but keep some wicked witch in the background, we dont want him falling in love now do we?

2. Open his Eyes
He wont switch sides on his own, he'll need some encouragement. show him that homoeroticism is OK by making out with one of your girlfriends and tell him you think it would be hot if he did the same. careful here gals, hes very vulnerable here, so let him know that you still find him to be all man.

3. Treat him Right
Take him shopping with you and have him pick out his own outfits. give him positive responses, even if his taste is not up to your standards. let him know that its not OK to buy anything camaflouged. have him internallize some basic rules. while on your trip get him to rate male bodies with you. this will give you a basic idea of his male type.

4. Shift his Focus
If he is still hesitant at this point, get him into a situation where he must talk with other men. once he is in conversation craftily excuse yourself. If questioned later on why you left, claim that you didnt want to interrupt a possible future relationship. Make more and more lunch and shopping dates. once he realizes that he will get no more than friendship from you he will accept his new sexuality and you will have a brand new gay boyfriend!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style lesson 9

This lesson focused on elegance, however, williams does make a disclaimer, saying that no one can tell anyone how to be elegant, it is something that everyone must learn for themselves, either by practice, or by reading other works that are elegant. instead, williams will explain all the aspects that contribute to elegant writing.

he begins his explaination with Balance. an elegant phrase is usually well balanced, that is each side of the sentence has echos of each other. "In Lippman's, we hear one clause and phrase echo another in word order, sound, and meaning, giving the whole passage an intricate architectural symmetry" (Williams 155).

Next Williams focuses on emphasis and the weight of certain words. he says that readers expect the end of a sentence to have more empahsis, and therefore are pleased when it has a weighty word. "At the end of a sentence, prepositions feel light- one reason we sometimes avoid leaving one there." (Williams 159). the main point of this sub section is that an elegant sentence should always end on strength. there are 4 ways to accomplish this.
1. End with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or a pair of them.
2. End with a prepositional phrase introduced by OF
3. End with an echoing salience
4. End with chiasmus.

Finally, Williams discusses the length of sentences within a passage. He advises that sentences should be roughly 15 words long, if there are consisitently too few, you would sound choppy, however if there are consistently too many, then you sound long-winded. However, williams says that there really is no need to overly worry yourself, sentences will naturally vary as long as one pays attention to editing fluff.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

finish of short story

Riding in the elevator to her apartment Milena could hear sounds of merriment. She had seen many cars on the street and her father’s voice had filtered through her mind. His phrase was the one he used whenever he saw many cars together in one place, “someone’s having a party”. No matter what the situation might have been, that’s what he said. His phrases were seared into her brain, and his voice would trickle in whenever the occasions arose. The trite and pat sound bytes had been the background of her childhood, and she loved to think that they could continue on to her own children.

When the elevator dinged open she was confronted with a small child peering out of her apartment door. On seeing her, the eyes widened and the door was shut quickly. Milena prepared herself to look surprised. Instead of pulling her key out to unlock the door, Milena knocked on her own door and waited for the ‘shush’ that she knew would come. It did, and a sliver of Adam’s face appeared in the door. “No thank you, we don’t want any”, he joked. She could see that he knew the surprise had been spoiled, but she wanted to play along anyway, “I forgot my key”, she lied. He flung the door open and revealed her whole family in her living room. “Surprise!” they yelled, and Milena laughed and clapped, and felt warm all over.

Her uncles were the first ones drunk, but then they usually were. The two of them had been fraternity brothers in college, made actual brothers when Paul had married Robert’s sister. They now flanked her as she sat on the couch surrounded by presents. Milena had worried for years that they would embarrass her, but now she simply found them amusing. “OK”, said Uncle Paul the doctor, “So now that you’re getting married I can tell you a secret.” Milena peered around at the rest of the family who were all stifling laughter. “And what is that?” she asked. “A secret? I thought you knew, well, it’s a piece of information that you don’t share with others, but why are you asking about that?” The joke was old, but then so was her Uncle. The men in Milena’s family all told bad jokes, it was part of how they registered emotions. She remembered some of the ones from her grandfather’s wake. None had been funny, but everyone had laughed, it was a way to mask deeper feelings. “No,” she said, “what is the secret that you want to tell me?” The adult family members were now biting their hands, some had turned away and she could see them already shaking with laughter. “well,” Paul started, “When you were born into this family, all of the men took a vow to protect you.” His speech was slurred slightly, but there was a serious look in his eye. Milena knew that the seriousness would leave as soon as he reached the punch line, but she felt it best to match his solemn expression. He continued, “and so I went to the priest, and I told him I wanted to pray to God for you, and he gave me a flower. I took the flower to you in the hospital and tried to give it to you, but you wouldn’t take it. You cried when I put it in your crib. So I went back to the priest, and he said that it was a sign from the Lord that he shouldn’t garden for flowers anymore. So I just want you to know that only you can prevent florist friars.”

The room exploded with laughter, and groans from the generations who were too cool to find humor in such things. Through the laughter Milena saw Adam being interrogated by some flirty cousins in the corner, and wanted to go rescue him, but was stopped by Uncle Robert, the banker. “I have a toast to make to you,” he said, motioning towards Adam and Milena. Milena took the opportunity to steal Adam away from her cousins, and they stood in the circle of family with their glasses raised. Robert got up, swaying only slightly, and said, “In Italy we have a special toast for the new couple. I want to say it now instead of at the wedding because at the wedding I’ll be telling embarrassing stories. So here it goes, Tutti filli mosche”

There was a moment of silence in the room while the Italian speakers internalized what Robert had just said. Then they burst into laughter, Milena included. Adam tugged on her hand leaning in to say “what’s so funny?” Milena pushed the laughter back as best she could and said, “He meant to say Tutti filli masche which is an old Italian wedding blessing. It means ‘may all your children be sons’. But he mispronounced it and said, ‘may all your children be flies’”. She burst into another fit of giggles as Robert, thoroughly pleased with himself sat back down on the couch.