Sunday, December 21, 2003

Home is bizarre. It's not just that it's colder than Eugene, more boring than Eugene, and infested with people I know (and their parents) -- it's not home anymore. Not that my dorm room is exactly paradise. This is the strangest limbo feeling: The house I lived in for years is foreign and cold, but the dorm is institutional and cramped. Neither one is Home, and I feel displaced.

And I can't effin' type on this blasted keyboard.

On the other hand, I love seeing the people I've missed -- some are yet to return. Corey's "party" was fun, albeit short. Strange to see Areli (afterward) and not have her yak endlessly about her boy troubles, her weight, and her drama. It's pathetic, but I hope we're not drifting as much as I feel we are.

And in case anyone was wondering, I again secured employment at Europa (NOT hard to do -- that place has such a revolving door) and I spend 8 hours a day running errands, making deliveries and decorating sugar cookies. For once, work doesn't suck. Here's hoping that's a trend.

Posting will remain sparse until I'm back on pretty, pretty college broadband.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Thursday, December 11, 2003

My grandfather's cousin Vera died last week, 3 days before her 90th birthday. I never knew her. She was, according to my great uncle Frank (whom I have never met either), vivacious, amiable, and had "no patience for fools." Living through heartbreak, wars, and the ups and downs of being a scholar, Vera Bolgar lived a full life. Did I mention that she was pals with Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I don't know why I feel so sad, hearing about the death of a woman I never met. Frank's positive remarks only furthers my belief that my father's side of the family runs to strong personalities, full schedules, and scholastic success.

I go home tomorrow. I'll be in my bed in 27 hours or so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ahhh, spare time. I've been lolling in it, interestingly since the start of finals week. The thought of a whole week devoted to final exams evoked a eye-widening, knee-shivering fear of sleep deprivation and consequent dementia -- I was way off. Finals, thus far in my college career, are not a huge deal. The only final remaining is my literature final, and seeing as I aced the midterm I'm not all that concerned.

Gah. Already the scholarship scramble begins. I think part of my plane ride home will be devoted to concocting some sincere-sounding pleas for money (read: writing/tinkering with those damn essays). Thing of it is, because of that crazy Alaskan notion of free money, I have a nice little wodge tucked away, that, combined with two working parents and a sibling not yet in college (why couldn't I be the younger one?), causes me the heartache of an unfavorable FAFSA. Thus, need-based scholarships aren't very lenient on me. I'm not complaining, or at least I'm not trying to. Obviously, other people need scholarships more than I do, but that "look out for number one" part of my brain is trying to beat down the guilt-ridden part.

Scratching items off of my to-do list left and right today. Shopping, mail, textbooks -- I feel productive. If I were truly productive, I'd be studying for my lit final, but I'll have time tomorrow to that. Why not procrastinate in the meantime?

Going home in two days. T-minus. More and more, I have this impending sense of caution. I don't expect everything to be the same, but how can I expect things to be different? I don't know what to anticipate. A "you can never go back" sort of thing? A "nothing's changed" sort of thing? A combination platter of the two? The fear isn't really that people will be different; the fear is that I'll be different. And I don't know how. I'm probably over-thinking this. Anyhow. Off to assemble a list of essays to write on the plane.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Please note the new link. This is the physics journal that my grandfather edits. He's more of an advisor now, due to health concerns, but he worked like an applied physics fiend for many years. I don't expect anyone to understand what the hell they're talking about, unless they happen to have a Ph. D. in something complicated. It's intimidatingly complex.

Monday, December 08, 2003

DAMN. I just typed up a fairly lengthy post and lost it because of this laptop's overly sensitive touchpad. Okay. Breathing. Reassembling.

Two down, two to go. Finals, that is. My history final wasn't quite the horrorshow I thought it would be, but it wasn't a trip Disneyland either. I'm hoping for a B, but I'll take what I can get. That class has been a bit of a bipolar experience. The lectures and discussions are rapturous, but the papers and test agony are downright ulcer-inducing. The professor is moving to Australia to teach at the University of Adelaide; this is a mixed blessing. His class is HARD, but it stoked my history flames (that had turned to ash since AP Euro ended) back to a roaring level of healthy curiosity. I could easily slip into a history major if the J-school blew up. Or if Bush banned freedom of the press (cough). Did I mention that the extra credit question was about baseball? That was classy. Anyhow, had he stayed at UO, I'd probably subject myself to the torture again because I learned so damn much.

German oral final = a gutteral success. It still puzzles me how people can make these noises -- rolling my r's without sounding foolish is still a challenge. I pulled an A or A- out of it, and that's a huge relief. As for the rest of my finals, J101 is on deck and literature is warming up in the bullpen. J101 shouldn't be hard, but grammar is so boring. I may fall into a coma during the exam. I'm not too concerned about literature, although it took me a few tries to type it just then. Not a great sign.

In other, less scholastic news, Kyle and I have a fridge! Thanks to our patron saint of RA's, Marc, we now have a refridgerator that we A) didn't pay for, B) don't have to sell at the end of the year and C) DIDN'T PAY FOR! This guy is a truly awesome RA. I hope the karma control center gets this blip on their radar and showers Marc with lovin' accordingly. We can have yogurt and cheese! If we buy cereal, we can buy milk for it and it won't spoil! The boysenberry sauce Roberta gave us doesn't have to hang outside our window in a plastic bag anymore! (Our make-shift fridge was pretty tricksy.) A challenge: Try living on dining hall food and non-perishables alone. It's not easy or fun.

Zara sent me a birthday card with a funny bear. And a well-drawn bear. Thanks, Zarietta! Related, and a little bit hurtful/annoying: Areli forgot my birthday. I'm not great for dates, but...ahh, I'm being ridiculous. Moving on.

Does anyone have a good name for a small aloe vera plant? Keep in mind 'Al' and 'Vera' have already been has 'King Lear.'

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Ha! I have some time to breathe! I haven't done homework for something like 36 hours now, although that is due to end soon, what with my history final being tomorrow and all (EEP). In the meantime, the NZ Herald has a review of the new Lord of the Rings movie. It would seem that New Zealand has fallen in love with the series. For good reason--these movies are like tourism billboards for that pretty, pretty island.

Sophie is in Eugene, but we can't find her! Sophie?

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Lots to do before finals -- posting will be sparse to nil. I had a wonderful birthday, and I wish everyone was here, or I was there or something like that.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

It's my birthday. It's Tuesday of Dead Week. A mixed blessing, to say the least. I'm taking a break from the mounting piles of pre-finals scrambling. I shouldn't be. But, a small update. Kyle, lovely Kyle, organized a little birthday shindig at the Glenwood (AWESOME CAFE) with friends that was way fun. Hooray for friends! And she gave me three books I've been wanting for a long time. She's so wonderful. My folks sent a little package, complete with socks and a mix CD from the Jazzdad.

My German skit...oy. Maybe Meg will post on that. I don't have the energy. Murgh. Paper time.

Monday, December 01, 2003

For those who are interested, the New Zealand Herald (link at left) has been doing consistently well-done features on Lord of the Rings in their entertainment section. Yes, yes, I know I'm an infidel for hating the books and liking the movies (the books were so TEDIOUS), but I'm looking forward to the new one. Escapism, especially escapism with good scenery and the like, is always the antidote to finals week. Amazing timing, that.
Waking up at 7:45 this morning to go take a J101 test was more painful than usual. I attribute that to the awesome time Kyle and I had in Portland (and in deserted Eugene). Janelle drove us to Portland, up I-5 and Route 205, both of which were flowing fairly fluidly, despite accidents (one such accident crashed right in front of us.) She dropped us off at an arbitrary location just off the freeway -- a Mexican restaurant. Roberta, my folks' one-time roommate from 20 years hence, picked us up and took us to her place, and promptly dragged us back out on the road to stock up on foodables. The woman forced us to pick out foodstuffs. ("We are SO coming back for spring break!") Perfunctory Thanksgiving preparations ensued. The next morning, we woke up to tea and Dutch babies (and this time I wrote the recipe down--Katie's Dutch baby lesson has already been covered in dust layers too think to unearth) and a sketchy battle plan for our cooking forays. Long cooking saga short, Kyle and I (between bastings) made mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, salad dressing, and chocolate chip cookies -- and we still had time to read our books, chat with Roberta's neighbor and generally unwind. For the record, the food was spectacular.

Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, heralded an ethical dilemma: to enter Powell's, whose striking workers had walked out, or not to enter Powell's? As I may have mentioned, Powell's is Mecca for us bibliophiles. Union ethics won the day; we walked out of the Hawthorne location after interrogating a manager on the status of the strike (not the big one on Burnside) without a purchase. I'm the daughter of two card-carrying NEA members. It was the least I could do. Instead of a downtown Portland adventure, we wandered the funked-up Hawthorne district, which was walking distance from Roberta's house. My dad's old Portland haunt, Nick's Coney Island Hot Dogs, remains an adventure for another day ("...if you go there, you have to try the Dog of Death!") It started to rain, and we had walked a whole lot by 4-5ish, so we retired to Roberta's house for leftovers and proofing of The Christmas Card. Her cards, every year, are an event. I look forward to them. One year, a package containing a fortune cookie, a letter on rice paper, instructions on how to do a Chinese paper cutting and a good luck ritual were all mishmashed together in a shiny, eclectic package with...something I'm forgetting that was awesome. Anyhow, these cards are little packages, and she makes 100+ every year. So we got to help with the process this year, which was cool beyond belief. Naturally, we've taken a vow of silence as to the nature of these cards. Assuming certain family members are reading, I can't say anything more. But it was WAY cool.

Saturday was a truncated day. We woke up early (ish), wandered downtown, and hit up Powell's (the strike was a one-day thing, but what a day they chose!) I could live in Portland. That would be a-okay. We barely saw any of downtown, but it makes an impression. It's the only big city (defining big city at over a million people) that I've really spent intimate time in, wandering and looking and not being yanked around by parents (cough cough RENO cough). The place has a hold on me; every detail I took in wasn't enough. The place is so vibrant and so layered. I digress, back to saturday. We took the train (eee! I love trains!) back to Eugene, and walked another mile and a half home, having arrived and hour or two later than we thought we would. The things you hear about Amtrak are true, apparently. Still. Beats the Greyhound.

And that's more or less it. We're back just in time for Dead Week. Now I must go to my lit class.

Kyle and I cut her hair, too. Pictures eventually.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Avoiding any actual posting until I've gotten some homework accomplished. Though to be working on, say, my german or grammar or that damned history paper, I should really be off the computer and all...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

T-minus one hour and counting until the fun and frolic that we call Portland is at my fingertips. I'm packed, I'm dramamined, I'm ready. Happy Long Weekend to all -- I hope to hear merry stories upon my return.

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday...YUCK.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

In 25 hours, I will be en route to Portland to visit my folks' old roommate. She's the most awesome person over 40 I've ever met. Kyle and I will be spending a long weekend with her in the City of Roses, so posting may or may not occur. I can assure you that if there is any kind of posting, it will be brief. But I digress. I'm going to be cooking an untraditional Thanksgiving for three: roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes with gravy (no way am I doing Turkey day with out 'em), some sort of salad item with Sister-in-law dressing (secret family recipe!) and some sort of desert item. I need a desert item recipe, come to think of it. Something eeeeeasy. So not only am I thrilled to be cooking again (it's been MONTHS!), but I'm thrilled to go to Portland, with all its coolness and Powells-ness and neo-hipsters and dim-sum restaurants and that Greek place my folks like. Very thrilled to get out of Eugene for a bit. Janelle is driving us up, and we're taking the train back. Too cool.

I think I'm beginning to tire of irony. Yeah, I know. It's groundbreaking news for Erica "sarcasm" Rothman, and I guess that's not what I mean. Verbal irony and literary irony and outright sarcasm aren't really my target in and of themselves. What bothers me is that our entire generation is de facto ironic. We take irony supplements, if you will, to our daily culture. Everyone has something snarky or smirky or IRONIC (and I mean it in the proper sense and its bastardized meaning) to say. There really isn't very much room for genuine emotion any more. I read this book, The Brothers K, a while ago. It's awesome because a) it just is and b) it's not overwhelmingly ironic. The Corrections, on the other hand (another great book that I really enjoyed), was TOO ironic. There were too many twists and double-meanings and such for some of the characters to appear genuine. And I'm worried that real people, people I see, are just layering themselves in irony because emotion is too difficult. Or too rare or unpopular or ugly or real. Don't be a construct would be my warning to this generation of college students. Makes me fucking sick.

EDIT: Added a link to my awesome pal Meg.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Note the new link. My cousin Aaron is awesome, and now I can prove it. Soon to come: link to the physics journal my grandpa edits (health permitting), and a link to the various other accomplishments of family and friends.

A spectacle that the harsh climes of Alaska do not permit: persimmon picking. According to local expert, Older Guy with Beard, there are three known persimmon trees in Eugene. He and his bevy of pickers (three is a bevy, right?) hit them all, and delicious cooking ensues. Kyle snagged a 'simmon and a short lecture. When I passed by, two kids picked up discarded fruit ('simmons that didn't get caught, fell to the ground and bruised) and presented it to their mother. She was unimpressed ("that's great, hon..."), but I found the whole thing extremely cute.

The blessed Orbis. Sophie, does Evergreen do Orbis? It's a bibliophile's wet dream. One can, with college affiliation (student ID#), access any book the collective libraries of the Pacific Northwest have to offer. I have Orange Laughter (I know the author!) and Fight Club are on order--and they ship in 2-3 business days. Lovely.

Still slogging away at crap of some order or another. Currently, I'm grinding a paper on the Japanese poet Basho into the ground. The topic we got is too simplistic (okay, that sounded arrogant, but I want to make it fun to write not just A proves B by way of C -- I want to think about this a little...gah, I still sound arrogant), so I'm tweaking it a little, pending prof permission.

Wrote a few letters this weekend. If I don't have your mailing address, email it to me.

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot to mention it, but...OPUS IS BACK!! The new comic "Opus" by awesome cartoonist Berkeley Breathed starts today and runs every friday, perhaps in a newspaper near you. Sadly, for us poor wretches who don't get papers delivered to us, it's only released on real, tree-pulpin' newsprint. Here's hoping the R-G carries it...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Thus far, the most exciting events of my day have been: a phone call from the wonderful Jesse, the purchase of a hat for the wonderful Kyle, and that biscuit I had at breakfast. I think I'm becoming boring.

Friday, November 21, 2003

One of those days. Meh. Go to the link Bailey left in comments. It's awful.

In other news, I've changed my start up, shut down and error sounds to various Strong Bad quotes. Hooray!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Why is it that everytime I look at the news, another bomb has gone off, or another impotent protest rages on? I don't mean to be bleak, but the bombing in Turkey has gotten me down. Compound that with the other bombing in Turkey, and the endless bombings in Iraq, Israel (and outlying areas that some call Israel and some don't), and on and's like humanity is slowly chipping away at its own mortar. Homework: find something to unite the human race.

I notice NO ONE has responded to my "name your pirate ship" challenge. Slackers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Is anyone else concerned about this? Bailey, I think you should be. It's in your neighborhood. Why didn't I hear about this?
UPDATE: It snowed for a good two hours today. Actually, considering that I came to Eugene hoping to avoid snow, "good" may not be the qualification I'm looking for. Picture pending.
It's raining. Someone ought to start a fund called the "Give Erica a dollar for everytime she says that it's raining so she can pay for her moist Oregon education fund". Any fund that helps me pay off these big monies is a good fund, really.

JUST SO YOU KNOW: T-minus 13 days until my birthday. The big 1-9. I'll be able to buy cigs in Alaska! Now if only I smoked...

There's a journalism/writing scholarship due in a bit. I want to enter, but I don't know what to write about. There is a cash prize and an opportunity to go to a writing conference AND meet with an editor from some publication or another. Dreams of getting lucky and bypassing college wafting...wafting...mmmm. Sadly, I have no ideas for a piece. If there's no piece, there's no entry. And if there's no entry, there's no chance, however minimal.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Yarrr and yo ho, me laddies and lassies. The feared Sophiebeard has named yours truly the dread pirate Rothman. Fitting, aye? To the two people that frequent this house of pillaging, plundering, rifling and looting: go show ol' Soph Silver some lovin'. Post explicit pictures of yourself. Write a long list of names you'd never give a schnauzer (including Schnauzie).

While we're on the subject: How the hell do you get winamp to not screw up with the streaming audio? Sophie, I went to the trouble of downloading it for you and your .ogg fest(s). But it's attempting to start a mutiny, which simply doesn't stand on my ship. I'm TRYING to LISTEN to some REM here! This displeases the Dread Pirate Rothman. DPR. DPyarrrrr.

Yes. Feeling silly. In that vein, go here. It's hilarious.

Finally, if you had a pirate ship, what would you name it? Be creative. La bella tortuga (reference to Treasure Island, of course), Pyrate's Pride, or Chicken of the Sea, mayhaps?

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Why yes, I did enjoy my free meal.

It was grey and cloudy today--par for the course, I suppose. Eugene and winter seem to coincide with dreary, but I'm still having a good time weather-wise because there's no snow. The novelty of a snowless winter (hell, the novelty of a snowless November!) is enough to get me a-giggling.

Kyle and I were at a playground today. As she was swinging (swung?) I watched the clouds. When the clouds are grey, I could watch them endlessly. Or until my feet, nose and ears freeze. For a while, I stood facing the wind, watching a big, dark puff of potential rain slowly careen straight at me. My own personal Joe vs. the volcano. It was only sprinkling; I stared it down from its torrential downpour.
After my spectacular eye-to-eye with the Nimbus family bully, I saw that my feet had dug size 11 trenches in the wood chips I stood upon. Without thinking, I covered up the gaps, and, still without thinking, I stood on the same spot again. To me, it seemed terribly metaphorical. To stand and face the downpour, then erase all signs of the previous existence, only to stand there again. Reinvention of the something.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Added to the links. That will be an ongoing thing.

Not too much to say right now, although Kyle and I are getting a free meal out of her step-dad.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Some cat, who apparently has an ample supply of rhythm and soul, is playing jazz trombone in the courtyard outside my window. Ah, to be serenaded.

In Erica news, frustration mounts over course requirements. Journalism recs, art minor and honors college may not mesh. Oregon student communicates only in headlines, grunts. Muh.

These requirements are ridiculous. I want freedom, but I'm constricted by the fact that I simply can't do everything. It's going to be hard enough to balance J-school classes with the HC crap, but an art minor on top of it is beyond the pale. Something will have to go, especially if I want to study abroad. After a similar rigmarole in high school, I'm not going to repeat my mistakes. There will be no sacrifice of what I love to do for what I feel obligated to complete. Please feel free to throw this back in my face when I'm going on about how I can't leave the honors college because I'm a gigantic quitter, et cetera, ad nauseum.

Today's real feature, however, is my gush of the day. The topic? The New Zealand press.

I love the New Zealand press above the American, Canadian or British press for my international news source. The NZ Herald's coverage of Revenge of the Gulf War (to term it lovingly) is as objective as any. From reading this article, you wouldn't know that New Zealand has a defense staff of 61 stationed in Basra right now, where bombs are falling. They balance articles well; compare the above link to this one, and tell me that they're taking a stance on the war. I dare ya. We all know that the American press is totally spun--liberal and conservative alike. It's hard to find an American news source that subscribes to the Joe Friday Doctrine -- "just the facts." So US media is in a bipartisan pissing contest, while the Canadians just kind of give it a tsk and go back to their affairs. Canada is a friendly and caring country, truly the best kind of neighbor. Their press, inasmuch as I've observed, tends to have a strong focus on domestic affairs, which is great, if you're Canadian. The importance I place on international news and the global community isn't totally satisfied with Canadian foreign journalism. Then we have the Brits. Another fabulous country, one that I've had the pleasure of visiting. Sensationalism and yellow journalism is rampant, sadly. I'm not talking about the paparazzi (another rant entirely), but the British newspapers. Even the Guardian can ham it up. The thing about UK reporters and papers is this: either they're with Tony Blair and Bush (a dying breed), or they're barely or poorly concealing their ire at the White House. Yes, yes, Bush is a moron and the whole administration reeks of unprecedented corruption -- I agree with all of that passionately -- but that should not show in an objective piece of copy. Period. To briefly touch on the Aussies, they have firmer ties with the US than New Zealand, being a larger country and all. They're good, but not as good as my beloved Kiwis.

As for a less America-centric view, INTERnational news. It's actually from many nations. Not just the USA, not just Oceania, not just Europe. Admittedly, no one but African papers carry as much African news as I'd like (unless, of course, they're asking the United States for aid...) but you can't have everything. My biggest gripe about the international news sections -- limiting my argument to rags in English -- is the emphasis on Europe and the US (and Australia, if you're in that neighborhood). At any rate, the New Zealand press has a hold on me because of their beautiful, beautiful world news sections.

Thanks for reading, Bai. I now know someone is out there...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

No, I will not endorse any single Democratic candidate (said with a wry grin, as if anyone truly cares). However, I will give a hearty "you go, girl" to Carol Moseley Braun. It's highly doubtful that she'll get the nomination (but hey, you never know), but I like her politics and I think it's gutsy for her, a black woman, to do. Meanwhile, the Dean/Clark battle rages on, with Kerry trying his damnedest. Personally, I think it's time for Kuninich, Sharpton, and the rest of the not-so-hopeful hopefuls to start bowing out gracefully. The last thing the Democratic party needs is a war of the demagogues.

Read this and return. Back yet? Okay: HOLY SHIT. This is science in the coolest, weirdest, most ethically challenging extreme. Personally, I don't know how much I'd like a dead person's face, but then again, I'm not suffering from extreme burns. I suppose that would be one way to go, as opposed to grafts--which I understand are painful and sometimes unsightly. Frankly, I'm just amazed that a face transplant could even be possible. The ethical issues it raises are fascinating. Is it wrong to wear someone else's face? Is it wrong to forsake your own? Conside my mind blown.

Ahh, free pizza. Love of any college student's life.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Odds and ends today.

I don't know about anyone else (I mean anyone else EVER, not just anyone who cruises by this place on a whim), but I really miss Nickelodeon's cartoon "Rocko's Modern Life." That show was as fucked up as possible under the PG (perhaps PG-13) restrictions. I watched it religiously, passionately after school in my elementary/junior high days. Any cartoon about a feckless wallaby, an overweight heifer, and a miopic turtle with some form of anxiety disorder gets two thumbs up in my book. I would be happy forever if a DVD collection of Rocko's Modern Life existed somewhere.

The U of O campus is totally overrun with squirrels. I guess "overrun" is a poor choice of words for its negative, infestation sort of connotations. Point being, squirrels are EVERYWHERE. And seeing as I'm in a sort of fuzzy creature deficiency right now (I still miss my cats), I fight the urge to scamper after these little dudes and try to catch them. The practical "you'd never get one anyhow" approach has been working so far.

My typing skills are not up to snuff today. It's taken me a shamefully long time to type this much. I think this is the end for now.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Ted Rall makes me laugh and cry.
I love the New Zealand Herald. They've reported on the abortion bill in a way the American media has only feinted at. Read it.
I can't help but feel like there's no point to this blog exercise anymore. I'm just getting my thoughts out and sending them in a million possible directions, but nothing happens. I don't feel happier or cleansed or wiser or anything. Color me impatient, but I'm getting annoyed. Nonetheless, I'm trudging on with it. I thought it was a good idea at one point, so until I have proven myself totally right or totally wrong, I'm not stopping. Granted there was a brief cessation in there while I ACED a literature paper. That's right, A- baby. That class is my bitch.

In other news, there's not a lot of other news, except that the honors college requirements and journalism school requirements combine in such a way that restricts me from taking any class that DOESN'T fulfill some kind of requirement. It's like my damn yoga class is my guilty little pass/no pass pleasure--and I'm not even enjoying it! My instructor seems to make up science to lecture us with as we contort ourselves. I don't especially feel like I'm getting a workout, either. I think next term is going to be something active, like racquetball, where the instructor won't spout crackpot theories and broken Hindu mysticism to keep us going.

My history prof, the tough one, made us cookies yesterday. I don't understand why I have such a hard time rallying my thoughts in his class. In discussions, I'm active and thoughtful, but outside of a conversation, I can't make a point. It's troubling, and it makes me feel stupid which I do not like at all.

Dear god! The sky is blue! I haven't seen THAT in a while. Someone once told me it rains a lot in Oregon. Who'd have thought? Oh well. Green grass all year is worth it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Life is very, very good.

Palahniuk was awesome, even though he had mono -- acquired from Quentin Tarantino on Conan the night before. "If Quentin Tarantino tells you not to drink out of his cup," he told us, "don't drink out of the fuckin' cup." Packed into a space that reminded me of Anchorage's Fairview rec center with around 250 other people (by my estimation), I remembered that this venue -- WOW hall -- was the venue from which two identified cases of meningitis were traced. But it was worth it. Palahniuk read from an unpublished work, a collection of short stories. Their theme is "what would Edgar Allen Poe write if he were writing now?" The point is to probe the unspeakable, and the story he read, "Guts," was very nearly so. Kyle and I were both on the verge of losing conciousness or lunch. He's such an awesome writer. During the Q and A, he gave preference to those with dogs, tossing plastic-foam human limbs for fetching. As prizes. As I said: awesome.

In other news, I kicked some midterm ass in literature. An A. A solid 99%, actually. Boo-yah is really all I have to say.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Naturally, after slogging through massive revisions on this paper I'm writing, I wrote a tender, juicy post--promptly deleted by an internet hiccup. That was last night, and I was not interested in re-writing much of anything (dashing off this paper has been a damned saga...perhaps even an epic). I'm not going to try to recreate any of it, but I assure you that the paper is in a better way than it was. As is my mental state. My history prof is really tough, so I tend to freak myself out when composing papers for him. To the point where I can't write a decent sentence without agonizing over it, editing it, deleting it and starting all over again. I have a somewhat close to finalized draft that my live-in editor is working on right now. She's so wonderful.

Eugene is not quite home yet. I don't know my way around the city, nor do I have a comfy little circle of friends. This is not an Anchorage-like situation, but I have to come to terms with the fact that it will not become anything like Anchorage. It's not Anchorage. I was trying out the words " throw this out� I really want a talking teddy bear phone like the one that Graham Uses to call people. I just think that it's the coolest thing. :-)85 I really want a talking teddy bear phone like the one that Graham Uses to call people. I just think that it's the coolest thing. :-)

EDIT: What the hell happened? My post had NOTHING to do with Graham or his talking bear phone. The words I tried out were "I live in Eugene, Oregon" -- it came up in German class. Ich wohne in Eugene. Ich komme aus Anchorage. Toby, I wish you could give me some of your fluency by osmosis.

This was also missing from the post, ostensibly replaced by Graham's phone. Kyle and I are going to see...wait for it...Chuck Palahniuk! He's giving a reading in Eugene tonight and I'm SO EXCITED! All we need is directions to this place...

Sunday, November 02, 2003

I’ve been working on this paper for a while now, and I think I’ve made good progress. It’s a comparison between ancient Hebrew and ancient Mesopotamian societies, based on their respective codes of law. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the point where I can’t focus enough to be productive, but I’m in a scholarly sort of mode so I can’t go screw around. Not that I really have the time to go screw around anyway. This paper is due Wednesday, and I’d like to have a rough draft done today. That’s pretty idealistic, I know, but I’m outlining pretty thoroughly and…damn. Now I’m making myself feel guilty for writing this.

I got a card from Bailey yesterday. It made my day. I need to write her back, but she’s a lot more forgiving that my history professor. She will probably have to wait. Which reminds me, in a gigantic mind-jump sort of way, that I need to call my folks. And my grandma, whose birthday is tomorrow.

The course catalog for UO’s winter term classes came out online the other day. I’m excited. It’s fun to just browse around, even if I’m hopelessly restricted by three yearlong classes. I’ll be glad when I’m done with massive pre-recs, although I won’t be glad when I realize these classes forced me to put off the dreaded (but required) math class until another year. I’ll be even rustier on my sines and cosines.

Is this blog project working yet?

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Hope Halloween was good for all. I had more of a Hallowhatever because of illness. More when I'm procrastinating homework tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Oh, I'm also planning on changing the color/text of this damn template gave me. Hoping to actually reflect my own tastes here. If anyone knows the HTML tags for changing font, I'd be much obliged.
It's been on my mind a lot lately, and being a journalism major as well as living in a country that is totally media saturated, I can't really get around it. Bias. Tom Tomorrow has a letter from a "grunt" that works at Fox news, and it's great. My take on bias isn't quite as cut and dried as my militantly liberal cohorts. It's not as simple as "Fox News = lying right-wing scumbags" or "NY Times = bleeding-heart liberals" or anything like that. Even "the liberal media" doesn't cover it. Because there's a conservative rag for every liberal one, not to mention third party and "wing-nut" publications and productions. Everyone has an agenda, even many who claim not to. If I had a dollar for every publication or zine or blog or what-have-you that boasted the TRUTH but only give you a list of atrocities with commentary, I wouldn't have to take out student loans. This may be getting convoluted, especially for those who know how vehemently liberal I am. To me, good journalism is unbiased. Not unbiased as in "those totalitarians at Fox haven't doctored the story to appeal to the Bushies" or "those liberal rats haven't undermined America with another series of lies." Unbiased as in the Joe Friday doctrine: just the facts. I hope that's a standard I can hold myself to, even if others so rampantly and blatantly decide that the JFD is below them.

I smell ramen.

Headline: Reacting to the riot

Sub-Head: FUR BALL: Teens think police were heavy-handed; officer says they didn't start trouble

Perfect World staff

Run Date: 2/21/03


Edition: Final


Page: E4

Text: Since Saturday night's riot at Egan Center, there has been a lot of talk by Anchorage teens and adults. Accusations are flying over who is or isn't to blame.
The immediate result is a pall of mistrust hanging between the Anchorage Police Department and the community's teenage population.
Stories like Service High junior Eli Menaker's are circulating. Menaker was at the Fur Ball when trouble erupted. He said that after a few fights broke out, word that a gun had been pulled reached the crowds of teens; that word spread pandemonium. Menaker exited the building. He says what he saw next -- officers using pepper spray and billy clubs on rioting teens -- made him think the masses of panicking teens were being "handled poorly." He said he ran from the scene.
"I don't trust the cops after what I've seen," Menaker said.
Were relations between teens and police officers strained to begin with? Capt. Audie Holloway of the Anchorage Police Department said he didn't think relations were any more strained than "what would be considered normal." Holloway said it is in every teen's nature to test boundaries, and police are around to make sure that no one crosses lines that shouldn't be crossed. Above all, Holloway said, police around to help.
"We even help people who do things wrong, things they're not supposed to be doing," Holloway said.
As to the disintegration of trust between teens and police officers, Holloway said that teens often don't have the life experience to understand that the police wish to protect the public from danger. Holloway also points out that many officers on the police force tire of teaching group after group of teens the same lessons about what is right and what is wrong.
Caroline Livett, a senior at Service, was also at the Egan when the riot broke out. Livett felt that the police were as unsure about the situation as the students.
"They were scared, too," she said. "They were kind of irrational. ... The cops weren't trying to calm (the students) down."
Livett said she harbors no ill will toward the police after what she saw, but she acknowledged that there could be disturbances in the future because of anti-police sentiments.
"I don't know how much trust there was to begin with, but (the riot) gives teens less trust in cops," she said.
Holloway said that the police did not expect a riot but that the action taken was appropriate considering the size and potential danger of the crowd. "I don't think we had any choice," he said.
Adrienne Petros, a sophomore at East who also attended the Fur Ball, thought that the police acted rashly in using pepper spray and billy clubs on teens.
"They didn't have the right people all the time," Petros said.
Petros thought that some of the students -- those who were threatening the police -- were not innocent, but many innocent teens were hurt. Menaker also felt that the measures the police took were rash and that some officers wanted to get "in on the action."
Holloway said that efforts on the part of the police required organization that was lacking at times; some officers waded into crowds to break up fights when they ought to have been working jointly with other officers, he said.
"There's no way that 70 officers can overwhelm 1,500 kids," he said.
Holloway firmly denied that officers wanted to involve themselves in fights. "It's no big thing to our egos to fight with a teenager."

Erica Rothman is a senior at West High.

back to my original point of bias, though, did I succeed? Was it fair and balanced?

I, like my Katie compadre on the East Coast, am sick and in a state of monthly misfortune. Wonderful timing. Fan-bloody-tastic. Pun intented. Happy Halloween, and I'm going to take me some vitamin I. Ibuprofen, that is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

This color scheme must go.

Today, it started to rain that hard Eugene rain in the middle of my history class. Guess who didn't have a jacket? Guess who rode her bike back to her dorm in a wet and grumpy retreat? Yup, I did. What a fun-filled climate we have. Although I shouldn't be complaining. It's not the snow and eternal darkness of Alaska.

There's an abortion ban on Bush's desk right now that will not only gut abortion rights, but contraceptive services as well. Perhaps it's a strange irony that UO dorms will begin passing out condoms soon (within two weeks, I believe). The large conservative power blasts sexual privacy while the smaller liberal bastions have condom baskets. I'm just waiting for someone to offer me a latex. Working on the pithy retorts.

Editing a picture of Kyle's toe right now. It's not as abstract/ridiculous as it sounds (well, it IS ridiculous, but a different kind of ridiculous as I drew a big, lobotomized smiley face on it). God bless Photoshop, and the cyber hall guy that gave it to me.

From the New Zealand Herald today:
WASHINGTON - Struggling to maintain public support for his Iraq policy, President George W. Bush vows that United States forces will not leave Iraq and says he has never misled Americans about the difficulties of occupying the country.

More here. I really like the New Zealand Herald. They don't sensationalize like we do, or like the British do, for that matter. Their cover stories are things I actually want to hear about, and they don't have the trouble that both the Anchorage Daily News (of which I am a former employee of three years) and the Register-Guard (of Eugene, OR) have: not knowing quite what to put on the front page. Sunday human interest stories don't bother me, but a four-part series on a Catholic priest who molested children then fled to Cuba smacks of yellow journalism to me.

Did I mention that I'm pursuing a journalism major? Among my many goals, one is to make my work as unbiased as I can make it. Someone remind me to reprint my story about the teen "riot" in Anchorage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

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