Friday, January 26, 2007

"There is somethere else here."

Either my fingers are now conduits for typewritten profundities, or I'm totally losing it.

(edited for detail-adding) There are 112,000 white flags and 3,000 red flags planted in the memorial quad, spilling over into the adjacent greens. (pictures -- the slideshow is worth it.) Spending three hours of my sunday planting these flags, each white one standing for 6-7 Iraqi civilians and soldiers killed and each red one standing for an American soldier, was sobering enough. But the thing about activism is this: once you start, it's hard to say no. I ended up moderating a panel discussion of veterans -- all students, all served in Iraq -- which went very, very well. The typical anti-war "screw the military" crowd was silent; it was a very respectful event. Everyone said what they set out to get across, and if I do say so myself, I was a very even-keel moderator.

The thesis plods onward. I've actually been getting things done (y'know, on the order of writing the damn thing.) but still. nagging doubts. is this even remotely academic? will this help me AT ALL in the future? does any of that matter? bleh. I'm tired of doubt. I think I wrote that last week.

Coming to terms with singledom took less time than I thought. I'm reeeeally into it, actually.

The fine folks at Teach for America get to size me up two weeks from tuesday, close-up and in the flesh. I have no idea what my five-minute lesson will be all about. Or where I'll rustle up some professional clothings. Hrm. This is not far away.

Also: I am sick and Eugene is small.

Apparently, my grandparents sent me a care package. My family manages to overcome insanity with moments of astonishing sweetness. That's sweet in the "kind, cute, loving" sense, not the "check this out, bro, it's totally _" sense.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finished Ruth Reichl's newest memoir, Garlic and Sapphires and it's made me think twice about culinary school. I've already started to wonder how whimsical that idea is/was; not that I love food or cooking any less, it just seems like there are so, so many other things I want to do too. Why do all of these options telescope into a messy pile labelled AFTER COLLEGE? It's too damn hard to take a long-term view when the shorter terms are so uncertain. I know I'm taking this too seriously. Back to the book. Reichl illustrates the New York culinary scene vividly, but the hijinks and disguises and descriptions of meals with price tags higher than the contents of my bedroom aren't what got me. At one point, Reichl gives her high-end leftovers (duckling with hoity-toity sides and sauces I can't recall) to a homeless guy on the subway. Eating is fundamental, she seems to say, and inequity is an inescapable fact.

Thing is, despite my Education Rant* and all of the trappings of good liberaldom, all I really want is a cozy life. Good food and friends and all of those simple bourgie pleasures that come from a modest paycheck and white collar.

In the meantime, I have a thesis on superheroines stagnating over my back burners, some peacenik activities that appeared out of nowhere, a suddenly perplexing personal and social life and a job that leaves me smelling of pork. And not in a good way at all.

Despite all the vitamins and positive mental attituding, I'm sick too. January was allegedly for hibernating. The only hibernation in my life has been grabbing the sparse moments between coming and going to listen to a little something on the old iPod.

The fridge talks to us now. Complains, mostly. It's an obnoxious reminder that yes, we do in fact still live in a crummy West University apartment and settled for way less.

Hilariously, though, I realized that should I find myself teaching, I'd be joining the family business. No sheriffing, trolley driving or cartography for this kid. No military service or dermatology either. I think it's kind of quaint.

*I'll save this one for later.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Further Adventures of

I know the weather is a time-honored tedious subject, but DAMN. My perma-frozen toes just might win out over my cheapness in the "we don't need to turn on the heat" department. This problem has also found a solution in virtually living with some buds who have over zealous and oddly gratis heat.

Still losing the Futurequest. My application to TFA is out, my phone interview tomorrow. I'm surprised at how nervous I'm not. If I want it, I'll get it. Not that I'm terribly sure of what I want, but meh.

Topless pizza night = amazing fun.

The thesis drags on. Once a timetable is set, this will be a different story entirely. Free-form, self-directed projects don't seem to agree with me these days.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

organizing my thoughts

"Why do you seek to join Teach For America? What would make you an effective corps member?"

Hell if I know. I'm a bit preoccupied with other things, like having broken up with Rose, my grandfather's further deterioration, money and my lack thereof, the impending term and the subsequent reality of actually writing this thesis, etc. My reaction to all of these things of late, together or individually, has been "donwannatalkboutit." As such, all I can think about is a mental slurry of Recent Events.

Something tells me the Teach for America folks aren't terribly interested in an answer along the lines of "to alleviate my white guilt." That would be far too tongue-in-cheek, and likely too honest for comfort. In the honesty department, "I don't want to hide in grad school, but getting a real job is scary and hard" might not cut it either.

I do think that I would be good at teaching and I have the confidence to say so. That's step one.

Phew. Thank god that's taken care of.

The requisite "education is the key to success" rant -- I could approach it from the "raised by educators" angle rather than the "I'd better believe this because I'm a humanities major" angle. I think what intimidates me most about all of this is the professionality of the thing. A letter of intent? An essay? This is national corporation meets grad school app type stuff. At least I'm a decent writer. Four to five hundred words should not be this difficult. That, and I shouldn't have put this off until the eleventh hour.

Culinary school has seemed more like a whim lately, like something I should relegate to daydreams.

Damn it, I wish I knew something.