Friday, September 30, 2005

Very Wrong

Well, last night I had a total panic attack about the job market. After talking to my parents (i.e. my rocks in life), I felt better. However, I still wasn't in the best frame of mind...so, I fell as low as one can get. No, I did not descend into the pit of drug and alcohol abuse (all of that starts because of graduate school...I know that now). I did something much worse....

I watched the E! True Hollywood Story: Cheech and Chong.

Good God...how low can you get? I mean, that is definitely the sign of a dead brain. By this morning, I was still confused about it.

Anyway, today I am a bit better. I finalized all the details for my new, expensive Florida car insurance. However, I do have to say that Geico rocks. They really are the best...and I LOVE the commercials. My favorite is the one featuring Speed Racer. If you have not seen it (and if you have media player), you can access it at: http://www.advertisementave.com/tv/ad.asp?adid=609 . I always laugh.

Other than that, I have been talking to my apartment manager again. She is the best...and now I know why. She is a Southerner! She is from Tennessee and her husband is from Alabama. He is a die-hard Alabama fan; and, when she found out I was from Tuscaloosa, she said that her husband, if he ever met me, would want to kiss me. Not sure about that, but it was funny!

Well that is about it for today. For those of you leaving comments now there is a bit of a change in the process. I installed word verification on the comments section (thanks, Katie!) and that should block useless spam messages. Anyway, more later!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Weird" Art

Anyone from around Tampa will know about the MOSI exhibit called Bodies ( http://www.mosi.org/ ). Basically, some guy figured out how to plasticize real cadavers so that we can all share in the illuminating experience of seeing our internal organs still inside of a preserved human. Fascinating as this is, there is a huge controversy surrounding the exhibit. The bodies come from Asia and the original inhabitants of the bodies never gave their consent to be on display, sparking a whole ethical argument about the show. Anyway, I have not been...I had enough of that kind of deal when I went to Guanajuato, Mexico, and saw the real mummies ( http://www.questconnect.org/mexico_mummy_photos.htm ). This is the kind of thing I just don't need to see again...even though no internal organs were visible in Guanajuato. Anyway, I asked my students if they had seen the exhibit. One said she had, but it was really just a freak show sort of experience because her little brother wanted to see it for the gross-out factor. Now, I understand the value of such exhibits. We should all know about human anatomy...but, instead of just being educational, the news coverage has indeed made it into the freak show. Anyway, to each his own. I just remember the bad smell in Guanajuato...even if the air is Febreze clean, I don't think I can handle it.

Anyway, this story makes me think about the question (never to be answered) about what is art and what is the value of art? All I know is that I know it when I see it, or read it, or hear it. But, I don't care if someone else cannot validate my opinion. I even have the right to change my opinion...ah, the beauty of ART. That is life. Life is ART.

Exhibit A: A little boy I know when to the Birmingham Museum of Art ( http://www.artsbma.org/ ) recently. He took a tour with a guide and saw a few paintings of nude women and men. Several days later, when I saw him, he told me about it:

Child: "Miss Susie, I went to art museum and there was NUDITY there."
Me: "Well,what did you think about that?"
Child: "Well, I was a little freaked out and the lady at the museum [I am sure he means the tour guide] told me
that sometimes artists have to use nudity to tell about their idea."
Me: "Well, what do you think?"
Child: "I think she was crazy. It grossed me out."

Point 1: The 11-year-old is "grossed...out"...what will the man think?
Point 2: If opinions constantly are in flux, who the heck can say what art really is or what its value could possibly be?

So what do I think? I don't know about the kid, but I don't mind artful nudity. And, as for me and my taste, I will stay in my sometimes dream state and enjoy my own artful fantasies... maybe write a book that is considered to be "BAD ART", eat at cheap restaurants, sometimes go to the wine tasting at the expensive wine store near my apartment, watch Dallas and The English Patient, adore Hugh Grant and James Spader, and read George Eliot and Jayne Ann Krentz. Hell, even "Jane Eyre" was considered to be chick-lit at one time.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oranges Everywhere

Everyone knows my fascination with oranges, so this blog is about my love for them. First of all, the only good thing about getting a new car tag is that I have oranges on it! Right now, scarily enough, the sky is orange....not good because we are having a really bad storm right now. It looks really strange and scary.

Anyway, for those who don't know about my fascination, I will lay it out for you. I have always loved oranges. However, my love took the form of obsession when I went to Kissimmee, Florida, once and saw the fabulous Orange World ( http://www.roadsideamerica.com/salad/orange.html ). I was very excited to see a place totally devoted to my favorite fruit. However, when I went inside, I was totally disappointed. The place smelled really bad and the only thing even sort of orange were some sad oranges outside in molding crates.

All the way back to Tuscaloosa, I planned. My dream is to take over Orange World, create a fantasy world for orange lovers. For example, I wanted to have tons of beautiful Florida oranges outside. Then, as the customer enters the store, I would have a little spritz of scent d'orange great them. I would sell all kinds of orange food products, books, toys (hey, Chris, how about an Ice Punch Orange???), etc. I could have a small cafe with orange desserts and drinks. If I wanted to get tacky, I could sell adult products...orange oil, edible orange underwear...ugh...not sure about that. Anyway, the ultimate attraction...after getting my feet on the ground, would be to add a slow moving ride that would take you through the animated history of the orange and show the oranges of the world. Ahhhh....my dream. ORANGE WORLD. Then, when things really take off, I will add Citrus World...a non-exclusive fruit atmosphere.

(A side note: I visit Orange World each time I go to Kissimmee. The last time, things had improved at Orange World. There was a lovely new cover outside and even an orange essence on the inside. They have begun to sell t-shirts with oranges on them and a few food products. Much work to do, but it is getting better.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Official Florida Resident, but just call me Miss Ellie

Well, I didn't get arrested or pulled over this morning, so that was a relief. It turns out that if I had not brought my car I would not have been able to get anything done. So much for the jerk that answered the phones at the non-emergency number this weekend. He was so rude! Anyway, all is well. I sat in a bit room with a lot of really interesting people, got my tag, drove several miles away and got my new license, and came home to relax.

Okay...now on to the really embarrassing stuff. (Katie, you will appreciate this...by the way, I really want to see the Dr. Phil that is on tomorrow. I have class and will miss it...you have to tell me about it if you read this in time!) Anyway, I guess the first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem...so, here it is:

I AM ADDICTED TO BAD 80s TELEVISION...SPECIFICALLY, DALLAS.

There, it is out.

I can't help it. I have seasons 1 through 3 on DVD and I am so totally a Ewing by proxy. I haven't finished the third season yet. I am trying to space it out, but it is really hard! Ugh. I am so pathetic.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do....

Well...some idiot stole my Alabama license tag off of my car. So, I have been stranded here all weekend until I can go get a new tag tomorrow. I had to get a new Florida tag anyway, but damn. And, the whole situation with the police department and reporting the theft has been an experience. First of all, they won't send an officer out to make a report...it has to be done by phone and only Monday through Friday. Okay...this is Florida, right? The state that houses thousands of sexual predators and kidnappers? Sure, someone probably just wanted to add my tag to their collection...but, worst case scenario, it could be halfway across the US by now on some criminal's car. Lovely. And, because the police won't even call me until tomorrow to file an official report, if something happens involving my tag, it will come back to me because it has not been entered into the national database as stolen. Brilliant. Crime does not stop on the weekends, my fellow citizens. It has been infuriating. If I ever see my tag floating around Tampa, there will be a police officer on the scene...

Other than that, not much to report. I went home to Tuscaloosa two weeks ago for a short weekend visit. It was fun, but I was totally exhausted! I had a great time visiting everyone (even though I didn't get to see Jess and Jeff!!!). On the way back, I stopped for a fun lunch with my aunt and uncle in Dothan. I don't get to see Jeanne and Theron often, so it was a nice time.
Of course, on the way to Dothan and all the way back to Tampa I ran into at least 1/8 of the population of "love bugs". My uncle informed me that they are called love bugs because they are mating and if you look closely you will notice that there are two bugs together. I did notice that before he told me...but I found it a bit unsettling and decided to pretend I wasn't seeing anything. I hate bugs...especially bugs that mess up my car. I had to stop twice outside of Dothan to clean my windshield...those things just don't come off. And, just the other day, they started invading my apartment complex...I have seen a few outside on my deck. Very bad news.

My neighbors have been unusually quiet. Of course, because I have been homebound (gosh...all these passive verbs are driving me nuts, but I don't care), I have been noticing interesting things about the people in my square of my complex. I have lovely palm trees right outside my windows, and it is very scenic...also scenic is the young man who lives in a downstairs apartment across from me. He works out at night...very nice. I know I sound creepy now...but it is only temporary and I don't think he is that cute up close. Still, it was an interesting surprise. Other than that, there are just a bunch of screaming kids who swim at the pool on the weekends. I really don't like them.

Well, that is all for now. Everyone wish me luck tomorrow when I go to get my tag and new Florida license. Ugh...more money.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The eyes are the first things to go...

At least in this grad. program. I have been reading non-stop for four days...today, I finally gave up for a while. I am totally exhausted! I am caught up in the Dickens course, but I am a little behind in reading Vanity Fair. So, I will have to catch up Wednesday. Ugh...only the third week and already I need a vacation!

Other than that, I have been busy helping my students access their blogs. We have an ongoing blog project that should be interesting. Some are already showing distinct online personalities.

I wish I had more to add for today's post. There really isn't that much happening in my world at the moment! Maybe after tomorrow I will have some news to add! Until then, take care!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

Hello, all! Greetings from sunny Tampa, once again. The weather is great today...not too hot because we have a breeze. Also, my crazy upstairs neighbors haven't made any noise (yet) or fought (yet). It is a banner day.

Now...for the mundane details of my life...

This morning, I went to an awesome Publix. It is pretty far away, but they have everything. I also returned the movies I borrowed from the library. (A note to all my library friends out there: the New Tampa Regional Library is insane! It is just a branch library (but close to me). However, while they have lots of new materials, the organization sucks...Looks like somebody skipped Dr. MacCall's class one too many times. I swear, nonfiction and fiction are mixed together, CD audio books are all over the place, and the children's poetry section is mixed in with the adult literature/poetry section. I am still trying to get over it. There are lots of movies (DVD) unlike Tuscaloosa Public Library, but the organization sucks. IT DRIVES ME INSANE. Still, the librarians are very nice and maybe they are just doing what they have been told...but everytime I go in there, I just want to move everything.) I borrowed two versions of Bronte's Wuthering Heights...maybe I mentioned that before...but the 1939 version is the best.

After the library, I came home (ahhh) and began to read (still reading) Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop. It is a great book, but my eyes are starting to go. I really want to finish it this weekend...lots of coffee in store. I know that many people enjoy the character of Mr. Quillp because he is so sinister. However, I think he is a little overdone. I think the best scenes are between little Nell and the Grandfather Trent. In fact, the few scenes where we see little Nell alone are the best. I just read the scene where Nell leads her grandfather through the forest...that was just beautifully done. Anyway, enough of my ramblings.

Well, enough for now...back to reading. Everyone have a great day!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Living in Tampa...

Well, it has been forever since the last post (and, yes, Heath, I promise to post a photo soon!!). :) Things are great here in Tampa. I am totally exhausted these days. School started up again last week and all is well there. I really like my students this semester and my classes (the ones that I take) are great as well. Recently, in the Victorian Lit. class, we read Wuthering Heights...that is the most wonderful book. I think that if you read it and don't get it that you have never really been in love. Now we are reading Vanity Fair. It is good as well, but I am only 200 pages into it (several more hundred to go!).

As far as Tampa is concerned, I am still trying to find my way around. The USF campus is so busy that I have to get there very early if I want to find a place to park (parking is terrible). Other than that, I have found lots of good places to go for fun. The city's downtown is not that far away from where I live. So far, the heat has been tolerable...not great, but tolerable! I hope the "red tide" situation clears up soon as well...I really want to go to the beach.

Well, everyone take care...I promise to write more!

Susie