Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How am I feeling today?...

...I think I am wavering between pissed off and annoyed. Ah, the frustrations of my daily life.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A productive day

Today, I ended up writing approximately 10 pages of text on my dissertation (though I constructed about 30 out of material I had already written). Tomorrow, I plan to edit all of that into a reasonable five pages of introduction (ending with a thesis that I haven't entirely worked out yet), followed by my section on Oliver Twist. I will feel good if I can finish that by tomorrow!

Then, at some point this weekend, I want to begin serious work on my section covering The Old Curiosity Shop. Yes--I know all of this sounds really boring to all of you reading...but it is a huge deal to me to actually see several pages with words on them. Writing the dissertation is hard work. Writing is always hard, but trying to center my argument for each chapter while keeping the whole project in mind is a new challenging and exciting task.

I was on a roll at BAM when the lights began to flicker. I think it was due to the rockin' powerhouse work that I was pumping out. HA!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last Night's Efforts at Relaxation...


Source: Face Mask

Here is the company site: http://www.montagnejeunesse.com/default.asp

And, no, United States Government, I am not being paid to advertise this product.

I especially love the caption on the right: "Bursting with Dead Sea Minerals!" That ad is the reason I bought the thing. It was too funny to pass up.

I have used these in the past. They are cheap but are some of the few things that I allow myself to have that are all girly. I am sure that there is something in them that will kill me one day. Still, this one was especially nice. It was cool and calming.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exercise

Exercise is both a blessing and a curse. If I didn't have it, my body would not be happy and my mind would probably rebel against me more than it already does.

I have been pretty good about exercise lately. Unfortunately, I have not been so good about eating healthy foods lately. For a while, I really made an effort. But now...not so much.

I have decided to blame the dissertation.

Thank God...

...for friends who understand.

I can't take it anymore...

The gripe: narcissists. If you have to spend a large amount of time with one, it is truly unbearable. A site broke it down perfectly:


"...Narcissists hold (perhaps "embrace" would be a better term) an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They overrate the significance of their achievements and talents. And they expect to receive accolades for what they believe are outstanding personal attributes and accomplishments. They tend to be totally absorbed in fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, and other achievements and qualities. They believe they are special; as a result, they believe they can only be understood and appreciated by people who are -- or organizations that are -- also special." (article)


I am trying to ignore it, but it is getting harder all of the time. GRRRR....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Casey!!

14 and Fabulous...




(He also wouldn't look at me when I took this because I had just given him a bath...he wasn't too happy with me.)

For the curious...

...this is where I spend a lot of my time these days:




The magazine is produced out of this old home (records differ about the actual construction date, but safe to say late 1800s). I love working with the people (alive and something else) and in the building. The interior of the building is amazing as well. We do need a lot of work on the house, but it is wonderful all the same.


Here is the staircase leading up to my office...




And here is my office!... (my desk...yes, I know that the wires are unattractive, but I love it anyway)



(and the other desk in my office...where Claire works)...

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the words of Nancy Botwin: "What the F?"

So confused by the youth of today...opportunities given in this economy and then they flake out. I am not happy. (Cryptic post, I know...but it can't be helped.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

No....

I read online about how the mayor of London (I think) is up in arms about the new Harry Potter theme park being in Orlando rather than in London. I get that.

What I don't get is something I found as I was reading through the comments to his column. Apparently, a place called Dickens World exists in Kent.

It is really horrifying to behold. While I support exposure to the fantastic C. D. (though it is an acquired taste for many), I can't believe that this place exists. It looks worse than any alligator farm. Then again, where else would I possibly be able to "jump on board the Great Expectations Boat Ride for splashing good fun, take a trip back in time to a Victorian School complete with nasty schoolmaster or get spooked in The Haunted House of 1859"???

Wow.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Newest photos with the cousins!

Jessica and I...



Jeff and I...



Laura and I...

Very interesting....gotta love bizarre ways in which tradition lingers on...

From Cherwell article "Cambridge Academic Criticises Instant MAs"

I guess that if you pass the BA exams at Oxford then you are automatically entered into an MA program. Here is the reason:

"The practice originates from the Middle Ages where the study of the arts took 7 years. The Bachelor of Arts degree was an intermediary degree between matriculation and admission to the degree of Master of Arts. Later the requirements for the Master's degree gradually diminished, until the award became a formality, as it is now."


Constantly stunned at how scholarship is so different now. I want a return to the old times.

Sitting at the Barnes and Noble cafe...

...wishing that I could relax and just dissertate. :) Actually, I feel pretty good today, but I am giving myself a few minutes to just surf the free internet connection here and add another lovely post to my oh so fascinating blog. I think that it is important to give myself some fun things to do...at least until Weeds starts up again in August (which means that the free time will be totally devoted to Nancy's craziness). By the way, I am totally addicted to the song in the season 6 teaser ("Terrible Things" by April Smith and the Great Picture Show). There is going to be some fun in August! Love the teaser trailer...but it really isn't enough to hold me over until August.

Meanwhile, what else is going on...just working hard and trying to convince myself that because I am so far behind in my dissertation work that I am not a total slacker. Poor Elizabeth had to listen to all of my woes this week. She made me feel so much better about it all. By the way: all of you out there who will be writing dissertations or a thesis, make sure you have people around that are at your same point in the process and some people who are ahead of you. That way, when things feel totally out of control, you won't feel so bad. I don't know what I would do without Elizabeth.

You know, coffee shops are weird places...there are all kinds of conversations going on...all kinds of comfort levels being violated...all kinds of body language being expressed. It isn't incredibly crowded around here this morning, but there are several people here for very serious conversations and some of them don't appear to be going so well. Ahh...people watching.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The critics were smoking crack...

...at least a little bit of the time that they were watching Sex and the City 2.

Yes. I know. It is a guilty pleasure. I actually saw the first episode the night it premiered. I had just graduated from college and moved into my own apartment. I was dating an older, detached man (a'la Carrie)...yes, just as pathetic as it can be: we all thought we were Carrie Bradshaw.

When the show first appeared, it was so different, so amazingly up front about things in a way that I had never seen. I loved it. I became addicted and stayed with it through all of the lameness that it became for a while. However, I loved the final episode with all of its old Hollywood beauty and glamour. Of course, it isn't real. But, as I am still friends with my Mr. Big, I find the outcome amusing. No, I didn't marry my Mr. Big, but our relationship does contain some parallels with the on screen couple to this day (something, oddly enough, he agrees with as well...and they said men didn't watch!)...and that was why I was totally disappointed with the first movie and so amazed at the new movie. I guess it is a personal thing.

As time went on, the real appeal to me was the fact that even this woman who seemingly had it all could be so entirely clueless about negotiating relationships successfully. It happens to all of us. It is just human nature.

Absolutely--the critics are correct in their disgust with the kitsch portrayal of the Middle East. Nearly everything about that part of the new movie should be taken out. Their criticisms about there being very little "city"...equally valid. Surprisingly, though, most of the critics have been lamenting the lack of sex in the movie. I think it says a lot about their intellectual analytical abilities if that is the only thing that drew them in the first place. The actual sex in the series wasn't the reason people watched the show for six years (just as there are more complicated things going on in Weeds). The reviews (and there are some very valid criticisms) are shallow, for the most part. I don't understand movie critics. (My favorite: one critic that was excited because Miranda wasn't "obnoxious" and "bitchy" anymore. Geez. We are such an advanced society. Does this person listen to Dr. Laura or something?

On to the show, however. The acting between Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker is great in this film--the old chemistry is back. It fixed everything that was wrong with the last movie (See old blog post). In short, my gripe with the last film was that if Big had finally made up his mind to commit to Carrie, nothing would have stopped him. That really came out in this movie--as did the fact that Carrie has to realize that she married someone not only older but of a different world view. For all of his sexy shenanigans of the past, Big (sorry, John) grew up in a different time with different expectations. He isn't a cave man, by any means, but he wants a comfortable domesticity. That may offend certain viewers/critics...but it is reality, right or wrong. And, right or wrong, Carrie loves it. It is clear from this movie that her issues are still there and that the relationship, regardless of what people might think of it, is the right one for her. I might have fought this interpretation in the past, but I am sick of the judgment. People need what they need...and that is that.

I also enjoyed the much criticized conversation between Miranda and Charlotte about the complications of motherhood. YES--the writers ruined the moment with the comment about mom's with no outside help. However, like everything else that happened in the fictional Middle East in this film, I will forget that remark. I think that the conversation was one of the best moments.

As far as Samantha: wasn't impressed. I feel that either Kim Cattrall isn't stretching herself OR that the writing for her character really sucked. I was never really a Samantha fan. For all of her craziness and freedom, she lacked depth (with the exception of a very few episodes...and, in those, she was fantastic). Therefore, it is my conclusion that the most likely scenario is that the writers screwed her.

The men didn't really factor in at all. The movie was really about the women this time around. A lot of critics bashed it for having no sex and no city. True...but in other ways it really returned to basics.

So...no. It wasn't perfect or award winning or even likable, perhaps, by those who haven't been there for the ride all along. And, I have to admit, my fascination has always been with Carrie (and, perhaps, with Miranda). So, if you were never a fan...well, then, yes, you will probably hate it. However, I also believe that most of the critics out there don't really think things through correctly and miss the bigger picture.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ghost World


Ghost World is one of my favorite movies. Enid and Rebecca remind me of my best friend and I in high school. In some good ways (and some bad ways), Enid reminds me of myself at certain points in my life. (Sometimes, it is like reliving my high school and early college experience.) Though the movie leaves me feeling conflicted after each viewing, it is still one of my favorites. The movie makes me think...and I like that...it doesn't happen often these days when I sit down and watch a film!
One of my favorite commentaries is on the culture of generic self-help/therapy that appears within the character of Enid's art teacher. Every on-screen encounter with her is too funny! Just the whole movie is such a valid analysis of what has become of our culture in so many ways.

Thanks to James for sending it my way a couple of years ago!