27 September, 2010

a heartbreaking work of staggering brevity

Since I still have several hours of homework to go, but still want to keep my promise to be a better blogger, here is a true story:

Today when I rode the T on my way to class, the guy who sat down next to me smelled SO strongly of weed that I had to get off a stop early, go to CVS and purchase some deodorant body spray so that I wouldn't roll up to Ethics and Law smelling like a human joint.


24 September, 2010

post-lapse post

I know. It's been a while. In my defense, I moved to a new city and started school again. Ph.D. school. So time hasn't exactly been available in huge dollops like it was a couple of months ago. My weeks are now packed full of classes, and I've read more for one week's worth of assignments than I think I've read in the past five months. My brain has never been happier--I think it was starting to atrophy. For posterity, this is my schedule:

Mondays: Class straight through from 10am to 7pm. Archaeological Ethics and Law, Intellectual History of Archaeology, and French For Grad Students Who Want to Avoid their Departmental Exams.

Tuesdays: No class. Hopefully I will soon have a job with real hours, so the day will be more occupied--right now it always feels like a weekend day or something and it totally throws off my week.

Wednesdays: Class from 1-4pm. Pre-Urban Development. So, basically human prehistory, mostly from a geological perspective because it's being taught by a geologist. It's really interesting stuff, but thank goodness it switches from lecture to seminar next week--no matter how interesting a topic is, if you put me in a warm dark room and show me slides...I'm going to nap.

Thursdays: Class at MIT's Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE). 1-4pm in Cambridge, so really, 12-5 because of the travel time. Sounds fancy, and I'm sure it'll look nifty on a transcript. It's a ceramics analysis course, and I'm definitely experiencing the one-sidedness of my undergrad education. I totally have the historical context down for all the examples we're shown, but when the instructor starts talking chemistry, I have to scramble to understand.

Fridays: CMRAE lab from 12-4 (plus travel time). How much do I love potsherds? A lot.

Weekends are in flux right now--I'm still job-hunting, although I've found a weekend gig that I hope comes through and becomes more permanent. The other students in my program are super friendly and a lot of fun so far, so I'm hoping to remain a social creature and not become a recluse in my cozy little apartment. Although, as I sit here with my coffee and my homemade apple cinnamon bread pudding (made with homemade bread! Redundant? maybe. Delicious? yes.), being a recluse is looking fairly attractive.

I will try to post more regularly now that I have some semblance of a weekly routine. I can promise a lot of food posts and maybe some ranting about ethics...IRRESISTABLE. I KNOW.

Yours in hermitude,


06 August, 2010

fair play

I'm going to a fair this weekend--I hope it's like the one I went to as a kid. That one was an agricultural fair (because I grew up in a seriously rural part of Connecticut), so along with the corn dogs and the Tilt-a-Whirl, there were long low buildings full of prize cows, sheep, pigs and chickens, a tractor pull, a horse pull (the horses were pulling, not being pulled) and a petting zoo where you could milk a goat. I also vaguely remember a big building full of crafts and baked goods that had been entered for competition--but I wasn't too interested in that as a kid, because as far as I was concerned, if I didn't get to eat any of the pies, I didn't care what color ribbon they got.

I always went to the fair with our close friends and neighbors the Starrs--their kids, Emmy and Sarah, were two and four years older than me, respectively, and we'd been playing together since before I could even sit up on my own. We spent a lot of time together when I was little, and they were two of my closest friends. They're both married now, and Sarah has a little girl. That is completely surreal. Anyway, when we were kids, one set of parents or the other (god bless 'em) would chaperone us around the fairgrounds in the brutal August heat and wait patiently while we whizzed around on the more child-friendly rides (MOON BOUNCE!) and got covered in calf slobber at the petting zoo (my personal favorite part--seeing how much dirt I could reasonably acquire in the course of the afternoon). Then we'd all troop over to the food part of the fair for an ice cream sundae apiece. It was the best.

I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun at the fair tomorrow, but I know it won't be the same as when I was a kid. I'm a lot more finicky now, and I'll be noticing the crowds and the heat and the smells instead of making a beeline for the merry-go-round. And while I hope there are calves I can scratch behind the ears and fried dough and cotton candy and ice cream, and maybe a ride or two if they look like they won't make me barf...it's just going to be different. If I had a dollar for every time this month I've wished that I was eight years old again, I could buy my own fair.

28 July, 2010

my new conversation technique

I often find myself in the uncomfortable social position of being involved in a conversation that I would desperately like to end, but have no convenient or tactful way to do so. Either I'm talking to someone who won't let me get a word in edgewise, or it's someone who I didn't want to even interact with in the first place but who saw me across the street and I didn't avert my eyes quickly enough and they saw me and were all like "heeeeeyyyyy" and glommed on for a chat, and now I'm fishing desperately for things to say to make them go away, but instead just sort of awkwardly point in some random direction and mutter something about that thing that I had to go do while I edge away.

SO. I've decided that from now on, whenever I get stuck in those kinds of conversations, I am just going to take my social cues from this goat:

"Yeah so then I was like 'hey so I was on my Twitter account and I --"
"Um. Ok. So I--"
"Yeah, you know what? I actually have to run, I gotta get to this thing."

26 July, 2010


Apologies for the lapse in posting--it's been a rough couple of weeks. That said, there's really nothing that's happened that makes for good reading, so I'll just do what I usually do when I don't have a story: post a collection of unrelated thoughts and hope that they're interesting.

I'm seeing more and more runners in my neighborhood wearing these strange little footie-glove-shoes. They're legit running shoes--they're actually supposed to be better for your feet than sneakers. The design is, I believe, based on the running technique of people who normally run barefoot. I know there's a particular native group in Mexico where runners can go barefoot a hundred miles at a time or something staggering like that, and there are plenty of other places in the world, like Africa, where it's normal to be barefoot all the time. The thing is, when you run barefooted (or rather, when you learn to run barefooted, and never run in shoes), you hit the ground with the balls of your feet, which results in almost no impact to your joints. When you run in sneakers, you hit the ground with your heels, and actually incur two to three times more damage. I'm wondering if I can un-learn the way I run now and try to put more of the impact of my stride on the balls of my feet. I'm guessing that I will trip a lot, but it might be worth a few scraped knees now to avoid joint or cartilage problems in twenty years.

I'm searching for jobs, and so find myself on Craigslist a lot of the time in the hopes that something will have popped up in the "part time" or "creative gig" category. In the course of my Craigslist trolling, and thanks to a category of transaction that Amanda called to my attention, I have come to the following conclusion: if I never find a job, it might actually be just as lucrative for me to sell my underwear to strangers on Craigslist. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

My project for the week is to clean out the pantry and all of my kitchen stuff in preparation for packing it all up, and I'm a little scared of what I might find at the back of the shelves and under the sink. On the plus side, discovering new life forms might benefit my academic career. Or endanger my health. Which reminds me, I'm out of Lysol.

15 July, 2010

sea food

It is, unsurprisingly, very difficult to eat well on a cruise ship. I don't mean "well" in the sense of heartily or satisfactorily. I mean "well" in the sense of enabling good decisions. You're not SUPPOSED to make good decisions. You're supposed to be on a seafaring vacation, enjoying the luxuries and excesses provided to you, and that includes what you put in your mouth. And I am here to tell you that you could easily spend an entire Carnival cruise doing nothing but putting food in your mouth for twenty-four hours a day. For one thing, the pizza and ice cream stations are open twenty-four hours a day, so that's not even an exaggeration on my part. I think the easiest way to explain the food layout is to go through a day based on meals.

For breakfast, you can do any (and if you are extremely ambitious/a family of seven, all) of the following:

Room Service--The housekeeping staff leaves you a menu of room service selections in your room every night. You check off what you want, and hang the little menu outside your door. In the morning, a nice man in a snappy vest knocks on your door and hands you a tray piled high with everything you requested, which is approximately enough to stock a hotel's continental breakfast bar. You immediately regret your enthusiasm the night before. We never ordered room service for any meal but breakfast, so I'm going to just leave it out from now on. I assume it'd be like any hotel room service. Meh.

The Mermaid Grill(e)-- (I hate hate hate when extra vowels get slapped on to names. That should be a taxable commodity--extraneous e's, and multiple c's-turned-into-k's for places like Kristine's Kotton Kandy Korral. GOD. Ok, what? Breakfast. Yes.) Deck nine of the ship was mostly taken up by an upscale cafeteria with multiple hotlines where lines of people could form every morning and pile their plates with pancakes and waffles and hash browns and scrambled eggs and sausages and bacon and toast, all drizzled liberally with syrup and ketchup.

The Dining Room--This is where you could go if you wanted a sit-down breakfast. Generally, I was much less impressed with the dining room, mostly because since they had to churn out individual breakfasts for about 2,000 people each morning, the food often arrived cold, and portions were on the weeny side. Also, while I usually enjoy interacting with strangers, I like to view my breakfast as part of my sacred quiet morning time, and you just can't do that in the dining room.


Grille--The same place that had hot breakfast provided tons of food at various different stations from noon through the rest of the day. There was a pizza station, a deli station, a burger station, a salad station, an "ethnic" station...and several more. The food was tasty, there was plenty of it, and you could play a game with the labels called "count the typos."

The Dining Room--Honestly, I don't recall ever eating in the dining room for lunch. So I'm going to take a pass on this one. I'm sure it was great.


Grille--The same food as lunch. If you liked it the first time, sweet! Have some more. If you didn't, then eat it anyway. It's free! You're on vacation! This is all make-believe fat!

The Dining Room--We had a sit-down dinner every night. Our waiter was a youngish guy from Serbia named Dejan (rhymes with "lay on"). He was tall and kind of goofy-looking, but not in an unattractive way, if you can visualize that. Amanda and her mom loved Dejan. LOVED HIM. LOOOOOOVED HIM. That's all I'll say, but I'm pretty sure that some Dejan Fan Club shirts are in order. TEAM DEJAN!!!!!1!!11!!
Anyway, the menu changed every night, but it was all sort of heavy food in weird combinations. Grilled shrimp  paired with mustard potatoes and a bowl of corn niblets topped with an olive--that kind of thing. It was all very tasty, but very heavy, so after a week of that I feel the need to eat leafy greens for a while and get some cleansing goin' on.

So that was pretty much the food situation aboard the Carnival Pride. I really wanted to get up one night at 1am and go to get pizza and ice cream just because I could, but I always slept right through the night. Oh well. It is now time for me to go and find some roughage. Pictures from the Bahamas tomorrow!

14 July, 2010

good girl.

Going to miss you, puppy.