Fourth Wall

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Well, I'm off!

I'll try to keep this up on my trip.

Friday, June 23, 2006

This is just TOO MUCH.

Facebook, MySpace, Friendster... now there's Hamsterster.

This is not a joke. Well, maybe it is, but not my joke.

(PS: I got lonely so I'm opening comments again. Behave thyselves, and I *will* delete creepy and/or anonymous comments)

Field Guide To the P-H Homestead

I don't generally go around advertising the fact that I am a crazy cat lady in the making. I don't make too much of an effort to hide it (as you can tell from previous links to websites of cat pictures), but I try not to make it too obvious.

Somehow, people always figure out. Perhaps it is because, as Patrick always said, I have a particularly cat-like personality: I like naps, and fish, and chasing feathers tied to... nevermind. That said, I thought I'd just up and confess, as well as provide a visual aide for those of you who have to listen to my stories.

This is the tortie, Gwynn, seen surveying her domains on Christmas morning:

Gwynn is the older, smaller, and fiercer of the two cats. She's not much one for being petted, but she will stand for being rubbed around the ears--sometimes. She's also the more gregarious when strangers come to call. This is strange, as those of us who live with her are more accustomed to seeing her like this:

She also burrows in drawers and under bed covers, where she will scratch you if you move. Mom claims that this represents a desire to return to the place of her birth, a hypothetical sock drawer. Right.

As a kitten, Gwynn was quite a climber (shelves, hangings, pant legs), and she still shows off by getting herself to the top of doors and waiting to be rescued (if there were an anti-defamation league for cats, they would bemoan the ways in which they fulfill their stereotype).

Genevieve is the tabby calico, shown "helping" Mom with her knitting (speaking of stereotyes):

She's younger, taller and fluffier than Gwynn, with a loud and insistent miaow and a puppy-like personality that demands attention, playtime, cuddling, and just being picked up and carried around the house like a baby--unless you're company, in which case she carefully disappears to the basement while Gwynn sidles up to whomever is most allergic to cats.

She likes to play in water (I didn't have a picture of her in the bathroom) and gave me quite a scare the other morning when I opened the shower curtain to find her carefully awaiting my exit, at which point she jumped into the bathtub and played with/drank the water. While we have no evidence, we have reason to believe that she is responsible for the recent mysterious disappearance of one of our goldfish. She loves to go outside,

and is, unfortunately, an accomplished huntress (the above picture demonstrates the current disarray that prevails in my garden. Perhaps now you understand the reason for the frustration which lead to the cactus incident.)

ETC: Now that one of the books for my BA has arrived, I can start feeling guilty about not reading it. However, can we talk about overpackaging?

Yes, those are five priority mail envelopes, used to package one book. Sheesh.

FROM THE ANNALS OF FASHION (of a sort): Today I bought the most spectacular summer skirt, inspired by Veronica's insistence that I try brighter colors. Here is a preview of the fabric, because I really wish I were in Chicago and could show it off (yes, vanity, I know...):

FROM THE ANNALS OF LOX AND CREAM CHEESE: Reading Calvin Trillin on small New York restaurants really makes me wish that I were there now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The previous post has been removed...

because I remembered that the conversation never really occured. It was a note for a one-act. Nevertheless, Geoff, you made my day.

Other News of the Furry

Please take a close look at the below photo. It was taken in the alley behind my apartment, and you should see near the center one of the famed Hyde Park feral parrots.

The more observant among you who recieved gift subscriptions to various children's nature magazines in your youth may think to yourselves, "that doesn't look much like a bird's nest."

Well, it isn't. At least, part of it isn't. That nest is a duplex. It turns out that a family of squirrels lives downstairs, and the parrots nest upstairs.

As someone (yeah, I really can't remember who) said, "you could write a sitcom about that."

In the proverbial* other news...

I miss Carolyn Veronicaque.

"We just sit around criticizing ourselves... and when we get bored we start criticizing other people."
"That's not true! Sometimes we talk about how great we are."

"I'm going to mass tomorrow. That way if the plane crashes, I won't die without having done my little part to keep it in the air."
"Are you a nervous flier?"
"I'm a nervous everything."

EDIT: et Stephanie.

Oh, y los que quieren postcards had better get me their addresses soon.

*I worked for a woman for two summers who repeatedly misused the word "proverbial." 'Twas amusing.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Little More Concisely This Time.

I. Going Home

Recent trips to San Francisco have seen me attending mass at St. Patrick's, downtown, where the 10:00 mass is characterized by a traditional scola. The music is lovely and the homilies are usually quite good, but I always feel out of place. I left St. Cecilia's in a fit of pique* after some distressing liturgical abuses which took place after our former bishop was swept away to Rome,** and when I visited most recently I was distracted by a snide internal dialogue about the music, lector, and decoration of the church.

This morning, however, I decided that I wasn't up for a mass any earlier than 11:00, since I was up late at the emergency room last night (more on that later). And anyway, I thought, it would be nice to be able to sing along for once. It turned out to be pretty much exactly what I needed-- just as my tired body and exhausted brain wanted nothing more than to go home to San Francisco and sleep, my tired soul wanted to be somewhere where it felt it belonged. I always thought I loved St. Cecilia's because Fr. Vitto made me so welcome at the beginning of my conversion, but there's more to it than that. St. Cecilia's is where I first went to mass, three years ago, and no matter what the liturgists do to it, it will always be home-- even when the choir slaughters the Adoro te dovote.

II. The End of Finals.

So, let me tell you about the end of my finals week. I was up until about 5:30 am on Friday morning*** working on my paper for Professor Goldstein, and then went home to sleep. I slept until 10:00, and then almost called Joel L. to tell him that I just couldn't do breakfast—the lack of sleep and tremendous amount of caffeine and sugar I had injested made me rather ill. I collected myself, however, and met him at the C-shop for a bagel and more coffee.

After breakfast, I settled myself in the McCormick lounge and wrote the Goldstein paper, running on no more than that bagel and coffee. Tom came to visit just about the time I finished, and went with me to run my library errands (such as printing out the paper and paying my $1 late fine). We agreed to meet for dinner, and then parted ways. Letting Tom leave me to my own devices was probably a mistake, considering what happened afterwards. Walking home from Social Sciences, I was walking along the ledge between Rosenwald and Pick, as I always do-- but this time carrying three bags of books. I don't know if I lost my balance because of the books, or if I was just so tired and hungry that I couldn't handle walking in a straight line, but I fell off the ledge (a 3-4 ft fall), losing my glasses, getting a nice bruise on my knee, and putting a second dent in the case of my laptop. This was, of course, the day that Vanessa went in for a second knee surgery from a similar accident. Clearly I don't learn.

Had dinner with Tom, followed by coffee with everyone's favorite petulant athiest, during which we ran into Tom again. Sure enough, walking from the Reg towards Bartlett I hopped up on the side of the planter to walk along the edge. Tom just stared at me until I realized what I was doing.

Later that evening, I packed up a backpack with glasses, spoons, bowls, half a carton of ice cream, and a bottle of champagne and made my way to the Shoreland. Anna made the mistake of not believing me when I said "we'll do ice cream and champagne-- I'll bring the champagne", but I hope she ended the evening feeling properly celebrated for graduating. (Geoff helped with the champagne, which was probably a good thing). I went to bed, exhausted, underfed, and with who-knows-how-much champagne in my system, and forgot that I had a quarter of a carton of ice cream in my backpack.

"You were spacy," said Carolyn.
"Yes, to put it politely," I said.

Sunday saw brownies, chianti, and Twister with Carolyn and Veronica, and on Monday I finally finished my last paper. It was an extraordinarily exhausting finals week, marked with the death of my Grandmother over reading period and my inability to mourn—I couldn't take time out to miss her, because I had to think only of my papers. At the end, I was so exhausted that I wanted to burst into tears at the most inconvenient times. I had a good cry in the shower on Monday, but the first floor of the Reg and the A terminal of the Denver airport were not so convenient. Waiting for my luggage in San Francisco, Mom hugged me and said, "you only have three quarters left!"

"Oh, Mama," I almost said. "I don't think I want to go back."

III. Right. I promised to tell you about that ER visit.

Until last night, I had only been to the Emergency Room once in my life. I was in preschool, and was hit in the head with a ball. I was easily surprised and easy to tears (see above), and so probably cried some. The school had a strict policy about head injuries, and they called my mother to take me to the emergency room in case I had a concussion. She did this dutifully, but the doctor could find no signs of an injury. "Now, Alice," he said. "What kind of a ball was it?"

I answered honestly. "A nerf ball."

Last night's visit was for equally stupid reasons, but was a bit more necessary. (Let me say now that yesterday was supposed to be a really good day. We had friends over to watch the World Cup, and Mom and I went on a trip to the mall that didn't end with us angry at one another, and then Dad made barbecued ribs for dinner. This little trip, however, certainly made it memorable).

Out weeding with Mom after our return from the mall, I was getting more and more frustrated with the project, and thus less and less attentive to what I was doing with my hands, so that when a stalk came up more quickly than I expected, my right hand flew backwards into our potted cacti. I pulled the spine out, but the tip broke off and resisted all attempts at removal. By 10:00 it was swollen, my entire hand hurt, and it didn't seem to be about to come out on its own.

In another stage of my life, I would have resisted any attempts at removal, but I'm braver than I used to be, and less afraid of needles, and less patient with an inability to use my right hand. By the time I saw the doctor, I was exhausted, tired of being in pain, and as passive as a kitten.**** So now my right hand is bandaged up but cacti free, and I'm on heavy doses of antibiotics because apparently all that swelling was not a good thing.

So if you want a letter anytime soon, prepare for one that's typed.

And that's what I've done with my summer vacation.

* to put it lightly
** because he knows where the problems are.
***I didn't have it the worst. I ran into Karl at Bart Mart on Thursday night and gave him some advice about coffee selection. (He doesn't usually drink it.) He was still at the same computer at the A-Level when I went to print out my paper at 4:00 pm.
****The fact that the doctor bore slightly more than a passing resemblance to David Duchovny didn't hurt.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stream-of-Consciousness Linkage

I. The Fool Hath Said in Her Heart, There Are No Raccoons in Hyde Park...

So, I suppose this is completely illogical, but I never considered the possibility that there might be raccoons in Hyde Park. I always thought that it was too urban for raccoons-- clearly ignoring the fact that there are a) bunnies in Hyde Park and b) raccoons in San Francisco. Anyway, I was pretty certain that the squirrels would out-compete them. This is clearly illogical, as raccoons eat garbage and Hyde Park squirrels have moved to a higher evolutionary plane.*

My naivete was crushed when a certain roommate left a bag of kitchen garbage on our back porch overnight, and it was discovered by some four-footed scavengers. Lucky for us, our (crazy) landlady had left a bag of sheetrock on the porch-- which was subsequently torn open by our little ring-tailed friends. The result: a back-porch covered in the mark of Sauron. If Sauron had been a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed menace to campsites everywhere.

The prints were swept up, and we didn't see any more until Monday night/Tuesday morning, when they had a fight on our back porch-- which I only heard because I was up all night packing to go home.

II. Only in California

I first took an interest in today's Chronicle article on the Sausalito houseboats because one of my good friends in High School (one of the few I didn't hate by the time I left) lived on one, and wrote her College essay about the experience.

"When we go on vacation," she wrote, "my family does not go camping."

It didn't end up being too interesting an article, but I thought that the following paragraph was particularly emblematic of Bay Area history:

To apply for the permit, the owners -- Steckler Pacific Marina -- need to show they have title to the land over which the houseboats are anchored.

They can't because the marina is located over a subdivision, albeit an underwater one, which includes underwater streets that are owned by Marin County. These are underwater streets with names, no less. Among the affected underwater streets are Manzanita, Pescadero, Eureka, Donahue and Teutonia.

The streets and the privately owned parcels they connect were created when California decided to sell state-owned tidelands in 1868.

All around the Bay, parcels which at the time were underwater were sold at auction under the assumption they would eventually be filled.

Some things, you just can't parody. Entire article found here.

III. Leah Garchik, How I Missed Thee...

I know, I know, I should just start checking her column online. I've missed her witty social-and-otherwise reporting. She's being touted as "The New Herb Caen". I buy it.

Sean Wilsey says the talk at Cody's on Saturday was about great moments in the soon-to-close Telegraph Avenue store's history, "like the time Salman Rushdie came out of hiding, post fatwa, to give a reading with 15 minutes' notice. There's still a hole in the ceiling and some charred bookshelves because Cody's was bombed for selling 'The Satanic Verses.' '' Whatever business occupies the space, maybe the hole can be landmarked.

Leah Garchik archives

For you easterners who don't know Herb Caen, think of it as a one-man "Talk of the Town". Although not quite as good as "Talk of the Town".**

IV. In other news of the cute and furry...

The Daily Kitten

This one is particularly brain-meltingly cute.

V. Celtic Philology

Ran into some friends, one from Breck, the other from Medieval Studies, who happen to be engaged and getting themselves wedded this weekend. A lengthly conversation in re*** my summer in Wales and the poor quality of Celtic philology ensued, in which I mentioned the dangers of the Celtic linguistics section of the Reg-- which he hadn't visited. About an hour later I ran into him on the first floor of the Reg,**** carrying somewhere between 6-10 books (they were so precariously balanced it was hard to estimate). "Alice!" he said. "I was bamboozled by the Celtic Philology section!"

That gave me a good and much needed laugh.

VI. Damned Dragons
I've been wasting time playing the simple, stupid, frustrating, and incredibly addicting Mystic Inn. Don't click, for the love of time management.

Is it more frustrating than that laser game from first year? I don't know. And I've lost the link again, so I can't test it. Which is probably a good thing.

VII. For A.B. and D.K.

Now that you're done with that class, you'll get a litttle kick out of this old post I found while looking for the abovementioned laser game.

VIII. Le Vostre GC

More brilliance from Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blogge:"The Ocks Men".

THE YONGE MAGICALE BOWMEN FROGGES: Thes IV frogges dide swimme yn the streme nere an alchesmistes hous and thus touched by sorcerie did wexe large and stronge un til they weren as talle as men. Thei weren trayned by an hedgehog ycleped Shivere and haue lernede the artes of werre for to defende Engelonde. Augustinus doth fight with an longebowe, Ambrosius wyth an shorte bowe, Gregorius wyth two crossbowes, and Hieronymus doth kepe the arwes for the reste. Thei dwellen yn the seweres undir Londoun and eten blancmange wyth much relishe.


* I direct you to Steven-from-Breck-but-not-Lucy's story of running into a squirrel carrying an entire Baby Ruth candy bar.
** Yes, I'm a The New Yorker addict. I've read James Thurber's The Years With Ross multiple times and I own almost everything published by E.B. White. And I'm from San Francisco. Your problem is...?
*** from the latin, preposition + ablative.
****Sukie/Suki/Suqui says that when her father was a grad student at the U o' C, they used to call the Reg "Joe's", and they'd invariably follow their trips to Joe's with trips to Jimmy's.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Writing is much easier when one isn't trying to write about God.

That Antony paper took six weeks for ten pages. This Rousseau paper just might be done on time.

Then: ACK! Gnostics!

C: *coughcough*gnostic*coughcough*
L: That's a gnostic cough you've got there, Cadet.

1: Three pages on that book, and three pages on that book, and three pages on that book... one page introduction, one page conclusion...
2: Eleven pages.
1: That's fifteen pages!
2: It's the new fuzzy math!
1: You're just jealous.

N: Professors scare me. Them and all their books.
A: So then, what do you want to do with medieval history?
N: Surround myself with books and inspire fear in others.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Super Baby!

It turns out that life does go on...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Jasmine made Seven, and Emily made Eight, and Miss Pretz makes Nine...

This can't be healthy.

One more stress off my chest...

Having recovered from my temporary insanity and/or forgetfulness, I'm now registered for classes next quarter. This is a relief. I even got into one of the two core classes I need.

So. I've turned in a BA proposal and registered for classes. Three papers and two finals to go.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Because you've memorized The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living and you can't get enough John Zmirak...

If you know someone gullible enough to take a pulp airport novel as “evidence” that Jesus Christ was not divine—but rather a horn-dog rabbi eager to “hook-up” with a former hooker, in order to father a race of bumbling French kings…do you really think the answer is to argue with him? Using, you know, reason? You might just as well pick up the book, smack him on the nose and say “No! Bad! No! Very bad!” That’s likely to be more effective, and a heck of a lot more fun.

I can see Steph doing that...

("So, Alice... those papers...")

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Tell Them About My Freedom"

Bertie M. Phillips
7th August 1914- 2nd June 2006

Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory.

For the marriage of the Lamb has come
and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen,
bright and pure.

Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse.
Its rider is called Faithful and True.

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood,
and his name is called The Word of God.

On his robe he has a name inscribed,
"King of kings and Lord of lords."

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;
and I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
the will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them;

he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.

"I'm pretty sure understanding women is like seeing God. You can't do it, lest ye die." -Matt

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Kerfuffle: number one word you just might mistake for yiddish.

I will be in Great Britain from 28th of June (leaving San Francisco on the 27th) until the 31st of August. I arrive in Lampeter on the 1st of July. Classes are from July 3rd through July 25th.

The other, more serious news is that my Grandmother is in the hospital. She has pneumonia, and is not responding to antibiotics. Any treatment that would do any good at this point would be very invasive, so they are focusing their efforts on pain relief.