Fourth Wall

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Late-Night Conversation with Dan...

alice: okay
alice: so I just wasted fifteen minutes
alice: browsing my account on LibraryThing to figure out what books I don't want anymore.
d_robes: I find it hard to bring myself to that
d_robes: my bibliomania is too strong
alice: but some of these books I've had since, oh, fourth grade.
d_robes: yeah, in that span of time enough regrettable phases occur in anyone's life to necessitate disposing of some books
alice: like, oh, the Richard Dawkins phase...
d_robes: that's a litttle easier to justify keeping around than some things
alice: what about the "I'm going to teach myself heiroglyphics and read lots of alternative historical interpretations of tutankhamen's death" phase?
d_robes: you never know when you'll need to reference something about Egyptian archaeology
alice: Dan, you are a bad influence both on my ability to lug books to toronto/put them in storage and my pocketbook which might just be fattened by selling some used books.
alice: albeit not by much.
d_robes: I told you, my case of bibliomania is a very strong one
alice: I think I have a book about that...

alice: what can one not justify keeping around?
d_robes: duplicates.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ahhh, Senioritis.

(Don't read if you don't like talking about grades.)

(From an AIM conversation)

alice: So I just did the calculations, and I'd have to get a D+ in each of my classes this quarter to get my Toronto offer revoked.
d_robes: lol
alice: and even then
alice: I would still probably make the Dean's list.
d_robes: I see an impending justification for not doing work.
alice: I know, it's really bad!
d_robes: feeling rather jesuitical, I'm inclined to support this endeavor.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weirdest Scav Injury Ever?

When I was a little girl, we had a book-of-the-month subscription to the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books... you remember, those big white books with lots of high-quality photographs. I greatly enjoyed the pictures of, say, shriveled-up Egyptian mummies, or, you know, cute fuzzy kittens, but was much less fond of the books about Reptiles and Insects.

"Why was that, Alice?" you may well ask.

"Well," I reply, "the photos were so high-quality, I was certain that if I touched one of the pictures of scorpions, spiders, or poisonous snakes, it would bite/sting me from the page. Around the same time, my father went to the Southwest and returned with a present for me: one of those resin paperweights with a dead scorpion in it. He thought it was cool, I thought it was creepy."

You may also wonder how a girl from a Northern California city developed a paralyzing fear of Rattlesnakes and Scorpions. I attribute this particular personality quirk to my mother, who grew up in Southern California and instilled in me a deep fear of looking under rocks or walking barefoot when at Grandma's house.

ANYWAY, more to the point: One of the items on this year's Scav Hunt list was [an animal associated with a phobia] on [a method of transportation]. Having already built a hovercraft for another item, our team decided to put their animal on the hovercraft...but didn't tell me, at least, what animal it was.

So there I was, blithely showing Jim the various items on the page he was judging, and I was rummaging around in the plastic bag looking for something when I scratched my hand on an item in the bag. It was a strange scratch, though... it felt funny, like being scratched on a nettle or something. One of the guys immediately ran over, saying, "Oh no! It fell off!"

"What was 'it,' Alice?" you ask. Well, 'it' was a dead, dried scorpion. I immediately repressed any obvious signs of my fears, but slowly the truth dawned on me... despite the assurances of fearless leader Kat (a.k.a. Jean-Luc Picard), the bite-like mark on my finger showed the truth: I had been stung by a dead scorpion! Or at least had an allergic reaction to whatever chemicals it had been soaked in.

* * * * *

My other scav hunt frustration stems from the fact that Sebastian couldn't see that I have eyes of two different colors... in part because we went outside for him to look at them, rather than staying in the artificial light that makes them more obvious. Four days later, at the Fourth-year and Faculty reception, I was making faces at Josie during Dean Boyer's speech when she whispered, with surprise, "you have two different colored eyes!"

I wanted to jump up and down and cry, "I KNOW!" So I'm just personally adding ten points to the Shoreland's Scav Hunt score whenever I think of it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A: What would you do if I decided to become a Discalced Carmelite?
I: You? A Carmelite? You couldn't even choose the Carmelites over Scav Hunt. I'm not worried.

Item 331.

Why was Shoreland Team disqualified from the 1997 Scav Hunt?

No, seriously. Kat, Nancy, Vanessa, and I want to know.

(For those of you watching from home, there's a Wikipedia Article about the U of C Scavenger Hunt)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I'm all over this "cajoling people into signing up for things" business. I can turn duct-tape and doc posters into pretty much anything you want (see last year's "album of scav hunts past" for which I did the binding), I can "pimp" your "snack", I can sit on the floor hot-gluing dixie cups together while a second year bats his eyelashes at me and tries to get my attention, and I will always, always, show up with a first-aid kit and foodstuffs. In other words, I am an ideal ScavMom.

That said, actually interacting with the judges (even when they're judges I'm usually friends with) makes me feel like an idiotic first year... because you're expected to 1) read their minds (i.e., "what kind of tea do you want?" "surprise me", 2) fulfill the dreams they've had a year to fantasize over, in four days, 3) never, ever, ever, say "no".

In other words: I am not at all slick and should never be allowed to talk to judges nor to attempt to stick easter eggs in their bags/pockets/etc, and at one judge is getting a very angry e-mail about how much he pissed me off at the party last night... as soon as point-counting is over.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Huzzah for Shoreland Scav!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ian: Well, he's a nice guy. But he's... if you'll take it the right way, a guy, so he has some failings.

Have You Seen This?

Not just your average trailer...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Some Quotes from the Weekend

(Saturday Morning)
Alice: So, Steph and I have this plan...
Haberdasher'd One: Hold on. Steph is your little sister, isn't she?
Alice: Yeah, pretty much.

(On the 55)
Alice: So then he said, "Steph is your little sister, isn't she?"
Steph: Hah! Yeah, pretty much.
Alice: That's what I said!

(In Belmont)
Steph: I should have known [the smoke shop] wasn't going to have pipe tobacco when I saw all the bongs in the window.

(After walking around for a while)
Alice: Steph, do you know the [visual] difference between a bong and a hookah?
Steph: Ummm...

(Sunday Evening)
H.O: I've never really understood the term P.M.S.
Alice: Basically, it's what a woman uses to explain anything weird she does in the three weeks before her period.
H.O: Ah-HA.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Post About Beer

So, I kinda knew that this was going to be a hard, unpleasant week, and as all I really wanted to do on Tuesday night was sit in my room, eat british cheese, and have a beer, I went to Kimbark to get the second of those two items.

They were out of Anchor Steam and I almost had a crisis of faith and called my Dad, but then decided *not* to burden my father with my great sense of injustice in the universe (my roommate's boyfriend is storing his (loud, male) cousin in our living room, the group presentation on writing and illuminated letters in Medieval manuscripts that I'd worked so hard on was hijacked by one of the group members and became an hour-long lecture on the history of music notation, and there's no Anchor Steam at Kimbark!) and instead just bought Newcastle Brown.

So, a story about beer to explain my, well, un-feminine tastes in beer:

I grew up in a wine-drinking household, but when we had beer around it consisted of: 1) Guinness, 2) Newcastle Brown, 3) Anchor Steam. Going out to Chinese food, my parents would order Tsingtao. Going out to Mexican, they'd order... I don't remember, because sometime in High School my father decided that he'd had enough of this multiculturalism and would just order Anchor Steam everywhere.

So, we had an organic garden, and we had a snail problem. Mom didn't want to put out snail bait because we had kitties and bunnies and me running around, so she decided to use the age-old (?) trick of putting out saucers of beer for said snails. Snails, you see, are attracted to the beer, but then they drink it, get tipsy and drown.

Problem: we only had Guinness in the house.

Moral of the story: Snails don't like Guinness... or maybe God decided to punish us for wasting it by wreaking molluscian havoc on our garden.

* * * * *

Many of you know that I am addicted to Cute Overload. What you probably don't know is that the comments moderator, Theo, runs his own weblog where he is tracking the growth of the foster kittens his family is raising. My favorite video so far is this one.

You will get no work done until you watch them ALL! Multiple times!

* * * * *

Oh, and my Mantillas arrived! Expect future post explaining why this non-Rad-Trad feminist likes the tradition of covering one's head in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Next step: getting up the (humble) courage to wear one to the Bishop's mass on Sunday.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spring Observations

The lilacs are in bloom behind the Quad club. They are intoxicating.

* * * * *

I wasted maybe 20 minutes the other night trying to write a notice about myself for the Urban School Alumni magazine. This is what I came up with:
In the September of 2007, I will be moving to Toronto to study for a Master's in Medieval Studies at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto. This June, I will graduate from the University of Chicago with a degree in History, having specialized in Medieval Europe. Last summer I went to rural Wales for and studied Welsh. Two months living in and traveling around that country resulted in a rather esoteric bachelor's thesis on the biographies of Welsh saints written at the time of the Norman Conquest (but I swear it's interesting and will probably bore you with all the reasons why if you give me half a chance). I'm not sure that I will continue to focus on Celtic history, but the language is beautiful and the experience, of course, was unforgettable.

Looking at it now, it is rather too long. Oh well, too late for that.

* * * * *

There are two trends that I see in young feminist women in re clothing. 1) "I will dress like a sex object because my power to titillate men is liberating." 2) "I will dress like a sex object and if you men find that titillating, that's your problem." Less often do I see number 3: It is insulting that the fashion industry wants me to sell myself as a sex object. To buy into their standards is degrading to my honor and self-esteem.

On that note, however, can we talk (as summer approaches) about appropriate clothes for mass? I was flipping through the hymnal today when a young, attractive woman with nice legs and a skirt that ended somewhere around the mid-thigh flounced in and took a seat in front of a male friend, who was praying. He winced, and I felt sorry for him. She was, perhaps, entirely unaware of the problem (or else she thought it was his problem). My point stands: Honor your self and be kind to your Brothers-in-Christ by dressing at least somewhat appropriately for mass.

I'm aware that modesty-talk is unpopular, and it can be taken in many, many antifeminist directions (i.e. "She was asking for it, she dressed like a s---"). But really-- when did feminism become about prostituting your body...and not even to a man, but the fashion industry?

* * * * *

Other things that annoy me: the following conversation.

ALICE: I'd like a small chai, please.
C-SHOP WORKER: We don't have small. We have medium and large.

To which I narrowly restrained myself from saying, "No, then you have small and large."

* * * * *

Other, other things that annoy me: roommates.

* * * * *

Five favorite words (A):

5) Apotheosis
4) Ante-jentacular
3) Ambergris
2) Aeaeae
1) Absquatulate

* * * * *

Why did nobody tell be about Gerard Manly Hopkins before two weeks ago? I'd like a refund for the first 17 literate years of my life.