catslash: (Default)
( Nov. 11th, 2010 11:44 am)
So the great irony of today is that with classes having, of course, been cancelled in honor of Veterans' Day, guess which one of my classes is cancelled?

My World War One class, of course.

I've spent the semester reading literature about the Great War - autobiographical accounts, fictional accounts, poems . . . a lot of writing by a lot of veterans, some of whom went on to be fiercely pacifistic, and some of whom I'm not sure I can call veterans because they didn't make it to November 11, 1918. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Did you know that the armistice was signed sooner than that, but the fighting kept right on going and people kept right on dying because those in charge wanted Poetic Symbolism (and something that would be easy for schoolchildren to remember)?

Because of all that reading, I'm not feeling as solemnly sentimental as I'm supposed to feel. Mostly, I'm feeling angry. So I'd like to join in the posting of poems in remembrance, but the one I've chosen is a little different. It was written by Siegfried Sassoon, a British officer who fought memorably in the war even after his published declaration of his belief that it had turned into a war being waged for the wrong reasons. Sassoon lived through the war and went on to become an angry veteran and pacifist, and spent his life writing about it.

"At the Cenotaph"
Siegfried Sassoon

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
"Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men's biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace."
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

Sassoon was right. Today is the anniversary of the end of the war to end wars, but now we use it to honor countless men and women from the many wars that happened anyway. For myself, I will honor them by being angry that they had to fight at all.
catslash: (can't brain today)
( Nov. 8th, 2010 05:22 pm)
And while I'm talking about what a genius I am, I got back an essay exam for my German history class, and I feel it is only fair that I share the results so you guys can make fun of me.

The topic was on the factors that led to the fall of the Weimar Republic and subsequent rise of the Nazi party; first a list, then analysis of a few of the factors listed.

I did really well with the list for the most part! I got the hyperinflation and the Versailles Treaty and the 1929 stock market crash and the political extremism and all kinds of stuff. My professor only had one note to offer, about the one teeny-tiny little factor that I forgot to include. The note reads as follows:

"also - Hitler."


I don't even know how I left him off the list. Talk about missing the forest for the trees.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish reading a book. About Hitler. So I can write a paper tomorrow. About Hitler.

catslash: (NO)
( Nov. 8th, 2010 11:40 am)

DISCREET: Subtle, careful, under the radar. She discreetly pushed her bra strap back under her shirt. (Is it possible to do this discreetly? I haven't figured out how. But I digress.)

DISCRETE: Separate and individual. I will steal Merriam-Webster's example because I have way less practice using this in a sentence: There are several discrete sections to this vast medical complex, including a college of pharmacology and a research center.

If you need a trick to remember it, try thinking of the E's in "discrete" being two discrete units, separated as they are by the T.

Please. Stop making this mistake. It's almost as bad as loose/lose, and it is damn embarrassing to see when I know for a fact that the person doing it is too smart to get tripped up by homonyms HOMOPHONES see I'm not perfect either, nothing wrong with that.

That is all.
catslash: (Nicola - :D?)
( Nov. 7th, 2010 11:14 am)
I listen to a weekly podcast called 7 Day Sunday, hosted by Chris Addison of The Thick of It. I started listening because of him, but I kept listening because it's hilarious. I look forward to it every week. It's a satire of the news, and of course being on BBC radio it has a focus on UK events, so not only is it funny, but I learn a little something about what's going on across the pond without having to like, make the effort to educate myself.

They do sometimes discuss international news too, which is why I'm posting, because I wanted to share the following sentence from today's episode:

"You think that if Obama put his pants [underwear] on outside his trousers, people would think he was at least moving toward the things he promised us?"

No further context for you. You'll have to go download it and listen for yourself.
catslash: (Default)
( Nov. 2nd, 2010 10:13 pm)
Today I attended an author's reading of an excerpt from his book, because I am required to write a couple of analyses of readings for my Oral Interpretation class. I feel that the following description of his own character is all you need to know to understand this experience.

"The most compassionate person in literature as I know it."

Also he went just long enough in the Q&A after for me to run to the corner just in time to watch the bus go by and have to wait an hour for the next.

It's a shame that his actual reading was good, because it means I won't get to tear him apart properly in my essay.

catslash: (Nicola - ew gross)
( Nov. 1st, 2010 11:10 am)
Why do the daddy longlegs think our bathtub is a great place to live?

Why? Why now? Winter is coming! Fucking DIE already!

And why do I always forget this and start my shower without checking first? I've only lived in this apartment for four years, you'd think I'd be used to it. (Yeah, it's a thing.)

At least they aren't real spiders.
catslash: (Sam is not so sure about this.)
( Aug. 21st, 2010 08:51 pm)
I just walked out into the kitchen and heard my roommate on the phone having this conversation:

"I don't mind euthanizing, but the thought of putting them in the casket is a little weird."

. . . no, I don't know what she was talking about.
catslash: (Nicola - ew gross)
( Aug. 5th, 2010 02:06 am)
And I break a month of silence for an important question:

Who else has, since seeing Inception, had the dream where you know you're dreaming and make yourself wake up repeatedly, only to discover that there are layers and you haven't really woken up yet?

Because I know I am not the only one.

(For added fun: I was plotting to try screaming, which I can never manage to do in dreams, on the theory that if it somehow worked in real life someone would come wake me up! Also, I thought briefly abut the Sandman story where Dream traps a dude in a nightmare he can't wake up from. Good times.)
catslash: (Nicola - :D?)
( Jul. 6th, 2010 10:28 pm)
Hey, guess what? I finally got around to figuring out how to use the webcam on my computer! Yeah, I knew it was there, and that there was doubtless some extremely easy way of using it, but I couldn't be bothered. But today I was, and entirely by happenstance, I got one of my favorite pictures of me to exist in a long while.

Not to hype it up too much or anything, but I managed to duck the washout of the flash AND not appear too shiny despite today's heat. This is worth noting. )

My wall is not actually that shade of green.

It's turquoise. I bet you're jealous now.

I am also excited that I can finally take pictures of myself like everyone else on the Internet. Not excited enough to have made an effort to be able to do it before now, but it crops up more than you'd think.
catslash: (Sam is not so sure about this.)
( Jul. 6th, 2010 10:49 am)
Oh my god. It's like a million degrees out and someone somewhere in the neighborhood is mowing the lawn. At least I think that's what that sound is, though there isn't a whole lot of lawn to mow in this neighborhood. Maybe someone's finally attending to the grass outside the school across the street.

Anyway, my point is: It is a million degrees. Why would someone do that? Because in an hour it will be two million degrees? Okay, but in the evening it will probably only be half a million degrees. What is so urgent about mowing a lawn that it can't wait until you're less likely to get heatstroke doing it?

(As I type, the sound has ended, so it probably wasn't that, but I need an excuse to post, dammit. Maybe it was just a really small lawn.)

The first thing I did today was crawl into the bathroom for a cold shower. I don't think I've ever done that before in my life. The heat: I do not handle it well. At least I'm not living in any of the places where it's worse.
catslash: (Default)
( Jun. 28th, 2010 12:46 pm)
It's June 28! That means today is the anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which is one of the more bizarre coincidence-laden events of history. There are so many things that just happened to fall into place: the lead driver didn't get a message about the change of route; one of the group of would-be assassins, Gavrilo Princip, decided to go chill in a café after the initial failed attempt, and happened to go outside when the Archduke's car drove past the café hours later; Princip closed his eyes and fired twice, and those bullets hit Ferdinand and the Duchess, Sophie; and a thousand other things that have slipped my mind, and let's also not forget that the various eye witnesses' stories conflict and are from different people with their own agenda, so we'll never knew the exact facts of that day. But from what we do know, it's a miracle Ferdinand managed to get himself killed at all.

This, of course, is what finally set off the explosion in the Balkans - something would have happened sooner or later, Austria-Hungary was just itching for an excuse to go after Serbia because of some anti-Habsburg sentiment that had been coming from there (I think; it was some kind of unwanted propaganda, anyway). And Serbia had Russia's promise of protection, and dumbass Wilhelm II in Germany was all, "No, Austria-Hungary, it's cool, if you go after them I'll give you whatever help you want" and then the net of alliances and ententes choked everyone and HERE HAVE A WORLD WAR YOU GUYS.

Today is also the anniversary of the 1919 signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which was an excellent and well-balanced piece of diplomacy that forced Germany (yes, Germany) to take all the blame for starting the war and saddled it with reparation costs that would break its economy and make a nice opening for some political party calling themselves the Nazis to come to power. Guys, the Treaty of Versailles sucked so bad that the US refused to join the League of Nations to ratify it, and Ferdinand Foch (who was French, not German as his name might suggest) said, "This is not Peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years." He nailed it right down to the year: Hitler invaded Poland twenty years later in 1939.

This is a pretty simplified account, based mainly on my memories from a class on the World Wars I took a couple semesters ago (and the Wiki article on the Treaty, because I definitely did not remember the exact quote and who said it right off the top of my head). I felt I should talk about it a little, though, because it's all fascinating and because WWII gets all the glory these days and a lot of people don't know about the kind of colossal fuckery that went into creating WWI and then resolving it with a bunch of bullshit that ended up feeding into WWII. And we should remember that fuckery, because as a race human beings are not a whole lot smarter today and it would be good to remember so we don't start any more fuckery on this scale, because next time we do we're not gonna survive it.

Have a nice day! :D
catslash: (this fucking song)
( Jun. 19th, 2010 07:39 pm)
It is time for my annual complaint about the ice cream truck and its music.



The end.
catslash: (can't take this bullshit)
( Jun. 11th, 2010 11:29 am)
Okay, so, just FYI for people: my modem has decided that it doesn't have to work, or my connection has, or something, and right now I'm leeching off a very unreliable network that is bizarrely strong at the moment, but that probably won't last. So, in the event that I'm not around, that would be why.

There is the possibility of getting a new modem, if I can find a ride to the center. Otherwise, there's a technician scheduled to come out on Wednesday. I guess I better clean my room. (Easier said than done.)

If this interferes with my getting hold of Doctor Who tomorrow, I will cry. Real tears.

The last time I had to have a technician come out, it turned out that my connection had somehow been severed. That was special.

This is the worst timing ever, you guys, I'm just starting on a month with not a whole lot going on; I've finished the Kubrick class and my next class starts in July. And I don't have a job. And I'm superbroke while I wait for some money I'm supposed to be getting on Monday. So. HRRRRRGH.

I do have about five million books I haven't read, though. So there is that.

ANYWAY. If I all but disappear for the next few days, that would be why.
catslash: (Hamlet is damn interesting)
( May. 26th, 2010 05:18 pm)
As mentioned yesterday, I'm taking a summer course on the films of Stanley Kubrick, which is structured to give us enough time to watch an entire movie in one class period. Which is pretty awesome. Especially since I realized upon looking at the list of movies we'll be seeing that I hadn't seen any of his films before. That's a lot of pop culture I've missed out on! So I've been enjoying this class a lot so far.

(Also, the room is airconditioned. I miss it already.)

So far we've watched and discussed 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, and today we screened Barry Lyndon. Juuust barely. That is a long-ass movie and we needed like every second of classtime to get the whole thing in - it ended exactly when class ended.

[ profile] karaokegal asked that I post my thoughts on Barry Lyndon after watching, so!

The short version is, it was my favorite so far. The long version is long and has spoilers, so I'm cutting since it's lesser known than most of his other movies so there might actually be plot points people aren't familiar with. )

There is a fuckton of other stuff I could talk about in this movie, and no doubt a full fuckton of other stuff I didn't even catch, but basically it is awesome and everyone should see it. The end.
catslash: (Nicola - ew gross)
( May. 25th, 2010 10:48 am)
Oh look, I went a week and a half without posting again. I don't have long, so this post will be short, but.

Upside of taking summer classes: I can make up for the credits the insomnia totally screwed me over on, seriously, half the reason I haven't posted is because I don't even wanna talk about it.

Downside of taking summer courses: I still have to walk the mile to campus, even when it is the first legitimately hot and gross day of the year. And this will continue for the rest of this month and part of June, and then begin anew toward the end of July and into August, AKA the hottest part of the year.

At least today the room I'm in has air conditioning, because it's full of movie-watching equipment. (Class subject? The films of Stanley Kubrick. Fuck yeah, you guys, I'm getting credit to watch movies and talk about them.)
catslash: (Owen is not impressed.  (credit alazysod)
( Apr. 28th, 2010 05:06 pm)
So I got some blood drawn to test for anemia and thyroid issues, just to see if there might be anything going on there that is not doing me any favors with the insomnia. I can't remember the last time I got got blood drawn, but I am pretty sure that ripping off the bandaid (which I firmly believe in doing all at once) is not supposed to do MORE damage than the needle. Stupid industrial strength bandaid glue.


(My Owen icon mostly thinks I'm a wimp.)
catslash: (elevator Huckabees)
( Apr. 26th, 2010 12:53 pm)
So - last night the Ambien did not work so good. I think I was not tired enough for it to hook in properly - I was well-rested yesterday (and actually did a little RPing, omg, I've been too tired either physically, mentally, or both to do much of it, and I've missed it) and went to bed before I was feeling especially tired to make sure the Ambien had enough time to at least start exiting my system before I had to get up. So I wasn't ready to sleep and I think that fucked it up. I will be ready tonight, oh yes.

At least I hope that was it, because man, this is all I've got for now. Ann has reached the end of what she can do, and is working on getting me a referral to the outpatient psychiatric center at a nearby hospital, because there is clearly something the fuck wrong with me that is keeping the sleep cycle resets from taking root. I've got the okay to keep up with the Ambien, and she suggested every other day again to keep tolerance from setting in too deeply. I'm gonna start that a couple days from now, because I also have school stuff to worry about. I am so close to the end of the semester, I can't screw up now.

So, I'm on a waiting list at the hospital, which is going to be probably weeks' worth of waiting, though I might be able to cut it down some by making regular phone calls to remind them that I really really really want to do this and I'm not kidding around and I need that spot.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, I'm going back to the student health center to get some bloodwork done, just so they can rule out thyroid and anemia problems. I should have gotten it done before, but I was worried about the money - the health fee doesn't cover lab costs - but now I don't care. Have all my money! I just want to sleep normally again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go work on a paper that needs to at least get started whether I'm up to writing it or not.
catslash: (Terri facepalm)
( Apr. 24th, 2010 09:04 am)
So I tried going off the Ambien last night; as I expected, I didn't sleep.

Cut for people sick of hearing about my insomnia. I know I am! )

My major problem right this second is that it is now nine AM and I have an entire day to get through before I can Ambien up and go back to bed. At least it's a day with Doctor Who in it.

Also: could I use a few more semi-colons in this post?
catslash: (Nicola - oh really now)
( Apr. 21st, 2010 07:22 pm)
I have an important question!

I just cooked okra for the first time and have never had it before, so I have no reference point. My question is: is it supposed to be slimy? If not, what do I need to rectify next time I cook it? I like the taste well enough, but the slime is less fun.
catslash: (Tek and Papi)
( Apr. 20th, 2010 04:41 pm)
(I need an icon that better demonstrates flailing excitement. Any suggestions?)

I slept last night! For, like, eight and a half hours! The nurse practitioner at the student health center prescribed me some Ambien (along with a billion warnings about avoiding addiction, so yes, I know, I'll be careful), and it woooorked. Thank god. I also scheduled an appointment for counselling, since they offer a certain number of free counselling sessions per year and it is becoming steadily more obvious that something is the fuck wrong with me if my mind is so fired up at night that it's screwing up my sleep so badly.

If I'm really lucky, I might even be able to give that presentation tomorrow that I've had to put off twice already because of this stupid insomnia. Which my professor has been very understanding about, but I feel like a jerk anyway. Important notice if you attend school of any kind: Do not get insomnia near the end of the semester! It will fuck your scholastic shit up!

In other news, since I feel like I should tell you guys about something other than how my life sucks lately because I can't sleep, I registered for my fall classes today! Which officially turns my four-year degree into an at-least-five-year degree, but whatever, these things happen. I'm in no hurry to graduate anyway. Being a student beats the shit out of being in the real grown-up world.

But anyway! I'm going to take an English class on WWI (studying it via literature, obvs); a class called Oral Interpretation that is basically learning how to read stuff out loud without being boring, a skill I could stand to hone, in search of the ever-elusive Fine Arts credit; a History class on early Germany taught by that History professor I like so much; and a senior seminar (another requirement) called Aphra Behn and the Libertine Tradition, which I don't know exactly what that is (all I know about libertine stuff I learned from the movie Libertine, most of which I have forgotten by now anyway) but it sounds awesome. AND they're all afternoon classes like I had last semester, which will help a lot with keeping a more consistent sleep pattern than I've had this semester.

So that's what's on my mind today. Now I have to go hit the laundromat; I had to wear Laundry Day clothes to campus today because I was too tired over the weekend to face doing laundry. If nothing else, I'm learning a thing or two about getting shit done when I feel good enough to not worry about counting spoons.


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