June 2003 archive

(119 entries)

June 30, 2003

Ik wil naar België gaan...

Is there anything stopping me from dropping everything and running away to Belgium?

Other than grad school, boyfriend, lack of money, lack of Belgian employment, and lack of Belgian work visa, of course.

But other than that, it's a great idea!

[thank you, Dictionary.com - Babelfish doesn't have Dutch!]

srah | 3:36 PM | TrackBack
Tags: travel

I'm obnoxious and disliked

Only a family as dorky as my own could get as excited about the Restored Director's Cut DVD (with reinserted scenes banned by Richard Nixon!!!) of 1776 as other people get about the Star Wars Special Editions.

Watching 1776 on video is our Fourth of July tradition, but we bought the DVD this weekend and couldn't wait until Friday. I'm sure we'll watch it again then, and that we'll sing along and recite the entire script, just as we did last night.

It may be physically harmful to be as nerdy as we are.

srah | 1:19 PM | TrackBack
Tags: 1776, fourth of july, holidays, movies, srahfam

Come, potential victims

I don't know how skilled I will be at picking out "make-out music", but I'm joining The Neurotic Fishbowl's Burn It! CD Swap. If you, too, would like the chance to receive a CD that could possibly include some Neil Diamond, go sign up!

srah | 11:26 AM | TrackBack
Tags: cd swap, music

Language Week begins

Quiero comenzar, pero he perdido mi diccionario español-inglés, lo que es un problema, porque no tengo mucho vocabulario y olvido siempre donde van los acentes.

¿Que voy a hacer? Je ne sais pas.

Voy a 'cheat' con Babelfish. No me gusta Babelfish. Mi colega me dijo que es un website que traduce muy bien y que debo tratarlo para ayudarme con mis traducciones. HA!

Bueno. Hoy, no voy a estar cerca de un ordenador, porque voy a trabajar con mis manos, porque soy muy FUERTE! ARRRR! No, no es la verdad. Voy a trabajar con mis manos porque voy a ayudar los que mueven los muebles de la biblioteca. Porque no tengo otra cosa para hacer.

srah | 7:59 AM | TrackBack
Tags: in spanish, language, language week, memes

June 29, 2003

Potterholism as a cause for insomnia

I am awake and online at 3am because I remembered reading online that the prophecy in Book 5 was a lot less disappointing if you read very carefully everything that the Death Eaters say in the prophecy/fight scenes. The person who wrote this suggested rereading that section (or the whole book), and said that we should get it then. I did so, and I still didn't get it, and now I can't find the original post for more clues.

I don't know if it was a blog-post or a comment somewhere, and neither Google nor Daypop has been helpful, and following the links I would expect isn't turning anything up either. I just keep coming up with fan fiction and discussions by fanfic writers about how this is going to ruin all of their stories.

How am I going to sleep? I'm an addict, and I need my fix. I need to know that that scene didn't suck for naught.

srah | 3:10 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix

June 27, 2003

The birth of Language Week

There may already be a Language Week on the calendar somewhere; I don't know. All I know is that my Spanish needs practice. So I'm going to declare next week (June 29 - July 5)... Language Week. This is a departure from my original idea of una semana española, because - surprise of surprises - not everyone speaks Spanish. And I think it would be fun if everyone could participate.

So.

Here are the rules of participation:

  • Blog in a language that you don't usually blog in. You don't have to blog a lot if you don't want to - a few sentences will do, as long as you continue, once a day, through the week (or at least Monday to Friday). What the hell. If you only want to blog in Swedish on Tuesday, go for it.
  • It would be nice, but not necessary, to include some kind of translation into your usual language. I always do mine in <span title="translation"><i>other language</i></span> tags. You might choose to write it all out and translate at the end. Whatever. Be free! Be wild!
  • You can link back to this post if you want. Or not. If you don't want. I have created a really crappy image in Paint that you may use. Or not. If you don't want. The code is <a href="http://www.srah.net/weblog/2003_06.html#005173"><img src="http://www.srah.net/weblog/lweek.gif" border=0></a>.

I believe that is all. Have fun. Be multi-lingual.

srah | 9:53 PM | TrackBack
Tags: language, language week, memes

La polola española

I called Alex in Mexico the other day, and he answered the phone.

"¿Puedo hablar con Alex, por favor?"
"Está."
"¡Hola!"
"Ehhh... hola. ¿Quien es?"
"¡Soy La Sarah!"

He didn't recognize me speaking Spanish. I'm assuming that's a good thing, like I've made progress or something. He didn't say so, but-- HEY! I'll assume what I want, buster!

I have decided to declare next week (Monday to Friday, anyway) La semana española. I am going to make an effort to blog a few sentences of Spanish each day next week, just to keep in practice. Would you like to join in and make it into a meme, instead of me just being a loser by myself? You could do it for any language you like...

srah | 12:02 PM | TrackBack
Tags: in spanish, language week, memes, pato

Soaping up the weiner

Last night, I got a frantic call from Robin. She was at the car wash, and I had to come join her. What did I see when I got there?

The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. At the car wash. This is one of the times when I realize I need a digital camera.

srah | 11:59 AM | TrackBack
Tags: stories

The balloon that ate Ann Arbor

Katie has requested that I recount for her The Story of the Balloon. It is a frightening story, so I suggest that you hold onto your socks and tighten your diapers. Not really. It's mostly just a really stupid story about Why I Hate Balloons.

When I went to France in 1996 with my high school group, my mom bought me a balloon when I came back. It's a strange tradition in our family to buy balloons for people returning from Abroad.

The balloon was shaped like a moon and had a face on it. It lived in my room and I ignored it until it started getting creepy. I would go to bed at night, and in the morning, I would discover the creepy creepy balloon hovering over my head. This happened twice - the balloon would be sent to some corner of the room, only to loom over my head in the morning. It was losing helium, too, so it was hovering closer and closer to my head. It may have had plans to eat me, if I hadn't woken up first.

Finally, I decided the balloon was too creepy and put it in my bathroom for the night. The next morning when I woke up... it had ESCAPED from my bathroom and was once again hovering low over my head.

I have been traumatized for life. My mom doesn't buy me balloons when I come home anymore.

srah | 11:56 AM | TrackBack
Tags: stories

Harry Potter Meme

This post is going into hiding to prevent spoilers for those who haven't read Book 5. Read on, MacDuff.

srah | 9:10 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix, memes

I can't seem to make piracy pay

Song of Perfect Propriety
by Dorothy Parker

Oh, I should like to ride the seas,
A roaring buccaneer;
A cutlass banging at my knees,
A dirk behind my ear.
And when my captives' chains would clank
I'd howl with glee and drink,
And then fling out the quivering plank
And watch the beggars sink.

I'd like to straddle gory decks,
And dig in laden sands,
And know the feel of throbbing necks
Between my knotted hands.
Oh, I should like to strut and curse
Among my blackguard crew...
But I am writing little verse,
As little ladies do.

Oh, I should like to dance and laugh
And pose and preen and sway,
And rip the hearts of men in half,
And toss the bits away.
I'd like to view the reeling years
Through unastonished eyes,
And dip my finger-tips in tears,
And give my smiles for sighs.

I'd stroll beyond the ancient bounds,
And tap at fastened gates,
And hear the prettiest of sound--
The clink of shattered fates.
My slaves I'd like to bind with thongs
That cut and burn and chill...
But I am writing little songs,
As little ladies will.

I spent this morning grabbing members of my family and telling them they'd have to walk the plank if they didn't tell me which of the March sisters they would be if they had to be one. No one takes my pirate ways seriously; answers included "March 7th", "Pedro", and "Not the one that dies".

srah | 8:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Tags: poetry, quote

The Friday Five

1. How are you planning to spend the summer [winter]?
Working to make money for grad school. Drinking wine and going to Meijers. Thinking about writing - but not actually writing - a romance novel.

2. What was your first summer job?
During high school, I worked at the public library during vacations, but I also worked there during the school year, so it wasn't really a "summer job". My first one of those was at the evil evil Hallmark shop at the mall. I asked for 35 hours a week and often got anywhere from 0 to 5. In order to actually have money and something to do, I had to take a second job. Here. And I've been here ever since.

3. If you could go anywhere this summer [winter], where would you go?
México, DF, para visitar a mi pololo querido.

4. What was your worst vacation ever?
I don't think vacations are ever bad. We tended to get sick of each other and Myrtle Beach when we would be stuck in the car together driving down there and back up every spring, but I wouldn't say it was bad. We even learned history, even if I didn't appreciate, at the time, stopping at every historical landmark between Michigan and South Carolina.

5. What was your best vacation ever?
I love vacations. Each one has merits and drawbacks. We'll say Summer 2001 in France and England, just because I haven't met John Hannah on any of my other vay-kays.

srah | 8:39 AM | TrackBack
Tags: friday five, memes

June 26, 2003

Si j'avais une baguette magique, j'aurais une baguette de pain

Yeah. Si + imparfait... conditionnel. I like the "si" rules. They make sense to me.

Why can't you get a decent baguette in the United States? Is there something in the baguette-making process that is not up to American hygiene standards? Are the ingredients different? Are there ingredients in a baguette that are too expensive over here to make it economically feasible? Do they think it's not worth the bother to make bread that won't last more than one day?

American baguettes, sometimes also known as "French bread", are not baguettes. They are a loaf of Wonder bread that somehow got stretched out. They're not bad when making garlic bread, but are useless for anything else. I can't get a real baguette here (even in the hippie/yuppie/soccermom paradise that is Ann Arbor), and I demand to know why.

srah | 9:12 AM | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor, food, france, french, united states

June 25, 2003

srah's Real World report #3 or whatever number we're up to

I hate The Real World. Every week, I get to the end of the episode and realized that I have wasted a half-hour of my life and that it has made me stupider. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS on that show. They bicker, they get drunk, they make out with each other... but they never do anything. Supposedly, they're working on a travel guide, but they never travel anywhere. I hate them all, but I will, of course, be back next week.

I did learn something this week, and I don't know if it's a good thing. Robin and Cheryl told me that a Real World season lasts about six months. This cheers me up, because I thought the show was going to end at the end of the summer, and nothing would have happened. Six months gives us time for things to happen. The downside, of course, is that I have to watch and suffer this for six months.

srah | 7:29 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the real world: paris, tv

June 24, 2003

Yeah, sure, great to meet you too

I've decided to refer to the place on central campus that I'm being loaned out to as The Place That I'm Being Loaned Out To. Because I am a creative genius like that.

I think the brief exposure to sunlight between My Workplace and TPTIBLOT exhausts me, because I want to fall asleep as soon as I arrive. I keep being introduced to people who are overly happy to see me. I'm hot, I'm tired, I have a headache, and I can't understand why they're so excited to meet me, so I'm afraid I'm giving out rude vibes. Sure, it's nice to meet you, but I'm not going to grin from ear to ear about it.

srah | 2:02 PM | TrackBack
Tags: work

To my fellow Ann Arbor bloggers

If you see someone slinking guiltily around central campus, feeling like they don't belong there (especially during working hours), and wincing in this strange new thing called sunlight, come on up and say hi! Chances are, it's either me or a psycho killer who lives in a basement and emerges only to find new victims. And hey, with odds like that, why not give it a try?

srah | 1:37 PM | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor

Is individualized attention possible?

I don't know how I feel about the U-M admissions policy change. I've never gone to a public university, I've been out of the country, and I don't understand all of the arguments. What I do know is that the U-M is already having financial problems and now will have to hire new admissions staff to read their 25,000 yearly applications and make individual judgments and decisions.

And more annoying to me than any question of race or socio-economic background is the fact that scholarship athletes got 20 points on the old scale. If the point system gave a chance to disadvantaged kids who want to go to college and succeed, I'm all for it. If the point system gave the football or basketball team the chance to have some dumbass high school athlete they're recruiting actually be accepted at U-M, then I'm against it.

There are way too many kids just using the university to get noticed by pro teams, not because they have any academic interest. I think that's a shame. The argument is that U-M makes a lot of money from the football team so shut up little girl or your tuition will go up, but how much of that football (or basketball, or hockey) money actually makes it out of the athletic department? Maybe funds from the football team are doing something like keeping women's volleyball afloat, but I have a simple solution: let's just abolish college sports altogether.

srah | 9:18 AM | TrackBack
Tags: university of michigan

June 23, 2003

Tiptoe 'cross the Diag

I have a new project where I have to go to Central Campus every afternoon for the rest of the summer. Maybe you can't sense, in reading this, the great levels of joy this brings me. I understand completely, as it can sometimes be hard to pick up on negative joy.

As I crossed the Diag, I suddenly had flashbacks to every time I had jumped up and down on the block M. If you are not aware, there is a superstition that a U-M student who steps on the block M in the pavement on the Diag will fail his/her first exam. For six or seven years now, I've been stomping on the M when I pass it, triumphantly proclaiming my immunity because I was not a U-M student. For years before that, there was just the stomping, without the triumphant proclamations.

Now I am suddenly concerned... are those stomps cumulative?

srah | 4:25 PM | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor, university of michigan

Take my job... please!

I say that I want to continue in school so that I will have lots of skills and therefore the freedom to drastically change careers whenever I want. And yet, I've suddenly realized, once I get a job, I don't think I will even leave it. Maybe I subconsciously realized this and that's why I haven't seriously looked for a Real Job yet - I'm afraid of picking the thing that I'll do for The Rest Of My Life. I am too nice or too weak to ever let my employer down by leaving, or too lazy to ever look for a new job in the first place. Me voici, stuck here. Me voila, stuck in a future job. I have so much to look forward to.

srah | 3:24 PM | TrackBack
Tags: work

So, you think you're a geek?

Where do you stand, next to my 31.36095% (Total Geek) score?

srah | 11:31 AM | TrackBack
Tags: quizzes

The Monday Mission

1.What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
I'm sure people have differing definitions, but I think that to be a religion, a belief has to involve a god or gods and often deals with the issue of faith in the unknown. I think one can be spiritual by believing deeply in a philosophy, with or without believing in a god.

2. What is the difference between someone listening to what you say and hearing what you say?
Listening involves a conscious effort to understand.

3. What's the difference between a Father, and a Daddy?
Daddy belongs to me, and fathers belong to other people.

4. What's the difference between being married and living together?
I think being married is a bigger commitment, because you're more responsible for one another, being linked under the law.

5. What's the difference between growing up and growing old?
I am doing the latter and trying to resist the former. Growing old is aging, growing up is maturing. The two aren't as linked as people would like to think. Growing old can bring you experience that makes you more mature, but doesn't necessarily. And you don't necessarily have to be old to be mature.

6. What's the difference between getting what you want and getting what you need?
Getting what you need is subsisting. Getting what you want is anything beyond that. Maybe I don't understand the question.

7. What's the difference between punishment and discipline?
Discipline doesn't have to involve punishment, but does involve a strong will. I don't know!

8. What's the difference between the Monday Mission and any other meme?
The Monday Mission is usually way longer.

srah | 10:39 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Tags: memes, monday mission

No, I will not shut up about this

But look, I'm so nice that I put questions 9-21 in the MORE... section, so you don't have to read them if you don't want to. That is how much I love you, dear readers.

Beware minor Book 5 spoilers...

1. Favorite HP Book (1-4) and Why?
Prisoner of Azkaban because it's more exciting and hopeful than Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Goblet of Fire is good but long. It has parts that are better than PoA, but taken as a whole, PoA comes out on top.

2. Favorite Character(s) (try to stick with 3 or less)
Ron Weasley, Arthur Weasley, Neville Longbottom.

3. My fave HP (relation)Ship is...
Ron and Hermione. I like Ron and Harry's relationship, but not as a romantic one!

4. If I could be in any Hogwarts house I would want to be in:
Ravenclaw. They're the smart ones.

5. BUT I would PROBABLY get sorted into:
I'm not particularly brave or cunning, and not extremely nice either. I suppose I would be sorted into Ravenclaw.

6. If I could have one magical ability I would want:
Hermione's Time-Turner.

7. I would excel at Hogwarts in (class wise):
Do they have any classes in Magic Languages? I could learn Troll quite easily, I think.

8. My favorite Hogwarts teacher would be/is:
I like Snape because... well, he's Alan Rickman. And because I sense that there is good in him, to quote Luke "But I wanted to go to the taaaashi station and pick up some powwwwwer converters" Skywalker. Quirrell, because he's Ian Hart. McGonagall because she wears a tartan bathrobe and, although she has a soft spot for Gryffindor, tries to be mostly fair in point-giving-and-taking. But I think Remus Lupin comes out on top, overall. I wish he had been named Harry's guardian, rather than Sirius Black. He seems more level-headed. He was a good teacher, and seems like a good individual.

srah | 12:55 AM | TrackBack
Tags: arthur weasley, books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix, neville longbottom, remus lupin, ron weasley

June 22, 2003

Latest foray into insane random poetry

Annoying and French translation, Okay, so far? but that J.K. keeps it turns in American culture BAD. not a sort of a varied meal but translating is not hairy pottery , then remembered back to say Si. I promise be a Dunkin Donuts They cancelled it I mean, that good French about a pronoun that it interesting that the example for incompetence.

srah | 11:27 PM | TrackBack
Tags: poetry

Because I can't talk about anything else this weekend...

It's a shame when people won't even give Harry Potter a chance. His celebrity has gotten the best of him, and now half the people I read online seem to be refusing to read the books. If you think Harry Potter is kid stuff or just hype, I would ask you to read the first 30 pages or so of The Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone. If it doesn't get you hooked, fine. But I like to think it will. Don't knock it till you've tried it!

srah | 11:19 PM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the sorcerer's stone

June 21, 2003

It is time for me to tell you...

Well, I'm done. And it was a really good book. Like Goblet of Fire, it dragged a bit at some parts in the middle, but finished with a bang. I laughed a lot (though less than in previous books), I cried a bit, and chapter 37 gave me goosebumps. I can't wait for Book 6 and am rather frightened that J.K. Rowling doesn't have a deadline for the last two books.

I don't, however, think that Order of the Phoenix was a great book. I enjoyed it as an established Harry Potter fan. I liked to see the continuing adventures and character growth, but it seemed to be missing some of the Harry Potter (pardon the phrase) magic. I'm not saying that it had any less wizardry and spell-casting and potions than the others, but that it seemed to lack some of the je-ne-sais-quoi that make the books so addictive. If you read this one first, I'm sure that reading Book 5 would inspire you to read the others in the series, but I'm not sure that it would make you a Harry Potter fan.

Now, if you've finished the book, feel free to continue reading this post.

srah | 4:25 PM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix, hermione granger, neville longbottom, ron weasley

The spirit was willing, but...

Around 5am, I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, so I went to sleep, about halfway through the book. Latest favorite bit:

"Have a biscuit" (p. 248)

I'm trying not to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but if you have, you should get it.

I am in the late 400s now, and things are looking Extremely Bad. Romantic entanglements are annoying and disgusting me. No one is dead yet, but I'm hoping it will be a surprise death when it comes, because if it's the person they seem to be suggesting, it is shaping up to be A Very Bad Death Indeed. Srah best get out the chocolate.

This is a good book, so far, but not the best of the series.

srah | 10:54 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix

Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure

My favorite line so far?

"What are Fred and I, next-door neighbors?" (p. 163)

Loving it. Loving Ron, loving Weasleys, loving Tonk. Putting up with that rat Potter. I resent that everyone seems to think that good things happen to Ron because of Harry's deficiencies and not because of Ron's own qualities. Jerks.

srah | 3:20 AM | TrackBack
Tags: harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix, weasleys

Annoying loud girl jumping up and down at Waldenbooks? That would be me

Stood in line for an hour behind the likes of Mr and Mrs JDay, but now we haves it and it's our precioussssssssssszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Pardon me, nodding off already. Not sure I'll make it to the end, although Becky and I made a Meijers-run to stock up on supplies to get us through the night. I will be munching almonds and cottage cheese and honeydew (although not all together) and chocolate to get me through the tragic death of Whoever It May Be. Ah, the suspense.

srah | 1:10 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix

June 20, 2003

Save all Weasleys! Take Cho Chang!

What if it's Ginny? WHAT IF IT'S GINNY?

Two hours to go. I'm going crazy...

srah | 10:01 PM | TrackBack
Tags: books, ginny weasley, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix

Damn, woman, get some MadLibs

I've always hated being in a situation where I know more than my teacher. It makes me feel uncomfortable, confused, and frustrated. More than that, it scares me a little. If I know the teacher's wrong, that doesn't mean that the rest of the class does. Do I correct the teacher for their sake, or do I let it slide and save the teacher from embarrassment and myself from a potential argument? Using the word "stealthy" to reply to my dad's daughter-swapping comments brought back a memory of one of these situations.

She was one of my stupider teachers, and that's saying a lot. I'm not sure if she had any pedagogical training, but if she did, she must have figured they were just suggestions. Not only was she not a good teacher of English, she was not a good student of English. At thirteen years old, we recognized that we knew more about English than she did. It scares me.

The moment that sticks out in my mind (and unfortunately pops up every time I hear any word based on the root "stealth"), was when we went to the U-M ROTC's ropes course as a class. I remember nothing of the outing, but I do remember coming back to class and having to write a summary of what happened.

Jamie M. wrote in his paper something to the effect of, "The ROTC members snuck up on us stealthily." When he asked, she corrected him, saying that the word should be stealthy. I can see my eighth-grade self there, hearing this, a confused and disgusted look on my face.

"No it's not," I told Jamie, "it's stealthily. Stealthy is an adjective."

"That's what I thought," Jamie replied, writing stealthily back in. Then this horror-teacher took the example and actually wrote "The ROTC members snuck up on us stealthy" on the board. I raised my hand and corrected her, and she tried to claim that stealthy was the correct word in this situation. She argued and I argued and finally I had to give in because she was the teacher and I was the student.

She's no longer teaching at my middle school. Surprisingly, I think she left to be a stay-at-home mom, rather than being fired for incompetence. Every once in a while I see a flyer around town where she's offering English tutoring, and I never know whether to deface it or tear it down.

srah | 10:40 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor

The Friday Five

The Friday Five1. Is your hair naturally curly, wavy, or straight? Long or short?
It's naturally straight, with weird kinks in it. I think rather than being natural, the kinks come from me tucking wet hair behind my ear and the hair drying into that shape. Either that or London. I suppose it's naturally long, but I cut it so it won't be.

2. How has your hair changed over your lifetime?
When I was young, my hair was a sort of pixie/bowl cut. Like Susie Derkins from Calvin & Hobbes, although I'm not sure why she's the first person who comes to mind.

Then I convinced my mom to let me grow it out, so for a while I still had the short bangs, but a long back. Sort of a hideous girl-mullet. Let us not think about 4th grade anymore.

Then I lost the bangs and went through a period where my very fine hair was too long, so it was too stringy. In order to combat this, I would braid my wet hair at night and wake up in the morning with a sort of home body-perm, so my hair would be wavy. Unfortunately, I was an idiot and would then brush it, so I just had this pile of frightening frizz.

When I went to France the first time, I got my hair cut and the bangs came back in a sort of face-framing short do. I thought I looked like Scully from the X-Files, but I didn't. I would curl it under every day, probably excessively

I pretty much kept that style for years, although I got lazy about the curling and the length went up and down. Now I have a sort of do with some razoring or something where it's pretty short, but shorter on top than on the bottom. And with kinks.

I really ought to share pictures, but I haven't any scanned. Perhaps later.

3. How do your normally wear your hair?
Air-dried with kinks. Sometimes in pigtails, although it's a bit short for that at the moment.

4. If you could change your hair this minute, what would it look like?
It would have body and lovely curls and be darker but more reddish as well. My curls would be described as "tousled" by my many admirers. Actually, that's what I look like in my head. It's always a shock when I look in the mirror and see that mousey straight-haired specimen.

5. Ever had a hair disaster? What happened?
Um... see question 2 for a long list of them. Actually, when I was in Jewelry & Design class in high school, the strikers on the blowtorches didn't work very well, so I once (I like to say "once" for storytelling's sake, but really I think it was twice) built up a huge cloud of gas, finally managed to ignite it, and singed my bangs and eyebrows. I didn't even realize anything had happened until I pushed my bangs off my forehead and they actually came off.

srah | 9:33 AM | TrackBack
Tags: friday five, memes

June 19, 2003

Conversation with Gollum srah

I have just been struck with an idea for a complete re-design and re-structuring of JohnHannah.net. I want to get started on it right away.

But I have so many other things to do.

Poor, neglected JH.net. I haven't been giving you the attention you deserve for... oh, about a year. I will save you soon.

But I have to clean my room first. Mommy said so. I need to have priorities, and JohnHannah.net isn't as high a priority as real life. Besides, we haven't even finished the blog archives, so we shouldn't go starting something new...

Real life? Who cares about real life? We wants to fix the website. It's our precious...

No! We loves the Mommy and we will clean our room.

Mommy? She's just jealous. She wants to take The Precious away. Precioussssssssssssss...

srah | 4:56 PM | TrackBack
Tags: cleaning, gollum, john hannah, john hannah dot net, precious, technology

Not waitress - owner! EAT COOKIE!

I had Chicken Fried Rice and Hot & Sour Soup for lunch today. My fortune cookie told me:

Your present plans are going to succeed.

That would be great... if I had present plans. I ought to have plans to buy Robin a birthday present, I guess.

In other news... <-- hey, look over there! I am winking at you! I think I'm kind of scary again. It's gotten mighty boring around here since Katie left. Sigh...

srah | 2:44 PM | TrackBack
Tags:

katie-be-gone

Well, y'all, it's been real. But my site's finally back up, so it's time to go home. If you loved me didn't hate me here, then come see me over at SoJoyful!. I promise I'll be gentle.

For those who are already readers, posts during the blackout start here.

And before you say anything, YES I know my comments don't remember personal info. I'm working on that. And I don't have my categories listed yet cuz they're not quite ready. Deal.

Merci mucho to srah!

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

| 9:49 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

freedom fries

Needless to say, the current president of the United States has a lot to learn. However, I think the French could also take some things from our example. Hence, the following answer to my latest assignment:

If France could learn/adopt one thing from the US, what would you want it to be? The US from France?

The thing that most struck me while living and learning in France is their complete and total lack of individuality. Students in the French system copy their professors' words verbatim, with flawless handwriting and using rulers and colors to make as-good-as-printed notes. When homework is due, a class of 15 turns in 15 identical reports. Never are students asked to "be creative" or "use their imaginations".

Here in the states, creativity and individual expression are encouraged. For example, for the average high school history presentation: one student might bring a musical compilation of songs that express their topic, one student might paint a painting, one student might write a theatrical skit, etc. Whatever is, for that student, the best way to express their ideas. There is a wide range of personal expression.

This is the one thing I think France should learn from the United States.

As for the other way around, the US needs to get culture. BAD. I'm not saying every person needs to memorize their Emily Post, but a little knowledge of etiquette would be nice. The French (if a bit snobbish - we won't go there) have a definate sophistication bred into them. It's not something that they think about from day to day, because it's just there. I can't explain it. They are a teeny bit more formal (I wanted to say polite, but I know I can't). They have certain marques de politesse that make life a joy. No matter how you look at it, we Americans are rude, blunt, and ignorant. We need to knock it off.

The fact that I care about this while living in a country that doesn't frequently makes me appear stuck up. I hate that. I'm not stuck up. I just think we're a country full of grumbly children. Sigh.

Anyway, there you go. That's my 2 cents.

| 9:41 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

Lost in translation

Okay, so one of the main reasons I took this job again this summer was that I would actually get to use some of my skills by doing some English-French translating. And now I've got a document to translate. And now I'm scared.

I never realized it, and it may not seem like it, but translating is stressful work. You're putting words in someone else's mouth. You may make them say something they didn't mean, or you may make them sound like a five-year-old, or you may make them completely incomprehensible. I fear that I am being trusted where I shouldn't be.

srah | 9:23 AM | TrackBack
Tags: language, work

June 18, 2003

Hans and Frans have strong suits?

I want to go home I want to go home I want to go home.

After my visit to SI, I took the bus back to work. I'd thought I'd be gone longer, so I took the afternoon off, then found myself back at work with three hours to go. I didn't want to work when I'd already decided to myself that I had the afternoon off, so I just sat at my mom's computer and played with my archives. Unfortunately playing with my blog archives doesn't count as archives work. If I'd done actual work, I could have taken time off on... say... Friday afternoon.

But no. Time management is, perhaps, not my strong suit.

srah | 4:31 PM | TrackBack
Tags: work

I like to read my archives

One year ago today I was in Copiapó, loudly speaking English.
One month ago today I was drunk in Virginia.
One week ago today I welcomed a visitor.
One day ago today I was wild about Harry.

And yourself?

srah | 4:25 PM | TrackBack
Tags:

Ess-are-ay-aitch goes to ess-eye

Went on my visit to SI. I think I am the only person on Earth who prounounces it "sigh" instead of "ess-eye". I am some kind of mutant. Among the various other things I learned/reheard, I found out that the School of Information has their own career services person. I was told that she can "videotape a mock interview" and heard instead that she can "videotape and mock interviews", and I think my eyes bugged out in fear. After my visit, I came back to work and my mom pointed out that my sweater was mis-buttoned. Way to make an impression.

I never walk around the campus during the day, but then I try to avoid walking around the campus at all. It's weird to see all the activity and millions and millions of people studying and working there, even during the summer. What have I gotten myself into? What is this huge, monstrous machine? I am frightened.

srah | 2:35 PM | TrackBack
Tags: school of information

Of all the things to be Queen of...

I think my menu choices in American restaurants are solely based on which menu item will taste the best re-heated. I never ever finish anything in restaurants. I am the Doggy Bag Queen. They give you way too much food, and we are trained to clean our plates and think of all the starving children in Ohio or wherever the hell children are starving today. No wonder Americans are so fat.

The thing I hate is that you can order a salad and it's this enormous monstrosity. There are no small portions of anything. I don't want just a salad. I want a small salad, a small soup, a small sandwich, and a French fry or two. I want a varied meal, but I don't like that ordering a varied meal will keep me in leftovers for the rest of the week.

srah | 11:17 AM | TrackBack
Tags: food, united states

Lies and intrigue in the salons

Robin has been trying to convince me for years to go to her hair-cutting lady, but I felt guilty cheating on my own. Finally, when I returned from France, I did it - thinking that it would appease Robin and I could just go to my normal hair-cutting lady the next time.

Except Robin's hair-cutting lady gave me a really nice haircut. Tonight I am skulking guiltily back to the normal one, and I'm going to try to get her to cut it the same, but now I'm feeling guilty about cheating on Robin's hair-cutting lady by taking this great haircut she did and never returning.

srah | 10:01 AM | TrackBack
Tags: haircut, neuroses

srah's Real World Update #2

Watched The Real World again last night. I hate these people. I hate this show. Here they are in Paris, supposed to be learning French, travelling around France, and writing a guidebook... and all they do is get drunk and bicker. I hate them, I hate the show. I'm so watching next week.

In happier news, I finally caught on that this was actually filmed several months ago (the snow on the ground gave it away), so I have decided that I am in the background during one of my numerous trips to Paris. Watch for me! I am the real star!

srah | 9:15 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the real world: paris, tv

tidbit for thought

I got up early enough to read some before work. Here's an excerpt from Language in Thought and Action, written by S. I. Hayakawa:

If someone shouts at you, "Look out!" and you jump just in time to avoid being struck by a car, you owe your escape from injury to the fundamental cooperative act by which most of the higher animals survive: namely, communication by means of noises. You did not see the car coming; nevertheless, someone did see it and made certain noises to communicate the alarm to you. In other words, although your nervous system did not record the danger, you were unharmed because another's nervous system did. You had, for the time being, the advantage of an extra nervous system in addition to your own. [italics as in the original]

| 7:22 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 17, 2003

Sam, me, samosas

Why do I keep telling people I'm going to be sitting on the phones tomorrow? I'm not going to be sitting on the phones. I'm going to be sitting on a chair at the receptionist's desk, filling in for her. I am not going to be sitting on any phones, because it would be uncomfortable and harder to answer.

In other work-related news, Best. Tea. Ever. To explain yet again, the staff here at Srah's Workplace spends their Tuesday and Friday afternoon breaks together in what we like to call "Tea". There is a Tea List, on which our names rotate (not literally... that would be interesting), and each time our name comes up, we bring in treats and make tea for everyone. Today was the day of a co-worker we will call Sam, because that's his name. Sam made chai tea and brought in samosas as well as the traditional chocolate chip cookies. It was fun to have something different and veddy veddy tasty.

In other other work-related news, I did about fifty different projects today, whipping through them until Greg ran out of ideas. Then he said, "You can kill 15 minutes, can't you?" CAN I! So blame Greg for me having the free time to write this post that no one else will care about.

srah | 4:57 PM | TrackBack
Tags: work

and how is your afternoon going?

I just received a spam email asking me if my manhood is too small.

Yes, it is actually quite small. Nonexistant, really. Once in a while I wish there was some manhood in my life, but for the most part I'm happy without, thank you.

(I realize I was mixing inuendos, but oh well.)

In other news, my server account is suddenly telling me that I have been suspended (without pay) and that I am denied access. This strikes fear into my heart because I have been working day and night to transfer my files from GM to MT, and if I lose even an ounce of what I've done, I'll be mad. This also strikes fear into my heart because I don't like the idea of being suspended, and my mind is racing trying to figure out what it is that I could have done that was oh-so-wrong?

| 1:50 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

i want to leeve een amer-ee-ca

Things katie was heard to say over the weekend:

1) "Seriously, how do you have sex with a priest?"

2) (to the tune of "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story) "I feel dweeby! Oh so dweeby!"

To explain:

1) There's a very nice guy at my church, who sings in my choir and is very helpful. He is in seminary to become a priest. Everyone would love me to marry him. I don't want to be married to a priest. I was telling my friend about this situation, and explaining how it would be so weird and awkward to be married to a priest.

2) This same friend has known me since before college. Way back then, I was a total dweeb. I mean, seriously. Tomboy, no style, dweeb. We haven't seen each other in a while, and I asked her, point blank, if I was less of a dweeb than before. She said yes, that I was less of a dweeb. I told her that frankly, I still feel dweeby. Subsequently, I burst into song.

| 11:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

Don't call me this weekend; I'm busy

aren't they beautiful?I can already predict that I will be nocturnal this weekend. My schedule will be thrown off by staying up until 1am to pick up my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (not hairy pottery), then not being able to sleep until I've finished the 900+ page monster. When I finally got my hands on Goblet of Fire, I started in the morning or afternoon and stayed up until 4am, caught up in the book and sniffling. This time, Becky and I have each reserved our own copy so that I don't have to wait for her. As soon as I've got my hands on it, I can rip into it, read until Saturday afternoon, and then I'll go to sleep.

I love the Harry Potter series. I don't love Harry himself. What I like about Harry is that he's supposed to be a hero, but he's not perfect. He's a normal teenager, with all of the characteristics and tendancies that make you want to smack real teenagers. If he or any of the other characters were perfect or cookie-cutter stock characters, it wouldn't be as enjoyable. They have personalities and problems and issues like everyone else. As long as J.K. keeps it up, I look forward to the rest of the series.

One thing I don't like, though, is that I had a part of the book minorly-spoiled. MuggleNet wrote that they were upset that they kept getting unmarked spoilers mailed to them, and had thus learned, before reading the book, (spoiler ahoy...) which character was going to die. You can't tell us that you learned which character was going to die, when I didn't even know a character was going to die! AAAAAAAAGH! Maybe I am a mutant not to have already known that, and everyone else already did.

srah | 11:12 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books, harry potter, harry potter and the order of the phoenix

I like to call it, "The Mighty Sister Act of Ducks II"

Robin and I are going to write romance novels this summer, but I'm having trouble taking it seriously. I think that might be a requirement. I don't think even Harlequin will accept a blind medieval pirate on the Louisiana bayou falling in love with the time-travelling princess of a made-up country. Just a guess. I would probably have the same luck with my brilliant story about a woman pretending to be a nun and teaching music in a Catholic high school, who falls in love with the hockey coach of one of her students, who is only a coach because he was assigned to it as community service. Dude. Harlequin readers are so picky.

srah | 10:44 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books

*srah ducks the flying jealous blows*

Due to great controversy and confusion over my weight yesterday, I hopped on the scale for the first time in over a year. The verdict: 101 lbs. Perhaps I ought to go to the gym with Robin and Becky, and put on some muscle-weight.

I find it interesting that the British money and the weight are both called "pounds" but are abbreviated £ and lbs., respectively. I don't know where the word "pound" comes from, but I bet the £ and lbs. come from the same source as their French translation, livre, and the zodiacal sign Libra, the scales (for weighing money or other things). This doesn't, however, explain why the French word livre also means "book". Maybe the word comes from records of money exchange and bartering being kept in books. Language is fun to speculate about.

srah | 10:42 AM | TrackBack
Tags: language, srah

goodness, where are my manners?

I was thinking about the fact that srah's mommy reads this blog, and even comments sometimes. I then remembered back to the days of being a kid when, if I went to someone's house, it was impolite not to first say hello to the parents before running up to my friend's room to play. Now I know this is a little bit different, but I feel that I must still say:

Hello, srah's mommy! I'm Katie from Vermont, and I'm not a bad influence on your daughter, honest! If you're anything like my mommy, then I'm sure you're wonderful.

That's better.

| 8:30 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 16, 2003

Email from the Patito

My boyfriend is not dead! My boyfriend is not dead!

(This is a good thing.)

srah | 8:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Tags: boys

Je n'attends pas de toi que tu me comprennes

I think Nature needs more music. None of this birds chirping nonsense - when I am romping and frolicking on rolling green hills, I want Jacques Brel's Quand on n'a que l'amour playing on large invisible speakers and soundtracking my life.

In other French music news, I bet À ma place would be a good song for teaching the subjunctive.

srah | 4:25 PM | TrackBack
Tags: french, music

What's a siede?

I finally got back the CDs I left in Bob's car in Virginia, so I can listen to all of the lovely music I've missed for weeks. Listening to this CD again makes me want to cry. But that's also because I'm insane and because MY BOYFRIEND IS MISSING IN MEXICO!!! This is the boy who makes me call him whenever I make the 10-minute journey between our houses, so that he can be sure I got home alright. He had better be dead, or he will be when he gets home.

srah | 4:20 PM | TrackBack
Tags: boys, music

taking over the world, one blog at a time

At the moment I made my count, which was just a few minutes ago, the total number comments made on the main index page, per poster (srah or I) were:

114 on my posts
83 on srah's posts

I will refrain from saying,

NYAH NYAH!

| 3:37 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

a fabulous new word, by katie

Last Friday, the clinic where I work had no scheduled clients. So the three of us front-office ladies were planning to get food delivered and have a picnic.

Well, one of the ladies called in sick on Friday. I still wanted to have the picnic as planned, but the other lady didn't want to, even though she had not brought anything for lunch because we were going to order out. So we didn't have our picnic.

Today, the lady who was out sick asked if we had our picnic.

Me: "I wanted to, but Louise didn't want to. Even though she didn't bring anything."

Louise: "Yeah, I just had some scones from the freezer upstairs."

Me: "I guess she just didn't want to have a picnic with me. I'm unpicnicable."

The end.

| 1:34 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

i'd like to report a stern grifting

They stole my dollar.

One of the grad students made a Dunkin Donuts run, and offered to pick us all up some stuff. So I gave her a dollar and asked for 2 donuts. Another of the ladies gave her a gift card for a dozen donuts, to share with everyone.

When the student returned, she had the box of dozen donuts. They were for everyone. I looked puzzled. "Shouldn't there be 14?" I said. "No, we just got the dozen because it was easier."

I tried to politely hint at the fact that, in that case, I should receive my dollar back. No dice. They haggled about the donuts, I tried to hint again. Still no dice. Finally, I knew that if I tried again I would look a little greedy, because I think they thought I wanted all the donuts.

I want my dollar. YOU STOLE MY DOLLAR!!!!

UPDATE (4:35 PM)

The student who bought the donuts left. She mentioned over her shoulder that there were a couple of donuts left, and us office ladies could have them. I promptly marched upstairs and grabbed the whole box (there were 6 left!). I'm taking them home with me. Nyah nyah, and night night.

| 1:06 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

The US Ambassador to... Monkeys

I'd like to be a real ambassador, but I sometimes get the feeling it's all about schmoozing and using the right forks, rather than actual diplomacy or cultural exchange. Plus, I don't have adorable ringlets.

srah | 12:26 PM | TrackBack
Tags: job search

"You guys gotta be... ambastards."

I think that as an assistante, I took more seriously my role as a cultural ambassador than my role as an English language instructor. One of my favorite lessons of the year was the one on Martin Luther King, Jr., where the students watched a video on MLK, and then were supposed to talk in English about their reactions. Sometimes they ended up speaking French instead, but had a good discussion.

I should have made them speak English, but I was happy to be able to share American culture with them and cared more about comprehension than English. I think I would have been happier if I'd either

a) never spoken a word of French and pretended that although I've studied it for half my life, I don't speak a word, or
b) spent the whole year talking to them about American culture in French.

Unfortunately, I tried to do both, and ended up speaking more French than I should, but also explaining difficult foreign concepts like the tradition of Thanksgiving in English.

srah | 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tags: assistantship

El pololo en el Districto Federal

Mi pololo no me ha llamado desde su llegada en México. Quizás, bebió el agua famosa y está muriendo en una calle de México, DF.

srah | 9:51 AM | TrackBack
Tags: in spanish, mexico, pato

Hé mec, elle est où ma caisse?

As Katie shared hers, so shall I share my French clash exshperiences. I am trying to alliterate.

First of all, I never wanted to take French in the first place. I wanted to take Latin, because Latin sounded like a smart-people language. Who wants to take a language you can actually use when you could, instead, learn obscure word origins and lord your vast knowledge of useless Latin phrases over people? Then only four people signed up for Latin, so they cancelled it and I had to pick another class. Fine, I thought to myself, I'll settle for stupid French... As it turns out, French is useful for sortiring useless snotty-sounding phrases too, so I guess my 11-year-old pseudo-intellectual self would be satisfied.

When my friend Cheryl and I were in 7th grade French, we got matching F-E/E-F dictionaries and would write notes to each other in French. We hadn't yet learned to conjugate and we didn't have anything to say, so the notes looked like Tu être un marmot. Je jeter toi dans la mer. Je être dans classe. Quoi "do" toi faire dans "your" classe?

Also in middle school, we watched a video starring Moustache the Cat, a cartoon feline who would meow along with the Marseillaise. I still think about that stupid cat when I hear the French national anthem. Someone also made Mme Ulrey's talking computer say of the kid no one liked, "Michael is a reject from the potato factory," but that has nothing to do with French.

I blogged a month ago about how I probably would have quit French about a year into high school, due to a lack of self-esteem that put me in a lower level than I belonged in.

As I recently bloggedback chez Lee, we also wrote dialogues in high school French, which in the case of our little partner-swapping group: Cheryl, Harini, Jane and I, often became skits with props and all. Our reoccuring characters were the ultra-seductive Jean-Jacques-Pierre, who either appeared or was mentioned in every skit, and the Dupont garçon (I don't remember Isabelle correcting us and making us call him le garçon Dupont, do you, Cheryl? Maybe she didn't understand a word we were saying. I'm sure I have records of some of the dialogues around, but the ones that stick out in my mind are the time il pleuvait et le ciel était couvert so we went to see Le roi lion instead of going to a café, the line Calme-toi. Je vais mettre la vaiselle sale dans la machine à laver, et après, nous allons téléphoner le camping et louer une caravane, and the last episode, senior year, where it was revealed that JJP was really a woman wearing a fake moustache... but that his great love was really a man, so it all worked out.

Although I picked up an amazing amount of French in Grenoble, I think the most valuable things were to actually understand how to use the words si and on. Those two short little words are extremely valuable but don't really have good English translations.

Si is a positive reaction to a negative question, corresponding roughly to yuh-huh. If I asked you "You aren't reading my blog?", rather than answer with the long and confusing "Yes, I am" or "No, I am", you could say "Si."

On is a pronoun that means "one", as in "One should not eat with one's mouth open" but, as I only learned once I was in France, it is also used for "we" - sometimes more often than the actual "we" word, nous.

I don't remember an exact moment of breakthrough, but I do realize that at the beginning of my year in Grenoble, I dreaded people talking to me and my host family would force me to speak over dessert if I hadn't made a peep through the rest of the meal, putting me on the spot with a good old, "So... what did you do today?" You could tell I had really learned something in France when I progressed from the one-word answer "rien" to the three-word "pas grande chose". Hey, I never said I was chatty.

I think I overuse the word truc, just like I do in English. It's so much easier to have that option than to actually look for the word. But those are my favorite things in French - the fake words, the noises and gestures, the coucous, n'importe quois and non, mais oh!s - the little things like that that you never pick up in the classroom, but learn from the people around you when you're there on the spot.

[The title of this post has nothing to do with anything, in case you wondered. I was trying to come up with a good French title, and all I could come up with was the title of the dubbed-into-French version of Dude, Where's My Car?, which is the kind of thing that, once it pops into my head, repeats over and over again until I go insane.]

srah | 9:09 AM | TrackBack
Tags: french

morning, y'all

Things I am thankful for today:

1) Photocopiers that will collate, staple, AND 3-hole punch - thus doing all the work for me.

2) A clean apartment due to the aforeseen visit of an old friend.

3) The fact that I am almost done transferring my stuff to MT, so that I can soon fly away from blahblahing and go back to being SoJoyful!

4) Monkeys.

5) Pirates.

| 8:45 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 15, 2003

Hop on Pop

Here's a beautiful Fathers' Day story for you:

When my friend Robin gets drunk, she likes to go to the supermarket. On Friday night, we played Trivial Pursuit as a drinking game, so Cheryl - who drank less and has a better tolerance than poor Robin and myself - had to drive us to Meijers. The height of our trip to the supermarket was the bakery. As we passed boxes of Fathers' Day cakes, we saw plenty of "DAD I LOVE YOU" cakes, then caught sight of one with "POP YOUR TOPS" written on it.

We stood, confused, in front of the cake for a goodly while, wondering if it was some kind of obscene stripper cake that had gotten mixed in with the Fathers' Day ones. Finally, it occurred to one of us that what they'd really meant to write was "POP, YOU'RE TOPS". This, of course, made us mad, and in our drunken state, wanted someone to pay for this horrible grammatical error. This would have been a much better story if we'd found someone, but I think we ended up getting distracted by something shiny and weren't drunk enough to be confrontational by the time we walked by the cake again on the way out.

srah | 11:12 AM | TrackBack
Tags: alcohol

June 14, 2003

pleasing the masses

Hi there. Srah's not around, so I thought I would entertain you. My ulterior motive is to show you that I really can and do blog short posts. It's only when given a request that I become overly loquacious.

How I spent my Saturday morning: Doing an experiment to see if it was possible to shorten my morning routine by drinking my coffee and taking my shower coincidentally.

My experiment failed miserably.

| 1:07 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 13, 2003

je suis la jeune fille! je suis muzzy!

Here it is, after 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, but I'm still at work. Why? Because it's pouring rain outside and I have to walk a million miles to my car, so I'm hoping it'll stop if I wait it out. In the meantime, here's my latest blogging assignment.

Stories about learning French or making stupid, embarrassing mistakes in French.

Ok. I can't think of anything grandiose at the moment, so I will bore you with short vignettes.

1) When I was 11, my parents and I visited the United Nations. Since we knew I would soon have to start a language in school, and since I had chosen French, my parents bought me this really neat book with all kinds of French words and phrases and stuff, with neato pictures. I remember reading the phrase, Je suis d'accord. I distinctly remember pronouncing it "Dee-Accorde" A few years later I ran across that little book, and laughed at myself.

2) In seventh grade, to learn the passé composé, we listened to the song Aline. I don't know who sang it. Even now I can still remember the words to the refrain:


Et j'ai crié, crié, Aline!
Pour qu'elle reviens.
Et j'ai pleuré, pleuré, Aline!
J'avais trop de peine...

3) In 9th grade French class, we frequently had to write skits with our friends to perform in class on certain themes. I can't remember now which friend it was, but every single skit that my buddy and I did over the course of the entire academic year was "another exciting episode of... Le Chat Dans Le Sac Plastique!". I swear, sometimes we couldn't get our lines out because we were giggling too much.

4) In my town, we had to take a foreign language from 7th-10th grade, but after that we didn't have to. I hated learning French. Hated it. Why? Because it was hard. But even though I hated it, I happened to be really good at it. As 10th grade was nearing a close, and we were signing up for 11th grade classes, my French teacher, Mr. Skea, happened to see that I hadn't signed up for any French classes. He called me into his office one day and basically pleaded with me to take more French. Years later, while eating a pain au chocolat under the Eiffel Tower, I wrote him a postcard to say how much I appreciated that little push he gave me.

5) In 11th/12th grade (I graduated in 3 years), we read all these short stories. I can't remember who wrote them anymore, but two of them have stuck in my memory. One was about a poor guy who was at a lavish party, and he stole these succulent peaches but got caught doing it. The other was worse. An old lady confessess to her also-old-lady sister that when they were young, she killed the other's fiance because she was jealous. She did it by feeding a bunch of glass to a swan, killing and cooking the swan, and feeding the glass-ridden swan to the young gentleman. Lovely.

7) On my first trip to France, during the flight into Paris, I wandered back to the airplane restroom. Someone was standing right there, and I asked them, in english, if it was free. She just looked at me and said, "Comment?" I understood from her response that she was French, but I had absolutely no idea what in the world she meant by that. It wasn't until after I had lived with the French that I learned they say that to mean "What?" when they haven't heard someone.

8) In Poitiers I pissed off my science teacher. See, here in Vermont we have the bad habit of shortening "excuse me" to "scuse me". One day in class, I bumped into the professor and, without thinking, I said "Scuse-moi". He was furious. I still have the bad habit of saying that in French, although I remember the endings nowadays. Still, "Scusez-moi" is strange.

9) Anyone who is fluent in a second language remembers that awkward stage where you can understand everything, and you can have a regular conversation, but you can't come up with things quickly. You still need the conversation to be a normal pace. Well, I remember the day when I exited that stage. It was the day I had a huge arguement with my landlady in Paris over the fact that she was going through my things when I wasn't home. I blew up at her, chewed her out royally, and never once made a grammatical error.

10) I love the word 'truc'. Why? Because it allows me to sound more fluent than I really am. I mean, even though I'm fluent, that still doesn't mean I know as much as someone who was raised in the language. Using the word 'truc' when I don't know the word for something, I am able to appear as if the word has just 'slipped my mind for a second', or perhaps that I was thinking too fast and got ahead of myself. That happens to people all the time. So this beautiful little word enables me to appear much more knowledgeable than I am.

Which saves my precious pride. Next assignment.

PS - It's still raining. Blarg.

| 5:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

It might be fun to have claws

I'm dying. I think my arms are going to fall off, or just shrivel up into little claws. I am convinced, as I am every summer, that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I probably just slept on my arms or something.

srah | 5:08 PM | TrackBack
Tags: health

Friday Five

1. What's one thing you've always wanted to do, but never have?
Learned about seventeen different languages, including Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Japanese, Swedish, and Italian. It takes a lot of time and effort to learn languages, and I find it difficult to teach myself, so I'd have to sign up for classes. Which is something I haven't done so far. I'd also like to write a book or two.

2. When someone asks your opinion about a new haircut/outfit/etc, are you always honest?
Of course not. That would be rude. Sometimes I say "I think I liked it better before", which is rather rude, I guess, but honest. Depends on who's asking, how atrocious they look, and whether I care if they continue to look atrocious.

3. Have you ever found out something about a friend and then wished you hadn't? What happened?
Sounds familiar, but I can't think of a particular instance.

4. If you could live in any fictional world (from a book/movie/game/etc.) which would it be and why?
I would like to live in the Star Wars universe, because it's all shiny and spacey and Han Solo is there. I'd also like to live in post-Snow-Queen Narnia or in Avonlea. Maybe in the world of Dr Seuss.

5. What's one talent/skill you don't have but always wanted?
See question #1.

srah | 10:15 AM | TrackBack
Tags: friday five, memes

I thought I was alone in this

"Petrov will be proud of me if I buy new office supplies. I'll be giving in to an urge to do what makes me happy. While I'm out, I also could pick up some new socks. It does feel good to have warm, clean socks in the morning. Heck, might as well go on a simple pleasure spree. [...]

"Yes, I know - there is something laughable about a person who thinks she's getting wild because she's going to buy office supplies. Well, you have your fun. You can watch your pornos and smoke your grass and climb onto your rooftop with a bottle of hooch and howl at the moon, but I will RUN MY FINGERS OVER MY NUBILE PINK ERASER AND GASP IN ECSTASY. And I won't wake up with a hangover or unsightly teeth marks on my neck."

- Carrie Pilby (again)

srah | 9:30 AM | TrackBack
Tags: books

Dream

I dreamt that I was in a parking structure, driving my old car, Roger. Alex was in the passenger seat, and I laughed at him because the attendant was on his side, so he had to pay. I hate paying parking attendants, then quickly trying to get myself together to drive under the bar.

So Alex had to do it, but as soon as we'd left the attendant, we came to a barricade where some kind of agent asked me to shift my weight back and forth from one butt-cheek to the other. When I did it and the car didn't move at all from one side to the other, he decided this was because the car was packed full of drugs. He asked me if the car had enough oil in it or if it was leaking, and I said I hadn't noticed. He thought I was being sassy, so he made me get out of the car.

I must have forgotten to put the brake on, because the car started rolling backwards down the street. I thought it would stop when it got to a hill, but it rolled uphill, too. I set off chasing it with my dad, Sébastien (one of my students), and Sébastien's older brother that I didn't know he had. We chased the car until it rolled into a lake and started sinking. I wasn't really that upset and gave Sébastien and his brother la bise for helping me chase the car, even though we didn't catch it.

Then I caught sight of Carla Bruni's Quelqu'un m'a dit through the back window and realized that all of the CDs I own were in the car. Even when I woke up, I was upset about this and overjoyed to find that it was just a dream.

srah | 8:59 AM | TrackBack
Tags: assistantship, dream, music

superstitious?

I feel it is my duty to point out to everyone that today is Friday the 13th.

So far, the evil demons have succesfully terrorized me twice. First, they made me spill coffee grounds all over my clean kitchen. Second, they made me 20 minutes late for work because of a traffic detour, causing me to drive all over high heaven to find a parking space that was still a million miles away from the office.

Don't walk under any ladders today!

| 8:50 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

i know i said i wouldn't, but i am

Yee hee hee! Tonight's the season premiere of that-which-shall-not-be-named. Complete with 1-hour behind the scenes special, hosted by he-who-shall-remain-sacred. Yee hee hee!!!!!

(I was so excited, and I had nowhere else to post it. Deal.)

| 7:23 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

blarg

I cursed at my alarm clock this morning. Used reeeeeeal strong words, too.

| 7:17 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 12, 2003

And various other assorted dwarves

It's one of those days where I feel a general sense of discontentment and feel like saying things "make me want to throw up" when they don't really do so. I also feel like my t-shirt is trying to strangle me. I am unmotivated. I am grumpy. Is it bedtime yet?

srah | 3:53 PM | TrackBack
Tags: work

forgetting the important stuff

Srah asked why I went to Poitiers in the first place. I opened up a post cheerfully, thinking I would type all kinds of happy things.

I can't remember.

Seriously, I can't remember why I went to France the first time. I mean, I'm sure I didn't suddenly find myself there wondering where the heck I was. But I really have no clue how it all came about. I'll have to call my parents and see if they remember.

I can tell you this, though. I was originally going to be studying abroad for my senior year in high school. Instead, somewhere in my junior year, I decided to get the heck out of high school, so I busted my cute little bum and graduated early. However, the plans were still all set for me to go to the school in Poitiers and all, so I went anyway. I didn't have to do any of the classwork, or take the tests, or anything. Really, I was just a freeloader. I attended class or didn't, it was up to me. I stayed at the school or just spent my days wandering around the city. It was very surreal and I kept thinking that one day the authorities would catch up to me and realize that I wasn't accounted for in any way. I was kind of like a stowaway. It was cool.

| 3:43 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

welcome to france, i'll be your tourguide

Good afternoon, all. I am no longer a pirate... for the time being. Instead, I am way-too-sleepy-person. However, I will take a break from falling asleep at my desk in order to complete my blogging assignment for today.

The pros and cons and things to see and things to avoid for Paris and Poitiers.

1. Poitiers

Pros: A city with lots of history. The regional accent is very easy on the ears. There is a little pâtisserie near L' Hôtel de Ville that makes the very best florentins au chocolat in the entire world. I have friends there who, although a little bit crazy and critical of americans, are very friendly.

Cons: It's on a hill, with a steep cliff on one side, so whenever you have to walk anywhere it's guaranteed to be uphill. Although it's a main stop on the TGV, it's still a ways from other places. It's where I went to high school, sorta.

Things to see: The town website. La cathédrale Saint-Pierre. La Place Notre Dame. Le Palais de Justice. Also, if you're in the neighborhood, go visit Le Parc de Futuroscope.

I can't really think of places to avoid, partly because I like Poitiers, and partly because I don't know it well enough to know about the really bad stuff.

2. Paris

Pros: It's Paris, for heaven's sake! You actually need to be convinced???

Ok, ok. Pros. You're completely plugged in to the heart and soul of France's culture, history and arts. It's a gorgeous city, with beautiful things to see all around. The transportation network is really great - better than any other major city I've visited. It's relatively safe, if you're not a dumbass. It's easy to get from there to many other exciting places in France and Europe.

Cons:

1)Tourists. Let me say that again - TOURISTS. I HATE tourists. Especially American ones. Who think that they should be allowed to complain that a waiter won't speak English, seemingly not realizing that they are in the waiter's country, which happens to speak French.

2) The French work ethic - trente-cing heures and closed forever for lunch and all Monday morning?

3) Parisians. The people in Paris hate everybody equally - you, me, foreigners, each other, themselves. Of course there are exceptions, but I have found this to be a generality.

4) Students. Specifically young American female students, who have the opportunity to explore this wonderful city full of art and history and culture and wonderment - and instead they spend their entire stay shopping.

5) Smog, bad drivers, and cigarette smoke. Also, little tiny doggie poo on the sidewalks. Also pickpockets, in touristy areas.

Things to see: I'm not going to waste your time listing La Tour Eiffel, L'Arc de Triomphe, La Place de la Concorde, Le Louvre, Les Invalides, Le Sacré Coeur, La Cathédrale de Notre Dame, etc. Ok, so maybe I will waste your time.

Here's some things that are more personal to me: La Place du Marché de la Sainte Catherine, which is one of my favorite places and is magical with yummy food. Le Pont de l'Alma, nicknamed my thinking bridge because I like to go there with something yummy and just stand and think and watch the ferris wheel at La Place de la Concorde or turn around and gaze at La Tour Eiffel. It's good to visit the textile factories at Les Gobelins, because I'm a historian and I want all of you to be one too. Also, there's this little café somewhere near Rue du Bac (I can get there on foot, but I don't know the street name) that serves the best lunch salads in the world. In the WORLD. I would gladly travel across town just to eat there. Oh, and even if it is touristy, I love Pizza Pino on the Champs Elysées.

Things to avoid: Tourists, unless you are planning on telling them how stupid they are and then educating them about how to be polite to the native citizens of a foreign country. Pigale, unless you like that sort of thing. Les Halles at night, because it's sketchy. And the one TGIFriday's in the city (at least, when I lived there) which is located somewhere at M: Grands Boulevards.

Next assignment, if you would be so kind.

| 3:11 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

Thursday Meme-o-rama

I have The Neil in my head and he won't get out. So we will try to distract him by thinking about something else.

Thursday Thumb-Twiddler

1. If you knew that millions of faithful followers were going to model their lives after you, would you change anything about how you live it?
I don't think so. I think it's kind of their own stupid fault for following me, so if they don't like it, tough cookies. It would be quite annoying and I think I would have to jump in a hole.

2. When you find you don't need something any more, is your impulse to throw it out, give it away, store it somewhere, or sell it?
Store it. Which is why my room is never clean. I'm getting better, but very gradually. I always think I might need fake cheese or troll dolls or old Halloween costumes at some point in the future.

3. What world record would you most like to set?
I suppose it would be fun to be able to run fast over long distances.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Quoth- Do you use quotations much? ..at all? What is your favorite quote? ...and why, pray tell?
Yessir. I have a whole lot of favorite quotes, so I will share a couple:

"We breathe in our first language, and swim in our second."
- Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon

"Life is too important to be taken seriously."
- Oscar Wilde

Twosome: the Raven- The symbol of the raven has a lot of mythology and superstition attached. How are you in this area? Do you avoid ladders with black cats perched on them on Friday the thirteenth? ...or do you just toss a pinch of salt over your shoulder and move along about your business? Hmmm?
I don't think I'm too superstitious about anything. Neurotic and paranoid, yes. Superstitious, no.

Threesome: Nevermore- ...and the softball of the week: What is it that you've tried that is on the "Nevermore" list? ...and do people even dare to bring it up around you?
I can't think of anything I disliked enough to never do it again. I guess I like most things, once I get myself to do them once.

srah | 2:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags: memes

Sat on a park bench like bookends

When we went to New York and met Robin's cousin, he thought it was weird and/or impressive that Cheryl, Robin and I had been friends since elementary school. Robin and I have been friends since we literally ran into each other at the kindergarten picnic, and Cheryl's mom and mine would go for walks together when they were pregnant with us. To me, it seems perfectly normal. We're friends since childhood. Don't other people keep in touch with old friends? If I didn't have old friends, who would I hang out with when I went home during vacations?

srah | 2:01 PM | TrackBack
Tags: cheryl, friendship, robin

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

Tonight is the fateful night Pato crosses the Rio Grande. I dropped him off at the airport this morning, and he should now be on the way to Dallas, then off to Mexico to dig things up. As I drove away, I had the same guilty feeling as last time I dropped him off at an airport. Did he make it in the airport okay? Did he find his group? Is he wandering around the airport, lost and confused, crying out my name, and forsaking me for leaving him all alone????

srah | 12:31 PM | TrackBack
Tags: boys

Pointless story about my weird family

In my family, we take off our shoes when we enter the house. Then we put them back on before we go outside. If, while on our way out, we realize we forgot something in the house and if we are too lazy or in too much of a hurry to take our shoes off and put them back on, out come the McN*tt Slippers.

McN*tt Slippers are a peculiar invention of our family. They are handy-dandy. They come in many colors, including beige and white. They are disposable. They are always on hand. They are one-size-fits-all. They fit right over your shoes. They don't fall off as long as you sort of shuffle along the ground and don't lift your feet at all.

They are plastic grocery bags.

srah | 11:33 AM | TrackBack
Tags: slippers, srahfam

ahoy there

Aaaarrrr! Good mornin' there, me hearties! I be katie the monkey pirate. Yo ho ho and a bottle o' rum! Ye land lubbers best be readin' what I gots to say t'day, or else ye'll be walkin' me plank!

Aaaarrrr!!!

*squawk!*

Avast! Me parrot says good mornin' as well!

| 8:52 AM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

June 11, 2003

Hit her gently

Whose idea was it to have that stupid mouse character in Cinderella's catchphrase be "Strike 'er easy"? What does that mean? Who says that, apart from cartoon mice? And why won't it get out of my head?

Cartoons say weird things anyway. For a good year after seeing Lady and the Tramp, my sister would exclaim, "You mongrel!" whenever she got upset at someone. Which, if you know my sister, was often.

Of course, this is not to suggest that my sister is a cartoon. Although...

srah | 5:09 PM | TrackBack
Tags: alfie, movies

Delusions of grandeur... are fun!

What if life was like King Ralph and the entire British royal family was wiped out in a freak electrocution accident and I had to step in and become Queen of England? Yeah, you wouldn't talk so big now, would ya? Huh? To the Queen of England? Not so high and mighty now?

Being realistic, I think they'd just throw out the monarchy altogether if that happened, and that anyway, it would be difficult for enough people to die for me to be next in line. But I like to dream. Hmm hmmm hmmm diddly dum. I can't heeeear you.

srah | 4:41 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Tags:

"I wouldn't have such trouble adjusting to the world if the world made sense."

I'm reading Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner. I identify with the main character because she's a 19-year-old genius with no friends or social skills. Except I have friends and moderate social skills. And I'm not 19. And... well, okay, I'm not a genius either.

I've always thought that my thoughts would someday serve a great purpose in the world, but the more days that pass, the more unlikely it seems. I've considered starting a log of my thoughts and ideas, but I fear if I do, I'll feel obligated to run to the log and write down every thought I have, and it will become an obsession. Maybe I can limit it to ten brilliant thoughts per day. But I think picking the ten best could be hard.

If I wrote down everything I thought, I would have no readers at all.

srah | 3:09 PM | TrackBack
Tags: books, quote

this is just to say that i have no long term memory

While I've got your attention, can anyone out there tell me the name and/or author of the poem that starts out "This is just to say..." and then says something about eating someone's sandwich out of the icebox?

I heard it on the radio once and really liked it, but now it's flown out of my brain.

| 1:35 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

doing my homework

Srah has given me a blogging assignment, so here goes:

1. the last non-Stargate thing I watched on TV

This leads me to suspect that srah thinks I blog too much about Stargate, SG-1, which is my favorite tv show, and whose character Dr. Daniel Jackson I hold near and dear to my heart. Therefore, this is the one and only time I will post anything about it here at srah blah blah.

The last tv show I watched was, in fact, Stargate. But before that I was watching the Simpsons and M*A*S*H. I am also highly partial to While You Were Out.

2. the last CD I listened to

That would have to be Pascal Obispo's Plus Que Tout Au Monde. For those who don't know, Pascal is my favorite contemporary artist. If anyone reading this happens to live in France and want to make me most happy, please buy me the piano sheet music to La Même Langue and Ce Qu'on Voit Allée Rimbaud.

3. the last movie I saw in the theatre

That would be X2. I loved it. I loved the first one too, and the sequel was soooo much better. So you can imagine how much I loved it. Nightcrawler is very, very cool.

That was, however, not the last movie I actually saw, only the last in the theatre. More recently, I rented Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report, which I really liked and didn't like that much, respectively.

Next assignment, please.

| 1:13 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

absolument, c'est moi

So, I'm supposed to tell you all about myself. Er...ok. Do you really want to know? Of course you don't. But I'll tell you anyway.

I'm a historian. That's not my job at the moment, but I'll take what I can get to pay the rent. I want to be an archivist in historical collections, but I work as a computer nerd, which is why I'm always saying that srah and I really ought to switch places.

I live in Burlington, Vermont, USA. It has finally stopped snowing and is actually beginning to warm up a little.

I have lived in France twice. Once in Poitiers, and once in Paris. Paris was wonderful. I wish I had never come home. No, seriously.

I'm single. I like it that way. Except that I swoon over British accents.

I like lots of stuff. There's some stuff I don't like, too. Also, there are things that I don't know yet if I like or not.

I have absolutely no idea why people who read my blog and link to me think I'm interesting and desire to return continually.

If you're still reading this, and actually wish to know more about oh-so-exciting Katie, just ask! :)

| 12:35 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

bwahaha

*creep creep creep*
*peek*

Ahem...

*hide*
*peek*

Um... hi there. It's Katie here. And I just, um, wanted to, um, say one thing...

I am here to terrorize you all!!!! You will bow to my magnificence! You will put up with my monotonence! (that word is a katie original)

All that, and monkeys too. What more could you ask for?

| 12:08 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

Veee-zi-tor! Veee-zi-tor!

We have invited our friend Katie to blog with us while she gets settled in with Movable Type. If she accepts, watch this space.

srah | 12:05 PM | TrackBack
Tags: guest blogging

Télérealité?

It has been decreed that I will become a Real World Watcher this season. Although I have never followed the show before, I agreed, because the show takes place in Paris this time and the contestants will have to learn French. I decided it could be amusing and watched the third episode last night.

I hate them all. I hope Simon The Gay Irishman kills them all and eats them, because he's the only one who's any good.

He can start with Ace The Alcoholic, who decided after two days that he hates France and hates the Parisians. Stupid boy! Everyone hates Parisians. You come from some podunk town in Georgia with a population of 4 and don't know how to live in the big city. Maybe you are grumpy because you're missing the sister-girlfriend Cheryl has decided you have.

Next, we can knock off Chris/CT, just because he has stupid eyebrows and I can't understand a word that he says. Then he can go after Adam, who everyone else seems to hate for some reason. Simon gets to stay because he seems mature and interested in achieving something, whereas the rest of them seem interested in getting laid. Fascinating that the only non-American is the only one with a brain. That looks really good.

I don't know anything about the girls yet, because girls are boring.

Tune in next week for my Very Fascinating Real World Report #2!

srah | 10:46 AM | TrackBack
Tags: the real world: paris, tv

Except for the names and a few other changes, my story's the same one

Robin, Cheryl and I went to Meijers last night, blasting the Road Trip CD Robin burned, which contains all the music we enjoyed on our trip to New York. I bet that you do not own a CD with 50 Cent, R. Kelly, Sean Paul and... Neil Diamond. Continue the entry for full track listing...

srah | 10:23 AM | TrackBack
Tags: cheryl, music, neil diamond, robin, track listing

Shake it up baby now

If the maintenance man doesn't stop trying to fix the door lock by twisting it and smacking it, I'm going to go insane. If he weren't so much bigger than me and it weren't his job to fix the lock, I would twist and smack him. There has to be a better way.

srah | 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tags: work

June 10, 2003

Trampy Ho Goodness

i'm a trampy ho. i like to lick people. my name is srah. Come find me if you want some trampy ho love.

The above post explains why you should not log on to your weblog on your sister's computer. Or maybe your sister's, but not mine.

srah | 8:03 PM | TrackBack
Tags: srah

And not a Flying V in sight

So, the Mighty Ducks have finally been vanquished. After such fierce opponents as the Hawks, the Icelandic Junior Team, and the Eden Hall Varsity Team, it was the New Jersey Devils who finally managed to beat the team some considered unstoppable. I wouldn't know - I was busy watching D3 on the Disney Channel.

srah | 1:40 PM | TrackBack
Tags: sports

And yet 'chicken pox' doesn't seem anywhere near as silly

I'm sorry, but I really can't take seriously anything called monkeypox. Especially if it comes from crazed diseased prairie dogs. You can't make this stuff up.

srah | 1:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags:

This is just an excuse to try out the TrackBack function

I have re-discovered the assistants' group and am trying to lend my Great Knowledge and Experience (ha) to next year's crop, including the eleven million of them who are from Ann Arbor. I wish I had my archives in order, but instead I will have to point out the incomplete category archives for the assistantship, Vichy, and France, and let you read more as more posts get sorted into these categories.

srah | 10:05 AM | TrackBack
Tags: assistantship

Clap if you believe in Archives Fairies

Sometimes I feel like there is a war going on over my soul. Sometimes I feel like the Archives Fairies and the Human-Computer-Interaction Fairies are fighting over me. I really want to support my side and all, but the Archives Fairies seem so strong. Maybe they cheat. Or maybe it's the economy.

If the HCI fairies would throw a job in my direction, I would certainly help them, but the Archives Fairies have stability and a steady income on their side. I am weak and give in to their evil. Forgive me and help me, HCI Fairies, before the Archives Fairies break my will and I join them.

srah | 9:38 AM | TrackBack
Tags: school of information, work

June 7, 2003

Worst. Reality check. Ever.

Today on the way home from Antrosio's barbecue, I ended up stopping at a light behind a car with an "Albion College Alumni" windshield decal. As I examined the car further, I discovered that it had a Linuxgrüven bumper sticker and one of those oval stickers, showing that the driver had been to Germany.

Hmmm, I thought to myself, Albion College, computers, foreign travel... that's me driving that car! So I changed lanes in order to get a look at my doppelganger. And who was it? The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy in human form. Flattering.

srah | 6:43 PM | TrackBack
Tags: stories

June 6, 2003

"That's just what Jesus said, sir"

The weather has gotten warm and sunny and now I'm getting a big taste of Be Careful What You Wish For, with all this dratted sunshine that makes me squint. There's no pleasing some people.

srah | 2:07 PM | TrackBack
Tags: weather

Le tabagisme

Seven years ago, when I went to France for the first time, I remember being concerned about the French people's smoking habits. Since my grandpa quit, I didn't know anyone who smoked and I found it a disgusting, repulsive thing to do. I was filled with disdain for smokers and swore I would never be friends with anyone who did such a thing. I remember being scared that I would be peer-pressured to try it (having never been peer pressured into anything by my very geeky and well-behaved American friends) or that people would (gasp!) smoke around me.

And smoke they did. Americans smoke, but nothing like the French. I remember huddling under a bus shelter in the rain with about 20 other high-school-aged kids while everyone lit up. I was offered a cigarette, but no one pressured me when I refused. And I didn't cough too much, and I wasn't rude to them, and I survived.

And now, after repeated visits and stays in France, it just seems so normal to me that I didn't even understand why people objected to my pictures of dinner with the S2OLs. "They're smoking at the table? Didn't that bother you?" It didn't, surprisingly enough. I suppose that I should be proud of my adaptability.

srah | 2:00 PM | TrackBack
Tags: france, stories

I was not aware that E.L. Fudge was a holy city

I thought this wasn't working, but no such luck. You will be attacked, once again, with the beauty of random poetry.

srah blah
blahs:
Search this Japanese
cat of weather
makes you find ourselves doing pilgrimages
from many movies about how good Sure
that which
were wondering, as the dickens, but
I am blah blahs: 8 ] [months
of opticians, so that
I suck at CSS. While at it, will
never had any expensive repair, he was great, interest,
young Frenchman who would pull
out the other senses, I want them out I speak Spanish
as a
Suspicious Outsider, I know coming today, to
wear a piece of
Harry Potter , though, so stupid that only the better! [chance
with... great but dragons
also made you can tell me the Sorting
staff found that PRETTY? stripes and like everyone
wants a friend
of my nerves, but I was,
bought at
it, discreetly and the clippers, I just waste
away 7 grenoble 1 franç
ais, 7
Yes, status= ; } function and
I did some new
place to holy cities
like E.
L. Fudge.

srah | 11:54 AM | TrackBack
Tags: discovered, poetry

June 5, 2003

Speaking of nerd-fancying

While watching Will & Grace, I found myself lamenting le fait que the character Barry soit gay. What a monstrous pile of franglais. Anyway, I was upset that he was gay because he's so cute and charming and it means that I will never have a chance with him.

I will never have a chance with... a fictional character on TV. Because I would have a much better chance with him if he weren't gay. It's always nice when I can be in touch with reality like that. So I guess you're safe for the moment, Boyfriend. No Barries, gay or otherwise, for me.

srah | 10:36 PM | TrackBack
Tags: attraction, tv

Viva Nerdia!

We watched Revenge of the Nerds in two parts last night, with an Auberge Espagnole break in the middle. I almost feel sorry for the cool crowd because there are so many movies about the nerds and outsiders overthrowing them, and because their lives are basically sad and empty and they are all going to grow up to be failures. Plus, the nerds are always more attractive.

srah | 5:04 PM | TrackBack
Tags: movies, nerds, revenge of the nerds

You can go back, but you have to wear a name tag

I went back to my high school today to visit my former French teacher. As I walked in the building, the first thing that hit me was the smell. Not that it was a bad smell, but smell has a way of triggering memories more than the other senses, I think. All of a sudden, I felt like I was back in that period of 1994-98 where I actually belonged there.

But I didn't, and because I am a Suspicious Outsider, I had to go to the main office and sign in as a visitor. We didn't have any of that crap when I was in high school. Back in my day, we... anyway. I knew I could pass for a student, but that students weren't supposed to be in the hallways between classes. Rather than risk getting detention, I went to the main office and started filling out the sign-in sheet.

"Who are you? Who do you want to see? What are you here for?" the office-woman asked me, accusingly.
"I'm here to see Isabelle C--," I replied, "I'm a former student."
"Is she expecting you?"
"Well, not today specifically, but I knew that this was her free hour, so--"
"Well I'll have to see if I can get ahold of her so that she can tell me if you can go."
"Well, I--"
"I can't just let you go up there. What does she teach?"
"French. But I--"
"I'll call her."
"She doesn't know I'm coming today, specifically, but she does expect me."
Quizzical look.
"I've been emailing with her."
"Well then, okay."

She gave me an enormous neon-green Visitor sticker to fill out with my name and the date and to stick on myself. I crammed it into my pocket and went upstairs.

srah | 11:28 AM | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor, stories

"Je ne sais pas pourquoi le monde est devenu un tel bordel"

We went to see L'Auberge Espagnole last night at the lovely mall theatre. I've been talking sans cesse about this film, so I suppose I owe it to you to tell you about it.

Xavier is a young Frenchman who wants a job with the French Ministry of Something Or Other. He talks to a friend of son père at the Ministry, who would like to hire him but with the European Union and blah blah blah, in short it would be easier for him to get this job if he spoke fluent Spanish and understood the Spanish economic system. So he wades through the normal sea of French paperasse to enroll in Erasmus, an inter-European exchange program, in order to spend a year in Barcelona.

He leaves his girlfriend and his mother and arrives in Barcelona, knowing only the French couple he met on the plane and un poquito de español. From there, his adventure takes off, as he searches for an apartment, love, an understanding of his Economics classes, and order and meaning in his life.

He finally finds a room in what the French call an auberge espagnole - their expression for a place where people from many cultures come together and interact. Although this is nothing more than a guess, I think that the expression, which literally means "Spanish inn", is a reference to the days when Spanish inns would be full of people doing pilgrimages from all over Europe to holy cities like St-Jacques de Compostelle (I don't know the Spanish name for this city!). He shares the apartment with roommates from England, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy who are also studying through Erasmus.

I love the idea of auberges espagnoles and the movie really captures the study-abroad feeling and the experiences of young foreigners like the assistants. It's a movie for anyone who ever studied or lived abroad, thought about studying or living abroad, or wondered about studying or living abroad.

It was just as lovely the second time, although the début was marred by subtitle typos which were a bit distracting. In addition, I picked up quite a few translation errors, but most of them weren't so drastic that they took away from the quality of the film and wouldn't bother anyone who didn't understand the French. I can't wait for the DVD...

srah | 9:28 AM | TrackBack
Tags: french, l'auberge espagnole, movies

"Catchy words like maniac, or corpse, or...um...let's see...lovenest or nude"

Ann Arbor is a fun place to be.

The airbags deployed, but the woman - who was nude - got out of the car before Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies and firefighters arrived, officials said.
- Nude woman crashes Jeep into Scio Twp. apartments

It takes great skill to manage to drive your car into two apartment buildings, one after another. Especially nude and probably drunk at 4pm. We will be following this local story with great interest, young Skywalker.

srah | 9:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags: ann arbor

June 4, 2003

I am the champion, my friends

I once was lost, but now am found. My BlogRoll finally works the way I wanted it to. Now I just have to figure out what the heck is going on with my columns. Want to help?

srah | 4:26 PM | TrackBack
Tags:

Wall o' memes

Katie wants a meme and by gum, she'll get her meme or my name isn't Sparkling Joe Flanagan. What's on the walls in the room where I am, you ask?

I am in the Sorting Room, where one wall is covered in weird crap the sorting staff found in people's collections, like magazine ads featuring OJ Simpson, "I'm a Mondale fan" paper fans, and a big metal sign with Smokey the Bear on it. Another wall is covered in shelves full of boxes. Another wall has some kind of Chinese painting, and the last one has a painting of a sailing ship with lots of masts and sails. We will pretend it is a pirate ship, because I would like to be in a room with a pirate ship. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

What's on your walls? And why am I sparkling?

srah | 3:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Tags: memes

June 3, 2003

No one? No one? Bueller?

Sigh. No one got the ultra-tricky song #3 in the Musical Trivia Quiz. The song was "Up There", from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Well I consider it a musical!

srah | 4:41 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Tags: memes, music

Yes sir, it's glasses soup

Do you really care about whether your glasses match your outfit? It never occurred to me to own more than one pair of glasses at a time, but I knew people in Vichy who would choose their glasses for the day as a fashion accessory. Of course I hung around a lot of opticians, so maybe they could afford to be fashionable like that. I dunno. Glasses are for seeing, and clothes are for being not-naked. Fashion be damned.

srah | 12:14 PM | TrackBack
Tags: assistantship, fashion, glasses

srah's TV guide

Becky spent the evening flipping back and forth between the Stanley Cup finals and For Love or Money, and I spent the evening walking through and screaming at the télé while my cookies baked.

My thoughts on the Stanley Cup finals are that I don't care who wins as long as it isn't Anaheim. So yeah, go Devils or whatever. I don't care how good Anaheim are or how long they've been around or how long ago the movie came out - I don't want to live in a world where the Mighty Ducks win the Stanley Cup.

My thoughts on For Love or Money are that it doesn't matter who wins the Stanley Cup - I just plain don't want to live in this world. For those of you who are living in a foreign country or a cave, there are 15 women and one man, and he eliminates them blah blah blah and at the end the winner chooses between the guy and a million dollars. I hate everyone on it and I want them to die. What alternate plane of reality do these incredibly vapid individuals exist on? How does anyone think this is a good way to meet someone? Why do they think it's attractive to be stupid and drunk and back-stabbing? They are all so stupid that they deserve each other. I, on the other hand, have a brain and deserve to have something else on TV. They make me want to scream and hit them - certainly not to watch this stupid show again.

srah | 10:47 AM | TrackBack
Tags: hockey, sports, tv

My life, or lack thereof

Uh-oh Oreos are the devil. They have shaken the base of my existence. Or something.

My mom bought a pack and my first thought was that they tasted just like regular Oreos. My second thought was that they tasted just like E.L. Fudge. Now I'm all confused. Which do they taste like? Do all three taste the same? Why, then, do I like regular Oreos, but not E.L. Fudge? Is it because I'm a racist and don't like white cookies? Do I like these Uh-Oh Oreos or not?

My life is so sad.

srah | 9:56 AM | TrackBack
Tags: food

This is what makes me old

I had a visit yesterday from CKane, who is leaving in July for two years in the Peace Corps in Guinea. We went out to dinner and caught up on old times and it was great, but what scared me was that this is it. I'm getting old. I don't live with my college friends anymore and see them everyday - I just have to meet up with them for dinner once every few years and catch up on old times. It's a shame that we'll be "catching up" for the rest of our lives.

srah | 9:40 AM | TrackBack
Tags: ckane, old

Tuesday This-or-That?

1. Cats or dogs?
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I've never had a cat of my own, but I like them because they're independent. I like dogs because... they're not cats.

2. Butterflies or birds?
Butterflies, unless they're penguins. I prefer butterflies because they don't make such a mess when they poop on you. And I prefer penguins to butterflies because they can't get high enough to poop on you unless you're laying on the ground and they walk over you. And having a penguin walk over you is almost worth the poop. Why am I still typing?

3. Horses or cows?
Cows, because they say moo and make ice cream. Well, not the cows themselves, of course, unless there is some new dairy I don't know about. Horses are boring and kind of ugly if you really look at them.

4. Turtles or snakes?
Turtles because they're not snakes. I identify with turtles because they're slow and clumsy. And green.

5. Frogs or grasshoppers?
Frogs, because they have such a lovely country.

6. Lions or tigers?
Or bears, oh my? Tigers, because they have pretty stripes and look cuter when animated.

7. Elephants or mice?
Mice are vermin, but if you lived in a very strange world, elephants could be vermin too. Just imagine the mess they would make. No, elephants still win, because you look cooler riding an elephant than a mouse.

8. Porcupines or aardvarks?
Stekelvarken, dank u wel. I don't even know exactly what an aardvark is, except it comes at the beginning of the dictionary. Is it a relative of the anteater?

9. Unicorns or dragons?
Unicorns make me think of Lisa Frank, but dragons make me think of weirdie-beardie hippie people who go to Renaissance Festivals (says the girl who's been twice). Dragons also make me think of Harry Potter (), though, so they win.

10. Thought-provoking question of the week: You live in a rather dumpy apartment. A friend offers you a chance to be a roommate at a new place s/he is moving into, but they don't allow pets. You have a pet. Do you find your pet a new home and take the new place, or do you keep your pet and stay put?
Is this a theoretical pet, or my current pet? Howie would be gone. A theoretical pet... would be gone too, but I would probably give it more consideration. I'm sorry. I don't think I'm that attached to pets - I think they're weird.

srah | 8:49 AM | TrackBack
Tags: harry potter, memes, tuesday this-or-that

June 2, 2003

Köszönöm and all that jazz

In case you were wondering, as I was, what the heck the foreign murderess is saying in Chicago, IMDb has the answer:

"Mit keresek én itt? Azt mondják, a híres lakóm lefogta a férjem, én meg lecsaptam a fejét. De nem igaz. Én ártatlan vagyok. Nem tudom, miért mondja Uncle Sam, hogy én tettem. Próbáltam a rendõrségen megmagyarázni, de nem értették meg."

which means:

"What am I doing here? They say my famous tenant held down my husband and I chopped his head off. But it's not true. I am innocent. I don't know why Uncle Sam says I did it. I tried to explain at the police station but they didn't understand."

Ah, any excuse to put Hungarian in my weblog, eh?

srah | 4:22 PM | TrackBack
Tags: chicago, language, movies

They are chicken transformation goods!

Renata's brother finds the greatest crap online and sends it to her and the dear is nice enough to forward it on to me so that I can bring it to you. And you will certainly want to thank him when you, too, visit this badly-translated Japanese cat clothing site.

srah | 2:36 PM | TrackBack
Tags: discovered

srah's Musical Trivia Quiz III: The Return of the Quiz

Becky has inspired me to start again. The research for the latest edition of Srah's Musical Trivia Quiz (which always seems to happen when I am musical-soundtrack-and-Discman-clad at work and have nothing better to think about) was grueling. It took great effort to stop from bursting out loudly in song and dancing around in my chair.

1) What I give, I choose to give
2) Look in your mind/ I'm there, nothing's new
3) Up there where skies are ocean blue
4) No one can make us give our rights away
5) Let's all stroke together like the Princeton crew
6) Tell me the bad times are clean washed away
7) Yes, it came direct from Paris, France
8) Beedle-ee-dee-tee-dee
9) I leave and heave a sigh
10) Catch the moon/ One-handed catch
11) Super-ultra bonus points for admitting you know: Somebody soon will love you/ If no one loves you now

Guess away! Musical and/or song title! The wronger the better!

srah | 12:00 PM | Comments (26) | TrackBack
Tags: memes, music, quote

Monday Mission

1. One thing that really annoys me is when someone at work will just start clipping their fingernails at their desk. In most cases, it is men who do this, which only makes it worse. I can't explain why this grates on my nerves, but when I hear that "click-click-click" of the clippers, I just imagine nasty fingernail fragments flying everywhere. What habit do people have that drives you crazy but doesn't seem to bother anyone else?
Um... Promo? Where the heck do you work? Um, I think chewing gum looks gross. And popping fingers is annoying, but that annoys a lot of people. I'm sure the people could come up with silly things I've ranted about, but nothing's springing to mind.

2. I just had to replace the compressor in my car. That was $400 I didn't have that is now gone. Have you had any expensive car trouble recently?
I was always wary about fixing Roger, because I was sure that as soon as I did some kind of big expensive repair, he would die for good. Sure enough, we had to replace something (was it the fuel pump?) just before he passed on.

3. A friend of mine came over for dinner with us this recently, and brought her baby. At only 8 months he is as cute as the dickens, but when he got hungry, his momma just whipped out her boob for him to start chowin' down on. Among friends or family I can see why she wouldn't be shy, but it still made me a little uncomfortable. I realize it is a natural function and wonderful bonding experience, but I wasn't ready to be a part of it. How do you feel about mothers who breastfeed their children in public? At what age do you think they should stop?
I'm for it, but I think they should do it discreetly and I'm not sure I would do it myself. At what age should they stop? Whose age? They should stop when they wean the baby, and there should be no age limit on breastfeeding mothers, I guess.

4. I was watching the "Antiques Road Show" recently, and the resident "expert" presented the "Atari 2600" game system as a popular collectible. I am now officially OLD! Do you recall the first item from your youth that became an "antique" and made you feel old and how you felt? Or if it hasn't happened, yet, what item do you think it will be and how do you expect it to make you feel?
I don't need items to make me feel old. I have no idea what goes on in the minds of these crazy teenagers.

5. It started raining last night as I was going to bed. Not storming or a hard rain, just a nice rainfall. The pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the window made for a peaceful way to drift to sleep (and also made it hard to wake up this morning). Do you like rainy days/nights? What type of weather makes you feel relaxed?
I like thunderstorms at night, with the lightning lighting up the sky and flashing in my window. It doesn't make me feel relaxed, though, because there's too much electricity and humidity in the air. Partly-cloudy weather makes me relaxed because sunshine makes me squint too much.

6. We used to joke about the retired couple across the street. Every night, they would pull out their lawn chairs, sit in their driveway and watch the world go by. We laughed about how someone would just waste away their life like that. Now 8 years later, I pull out the lawn chairs and we find ourselves doing exactly the same thing. Life has a way of making one humble. Have you ever found that you have become that which you once ridiculed?
I don't know if this is exactly an answer to the question, but I think my younger self might make fun of me, or just be disappointed in me. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was blend in and be just like everyone else, and now I take great pride in being different and slightly insane.

7. Have you ever sent an e-mail to the wrong person? What was the most embarrassing experience you remember?
I've sent emails to the wrong people, but I don't remember it resulting in embarrassing experiences.

srah | 11:08 AM | TrackBack
Tags: memes, monday mission

"Because white people love their children"

Ernie has this idea that it's only Asians who tell their children that they were found in a garbage can.

Ha! I have been told that I was bought at the stupidmarket, that I was a blue-light special, that I was on sale because I was defective merchandise, and that I was bought from the gypsies for a chicken.

Where did you come from?

srah | 8:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Tags: discovered

Whoop-de-doo

Well, folks, here's my mess. It's done enough for now - just don't go into the monthly archives at all because they're a mess. Someday I will get that sorted out and bring my comments over from the old system. For now, I will have to live in the present and I will have to ask you to do the same. Welcome welcome welcome and if it looks like crap in your browser, please tell me why because I suck at CSS. While you're at it, you can tell me why the Recently Updated asterisks in my BlogRoll want to live on a separate line and why BlogSnob wants to be ginormous. I can't figure them out and I'm giving up and going to sleep. Night night.

srah | 1:01 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Like butter on too much bread

There is too much going on in my life, and I feel like I'm spread a bit too thin. Too many things are happening at once, and I have too much to juggle. Everyone wants a piece of me and I want time to myself.

I long for those times in Vichy when I was bored and had nothing to do and when I could check books out of the library and just read for hours on end with no one to bother me. I complained, of course, because that's what I do best. But looking back on it, I would almost prefer to be bored and lonely than to be stressed and bothered.

srah | 12:38 AM | TrackBack
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