srah blah blah
August 2003
(88 entries)
Sunday, 31 August 2003
Can't stand still while the music is playin'

I really expected Saving Silverman to be just like all of the other gross-out buddy movies that are churned out every year, all of which seem to star Seann William Scott*. And yet it stood head and shoulders above the crowd of buddy movies. And why, you may ask? I can tell you in two words. And if you've already seen the movie, I think you know what those two words will be:

NEIL DIAMOND.

I don't think I ever would have thought to watch this on my own, but I got it as a birthday present from Robin. Five seconds into the movie, I could tell why and I declared it the Greatest Film Ever Made. The movie is about a trio of Neil Diamond-obsessed buddies. It is clearly the story of my life, although there was some argument in the family over which role corresponded with which of my friends.

One of the trio (Jason Biggs) finds himself engaged to an evil bitch of a woman and his friends (Steve Zahn and Jack Black) have to rescue him from ruining his life and their friendship by kidnapping the fiancée and redirecting his attentions to a more suitable partner. It's actually a lot funnier than it sounds and it features the main characters' Neil Diamond cover band, Diamonds in the Rough, their enormous Neil Diamond memorabilia collection and a very important cameo by The Neil himself.

If that hasn't turned you off already, I will tell you that the movie also features Jack Black in a Neil Diamond wig doing a very bad imitation of a mime having sex. Run out and rent it now!

* who is cool because he has double letters in all of his names

01:27 AM | srah | la música, onscreen | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Unconscious Mutterings

If you wish to delve into srah's subconscious, you may do so in the extension.

continued »

01:04 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Friday, 29 August 2003
srah's quotes quiz

I've run out of musicals. Or maybe I haven't. These are quotes from all kinds of music and movies. Identify them or perish.

  1. When he's underwater, does he get wet? Or does the water get him instead?
  2. Maids like me - I'm neat. I like maids - they're neat.
  3. 1: You know carpentry. Can you do anything else? 2: Whacking. I'm hell at whacking.
  4. 1: This sausage is moldy! 2: Shut up and drink your gin.
  5. My friends would think I was a nut, turning water into wine.
  6. We're living in a material world and I am a material girl...or boy.
  7. 1: But why are you wearing these clothes? 2: Because I just went GAY all of a sudden!
  8. The computer has the evidence. No need to abort.
  9. Pretty eyes, pirate smiles.
  10. Just think of it as you're being let go, that your life's going in a different direction, that your body's part of a permanent outplacement.
06:57 PM | srah | memes, quote-unquote | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight

After two days of orientation, I am completely discombobulated. Half of me is unbelievably stressed out by meeting people and making small talk. This half has had enough of hysterically funny conversations where you laugh and laugh and laugh but are constantly stressed that you're going to be the one who drops the ball and makes the other two people in the conversation stop and look at their watches. The other half has gotten used to the orientation lifestyle and doesn't know how she's going to last from Thursday to Tuesday without seeing all of the new people she's met.

The first half doesn't want to talk to another human being for as long as she lives, but the second half wants to go out and socialize socialize socialize. So far, the first half is winning. I came home last night looking forward to painting my toenails, eating pita chips and very garlicky hummous and watching The Royal Tenenbaums. Unfortunately, I was kidnapped and forced to leave the house, but I made myself useful by making cookies, speaking only when spoken to and trying not to make people laugh and start another of those stressful vicious cycles of hilarity. I was still so knocked out by the day's socializing that I came home, tried to finish the movie, and fell asleep in the middle of it. Shame on me.

03:42 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Marking your territory

Have you ever been friend-infatuated with anyone? Have you ever met someone and been so attracted to them upon first meeting them that you want to declare YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND and mark them with a Post-it® so that everyone knows that this is your potential friend-to-be and so that you won't lose them later?

No?

Uh... me neither.

02:10 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Trawling in Tree Town

On the way to the dentist's office this morning, I had a conversation in my head with fellow SI students about What To Do in Ann Arbor.

Well, I explained to them, if you're looking for a really good cheese selection, I'd try Zingerman's or Big Ten. But I guess you're probably not. I'm better to ask about practical things like that than, say, which clubs to go to. I'm not really into going out and wiggling around in a little tiny top, trying to drag all the mecs.

This seemed like a perfectly normal thing to say until I realized I'd said mecs instead of guys. And once I'd realized that, I realized that I'd said "drag". What? We don't use that word that way in English. What I'd meant was draguer. And now, several hours later, I can't think of a good word to translate draguer.

I think it's a really good word for the situation, though, because it sort of reminds me of trawling - the idea of a fishing boat dragging its nets and trapping everything in its path. That's sort of what I meant, in a figurative way.

02:10 PM | srah | english, français, u-m | blah blahs {6} | pings {0}
Deedle dee dee dee dee dee dee dee

You can't tell, but I'm singing the banjo song from Deliverance.

I quite like this video, although I'll warn you that it's over ten minutes long.

[sort of indirectly via RoboRanch]

02:10 PM | srah | los EEUU | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Thursday, 28 August 2003
Highlights of Wednesday's orientation

Overheard:

Student 1: So how did you spend your summer?
Student 2: Two words: Tae-bo and crosswords.

I was happy because the dean of the School of Information actually got up and said he didn't know how to describe "Information" to people who ask, either. It brings together all of the groups of people in information professions and acquaints them with the issues related to information while training them for those careers. I am actually quite excited for my mandatory Foundations courses, which everyone in SI has to take. I'm interested in learning more about all of the other specializations (Library and Information Services/Archives and Records Management/Information Economics, Management and Policy) and the way they overlap. The dean says that one of the advantages of SI is that overlapping responsibilities and issues prepare you for ambiguity.

Alrightythen.

So I'm pretty excited about SI in general, even though I can't get into any of the classes I want at this point, but I shall triumph!

08:22 AM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Wednesday, 27 August 2003
Orientating

Tired. Too tired to blog. Orientation is much better than workshops, even if the class sessions I want are all full. Best of all, now I have friends and am super über charming and everyone loves me.

I am happy.

09:26 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {3} | pings {0}
Tuesday, 26 August 2003
All aboard the Ace Train

The Real World was really lame this week. It's always lame, but this week it was lame in that I don't even have anything to say about it. Ace's girlfriend (or not?) came to visit and he got in a drunken fight with a taxi driver.

On the bright side, next week brings about the Revival of Adam, the forgotten Worst Character Of All. He will bring home some chick no one likes, get mad when she won't kiss him, and take his sexual frustration out on the world by inflicting another of his famous raps on the viewing audience.

11:54 PM | srah | onscreen | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
A note of thanks

Muchas gracias to Richard for the lovely birthday picture!

11:40 PM | srah | holidays | blah blahs {0} | pings {3}
How I spent my birthday afternoon

Seriously, do not click here (requires Flash).

03:11 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

What do you get when you fill a classroom with librarians, archival librarians and computer-interacting librarians?

Silence.

I'm not exactly Miss Chatty, but once someone takes the first step, I can talk an ear or two off. The problem is, no one talks. Or they whisper. The silence is accablante.

I don't want to make friends. I just want to have them already.

01:42 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Another family conversation

(watching You've Got Mail)
Dad: Is that Meg Ryan and her mom dancing?
Me: No, it's... uh... the devil. And Noah Webster.
Mom: That's Daniel Webster.
Me: "YOU WILL PUT THIS WORD IN YOUR DICTIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!"

10:50 AM | srah | the fam | blah blahs {8} | pings {0}
'It's such an interesting mixture of poetry and meanness'

I hate You've Got Mail.

I don't want to hate it. I love romantic comedies. I feel like it's my duty to love this one, but I don't. Not only do I not love it, I hate it. I hate it for lost potential, for what it could have been but wasn't. I hate its long stretches of pointless dialogue. I hate Tom Hanks. I hate all of the characters in it. I hate it because it's not In the Good Old Summertime. I hate it for itself.

We watched In the Good Old Summertime followed by You've Got Mail last night. That was probably a mistake. You've Got Mail is never going to be good when it follows the far-superior 1949 film based on the same play. The later movie's main characters are annoying, their relationship is less believable, and Parker Posey's character is superfluous to any plot. What's more, neither Van Johnson nor Buster Keaton is in You've Got Mail, so it was cursed from the get-go.

I don't find Tom Hanks attractive or romantic. Nor do I find him a charming rogue. I'm starting to suspect that maybe he's not a very good actor. I think he plays the Tom Hanks in all of his characters. This character is supposed to be snarky and say what's on his mind. When Tom does it, he's either unbelievable or so mean that you hate his character for the rest of the movie.

Even Tom would have been able to pull off a nice romantic comedy if it hadn't been so loooooong. I don't know what the running time is, but it felt about twice that. The characters talked and talked and talked about nothing. They made observations on life that I'm sure would be very fascinating in real life, but which had no place being forced on me in a movie. I'm all for peeling apples in one long strip à la Sleepless in Seattle, but I don't need bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. Die, Nora Ephron, die.

Then there's the plot of the movie. Rather than being rivals, they're complete enemies and he's the Big Business bookstore destroying her life and driving her Independent one out of business. And what's more, we're supposed to side with her when I (sorry) would much rather shop at his huge commercial book warehouse with 35% discounts than her creepy little hole of a store. He has coffee and selection. She has a stupid hat.

If you like romantic comedies, don't settle for this crap. Go out and rent In the Good Old Summertime. You'll get a better, shorter, simpler story, "Cuddles" Sakall, the charmingly gruff, Van Johnson, and my beloved Buster.

10:48 AM | srah | onscreen | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
Monday, 25 August 2003
Hail to the conqu'ring heroes

During the lunch break between sessions, I had no friends to eat with so I wandered around campus. I wandered into Ulrich's because when you're alone and friendless, there's no friend like shelves and shelves of stationery and school supplies.

Unfortunately, I had chosen the worst day possible to wander into Ulrich's, because the students are moving in. The store, as is normal for a campus book store, was packed with undergrads, most of whom I assumed were freshmen because I wanted to. Prissy little girls in miniskirts and tank tops picking out the notebook they have to have because all of their friends, who all came to U-M, and who were all shopping together at Ulrich's, had the same one. Big stupid-looking fraternity-meat being chased around the store by parents carrying armloads of books in the hope that they'll crack one.

I love U-M. I know I promised last year that I wouldn't do it again this year, but... must... mock... students. Undergrads, anyway. That way I'm less hypocritical.

Geoff Larcom wrote a very beautiful piece in the Ann Arbor News that shames me. We shouldn't hate the students. We should loooooove them, because they have personal dramas.

"All you see is a mini-van pulling up," he said. "What you don't see is the story that is going on inside the car. It looks all the same, but in fact, there are hundreds if not thousands of stories going on."
11:47 PM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance

"So, tomorrow's a special day," my grandma says on the phone.

It is?, I wonder, What's tomorrow?

Oh yeah.

09:47 PM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
If you want me, here I am, come and get me

I hate it when I find myself standing beside the bed and remember how I used to be afraid, when I was small*, of scary hands reaching out from under the bed and grabbing my feet.

I hate it when I think about how silly and ridiculous this was... then start thinking about the hands and have to immediately jump into bed.

* "Laugh it up, fuzzball."

09:45 PM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {16} | pings {0}
Hello again, hello

Our Intro to SI Computing workshop is having a ten-minute break. I should probably be human-interacting, but am instead computer-interacting. Would any humans like to interact with my computer?

I am not going to have any friends. Approach me... IF YOU DARE!

10:29 AM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {1} | pings {0}
Intro to SI

People kept asking me if I'm nervous or excited about starting grad school. I really wasn't. I just wanted to get orientation over with so I would finally be able to register for classes so I would finally have a class schedule so I could finally get a job.

But now I'm here. And I know squat. And I'm scared. If I were the kind of person who said things like "buggin'", I would tell you that I am buggin' right now. What kind of mutant am I that I've lived 21 years of my life in Ann Arbor and know less than nothing about the University of Michigan? That I got lost in the Undergraduate Library? I feel completely out of control. I don't know what I'm doing. What have I gotten myself into?

Mer - I think I am typing this about 50 feet away from you. I would come say hi but I'm scared and I might pee on you.

08:31 AM | srah | u-m | blah blahs {4} | pings {0}
Deobfuscating the blog game

It is time for the answers to be revealed. At last you will know the truth! And the lie! You won't care, but you will know! And knowing is half the battle. Shut up, srah, and just tell them the answers already.

Most people recognized that story #2 (College Jeopardy) was true. That's because this story sucked. I do appreciate that you were so willing to believe that I couldn't come up with anything interesting to say about myself, though. I'm going to go cry in a corner, even though it is true. The other 'story' I came up with was about how we used to eat a lot of cheese in high school, so I guess you can feel blessed that I didn't make you read that one. It was really crap, as opposed to this one, which I consider only mostly crap. Yawn.

Although a popular choice, story #3 (the p0rn theatre) is true. They do have p0rn theatres in France and this one was right on the corner with a real cinema down the alleyway. Going to this one didn't have anything to do with my French skills, so much as my lack of observational skills. The big red X, as I said, should have given it away. But hey, we were looking for a theatre and we found one! I was surprised to search my archives and discover that I hadn't told that story.

Story #1 (the trip to England), therefore, is... not entirely true. This is why I said you were going to hate me when I told you the answer. Everything in the story is true except one detail: I danced on the high altar at Winchester Cathedral and not Salisbury. Sneaky wench.

Correct guessers: Kim, Dae, Jez, Patricia, otto, granni39, Jen, gish, windy and Heather.

Thanks for guessing! I look forward to doing it again sometime.

07:01 AM | srah | a year in isère, la perfide albion, memes, travel | blah blahs {4} | pings {0}
Something appealing, something appalling

I will be moving to Belgium in the morning, because their jokes are better than ours.

[via Belgium Doesn't Exist! which was via My Boyfriend is a Twat]

01:27 AM | srah | discovered | blah blahs {10} | pings {0}
Sunday, 24 August 2003
Unconscious Mutterings

It is time, once again, to venture into the extension.

continued »

11:39 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {4} | pings {0}
Saturday, 23 August 2003
Order now!

If this had existed while I was growing up, I can assure you that I would have had one. Unfortunately, they won't be out until fall 2003. In the meantime, you'll just have to have Sigmund Freud analyse Rosie the Riveter.

[via Dave Barry's Blog]

02:23 PM | srah | discovered | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
Stick a feather in my cap and call me macaronic

Languagehat has a post about my new favorite verse style and word: macaronic.

Modern examples cited in the comments include Lady Marmalade, Michelle and some of the work of Leonard Cohen. I would add Côté banjo, côté violon, For me, Formidable and (my favorite) It is not because you are.

What are your favorites?

12:16 PM | srah | english, language(s) | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
Friday, 22 August 2003
Current random thoughts

  • Where did the word "utmost" come from?
  • What are you talking about?
  • Dennis Kucinich is very gnomish.

  • 06:08 PM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {5} | pings {0}
    The end of summer employment

    Have just realized am going to be unemployed in fifteen minutes.

    Help. Panic.

    04:46 PM | srah | job search | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    She certainly can can-can

    Robin has somehow found herself pet-sitting a total of five dogs and nine cats this week and I often get dragged along. I'm afraid of two of the dogs in one of the houses, so she relegates me to the basement with the other one and Max and I watch the International Channel.

    Last night the coverage was subtitled French news. I was aware that there had been a heat wave in France and that people had been suffering and even dying, but I hadn't realized how serious it was. According to what I was watching, the estimations are that more than 10,000 people have been killed by the heat. Tours is reporting their death rate at 180% of the normal.

    I feel so dumb and ignorant for not having realized how serious the situation was until now. I feel detached. It was so nice to see French news last night and catch up on everything that's important over there but doesn't make it over here. I don't want to lose touch like that.

    Here's a bit of song and dance (from a U-M alum!) that I've been listening to all week, about being caught between France and the US (translation in the extension):

    Certains vont à Cannes pour finir leur vie
    D'autres se rangent en Californie
    Mais quand viendra l'heure de me retirer
    Je serais sans doute bien embêté

    A moins peut-être que j'aille passer gaiement
    Ma retraite sur un voilier tout blanc
    Et couleur des jours pacifiques
    Au milieu du ciel atlantique

    Côté banjo there's always San Francisco Bay
    Côté violon toujours Paris au mois de mai
    Côté raison, je me sens quelquefois d'ailleurs
    Mais d'ici côté cœur...
    - Joe Dassin, Côté banjo, côté violon

    continued »

    02:16 PM | srah | france, la música | blah blahs {3} | pings {0}
    Obfuscation: The Blog Game

    Here are my three stories. Two are true and one is false. I will warn you that I have a reputation for being quite good at this sort of thing, although when I've done it as an icebreaker it's usually a factoid rather than a story.

    You may pick which you think is the true FALSE (oops - forgot to change that when I changed from 2F/1T to 2T/1F) story, leaving your guess in the comments. If you'd like, I'd also be interested to know why you think one or the other is true or false. On Monday I'll post the correct response.

    Eligibility: My family and close friends may guess as long as they don't influence anyone else's guess by announcing that they know for sure which is the correct answer. If you sound like you're not quite sure, but you think it might be #X, I probably won't have to kill you. But don't all agree or anything. If you would like me to know that you know but don't want to ruin it for everyone else, you may whisper it quietly in my ear or email me.

    Story #1: My parents and I went to England in 1982 and I ended up spending my second birthday there. We were there for a wedding, but we also used the trip as a chance for my dad to familiarise his wife and young daughter with his mother's native country (which he had often visited growing up). Sometimes I think they would have preferred to leave the daughter at home, although she did provide them with some interesting stories.

    We went to the Tower of London and I was not very interested in the tour. I was, however, quite interested in the ravens.

    "LOOK, DADDY," I exclaimed, "BIG BLACK BIRDS. WHAT ARE THE BIG BLACK BIRDS DOING HERE, DADDY? WHY AREN'T THE BIG BLACK BIRDS FLYING AWAY, DADDY?" Apparently I was loud and annoying enough that the beefeater actually stopped his speech and walked over to me.

    "Do you know," he said, bending over me and trying to exude an air of authority and respectability as I grinned up at him, "what we do to little American girls who can't be quiet and listen to the nice beefeater's talk?" I shook my head, still smiling and not realizing I was doing anything wrong by asking my dad about those fascinating birds. The beefeater continued: "We CUT OFF THEIR HEADS!"

    My eyes widened at the death threat. I went and hid behind my mother and apparently didn't speak another word for the rest of the day.

    Another of our tourist excursions was to Salisbury Cathedral, which was undergoing some construction restoration. As my parents listened politely to the tour guide and observed the beauty of the cathedral, little srah got antsy again and squirmed away. When they caught up with me, I had ducked under some construction tape and barriers and was dancing on the high altar. My mother didn't want to cross the barrier herself, so she had to call to me and cajole me into coming back and behaving myself.

    Story #2: I tried out for College Jeopardy over the Spring Break of my freshman year in college. The tryouts were in Ann Arbor, so I decided to give it a shot. I went to Pierpont Commons and took the first level quiz. I don't know if they were actually basing anything on these answers, or if they were just to let people know what kind of questions they would be facing later. I must have passed, because I was given a time slot to return for the next part of the tryout.

    When I came back, I was in a classroom full of student desk/chairs. Growing nervous, when asked if there were any questions, I asked if we were ineligible if we weren't U-M students. Everyone in the room turned to look at me like I was some kind of mutant. They said that it was fine as long as I was a college student somewhere.

    We took the written test and got our results back almost immediately. The top scorers were asked to stay and advance to the next round. It could have been my imagination, but I felt like there was some "She isn't even from Michigan" grumbling going on when my name was called.

    This round consisted of a quick-answer competition. We took turns coming up to the buzzer and practicing ringing in and answering. I did pretty well, but my problem came when they did a mock-interview thing.

    Clearly they were looking for people with sparkling personalities who would look good and be interesting on TV. I, unfortunately, fell short there. I couldn't come up with any interesting mini-facts about myself (not that that stops anyone on TV - their factoids are usually so stupid and pointless that I want to hit them, like "My boyfriend calls me Boo" or some crap like that) and I was so nervous and tense it was making me nauseous. So, needless to say, I was not the one they called back. And the one who was called back got severely trounced, so it made me feel better.

    Little tiny Albion did get its day to shine the next year, though, when my friend Kurt managed to make it to the show and twice build up a lead and lose it all in Final Jeopardy.

    Story #3: When CKane and I were very new to Grenoble, we decided to go to the movies. Grenoble's Petit Bulletin listed the movie theatres in town and the films that were playing in them, as well as giving the cinemas' addresses, but we were new to town and didn't know where we were going.

    In the Mood for Love was playing at Le Club, so we looked at our map to find the street that the cinema was on. Makes sense so far, right? We took the tram to that area of town, got off, and headed in the direction of the cinema.

    Straight ahead of us, we saw a cinema so we went in. "Une place pour In the Mood for Love, s'il vous plaît," I asked.

    He looked at us funny and informed me that they didn't have that movie.

    "C'est le cinéma?" I asked. He confirmed that it was.

    "Je voudrais un billet pour IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE," I tried repeating it, thinking that he hadn't understood my American pronunciation. He repeated that they didn't have that film. Cheryl and I looked at each other, confused. Maybe the movie was no longer playing here.

    "Mais ici c'est un cinéma? Donc vous avez quel film?"

    He leaned over the counter and over-enunciated the words for our obviously confused foreign ears, "Ici, SEX films. P0RN0?"

    Our sheltered Albion eyes opened wide and we hightailed it out of there. Turns out Le Club was hidden away down the alleyway, not nearly as well-advertised. The big red X on the front probably should have clued us in.

    10:08 AM | srah | a year in isère, la perfide albion, memes, travel | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    The Friday Five

    1. When was the last time you laughed?
    I believe Becky remarked on my hamster laugh last night as we were on the phone.

    2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?
    With Jez, I guess. I'm so nice and easy to get along with! Or passive-aggressive!

    3. Who was the last person you emailed?
    La Sofinette

    4. When was the last time you bathed?
    Approximately 6:55 to 7:15 this morning.

    5. What was the last thing you ate?
    I had a chocolate last night and before that it was dinner - chicken noodle soup and corn on the cob from the garden. The corn, that is. We do not have a Soup Garden.

    07:47 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Thursday, 21 August 2003
    Update on srah's career goals

    Today... I still don't want to be an archivist.

    Thanks for asking.

    04:36 PM | srah | job search | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Like the words of a song I could not forget

    An article I read in the Detroit Free Press (though, unfortunately, it doesn't appear in the Freep's online version) talks about earworms: songs and jingles that get stuck in your head and won't leave. The best thing about the article is that they went right to The Master for his opinion on the matter.

    Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond says those repetitive notes that won't go away have spawned some of the greatest hits of his career.

    "If I wasn't in the business of songwriting, I'd probably be seeing a doctor," Diamond said. "I've tried everything from cold showers to listening to other people's music, but nothing helps."

    He added that most of his songs have come about as a result of a melodic swatch of six notes repeating in his mind. "I'll be driving or watching TV or having lunch, and it just invades," he said. "It's a horrible obsession, but it seems to have paid off."

    That explains quite a bit, actually. I have been brainwashed by your hypnotic note-series. We love you and your hopelessly addictive songs, Neilarooni.

    04:14 PM | srah | la música | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    A Year in Isère

    I have recently had great demand for stories about my time in Grenoble. Not to mention demands, some of them quite violent, for actual content on this blog.

    Once upon a time, I had planned on making a webpage bringing together pictures and stories from my year in Grenoble. Parts of this have been created and are actually online, although nothing on my site links to them because the project isn't finished after the two years since I returned. If it hasn't been finished in two years, it ain't gonna get done.

    I've decided to kill two birds with one stone, so I will take down the Grenoble page altogether and turn it into a series of illustrated blog-posts instead.

    I don't know why I felt I had to tell you that. Perhaps I'm warning you that I'm about to drag out a bunch of old stories. More likely, I'm trying to tell you that something is, indeed, forthcoming in order to cut down on all of the death threats from my readers, who have of late become my stare-at-the-screen-and-hit-reload-wondering-when-I'm-going-to-updaters. You know who you are.

    01:37 PM | srah | a year in isère | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Canned sauerkraut makes an excellent birthday present

    I could really go for a glass of Riesling with my lunch (peanut butter sandwich, or whatever it is). But we are in the United States and I weigh about 25 pounds, so I suppose I would be regarded as some kind of alkieholic. What would go with my imaginary Riesling? Now I'm craving choucroute. France, why have you forsaken me?

    There's still a half an hour until lunch. Must stop thinking about food...

    11:27 AM | srah | la bouffe | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Awakened consciousness, asleepened

    Last night as I was falling asleep, I came up with a song parody that was so funny and insightful that it would have changed the world. Unfortunately I was too lazy to get up out of bed and find a piece of paper in order to record this amazing thought forever. So my masterpiece, which probably would have turned out to be crap in the light of day anyway, is lost. I can't remember now what the tune or the subject of the parody was. So instead, I bring you this not-very-hilarious-unless-you-were-there exchange:

    Mom: I’m reading Seabiscuit. It’s really good.
    Me: My favorite part is when Seabiscuit becomes dog food.
    Mom: (indignant) Seabiscuit doesn't become dog food!
    Dad: My favorite part is when Dogbiscuit becomes seafood.

    10:08 AM | srah | the fam | blah blahs {3} | pings {0}
    Wednesday, 20 August 2003
    185 or so to go

    On one of the temporary dividing walls, the Reference staff have been making lists of the countries they've been to. My list, paltry in comparison to almost everyone else's, is:

    1. USA
    2. England
    3. Canada
    4. France
    5. Belgium
    6. Switzerland
    7. Scotland
    8. Chile
      (and if you count airports)
    9. The Netherlands
    10. Germany

    I tried to say that I'd been to the Kingdom of Fife (I can't remember if I actually have, now - where is that in relation to Edinburgh?) and Auvergne (Ici finit la France; ici commence l'Auvergne), but my mummy says that's cheating.

    In an attempt to bolster my list, I've decided that I have to do a SI summer internship next year in Iceland. If I have to do a summer internship, why not visit another country why I'm at it? At least in Iceland I'll be safe from terrorists.

    02:00 PM | srah | travel | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Rhetorical Butler

    Or question. But "rhetorical" makes me think of "Rhett", so I went with it.

    If something that's cheap is bon marché, can something that's a really good deal be described as super marché?

    09:59 AM | srah | français | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Stop The Real World, I want to get off

    I know you've missed the weekly screaming Real World recaps, but it was replaced by thirty-seven consecutive episodes of The Osbournes two weeks ago and I missed it last week. So this week I got a Double Dose of Reality! Yay!

    Dear Real World Cast,

    Once again, you've handed in your assignment at the last minute, and incomplete as well. Yelling at each about it is not going to get you your bonus. Suck it up and move on. I don't know how you can complain about student loans when you are being paid big bucks to do nothing and have, I assume, free housing and food. Your boss is not your mommy. Don't tattle on your housemates and complain to your boss about things that have no relevance to work. This isn't going to get you your bonus either, and it's just going to make you look like a big baby.

    I hate these people and this show so much I can't articulate my hatred while I'm watching it. I think I frightened Robin and the poodle she's dog-sitting for with my screeches and clawing at the air.

    CT and Leah, just do it and stop telling us how much you hate each other. Your relationship is only amusing in that we can take all of your lines and change them à la "Everything he does drives me insane" "...WITH LUST" and "He's so dirty" "... and that's the way I like it" and "He bought Christina and I a rose and thinks that makes it better?" "'HE BOUGHT CHRISTINA AND ME ROSES' or 'HE BOUGHT ROSES FOR CHRISTINA AND ME' you friggin' idiot". Well, maybe not that one.

    How can these people write a guidebook when they can barely speak English? I don't want to be the editor who has to try to find a meaning in Christina's misuse of big words and Leah's grammatical incorrectness.

    Simon, as cute and happy and smiley as you are when he visits, your boyfriend wants out. I'm not even convinced he's gay.

    Adam, you are gay and in love with Ace. Realize this and stop hitting on every English-speaking girl in Paris in an effort to deny your homosexuality. Also stop instigating more trouble in the house than there already is. Also rapping. Also breathing.

    09:25 AM | srah | onscreen | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    New Improved Naked srah

    Somehow I've recently found myself watching a lot of shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and What Not to Wear. The good thing about these shows is that I'm sort of absorbing things about fashion. For example, what shouldn't I be wearing? Everything in my closet.

    I should throw everything away and start over. I demand to be dressed by a professional. Where is the team of makeoverists*, come to give me $5,000 and make me buy clothes that are fashionable and flattering, teach me to cook, give me a faaaaaabulous new haircut, teach me how to put makeup on and clean up my messy room?

    Queer Eye is nicer than What Not to Wear, but I'm not eligible for that one. Why is Queer Eye only for straight guys? Why can't it be Queer Eye for the Hopelessly Out of Style?

    * I made this word up, but I think it should exist**
    ** Have you noticed that I'm addicted to footnotes? Blame Justin.

    09:22 AM | srah | fashion & grooming | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Unfounded (?) sense of loss

    I keep losing everything close to me.

    Boy, that sounds like the beginning of a really depressing blog-post. But this is not that kind of blog, folks! Let's start again.

    I keep losing all of my crap.

    That sounds more like me - and more familiar, too. My archives are lined with stories of me losing things - tales that I would quite annoyingly link to if I could find them in the mess that is my MT archives. Sometimes I find the lost objects again, but mostly I don't. In a conversation with Jez this morning, we* decided to blame it on a gnome infestation, because I refuse to take responsibility and can't imagine that one person could manage to lose the quantity of possessions that I manage to lose. Among the things I've recently found discovered that I've lost:

  • Brookmyre, Christopher. One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night.
  • Brookmyre, Christopher. Quite Ugly One Morning.
  • K's Choice. Almost Happy.
  • Rankin, Ian. The Falls.
  • Soundtrack - The Prince of Egypt.
  • Srah's CD Mix #4.
  • Travis. The Invisible Band. (The Invisible CD, more like it)

    I can't come up with anyone I could have lent these things to, but neither can I figure out where in my house they could be hiding. Any information as to their whereabouts would be appreciated. Maybe I get up in the night and throw things away in my sleep. Or maybe I will one day uncover the gnomes' grotto and recover all of my stolen belongings. They have odd taste, those gnomes.

    In other gnome-related news**...

    * meaning "me", with Jez's mostly-sane self along for the Ride of Madness
    ** or "olds"

  • 08:39 AM | srah | readers' choice, stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {25} | pings {0}
    Tuesday, 19 August 2003
    Ze sird dekhree

    Have you ever wished someone didn't link to your site? Have you ever linked to another site and wondered if they were looking down on you for linking to them? Have you ever been linked to and felt guilty for not linking back? Have you ever been hurt when you linked to someone and they didn't link back? Are you afraid to comment on certain blogs because you feel they're so far above you? Do you think you're above other blogs? Who was the first site to link to you? How did it make you feel? Und now tell uz about your relazionship viz your fazzer.

    08:02 PM | srah | blogging | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Is it Friday yet?

    I'm bored and no one is being very helpful. The August doldrums have hit and no one is updating. Please suggest a new blog for me to read.

    01:25 PM | srah | blogging | blah blahs {13} | pings {0}
    A really tough question

    Guess whose 23rd birthday is one week from today? Yes, that's right, it's

    continued »

    12:34 PM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {6} | pings {0}
    Monday, 18 August 2003
    The Monday Mission

    1. Are you good at responding to emails and/or Blog comments?
    Blog comments, yes. Email, not so much. I still owe Johanna an email from over a month ago...

    2. Does it make you crazy when people won't reply to your emails even though you know good and well that they are reading them?
    In some cases. If it's someone I see in person, I'll usually ask them about it. If I've sent a mass email to everyone I know in France and received no reply, I'll just cry and cry and cry. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it will depress me.

    3. I recently watched the FOX special "101 Things Removed from the Human Body" which was quite disgusting in a can't-help-but-watch kind of way. It got me to thinking about many of the accidents I had as a child. I remember climbing over a fence after T-ball and catching my palm on the top of the chain-link fence. Went through my hand and tore it right open. What's the most unusual thing you've had inside your body?
    What an atrocious question. It is giving me scary, nightmarish flashbacks to visits to the "women's doctor", so I'm going to move on.

    4. What person from your past would you most like to run into and visit with for an afternoon? Why them? What person would you like to not ever see again as long as you live? How come?
    There are a lot. The more I move on, the more people I leave in my past (duh). I'd like to see Sophie and the rest of my host family (including the extended family), Agnès, Aline, Damien, Angelique, Philippe and the other S2OLs, everyone else from Valéry Larbaud, Juliette, Ioanna, Renate, Andrés, Molly, and Dominique from Grenoble, Jillian, Jen, Erin and everyone else from Albion (most of whom I haven't seen in over a year), Renata, Jennifer, Andrés, Stefan, and Johanna from Vichy... I bet you've had enough of me listing off people you don't know. I'd like to see everyone.

    Strangely enough, when I do see someone from my past, it's usually someone from high school, and I usually hide behind something until they go away. As to the second part of the question, if I never saw my English Translation teacher from Grenoble, it would be no big loss. I don't hate him, but it wouldn't bother me never to see him again.

    5. What was the last bad meal you (or your special someone) paid too much for? What's the story there?
    I went to The Mexican Place on Washtenaw (I can never remember the stupid name) and they brought me chicken tacos when I'd asked for ground beef. I was hungry, so I just ate them, even though I didn't want chicken and they weren't very good. I pointed the mistake out to the waitress, though, so we ended getting them 50% off. They were still overpriced, in that I was not being paid to eat them.

    6. If out-of-the-blue you were forced to find a new career, if there was just suddenly no need for your field of expertise, just what job do you imagine you would seek out? Do you have any skills you can "fall back on?" (If you stay at home or are a student, adjust to fit your situation)
    Hmmm. I don't know how to adjust it to fit my situation. I'm going to be studying Human-Computer Interaction, so assuming I get a job in that field, I suppose I could fall back on my language skills once that electro-magnetic pulse bomb goes off and there are no computers left for me to interact with.

    7. If you were to open up your own restaurant, what would it be called and what type of food would you serve? Describe the "feel" of the place (the decor, the music, etc).
    Thank you for asking. Jennifer, Renata and I are going to start a chain of fondue/crêpe/waffle/sandwich/I've forgotten what else restaurant, of which I've forgotten the name. All I really remember is that we will have live music played by the naked Colombian street singer Shakiro. Of course I, as the Assistant Whore, remember that part. Keep an eye on the comments and we'll see if J and R can fill in the blanks.

    06:07 PM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    I'd ask you to sign it, but your arthritis is too bad for you to hold a pen
    subject: The 2002 Albionian is on its way (almost)!

    Dear Class of 2002 alumnus:
    Sometime this fall, the 2002 Albionian yearbook will finally be published and mailed directly to you from the publishing company. So I ask ... do I have your correct mailing address?

    Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Why are they even bothering to put out a yearbook over a year late? And what does "sometime this fall" mean?

    05:41 PM | srah | la perfide albion | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Dream

    I dreamt last night that my family was in a parking lot with a little crying Indian girl. My sister tried to cheer her up by showing the girl her teddy bear (my sister's, that is), Elizabeth. The little girl snatched Elizabeth and ran off with her, so the whole family had to chase her down. When we got to where she'd stopped, she was standing there with her mother, who spoke in speech bubbles written in some kind of Indian script. Only I could read it, so I had to translate for my family. She told my sister that she would pay her whatever she wanted for the bear. She could pay in cash, check, or even credit card, if my sister would take it. Becky refused to sell Elizabeth, though, and the little girl started to cry again. The mother told her that she would buy her whatever she wanted to replace the bear, and she brightened up immediately and demanded a pinball machine.

    05:04 PM | srah | rêves | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
    Whodunnit?

    The focus at this point seems to be on figuring out who's responsible for the blackouts. I know that they need to find the source of the problem in order to fix it, but the way they present it sounds like blame and finger-pointing. It's a shame it had to happen, but the blackout was insignificant compared to what we thought it was going to be. I don't feel the need to make anyone pay for my inconvenience. I'm just glad they got things back up as quickly as they did.

    11:47 AM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {3} | pings {0}
    Sunday, 17 August 2003
    There was no question about places where waitresses call you 'hon'

    According to findyourspot.com, my top ten ideal hometowns are:

    1. Charleston, WV
    2. Frederick, MD
    3. Annapolis, MD
    4. St George, UT
    5. Hickory, NC
    6. Champaign-Urbana, IL
    7. Gaithersburg, MD
    8. Baltimore, MD
    9. Hampton, VA
    10. Raleigh, NC

    I don't know how I feel about these results. It's hard to find somewhere in the Midwest that doesn't get snow dumped on it every November or so.

    [via coleman.francis.land]

    12:47 PM | srah | discovered | blah blahs {5} | pings {0}
    Obfuscation: The Blog Game

    Patricia at Lunaniña is doing a new meme this week.

    Here's the deal. On Friday, August 22nd you'll post 3 stories.

    Two false and one true or two true and one false.

    Readers have to pick the false story(ies), leaving their guess in the comments. (Make sure you let them know which version of the game you're playing.) On Monday you'll post the correct response. The stories can be as crazy as you want them to be. But you want to make them all believable enough that the reader has to give the game a little thought.
    10:36 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {13} | pings {0}
    Unconscious Mutterings

    So as not to influence your own answers, I have hidden the questions away.

    continued »

    10:27 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    I'll tell you what a girl wants

    Synopsis of What a Girl Wants (starring Colin Firth and Some Other Girl)

    Colin Firth wore a suit. Colin Firth got angry. Colin Firth was reunited with his long-lost daughter. Colin Firth smiled a shy little smile and we all went, "AAAWWWWWWWWWWW". Colin Firth rode a motorcycle. Colin Firth wore leather pants. Colin Firth refused to head-bang. Colin Firth was sad and lonely, but happy in the end.

    And some other stuff happened.

    10:24 AM | srah | onscreen | blah blahs {2} | pings {0}
    Saturday, 16 August 2003
    Losing control

    Freaky!

    11:09 AM | srah | discovered | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    The Day the Lights Went Out

    15:30. I'm sitting at my computer, reloading and reloading Internet Explorer, annoyed that the Albion email server still isn't up. I'm feeling there's something missing in my life. When I was in France, there was a sense of newness and adventure. Everything was a new experience. Right now, there is too little adventure in my life. I consider blogging about it, but decide that blogging about the lack of adventure would be really boring. I despair and return to work.

    16:15. The lights flicker, then I lose power to my computer, losing whatever file I was working on. This is the second time this week that it's happened. I curse the construction workers for blowing another fuse, then realize that it's not only my end of the room, but the lights and all of the computers. I look through the door of the sorting room and discover that the lights are out there as well. Damned construction. I realize that I haven't heard any construction noise in a while, and someone points out that they're not working anymore. Someone calls the appropriate campus authorities and finds out that the whole campus is down. Gradually, as we call out to other places, we learn that all of Ann Arbor has lost power. People start speculating about anti-Affirmative-Action terrorists.

    Brian gets off the phone with his wife, who says that she thinks that New York City has lost power as well. People start speculating about real terrorists. I am reminded of something I read somewhere about a device that somehow destroys all electrical signals, but I'm not sure if this actually exists.

    16:30. After running around for a while like chickens with our heads cut off and calling everyone we know, we've run out of things to do. We can't work without lights or computers, so we're released for the day.

    My dad works next door and we can't get ahold of him on the phone, so I run down the hill to see how his workplace is dealing with the blackout. I creep across the lawn and peek through his window, only to see him sitting in his well-lit office, tapping away at his computer. The damned building has a back-up generator, so they're just fine except that the phones and air-conditioning don't work.

    17:45. The three McNitts, having stalled on leaving for a while, start the journey home. We came in to work separately this morning, but abandon one car in the parking lot. It's going to be a zoo anyway, so we might as well decrease the roads' vehicle population by one. The drive is surprisingly easy, all things considered. There are big backups and people cheating at intersections, but there are also strange gaps between intersections where one can drive quite freely.

    I wonder where my website is hosted and regret having never gotten around to backing up my blog.

    The radio says it may be 3 to 4 hours before the power is back.

    18:30. We arrive at home. We walk around the house to unplug everything, automatically flicking on light switches as we enter a room and flicking them off as we leave. The worst part is that I'm surprised when the light doesn't come on. I am surprised every single time.

    I suspect that my brain may be powered by the now-nonexistent eckeltricity, especially when I am reading a comic where the characters are making microwave popcorn and my first reaction is What are they doing? You can't make microwave popcorn! There's no POWER.

    19:00. Robin's mom is in Chile and she's home alone and scared. I invite her over for dinner and we play cribbage. Although all of my normal mental capacities seem to have been lost with the electricity, I have developed SUPER CRIBBAGE POWERS, sort of in the way that Daredevil lost his sight and developed his other senses. I attract amazing hands and peg well, but lose my powers once I become aware of them, and only win by about two points.

    Dinner is spaghetti and tomato sauce and corn from the garden, all made possible by our grill's burner. Hardship? Bah. This is an adventure.

    It starts to get dark out and we search out the flashlights. I find a snake-light and wrap it around my neck. When I look up, the light moves up. When I look down, it moves down. Left, right, all around, and so on. I declare myself Light Girl and am excited when people actually use my new moniker, such as, "Hey Light Girl, get over here and help me find another flashlight."

    The radio says that it may be 24 hours before the power is back up.

    21:15. Robin claims to be afraid of looters. My mom points out that looters are more likely to go someplace like Best Buy than our houses. Robin and I look at each other in interest. Looting Best Buy sounds like a good idea. Then we remember that we are the biggest goody-goodies ever and sigh in disappointment.

    Robin can't leave her dog alone to come and stay with us, so I go to spend the night at her house. Upon arrival we decide to play Scrabble but first search out all of the candles in the house. We discover that the light produced by one candle can be significantly increased by placing reflective objects behind the candle, so we almost forget to play Scrabble in our nerdly search for the ultimate reflection. Soon we are surrounded by candles, silver teapots, trays, pans, and cookie sheets.

    We turn on the radio. Electricity has returned in Michigan's thumb. That's nice - the Michigan Militia will have power and no one else will. It's important to get them back online.

    The radio seems to have no speculations about when the power will return.

    21:30. Have begun to pretend am Amish. Have also begun to talk like B. Jones. Begin speculating that outages were caused by Amish who have decided to start proselytizing.

    22:00. Still listening to the radio and playing Scrabble. The game will never end. Foster Braun keeps talking about how the outages may have been caused by a turban exploding or a turban bursting into flames, and how once you take one of those turbans out, it could shut down all of the turbans in the system. It's a turBINE, dude. An exploding turban never caused more than a headache.

    Businesses are being advised not to open tomorrow. We are excited at the prospect of a day off.

    22:20. We knew that we had to cut down on water use, using it only for drinking and medical purposes. Now the radio tells us that drinking water must be boiled before use. Of course, they tell us this right after Robin drinks a big glass, so we start wondering if she's going to grow another head. We search the house for drinkable substances and find one bottle of iced tea, so we have to drive over to my house and wake my parents up.

    Someone on the radio points out that U-M has their own electrical system (which they can, but don't usually, use during the summer). So much for my day off.

    23:00. Robin's boyfriend, Bob, calls from Virginia. I ask him if my website is online, and he says yes. Good, I can stop worrying about not having backed up.

    Robin trounces me in Scrabble, which is not hard to do when she got 43 points in the first round and I got, I believe, 8. We go to bed around midnight.

    The next day. 7:00. The alarm goes off. I don't want to get up and go to work. Luckily, the radio announces that U-M is shut down and employees should not report to work. I roll over on the cat and go back to sleep.

    8:15. "We have power!" Robin exclaims. I am happy. I roll back over on the cat.

    Eventually, I realize that I'm not going to get back to sleep, so I get up and help plug things back in.

    According to the radio, it turns out Ann Arbor water is just fine. So much for additional heads.

    Since we can't sleep, we decide to go for a drive. We go to my house, taking a roundabout route so that we can see the lines at the gas station. How many of these people actually need gas? How many actually have somewhere to go?

    Once at my house, where the power has also been restored, we turn on the TV. Detroit's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, is on TV, saying that Detroit is the greatest and that we are now prepared for all kinds of eventualities, such as tornadoes or hurricanes. I don't know how long Kwame has lived in Michigan, but I don't remember ever having a hurricane here. Where would it come from? Up the St Lawrence Seaway? And what is he doing wearing a pink shirt?


    So anyway, that's pretty much the end. Later in the day we went to Kroger's, where they were giving away bags of ice, and Meijer's, where they were running on auxiliary power, so we bought emergency essentials like tequila, Cointreau and limes. In an emergency situation, you have to make some sacrifices, so we had to get key limes instead of big ones.

    So danger was averted, nothing serious happened, we didn't lose power long enough to suffer any real hardship, and I had my adventure. Hooray.

    10:00 AM | srah | stories | blah blahs {0} | pings {1}
    Friday, 15 August 2003
    The Great Blackout of 2003 (gag gag)

    In case anyone wondered, I'm fine and back online! I have been having a rich and adventurous life these past 24 hours, but my neighborhood is one of the few areas around whose electricity has returned. I'll be back to blog the details later.

    04:09 PM | srah | a2 | blah blahs {15} | pings {0}
    Thursday, 14 August 2003
    Doctor my eyes

    I went to the ophthalmologist today. I swear it's true. If anyone tries to tell you lies about why my pupils are the size of my entire head, don't believe them. It's really because I went to the eye doctor.

    My eyes are starting to readjust now, but the computer screen still looks like a crazy kaleidoscope of moving colors. Also, there are furry pink lobsters crawling all over my skin and the disembodied head of Martha Stewart keeps singing Gregorian chants to me and periodically bursting into flames.

    Come to think of it, what's in those eye drops?

    01:34 PM | srah | sickie | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Wednesday, 13 August 2003
    Le royaume des kirs

    I wrote in the cheese story that I refused my host family's efforts to get me drunk, but I realize that it isn't quite true. When I had Christmas Eve lunch with them two years ago, we had Kir Royales (champagne and crème de cassis) as an apéritif. I've never particularly liked champagne, so I don't drink much of it. With crème de cassis, however, the champagne was delicious. What I didn't realize, having avoided it before, is that champagne hits me a lot harder than regular wine does. My host family saw that I liked it and kept refilling my glass. After a few lovely, fruity, bubbly glasses, I was pretty fruity and bubbly myself.

    Kir royales! They were so tasty and fruity! Not acidic and dry and bitter like *real* wine! Yum! So many bubbles! Everyone was talking to me! And I could talk back, because I spoke French so well! I think I was flirting with cousin Mathieu! Seemed like flirting to me, anyway! Then all of the males in the family drove me to the airport! Sweet! I was so attractive to all of the males that they all wanted to be around me! Yippee! Young! Old! Who cares! They carried my bags for me! Wasn't that nice!

    I somehow managed to stumble, giggling, onto the train and sober up by the time I got to Paris.

    11:48 AM | srah | alcohol | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    There must be fifty ways

    Alex got back home on Monday and we broke up last night. As trite as it sounds, we've grown apart. We haven't seen much of each other in the past nine months and we've both had big, life-changing experiences during that time. Some people can make long-distance relationships work - we didn't.

    I've been stressing out about it for a while, but I didn't want to say anything here until we'd talked about it. I'm feeling quite relieved now. It's nice that we both saw that it was over, so no one's upset and we can still be friends.

    08:58 AM | srah | boys | blah blahs {10} | pings {0}
    Tuesday, 12 August 2003
    I promise to limit my Neil Diamond output

    I'm compiling my track list now for The Quintessential Burn. Sign-ups continue until September 15 if you're interested in getting in on this CD swap.

    I think the best thing about this one is that there is no particular theme... it's just your absolute favorite songs. So far I have 10 or so songs... and that's just the English-language music. It'll be a shame when the time comes around to start cutting it down to 80 minutes.

    10:52 AM | srah | la música | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Monday, 11 August 2003
    Conversation in my mind

    Little Srah: Cough cough cough hack HACK HACK! Moooan...
    The Governor: (raps cane on the floor) Come now. See here, girl. What's that I hear?
    Another Miscellaneous Character: Oi finks it's the croup, guv'nor. Li'l srah won't be wif us come Christmas, oi dare say.
    The Governor: Oh well. (peers disdainfully through pince nez) She was always too small and weakly to be of any good to us in the poorhouse, and too young to be selling herself on the streets. Best she goes now, really. One less mouth to feed.

    In other words, I think I'm coming down with something.

    11:38 PM | srah | readers' choice, sickie | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Extremely disturbing one-sentence post

    If I never hear my high school French teacher say the words "genital warts" again for as long as I live, it will be too soon.

    11:26 PM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {4} | pings {0}
    Ah, but we're cursed. CURSED!

    Is anyone else having trouble with Albion's alumnimail server, or am I alone in my cursèd state?

    11:43 AM | srah | technology | blah blahs {12} | pings {0}
    Sunday, 10 August 2003
    The national pasttime should be sitting around in your pyjamas and watching DVDs

    My family seemed surprised to learn that, given the choice between going to a baseball game in Detroit and sitting around the house all day, I would choose the latter. I was only gone for seven months and these people don't even know me anymore.

    Actually, I love sitting around the house all day, so there wasn't even much of a decision to be made. If, on the other hand, my choices had been between going to watch the Tigers and jabbing myself in the eye with a pencil, THEN I might have had some soul-searching to do.

    Although I hate baseball in general, it's made even more painful by the lack of suspense. I can't quite see the point of going to a game where you already know the outcome. If you live outside the state of Michigan, you may not know what I'm talking about, so I'll point out exactly how bad the Tigers suck*. According to Yahoo! Sports,

    The Tigers have lost 19 of their last 10 meetings with the Twins, including 10 of 11 this season. ... Detroit is winless in five home games against Minnesota this season. ... The Tigers fell to 5-17 since the All-Star Break. ...

    The Tigers have somehow managed to lose more games than they've played, which has to take quite a bit of effort. At this point, I think they've gone beyond giving up and are actively trying to break records in suckage.

    * I was thinking of replacing "bad" with "badly", but it occurs to me that "to suck badly" just sounds like you can't drink out of a straw.

    12:56 PM | srah | sports?, the fam | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Unconscious Mutterings

    I am hiding my very deep thoughts from you. Please look into the extension, folks.

    continued »

    09:35 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {1}
    Saturday, 9 August 2003
    I am the coolest person that has ever lived

    Because I made my own quiz. And it only took about seven years.

    continued »

    08:30 PM | srah | jh, quizzes | blah blahs {2} | pings {1}
    A quiz that Becky will enjoy

    I've been trying to cut down on the quizzes, but every once in a while, one comes along that allows you to post a big picture of Alan Rickman on your blog.

    continued »

    03:20 PM | srah | quizzes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Guardians of culinary justice

    Yesterday, going to Dominicks, we went to park in a parking structure. A maniac in a red car came careening around the corner in the structure, heading right at us, and I yelped and pointed, OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO DIE IS THAT A PIZZA ON HIS ROOF?

    Robin braked out of fear, the driver reacted and pulled to the right, and disaster was avoided. The crazy driver saw me pointing and stopped his car next to ours.

    We pointed at the top of his car. "There's a pizza on your roof," we informed him.

    He rolled down his window. "What?"

    "There's a pizza on your roof," Robin repeated.

    "What?"

    "There's a pizza. On your roof."

    He looked confused. We pointed some more. "Pizza. Roof."

    He reached up and found his pizza, then continued on. We parked, walked through the Business School, and headed towards Dominick's. Looking both ways before we crossed the street, we saw red and blue lights flashing. We looked to see what was going on and saw that two police cars had pulled over a familiar-looking red car, for what we could only assume was drunk or reckless driving.

    We wondered if we would have been pulled over if we hadn't stopped him. At least we saved him from the charge of Recklessly Endangering Food.

    02:29 PM | srah | readers' choice, stories | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Friday, 8 August 2003
    Stuh

    Tengo problemas con la sangria por que es muy deliciosa. I went to Dominick's for the first time tonight (I only found out where it is this week) and they kept refilling my jar-glass. Then I stumbled around Ann Arbor a lot and laughed more than was necessary. Going to bed with smash's Burn It CD now. Night night.

    11:15 PM | srah | alcohol | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Five Questions

    A meme from Erica.

    Wanna play along?

    1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me."
    2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
    3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
    4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
    5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

    [Read answers to questions I've asked: Alfie, Katie]

    Here are the Five Questions she asked me:

    continued »

    04:12 PM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {1}
    Enthusiasm galore!

    This morning's cheese rant has been published as the first of the Assistant Stories at the brand spanking new Assistants in France website (courtesy of the talented Lee).

    Do you have any suggestions for future Assistant Stories? It could be a story I've already posted, something you'd like to know about my time as an assistant, or a short post that needs to be fleshed out into a full story. Let me know if you do. Or if you don't. Inspire me. Or don't.

    02:11 PM | srah | discovered, l'assistanat | blah blahs {4} | pings {0}
    A letter to France

    Depuis que je suis loin de toi
    Je suis comme loin de moi
    Et je pense à toi tout bas
    Tu es à six heures de moi
    Je suis à des années de toi
    C'est ça être là-bas.

    - Michel Polnareff, Lettre à France

    01:15 PM | srah | la música, quote-unquote | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    The allure of the maskèd man

    In the middle of an imaginary conversation I was just having, I exclaimed (still in my head, thankfully), "So what? I have a crush on the Hamburglar from McDonald's!"

    Oh, okay. Um... just for the record, I don't. My brain is out of control. Is this something I should be concerned about?

    11:09 AM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {8} | pings {0}
    Would you like some Fourme d'Ambert with that St-Pourçain?

    Before I left for Grenoble, I would tell people I was going to live in France for a year, and they would inform me that I was going to return full of valuable knowledge about wine and cheese.

    I did eat some cheese and drink some wine during the year, but not huge amounts of either. I never knew what I was eating or drinking because it was whatever was in the bottle or the cheese box at my host family's house, and it didn't make much difference to me. I found a cheese or two that I liked and stuck with them and refused all of my host family's attempts to get me drunk at family gatherings.

    I came back to the United States and was grilled about my wine and cheese experiences by all the people who'd told me I'd be an expert. "I dunno," I'd say, "I like Double Crème. And Boursin. I think I tried some other stuff and it was okay. Wine? I had some rosé once that was okay. I guess I like that." I think they were disappointed.

    When I went to Vichy, I assumed it would be the same. Fortunately, I was just on the edge of France's Cheese Plate (sort of like the American Bread Basket... I'm trying to be poetic here. Shut up) and in the company of someone who could teach me how to appreciate that fact: Stefan. Stefan was the German assistant at Presles, and was considered by many - French and foreign - to be more French than the French. He was fiercely regionalistic, believing that you should support your region first, then your country, and then start importing things. If you wanted to drive Stefan nuts, you could search out a bottle of Australian wine to bring to one of the Presles parties.

    Upon being assigned to Presles, Stefan adopted l'Auvergne as his own. Stefan loved Auvergne and he loved food and his enthusiasm spread throughout the Vichy assistanat. We learned about all of the major cheeses of the area, as well as some of the minor ones. There was always a bout de St-Nectaire (a semi-hard cheese) in the cheese box for Stefan and we came to love Cantal (a cheddar-like cheese) and Bleu d'Auvergne (a blue cheese) as well.

    I think Stefan distrusted me at the beginning of the year because I always refused wine. What kind of weird teetotaling American was I? Really, I didn't like the taste of wine, so I didn't take any. After a while, I realized I should at least try what they were serving, so I would take a little dribble. Stefan still looked askance. By doing this, I learned what I liked and what I didn't and built my way up to a whole glass (although no more, because Stefan would probably look even more askance at a weird American who could get drunk on a glass of wine).

    Now that I'm back in the US, I miss having a bottle of wine open at all times. If I want some, I have to open it for myself or polish off a bottle split three ways. I miss Cantal and Bleu d'Auvergne, cheap and easy to find in the French supermarkets but rarer and more expensive here. I miss prepackaged shredded emmental. I'm still no expert, but I'm happy that I can finally enjoy wine and am willing to eat exotic and smelly cheeses. Danke schön, Stefan!

    10:17 AM | srah | a year in isère, france, l'assistanat, la bouffe | blah blahs {14} | pings {0}
    The Friday Five

    My kinda Friday Five!

    1. What's the last place you traveled to, outside your own home state/country?
    My last trip out of the state was our trip to Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Before that, it was France, and before that, a very short trip to Belgium.

    2. What's the most bizarre/unusual thing that's ever happened to you while traveling?
    It once took me 29 hours to get from Grenoble to Aberdeen. I participated in an English quiz night. I met John Hannah...

    3. If you could take off to anywhere, money and time being no object, where would you go?
    If time and money were no object? Everywhere. I would spend the rest of my life trying to visit and explore every country on Earth.

    4. Do you prefer traveling by plane, train or car?
    I suppose I like cars, because you can stop and get out and walk around. But I only like them if someone else is driving. I like trains because we don't have them in the US (or don't use them, anyway), so there's something exotic and exciting about them. I like planes because they're the only way to get to France (until that bridge is built).

    5. What's the next place on your list to visit?
    I'd like to go to Quebec, Iceland, Egypt, French Guyana, Japan, Zimbabwe, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, and return to Belgium, France and Scotland. Hopefully, though, my next trip will be to London next summer for the JHAC convention (money willing).

    09:30 AM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Thursday, 7 August 2003
    À la Jerry Bruckheimer

    Everything sounds more romantic and lovely in French. I have downloaded a clip from Tout le monde en parle where Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of the guests. Mmmmm, Jean-Claude Van Damme in French.

    WHAT????

    10:19 PM | srah | onscreen | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Wednesday, 6 August 2003
    Planning not to plan ahead

    I was all set to dress as a pirate for Halloween, being piratically original and unique and referring to the theme that pops up from time to time on Katie's or my blog. It suddenly occurs to me that, due to the success of the pirate movie, everyone is going to be a pirate this year. Back to the drawing board. Looks like the holiday will, once again in 2003, be celebrated with a crappy Halloween costume thought up on the morning of the 31st.

    I once had a friend who wore a black garbage bag with colored circles taped onto it, going as a bag of M&Ms. What are the most memorable Halloween costumes you've seen?

    11:27 PM | srah | holidays | blah blahs {12} | pings {0}
    Who's on second?

    When I was little, I had to have a Favorite Everything. Favorite TV show, favorite color, favorite character in every movie I watched, favorite daddy (I always told mine he was 288th or so... but that's how our family is), favorite member of the British royal family, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    Not only did I have to have a Favorite Everything, I had to have a Second Favorite Everything. And a Third Favorite Everything. And so on and so on, until I'd run out of possibilities or lost interest in the list.

    And so I ask you to consider: What's your second favorite...

    1. movie?
    2. color?
    3. celebrity?
    4. British monarch in history?
    5. band/singer?
    6. name?
    7. TV show?
    8. composer?
    11:00 PM | srah | memes | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Hello, my friend, hello

    I forgot to sleep in this morning. Isn't that the worst? I was already in the shower by the time I realized what I'd done, and if you know my hair, you know that I couldn't go back to bed after my shower and still look presentable when I got up. So here I am, making long, pointless posts about The Neil and surfing the Internet, just killing time until the afternoon rolls around.

    Do tell me about yourself, visitor.

    10:30 AM | srah | stuff & nonsense | blah blahs {11} | pings {0}
    I'm not an addict, baby, that's a lie

    You know, as much as I talk about Neil Diamond, I'm not really a Neil Diamond Fan. I mean, sure, I own three Neil Diamond CDs, but I'm not one of those Neil Diamond fans... I like Neil Diamond in an ironic/humorous sort of way, and people who like him for real scare me quite a bit.

    The first musical artist whose albums I actively collected was Weird Al Yankovic. The second was They Might Be Giants. Then I was introduced to The Neil by Dave Barry. That should tell you something right there. Dave says of Mr Diamond's excellent I Am, I Said (I am, I said/ To no one there/ And no one heard at all/ Not even the chair):

    What kind of line is that? Is Neil telling us that he's surprised that the chair didn't hear him? Maybe he expected the chair to say, "Whoa, I heard THAT." My guess is that Neil was really desperate to come up with something to rhyme with "there," and he had already rejected "So I ate a pear," "Like Smokey the Bear," and "There were nits in my hair."

    This is the attitude that has shaped my relationship with The Neil to this day. I've also listened to a lot of Neil myself and formed my own opinion, namely: Neil Diamond is a crazy, dirty old man.

    A few examples:

    "Girl, you'll be a woman soon/ Soon you'll need a man" (Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon)

    "Bring home my name/ On the wings of a flea" (Soolaimon)

    "Captain Sunshine/ Make me drink wine/ Make me feel fine/ When I'm feelin' wrongly down" (Captain Sunshine - a song made even better by the fact that it has steel drums in it)

    "Tried my brand" (although I will always hear it as a very demandingly growled "TRY MY BRAN!") (Crunchy Granola Suite - which is ostensibly about cereal products, with a clever subtext about growing your own pot)

    "He would not encumber me/ He ain't heavy, he's my brother" (He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother)

    "Turn on your heartlight/ In the middle of a young boy's dream" (Heartlight - I can't help thinking Eeeeeeeeee Teeeeeeeee... phooooooone hooooooome)

    "Ride, come on baby, ride/ Let me make your dreams come true/ I'll sing my song/ Let me sing my song/ Let me make it warm for you" (Longfellow Serenade)

    "Did you ever read about a frog/ Who dreamed of bein' a king/ And then became one/ Well except for the names/ And a few other changes/ If you talk about me/ The story's the same one" (I Am.. I Said)

    "Look at what you've done/ Why, you've become a grown-up girl/ I still can hear you crying/ In a corner of your room/ And look how far we've come/ So far from where we used to be/ But not so far that we've forgotten/ How it was before" (September Morn - to me, this sounds like a child abuser returning to the scene of the crime)

    So, yeah. Don't go getting the wrong idea about me and thinking that I'm someone who manages to work Neil Diamond quotes into her blog or real-life conversations every single day or anything. Because that's so not me.

    08:23 AM | srah | la música | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    All Neil, all the time

    Did you miss the Neurotic Fishbowl Burn It! CD Swap? Are you interested in another music-sharing opportunity? Brian at Cyber-Cowboy.com is hosting The Quintessential Burn:

    This one is gonna be the music that you absolutely can't live without. You know, those songs that when you hear them, you stop everything, and listen to them. Those songs that caused you to kill the tapes when they were on tapes, or scratch up the CDs so bad they can't play anymore. Or hell, scratched up the record albums so bad the needle would stick in one spot for 30 minutes.

    I've already signed up, because I can't get enough of Other People's Music. And because I want to foist my own on other people. More French music and Neil Diamond? Oh, I do believe so.

    12:05 AM | srah | la música | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Tuesday, 5 August 2003
    I am drivin' 25 through the kind of green light that lasts all afternoon

    My driving skills have recently* been criticized by a friend of mine, who claims that I brake at green lights, concerned that they're going to turn red at any time. I have been giving this thought ever since then, and have come to the conclusion that there is only one possible rebuttal:

    Nuh-uh.

    I don't brake at green lights. What I do is let up on the accelerator. It's the stupid car that brakes itself. And letting up on the accelerator has nothing to do with me being concerned about the light turning red - it has to do with my complete lack of faith in my fellow man.

    I am constantly convinced that the driver in front of me is going to stop if the light turns yellow, and that the driver behind me is going to go through it. So I slow down because, for some reason, I think this is going to remedy the situation.

    So if you're stuck behind me, I apologize. It's not that I'm a bad driver. It's just that I hate you.

    * like, a month ago

    11:30 PM | srah | srah | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    The Monday Mission A Day Late

    1. When you take a vacation, do you ever suffer from Internet withdrawal? Or maybe the nagging urge to blog or read blogs? Or are you glad to be away?
    I always suffer Internet withdrawal, and especially blog-withdrawal. I often keep notes, although I find myself frustrated when I return and have to type them all up.

    2. Have you ever been "furloughed" (told to take time off work without pay) or laid off? How did that impact your family dynamics? Your finances? If not to you, have you seen it happen to anyone you know? How did they handle it?
    No. And I don't think it would make much of a difference, except that I would get yelled at for sitting on my butt all day.

    3. If you fell on hard times, what is are some non-essential reoccurring luxury expenses (cable TV, TiVo subscription, cigarettes, high-speed net connection, newspaper, daily Starbucks coffee, etc.) you would give up to save money?
    I could get rid of my one magazine subscription, but I'm not even sure I paid for that.

    4. On the same thought, what is the one non-essential expense you would NOT give up?
    DSL! I have tasted heaven and refuse to return to Earth.

    5. Would you ever ask your family (parents, in-laws, relatives) for financial assistance? What would be some of your concerns about asking for help? Have you ever asked for it before? Did it go well?
    Soitenly. When I was in France, I didn't like to ask for help. Now I live at home, so that's financial assistance right there.

    6. Has a friend or relative ever borrowed money from you? Who were they and how much did they want? Did you ever get paid back, or did it matter? Did you feel compelled to keep an eye on them to see if they spent it wisely?
    Not significant amounts. This is actually a good thing for me, because I tend to forget that people owe me money, and am quite surprised when they pay me back.

    7. Imagine you won a tax-free gift of $7,000. The only stipulation on the gift is that it must not be invested or saved, and must be spent before 2004. How would you use the money?
    I would either go on a great big trip at Christmas Break or chuck grad school plans out the window and run away to France to live in my cheap cheap apartment again and write my novel. I'm not sure how far $7,000 would get me, though, so I might have to get a job. That sucks. Mucho travelo, and staying in nice hotels and eating nice meals.

    11:21 PM | srah | memes | blah blahs {9} | pings {0}
    Hey you! On the waterskis!

    Hello, friendly neighborhood commenters. Just so's you know, there will be prizes galore for the 1313th commenter. I'm not telling you how far away that is or what the prizes are (because I don't know yet myself).

    Maybe you should shoot for the stars! Maybe you would be better off not winning! You'll never know until it's too late!

    11:55 AM | srah | blogging | blah blahs {13} | pings {0}
    Monday, 4 August 2003
    Jim and me is goin' down to slop the hogs

    While reminding myself of the difference between an intransitive and a transitive verb, I came across this FAQ from Dictionary.com, which answers many of your grammar-related questions. There is, unfortunately, no mention of the me/myself/I discussion.

    10:43 AM | srah | english | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Sunday, 3 August 2003
    Update on the huge foam-rubber Moai head situation

    Just in case you wondered:

    Huge foam-rubber moai head.*

    * curious about HUGE FOAM-RUBBER MOAI HEADs? See previous posts on the subject. The subject of huge foam-rubber moai heads, that is.

    11:44 PM | srah | blogging | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    Unconscious Mutterings

    Into the extension you go, to wait for a woman of less discriminating tastes. Hey maw! Git off the dang roof!

    continued »

    10:33 PM | srah | memes | blah blahs {3} | pings {0}
    Burn, baby, burn

    Well, Burn It! The Summer Edition is at an end. My CDs are burnt and ready to be sent out tomorrow morning. If you're interested, you may peruse the eccentric, not-terribly-sexy playlist of my "make-out" CD (but if you're one of the swappers in my group, don't peek and spoil the surprise!)...

    continued »

    10:19 PM | srah | la música | blah blahs {0} | pings {0}
    There is no Jekyll, only Hyde

    I think one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself is to read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Having read that, my rigid little mind can't accept people pronouncing Jekyll "jeck-ull" (it's "jeek-ull") or conveying Hyde as a huge green monster, and it makes me completely insane. Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!

    I saw Jekyll & Hyde today at the Croswell Opera House and was extremely disappointed because a) it wasn't anything like the book, b) it wasn't very well written, and c) it wasn't a very good production. This was a shame because I got so frustrated at the divergence from the book that partway through the first act, I had to convince myself that it was a completely different play, loosely related to the Jekyll and Hyde story. But even doing that, the songs were weak, there was at least one completely pointless major character, the singers weren't in unison, the accents were bad, and the spotlights often completely missed the singer. Once I convinced myself that they hadn't purposely lit Hyde with a green spotlight so that he looked like the Incredible Hulk, he still looked like the Wicked Witch of the West.

    It was horrible horrible horrible and, as is to be expected, the audience gave it a standing ovation. Swing was probably the only thing in the past four years that they haven't given a standing ovation, and it was the only one I liked. The Croswell audience is full of blue-haired CRACKHEADS.

    Thank you for allowing me this moment to vent. There's nothing for a case of blogger's block like a big dose of Something To Rant About.

    10:09 PM | srah | books, la música | blah blahs {16} | pings {0}
    Friday, 1 August 2003
    Happy August

    No one realizes more than I do that I desperately need to post, if only to move my beautiful Gigli review farther down the page and out of the sight of unsuspecting visitors who might think I actually write like that.

    Alas, I have writer's block today, and nothing to talk about. So please talk amongst yourselves, or leave me questions or blog-topics or inspiration or haiku. I'll see you when I recover.

    11:49 PM | srah | blogging | blah blahs {9} | pings {0}