abigailnicole: (Default)
Lately I've been noticing, among college-educated, liberal-arts-degree males, more and more sexism. These are men I am friends with, men I respect, men I cook dinner for and invite to my parties. They are men I sit in class next to, volunteer with, participate in clubs with.

They are men who would be offended if I ever mentioned this idea to them, who think they are champions of women's rights, who--because they 'respect' the ideas of a few women--think they give women equal treatment.

They are not men who 'disregard' women. They are men who do not think of women. If they want someone to talk to, they will run through a list of all their male friends and acquaintances. If they find something they want to tell people, the ones that come into their heads will be exclusively men. If they see women they are courteous, nice, and can engage in an intellectual conversation with her, usually with no problem. But no matter how stimulating this conversation is, these men will never think 'yes, I should talk to this person again sometime!' They do not think of women as 'people'--they think of them as women, as girls, and that is their primary classification. They don't disregard women. They just don't regard women in the first place.

These are the men who, last night at the coffee shop, told me that because I had read 300 pages of Nabokov's Ada in three days, I was reading too fast, and couldn't possibly understand it all. These are the men who, after I've been showing up at the Bike Help Desk every week all semester, finally say something to me like "hey Nicole, you know stuff about bikes, right?" These are men who always call my boyfriend to hang out and talk about books and, even though I'm the one who tells him to invite them over for dinner to hang out with us, never bother to get my number. These are the men who will cook for your parties but never clean their own dishes. They just don't think about it.

I could name names. I could list, off the top of my head, ten men I personally know well who fit this description. Some of them have gotten better over time, some have gotten worse. Some of these men are the kind who sleep with women at parties and then get upset when their friends do the same. These are men like Wes Anderson's self-obsessed men, like John Cusack in High Fidelity, like the Brothers Bloom, like every Zach Braff character, like Robert Heinlein books, like James Bond, like comic book superheroes, like all the other examples we can think of. We all know men like this. We have dated men like this, or our friends have dated men like this; men who are sexist because it is an extension of not thinking of other people.

Is this what causes sexism? racism? People who assume that other people are like them, and when they're too far removed, they simply ignore all those too far outside their category of sameness.

I don't know. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about sexism or racism; I don't see that I can do a lot about it. I'm not an activist, I don't think about what social change I could be making or that needs to be made. I tend to accept the way things are and work on a small scale to make things work for me within my own life--isn't that what we all do? Isn't that why this problem exists? Maybe I am part of the problem.

I let men sit down next to me at coffee shops when I'm reading alone, I feel like I must listen to them when they want to idolize me as their dream girl because I'm reading their dream book. Is this sexism? This is just how gender dynamics work in my life. Those same men watching me read their favorite books will need to explain to me their interpretation, and want to read me their poetry, and they don't want me to critique the use of "us" versus "I" and the annoying didactic tone in their poetry--they want me to quietly admire and appreciate Poetic Genius. They want to give me their number. The power I have is not power to say: "Hey, please leave me alone, reading a book in a coffee shop does not mean I'm out fishing for men" because that's rude. The power I have is to tear up that phone number later. The ways in which politeness and personal space intertwine, the ways in which a woman is regarded and is expected to act in public.

Outside a bar my roommate told me that if a woman is alone, at night, and sees a man walking down the sidewalk towards her, she should cross the street to avoid him. She said that a man should not be offended by this, and that the woman is not trying to give offense and is not acting in a frightened way. She said that this act is empowering, that it is a necessary act of self-protection, and that the man and woman should both understand this, and be able to greet each other from across the street. She said that politeness takes a backseat to self protection, every time.

In that same conversation I told my roommate that, since I'm graduating, I was thinking of writing an email to my ex-boyfriend, the terrible one, the alcoholic, suicidal, depressed, controlling, manipulative one, to say something like "I hope you're well." Just to leave college with a clean slate, no grudges. Earlier that day I had had lunch with my ex-boyfriend's new ex-girlfriend. She's wonderful, a very nice lady, who I would like to be friends with if we ever get the chance. They had just broken up, and she was moving out of their shared apartment to get away from him. Listening to her describe their fights, complain about the way he came into her room, drunk, and yelled at her for an hour, told her they were over. She said, "fine." He begged her to take him back. Ad nauseum, ad nauseum.

That day I opened a fortune cookie that said

Let hate turn to friendship because of your existence.

They were wrong. Being polite, making amends, being friendly, being "the better person" does not mean subjecting yourself to re-opening communications with a person who hurt you, who is depressed and manipulative and taking his anger out on you, who is not seeking help, who will not get better. Protection, not politeness. "The better person" doesn't put themselves at danger to help another. You don't have to take abuse, and keep taking abuse, in order to help someone else, and you should never do so. I am not saying men should not abuse women. People should not abuse each other.

How do you recognize the self in the other? Is that the foundation of sexism or the end of sexism? Is selfishness the cause of all these problems? I don't know. I am mad at those people, at those boys who sit in all-male circles reading poetry to each other at parties I attend, at the offhand comments they make about "a man's job", at the girls I see at parties who complain about "the drunk sluts at the Boot," at those men I sat next to at a coffee shop last night who laughed at four girls on the corner in minidresses and heels taking a picture together, at one boy I am very good friends with who talks about how stupid and entitled his girlfriend is when she's not around. It's not okay. It's just how it is.
abigailnicole: (Default)
  1. Breathing or consciousness: the ultimate Catch-22 of nasal congestion medication
  2. Nicole Bakes for Boys: cherry Pie for B, smores pie for Engram's birthday
  3. Engram: "I didn't remember how Sudafed works so I took four before my Portugese class. My professor asked me to conjugate a verb and I just laughed at him"
  4. My art history professor's reaction, upon showing us this Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of anal fisting and having us all go "ugh!" was, "What? You all do it"
  5. I forgot the werewolf's name from Twilight (it's Jacob. I was calling him 'Joseph'.) This is only lolsy because I've read the books and seen the movies more than once
  6. Parting remarks between myself and Engram: " ANAL FISTING!"
  7. googling "is detergent a portmanteau of deter and agent" gives no relevant results
  8. describing Primer as "a get-rich-quick scheme gone terribly wrong"
  9. halfway through making sweet tea, I realize there is no granulated sugar, and only a 2lb bag of confectioners' sugar. This does not prevent me from making tea
  10. I picked up a book of poems from work and am reading them one at a time. I think someone has brain cancer or is in southeast Asia, or maybe both
  11. Being An Adult means Cleaning Things Sometimes

but not necessarily writing that 12 page paper you have due soon.
abigailnicole: (Default)

more creepy pictures Amanda took of me, with her Diana this time. I really like this duo together though.

I spent all night on the couch, reading Asimov and Cell Biology, under a blanket with the floor strewn with toast, tea, an empty Kleenex box and used Kleenex. I took a sudafed-ibproufen combo and now have added nyquil to the mix. Evian made us pesto, Phil came over to sit around on our futon, and I was congested and happy. Last night I lounged around reading Macbeth (and Cell Biology) and eating cheerios dry. I'm surprised how much I still love Macbeth this time around, it's giving me flashbacks to the last time I read Macbeth and how bad things were then. It's odd how one combination of centuries-old poetry can send you back: "I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight?" but that's why he's Shakespeare.

Michael Winn and I discussed Amanda Palmer's radiohead ukulele covers album and I was of the opinion that the electronic stuff on the ukulele was where it fell apart and got messy. Lo and behold I WAS WRONG. NPR did a bit on Idioteque and I discovered they were right, and now I keep listening to it (both versions). I also discovered Laura Marling is only a month older than me and am terribly ashamed of the lack of accomplishments in my life.
abigailnicole: (Default)
my new year's party was a biblical-length four-day affair that involved sleeping in various beds across the state. we spent the last hours of 2010 walking around downtown Lexington, wearing black and white and taking similarly colored photos, and ended up in Triangle Park. They've cut all the Bradford Pear trees down in a depressing cover-up of my existence: my parents got engaged there in 1982, and on december 31st 2010 I stood on a bare patch of land covered with stumps and tile, watching unhappy-looking women wander in and out of bars and feeling sorry for them. I had a lovely time. We took new-year pictures in a photobooth then stood on the dry fountain steps for this picture just as the year switched over:

which is quite blurry and dark but I had to rush the self-timer and then run up fountain steps, so I didn't get to frame it well. It was right on the switch from 2010 to 2011, when the bars around the park broke into cheers. We walked home and it started to rain, switching from drizzle to pounding downpours. James came over, and we made hot chocolate, listened to Laura Veirs' The Triumphs and Travails of Orphan Mae on Amanda's record player, and James tried to make smores by roasting marshmallows over a candle with his fingers. I went to sleep in the rain and had nightmares, woke up to more rain and scribbling in a notebook in the bathroom, trying not to wake anyone up.

when I was in high school I wanted to throw listening parties, where you figure out a place that takes exactly the amount of time to drive to that it takes for one CD. And then you get some of your friends in a car and you drive there and you listen to one CD. The rules are that the first time through you can't talk, that everyone has to listen. And you get to wherever you're going and you eat dinner, and then on the way back you listen to the CD again, with comments. the only CD I ever imagined doing this with was In The Aeroplane Over The Sea which I can't love less with time, only more. I gave the record to Amanda for her christmas present and for the Party party, members in flux, we sat in the living room and ten or twelve of us did that, walking softly in an attempt to get the record to not skip. And it's a great CD for it--the point in "Oh Comely" when we were singing "I know they buried her body with others, her sister and mothers and five hundred families" I knew the reason I started writing this book I can't seem to finish. The combination of people and songs.

I've been running out of things to say lately. I don't feel like blogging or writing, I've been reading and knitting a lot, watching movies with people. When I was at Amanda's we attempted to recreate the cover of Pulp Fiction, something I've wanted to do since I got this haircut, though it's a bit too long now:

as close as it's gonna get. Her bit on

Mia: Don't you hate that?
Vincent: What?
Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?
Vincent: I don't know. That's a good question.
Mia: That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.

maybe is rubbing off on me. Last night was the first night all week (all year) I've slept without nightmares, probably because we fell asleep at 3 in a freezing-cold house (the heat went out at Amanda's). I feel like most of what I say is oversharing, but is that because I think the people around me don't want to hear it or I don't want to hear myself say it? Writer's block for real life. I wish that I would get a good night's sleep, I wish that Mumford & Sons would make a new CD so I could stop singing the same one I've been singing all year that I get sick of but don't love less, I wish my feet were warm and my hair three inches longer and I don't know if I should try and cherish this weird in-between time or just wait it out. When you have spent too long with the same group of people you run out of things to say to them, they can be your roommates or your family or your friends or your characters.

Sometimes you are in an in-between place, when you are waiting for time to pass so you can finish your degree, to go back to school, to get a promotion, to see someone again, to go back home. Sometimes you are just waiting for the nightmares to stop or for enough time to pass so you can get over someone, but if that hasn't happened yet there's not very much you can do to make the waiting go faster or get better. So it goes.
abigailnicole: (Default)

this week. I was so pleased last night when I finished my all my papers, all the 20 pages I wrote Monday-Wednesday, and at midnight last night went over my to-do list and crossed everything out feeling immensely pleased with myself and then realized I didn't write my article. I GUESS IF I HAD TO FORGET SOMETHING IT'S THE ONLY NONGRADED THING.

I started keeping a dreamjournal this week (since I had to turn in my actual journal) after I had a dream I was served brains at dinner and then the victim sucked blood that was gushing out of my mouth. Last night I was in a terrible mood and dreamed of a banana-guitar, woke up feeling pretty okay. Yesterday, I listened to Winter is Coming thirty times in a row and before I went to bed, I watched David Tennant as Hamlet. At first he was just kind of weird but by the end the way he plays Hamlet--as totally, completely, strapped-to-a-chair-mad--gets under your skin and when he has killed Polonius and is duct-taped to chair and mocking "Not where he eats, but here he is eaten" you are also feeling trapped and crazy and in the middle of this week it bothered me more than it should.

I have spent too much time reading Shakespeare recently. Eight days left in New Orleans.
abigailnicole: (death)

I got hit by a car. I limped home, hat untied, carrying my bike, blood dripping down my leg. Later I kept thinking about the moment mid-fall when I stopped resisting, my left hand on the ground, letting my body roll sideways onto the asphalt, feeling the weight of my backpack swings its arc into the ground. I was fine: only my rear bike tire and my left knee suffered injury. My roommates bandaged me up, gave me advil. None of us were healthy or well. We rested and drove in silence.

This is not my home: this is Bailey's home and I am thankful for it, for her mom that made us clam chowder (my favorite soup) the night we arrived, who cleaned my scraped knee with hydrogen peroxide and gave me bandaids. I am thankful for Bailey, for skipping class to go to Sonic with me, for putting together couches at one in the morning, for when she came into my room at 2am to watch spongebob with me because it was storming. I am thankful for Carrie, who drove me to Walgreens at 1am and bought chips and candy so we could watch the Emperor's New Groove in bed. I am thankful for Evian who lets me borrow her clothes, and watches TNG with me, and is my constant lunch date Tuesdays and Thursdays, who always says good morning.

I am thankful for my wives who are always the first ones I call, each of them separately. I am thankful for Leah who understands me here and [livejournal.com profile] sugarlungs far. Yesterday I played the piano for the first time in months and I am thankful, for Hamlet and Lost in the World and Harry Potter and the music that other people play when they are driving, I am thankful. You keep all my days from slipping into the void of my memory.

I believe my parents are perfect and my grandparents saints and my brother my friend, and I miss them, and I think of them every day.

I am thankful that it was only my knee and my bike tire and not my face that was dragged along the asphalt, that the driver stopped and asked if I was okay before she drove off, even if she didn't offer insurance. I hope she is unharmed, I don't wish karma on her. I am thankful that things were not worse.

We ate Thanksgiving Dinner. The Saints won the football game. We went shopping at 3am on black friday. I fell asleep at 8am craving eggs. My sinuses filled up with phlegm, I did not write my Shakespeare paper. I became tired and homesick, cried in bed before falling asleep. I woke up to Mumford and Sons and Ryan Adams and I was comforted. I am happy where I am. I do not wish that things were different and for that I am thankful.
abigailnicole: (bad day)

I prefer to say "sextuple-you" rather than "double-you, double-you, double-you"

Hunger gnaws at my attention span all through my American Literature class. These are the three hours a week when I sit in class and fantasize about going to the zoo, have vivid flashbacks to things I was told at parties among lectures of literature about workers on strike.

I remember, very distinctly, the first time I realized I could make myself thinner by not eating. I was standing on the Newcomb quad with Evian and Erik in the dark, wearing a purple t-shirt, and Erik poked me in the stomach and made some comment about how hard it was, told me that my long, thin belly button looked like an arch.

I lost weight. I grew enamoured with the long ridges of my pelvic bone, the exposed superior illiac crests, the weird contours of my torso from my ribcage to my hips, the space along my stomach where no bones were. I would sit in class and run my fingers along my collar bones and shoulderblades, exploring the hard surfaces within my own skin. I felt my breasts were too large, getting in the way of my ribcage. I became obsessed with stretching into myself, feeling my body in space, pressing my forehead to my shins.

Is this a body image problem or is it just being a woman in America?

I did not get better. This is where I am right now

I couldn't focus on molecular biology. The ends of my hair, lying on the words in my textbook, fascinated me. I imagined the molecules coming together, becoming amino acids, becoming proteins, spontaneously polymerizing into these long dead strands that fall across my shoulders.

It was monday and it rained all day. I rode my bike home after lab, my hair getting wet and splintering up, the wind stinging into my eyes.

last night I didn't do homework. instead I laid on my bed staring into space, listening to music like it was a tangible thing that covered my skin until I fell asleep with the lights still on.

The shower had no hot water. I stepped out onto the rug to shiver in a towel. I shouted at the shower "I hate you! I hate all of the things that make you up! I loathe your constituent parts!" but I couldn't stop laughing.

my american literature teacher: "Teddy has learned that life is a series of violent dichotomies"

I never woke up. I slept for three years until my youth was wasted away and when I woke up I had to be responsible. I poured out the bottle of bourbon next to my bed and donned that business casual attire and conservative earrings I walked into the streets and none of my friends knew me. I didn't realize for months that the city was underwater and this was still the same dream.

I woke up at 7am with the light spilling over my eyelids

I fought with my best friend.

"Is all the counsel that we two have shared,
The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent,
When we have chid the hasty-footed time
For parting us,--O, is it all forgot?"

I dreamed that my dad died, that I was kissing a boy I thought I liked and we had no chemistry, that our empty house stuck out into the narrow street, that I was getting a key made in the grocery store when I finally broke down. I woke myself at 7am crying

This the week before Thanksgiving I felt guilt at every extra snack. I woke early every single day to my winter playlist. I listened to the Radical Face CD until we could both breathe again. I had a bad day and watched dream-mazes on the couch. I put up pictures. I dressed to impress and failed. Our hot water went out three times. I laid between my teal sheets like an aquarium and wondered
who am I doing this for? who is on the other side of the glass?

it's you.
abigailnicole: (Default)

I now have fake zombie blood on one of my pillows. o halloween

I was thinking, I was thinking about how little pieces of people you loved mean a great deal. How I receive texts from the people I am close to but getting notes from them, small hand-written messages in their handwriting is so rare, those letters and forms, the way they dot their i's and slant their letters, how they press the ink into the paper. When you spend so much time and exchange so much with someone it is easy to take them for granted and forget all the little things about them that are still hidden from you. Even if you walk down their hallways and in and out the front door every day they still have something buried in the attic, la casita de Tomas that you will never discover. Skeletons in the closet indeed.

I was thinking how when you're really attracted to someone they smell nice, how the smell of people becomes linked with different things. How you can start to hate someone and still think they smell nice, or how you can really like someone but wish they would wear deodorant more often. Pheromones, how important are they? What do people smell like anyway?

I have a sink full of dirty dishes. I personally think everyone should follow the 'if you cook you shouldn't have to do the dishes' rule and I cooked a lot.

I'm really glad I'm single and have good friends.
abigailnicole: (Default)

my writing has been killing me lately. I feel like I'm trying to push through a rut and that everyone who reads whatever I have to say can tell that I'm in a rut. What am I doing this week? A short story told in the form of receipts: that is, a short story where all I do is write a series of ten receipts. I have to do my Halloween story, too: I do a story for Halloween every year, even if I don't do anything else. I realized that I've only written on one story for the past two years and it's bringing all these other things about my writing to the forefront. I don't think I've given up on it, despite my premed all-science-most-of-the-time courses. I made it through organic chemistry + physics + genetics and into medical school but that costs something, right? And now I'm wondering what, if you can stop being able to do something. I can still look at other people's writing and rephrase it, make things more eloquent and images more powerful, it's the kind of thing I look for in prose. But my own story ideas are stuck in a house on 1524 St. Joan Avenue, I've written myself into a hole there. I'm drawing blank on what words I want to use, how I want to say things. Which is crazy, my whole life is saying the things I want to say in a way so you'll understand what I mean. I just want to read books until I read something that makes me feel like writing again, but I can't cause Halloween and also school.

I have writer's block and it sucks. the end.

which, whatever, I've done a spectacular job of having a real life lately. Much more so than usual. I have a bestfriendroommate who I do fun things with all the time. I take a lot of pictures, I've met interesting people and asked them about themselves. I just don't know that it's going anywhere. And I had to write poetry for creative writing, and writing poetry always messes me up, because to write poetry effectively you have to stop and think like a poet for a few days. Once you start doing that, you're doomed. Maybe Amanda Palmer will start blogging again, maybe nightmarebrunette will come through for me. Maybe I should read another Palahniuk book. I don't know. what do you do? where do you go? how do you find words to say things about all the things you used to say? and we exhale, and roll our eyes, in unison.
abigailnicole: (dreams)

I put on all the songs in my iTunes that have the word 'whale' somewhere in their tag. I wasn't expecting this haunting, great&terrible claustrophobic modest mouse song to come up-- the whale song. I was expecting cute stuff like Noah & the Whales and Freelance Whales and Rosie & Me, not a dark and malicious three-days-in-exile.

this element of surprise. I did not expect to be happy this month but I have been, and very much so. I did not expect that amanda would make it, or that I would find us necklaces. I am living in the cautious state of being afraid to expect joy out of life.

we went to snake & jake's and wrote poetry. I went to a party with bailey and ate a muffaletta. I saw yeasayer, the local natives, going to the thermals and los campesinos this weekend. I went to a bonfire where someone offered me a scientific internship. I took pictures of night. I saw the room at prytania at midnight and it was wonderful. I listened to songs about whales. I watched Phil reorganize magic cards on the couch, I watched movies with Evian asleep on the couch. I spilled coffee on my cowboy boots on tuesday, and my lecture on social cognition today was particularly good. I realized I have only written one story in the past two years and that it is closer to me now than my dreams at night are. I have had the most vivid dreams.

I hope you are doing well.
abigailnicole: (Default)

“La Vita Nuova” explained how to become a great poet. The secret was to fall in love with a perfect girl but never speak to her. You should weep instead. You should pretend that you love someone else. You should write sonnets in three parts. Your perfect girl should die.

Amanda’s mother said, “You have your whole life ahead of you.”
-La Vita Nuova by Allegra Goodman

There is something about the absence of a thing. When you have been living without cigarettes, for example, six months, maybe a year or longer smoke-free. Maybe you have gained weight but have come to accept it, think your lungs are worth it. And then, one day, you start again. Maybe an old friend came back, the one who got you started in the first place, with her infectious smile and the silhouette of her lips blowing a cloud of smoke into the air. Maybe Parliments were on sale, and they were just exactly as good as you remembered.

But the next time you quit will be just as hard, worse than all the inbetween time, all the no-cigarette time, all the time of real breakfasts and smoke-free lungs.

I drove back from the airport alone, my passenger seat empty for the return half of the round trip. And it had been raining in New Orleans, and the interstate was wet, there were rainbows of oil in the puddles. I pulled onto I-10 and that is when I saw it: a break in the clouds, a rainbow in the sky, always paler and more fragile-looking than you think it should be. I was listening to Florence & the Machine and gripping the steering wheel very tightly with both hands, sobbing alone in my great-aunt's car at 65 miles an hour and feeling the ache again. It is just as hard the second time, the third time, the fourthfifthsixthseventhtwelfthfifteenth every time. How many does it take to learn?


I went on a walk with Leah today, after we walked out of a lecture. "I've been seeing a psychologist," she told me. "She keeps giving me articles by the Dali Lama. I'm the only person I know who thinks Tibet is better under the Chinese. I don't care about the Dali Lama."

"I don't know anything about Tibet," I told her. She told me about walking around Tel Aviv, drunk in high heels. She's the president of the Akido club and walking back to my house she told me how someday she hopes someone tries to mug her so she can teach them who's boss.


I've lost track of the day of the week every day this week. Evian bought me a brown vest and I was pleasantly surprised. I have molecular biology I should be doing, but tomorrow is friday, I know.
abigailnicole: (Default)

I woke myself up this morning with the sound of my own breathing. oh hi respiratory ailments.

I've decided to get a tumblr as well. I'm now using dreamwidth as my main posting platform, because I trust it, then importing into my old-and-much-beloved livejournal, which gives me a feed that goes into facebook and tumblr. in case you're curious, dreamwidth, LJ, facebook notes are all the same content, but I think I'll use tumblr for other things besides actual blog posts as well, because it's good for that. I don't think any of this crossposts to my twitter. now if you wanna socially follow me you've got everything. while I'm at it you should explore colourlovers and last.fm, too.

which, I mean, I'm intrigued and got tumblr because it is good for blogging + blurbing, and sometimes I like to blurb things. but at the same time I like blogging because it's cohesive. You must take all this random content you find and integrate it somehow into what you want to say. it's not mindless consumption--it's still consumption but you must analyze it, write about it, find something to say. I frequently do multimedia blog posts. I am not a photoblogger but I do post a photo with every entry: it's a way for me to use my photos as well as forcing me to take the sort of photos I'd want to post with a thoughtful entry. I do links so you can download songs that I like right now and are influencing me. I try to integrate things.

That being said I like tumblr's system, facebook and stumble have spoiled me and I want to be able to wordlessly like something. Give you silent appreciation. Right? and sometimes I want to give you something I've done with no context (though that's not the point of blogging: rather, blurbing). I use twitter the same way, to record observations I have or send messages out when I have no one to send them to. I joke that I use twitter as a sort of 'notes to self' and forget people actually read it. I see the internet as this big place where your words will bounce around until they find a home somewhere. maybe no one will read it but I feel better saying it, and maybe it will bounce around until someone thinks "oh! yes!" and then they understand you, too. And they probably won't be inspired to write something but they will like it.

anyway, that's what I did this morning.

some beautiful things have been happening recently. Last night I went out, by myself, to get my phone checked on--I can't get a new one without renewing a contract, so I'm looking at secondhand phones to last a bit--and then went grocery shopping, got tuna fish and almond milk and pudding. The same snack packs my grandmother buys at the dollar store; this is something I am glad to do. My grandparents are on a train, touring through Canada right now, and I am in New Orleans Winn Dixie holding pudding that I'm sure my grandmother has packed away in a yellow Dollar Store bag somewhere with her. My grandparents are repositories of goodness and I am lucky if I can be half the person they are.

after grocery shoppping I drove around New Orleans, looking for ice cream and listening to Amanda's CD. brandy alexander, bridges and balloons, glass. I went to creole creamery and got a melonberry waffle cone and then sat on my trunk, eating an ice cream, watching the sky turn pink around the edges. This morning Hannah sent me a text

"earl grey tea and toast with honey, early-morning studio time. The walls are white and clean and the light is coming in above my cubicle and it's just me"

and Amanda sent me "i drove into morning with your 2009 cd and the song from the where the wild things are trailer [wake up, arcade fire]"

there are people who understand this.

Ingrid Michaelson is singing "I knitted you a hat all blue and gold / To keep your ears warm from the Binghamton cold / It was my first one and it was too small / It didn't fit you at all, but you wore it just the same" and I have had exactly the same experience but the hat was too big. the same colors and everything. There are these shared experiences and they give me comfort.

thank you for your time.
abigailnicole: (dreams)

"We get to thinking that there is no other happiness or good fortune in life except marriage; and it's offered in fiction as the highest premium for virtue, courage, beauty, learning, and saving human life. We all know it isn't. We know that in reality marriage is dog cheap, and anybody can have it for the asking--if he keeps asking enough people. By-and-by some fellow will wake up and see that a first-class story can be written from the anti-marriage point of view; and he'll begin with an engaged couple, and devote his novel to disengaging them, and rendering them separately happy ever after in the denouement. It will make his everlasting fortune."
-March, in William Howells' A Hazard of New Fortunes

I've been overcome with the desire to fill my life with beautiful things. This means reading lots of books, taking lots of pictures, texting my wives. I have this strange relationship with Amanda and Neil: I started reading both their blogs at the same time, and for a while it seemed like no matter what I was feeling Amanda managed to say something about it. But now I feel more like the plums and the honey, the cats and the words. what good is sitting alone in your room? But that's where I am now. Besides, I'm not alone in here, I have the whole internet coming with me.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I made bread, strawberry jam, tuna salad, chicken salad, regular salad, and spaghetti over the weekend. I'd love to go buy some yarn if the yarn shop weren't closed. Maybe it's the impending sense of fall--not weatherwise, I pool-lounged reading White Noise (review to follow) most of today, but school-wise. School equals fall. and school is catching up, books and plays to read, homologous chromosomes to organize, tests to study for, etc.

the water is pedal-deep so I'm hiding out in thel library. I'm at the beginnings of a head cold, the cotton-brain, phlegm-throat kind, I fell asleep at the beginning of Act V of A Midsummer Night's Dream last night with the light still on and tea getting cold and woke up at midnight to close my laptop and turn off the light. I woke up at 9 with the most vivid dreams that dissipated on sight. my life feels like a series of vignettes, waking up on the couch to sunset rubdown and a crick in my neck, waking up abruptly at rue de la course with a molecular biology book imprint on my face, not remembering falling asleep. A cocoon of oceanic bedding and waking up to Bottom's Dream. I woke up after a vivid dream about Jeopardy on ice, backwards jeopardy where the contestants fined the host and he came up with the right answer to get out of debt, but the host was neil patrick harris. all this was on one edge of a circular ice-skating rink.

I also have to get a new phone. Mine cuts off all calls arbitrarily at two to five minutes, takes three tries to send texts--also the port that the battery charger plugs into is stretched out to be a little too big for the charger, so it doesn't ever charge the battery properly. I could deal with all this if it would just text and call people correctly (the only things I do with my phone). I suppose a trip to the AT&T store is in order? I spent a lot of time on the phone with tech support for them to tell me I had a bad phone. any suggestions on what I should get for my new one?

I do believe I've spent more time writing this blog post than on my creative writing assignment. We all know where my true loyalties lie.
abigailnicole: (Default)

My creative writing teacher asked me "if you made a playlist right now what would be the third song on it?"

without hesitation: "Snow Cherries From France." I still know what songs one through five are, too.

I miss my wife. I miss her dearly. I want to give her hugs and play her CDs, the kind of CDs you give someone in movies where you drive through colored leaves with the dappled sunlight falling through the car windows, when you're wearing that crummy old perfect sweater and the best sunglasses. Maybe you're driving to the coast where there are ocean-noises and the smell of salt water to make you forget, maybe you're not, maybe it's just somewhere where tree'd mountains give way to those scratchy tall grasses. Maybe you're in shorts and ratty old canvas tennis shoes, maybe not. Maybe we are listening to the milk-eyed mender or maybe it is little earthquakes. I think of you when I wake, amanda, every luminious two-in-the-morning with bon iver and no one call. I miss you dearly.

I read A Midsummer Night's Dream today at work. It is still my least favorite Shakespeare play; I like his comedies but this one is too caricatured for my taste, I am not fond of slapstick humour and magic love potions are full of it. I am not overfond of Romeo & Juliet either and this parody-version of it is still not my cup o tea.

somewhere there would be Here. In My Head. just for the
show you the roses, that brush off the snow, and open their petals again and again

I would.

I have a job now. I am manning a desk in the English office. right now I am quite hungry and too discouraged to say more. I will make some bread dough and try again.
abigailnicole: (delirium)

the first thing I want to say is that I <3 Evian Jane

I am blogging from a corner of the kitchen while she gets ready to make us enchiladas for dinner, drinking free Vitamin Water they gave us at Winn-Dixie because it is move-in day, which means local stores are giving out promotions to students. Hurray! Moot is the fact that I moved in a week ago. I have never drunk Vitamin Water before and if this flavor ('revive'? fruit punch?) is any indication I never will again.

We are fully moved in; us, our upstairs neighbors, and I even have cords to connect computer-to-TV and spent most of yesterday watching The Next Generation with Evian (and later Kelsey and Leah. I feel like I am bad at hosting parties, but there is a fair warning of this ahead of time). Between that, grocery shopping, sewing curtains, and cooking, I have become a thirty-year-old housewife. My last two impulse buys were an aluminum water bottle and bacon (both good decisions). I don't even have the drinking to excess thing going to prove me a college student. OH YOUTH, WHY HAVE YOU LET ME DOWN.

Aside from all that--which is entirely about living up to other people's expectations--I am doing all right. Reading books outside for hours every afternoon is amazing, watching TV at night with Evian, going to Winn-Dixie and spending more money than I have all summer, even impulse-buying bacon are good ways to spend your time. Being here, like this, is strange for me because I have never lived in New Orleans without (the same) significant other, and living in a city where you fell in love without the person you love is hard. Especially when two of my three roommates are gone, working or whatever, and when they're here they spend time with their boyfriends. I don't begrudge them that, but this is the reason I <3 Evian Jane. For being single too and being here with me so we can do fun things.

and then school starts in two days. I'm not taking physics and chemistry and biology all at the same time, so I might have an easier semester! :D
abigailnicole: (Default)

We're officially moved in! Have a picture. It's the kitchen because that's the most furnished room right now.

I've been reading arsene lupin on my iPod--classic book app, since I finished The Disappearing Spoon this morning and the library is closed Sunday. We're going to go later today.

All the furniture so far is mostly mine, my bedroom aside--sofa bed, coffee table, end table, kitchen table & chairs, armchair. Besides that it's pretty bare, though Bailey's mum is getting us a futon for the back room soon (we pick it up today). We don't have internet either. I can steal from a neighbor but its fleeting, so I apologize for the lack of updates.

I went through Faine's boxes, with lots of exclamations of "Thanks Faine!!" in various tones of joy (dishes, spices) and confusion (so much cumin? like twelve ounces of cumin. not joking. also so many ponchos!). Her furniture is fantastic. We bleach-water-washed everything due to mom's fear of mold, polished the wood, vacuumed the upholstery, and unpacked the mysterious kitchen boxes that contained pots, pans, spices, food, and a mysterious pair of shoes. ??? okay.

This is fine for me because I love inheriting other people's stuff, I like getting furniture and boxes with odds and ends from someone else's life and going through it to see what they thought was important, what they kept and collected. I like things that already have life when they're given to you, and a good life, it's almost like you're expected to carry that into future generations. Same reason I love my grandparent's house: full of furniture (I suspect a good one-third or more of their furniture is hidden under beds and things, because they have more furniture than house. I told grandmom I'd buy a house so she'd have somewhere to keep her extra furniture), old books, old pictures, old things people have made. There's a reason my purse right now is a carpetbag of unidentifiable age I found in my grandmother's closet. I like old things. Also mum said the mattress smelled like marijuana. Oh, Faine.

I'm still in a transition phase; that first week, from school to home or home back to school, is always disconcerting; I'm not sure what the routine is yet, I know what I would do at home but here? And it's always accompanied from a busy-to-nothing shift, from finals to staring at my room in KY, from MCAT-library-working-packing-crazy to moving in, with my most strenuous duties being grocery shopping and cooking dinner. It takes a while to get reoriented. I have confidence that things will be better when Evian gets here.
abigailnicole: (lonely adenosine)

my friend gave me this shirt and I thought it was fabulous. perfect for someone who just applied to medical school :P But not as a tshirt. too easy to get stained, too hard to read, just in general difficult to appreciate the awesomeness. So I made a pillowcase!

before and after... )

I'm thinking about buying this math cheat sheet shirt and making a matching pillowcase set for my full bed. How can I get equally awesome science sheets? hmm.....
abigailnicole: (books)

I was lonely, and the internet was broken, so I started reading Audrey Niffengger's The Time Traveler's Wife. I don't think this was a fantastic choice for warding off the blues, though....between this and Never Date A Writer I don't know that relationships are worth it or if they're the only thing that's worth it. I need a perspective not-relationship novel.

I love stories about time travel. I'm writing one, after all. And the time travel in this was well-executed...the problem of course is that time travel isn't real and doesn't work, so you have to walk a fine line between the mechanics and the story, and this toes that line well. While technology can be explained by a few sentences of technobabble, time travel affects causality and thus affects the flow of your plot. You can really write yourself into a corner in a hurry. The interesting thing is that The Time Traveler's Wife is written into a corner for an entire book. Henry, the main character, has no choice but to go through these experiences--he's caught in a corner. These are scenes I'd hate writing, but she does them well.

The plot is very well done--time travel is tricky, and she has same scenes reseen from different points of view, by different characters or sometimes the same character at different ages. The situation is profound, moving, the imagery lovely. I cried at the end. He died quoting Andrew Marvell, what do you expect? "Had we but world enough, and time--" ahhh.

But this book didn't quite satisfy me. It did, in some ways: the plot was lovely, well-thought out, the writing was simple, clear, precise, and lovely. What bothered me were the characters. And I didn't really know why until a patron interrupted me, while I was reading this today, to check out Twilight. And then I sat there for a moment and thought about it.

Because it's the same story. Bella and Clare are both pretty, feminine, have long hair, fall in love young and say with that man for life, don't do very much on their own. They both want a child, both have a daughter, both have husbands that are more interesting than they are, both their lives totally revolve around the person they love. The conflict in each depends on the defect of the other person that they love: vampire, time traveler. The intellectualism is better done here, obviously, and the plot is MUCH better written---but the characters remain the same mold. The perfect family save for one thing. A woman whose life depends on her significant other. When Edward/Henry leaves, Bella/Clare sits around and doesn't eat, stares into space, turns into emotionless zombies, stays in bed all day and feel awful. Only Jacob/Gomez is there to distract her but the depth of feeling is friendship and not love.

And this story is much better, don't get me wrong. But the characters irk me. Henry I love. A gaunt, tall, thin, dark, punk-lovin, alcoholic, sort of authentic version of the Arsonist. But he's all fuzzy around the edges. And that's all right--if that's a product of time travel, because he is mostly telling his own story and he feels fuzzy around the edges, then it's great characterization. But Clare is supposed to be his anchor, to hold him down, right? And all I know about her is that she has long red hair. Blue eyes, or maybe green. Part of this is the nature of the characters--from six to forty-three in the course of one book--but some of it is just general characterization. She does physical descriptions of characters well: when you're doing descriptions you stick to main traits that are easily identifiable, and let characters be memorable based on personality. But Clare needs to be solid. She needs to be what is holding him here, and she needs to be firmly fixed in the reader's mind as a solid point, and she's not. They're like twin stars in a solar system: they hold each other in place, and when one is missing the other sort of drifts away. I want them to be more solid, especially Clare. Even if she is the type of woman who spends her whole life waiting on a man, and who ahs a man at the center of her universe...well, maybe that's why she's not a very solid character, if she lets someone else be that much a part of her. But I want to know that, I want details of that, I want Clare to be more than she is. All of their friends, even Charisse and Gomez, feel flat and placeholders, not real and solid and fleshed-out: she's not good at doing little details that make characters really come alive. and for all of Alba's build-up she doesn't have much: part of that is her age, I know, you're not solid when you're that young. But you can have children who are more than a placeholder: look at Pearl, if you want to look at children that symbolize things.

Maybe these character types--interesting male, female who is dependent on him and whose life is mostly him--are more prevalent in literature than I think or realize. But I don't think it has to be this way, and I know it's not. Look at Jane Eyre, for crying out loud. She realized this very thing and had to say no, had to leave it so that this wouldn't be the case. She was solid first, and then she was solid again after he was gone. As a disconnected woman, I have to believe that there is more to life and literature than this: waiting on a man.

So thank you, Audrey Niffenegger--I love your plot, and I love your story, and I love your French poets and your prose. But your characters need to stand on their own.
abigailnicole: (epiphany)

I drive about 45 minutes to work each morning, so I have a lot of time to listen to music. And I drive the Hal Rogers Parkway, which is a sort of straight no-turnoffs interstate kind of road that you can safely drive at about 70 or 75 mph. And all the cars that pass me (which is most of them) usually drive at about 70 or 75mph. They don't seem to appreciate my efforts to drive my car in neutral for as much of the parkway as I possibly can, probably because this leads me to not care if I go the posted speed limit of 55mph. But I digress.

The point was that I get a lot of time to listen to music. I do this drive 6-10 times per week, which is about 5-7 plays of any CD and since so far I'm going at about a CD a week I thought I should say something about them or give you a song or something. So far it's been all ladies--

Kate Nash was the first week, and luckily I could fit both her CDs on one blank CD if I took the songs I didn't like from her first CD off. I loved Made of Bricks the first time I heard it, it's poppy fun and all that. But My Best Friend is You sort of went the other way? She could have gone two ways--the pop-star punk-rocker way or the Regina way, because her first CD was split about half and half between them, and she definitely went more pop-star punk-rocker. I really like Paris, which is the pop-star fun part with horns that sound like the audio equivalent of little starbursts on your powerpoint presentation. But I think my favorite is the regina-esque Pickpocket (have a download) because I had to stop and listen to it about a million times. Another one of those uncomfortably close lines--"get out, get out of town, before it catches up to you and you cannot withstand..." Mansion Song's spoken-word intro makes me really uncomfortable, but I never turn it off, so does that qualify it as art? I just have to keep listening for that Marla-Singer line:
"just another undignified product of society--
and I don't regret it after that point.

Sleigh Bell's Treats was last week and for all that I've been soooo excited and checking pretty much every day in may to see if this was leaked/out yet I'm not sure about it? The stuff that we've heard before is all fantastic--Infinity Guitars, Crown on the Ground, Ring Ring/Rill Rill (I'm really upset that they switched the pronouns on the "you're/we're just the weatherman, we/you make the wind blow" line, that was my FAVORITE and now it's backwards and I WANNA MAKE THE WIND BLOW) etc. But a lot of the other ones are just ehhhhh. And ever since that awful overplayed ahhhhh Boulevard of Broken Dreams I can't take that guitar effect seriously, the one at the beginning of Straight A's, I think it is. It's a bit like Japanese punk to me, too, am I the only on getting this vibe? Maybe the guitars + cute high girl singing just makes me think Japanese punk. It would be better in a movie, I think, with some badass action scene and a blonde chick wearing all black. You know, someone who goes from timid to badass in the course of the movie, and at the end there's a kind of Boondock Saints action/assassination/robbery/criminal/badass montage with Sleigh Bells playing. also loland ditto on 10 Listen's "I want to rent out musical halls and destroy their PAs with this album. I want to see if this album can literally raise the dead. I think it can. I want this album to take my hearing because it’s the last thing I want to hear before I die and I don’t want to die yet." Preferably Riot Rhythm, kthxbai.

This week I'm listening to Basia Bulat's Heart of My Own. Do you know those bands that have no context? Some bands you hear about in blogs, or on the radio, or in magazines, or from friends, and you know what kind of music they're classified as, their label, the genre, where they fit: they have context. Basia Bulat has no context for me--I heard Go On on stereomood and immediately downloaded it, then heard Gold Rush somewhere and decided that getting the whole CD would be a good idea. So I did. And it still doesn't have much context. I like it, quite a lot--have this rollicking ditty (how often do I use the phrase rollicking ditty? I think this makes the first time, or the second if you count the use in this parenthetical phrase) called If Only You which starts out "I'm giving up, I'm going home" which is so much how I feel right now. Look out for fantastic lines like: "I've said hello to Jekyll and to Hyde / I still can't say who I want by my side / And truth be told / I love them both / and I'm no better half" ahhhhh look at that. Just look at that. And it's all good! you know, the sunny tree-covered parkway with sunglasses and windows down and all that and it's good for that. For real? All I know about her is that she's Canadian. And I'm okay with that. Music in a vacuum is easier to appreciate, sometimes.

in other late-breaking music news, I'm going to see Andrew Jackson Jihad (just a Sean solo show actually) with my wives on Saturday. whooooo! I'll probably post about that when the time comes. I'm excited to wear my Andrew Jackson Jihad outfit though. I've thought of this outfit (rainbow dress + cowboy boots Evian gave me with the rainbow stitching) as this ever since I walked down McAlister avenue singing Brave Is A Noun "I could go off the deep end, I could kill all my best friends" and it felt like the appropriate outfit. So that's to come.

I forgot how much I like having long hair. I do! You can do so much with it! I can do braided pigtails if I want (which is mostly the only fun thing I can do with long hair that I can't do with short hair, but that's a really fun thing, in my defense). Now my hairdresser says the last four inches are split ends. Having hair that is fourteen inches long is a great length, I can wash it every two days and be fine.

Food here is really cheap. Someone brought in a dozen doughnuts today--the Mininites make them daily, those glazed doughnuts with the chocolate frosting? you know, the really delicious ones that are just fantastic. And it was $3 for a dozen of them. Food is so cheap here!!! Also the Mininites have a produce stand on the side of the road--at night, they just put a little rope across the entrance to their stand and leave all the produce there, overnight and no one ever takes it. At least, not enough to make them stop doing it. Food is so cheap, and there's so much of it, and it's nothing like college where I am always hungry.

Also I kind of stopped reading a book a day except yesterday, the 25th of May, I read Night Watch and wore the lilac like I do every year. I've decided to start knitting a sweater instead. I've got another 2 inches of stockinette bottom trim to go before I start the cable pattern. It's for mom so I might go up a needle size, she likes her sweaters not-form-fitting, unlike me. Also I realized I'm (stereo)typically attractive. Huh, when did that happen? This is not something I have much experience with.

Did I tell you about my intentions to make the Jaws Show Me The Way To Go Home my ringtone? now you know.

Except Marco is getting so sad. After a week of me installing drivers and running scans and downloading patches and reinstall disks and doing tests I've finally gotten Error 0146 HARD DRIVE FAILED. :( So Marco's not doing well, poor dear. I'm gonna try a hard drive complete wipe tonight and THEN! I told mom if I couldn't fix it by the end of the week I'd take it to a real computer place. They'll probably tell me my hard drive is broken, charge me $60 and say it'll be $XXX to put in a new hard drive. I'm contemplating getting a netbook + external monitor, and then just using my external hard drive as my main thing if Marco dies. Maybe I can get external speakers, too, and move away from so much one-computer reliance, cause it's not working well for me.... maybe I'll just get a new hard drive. it's a sad situation.
abigailnicole: (bad day)

in bed feeling sick, listening to Organic chemistry--the Kamikaze hearts, I mean--and doing organic chemistry. ethers shouldn't be giving me this much trouble. but about 3pm my head started filling up and by 5 my ears were pressurized at what feels like 3atm. I've been going slowly, I stumbled a bit about Kekule and how he invented line-bond structure before they discovered the electron, how clever! necessity is the mother of invention. He dreamed up the benzene structure in his sleep and came up with the idea of resonance, the single-double bond alternating but of course they didn't know about electrons much less orbital or the electron cloud, for 1850 he was damn important. how clever he must have been. Of the first five Nobel Prizes ever awarded his students won three. (van't Hoff was one. Gen chem 2 is coming back to haunt me) I still think A Short History of Nearly Everything may be the most wondrous book I've read

It's Lundi Gras, I'm in bed with homework and headache. I might do parades tomorrow, but oh that's a lot of parades on a stuffy head, I did a few already and it makes one's feet ache. Next year I turn 21 on Lundi Gras, can you imagine the joviality? Turning 21 in New Orleans the day before Mardi Gras! how droll, how jovial. drovial.

I am hungry but all I have to eat is oatmeal and my roommate's giant stash of luna bars. there is, however, a vending machine around the corner. I think I'll go do one of those things and hope my sudafed kicks in soon. Poor pseudoephedrine, you've been used as a natural decongestant for 3000 years and now I have to be over 18 to buy you and sign a form in Walgreens saying I won't make methamphetamine with you, what did you do to get such a bad rap...at least they're making Drixoral again.


abigailnicole: (Default)

March 2013


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