...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Monday, February 27, 2006

Uh oh

Guys, cross your fingers that I don't have mono.

For the past few days I've been feeling very run down and tired. Complete strangers on the MAX and buses have commented on how tired I look (would people make those comments to a man? That's a different post). I've been sleeping for about eleven hours a night and taking naps, but it doesn't help and I'm constantly in a fog. I have a really bad headache, my lower back and legs ache, I feel like I'm freezing all the time, and I have no appetite.

Both Clay and Simran have suggested that it could be mono, and after reading this, I've just about convinced myself.

Looks like it's to the health center tomorrow for Jessica.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Horizontverschmelzung (Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the German language)

Today Professor Kugler sent me his comments on the paper I wrote a week and a half ago for his seminar. It was titled "Sunday Morning Epistemology: Paul Ricoeur, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Stained-Glass Windows" and I wasn't sure when I turned it in exactly what he'd think; not only was I somewhat rushed in writing it, but I wrote it in a creative style. Kugler had told me that I could treat it as a creative writing project, but when I turned it into the box outside his office and saw this other kid's, all systematic and flowcharts and numbered, I became nervous; what if he thought my paper was fluff, or my style was trivial? This is a man who called Foucault "not an organized or systematic thinker," and I'm pretty sure Foucault has more of a systematic philosophy than I do. Plus, Kugler is fluent in German and I'm not, a fact that didn't stop me from throwing around the German phrases like I actually spoke the language. Three times, I use the phrase "was eigentlich passiert ist." Three times!

So it was with trepidation that I opened the message subject-headed "Paper comments." And then I read what he wrote, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it damn near brought a tear to my eye:

See below my comments on your very fine paper. As you'll see, a grade of "A" with no qualifiers. Thanks for such a good reading experience. This paper is unique among those I’ve read thus far. In all cases I’ve had occasion to provide very specific comments – so much so that I’ve numbered the comments and correlated them with consecutive numeration of the paragraphs in the paper. But your paper, Jessica, is such a seamless whole, and most significantly, the result of such a careful reading and analysis of your two principal thinkers, that I find myself with little to say apart from how much I enjoyed reading it. It is clear that you’ve wrestled with these ideas and the possibilities they present for understanding – and not just in this course, but as a central part of being human – and I suspect your particularly glad for the experience. I also suspect my attraction to this piece of writing, apart from its appealing style, is my own sympathy for the thinkers you appreciate here and the approach you adopt.

"Elated" doesn't really do the feeling justice. That's the highest praise I've ever received from Kugler, who is not only my Religious Studies adviser but a huge intellectual and personal role model for me. It's the only straight A I've ever received from him. Receiving that message made my day; it's certainly the academic highlight of the semester so far, and possibly of the rest of the semester as well.

Aw, it's funny 'cause it's true

My roommate Clay and I were discussing the near-downfall of the football program here at Lewis & Clark. I don't see any persuasive reason for keeping football around and would have rather that they had gotten rid of it last semester. Clay argued that some very wealthy alums probably make their financial support of the college contingent on the existence of the football program, the same way that one lady would only leave us her estate if we guaranteed that there would always be a women's-only housing option.

Clay: "Football used to be the big thing here. Fabulously wealthy alums probably were on the football team."
Me: "Aw, why can't fabulously wealthy people have been on the Ultimate Frisbee team, instead?"
Clay: "Because people who play Ultimate Frisbee don't become fabulously wealthy. They move to Eugene and own ferrets."

Touché, Clay. Touché.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Minnesota Trucker Hat

I try not to bitch too much about individual people on here because...well, for several reasons, really. It's really passive-agressive, and of course it's better to bitch directly at the person in need of the bitching, rather than post it on my blog. I'm never sure exactly who reads this, and since the link is on my Facebook profile, it's readily accessible to the whole school. Plus, I would hate it if I Googled someone from high school or something and found their blog that was all, "Jessica J was soooo stupid!" or whatever--I don't want to put old acquaintences through the same Sturm und Drang, should they look themselves up.

However. Some people are sufficiently annoying that they need to be bitched out. What's a girl to do? Invent a pseudonym!

Minnesota Trucker Hat is a strong-jawed character that I ran into a lot my freshman year. A girl who I used to be friends with had a huge thing for him, so he often sat with us in the Bon, and then he was also in Clay's and my Biology 151 class. He made annoying, self-righteous, show-offy comments, he was from Minnesota, and he wore a trucker hat. I ran into him at an election-results-watching party in November last year, and I thought he seemed a lot less annoying and even kind of nice, plus he really was cute in a strong-jawed, tan way, but then Amy and I got into an argument with him at another party later in the semester and I was reminded of why I disliked him in the first place. Clay feels the same way; whenever one of us mentions this kid's name, it goes something like this.

Person 1: "I was talking with Alyssa the other day, and she mentioned something about Minnesota Trucker Hat.
Person 2: "Oh, Minnesota Trucker Hat."
Person 1: "Fuckin' Minnesota Trucker Hat."

So, why do I bring this up? Facebooking today, I found his blog. And now I can't rest until I read through all of it--and as I read, I keep repeating "Fuckin' Minnesota Trucker Hat."

Don't tell my boyfriend Paul Ricoeur that I've been seeing Hans-Georg Gadamer on the side

Oh, hi!

So, yeah. I haven't been a very good blogger recently, I'm afraid. And I don't have a done of time to write now, because I have to find my Foreign Policy syllabus and, oh yeah, one of the text books so that I can study for the midterm tomorrow, and holy fuck, how is it already time for midterms? But my room is a disaster zone, so finding those things are going to take awhile--I'm just saying, if you have any questions about anything that's happened in the world over the last five weeks, I could probably find the corresponding New York Times on my floor. I promise that I'll write something long before the end of the weekend, though. Pinky swear!

Recent topics of conversation and possible blogging topics:

The Craigslist personals, and meeting people through them
The definition of chick lit, and whether Jane Austen qualifies (!!!) (Not to ruin the surprise, but she doesn't)
Turning 21
The Gospel of R
The awesomeness of Jesus Christ Superstar, especially the mid/late-nineties homoerotic leather one
Whether Ursula the Sea Witch is a feminist
Now and Then, seen for the first time in, oh, a decade

And more stuff that I forgot.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Paul Ricoeur. Say it loud, and there's music playing. Say if soft, and it's almost like praying.

I have a confession to make: I am a little bit in love with French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. I like what he has to say about language and hermeneutics--I'm writing a paper on it for my Biblical Studies seminar, so I'll probably write more about it once I figure out what the hell he's all about--but mostly I just really love his name. Preparing for this paper, I've been thinking a lot about him and his philosophy, as much as I understand it, and trying to sort of parse things out in my mind and waiting for inspiration to strike and just sort of going around thinking, Paul Ricoeur.

It's probably the most beautiful, perfect name I've ever heard. Ryan told me that his last name means "laughing heart," and how lovely is that?

Paullllllll Ricoeur. Le sigh.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Snippets from Messenger conversations tonight that made me laugh

DeAnn: "Also, that guy's a doof."

DeAnn: "You are so me. It makes me want to laugh. Or cry."

Clay: "I asked him if he'd been drinking...he said, "Forcibly so."

The lesson to be learned here is that I should not take my computer to any place with wireless internet when I need to get work done.

In three hours, I've read exactly seventeen lines of text about the Ptolomaic Empire. I rock! Luckily, I don't have class until 11:30 tomorrow and I'm actually ahead of schedule in Kugler's seminar, unless you count things such as actually committing to memory the names and dates of the Ptolomaic rulers (here's a hint, their names all start with "Ptolomy" and their wives/sisters are either Arisinoe or Berinike; like, way to be creative, guys. Maybe that's why you're not still in power) and researching the paper due on Monday.

Also, "forcibly so" will now be my stock response to every question.

More later.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Puta la weá

I take back--or at least, modify--what I said earlier about the transition being easier than I thought it would be.

Peggy was over awhile ago and asked me if I ever feel like a prospective student here. I hadn't thought about it that way before, but often I do. I know so few people and I don't know what my place here is anymore. When it all comes together, like at the TCK dinner Friday night; or moments today during the roadtrip with Clay, Chris, and Matt; or at Sarah and Rachel's last week--it feels wonderful, and I know who I am. But then there's some unexpected dip, like not being invited to some party that my roommates are all at right now; or realizing that a friend and are now nowhere near as close as we used to be and I don't know how to change that or even if said friend wants to change that; or walking down to Howard and recognizing no one, and it all comes crashing down and I feel lost and I wonder, "Why didn't I just stay in Chile, where I knew where I stood?" And when that thought came to me, I couldn't believe it, because it's not like Chile was perfect either.

The other day my Chilean friend Ronald emailed me about what an effect I had had on him, and how he missed me. I definitely had to cry over that one.

But hasn't it always been like this? Sort of. I mean, this whole party business, it's not the first time these people have snubbed me and it won't be the last, so I should probably just figure out a way to quit letting it affect me so much. That's the hard part, though, because you can't go through life--I can't go through life--without having expectations of others. The Russian author Viktoria Tokareva puts it beautifully in several of her short stories. In "Between Heaven and Earth," she writes: "People and obligations are like the soil and trees. Like gigantic hands, the tree-roots reach deep into the soil, holding it together, while at the same time they sustain themselves. The soil needs trees, and the trees need soil. Obligations exist not only between the living and the dead, but also between the living. Tearing out one tree, one has to make sure that another tree is planted in its place and will take root and grow. If you tear out one tree without planting another, you will stand above the crater just staring at the damage you have done." To continue in her language, some of my roots are sinking down deeper now, deeper than they were before. But some have been torn up, and I'm just standing above the crater looking at the damage.

At the beginning of each semester, I always think that this is the semester that everything will really come together--that this time, I've got all my shit together. And then 'round bout this time, it kind of crashes down and I admit that I still need to be going to the Counseling Center. Somehow, though, coupled with the culture shock, it feels deeper and more painful this semester. I can try to pretend by being all analytical and shit and rationalizing that now I have more time to do homework, but that's barely even a surface level solution.

To those of you who are there, thank you. I appreciate and love you more than I can express. I will be okay--I just need to work some stuff out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Pretty funny, eh?

Last night's conversation reminded me of why I wanted to live with the boys in the first place. I was hanging out in the living room, pretending to work on my Frankenstein reading journal for my Gender Studies class when my roommate Ryan came home. Chris and Clay heard us talking and came out of their rooms, and the four of us just...stood around and talked for awhile. It was simple, but fun, and as Clay pointed out, pretty much the first time all four of us have been in the same room (while sober and awake, anyways) since the semester started. Somehow we started talking about our in-sink garbage disposal unit...and, well, you can and should read all about it on Clay's LiveJournal. "Garbarator." Hee!

Also, more and more, I'm convinced that Canadians use "eh?" the same way Chileans use "¿cachai?"

I've pretty much sucked at updating my blog recently, but again, I'll try to write more over the weekend. For now, quotes!

Clay: "You're wearing lipstick. That's new."

Me, making my merry way home early in the morning last weekend, and running into Ryan and Mike on their way to Mike's: "I'm a little drunk right now."
Ryan: "Yeah, I can tell."
Mike: "Fight the power!"
the next day...
Me: "Did Mike tell me to 'fight the power' last night?"
Ryan: "Yeah, he likes to say crazy shit like that. You laughed really hard."
Me: "Well, I was really wasted.
Ryan: "Yeah, we could tell."

Cyrus Partovi, my US Foreign Policy professor: "Listen, guys, democracy is not Lipton Tea. You can't just dip it in."

Amy: "Chris, there's some Hamburger Helper left if you're hungry."
Chris (having just eaten about twelve truffles): "No thanks, I'm pretty full. I've got to....go sit off those truffles."

Clay, coming in from the pouring rain: "It's raining men!"
Me: "Really? Hallelujah!"