...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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"He converted for the jokes!"

Tonight was the Black Student Union's annual Kwanzaa dinner--delicious, as expected, especially the orange peels stuffed with mashed yam. Before the dinner began, there was a short presentation about the history of Kwanzaa and a lighting of the kinara. Anna, Amy, Peggy and I (along with some other people) all read a brief explanation of one of the seven principals of the holiday and then, one by one, lit the candle representing that principal. I lit the first red candle, the candle of Kujichagulia, or self-determination.

Me, practicing beforehand: "Kujichagulia...kugjichagulia..."
Riana: "What are you doing?"
Me: "I'm going to light the candle for kujichagulia: self-determination."
Riana: "What, are you, like, the token Jewish person?"
Me: "I'm not Jewish--"
Peggy: "She's not Jewish, she just pretends to be."

It was a joke; it was funny; I laughed. But now let me hasten to clarify: I have never pretended to be Jewish. I joke about being a shiksa because I find it funny and ironic, since, except for dating a Jewish guy, I so emphatically do not fit the shiksa stereotype. Sometimes people mistake me for Jewish (it's all the Central/Eastern European blood, I guess) or assume that I come from a Jewish background, but if they bring it up or ask, I always clarify my background for them. I study aspects of the Jewish religion because I find them intellectually thrilling and I participate in Jewish spiritual activities, like going to Shabbat services at P'nai Or, because I find them moving and spiritually significant. And yeah, I added "Jewish Renewal" to "United Church of Christ" to the religion section of my facebook profile because I do attend Jewish Renewal services, and that denomination, for lack of a better word, is open to people of all faiths; going to Shabbat services is part of the spiritual discipline I practice. But I've always been completely upfront, both at P'nai Or and with the other Jewish people in my life, when the question has arisen of my motives, that although I respect and honor their tradition, I'm not of it. It seems important to emphasize now: I do not pretend to be Jewish.

Spanish tutoring

Lewis & Clark hires advanced students in every department to tutor more beginning/intermediate students. This year, I'm one of the Spanish tutors. I was really excited to be hired in September, but there are so many of us Spanish tutors (probably around ten or so, more than any other department) that I never got any jobs. I don't know if the other tutors were working. But now, as the end of the semester nears, suddenly all the kids in need of Spanish tutors have been crawling out of the woodwork, and I love it. I bring my computer with me to class most days and when I check my email constantly throughout the day, so I'm practically always the first to receive the emails sent out to all the Spanish tutor and thus the first to respond. I need the money and I'm a good tutor, so I feel absolutely no remorse for taking all the jobs I can get. Today and yesterday alone I tutored 4.25 hours. That's not a lot considering we only make minimum wage but, on the other hand, one hour of work at minimum wage pays for me to see one movie in the theater, so I'm happy.

If any of you who are reading this need a Spanish tutor, ¡llámame!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Shiksappeal

I realized this afternoon that almost every paper I'm going to be writing from now until the end of the semester is, in some way, about Judaism. Check it:

Spanish 410: Major Periods in Spanish Literature: The use of the Judeo-Spanish language Ladino by the Sephardic Jewish communities of Spain as a means of preserving/creating identity. This is the paper that I'm currently battling against. I don't know. I kind of wish I had chosen an easier topic, or at least something more specific. It's due Friday at 5.

Religious Studies 401: Methods in the Study of Religion: Applying Weberian theory to the Lubavitcher Hasidic Jewish sect and the Jewish Renewal movement. Supposed to be due Friday, but I got an extension until next Tuesday, thank God. Plus, I only have to turn in a rough draft on Tuesday, anyway. But I don't normally write in rough drafts: I wait until I feel inspired then write the entire paper in one feverish, all-night sitting. So what I turn in Tuesday will more than likely be basically my final draft, for better or for worse.

Religious Studies 398: The Apocalyptic Imagination: The apocalyptic/messianic/eschatological elements in Ulysses. Am I crazy for trying to take this on? Maybe, but it's too fun and interesting to pass up--plus it's just close enough to the final paper I have for Rishona's class that it'll reduce the amount of original research/analysis I have to do, while being different enough that I don't feel bad/dishonest for doubling up on the topic. Speaking of which...

English 333: Major Figures Joyce/Woolf: The character of Bloom as a Jewish/Irish messianic figure, and the ways in which Joyce conflates the Irish hope and struggle for home rule with Jewish messianism. (Can you say "New Bloomusalem?")

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"There's just no other way to say it: Jessi's black."

Everyone, but especially Amy and Chris, should check out this page: "The Ever-Changing Face of Racial Equality in the BSC" (Baby-Sitters Club), a cover-by-cover analysis of the depiction of Jessi Ramsey.

Edited to add: This post on one of the LiveJournal BSC communities made me laugh really hard. Out loud. In the library. Screw you, Spanish paper due Friday!

no I said no I will Not?

My Joyce/Woolf class was just cancelled, and today was the day we were going to talk about Molly Bloom's final fifty-page, one-sentence interior stream-of-consciouness monologue, ending with the beautiful and perfect seven words "yes I said yes I will Yes." Sad emoticon :-(

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ceci n'est pas une pipe, et Thomas Kinkade n'est pas un artiste

I was googling Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light (TM) to find an image of a snowy cottage that was reminisicent of the Manor House, and I wound up on this page: "Religious Affiliation of the World's Greatest Artists." Okay, laughable to include Kinkade on such a list, but the intro explained that they were purposely including popular artists. But then, the site turned insult to injury: "Cassius Coolidge, Thomas Kinkade and Rene Magritte, for example, are certainly not considered as influential or as artistically brilliant as Michelangelo or Rembrandt, but their works are highly sought after and prints of their paintings typically sell better than many painters considered historically more important."

Motherfucker, I know you did not just liken Rene Magritte to Thomas Kinkade. RIGHT? Because those two should not be mentioned in the same sentence, ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Lynette's a lover and a fighter!

(Recent plotlines on Desperate Housewives have involved Lynette Scavo trying to protect her children from the maybe-pedophile across the street. One of her kids--the non-twin, non-baby little boy--always delivers his lines with his face wrinkled up in this aw-shucks-ain't-I-cute voice with one eye screwed shut. As a result Amy and I mock him mercilessly.)

(Lynette says something about protecting her kids.)
Amy: "Even Winky?"
Me: "Hee, 'Squints.'"
Amy: "That's totally his Flav name."
Me: "Except Flav spells it with a Z."
Amy and me together: "...and a K."

Unrelated update: Yesterday Daniel told me that snow was forecasted for today, and I totally scoffed at the idea. Snow? Preposterous! I couldn't even see my breath! But when I awoke this morning it was snowing lightly, and now it's actually coming down pretty fast and thick, and it's sticking. I love it when it snows here: it totally transforms campus into a Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light (TM) snowscape.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Transcendence, immanence, Ulysses, Mircea Eliade, and my period

I consider everything I talk about here to be within the realm of polite discourse. However, I acknowledge that for some, it might be considered Too Much Information. Consider yourself warned.

I feel that, in a lot of ways, "transcendence" and "immanence" have been the watchwords of the semester. Traditional structuralist gender philosophy has held that men occupy a transcendent, objective, active space, while women are left the immanent, subjective, passive space: women are the subjects upon which men act. This framework quickly leads to the analogy/aphorism that women are to nature as men are to culture. I struggle against gender essentialism every day and I wouldn't describe myself as a structuralist. However, I do think that structures such as "transcendence," "immanence," "nature," and "culture" are useful and necessary as heuristic devises: you have to set up the structures before you can knock them down. I don't think you can be a poststructuralist without passing, however briefly, through structuralism.

One way that the nature/culture, immanent/transcendent dichotomy manifests itself is in the discourse surrounding menstruation. The other day in Joyce/Woolf we were talking about the Gerty McDowell episode in chapter 13 (recap: in a chapter designed to evoke the "Nausicaa" episode of The Odyssey, Leopold Bloom masturbates to the sight of young Gerty McDowell on the beach. See me if you want to read--and I can't believe I'm writing this on my blog--Bloom's ejaculation scene, because it's totally great); after Bloom's orgasm, his mind sort of drifts into this free-flowing, free-association string of thoughts and musings. In particular, he wonders why all women don't menstruate at the same time, since their cycles are controlled by the moon (there's a great passage later about the similarities between women and the moon; ask me if you're interested). We were discussing this in small groups, and one of the girls in my group was like, "Oh, if you live outside and subsist only on natural products then your cycle aligns to follow the moon." And in the group, I was like, "Oh, interesting. I didn't know that." But in my head I was like, "BULLSHIT!" I simply do not believe that women have an innate connection with the moon or with the earth on the basis of having ovaries and a uterus that bleeds once a month. I just don't believe it. Even Mircea Eliade, in The Sacred and the Profane, a classic tome of Religious Studies, propagates the notion that women have sacred knowledge, a kind of one-ness with the earth, based on their womanly essence, that men are not privy to.

Note my underlining of the words "innate" and "essence," though. Like I said, I'm not a complete gender essentialist, but I do think that women and girls are socialized to be hyper-aware of their connections with the earth and with the process of regeneration, more so than boys and men are socialized to be aware of their role in the life-giving process. As a result of the process of socialization, I think women are much more attuned to the processes of their own bodies, and the ways in which those reflect the processes of the earth. The fact is that women can grow babies in their bodies and men can't; the fact is that women have a menstrual cycle and men don't. I just object when the conclusions drawn from those facts are "...and therefore women have a sacred mystical unity with the earth and the moon."

I completely understand the emotional pull of those fictional immanent, essentialist characteristics, though. This month marks the tenth anniversary of my first period and I would be lying if I said that in the past ten years I haven't felt some sort of "mystical pull" or "earth-mothery" kind of feeling around the third or fourth day of my period. There is something incredible about the menstrual cycle in that way, that it's a ritualized process nearly all women participate in; it's something that, strange as it sounds, draws women together in both superficial and deep ways. Any woman who's ever been stuck in a public restroom without a tampon and has had to beg one from her stall neighbor knows the sense of cameraderie felt by menstruating women, for instance. Until I was seventeen, I could pinpoint the exact moment when the egg was released from my ovary every month (a sensation called Mittelschmerz, and I liked knowing my own body so well; I felt some sort of cosmic connection, each month, with women going through the same thing. It's hard to have those experiences and not come to gender essentialist conclusions.

Hard, but in my opinion, necessary.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not qualified to be a grown-up

I went grocery shopping at Fred Meyer's today and found myself paralyzed by the choices afforded me by the free market. And that's how I wound up with a yam in my shopping cart.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Whoops, I forgot to update yesterday

Or rather, by the time I realized I hadn't updated, I was in bed and exhausted. There goes NaBloPoMo, I guess. But some days I updated multiple times, so I think it should still count. Anyways, expect a post later tonight about transcendence, immanance, Ulysses, and my period. (Hey, throw a Hasidic Jew in there and you've got practically all my favorite topics covered!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year when we go around the table and say what we're thankful for, everyone has the same response: "Family, friends, and health." And I thank God that I am blessed with those, as well. But sticking with the stock response, sincere as it is, risks eclipsing the more minor or more specific joys of the year. I will always be thankful for my family, my friends, and my health. But I'm also in deep gratitude for so many little things; those, I want to highlight now. This year, I'm especially thankful for:

1. The fact that I look forward to all my classes this semester. Honestly, even when individual class sessions are kind of a drag, I'm so happy with what I'm studying that the work never (okay, occasionally, but more rarely than usual) feels like a burden. I'm thankful that I pushed myself to take 24 credits this semester, that I trusted in my own abilities, ambition, and intellect.

2. For my professors, especially Kugler, Rishona, and Paul: incredible intellectual and personal role models; not only the kinds of scholars I want to be, but the kinds of people.

3. The fact that I read Ulysses, by James Joyce. I feel like an infinitely more educated, cultured person for having read that book; I'm glad that my life has a little more contransmagnificanjewbantantiality in it, and it has been (and will continue to be) the springboard for some awesome discussions, both in and out of the classroom.

4. Friends who join, challenge, and encourage me in cultivating/pursuing spiritual disciplines and practices.

5. Wednesday Night Bible Study for Hippies, even/especially the nights last semester when we were so caught up in the joy of communitas that we were in Mark's office until midnight without ever cracking open the Bible. I'm so thankful for my Christian friends, in general.

6. Daniel, and the time we spend together. As Julia put it in a facebook message after I updated my relationship status: "Yay for intelligent boys, cutely awkward moments, and escaping from the college bubble!"

7. Silly and serious debates about whether Ursula the Sea Witch can be considered a feminist icon.

8. The fact that my apartment's location is such that I walk over the ravine bridge to class every morning. There's something about the ravine in the morning, with the mist, and the sun streaming through the leaves, and the chill in the air; it's a kind of mysterium tremendum experience, I think: the awe-inspiring experience of the individual dwarfed in the presence of the Divine.

9. Stephen Colbert's li'l gimpy ear.

10. The opportunity to reexamine and reinvent what Lewis & Clark means to me after Ryan's graduation last spring; the fact that I didn't let the end of last semester embitter me completely.

11. Every chance I have to use the word "hermeneutic."

12. P'nai Or, tikkun olam, and my thesis topic in general.

13. Looking forward to the future.

14. Absurd discussions about things like the Flighted Baby Advantage, the Quaid-to-Quality ratio, Flavor Flav, who you would make out with in an elevator, whether Topher Grace is overrated as an actor/as an icon of our generation, the homoeroticism of Jesus Christ Superstar! et cetera.

15. Gossip and serious talk with my little brother.

And more. Feel free to post yours in the comments. May you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving; you have all been blessings in my life, and I'm so thankful to all of you.

Edited to Add: There's a lot more I could have written, but fifteen seemed like a nice number to stop at. But I want to add: CHILE. So much changed for me last fall, and even though most of it occured before Thanksgiving 2005 and, hence, fell under that Thanksgiving's jurisdiction, so to speak, I didn't return until the beginning of 2006 and the things I experienced and people I met in South America permanently changed my life and my outlook on the world. To say I'm thankful for those experiences, and thankful to the people I met there, would be, in Rorhbaugh's language, the understatement of the year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Hey, brother..."

It's official: my little brother has a girlfriend! He and Betsy updated their Facebook profiles!! EEEE!

Peggy: "Wow, so: it's been a good month for the Jobaneks."
Me: "Yes. Yes, it has."

I'm blogging from Eugene. My dear friend Becca came up from Corvallis to pick me up; the traffic was so heavy on I-5 South that it took us five hours to get from Portland back down to Eugene. Of course, we also made a detour at the Woodburn Outlet Malls and stopped for dinner, so it's not like that was five hours of solid driving.

Andy, my little brother, dishing: "...and then we went out to dinner..."
Me: "Where did you go? Did you pay?"
Andy: "Red Agave? It's a pretty expensive Mexican place. We split the bill, but my dinner was like forty-five dollars."
Me: "Good Lord. What did you have?"
Andy: "¡¡La nueva revolución!!"

Body parts that hurt

My right shoulder hurts. I think I slept on it weird or something.

Tonight I will be in Eugene.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Estoy contigo...Michelle!

"Estoy contigo" ("I am with you") was Michelle Bachelet's slogan when she was running for president in Chile last year. (And by the way, since I get a lot of google searches for this, "Bachelet" is pronounced Bah-chel-et. The most crucial thing is to pronounce the "t" at the end.) But who would have thought, last year, that Michelle would be reduced to posing for a picture on the front page of the New York Times in Vietnamese pajamas, with a suspiciously Will-Ferrel-in-Elf-looking George W. Bush? Amy has the photo posted on her door, and every time I pass by it I feel embarrased for Chile. You know that far-left candidate Tomás Hirsch wouldn't have stood for that shit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meditation on fame

There are two Quaids. There is only half a Quaid of quality. That is a four-to-one Quaid-to-quality ratio.

Edited to add: Amy: "They should put wings on wheelchairs. Then the cripples would finally have an advantage."
Me: "Can I put that on my blog?"
Amy: "As long as you don't misrepresent me. I'm not saying they should take the wings off animals and attach them to wheelchairs. I'm saying they should build robotic wings."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Except for the part where they're all lesbians

Peggy: "Jess, what are you doing tonight?"
Me: "Carla and I are going to a poetry salon at Mariah and Danica's house...we sit around and drink wine and read poetry to each other."
Amy: "A poetry salon? How very L Word of you."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Praise him with tambourine and dancing

A funny moment from Shabbat services this morning at P'nai Or, the Jewish Renewal congregation down the hill from campus:

[a debate breaks out between a couple people about the proper translation of a Hebrew verb in Psalm 148]
Woman: "Well, I think it's saying [whatever], but my Hebrew is a little rusty, so don't take that as Gospel..."
Reb Aryah: "Hey, we're not going to take anything as Gospel here!"

I really liked the service. I wasn't sure what to expect, because the only other time I've been to P'nai Or (and my only other Jewish liturgical experience) was when Chris and I went there for Simchat Torah. Today was a lay-led service, and although the rabbi was there, the service itself was led by two women members of the congregation. There were about twenty people there, mostly around my parents' age, although there was actually another LC student there (Helana). I noticed that all the men wore kippot, of course, but the majority of the women did, as well. Almost everyone wore tallit; I think in more Orthodox or conservative congregations, it's typical for only men to wear the prayer shawls. We all sat on folding chairs arranged in a circle and sang songs and prayers in Hebrew for the majority of the service, accompanied by the rabbi's guitar and tambourines and drums and using a prayer/song book with the Hebrew text, the Hebrew transliteration, and an English translation. I could mostly follow along with the transliteration, but when I got lost the kindly woman sitting next to me would point out where we were. Everyone, like at Simchat Torah, was extremely friendly and welcoming. I loved how debates and discussions about the text and its interpretation would spontaneously break out. Anecdotes and examples were drawn from sources as wide-ranging as the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, the Sefer Yetzirah, one of the two main texts of Kabbalah, and Hindu/Yogic breathing disciplines. For some prayers we would all stand; sometimes some of the women would be so moved that they would begin to dance and twirl.

The service lasted about two hours. I got back to campus a little before 1pm--normally the time that I'm waking up and dragging myself towards functionality on a Saturday. Sleep is always nice, but I'm glad I went to services: "Shabbat shalom" indeed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

And now back to your regularly scheduled reflections on the Lubavitcher Hasidim

About two months ago I spoke with Kugler, my Religious Studies advisor, about an idea for my thesis that I'm really excited about. I want to interview individuals within both the Lubavitcher Hasidic Jewish community and the Jewish Renewal community about how they understand themselves to be living within the tradition of tikkun olam, the Jewish theological concept that holds that the Jews have a God-given duty to bring healing to the broken world. Kugler said that it sounded like a good idea but that since ethnographical research is going to be a huge part of my thesis, I needed to talk with Paul, my Methods professor and the faculty member who's probably got the best sociological background, about how to ground my paper within a methodogical and theoretical framework. Kugler also thought that Max Weber would be the most applicable theorist for my project, and Paul, as we know, loves Weber. For various reasons, mostly intimidation-related, I never scheduled an appointment with Paul before this afternoon. I'm glad I finally did, though, because not only was it totally not intimidating, but Paul gave me some excellent ideas.

Weber, like the good structuralist he was, saw most religious life as fitting into one of two categories, or general orientations towards the world. It was either inner-wordly, or world-rejecting. Inner-worldy activism and practice is characterized by asceticism, Western religious traditions, and a commitment to activism within the world and within human society. World-rejecting practice is characterized by mysticism, Eastern religious traditions, and a focus on the unity of the soul with God/the divine. World-rejecting religion generally lacks to commitment to social activism that characterized inner-wordly religion. As I was explaining to Paul the differences in tikkun olam that I perceive between the Lubavitchers and the Jewish Renewal, the applicability of the inner-wordly/world-rejecting structures became more and more apparent. As Paul pointed out, it seems as though tikkun olam motivates those in the Jewish Renewal movement to a kind of inner-wordly activism that encompasses reconciliation in the Middle East, petitioning the government to raise the minimum wage, environmental convservation, interfaith dialogue, etc. On the other hand, tikkun olam among Lubavitchers tends to be focused on rekindling the sacred light of the neshama, or Jewish soul, within non- or less-observant Jews. The end goal of tikkun olam for Lubavitchers is the return of Moshiach, the Messiah. According to Sylvia, the Jewish Studies professor, the kind of environmental awareness and conservation that characterizes the Jewish Renewal movement is almost entirely absent among Lubavitchers.

Paul also mentioned that it would be interesting to look at which group is more rationalized or secularized, according to Weber's framework. Each group bears some of the characteristics of Weberian secularization and rationalization: the Lubavitcher concept of God tends to be more transcendent (and therefore rational) in scope than the Jewish Renewal, but on the other hand the Lubavitchers also place a much higher emphasis on orthopraxy (correct practice) than the Jewish Renewal folk do. An emphasis on orthopraxy instead of orthodoxy is a characteristic of more traditional, less rational (again, in Weber's terms) religion. Paul basically made the point that my likely conclusion will be that Weber's categories are too simplistic--he was a structuralist. But even if that's the case, the analysis will be interesting and fruitful.

All things considered, I think it's impressive how many days in a row I was able to update my blog without mentioning the Lubavitchers. Can I help it if Hasidic Judaism is one of my very favorite things to talk about??

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Windmills, weights, moons, mitzvot, Mormons, and magical realism

...All answers to the question, "What will Jessica be studying next semester?"

My class schedule ended up pretty okay. The only big problem was that Yoga was all filled up by the time I tried to register for it, so I had to take Beginning Weight Training instead for my last PE credit requirement. That's okay; it seems like a useful life skill to have, to know how to use the weight machines, and it would force me to work out more than I currently have been. The problem is that the class meets Tuesday/Thursday from 8 to 9 in the morning.

Eight.

In the morning!!!

I'm bummed, because if I didn't have to take Weight Training, I wouldn't have class until 1:50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And I was looking forward to that because then I wouldn't necessarily have to spend Monday and Wednesday nights on campus. I'm going to have Astronomy, Post-Colonial Literature, and Don Quijote (my last class for the Hispanic Studies major) all in a block from 10:20 to 2:50 Monday and Wednesday, then Astronomy and Don Quijote only on Fridays. I want to take Susannah's Mormonism seminar on Tuesday/Thursday, but the registrar isn't letting me register for it because I've already taken her Seminar in Early American Religion and it's technically the same class number. But since it's a change of topic, I think they should let me take it. I'll talk with her about it. And, I'll be writing my thesis next semester as well (the mitzvot part of this post title).

Overall, I'm looking forward to next semester. So far, I love my senior year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

contransmagnificandjewbantantiality

Hoo boy, I just read all of chapter 15 of Ulysses--that's the one that's in the form of a 150-page-long play--in one sitting. It only took me two hours, which I think is kind of impressive, but I was trying to keep my reading speed up and not get bogged down in the details. Now I need to decompress.

If you think I'm making up the word "contransmagnificandjewbantantiality," you need to read more Joyce.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Baaaa--" [flop]

This video is hilarious. Thanks to Amy for the heads-up.

Also, I'm a little baffled by the sheer numbers of people who find my blog by googling "The brain the brain the center of the chain." Homes, I'm the number one result!

I'm becoming more and more sure that I want to do Teach for America after I graduate.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gloomy Monday

This afternoon I received news of two (unrelated) deaths. I didn't know either of the deceased, but both were loved ones of friends or friends of friends. One death was expected and came at the end of a long illness. The other was unexpected. I got the email in Spanish class (I took my computer with me so I could work on the Apocalypticism catalogue afterwards) and I nearly started crying right then. Please keep the families and loved ones of both in your prayers, and take care of yourselves; know that I love all of you.

"See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

yes I said yes I will Yes.

Topics of conversation last night included, but were not limited to: Japanese pornography, Chilean telenovelas, Maria Izquierzo, Beverly Hills, 90201, French cinema, Russian cinema, Foucault, French postmodernism, David Foster Wallace, Jorge Luis Borges, metafiction, metaliterature, postmillenialism, premillenialism, the Millerites, Jonathan Edwards, "A Humble Attempt," "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Lolita, Nabokov, but most of all James Joyce and Ulysses: Joyce's epic project, whether Leopold Bloom is dirty old man, the correspondences with The Odyssey, Irish nationalism, Jewish messianism, transcendence, immanence, why all the women in the novel are on their periods, and whether Joyce is too allusive for his own damn good. Oh, I love it.

But now back to summarizing Jubilees and the Book of Enoch and the Sefer Zerubabel.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I think I'll just starve, thanks

From yesterday's article in Escapes section of The New York Times, "Setting Out Into the Wilderness With Only a Knife" by Jonathan Green:

"Mr. Nestor has regularly dined on pack rats, mice, and squirrels on his long sojourns intot he wild. 'When it's winter and there is no food on the ground, you have to eat that to survive,' he said, shadows cast by the campfire flickering over his face...'Mice are too small to skin, so you just throw them on the fire and eat them whole. Rats you throw on for 30 seconds to burn off bubonic plague, lice, and parasites and then skin them. If you're really hungry you just eat them straight down.'"

...BUBONIC PLAGUE?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Luckily, Portland State is just a bus ride away

Fridays I lunch host for the Admissions Department. That means I meet visiting students (usually there's only one or two or three at a time) at the Manor House at 11:45, take them to lunch in the cafeteria, and answer their questions about Lewis & Clark. Sometimes it's a lot of fun, and I really enjoy talking with the kids; other times it's like pulling teeth and I'm racking my brain for anecdotes to tell the unresponsive, unimpressed, sullen, or shy--those times we usually end up in awkward silence. I'm good at making conversation with strangers, but there has to be give and take, you know?

Today was more on the awkward side of the spectrum. No one really wanted to talk. I tried to make conversation with a girl from Idaho by telling her that one of my best friends is from there, and she was like, "I don't care about other people from Idaho." She sat in silence for a few minutes, looking around the Bon. The next time she spoke, it was to pronounce a judgment: "There aren't very many cute boys at your school."

It's not like I'm going to argue with her, but no one's forcing you to come here, missy. Hmph!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hermeneutic

It's totally my favorite word. I try to say it once a day, or three times a week at an absolute minimum.

Yeah, it's hard to think of things to post every day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"What do you expect, Mother? I'M HALF MACHINE!"

Over the weekend my mom took Daxie, our cat, to the veterinarian to have a microchip implanted in her back. She's an indoor/outdoor cat and loses her collar pretty frequently, so we thought it would be a good idea to have some form of permanent identification. This afternoon, I got this email from my dad:

Just a brief note via electronic mail ("e-mail") that Mom had a microchip inserted into Dax the other day, right between the shoulder blades. This is in case she is ever lost, or more importantly, found. I've been trying to use the TV remote to make her dance, but no luck so far.

Hahaha!

Updated November 28: Several people have landed on this entry by googling the post title. So in case you're wondering: It's from Arrested Development, after Buster's hand is bitten off by a loose seal (get it? GET IT?) and he gets a hook to replace it. Lucille fires the maid after finding the two canoodling and gets a Roomba to replace her. But then she finds Buster in bed with the Roomba! When she confronts him, he responds with "What do you expect, Mother? I'M HALF MACHINE!" I hope that helps. :-)

Stephen Colbert is my TV boyfriend

WoooO! Democrats took the house!! yeah! And kulongsoski wopn goveronor, fuck yeah.

My friends Matt, Chris, and Steve came oer and Amy and I watched the daily show/colbert report special with them. Matt brought Bacardi 151 and wine and i had a loittle too mujch for a Tuesday evening, but it was fun, and we talked a lot after the show in the lounge, so yeah. I'm so excited an happy about th3 results of the elections. yeah~

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Max Weber: Super Genius!

...And speaking of intellectual crushes, today we started talking about Max Weber in Methods. Seriously, it would be impossible to overstate the love our professor Paul has for Weber; he's been talking him up all semester and even, on the syllabus, named this week "Max Weber, Super Genius." Today he gave a long testimonial about the effects of Weber's theory in his life, how The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism was the best book he read in his undergraduate years and how he remembers sitting in the library reading it and having this amazing moment of revelation that he wanted to devote his life to Religious Studies. It was awesome to see him get so excited and passionate, but also pretty hilarious, the level of his devotion; I wouldn't be surprised if someday the guy wrote a book called Saint Weber.. Some quotations:

"The world will never produce another scholar like Max Weber...he's the supreme, crowning achievement of the discipline...the unsurpassed genius of Religious Studies." (which prompted Eric to whisper to me, "Was Max Weber the Messiah?")

Discussing the differences in Marx and Weber's treatments of capitalism: "And who's right? Marx...Weber...Marx...Weber. Weber's better than Marx...nyah nyah nyah!"

"I'm being dismissive of Marx here...partly to make Weber look that much better."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Horizontverschmelzung (swoon!)

Discussing Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography by David Halperin today in Feminist Theory:

Deborah, the professor: "What did you guys think of Halperin's approach?"
Me: "I love the idea of writing a hagiography for your favorite intellectual. You know, we all have intellectual crushes..."
Deborah: "Really? Who's yours?"
Me: "Um...Hans-Georg Gadamer, the German philosopher..."
Susan: "You're blushing!"
Deborah: "In grad school I had a crush on Max Weber. I kept a picture of him and his wife in my study carrel."
Amy: "I have a crush on Alfred Adler."
Deborah: "Anybody else? Intellectual crushes?"

(silence)

Deborah: "Okay then."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Will all these dreams fit under one umbrella?

Fearfully and wonderfully made

There's something pretty incredibly about listening to someone else's heart beat, and hearing someone else breathe, and feeling his breath, all up close and personal--another kind of mysterium tremendum experience, I think.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday morning

Sleep 'til one, lay in bed and read my favorite evangelical blogs for an hour, shower, hot coffee and breakfast while reading Saint Foucault: A Gay Hagiography, music, clean room, snuggle under purple knit blanket while rain falls outside. Could there be a better way to spend a lazy Saturday?

Edit: I find it hilarious that I'm the number 1 result when you google "what is shiksappeal." But being a non-Jewish girl seeing a Jewish guy does not make me a shiksa, as this blogger explains.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Overheard in the Dovecote, and a conversation fragment from last night

Guy: "Let's sit in the corner. I love corners."
Girl: "Yeah, the corner is a good strategic position."
Guy: "The corner is pretty much the best part of anything."

I'm not the only one!

Me: ..."I don't think Tiffani-Amber Thiesson was on Saved by the Bell."
Daniel: "Yes, she was. She was Kelly Kapowski."
Me: "Are you sure?"
Daniel: "Please don't make me reveal the extent of my knowledge of Saved by the Bell."

I might have to start talking about Patrick Duffy at some point

Okay, I'm officially (as in, I just decided a second ago) doing NaBloPoMo. And if I make it all month, I'm gonna buy me a t-shirt.

Expect to see a sky-rocket in weird tangential absurdities. Peggy, I hope you're happy!