Monthly Archives: November 2008

bleary-eyed

I am so extraordinarily sleepy right now. Corey and my younger brother are out fishing on the Morro Bay rocks. We scanned everything that seemed remotely relevant on the internet and couldn’t find any fishing, clamming or crabbing laws (apparently in the 70’s the limit was 25 pounds of clams–25 pounds!!), so we’ve just been taking what we need.

I read somewhere on the NY Times that one of the keys to making a good, readable blog is making sure to include lots of links to other places. Here goes, I guess.

1) Only 7,000 words to go for nanowrimo, which ends today in 23 hours. I’m going to be one of those people uploading it at 11:55pm, basically (hopefully I’ll be able to upload it a *little* earlier than that…).

2) I’m really enjoying reading Phillip K. Dick’s Valis right now. After reading the first few pages, I was shocked at how Vonnegut-esque it sounded–I guess I have memories of “The Man in the High Castle” and “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” as being very somber, dark and serious.

3) I’ve started doing the one hundred push-ups program again, after getting to Week 5 and then drifting away thanks to getting involved with silly things such as moving back to the U.S. and finding a job. I only just figured out that I did the wrong column today. No wonder my arms felt like jelly afterwards.

I’m watching a replay of the Raptors-Lakers game where Kobe Bryant scored 81 points (apparently now considered a “classic”) and I’m about to pad silently upstairs eat a piece of my grandma’s mince pie. Life is good.

Thanksgiving in Morro Bay was as good as always, this time around with the interesting variation of Corey’s presence. My grandparents are 91 and 84, respectively. They’re pretty mobile, all things considering. I mean, they took the train to Portland for my graduation, and then went to San Diego (in a separate, charter trip) and saw Sea World and stuff.

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– Last night I had a bit of a breakthrough in the classroom, when I realized that the classes that are the most successful are the ones that focus on learning new vocabulary and speaking, and the ones that are only so-so and are a bit of a drag to slog through are the grammar-focused ones. I’m not sure how much this has to do with the fact that I don’t really like grammar myself, which probably comes through when I teach it. Anyway, it’s been interesting (re?)learning the foundations of the English language. I get the feeling that this will make it easier to for me to go on learning new languages (hello, French? Russian…?).

– Since my last post Corey made $800 in a single poker session last night. He lent my bro $100 so that he could play, which he promptly lost. Not really surprising. Also, my phone did end up dying a fizzy kaputzy death (thanks, Portland weather!), but thankfully I got a free one in the mail. I had absolutely no idea that once you own your phone for a certain amount of time you can get a free one. It’s things like these (along with not being able to figure out how to work the Mr. Coffee machine, or turn on the ice maker) that make me feel out of touch with modern life (not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes).

– I rediscovered my Goodreads account. I think the design/layout on the site is really annoying, ugly and frustrating. But at least it’ll help me keep track of the books I read. Just like those long Microsoft Word lists my sister kept way back in middle school. The “Ulysses” slog has stagnated. I’m in a bit of a suburban angst-theme, having just finished “White Noise” and in the middle of A.M. Homes’ “Music For Torching,” based on one of my favorite short stories from “The Safety of Objects.”

So far I’m really enjoying it; it’s one of those books you look forward to reading. In particular like the description of a little girl’s room as “vagina pink.” I wish this book would be made into a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, a sort of Jack and Rose go suburban forty years later type of deal… oh, wait…

– The last time I spoke with my sister on the phone she brought to my attention that it’s been six months (and a bit!) since graduating. What a strange thought. Sometimes it seems/feels like a lot has happened, sometimes it’s like nothing at all….

– I’m leaving on Wednesday to San Luis Obispo to spend Thanksgiving with my grandmother. Thomas and Corey will be coming too. There probably won’t be many mushrooms there (it’s kind of a scrubland), but maybe we’ll get to go hiking and kayaking.

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Have you ever…

… spent a lot of money on a plane ticket, and suddenly find yourself making excuses like “family is important”, “we never get to see each other, only on holidays” and “Grandma’s geting old”?

This doesn’t stop me from feeling slightly ill.

At least Corey’s making a lot of money playing poker.

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Things thought about on a long, extremely wet bike ride home, while listening to Sinead O’Connor’s "Downpressor Man"

– “I hope my phone isn’t dead. The black screen and lack of little red light and general unresponsiveness is a bad sign.”
– “Wow, crashing my bike after going over those wet train tracks makes me want to cry.”
– “Wow, crashing my bike after skidding to a stop on my turn-off on the Springwater Trail makes me make pitiful angry squeaks.”
– “What happened to the little plastic black thingy on my bike handle? I came out of yoga class and it was gone. Was it stolen? Did it slip off from the rainwater and I didn’t even notice it? It’s just bare metal now. Makes my hand colder, and slippier. I hope it’s not expensive to replace.”
– “You know, I actually really like my job. I like that I’ve gotten to know the kids at this point. I really enjoy playing UNO with them especially. Nicholas, the multitasker, reading his Ripley’s Believe it or Not picturebook while writing down his spelling words and playing UNO at the same time. Jonathan, so hard-working, my best bud. Even the older kids who prefer gossiping to working don’t even get on my nerves anymore. I feel you, Wintana, I wouldn’t want to do that lame-looking social studies homework either.”
– “I am really, really looking forward to buy expensive new rain pants.”
– “I am really, really looking forward to buying galoshes and not having sloshy water-filled shoes. Wretched Californian-purchased, Cambodian-made merchandise.”
– “I have to write 4,000 words for NanoWrimo tonight in order to catch up with the quota I’m supposed to have. When did this stop being fun and start feeling like school again? A) When you no longer have a 3-day weekend. B) When you realized you are 16,000 words in and you have not yet explained why/how your main character thinks he is/actually is a werewolf. Considering this is the supposed central crux of your ‘opus,’ THIS IS SOMEWHAT OF A PROBLEM. C) You started rereading your work and editing it. NO, FOOL. THAT IS NOT THE POINT OF THE EXERCISE.”

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Sun-day mor-ning

Last night and today were great! A dinner party that I originally thought was just going to be five people, but somewhere-somehow along the way it morphed into twelve. Cara had a friend visiting from L.A., and Laura’s cousin was visiting from Montana, and then Cara’s freshman year roommate showed up with two other Reed alumni, and then Savannah (another spring-fall senior) appeared with her man, and and and… well, the more the merrier! Matt was cooking that night and fortunately he made porcini-sausage-potato soup (an enormous pot of it still sits in our fridge and I’ve had two bowls today and counting), sauteed tuna steaks and cod rolled in hazelnut crumbs. Mmmmdelicious. I like this traditional saturday night dinner congregation we have going on. We’ve had people over for dinner every Saturday ever since we got back from Ecuador (almost two months now–where does the time go? I mean, I know it FLIES, but where does it GO?). I like it. I like the feelings of New Orleans-ish hospitality.

Everyone ended up sleeping on our floor. I guess I’m an early riser because I was up for ages before everyone else came downstairs. Corey made johnnycakes (pancakes with cornmuffin mix) and we made ghetto coffee, which involves a paper towel, tupperware and the microwave set on High. I got to talk to Corey’s grandfather for a brief bit on the phone this morning. He has a sweet Cajun accent. He talked about how when he was sixteen he had eighteen girlfriends, or maybe how when he was eighteen he had sixteen gilfriends, and asked when I was going to come visit. Soon, hopefully?

We’d originally planned on going to the Bybee Hot Springs, but we got off to too late of a start, so instead we ended up going to Multnomah Falls, which is just as nice.

Not many mushrooms around, surprisingly, despite how wet and misty it was.

Some sad things have happened to some people who are close to me in the past two weeks. As I said to Cara, “It’s just one thing after another, isn’t it?” Another phrase I’ve become very fond of repeating is “Que drama.” As well as a Colombian saying, “Que lio,” which I’m not sure how to translate.

My mother and younger brother get here tomorrow. I have Monday and Tuesday off of work because of Veteran’s day (Monday is a planning/meeting day for the teachers, or a puente as we called them in Colombia. It’s kind of nice, I guess, though it basically means I won’t be making money.

I’ve read “Persepolis” and “Watchmen” in Powell’s the past week. “Watchmen” was great. “Persepolis” didn’t grab me as much as I expected it to… maybe just because I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. Maybe if I go downtown tomorrow I’ll continue the comic-books-on-days-off trend and read “Preacher”? Graphic novels are good books to read when I have a limited reading session because I tend to go through them very quickly (“Watchmen” took two sessions, “Persepolis” one).

I also read “The Dogs of Babel,” a very engaging read written by a Wesleyan alumn(na? ni? whatevs, grammar police). It was just one of those books that you look forward to reading because it’s easy to slip into the narrator’s voice, so you make the extra effort to remember to put the book in your pack each morning so you can read it on the bus. I need to go to the central library to pick up the books I have on hold for me there (Orwell’s “Burmese Days” and another one… can’t remember what).

I’m supposedly reading “Ulysses” right now… but that’s definitely a book that you just don’t carry around to casually dip into from time to time. “Ulysses” expects dates, appointments. Your full mental attention. I’ve liked the first chapter so far, with all those ocean and water references. It makes me feel all smart and schtuff, like “oh yeah, I get the parallels with ‘The Odyssey’ here! Wine-dark sea and all that y’know, bitcheeeez.” I love books where characters from other novels reappear (HI STEVEN!!). I love the whole small self-contained literary universe (YEAH SANTA MARÍA THEEZIZ REPREZENT). In that vein, the next book I definitely want to read is Bolano’s latest opus. At least, it’s his latest considering that it’s his last. ‘Cause he’s dead. And stuff. I also need to track down the list of books I made in Ecuador to read that people recommended to me. Like Phillip K. Dick. I need to start making things-to-read lists again so that I’ll have it clear in my mind what to get when I go to the library!

Today Cara told me that my ex-boyfriend asks about me every time he sees her. BOY THAT MADE ME FEEL WEIRD. When we got home from the falls I watched “Fargo” on youtube with my headphones while Corey played some online poker and listened to country music on pandora (my new favorite song is officially “Red Dirt Road”). Maybe these two things (“Fargo” and Caras comment) explain my somewhat ambivalent emotions towards the human race in general right now. Or maybe I’m just cross because I want to floss my teeth.

I wanted to write a post about how creepy/mildly fascinating it is to have such privileged, behind-the-scenes access to Obama’s family (especially his daughters), but maybe instead of just writing a whole post about it, I’ll just say that it’s creepy. And yet mildly fascinating.

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yester/today

Yesterday (…today?) didn’t go so good.

I was nervous during class, so I didn’t do as good of a job as I feel like I normally do. I was snappish with the kids.

While cleaning up at 8:30, the janitor told me that Obama had won the election.

While biking over to my friends’ place, the people whooping in the streets and the fireworks going off served as a resounding confirmation.

We spent a long time in front of the TV and then in the bar.

Now I’m at home, in the armchair, about to get up and make some Sleepy Time tea. I feel strangely melancholy. Just drained, maybe?

I need to remember that I can’t do everything right all of the time.
Tomorrow is a new day.
It’s time to get to work.

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