Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gather 'Round Children

Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus.

However, you're not good enough to get presents. No one is. That's why your parents give you gifts under Santa's name--they're trying to make you feel "nice." And maybe while doing so, Santa will see how good they're being and give them gifts someday.


Now, go get Aunty some more eggnog.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh, Thackerey!

As my Croatian murder mystery from Netflix was evidently crushed by a high heel en route, I've been streaming Vanity Fair over the past few days (yes, my internet is that slow). I can't imagine people living like that, so concerned with society, not really.

But in between viewings, I went off to the pool and watched the freshmen boys. They were so simple and happy, jumping off the high dive in unison, hurling water polo balls across the pool. I'm not quite like that. Maybe it's just when I'm alone I'm not like that, but what's the point of spinning off the high dive if no one's watching from the pool below?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

baby steps

11:11 pm

The last few hours are always the hardest. The library is certainly slowing down; I'm the only one left here in the sampler section. I just finished a delightfully frustrating Poirot novel, and I've gotten quite a bit of work done for the next semester--setting up my experiment and assignments for my class. Still, I have four hours left until closing and the media center is likely closed. Do I doze or read dumb things or try to get something more done? (Although really, I'm quite satisfied with myself.)

And looking to the future, where do I go from here? I certainly won't get a parking spot at my apartment this time of night, not one that won't demand I get up by 8:00 am, which is less and less likely. But if I drive home to my parents' house--that's a long icy drive late at night. Eh. One hour at a time, one hour at a time.

7:07

A nice brisk 20 minute powerwalk through the library has yielded this:

Most of the library's clocks are wrong.

The 2nd floor is the most empty.

I've never been in the "F" section of the library.

The 6th floor offices are already closed.

The girl who was sitting outside my study room at 2:00 is still there--has she been there all this time? This means that even if there aren't many people who have been in the library longer than me, there are still plenty who are working much harder. But then, if it was about hard work, I would have grabbed my textbooks for next semester from the bookstore hours ago.

Trashy Non-Fiction

6:28 pm

I have cheerfully moved into that phase of Librarathon known as Trashy Non-Fiction from the Sampler Section. Teachers of troubled students, psychologists of messed up kids, anorexic alcoholics, all those people whose lives sound like daytime television.

It's a lovely phase to be in. I should do something intellectual, like studying Russian (I did bring my textbook all this way, didn't I?) or working on my papers, or at least physical, like walking up and down some stairs--I feel like my legs are beginning to atrophy.

Still, reading these books is educational, right? Read, that's what the poster at the public library says. Besides, how is spending two or three hours reading less-than-high-literature any worse than watching TV for two or three hours (which, come to think of it, I rather did earlier today, didn't I?)

I always have these high expectations of Librarathon: papers I'll write, topics I'll study, insights I'll have. But really, just because I'm at the library doesn't mean I can't space off a little.

Or a lot.

Back to Work-ish

Okay, so after my watching a movie (which turned out, after two hours, to be a mini-series, which turned out, after two hours, that I didn't actually watch the whole thing), I went to go meet with a student of mine who, quite rationally, assumed that we were meeting in my office, even after I emailed him to meet me here. No worries. For the past hour and a half I've been cheerfully plugging away at the poetics/rhetoric paper that has easily had more than 14 pages of meandering and drafting and figuring out what, exactly, I'm going to say. But then I got all...sticky with it. Ugh. What, exactly, do I want to say? It's something about war poetry and rhetoric and Burke and the lack of rhetorical involvement in literature while literary theory was in vogue and...I don't know.

I'm thinking I'll send this next (as always, inchoate) draft to my mom. She's super-nice and I think that I've bothered Dr. Jackson enough today.

And while she's looking over it, maybe I can take a break. Yeah. Maybe I'll finish that miniseries.

Hoppin'

This joint is. Hoppin' that is.

I got to hang out with Chris, who came to visit and almost inspired me to do more work. However, then I went to a viewing room, rented a movie (Snow Queen) and have hunkered in, by myself, to enjoy my orange and powerbar in dimness, peace and isolation.

I wonder if the crowds will diminish over the next few hours.

My but Robert Widsen is a good looking man.

What I Have Brought

It's 8:30 am and I just finished some work, so time to de-work.

Here's what I've got with me on this fine library day:

1. My English 150 folder with all the papers, brochures and revisions that I needed to grade (Check one). I wish I hadn't also brought the papers that are in there for next semester. Dead weight. Well prepared, but dead weight.

2. My laptop (obviously). This is probably the most useful thing I've got with me and my easiest way to "interact with the outside world" so to speak. I'm looking forward to writing things, checking email, entering grades, etc, etc.

3. Six Powerbars. This is probably excessive, but one does want provisionary rations, in case someone comes to visit or something. I haven't had one yet--I had a couple of apricots for breakfast and Powerbars, actually, are kind of gross. Discrete, but gross.

4. A plastic bag of books. This seems a little silly in retrospect--I mean what's at the library if not books? Luckily some of these are library books and once I scrape what I need from these tomes, back they go, catch and release. Still, my favorite Russian textbook and my BSC book are probably excessive to what I need.

5. My wallet. I'll need my ID card to check things out and if I really want to avoid Powerbars, I hear there's a vending machine hidden on the top floor.

6. Some notebooks. Although, I wish I had brought some loose-leaf paper or tear-out notebooks so I can write and throw away things that don't matter. Also, a little plain white paper would be nice if I decide to get all art-y.

7. My headphones. Very useful thus far for listening to podcasts and music without annoying peace-loving library patrons.

8. Some makeup and toothpaste. It is, afterall, the library, not the desert on a horse with no name. There are civilized people here.

That's it. I hope it's not tedious to carry around whenever I move base camps. I wonder if they have temporary lockers you can rent for one day...I think I've seen them by the geneology section..

Librar-thon starts....

NOW! Actually, according to my watch, it's 6:58 am. The security guards must have had mercy on us standing out there in the cold. I showed up about ten minutes to opening, when there were five people besides me already waiting. One guy was wrapped in a fleece blanket. Some of them made small talk about the papers they have due, the finals schedule they have today. A girl on her cell phone was having a conversation about putting in (or taking out--hard to tell) a window of thick glass. I wondered who wanted to hear about her remodeling at seven in the morning. By the time the portly man with the key came by (Santa Claus? Better be careful with my pre-Christmas delusions), we numbered ten on my side of the library. There were a couple of people on the other side, but our door was opened slightly earlier. I was the fifth person into the library. I didn't have a preference on my first base camp, but I wound over to the Honors reading lounge, where, strangely, I'm not alone. Another kid is two tables over from me, typing on another white MacBook, listening to his iPod. Right now, this seems crowded.


Expect updates periodically through the day as I my cheerful vigil keep. If you want to come visit me in the library, you can send me a text--I'll leave my phone on vibrate--or you can just stop by: you know where I'll be.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fanmail

So I mail off my first fan letter today. Well, at least my first real fan letter; I've sent notes of appreciation to the authors of my International Finance textbook (best textbook ever!) and the particularly fine translator of the Phaedrus and some other unfamous-but-excellent folk, but this time I wrote Mr. Spielberg, who actually has a separate address just for fan mail.

I feel so dumb. I'm not an important person to be sending off this note and it's not like I'm some AIDS orphan whose life was changed when she watched every Spielberg film ever and became a major cultural force. I just really enjoyed the last few movies of his that I've been watching. He's a really fine, incredibly respectful filmmaker--never makes the character in his films look stupid and he doesn't patronize them either. He's make huge hits and big flops and he keeps making movies. I'm very impressed with him.

So I figure, even if it's (what 42 cents? I don't know--I have those "forever" stamps) down the tube, there are worse things to waste 42 cents on than sending a thank you note that will never be received.

Then I thought: if I'm this shy and agitated about sending a letter to Steven Spielberg, why am I so cavalier about praying to the King of All Creation (who, incidentally, also is very respectful of his characters)? Do I expect a response all the time? Do I think he pays attention to it? Prayer is very big league, very, very big league, even if it's cheaper than a stamp.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Become a Society Lady/Man!

In this world of cooperation and synergy, we often forget how good it makes us feel to put other people down.

In light of that special feeling, I am officially starting up the Society for the Preservation of Childish Insults, inspired by overhearing a charming boy scout call his brother "dink wad" on the BYU campus. If you would like to receive the SPCI newsletter (or join our board of directors), please email me at mary.hedengren@gmail.com.

This is a wonderful time to be involved with Childish Insults, especially during this holiday season when children will be home from school, gathered together under the Christmas tree, calling each other "Fatty McFats-a-lot" and "Stink-butt."

Please support the SPCI with either financial contributions (stock or in-kind payments are available) or by contributing to Childish Insult development and reporting.


Be a part of it, driphead.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Re: Third-party identification

As discussed earlier in here it occurs to me that Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song(s--there are three of them now) also fit into the List that minorities make to prove themselves. Deep, man, deep.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why do I Like Ales Debeljak Soooooo Much.

Maybe it's his 5th Ave-quality intellect, maybe it's his constant relevance, maybe it's his Enlightenment poetics, maybe it's his anti- postmodernism, but I love Ales Debeljak. I want to be him when I grow up.









And yes, I wrote his Wikipage.