proustbot: (clint eastwood)
I saw Captain America: Civil War last night. (It was fine!) Midway through the credits, the group with us left the theater, and Wife A. and I shrugged at each other and settled down to watch the rest of the credits.

When we walked out of the theater and found them waiting for us, my heart literally fell, because I knew that they wanted to make contemptuous comments about low-brow pop culture and summer blockbusters. (Bear and Veronica did not disappoint in this regard.)

Wife A. glanced at me. "I'm summoning an Uber!" she chirped. "We'll be out of here in five minutes!"

It was a very long five minutes.


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Name of the Rose )
proustbot: (But it was she and not the sea we heard)
Wife A. decided to jaunt home for a few days, so I'm feeding her cat, Smallsie. Smallsie's name is ironic; he is a massive orange tabby cat. His shape can best be described as "bowling ball perched on tiny, dainty feet." He's not soft or squidgy at all; to pet Smallsie is to pet a dense, hard-packed body with an iron-like musculature.

So last night, after Ze Bar with Wife A. and the Dude and Lockwood (and after I dodged out on drinks with Thornton and Vidalia), I stumbled home to feed Smallsie. While he ate, I turned on You've Got Mail, and after ten minutes, Smallsie climbed up on my belly ("Oh, god," I groaned, "right on the breast...!") and proceeded to make bread on my brand-new T-shirt with tiny pricks of his dainty claws.

This morning, I drowsily repeated the process. We've now reached the part in You've Got Mail where Tom Hanks is about to discover Meg Ryan is the woman with whom he's been anonymously corresponding.

The Tombs of Atuan and All She Was Worth )
proustbot: (walk of shame/terror)
Two Pressing Questions as I grudgingly arise to greet the day:

1. Conan, what is worst in life? Is it proctoring a three-hour exam on a Saturday while being extraordinarily hungover?

2. Will my students notice/care if I administer this exam in sunglasses and pajamas?

(I like to brag about not getting hangovers, and while it's true that I don't get headaches or dry mouth, I do get filled with nihilism and smell alcohol-y, and also I want to take a lot of morning naps.)

(I had dinner at F.'s house last night with his husband and J. and A., and the five of us went handily through four bottles of red wine. And then I had a beer with Wife E. and the Dude and drunkenly meandered home at one this morning. And now: exam time.)

(Tonight is our annual dept party, a notorious venue for drunkenness and dancing. Am I going to make it? Am I going to make it?)
proustbot: (Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky)
I.

The other day, I was going through some old stuff, and I found a birthday card from Veronica & Spouse from last year. The latter's contribution to the card was normal and uplifting; the former's contribution was a sly, rambling mock-diatribe.

At the bottom, he included a final line in ominous lettering: "P.S. We are your friends."

II.

We were pedaling exercise-bikes at the gym, and I was complaining to Gosling about a long ago time, when Wife A was attempting to reassure a friend that I wasn't mad at said-friend right when I was in the middle of castigating said-friend.

"It was, like, read the fucking room," I huffed. "Obviously I am angry; stop telling her that I'm not angry and it's all okay."

"Uh-huh," Gosling said.

"It's like her whole thing for managing people," I said. "And if there's one thing I hate, it's being managed."

Gosling glanced at me. "Uh, yeah," he said, carefully deadpan. "I think that's something pretty well-known about you, dude. Nobody who knows you would ever try to manage you."

I peered at him suspiciously.

proustbot: (young and drinking in the park)
Three years ago, I did one of those little "year in review" questionnaires that used to be all the rage. Today, it amused me to fill it out again re: 2015, the little year that could.

2015 in Review )
proustbot: (et je veux ta revanche)
Once upon a time, there came across our list-serv the advertisement for a cat seeking a good home. Her owner was returning to Germany, and he wanted to ensure that the cat had a good home.

Then there followed a long week for me and Brother Bear in the office, because an esteemed colleague [L.] had fastened upon the idea of adopting the cat. Every day, we were regaled with a new chapter in the continuing saga. Should she get this cat? What would her roommate say? He was opposed. But no, he was coming around. Would the New Cat get along with the Old Cat? The roommate was doubtful. But he was coming around. Now he has met the cat. It has been decided. The cat is being acquired.

(Each installment lasted about an hour, during which time we grew even more glassy-eyed and remote.)

We were relieved when the Cat Saga had concluded. But!

Then we went, en masse, to a play from Bear's ex, and as we were chatting in the audience before the curtain rose, Wife A. drunkenly turned to me. "I'm adopting a cat."

"Cool," I said absently.

"[So-and-so] just told me about it. One of her friends is going back to Germany, and he wants a good home for his cat..."

In the farthest recesses of my brain, a little alarm bell began to ring. "Um..."

"It's gonna be great," A. continued gleefully. "It's the best news. I've always wanted a cat, and now I'll get one. It's perfect! I'm so excited. I just need to email [German Dude] and then--"

"Wait," I said weakly. "Wait. [German Dude]? Is this [German Dude's Cat]?"

Around us, the friends who had dinner with A. before the play have the glass-eyed looks of humans who have been hearing about this cat for the last couple of hours.

"Yes, of course," A. burbled.

"I think [L.] is adopting that cat," I said.

"What. No."

"Um," I said.

"No," A. insisted. "That's my cat. I'm going to adopt it."

"Yeah, I think [L.] and [German Dude] have already agreed to it," I said. "Uh, trust me. I've gotten to hear about it all week in the office."

"No," A. said. "No."

Therein followed a long, meandering, stream-of-consciousness rant from A. about [L.]'s various crimes and misdemeanors, and how she was always trying to take the things that belong to A., and it wasn't fair, god dammit. I made jokey interjections during this extended rage aneurysm. Meanwhile, in front of us, Keats sank further and further down in his seat as A.'s words washed over him and everyone sitting around us.

Anyway. The play starts. A. settles down. There is calm and quiet and Dramatics for an hour.

Afterwards, we were standing around the front of the theater, waiting for Bear's ex to come out so that we could congratulate her. We were chatting about nothing in particular when A. -- standing on the other side of the group -- shouted to me, "I'm still really upset about that cat."

On the other side of Bear, Keats muttered, sotto voce, staring off into the horizon, "Yeah, that cat has taken us all on a real emotional roller coaster tonight."
proustbot: (Default)
WIFE E: [after telling me a tale of woe] "Sorry. I didn't mean to ruin your day."

ME: "Hmm? I mean, you didn't. You couldn't. You're talking to someone who has seen Mad Max: Fury Road three times in its first week of release and who is currently eating a 'Pumpkin Pie'-flavored Pop-Tart. I am pretty unflappable at the moment. I am living my Best Life."
proustbot: (instant intimacy)
Exciting recent adventures: I broke my left wrist last month and now have a bitchin' two-inch surgical scar (and an annoying physical therapy routine and a metal plate that will be setting off airport detectors for the rest of my life). Last week, I fled Spain and went up to Germany, where I hung out with Wife E (the best wife) and one of her friends, a strange and delightful German dude. (This was the first time I've been in Germany in eight years; the experience was a useful corrective to my rose-tinted memories of being an oblivious twenty-year-old in Berlin.)

Books: Louisa May Alcott, Rose in Bloom )

Television: HIMYM 2x11-13: How Lily Stole Christmas, First Time in New York, and Columns )
proustbot: (everybody's crazy about a sharp-dressed)
I turned over the keys to my apartment on August 13 and jetted down to the parental homestead for ten days of video games and sisterly bonding.

Dragon Age II, Tales of Xillia, and Skyrim )

On August 22, I flew back North to attend a dissertation defense and hassle H., followed by hijinks in Philly with TDR. I killed some time in DC, and then I came back for five nights of sleeping on the floor of The Dude's and Wife E's new apartment. When originally laying out my plans during the summer, I had budgeted a lot of dead time in the States, in case my Spanish visa proved difficult or obstreperous. Instead, I got my visa in record time and spent a lot of time wishing that I had planned differently, gone ahead to Spain, avoided the vagabond life of my current existence. But that regret faded in my last week of Baltimore -- it was worth it to finally be able to see Wife E again after a year of separation, and it was worth it to spend quality time with Ys, who will probably be gone when I return (if I return) next year.

And then I flew to Spain -- not the country of my heart, not exactly, but definitely a country within which I can comfortably live for the next year (or longer). Hurray for field years.
proustbot: (Mendou Shutaro)
Hey, guys, remember when we were all fourteen-years old and filling out quiz-memes on our LiveJournals?

Let's return to those times!!1 )
proustbot: (the best hill driven by black wine)
From my notes from today's trip to the archives: "Letter to the king from Friar Agustin, presumably about his nun plan."

(Apparently the plan was: so many rich widows, your Majesty! So little time!)

Lolita and the Hobbit )
proustbot: (liz)
TDR: "Hey, I heard the best line the other day. 'That guy is so far in the closet that he's practically in Narnia.'"

WIFE E: [sleepily] "Are you implying that Aslan is gay?"

NATALIE: "Yes. Just like Jesus Christ."

The Woman Warrior, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, and Anya's Ghost )
proustbot: (et je veux ta revanche)
E: "Hey, whose sneakers are these?"

ME: "I dunno. Maybe they belong to A.'s boyfriend?"

E: "Oh... I thought maybe you were having a secret affair with H. And that these belonged to him."

ME: "Um, we live together. How would I keep an affair a secret from you? Wouldn't you notice someone else...in the apartment...all the time..?"

E: "Well, that's the thing! You're tired of keeping it a secret! You just wanted to let me know! And the sneakers were just your first subtle move!"

ME: "Yeahhhhh... Next, you'll start finding hip-hop CDs and Members Only jackets all over the house."

E: "Then I'll just start finding you in different places in the apartment, and you'll be looking down at tiny framed portraits of H. And sighing."

And then E.'s boyfriend decided that our conversation was done and that our laughter was immoderate.
proustbot: (Floreat Etona)
I.


GOSLING: [to me] "I realized last night that I've never left your house sober."

II.


ME: "So I've decided to crash your seminar this semester!"

SIMON: [deadpan] "Oh, good. It'll add a nice 'I do what I want' element to the conversation."

III.


WIFE E: "They're words from World War I. Made-up words! Words of convenience! Words that dying men scream from the trenches!"

IV.


FORMER ROOMMATE: "You're coming to visit me, right? Remember: what happens in Spain stays in Spain. If you know what I mean."

ME: "Does that mean we can kill a man with impunity?"

FORMER ROOMMATE: "Yes. Just like that singer whose song you're always quoting when I ask you personal questions! Like, 'Do you have any secrets you want to tell me,' and you say, 'Well, this one time in Reno...'"
proustbot: (Liberty Leading the People)
I.


[SCENE: It's noon. A. and I just got home to find The Dude at our kitchen table. We prepare to start baking cookies. He is still in his PJs.]

ME: "Should we start drinking? I think we should start drinking. Hey, Dude, do you want a beer?"

THE DUDE: "Well, I think...guys, I think that I shouldn't start drinking for the day until I take a shower at least, you know?"

ME: "Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good rule of thumb. For life."

II.


SUFFOLK: "I swear, if he does not wear a tux, I'm going to beat him to death with a chair."

III.


ME: "So my mother thought that your facebook profile picture was actually a picture of you..."

FORMER ROOMMATE: "Really? Oh man, I can imagine that call home: 'Hey, Mom! My roommate is really cool! He's from Peru! He has a beard, he's kind of short...and he's fifty years old.'"
proustbot: (Our sole remaining neighbor was the sky)
[SCENE: my roommate E. was just diagnosed with mono]

ME: "I'm just impressed that you're still...upright, you know? I feel as if most people with mono are bed-ridden for weeks."

H: "Eh. I had mono once. It was a bad weekend. And then I cut back on my work a little bit, and it was no big deal."

EVERYONE ELSE: [staring at him]

E: "Are you serious?"

H: "Wait, I didn't mean--"

ME: "You conquered mono on the strength of willpower alone?"

H: "You guys, hold on, that's not--"

D: "[H.] is a Nietzschean superman!"

H: "Guys, seriously, all I'm saying is: Mono and I had a staring contest, and Mono blinked."
proustbot: (asia at odd hours)
Today we jaunted down to the annual neighborhood street festival, which exists primarily as an excuse for "day drinking in public." It was at some point in the middle of that drinking that we passed a face-painting booth that offered to paint Baltimore mustaches -- including the "Waters," the "Poe," and the famous "Natty Boh" -- for $1.

Naturally, Wife A. and I waited in line for 30 minutes with a lot of hot, anxious children who wanted unicorns and butterflies painted on their face in order to get the Natty Boh mustache. (We drank a lot of beer while we waited.)

Later, we passed a little girl who had made herself a Natty Boh moustache on a Popsicle stick, and we made her mother take a picture of her with us.

It was a good day.

proustbot: (Default)
WIFE E: "But why are they even called that? Why are they called 'Vienna' Sausages?"

ME: "I dunno. Presumably there is some connection to Vienna...in Austria, you know?"

WIFE E: "Like what? The Third Man?"

And then I laughed and laughed.
proustbot: (But it was she and not the sea we heard)
Yesterday, I woke up at 4 in the morning, turned on the BBC, and began typing up an outline about the plurality of the Protestant Reformations as many people in wacky hats streamed through the TV and into Westminister Abbey. (I've gotten some grief about this from my cohort, to which I can only say: if you ever need to muzzily get up early to parse your indecipherable notes about Zwingli's interpretation of the eucharist in preparation for an eight-hour exam that you're about to take, wacky hats and organ music make a nicely soothing accompaniment.)

Then I packed up my stuff, went to the library, spread out my stuff on a group-study table, piled up my books like a fortress around me, plugged in my headphones, turned on my iPod, and took an eight-hour exam. (The questions I decided to answer involve the geographic multiplicity of the Reformations and the historiography of religious violence in early modern Europe.) I haven't taken a timed exam since undergraduate years, but I have written many research papers under ridiculous deadlines in the last three years, and that skill served me in good stead. I took one twenty-minute break to run up to the library cafe and eat a sandwich while flipping through Natalie Zemon Davis' Society and Culture in Early Modern France. Then I ran back down and kept typing. I produced 14 pages, which seems to be the average output for the people in my cohort who took their own exams that day.

Then I got on a bus with some friends and went downtown to the university conservatory, where one of the members of my cohort (who took his own eight-hour exam earlier that day) was singing with a Renaissance ensemble. Two hours of lute music later, we made sleep-deprived smalltalk and tried to go to our favorite pizza place around the corner, only to discover that their kitchen closes at 10. (10! On a Friday night! We were aggrieved.) So we went instead to our second favorite bar, where we drank beer and ate undercooked pizza and they mocked me for getting up at 4 in the morning to watch William and Kate wed. ("But I was just typing up notes," I wailed. "The eucharist! Iconoclasm! Institutional hierarchy!")

Then I went home, curled up sleepily on my roommate's bed while I talked to him about our days, and then curled up sleepily on my own bed. And went to sleep.

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