Friday, December 22, 2006

when half-spent was the night

I am packing a prodigious amount of clothing for my trip home.

No, seriously, I don't know what's gotten into me. It's kind of terrifying. I decided to take my big suitcase because I have gifts to tote, and ostensibly will have gifts to tote back... but I'm filling the space I have, which means I'm taking an awful lot of clothing. I just don't know how to pack for this trip! It's as though the fact that the vacation stretches over the end of the month--into a NEW YEAR no less--suddenly means I have to take every freaking thing I own. Factor in a New Year's celebration out of town (must pack celebratory clothes), get-togethers with friends (must pack something besides long-sleeved Ts and sweats), and the fact that it's a ridiculously warm Christmas (must pack t-shirts AND sweaters) leaves me utterly clueless as to what to bring.

I mean, I'm going to my parents' house for most of it--they HAVE things like shampoo and lens solution, and even if they don't, they probably won't mind running to the store--but I also have to work on my paper, so I need to take Lexis printouts (which, when they hang out in little clusters, tend to be quite bulky), and now that I know what the new Harry Potter book title's going to be (ooooh deathly hollows), I really want to reread Half-Blood Prince... but I don't need to be carrying a hardback book on the Megabus. Plus, if I read a book, I really ought to think about finishing Blindness, if not for my sake, for Karol's...

...I'm overthinking this, and at 2:30 in the morning, when I need to be asleep. Sigh.

Anyway, dear reader, I'm off for Ohio. My blogging will be sporadic, so I leave you with a treat I discovered the other day, and which I'm really, really glad I didn't know about until after my journal draft was done: PeekVid, this unbelievable site for streaming TV shows, and other stuff, too--but take it from someone who literally spent all day watching the first 10 episodes of Ugly Betty: you don't need to venture farther than the TV section for hours and hours of entertainment. Maybe now I can get caught up on this Heroes show everyone's on about...

Also, can I just say that the Boy is the bestest gift-giver ever? I feel like my gift skillz are shoddy indeed in comparison. I am the proud owner of a new pair of upscale coffee-colored Camper pumps and a new shiny silver clippy iPod shuffle! Seriously, he's good.

And seriously, it's bedtime. Happy holidays, reader. Be back soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

burn this whole city down

Folks, don't forget to watch the Colbert Report TONIGHT at 10:30 CST--it's Stephen's showdown with Chris Funk of the Decemberists! (And if you've managed to miss out on the fun so far, go here to catch up.)

Also, I took my exam yesterday--woo, I suppose. I'm "done," but not DONE, which sucks. Stupid paper grr arrgh.

But I'm goin' out a-shoppin' right now. Christmas only 5 days away? Pshaw! Plenty of time!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I wish I had a river

Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes, everyone. Unfortunately, no, I'm not done with exams--I'm taking my (only) exam tomorrow afternoon later on today, even though our exam period technically stretches till Thursday. I do have to revise my journal comment into a proper 2nd draft for my directed reading & research prof... but he's thoughtfully given me till Jan. 8 to turn THAT in, and even though I really, really don't want to spend (any of) my winter break doing work, I probably will, because I've trained myself not to be able to do ANYTHING without a pressing deadline.

Then, Friday, home, just in time for Christmas (yikes! What else am I getting my parents?). I sincerely hope next year's academic calendar gives us a little bit more of a winter break, but it's probably going to be more of the same--test, test, test, then home in a rush right before the holiday. Last year, being able to enjoy my birthday with exams done by the 15th--a fluke, probably. which sucks. At least school won't start again till the aforementioned Jan. 8 (hallelujah).

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling, and I'm supposed to be making a checklist/table of contents for my outline, anyhow. Did I mention that my building is turning off our water from 9am-noon? Because they'd definitely do that on a day when I'm home, not otherwise occupied, and probably would desire to use the bathroom sometime therein. Good thing I actually left my apartment today to see the sign in the lobby, huh? 'Cause that would've been a nasty surprise.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

you say it's your birthday...

...well, it's my birthday too, yeah! And 25 feels a lot like 24, only with rental car privileges, I suppose. Hmm. *contemplates renting car and driving far, far away from her remaining school obligations*

So, Frillgirl tagged me in the holiday song meme that's spreading like hot spiced wine wildfire across the blogosphere, and as a HUGE fan of holiday music, I'm totally down. The only requirement is to name five of your favorite holiday songs and then tag 5 others to do the same... but I'm gonna do more than that, because there's no way I can pick just 5. (And if you're looking to supplement your own holiday music collection, check out WOXY's holiday music stream--lots of new stuff as well as the favorites you already love.)

So, how about 5 classics (staples from the midnight Christmas Eve church service):
Joy to the World
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
O Come All Ye Faithful
Silent Night
Angels We Have Heard on High

And 5 (well, six) more religious ones, with my favorite performers noted (if I have one):
O Holy Night
O Come O Come Emmanuel (LOVE Belle & Sebastian's version)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings (BNL/Sarah McLachlan)
Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabelle
What Child Is This?

Plus 5 classic pop songs:
Thanks For Christmas - The Three Wise Men (really XTC)
Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
2000 Miles - The Pretenders
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby/David Bowie
River - Joni Mitchell (though Peter Mulvey's cover is pretty awesome)

5 newer songs that I adore:
Holiday Road - Matt Pond PA (WHY don't I own any of their stuff?)
O Tannenbaum - They Might Be Giants
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Tori Amos
Christmas Carol - Nerissa & Katryna Nields
The Winter Song - Eisley / Deck the Halls - SheDaisy (okay, I can't decide on just 5)

5 funny songs:
Jesus's Birthday - Bob Rivers
Toy Sack - Bob Rivers
I Want an Alien for Christmas - Fountains of Wayne
Lonely Christmas Eve - Ben Folds
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Elmo & Patsy (ahh, the classic)

5 Hanukkah Songs:
Jesus Was a Dreidel Spinner - Jill Sobule
The Hanukkah Song - Adam Sandler
Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel - South Park
Jesus Envy - Eric Schwartz
Hine Ma Tov - Puzzle of Light

And finally, 5 songs that make me think of Christmas, even though they're not "Christmas" songs:
Winter - Tori Amos
Valley Winter Song - Fountains of Wayne
Blizzard of '77 - Nada Surf
My December - Linkin Park (...yeah, I know, and I'm digging myself deeper by admitting I heard it for the first time covered by Josh Groban--but it's a good song, for serious)
A Long December - Counting Crows (always my favorite, always)

SO. I'm tagging 5 people, and just know that you only have to do 5 christmas songs, not 35 (unless you want to). Happy holidays, dear readers!

Friday, December 15, 2006

a girl in need of a tourniquet

well, shoot.

I was just reminded that in 1999, both Aimee Mann ("Save Me") and Trey Parker/Matt Stone ("Blame Canada") lost out for Best Song in the Oscars to Phil Collins's monkey tune ("You'll Be In My Heart"). That's a double travesty.

Also, if you didn't see the Office's hour-long Benihana Christmas spectacular last night... you seriously missed out. (Fortunately, you can see it again next Tues at 8pm CST.) I knew it was going to be hard to top last year's iPod gift exchange, but this episode was howlingly funny, especially with the karaoke ("you... you... you... you... you... you outta know!"). Speaking of, yours truly had the surreal experience of karaoke-ing in the lobby of her apartment building last night (again, for a holiday party). I'm happy I live in such a friendly place--it's just a shame I couldn't stay longer (or avail myself of any of the free beer/wine), what with a looming Business Associations exam and all. Alas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

in the bleak midwinter

So, a quickie first item: apparently I'm now cool enough to advance to Blogger Beta if I so choose, but I'm a little reluctant because I have the suspicion that one's RSS feed gets messed up when that happens, so it appears to your readers that you're not updating when, in fact, you are. Any beta-Bloggers out there want to confirm or deny this suspicion, or care to provide rationale for/against the switch? Having tags seems novel enough, but are there other benefits? (This reminds me that I really, really wish I had the knowhow to publish a blog from my own damn website, because seriously, why am I paying for the server space again? Old radio show playlists and a dusty guestbook, anyone? Sigh.)

More importantly, however, I wanted to mention that beloved webcomic will be exclusively a webcomic no more come the new year. That's right: R Stevens got himself a syndication deal and he's taking it to the streets! (I mean, um, the papers...?) Anyway, this news totally thrills me--I've followed DS for years now, and it's so heartening to see talent get national recognition rather than mere web notoriety. So, basically, this is my appeal to you to check out his archive so you can get in on the ground floor before the hoi polloi does. (I still get my comics from the Dayton Daily News (secondhand, courtesy of my father), so hopefully they'll pick up DS to fill the holes left by the imminent demise of Foxtrot (?!) and For Better or For Worse (?!!).)

Oh, and do not leave his site without checking out the t-shirts. As proud owner of the Li'l Sis heart, Roger the Cat, and the Buccaneer-Americans Ts, I can vouch for their coolness. (Plus, you can say you bought merch before R Stevens sold out! heh.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

come on fhqwhgads

Couple of little notes from the weekend I meant to mention sooner, but got distracted by final Supreme Court class papers and other miscellany:

The Boy and I watched four rentals in three days, and I can heartily recommend two of them. Well, actually, he watched all four; I unrepentantly slept through Click, but he assures me I didn't really miss anything, so I don't feel so bad. The other clunker was The Break-Up, which, eh. Not terrible, and it featured some great scenes of Chicago, but I left wondering what, exactly, I was supposed to take from the film: if your sig other isn't exceeding expectations, don't nag him--dump him and go travel for six months. He'll get his shit together while you're gone and you'll meet breathlessly, accidentally, on the street with rosy optimism for your future? Sure, right. I can suspend some disbelief when called for (see Love, Actually, which I made the Boy sit through a couple weeks ago and which he found wholly unrealistic, whereas I continue to find it cute and charming), and I'll make a lot of concessions for films involving Jason Bateman (Smokin' Aces, anyone...?), but this film wavered too far between escapist and realist to be much of either. (Plus, not a good date movie. No suprise there, I suppose.)

Excellent, however: Syriana. Engrossing though disturbing, well-acted, complex. And even though I knew it was based loosely on a real-life memoir, I didn't realize just how true-to-life the plot was until the Boy explained how much of what was described actually happened. (See this transcription of a 2001 New Yorker article for more of the real-life stuff, though possibly wait till after you've seen the film for context.) Again, not a feel-good film, but one that makes you think seriously about the way things should work v. the way they actually work.

And finally: Wordplay, the crossword puzzle documentary that you may or may not have heard of. It's very interesting, though, and a lot of fun, as it culminates in the 2005 Crossword Puzzle Championship in Stamford, CT, so you're rooting for the various characters you meet throughout the film. Plus, you can't watch the film without newfound respect for Will Shortz, who just has such unabashed love for his work editing the New York Times crossword and running the yearly championship. If you're a puzzle nut, or if you appreciate a compelling documentary, definitely check this out.

Anyway, one of the contestants in Wordplay is a 20-year-old student at RPI who is shown several times wearing a Trogdor t-shirt. I commented on this and received a blank stare from the Boy, who apparantly missed out on being introduced to the joys of Homestar Runner by a college suitemate. So, of course, after the film I walked him through the intro, and a couple strong bad emails, then a teen girl squad or two (which didn't go over nearly as well as I'd hoped, and at which point I think he started to get a little scared). I also totally forgot how much fun the Trogdor game was, though I do distinctly remember the role it played in my almost not finishing my senior essay. *coff*

I was just honestly surprised that there were still folks out there (even folks with whom I associate regularly!) unacquainted with this particular site, which has brought me such joy lo these four years.

(, my Limozeen shirt is probably the best shirt ever.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter

So, I'm adding the x-mas music to the iPod, as Erica is also doing. "Too early" my ass--I've been ready for Christmas for weeks. I know others feel differently (the Boy, for instance, thinks I'm a nut), and I'm not advocating for the pre-Halloween holiday rush or anything, but I do see merit in getting preparations done during November so that the whole of December can be reserved for enjoying the holiday rather than stressing out about house decorating, etc. It's also how I've been raised: my mom LOVES Christmas. I mean, I can't express in words how big of a holiday this is in our little family. We have multiple trees, some with themes (s'mores ornaments, teeny beanie babies (adorable, trust me), "my" little tree, with all of the ornaments I've accumulated over the years), and a large, dense, elaborately decorated tree that's absolutely mesmerizing. I love watching the lights and studying the ornaments, many of which have become like old friends, most of whose stories I know (and hopefully won't forget, as I've been told time and time again that someday this all will be mine, which is both gratifying and terrifying).

My mom has told me that when she was young, they never prepared for Christmas--some years her dad would come home with a tree on Christmas Eve, some years not, and either way the tree would be out for the trash on Dec. 26. She recalled one year when he came home drunk and never got around to decorating the thing, spending the night instead dragging tinsel for the cat until he passed out. She was so heartbroken to wake up to an empty tree that she swore she'd really, really celebrate Christmas right with her family--and maybe she's overcompensated a bit, but it's not a coincidence that this is my favorite time of year. When I came home from the hospital for my first Christmas, days after entering the world, Mom said I stared at the tree so very intently that it would keep me occupied for hours. And this year, when I won't be home to see the tree till Dec. 22, I take comfort in the fact that it's already decorated and the lights are up on the outside of the house. When I do finally take my exam and go home, I will spend as much time as I possibly can in front of that tree, drinking it in, bathing myself in green and red and blue and yellow light, listening to Christmas songs and remembering when I was finally old enough to help with the tree, how much it meant to me to be able to hang an ornament or twelve, to participate in an annual ritual rife with history and meaning. I could do without presents, honestly--but I absolutely can't live without a tree, no matter how small. (I have one of these plugged in right now.)

Nor can I live without holiday music, which is, I suppose, what got me off on this tangent. High on my list this year is Aimee Mann's new holiday album and Sufjan's set (though I'm strangely captivated by all these Billy Idol Christmas Videos). What, dear readers, gets you in the holiday mood?

Friday, December 01, 2006

it's snowing, it's snowing

...or, at least, it was earlier today. And it THRILLS me, because it's DECEMBER, so it should snow. This is the bestest time of the year, this stretch from Thanskgiving to New Year's--and as of today, you have only sixteen shopping days until my birthday. So, like, better start hittin' the stores, and stuff. Those Family Guy Season 4 DVDs won't buy themselves, you know.

ahem. Anyway. This weather is a little unbelievable: Wednesday, as I was rushing to school to turn in my first draft of my comment, I got so warm I had to ditch my coat--and all I had on underneath was a t-shirt, and I was fine. Today, the weather widg is telling me it's 26, but it tends to both over- and underestimate temperatures at the extremes, so I'm guessing it's more like low 30s. But still--craziness. Plus, now that I'm coming off a couple days of hard labor on my comment, I totally feel entitled to kick back and just watch tv/play on the internet, which I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR because I have another paper due next Weds, not to mention an exam to start outlines for. But all of that just seems so... far away. I suppose I ought to at least choose the case I'm going to write about for my paper, or something. Sigh.

You know, I've had all these great blog topic ideas float in and out of my head today, and now that I'm here and taking the opportunity to write... I've got nothing. Eh. Oh, wait, here's something: Stephen Colbert calling out the Decemberists. You've gotta wait till the end of the clip, but it's laugh-out-loud worth it.

Also, take a look at this really inspired video for Regina Spektor's "Fidelity" (a likely candidate for ExRec '06):