Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Long Winter

I'm rereading the Little House books right now, as a way to unwind after the mental stress of finals and school.

I just finished The Long Winter.

I love all the books in the series, except Farmer Boy, which I've never read, or only read part of, because it's just about Almanzo's life. And only a little bit of it. Whatever.

I know there are issues with the authenticity of the books, otherwise they wouldn't be labeled as fiction, right? Plus, how much influence did her daughter have, who was anti-Commie and these were published in the late 30s and early 40s... blah blah.

I didn't know that for a long time, and I still don't know the whole story.

But knowing bits of it explains the sheer insanity of the people of De Smet in The Long Winter.

Almanzo Wilder (Laura's future hubs, remember) is determined to save his seed wheat for the next spring. That means not selling it to the starving townspeople. That means risking his and another person's neck to buy somebody else's seed wheat 20 miles from town, in crazy-ass blizzard season. The person makes the same arguments Almanzo's been making the whole book. Almanzo says you can't plant money, but damn, man, I know the winter won't last forever.

And I don't know why the townspeople didn't pool their resources early on. Why did they all freeze in their own houses when they could have stayed in the hotel or a few other buildings all winter, sharing fuel and food? There couldn't have been that many people there. It just hurt my head - we weren't talking about a small town in the 1980s, this is small town's first winter in the 1880s. I thought in the good ol' days, everybody helped everybody else out.

But no, apparently they do not. They are obsessed with not being in debt to one another. Like over nails. (Little House on the Prairie.)

Then there's the racism, which I can explain, so while I may not like it, it at least makes sense. Not like this suicidal winter where they all hid from each other instead of sharing. One man bought up all the fuel. Why didn't people stay at his house?

Pa went over to the Wilder's. They had lots of food, a nice fire, a warm place. Why couldn't he bring his family over for the day? I don't get it. I thought people "visited" in the days before the evil TV took over.

I love this book, don't get me wrong, it just leaves me scratching my head.

And oh-so-gratfeul for the modern world, no matter how fucked up it may be.

ETA: I'm rereading this as well. The introduction, which described the Ingalls' previous ways of life as subsistence probably explains why they're so hesitant to depend on others. It just seems so damn weird to me, is all. I can handle twisting hay to make "logs", but not independence to the point of emaciation. Ok, bad example. But I mean, the rest of the trappings of their life are fascinating, and usually easy to understand. This is not.

Another thing that is not, that started in the very first book, is the stoic nature required of the girls. We meet Laura as four-year-old. Who is expected not to cry. In On the Banks of Plum Creek, when the neighbor's girl takes her doll, she is told "For shame!" when she cries. Fuck that noise. Yeah, I hate little kid tantrums as much as the next person, but tears? Dammit, I still cry. A lot. (Which may have something to do with medications and the constant changing, but still.) Sometimes, I don't know why I cry. My dad got mad at my mom when she cried. I am so glad his poisonous ideas are out of here.

How the hell can it be bad to cry? Or a sign of immaturity?

It's bad to repress your feelings.

Then again, she grew up in the Victorian era, and some of what they say about them is true.

ETA yet again: It seems we reach out quicker in our more fucked up disconnected modern age. Our heater is possessed and will cost 2 grand to fix. My mom has been sick all semester, so yeah right.

The church, which she hasn't been to in a long-ass time, but her friend works (or volunteers there), brought by a get-well card and this oh-so-warm blankie. Not much, but still.

When my family was turned upside down by my cousins' moving in with us and my bad health (which meant smaller paychecks for the mom), we got plenty of food and help from the crisis center and the church and PEOPLE.

And just last weekend, Uncle Danny chopped wood (this electric chopping thing on his trailer) on a friend's property. Mom kept trying to pay him, he refused, and I finally took the money and put it in her purse.

People still give a damn about other people's well being, despite the collapse of society and family and all that jazz.

Yes, Almanzo and Cap risked their lives for the town, but why weren't they pooling their resources beforehand? What was the point of living in town, as Laura asked frequently, if they were even more isolated than they would be on the claim?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some early early cuteness

Funny Pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Yes, I got an A+ in Literary Heritage Honors. This was more reading than writing, but we still wrote. I had 14 journals, and 2 short essays each for the midterm and final.

And yet, this is all I have.

If you've seen my comic blog, well, it's not much better.

Of course, tired, watching Good Eats, blah blah, cute animals, zzz

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Bizarro made me SOL -

Snort out Loud. (Not as catchy, but it's the truth.)

The comic:

Pardon My Planet also made me snort out loud.

It would be lying to say this, but when I saw today's Lockhorns, I said to myself, "Dude! We talked about Cambrian in science! And I remember it! I'm a genius!"

One last thing - the song of the moment is "Teri Kurti Sexy" from the Bollywood movie Vaada. (No, I have not seen it.)

Since I asked to listen to Becky's music earlier (Britney's new album), I thought she wouldn't mind. But she does.

But you don't!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The rest of my grades are up!

It makes up for the lack of new Daily Show and unseen Good Eats.

But I'm watching a Christmas episode of Spongebob, right after a ripped-off It's A Wonderful Life iCarly plot.

The rest of my grades are up.

They're UNOFFICIAL, I must remember that, but still. I doubt they'll change.

Anthropology - A+ Yay! Expected, I had a 100 going into the final. Forgot or didn't remember that she was doing the plus/minus thing.

English - A+ Yay yay yay! I was unsure, I'm always unsure, the essays for my final sucked majorly. But A+? Yes!

Physical Geology - B+ but we knew that.

French - A! YES! I was so worried about that, I thought I'd get another B this semester. I checked my grades on a whim tonight and shouted something like "I got an A in French!" when I saw that, but it was so loud and high pitched, I don't know what I said.

History - still an A. That's one teacher who should have done the plus/minus. Or at least the plus, since I saw my grade the other week and it was a 100.

You know what this means? Unless my mom or dad wins the lottery, they're not taking away my money for another semester or so.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My science grade is up!

Well, the "unofficial grade" is up.

Because of a lot of blah blah, I probably won't see the official ones for a month.

So if I keep checking the unofficial grades before they become official, I can see my grades.

And I have a B plus in science! It all worked out! Oh thank god I am finally done good night.

And an A in History, but I knew that.

No one else has grades up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today is Comics Day.

'Cause, so far, two comics have made me react in a pleasant way.

The second one is today's Rhymes with Orange:

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating (that looks wrong but sounds right and according to the google, is right.), I am a sucker for an Oedipus joke.

Notice I did not say an Oedipal joke. If it featured regular characters in love with their mothers (Momma), that's not what I find funny. No, no. It has to have Oedipus himself. Or the T. Rex version. Whatevs.

That being said, this is not what I mean. (Today's One Big Happy)

Just a kid not getting it. And I guess they made the same joke as RwO - Oedipus Rex/Oedipus the T Rex and Oedipus who Wrecks things. This one is probably for the best, I don't need Oedipal anything in One Big Happy. I like that comic. I also like Sally Forth. Francesco Marciuliano needs to hear that, especially since I probably won't buy the calendar. What, I only care about 2 of the months! I'm sorry!

Aww... too cute.

Today's Mutts

Problem taken care of!

So switching from an Honors section to the regular class is hard work, but at least I'll get a higher grade than a C+. I better. For all that stress.

Anyways, it was so fast!

I called the registrar this morning to see if they remembered me, and they did, and told me to call the College of Arts and Sciences and gave me a name. I called and asked for that name and talked to that person. She didn't sound very happy and told me that it was kinda late for this thing. But I was respectful, and said that I knew, and that I had explained everything, extenuating circumstances, blah blah blah.

She said she'd call me up after the signature was on the paper and it was faxed over.

And then the worry. What if they decided not to sign it and I got a C+ in a class? Oh man, that would suck.

About an hour after I called them, she called me. While I was the phone, not jumping up and down because I didn't sleep but drifted for a couple hours, I got a phone call and message from the registrar's office telling me what this woman was telling me - I was out of the Honor's section and I could see the proof! A quick e-mail to my professor and now I shall wait for his reply.

As for my grades, I don't know when I'll see them. I did the SETEs, so I should see them early, and somebody at the Bursar's office told me I could sign a release to see them early without paying the rental prepayment, but when I got there, the answer was "huh? we never said that."

But I will know if the grade in science is over a C+ if my professor e-mails me back.

This morning, just before 5, the fire alarm went off. The second time this semester. The first time, the sun was still up, other places were open, so I went to another building.

This time I froze. After I was back in my overheated room (how do they that?), I tried to sleep, but couldn't really. I did hit on this brilliant idea. The lies you tell your children about Santa are ok (when you're found out - not before!), because they're make-believe. At the age we believe in Santa, make believe is the shiznit.

This was genius, I swear. I was like Stephen Colbert facing the camera, opening and closing his hand, saying "X(parenting award) please."

Speaking of the Colbert Report, a recent bit bugged me. I've never liked the Tek Jansen or whatever the animated thing is called, but that's not it. But there was a thing about atheist Christmas cards, and he read a mocked up atheist family letter. It bugged me, because dude, most atheists/agnostics(me) don't spend our time thinking about how we don't believe in a god or gods. We think about school or work or LIFE IN GENERAL.

And then this thing on the Daily Show REALLY pissed me off. A Planned Parenthood is offering giftcards, and naturally, they're only for abortions, because that's ALL PP does. They don't do pelvic exams, or prescribe BC, or do pap smears, or a thousand other reproductive issues that women have to deal with. Really pissed me off. A sour note.

Of course, Monday's bit on Canada's crisis was awesome, with Sam Bee as Canada, dependent on Britain (John Oliver), and India (Aasif Mandvi) telling her to rebel. It was hilarious.

And last night, Stephen had a Nixmas tree, because Nixon is totally Santa! Both have a list of who's naughty and nice and have little helpers and break into places... ohmigod, to die for funny.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to Salsa in Sari & All the Pretty Horses

Guess which one I had to read for school?

Guess which one I read in less than one day? Guess which one I liked more?

How to Salsa in Sari By Dona Sarkar is a YA book that I totally checked out because it had the word sari in the title, and I like books about other cultures, which is why I'm reading Beka Lamb, which is a book set in Belize. My English teacher wanted us to read Beka Lamb, but we didn't have time, but I'm still going to give it a shot.

I liked How to Salsa, so I don't have much to say, except like way to short, I want a sequel!!!!

I feel meh about All the Pretty Horses, and it's part of a trilogy and hell to the no, I'm not touching another one of Cormac McCarthy's books. Unless you paid me. I'd read James Joyce if somebody paid me. Gossip Girl. Everyone. Totally. Pay me.

I'm going home tomorrow! I have internet on my phone, which means I get picture and video mail, which means my mom sent me two videos of her talking to Dixie while Dixie barked! Oh, how I miss my baby girl!

All my finals are over, and I'm getting at least a B in Science! Because my professor was all, "If you're not out of the Honors section, you'll get a C+, otherwise something higher." I was so happy! Until I found out the paperwork had been sitting on a desk for a month. Just. Sitting. There. Keeping me in a honors class. So I'm still waiting. Called the registrar's office around 3, and they called back, and then said they'd call me again if they got the right signature before 4:30. No call. Gotta wait til morning. ::groan::

But this is all part of the most important lesson of college - speaking up, asking questions, building rapport to get your way for everything from a grilled cheese sandwich instead of something inedible to getting you out of a class a month before finals.

Case in point - this semester, there is a new bookstore off campus, but close by. I went there last week, with no book after going to the Tiger Bookstore and selling my History Book. (And maybe my Anthro? Or was that Friday? Damn, the days, they flow so quickly.) I had nothing to sell, but I asked some questions, got a card, and went on my merry, cold way.

Cut to Monday. The school bookstore took my English books and my French book, but not the CDs that go with the French book. And the Tiger Bookstore didn't want them either. The new place did, for $15. I paid $25 (normally $50, but I'd just sold something back) for them a year ago, and, since they're only going to be used another semester (new books), the guys there said the other bookstores might give me $5 or something. Whatever. Call me stupid about money and hopelessly young, but when I'm strung out by exams, all I want is the textbooks and associated paraphanalia gone, I don't care about how much you give me.

So today. It's pouring.

Oh, by the way, I overslept. My exam was at 10:30 and I woke up at 10. I seem determined to prove that living on campus is a damn good idea at least once a semester. Oh well, I think extra sleep is better for me than extra studying.

But pouring rain, just not letting up. That's why I'm still here. Last December, I went home on a drizzly day. Huge mistake, just because when it's wet you're just ugh. Tomorrow it'll be cold, but dry. And Becky will get some vegetarian sushi and get to drop off some scholarship thing.

So the school bookstore didn't want my science book.

And neither did the Tiger bookstore.

So I started walking to the other one, the exact same way I did yesterday. Well, some of these roads are old and dippy. And they fill up fast. Walking back to campus, I took a different route with somewhat shallower puddles, but my butt was already wet and I'd left my backpack open (though with just a sealed pack of pencils and such inside it) on the walk to the healthcenter for a flu shot. I did use my umbrella from time to time today. And I wore flip-flops, which was probably a good thing in all those puddles - at least I don't have to wait for my tennies to dry out. Stinky.

Anyways, I show up at this place, and the guys that work there smile, cuz they remember me and they're new and I was there yesterday and I know they're probably not going to take my science book, but dammit, both semesters, I have had all my books bought back and I'm not breaking my record. I told them I was soaked and miserable, it wasn't about the money, it was about getting rid of the book and the class, could they please take it? I got $10. Sweet. And my legs appear no worse for the midday soaking.

My first semester, I called the campus bookstore about one of my textbooks and a guy said they'd buy back a book. When I got there, the answer was no. Same at Tiger. Found the guy, they bought the book. I am learning things.

Also, this song, Mera Babu Chhail Chhabila by Sophie, is awesome.

One last tip - if your roommate flies the coop, make sure she takes her food-related garbage with her and/or her dirty dishes, or you'll get fruit flies and think you're going crazy. Or at least I did.

And I offer a hearty "Thank you" to every driver who did not splash me today and an even heartier "Fuck you!" to the one who did.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

See, anything original I came up with went into my finals...

so this is what you get.

But Fantastic That You're Keeping That Cultural Reference Alive
History professor, lecturing on the early 1900s: I mean, the problem of being the only person with a telephone is, well, who you gonna call?
Class, as one: Ghostbusters!
History professor: You kids scare me.

Boulder, Colorado

Overheard by: They know their history, alright

via Overheard Everywhere, Dec 7, 2008

Also, links to more B/K/Tollywood songs. But you knew that, right?

I have never seen that movie, but I still laughed out loud. Like srsly.

Procrastinating studying for French final... the subjunctive tense can kiss my ass after 10 tomorrow, except I'll need it to drag it back out in like a month, god, the Christmas break is too short, but it's still longer than my sister's!