The last week has brought a bounty of shoes. Maybe I have too many pairs; I have 12, three of which are primarily for walking, including one pair that I will throw away as soon as I have a replacement. (O, Roos, you have served me well. So many miles have a walked in thee. The necessity of the replacement unfortunately became quite apparent after my 6.7 mile walk today -- ouch, blisters.)
The first pair is from H&M (predictably enough). I now have a black pair of heels (which need some repair work, erk) and brown pair.
The second pair is. . . wearable boots! By which I mean comfortable boots! Not only are they comfortable, they're real leather! Not only are they comfortable and real leather, they're cute! O happy day! (Ignore the blue socks, dammit. I wanted to be comfortable but not horrifically schlumpy today. . .which led to a button-up shirt. . . which led to a skirt. . . which led to knee-highs. Gah.)
I don't watch very many movies. I can't pin down a precise reason, except maybe that I am usually uncomfortable watching violence or sex (unless there's a compelling reason for it to be onscreen) or bad comedy, which means that most current movies are just out.
Home on spring break. It is delightful, a touch boring, a lot refreshing, and nerve-wracking, since I have, as usual, quite a bit of work to do.
This week I did something I had been planning for a while -- I gave myself some social insurance by crafting a "socially acceptable" list of bouncy music for my iPod, as well as a shorter, but still "acceptable" list of "that one mood music." (It's raining, or maybe the sun is shining, but you're quiet inside and wondering;) The creation of these lists makes life easier for me (after all, when I am in a contemplative mood I don't want to suffer the indignity of digging through my iPod album lists to find music that supports this frame of mind), but it also provided social insurance.
Re: The driving-back-to-Tokyo iPod debacle: Never again.
However, as I dug through the tracks I have accumulated, I realized I needed to gather together another group of songs -- the Tokyo music. I have an unfortunate tendency to completely annihilate a song when I first acquire it -- i.e. I listen to it on loop 20 times or so until I absolutely cannot stand to hear it any more. The upside is, the first time I discovered a piece of music has a definite time and place in my brain. Most of these songs surrender up crisp-centered, wavery-edged memories almost instantaneously, if not of a time and a place, of the feeling of being in Tokyo.
A blog entry from a couple days ago that I never got around to posting. . .
日本語で書けます！凱がありました！！！！ (translation: I CAN WRITE IN JAPANESE! I HAVE TRIUMPHED!!!!) (translation part two: After two hours of fighting with the stupidity that is the Windows Language Bar, it will once again allow me to switch back and forth between Japanese and English, allowing me to do my Japanese homework. If you should experience similar problems -- i.e. the Language Bar won't pop up on your desktop or display that you have different languages installed -- try setting your default language to Japanese rather than English. This doesn't actually make any part of your system switch to Japanese. Makes no sense, but there you go.)
During the first sermon that I went to at Tokyo Union Church last summer, the pastor said, "God has called us to love the city--"
-- the combination of the weather and certain music on my iPod makes my memory extremely selective. I remember my first sight of Boston proper -- staring down the handsome faces of the Commonwealth Avenue brownstones -- the magnolias dripping pink and white -- freshman year, wandering around Cambridge near the old warehouse building that now houses the MIT Museum before and after the first studio, smelling fake chocolate and mint from the nearby factory -- sophomore year, coming into Boston with the rest of the girls in the third studio, totally exhausted, laughing as the people who took the bus were delayed further and further as we strode out across the bridge; that spring melting into the long summer, getting sunburned as I wandered down Shawmut Street and took pictures, the tanginess of a salmon sandwich eaten at a window seat in the buttery; walking down to the waterfront by the ICA and later with Alyssa, getting soaked through to the skin while we stood pressed against the wall of the Chanel store -- junior year, the night walks, down Boylston at all hours -- camping with Marilyn in the women's lounge during spring break, slowly and solemnly playing chess with the enormous plastic pieces a the children's museum -- now.
I love Boston.
It is not my home -- and I will not be here in ten years -- but I think this is the place that I have, at the very least, started to become an adult -- and I will remember spring in Boston in my store of beautiful things-to-hold --
-- and I hope, I hope hungrily, that I will love another city as much.
Embarrassingly enough, after writing that last post I crashed and slept for 10 hours.
I have a lab notebook entry to finish, but I have been working pretty hard for the last three days, so instead I am going to post the end of a story that we wrote as a class for Japanese. It is probably pretty horrendously ungrammatical, but here we go. [EDIT: Yup. I still haven't had the guts to go through and make all the suggested changes by my teacher, partially because I find it very difficult to read her handwriting.]
Problem #1: I have a lot of work that needs to be done by tomorrow. Problem #2, which keeps me from dealing from problem #1: I am really tired, so it is hard to focus. Problem #3, which keeps me from dealing from problem #2: It is GORGEOUS outside. 60 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. It would be a pity to waste such a day by sleeping. Problem #n, which keeps me from dealing with problem #3: See problem #1. . . (problem letter b: I am kind of lonely, which is not conducive to fixing ANY of these things.)
I think my inability to type is probably going to decide this issue.
I am working on a longer and (I think) more interesting entry. I leave the reader with this screenshot.
YES I SWEAR I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MY THESIS. SEE?? SEE THE EVIDENCE???
I am in a state of scatter-brained panic currently.
Things I am thinking about:
1. Thesis. I need to find photos of the inside of the Logan Christian Church, pre- and post-1960. I know they exist, because I've seen them. I just have to figure out who to call to beg for them. Everything else is AutoCAD and Daysim, which is just matter of pounding it out.
2. Neurobiology test on Wednesday. I'm wondering if studying needs to be any deeper than memorizing the equation sheet and the toxin sheet -- that was pretty much the way to do the problem sets.
3. Japanese. ARGH WHY DID YOU MAKE MY LANGUAGE BAR INACCESSIBLE, WINDOWS? Apparently the service pack 2 makes it become invisible, which makes it a bitch and a half to type anything in Japanese. Which is bad when you have a story to write (as I do.)
Then there's my new kanji study regimen, which consists of substituting practicing kanji for sleeping in boring portions of 7.02 and 7.29.
4. Next year. I need to fill it up. I want to go to Europe. I NEED MORE OPTIONS. I NEED A JOB. Ugh.
5. Applying for stuff.
6. Gondoliers poster. I'm trying to find pictures of happy people on the Albrecht Durer sketch website I mentioned before.
that she looked at the work from different classes as a series of fires, and herself as a firefighter.
The thing is, she said, you just have to work on throwing water on the fire that's burning the most ferociously right now. You can never put them all out at the same time, so you have to concentrate on not letting any given fire get too out of control.
This thought arrives after getting my computer infected with a package of viruses yesterday from the 7.02 lab pictures, as well as trying to get baking done last night for various commitments so I could exercise this afternoon, and thesis, and Japanese. . .
I think it must be utterly unsatisfying to not be able to blame someone for natural phenomena that you do not appreciate or (at least profess to) understand.
Example. "God, I understand the initial source of cramping. But really? Is it really necessary to involve my lower back and digestive tract as well?" Then, crabbily, not directed at anyone in particular: God is clearly a man.
This is why I couldn't be an atheist.
I bought a book, because I have no self control.
Or rather, because when I walked by the poetry section I picked it up, because I had heard of the poet, and flipped to this page --
. . . Still the atmosphere quivers with the initial word dressed up in terror and sighing. It emerged from the darkness and until now there is no thunder that rumbles yet with all the iron of that word, the first word uttered --- perhaps it was only a ripple, a drop and yet its great cataract falls and falls. . . .
Shades of last term: Wandering the Internet, the sky dark through the hints of glass on the fourth floor in the main buildings, the windows and skylights reflecting the light of monitors and fluorescent fixtures back down on the startling number of students who are far from their beds at 1:00 AM on a Monday morning.
But they are doing their own work, and I am merely printing a poster for the Shakespeare Ensemble (which I am not technically involved in anymore, but given that 50% of Fenway still is, I decided to be friendly.) There is something weirdly liberating about being out at 1 AM when you don't have to be, as opposed to being out at 1 AM because you have work left to do. Last term I pretty much felt. . . trapped, every time I walked into studio. Staying up into the small hours of the night working is made that much more desolate when you are a mile from home.
I attribute the fact that I have no great religious conflicts about evolution to the following exchange, which occurred between me and my mother when I was about 5.
"Mommy! Where do dinosaurs fit in the Adam and Eve story? Is one of them not right?"
"No, dinosaurs and Adam and Eve are different. But they're both true. . . don't worry too much about it."
And I haven't.
As for global warming, I aggressively do not care. Saving energy? Sure, I care about saving energy. I'll go work on that. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT GREENHOUSE GASES, CARBON FOOTPRINTS, OR AL GORE. I'm just going to focus on saving energy. Leave me alone.
I know what compromise about teaching these issues in schools would make me happy. All the little kids would learn the scientific theory, and then the next day, we would talk about reasons why these theories are challenged by certain groups of people who aren't scientists. Reasons like, "They feel it challenges their religion, which is central to their way of understanding the world," and "They worry that it undermines the value of life." I think the sooner kids learn that things are not black-and-white, the better off they will be . . .
Another conversation, between myself and my talented-and-gifted teacher in fourth grade:
(me) "People who cut down rain forests are bad!"
(my teacher) "Not necessarily. . . sometimes they have no other options to make a living."
We all have reasons for how we act. . .
Reading The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov, for Literary Society. So far the most interesting character is Satan.
somewhat tired and a little glum. I missed a couple assignments -- one in Spanish, because she changed it from the syllabus during class and I didn't quite understand what she was saying -- and one in Japanese, because I just sort of let it buzz by (we're supposed to be writing a blog entry online, and I forgot.)
I'm worried I didn't get my thesis proposal done in time. I'm worried I'm not going to get my MISTI Spain application done in time. I'm worried . . . that I'm not going to get my Japanese homework done. I have two hours and two pages left. Argh. . . I feel guilty that I added 4 TBS instead of 2 TBS of maple syrup to my oatmeal this morning. I swear it was an accident, and it tasted too sweet, but I didn't want to throw it away. I also feel guilty that my proposal for the Gondoliers poster is a composition of pieces rather than an entirely original artwork by moi. It seems like I'm cheating. I need to think some more about that. . .
I was reading an architecture friend's blog/twitter and feeling mightily inadequate. It seems like most of my architecture friends have done all these marvelous things -- Hawaii workshop, Cambodia workshop, the Veneto experience, study abroad in Copenhagen, study abroad in Delft, working in Paris. . . I feel kind of dumb and small in comparison. Yes, I went to Japan, but I was incompetent and confused and feel approximately like the same person I was before I went, which is to say, unpolished, uncoordinated, and uncool. I did not have deep thoughts about urban planning while I was there.
To make myself feel better I will now post things I found on her twitter site that did not make feel inadequate, although now I want to play with watercolors.
Kitties. In honor of Kitty, the Fenway House Feline (her name is actually Zelda, but we are all maladjusted so we call her Kitty. She is a dog in catpants. She lets me rub her tummy and wants to play all the time.)
Still have a metric crapton of Japanese homework to do tonight, of course.
Spent the last 1.5 hours working on my mockup of the Gondoliers poster. It actually looks something like what I imagined. I am pleased. It needs a lot of cleanup, of course. And a lot of thought about what would go on the t-shirts. . .
Handed in a "version" of my thesis proposal. Ugh. Sometimes I am just . . . a rat. A stinky rat.
I am trying to pound out the last bit of my revised thesis proposal -- surprise, the methodology section! (Also an extra paragraph on heating systems.) I'm definitely skipping 7.02 lecture.
I found this clever blod by way of an architecture friend: 1 design per day. She preferred the "cat hammock coffee table," but the entry that keep coming back to is this one, about kitchenware. I feel ambivalent about the design presented but excited about the possibilities (which maybe could be applied in pottery?) The home page of the designer is here. Interesting duck. I am a little put off by the sex toys (one appears to be attached to a mitten), but interested in the furniture and household objects.
An architecture friend emailed out about the most recent page in this blog, but I really enjoy the leaves.
Actually I really like the whole blog so far. . . it is very very charming.
Speaking of things that are charming.
I follow about 20 artists on deviantART, primarily fantasy artists of various sorts, since my account there is kind of a leftover from my somewhat more single-minded high school days. Nowadays I mainly look through the "Daily Deviations," for things that are beautiful, unexpected, fun, or otherwise wonderful.
That being said, I still heartily enjoy most of the artists I watch. A German illustrator I love both for her style and content is cidaq. Her illustrations are charming (there's that word again), whimsical, a touch scary, and altogether rather magical.
In character. (Courtesy of Stumble.) This blog entry is quite brilliant -- the work of photographer Howard Schatz (no, I hadn't heard of him before either), giving about 10 different well-known actors a series of three very different prompts and capturing their facial expressions.
This doggy photography was created by Sharon Montrose, via Cup of Jo. GREAT DANE.
So, at this point I am approximately 25% of the way to my weight-loss goal.
I have been slowly (oh so slowly) inching my way along since January 4, using the patented Sharon "try to eat less and spend lots of quality time on the treadmill" diet. I count calories. I set limits. I try to rationalize when I go 200 calories over. Occasionally I splurge and have a muffin (but not just any muffin! no. a muffin with maple frosting AND streusel topping.) or eight cookies worth of cookie dough. I feel guilty; I pretend it didn't happen the next day and make faces at the scale when it argues with me. Given all that, I have still lost about 10 pounds in two months -- which probably reflects more on how very much I weighed to start with than any super dedication on my part. I honestly can't quite tell whether my pants fit a little better or whether I have just stretched them out. Sizes in general are not a good measure of weight for me -- I am generally a "size enormous" in anything vaguely trendy, 60% because I am chubby and 40% because I have wide shoulders. (thank you Dad.)
Right now I'm running about 15 miles a week on the treadmill in 5-mile increments. Today I finished in 40:55. (Woot woot!) Hopefully I can get under an 8:00 mile by the end of the week; hopefully then when it is warmer I can move outdoors and run a little more easily.
It doesn't do to think too much about my senior year of high school and my solitary (but glorious!) season of cross country. I weighed less, of course. Much less.
More importantly, it doesn't -- quite -- do to remember running the 2-mile loop out on the gravel road and up around the dike in 15:00 at the beginning of August in the heat and feeling wonderful when I finished. (Except that it was a really good summer.)
I keep slogging away. And hoping. Maybe in a week or two the dress from H&M in my closet will fit without bunching (as it -- sort of -- did when I bought it.)
before I transition back into work, i.e. Japanese vocabulary. (偉い/えらい means "great, superior, distinguished." continuing from there. . .)
Things that are awesome: (These were all found by way of the Firefox add-on Stumble. If you want to see your productivity take a nose dive for a week until you've seen so many art-game-history-literature-random-gorgeous-application websites you're satiated and nauseated, add this. I kind of prefer following the links from people's blogs, because there is only a finite number of them.)
30 Fashion Illustrators. Fashion illustration is a whole different way of approaching the design and composition of drawings, one that I would love to learn.
Calligraphic art by Margaret Shepherd. These four pieces are unquestionably, spectacularly BRILLIANT. The rest of this site -- Omniglot -- is pretty awesome too; I found it in high school and spent hours cruising through alphabets from around the world. The Roman alphabet serves its purpose, but it sure hasn't got the market cornered on sheer gracefulness of form.
Textures library. This site has got a lot of the textures I use the most in Photoshop type work -- wood, stone, water, and fabric -- as well as some new (to me) ones that could be fun to play with -- such as doors. Yes, doors.