Fantastic Syntactic Wednesday, Jan 23 2008 

Today was the first day back to class, and not a moment to soon.  However, the day did not start optimally, as it took a whopping hour and a half to get to class from my apartment this morning.  I can walk to campus in an hour and a half from my apartment, provided the weather is cooperative (no rain or snow).  And yes, we had much snow yesterday.  However, that does not explain why, in only one direction (the one in which I was traveling), the street was blocked up like the arteries of someone who eats a pound of butter every day.  I skulked into my very first class of the semester a half an hour late.  Yeah.

On a peppier note, I have been reunited with the sub-discipline of syntax; and despite my sometimes rocky relationship with it, I enjoyed it.  I may even have a topic for the end of semester paper.  Of course, it can all be shot to hell before then.  Tomorrow, morphology and phonology.  And photography.


Of files and favors Sunday, Jan 20 2008 

My mother’s computer died some time ago, so today I have been moving/deleting files like a madwoman.  I have saved most of what was on my old desktop by making CD backups, though I am unsure why.  Ever since I went laptop, I have mostly ignored my desktop; with an exception or two, I have not needed any thing that was on there (and what there was, I moved to my external hard drive months ago).  Since CDs are small, I can justify saving a bunch of files, as they no longer take up the room they did when everything was all low tech.  For example, I took the time and trouble to save all the old e-mails on my desktop.  Why?  Because I could fit them all on a CD, and still have room for more files.  I even read some of them (including those from the Ex when we were young and in love, so to speak).  I found them an interesting artifact, and I’m glad I bothered to save them, though I can’t imagine ever looking at them again.  Maybe it is enough to save them.  Dunno.

As for the favors (one of them being giving my old computer to my mom), I noticed that I lightly snarked about how I felt GSS gave me short shrift when he thanked me for the favor I had rendered.  Now that we’re seeing each other in person and all, he has been very appreciative, and has thanked me more than once this last week.  Maybe he’s just not an e-mail guy.  Not everyone is, I suppose.  And that does explain things – if he’s not an e-mail guy, he isn’t going to respond to every whimsical message I send out.

I just thought that every one under 40 was an e-mail guy.  Live and learn.

Crushaissance Saturday, Jan 19 2008 

I woke up this morning and, cursing being out of milk, making coffee impossible this morning, got ready to go to work.  I have been in a disgustingly good mood all week, even before, during and after the potentially fraught dinner with my Ex (which was not fraught at all [which is, by the way, an excellent phrase to determine American English dialects]).  Yes, I am pleased to be out of the house, and I always love a good semester.  However, GSS and I have been in the midst of what I have coined a “crushaissance.”  We just seem to be clicking in the way we were when I first realized that I had a crush on him.  It feels great, and it has been making the week that much more enjoyable.  Will this continue?  I don’t know.  But I’m bound to enjoy it while it lasts.

Emotional Whiplash Friday, Jan 18 2008 

On Tuesday, I had dinner with The Ex.  It wasn’t the high point of my week – I wasn’t sure I wanted to “catch up.”  I think I was concerned that I was deluding myself that I had finally moved on, that the musical chairs of work flirting was just a distraction.  I hoped, of course, that that wasn’t the case, but I wasn’t raging to find that out.  In anticipation of a meltdown, I arranged with KSP to meet me for a drink after dinner (just in case).

Ultimately, the meltdown didn’t happen; it was nice seeing The Ex, but that relationship is over.  We’re friends, but more of a theoretical friendship – we were simply too close in the past to retrofit the relationship into a working, practical friendship.  I even found out that he has a girlfriend (he wasn’t going to tell me, but I had asked a question and to pretend that there was no girlfriend involved would have been a lie, so he told the truth), which didn’t affect me in the way that I thought it would.  Yes, there is a little part of me (the petty part of which I am often ashamed) that wishes he would still be single (not to reunite, but for my pride’s sake), but ultimately it doesn’t matter.  I didn’t pry, because I felt it wasn’t really any of my business (and surprisingly, I wasn’t that interested).  How was I affected though?  An interesting question, and one that I am trying to figure out.  I’m interested in how people seem to start up new relationships much more easily than I do.  I seem to be, at heart, a self-contained unit.  And I am okay with that, but I’d like to think that I can be part of a couple when I want to.  I wonder if I emit some sort of solitary vibe, or if I become interested in men who also emit the solitary vibe (as though it were some sort of homing signal), or other theories which are simply too half-baked to write down here.  And yes, I am not in a place where I want to be in a serious relationship.  But a frivolous one would be okay by me.  Except I might not project that sort of persona.  I think a lot of this relationship crap starts with how other people perceive you, and I have no earthly idea how I am perceived by men.  I would kill (well, maybe maim) for that sort of information.

When KSP and I met for our drink, I was reflective and told her about some interesting thinking I had done about my past relationships/hook ups.  We whiled away a couple of hours laughing about the weird/funny things that had happened in our romantic pasts, and it was all good.  However, my overanalytical nature had gone into overload with all of this data, and I had a hell of time sleeping.  I wasn’t troubled or upset, but the hamsters of my subconscious would not stop running in their little wheels, and I slept fitfully, if at all.

So I go into work the next morning, vague and foggy as all get out.  I managed to help people, but when GSS rolled in (late, but I’ve already discussed that in other posts), I wasn’t as sharp as I have been known to be.  He strolls in, greets me with the Czech equivalent of “what’s up?” (which is similar enough to the Polish equivalent of “what’s up” that I knew what he meant).  I responded in English (as I no longer speak Polish, but can only spit out a handful of phrases and count to ten), and we talked.  Mr. Math came by and the two of them spoke Spanish, and at one point referred to me.  GSS asked me if I understood what they were saying.  I said that every so often, I could grab a word, but for the most part, no.  I added that if it had been written down, I would understand most of it.  (When they referred to me, it was merely a discussion of whether I could understand them – that much I could gather.)  Mr. Math left and GSS told me that he was trying to show off.  I told him I was impressed, and he said that I shouldn’t be – he had screwed up a lot.  I told him that I thought he was great at not letting his concern of making mistakes stop the flow of conversation.  We both agreed that was essential to being able to speak a foreign language.  But I wasn’t carrying my end of the conversational load, and one of his regulars came in, so we parted company.  I can’t be sure, but I thought he looked a little disappointed.  But I was so tired, I couldn’t even explain that I was dead-ass tired.  But there you have it – over one man, obsessing over another.  That’s life, or so they say.

A semi-related anecdote:  I was waiting for the bus downtown last night, when some guy comes up and starts talking to me (bus stops: the new meat markets).  He wasn’t repellent or anything, but I wasn’t interested.  He makes some slight on me not being a conversationalist, which has the desired effect (at least from his point of view), as I started participating in the conversation – even though he was clearly stealing his delivery from the late Mitch Hedberg.  But the effort of talking to some guy who is not all that interesting to me (what is it with these guys who think that broadcasting their theories about what kind of person you are is somehow appealing to women?) took it’s toll, and I stopped participating.  Look, I don’t want much when it comes to men.  But is it too much to ask that the one guy I am interested in asks me out, and that the random oddities on the city streets leave me alone?

The Medium is the (Mixed) Message Tuesday, Jan 15 2008 

Well, after long, tedious days with nothing in particular to do, I returned to my (hated) job yesterday, scrubbed a few toilets, and called it a day.  Today was the first day of my other job (the one with all the action, so to speak), and while there was little for me to do but to catch up with my coworkers and keep reading my book (I answered a question or two and tussled with the printer, so it wasn’t like I didn’t do any work), it was good to get out of the house.  I didn’t expect to see GSS or The Young Man today, so I was pretty giddy to see GSS.  He came over (strictly speaking, he snuck up on me – or tried to, but I was using my peripheral vision to keep tabs on him) and we had a lovely 45 minute chat, which was most enjoyable.  We had to part company, and about a half an hour later, when it was time for me to go (next week, I’ll be speeding off to Morphology, but today, I was just wandering off), I passed by his table to say goodbye, and there was a softness in his speech that was kind of seductive.  As I was leaving, I realized that as much as I bitch about his maddening ambiguity/ambivalence, I play that game too.  There had been a point where I played up how busy I am; it is true that I am busy, but I wonder if I overplayed that too much.  I have, in the past, made a bit of a show how I have little to no time for non-academic frivolities (again, true) to signal that I’m not a high-maintenance woman (which is a matter of some debate, I am sure).  But maybe it signals something else – a “you’re nice to flirt with, but I’m not looking for anything else” vibe.  But while I have enjoyed whatever our interactions have been, I would like to move beyond the conversations and the e-mails.  And I’m not sure I have done that properly.  I know what I’ve intended, but has it come across that way?  I don’t know.  Short of asking him directly (which isn’t going to happen), I won’t know.  I was so nervous about being too obvious that I may have played up the mixed messages, too.

But it was nice seeing him.

Ain’t Technology Grand? Tuesday, Jan 8 2008 

As I head into the final stretch of the Grad School Application Marathon, I find technology is less helpful than previously assumed.  All the applications I have done are filed on-line – once you pay the fee and click “submit,” you have applied.  No stamps, no semi-unreasonable fears that the Postal Service will lose your application, thereby ruining your life.  That is, in theory.  In practice, it is a little complicated.  Some applications have you upload pdf files of unofficial transcripts, your personal statement, and/or writing samples.  The people you have conned into writing recommendations also get an e-mail and upload the recommendations to the school in question.  Other applications do not.  So here I am, e-mailing cover sheets to professors, preparing hard copies of my writing samples or personal statements to be mailed (that’s right, mailed).  And I curse the insanity of having a half-electronic application.  I mean really, what’s the point of that?  Maybe it is a test to see how skilled you are at following directions.  Maybe I’m just paranoid.  And don’t get me started on the “fine” folks at ETS and the total lack of on-line score reporting.  I have to call my order over the phone?  And you’re still going to charge me a fee to do so?  (Okay, maybe I am going to get started on that.  But I’ll do us all a favor and stop now.)

Actually, a completely on-line experience doesn’t preclude insanity.  The Ivy League School e-mailed me today to let me know that they couldn’t access my writing samples.  I sent an attachment.  That didn’t work.  I sent a link.  Snake eyes there, too.  I was almost reduced to sending hard copies by Fed Ex (how low tech), but a final attempt at attachment sending worked out in the end.  But oof, what a hassle.

The Pants Dance Monday, Jan 7 2008 

Even though I don’t have any money that is not earmarked for food or my remaining grad school applications, I went to Macy’s to try on jeans.  Most of mine are not fitting their best (but that’s a good thing – too big!), so I thought I’d try some on to see what looks good.

Normally trying on jeans is only a step or two above trying on swimsuits, as I have one of the flattest asses in North America (but please don’t think that “flat” means “small” – it is a wide caboose).  I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that every pair fit, even if I didn’t love every pair on.  The best looking pair was a style that I had already once owned, and loved so much I literally wore holes in them.  They are a little pricey (though relatively reasonable – just for kicks I did try on some $100+ pairs, and I’ve gotta say…meh.), but a pair of “good butt” jeans are pretty dang valuable.  Another style I liked was from the Junior’s department (which I usually avoid, because I don’t want to look like one of those women that are desperately trying to look younger by wearing every damn trend out there), and they were the cheapest pair I tried on, which goes to show that the whole $100-$200 jeans are overrated, if a brand that runs under $40 can kick their bedazzled asses (and that’s another thing – are rhinestones necessary?  It seems like that may smack of desperation).

I also tried on some sweaters, since I am a sweater junkie and some of my tops are looking a little droopy.  A question:  what in God’s name is up with this baby-doll trend?  I’m sorry, but I am not going to hide the fact that I am at my lowest weight in 3 years with a stupid empire-waist, which is just going to make me look pregnant.  Plus, it looks stupid.  If that means buying plain sweaters and t-shirts, so be it.

It was nice to go shopping and come out feeling good about myself.  Now if I only had some money….

Moore Party? Sunday, Jan 6 2008 

I don’t often throw parties, as they fail (or are very, very lame) about 2/3 of the time.  However, I was seized by the impulse to do so.  This was a majority rules party, as no one showed up.  Let me reiterate this, as it is important.

No one showed up to my party.

After about a half an hour, I decided to pack it in and went to rent a couple of movies.  I did get a call from KSP, who wanted to apologize for not calling me in advance that she wasn’t going to make it until an hour after the scheduled start time.  I mentioned that the festivities had been cancelled due to lack of interest, but she was more than welcome to come over and watch Ratatouille with me (which was so cute I almost exploded).  We had hot cocoa and watched the movie.

But I’m still wondering why I have such a lousy track record with parties.  A 33% success rate is kind of pathetic.  Do people like me?  They seem to.  Do I give enough advance notice for these events?  Two weeks seems sufficient.  Is it because I don’t actually like parties (they tend to make me nervous)?  Interesting.  Maybe the anxiety I have sends waves to my friends, making them not want to go.  Don’t get me wrong, I like having a good time as much as the next person, but groups of more than 5 are problematic for me.  I’m more of a small group person – give me an environment of 4 people and I’m charming and witty.  A group of 20 is an entirely different matter – I tend to have a really good conversation with one person, but before and/or after, I tend to drift along, not really fitting in with any of the groups that form during the course of a party.

When I was the Junior Junior, I once had a Halloween party that was remarkable because it was both sparsely attended (it seemed as though the laws of physics would not allow me to have more than 3 guests at any one time – roughly a dozen people dropped by, but in shifts), and the loudest party I had ever hosted.  I seem to recall my roommate (a Philosophy major) trying to debunk patriarchy by positing (loudly) the theory of “breast envy.”  If you’ve ever seen The Mary Tyler Moore Show, imagine the episodes where she is misguided enough to throw a party, and you’ve got my track record with the damn things.

I have had successful parties before, so maybe I shouldn’t take it too personally.  Or should I?

Now What? Saturday, Jan 5 2008 

Yesterday, I engaged in a little pre-emptive griping that my favor went unthanked for more than 24-hours.  However, I did gripe too soon, as later that evening I did get an electronic thank you.  So all’s right with the world.  Yet…

…as you can imagine, a three-word e-mail is somewhat unsatisfying.  I can’t imagine what I expected (if I expected anything), and I’m not resentful (really, I’m not).  I think the problem is what I have previously referred to as lack of traction.  We’re clicking and a date-like outing seems almost inevitable, and then it isn’t.  And then I feel like I’m being “Gaslight”-ed (or is that Gaslit?).  Is it all in my head?  Does he change his mind?  What the fuck?  After that, I get peeved with myself for spending so much energy on this, since there is so little to go on.

Another vexing issue:  due to budget constraints, I will be working considerably fewer hours (meaning considerably fewer dollars), and to add insult to injury, I will only have 1 hour of flirting a week with GSS (more hours with The Young Man, but as GSS is my favorite, it is a bit of a disappointment.  Plus, I could use the money.

At least I haven’t been poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

Itchy Friday, Jan 4 2008 

Since the forces of nature have decided that we are going to have winter, I am suffering all the side effects of winter that, in the past few years, have only been intermittent.  Things like cabin fever and snot freeze, but also chronic itchiness due to cold dry air outside and warm dry air inside.  I fantasize about being dipped in a vat of industrial-strength moisturizer.  There are spots on my person that burst into spontaneous, insanity-inducing episodes of itchiness.  I suspect that even my bones are itchy.  But I am also metaphorically itchy as well (see: cabin fever).  I am getting antsy for the semester to start, to go back to work (both jobs, not just the one with flirting possibilities), to live my damn life again.  Apparently, as much as I bitch about not having any time for fun, I don’t have a hell of a lot of fun when I do have time (though New Year’s Day at KSP’s was an enjoyable outing).  So yes, I do have some sort of catch-22: during the semester there is activity but no time, during break there is no activity but loads of time.  Damnation.

A gripe:  I ultimately did do the unspoken favor for GSS, but have received no thanks.  I didn’t do it for the “glory,” but no “Hey, thanks” e-mail?  I’m a little disappointed, but I’m going to reserve judgement for a couple of days.  Then, I’ll judge.

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