Nothing but Flowers
Monday, May 31, 2004
I had a lovely memorial day weekend, and I hope you did too!
It rained on most of the picnic today, but people didn't seem to mind too much. I am dreading work tomorrow because I have piles of stuff to get done by Thursday, and when I planned out the week I forgot that I wouldn't be in the office today. And I can't stay late because I have class or study groups every night--so I'll just have to be extra efficient tomorrow.
It was an especially memorable holiday weekend because my brother and his long-term girlfriend got engaged, which caused much joy to circulate around the family
As I always say at the end of the quarter, I probably won't be blogging much in the next couple weeks as I head into finals. But we all know that blogging is one of the great procrastination aids.
I think I'm going to impose a rule: no more whining in my blog. Should make posts few and far between...
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Jack Heilprin thinks "Homebody/Kabul is better than sliced bread
This year some of the essays from the Courage curriculum in Boston--established about 10 years ago in honor of a friend of mine who had died of leukemia--are on line. Some of them are just heart breaking, which is true every year that i've read essays, actually.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
It's all anyone is talking about, so here is theNew York Times' apology/self-reflection.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Sources: Major terror attack possible this summer - May 25, 2004
Is this supposed to help somehow? I mean, sure, being warned is great and all...
Sunday, May 23, 2004
totally forgot to link to the NYTimes Theater Special earlier. Slightly uneven, but mostly good.
CNN.com - Bush falls on bike ride I'd mock him, except I've been known to fall of bikes. Even the stationary kind. But geesh, he falls off a bike and Jenna skips her own graduation all on the same day.
Now, by this point we all know that Alex Kerry went to Cannes and wore an inappropriate dress when she wasn't showing her latest film or wearing an appropriate dress.
I'm willing believe she didn't know how sheer it would be under the lights. And since we carpooled together when I was little, I'm clearly the expert. Right?
I'm seeing "Cradle will Rock" tonight, having seen "It's All True" a couple weeks ago. Hedy liked it but I'm never sure what that means for my opinion.
Oh-saw Shrek last night. Very very funny. I'm not sure there was an original thought in the story--all the plot devices are tried and true or blatantly pulled right from another movie--but it still worked. And the voices were hysterical. I'm not entirely convinced that the ending (a sing-along to "living la vida loca" was at all necessary, but it was funny.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Earlier today, much to my bemusement, I discovered paw prints in my bathtub.
My first reaction was incredulity: Were those really paw prints? Couldn't possibly be so! I went so far in this ridiculous exercise to carry the cat over and compare. Yup, paw prints. Mimi paw prints, to be specific.
So then, there are a couple of questions. First, how did she get into the bathtub? It is higher off the ground than she is when standing on her back legs, so she couldn't see in if she tried. The edge is round, not flat, so there is no stable place for her to perch. And the only prints were on the bottom anyway. So clearly she jumped from the bathroom floor into the middle of the bathtub. A clean high-jump. Such athleticism for a cat who has spent many happy sprawled hours being called shaaaaaaammmmmmmmuuuuuuuuuu for her distinctly unathletic build.
The question above is closely related to the question "how did she get out??" I assume the same answer applies. Again, no paw prints on the side of the tub.
Second, why did she get into the bathtub? This I won't even try to answer. Who knows why she does what she does? The only motivation I understand is when she greets me as I come home--she's hungry and wants attention. That's clear. The rest of the time...I don't pretend to understand.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, what the heck was she walking in that she left black paw prints on the (dry) bathtub surface? No traces of cat litter, no actual residue beyond the prints. It looked like she'd walked across an inkpad, high-jumped into the bathtub, high-jumped out of the bathtub, wiped her paws, and continued on her merry way. There are no prints anywhere else in the apartment. My bathroom is far from anything that would dirty her paws, and she's an indoor cat.
My only explanation is that she was hanging out under the bathtub (it's the old fashioned kind with feet). She was probably close to the side that is against the wall, and therefore pretty far away from my swiffer-reach. And then she got in the bathtub, jumped out onto the mat (thereby cleaning her paws off) and continued on her way.
Sorry for the long pet story, I know there is often nothing more boring than people telling long anecdotes about their children or pets, but I thought this was worth it.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Our answer to Gothamist: Chicagoist
Thursday, May 20, 2004
It's been a while, sorry about that.
None of my usual biting social commentary, I'm sure you're terribly dissapointed.
Saw "Heartbreak House" at the Goodman last night. Oddly enough, I enjoyed the production as a whole even though a) the lights were awful (a scene in moonlight was the brightest) b) the set was very grating (and very green. except for the bright red stairs and bright red "things" hanging from the ceiling) c) the woman playing Ellie drove me crazy (a lot of mouth-open acting--it seems her only way to express emotion was to open her mouth and make weird noises. Especially when she was in profile to the audience. Good thing there weren't any flys around) d) the only performance I thought was remarkable was the Cap'n. But that's mostly because Shaw wrote a good part. e) The added parts at the beginning and end only sort of made sense f) the 3rd act comes out of no where and is really overdone (Bombs! War! We're evil! What is happening to our way of life?!) g) It was three hours long (including 2 intermissions)
But other than that, I liked it. I didn't stay for the post-show discussion though.
Have I given my rant about post-show discussions recently? If not, I'll wait until the next time I stick around for one because I'm waiting for my friends who are contractually obligated to participate.
If you're at the U of C, it's FOTA time. So go out and celebrate the arts.
In two weeks its the "Hyde Park / University of Chicago Arts Fest". Remember when it used to just be the Hyde Park Arts Fest? I'm glad the University is increasing its commitments to the arts--really glad--but I worry a little about takeover.
And for the baseball fanatics in my audience (both of you): How about that perfect game Tuesday night?
Monday, May 17, 2004
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Paltrow gives birth to baby girl - named Apple
Saw Troy last night. Brad Pitt is REALLY hot, which we already knew and this just proves. And Eric Bana is a revelation, and Peter O'Toole is excellent, but... The movie is kind of lame. It did inspire my boyfriend and I to thumb through The Iliad, The Odyssey and the Aeneid to settle disputes about who actually is supposed to die at Troy and who isn't. Too bad I don't have an English copy of Ovid's Metamorphosis any more, then we could have dissected the death of Achilles as well. The movie made me doubt for a moment that "The Red Haired King and His Lady" even made an appearance in the Odyssey.
It's not like I expected a faithful reincarnation of the Iliad--they did, after all, have to give a little more closure than that epic does. And I had read the reviews and knew there weren't any gods, etc. But still. I couldn't tell when they changed story lines a little, or changed the order of things (I'm not completely convinced I ever made it all the way through the Iliad), but I could tell when the killed off people who are crucial to half of the rest of the stories we have about ancient Greece.
Right, so anyway, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim Wakefield had kids on the same day.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
There's something about being at the office on a beautiful Saturday that is uniquely depressing. And not very conducive to actually getting any work done.
I have nothing interesting to say or talk about today (do I ever, really?), but boredom drove me to post.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Red Sox super star Manny Ramirez took a game off to become a US citizen on Monday, and Tuesday made a triumphant return. Now, I can understand how important it would be to finally get citizenship--he's lived in the US since he was 13 and makes hundreds of millions of US dollars (don't you wish I were exaggerating? I'm not). And I know he couldn't really choose the date that the government said "show up now". But of all the weeks in the world, I would not want this to be the one when I became a US citizen. I can be as patriotic as is possible for a young-cynical-leftist, but this is not a good week for that.
Then again, if you think about it the way Pedro Martinez phrased it, it's not such a bad week for it: ""I was so proud of Manny," said Pedro Martinez, like Ramirez a native of the Dominican Republic. "Actually taking the flag out there made me feel proud of him. We all know what America represents to us and the opportunity we got in America. To actually let us be citizens of this country is a great honor.
"I was very happy Manny took that flag out, saying, `Thank you, America, for giving me the chance.' Some people don't know Manny all that well but Manny's really smart and he knew what he was trying to say when he came out with that flag. Especially having some members of the Army out there. Those people have gone through a lot to protect this country. Nothing better to do than actually show our support."
Yesterday I nearly broke my radio listening to the senate armed service committee testimony. I was driving to work with Jon, and we were both feeling a little of the morning-after-showtunes blurr. But despite that general haze, I had a moment of pure white rage during someone's questioning. I don't know who it was because I was too busy yelling at the radio to hear NPR tell me who was talking. And I don't want to find out who it was because I'll feel nothing but hate. I'm know it was one of the male republicans, and not John McCain, and I think any more knowledge would be dangerous. Anyway, he rambled on about how the abuse wasn't all that bad, and after all these were Iraqi traitors and insurgents. Remember, our soldiers are all heroes, and the liberal (he didn't say that, but he meant it) media is spinning it to evil purpose. Etc. If you didn't hear it, you can imagine it without my help. I'm not arguing that the liberal media isn't spinning it, that would be naive. But on the other hand, you can't really spin the pictrues in a positive way.
It reminds me of when Bill O'Reilly all-but called my brother a traitor his article about the post-9/11 dilution of the use of (and therefore weight of) the word hero.
I met Sy Hersch at a wedding about a year ago. At a wedding full of liberal media luminaries and other prominent Washingtonians and entertainers, he's the one I remember talking to the best. I was struck at the time by how smart and honest he was in person.
I know that's random, but it has been on my mind recently. I can't describe it, so I won't really try.
Monday, May 10, 2004
Art Chicago struggles
Maybe they should stick to music... Musicians as Poets
Chicago fires director of public art after cell phone incident
Public radio as public service or just plain news
And of course, the moment you've all been waiting for...Or at least sort of knew might happen soon but didn't really care about anyway. Wicked dominates 2004 Tony nominations
Sunday, May 09, 2004
My mother and I have determined that there is no weekend we can see each other before late august. We did see each other briefly twice in April--although with large family groups and approximately no time to talk. And since neither of us is good about (or particularly enjoys) talking on the phone, we've had about 2 phone conversations in the last three months, not counting today. She offered to skip her 35th college reunion (and she's organizing two of the events) to come see me on my birthday, but while I'm somewhat irrationally sad about the whole thing, it ultimately isn't that important. She will be in Chicago with my stepdad on the weekend of UC graduation, but that's an impossible time for me to see her. This is only adding to my general sadness and anxiety, and it's driving me crazy because I know it's so irrational. We're both too damn busy. But it's funny how she managed to offer all the absolute worst weekends as times when she could come here or I could go to Boston--she's supposed to be in Chicago with my stepdad the weekend I'm moving my boyfriend to UVA, for example. Our timing is so screwed up it would be funny if I weren't so sad about it.
I know I'll snap out of it soon enough, but in the meantime it just sucks.
From Frank Rich's liner notes for the cast recording of "Bounce" (which I purchased yesterday):
"The story of the original production of Bounce, at least as of this writing, did not end so happily [as ...Forum]. It closed in Washington, bereft of commercial producers who would roll the dice required to bring it to a struggling post-9/11 Broadway defined by campy musical spectacles pitched to tourists."
Ouch. Not that I disagree, but...
Also, having seen it at the Goodman, and now having listened to it a couple of times, it doesn't really hold up. As I thought when I saw it, lots of promise, some good numbers, but nothing spectacular. Only one and a half good group numbers, only once song with really memorable lyrics, and characters that you can't really care about. And it really really isn't hummable (not that I think that's a prereq for a good show, but it can help).
Have you called your mother yet? Mine isn't home, which is sad.
Friday, May 07, 2004
So I had this very nice plan: graduate from b-school in spring '05. Work at my current job through September, giving me the summer (which is much less work-intensive) to look for a new job while not in classes. Whoever takes my current job would start late September/early October as school starts.
New wrinkle: setting aside courses that meet Friday night or Saturday at 9am (because we all know that I simply wouldn't do it, and there are too many weekends I want to be elsewhere), there are no courses I want to take. That is, eliminating courses I don't have the pre-reqs for, that don't meet on the weekends, and I have already taken, there are 7 courses left. Of those, one is a course I was vaguely interested in taking someday, but with a different prof. None of them count toward either of my concentrations. So basically I have the choice between taking two courses that I have no interest in and count as electives, or else graduating at least a quarter later than I planned.
I checked, and none of the graduate divisions offer summer courses that I'm qualified for. The only summer courses I can find that aren't college-level are independent studies, study abroad, thesis-writing, or over my head.
So the question is: do I take courses I'm not interested in, or do I take an extra quarter to graduate and screw up all my plans?
It would be easier if I felt that leaving my job was feasible at any time other than September.
It's all so sad. Everything in the news, everything on TV. Everything.
That's my deep thought for the day (week?)
It's been a very very long week.
I got a note from the bschool yesterday congratulating me on having made it half-way. It was actually kind of depressing--I keep thinking "only 4 more quarters!" not "half way!" You need 20 courses. I took #s 10 and 11 in the winter, so I'm more than half done. But still.
I think it's the lack of time more than anything else. In theory I should have 2 nights a week--friday and saturday-- where I can just goof off, go out with friends, drink myself into a stupor. In reality, of course, it doesn't work that way. At least one of those nights each week I'm at work, seeing a show. And then the options are either drink with the undergrads or drive home for 30 minutes, by which point I'm usually exhausted. Guess which option wins? I really like all--ok, most--of the students, but I don't necessarily want to spend my weekends with them. It either makes me feel really old, or else makes me feel like I'm trying to pretend to be something I'm not anymore.
I'll be 25 in a couple weeks. I had never thought this would be a big deal, and it really shouldn't be. I know that at 30 if I'm not married with plans for kids (or actual kids, which would be better but grows less likely every day), I'll freak out. I'll turn into one of those horrid shrieking over-dramatic women who tears her hair out. Despite my co-worker's recent comment that she's "so impressed with how in control your life is, how great it is that in another year you'll be ready for anything and still young enough to do it", I usually feel the opposite.
What am I doing? I'm not networking, I never meet anyone new who is over 18 except in class, and you can't make friends during a lecture. I'm pretty much a failure at the social aspects of grad school-I never leave work early enough to get there before class and chat, and the end of class routine is to say good night and rush to the car/train/bus as quickly as possible to get home for dinner. I get to know the people I'm in study groups with, but always in the context of "lets meet at 6 to do the assignment", which never turns into "lets go grab a drink after we're done". This is part my pre-existing commitments (to seeing the shows on campus, to going out with my boyfriend, to going to showtunes, to sleep, to TV, to whatever) and part my group-member's own busy lives. After all, most are married, many have children. The ones who aren't married with kids are usually in the full-time program, and therefore know other students really well, the way you know people in college (minus the forced socialization of dorm life).
I guess it just means I'm always surrounded by people, often chastised for not contacting my friends enough, and still too often lonely.
So turning 25 is freaking me out. I keep telling myself I am being ridiculously stupid and overdramatic, but then I remember that I spent at least 10 years of my life being ridiculously stupid and overdramatic, so why should 2 or 3 years of relative moderation last forever?
Okay, this is way too downbeat.
In other downbeat news, a man was shot and killed 2 blocks from my apartment building yesterday.
but, on the upside, the red sox won and the yankees lost.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Essay: How to End Grade Inflation you could do what he suggests. Or you could just not inflate grades. Curve all the classes. 90% of Harvard students graduating with honors? The hard part really is getting in.
Monday, May 03, 2004
and that makes 2: Noble Fool closes. they claim down but not out...
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Went to the opening of "It's All True" at TimeLine. The production was quite powerful, and the actor playing Orson Welles had a vocal control and power that was moving and appropriate. The script, however, is not my favorite--a little contrived, etc. They're also doing concert readings of "Cradle Will Rock" on Sundays through the run of the show--my boyfriend is stage managing--which is a definite plus.
The script also uses to many silly devices--dead wives in haunting light circling, for example, which I could have done without. And I would have appreciated either acknowledging Jean Rosenthal as a historic figure or removing her entirely superfluous character. Not entirely superfluous, I suppose, as they do need her to deliver lines like "I found us a piano" and "I think the actors need a break", but she's mostly wallpaper, no hint that the character will become one of the first true lighting designers, ultimately credited with about 300 shows. All that, and she died in her 50's. But anyway, that is outside the context of the script, which is set before her first credited design, so it seems silly to give her a name, make sly in-joke references to her skills, and then at the end say "jean does nothing but give" when she has never been an important part of the play.
I always feel for the techies.
My thoughts about the show aside, we sat surrounded by critics, none of whom laughed at the jokes. I felt kind of alone when I nearly busted a gut when Orson Welles told John Houseman "whatever you do Jack, never act!". The wife of a friend confessed that she'd felt very lonely laughing at that very line. She's an actor, so maybe that helped.
During the post show party my least-favorite critic in Chicagoland (he'll remain nameless for the moment) insisted on going up to everyone involved with the show and telling them that he was a distant relation of Marc Blitzstein. Not just bringing it up in conversation about the show--self serving, but forgivable--but rather walking up to people and interrupting them to add his "one more footnote for the production".
That aside, I find it really exciting to see shows at TimeLine. They're always at the very least solid productions, at the best--like "Hannah and Martin" (which they are remounting next season)--almost brilliant. I think they are the only theater company in Chicago that has not subjected me to a bad production. I should amend that, they're the only theater I attend regularly that has never subjected me to a bad production. Not to say they haven't had them, I just haven't had to sit through them.
I was in a meeting at work yesterday from 10am until almost 6pm. Therefore I keep thinking it's Saturday, and then remember that it isn't and feel sad.
Happy 6th anniversary to my mom and stepdad!
how embarassing: Gun safety presenter shoots self during gun-safety presentation.