Archive for March, 2004

lazing around

Friday, March 26th, 2004

In further Anne news, I watched the third installment of the Anne of Green Gables Movies, “The Continuing Story.” It has nothing to do with the books, and my opinion is that they should have left the fan fiction to the fan websites. The story didn’t make much sense, and everybody seemed old and depressed, even before they all went off to war.
I’ve been very lazy this week. I’m trying to decide what to do next–I need to look for a job, but I might be away for a month and a half this summer, so am not sure if I should wait until after that to look for one, or what. I’m also not sure what kind of job to look for, a throwaway one or one that has some sort of future. I’m kind of in suspense to see how the exams of last week went, which will affect the decision, but I probably won’t find out for a few more weeks.
Today I put some pictures in an album–some engagement ones, a few wedding ones, and the honeymoon pictures of Colorado. I want to make a scrapbook type one for the wedding, but just put these in the magnetic-flap pages for now–those things are so annoying, almost impossible to get flat. I’ve also been working my way through more Agatha Christie mysteries and taking various naps.

Anne Shirley goes to war

Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

I’m back from exams. They were okay. I was planning on writing more about them, but internet access was kind of scarce last week (maybe that’s among the many improvements being made to I-House).
I haven’t done much since I’ve been back–have mostly been lazing around. Have also been re-reading some cozy books, Agatha Christie mysteries and the like. I

notes from the exam front 1: the I-house

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

I’m in Chicago for the week, taking comprehensive exams–one exam per day. I won’t say this hasn’t had an effect on my mental state. For a while during the drive here yesterday, I started doubting the existence of Libya. I’m not sure why.
I’m staying at the International House on campus, a sort of dormitory for graduate students from other countries as well as this. They were going to tear it down due to its incredibly antiquated infrastructure (do buildings have infrastructures?) but there was an outcry amongst the students so they’re doing massive renovations instead. The place is an odd combination of characteristics–it’s very instutional, but 1930s institutional; and it’s clear not much has changed since then (when it was built). The lighting throughtout the building is rather oppressive. It’s somehow simultaneously dim and harsh, and yellowish; kind of like the lights in underground parking garages. Amongst the usual dormitory-like fixtures are scattered massive pieces of antique furniture. I think it would be an okay place to live, as dorms go, and it certainly gives an accurate impression of what the U of C is like as a whole (at least the simultaneously gloomy and harsh part. I’m not bitter).


Sunday, March 14th, 2004

The bulbs in our garden are coming up! So even though there was snow on the ground this morning, and it’s gray, cold, windy, and murky out, it’s officially Spring!

Dear Salespeople,

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

[Warning: This blog entry showcases an unattractive side of my personality, so if you are eager to maintain your good opinion of me, please skip. If you never cared for me much to begin with, however, go ahead and read on.]
An open letter to all persons who may at some point wish to sell me something:
I have nothing against salespeople, really. Nor do I have anything against most of the products they sell. Yet most of my encounters with salespeople, or sales tactics in general, have inspired in me the desire never to have anything to do with that person, product, or company, ever again; in addition they have caused me to wish that I never had to buy anything ever again. Now, I assume that sales practices are intended to appeal the broadest possible segment of the population; yet when I have discussed the following practices with people, they tend to agree with me. Perhaps my acquaintances and I are exceptional, but perhaps not. In any case, here are some requests I would make of all those who wish to sell things to me.



Friday, March 12th, 2004

Andy recently re-introduced me to this childhood taste-treat. I, like everybody else who grew up in the 70s, consumed my share of Franco-American’s canned offerings, but I hadn’t had any for a solid couple of decades. Andy insisted that they were good though, and they are extremely tasty, I must say.
However, today I made the mistake of looking too closely at the can which packaged my delicious lunch. This reminded me that the many advertising images which bombard us from every direction every day are not designed to be looked at too closely. If one does, one discovers that not only do such images have no internal sense or logic, but they also seem to hack at the very foundations of one’s sense of order and reality. I think this goes to show that the countercultural 60s hippies have not given up their psychadelic expand-your-consciousness ethos, rather they are now firmly in control of corporate America.
The can depicts a large Spaghetti-O, with eyes and a tongue, the latter apparently licking its “lips.” It wields a bowl filled with proportionately smaller Spaghetti-O’s in one hand, while the other arm is flexed to exhibit a protruding muscle. “Eat my family, and you too can be as strong as a Spaghetti-O!” it seems to coax, in a simultaneously ghoulish, whimsical, and nonsensical fashion.
The can’s label also wastes a lot of space trying to convince me that Spaghetti-Os are, in fact, incredibly nutritious. “GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN! ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS!” it proclaims, in a wacky font (punctuation mine). Elsewhere, it informs me that Spaghetti-Os provide a full serving of Veggies & Grains.
What’s this? As a further proof of the eminent goodness of Spaghetti-Os, the label announces that Spaghetti-Os is the winner of the 2003 Gold Taste (award? it doesn’t say) of the Quality Institute International, for Canned Pasta.
It no doubt took a highly-paid team of advertising executives to put together this label. It probably cost Franco-American more money than I will earn in my entire life, yet it is clearly meant to be no more than glanced at. Ah yes, the product’s name (Spaghetti-Os) reinforced by the image of a Spaghetti-O, with the vague impression that eating this stuff won’t kill you, at least not immediately.
My in-depth perusal of the Spaghetti-Os can has left me with mixed feelings about my lunch. It makes me feel vaguely cannibalistic, and ironically the many reassurances that the product is indeed good for me serve to underscore, for me, the fact that it actually probably isn’t very.
For more Spaghetti-O info and trippy Spaghetti-O-inspired imagery, visit But only if you are a Mom, since it seems that that is the socio-familial class to whom the site appears to address itself. Which opens up still more possibilities for pointless overanalysis.

the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces

Tuesday, March 9th, 2004

I think it’s almost spring. I keep looking out to see if the bulbs I planted last fall are popping up. Not yet.
Exams are next week. I’ve been studying a lot, obviously, and I seem to be unable to convert the stuff I study into blog format. Hence the brevity.

this can’t be good

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

The blog entry written just for the sake of having written a blog entry–how can anything good come of this?
Today I went to the GVSU library to make some copies from a book which has managed to elude several weeks’ worth of attempts to get hold of it. GVSU is on spring break, so the campus was very quiet. I like campuses during break, they’re very peaceful. The GVSU library looks like a mini-Reg, a building which represents what I like to call the “hideous excrescence” school of architecture.
On the way back, I heard an interesting story on NPR about some Nazi saboteurs who landed in America in 1942. They were planning to blow up some aluminum factories, but the leader turned himself in. FDR created military tribunals to try the conspirators because he didn’t think civilian courts would give them the death penalty, and that’s the precedent for the Guantanamo Bay tribunals. The defense pursued the same line that G. Bay opponents are pursuing today, that the creation of such tribunals is unconstitutional. (Didn’t work for them, they were executed). Very interesting.
So that’s my day so far. Guess I’ll get back to work…