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Sunday, May 30, 2004

AWWWW Come ON:
I stay in town today to get my act together on my research. I really want to focus and get caught up as much as I humanly can, because this is the pace of snails work, at least when I have to do it at home it is.

Fuck I forgot how nice it was to not be in Siena on a Sunday. Yes it was welcome back today by the lovely FUCKING Contradini and of course their drums. ALL DAMN DAY, while I was trying to work on my research. And today I got the extra value added package with the "singers." I am trying to restrain the foul words that are springing like an eternal fount from my mouth to your ears. No need to singe everyone.

I am all for your neighborhood pride, but for the love of Buddha cant you figure out a better way to express it, one that ideally is not so disruptive to others or at least is quieter??

Someone PLEASE make them STOP. I need this like I need a hole in the head, and while we are talking about guns, anyone for hire??

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Grumble Grumble Groan:
Well I am realizing how behind I am in where I want to be and how slow what I need to do can go. I really wish I had been more ahead of it. Yes I know I am pretty ahead of it. I have done a lot of my research, but I haven’t noted it and am now working on the official dissertation proposal and well… composing my random ideas with my jittery ADHD issues… it is going grand.

I am tempted to send an email to my advisor and ask if he thinks it sounds ridiculous, but I am not comfortable with the form it is in to show to him. I hate caring what other people think sometimes, makes me so conscious. But he is absolutely brilliant and that isnt helping my insecurities any in this case. I would rather be quiet than look like an ass.

I don’t know what the issue is, not like I don’t look like an ass every other day of the year in front of damn near every other person around, so what would be the difference?
GAH.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Dull Day:

Well it is a bit grey here in Italy today, and I have things I need to get done so I am not sure I will blog much today, as I really dont have that much to say. This program deceives me every time and I fall for it. Everything seems so easy like there is nothing to it and then the wall comes. Time flies, the writing deadlines approach and you will be moving again shortly. Only this time I dont want to be the ostrich anymore. So that means I have shit to do. GAH!

So instead I leave you with a quiz via Zeno. And yes you can restrict your comments about my results and me being an ass. We all already knew that :)

HASH(0x8aa7120)
you are DONKEY! you are outgoing and genuinly
loving life. you're hilarious and tell it like
it is


what shrek character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Just A Little Bit Hesitant:
I have been thinking today. So warning: it's a bit of a introspective kind of day. I had this revelation that there are all sorts of pressures on me. I have a fair amount of pressure on me with this module and my thesis. Mostly because I am being set up for complete success and if I fail it is all on me this time. Honestly things couldnt have fallen into better place if I had placed them there myself. There are no excuses. Plus I will most likely be moving AGAIN in about 5-6 weeks (and time flies), and I am really not exactly sure about everything.

In particular I may be somewhat sabotaging what my stated intentions are and I am very cognizant of this type of self-destructive behavior. I need to get my act together for my citizenship visa, and I need to make a freaking decision. Do I want to go to Barcelona or Madrid? And I need to get things rolling with this thesis. I have set some deadlines so.... FEH

In general I dont do well with change, let alone when I have to do it with out external pressures. Most of my friends might contest that. Sure I come out of it, but I dont always smell of roses. And I believe I only do well when I have no other options. Right now I have too many options, and being honest I dont like it. I am starting to wonder a bit about my choice to move to Spain. I want my citizenship and I love Spain; but I am really starting to feel the price of not having a community and also having no roots. And the vision of having to set that up all over again well...

A big chunk of me wants to go back to Paris, to something simple. Take the easy way out. I know that I really cant and shouldnt do that, but a portion of me wants to. And I dont like that I would want to take the easy way out.

I am very rarely the excited person in advance anymore. I dont talk much about my break up with NASTY Ex here, but part of what I have been doing in the decent time since that relationship ended was to rebuild myself from scratch. And I am finally at the point that I really am ready to replace that bitter taste with a new experience/adventure.

And of course just as soon as I do that I seem to be flinging myself at tearing it back apart. I actually dont hold much resentment towards him anymore. He just was quite simply one of the more wrong people for me on the face of this planet. Yes he made it worse but it is not as if there werent already some landmine issues already planted there either. But I still feel like there is a piece of me missing and he has it.

I dont mind that I had to rebuild the house of cards I was back up from scratch but that small part of me, that is MINE. I was an only child and god damnit I want it back. To be honest too he doesnt deserve it.

I want that innocence of youth again (and I am not that old). An old friend after talking about a relationship issue she was going through that was somewhat similar asked me what I really resented that relationship for: and honestly it was for introducing me to fear.

I used to be the fearless child. And when I say fearless I mean FEARLESS. There was nothing I was ever afraid of, I bungee-jumped in highschool on a dare. I was a gymnast and would try anything. I was told I couldnt do a pass on the floor by a girl on the team who was a bit jealous of me. Me I figured- Why not? I never thought there was anything to be risked or lost by trying. I got tangled up in a floor harness upside down and hung there like a bat for 35 minutes. Fear be damned, I wasnt taking that easy offer of a way out. After lunch I came back and did the same floor pass and landed it. I conquered and owned it. And I remember it vividly to this day, mostly because it amazed other people because it wouldnt enter my mind to be afraid.

I want to feel what it is like to be free and not afraid again. I want to know that being me is good enough and that I have the competence to be a person that others will be interested in. That I can produce that which others seem to think I can. To use the cliche, I want to dance like no one is watching and not feel any of the fear or consciousness. I want the truth and sincereity that comes with all of that and the pride of CONQUERING and OWNING me again.

But more and more as I have gotten older and more risk averse I feel. It is as though I am an Elephant. No not that the prosciutto is making me water retentive- when they "tame" elephants is to teather them down and then basically psychologically convince that they are always teathered down as tightly that by the time they are done the elephant could be tied with a string but the presence of a string would make them think they are tied down as tight as the initial chains. The tie isnt near as strong as I think it is but I still feel tied down by the fear. And to be honest I dont like it. I dont feel in complete control of changing it, but I guess I realize that by moving to Spain I am doing that partially.

I am moving around to try and find me again, doesnt mean I have to like it. It is so much harder to have to change the mental perspective and orientation. Changing the way that you frame things in your life is not as easy as you might think. However, I will not cower in front of it DAMN IT.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Italy oh Italy:
Made my way back to Italy, the day of travel that takes it out of you. Walking carrying a suitcase loaded full of paper (i.e. research reading materials) does not make life easy nor does having to walk the whole town- even if it isn’t that big.

The suitcase also needs a tune up- it was the fancy one I bought a few years ago. And its great but when its heavy the wheels now squeak and sound like an annoying chirping bird, as I bang along with the uneven random cobblestones.

There was a dinner here at the flat tonight for some other student who is visiting. Me I am tired. Particularly as I have to get on the ball. I have writing to get accomplished. I have some really great thesis ideas, and I do know what I want to do. HOWEVER, how to do it and what the exact question (and thus methodology) is going to be that is a whole other issue.

I need to sit and think about what and how I am going to construct this thing, try to make some kind of outline; and there isn’t a lot of time I need to create a skeleton of it in 2 weeks and I have 3000 words to write before then too on different topics.

Cant I just continue to research? I like doing that. Oh well to bed tonight and tomorrow hopefully I can crack a whip on myself. Joys the utter joys of it. At least the weather seems ok, if it wouldn’t that would suck even more and well make the transition more shitty than it already is (cause Siena is no Paris- and I miss my Paris).
Riding the Low Cost Airlines:
I love my cheapie airlines, don’t get me wrong. Cheap travel is really my only way of going anymore. They are just entertaining to me.

So this morning I got to watch the natives get restless, and all start preparations for the cattle call. Then comes my favorite part of it- the "I am going to push my armpits into your face in an attempt to get on the plane ONE person before you" (you know how much that matters). I am not usually amenable to your armpits if I dont know you and it is before 8am.

And then of course the smooshing and the pushing (looking all shocked when I push back). Yeah its great not having my legs cramped but there is the other side to the coin is there too.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I Am Back, I Am SOOOO Back:
I do love me my Metro, I love My Paris. I even love that I walk into the metro there is a guy laying on the floor drunk feeling himself up. It is Paris and there is no missing it, and a damn good reason they call it the city of Love.

Going back to Siena tomorrow is going to be a bitch. I love Italy but Paris has got a serious piece of my heart. Especially since when I was in the lab today and I got to run into all my friends from last module. Everyone was surprised and great. Cec and Lauren were a bit cold but oh well. They will either tell me or get over it.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Get Your MAC On:
Oh yes lest we think earlier this week was an anomaly I went in to the Mecca of all Girly product Mecca’s. Sephora on the Champs. Oh yes it is the Mecca of all things that I already have too much of. But today was the first time in all of this that I SERIOUSLY wanted to have one of the fancy photo cell phones. I felt too obnoxious taking a picture of this but I have a witness. I was not hallucinating on the new Gucci perfume (I did however spray on a fair amount and decide I love it).

Sephora in France carries the Cosmetics line MAC, actually they carry Bobbi Brown too, which is odd as some of my favorites from the states aren’t there, but that is a side note. MAC was doing some big promotional thing and in the middle of the store there was this whole cordoned area with its own staffing and all. But then I got a flash in. I say flash for a particular reason.

You see once the nice lady in orange moved I saw the MAC Man. Nothing wrong with a man doing my makeup- Eddie Izzard does a great job on his and Kevyn Aucoin was one of the most talented Makeup Artists around. But this man had done his eye shadow with stripes of bold neon (are we catching the trend this year- dear designers, pasty ass people like me can NOT do neon!) stripes in Blue, Yellow and Pink.

But no that was not the end of it. You remember the Sesame Street game "One of these things is not like the other" well this was about where I noticed a distinct thing. He looked like he was NEKID. He had no shirt on and the kicker; he was wearing a BRIGHT turquoise swimsuit. No not boy pants but a freaking Brazilian cut Speedo with the little makeup tool belt "covering" the "package."

Yeah I had to share that, I cant be the only one suffering with that image seared in my mind.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Day Two:
Today much better. I slept like a log. I not only wake up on time but I have friends at conference when I get there. I still feel in a bit over my head; but I am getting info, leads, ideas, lots of methodological focus, makes some friends and gotten direction like no ones business. The rough part is going to have to go back and not be writing immediately on this, I still have to finish this module up.

Was fun too as Swedish guy is now flirting with me (he later tells me if I am ever in Stockholm to let him know so that he can take me out and around). I am feeling a bit less conscious and I am wearing a longer skirt today which means I can sometimes feel my toes how could it not be going well?

Well it is going well. I go to my sessions, I talk to Greek guys who still are amazed I want to study the South of Europe and that I know things about Greece. They keep repeating I must keep in touch, one is at LSE I think I will :) After the end of the day I must say the conference ROCKED. I made contacts with some really nice people, some people who might be able to also help me with easing back into this whole academic thing a bit smoother (yeah still sometimes feeling like an ass).

A few of us went out for drinks. I said by to my Italian friend- baci with promises to see him in Milan. I then walked around Nantes with the Swiss girl who is really cool and then caught the train back with one of the other PhD students.

I was privileged on this TGV ride. I got to ride for the first hour in the Kiddie Kaboose of about twenty-five 6-7 year olds, that was until we moved.

Met up with Betsy and I am just GUSHING about the conference. It may have cost me but it even if some of the funding doesn’t come through it was worth it! And hey I got two meals for free, even if the lunch was pretty low level. I ended up sitting next to (with out knowing it) a guy who I have been citing like crazy- hmmm that was a bit to find out, and hot Finnish man, dear god he is almost a drool worthy as one of my French professors.

I think I might have found the right place to find me a man, they are smart and there is at least a decent percentage of who are quite attractive. There is hope for me after all...

Friday, May 21, 2004

Day One:
Its go time, actually make that Conference time people. I really prepped myself for today. I didn’t go to sleep AT ALL last night. Yeah that was smart. I am terrified of being a room full of smart people and sounding like and ass, so I sleep deprive myself.

Even better I thought my train left at 6:10 so I left Sarah’s at 5:30am and started walking from the 9th to the 15th. Yeah and I did that in these little kitten heel sandals I have that are great but still. I do have to say the light was just starting to break and NO ONE was out. Was like Paris was just mine and I liked that. I got to Concorde and decided it was getting too close to cut it anymore, so I hail a taxi. I get to Montparnasse and find out I leave at 6:30 not 6:10- 6 euros gone. Oh well. I made it on the train slept a bit got to Nantes and then to the conference.

I go in to the conference hall, and I see my old professor and say hello. Half looking for my thesis advisor, don’t see him then I do. He sees me says hi and walks by. OK. So sit down go through the morning session. Feels a bit odd, I really don’t know anyone and these are almost ALL the big boys and girls that I have been citing, some for YEARS. Yeah I am a bit intimidated.

Not to mention that Holy hell this place is COLD. Antartica has nothing on the Cite Congress. I didn’t bring shit with me for this. I can’t feel my toes!

After the morning sessions I run to try and check that my hostel is still holding my space. Hostel is closed. Great umm... that makes me feel good. And I have just enough time to turn around and walk back (of course carrying all my stuff with me in my small shoulder bag). So I get back and I meet three other graduate students (us four are IT- yeah that makes me feel better). I sat the rest of the afternoon with them.

The next panel is really interesting but I am tired and again I can not feel my toes- at all. Thesis advisor says hello again and does his quirky thing. Ummm, OK again, whatever Mr. Hot/Cold. Day one at the conference ends.

I have one hour to PRAY that the hostel is open. I get there it is open, I drop my shit scramble with the five minute make up and run my way back over to the conference dinner. At least I can feel my toes again, they are going to blister from all this walking, but I can feel them.

Dinner time: whoa boy free food and wine I am in. So I end up sitting at a table with my advisor (by coincidence) an Italian guy that is really nice, a HOT Finnish man ( who is the advisor to the Prime Minister- damn he is married), cute Swedish guy, and the other girls plus one Swiss girl who is awesome. Was really nice as they are all young researchers so it was going well. I talk with varying people. I drink wine. Oh yes I drink wine. My thesis advisor starts pouring for me. Oh don’t think he knew what he was in for.

The main conversations were one about creepy professor who hit on me and trying to tactfully avoid saying the actual details of the incident I had with him and his hands. To which Finnish man in typical Scandinavian way says to get that story we have to get more wine in you don’t we? I say yes, he pours for me.

Thesis advisor and I make fun of Italian guy since he is vegetarian. Vegetarian in French means you want fish instead of the "meat." Paolo after eating cheese for lunch and paying 20 euros for it, is not amused. Advisor then says to me you turn things in on time (me trying to stifle the giggle loop on that one), I say yes well I try. He says, I don’t know if I like that. What? He tells me that if I am doing that I am not suffering enough and therefore it cant be a good paper. Witty repartee- just you wait. I suffer and I will suffer immensely this summer, I just do my suffering on the beach playing in the water. Then I end up talking with cute Swedish guy for a while. He is pretty cute a bit robot geeky but really nice and absolutely brilliant. A mind does all sorts of thing.

Once dinner is over the "boys" ask me to go and have drinks at the bar with them, mind you I have already consumed about a bottle of wine, but why not? So I go and mingle with some more people. Have fun with the Scandinavians and meet two other great Spaniards who can tell where the family is from by the jumbled words I can get out and two Greek guys who were hysterical.

All is going great; I manage to put off the shots until right before I leave so any of my normal touch feely personality doesn’t go over board with the alcohol. Came close but don’t think I went too far over anything. Then headed back to the hostel to crawl into bed and PRAY I wake up on time the next morning.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

WEEEEEEEEE:
I am sooo thrilled to be back in Paris. I am completely walking on cloud nine. I am walking I am wandering I am back. It doesn’t feel like home anymore but it is and always will be a happy place for me. I always enjoy playing the tourist in Paris and I don’t think you ever do stop. Sometimes while living here I was numbed a bit by it all, but today is complete joy.

I am with Betsy and Sarah I am having a great time. I had a tartlette citron. I went shopping; found me a nice skirt for the conference tomorrow. Got a muffin at Starbucks- cranberry orange repeat after me YUM. Went to the Pont des Arts and ate a cheese smorgasbord with grapes, bread and wine. Went to the late night of the D’Orsay. Then went to a live music show.

What more could you ask for?? Well only one thing to be in town Friday night- the freaking Beastie Boys are playing a small venue got tickets but I have the conference. But not even that can temper my mood, I am floating.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Oh I SOOOO LOVE the Metro:
So I didn’t have wait long for my "welcome" back to France. Come on you knew it was coming, something was at least.

So I fly into Orly, and I take the Metro into town. Now I am flipping languages and not doing so well... graciously. But I am still mostly speaking/thinking in Italian since most of the people in the Metro car are from my flight and talking around me. Whatever I am picking up some French and sitting there thinking to myself how THRILLED I am to be back in Paris.

I look up and notice in the center of the metro car there are these three kind of cute guys. I smile. Mistake numero uno, I have been out of Paris a month and I forgot Metro rule number one; you do NOT smile under any circumstance to any male over the age of 5.

So I hear them talking and it is pretty clear that they don’t think I understand French. And I am pretty sure that I hear them talking about me, but my languages are making my brain mush so I am not confident. But the fact that they are looking over smiling at me and all those good things makes me think I might be right. Then I hear one of the guys say I wonder what her bra size is? And I am thinking shit my French must really be failing me he wouldn’t say that OUT LOUD like that in France, would he?

So I stop looking at them and just sit there with my bag. We get into town and I am getting ready to get off the Metro and one of the guys gets behind me. And I unbelievably hear him say, I wouldn’t mind tapping my ass, (obviously in French but they also use the verb tap (i.e. tappez) so I know I am not loosing it any more. (Thanks to Lauren who came to class last module so excited for having heard that on TV.)

So me being me I turned around my French miraculously appears and I say (in French again) to them: thank you for your compliment but you my dear don’t stand a chance in Hell. Other two guys start laughing as the first guy. But that wouldn’t be enough, I go after man number two and say. Oh and for your information I am a 90B (French size).

The two chastised ones are ASTONISHED, probably as they had heard me helping an old Italian couple; third guy is still in a riot. They had been talking about getting a taxi from the same Metro station I had to make a change at. So I get off the Metro and turn around say to them, what no Taxi at Chatelet? And the doors close.

Yeah every time I ask does shit like this happen to anyone else, the answer always comes back- No Tink just YOU. Then again what would this blog be with out stories like this...
From Your "Fashion" Reporter:
I am in Milan today on my way to Paris- if there was a more fashion related day I couldn’t have found it if I tried. And if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes some of it I seriously would NOT have believed. I commend people for being creative and crazy, fashion is for each person to represent themselves and I am all for it. Go ahead put yourself out there. Me, I am much more of a "classics" with maybe a crazy accessory person. But this is out of control and amazingly enough the edited version of just today people.

Really I feel like I have to say it because I don’t even believe it some times and I swear I am not making ANY of this up. Really I ran into more fashion faux pas and for that matter more 80’s clothes than were worn in the 80’s themselves.

With no further ado the List:

The dreaded fanny pouches have again made their return with both men and women…
Rabbit foot as an Earring on only one ear
Tiered pleated skirts
Men wearing pants with the shredded leg look (yes I remember doing that to my pants but I don’t want to see that hole by your crotch or ass; so can you PLEASE sit differently??)
More women with camel toe than any one ought to see in a lifetime, and me I get it all in one day
Flags of the world pants with a Bright yellow bolero jacket
A belt to help keep your pants BELOW your ass
Men with construction worker orange pants with neon yellow tiger stripes down the side
Bra’s that are too tiny (if it is too tiny for my miniscule 34B it is too tiny for your 44DD) = you looking like you have 6 boobs, and remind me of a lactating dog, I am scared).
The GREEN girl (Kelly green dress, lime green footless tights, neon green wristlet) topped off with the hair in the side of the head ponytail. Go Irish! (Oops not St. Patty’s day, or Notre Dame Gameday)
A man with a Yarmulke wanting people to know he has religion and was fashionable too- he wore neon salmon pants and matching shoes, why he thought it would prove that is beyond me

Most of this shit I just don’t get, I mean really why you want to wear pants that make you look like an encased sausage, let alone every color of the rainbow all at the same time??

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

CIAO:


Well things are a bit out of control as I get ready to head to this conference this weekend. I am still on some level a bit intimidated by it all, but it should turn out really well so I am just sucking it up and paying and going!

So I may or may not be incognito while I am in Paris. I am scrambling right now to get everything together (which is of course becuase I left too many things to the last minute that I neednt have- shut it!) and indeed I leave tomorrow morning. It will be a bit of an adventure and well I am sooooo looking forward to being back in Paris.

So in case I am not about for the next week take care and check in I will try to post and know that I will be back in Italy and talking all about it on Wednesday of next week.

CIAO!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Delightful, Simply Delightful:
Had an absolutely wonderful weekend. I have given up on my fellow program students as lame and cliquish. So whats a girl to do? Well I made friends with most of the PhD students from another program.

We went out on Saturday night when I proved to Davide that I really do have a hollow leg. It was a wonderful evening and really fun.

Made it past that initial hurdle and got out of Siena on Sunday! I went to San Giminagno for a afternoon/day trip. Met a great Kiwi, spoke Italian for most of the day. Saw all the towers and restored my belief in friendly Italians.

I left a nasty note on the door of the Spainish boys about leaving things a mess. (Come on I dont want to live like an actual Pig!) And when I got home they had cleaned. I felt bad about being bitchy about but it got me results.

And best of all, I went into this tiny "chi-chi" store to see how much some Truffle Oil would set me back. Turns out not much. It was supposed to be 6euros but since I talked with him for 10 minutes and only had a 5 on me with change he said take it. I had me a yummy dinner!

Oh yeah and the sun came out. Amazing what a bit of sun, alcohol, and friendly people will do for you!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Ok Do I Look Dumb??:
Well maybe you shouldnt answer that but really. I go back and forth between wanting to be aware and up to date on the news and enjoying my time in blissful ignorance.

Today I read the news. It amazes me the bullshit people (read current US Administration) want to try and get me to believe.

We all know that Rummy is in some serious hot do-do. So what does he do to make it look like he is all reasonable and stuff? He goes to Iraq. He's going to look into what all has happened in the prisons there, cause he's the Boss and that is what a Boss should do. RIIIIIGHT.

Umm first of all why didnt he do this in January when he first found out? And second why the fuck are you going to make a bullshit quote like "If anyone thinks I am in Iraq to throw water on a fire, they are wrong." Do I have Dippy the Shit Stick tattooed on my forehead?

He then goes on to say that he was willing to release all images but lawyers were advising against it on grounds that the images could be construed as degrading to the prisoners and thus be in violation of the Geneva accords. Sure that sounds about right. I mean you think?? Like we arent in more violations than one in actual action but avoiding them by legal games of terminology (declared operation v. war for example) anyways.

You know dumb people quite often should be handed signs so that when you walk past them you can be aware that really you cant rely on them. Yesterday for example I get asked as I walked out of the library with a book and I was going to read it. Nope I carry heavy amounts of paper bound together to use for wiping my ass. Here's your sign!

I guess Rummy thinks every American not to mention citizen of the world has one on too. Problem is I see their signs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

WHEEEEEEEEEEE:
When something comes at you like a bolt of lightning and starts the flow, I have only one rule. DON’T FUCK WITH THE FAUCET.

I am one of those binge and purge types of people I think. Though to make clear that does not extend to eating. I may have many an issue with food that is not one of them.

I more mean things like when I am in a truly cleaning mode I am likely to be hyper focused and scrubbing for hours into every crevice that exists. It rarely happens but I believe in dropping all and riding the rollercoaster to the complete end. Full stop, each and every time the opportunity presents itself.

I have been mulling over a submission topic to which I agreed to write for a publication. Its not on my prime expertise, nor my primary research, but in a broad sense it is sorta...

I had been ignoring the article. I was more interested in reading and researching for my dissertation. Deadline looming and pressure be damned I kept postponing. And then out of nowhere last night I was doing more readings for my dissertation and wouldn’t you know it, lightning struck. My mulled over, sporadic and broad thoughts coalesced and congealed. BANG BANG BANG. I had revelations and they were flowing.

At this point I know it is start writing or lose it to the land of no return. It is definitely my motto for when inspiration strikes to take hold of it and ask questions later.

To me at this point I realized as I was physically writing that I had completely been enveloped by my computer. I had completely forgotten the crucial and important role paper and pen, my trust two friends, can have. I forgot what actually writing things out on paper can do for your ideas, organization and writing. I also forgot what kind of hand and forearm cramps writing can induce. But tonight I WROTE. Free form, stream of consciousness, unstructured writing. And wouldn’t you know it the whole article appeared to me in its skeletal form with in the hour. If only you take the time to write, amazed at what makes itself evident, without you realizing it at the time.

So write I did. I got a good 2/3 of the article out before the rush obviously started to peter out. Reflected in my self commentary of- wow this that I am writing is definitely turning into shit. But ride the rollercoaster I did.

There is no rhyme or reason. No pattern or expectations. No ways to anticipate any of this that are consistent or I can rely on. No clear signals that the next thought will continue or that when I read it later it won’t seem like a large amount of prattle. But all that this indicates to me is the extreme importance of getting on the bloody roller coaster. Even if it means only riding it for one minute 200 times, time 201 could be THE one. And since you never know, I always ride.

Almost like turning a corner riding the rollercoaster last night gave me back a bit of my confidence. The confidence in my capacity to write, rather than patchwork together bobs and bits of other people. Writing is one of the hardest parts of the path I have chosen for myself. Writing your own position in a scientific format on a social issue is not as easy as it might seem. It reminded me to respect all stages and to let things flow organically. Composition of this article definitely freed me, freed me from the confines of writing with out sources for quotation or style.

Clean and pure me. I sure hope that it isn’t considered utter shite. Oh well makes sense to me, I like it, and well... it had an impact on me. Not that any of that says much :)

Monday, May 10, 2004

So Much Fun:
Like it wasn’t bad enough that last module I had the syllabus from hell that I had to play cryptographer with. I am researching and I am liking it (I actually like the research read period WAY better than the writing one). Listening to music and revving myself up for the long day, and I am on this great article till the author decides to be an ass.

You might ask just how she knew that I really wanted to play guess the acronym for hours! How hard is it when using not standard abbreviations to either write it out once and then parenthesize it, or make a table of em at the beginning.

I always think of that shit as common courtesy. Instead I got to spend about 25 minutes trying to either ignore it (but it was popping up every 20 words or so) or to try and figure it out. TFR. Yup that was it.

TFR go at it have a guess. In those 25 minutes I came up with about 13 good ones. Feel free to share any you might think of, I need all the humor I can get.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Yeah It’s So FUCKING Cute:
You know I am sure it makes for great tourist value to see the locals dressed up like elves in their medieval gear. But this whole drumming shit every Sunday, all day Sunday, starting in the morning and continuing through my researching and working in the evening; back and forth on my street with the windows that keep nothing out, is starting to chap my ass something serious.

You can still parade all day, all you freaking want. Please feel free to wave your flags and wear your pouncy costumes, but for the love of god drop the drums people drop them.

Or else I am seriously going to be getting all homicidal on your ass, trust me that is not a turn on.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Moral of the Story:
So today I decided to get up and do something. I went into Uni and got past my hesitance. I found decent priced tickets and I am going to the gonna cost me but so worth it conference. I know I should be financially responsible and turn the opportunity down but what good would that be. Bleed me dry people I will be back in France in two weeks. Couldn’t make it a whole month out of France.

After they shut the Uni down at noon I went to the local bookstore to find a hostel listing for the town the conference is in. I had two books in my hand that I was going to buy, being all brave about my Italian reading and all. And I was looking in the lonely Planet and writing out the one hostel listing and some guy came over to me with a priss ass attitude. Told me I couldn’t write anything out of a book.

Maybe other people have encountered this but in my experience as long as I wasn’t disrupting the book (i.e. breaking the binding) no book store has even had an issue with this. That would be no bookstore in the US, Italy (before here), France, UK, Spain, Germany, Norway, Egypt and Turkey. For christsake in France, Norway, and Spain I would sit down with at least 4 different guides take down information between them and then buy the one that I liked best; not to mention the whole US/UK Barnes and Noble effect. The pompous pigno nel cullo just lost all my business (about 350 euros and the note to the people in the program and Facolta) to the bookstore down the street and a nasty ass comment and look from me.

I left with the worst taste in my mouth. Even in Grado the touristy town from hell the store people were not so rude and asshole like I have seen here in Siena. Sorry guys this place sucks. Yes it is Italy and I am not complaining but I am loosing my patience, the hordes have arrived.

In my attempt to get the bad taste out of my mouth, I went with my books that I bought at the other store and my water down to the Campo. Sat myself down and did some reading. It wasn’t warm or anything I was definitely still wearing Wool and it had hailed this morning (which is not a happy factor- its freaking May people), but the sun came out for a while and I read a small amount.

The best part was this KICK ASS Pug that completely made me die in fits of laughter. She had the punk ass attitude going on and she was not enamored with the pigeons. So when she came over to say Hi and I stopped petting for a second, she got up and promptly chased a whole flock of the pigeons away. It was hysterical; she chased them over 100 yards away. Even better was when a midsize dog in the Campo came by and barked at her. She would alternate between barking at him and then him at her and then just when it looked like she was going to leave it she would go back and do one more "Told You SO." Made me miss my Monster, but definitely took me out of my funk.

But the true moral of the story for the day was don’t get married in Italy. Why that piece of randomness? Cause I felt so bad for this couple who had just gotten married in the church facing the Campo and came out into the Campo with their professional photographer and were swarmed by tourists who wanted to take a picture with them. I don’t get that shit- Hi I am in a foreign country I haven’t a clue who the fuck you are and I want to have my picture taken with you?? I would be so pissy if that happened to me on my wedding day. The couple seemed pretty good about it but still, how freaking TACKY.

Friday, May 07, 2004

No This Is Not Ok:
It is a bad day I am telling you. Between reading the news and wanting to scream and now this. UNACCEPTABLE.

I am in Italy people, It is MAY, May 7th to be exact. I am wearing wool pants, a long sleeve shirt, a wool sweater, and my North Face jacket (inside cause they dont know how to use heating). It is monsoon raining. And if that wasnt bad enough... Its Fucking HAILING outside.

Someone please come and take me away!
I Am So Going To Loose It:
I probably never had it but this is too much. God Damnit George Bush keep your Fucking hands off my uterus. How is that for a roar??

It is not just a fact of magic that the FDA ruled today against making the morning after pill over the counter. It is Bush once again putting political pandering ahead of women’s health. I am sorry you cannot chose to selectively apply your logic apply to one thing and not another. You can’t trust me with my money (thus cut my taxes and burden my future grandchildren) and not trust me to make independent individual decisions about my body (like taking a pregnancy prevention pill). Hell you like letting the market decide, let me use my money to make my own decision then. Don’t prevent it from going to market restricting the right you espouse.

I have done regulatory studies the whole idea of the FDA is supposedly that it is immune from politics. Unless it involves women. RU-486 and now the morning after pill have forced politics into an institution which should be devoid of them. And it is bringing religion into the state. The separation is there for a reason people. No interpretation needed.

Some of the bullshit coming out in response to the FDA ruling is beyond belief. Wendy Right from Concerned Women for America said it was a ruling based on science. Not only was she not sure I guess that teens could read directions on OTC drugs, but the best was because broad availability of the pill might allow people to slip the pill to women unknowingly. Yeah cause the morning after pill is like a Rufie???

The shuffle by the government is that they have to prove that girls could take the medication independent of a doctor. It is a pill people, you open your mouth, you pop it in and you swallow; to be repeated again with the second pill,;and then prepare for cramps and a period. This is NOT like taking the abortion pill- at all. Yes there should be information, yes it should be kept by a pharmacist who will charge you no different price but give you the info face to face with OUT a prescription. If you cant trust them to read the directions then you dont need to be worried about the drug you need to be worried about your teenage illiteracy rates.

Like the presence of a drug is going to reduce the hormones that are going on in a teenagers body. THis was said about birthcontrol pills and well we all live in Gomorrah you know. For the love of god people the pill doesn’t make you promiscuous, it instead makes you responsible. You want to tell me it increases risky behavior, try again. If any women is responsible and a condom breaks, her taking the pill is not risky, it is risk averse, she wants to avoid the risk of getting pregnant.

This kind of logic ties my tits in a knot, wind chaps em and then grates them like parmesan cheese. Women do not have third trimester i.e. partial birth abortions cause they are using it as a form of birth control. Women do not use the morning after pill, just cause they want to be reckless. They want to avoid having an abortion or unwanted child.

If you are so secure in your own beliefs than you should not be threatened by my contrary beliefs nor should you infringe my rights claiming yours are superior. If you feel the need to force yourself on me then before you do that I suggest you take a good and hard look at your own beliefs.

GAH had to rant this it too much anymore.
Red It's a BAD Color:
Ok people I really want to know. Why in the world does the US still feel it is a political need to throw money at Cuban dissidents in an effort to hasten the end of the Castro regime? There is an article on this new Bush proposal at NYT.

I understand some of the basics in terms of pandering to Cuban Florida votes. No doubt the man needs them to counter the pissed off old jewish ladies who were suckered in the last election and are still stinging about having inadvertently voted for Buchannan. But in general don’t you think after 45 years we should give up the ghost? Communism sure as hell isn’t the BIG Red Threat anymore and this strategy hasn’t done much good so far yet has it? I can see so many better ways of spending this money, that this is just irresponsible (but I am not surprised- we are talking about Bush). Besides which to me it is the completely wrong way to go about it if our real goal is to have a free Cuba. Cause you know the current plan is sooooo keeping Fidel down (not that I like Fidel, but come on time has died on this strategy a long time ago), and keep communism from invading Miami, Florida or something. Sorry but that is prime dippy the shit stick material to me.

This proposal also includes further restrictions on travel. Americans often ask me why I want to get my Spanish citizenship (well they also ask me why I want to live in Europe but we wont go there). There are many reasons. While I am American I am also Spanish, and to be honest I don’t fit into either. However, if I had to order them it would be Spanish-American. That is my family and culture, the other is often simply a place I understand and have lived. Secondly I work on European issues. In the states to get a job (should I not go on immediately to a PhD) on European issues you have to "put in your dues." And even then there aren’t nearly as many jobs on what my interests are as there are in Europe. Thus my Spanish citizenship will allow me to work in Europe. Also I honestly see no harm in having more options. I wouldn’t be looked at near as oddly had I married a Spaniard and took on citizenship through marriage; but because I am independently seeking it all of a sudden I am slammed with all sorts of patriotic bullshit.

So after we get past that bullshit, the first question I am usually asked is what are you going to do with your Spanish passport? Well I will tell you. I am going to Havana, and pronto. I am going legally. I don’t want to have to play any of the stupid games that the US puts you through.

Why Havana? Mostly I have these crazy ass dreams of salsa dancing the night away in an outdoor Ricky and Lucy type restaurant with live music with the ocean near by. Eating in the amphitheater portion of it watching people dance as I ate some delicious food and the red wine and liquors flowing. Interspersed in the meal would be trips down to the dance floor. The guy playing the bongo drums, the trumpeter and Spanish singing; together, all filled with some 60’s type aura to it (I don’t know why?).

I know it is becoming more and more touristy and I want to avoid that while I can to whatever extent I can. I also know that there is extreme poverty. But I still have these romantic notions of Havana, from when it was the playground for the rich jet set and when dancing which is a part of my soul was all that I needed. I cant reject them from my mind. The music running through my veins making my feet slide and walk on air. Spinning in a daze of cigar smoke, and my hair flying around in a messy and free form twirl. I see myself in some dress making a complete storm around the sensuality (not sexuality- there is a difference) of the story music and dance is about, the pure joy of it. Me with a flushed glow on my cheeks and my heels on dancing the night away.

So that is what I am going to do and I am sure I will be told it will help Castro. Fine let me help the old fogie. At this point I speak blasphemy I know, but I dont care. He is an old man and well I just dont see the threat.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Memories of the Days Gone By:
In the midst of this Italian 80's hysteria I have been having a mid 90's moment. And since I am also trying to get my writing under control (One paper finished last night only to go home and have the yarn beat my ass trying to get this "simple" lace pattern for a baby sweater to work. Bugger!) and open up serious space in my hotmail inbox I came across this gem.

It will make more sense if you remember that "song," the one where there was some letter of advice read to you. You know the one I am talking about right... well here is one of my dear friend's versions of that song.

Take a trip with me back to the 90's:

Words of Wisdom

Drink Alcohol.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, alcohol would be it.
The long-term benefits of alcohol have been consistently misunderstood by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own drunken experience, which, as many of you should already know, is quite extensive.

I will dispense this advice now:
Enjoy the power and beauty of your alcohol tolerance. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your alcohol tolerance until it's faded.

But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself puking in a gutter and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much alcohol you drank and how fabulous it really was.

You are not as sick as you imagine.
Don't worry about where the next beer is coming from. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to pull anything that isn't a beer-goggle after 10 pints of Guinness.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your drink-addled mind, like the unexpected lack of beer in the fridge on some idle Tuesday.

Drink one thing every day that scares you. Zima comes to mind.
Sing badly.
Be reckless when buying other people drinks.
Don't put up with people who are reckless when buying yours.
Gargle.
Don't waste your time on foofy girlie-drinks.
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind.
The race is long and, in the end, it's only to the bar.
Make up compliments you received.
Return the insults.
If you don't succeed in doing this drink more beer now.
Keep your old plastic keg-toppers. Throw away your old cans.
Wretch.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know when you might dry-out in your life.

The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 when they would sober up.
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still haven't.

Eat plenty of kebabs.
Don't be too kind to your liver. You'll hardly miss it when it's gone.

Maybe you'll pull, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll get some chick up to your pad, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll enter rehab at 40, maybe you'll dance the nude conga at your 75th University Reunion.

Whatever you do, congratulate yourself far too much and berate others.
Your choices are half alcohol influenced. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy someone else's body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what the lads might think of it. Unless it's a dude.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but on the street with a 40 of Mickey's.
Ignore the directions, don't ever follow them.
DO NOT read beauty magazines, just cut out the pictures and put them on your wall.
Get to know your parents. You never know when you'll have to tap them for some cash.
Be nice to your barman. They're your best link to the bar and the person most likely to stop you from getting your head kicked by a bouncer when belligerent in the future.
Understand that favourite drinks come and go, but with a precious flammable few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in strength and consistency, because the older you get, the harder it will be to pound beer like when you were young.

Live in Santa Barbara once, but leave before it makes you weak.
Live in New York once, but leave before everything you own gets stolen.

Drool.

Accept certain inalienable truths:
- Beer prices will rise.
- Bouncers will throw you out.
- You, too, will get a hangover.
And when you do, you'll fantasise that when you were young, prices were reasonable, bouncers couldn't catch you, and hangovers were NEVER as bad as this.

Respect alcoholics.
Don't expect anyone else to buy you a beer.
Maybe you'll have huge credit card debts. Maybe you'll hook up with a rich bitch.
But you never know when either one might stop getting youpissed.

Don't mess too much with Sex on the Beach, Daquiris, etc, or by the time you're 25 you will drink like a chick.
Be careful whose cheap booze you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Cheap booze is a form of rip-off. Dispensing it is a way of fishing old stock from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the sell-by date and re-selling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the alcohol.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Oh Mi God:

I dont have time to comment other than to say that the demise of this idea is probably one of the better things to recently happen in the world. One of the best decisions Nancy has probably ever made

Ronald Regan University- Dementia R US....
Gotta Love A Good Glance:
I am mostly a feminist and I should be outraged, but Im not. Really this shit doesnt bother me, it just makes me laugh. So a while back I noticed my professor staring at my chest during class. But I couldnt figure out why; its not like I have a rack or anything to stare at. I wasnt even wearing anything riske- just an apron cross over "dress" top. It was during a tag-team lecture with the world's hottest professor. He wasnt really obvious but I noticed cause I got radar for that shit.

After wondering what was going on, being blase and all friendly smiling girl, I figured it out. Fuck. I of course realize at the end of class with the weight I have recently lost, (about 4-5 lbs no idea how but it pisses me off. My cute Parisian pants dont exactly fit anymore. I only bought them 3 weeks ago, this sucks) I have a reverse gap issue. I.e. Weeeeee from the exact angle I was sitting and had to turn to face the lecturers its easy to look and the twins were free... He is French but he was still looking.

Then later on at a meeting he asked me if I would be interested in helping him with a conference. Not only is it a great academic foot in the door option, but I used to do event planning. So sure I was willing to help out. Then he asked me if I would be pretty and help greet people with him too. Yup those are the exact words, he does speak English and he is under 40.

Well it seems some one thinks I belong on the doll shelf... Fuck that some one thinks I am cute Ill take that instead :)

*** Note this is not CREEPY Professor I am talking about this is one of my kick ass dissertation supervisors***

Then today I am sitting in a lecture by one my favorite quirky guys and there is this guy in the lecture staring at me, make that my chest. I am wearing a turtle/polo neck sweater (yeah its May its raining and cold- yippee!) so I know its not for a peep show.

Not by inappropriate guy, but by the most akward of ginger Italians who for some reason had seen me in Paris at the library and reconginzed me from the distinct way I sit. That and my eyes and lips. Yeah that was GREAT pick up line. Made me giggle all the way home. Nice enough, not my type, but still smiling.

And to make it even better I am being all giggly and oh let's be generous and say age 12, about the completely inappropriate guy- who is someone I have to have contact with...

Dear Buddha this is BAD BAD BAD. Bugger bugger bugger am I in DEEP.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Enough With The Rico Suave:
Who put the word out to the fashion industry that a move back to the 80's was ok? Who- cause you are going to have to pay.

Holy hell in a hand basket I am seeing girls (note the plural) with slit tops held together with safety pins. Jelly shoes are making a come back. And dear Buddha I saw a feathered flyaway hair-do today. Neon colors abound and blind. Next thing I know its going to be all about the early 90's gear again. GAH!

Come on I lived through that decade once why I gotta go back to the flashdance off the shoulder tops?? Even worse why are you wearing those Gerardo pants?

Looks like this spring/summer is shaping up to be even better than last years I wear a bra with clear straps and my tube top fashion faux pas, it might even top the neon parachute pants.

*** Added note on May 4 I think I found the cake topper. A 20 something female came down the street at me with a curly haired Joan Jet Mullet do. And I saw on MSN that Menudo is making a comeback. This is for real people!***
Typos From a Pervy Girl:
Today I have recently made the following typos. Impornment instead of improvement, pubic instead of public and two others that I am not going to mention.

People I am taking notes about the welfare state it is not like I am writing some bin romance novel.

So question of the day: Why cant I type a clean word?

Go ahead and get Freud-y with your bad self.

Holy Schmoly Batman:
Warren Buffet is backing John Kerry. There is intelligence in that man, and he usually backs winners. I like the trend, I am hopeful....

The irony of it is that Buffet is backing Kerry because he doesnt agree with Bush's Tax Policy, which gave him (as one of teh World's Richest people) a HUGE tax break. So Bush gave that man money with the unintended consequence of him using it and then some to campaign against him.

You know when you are a president who rules based on the market and two of the big market honchos (Buffet and Soros) go on a rampage against you- well you ought to get a new ideology, and swift boot out the door. Makes up for him supporting Schwartzy too.

Made my day :)

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Hey It’s A Parade For Me:

Now only if it wasn’t for hours straight starting at 8:30 AM on a Sunday (when I went to bed the "night before" at 2:30am) with non-stop drumming by about 35 Italians dressed up in full medieval gear. Ratta-ta-tat, Ratta-ta-tat, Ratta-ta, Ratta-ta, Ratta-ta, TAT. I love drummers as much as the next girl but come on I am not pretty at that hour of the morning. Face it I need my beauty sleep.

It was at least entertaining and leaned out the window and took pictures (couldn’t be arsed to get out of my PJ’s). It seriously went on all day with men prancing around in medieval garb, drumming and waving flags. Including tunics that I swear to god made them look like they were wearing Santa’s elf outfits in the wrong colors (red white and yellow).

I finally found out what this whole ordeal was about. I mean they started at 8:30 and were prancing around drumming to the point that I had already memorized their beats! I.E. till about 7:30 at night. Turns out that it is a parade of the neighborhoods, not some welcome to the EU, not some parade for me. Instead it is some kind of fecking touristy thing done with a preparation for Il Palio (which by the way is two months away).

Ratta-ta-tat, Ratta-ta-tat, Ratta-ta, Ratta-ta, Ratta-ta, TAT

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Bad, Bad Idea:
When having a "relationship" hungry period of your life to watch Bridget Jones on DVD- let alone three times in one day, in avoidance of finishing those last 500 words on the paper you really don’t care about anyways, is a not v.g. thing.

I love the movie don’t get me wrong. Many a day I feel like my name is Bridget for christssake. However today I want my freaking Marc Darcy and I want him NOW! I want that romantic stuff. I want to live in London too. I want to be that girl who runs down the street not giving a damn what anyone else ever thinks. I want to be and actually am completely irrational. Do a bang up job of it if I say so myself.

Still doesn’t change the fact that I want some romantic swoop of change in my life. I am sure if it happened I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I might not even want it if I got it, I honestly dont have the space or stability for it. But I am currently residing in Tink’s La-La land and well I want what I want for how long I want it.

Oh well maybe if I shake my ass hard enough pixie dust will come out of it and I can fly too...
Where Were You?:
You know growing up there were all these things in history that our parents or grandparents lived through and remembered where they were when it happened or the world found out.

My Grandma remembered where she was when she found out about the Civil War in Spain and when Pearl Harbor was bombed. My Mom remembers where she was when JFK was shot.

Recently I have realized that my generation has accumulated a few of these (where were you when JFK Jr crashed, where were you on 9-11 etc) and today is one of those days for me. Mostly because it is related to what I research, but also because I do think it is an important event. A few years back it was where you were when the Euro became real; today it is where were you when the European Union made a mind-boggling wave of enlargement.

The EU welcomes 10 new countries today and it will never be the same again. Welcomes extended to enjoy the day in the sun for: Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Poland, and Hungary.

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