Wednesday, November 30, 2005
True Woman of *almost* Genius
"There is no great genius without some touch of madness"
I've been lying awake at night trying to determine something--am I a genius? Those who know me know that there is a strong possibility that I am (Yes, you DO know that...). However, my *almost* genius mind has concluded that I am not (sigh of relief). I know this for two reasons:

1. I did not have an imaginary friend when I was young. Or any imagination, really. Apparently Imagination is a *sign* of genius. Well, I played normal games. My pets and stuffed animals had normal names. No signs of genius there.

2. I remember the first time I watched Patch Adams. They were talking about one of the patients and discussed how he had gone mad. They called it genius syndrome. Since that movie, I have studied the work of many geniuses. And pretty much all the people that I consider truly GENIUS are a little (or a lot) crazy. Burke, Foucault, Derrida....I could go on and on and on. It is true what they say--for every strong positive there is an equally strong negative. So you had all these revolutionary ideas and changed the course of the humanities forever. Buuuut, you drank yourself to death, grew a huge beard, lived in a cave and couldn't stop scratching yourself.

I like my (self-declared) position of *almost* genius. In fact, when I graduate my signature will look like this:

Kristen X, PhD (almost genius but not crazy enough)

...Although, by the time I graduate I may have the madness but no recognizable features of the genius. That would be a shame. No one goes to school to get dumber.
*please see the comment section for further analysis regarding this post

Monday, November 28, 2005
::Hey, could you stand another drink I'm better when I don't think It seems to get me through, I Am Kloot::
It has been a very busy couple of weeks filled with fun! I will recap a few of the highlights.

1. Headed to Boston and had a fantastic conference experience. Had a mini reunion with my Wake ladies! It was great to see Jen and Denise again. I have missed our crazy times. It was just like old times--lots of drinking, laughing, Jen dancing, meeting crazy people. Those girls are the best. Hopefully I will have pictures up soon on my Shutterfly account.

2. Also got to see Lesley (my future sister!). She has an adorable apartment, great friends and fun bars to hang out at. It was nice to be immersed in her life.

3. It was great to be in the city. Boston is nowhere close to Washington DC in terms of great cities but I still enjoyed shopping, taking public transportation, being in an urban area. Athens has a very urban feel but is still a very small town. Even that small taste of city living makes me want to apply for jobs in cities. Don't want to live in one my whole life but for a few years at least. The activity alone keeps my ADD self occupied.

4. Reunion with all my CMU peeps, too. Lots of sightseeing with Kristi and Nichelle. Bethany was even brave enough to come along! It is so nice to be with people who I have known since I was 19! They always remind me of the Kristen of yesterday. Let's just say I had very meager beginnings! But like they say "Georgia must let anyone in." Thanks ladies!

5. Also went up to MI for Thanksgiving. Even though I shouldn't have taken the time away from work, I had a great time. Drew and I are so lucky that our families go out of their way to spend time with us (and each other!). We literally got to see all of our immediate family. It was such a nice feeling. Also had lots of silliness with the siblings. I'm still wondering "who you?" Again, pictures coming soon!

6. Other randomness--I am so excited for college basketball. I hope Wake gets it together. They've been making us a tad nervous! I also can't believe that the semester is almost over. I simultaneously feel relieved and scared. By all accounts the second semester is even worse. But at least I am half way done with the year. I love that Lesley has Journey for her cell phone ring. I also love that Alison has a sweater with patches on the elbows. She looks so Professorish. If you are looking for a download--pick I Am Kloot, Proof (lyrics above). They are swell. This song is Jarrod's NCA song. It is pretty fitting....

I'm glad I had a great time the past 10 days because the next two weeks are going to be tough. I feel rejuvenated though. Just have to keep typing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I will be away from the blog for a while. I am off to Boston for our national convention. I plan on doing lots of fun stuff...I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, November 14, 2005
::So, I can hurt now, or hurt later. Now, I guess::
Last week's date night consisted of this movie. I have been looking forward to this movie for a LONG time. See this post. After viewing the film, I have had to reflect for a while to see if it surpassed my expectations. Drew thought it was "better than he expected." I'm not sure. I know it wasn't a disappointment which is (a) a good thing and (b) unusual. Buuut, I don't know if it was better than I had hoped. However, it has a lot of good things going for it.

1. I hate to say this as I just compared Broken Flowers to Lost in Translation--but Shopgirl was similar to Lost in Translation. I LOVE Lost in Translation. I love it so much that I don't want to trivialize it but comparing every movie to it. The best thing about LinT was the understated lead performances. Murray and Johansson were fantastic. They were subtle yet powerful. That describes Daines and Martin in this film. Their characters were moving and complicated but didn't scream PAY ATTENTION TO ME. They were real and natural. All good things.

2. And while I can recognize this, I also have to say that Daines is not my favorite. I think she was perfect for this role yet she still bugged me. I know it doesn't make sense but it's my blog so BACK OFF.

3. Jason Swartzman, however, was adorable. He was perfectly cast. I read the Jimmy Fallon was originally cast...I am glad that Swartzman ended up as the lovable Jeremy. He made the movie for Drew. He simply enhanced the already enjoyable film for me.

4. What made the movie for me was Martin's monologue at the end of the film. It was perfect. One line really got to me...."How could I miss someone who I kept at bay the whole time we were together so that I would not miss her when we were apart..." LOVED IT. LOVED HIM. His character moved me the most. I walked away from the film feeling his pain and isolation. That was suprising to me as throughout the movie I did not feel "moved." It was a subtle happening.

5. The real bummer about the film was that they used no Death Cab even though they used "This is the Sound of Settling" for the trailer. I loved the trailer. I love that song. I wish it had been in the movie. The lyrics are perfect.

Ok, so upon further reflection I have decided that the movie comes out even. Some parts were better than expected and others disappointed. SOOOO, I give it an 8. I think you should go see it. So, go!

Friday, November 11, 2005
Go Big Oil! Hooray!
Charles Grassley a senator from Iowa waxed eloquent yesterday:

"You know, what--what makes our economy grow is energy. And, and Americans are used to going to the gas tank (sic), and when they put that hose in their, uh, tank, and when I do it, I wanna get gas out of it. And when I turn the light switch on, I want the lights to go on, and I don't want somebody to tell me I gotta change my way of living to satisfy them. Because this is America, and this is something we've worked our way into, and the American people are entitled to it, and if we're going improve (sic) our standard of living, you have to consume more energy."

Thanks Chuck. I'll check back with your grandchildren in about 30 years. We'll see how our standard of living is then....

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Broken Flowers
::I'm like your mistress, except you're not even married::

Because everything moves slower in the South, we just got Broken Flowers. And we didn't really "get it" as it came to the Georgia Theatre downtown instead of our regular theatres. But it is actually better to watch movies at the GT can drink beer and don't have to sit through the previews (even though I like previews). We were excited to see this movie but also a little hesitant. In the past, Drew and I haven't been the biggest Jim Jarmusch fans. We turned off Coffee and Cigarettes. However, we love Bill Murray and our trusted IMDB and other reviewers have been loving it. I enjoyed the movie. However, I wouldn't just extend a blanket recommendation. I can understand why A LOT of people wouldn't like this movie.

1. The ending...I liked it. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies--Lost In Translation. It was somewhat left in the air. You are left to draw your own conclusions. I enjoy that. I feel that you are able to interpret the characters enough in this film to accurately hypothesize how the story plays out.
2. I have been attempting to pay more attention to images in movies. So often I get caught up in the dialogue or character development. In this movie I paid attention to camera angles, visual aspects of the scene, etc....J.J. did a great job. There was one particularly good scene where Murray wakes up in his car, alone, in the middle of a field. The visual was a perfect complement to the sad, isolated state of his life at that point. There were other examples but I will let you find them!
3. I like Jessica Lange. Ever since Big Fish, I seek her work out. Only a small part in this movie but it was a part just the same.
4. I loved the variety of characters in this movie. Especially great was the relationship between Murray and his neighbor. Fantastic juxtaposition of personalities and life styles. I loved that part of the movie.
5. You may be thinking...Why wouldn't you recommend this to everyone? Well, it moves SLOW. Jarmusch uses a lot of silence. Silence doesn't bother me (I am used to silence as every time I ask a question in my public speaking class, it resonates in the air). The silence did not disrupt the flow of the movie for me. I think it would for a lot of people. You have to be in the mood to watch a slooooow moving plot.

I would be interested to know what others think when they watch it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
A peek inside Kristen's Brain
If I worked at the post office, I would constantly wonder what was in everyone's packages. The suspense would kill me.

I hate that song..."Shake your laffy taffy" F'ING stupid. Are we that hard up for lyrics? If this is what the music industry has come to, maybe we should stop making music

Shawna likes Mo Rocca. So do I...I was reminded today how cute he is. I could just squeeze him.

I dislike unproductive bitching. See post that instructs people to stop complaining....

As always, Dr. Deluca is inspirational..."Why is it that meth addicitions start in rural areas? They are BORED out of their minds." and “How did this happen…we’re academics, we are paid to think yet we claim we don’t have time. What time we have, we fill with noise.”

I've really been into Death Cab lately...their older album
"My brain's repeating"if you've got an impulse let it out" But they never make it past my mouth"
"When you feel embarrassed then i'll be your prideWhen you need directions then i'll be the guideFor all time. For all time."

Saturday, November 05, 2005
Who needs Abercrombie when you have BRAINS?

Just in case people need another reason not to buy Abercrombie and Fitch stuff....

They have introduced a new line of "Attitude Tees" and by attitude they mean ridiculous. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Who needs brains when you have these" (no longer on site)
"I hope you can make more than I spend"
"Do I make you look fat?"
"Careful I had a bowl of bitchy for breakfast"
"If at first you don't succeed, try buying me some diamonds"
"Freshman 15" (with a list of 15 men's names)
" I had a nightmare I was a brunette"

Now I have some A&F shirts--not very many and they are now in a bag in my trunk ready to go to Goodwill. I am joining a large group of women that are calling for a "girlcott" of the retailer. The portrayal of women as materialistic, loose and/or superficial is infuriating. However, the fact that they target young girls with these shirts is sickening. Maybe I wouldn't be as upset if there were teeshirts for men that made fun of their lack of brains or painted them as greedy, stupid, promiscuous....but, alas, there are none.

A&F is claiming that the shirts are "edgy" and "funny." There is nothing edgy or funny about patriarchy. I am going to wear my own shirt:
"I traded mine for brains"

Friday, November 04, 2005
More Randomness
The other day a random person was looking at the sign outside our office door. I turned around and asked if I could help him. He said, "What's a graduate assistant? That sounds fun." I just stared at him, bewildered, and he walked away.

I wrote Drew this e-mail yesterday:
bad news...our swiffer wet jet is broken :(
it is just dripping and leaking EVERYWHERE...made a huge mess...not sure how it happened....i took the solution out and the actual swiffer is resting in peace in our bathtub.
we lost a real friend today...

I have been going to the movies A LOT next up: Shop Girl and Broken Flowers which are both playing in Athens.

We finally found a good Thai place in Athens. We were filled with relief and good food.

I keep locking my keys in my office. I am a dumbass sometimes.

We learned how to use the program EndNote today. It is great. I want to hug it. I wish I could. Instead I will hug LappyToppy (my lap top)

Drew thought of a poker nickname for me-- Mississippi River due to my propensity to win on the river card and the fact that I am constantly forceful. There are also gambling boats on the MR.

Thursday, November 03, 2005
North Country
::It takes a lot of energy to hate a person::

A great girl's night last night included this movie! Here are some thoughts:

1. In a shocking turn of events, I am going to HIGHLY recommend a movie. This movie deserves to be supported. To put it bluntly, when SAWII is the number one movie in this country and there are compelling films out there like North Country, something is clearly wrong with society. This film is not just about sexual harassment. It is also a critique of capitalism, industrialism and patriarchy. It sheds light onto a lot of issues which are still present today.

2. As most of you know, I have a girl crush on Charlize Theron. She can do no wrong in my eyes. This movie is not exception. She does a great job with the accent considering she is from South Africa. She did a great job embodying the struggle that Josie went through in all aspects of her life. I'm not 100% sold on the Oscar buzz. I don't feel that she had to work that hard to illicit a lot of emotion. It was a challenging role but just because it required a lot of emotion and depth doesn't mean it should automatically be considered for an Oscar.

3. Frances McDormond, however, was AWESOME. Fargo good. She played a very complex character very well. All the actors were great and she still stood out.

4. I also liked the way the movie handled violence. A lot of bad stuff has happened to Josie. They didn't minimize it but they also didn't sensationalize it. Thank you for not playing into the American people's obsession with violence.

5. My only complaint is that (in true Hollywood style) they had to sensationalize a story which was already sensational enough. It wasn't enough for these women to experience what they did. The powers that be also had to throw in a cheesy ending and villanize a few women along the way. I buy the movie's argument that not all the women supported Josie or were part of the class action suit. But surely more than Josie Aimes were a part of it--hence the CLASS ACTION title. It wasn't even that legally accurate. But hey, if it gets people in the seats...

GO SEE THIS MOVIE and bring Kleenex.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Ripped from the headlines
Just a sample of the intelligent ideas making news this week:

Good news--President Bush has allocated 2.2+ billion dollars to fighting bird flu. Most scientists agree that Americans have 0 chance of getting this disease. Importantly, only about 120 people TOTAL have been afflicted. Now, I'm not good at math but it seems like a SLIM, SLIM risk. The problem rests in poultry farms and cleanliness and we have already banned poultry from those areas of the world. I think the President should be putting the money toward something useful. Hey Mr. President, over 35 million people live below the poverty line. Maybe throw them a fricking bone...they can't even get the chicken pox vaccine. And before you say anything, I know the Democrats have been asking for some bird flu response as well. Shame on them--we're smarter than that.

The prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have started a new diet fad. Rumsfield tells the world that "There are a number of people who go on a diet where they don't eat for a period and then go off of it at some point. And then they rotate and other people do that." I'm not sure...but could that be a HUNGER STRIKE? Maybe because they are being tortured and held indefinitly? I can only hope I am as good of an employee as Rumsfield is some day. Awesome.

In this month's Vanity Fair, Woody Allen describes his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn as "paternal in nature." Maybe it's because he used to be her father figure. I'm not exactly sure...

Alito, the new Supreme Court nominee, thinks that women should get their husband's approval before they obtain an abortion but he rolled back PA's law banning machine guns in homes. I guess if the husband refuses to sign the consent form, his wife can just pull out the machine gun. He doesn't trust a woman with her body but he does trust her with a machine gun.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
* Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I pass a bus with the world's youngest driver driving it. He doesn't look old enough to drive a car let alone a bus. Isn't there special training for bus drivers?

* I thought the
Steven Colbert show would be funnier. I am not impressed.

Dr. Deluca always imparts us with lots of wisdom. My favorite came today:
"Stupidity can explain a lot of things. It is a blind spot by many academics. They assume people read. Like Marxists...HELLO...Have they gone to the local pub? The working class are not the saviors of society. People are dumb as rocks."
My second favorite came last week:
"All your social capital is in your books."

* My Ipod's "Random Shuffle" is a sham

* I hate the Milwaukee's Best commercials about being "true men. " They really piss me off.

* I like and excel at charades which is weird since I talk so much

* The texture of lunch meat gives me the willies

The Weather Man
::Do you know that the harder thing to do, and the right thing to do, are usually the same thing? "Easy" doesn't enter into grown-up life... to get anything of value, you have to sacrifice::
Since my sister already saw In Her Shoes ;), we took in this movie instead. I give it one thumb down and one thumb almost down. Here's a break down:
1. I just don't like Cage enough to see him star in a movie. I really enjoyed Matchstick Men so I thought I had gotten over it. Nope. He's still really whiney and one dimensional. I can't really say that he was outright *bad* but I will say that I didn't think his performance was that powerful. Plus, he is only capable of playing the type of character he was in this movie due to his voice and lack of emotion.

2. Faith Davis was underutilized in this movie. She has been great in her bit parts (About Schmidt, Secret Lives of Dentists), I don't know why people don't give her more of an opportunity. I was hoping she would be featured more. Instead, we get Cage.

3. The power's that be tried to do all these "clever" things. It made the script really disjointed and interrupted. I disliked that.

4. The movie was way, way, way too long. They just kept piling more bad and more bad on the family. Cut out some of the bad stuff and the movie becomes managable and realistic. As it stands right now...well, see my thumbs...

5. IMDB gives this movie a 7.7 --I am SHOCKED. So you should listen to me, not them. Save your money!