Thursday, November 30, 2006
HENCE: Cupcakes, Cats, and Mr T.
PLUS the opportunity for a good old biatching.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
First, I went to the health centre at school, which I have discussed. That was good, what with it supplying referrals and all.
Last week I went to the orthopaedic guy (knee specialist) who sorted me out with exercises, a referral to physio, and instructions to buy orthotics and new shoes, which I have obeyed to the letter. The thing is, while sitting there, I was utterly terrified. Terrified. Rather than being impressed by the shiny offices, I just sat there being petrified about how much this was going to cost. And this is WITH insurance. Even though they accept mine. It was horrible. And now I'm waiting for my bill, wondering how much it's going to be.
This is particularly heightened because this morning I followed up on my other referral - to the dermatologist. For a brief, half hour period, I experienced the elation that the U.S. system can bring - she removed my mole without demur, there and then (I have been trying to have it removed for FIVE YEARS but every dermatologist I saw at home, plus my GP, refused); put me on topical antibiotics for my face and prescribed retin-A. So I went to the local chemist to get that filled (first time ever in the U.S., as I excitedly exclaimed to the guy there).
And there I fell down. My insurance doesn't cover that medication. At all. Not even generic, apparently. So I could pay for it. $139.99. I presume with tax to come.
Maybe they don't let this happen for serious medical conditions, I think to myself - and then I remember a tale told to me at the weekend of a student here (foreign) who is requiring contributions from her fellows students because her insurance won't cover her operation to remove cancerous lumps from her breast.
It strikes me that, being flamingly obvious, that is not right. Spots, so what? Cancer. Hmm.
I'd like a more frivolous thing to take my mind off this, please.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
But it's ANNOYING.
Other annoying things today: free coffee from the Dean - cold. Ugh.
PLUS I found the book that I lost about 10 days ago. Which means that we bought a hardback copy of it FOR NOTHING. It was slightly weird - I lost it nearly two weeks ago, and then I went to Corporations today and there it was, sitting on my desk. And it was definitely mine because the bookmark was my Planned Parenthood postcard. So thank you, mysterious spirit who kindly guided it back to me.
How tired I am on 6 hours' sleep is also immensely irritating. I am pathetic. I NEED SEVEN HOURS. NEED THEM.
Plus general annoyance at revealing (sort of) my GPA to someone to whom I had no intention of talking about how I did. But I just somehow let myself do it and I was annoyed. I don't want to talk about it. It's over and I have a job with people I really like, and that's all there is to it. So annoyed with myself - not a reflection, by the way, on the person I told, simply on myself.
PAH. But in other news, I have a relatively nice few days planned and I am loving the whole exam thing. Seriously. Weirdo, I know. Panicking about the amount of time left before finals, but still... I like having a fixed set of things I MUST DO AND CANNOT GET AWAY WITH NOT DOING.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Tomorrow we discuss CEDAW - the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. We will be discussing cultural relativism, particularly, given the cultural objections to CEDAW. This is of particular interest to me for several reasons:
1) I have a slight tendency to be interested in women's rights, which you may have picked up from this website (although, of course, as with all things I do, it is a subtle and nuanced and in no way ranting discussion);
2) I went to see Catherine Mackinnon (due to this slight interest) speak a couple of weeks ago, and she is working right now on how human rights are or are not those of the rights of women, and the mechanisms of international law to deal with that or, indeed, entrench cultural patriarchy;
3) I am working rather intensely on another international convention, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and it is fascinating to compare them and the different approaches to the problems of racial and gender discrimination (although CEDAW does, interestingly, talk of the intersection between race and gender problems - and I cannot deny that my thoughts have been greatly informed by Mackinnon's talk);
4) Both Mackinnon and Catherine Powell, whose piece on CEDAW and Western cultural objections we read for tomorrow's class, talk about the failings of the international law system due to emphasis on sovereignty of nation-states and the nation-state as the founding block of international law. Now, of course, Bentham invented the term "international law" to deal with the law between nations... however, as this has evolved and human rights law has pierced that veil, that shield of states' protection, it's interesting to think about what we expect of nations and the international community - how often we appeal to the conglomeration of states to fix a problem in our own nation, rather than fix it from within.
It's also of great interest to me because we will be talking about cultural relativism, imperialism and topics along those lines, framed in a discussion of female genital mutilation. Some give it a "proper" name, infibulation, which I instinctively don't want to use because it gives a scientific sounding name to what is a procedure that I cannot but help think of as a mutilation, hence my maintaining that phrase. This issue really does illustrate the heart of many problems of the West and non-West clash, the problems of imperialism, race, culture... I understand many of the critiques offered of the opposition to FGM, and yet...
1) That the objections to FGM suggest that women's sexuality is all that matters.
Having said I understand the criticism, this one I had a great deal of trouble believing, that someone would offer it up, genuinely. Women's reproductive health is central to life, per se - to bearing children, and, conversely therefore it is essential that they have control over something which is fundamental to humans in general and the power over which men (and other women) try to usurp. If one cannot see that there is a reflection on women's identity in society due to what your community values - complete chastity in a woman being the primary one, that all you are aiming for is to be someone's - anyone's wife - due to this operation which embodies those limiting values, then I despair.
2) That this is one of the worst kinds of western imperialism because it fails to recognize that women want this, practice this, and it reflects what the society wants.
Understand this; it's a genuine concern, and one that I as a white middle-class woman struggle with on an almost daily basis. However, I also have trouble with Western, white, Judaeo-Christian societies that believe that women's chastity determine their worth in society, and that all we want to do is be someone's wife at home with the children. If that's what you want, great - more power to you. Just don't think that we should all be like this because it's the only way to be a good woman.
and so on. you get the idea. pah.
Time to read Corporations - yum! Yum!!!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I ate a disgusting amount of food and imbibed a frightening amount of wine this weekend, in the name of Thanksgiving, and it was glorious. Mr C put on a huge, wonderful spread, I made some pie (pecan and pumpkin; not together, mind) filling to accompany Scuttsy's pastry and the other half brought cheese. It was grand. So thanks given - to my dear friends who cooked so much delicious food that I genuinely thought I was going to burst on Thursday.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Well, at least, this post is something impossible to lose. I'm making a list of all the things to look forward to / bring back from Fair Albion when I go home this Christmas, and what better way than the website? I can't write that in a book which I promptly lose; same goes for a piece of paper; there will be limitless space (for all intents and purposes); even if I don't have the computer with me, I'll be able to access it. Only requires the internet - brilliant!
1) Maltesers. I miss them so.
2) The John Peel art exhibition - on until 23rd December... must go. must go.
3) Rimmel Concealer. Although, of course, they sell it at K-Mart. But it's just not the same as going to Boots... I miss Boots.
4) Orange squash. While I have come to appreciate Gatorade, particularly for its hangover-relieving qualities, there's nowt quite like a Kia-Ora, particularly after a run.
5) Ribena. See above.
6) Ginger Beer - not ale, beer. Old Jamaica, Idris - why do you desert me so in the US of A?
7) Soccer AM. Chamberlain, even Lovejoy - once you have FSC and their stupid phone ins and adverts, then you'll understand quite how desperate the football-watching is. Not the football itself, despite our cable company's insistence on our tv channel blurring and messing up every time we watch it. I'm talking about the surrounding culture. Which is why I write this I have to listen to Jeff and the Soccer Saturday boys over the internet.
8) Xfm. Despite various recommendations and so forth, I've yet to find a radio station I like here...
9) CURRIES. Ye gods I need a curry. CURRY. CURRY. CURRY.
10) Newspapers. The paper version. I read everything online. It'd be nice to sit down and read one. Find things out by accident, which is what I feel you lose out on from the internet - you click on things that look interesting but that's about them being put in front of your face, not drifting through. I think there are advantages to both, but I do miss sitting down and immersing myself in the paper...
11) Following on from that, crosswords. I don't do crosswords here. Well, I do, but it's not the same. I miss cryptic ones, which don't really exist in the same way here.
12) The ginge. My cat. I miss her. Plus, she lost half her tail, apparently, no one knows how - I want to see the poor little thing.
13) Darren - the new guinea pig. Mum says he's a sweetie.
14) The Velázquez and Impressionist exhibitions on at the National Gallery.
15) Something, somewhere, at the NFT would be good - there's always a great winter season, including this year John Huston... which is going to be grand.
More to be added...
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Snoop Dogg = Cordazer Calvin Broadus Jr. (ok, so Cordazer not so much, but Calvin?)
Ice T = Tracy Marrow (here, Ice T has the advantage of having a surname which is the same as a vegetable only grown and eaten by old men with allotments)
Hype Williams = Harold Williams (admittedly, not a rapper but a maker of some of the most spectacular rap videos of all time, my particular favourites being The Rain and She's a Bitch by Missy Elliott and Gimme Some Mo' by Busta Rhymes - one of the best music videos EVER)
Eminem = Marshall Bruce Mathers
Speaking of names, DGC gave me the link to this rather fabulous collation of the best spam names of all time. Because if they're going to send you hundreds of emails a day, they may as well make it entertaining. I was thinking of making a list of them myself...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Today was one of those days where I did very little work, but feel I've achieved something, nonetheless. I managed to find out some information for a reproductive health flier we're putting together at school. I went to the orthopaedic specialist and found out that I have chondromalacia, apparently. I ordered the orthotics required to get me running 10k races again. I have somewhere to work next summer - which I am very excited about. Cooked a ridiculously gorgeous meal with my other half. The other half also managed to get a bulb for the trés chic new lamp for our room, and new roach motels (yay!), and a copy of the book that I'd managed to lose last week.
I also managed to injure myself in a slightly less middle-classed kitchen accident than avocado stoning - the peeler. On two fingers on my right hand. Duh.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Still, this week has been an intriguing one. Saw Catherine Mackinnon speak at Columbia - provocative and interesting, and I definitely want her new book on gender and international law. My instinct is that I generally agree with her, and she's a wonderful speaker - passionate, erudite - but that there leaves a problem of women never having any agency in that which they choose to do, which always troubles me. How does a powerful female academic fit into this scheme? all interesting questions...
Tonight is the Lidell at Webster Hall - am very very very overexcited.
And tomorrow, Casino Royale. Yipppppeeee!
It also turns out that while I'm crap at wine club, I'm pretty good at beer club. Go British genes!
I have also managed to lose a book that I was really enjoying reading, so I must grab that back. It's trashy, but I am really enjoying Quicksilver because I find the Restoration utterly fascinating and given that natural philosophers could hold prominent positions in society I am a sucker for anything vaguely mentioned Boyle or Newton... Also amusing because the other half and I were buying books for each other and both wanted to choose this one, but I chose not to because thought he might pick it up for me, which he did. That's not amusing at all, is it? Just twee.
I am also very very very overexcited because it's Thanksgiving this week, which I love - all the best bits of Christmas, i.e. stuffing yourself silly and drinking and being with people you love. Sadly not my family, but my substitute - the folk here that I've known for a very long time and love dearly. Made even better by random appearance of another old friend... It's great. A friend's friend died recently - at a very young age - and... it's just not on your radar that someone our age could die. Yes, of course it happens. But it's still enough of a rarity that I don't personally know anyone my age who has died. So it's time to appreciate just how bloody brilliant my friends are (a la Trent today) and therefore get monstrously full with them all. Huzzah!
Friday, November 17, 2006
It's cramped. It is unbelievably expensive. People shove in front of and hit each other with their baskets. And it's full of smug people who think their sophistication is complete because they no longer have to shop at Gristedes or Associated.
Sainsburys - even those stupid "to go" versions that have popped up in the middle of London - it just doesn't have that effect. Yes, it's smug and middle-class - bourgeois, as a 14 year old version of me might explode. But at least the aisles have space enough to facilitate a small child (or, indeed, a 27 year old woman) whizzing up and down on a trolley.
In other news, yet more evidence of why I (and many other sensible souls) really, truly, fucking hate hipsters. With the fiery depths of my soul. With the passion of a thousand suns.
Nothing but Good Times for Black People Since
Gaggle of black girls shriek on street.
Hipster girl #1: Ew, what happened?
Hipster girl #2: Slavery was abolished.
--Houston & Orchard
via Overheard in New York, Nov 16, 2006
She Was One of the People on the Laugh Track in Natural Born Killers
Hipster chick: Do you think New Yorkers are mean, or are we just so jaded we're not fazed by anything?
Hipster dude: I think it's a combination of both.
Hipster chick: Because, well, my friend just found out he has testicular cancer, and he's getting one of his balls removed on his birthday. And I thought that was hilarious. You know what else? Maybe New Yorkers are also whores -- I seriously considered sleeping with him just so I could say I was the last person to see his left ball.
Hipster dude: That's a bit soulless. But it's also a little funny.
Hipster chick: See, really, if you think about it in the right way, everything is funny.
Hobo: You're just a mean whore.
--Bedford & 6th St
Overheard by: Overheard in New York is based on that very concept
via Overheard in New York, Nov 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Something that really doesn't require words is this. I'm glad he pled guilty, and being a non-death-penalty supporter, glad he won't be executed. But still... I just want to know what motivated them to do this; what happens to you to make you become such a monster?
Monday, November 13, 2006
In sadder news, a small remnant of the very horsey child/teenager in me died today along with the passing of Desert Orchid. I even met him once, somewhere on the North Yorkshire coast on a summer holiday with the family. It was perhaps not as great as meeting Gazza, better than Butch Vig.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Anyway, maybe being the first time that I avoid the superficial by going to the important and serious...
1) While the overexcitement over the loss of Santorum is understandable, lest we forget: this Mr Casey is the son of the former Pennsylvania Governor who, while technically "losing" in the Supreme Court, narrowed abortion rights hugely in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He believes, as his father did, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Let's remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil.
2) South Dakota. Fabulously delaying the inevitable. I realise that there are those who not, understandably, acquainted with the dirty details of this, so I'll try and recap. South Dakota's state legislature passed a law stating that all abortions, under any circumstances, should be illegal. This led to a rather horrendous description by one of the lawmakers as to the only possible situation in which it would be allowed, and the inexcusable comment that allowing abortions for incest is wrong because it allows the abuser to bury the evidence. See this article for more info.
Anyway, the ranting is for elsewhere.
The point is, this is illegal under Supreme Court jurisprudence - no state is allowed to completely outlaw abortion without a health exception for the mother (Planned Parenthood v. Casey - see where this is all going?). Therefore this was done specifically to overturn that decision. How?
The ACLU/Planned Parenthood/some interest group would sue the state legislature. This would be struck down in the lower court on grounds that Supreme Court jurisprudence says that it is illegal. Then it would be appealed up, and struck down, accordingly. Then, finally, maybe a year or so later, it would be heard by the Supreme Court. Who, instead of simply striking it down - stare decisis and all that jazz - will rehear it because Day O'Connor is gone and Alito is on the court and he upheld the law that was struck down in Planned P:arenthood v. Casey. And they would uphold it and the guarantee of a woman's reproductive control over her own body and future - like, totally gone, dudes.
So that's how it would work. Hence the voting of South Dakota is important because that law cannot now be challenged in the courts...
Nonetheless, the Supremes heard the federal "partial birth abortion" act case today. Chances are, we're screwed.
3) My other half is growing a moustache. He says hello.
Thank you, and goodnight.
Monday, November 06, 2006
It was, in any measure, high. In fact, incredibly high. According to the American Heart Association, my systolic is prehypertensive and my diastolic was in stage 2 of hypertension.
I am not massively overweight (genuinely - I am about 2lbs thus at the moment for a woman my height), and I exercise a couple of times a week. And yet, and yet. Proof that the stress of work really is getting to me. Also rather bad was the managing to injure myself at football on Saturday which means I am loath to exercise just yet because my ankle might go again. Estupida.
Still, a woman calling herself The Vampire took my blood this morning for a full chemical work up, including cholesterol. I can't wait to find out how unhealthy I really am.
No, seriously. That's going to be so much fun.
Anyway, now the Note beast has been temporarily subdued, I don't know quite what to do with myself. The adrenaline is still coursing through my veins, and I don't know how to channel that. One attempt will be made with shopping and lychee martinis tonight. If that fails, goodness only knows what I should go for next. Maybe some soothing music. Time to stop listening to thumping techno beats and maybe have lots of lovely soft Roy Ayers, Bill Withers and suchlike.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
BUT I have written a first draft of my Note. Excluding footnotes, 6,927 words. Yikes. With footnotes, 9,502. That's a lot of footnoting.
I have also witnessed the wonder that is Spurs finally beating Chelsea after 27 fruitless attempts in the League. The guy who scored our goal was four months old the last time we beat them in the league, apparently. Joyfully timewarner decided to go all flickering/can't see what's going on in the last ten minutes during the Chelsea onslaught on goal... but we held out. With a fair bit of luck, it must be said, but we've been lacking that of late, so no grumbling here.
I have also had a teeny weeny injury scare that absolutely terrified me. I don't even know how I got the ankle knock, but it was horrible. I am a physical coward, it turns out, surprising absolutely no one.
Having exhausted myself on the draft, I am now incapable of mustering anything like wit for this entry. But I am, finally, feeling a bit happier. Lychee martinis most definitely earned...
Friday, November 03, 2006
Writing. It's Fun.
In other fun news, I am going to have my first ever cholesterol test on Monday. I am terrified. I have therefore been eating nothing but celery since receiving that news.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Day one of trying to not eat junk food from the machines at school is proving difficult indeed. My belly is rumbling and I'm miserable. Still, probably a good thing, all told. The problem is, I really do enjoy peanut M&Ms. Bugger.
Still, Sherlock gets here tomorrow, so fun things planned if I can ever get my work done. Yay! Something joyful to look forward to.