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Oh, You Know

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Cutting off the Train at the Pass [Jan. 29th, 2007|12:30 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |indifferentindifferent]
[Current Music |Rockwell -- Somebody's Watching Me]

I'm going friends only.

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(no subject) [Jan. 15th, 2006|10:52 pm]
Oh, You Know
Time to start writing again.
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No Money, Mo' Problems [May. 26th, 2004|09:35 am]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |worriedworried]
[Current Music |Magnetic Fields -- I Don't Really Love You Anymore]

I am trapped in Montana.
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The B*tch Is Back (!) [May. 4th, 2004|08:49 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Current Music |Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Sdtrk -- Wada Na Tod]

Get ready, babies. Before the week is through, I'll have one Hell of a post for you.
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Postcard from Thesis Hell Preview [Feb. 28th, 2004|03:21 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |optimisticoptimistic]
[Current Music |The Critic -- The Siskel & Ebert Episode]

My thesis is back on track and rolling like one of the dilapidated trains used to flatten pennies when I was a mere tot in upstate New York. Childhood friends and I would place loose change upon the rails and wait for the dingy locomotives to appear in the distance. Then we would wait for what seemed like eons, as the decrepit remains of the train wheezed and eked forward, its holey, moldy wooden boxcars swinging to and fro at the caprice of valley winds. While the battered behemoth lurched forward, I always fantasized about snatching my pressed penny from between two slow-moving wheels before every set had passed through. Though the penny was flattened by the first or second wheel, you always had to wait until the end of the train to collect your boon, lest your tender little fingers be caught on the rail and mangled into bloody stumps--or so our parents told us. “Wait until the end of the train to collect your boon, lest your tender little fingers be caught on the rail and mangled into bloody stumps!” my father warned. He was always one for theatrics. Though I hated to wait for the entire train to pass, I had too vivid powers of visualization not to be deterred by the imagined pops my little knuckles would make as they were severed from my formerly pristine hand. Thus I waited by the train tracks, passing time by throwing rocks or rolling hoops, or whatever was done back then by children in the Hudson Valley to get through those interminable summer days.
This opening paragraph seems like a tangential piece of little use and no literary import. However, I am now going to use this passage to a.) explain my current thesis-related experiences and b.) show you how this English major writes her close reading-based thesis.
On account of my erstwhile life of pastoral paranoia, I still see snippets of everything my city-born father warned against, even though we moved to the statistically safer country when I was only six. Usually, such macabre fantasies cause me to awaken in a cold sweat, but recently, on account of the academic stress, I’ve been welcoming them into my waking hours. Poised at my computer, ready to type the next word, I first must analyze its individual significance, then its success in the context of my thought before I insert in via blinking cursor. While I am painstakingly crafting every sentence like an individualized blushing Hummel, my mind still manages to simultaneously drift to other concerns--namely, now that we’re getting down to the wire, how I could possibly injure myself so that I could finally feel the sweet relief of release from this beastly thesis. Unsurprisingly, crushing my long thin fingers beneath the rails of a train is one of my favorite tickets out of this world of academic anguish. I fantasize about running down to the river tracks and laying facedown in the gravel until the new shiny Portland train comes barreling like a bullet to offer me speedy liberation. “Why me?! Why me?!” I scream on the way to OHSU, waving my bloody stumps like foam fingers at a basketball game--of course I’ve have to pretend it was an accident. My parents would be disappointed, but they said they’d love me no matter what, so really, what’s the harm? Of course I couldn’t play the saxophone any longer, but maybe I could pioneer a sort of piano-playing that is accomplished solely with the elbows and tongue. Perhaps I’d be a phenomenon and get my own freakish weeknight showcase at Carnegie Hall. “Practice, practice, practice?!” I’d laugh. “All I had to do was lie beneath a train!”
Now, if I were reading the first paragraph of this piece for the narrator’s intent, my analysis would probably lead to the conclusion that she is a sad, cracked-out sort of senior, whose desperate attempts to hold onto the last strands of humor in her life are both pitiable and pathetic. The anachronistic insertion of “rolling hoops” in a story narrated by a young woman in the twenty-first century is obviously untrue, calling into question the entire “truth value” of the piece. A studious critic is caused to question: “Are we to believe that the narrator ever crushed pennies on the tracks of trains at all?” The vivid description and proliferation of adjectives that are not typically associated with the modern post-industrialized view of the locomotive as an agent of speed and utility leads us at first to believe that the narrator is witness to the localized decay of trains specifically in the Hudson Valley, and then once again away, as the staggering continuation of overuse of adjectives leads to an overblown effect that, regardless of author’s intention, seems disingenuous. The train is obviously a symbol of the narrator’s own life, linear in direction but marked by personally unsatisfying pace; the penny is her ego. The tracks are “mother;” the boxcar “brother;” the father, “a burnt piece of toast.” In conclusion, this analysis is a tangential piece of little use and no literary import.
And as long as I’m on my tangent-fest, you know what really makes me weep? Seniors with experimental theses gone awry who have been personally affronted by my easygoing, lackadaisical approach to true thesis-related pain and suffering. If I were to address any one of these poor souls--because, goodness knows, I have no one person in mind as I pen this tender paean of sentimentality--I would start out with a simple, hypothetical apology. It might read:
I am so sorry for my inconsiderate column. I truly had no idea that The Quest's circulation had expanded to include the rocky bottoms of streams and tributaries of the Pacific Ocean. How my heart aches when I picture you waist-deep in waders, valiantly spreading wide the newsprint pages with your gnarled, blood-caked fingers, while two or three of the sixty wire traps you built yourself (!) swing dramatically from your beleaguered shoulders. To think that it was my clearly un-bleak, oblique whining that has impeded your personal writing and research process is almost too much to bear. And if I'm capable of constructing such broad bulwarks with one installment of my column, I can only image the torture and ill-fortune the entire body of my public work has brought upon you. Last semester, for example, I was so prolific in my whining and goings-on--one might say it was a deluge; you might call it a flood. That is, have you ever considered that I may have inadvertently concocted your natural disasters as well?
I am so sorry that, while your little fingers were oozing, my blood was simply being expectorated at the end of every series of long, jagged coughs. I went to the Center for the Prolongation of Pain and Suffering, and they told me that--Praise the Lord!--it was probably only dripping down the back of my throat from my cracked and burning nasal cavity and that it wasn't from my lungs--and “probably” sure is good enough for me! I didn’t share this alarming medical condition with you because my concern was misplaced--I thought that it might offend my readers of weaker constitution, cause concern among my friends and make me look like a sorry singer of self-same songs who had abandoned her thesis altogether in favor of personal propaganda. If I had only known that the lone thing you lusted after was proof of an “outlook as bleak!” I actually thought I was going to die!
Truth be told, in the end, I must admit, you’ve got it much harder than I. Seriously, I thank God every day that I don't have to leave the stark wooden desk to which I've been tethered for the better part of every day this semester. I mean, you have to go on field trips--honestly, is there anything worse? Good gracious, I'm so pleased that all I have to do is stare at white page upon page--moving around would be almost too much for my poor little arrhythmic heart to bear.
Bless you, you poor, brave experimental-thesis-gone-awry writer! You truly are a shining example for all of your fellow sufferers to look down upon.
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The true late-night concerns of a girl on the eve of completing a $100,000+ education: [Jan. 13th, 2004|11:59 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |happyhappy]
[Current Music |David Bowie -- Young Americans]

-How should I get my hair cut? Should I cut it short?
-How short is short?
-Maybe like to here.
-Oo, that's short.
-Maybe I'll just shave it all off. What do you think?
-Oh, I think that'd be cute! Then you could do the kind of cancer patient hat thing!
-MOM!
-What? I'm just saying you have a cute head, that's all.
-MOM!
-And you look good in hats!
-That's it--this is going straight to LiveJournal.
-Oh, don't do that...*

(My mother, realizing that I am leaving for the west in less than one week, is putting forth an even greater effort to make the most of our time together. After the men of the house have hit the hay, she stays up late to drink tea and talk with me. To be fair, it was past her bedtime.)

*Sorry, Mom.
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Pos(hi)t Script--Long Time, No Whoop-Dee... [Nov. 30th, 2003|01:26 am]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |sleepysleepy]
[Current Music |John Lennon -- #9 Dream]

I just felt like it was time to post something.

(Real entry in days to come. I've got goings on galore and a smattering of salacious scandals to supply. Please stay tuned.)
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Scandal! [Sep. 22nd, 2003|03:34 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]
[Current Music |Aimee Mann -- One Is the Loneliest Number]

(And I would write about it right here if I had done any damn work this weekend and had time to type. Stay tuned.)
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A Life, at First Deemed Quite Pathetic, Is Comparatively Copacetic... [Jul. 18th, 2003|10:10 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |thankfulthankful]
[Current Music |Cat Stevens -- Wild World]

I am finally beginning to emerge from my injury-induced funk. Sure, my ankle still smarts while I scurry in place, hampster-like, on the horrid elliptical trainer at my gym; of course, my silly broken heart is still a useless mass of pulp that frantically fibrillates every time anyone makes mention of Pool Hall Man; naturally, my mind is in a sorry state. But you know what? I don't have it all that bad.

Expect to see some sad scenes in subsequent entries...
(But don't worry your pretty, silky heads. In each event, there is new hope.)
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Spring Semester--A Peek at the Peaks and a Look at the Lows (Jest the Beginning) [May. 20th, 2003|11:40 pm]
Oh, You Know
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]
[Current Music |Magnetic Fields -- I'm Sorry I Love You]

You know, I hadn’t realized how long its been since I’d written to report my sins--my sixth semester has already come and gone. So now, in spite of the scarily straightforward title of that last little pugnacious post, I think it’s time for a recap of the mishaps and missteps of spring semester. If I may:

I wrote a play.

In the middle of fall semester, I was fortunate enough to fall headfirst into a time honored Reed tradition: The Hum Play. One part sensationalist study aid, one part freewheeling farce, the play parodies all of the major literary and philosophical texts that each Reedie is required to digest in the form of Hum 110, a year-long course that everyone is required to take freshman year. For the past nine years, it has changed hands at the sole discretion of the director; usually it’s given to someone who has acted in the cast. As I met this sole criterion (I played Sappho as a sophomore.), it didn’t take much cajoling to convince the old director to pass the banner to me--

Me: Hey Nick, uh... How do I get involved with writing The Hum Play?
Nick: I give it to you.
Me: Uh, okay.
Nick: *smile*
Me: Uh, so... You just give it to me?
Nick: It’s yours. Enjoy!

And that was the easiest part. Subsequently, I spent the majority of spring semester fretting, futzing, figuring and frantically running around campus and the greater Portland area, looking for actors and Hercules the Mighty Warrior Deluxe Action Play Sets. To make a long story only slightly longer, the play was a big hit, based on the merit of the cast (The fantastic people I’ve met through this play made the sleepless nights and the rereading of a heavy bevy of antiquated texts completely worthwhile.) and some amazing cameos by nine members of the Hum 110 staff (i.e. “Pabst: Australian for crap.”). And, for a time, I got to sign my mass e-mails with “Nipples and armor, Meg.” Who could ask for anything more?

I went to every single class.

Just thinking about it makes me tired.

I went nuts at Renn Fayre.

I had an epic post on this, but Blitzmail ate it. Maybe another night when I am feeling adventurous.

Justin.

Christina’s twenty-third birthday party was a night to remember. In honor of the event, her father rented out the upper level in a trendy little Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Portland; once a month on Friday night, it turns into a dance club. Having just been issued my new Maine I. D. the day before the festivities, I gained entrance after only five or ten minutes of being hassled by a female bouncer over the authenticity of my identification, while my friend Ingrid, emboldened by a bottle of wine, just breezed through the doors sans I. D. and proceeded to work the room, order a drink, and make out with a Spaniard for cigarettes without ever being questioned. The girl’s got style.
So once we made it to the upper level, we found the party already in full effect. Fancy pricey cocktails arrived and were imbibed; conversation flowed freely. You know, I think it was about midway through my second Sapphire and tonic when I proclaimed to my friends that I had designs on a man two tables away. He had dark hair, dark eyes, broad shoulders and a smile--my kind of cute. He was sitting with some theater majors I recognized, though I’d never seen him before. Intriguing.
I was calculating my attack when Tabitha arrived. I went over to talk to her and found myself strategically positioned by the exit, facing the nameless object of my affection. While we chatted, I made obvious eyes (My eyes are pretty obvious to begin with.) at the boy, who seemed to be returning my gaze, though I wasn’t really sure because I was having a hard time focusing. After about five minutes he got up, advanced toward me, and said “hi,” while breezing past me on his way out the exit. I ran the gamut of emotions upon rejection: chagrin, embarrassment, fear that I was losing my touch. I resigned myself to “well-he-wasn’t-that-cute-anyway” and went about my business carousing and cavorting.
Of course, that was until he came back from the bar downstairs, introduced himself, dropped a chair on my foot, and began romancing me. His name was Justin--and I suppose it still is, though we no longer speak. He was twenty-five, a computer guy, an ex-theater guy, a basketball fan, and eerily like the character Michael Bolton from Office Space (You know the really white computer guy who rocked out to rap music in the car? Justin was such a man; he even did the special Tupac “California Love” dance. Oh yes he did.). I broke up with him after about three or four weeks... and four days later he broke up with me. It was like a very strange dream.
And that brings us to why it didn’t all work out. You see, I was still hung up on....

James Ashby

That’s right kids--the one, the only Pool Hall Man and the author of most of last night’s post. It’s a long, bitter tryst that has finally crashed and burned; perhaps I’ll outline it for you another night. Let’s just say that, although I don’t agree with his actions, I don’t have a word to say in my defense. Indeed, if I put myself in his shoes, I think I'd probably be none too pleased about being dumped three times either. In fact, I would have killed him. These and other things are realizations that are too little and too late.
Like the realization that I actually love the bastard.

Other things happened.

More another night.
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