Thursday, June 17, 2010


I finally finally did it. Yesterday, my little sister & I went up to the Red Lotus parlor in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, & became tramp-stamp-sistas-4-LYF. Well actually, my sister got her tatt between her shoulderblades, but it'sh official: I'm a tramp, & I now have the stamp on my lower back to show for it.

"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum." Or, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." It's from The Handmaid's Tale, & I'm happy to give the full story sometime, though not feeling like ruining the pleasure of storytelling on here.

Actually, it wasn't nearly as painful as expected. More an annoying sensation which infrequently blossomed into brief & pointed torture. It hurt most around the spine & by the time she hit the right side, I was more or less accustomed to the feeling & got through the rest easily. Oddly enough, I might have caught the tattoo bug--as in, I think I'd like another at some point. Maybe a design around this one or another altogether.

My mom said to my sister that men wouldn't want her if she got more than one tattoo. Hopefully I'll have the pleasure of hearing the same advice before I head back to Boston--ha.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thoughts on SATC2

So I have a confession: I've never been a tremendous Sex & the City shipper. I'd catch the (tragically censored) reruns on TBS; once in a while I'd watch it on DVD with friends (which was always better, with the abundance of hot male ass), but I never stuck with it, & so missed the end of the series & the first movie. But, you know, I can name the gals; I can generally follow the plot even if I'm coming into the middle of a storyline; but let's just say this movie was on my unconscious never-to-be-seen list. ANYWAY, ran into my fabulous roomie on the way home from the T last night; we grabbed a drink & a smoke, & she ended up asking me to see it with her (& with sister/sister's fiance). Since I only had the joy of apartment hunting & syllabus revisions ahead of me, I emptied a water bottle, filled it with white wine, grabbed my smokes, & we hauled ass to the theater.

Cutting to the chase...if you've ever wondered why multitudes of people around the globe find Americans so terribly repellent, just see the cultural icons that are most strongly identified with the US. Watch SATC 2 & tumble into 2.5 hours (MY GOD WHY WAS IT SO LONG?) of the most repulsively indulgent, extravagant, decadent, consumerist escapism of your life. The characters are so far removed from reality that you feel almost as if you're watching slightly different blowup dolls moan & groan about their phenomenally challenging lives. Everything is shimmering & polished; the fucking film opens with My Big Fat Gay Wedding (a contrived relationship, to boot, which I won't spoil here), replete with LIIIIIZZZZAAAAAA cameo (also, I don't care what people have been saying; Liza BUTCHERS "Single Ladies"--it was embarrassing to watch) & the most ridiculous displays of wealth you could ever imagine.

The show of course always adorned the ladies with glamorous wardrobes & Park Avenue apartments &co&co, but the movie takes this decadence to an entirely other level. At one point Miranda & Charlotte raise a toast to "mothers without full-time nannies"--but the moment falls totally flat and suddenly you're disgusted by the film's inability to consider anyone that doesn't have more money than they know what to do with. OF COURSE we'll all jump on the opportunity to have FOUR private vehicles in the Middle East, even though we'd all fit in one & this is supposedly a "gals-getting-crazy-together-trip." OF COURSE we'll take advantage of private butlers--what amounts to personal (and orientalized) slaves. OF COURSE we're only going to wear couture the entire movie (except when we get out of the shower, & are draped in 40k towels).

Toss this atop the rampant racism in the film's portrayal of the Middle East (much elementary commentary on the wearing of the veil--with the four SATC gals realizing that they're SO liberated in the US), blatant displays of disrespect towards non-Western culture which are never *really* reconciled (except in an almost ludicrous literal un-veiling scene), and conflicts & resolutions that seem so generated as to have come from a fill-in-the-blank wordgame--and you've got one of the most disingenuous & pathetic examples of film I've seen in years.

The show had a sense of whimsy, joy, tongue-in-cheek awareness of the extravagance & escapist tendencies; the film took everything jubilant & wrung it out until the interactions between the characters felt forced, the travels & the clothes seemed disgusting instead of glamorous, & the jokes seemed dried up & dejected. The writing was atrocious, the acting was mostly pretty terrible (the one great moment of the film was when Miranda & Charlotte admit to one another that motherhood is tough), the shine was too glimmering, & all in all, the movie infuriated rather than titillated me. Two thumbs way down, my friends.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So need a touch of advice. I've been throwing around an idea for some time now, which is to try and freelance tutor this summer. The thing is, I figured if I was going to go through with it, I'd like to do it in the way I want--and to avoid compromise. If I want to compromise, I'll just wait tables or take some other shit job. So essentially, my plan is to--basically--form a mini-version of the course that I'll be teaching in my grad program in a bit over a year. Which is to say, I'm designing a syllabus around texts I love and would be comfortable teaching--and the tutoring course (perhaps unlike the one I'll be doing at the school) will be about equal parts seminar discussion and composition training. I'm organizing it as a small group tutoring 'class'--perhaps capping it at 5 or 6 students--and then holding private tutoring hours one day a week (which would be how I would charge it comparably to private tutoring).

I've got a preliminary syllabus together, and basically, we'll meet two days a week for an hour and a half or two, discuss our texts, discuss some theory/criticism, and discuss the weekly responses they'll be working on. I'm thinking of doing a number of things to help with the papers--peer critique, various assignments (re: the responses) in terms of writing approach, one or two will be responses to the theory rather than the fiction, etc. Then in private sessions, I'll really nail down the specifics of their papers. It's a lot of work, I suppose, but ultimately only adds up to around 15-20 hours per week, so I think it's entirely manageable. They'll also do one short, formal paper, and one longer one (around 8-10 pgs) at the end.

Oh, I should say that I'm aiming this at rising college freshman & high school seniors thinking of applying to college. Basically, this is designed to aid in the transition between high school level reading/writing & college level work.

My questions: a) anyone done comp. tutoring before, with general advice? b) I was thinking of assigning Elements of Style alongside our fiction--think this will be helpful? The thing I worry about is that my writing & grammar & the like has always been very intuitive--I tend to be able to tell when something is off, but I don't know that that unconventional approach will be as useful in teaching. c) Should I/can I charge comparably to private tutoring. I was also considering charging it more like a summer course--a flat fee, rather than hourly. d) Anyone know good places to advertise this sort of thing? I figure craigslist might suffice & some fliers in local coffeeshops, etc. but maybe something a bit more legit would help my cause? e) Is this whole idea just totally moronic?

Advice much appreciate. And if you don't--in the words of Very Mary-Kate, "WHY is everyone pooping on my dreams???"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Poem o'the Day: John Keats, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"

I'm not well-versed in Romantic poetry, but I adore this poem & want to share it with ya'll.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
John Keats


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
and no birds sing.


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
so haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
and the harvest's done.


I see a lily on thy brow,
with anguish moist and fever-dew;
and on thy cheek a fading rose
fast withereth too.


I met a lady in the meads,
full beautiful--a faery's child,
her hair was long, her foot was light,
and her eyes were wild.