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Friday, May 26th 2006

2:26 AM

THIS WILL BE THE LAST ENTRY HERE

Sorry to shout, but I need your attention. I will no longer be posting in this blog, as of this post.

Please join me at my new blog, VICKILICIOUS.COM.

Please also update your bookmarks, links, RSS feeds etc.
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Thursday, May 25th 2006

10:58 PM

Now with 10% More Clarity!

  • Mood: busy busy
  • Music: Band of Horses
  • Reading: lots
  • Watching: White Oleander
Awkward conversation to have with your mom:

me - So I have to figure out how to get my student health insurance to cover the GYN exam, since they don't do it in the health center anymore.
Mom - Gotcha.
me - I don't know though, do I want to fill out a precertification form?
Mom - No, usually that's for if you have a preexisting condition and you need to get the treatment approved.
me - You mean like, I have a vagina, I need it examined?
Mom - . . .
me - Oh geez, sorry. Not the kind of thing to say to my mom...
Mom - Uh, yeah.

Of course a little later, when I grumbled about searching for doctors, she quipped, "Well when I did the search I found 25. Surely that's plenty - how many vaginas do you have??"

Still awkward.

My use of bold section headings

Really, don't you feel I kind of go on and on and it's hard to tell one subject from the next? Maybe it's just me, but I like knowing where to mentally divide my attention. I'll try not to make it annoying.

Where I've Been

It's not that I've been actively avoiding posting, but there's just been... stuff... going on. I don't exactly understand it myself, as it's mercurial confusing stuff. I used to write about every little thing in my written journals, but shamefully, I've lapsed in keeping them unless I'm on a long train ride or writing about truly personal stuff. So I feel like I've got all this mental turmoil with no outlet for it, and I don't really want to flush it all out here as I've been prone to do in the past.

As such... animated gif's of my cat. But come on now, that was the rockingest content I've ever had on here and you know it!

What's Going On

I feel like it's been months since the spring semester ended, when in fact it was only like 17 days ago. I still haven't unwound, though, and my summer is already in pretty full-swing.

My class is going well, though it's an extreme condensation of information and an enormous demand on time and thought. On the first day my professor expressed her frustration at trying to consolidate the entire history of Asian Art into approximately 12 lectures, then before beginning, threw her hands up and said "I don't know, I can't. I don't know how." Yet... we're trying, I guess.

I have a whole ton of reading I should be doing (having avoided it thusfar). I've been taking photos of images from the books she uses so that I can start memorizing them... but man it gets really challenging telling one ancient Chinese bronze vessel from another sometimes. This stuff is absolutely exquisite, though, so I will probably put it online somewhere to share, if there are other fellow nerds out there who want to get their ancient Asian groove on.

I had my first book club meeting last Wednesday, and it was really wonderful. The other people in the group were all so smart and insightful, really genuine intellectuals - it was a pleasure. I thought how much I would have enjoyed certain undergrad classes (ahem, Tutorial) had everyone in them displayed a similar level of curiosity and intelligence. I can only assume it's to do with maturity, not having a professor to impress (or avoid saying anything stupid in front of), and the kind of adults who would find a book club appealing and take the time out of their lives to read a 600+ page tome then go discuss it. It was refreshing, though, to find so many of them here in Brooklyn and also find they're cool people who I'd love to get to know better and hang out with.

Last Sunday, I had my first crafts club meeting too. It's not exactly Sit n' Knit,  since people do all kinds of sewing and needlework, but it's along those lines. It was the first meeting of the group, but already I think I'm going to absolutely love this. The other women were all smart, funny, and had dynamic and interesting lives. It's a wonderful thing to encounter ladies like them. One used to work at Billy's bakery and made insanely delicious brownies for everyone, which... awww. One of the blogs I really love is called ljcfyi, and I used to read it with envy because she has this adorable life in Rochester -- I used to think how unfortunate it was that people seem unable to have those types of interactions and outlets in New York, and lo and behold, there are thriving communities of like-minded folks all around me. One girl even grew up in a town a few miles away from me on the shore, and her sister lives in Rumson!

Also, a heart-breakingly sweet thing -- shortly after we'd assembled, an elderly guy in a wheelchair came up to us and asked "Do you ladies have time for a compliment?" After our initial awkward smiles, someone nodded and he said what a joy it was for him to see us keeping these traditional crafts alive and what a wonderful thing he thought it was. He told us how his mother taught him to knit way back when, how his wife did it all her life, and how much it made him smile to see young girls out in public enjoying these same things. I think he also called us pretty and said we'd made his day. It made everyone feel all nice -- you don't think about it, but sometimes the things you just do in your daily life can give other people such joy - I love that.

On my way home from that, I stopped into Border's (admittedly just to use the ladies' room) and in a whirlwind bought three new books. Damnit. I think the way that some knitters are obsessive with yarn, I am with books. Generally speaking, I have at least a ten-to-one hundred book backlog and am always minimally in the middle of at least a handful. I stopped reading A World of Thieves to do my book club book, then borrowed Blindness from my mother (intense!)... which I stopped reading to traipse through The Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. Heh. Now my new book club book arrived today... so I've got some more reading to do. And umm, still all that Asian Art reading.

And ... painting?

Yeah, I still paint, I swear. Just because I've barely set foot in my studio since the semester ended (despite promises to myself that I would paint every day all summer) does not mean I've given it up. I'm just... floundering. Again.

I have four pieces in that BWAC show still, and already thinking about what to submit for the summer show, which has a sort of food theme. Seeing as I've been obsessed with my new camera, I may submit some photography, but considering the nightmare I had printing out a passport photo, I have to whip my printer into shape before I try such a thing.

I keep distracting myself with all these fun projects (I mean, I bought stuff to make dresses and skirts for crying out loud) that I can't ordinarily do during the semester. I keep rationalizing that I will work on these while I'm crushed with my summer class and get serious about painting, thesis research etc any day now. But realistically, I think I need to start relegating crafty things to weekends or only one day a week and start treating painting like my job. Yknow, since it like, is.

Didn't you say you were moving to a new website?

Funny you should ask. I've purchased the domain and installed WordPress. After a few missteps (somehow everything I did got deleted and I had to reinstall WordPress and do it all over again), it seems to be functional, with the slightly irritating Sunday-evening downtime for database maintenance. Blargh.

Also, it's intensely frustrating to go about designing a custom WordPress template when you know next to nothing about CSS or database structures. In this respect, I genuinely envy my friends who are so slick with programming and find the design aspect to be challenging. I've filled several pages of my sketchbook with ideas, but I'm loathe to have any kind of standard template-looking thing if I'm capable of doing something original instead. Eric said there was a guide on digg to creating mock-ups for WordPress in Photoshop - supposedly said guide continues to tell you how to then cut things up and how to load them into the basic WordPress components (or somesuch) -- when I find that, I will be sure to post a link. I suppose though, that I could just get some kind of structure I'm happy with and begin posting over there, then work on the design as I go.

Seriously, sometimes when I open the page to post, two of the SitePal ads start talking at once. As if flashing-banner induced epilepsy were not bad enough, now I think I'm schizophrenic from the dueling banjo thrum of baffling computer voices. And Tag Board spam? Seriously?!?! Arrrrgh!!! No amount of awesome emoticons is worth this crap.
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Tuesday, May 23rd 2006

6:40 PM

So I got my grades

  • Mood: anxious
I've been sort of putting off this post since I know it's not really okay to whine about A-minuses, but still. I really suck at math, but it just seems so unfair that they could drag down my GPA so damn much...



The two classes I got them in were back-to-back on Friday's, making it that I was there from 9-5. I also pretty much did not sleep a single Thursday night all semester, so I can't imagine that my work for those two was at the quality level it should have been.

So while I will have back-to-back classes next semester (what with my Thursdays & Fridays off, booyeh!), they won't both be reading-intensive academic things in a row. And since I felt intensely stupid all semester in my Contemporary Art class, I should at least be glad I didn't fare worse.

As for my cumulative GPA, it's ... okay. It can be worked with. If I manage to get nothing but A's from here on out, I can get it back to where I want it... but it's highly doubtful that unless I get working my ass off beginning immediately, my thesis will be anything to write home about. Argh.


I don't really know when or why I started caring so much about grades (considering my academic performance sometimes at Trinity, one would suspect I didn't know I was going to be graded at all), but the reality of ridiculously competitive internships and the staggering challenge of applying to PhD programs is looming with a very real sense of danger -- I feel like each time I slip, even a little, it's just going to be that much harder to do anything professionally.

I am so desperately afraid that I will graduate - all too soon - having plunged myself so much deeper in debt, and I will have absolutely no idea what I will do for work. I actually have nightmares about going back to work at Lester's or calling my mom asking if she can just cover my rent this once while I surf Craigslist trying to scrounge up enough money to stay afloat.

When I look at how obsessive and competitive my peers are, I just don't even know what to do with myself. If the Golden Child of the art history department (whom I really do adore - he deserves his reputation) gets rejected from internships, how am I even going to get a foot in the door? Especially when I am plagued daily by the sneaking suspicion that I'm really not that good at this and my professors are just being nice instead of telling me I'm really stupid and should maybe consider nursing or some other career.

I had a dream last night where a friend had come to my thesis opening and looked around at my paintings shaking his head (of course this dream wasn't useful -- I have no idea what the damn paintings looked like!). I asked "You don't like them?" and he shrugged saying, "I dunno, I always thought you'd be working to cure cancer or something. This is what you do instead?"

I know it's all in my head (mostly), but it scares me how often I remember that I actually was good at science. It made sense to me, and in fact I found it easy. My professors said I had a real knack for neuroscience, and had I not been such an undisciplined disaster as an undergrad, I could have done really well in it. I probably would not have been happy, and I have to remember that -- I mean surely it's more difficult to get into med school than a PhD program right? But at least there would have been a path, some specific regimen to follow to get where I want to be.

In seventh grade I'd looked up what all was involved in becoming a neurosurgeon, as well as my alternate, cardiology. Staring down minimally 12-17 years of residencies and advanced education beyond undergrad, I decided in favor of having a life, having a relationship, one day having kids... and now I'm kicking myself because those choices seem no more possible now than they would have been if I were too "busy" for them. Now I just can't afford them, and I can't figure out how I'm going to become able to... and that scares the bejesus out of me.

Then again if I would stop uselessly worrying all the time and just get painting, maybe I could get good enough to live one of those great myths of supporting oneself with art. If I would get studying and focus on doing well in my classes and like, get going on art history thesis research, maybe I could figure some things out and stop feeling so stupid. Maybe if instead of sitting about paralyzed wasting my life away, I did something, it wouldn't be so horrifying to face my future with so much uncertainty and fear.
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Friday, May 19th 2006

4:06 PM

Roll the Smokey!!!

  • Mood: ridiculous
This is what we do for fun around here...


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Thursday, May 18th 2006

6:09 PM

Band of Horses

  • Music: Band of Horses
I can't figure out how to post it here (yet another limitation of this increasingly-irritating blog), but go download the song "Biding Time is a Boat Row" by Band of Horses.

Then listen on repeat and enjoy the rain.
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Wednesday, May 17th 2006

5:45 PM

A glimmer

  • Mood: amused
The apartment next door is home to at least five skinny undergraduate guys who look like they are still fourteen, fond of loud parties on Tuesday nights, stupid girls who share way too much information about their vaginal activities on their cell phones in the hallway (forgetting, of course, that just because they've left one apartment doesn't mean the rest can't hear them), smoking up the hallway, turning on their music loudly and then going out, leaving it on all night while I try to sleep, and of course, my personal favorite, somehow screwing up their amp so that the bass gets crossed into the melody and becomes the most repetitive sound in the world.

Dun-dun-duuuun. Dun-dun-duuuun. Dun-dun-duuuuun. Etc.

Eric and I have become mostly acclimated to this sound, and in fact I tend to live my life to daily repetitive rhythms. It's like a heartbeat, right? Though sometimes it truly sounds like they have a drum machine running.

(Okay and so maybe I'd hoped they'd move out for the summer and go live off their parents somewhere else.)

Today was a wondrous occasion, though, because as I was ironing my shirt getting ready for my class, I heard the usual waking-up sounds coming from next door (something dropped, barely-past-teenage male cursing and pathetic attempts at white guy toughness, etc). Then the music begins, and instead of the more typical gangsta rap or hardcore repetitive beats,  I hear... the Beatles? Really? They've discovered the Beatles?

All five of them (at least) begin a sing-along to "Life Goes On" - they were really going to town with it despite the bass distortion warbling the ob-la-di's into something vaguely Satanic. Seriously, it was kind of endearing, and I felt proud as their little squawky voices cracked with joy. Maybe there is hope for those kids after all...

But evidently they were listening to a CD, and it started skipping. Badly. For five or six minutes at least. After a lot of banging (they do not know about forward or reverse buttons evidently), I heard the sound of a CD being thrown against the wall we share, a bunch of angry cursing and what can only be puffed-chest posturing ("I oughta throw that piece of crap out the window man"), we were right back to the dun-dun-duuuuun I've come to loathe so well. As if to prove they were serious, they turned it up and roared along with it, still oblivious both to how thin the walls are and how definitely NOT badass they are.

At least, though, for one moment, there was a glimmer.

If I can ever muster it, I'm going to have to hook my computer up to the amp and blast them out with something loud, peppy and definitively girly -- I can't wait to hear their falsettos.
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Tuesday, May 16th 2006

1:46 AM

Oh also, more photos

Hehe - yeah I got into my photo-editing and uploading groove...

So remember back in April when I did fun touristy things? Well I finally got around to putting those photos online...

World's Fair Site & Unisphere - Corona Park, Flushing NY


Checking out Art Deco Details (and the Project Runway outfits) in midtown Manhattan:


I really do love taking pictures.
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Monday, May 15th 2006

11:49 PM

My weekend in pictures

  • Mood: content
  • Watching: Conan
I am very tired, so I figured I would tell about my weekend with pictures.

You can click on each photo to view a photo set in Flickr for each portion of my weekend (weehaw!)

Our Hungarian friend Peter came to stay with us. On Saturday we wandered around Red Hook taking photos:



As you may be able to tell, we had dinner at Schnäck, where Peter and I enjoyed beer milkshakes (w00t).

After dinner we drove to a park under the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges which had breath-taking views of the Manhattan skyline and East River. I put those photos in another set - they include perhaps my favorite photo I've ever taken of Eric:



Later that evening we headed over to Seth's. A very very good time was had by all. Our friend Danika was celebrating her birthday - she stopped by with her boyfriend and two other friends. After they left, Eric, Seth, Peter & I headed up to Seth's roof and shot the shit for a while - it was lovely.

You guessed it -- I took pictures.



We ended up staying up past dawn and went to the Kellogg's Diner for breakfast as the sun came up.

On Sunday my parents came up to visit. We had lunch at the SpikeHill Grille in Williamsburg, then headed to the BWAC Pier Show in Red Hook. It was a lovely time and so nice to see them.



Afterwards we got very delicious key lime pie, which we enjoyed back at the apartment.

Incidentally, my parents also brought me their old blue couch, which is intensely comfortable and very nicely modifies the layout of our living room. Both kitties highly approve.



Today I began my summer class in Asian Art - it looks like it's going to be really wonderful, and I'm absolutely in love with the material - it's just spectacular. I'll write more about it soon, but today we did prehistoric and neolithic Indian & Chinese civilizations, and I just loved it all.

Will write more soon, but I have a bunch of reading and suchlike to do.
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Saturday, May 13th 2006

1:28 PM

Enough with the whining

  • Mood: much better
  • Music: Kleptones
Sorry to have been such a Debbie Downer of late. I'm done.

E & I had a good long talk last night, and I think it was productive.

I had a dream about my now-much-humbler TV boyfriend. Sweeeet. When I woke up and told Eric I'd just had an awesome dream, he asked immediately "Were you and TV boyfriend getting it on?" and I blushed and was like, uhh, something like that. (It was just a date). He saw me at a computer updating my dieting journal and asked if I was blogging about TV boyfriend. I worry sometimes that he knows me too well.

I lost another pound this week, bringing my total to 18.5 pounds in 13 weeks. I would like to step up the exercise and expedite the process, but I can't complain, as I'm nearly 20 pounds lighter than when I started this diet in February. w00t.

Our friend Peter is coming by any minute - I'm not sure what all is going on, but it will be nice to see him.

And my parents are coming up tomorrow!

Incidentally, if you are in the NY area, a show that I am in opens today:



It's called Transformations. 499 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn NY (Red Hook), end of pier. Opening Reception Saturday, May 13th, 1-7pm.

You can see bwac.org for more info. Would love to see you there!
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Friday, May 12th 2006

8:42 AM

Transitioning...

  • Mood: fragile
Okay so I bought a new domain and set up WordPress and am in the middle of trying to learn enough CSS to make my new blog not look moronic.

If and when I achieve these goals, I will provide a link to the new site. I'm going to keep posting here until I figure that stuff out, which may be farther off than I'd like.

I'm also going to be moving content from my garden site into separate pages over there. I plan to consolidate all my previous websites into one. If I can ever stop getting distracted going through all my old stuff.

I really do make myself quite stalkable, don't I?

At any rate, it's difficult, and in the overly-sentimental (cheesy) way that only I could, I feel not only guilty, but sad for leaving this site.

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What I am not sad about (so much as angry) is what an annoying day I had yesterday.

To begin with, I moved my car early. I sucked it up and paid $36 to fill my tank so that I would not run out of gas on Myrtle Ave. Still with quite a lot of time before I could repark outside my building, I headed to a market and ended up parked right behind Eric's car (he was getting coffee) - I ran into him on the sidewalk and said hello. None of this is annoying yet, I'm aware. Read on.

After I got money from the ATM and an un-nutritious breakfast, I went back to move my car. At the very moment I attempted to pull out, several cars came quickly down the street blocking me in. One large SUV with Florida plates frantically decided at the last minute to take the spot Eric had vacated, but did so at the last minute, such that not only was I already trying to pull out of my spot and had nowhere to go, but the guy behind me had gotten uncomfortably close to both of our cars and was now blocked in and quite unhappy about it. Amidst his blaring hurry-up honking, the Florida SUV driver did not hear my frantic please-don't-hit-my-car honking and, predictably, smashed right back into my car. TWICE.

Who the hell continues trying to back up after already hitting a car??? Isn't that when you stop and like, USE YOUR GODDAMNED MIRRORS?!?!

Flabberghasted with anger, I turned off my car and got out with the "What the hell are you DOING?!" look on my face that should have made his heart break. Instead, he acted annoyed that he had to stop and talk to me. The car who remained honking squeezed by and nearly hit a walking traffic cop as he raced away. So I called said cop over and said Florida-guy had just hit my car twice (learning from last summer that no matter what, you involve the police immediately or your mother will yell at you). Florida insisted there was no damage, and when I pointed out the place where he'd smashed my license plate into my fender, he said no way, that must have been in the same incident as the dent on my hood. (The dent which had mysteriously appeared while my car was in New Jersey and no one knows anything about, which made me very very angry this past January.)

Long story short, after some bickering and some very faulty logic, the cop agreed with him that no damage had been done and she accused me of trying to scam him. Because yes, when I am in glorified pajamas and morning-hair attempting to pull out of a parking spot, the thing I most wanted to happen was to be hit TWICE by an SUV. She further threatened that she would ticket my car if I didn't get it out of the way for street cleaning. Hooray.

Long story short, my car is rapidly becoming a beater and I am NOT happy about this. It has dents on its roof from where ConEd or Keyspan employees were cutting back trees and let branches fall on it. (This is the new roof, after the original was decimated a week after I moved to Brooklyn). My hood is dinged and bent up, though no one knows how that happened... and now my new fender (having been replaced after I was rear-ended into another car this past summer) has a big gash in it. And I cannot afford to fix all these minor things, nor, apparently, make those accountable for them pay.

It is just a thing.

It is just a thing.

It is just a thing.

Goddamnit.

Later I learned that the state of NY will be stealing a portion of my tax refund, and I have to call people and yell and deal with it. Which annoys the crap out of me. Because I already handled this months ago and they're behind on their paperwork. Because they suck.

Also, our leasing company keeps charging us late fees and an erroneous balance after they cashed our payments on time but did not properly credit our payments to our account. Then a second set where they held our payments to research the previous situation, then charged us when they deposited them late. I wrote Eric a bullet-pointed script to talk to them last week, but he is uncharacteristically reluctant to call them, I suspect because he secretly thinks this is all my fault.

And even though I read in my phone manual and my contract that I would not be charged messaging fees to transfer photos from my phone to Verizon's stupid little website, I was charged at least $10 that I know of for going over my "monthly allowance" of picture messages. Nowhere in any literature, hard copies or online, can I find what this allowance may be... but I suspect it is zero. Why this annoys me is that I chose not to buy a stupid $20 memory card for my phone (for manual transfers) because I stupidly believed all the places where they said that doing it their way was free.

Ugh. Even when I read things and do things by the book, other people screw up and it costs me time, money, and aggravation.

And I really really really hate talking to people on the phone, especially when I am right and have to insist upon it.

Believe it or not, I'm actually terrible at being a bitch or standing up for myself, and even though I'm aware that this is the kind of thing adults have to do, I freaking hate it. When I worked in AR, I made it my absolute goal to never annoy people if I didn't have to, and to do my job so well that they never had to be troubled by my mistakes. Further, I worked to improve the system from the inside-out so that other people's mistakes would never even get to the customers and they would not have to trouble themselves or think they were stupid for something going wrong with their account.

I realize that most people who deal with other people's money couldn't care less and, when in doubt, will bill the customer.

Bastards.

All these things are not so bad in and of themselves (shit happens, right?) but they're coinciding with an incredibly angsty bout of moodiness on my part and an inexplicable fragility which most likely corresponds with not feeling well and bodily things being out of whack.

Point being, I feel stupid and beat up.

It's been cloudy and cold and wet all week, which is my one week to enjoy spring before my summer class starts (next Monday). So yes, I'm pouting.

Ugh and I got an A- in one of my classes, so I no longer have a 4.0 GPA and will most likely get B's or worse in one or two others. Damnit.
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