Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Everything was burritos and nothing hurt.

There I was, sitting in front of 100 kids. 100 kids staring, 100 kids watching, 100 kids judging. I'm not good on the spot, and I knew this could only go one way. My was mouth getting dry, "I need water," I muttered to the seemingly unaffected girl sitting next to me, who made the most sincere face of utter confusion I have seen in response to my statement. How anyone would need something to aid them through this moment of complete calamity was beyond her. I, on the other hand, was desperate, but the boy before me began to talk, so to stand up and retrieve my water bottle that was just a few feet away, calling my name, telling me that if I just took a sip all my problems would go away, would be totally rude, not to mention they'd watch me, all 100 of them. I could only hear the boy droning away on his group. Who cares about what happened in your group! Don't you know I'm in crisis mode! My palms were getting sweaty, "come on Nix you can do this." I thought as I tried to muster as much saliva as possible. "All you have to do is say something, then the world will be saved and the hero gets the girl and everything will be burritos and nothing will hurt. Right?" Wrong. I don't know why my brain goes on strange rants while I'm in crisis mode, maybe that's why I'm not good at this stuff (a Zombie apocalypse probably wouldn't be the best scenario for me, but I digress.) I could hear my heart beating a million miles per hour, but can't everyone in times like this? So what did it matter? Well it mattered to me. I always say something stupid, that's how tall frizzy haired, Nicky's function, off stupid, and then the sudden urge to fester in a giant hole with French bulldog's named Louie the Frenchman, and cats named Nicky.

The thing is I wasn't just "sitting" waiting for my turn to say absolutely nothing. No. I was shafted, forced, almost hoodwinked into it. What kind of a professor does these things?! She said the facilitators of the groups didn't have to do anything but make sure the group does their job. I considered myself lucky, I didn't have to say anything, didn't have to do anything, I didn't even listen, just facilitate. I even told a girl to write notes, just to make sure I was doing my job, I got an eye roll from her! I suffered from being the reciprocator of an eye roll just to get my job done, wasn't that torture enough! Then Professor Evil said we have a special "surprise for the facilitators." Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. I generally use profanity in moments of complete and utter doom. I had to tell the entire class what my group discussed, our dynamic, and way that we communicated( I know, I don't know why I'm taking this class either). The other facilitators had notes, I did not. The other facilitators talked for what seemed like hours about their totally awesome groups, and the super way they all discussed the prompt. I, on the other hand, said the word"stuff." Yes,  I said it: stuff. I'm supposed to be this kick ass college student discussing extra intellectual topics and yet I say stuff.

Sure it wasn't my worst stint at public speaking (I was once told I looked constipated during a class presentation, yup my prize moment), but it was still pretty horrifying, terrifying, ghastly; you choose the adjective. I thought once you got into college everything would become all collegey. You'd do things like find yourself and be an academic while still having a ridiculously awesome social life. Yet I see myself as the same frizzy haired nerd, spending all my time on studies to receive C's (bleh), and hanging out with the same two people I did in high school (although I'm definantly not complaining, they are my best friends). I'm not cut out for the collegey thing. Never have been. I find myself acting like a kid less than any adult I know, and the idea of doing adult things seems to be like an alternate universe where I have glossy hair and buy sweet heels on my free time.

But I guess in reality the hero needs to figure out somethings before he saves the girl. So for now nothing is burritos and everything hurts.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Based on Edith Wharton's novel.

Swan Lake and Anna Karenina

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Good morning, Princess"

All I wanted to do was play hooky this morning, sleep until the afternoon, pretend I have nothing to do and do all of this nothing with you. When you said, “Good morning, Princess” you made it that much more tempting for me to stay in bed even though I was in jeans and had already gotten dressed. It didn’t help that it was so cold- frigid, just the way you like my nose, and that I knew waking up meant you’d be driving away, but with a warm kiss and those three little words, I knew I was ready for the rest of the world today. But now all I can do, with grogginess still behind my eyes and our love-shark by my side, is crawl back into the sheets and miss you and wait for you to come home. Mmm, how I love to sleep and dream about you and me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Vapid Summaries of Two Tolstoy Novellas; A Note on Russian Names

Family Happiness (1859)

“We were in morning for my mother, who died in the autumn, and I spent all that winter alone in the country with Kátya and Sónya.” So Tolstoy begins his novella—with the desolation of a family death. The narrator is 17-year-old Máshechka Alexandróvna (Márya) reflecting on her past. She begins by informing us that her mother has died, and that she has temporarily returned to her old house, Pokróvkoe, with her younger sister Sónya and her old governess Kátya, until her guardian Sergéy Mikháylych can decide what course she and her sister should take. “The feeling of death clung to the house; the air was filled with grief and horror of death.” Márya falls in love with Sergéy. They marry, though she is considerably younger than him. At first the marriage runs smoothly, then ruptures, and finally cools.

The title "Family Happiness" refers to the only kind of long-lasting, substantial happiness that one should expect from a marriage. It is subdued and quiet. Passion always fades in a marriage, since passion is built upon mystery.

-Their relationship is brilliantly developed in that none of the developments seem artificial--everything happens naturally--there is little invention.

The Devil (1889)

I found the The Devil rather unimpressive—even upon a second reading. It is said that Tolstoy cached the draft of this story somewhere in the cushioned depths of his study chair, so that Sophia wouldn’t find it, and discover that he had been unfaithful to her. For this story, like all of Tolstoy’s stories, is largely autobiographical. It is the story of an “honest,” “kindly,” “agreeable,” “candid” man (Eugène Irténev) who is driven to madness by his lust for a peasant woman (Stepanída Péchnikov). We open to chapter one and read that “a brilliant career lay before Eugène Irténev.” Money is inherited, debts are paid off, services are begun in the ministry, and Eugène’s life seems very promising. However, being a bachelor, he is plagued by what he calls a “necessary” obligation to his health (i.e. copulation). To him, there is something emancipating about stifling his urges—it allows him to operate his father’s estate and farm with a clear mind. So, whenever he his urges arise, off he goes to the forest to ‘meet’ with Stepanída. Time passes, he marries a smart, bourgeois girl named Liza, and forgets about Stepanída. Later, however, he encounters her everywhere she goes. He is driven mad by his guilt and commits suicide—or, in an alternate ending, BAM!, kills Stepanída.

This story is unimpressive because it has no subtlety in its theme, construction, or symbolism… In both endings, someone dies—in the one where he shoots Stepanída, he is sentenced to 7 months in prison, and emerges a drunkard. Clearly, it is ‘wrong to give into lustful temptation.’ And we recall the gospel of Matthew:

[28] But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
[29] And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
[30] And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Religious imagery pervades: Stepanída red kerchief represents sin, passion, and temptation; the Forest in which he meets her, the garden of Eden.

The story is marked (Insipidly) by the changing seasons and (interestingly) by liturgical celebrations. Lent, marking the death of Eugène's indebted father and the ressurection of his farm under Eugène's control.

This is a parable, clearly, and that's why it's not to my taste.

A Note on Russian Names:
Russians have three names: their first name, their patronymic, and their surname. Tolstoy’s full name, for instance is

Lev (first name) Nikolaevich (patronymic) Tolstoy (surname).

The patronymic is based on the first name of a person's father, adding either a masculine (-vich or -ich) or feminine (-na) ending. Thus siblings (with the same father) will have the same patronymic.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heavenly Creatures (1994)


On Rothko's No.3 / No.13

Went to the MoMA yesterday. Spotted this Rothko. Peered here and there. Set pen to paper.


No.3 / No.13

A parrot of a painting. We are drawn immediately to the twilight of the center zip—cool, crepuscular, merging cream into the profoundest purple—the deep purple of sleep, of death: a pool of nocturnal quiet. And yet how vivacious! bright coral, green grass: all pools of being. We are engulfed by the dreams, the jungles, the clouds of youth, to be deserted in the thickness of the night. We are dazzled, distracted, doomed. And a sense of foreboding—a deep, black denizen lingers above us, seeping into to the mind, blinding one, silencing one, gorging on the light.