Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Breakfast, Job Interview and Other Fun

I had a job interview yesterday for a one-year visiting professorship at a local college. It went well, keep your fingers crossed. Afterwards it was still early...9:30 and I'm usually still asleep at that hour...so I decided to go treat myself to a yummy breakfast. I went to this little diner I used to frequent but have abandoned after they were rude to us one night. I figured they've suffered enough without me and went to see them. What a great decision. It was the best breakfast I've had in a while: scrambled eggs and sausage patties and grits and raisin toast. While waiting for my food I was feeling a little blue for some reason, but then when the guy handed it to me, I looked down to see they had made it into a little face: the grits were the actual face, the patty sausages were the eyes, and the eggs the hair. If I'd had a camera I would have taken its picture. As it is, just imagine...it looked like this, only better:
Back to the job...it would be so fabulous. I would have two sections of French 102 and one section of a French film class of my choice. Like a REAL PROFESSOR! And if I finish my dissertation over the course of the year, they'll up my salary to reflect the Ph.D...how cool is that? The only problem is that they told me they would call yesterday afternoon and I still haven't heard anything. I'm pretty sure I've got the position, since it's a last-minute replacement and they know me to be a good teacher, but still...

On the bright side, here's the building I'd get to teach in, and have my office in, too:

This is the most random post I possibly have made since I started this blog. I'm watching American Idol and am wondering how on God's green earth Jason Castro made it to the top five. What the hell? He's a total goober. Seriously, y'all...JASON??? He's like some boring guy singing at an outdoor festival to a bunch of hippies, none of whom are listening cause he's so BORING. Sheesh.

Brooke is singing "I'm A Believer," a song from which my childhood lyric flubs will always stick in my head. "I'm a believer I could enlieve her if I tried"..."When I needed sunshine on my brain"..."Not a trace looked out in my mind"...the hits go on and on.

Tonight is Neil Diamond night. Eddie, I hope you're watching, even though no one's singing "Solitary Man."

Friday, April 25, 2008

My daughter, the star

My girl Rosie has always been at home on the stage. I don't know where she gets that little quality from...I'm completely petrified in front of people. But not Rosie. She lights up the room when she gets onstage, especially if a microphone if involved. Audiences...all people, really...love her. She knows exactly what to do, how to make them laugh, what moves to make. She's wonderful.

Last week we entered a model search competition. It involved a photo shoot, a talent show and a walk down the runway. Rosie shone, as usual. We went back last Friday to get the results, and the child won a modeling contract! I'm sure there is lots of fine print that needs to be read, but I've spoken to others whose children have gotten contracts, and apparently it's legit. As soon as we opened the envelope and saw that she had won, she squealed and said "I'm gonna be in Hannah Montana!!"

Here are some of her shots, the glamour girl.

Sweet girl. I adore her. I just hope this is going to be something that works out for her.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Summer Reading List

I went to a book sale at Rosie's school a couple of weeks ago. I bought a ton of books and brought them home in a cute green recycle bag that I also bought there. Then I forgot about them. Yesterday I looked inside the cute green bag, pulled out my books and was happy to see what good things I'd found. I realized I have my summer by-the-pool reading supply, all for under $10.00.

First on the list, Wise Blood, by Flannery O'Connor. No, I've never read it all the way through. In fact, glancing at the back cover I realize I've never read it at all.

My copy looks just like this, by the way.

Second book: As I Lay Dying, Faulkner. I was told by a very erudite gentleman that it's the best Faulkner by far. I personally love Light in August an awful lot, so AILD has its work cut out for it.

My cover is nowhere near this cool, just plain white. I remember now that I actually did read this long ago, and loved it, so this should be interesting.

Book number three: Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, mainly because it has Foucault in the title, but I think I've heard this book referenced quite a number of times and feel like the universe is sending me signs that I need to read it.

My copy looks just like this. I don't know why I'm mentioning this every time but it seems significant.

Next book: Wise Children by Angela Carter. I love Angela Carter. She's a quirky British writer who weaves fiction, fact and fairy tales (sorry about the bad alliteration) in an odd way, questioning the borders between reality and fantasy. I once read a story she wrote called "Lizzie's Tiger," the crazy tale of a five-year-old Lizzie Borden sneaking out of the house to go to the circus. It's amazing. I later learned that there is a series of stories by Carter about Lizzie Borden.

Plus I just love the cover (mine looks like this) and the description of the story. I discovered when I googled the title that this was her last book, that she learned that she had cancer in the middle of writing it. Sad.

What else should I read?

Monday, April 21, 2008

My son, the musician

I might be in trouble. My son, Nicholas, who has always been extremely musically talented, has suddenly become interested in actually being a musician. He's already a virtuoso at the piano, and this year in school started playing alto sax in the band. A few weeks ago, he got a guitar, though we have yet to start lessons. But it's always been just a kind of fun thing for him. Until yesterday.

My neighbor, Jeep Hook, is a transplanted Brit who played in his share of bands back in the day. (In fact, I just now googled him and found he toured with Talk Talk. How did I not know this???) He now has a successful career recording local artists in his home studio. Yesterday, Nicholas and I suddenly remembered that he had an assignment due today for band class that involved making a tape or CD of him playing a series of scales on the sax. Of course, we had nothing to tape it on since my computer doesn't have a mic and our old tape recorder is long gone. The only thing we could come up with was a mini voice recorder thing, which would have made the scales sound absolutely horrible. So I had the idea to call Jeep, who kindly he agreed to let us come down so that he could record the scales on his ProTools.

Okay...we'd been in his studio before, but always as visitors. This was like a real session, with a microphone, monitors, playback, and an artist. Nicholas completely got into it, re-doing takes, adjusting the mic, and in the end, designing an 'album cover' for the CD to give his teacher. Jeep took a photo with his computer, gave it that title, and sent it to us to print out. Nick came up with the pose himself, down to the half-closed eyes:

I think someone's been going through my old jazz albums. And I think I'm in trouble.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why does love got to be so sad?

You know, I've always loved the show, Cheaters. It never fails to make me laugh, the incredibly bad writing ("they disappear into their love recluse, to emerge hours later in a snug, clandestine embrace"), the funny confrontations ("Who's this bitch? Say! Who's this? Did you know he lives with me???") and the reassuring sense of at least my life isn't that bad. But I'm sitting here tonight watching it, just wanting to cry. These poor people who suspect their significant other of cheating...they're people just like me (pardon the really bad cliche), going along in their sad lives, trying to be with another person, giving them the benefit of the doubt when something odd happens, hearing their end of a phone conversation and having no idea what the they are really doing, trusting even when their rational mind is screaming what the hell???

Tonight, instead of being amused, it strikes me how really sad these stories are. From the moment they realize something is wrong, and meet with Joey Greco to learn what the 'investigators' found out, they have that worried but still hopeful look on their faces. Then as they watch the video proof of the cheating, which can be pretty damn upsetting, their expressions just fall. And then after the 'confrontation', during which time they're angry and pissed and screaming, they climb into the the Cheaters van, and it all falls away and they just cry and cry.

What kind of pitiful world is it where the person with whom you share your innermost secrets, emotions and fears can close that all off and pursue a relationship with someone else? Don't get me wrong, I know I wasn't cheated on...I just lost him somehow...but even so, that sense that you can never know what's going on in another person's heart is becoming more and more clear to me. It shouldn't be threatening - we're all individuals with complex histories and secrets - but nonetheless, it scares me how, in the end, you can't rely on anything.

We're all so trusting and hopeful, when the truth is that nothing ever works out the way we want it to, if it works out at all. As it says in one of my favorite Baudelaire/Robert Smith lines "No one ever knows or loves another..."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kick Me Hard

Can someone take this fucking "Kick me" sign off my back? I've had enough. I put myself out there way too soon after Paul, I guess, but I just got slammed again. It's okay, cause I understand the reason for it, and I still love the fella a ton, but that doesn't help me do anything but sit here watching Annie Hall and crying. I hate it. I'm tired of it. It doesn't have to be so hard, does it?

I'm resolving to just stop the romance madness. No more men. No more dating. Friends are fine, but I'm not putting my heart out there for a couple of years. It's just not worth it when you keep getting kicked back down. At least it's a decent breakup, and for a good reason, and basically okay. I'm just sad.

So unfair.

Edited to add:

Okay, I'm being silly and trying to be funny about the whole thing, but the truth is I'm really hurt. Anyone out there available for a chat or something? I'm in bad need of a friend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Murder, mayhem and madness

Here's what I've been working my ass off for the last month to finish. I may never complete it though, since the journal I'm submitting it to has given giving me tons of leeway, which has only led to a great wasting of time...

Here's the intro. Enjoy.

Léa (on left) and Christine Papin before...

...and after the murders they committed. (Here Christine is on the left, Léa on the right.)

One of the most gruesome, bloody and violent murders of modern France is also one of the most written-about crimes of the twentieth century. The event known as l’affaire Papin refers to a crime which took place in February 1933 at the home of the Lancelin family in the provincial town of Le Mans, France. Christine and Léa Papin, two sisters who had worked as maids in the household for six years, killed the mother and the daughter of the family following an electrical outage caused by the iron Christine had been using. Apparently in reaction to Madame’s anger at the discovery of the blackout, the sisters jumped on their employers in a remarkably brutal attack: Christine and Léa ripped out the eyes of the other two women with their fingers, then beat them to death with a pitcher and hammer and sliced their faces and bodies with a kitchen knife. Found huddled together in a single bed behind the locked door of their attic bedroom after the crime, the sisters willingly went with authorities to be questioned at the police station.

Despite the abundance of facts around the case – Christine and Léa were able to give police a detailed account of the murders – there is no single all-encompassing narrative to explain the crime, primarily because of the sisters’ inability to elucidate any reason for the killing. Their lack of emotion and apparent confusion about why they killed has generated such numerous and varied explanations in the both factual and fictive accounts that it serves as a marker for a shift in what it means to solve a crime. Traditionally, this explanation consists of identifying and finding the criminal, bringing him before a judge, and punishing him for his act, the implication being that the crime is solved once the the murderer is contained. Deprived of any sense of finality in this particular case upon discovering the identity of the killers, journalists and other writers found it necessary to assign their own interpretation on the event, as murder is an event for which the public demands a clear, cohesive and rational explanation. Perhaps even more than the lack of motive was the somewhat ready-made quality of the sisters’ story. Faced with the elements of incest, eye-gouging, homosexuality, Oedipus, class relationships, mirroring, and the dualities of light and shadow (the electrical blackout) and Jekyll and Hyde (the two photographs of the sisters,) writers could hardly not write the narrative of this crime.

Speaking of the rise in crime literature in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Ken Morrison states: “The work of detection within literary space was designed to show how murder was to be handled, how it would be investigated, and how it would be accounted for” (305.) This crime occurs at a moment in literary and cultural history where more than just the body of the criminal was required. Questions which had been broached in psychology in general and psychoanalysis in particular compelled the act of detection in another direction. Not only did it involve searching for physical clues, evidence and truths, but looking for deeper hidden truths about crime and the criminal. Morrison goes on to say “The presence of the investigator is predicated on the idea that the truth is hidden from view and that the investigative gaze alone will reveal this truth…The aim of detective fiction is to bring the murderer to justice by unraveling or disclosing the truth” (306.) By 1933, this ‘truth’ had changed. Whereas traditional crime writing focuses on finding the criminal, the question now is shifting from finding the person who committed the crime to seeking dark truths which lay in the heart of a killer. Who were the Papin sisters? How could two killers lurk beneath the calm domestic exterior of their starched maids’ uniforms? Does the blank slate provided by their crime inspire a “delirium of interpretation,” whereby writing the story is imperative to understanding something essential about the human soul?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amy, my gal

God, it's been a week since I posted anything and here I am, repeating myself. Again. Oh well, I'll blame it on the Papin sisters. Here's my gal, Amy, with my favorite song of hers.

I'm going to Athens tomorrow and am terribly excited about it. I *may* get to see Eds, which will be the first time since my birthday blowout. Way damn too long, I'd say. But the real reason I'm going is that I'm bringing Miss Vanessa Briscoe her way overdue Girl Scout cookie order. I haven't seen Van in much longer than Eds, probably since last year's GS cookie delivery. That sucks. As you all know, for a while Athens was totally off limits to me. What a horrible time that was. But now it's safe for me to go again. I'm so glad that's over now. I'm happy as a pig in slop that it's over, to tell you the truth. These are two of my favorite people in the world, by the way:

Van, an old pic stolen from her Myspace:

See what happens when you blog needlessly? I'll stop now and go write more on my murder article. In fact, in my next entry I will include a portion of my article. Woohoo! You lucky readers!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

David Cook, my hero

I'm double blogging here, cause he's all over my Myspace page, but is it wrong for me to have such a crush on this guy? He's the boy I think I've been in love with my whole life. Does anyone out there know what I mean?