Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jumping the Gun

I thought it would be cute, since my title is rather cliche, to write about the origin of the phrase 'jump/ing the gun.'  In my zeal to put off my homework by engaging in completely useless research I went to work, but my finger slipped and I typed in 'humping' instead of jumping.  I thought about correcting it but figured that Google, in its infinite wisdom would respond with 'do you mean jumping the gun?'  To my surprise, humping the gun was a legit search yielding a game glitch called 'The Humping Gun XD' on YouTube, the lyrics to Machine Gun Fellatio's "(Let Me Be Your) Dirty Fucking Whore," and the Urban Dictionary's results for big fucking gun, to name a few.  Consequently, "Dirty Fucking Whore" is a very cute little song, presented with a vaudevillian style and chock full of lyrics that would make the Marquis de Sade sigh in contentment.

Moving on.  Jumping the gun, as it turns out, relates to sporting events wherein a gun is used to signify the start.  The obvious example is track and field and the starter pistol.  Jumping the gun then is when a participant moves before the gun goes off and has come to mean, of course, a movement or conclusion drawn before its time.  And that brings me to this list.  I have compiled a list for next semester's reading.  This is a list of possibilities and is in no way final, but so far these are the books that I am interested in having a go at.  A few of them are carry overs from this semester.  We are supposed to read approximately twenty books a semester and my first list contained over twenty-five.  There will definitely be carry overs.

Second Semester Possibilities:

Carry Overs:
First Semester List:
1st Packet Due: Thursday, February 7, 2013
2nd Packet Due: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
3rd Packet Due: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
4th Packet Due: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
5th Packet Due: Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The above dates are pretty self explanatory.  I've marked off the third packet because it's due in about three days.  I still have some work to do on it.  The cover letter is almost there and I have a vague outline for my craft analysis completed.  I'm going to try and do one longer one comparing the Matheson and McCormack novels.  I need to add in a secondary source if possible and for that I am looking to literary magazines.  I am reading an interesting article in "The Writer's Chronicle" that draws a very strict line between homo sapiens and homo fictus.  While I disagree with most of what the article says, I think it would be a fabulous secondary source for characterization sometime.  Since I am looking at narrative structure and the presentation of thought and memory (speculatively at this point since I haven't settled on a concrete idea as of yet) that article won't provide much help.  Other than that I have a little more polishing and writing to do on my creative work.  Honestly, this packet has been very hard for me.  I received wonderful feedback after the last packet and yet I just ran out of steam.  This month held a great many social and work responsibilities that other months hadn't.  Next month should be pretty quiet and hopefully I'll be able to really crank out some work on my novel.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cleaning, Clorox, and Contact

The circle of domesticated life: in the process of cleaning one room, another room will inevitably become dirty which leads to the cleaning of that room and the sacrifice of cleanliness in yet another room.  In the end, when all the rooms are clean, clothing will be a mess, dishes will need to be done and in the aftermath of all of this, relaxation will be had.  Relaxation means taking the nicely folded blankets from the couch for cuddling up, dragging out all the movies from their nicely organized cubby, leaving little plates and cups near the seating and thereby creating a dirty room.  Meanwhile the cats watch you with an air of 'good job, human, keep up the good work, human, by the way, slave, I'm hungry and my litter box needs cleaned and if you don't attend to my needs right this moment I will take a revenge crap on your dinning room floor and flavor with the air with a scent that can only be described as pure evil.'  That is the circle of domesticated life.  Now throw in grocery shopping and work and you have the American Dream. 

We've been cleaning the house in preparation for Easter.  So far so good and yet, as previously stated, the cycle never really ends.  Agitation has set in.  For me, I am kicking myself in the ass for not being more on the ball with homework, and for the rest of us, the lack of a working mop has taken its toll.  Still, little by little the house is becoming presentable.  The back porch is clean thanks to Hannah, but the upstairs neighbors have taken to peppering out patio with tupperware, discarded cigarettes, wrappers and other various trash.  Spring is here and if this keeps up, there will be words.  I intend to do a good deal of my writing sitting on the back patio now that it's warmer - I have found in the past that I work better outside - and I don't want to feel like I'm in a frat boy's den whilst I do it.  

This just in: Galen decided it would be a good idea to lap up the Clorox from the bottom of the shower.  Now we have calls in to the vet and have put him in a different bathroom all alone with a dish of wet food to hopefully dilute the amount he took in.  I think he'll be alright, he's far too ornery to be out of commission for long.  Still, it caused quite a stir in our cycle of clean, rest, sip coffee, clean, clean, rest, clean, more coffee.  We're kind of curious to see if he gets some gray spots after this ordeal - he's a completely black cat aside form a few stray white hairs, with great potential for bleaching. 

Aside from all of that, the only other thing I have going on right now is a full out war with technology.  It's sad when a teeny little MP3 player thwarts me.  Even my poor Acer, which I have dropped on its head time and time again, does what I need it to do with little to no complaint.  But this damn MP3 player... I'm loading it with music for my aunt but I'm ripping all the tunes from her collection of CDs and apparently this is too much for the combined efforts of the computer and the 2GB music device.  But the war goes further than that - the cash register at work likes to yell at me and push my into transactions when I haven't even scanned anything.  The cars had jumped on this bandwagon as well.  My Kia needs a new clutch and Hannah's jeep is having transmission fluids blues.  The only thing that works for me is the cell phone and I'm officially late in paying the bill.  It occurs to me that this blog has turned into gratuitous whining so let's finish it up with something a bit more exciting.

I was recently contacted by a person who reads this blog.  She asked me a variety of questions about Pine Manor College and why I chose this program versus the one offered by Queens.  After a pleasant back and forth wherein we discussed her concerns about the size of the community she informed me that her son is going for his MFA and that the information supplied on my blogs and in our correspondence helped him decide on Pine Manor.  It makes me very happy that not only did this individual feel comfortable enough to contact me, but that I could represent the program in such a positive way.  I look forward to meeting her son during the next residency.  Another little feather in my cap is that Meg Kearney, our MFA director, asked me if she could quote a portion of my student eval (the part about cover letters) in the next student handbook.  With chest all swelling with pride, I said of course.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maudlin Reverie of the Present

Today was my Friday.  It seems that not only is time relative, but so to are the days of the week.  On this, my Friday, I find myself succumbing to sentimentality about work, life, the universe, you name it.  Earlier today, my girlfriend drove out to my work and took me out for lunch.  It was just a simple lunch of McDonald's - my cheeseburger was decidedly lacking in cheese and the fries were less than hot - but it was such a treat for me.  Hannah drove us out near the river and we watched geese waddling around while we ate and talked about twenty questions and marriage equality.  She wore a red and black shirt and a big red ribbon in her hair because today it is the color of red that means freedom of love.

On the way back to work she pulled in to a gas station and I zipped inside and grabbed us a king sized Almond Snickers that we shared.  All in all it made an otherwise long day feel much shorter.  The rest of the day was spent tending to our sparse spattering of customers (I don't know why the weekdays are lagging so bad now!) and reading I am Legend by Matheson.  Just the other day I finished The Road by McCarthy.  Can you tell I'm on a Dystopian kick?  The Imagine Dragons song "Radioactive" could be the unofficial theme song of The Road.

I've been thinking about my job a lot lately.  There are many things to love about it, but what I love the most, is the fact that, even though I still have moments of great uncertainty and I often put my foot in my mouth, I'm allowed to be myself.  I'm quirky, I'm loud, I'm a little silly (well... more than a little) and this October I will be celebrating six years of a lesbian relationship.  In other work environments, I've had to keep my insanity bottled up to the point of explosion and I didn't dare mention Hannah as anything more than just 'a friend.'  In the event that I did refer to Hannah as my mate/partner/girlfriend/sex slave a whole world of assumptions came crashing down on me and the thick air of 'don't hang your dirty laundry out on the line' kept things awkward and quiet.  The truth is, I thought I was odd and different because I don't consider myself a lesbian at all (my relationship is lesbian but I'm not), and I frowned at things like 'Oh, so you eat carpet,' and 'Don't you think Leonardo DiCaprio is sexy? Wait you don't like dick.  Sorry I forgot.'  I'm not a lesbi-femi-Natzi-man-hater!  This is however, often the immediate conclusion when someone finds out that I am in a same-sex relationship.  It surprises them when I say of Gerard Butler "I would slob his nob any day of the week."

But at work, the awkwardness of assumptions is gone.  There are six of us and five of us have significant others who's names are synonymous with our own.  It's comforting and necessary.  When my supervisor introduced me to her daughter a few months ago she said, "And this is the newest member of our family."  I have to say that I've never considered work a home away from home, never thought of my coworkers as aunts and cousins, but at LHB that's exactly what it's like.  I'm so thankful for this.  They ask me how my homework is going, they talk to me about Hannah and make yummy sounds when I tell them what she makes me for dinner.  They give me hugs, they engage in banter, they giggle with me and they treat me like an adult while still respecting my child-like nature.  I'm gushing, I know, but how often do we get to say 'I love my job?'

As far as homework is concerned, I have been reading quite a bit as previously mentioned.  I haven't written much on my novel this month, but I have some days off this week and want to at least get into the heart of chapter three.  Tomorrow will be dedicated to craft analysis.  I'm trying for a longer one this time around and also I'm looking to add a secondary source.  I like the way the packets are set up, honestly; there is little pressure to follow a tight structure - the drive is to find creativity even in critical writing and I absolutely love that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Not Wearing Pants

I am writing this while sitting on a hotel bed in the Best Western attached to the Kootenai Casino in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho.  And, as the title would suggest, no, I am not wearing any pants.  We woke early this morning and traveled up from Post Falls the nearly two hours to Bonner's Ferry and had been busy throwing money into machines (hungry machines with no mercy), had a delicious home packed lunch of spinach wraps, and gone swimming.  We tried out the sauna and apparently I am a sweater (drenched in moments) while Hannah just sat there hot and uncomfortable but no beads of perspiration to be had.

It's amazing to me how quickly time flies in a casino.  You think to yourself 'wow that ten bucks went fast' but then you look at the clock and an hour has gone by.  In one way it's a comfort to know that you were entertained for an hour and are down only ten dollars.  That's close to what you would pay to go and see a movie... see how I'm trying to make myself feel better here?  It's not really working.  I'll stop.  Anyway, time does go by fairly quickly.  It's past seven now and I'm just now settling down to finish up some homework and get everything ready to email to my mentor on Wednesday.  I feel as though I was not as organized on this packet and would like to rectify that for the next one.

So, wish me luck on my homework because no amount of wishing will bring me luck in gambling.  Tomorrow will probably see me back here, broke and moping, and gearing up for some more homework.  I have some papers to finish up and then editing to complete.  So far I am optimistic about the novel though I am unsure how to get from point C to point D at the moment.  Between Hannah, me, and the feedback my mentor will provide after this packet, I think I'll be able to accomplish it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Computers to Consider

Hannah and I are on the market for new computers.  I've compiled a list of some nice models that are very within our price range.  There are a few we really love (or I really love, anyway) and there are some that are just pipe dreams.  I'll start by listing the 'wishful thinking' ones that we'll never own until we are much more affluent than we are now.  Then I'll list some of the serious contenders.  When I am actually ready to snag a comp for me or for my Hannah, I will also go and check in the stores around the area to look for special deals and weekend blowouts.  But in the meantime - these are the beauties I've been examining.  Optical Drive used to be a semi deal breaker until I realized that it costs less than fifty bucks for an external one.  I can swing that, therefore the OD is no longer an issue.  I will be listing it among specs however because it still counts as a positive.  All of the following have Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit or Windows 7 Professional 64 bit.  We do not want Windows 8 in our house!

Wishful Thinking (Lower-end Gaming Laptops)
Serious Contenders (sorted from lowest price to highest)
Of course this would all be easier if we didn't hate Windows 8 so much.  We don't have IPads or IPhones or anything that is based on a touch screen and we would prefer to keep our Windows 7 - which means we need to pay a little bit more.  Not much, but enough that it aggravates me that all the good deals are for the newest operating system.  Also I just noticed that the majority of these computers are 14 inches.  Hannah may want to do her own search since she's in favor of a slightly larger screen.