YES. We watched Psycho today for one of my classes, and the soundtrack kept bugging me because I specifically remembered the brief legato passage from somewhere else. A search on IMDb turned up nothing, but Wikipedia came to the rescue (as always) and informed me that it was sampled for Busta Rhymes' "Gimme Some More". I'm so glad I got that sorted out.


So I had dropped my American Novel 1914-1945 class because I was able to rearrange my schedule and get a French lit class. At the time I didn't know what the topic was for the French class; I just signed up for it because it's French and the professor is one I'd like to have for an entire semester (instead of just as a sub). I got the syllabus yesterday, and it turns out this class covers the same period of time as my American one, but obviously in a French context. I think this is pretty cool. I'm reading Proust right now, which makes me think of Steve Carrell, which makes me happy. "Did I mention I'm the pre-eminent Proust scholar in the country?"


Tonight I saw Little Miss Sunshine and went to a coffee shop. The coffee shop was playing a reggae version of OK Computer, my personal #1 album of all time. I really don't like reggae in general, but I thought this album was pretty good; it was faithful to the spirit of Radiohead, preserving the haunting and ethereal qualities that I love so much.


     I was driving a speedboat from Chicago to Champaign. There was a cult that blocked the route and wanted to hold all of us hostage. I got in my car and started driving. I went to the nearest safe place I could find, which happened to be a middle school. I begged them to help me, and they said I could hide in the nurse's office. Inside, kids were suffering from all sorts of horrific rashes and plagues. The cult members found us, but the police arrived shortly afterward. I then went to go see Snakes on a Plane with Kirstin.


     I was in a class where one of our assignments was to make a quilt. There was only one sewing machine for the entire class of 30 people. I was going to do something really cool with a celtic knot, but then the professor said we had to make our quilt say something about racism. I didn't want to spend my time and effort for something that would in the end be about hatred, so I whined.
     My parents' in Seattle had an in-ground pool.


My prof for World Cinema is like an effeminate Filipino Woody Allen. He said "nekkid" twice today. It's going to be an awesome semester.


The prof for my Eastern European film class is a little old man who talks really slowly. Right now it's kind of endearing, but I'm sure in 2 weeks I'll be investigating different pain management techniques. It's a 9 am class, too, so it'll be even more painful than if we met at a normal time.

I have a 30-minute commute by bus. This morning it was extremely crowded; fortunately I was one of the earlier stops and I got a seat. I'm hoping that people just stop going to their morning classes so I don't have to avert my eyes from the weird guy's crotch that just happens to be at eye-level.

The prof for my Poe class looks like a cross between Jane Lynch and Pam from The Office. It's uncanny.

My next class isn't until 1. It's a 2-hour lecture, and I'm hoping they don't use up the entire time on the first day.

I need a nap.


Looking at my schedule for this semester, you wouldn't even know I'm a French major. I only have one class, my senior thesis, and that doesn't have a scheduled meeting time each week. I'm taking 2 classes in the cinema studies department and 3 in the English department. I figure I've done almost all of my required coursework, so I might as well take fun stuff. In more detail:

  • CINE 419: Russian and Eastern European Film (I'm really looking forward to this one)

  • CINE 261: Survey of World Cinema Before the Sound Era (required for minor)

  • ENGL 273: Intermediate Film Studies (required for minor)

  • ENGL 455: Major Authors - Poe (I've been trying for over a month to get into this one and then finally yesterday it worked)

  • ENGL 451: American Novel 1914-1945

  • FR 492: Senior Honors Thesis

Class starts tomorrow. I don't think I have any TAs, which is good. I was worried about taking semi-intro courses that I would get stuck with TAs, and as a senior it's weird having someone a year or two older than you acting as an authority figure (not to mention that professors are just better).


Workmen: It's 7 am--that means it's time to start construction on a fence outside your apartment. Fire up the saws, boys! That metal stuff doesn't belong here--throw it over there!
Me: Oh, you guys!
Workmen: Remember, fellas, you can't expect those nails to stay put unless you use every fiber of your strength to pound them in!

A while ago, right after I left for Seattle, they started construction on a new fence outside my apartment building, leaving our parking lot unpark-inable. The work was originally scheduled to be done before I got back from Seattle. However, when I got back on Thursday they barely had anything done. Oddly enough, they didn't do any work on Friday. Anyway, until they finish I have to park halfway across the complex. I have a lot of stuff in my car that still needs to be moved into my apartment, but there's no way I'm carrying that all that way.

Day 3 of cramps. I hate my uterus.

Just over an hour ago, I realized I had a somewhat strange desire: I wanted to chew gum. I didn't want to just idly chew a piece of gum, but I wanted to have several pieces in my mouth at the same time, I wanted to suck every last bit of flavor from those pieces, and I wanted to chew angrily, with impossible vigor and strength. I got to work on half a pack of Orbit Sweet Mint; after about 30 minutes, I had six sticks in my mouth. It wasn't enough--I could still taste the gum; I simultaneously wanted to rid the gob entirely of its flavor and to taste that flavor forever. I don't know what possessed me. I was reminded of a similar part in A Million Little Pieces where James Frey is demonstrating an addict's mindset in saying that he wanted more than just a piece of gum, he wanted a million pieces of gum. Or something--it's been a while since I've read it, and I don't particularly care to pick it up ever again (incidentally, that has nothing to do with Frey making shit up; I found it to be derivative, even as a work of fiction, as if he had taken Creative Writing 101 and followed the checklist provided in the textbook).

Anyway, after about 45 minutes on the gum, I decided I was done with that. What I really want is a vegetable sandwich, very similar to the one I got earlier this evening from Subway. I need a vegetable sandwich right now; I have no idea how I'll be able to sleep without one. I made a shopping list. There are a couple 24-hour groceries near me, but there's no way I'm going out at 3 am to gather the ingredients for a sandwich. Right now I'd give anything for an avocado, a green pepper, an onion, a cucumber, some mozzarella cheese, and soft, warm, freshly-baked bread. Ohhhhhh jeez.

I know exactly where this fantasy comes from. During the past two days I've suffered terrible cramps, the likes of which I haven't felt since before I went on hormone therapy. The cramps effectively quashed any appetite I had. On Saturday all I ingested was a milkshake and a can of Pepsi; today, it was just a banana and a vegetable sandwich. As I type this, my cramps are coming out of their recently-imposed dormancy, as if to remind me that it's not imperative that I eat within the next 24 hours. All I know is that, cramps or not, I will be stuffing my face full of Chinese buffet offerings; it's been far too long since I've last done that. Mongolian pork, General Tso's chicken, lo mein, pepper steak... Sigh.

In completely different news, I absolutely hate this layout. Sometime when I have a lot of time I plan on messing around with Blogger Beta's WYSIWYG stuff.
ETA: I just decided to do it now. I'm a little sad to see that I can't yet edit the HTML on the prepackaged template. There are a few things that frustrate me: I can't center my picture; the columns are too close together; there's too much empty space at the sides; and other stuff. Sigh. Hopefully they'll change this soon. This new color scheme was inspired by the DVD cover for Rushmore.


Ugh. I'm having some really bad cramps right now, even though my period isn't due for another week and a half. They're so bad that I haven't eaten a single thing today, despite the fact that it's after 7pm. Eesh. I think I'm going to head to Culver's and get a Reese's Pieces shake.


I just got back from Snakes on a Plane. I was expecting to be disappointed, but it was so incredible. Audience participation really enhances it as well. I have to gather my thoughts on it, but overall it was awesome.



Last night, an hour or so after I got off the phone with you, I went downstairs to get my pajamas, which were woefully located in a room that would require me to walk past the spider. I surveyed each square foot of carpet before I took another step. Then, to my surprise, the spider was gone. This meant trouble, since now the spider was in hiding, ready to pop out at any second and scare the hell out of me. I gingerly picked up each item of clothing and shook it several times to rid it of any potential spiders. Then I turned each sleeve and leg inside out to do another check. I was safe so far.

This morning I had to go down to that room again to get dirty clothes for laundry. (This was actually an interesting internal debate: would I rather chance an encounter with the spider, or wait until I got back to school and pay for laundry? Being the cheapskate I am, I decided to take my chances with the spider.) The spider, again, was nowhere to be seen. Its whereabouts remain unknown at this moment. Shudder.

I forgot to mention: both times I let Kelsey down ahead of me, figuring if he ate the spider that would solve my problems. Unfortunately he didn't find the spider, but he did find several socks. Good for him.

For everyone else: This spider was huge. I've never seen a spider this big before. The body was about the size of a half-dollar, no lie. It was so hideous; I'm getting nauseated just thinking about it.


Last night my dream randomly involved Grace Kelsey from Project Runway, flesh-eating snakes, and LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I also remember laughing and then accidentally snorting and everyone thought that was really funny.

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that I watched Everything is Illuminated. It was a decent enough movie on its own merits, but it was a crappy adaptation of the book. Read the book. While you're at it, read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I love Jonathan Safran Foer.

I've discovered that there's never a time in this stupid metro area when there's not bumper-to-bumper traffic. I'm so glad I never have to live here. I hate driving places.


In the past several days, stuck in a town I barely know how to navigate with nary a chair upon which to sit (let alone more interesting pieces of furniture, such as, say, a computer), I've spent most of my time watching movies and reading. I went a little crazy both at Blockbuster, with their pre-viewed DVD sales, and at Barnes & Noble. Below you will find the details of my media adventure in bullet points, a format I love so dearly.

  • I'm reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I'm about halfway through after a little less than a week. It's very engaging (although this is coming from someone who got a 36 on the science portion of the ACT and who took AP Physics for the fun of it; however, let it be known that I have since ended my relationship with scientific pursuits, choosing instead to focus on the liberal arts). It's also incredibly accessible--I find myself underlining and dog-earing the analogies because they make so much sense. I wish I had read this book in high school. I strongly recommend it to anyone and everyone, whether they have any scientific interest or not.
  • I read Unlikely, a graphic novel by Jeff Brown. Take a second to notice that it has not found its way onto my "Required Reading 2006" list. Here's why:
    • It's poorly drawn. I'm not even talking about the representational aspect of the art; it's hard to discern the characters from the background. It's also hard to tell the characters apart. The two leads, Allisyn and Jeff, are interchangeable save Jeff's omnipresent stubble.
    • The drawing style is consistent throughout, and it always portrays something "realistic". To me, this indicates that the narration is 3rd person, and the effect is surprisingly distant given the personal nature of the subject (the author losing his virginity). That was probably his intention; however, I would have liked a more introspective look.
    • The speech bubbles are illogically placed. Often the response is to the left of the panel and the question is to the right. This makes no sense given the way we read in English (and thus tend to think of temporal linearity). In my opinion, this oversight is just plain stupid; no comic/graphic novel artist should make this mistake.
    • There's no innovation. Now, it's not necessary for something to be innovative for me to like it, but it would have helped in this case. Every single page has a six-panel layout, all roughly the same size, all with the same perspective, more or less. Blah.

  • I read 32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics by Adrian Tomine. Love Adrian Tomine.
  • I watched Adaptation. This is a fantastic movie. Go watch it now.
  • I watched Manderlay. I don't know why I keep subjecting myself to Lars von Trier when it's obvious that I don't like him. Alex said something once about how he likes to watch movies he hates in order to find out why they didn't work. I think I'm the same way. Lars von Trier is so goddamn manipulative. Anyway, on the continuum from "put yourself on suicide watch" to "downright joyful", the von Trier movies I've seen rank thusly: Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Breaking the Waves Manderlay. (Note: the Alex Principle explains why I have a lot more to say about the things I don't like than the things I do.) I find Bryce Dallas Howard to be really grating in the way she delivers a lot of the lines; I think if her interpretation of Grace were a real person, I'd hate her.
  • I watched Shopgirl. I was looking forward to this because I love Jason Schwartzman. I think he's an amazing actor--so natural, so clever. The movie is paused in a few spots for some inexplicable narration. It was clumsy and unnecessary; I think Steve Martin was just really proud of the sentences he composed and wanted to make sure that everyone heard them. And as far as the sentences? They were meh. Nothing original or witty. I won't spoil it, but I thought the events surrounding the ending were pretty frustrating.
  • I'm trying to watch Last Days by Gus van Sant. I absolutely hated Elephant, but I thought I'd give van Sant another chance. He really loves long takes with dollies that follow someone as they walk. Dear Mr. van Sant: I like Italian Neorealism and the principles behind it. I really do. However: please stop.
  • I also bought Brokeback Mountain, Syriana (seen it), Me and You and Everyone We Know (seen it: ))<>(( ), Munich, Lost in Translation, Match Point, and Dogville (seen it).

Every once in a while I question why I decided to name this blog "Prolix", since so many of my posts are just one-liners. It's posts like this that reassure me that I do have a lot to say, even though it's almost never poignant or relevant.

Hm. I'm just now reminded that I submitted a couple sample moview reviews to a local newspaper for consideration for the "Popcorn Panel" they're thinking of starting. That was two weeks ago and I haven't heard back yet. I'm starting to think they don't want me. Sniff.

In my reading queue:

  • Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
  • Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: an Introduction by J.D. Salinger
  • Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
  • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up by Christopher Noxon


The library here blocks Facebook and MySpace. Heh.

The people sitting next to me are annoying.

One thing I've noticed about driving around here in Washington is that people love riding their brakes down a hill or mountain. I want to yell at them to downshift. Why should they wear out their brake pads any sooner than they have to? Honestly, you'd think they would know all about that from living here and that it would be foreigners like me who ride the brakes.



So of course the day before I fly, people are arrested in London for trying to take liquid explosives on the plane. The next morning I arrive at O'Hare at 7:15am to find that the line to get through security is 2.5+ hours long. You can't take liquids, gels, lotions, or even stuff like mascara or toothpaste. I had my dog with me; he weighed a ton and kept moving around in his carrier. My flight was delayed 2.5 hours and then I had to sit next to a lady with a baby and a 2-year old. The latter cried a lot. The lady had to get up several times to take her children to the bathroom and do other things. That was probably one of my worst days in recent memory.

I'm stuck out here in Seattle with basically nothing. I do have a car and a DVD player, but that's about it. I'm at the local library right now. I hate not knowing where I'm going when I'm driving around. I hate not having anything to do besides shopping.

Blah. The end of this week can't come soon enough.


Today's my last full day in Naperville. It's weird to think about. Tomorrow I get the privilege of flying my dog to Seattle.