31 October 2007

Horsemen of the Apocalypse

At the risk of turning into one of those single women that does nothing but bitch about men and lament about the lack of a love life.

Today, I bit the bullet. A guy in my class on East Asia helped me out by asking questions when I was giving my lecture. He bought me a few minutes more than I would have had were I just doing my lecture. I spoke with RiotGrrlJock about it on Monday and she figured that I might as well give it a shot. So, before class today, I asked the guy in my class out to coffee. Well, kinda. The conversation actually went like this:

"Hey, thanks for bailing my ass out on Monday and buying me some time. I really appreciated that, and I owe you a coffee."
"No, you don't. It's what we do for each other."

Now, it didn't come across as clinical as it seems in print. It was friendly, but it was a rejection. I wanted to make sure that I didn't come across as "Hi, I fancy you!" I wanted it to come across as platonic with the option to see what happens. But, I still was rejected.

On the walk home, I was honked and waved at by a pair of guys that seemed cute, but they were driving by quickly, and I was on the phone with RiotGrrlJock so I didn't really take a good look. Plus, I'm not used to being honked at, so I wasn't really aware that it might be aimed at me until they started waving.

So, I was dealing with the disappointment of being rejected, even for a friendly cup of coffee and then I got honked at. While I don't condone honking, it's normally a nice little ego boost. Not today. Today was the crushing disappointment of realizing that the highlight of my week was being honked at.

I got home, started puttering around, made myself lunch, and the words of another classmate came back to me. "You know, marriage means no more roommates..." to which I responded, "it's not like shopping!"

Like there's a man-pound. Sure, lemme go drop by the pound to go pick out a husband. "Oh, that one's cute. He's got droopy ears and big puppy-dog eyes. Now, before I fill out the paperwork and pay the adoption fee, I have a few questions...
"What was the previous owner's reason for surrender? Does he know any tricks? Is he housebroken? Can I leave him at home for a few hours without him peeing all over the couch? If I'm seen with a guy friend will he chew up my shoes?"

I think I'm just getting to the point where I miss having someone that wants to spend time with me and that thinks I'm special, and that isn't just a friend.

SavageCats came through for me today, though. She told me that he was being dumb and that I would eventually have an abundance of manflesh to choose from and that I was in the famine stage of 'feast or famine.' I told her that I'm going to go with the delusion that I'm waiting for a Brit, preferably a Scotsman or a Welshman.

But I'm still bummed about the events of today. Ah well. Tomorrow is another day.

Ein, zwei, drei. Drop! (Redux)

So, the classmate that was giggling over the German trees with me sent me a delightful email last night...

One of the editors was a professor of hers from last semester.

I can't help but think that those trees that are off-standard (or, you know, the yellow trees) are about to be sent off to the place that bad trees go.

I'm actually tempted to pick up How Green Were the Nazis? It seems like it would be an interesting read, and I'd be curious about the sources used. I'm also curious because it's edited, which leads me to believe it's a series of articles.

As for me, I'm in desperate need of doing some research and getting notes sorted for my plethora of papers that are coming up in short order.

30 October 2007

Ein, zwei, drei. Drop!

Today I had my environmental history class. Today's reading was Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares by Nancy Langston. It's in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental series, which led me to come to a musing... Why does my book dealing with environmental history make no statement of being printed on recycled paper? (If you guessed that it wasn't, you win an e-cookie.)

Anyway, onto the discussion during the seminar today. We were talking about the Euro-American view that American forests were imperfect and to be perfected, they should look and act similarly to European forests. (Think 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.) One of the professors, Dr. E, brought up German forests, and how they were different from American forests. German forests are generally a monoculture and planted so they're nearly geometric. Nice, ordered forests. I looked over at a classmate, who had lived in a number of places in Europe and said,
"Ve are German forests. Ve vill drop our leaves... ein, zwei, drei. Drop!"

Any time German trees or forests came up during the seminar, she and I were trying very hard not to burst into giggles.

We spent the last half of the class going around and presenting our questions/topics for our term papers. It gets around to my classmate that was giggling over German forests with me. She presents her topic starting with "pyramids!" Dr. E sighed in exasperation. Further explanation is given, but Dr. E has already made up his mind, because there are a few areas of study that are tantamount to academic suicide. Pyramids are one of them. Just too many conspiracy theories about 'em.

It gets around to me, and I'd already spoken with Dr. W about my topic, so she had an idea of what I was going to say. I looked straight at Dr. E and said "I'm thinking about looking at the Templars." Dr. E leaned back in his chair, looking as though he was about to cry. Dr. W caught on that I was tossing it out to play with Dr. E's mind and went with it. When Dr. E looked like he was going to lose it, I said, "let me try to alleviate your blood pressure, I'm actually looking at the influence of British 'cuisine' and culture on the importation of food crops, meat animals, and textile resources into Australia and New Zealand."

I don't think that my professors have quite gotten used to me yet. I think I exist as a paradox to them, someone that has a sense of humor (and decent comedic timing) and is still quite serious about her education. Add into that my quickness and breadth of knowledge (as exemplified by tossing out another academically taboo subject), and top it off with my attempt at being prepared when I go to class... I think I confuse them.

Dr. E then went on to ask me why I was looking at Australia and New Zealand. I smiled and said, "Because I'm crazy?" and then went on to explain that my area of focus was British colonization in the South Pacific dealing with Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Then I smirked at him and said, "unless I'm adequately bribed to change my mind."

Overall, it was a good day. Tomorrow looks promising, too, though I have a lot of research that needs to get done. Now to just get to the second part of my dinner (had salad earlier, now time for soup, I think), and then kick back for the rest of the evening and get my shit together for waking up early (well, early-ish) and getting stuff done. Whee!

27 October 2007

eXtinction

Sit down, dear readers. I have news.

I actually left the apartment for social reasons on a Friday evening.

Voluntarily.

My neighbor (the music one, not the Indian engineering student or the Kiss and Ignore CBwD one, but same apartment) told me about a performance he was in on Thursday. Bettie was being a bitch on Thursday (she decided to have a dead battery), so I didn't make it to the opening night performance, and that's okay, because I usually hate attending opening night. The actors generally don't have an idea of the live audience beats and either pause for laughter or applause that isn't coming or don't pause when it does happen.

Second night was just right. The musical was written by a local playwright, and based on what I read, it was his first play. Now, my neighbor told me that he was playing a man for half the show and a T-Rex for the other half, and that he'd be singing operatically. Well, it wasn't operatic singing in the way I'm accustomed, unless you'd count Les Miz and Phantom as operas. (I don't. I count them as musicals. On the other hand, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar are considered to be rock operas, so I suppose any musical play *could* be considered an opera.)

Anyway, at the risk of sounding like I fall in love at the drop of the hat (or sounding disloyal to my CelebCrush of David Tennant), the music neighbor (I need to come up with a witty nickname for him) has a beautiful voice. He's a deep baritone and has wonderful control over his voice. The resonance and timbre was fantastic. His other (young) male co-star wasn't quite so aware of his tool. He was a tenor, but his voice was thin and reedy. The tenor had more classical training (MA in voice at NYU, I believe), but didn't come across as strong as the baritone.

You know what's coming next. Yep. I fell a little bit in love with my neighbor over the hour and a half performance. His voice is absolutely beautiful. And, I must admit, when I speak with him in passing, I always walk away feeling happier. It doesn't hurt that his speaking voice is lovely, deep, and a bit rumbly. Plus, the performance tonight had him in a bit of a spandex bodysuit and he does have a nice bum. I am a sucker for a good bum.

Back to the performance. My exit technique was perfected with T when she and I would go hit movies at the Bear Tooth. If we could be among the first out, we'd sprint for the exit and go-go-go. If we couldn't, we'd sit and hang back until the queue leaving was small enough to get out of the theatre without doing the entire "five feet forward, wait ten minutes" routine. I opted to wait. Music neighbor (who really needs a nickname) was holding the door open to backstage for the supporters of the troupe. As I left the building, I caught his eye (or he caught mine) and I smiled and waved, and got a smile and a wave in return. I think he was happy that someone that said they'd come to a production, did.

Yes, I suppose I could have walked over and chatted with him a bit, but to be honest, he lives across the hall. If I was horribly impressed with his performance and would never see him again, I'd probably have gone over to congratulate him, but I'll most likely see him tomorrow or next week. Plus, I'd like to get to know him better but it has to be organic. I also know that when I was doing performances, all I wanted to do after was go home and start my wind-down. I think he did, too. He got home shortly after me and while I was tempted to call out to him, I just couldn't bear to interrupt whatever plans he had for that evening.

I may ask him to let me know when he's practicing for his next performance or whatever he does for his voice studies because I would love to listen.

Am I twitterpated? No, I don't think so. I think it's every music-loving-girl's dream to date a guy that could serenade her and not sound like a cat going through a blender... But Hans Christian Andersen taught me long ago that you shouldn't ever fall in love with a voice. Though, it would be nice to be sung to, and he does have that particular resonating voice that just reverberates in your chest.

Maybe, just a little twitterpated, but that always happens to me after a performance. I think it's why I generally avoid local theatre because they're theoretically accessible. When I was in New York, the shows I saw on Broadway caused a bit of lusting after an actor or two. And we'll not get started in my lust caused by Les Miz (the first time, it was the little boy who played Gavroche. In my defense, I was 8 at the time. The second time, it was Jean Val Jean. The third, it was Javert.) , or Phantom (Webber's version had me lusting after the Phantom, Rice's version had me fancying Raoul). (And for Cats, I'll admit to having a curiosity for the actors playing Mephistopheles and Rum Tum Tugger. I was 10.)

Of course, with my preferences for a potential male partner, I very well may have to date an actor, just so I have my all-in-one. ;)

26 October 2007

This and $3.50 will get me a cup of coffee...

A few weeks ago, I was talking with SavageCats about this train wreck of a TV show that's made it into my Friday night DVR schedule. Moonlight. In short, it's a show about modern-day vampires living in LA. One of the main characters is played by Sophia Myles. I knew I'd seen her in something before, but I couldn't quite place her. I knew that I appreciated her acting, but I also disliked her immensely for some reason that I couldn't quite place... Then I remembered, she was dating my David Tennant.

SavageCats and I were further discussing what made it to my DVR line-up and what made hers, and she asked how I felt about Moonlight. I told her that I was rather hoping that it lasted a few seasons because that would mean that Ms. Myles was staying in the US for filming and one of two things would happen (to my mind) - David Tennant would move to the US or their relationship would end, thereby opening up the field for me. (Okay, nevermind that it takes me from a one in a billion chance to a one in nine hundred ninety nine million chance. Hush.) Well, apparently, I'm a bit of a suggestive clairvoyant. It seems that earlier this month, Tennant ended his relationship with Myles.

While I have the entire sisterhood solidarity with Myles over the suckiness that is being dumped over the phone, I can't fully fault Tennant for doing it in that manner. I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that if you are going to opt out of a relationship, you shouldn't wait for "the right time" or, if long distance, until you see the person next - you'll be dreading it and they'll still be blindsided. Of course, I have the luxury of saying this as a single woman.

Now, yes. I know that reality states that I will probably never meet David Tennant in a manner that allows me to interact with him past a hello and a handshake. However, I am an American, and it is a long standing pastime of ours to think that celebrity-mundane relationships are a distinct possibility. It is living in a fantasy world, but sometimes, it's not a bad break from reality.

In the event that Mr. Tennant ever reads this blog (hah! - but seriously, if you do ever read this blog, drop me an email. Jus' sayin'...) I do want to say that I am sorry to hear about the loss of his mum. I hope his dad is doing as well as can be expected. While I imagine it's hard to lose a parent, I'd imagine it's hard to lose the person that you wanted forever with, only to find that forever isn't long enough.

22 October 2007

Adventures in Cyberdating

Okay, not entirely "adventures," but close enough. At the insistence of RiotGrrlJock (again), I scrounged through Match.com for potential dates. Out of the many pages that came up, we only found one that the both of us approved and determined that my potential dating pool is definitely low.

I find it amusing. Poor RiotGrrlJock was depressed for me.

Ah well. It was a nice distraction from being sick or suffering from hellish allergies.

21 October 2007

And the hits just keep on comin'

In further news of "yep, this is my life," I cyberstalked looked up CBwD on MySpace at RiotJockGrrl's insistence. As of 17 October, he was "in a relationship." No worries, I find it amusing and figured as much.

Here's the thing that just sent me into fits of giggles. She was there!

There are just no words. I find it wildly amusing because 1. I didn't do anything I was ashamed of, so I'm good. 2. I'm single, and I didn't know about his relationship status, so I'm blameless, but his girlfriend will likely freak the big freak, all over me.

I don't think I've ever been happier to be single. Dear lord. And no, she doesn't strike me as being one for poly.

Oh lawdie. Seriously, when did my life turn into a bad sitcom?

19 October 2007

Oh, this could only be my life.

I did indeed go to the party last night, and cute-boy-with-dog kissed me. Unfortunately, I've determined he's a rental.

The shindig was interesting. It was partly for Homecoming (which I could give a rat's ass about) but more for CBwD's roommate. An Indian from Worcester, England, UK. Hello gorgeous British accent. Thankyouverymuch. Anyway, it was IfWEU's birthday and the to-do was in celebration of that. It was a fairly diverse group. A number of Indian grad students, a few African-American women and one man, some generic honkies, and a Hispanic couple.

Anyway, on to the events of the evening. It started off well, getting introduced and being immediately labeled as "cool" (I'd like to know when I started being "cool" because I don't really consider myself being that way). Drinking of beer, dancing, etc. CBwD and I were dancing occasionally, and flirting a bit, and then he put his face into mine and I told him he shouldn't be such a tease, and he kissed me. I, obviously, kissed him back. Pleasant, and just enough tongue, but not enough teeth. That little foray was interrupted by Virgin Indian Engineering Student, and VIES apologized for interrupting, and seemed a bit embarrassed by the situation. I did my standard "no worries" response and went on with the evening. I think there was a bit more kissing, and again, it was pleasant, but (and SavageCats will understand this) I wasn't really kissed.

More conversations ensued, and eventually I found myself out on the patio with VIES. (CBwD had hit his drunken limit and was put to bed with a glass of water and a plastic bucket. Sexy.) VIES decided then to tell me he was attracted to me, that I was the most feminine woman at the party (wait, what?) and that he wanted to know if he could kiss me. I told him that I was flattered at his interest, but that I wasn't really comfortable with that. He then proceeded to tell me that he was 22 years old, a virgin, his girlfriend back in India was fucking around on him with her ex-boyfriend, and that he'd like to lose his virginity to me.

Let me repeat that. He. Would. Like. To. Lose. His. Virginity. To. Me.

I again reiterated the "flattered" part, but told him that he really didn't want to lose his virginity to me. I didn't want that level of responsibility. And, honestly, it goes against my sexual belief structure to pop someone's cherry when they haven't mentally or psychologically explored their own sexual kinks. I also told him that there wasn't anything wrong with being a virgin at 22, which there isn't. But my god, I did not want that responsibility. No siree-Bob.

There was another aspect to it, as well. One that I didn't tell him, and I didn't even realize until I thought about it this morning (well, afternoon, actually). I can hear you now. "Oh, Adjunct Slave, are you about to tell us that you harbor a bit of racism? We're so disappointed." Some people might consider it to be racist, but I look at as being aware of cultural differences. You see, kissing CBwD was one thing. Yes, CBwD is white, but more importantly, he's American. I know that if it had progressed past kissing, it'd either be a one-off or a "for fun" excursion. With VIES, I'm not that aware of southern Indian culture, and I didn't know what the ramifications of a kiss would be, much less the implications associated with sex.

I know, when in Rome... But, there's the issue of even when in Rome, one carries their culture-of-origin baggage with them and we all have a tendency to view the world through our own filters, no matter how hard we may try not to.

Plus, the sheer responsibility for being someone's first. Eep! While you generally think you'll remember everyone you've slept with, there are some that fall into the hazy grey space of memory. If someone brings it up, you recall, but it's not part of the "oh yeah, I remember their name, rank, and serial number" reality that one's first sexual intercourse generally is.

I suspect that CBwD will be feeling a little awkward (and very hungover) when he sees me next, but I doubt I'll feel awkward. With anyone that I saw or interacted with at that party. A number of them will be a little fuzzy for name-to-face recognition, but I've become remarkably comfortable with who I am, and I didn't do anything where I made a fool out of myself. I will admit to being a little hungover today, because I foolishly didn't eat enough food before going to the thing, but I slept the sleep of the dead and that was nice, too.

Will I kiss CBwD again? If the opportunity presents itself, probably, but only if sober. I'm curious if he was looking at the world through beer goggles and upon sobriety will realize that I'm not the typical American pretty girl. I'm not skinny. I'm not reserved. And I am definitely not quiet. But, he is a rental. Not even a test-drive, or a rent-to-own. He's not relationship material as far as I'm concerned, but he might be fun to hang out with. We shall see. If I don't mention CBwD again, you'll know what's happened.

18 October 2007

Bwuh?

Okay, so I just did massive rantyness, I know. But, there's more to share.

I consider myself to be socially inept. This is not to say that I'm socially unaware, because I do keep track of all kinds of things in order to try and figure out social interactions.

I did my "OMG, out of smokes, must procure more, ASAP!" thing earlier this evening. Brought my wallet, my cell phone, and my hands-free just in case. Procurement of smokes goes well, get home, park, bring everything inside and realize that I've forgotten my hands-free in Bettie. Easy enough fix, go outside and fetch hands-free.

Get done with that, and I find myself immediately accosted by an adorable little dachshund named Rusty (née "Digger"), so I make use of the free fuzz therapy. I see his owner is on the way, calls him back and I decide to have a chat with him about the pup. As I'm talking with random dog guy, I realize that he is 1. nicely tall, 2. nicely fuzzy (god love men who are capable of facial hair and pull it off well), and 3. at precisely the right angle to be getting a full view of my cleavage (I was not fully aware that I was wearing a Cleavage Ahoy! shirt until that moment). After a bit more chatting, he invites me to a post-bonfire party at his apartment, right across the hall. Glee!

I should go. The bonfire will probably go until 9 pm. I should go.

And to think, I've been bitching about no prospects and how I'm not going to find one right outside my door. I'm not sure if this actually is one, or if he's just one of those "invite everyone" guys, but still. Nice to know that I strike someone as being neat enough to invite over.

...Now to find out if he can reasonably mimic a British or Scottish accent.

[The logical part of my brain tells me that I shouldn't be thinking about this guy in a way that anywhere near resembles romantic or sexual because I really need to keep my shit together while I get grad school done and that I'm probably going to be out of the country for my doctoral program, but still... I can visit fantasy-land for a while, right?]

I'm a bit overwhelmed with cute-guy-with-dog stuff. Don't mind me.

"Oh, you people and your quaint little categories..."

Among the classes I am taking for my master's this semester is a class on Environmental History.

I can hear you now. "But Adjunct Slave, you've outed yourself as a conservative. Why are you taking an Environmental ANYTHING class?"

Okay, allow me to explain.
1. I am a fiscally conservative, socially moderate-liberal libertarian. (Basically, I'm hated by both major US parties because they have no idea how I'll vote.)
2. As T has pointed out to me (in one of the many "Must call the Slave on her shit" moments), I'm actually a Roosevelt Environmentalist. Basically, I am in full agreement that certain places need to be set aside, but not to the point where we call them "wilderness" and disallow any human animal from stepping foot in the area without filling out reams of forms.
3. I'm always up for a good, reasoned discourse.

I digress, the background there was to illuminate the context, not to create a perception issue. In a recent class, the discussion was on Gender and the Environment. [Even though I don't come from a hard science background, I've always been taught that "sex" is the proper way to refer to male/female issues and "gender" is reserved for linguistics. Apparently, that is true, but in history we prefer to use gender for language and sexual biology, and sex is used as a descriptor for the act. Who knew?] Back to the thrust of this post.

One of the articles we read was on the Ski Bunny culture of the 20th century and the shift to Shred Betties. As a result, I brought in some photos of the Lange Girls from the 1980s. In fact, I brought in these images:
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't fully understand the entire "OMG, Offensive!" attitude, because I brought these images in as an example and a prop to encourage conversation (something the seminar classes I'm taking seem to lack), so while they may be seen as offensive to some, they were in context for this course and the topic of the day.

I like to give my professors warning before I toss out something that people might have an "OMG, PRON!" reaction to, so I brought these (crappy, black and white) printouts to the attention of the lead professor before the class started. I hadn't even been able to explain my logic in bringing them because he took one look at the images, flipped the pages upside-down, and tucked them under his paperwork. When I said "that's for discussion when we get to the ski culture article," he removed them from his possession and put them on the table.

Personal bias much?

Here's my bitch. Either we're historians or we're playing at being historians. If we are actual, honest to Bast, historians, then we cannot afford to wear our biases on our sleeves. I am fully aware that I view the world through a filter. My filter is one of an educated, upper-middle class, white, Northern American (United States, not continent), female (there are subsequent filters, but that set is the primary one). If the professors aren't willing to realize and tamp down their socio-cultural biases, then we have a problem. If we're just playing at being historians, let me know so I can look at other programs. Needless to say, personal and professional respect has been rethought.

Here's the deal. We historians (or junior historians) are constantly engaged in different cultures and time periods. We do not have the luxury of wrapping ourselves in our biases to the point where it prohibits us from doing our goddamned jobs. We are trained to look at evidence and analyze it. We are told to check our personal baggage at the door. We are attacked by professors and colleagues if we dare slip into anachronisms. If those who are teaching us are wrapping themselves in their own biases, they are playing the role of both Zeus and Prometheus, chaining themselves to the rocks for their own transgressions.

During the course of this seminar, we discussed sex (and I mean "historian" sex) and euphemisms. A student traced the paradigm shift of Earth from Mother to Whore. Images of nymphs and cavorting women. But my documentation was immediately offensive. Is this because of the distance of 20 years as opposed to 200? Are we so incapable of distance ourselves that we have to rely on the construct of time?

Now, if the scandalized professor's concern was that someone might be offended and think he brought in these objectified images of women, I understand. But you know what? I have no problem with everyone knowing that I brought them in. If someone is offended, I want to know why. If someone complains, it goes through a process, and the professor should point out that I brought in the images. I'll happily go up before the ethics board (I don't understand why they're so scary) and defend my choice to bring in potentially offensive images because they were in context to the potential conversation. I will happily step forward and defend my right to free speech (that one hasn't been taken away in academics, yet, right?) and freedom of academic discourse.

There are not many times that I regret what I did not say (because those moments where I don't say something are rare), but this was one of them:
"Oh, you Americans and your puritanical view of sex. I'd wager that most people here have
had it, and if you haven't had it, you think you might like to. Even if you have had sex,
you'd probably like to do it again. Sex has been around for thousands upon thousands of
years. Why is it such a sacred cow? Someone, somewhere in the world is having sex right
now
. And you know what? Good for them."

Now, there are certain people that I won't talk about sex around because, well, I just don't ever want to see them as sexual beings. Whether it's because of a pre-existing relationship or because I find them physically or mentally unattractive, that's my thing. But as an exercise of intellectual and academic discourse? It's just sex, people. It should be something that is enjoyable to talk about and discuss, not feared.

How on earth do people today have romantic or intimate relationships? If the "good stuff" is so scary or "bad" to talk about, how does anyone get their sexual and emotional needs met?