Thursday, April 30, 2009

I know why GM is failing!

I think I've cracked the case here- it's the horrible architecture of their building! This is the most poorly designed and confusing building I have ever been in- I wandered around for 45 minutes yesterday before I could find registration, and I have been walking in circles for 2 days because the architect put the escalators on the opposite side of the circle on each floor (so you have to walk around to the other side of the building to get up a level- every level).

So yeah, I think GM must be failing because no one can find their offices and do business with them. :)

It's also somewhat hilarious in a sad way to be here right now...they have signs up on the outside of their building that have all the companies that are owned by GM, and more than one of these businesses have been in the news lately because GM are getting rid of them (Pontiac for instance). They have all the 2010 model cars on the first floor of the building, and even though one or two are hybrids, the vast majority are cars that are probably not going to have a great market right now. Speaking of which, did anyone else catch Letterman last night and the guest who has designed an electric sports car that can run for something like 280 miles before needing to be recharged? Interesting stuff there...

Meanwhile, I have yet to see a single whore at my hotel, and I'm kind of disappointed about it. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I've been having some overwhelming feelings of impending doom over the past week or so, accompanied by anxiety dreams and early-rising insomnia (today, for instance, I woke up at 5:30am).

Partly the news of course, no one likes hearing about impending pandemic flues. Not that I'm worried that I'm going to die (unrealistic), but I don't want to get really sick right before my wedding. I know logically that my chances of infection are quite small (at this point), but the constant news bombardment about how this is THE END OF THE WORLD (tm) just brings up anxious feelings.

Also I'm flying to Detroit today for the Population Association of America conference (no I'm not presenting, so don't bother trying to google stalk me, crazy know who you are).

Awesome thing: The conference is being held in the Renaissance Center which is the headquarters of GM. Quite an interesting place to visit given current events!

Not so awesome: The Detroit airport is a major hub for flights to Mexico.

Also, the motel I'm staying at has a bunch of reviews that mention prostitution. I mean, prostitutes are people too...but still, probably not the safest situation to put myself in. Thankfully one of my friends is staying at the same motel, and we have a deal to walk back from the conference hotel together at night so that I'm not walking back alone. Still worried about it though.

I also just get anxious in general when I travel to places I've never been before, but this is more than the usual amount of travel anxiety.

Other things making me anxious:
*B's dad was admitted to the hospital overnight last night for observation, and is now on blood thinners to break up a blood clot in his lung...very worried about him.

*Youngest brother has been making more contact lately...the one who said B would die within a year if we didn't break up or B converted. He's been sending me facebook and text messages, more so than usual. He just worries me in general, but increasing his level of contact right before the wedding? Not helping.

*Been having some problems with a person on my dissertation committee...nothing horrible, more like a personality clash, but I may have to replace him with someone else.

*The academic job market does NOT seem to be recovering for next year (when I will be needing a job), and now my adviser is seriously discussing the possibility of funding a postdoc for me with soft money. This would mean a lot of grant-writing over the next year, with no guarantee of getting any of these grants. Also, not sure I want to stay here for an extra year or two. Also, not sure I want to work with this adviser for an extra year or two. Why did the economy collapse just in time for me to graduate after 10 years of higher education?

*Our wedding is in 2 and a half weeks! So much still to do! (although my BFF has decided to come stay at our place for the week before the wedding, so yay for an extra person/car to help out!)

A lot (but not all) of this is wedding related. People keep asking me if I'm nervous about the wedding, and I am, but not the way they mean. I'm terrified that something horrible will happen between now and the wedding that will prevent us from getting married. We've been through so much together to get to this point, we've been engaged almost a year and have worked so much on planning this wedding- not to mention all the things I went through before I even met B- all the relationships that failed, all the endeavors that didn't work out my way. It seems almost impossible to me that I am lucky enough to have found such an awesome partner, and I get to marry him too!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The dog park

Barkley likes to run. A lot. This is somewhat problematic, in that we have a pretty small apartment (so no running room there), no backyard (we live in an urban area), and we can't let him off leash because he would just take off. So we had been trying to jog with him every morning, but even trading off between the two of us, we were totally wearing ourselves out.

So today we joined a dog park! It's a private dog park about a half hour walk away from our house (we will probably drive there usually cause that's how we roll). It only costs $5 a month, but that way we know that all the dogs are up to date on their shots, and they don't let in overly aggressive dogs. Plus it's the only dog park within walking distance, so it's not like we had much of a choice. It's kinda like a co-op: all the members are expected to help out on park cleaning days, join a dog park committee, and chip in to keep the park clean.

We brought Barkley in for an interview today, and there were like 25 dogs there (they emailed the members to come when we were interviewing so they could see how he interacts with other dogs, and a LOT showed up). There were a few scuffles, but nothing overly serious, and mostly I think Barkley had the time of his life. And we passed the interview!

He ran almost the entire time we were there. We tried to play fetch with him a little- he's great at chasing after a ball, but not so great at bringing it back. :) But now we can work on that! Also, now we can hang out with other doggies! (He LOVES other dogs)

Anyways, I think this dog park thing will be great- and it'll be nice to get to know other dog owners in our neighborhood, because then a) we can make more friends and B) we can maybe find a potential dog sitter. Also I can take the dog there with a book and do some work outside when the weather is nice. Hardly anyone is ever there during work hours, so it'll be like a private backyard.

Also, what is it about playing around with 25 dogs that makes you forget all your other worries? :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

talked to dad

so my dad called yesterday to thank me for sending him a 'happy birthday' text message on sunday. Updated me on random family things, and then was all "so, are you still going forward with your plans for next month?" Which somehow resulted in me telling him the wedding plans in detail, including about the ceremony we are planning (Which will include no religion of any kind). And then we said good night.

I turned in a book review on Monday night that I've been working on for maybe 2 months (not very hard, but I read both the books in small bits over a long period of time, and I read them twice). So it's nice to have that off my plate, and it'll also be nice to have another publication on my CV, even though book reviews don't really count for much of anything. I really liked the way it came out though- I think I had some insightful things to say about the books, and since it was for a feminist-oriented journal, I actually got to say fun things like "the personal was indeed political" and "essentialist differences" and "consciousness raising" and I also got to talk about my own standpoint, which most journals don't stand for, but which this journal encourages (based on about 10 past book reviews that I looked at).

I'm now done with most of my major deadlines for this semester, except that I have one more conference presentation to give in about 2 weeks. But I am co-authoring that paper, and my co-author is actually doing most of the work for the presentation. A week after that I'm going to an all-weekend really tiny music festival on a farm (maybe 300 people will be there) which is serving as my bacholorette party. And a week after that is the wedding! Since I spent every waking hour this weekend working on my book review, I'm taking a few days off and doing some wedding odds and ends...about to go off to the thrift store to buy more plates for the reception, later maybe will finish up the center pieces. Don't really have much to do at this point except wait.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gender emphasis

Today in my feminist theory class we were discussing the concept of gender emphasis as resistance; women (or men) emphasizing their femininity (or masculinity) because they know doing so will make it easier to get what they want, even if they normally question those norms. So the professor spoke about deliberately getting dressed up, doing her hair, and putting on makeup and heels when she went to meet with the trustees of her school to ask for more money for the women's studies program- because she knew that by temporarily buying into those gender norms she could get what she wanted- more money for the womens studies program, which would ultimately empower women. While if she dressed in her normal manner (much more tomboy-ish), she wouldn't get what she wanted.

I think that concept nicely sums up my feelings about marriage.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

There are two types of people...

of course any statement that starts off "there are two kinds of..." should be regarded with suspicion, because it likely ignores the complexity of the situation. And there are of course other kinds of people in this world. But there are two kinds I'm going to talk about today: the structuralists vs. the antistructuralists, the conformists vs. the non-conformists, the straights vs. the freaks, those who are off the bus vs. those on the bus. You get the picture. I'm not the first to make this argument.

The first group takes very well to socialization. They continue past traditions. They are up on all the latest trends and listen to pop music. They are religious, and they follow the religion of their parents. They are more likely to vote republican, although many are also democrats. Their lives progress on fairly standard paths, which vary by class and race but all involve some variation on education->job->family->retirement. They are more likely to follow the law, and less likely to have tried any drugs (except a few times in college). They uphold structures of society like marriage and the economy and they are usually perfectly happy with the status quo (except in times of crisis of course). They get upset at other people who have different values than them. They try to legislate their values, and are unfriendly to people they perceive as different from themselves. We need these people. Without them society would likely grind to a halt.

The second group are the tradition breakers. They are more likely to be atheists or agnostics or a smaller religion that their parents didn't follow, and if they are up on the latest trends, it's usually within a specific counterculture like the goth/emo/punk/hippie/whatever culture. They usually (but not always) vote democrat. Or they don't vote at all. They break the law when they think they can get away with it. They are involved in activist movements and creative pursuits. They have blogs, and they post more than just lists of what they did that day and memes. They have a libertarian bent and tent to believe that any choice is ok as long as you don't hurt another person. They are more likely to engage in alternative sexual practices, and are more likely to have tried drugs- and even if they don't or haven't, they don't mind if their friends do. At least in my experience, these type of people are usually very nice to the people they perceive as different from themselves. We need these people. Without them society would stagnate and we would not have necessary social change and progress. This group is a lot smaller than the first group.

Of course these are all stereotypes, and any one trait on either list can be combined within a single person. But in my experience, these traits tend to run together.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

is it pesach tonight?

I just made some rice crispies treats...and I'm about to start making greek pasta salad for tomorrow (it needs to live overnight in the fridge). Also, I did not bless the sun. Apparently that's some kind of big deal and only happens once every 27 years.

Pesach was always my least favorite holiday. I got invited to a 'feminist reconstructionist seder' on Friday night (apparently there is a newish trend among the non-orthodox of having the seder on the weekend so that far-away family members can attend). I briefly considered going because it is being hosted by a professor that I love/has really good connections...but then remembered that I don't have to participate in religious affairs if I don't want to. Also I have a party that night I'd rather go to.

As some of you will be saying tonight- "We were slaves but now we are free."

Otherwise, not a lot to write about, as things haven't been very dramatic lately. It's weird...last year after getting engaged and as my family drama unfolded, this stuff was preoccupying me all the time. I was upset about my parents nearly every day and it seemed like I was talking about it all the time, and sometimes probably inappropriately (this stuff is just TMI for casual acquaintances, no?).

But time heals all wounds...and after a few months of family members trying to convince me not to get married earlier this year, things seem to have quieted down on their end as well. The calm before the storm? Or maybe now that the invitations have gone out (including one to my parents, who didn't bother to RSVP no), they realize that it's too late? I hope it's the latter

Only a little over 5 weeks until the wedding! I'm pretty much done with planning things, except for a few odds and ends. Other then that, life is pretty awesome. B is great, Barkley is great, the kitties are great, life in general is great. My new netbook is also great, and I've transferred over all my stuff- I need to rebuild my wedding music playlist from scratch, but that's not too bad. Now all I need to do is stop procrastinating and write this book review that I need to give to the journal's editors on Monday. At least I can work from home again, now that my laptop doesn't randomly turn off every 2 minutes! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gender pet peeves

*When people refer to a generic person as "he" or "him" as if the male pronoun includes everyone

*When people say things are "girly" when really they mean "stupid"

*When people say women can't succeed at certain careers/occupations becuase they will want to have a family and 'naturally' want to leave their career once they have babies (I guess the 75% of mothers who don't become stay at home moms are unnatural?)

*When people say the reason there aren't more women in the science professions is because "there are innate gender differences in the ability to do math/science" (and then they become a senior adviser to President Obama)

*when people say women are 'naturally' more caring or nurturing, thereby making those of us women who don't feel very caring or nurturing feel deficient as a woman

*when people say women are 'naturally' anything that they attribute to gender


*When people tell me I'm the "man" in my relationship because I earn more money and have a more established career trajectory than my partner

*When people say they will raise their sons one way and their daughters another way, before those children are even born (so based purely on gender)

*When anyone tries to tell me that there's something I can't do specifically because I'm a woman

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Help me decide what new laptop to get!

EDITED: Never mind, I decided to buy this awesomeness:

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10-Inch Netbook
# Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP
# Display: 10-inch LED-backlit widescreen LCD (1024x600)
# Intel CPU: Intel Atom N280
# Wireless Data Network: WLAN: 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth V2.0
# Memory: 1GB DDR-2 SODIMM (memory size is upgradable to 2GB)
# Hybrid Storage: 160GB HDD + 10GB Eee Online Storage **Eee Storage service is complimentary for the first 18 months. Please register account information for 6 months extension (depends on country)
# Camera: 1.3 megapixels
# Audio: Build-in stereo speakers, high-definition audio CODEC, Digital Array Microphones
# Storage Cards: 2-in-1 MMC and SD(SDHC) flash card slot
# Input/Output: 1 x VGA port (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor), 3 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x LAN RJ-45, 2 x audio jacks: headphone & mic-in
# Battery: Up to 9.5 hours*, 8700mAh *Operation lifetime subject to product model, normal usage conditions and configurations.
# Dimensions: 10.47 (W) x 7.53 (D) x 1.12-1.50 (H) inches
# Weight: 3.20 lbs
# Color: Sapphire Blue

With a memory upgrade to 2gigs and the best warranty they have, I got all that for only $540! That's like 3x as awesome as my ibook, and 2 inches tinier! And I didn't even have to get vista!

I'm ridiculous

Guess who came home from picking up her newly-taken-in wedding dress from the tailor's last night, and then tried on the dress with all her accessories (jewelry, makeup, veil, shoes) and then paraded around the house for a while checking myself out in every mirror I passed!

That would be me! :lol:

I admit, I was a little worried about the dress when I bought it becuase it was a size too big and didn't look great with all the bagginess. But I LOVE it now that it's taken in and actually fits right! So pretty! I want to wear it every minute of every day!

I'm so glad that I chose to get a nice non-white dress that I can actually wear for more than 1 day in my life, cause now I have a farking awesome dress to wear to future fancy occasions! This is the first dress I have owned since I was a teenager, and those dresses all followed the jewish laws of modesty (sleeves past the elbows, no lower cut then the collar bone). So this is really my first normal fancy dress. :)