Let’s talk about papers

My, my, haven’t we been blogging quite a lot lately. Of course, you know that means that I have some sort of paper due. Right now, I am staring quite uselessly at Washington Square by Henry James. I have a paper due on it by 5:00, but I really want to finish much earlier than that. Firstly, I have a class at 1:25, and if I finish my paper before 12:00 or so, it means that I won’t have to lug my very heavy very warm computer to campus in order to finish my paper after my class. Yes, I am aware that there are these thing called jump drives, and I could bring my paper on that and use a computer in the library, but I hate the library computers. I only use them because I have to print, and even then they can take upwards of ten minutes to boot up. Heaven forbid you want to use the Internet because that’s another five to ten minutes to get a browser to launch. Also, I can only get Internet Explorer to open. I think Firefox is too modern for the ancient Gateways. Secondly, I have another paper due at 5:00 tomorrow, and that one is a fifteen page research paper. I got so desperate to avoid the paper on James that I actually started doing my research for the second paper (on Samuel Johnson’s annotated Shakespeare). I was pleased to find a whole lot of articles on the subject. I was also pleased to find large books that have one relevant chapter. I’m actually not too worried about that one now. Still, there is still the matter of writing the full fifteen pages which always seems to take far more hours than I want it to, and I have to factor in work on Tuesday morning from 6:00am to 10:30am. Protip: If you’re counting hours before a paper is due and subtracting time you’ll be at work in order to see if you can finish the paper, your level of procrastination is too damn high.

Lazy College Senior

How many memes do we think I can cram into one sentence? Anyway, my point is that I have a ton of shit to do, but I cannot think of what to write on for Washington Square. You know what my problem is? It’s too easy! Henry James is supposed to give you a headache, but this book is so simple. I mean, it was a fun read, and I sped through it (Fun fact: Apparently James hated it), but it means that I’m at a loss on what to write. Right now, my plan is to simply discuss the final chapter and what it means for Catherine in terms of the rest of the novel (Honestly, I shouldn’t bitch. Neither of these essays really even need a thesis. I just have to analyze the hell out of stuff, which, let’s be real, is what I do best. What is killing me is that I want to trade paper topics with Cuddles, who is currently sleeping off the effects of two Ampeds and trying to keep calm and graduate).

SO! Just for you, I’ve decided to talk about Washington Square. There will be spoilers, if any of you care. I know that the novel is over a hundred years old, but I still don’t like being spoiled for shit. (Fun fact: The beginning of “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot spoils a little bit of Heart of Darkness proving that even famous poets can be Internet trolls.)

Washington Square is the tale of Catherine Sloper, a painfully dull and stupid girl who is actually not that painfully stupid, and what, precisely, is wrong with being a little dull? Her father, Austin Sloper, is kind of a dick, and by that I mean that he is a huge dick who is constantly disappointed that A) His daughter is female and not a son and B) That his daughter is so plain and average and stupid (“as intelligent as a bundle of shawls”). Catherine’s aunt and Dr. Sloper’s (he’s a well-respected man about town, doing the best things so conservatively and also a very intelligent, well-loved physician) silly sister is named Lavinia Penniman. She’s a giddy, romantic widow who kind of fucks shit up. She lives with Catherine and Dr. Sloper. Mrs. Elizabeth Almond is Sloper’s other sister. She seems to be the only character who is as sharp as Dr. Sloper without having the same level of douchebag. I severely wanted to know more about her. Morris Townsend is another asshole, but he’s the asshole that Catherine loves (other than her father, who she is pretty terrified of). Morris loves Catherine…’s money. And that’s the plot. Catherine is plain and in her early twenties. Morris wants to marry her, and she wants to marry him. Dr. Sloper knows that he’s a mooch, but instead of being a decent human being, he’s a huge dick and makes the whole thing really hard on his daughter. Mrs. Penniman gets all up in the “romance,” and generally causes problems and annoys Morris, who is pretty clearly after Catherine’s money. See, Catherine’s dead mother left her ten thousand dollars a year (in 1840 or so, so a damn lot) once she married, and Dr. Sloper was going to supplement that with an additional forty thousand dollars (I don’t think annually, but still, damn that’s a lot of money). However, if she marries Morris, he won’t give that to her. She doesn’t care about the money, but she is afraid of her father and desperately seeks his approval, so she wants him to like her husband. Morris doesn’t want Catherine without the money. Mrs. Penniman thinks Morris is a romantic and defends him for way too long, even after he essentially states that he won’t marry Catherine because he’s worth more than ten grand a year (he isn’t). The story centers on Catherine’s development from a shy, scared girl who craves her father’s blessing into a shy, strong girl who accepts that both her father and her only love screwed her over. Essentially, she has to realize that her father is hideously disappointed in her and that he will never like her. Then, she has to realize that Morris doesn’t want her either.

By her middle age, she does. She defies her father, and, when Morris comes for a final visit, she shuts him down. He continues to suck, Dr. Sloper continues to suck, Mrs. Penniman continues to pave the road to hell with her good intentions, and Catherine “picking up her morsel of fancy-work, had seated herself with it again—for life, as it were.” The last chapter is pretty interesting because she finally gets to confront Morris, so I think that I’m going to go with that as my topic. I’m a little concerned that the heavy dialogue will make my block quotes (this teacher requires lots of block quotes) a hot mess. I had an idea to compare Morris to a character in another book we read, but I can’t find the passage where they are essentially described in the same way, and I also don’t ever want to read anything by Hawthorne again.

I just don’t know what my “point” will be. I know that it’s an exploration, but even a silly exploration of a single chapter has to have some significance, otherwise why bother writing a paper on it? I mean, it’s very theatrical. The whole book is theatrical. There are some references to “liberty,” and the book seems to have an undercurrent of the political to it. I kind of see Sloper as the ultimate politician. After all, he knows what’s best for you, and he’ll take your choice away as best he can. If he can’t, he’ll cut off your funding in some way, but despite all his wrongs, the public loves him. Morris proves himself to be a right jackass, and Catherine simply sits down to the quiet life of sewing things alone in the parlor. I JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO RESPOND TO THIS TEXT, MAN!

Sparkle

If that weren’t enough, if I double space this blog post, it’s four pages long. The essay is only six. What the hell is wrong with me?

NEXT TIME ON MY BLOG (probably) I have plans to talk about The Hunger Games movie, and I want to review the last two books. There may be more Shakespeare! (Spoiler alert: The Taming of the Shrew can die in every fire.) There may be Shakespeare AND Samuel Johnson (He wrote the dictionary mostly by himself in like, seven years, I think. He also beat people with folios and had a cat named Hodge.) I may even review a single episode of something! Who knows what wild and crazy adventures I’ll have next?!

PS: My apartment is making me pay them rent again. I do not like this.

PPS: But I went shopping for the first time in about a year and a half. I have no money, but I do have some business casual clothing AND some boss business inappropriate shirts. I do like this. So, you know, it evens out to me having no money.

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It’s Review Time!

Since I spent my last post bitching about stuff, I figured that I’d make a new post… well, bitching about stuff. But this stuff is infinitely less irritating than the last stuff, and I don’t actively want to shoot it. This post has been marinating forever, and when I finally sat down and wrote it, I lost about half the content due to the stupidity of school computers. Apparently, pressing the “Save” button does not actually save your work.

Anyway, have some (spoiler free, aww yeah) TV show reviews!

Show #1 – Girls (HBO)

Girls has been circulating around getting all sorts of press because Judd Aptow is working on it, and the creator of the show is an indie darling who recently made an indie film that got a lot of praise. It’s about a bunch of post-grads trying to make their way in the world what with the crappy economy and all.

So, this show is about, surprise, some girls. Now, my big gripe with this show is the way that it was marketed towards, well, me. I am an English/History major with a whole lot of student loans. I’m about to graduate in this job market where, I’ve been assured, no one will care about my degree. In that trailer, the main character (I’m going to call her “Main Girl”) says that she’s “the voice of her generation or a generation.” Now, the creator states that that line was not supposed to be taken seriously (and the character was high on opium when she said it). That said, this show is trying to be the voice of my generation. The show is titled Girls. As in, look at these average girls! Our Main Girl is a little chubby and she has bad tattoos! They have loser boyfriends! And money problems! They talk to each other while on the toilet! You can relate to these girls!

The main character is twenty-four. She graduated two years ago. Her parents have been sending her almost two thousand dollars a month since then. They also apparently gave her money while she was in college and paid for her schooling. Yeah. This girl is really someone that I can relate to. Now, in her defense, she has been working an unpaid internship, so she isn’t a total bum. Worse, as much as I would like to hate her and love her parents for cutting her privileged ass to the curb, I hate her parents too. They show up out of the blue and cut her off just like that. They don’t give her time to find a job. They don’t give her any notice. Just, bam, no more money. And I can’t sympathize with that either. If she were a total slacker just living off their money, then yes, I could maybe see a sharp cut off like that, but she’s been working an internship. That means that she can probably find some job somewhere, but those things do not pop up overnight, and her parents have made her search about three times as hard because she has to worry about running out of money while she looks for work. Ugh.

And she has friends! I’ve seen two episodes, and I can’t really remember anyone’s name. There’s Sensible Girl who has a job and a boyfriend who is so sickeningly nice that he disgusts her. British Girl sleeps with everyone’s boyfriends, but, gasp, is also has more depth than you’d expect. Preppy Valley Girl is British Girl’s cousin, and, as far as I can tell, she doesn’t have more depth than you’d expect. I guess that there is nothing really awful about this show. I mean, shows with flat, unlikable characters pop up all the time. There are a few funny moments that, in my opinion, are outweighed by the painfully awkward moments. I don’t know. Maybe give this show a watch if you have HBO. My roommate likes it.

My Rating: Angry Meh

Show #2 – The Borgias (Showtime)

Hell. Yes. This show combines most of my favorite things: sex, violence, history, church corruption, and older British men. I must admit that I had no idea who the Borgias were before the show came out. AP history just focused on the Medicis, man. That means that I can’t really complain about any historical inaccuracies, so you’re spared from that.

Those of you who are familiar with other “historical” shows like Rome or The Tudors know that “historical” means “lots of tits and nudity and sex.” And yes, The Borgias has some sex and nudity, but I would definitely say that there is a whole lot more violence. Lots of violence. It’s pretty graphic, ugly violence too. For this review, I think that I’m going to do a bit of a pros and cons sort of thing.

The Good
They obviously have a good budget for costumes and settings. Everything is really pretty. The acting is pretty great, though your mileage may vary on that point. I’m not sure why, exactly, but they let Jeremy Irons ham it the hell up, particularly at the end of the first season and the beginning of the second. I mean, damn. I find it pretty hysterical a lot of the time, and he pulls back in the more dramatic scenes, so it’s not like he’s ruining any good moments. Once you get into it, I thought the show was really engaging, and I couldn’t put it down.

The Bad
That said, it did take me a while to get into it. The first episode isn’t that compelling, and it’s two hours long. I would recommend watching the first two or three episodes if you can. I watched the first and then didn’t pick it back up until after the second season had started. Also, while the Pope does occasionally bring the lolz, I don’t find his plot threads to be that interesting. I really like Cesare, Lucrezia, and the mistresses so I often find myself waiting patiently for them to show up. That said, the less interesting plot points don’t bore me terribly. They’re just less engaging. On a more personal gripe, they keep killing characters that I like while leaving the ones that I want garroted (It’s a cheese cutter, sir, and Cesare’s assassin’s weapon of choice) alive. On a very personal gripe, if you watched the trailer, you might have heard the name “Giulia Farnese” spoken. Megan says that I might just be more sensitive to it, but I really, truly think that they say her name more than any other character’s. It’s goddamn everywhere. And they say her full name, too: Giu-li-a Far-na-say. It drives me up the freaking wall. However, I’m going to assume that most of my readers are not, in fact, named Julia (or Giulia), so that shouldn’t bother other people.

My Rating: Pretty sweet. You should watch it.

So yeah! I would not really recommend Girls, but I wouldn’t not recommend it either because you might like it. I would recommend The Borgias unless you hate violence, sex, and history in which case I would not recommend it because you might not like it.

…Wow, I think I might be too understanding of different tastes to review things. That’s… that’s a first.

Dear University Apartments…

WARNING. I AM SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW. THIS IS AN INAPPROPRIATE POST.

Hades

Dear University Apartments,

Firstly, you really need to change your name to University Dorms Off Campus, because, lets be real, you aren’t actually an apartment complex. You’re a sad, worthless excuse for a dorm that happens to be off campus with a (tiny) kitchen and a (tiny) laundry room. For the unacquainted, “The U” (well aren’t we just clever and modern) does not, in fact, allow you to do adult things like pay your own utilities, choose whether or not you want cable, or choose your internet provider. You pay a monthly flat fee with utilities included unless you have an overage (which, during the summer, you will). It’s idiot-proof, my-first-housing. Now, those of you who know me know that I really hate all the hand-holding that tends to go on in and around colleges. When I lived on campus, I lived in a dorm that had lots of upperclassmen, so it was very hands off; however, after meeting new people, I realized that freshman dorms are not, in fact, housing for anyone who is competent. Apparently, large, freshmen dorms have check-ins where you have to show ID. Guests must be claimed. RAs are actually involved in your daily life and do more than just plan tiny parties and clean up broken mirrors. When I was in high school, my parents started traveling farther and farther away for art shows, and, as I aged, I did not have to go with them to these shows. I have also had a job and a car since I was sixteen, which means that before college, I had a decent chunk of experience doing things like buying my own food, cooking, doing laundry, vacuuming, buying my own clothes, and, you know, just general living without anyone else butting in. This leads me to my second point.

University Apartments, please fuck off, die, and decompose into a maggoty soup. SOME of your residents did not, as a matter of fact, choose to live here because of your SUPER COOL AMENITIES. I know that you have A POOL, A GYM, and FREE COFFEE AND (awful) BREAKFAST IN THE MORNINGS! I know that you have ACTIVITIES! You know, for people who really miss the feeling of a school dance. You project POOR QUALITY MOVIES sometimes! For the people who really want to watch a grainy image projected onto an inflatable screen. And you know what, my dearest apartment complex, I deal with that. I deal with hearing crappy movies in my room. I deal with the noises from the pool. I live right by it, so whenever you have an activity or the bastards who also live here decide to bring out a boom box, I get to hear it. And I have always been relatively OK with this.

Until now. See, it’s finals next week. I have gallons of work to do (not that I will be doing it). I just got back from work, and I come into the complex and hear a ghastly sound: Bad club music. And I hear this sound far sooner and louder than I should. I come into my apartment, and I can hear it in the living room, which is usually the more quiet room. I go back in to the lair of the Cuddly One, and he has closed my door (fun fact: at normal noise levels, you can hear the sound more loudly from my room than you can from his window) to prevent more noise leakage. I come into his room to see him engulfed in his headphones. I’m already not pleased, and I decide to go down to the office and say something to management. This is their party after all. I’m sure they don’t realize that it’s louder than normal.

Once in the office, I am directed to the manager (AKA the only person who works here older than 22. There is nothing more disconcerting than signing a lease and giving it to some punkass college kid. Seriously, he could have sold it for beer money). I explain that the music is a lot louder than normal, and ask if they can turn it down a bit, as it has permeated the entire apartment. I also lied and said that it was vibrating the windows because this place is a hell-hole and, I figured that they wouldn’t do anything for just too loud.

“I’m sorry, but it’s our end of the year party. We’ve been advertising for a while, so you should have been able to arrange to be somewhere else.”

“Yes, but it’s also the weekend before finals. I’m not partying. Also, your other parties and activities aren’t this loud. Like, I can’t hear the movies you play in my living room. This is louder”

“Listen, I will personally pay your cab fare to go wherever you want. We can send you to Jittery Joe’s or whatever, but we aren’t turning down the music. You can go wherever you want though.”

“Well, what I want is to be able to study in the apartment that I pay for.”

“The party is only until six-thirty. I’ll pay for you to go somewhere.”

I don’t actually remember what I said before I turned around and left the office. It might have been “well” or “no” or just “ugh,” but I do remember muttering “fuck off cunt” before I slammed the office door. The problem is that, when I get angry, I have trouble remembering exactly how loud I am. I mean, I was livid. I love how turning down their music would just, like, RUIN their end of the year party (SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKERS! THE YEAR ISN’T OVER. WE STILL HAVE FINALS AND CLASS ON MONDAY.) I wasn’t saying, “Umm, can you turn off the music.” I was saying that it was significantly louder than normal, which it is, and asked if they could turn it down just a bit. You know, so I couldn’t hear it loudly and clearly in every room in my apartment. Hell, right now, I’ve got that little vibration in my ears that you get from loud bass. I also love how I should have to VACATE MY RESIDENCE because the complex is throwing a small party at the pool.

Listen, I hate my apartment for many reasons. I pay way too goddamn much for it. The kitchen and laundry room are miniscule. Our oven is too small for a pizza pan. Our shower and toilet are disgusting. The carpet isn’t actually attached to the floor properly. I found this out when I was mopping the kitchen and the edge of the carpet came right up off the ground when I brushed against it. Our upstairs neighbors keep flooding their bathroom and leaks down into our walls and through our ceiling. The windows in my room don’t close properly. We have bugs. Always. Our couch is a piece of shit that fell apart (we will now have to pay for it). The internet that we have to have is balls. I would not have moved in here if I had another option because this place is tiny, dirty, nasty, and full of idiots who shouldn’t be allowed near outlets or sharp objects. The office is entirely run by idiot college kids. I hate this place. I have to live here until August. I want to get a gun and pick off partiers and DJs and employees, one by one from my window. I want to burn this place to the damn ground. I want the company that owns this place to go bankrupt. I want these apartments to be condemned as unfit for human habitation. I want the woman who offered to buy me a cab (Fuck you. I have a car. I just don’t want to have to LEAVE MY DAMN HOME BECAUSE YOU’RE HAVING A SAD PARTY) to lose her job and pick up a heroin addiction.

Plates

I JUST HATE EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW, OK. A LOT. AND I WANT TO BURN IT TO THE GROUND.

On the GROUND

OR THROW IT ON THE GROUND. BOTH. EITHER. WHATEVER.

So, if you are one of the 20-30 (no, I am not joking) people down at the mother fucking pool at University Apartments, just know that I hate you and everything you do. Especially if you are the fucking DJ.

EDITED NOTE: Now that I am less angry, I figured that I would clarify that I don’t actually want to shoot anybody or burn anything down, nor do I really want the manager of this party to come down with a drug addiction. I really hate my damn apartment, and I needed to rant. What are blogs for? Anyway, I have something of a personal policy about deleting comments/posts on the Internet, so I intend to leave this rant up. I just wanted to clarify that I was speaking with figurative rage so that the police don’t show up at my door. I love you all.

I want to walk on the ceiling so that I can get the upside down books

So, for those of you unfamiliar with the layout of my apartment, my boyfriend’s room has a little bookshelf near the very top of the ceiling above his desk (or the piece of plywood bolted to the wall that our apartment complex tries to claim is a desk). I have recently been feeling rather cheerful, which is a change from my usual feelings of rage and sadness. However, for me, feeling cheerful often means less “cheer” and more “dopamine induced stupor.” I’ve never actually experienced the effects of a mind altering substance (not counting caffeine and alcohol), but I wonder if my cheerful mood is comparable. First, I drank three cups of tea while watching Mad Men (oh how I love Mad Men) and rolling around on the couch. Then, I decided to roll around on a softer piece of furniture. While poor Cuddles attempted to play his video games, I was laying with my head upside down, dangling off the edge of the bed saying things like: “Woah. Your ceiling looks so cool upside down. It’s like the floor. Except, I know it’s the ceiling. But I still want to walk on it. You should look at it like this. It’s so floor-like. And your books look so cool. Like, they’re just hanging on that shelf. I want to walk on the ceiling so that I can get the upside down books. I love upside down books.”

I don’t really have that much to say that doesn’t involve me ranting heavily about my issues with an order I placed a month ago (who knows, I might regale you all with that story someday), but I felt the need to post something because I haven’t updated in a while.

Anyway, when I wasn’t completely drunk off my good mood, I also read my very first Playboy magazine! I would give a thorough review, but, well, it was really sad. I mean, none of the women were attractive. None. It was so sad. All that nudity and nothing, man. The articles weren’t very good either, and there were a billion of those crappy watercolor comics that you find in every magazine. You know, the ones that always end in a painfully bad joke. Except here the cartoons were diiirrrtty. Oooooh. Adding blurry nipples to your sad little watercolor comic doesn’t improve the quality of the jokes. So, if you were planning on purchasing a Playboy magazine, I would recommend just pirating that crap instead. Or you know, watch porn online.