Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm gonna have to send my SAT scores to San Quentin instead of Stanford!

The third in a four-part series.

Things About and Around My College Transcript: 1994 - 1995

--Background: The summer of 1994 was fucking awesome. I lived in Harlem with six boys (including Mr. Gleemonex, with whom -- SCANDAL! -- I shared a room), worked on campus for like $7.00/hr, interned for zero dollars at an independent film production company, and escaped out to Long Island nearly every weekend with Mr. Gleemonex (either to his parents' house or his HS friend's, where we drank a lot, went to the beach every day, and cooked delicious and wonderful things while listening to the new Moz and other good tunes). We got ever more inventive at eating/drinking/having fun on the cheap (the two-dollar movie theater in the West 50s, restaurants that had monster $2.00 burritos after 10:00 pm, clubs w/o cover charges if you got there early enough, Pearl Light at the corner store for $4.00/sixer, a couple tallboys from the cart in Penn Station to start the trip right).

--My first year in a single! SHIT YEAH! Almost all freshmen had doubles, but most sophomores and up had singles; the housing lotto number my group drew was so incredibly bad, though, that my friends and I all had to double up again soph year and didn't get singles till junior year.

--I did an unpaid internship both semesters: Fall at another independent movie studio, and Spring at a premier pay-cable channel. Loved both, for different reasons, but they made for some long fucking days; I'd intern from 9 - 5, then book it uptown to my 6-10 p.m. film class every Wednesday, for instance. I stole a lot of office supplies and coffee. A LOT.

--There are at least two classes from this year that I have no idea what they were. One of them might have been the Music in Film class where I got to know Rich Hilary and Weird Arthur better? Or not, no clue.

--Also this is the year I took up semi-serious recreational herbal jazz cigarette usage, so. 

--I cannot fucking believe I managed a B+ in Lab In Fiction Filmmaking. What a stressful, terrifying, pain-in-the-ass failfest that whole thing was. I recalled this grade as a scraper/pity/extra-credit B- at best -- I knew I didn't get a C, but ...

--Fun: France on Film, Photography I, American Cinema II: Hollywood in the 1940s.

--Awesome: Structure and Style, I and II. Although the second semester was taught by a gal I came to dislike intensely, and my grade was a full point lower, even though I thought my work was better. When I see her books in the store, even now, I get annoyed all over again.

--Really fucking awesome: Race, Gender and the Politics of Rock 'n Roll. Took this with Mr. Gleemonex -- it was the greatest. And we almost always went out for pitchers of beer on Rich Hilary's dime after (it ended at like 8:30 pm, I think).

--Dean's List both semesters! Dang! (I really do not mean to brag about this -- I mean, lookit that last class, above! You, too, can make the Dean's List writing papers about Bob Dylan and/or The Lemonheads -- but I am honestly surprised, so that's why I mention it. Memory is strange.)

--Mr. Gleemonex graduates! I always have liked older men, you know.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college.

The second in a four-part series

Things About and Around My College Transcript: 1993 - 1994

--Keep in mind: I was working at least 12 hours at a campus job this whole time, from my fourth day there in 1992 to the week of graduation in 1996; I didn't get a dime from my parents beyond the couple grand they (reluctantly and painfully) paid toward tuition. My grandmother sent me the occasional $20 bill in the mail, for which I was deeply grateful, but every other penny I spent (textbooks, food, beer, clothes, fees, etc.) was out of my own pocket. I added unpaid internships starting in summer '94, too. Tuff times in NYC, y'all!

--This is where I started taking classes for my eventual major, Film Studies. It started off pretty easy in the fall of 1993, with Masterpieces in American Film History (basically the "101" class), taught by the department chair (I got a B+), and World Cinema: The 1970s (which was an eye-opener in terms of 70s-style sexism, and was the first of three courses I took in which The Godfather was on the syllabus; grade: A-). Spring's Contemporary Italian Arts: Film class was fun and interesting too (and to it I owe the fact that I've seen such fun, bubbly flicks as The Bicycle Thief, Bitter Rice, and Open City, all in Italian with subtitles; grade: A).

--But oh holy Shatner was I out of my depth in Film Theory and Aesthetics, taught by James Schamus. He is a fantastic teacher, and hilarious, and it was great to take this with Mr. Gleemonex and with the guy who eventually wrote a book about alcohol and named us in its credits, and to have had the mandatory group TA sections with the TA who loved us all so much that he invited us to a party at the end of the semester and got all 10 of us shitcanned on the most awesome sangria in the history of ever. I could feel my brain expanding in this class. But all the good was nearly undone by the physical dread I felt each week, knowing how far below the bar I really was, and how hard the whole thing was going to be for me. Ugh. Miraculously, this ended up a B+. I think I wrote a couple kickass papers? Maybe the one about Rebecca?

--Hola, Espanol! Gracias para las notas de "A" en los dos semestres! I tested out of a year, so these were the third and fourth of four required semesters. I didn't realize I could test out of any of it, but the professor of the Beginning Spanish class I attended on the first day told me -- after I busted out a complete paragraph that included the word "guantes" in the "Hola, me llamo" portion of the meeting -- that I really really should. Heh.

--Contemporary Civilization (aka CC), with the densest reading list of any class I took, netted me an A- for both semesters -- which is weird because the classes were taught by two of the most different profs I  encountered in my entire four years. Fall '93 was a young, hip bisexual gal, shaven-headed and given to pre-class recountings of her motorcycle travelings of the weekend/night previous. She wouldn't put up with either dismissal of the "old dead white guy" authors or slavish devotion to same; she really wanted us to engage with the material, look at it critically (this is where I pretty much shed my lifelong Christianity ... oops), take different angles, see where the themes and works wove into other times, disciplines, theories -- and she was good at nudging us to go that extra step. But she bailed at the half to take a full professorship somewhere else, so Spring semester was with a nearly-dead old white guy who just kind of didn't fucking care at all. He had no idea who any of us were, so it was incredibly easy to skip out ... particularly on these lovely warm spring afternoons, when my friend Rich Hilary was in the habit of lying in wait on the lawn bordering the walkway between my dorm and this building, with a six-pack of Hamm's and an extremely persuasive argument about how "that guy doesn't even know your name, you said so yourself, and I have all this beer to drink, bitch! I'll give you my notes from last year, you'll be fine. Sit the fuck down! You're in college! People are supposed to do this, CHRIST."

--Raaawwwwrrrrrr! Dinosaurs and the History of Life! Sounds like an easy, ridonculous gut, right? No -- it was science, for real, taught by a semi-famous researcher and enthusiast. And it was FUCKING AWESOME -- one of my top three, easily. Chicxulub, Archaeopteryx, Glen Rose, cladograms, birds are tiny dinosaurs, Jurassic Park, etc. etc. etc.  Took this with Mr. Gleemonex as well. Grade: A-

--Once again: Dean's List! BOOOOOOSHHHH!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

An MC to a degree that you can't get in college

So out of the blue, I recently decided to request my official college transcript; I couldn't remember my GPA, I wasn't sure when/if I made the Dean's List, I just wanted to see the actual titles of classes I took. Just a fun trip in the wayback machine, with the added benefit of tying down some of those disconcertingly flappy memory-corners blown around by the winds of time, you dig? They responded within a week, and therefore, the first in a four-part series:

Things About and Around My College Transcript: 1992 - 1993 

--Christ did I work hard for that B-, the first such low-ass grade in my entire academic life, in Major Topics in Asian Civilizations: East Asia. Also I was an hour late for the three-hour final -- overslept after a night of studying -- not that the extra hour would have helped me much, since it ended up barely taking me the two remaining hours to write down every goddamned thing I'd managed to cram in my head from this class (which covered thousands of years each of the histories of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam -- fuuuuuck). 

--Lookit me go, with the A+ in Masterpieces of Western Art (aka Art Hum)! It kicks the ass of my lowered-expectations B in Masterpieces of Western Music (aka Music Hum), I will tell you that.

--How bout that A in Race & Ethnicity in American Politics, a 3200-level class? Goddamn right! Which I guess is how I returned home for the summer with a really, super incredibly more superior knowledge of the world than my poor sad provincial parents, amirite?? But on a serious note: This was my first real unbiased, non-agenda-based exploration of these kinds of topics -- the Bed-Stuy riots, abortion, unionization, all kinds of deep shit -- and it was genuinely, honestly valuable and eye-opening for me. One of those life-changing, perspective-altering classes, sincerely.

--I'm gonna go ahead and blame the drop from B+ to B- from semester one to semester two of my two-linked-semesters science requirement -- Mind, Brain and Behavior (Fall '92), Sense and Sensory Perception (Spring '93) -- on the fact that I was taking the latter with Mr. Gleemonex, who was a distraction in and out of class. Shatner yeahhhhh was he a distraction, y'all.

--The rest: Nice raise in Lit Hum from fall to spring (B+ to A-); I passed PE, yay!, by virtue of showing up pretty often to the 7:30 a.m. aerobics class I took; and apparently I was committed to taking the exact number of credits required for a full-time student (by contrast: my eventual roommate/eventual bridesmaid, now known as Twelve, generally took at least double that number every Shatner-loving semester. Daaaaannnng.).

--Dean's List, yo! 

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

By this time we were both half-crazy from too much whiskey, sun fatigue, culture shock, lack of sleep and general dissolution.

Wowie wowie wow, if you wanna see a post that totally nails it, go to here -- inspired by the upcoming release of Before Midnight, Joanna looks up some of her favorite screen couples to find out what they're up to now. It is awesome. I want more. (Hat tip to Sarah Brown for finding it!)
a few months after moving in together in houston, lelaina was hired by bunim/murray. she moved out to LA, and troy came with her.
And if you want to read the piece that was the very genesis of Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo streak, not to mention his first collaboration with the great Ralph Steadman, go to here -- there are some great footnotes that you won't want to miss. Hat tip to Mr. Gleemonex, because he sent it to me, and this man knows what I like, y'all.
"I was sure it was the last article I was ever going to do for anybody," Thompson said in a 1974 interview with Playboy. "Then when it came out, there were massive numbers of letters, phone calls, congratulations, people calling it a 'great breakthrough in journalism.' And I thought, 'Holy shit, if I can write like this and get away with it, why should I keep trying to write like the New York Times?' It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids."

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Monday, May 06, 2013

But, what the hell? Anybody who wanders around the world saying, "Yes, I'm from Texas," deserves whatever happens to him.

Yesterday marks 15 years since Mr. Gleemonex and I became official residents of California. That was the day we parked our U-Haul at his sister's apartment complex in the Silicon Valley and walked into the middle of her birthday party. We stayed there for a couple of months -- Shatner bless her and our BIL for their generosity -- while we hunted down jobs and an apartment in San Francisco. To mark this happy anniversary, I give you: 

A Partial List of Things About and Around Our 15 Years In California So Far

Reasons We Chose San Francisco
--It sounded cool
--It was a city, but was not NYC, which we both loved but needed a break from
--There were a shit-ton of jobs available
--Neither of us has ever lived there before
--It was about as far, in every kind of way, from Texass as we could get
--Mr. Gleemonex's sister lived nearby and could provide a home base at first

Length of Time We Expected to Stay in California
--"a couple of years"

People Added to Our Family 
--Kid Gleemonex
--Danger Baby
--Nephew B
--Niece A
--Sister-in-Law J
--my Surprise Adult Half-Brother

People We've Lost
--my father
--my paternal grandfather
--my paternal grandmother
--my maternal grandfather
--my maternal grandmother
--Mr. G's great-uncle L.

Years, Out of That 15, That We Have Been Married

Percentage of Our Friends Here Who Came Into Our Lives Via Mr. G's First CA Full-Time Gig
--about 70%

Number of IPOs We Have Experienced In Companies We Were Employed By
--Or maybe three, one was a spinoff from a Biiiig Co., and Mr. G doesn't recall if there was an IPO

Addresses We Have Had
--SIL's apartment (3 months)
--the tiny, wonderful SF apartment in North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf (6 years)
--the little house on the edge of the continent, just south of the city (7 years)
--the big house in the burbs (2 years)

Presidential Candidates For Whom We Have Voted
--Al Gore
--John Kerry
--Barack Obama
--Barack Obama

How We and the Kansas Kartel Phrased It When People Asked Us If We Were American, On Our Trip to Europe In 2006 (Bush Years): 
--"Yes -- from San Francisco!"

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Friday, May 03, 2013

The cumulative weight of living in a terrifying world

Was just getting started writing a post this morning and whoops, turns out there was a lockdown at my kid's preschool because of some "threatening messages" directed at teachers, and we were "advised" to go pick them up. I have never cleared the house with the baby and gotten to that school faster. I pulled on the first pair of pants I found (it's VERY hot today, but the mad ticker-tape scrolling through the front of my head reasoned "you don't want to wear shorts in this kind of situation"), went to grab the deeply-asleep baby, hustled downstairs on legs shaking with adrenaline, strapped the shoeless, confused little guy into his carseat, and drove legally and carefully but very very fast, wasting no moves and waiting for no slowpoke drivers. Pulled up outside, snatched baby, flip-flopped across the parking lot in the house flip-flops I'd forgotten I had on, got through security and nearly imploded from DEFCON 1 anxiety while the kid futzed around putting away the placemat she was using and saying goodbye to her friends and all that normal-day bullshit. Wearing my "this is unusual but kind of fun! whee!" face, I made normal conversation as I prodded her to move move MOVE so we could get the FIZZUCK out of there. Christ that was rough. And as far as I know, nothing even happened.

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The room fairly bristled with beards, mustaches and super-Mod dress.

A Short List of Truths Which Are Self-Evident

--The best Rolling Stones are the 70s heroin Rolling Stones. 

--Paul O'Neill is the best baseball commentator. 

--If somebody starts an Internets comment with "Um," then they're about to be a smug dick about something. 

--Farmer Boy and The Long Winter are the best Little House books (although it's a really crowded, top-heavy field so the margins aren't big)

--There is no kind of competition or sport that money and television cannot ruin

--Carrie Fisher had the world's best hair and sweetest smile, back in the day

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