Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

Northampton is nice.

I am so much more zen about a lack of structured plans than I was years ago (for which I largely credit Joe), and this weekend's trip was testing my zen, but really I was good.  It didn't feel like a pseudo-birthday trip, but I enjoyed seeing people.

On my way up to Smith, I passed the art museum and was tempted to go see "Medea and Her Sisters: Leonard Baskin's Images of Women."  I decided I wasn't in the mood for art-ing (plus I've gotten spoiled and don't actually wanna pay money, even though I know that's lame 'cause I should be supporting stuff I like and I certainly do have disposable income).  I kind of regret this now 'cause looking at the exhibitions list there's also an Ansel Adams exhibit.

Allie and I made plans to hang out at Haymarket.  I got there early 'cause I was hungry.  My palate has expanded a lot since I left college (even since I first became a vegetarian -- something like 8 years ago) so I was bold and ordered Arroz a la Cubana -- black beans wither onions, garlic, spices; also: rice, banana, egg.  Yeah, I could only finish about half the black beans.  Much too flavorful.  Oh well.

I go a Nine-One-One (strawberry, watermelon, etc.) smoothie which was yummy.  [The next day I got an Above & Beyond which is strawberry and banana and stuff and peach juice, but the peach isn't overwhelming as I had worried it might be.]

Allie and I hung out for about 3½ hours.  We talked fannish stuff, of course.  Re: pairings, she said "You're much more adventurous than I," which is true, but makes me laugh because when we first met I was so mono-fannish and she was v. poly-fannish, so I still think of her as the fannish slut.  (Emma and I had a similar conversation that night, as she tends to be OTP-ish, and I'm much more of a Fanfiction as Schroedinger's Cat person.)

She also explained Mina de Malfois to me (I'd seen mentions but never bothered to investigate) and now I understand why Ari's interested in it :)

I was glad I was able to stay overnight after all, 'cause with Emma's Saturday work schedule I didn't get to see her until almost 8, and the last bus departs at 8:40pm.  So instead of getting a half hour with her, I got a solid 24 hours with her :)

We had dinner at Packard's, which is hardly a vegetarian haven, but I did get food -- mushroom caps with spinach and cheese, plus a giant basket of french fries (which the menu says are "slightly spicy" but which Emma told me aren't really, and I was v. pleased to find that she was right: they tasted like plain shoestring fries, which was exactly what I wanted).  She got cow and a strawberry daiquiri.  I got a Smirnoff Twisted Raspberry (the current Mike's ad campaign bothers me, so I don't wanna support them financially).

I was telling Emma how there was an "Advice I'd give to my 16-year-old self" meme going around not too long ago and how I really can't think of much for myself.  I've made bad decisions, but not only did they all come out all right, but if I had somehow avoided making that decision would I have also somehow obtained the knowledge that I gained from the experience?  Maybe I would tell myself to suck it up and take driver's ed anyway -- suffer through it with my friends and have less of the terror of driving that I do now.  [For those just tuning in, I have never so much as sat in the driver's seat of a car.]  But really, would I actually take any advice I would give myself (never mind the issue of knowing that something is a good idea but not being able to bring oneself to do it anyway)?

One of her roommates (Ali) got kittens: a male (grey, one month old, Wimsy) and a female (tabby, two weeks old, Wooster).  We know I'm not really an animal person, right?  These were so tiny and adorable, though.  However, after a few minutes, I was like, "Yeah, you are full of energy and require attention (including making sure you stay out of trouble); much like small children, I am glad you are not in fact my problem."

We turned the lights out around midnight but stayed up talking, and I'm inclined to agree with Emma's estimation that we didn't actually go to sleep until about 3am.  (karabair, she reads Cable&Deadpool.)

I actually woke up around 9am and thought about going to First Churches, but I felt gross ('cause unshowered) and would have had to leave a note for Emma or whatever, so I went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  I did get a shower, though, for which I was grateful.

We went to Bruegger's and hung out with Cat and Laura some more.  (We had seen them briefly the previous evening.)

Emma's taking the GRE English Subject Test in the fall.

According to the official GRE website:
The literary-historical scope of the test follows the distribution below.   
1. Continental, Classical, and Comparative Literature through 1925 (5-10%)
2. British Literature to 1660 (including Milton) (25-30%)
3. British Literature 1660-1925 (25-35%)
4. American Literature through (1925 15-25%)
5. American, British, and World Literatures after 1925 (20-30%)
From an unofficial site:
This list was compiled by counting the number of times a particular work appeared on six different past tests actually used by the GRE Testing Service, as well as the number of tests it appeared on. Yes, this was legal. [...] The first number after the title of the book is the total number of times the work appeared in all of the six tests. The second number is the number of tests out of six that it appeared upon. For example, Milton's Paradise Lost appeared 27 times on five tests. The works are arranged here in order of the number of total questions that appeared on the six tests. Clear? Good.
Milton's Paradise Lost is at the top of the list (27 / 5).  The lowest is 3/1.
There are 151 works listed, 8 of which are written by women.  (Yes, there are a few Anonymous works, but I'm leaving those aside.)
Bronte, Emily / Wuthering Heights / 7 / 4   
Austen, Jane /  Emma / 4 /  3   
Eliot, George / Adam Bede / 4 /  3   
Woolf, Virginia / To the Lighthouse / 4 / 2   
Plath, Sylvia / The Mirror / 4 / 1   
Dickenson [sp!], Emily / If I Could Stop / 4 / 1
Burney, Fanny / Evelina / 3 /  3   
Finch, Anne / Adam Pos'd /  3  / 1
Is it bad that I'd never even heard of those last two authors?

There are plenty of works by men which one might reasonably expect to have been included, and I would actually be interested in discussion about what this list says about the kinds of things the GRE values.  However, I've read not even a third of the list and have enough other self-indulgent cataloguing projects that I'm not going to separate out fiction/poetry/nonfiction/plays, eras, countries, etc. and attempt to make statements.

There were a few female authors who immediately stuck out as being legitimately Western canon but not represented here, and of course we were a little abashed at how long it took us to come up with some of the names.  Of course I later abused wikipedia to come up with more names.

(32) Women who aren't included [in alphabetical order by surname, with selected work/s in parentheses]:
NB: I am not arguing that these people should be included.

Isabel Allende (The House of Spirits)
Julia Alvarez (How the García Girls Lost Their Accents)
Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)
Margaret Atwood (Handmaid's Tale)
Toni Cade Bambara (short stories, The Salt Eaters)
Aphra Behn (Oroonoko)
Elizabeth Bishop (poetry)
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Elizabeth Barret Browning (poetry)
Octavia Butler (Kindred, Parable of the Sower)
A. S. Byatt (Possession)
Angela Carter (Wise Children, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories)
Willa Cather (My Antonia)
Kate Chopin ("The Awakening")
Lucille Clifton (poetry)
H.D. (poetry)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman ("The Yellow Wallpaper")
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
Nella Larsen (Passing)
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
Audre Lorde (poetry)
Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye, Beloved)
Iris Murdoch (The Sea, the Sea)
Flannery O'Connor (Wise Blood)
Adrienne Rich (poetry)
Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
Muriel Spark (poetry, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie)
Gertrude Stein (poetry, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas)
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
Edith Wharton (House of Mirth)
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Also, the only author "of color" I saw on that list (though I may have missed a few):
Wright, Richard / Native Son / 4 / 2

That means no:
James Baldwin (Giovanni's Room)
Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man)
Langston Hughes (poetry)
V. S. Naipaul (In a Free State, A Bend in the River)
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
Jean Toomer (Cane)
James Weldon Johnson (Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man)

Again, not saying these necessarily should be on the list, just pointing out their existence.

We also got talking about the dearth of female sci-fi/fantasy writers, particularly ones who write stories with well-developed female characters.  I have never read a whole lot of sff, so I'm in no place to speak to what the characters in these people's books look like, but I can do a quick list of major female authors (with help from the Internet):
Margaret Atwood
Anne Bishop
Enid Blyton
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Emma Bull
Octavia Butler
Jacqueline Carey
Angela Carter
Pamela Dean
Diane Duane
Lynn Flewelling
Sharon Green
Laurell K. Hamilton
Robin Hobb
Diana Wynne Jones
Ellen Kushner
Mercedes Lackey
Tanith Lee
Ursula K. LeGuin
Madeleine L'Engle
Anne McCaffrey
Patricia McKillip
Robin McKinley
Donna Jo Napoli
Andre Norton (I'd never heard of her, but Emma mentioned her, so she makes the list)
Anne Rice
J. K. Rowling
Joanna Russ
Sharon Shinn
Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Sheri Tepper
Vivian Vande Velde
Joan D. Vinge
Patricia C. Wrede
Jane Yolen

I mentioned the Tiptree award, and now really wanna go through and read the winners/short list.  I only learned about it this year and read The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden (Catherynne H. Valente ) but haven't yet read Half Life (Shelley Jackson).

I should also go through the archives of oyceter, coffeeandink, etc.

Of course, this begs the question of when I would have time to read any of these.  I seem to be attempting increasingly impenetrable (no pun intended) texts on contemporary queer Christian sexual ethics (James Nelson's Embodiment, then Liberation Theology and Sexuality ed. Marcella Althaus-Reid, and now The Queer God by Marcella Althaus-Reid).  I need to obtain the final Harry Potter book (UK edition) at some point (either from my parents or from FUH's younger daughter); hopefully will be able to read that on my trip to Nashville.  I'm already planning to reread Handmaid's Tale when I travel to Europe, and may bring some other paperback as well since I'm gonna be doing a lot of flying over those two-and-a-half weeks.

[Sidenote: Character of Color Multi-Fandom Love-a-Thon Fest]

We browsed the sff section of Raven, which finds included I, Vampire -- includes alien shape-shifters and Virginia Woolf.  No, really.

We browsed Thorne's, where I learned that Avril has created a chibi graphic novel, which is at least two volumes long.

The book Plum Wine looks interesting.

Somewhere in there was also discussion of YA lit and also the lack of good acting roles for young women nowadays -- jumping off of some article someone had read about Meryl Streep and how the kinds of roles she had when she was younger don't exist anymore.

Emma did a decent job of selling me on Remington Steele, and one of these days I really am going to watch Casino Royale.  Earlier, Sin City came up, and in surprise she asked, "Why haven't you watched Sin City yet?"

Oh, and she showed me the printout of her Senior Prophecy, and my face hurt from grinning reading it.

Over dinner Sunday night, Emma argued that humans (monkeys) are built to be meat-eaters 'cause we have pointy canine teeth and "predator eyes."  (Predators have eyes on the front of their heads while prey have eyes on the sides of their heads.)  The "predator eyes" thing was new to me.  I am not sold on the canine teeth 'cause we really don't have the bodies to rip apart raw flesh, and as far as teeth go I feel like our mouths are dominated by our molars (herbivore grinding teeth).  I've also heard that our long intestine is something found in herbivores -- that carnivores have shorter intestinal tracts.  Okay, the Internet gives me arguments both pro-vegetarian and pro-omnivore.  Honestly, I'm not deeply invested in the argument since for me it's primarily an ethical issue.

Emma talked a lot about her writing, and I feel like she's a writer and I'm really not.  I get story ideas sometimes, but even leaving aside the fact that I completely lack the discipline to finish anything (or even the ideas to sustain much), interrogating texts is much more where I feel at home.

***

paper_crystals and musesfool had birthdays on Sunday.  Hope they were lovely.

Before class tonight, people kept saying it was hot out, which confused me, since it actually seemed fine to me [me who far prefers the cold].  (Oh, and I saw Cate and the bus stop, so we got to catch up.)

Edit: After class, Will and I were talking about preferred seasons, and he actually prefers the less-light of winter: (1) When he wakes up and it's dark out, he feels like he's on top of things, but when he wakes up and everything's already light and has been up for hours, he feels like he's already behind (2) In the winter, you can go to bed at 7pm if you want 'cause it's dark out so that feels legitimate, whereas in the summer it's constant going going 'cause it's always light out. /edit

The first half hour of class I felt like we learned more vocab than we had in like the past week's worth of classes, though that totally wasn't the case.  But we were doing stuff like all the major colors (including brown, black, grey, pink) and the seasons.

Edit: Also: Next week is our last week of classes. How did that happen? I mean, it's good, 'cause I'm gonna be away for most of August (which, ack, is soon), but still, crazy. ('S only a 5-week class.) And yes, I need to sign up for fall class (which is only one day a week, but 10 weeks). /edit

Walking up Holland St. on the way home, a black woman said to me, "Wut dat?"  At first I hadn't realized she was talking to me but she repeated it and I realized she was.  I was holding a styrofoam container which had half of a portabello mushroom, spinach, and bleu cheese panini; with a side of lentil salad.  So I just said, "Mah dinner."
     "Your dinner?" she replied, and we kinda laughed and kept walking (she was passing us going in the opposite direction).  I said to Will later that I was used to getting hit on but not used to getting asked about my food like that.  He said she liked my answer, though.  I'm not entirely sure, personally.  And I would actually be perfectly happy to give a street person food (not that she looked like a street person)

I came home to a piece of mail from Toni Morrison asking me to donate to the SPLC.  A gift of a minimum amount will get your name on the Wall of Tolerance, and they actually already give you you the certificate saying your name will be added (along with a set of address labels, which is par for the course), and I totally thought of the section in Max and Deepak's book about sending a dollar out with each copy of a survey and how it makes people feel obligated and leads to a higher participation rate.  Yes, I tried to remember what that was called.  Apparently it is the FITD technique?  (I had been thinking of that but thought this example was under a different category.)  I'll have to check the book draft at work tomorrow, 'cause obviously I don't trust wikipedia as the ultimate authority.
     Edit: Okay, the book talks about it in a section on "token unilateral concessions." Yeah, the "free gift" example wikipedia talked about is more FITD than the certificate.  Though the certificate isn't exactly a token unilateral concession (I would feel more comfortable arguing for address labels as such); though it does play into feelings of obligation. /edit

Heh.  I went out into the kitchen to put my lentil salad into a resealable container and pour myself a glass of juice.  OriginalRoomie was coming out of her room at just that moment (her room is right next to mine) and our subletter was also in the kitchen.  Now, we can do go days without seeing each other period.
     He asked how we were, and we basically grunted.  I asked her how her show was going, and she said fine. 
     He said okay, he was going, and have a nice evening.
     She said, "And, scene."

She said, "I have two days off in a row.  I finally have time to do stuff."
"Are you gonna spend half the time sleeping?" I asked.
"Yeah.  And spend the other half cleaning.  I may have to quarter it up to fit food in there, too."
Tags: (learning) languages: asl, advertisements, art: museum: scma, books, food, food: fruit smoothies, issues: representation, issues: vegetarianism, weather
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