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the colours in your head


Hmmm... Sunday is for secrets again, even though Postsecret has yet to update, to my immense annoyance, so...

I obsessively moisturise my elbows, even when I'm too lazy to moisturise my legs.


How to Piss off your Girlfriend, by Jon R.

1. Wait until she is writing a paper, preferably on something ludicrous like "Jewish gangsters in 1920s Odessa and their similarities to Biblical strongmen such as Samson."

1a. Preferably it should also be somewhere on the BAD side of midnight. And the paper should be due the next day. Less than one page written is good, too. She should be doing such things as blogging and checking email. For, you know, research purposes.

2. Silently will her to forget everything she ever learned about writing footnotes. Wait until she asks about something complex.

3. Gleefully announce that you only have to write two more papers in your life, ever.

4. Sit back and wait for her to describe PRECISELY how you can go fuck yourself.


View from the top

There has been massive construction going on right outside Jon's bedroom window (well, 11 flights down...) all year and it's starting to drive me mad. It was kind of comical when it was winter and there was still nothing really apparent except for little men (from my view, at least) standing around uselessly, poking at things, and kind of vaguel digging away at stuff. Suddenly, with the coming of good weather, they've become galvanized and now there is an actual foundation, with massive tube-y things (err... pipes, but they're strangely shaped and end abruptly, and seem to serve more of a structural purpose than anything else) and concrete walls, and large digger trucks messing around and doing mystery things.

Starting at 8 a.m.

I'm beginning to wonder if the really gorgeous view we get of the Boston skyline is worth it. Surely they don't have to BEEP at this time of morning.



"Hey darling, it's Jon. I'm sitting in the car outside Home Depot and waiting to help you carry the bricks, but I don't see you... Oh wait, I do see you. You appear to be being helped by a friendly worker... but he looks kind of ugly, so that's all good."


You know I have been thinking about this Russian essay too much when I spell it "kultural" in English.

Jon and I don't talk about our exes, pretty much ever. They tend crop up in conversation when one of mine is doing something annoying/ foists his existence on me, which is the case far more often than one would desire. His come up in conversation when I choose to mock him for his previous predilection for pretty dumb girls (or at least in my mind, that's what they were... I don't care if one of them won a Nobel Prize for blahblahblah, they still dated my boyfriend. And one of them was French, which makes it even worse. Trollops.) or... when the subject of Wellesley College comes up.

Now Jon's longest previous relationship was with a Wellesley girl, for which fact I tease him endlessley. Nevermind the wonderful caliber of the guys I've dated in the past. It's usually all kept relatively nice, except... last night Alex and I were talking about a friend of hers who is now dating a Wellesley girl, and I mentioned Jon's past indiscretions. Alex guffawed from the other end of IM, Jon protested violently from this end (he had, to his credit, just been very sweet and picked up my mother from the airport) and I made the mistake of asking what she looked like.

"Light brown hair, green eyes, 120 pounds, about 5'8 or 5'9..."


I very sweetly inquired as to how exactly it was he knew the weight of his ex girlfriend.

"Oh," he replied, "I just asked her, and she told me."

Now, I'm not the thinnest of girls. I'm not saying I'm wearing the "easy fit" sizes or god forbid, "husky" clothes, but let's just say that my East African ancestry has possessed me with an ass, and then my German ancestry has given me big ol' field-plowing legs. I'm not fat-- I tend to weigh about 145 on a very miraculously good day-- but 120 has never even really entered my spectrum of weights I would want to shoot for. I'm generally, finally, pretty at peace with my body, but... did he HAVE to go and say that?

(Actual weight omitted from rant at boyfriend. Also, all mention of Easy fit, husky, and big ol' legs. I try to keep my man interested, not paralysed with disgust at the thought of elastic waistbands.)

"Well, what did you want me to say? You told me to describe her. Would it have been better for me to say she was skinny? You're prettier than she was anyway!"

Pretty or not pretty, no longer dating or not, the fact still remained that she was thinner. Oh, the irrationality that guides female thinking. Thoughts swirled into a panic of "oh sweet jesus I actually consume food! In front of him!" Never mind the fact that I've dated more conventionally attractive (Doesn't that sound awful? I just mean... oh, I can't say what I mean. But he was pretty.) though MUCH dumber and less interesting guys. And then I pretty immediately dumped their asses. But this was a little hoochie from Wellesley, getting her claws into MY MAN. Never mind that it was way before we met.

I suggested that for future reference, all mentions of body type/ weight be omitted from conversations with girlfriends, unless the girlfriend in question is thinner than the ex being described. And then, don't mention it if her boobs were bigger.

"Alex-- !"

Moral of the story? Your current girlfriend is always the hottest girl you've ever encountered, in fact, ever dreamed of. In fact, any bodily flaws of hers? They fit your image of the IDEAL WOMAN in the way that media-crafted bimbos do not. (But don't say this in a creepy way or else that'll kind of gross her out, cf. my exes who liked a. hairy legs, which was just WEIRD and I staunchly refused to give in, because I am FRIVOLOUS, dammit, and I will not run about like Nature Woman, and b. fatter women, which was firmly denied for ditto reasons, and also because I frankly wouldn't feel attractive with a wobblier belly.) Pander to her insecurities. Jon, in the end, was quite lovely about my silly tantrum, spending about an hour telling me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me.. Not that he doesn't do that regularly. Just nice to hear it when I'm being minorly unreasonable, having started the whole fight myself.

Ok, I have to go write a Russian essay. Topic: Why does "Leningrad [dangle] like a useless weight from its prisons"? The quote is from Akhmatova's Requiem, my mission: to make sense of it. In Russian. I am up obscenely early because my mums is in town and I must play valiant tour guide-ess. Or rather, wander around and squabble. I opened my email this morning and discovered a section of Russian, sent out last night, that I'm supposed to have translated for tutorial today. Ahhh... it's going to be a long day.



Sunday is Postsecret day, so here's a secret of my own:

The song "Wild World" makes me tear up a little every time I listen to it.


Dear Jon's suitemates:

Flushing the toilet at night? It's really not that hard.



Ajantrik, Wrath of God

Jon and I have a Tuesday afternoon movie tradition of sorts. That is, he is taking a class on Sound-Era Cinema, and one of the three weekly screenings is during my massive chunk of free time on Tuesday afternoons, so I tend to go with him. This week, the movie was Ajantrik, an Indian movie about a man and his taxicab.

[Jon interjects snippily: You could essentially say the same thing about Taxi Driver.
Alex replies: But Travis Bickle had a mohawk! And a GUN!]

I can't actually tell you anything about the movie, as I fell asleep during the first fifteen minutes and only woke up when Jon poked me intermittently, but the little I did see showed me that there were some truly beautiful shots in there. As well as a great cacophony of strange Indian musical instruments. And lots of talking to the taxicab.

The important issue, though, is that we have at last found a movie that I will sleep through and Jon will not. He even managed to stay awake for the entirety of a second viewing of it, and is so enamoured of this strange man's love for his cab that he is writing a paper on it. I suppose there must be a plot of sorts, but I wasn't able to catch it. Jon staying awake for this is an important step, I must say. We stopped going to screenings at the Brattle when I got annoyed at him for napping through every single film we went to see, intermittently awaking to suddenly say, "What happened?" The entire movie, Jon. As I mentioned before, he slept through The Ring. Perhaps his newfound affinity for waking life points to new and important things in his future. Whole 10 hour stretches without napping, even.

Now, having merrily taken pot shots at my boyfriend on the blog he doesn't read, I must turn to a far more important topic: Withnail and I. I usually become strangely balky when people recommend movies to me, but I finally sucked it up and put it in my Netflix queue (current content: 85 titles. Ah well.) I watched it today, with the lovely company of M.selle Liza, and came upon the following findings:

- Withnail and I is a wonderfully hilarious movie.
- I'm feeling too lazy to actually review it, but rent it. Now. If you like British movies.
- Both Liza and I are strangely attracted to Richard E. Grant. Probably because he is skinny, tall, British, and ambigiously gay. We have vastly dissimilar tastes in men, but we occasionally have bizarre overlaps.
- Most things are funnier when said in a British accent. Especially if the person is drunk.

Now, having written basically nothing, I am going to bed. I need to find a subject to interview about Valium culture in the 50s-70s before 7 tomorrow, and both my parents are inaccessible. Any ideas?


There are certain problems inherent in doing rushed translations of Russian poetry, especially when I'm drunk. The end result is that I look at what I've written the next morning, and come across phrases like "As if with pain life from the heart is wrenched." Now, this does make sense, if you wrap your head around it, but it would have been amusing to get to class and find that I was supposed to do interpretations of something of which I couldn't understand my English version. Hyuk hyuk. Hijinks in the life of a Russian literature concentrator.

Other problems inherent with studying Russian literature, or more probably just in my case, is when you go out drinking with one of the grad students (I know it was Monday, but we had just finished the performance of the Slavic play, ok? I had to wear a glorified curtain and SING PUBLICLY. Though it turned out something more akin to yodelling.) and happen to make a comment about how your tutorial leader really needs to grow his sideburns back, the grad student is apt to actually be friends with said tutorial leader, in fact is apt to have blown him off for drinks to go out with me and a couple other people, and is apt to think that it would be a really funny thing to call this sideburnless individual and inform him that one of his students really thinks he needs to grow them back. Now, this is a fact. His hair is shaved unnaturally to a point where it is in line with the top of his ears, and I can't help but stare fixedly at the blank spots in front of his ears for the entire two hours of class. Unfortunately, however, he only HAS five students, period, and the other four aren't of age, and he happened to have seen me hanging out with my grad student right before we went to the pub, so he's pretty sure to figure this out. I can't believe that I inadvertantly insulted this poor man. Grah.

Let that be a lesson, boys. If you have sharp cheekbones and a superficial student, don't do strange things to your hair.


I just spent the past two hours watching a Merchant-Ivory movie while eating chocolate, painting my nails, and lovingly knitting a hat for my boyfriend. The estrogen count in the room is far too high.

A small rant on morality.

My friend: [with pride] I'm now getting up early enough that I can steal other people's New York Times!

As someone who finally cancelled their subscription after a year of never actually making it to their paper in time, I'm not too sure how I feel about that. If you're so happy about reading the paper, buy your own damn subscription.

I also know there are bigger issues than that out there, but it's 9:55 am and I'm late for rehearsal, so it's going to have to be that for now.


Third Year Russian Week 9 Vocab List

to suspect
to arrest
arrest (n.)
to interrogate
to convict, to be convicted
convicted (adj.)
to exile
exile (n.)
to sentence to the firing squad
sentence (n.)
to execute by firing squad
execution by firing squad (ONE WORD!)
to suffer
to go through an ordeal
torment (n.)
labor camp

Then we have to learn the list of names that the KGB (now known as the FSB) has gone through since the revolution.

Uplifting, no?

Self-indulgence and photography.

I've taken a leaf out of Clay's book and gone rasterbation-mad. The Rasterbator and I have been buds for a while, but I had tragically forgotten about its existence until just today. I made some more, but this was the one that had enough contrast to fit on one sheet in an interesting manner. I tried to rasterise the full photo, but it somehow just wasn't as cool as just the eye shot:

I also wanted to make an incursion into the ASCII generator that he mentioned. Alas, it does not work for Macs, which makes me very sad, so I'm afraid you will have to be satisfied with my rasterbated images. Here to the side is my eye, from a great photo my dear friend and former high school roommate Anna took of me last year. Here below is the original.

I must say that I quite like the way the eye turned out. It does help that it is my favourite part of the picture. There's something about the picture that I rather enjoy as well, beyond the eye. It amuses me that it looks very little like I actually do, apart from the awful teeth that do need to be cropped out. I must confess that I am rather 1960s British with regards to my relationship with orthodontia. My general point of view is to just suck it up and look at gappy-toothed models in magazines, however weird their appearances might be.

Since today does appear to be picture day, or rather, I'm supposed to be doing work, but I'm too sleepy to start working, and simultaneously too lazy to haul my butt over to my bed and take a nap, here's another picture from the shoot. She was doing a project for her photo class which involved doing her own take on the style of a specific photographer. She chose Robert Mapplethorpe, who has been one of my favourite photographers for years. She came down to Boston, we did the shoot, and it turned out magnificently. Looking back over the pictures, it's amazing to think what a horrid background we had for the photos-- we used my tiny bedroom as a studio, stood my mattress on end and draped it with curtains as a backdrop, and fashioned an elaborate lighting system out of two lamps and a few strings of Christmas lights. She had forgotten her tripod at home, so we had to stack books on a table to get stability and the right light, but still the pictures were magnificent. It was a rather fun project.



Last night, Jon forced me to watch The Ring. This wouldn't be in any way remarkable, except for the fact that we both loathe horror movies. He's the kind of guy who will call me up three times to remind me to bring Four Weddings and a Funeral when I come over, and I'm the kind of girl who really enjoys not being forced to watch stupid action movies, or movies that make me clutch things. I like horror movies, but only when they're of the variety that you might see featured on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 re-run. And yes, I am a dork for having made that reference. He has a meeting with one of the producers of the film, so he can't admit to being one of the ten people on earth not to have seen it. I was perfectly content being one of those ignorant ten, but having rashly promised, I couldn't back out. We realised that it was the most ridiculous situation on earth-- a girl who doesn't like horror movies being forced to watch one for the sake of her boyfriend-- but then HE doesn't even like horror movies! What blatant stupidity!

The movie itself wasn't as bad as it was hyped up to be, though there was a lot of clutching of Jon's arm and yelling at him when I discovered he had dared to fall asleep and leave me spiritually ALL ALONE in his room. His room is not the sort to take fright at, ordinarily, but it is endowed with two closets, and everybody knows that closets are portals to imaginary other dimensions, where vague creepy things lurk. There are also a fair amount of hiding places for evil bugs, disembodied hands, and other things of that ilk.

My problems really started when the movie was over and we prepared to go to sleep. Jon, of course, passed out immediately, but all my previous exhaustion had morphed into an extreme need to twitch. Lying there, muscles spasming at random, as Jon happily smacked his lips and burrowed deeper under the blankets, I tried to think soothing thoughts. I focused on my navel, slowed my breathing, began to visualise all the tension flowing out of my body in one calm stream and-- the girl in the movie was horrendously creepy. But, you know, she wasn't nearly creepy enough. I wonder what would have been creepier.

Breathe. Release tension.

Her feet were awful and white. I hate people who are that dead-looking pale colour. Why did the little boy have to be creepy as well? He was like a more satanic Damien.

Breathe. Release. My feet are cold.

you know it's kind of awful that my feet reach over the edge of the bed when I lie like this and there's that awful gap between the bottom of the bed and the floor and what if something were to just reach up and--

Breathe. Think calm thoughts.

This went on for a while, devolving into a half-dream with cold hands and a creepy blank-eyed japanese girl from some other movie I've been forced to watch. I finally completely popped awake at 4:30 in the morning, desperate to go to the bathroom, but too afraid to leave the little island of the bed. Besides, the bathroom would involve... a journey past a shower curtain.

I really do hate scary movies, really. But even more than that, I curse my completely overactive, psychotic imagination.