forbiddencharm: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2008 07:31 pm)
So yesterday I dropped my phone in a toilet and was forced to take out the battery and wait until it dries out to use it again. Which is incredibly frustrating when my boyfriend lives far far away, but is also making me think about memory and history. In school, I had tons of phone numbers memorized-- easily twenty and possibly even more. Because there was no option. Now that my phone will store those numbers for me, I wouldn't even recognize the number if a friend called me on someone else's phone. Until recently, I didn't even know my own boyfriends number, because to me it was '1 call' instead of a complex stream of numbers. Phone numbers are in a way becoming like URLs, where the number itself is computer code that most people don't need or want to learn and all that matters is the pretty name you attach to it. Which in turn makes sense when you think about the way phone numbers used to work at the turn of the last century, when you could ask the operator for 'San Francisco 295' or the like. This is not a profound thought, I'm just musing. And attempting to make the pitiful state of my phone into more than just an incredibly annoying accident!

Wish me a working phone in the morning!
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but I'm doing well. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, it's just that I haven't been motivated to say it-- I got into that feedback loop of 'it's been so long since I posted that it should be really good, so I have to wait until I can live up to that'. Things are going well here. I have pretty much given up on finding a job on the internet at this point, since it's the holidays and people aren't doing much hiring, and plus I'll have decided what country I'll be living in in a few weeks and I can make definite plans then.

We're heading up to Blackpool for the holiday, which should be fun, if odd. I've never done a vegetarian holiday before, and while I'm not the biggest fan of turkey, I'm wondering what it will be like to have no meat at all. Among other things, it means no dill dip, which is a holiday tradition that I love fiercely! I like Tris' family a lot, but this is still the first Christmas I've spent away from my nuclear family and I'm missing them like crazy. I was hoping that [livejournal.com profile] stanciar was going to be able to come visit, but that's been a no-go. But it's gorgeously foggy out right now, and we've got a really pretty tree up, and I'm going to make christmas cookies at Tris' folks house, so overall I'm pretty darn happy with life.
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i was sitting with ciara in the green room today talking, and we ended up having an odd discussion with one of her friends who passed through about his description of his relationship with someone else in the department. it took about ten minutes to decide that the best response to 'is he a friend of yours?' was 'i know him, yeah.', because it's a neutral statement. he didn't want to claim friendship, but he didn't think acquaintance quite described their relationship either. (this promises to be long, so i'll hide it behind a cut!) it seems to me that the word 'friend' is a problematic one at best )
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forbiddencharm: (inara: secrets)
( Feb. 27th, 2006 12:47 am)
had an interesting experience this weekend which made me think. (i'll explain it below, but want to get the thinking part out first!) why do we like to read blogs? i'm not talking about blogs from my friends, really (which of course pretty much includes everyone who reads this), but blogs of people i don't know and am not likely to ever meet. i don't have many, but there are a few that i've collected over the years that i keep an eye on. some of them are incredible writers, who make me feel inadequate about the fairly sad content of my own effort here (although i'm not writing for the masses, so i suppose i'm excused--wow, i use a lot of parentheses, don't i?) but some of them are just fairly normal blogs, day to day events and thoughts and not much more. what is it about people's lives that is so interesting?

i think part of it is the mystery. while we can attribute motives to other people's speech and actions, we're always extrapolating from what we would be thinking if we were them, and who's to say that we think in the same way at all? in fact, i think it's obvious that we don't, as it would never even occur to me to think of most of the things caton comes out with on a daily basis. so reading a blog is a little bit of an explanation of the way someone's mind works, a way to explore into the unexplorable. but of course, the blog too is consciously controlled, just like normal speech and actions, so what makes it different? i'm thinking it's the fact that, while everyone knows people will be reading their blog, most people go ahead and write without much of a filter in place, so it's closer to their raw thoughts than almost any other form of communication. reading a blog is peeking into the inside of someone's head, which could be viewed as the ultimate in voyeurism--not just watching them, but watching their innermost thoughts. but because it is posted publicly, it is semi-condoned voyeurism, so it's ok.

this is all brought on by one of the slac-ers, who has now moved on back to england (the problem with folks from slac is their transitory nature--just when you think, hey, you're cool, i need to get to know you better, they move away!), has been outed as having a blog for quite some time, but refused to tell people where it was. he's back for a meeting, so i asked him about it, and he was very mysterious. i get his reasoning, which is that he doesn't want it to be a work thing, he wants it to be for friends, or just outside of work, and he doesn't want to be exposed to his co-workers in the same way he would to his friends. but at the same time, by letting it be known that there is a blog but hiding it, he makes it a thing of mystery. (it's like jeremie and that damn story about one of his high school friends, which he refused to tell for years, at first because it was embarrassing, and later because he said it had become such a big deal that we would all be disappointed by the actual content of the story) and we all know me and mysteries, so yesterday morning i went and had a poke around and found it. i never really got to know him while he was here: he had always struck me as very cute but very shy, so the potential to see what was going on in his head was too much to resist- i suppose the people i think would be really interesting if i could only get to know them are the most fascinating. and it's odd, because it's very much the normal kind of blog, with whatever he's thinking about, which is sometimes really interesting and other times just there, but it's intriguing because i think i understand him differently now. now, besides being cute and shy and otherwise pretty much a blank to me, he's funny and clever and a number of other things which would have taken me years in real life to find out (if indeed i ever did, which is unlikely given the juxtaposition of our degree of acquaintance and his location). and no, i didn't write that just because you're likely to read it dave!
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i went out with the boys from slac (the stanford linear accelerator center, for those of you NOT into particle physics) last night, and was struck by how much i miss hanging out with guys. i love the anthropologists in my cohort (mostly female), but it's a very different dynamic. we talk about literature and movies and tv and current events, and of course anthropology. and we have a great time, and i enjoy it. but it's kind of--quiet. we go out, we eat, we have a couple of drinks, we're home by eleven. last night, out with the guys, we talked about the ways chukwudi meets girls, and embarrassing things eric has done (boy howdy, were they ever embarrassing!), and the point (or lack thereof) of strippers. and it was hysterical and boisterous and not quiet at all. i think i really need that occasionally, just to have an evening when i'm laughing and talking about stupid things.

it's so odd that people socialize in such different ways. the browncoats are different yet again, and the archaeologists at cornell yet another. and i wonder if it is the case that every group has a distinct character, or that these are distinct different types of people and thus they socialize differently, but each group of similar people would be similar. i know swati and i had a theory in college that there are certain roles in each group of people, and if a new person enters they either have to create a new role or usurp someone else's. that is one of the (many!) reasons the poker group in ithaca didn't like rick's friend when she moved to town, because she wanted to take my role and that destabilized the group. but we never discussed whether the roles varied from group to group, or are universal.

thoughts, anyone?
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forbiddencharm: (kaylee: light)
( Jan. 29th, 2006 09:26 pm)
jeremie called the other day to wish me a happy birthday. really, i think he felt guilty because it was his turn to call and he'd forgotten for a couple of months, but the birthday was a good excuse. :-) he and swati are getting married at the end of october. they've been together for, gosh, three, four years now? it's so strange, remembering the four of us driving cross country in dave's parents' station wagon, dave and swati dating, jeremie and i doing whatever the hell we were doing at that point (which come to think of it was nothing, because we definitely met up with lawson in arizona and he and i were all whatever the hell we were. arizona is a weird place for me--that's where i lived [livejournal.com profile] misplacedmind's life for a weekend once too). everyone swore that trip was a disaster waiting to happen, that we would none of us be speaking when we got back, but we got back better friends than we had ever been, all of us. and now dave's a minister and jeremie and swati are getting married. by dave. (two days before halloween, which is kind of odd, when you think about it) i'm so happy for them- they seem so happy together, and they're both so great, i can't think of anyone better for them.

and at the same time as i'm happy for them as a couple, i'm a little sad that swati and i didn't manage to keep in touch. and i wonder, i wonder--back before jeremie and i started dating, i suspected that swati had a crush on him, but she would never admit it. and then things happened and i didn't really think about it. but was she waiting for him that whole time? even while she was with dave? (i mean, they both knew it would never work out long term, what with the whole he-unconsciously-knew-she- was-going-to-hell-because-she's-hindu thing) did she not really want to keep in touch with me (and i did make a fair effort) because she felt oddness about the jeremie situation? or was it just the vagaries of space and the business of life and whatever?

and that made me think about the last time i got together with dave. he has such an intensity to the way he listens when you're talking to him. part of that i'm sure he learned in seminary, lessons on how to really listen when your parishioners are asking for your advice. but part of it was just there already. he always really listened, and it's only now that i really get how rare a quality that is. when dave is talking to you, he's never using your part of the conversation to prepare his answers, he is paying complete attention to everything you are saying. it's almost disorienting, to look at him and see that there is nothing there but his attention. i think a lot of the time we almost rely on the fact that the person we're talking to isn't giving us their full attention all of the time. being around someone who isn't doing that means we have to pay more attention to what we say, because that's what they're doing too. i think that (and the fact that he didn't want to poach because boys are territorial in defiance of logic) is part of why we fizzled before we got very far. it was-intimidating. i wonder if that is part of why it's so difficult to be a preacher's wife, because they are always paying so much attention to you.

and i really don't quite know what the point of this all is, other than i felt like writing and this is what came out. and of course those of you who know jeremie et al will be pleased for them! (you met him [livejournal.com profile] johanna_b, he was the one you thought looked like rif)
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Thinking about that last post, I have been going over the decisions I've made in my life, the places where I could have completely changed the path I was on (yes, i know, i really had nothing better to do tonight. everyone is freaking gone, or else already out. grumph! bored! i am SO calling some of you people tomorrow night!). And I could only think of five. Isn’t it odd that there are only five places, five decisions in my life that I can see having any significant effect? (and at that, one of them is probably only mildly significant, it’s really four and a half) Nothing else was a choice- I didn’t even think about college, there was no questioning, when I got into w&m I went there. I would have rejected anywhere else- I did reject some pretty incredible places, when I think about it. high school was a play, and I knew my lines and I knew I couldn’t not say them, there were no choices there. It is only during and after college that I ever made choices that had a significant impact on my life. I guess this is what I imagine that impact would have been the life stories of the alternate me's )
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forbiddencharm: (inara: secrets)
( Jan. 7th, 2006 12:09 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] mrtris asked me if i were upset about turning 30. it's a difficult question, really, and i'm not quite sure i know the answer. it makes me think of my alternate universe boyfriend experience.

shortly after i found out i would be moving to california, a very nice, very smart, very funny, very cute man (with a lovely accent) asked me out in ithaca. i met him when noam and i were dating because he is in math as well, and while i thought at the time that he was all of the above, of course i wasn't looking. we ran into each other several times that last spring, but i didn't make any moves because i was about to move here, so what would be the point? (other than fooling around with someone fun, smart, gorgeous etc for a while, which, oops, should have thought of that!). but of course he didn't know about the move, so he asked me out-we went when i came back from apartment hunting, and it was wonderful. we had a great time, we flirted, it was the kind of date where you know there will be more to follow- only of course there weren't. it was like looking through a window into the life i would have had if i had stayed at cornell-live in my house, study bones, date him. it would have been a nice life, i would really have enjoyed it- but that's not the life i'm living. and i love my life now- i love living here and studying here and dating [livejournal.com profile] mrtris, and i wouldn't change all of that. but i wonder what that other life would have been like- would we have been serious or would we only have gone out a few times? would i have changed my study topic or would i be stuck with the bones? what would i have been doing differently?

and this birthday is kind of like that. if things had gone according to my high school plan, i would have been teaching for the last three years, well on my way to getting tenure. and i have had some incredible experiences and met some incredible people, and i would have gone through a much less prestigious program and studied much more prosaic archaeology if i had gone that route, so i certainly don't want to go back and change it, but i kind of want to know what it would have been like. it would be kind of nice to go and live that life for a day!

so i guess i'm not upset so much as inspired to think. i don't feel old (as covered a couple of posts ago), and i'm not unhappy about where i am in my life, i'm just- curious. and a little bummed out about the prospect of so much more grad school. it would be so nice to have a real income finally, and be able to not live in student squalor!
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