Saturday, October 28, 2006

Every generation believes that theirs is the last. There's nothing so very wrong with this eschatological bent (a new word I picked up in my Near Eastern Studies/Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies class--it means 'having to do with the apocalypse or end of the world.' Cool, eh?). It's the way of the world, as I've said. But lately...lately it's seemed scarily true. On a personal level, the end of my first semester as a senior is rapidly approaching, and while I'm excited, I'm also scared. Before now, I'd been worried; I worried when I applied to college, of course, and at other strategic points along the way (the MCAT, for example). But before now I had never been truly scared. And while I'm aching to go to medical school, I'm also abjectly terrified. The office of Community Development puts on all these programs for freshman students: How to Spot Eating Disorders, Being LGBT at Cornell, Overcoming Procrastination--any virtue or vice you could imagine has an associated program. The seniors get the career fairs, I guess (and the free schwag from Merill Lynch and HP and so on...I considered going and pretending to be an econ major in order to score pens and highlighters, but decided against, not really). I propose that Cornell institute a program for seniors at the beginning of the year called "Mortal Terror and You." Bet you five bucks the auditorium would be packed.

I fell asleep this afternoon and felt like I'd broken into a million tiny pieces that someone had somehow managed to scoop together and arrange under the sheets: The Sudan. Applications. Guantanamo. Global warming. My parents' mortality. The limbs of the trees here, now stripped of their leaves, waving in the wind like the arms of the fallen. The impending gas crisis. It's almost Halloween, and the veil between the worlds is thinning...

There will be an answer; it just might not be the one we hope for.
There will be an outcome, but the outcome is up to us.
We can keep our mouths shut and our hands balled into fists. Or we can speak truth to power, and open our hands.

Tell it like it is.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Because we can't be serious all the time: a bunch of superfun linkage! All no doubt well known, but nonetheless enjoyable.

Dinosaur Comics!
Hear dinosaurs talk about determinism and the nature of consciousness while stomping on houses...

Cute Overload. Have you ever wanted to grind a puppy into powder and cook it so you could inject it directly into your veins? What about snorting a line of bunnies? That's what this site is like. Don't visit it if you'll be operating heavy machinery in the near future.

Something Awful. And by awful, I mean wonderful. Not for the faint of heart, but the Comedy Goldmine and Photoshop Phriday are worth the price of admission (which, by the way, is nothing).

Writhe and Shine. Goths at an industrial club in New Orleans, tryin' to scrape a living. Sort of sad, considering the setting of this comic is probably long gone, but dark humor, like dark coffee, is delicious.

Dip Me in Chocolate... the site for the serious chocolate conoissieur (did I spell that right? Damn French, using up all the vowels. That's why there are hardly any vowels in Serbia. Did you know that? It's because the French took them all.) If you know what 'single origin' chocolate is about, can talk about 'percentage of cocoa solids' and 'tempering' without feeling out of your depth, can name at least ten brands of chocolate, and think Hershey's has all the appeal of cat wharf, here you go... Or if you merely aspire to this level of refinement--not to say snobbery--with regards to your chocolate experience.

Now you know what I do with my time when I'm not writing German papers...or reading Faust...or reading kinship theory...or writing about the intersection of gender studies and hagiography...or doing yoga...or applying to medical schools...or agitating for sustainable food practices...or writing poems...or baking...or running.
We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe. --Goethe

Earth's the right place for love. I don't know where it's likely to go better. --Robert Frost

Winter is coming.

The cold is already stirring, ready to creep over the hills and settle in for the long dark months ahead.

People are settling too, at the same time as they're striving (particularly during this crazy part of the semester). Defenses kick in.
The slow slide begins.
It's all downhill from here,
picking up speed
with no resistance,
no trees to block the mad descent.

I wanted to say something, too, about the sixth sense that those of us with/ recovering from eating disorders develop. I wanted to say that I can recognize 'one of us' from across the quad, or in a sports photo, or in line at Libe Cafe. The arm which, though covered by a thick sweater, clearly strains to lift a purse. The veins that stand out on wrists and hands, like those of old women. The jeans--already a size 0 or perhaps a 2--that are just beginning to bag, although they fit fine at the beginning of September. The girl who's at the gym every time I go, pedaling away on the elliptical machine as if she were actually going somewhere, moving steadily towards the land of the models in the Cosmopolitan she reads as she exercises. The other women I pass from time to time when I run at night, dragging their bodies through their paces, running on adrenaline and grit (but certainly not food). The empty eyes. The stare. The mad rushing from cafe to class and back again, carrying a coffee (black, of course, with two packets of Equal) and a cigarette. The crew that heads to Tasti-D-Lite around seven in the evening, substituting four ounces of vanilla soft-serve for dinner (and breakfast, and lunch). The appraising glance at my body as I run past. And despite these disappearing acts, I know they want nothing more than to be seen. If you're reading this, I see you. Indeed, I'm haunted by you. You are known.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I got my MCAT scores back! And I'm...very pleased. It would be lame to talk numbers, so I won't, but...yeah, it's all good. Thank Goddess, because I wouldn't have wanted to take them again.

So, the other day I was walking around campus and thinking, gee, it seems like there's a lot of free stuff available here. So I decided to devote part of today to searching out and acquiring free things (the part that I wasn't spending writing papers and preparing my German presentation--which reminds me. Oh God, the in-class presentation. I get so very nervous, especially when I'm giving a presentation in a language that is not English. It's not so much the linguistic difference as it is the fact that if I get tripped up, I have difficulty recovering--in any language. It's just that giving a presentation in a foreign language amps up the stress level, which makes it that much more likely that I'll forget "my lines." Oy.). At the end of the day, I had:

1. From Gannett: Free condoms, a lollipop, and a mass of pamphlets because I love pamphlets--ask my friends. I'm always bringing 'free materials' home. Coincidentally, two pamphlets tied for favorite: "What you should know about genital herpes" and "Getting what you want from sex." I also took two pens. I figure I spend enough time and money at Gannett that it's no particular crime if I take a pen home with me now and again.
2. From the atrium of Corson-Mudd Hall: Several Oreo cookies, a strange kind of chocolate/almond cookie I couldn't identify, a cup of coffee, and a tea bag for later. I don't feel bad about this, as I was a neurobio major for most of my Cornell career. Word to the wise: the bio folks, and the neurobio crew in particular, frequently have free food. And it's not crap food either--it's usually pretty good. Go to a presentation; get cookies afterwards. Go to a Friday colloquium, and behold: free pizza and beer. I'm telling you, it's worth your while to be interested in psychopharmacology and modeling neural networks. There's no reason to go hungry on campus, even if you don't have any money. With careful planning and an ear to the ground, you could eat your way from reception to reception or meeting to meeting (student groups often lure people with promises of pizza--generally legit).
3. From the dispensers on campus, in increasing order of quality: the Sun and The New York Times. I could have taken a USA Today but didn't. I would put it even below the Sun in terms of objective news coverage (for serious). Read them, then use them to light fires or make interesting papier-mache sculptures! It's fun for the whole family!
4. From the library: Bookmarks and an Organic Chemistry textbook (just kidding). Rented part of Monty Python's Flying Circus and "Tipping the Velvet," a strange English lesbian SM film. Free, free, free.

That's all for now, folks--the sleeping pill is finally kicking in! Hooray!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sorrow. Speaking. Sonnets.

If we lived in a world without tears
how would bruises find
the face to lie upon
how would scars find skin
to etch themselves into
how would broken find the bones

How would misery know
which back door to walk through
how would trouble know
which mind to live inside of
how would sorrow find a home
--Lucinda Williams, "World Without Tears"

Fall always makes me feel melancholy. This morning I watched the leaves falling from the trees and heard the rush of wind through the branches and could taste the metallic tang of coming winter softened by the sweetness of wet ground and I knew: there are no words for this. There is description, but it's empty; there are photographs, but they are shadows on the wall of the cave; this is the immediate, the Real (as a Lacanian might say), the f'ing SUBLIME. Or as Goethe put it in a section of Faust that I read for class today, "In awe one feels profoundly the immense."

So, struggling for meaning--and in one of my classes this afternoon, no less (two hour seminars can feel dreadfully long, even with the best of subject matter)--I wrote about not being able to write, and the absence of meaning. Ta-da. One contradiction, coming right up, with a side salad and cottage cheese. Note also the lines that I cribbed more-or-less verbatim from William Shakespeare and the Book of Ecclesiastes, respectively.

Sonnet, for Autumn

I fear that there is nothing left to write--
The well of words I drilled has now gone dry;
I've given over being to this blight,
Destroyed by that which I was nourished by.
The passions moving me I can't express:
Leaves raining down in storms of red and gold,
The sweet and silken feel of hand's caress,
So sharply felt, unable to be told.
All is vanity, there is no hope,
So let my burn my papers, break my pen;
When emptied of their meaning, shrunk in scope,
What use is word and wonder to me then?

Faced with the All, all language falters, dead;
All I can say is: nothing can be said.