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The future's so bright I gotta wear shades...
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25th-Jun-2009 01:03 pm - Amusing
Too much Dante

Funny little tidbit:


So here in merry New England it seems that the populace is often inspired by their Puritan ancestry (a people so uptight that the British kicked them out).  For example, the mostly functioning T system stops running at 12.30; it doesn’t run less frequently, or even every hour, it just stops running.  If you are out carousing and engaging in sin past 12.30, well, it serves you right, the next train isn’t gonna be until 5.30 or 6 am.  Great for the cabbies, bad for the rest of us.  I take this as some sort of attempt to keep people from partying all night, to make people stay in their neighborhoods, or to keep the drunkards out of the T and on the roads instead.  Whichever works, it’s still amusing. 


(Coincidentally, there are also no such things as Happy Hour or drink specials here either, they aren’t allowed, I’ve asked. Those would increase the likelihood of, uh, people getting just as smashed but not paying enough, dammit!)


But anyway, onto the story.  So I’ve got an aunt (I pronounce this word “ant” and have been ridiculed for this by many New Englanders.  “She’s not a bug,” they say scornfully.  “You don’t know, she’s really short,” I say.) who comes up here once a month or so to visit a friend of hers, so she has many hilarious stories about dealing with the MBTA (as we all do, stab kill die stabbity) but she loves the little slogans that sometimes appear on their website:


“Don’t be a lout, let them out.”




“Don’t dash, pick up your trash” were two of her favorites.  Now these slogans had my entire family dying of laughter, cuz, really?  Call a guy from Southie a lout and he’ll probably look at you and go “Wha? What did you call me?”  It’s almost like someone took the rhyming abilities of Mother Goose and combined it with the New England sense of propriety.  Bad rhymes at that.  What next? “Don’t be crass, get your hand off her ass?”


So anyway (I keep getting lost here), one  day when Duane and I were driving back from somewhere on I-84, after what seemed like hours of slogging through Connecticut (it never ends) and I see this sign and start cracking up: “Take a Break, Stay Awake, for Safety’s Sake!”  So I turn to Duane and say “Lookee lookee! We must be in Massachusetts now!”  “Nah,” he says “We still have a while to go.”  Sure enough, about 200 feet after the friendly warning to dozing drivers is a sign: “Welcome to Massachusetts!” 


Massachusetts: home of the condescending slogans that are really just trying to make you a better person.  It’s all for your own good, can’t you see that?  Now shuddap and ignore that drunken Red Sox fan who’s about to vomit on the train.  He’s just being supportive of his team.   Ha ha.

4th-Nov-2008 11:31 pm - FUCK YEAH
doc smile


I'm laughing with glee so hard right now. 

After 8 fucking years...change and hope. 

McCain has conceeded, Obama got his landslide, and all the Palin hockey moms can go suck an egg.

Dear Mr. President Elect, I really do not envy all the obstacles coming your way, but seeing as how you managed to mobilize an army of voters the likes of which this country hasn't seen in years, I got a feeling you can make something happen for the better.

4th-Nov-2008 10:19 pm(no subject)
Too much Dante
I'm currently watching the Stewart/Colbert Indecision 08 because, well, listening to the pundits on CNN decide on who has what state when only .1% is reporting does nothing but raise my blood pressure.  I thought I'd avoid the election coverage, but my inner masochist has decided that I should hit the refresh button on the CNN page every, oh, 3 seconds.  Leary as I am of being too hopeful...it really seems like this is going to happen.  Please, please, please....

Come on, America.  I really don't want to have to think about packing all my shit up and fleeing from this country.
28th-Oct-2008 04:32 pm - The Big Read thingie
Too much Dante

Because Jen told me to…

I got 52/100.  A lot of that is due to an education in English authors of the 19th century that my mom gave me (Hardy, Austen, Dickens), she loves that stuff.  Along with Russian authors and science fiction.  My mom’s weird, it’s genetic.  No Greek or Roman classics on this list, I was saddened. How did Homer or Virgil not make the top 100?  Most of my favorite authors did not make this list...


The Big Read reckons that the average adult has read only 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those that you've read.
2.) Italicize those you intend to read.
3.) Underline the books you LOVE.
4.) Reprint this list in LJ so we can try and track down these people who have read 6 and force books upon them

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (it’s a family ritual to reread this trilogy every year, usually around Xmas)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (not for me)
5To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (gah…never again. High school English killed this one, and the Scarlet Letter)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (I read about half of it standing in a Barnes and Noble waiting for Ksen to show up…never went back for the other half)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (anyone shocked, anyone, Bueller?)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy (There is such a thing as too much Thomas Hardy)
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (NO! Never. Ever.)
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams  
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
(Ah Hamlet, my dad used to say, the eternal college student)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo 


Too much Dante







It’s been a whirlwind. Wrapped up in chaos. Served with a side of drama. Not all bad; believe me, there have been good times, but these last two months or so have been some of the most trying weeks of my life. 


We managed to pack up and move all our shit (where did all that shit come from?) in less than two weeks, then we drove up here with the 20 foot truck, unpacked in about 3 days, and Duane started work. Linda, however, did not because she had no job. So I spent the following three weeks trying not to be bored out of my mind and applying to jobs. Nothing came up, not surprisingly, seeing as it was August. Being the somewhat sensible person I am, I took the first thing that came my way, which was a temp job at a big Barnes and Noble in Boston. Eh, not that great pay, okay hours, but a great discount on the books. I thought I’d be out of there after a while, but it’s been almost a month and a half…and I’m still there. It doesn’t bring in the kind of money I need, so I really have to find a better job. The problem is, I want a job that I would like, not just be a drone at. 


But enough about that; cue the drama….A month ago, Duane found out that he was going to have to go for his officer training courses starting in the beginning of October. The best part? These officer training things happen first in Oklahoma, from October to the end of November, and then he is in Maryland from December to MARCH. Yep, friggin March. 


So here I am, working at a job that only functions to keep me from going completely out of my mind, in a city that I don’t know that well, in a place where I don’t have any friends or relatives…yeah that downward spiral just beckons, people. 


Never fear though, I am trying my damndest to keep myself busy. I’m studying for the GREs and devouring at least 3 books a week.  My plan is to apply for grad school this upcoming February and March, and hopefully get into a program I’d like for next year. If nothing else, grad school will be a good place to hide if the economic terror continues.  As I often advise others to do: I gotta do for me now.  I’ve got to do what is necessary to get where I’d like to be. And when in doubt, there is enough fodder in the current election soap opera and financial crisis to keep anyone amused. Well, amused as long as it doesn’t end horribly. If it does end catastrophically, and animatronic McCain and his sidekick the superhero of Hockey Moms everywhere win, then yours truly is finding a way the fuck out of this country. No joke. But, no politics here, not right now anyway.  That will be a rant for another day.


I think I might go home next weekend. Seeing my mom and dad (and you, Ksen) would do me good. I miss human contact already. Stupid lack of knowing anybody. Anyone know someone who would like to adopt a cynical, sarcastic, half-crazed, New Yorker? No? Thought not =)


12th-Jul-2008 01:49 pm - So....
Too much Dante
Yeah, I haven't been able to write in here for a while.  The past couple of weeks have been so fast-paced and stressful that the few times I wasn't running around like a chicken without a head, I was staring at a wall (with or without a television near it) and drooling copiously.  

What's been going on?  Let me try to summarize.  To start with, about 4 weeks ago my mom got really sick.  It all stemmed from a bug bite she got down in Virginia, started as a migraine, turned into a viral flu, was mis-diagnosed as cellulitus at first, but last Monday was discovered to be Lyme disease.  So we've all been worried about her and I've made a couple trips home to see her.  She is currently on a month of antibiotics that should get rid of the disease, since it was caught in time, and is improving.

Then, about 3 weeks ago, I went to Ocean City, NJ for about 5 days with the boyfriend and his family.  That was hours of guilt-tripping fun, let me tell you.  I don't even want to go into it right now, another time I'll share the hilarious details about how Duane and I had to do everything with his family, otherwise we were horrible and evil human beings, and that included getting up at 7 am, eating shitty food, and having dinner at 4 pm.  It was fun, fun, fun!  But at least it was at the beach, and the water and sand was nice.

After our time there, we set out to NYC for literally a night, to see my mom and sleep, and then we headed up to Boston because the boy had a job interview at a Chemical Engineering company.  We got to Boston at around midnight and his interview was at 10 am the next day in Plymouth, MA (about 40 miles south of Boston).  When his interview was done, five hours later or so, we headed back to NYC to sleep for a night, and then the next day made the long trek back to Pittsburgh.  That was all over a period of 4 days and over 1000 miles of driving, mind you.

So we get back to Pittsburgh, get yelled at by his parents again for returning the car later or something, and collapse in our apartment.  This was two weeks ago exactly.  The following Tuesday, Duane gets a call telling him that he got the job (YAHOO) and I get a call telling me my mom's got Lyme Disease (BOO) all within an hour of each other.  Good day.  Not to mention the lack of a happy response from his parents about the job, they spent two days trying to convince him that he should never leave Pittsburgh.  So now we gotta figure out where the hell we can live so that he can commute to Plymouth and I can get into Boston.  We settle on Quincy, which is on the Red Line and only a short distance from Boston, and would also mean less than a half hour commute for him.  Joy.  Then we had to find a place to live.  God bless the Internet and modern technology.  Thanks to Craigslist and many many calls, we found a few apartments that we though were decent.  

But when could we actually see them?  A spontaneous decision this past Monday had us renting a car and leaving Pittsburgh (again) the next morning.  We stopped over in NYC for a night (again) and then drove up to Quincy at the ass-crack of dawn.  After spending about 36 hours looking at apartments and tearing our hair out, we settled on a two bedroom in a more modern, condo-style building.  The rent isn't too bad (expensive by Pittsburgh standards, relatively cheap by NYC lights) and includes most utilities, and the location is good.  We drove back to NYC on Thursday, Duane dropped me off at home so I could see my mom, and continued on to Pittsburgh.  He got into town at around 10 pm, and the very next morning headed out to Johnstown for his National Guard weekend.  

In conclusion:
- I have a lease to an apartment that I think is nice (I remember it vaguely at this point...)
- We've got to sign it and send it back with the first and last month's rent next week
- Duane's job starts at the end of July
- I've got to find some sort of job in Boston
- We've got to pack
- and say goodbye to people (dont want to consider this part, it sucks)

And all of this needs to be done in less than two weeks.

Holy shit I'm moving to Massachusetts.

So, sorry guys if I've been out of touch and haven't talked to you recently.  I apologize.  I've been going out of my mind with stress, worry, and travelling.  For the people in Pittsburgh, I hope I get to see you before I go, and I'll really miss you guys.

Holy FUCKING SHIT, I'm moving to Massachusetts.  Someday it'll seem real.  For right now, I'm going to continue to run around like a crazed hamster in the Circus Maximus until it's all done.  I need a vacation.

Signing off,
Ah the Rolling Stones...

Even though I haven’t written anything in here in quite a while, never fear, life has been continuing with its usual alacrity.  The past month or so has been…interesting.  I’ve gone through a few things that I hope I never have to again, and that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about that here.  On top of that, there has been a veritable onslaught of issues concerning family, friends, and the boy; all of which adding up to such a lovely cocktail of emotions that I decided to crawl under a rock for a bit, and there I remained. It was quite a cozy little rock, not many bugs at all, and the moss was beautiful.

I know I really need to shake off this current mood of apathy towards damn near everything.  There is stuff I need to do, like look into future jobs for myself, research more grad schools, figure out where the hell I’m gonna be at the end of July (wait, didn’t I already do this a couple of times, fucking hell), etc, etc.  That stuff is usually not exactly uplifting, so I understand my desire to avoid it.  On the other hand, I really need to get back to the things that interest me.  There are books that clamor to be read; further avenues of irrelevant research to be done for my personal amusement; emails to be sent out to people I’ve lost contact with; practice on the piano, no matter how silly the exercises may be; and more.  Hear that brain?  These things are FUN, you like them, stop being so damn lethargic about it. 

On the bright side of life, there have been quite a few amusing events recently.

I am on the unofficial thesis committee type-thing of my best bud.  And his undergrad thesis is on a book I’ve loved ever since I was a kid, The Master and Margarita.  I’ve inherited a penchant for crazy Russian literature from my parents, what can I say.  And come on, a story about what happens when the devil comes to Moscow, finds out that everyone’s an atheist now, and decides to show them what the supernatural really is…what’s not to love?  There’s a 6 foot cat running around with a primus stove, for christ’s sake.  Anyway, re-reading that book for the umpteenth time and helping him out with the outline and thesis has actually been a surprising highlight.

In other news, there is a very gay man in my office.  Well that’s nothing too surprising, there’s also a woman who looks and acts like a vulture, one who is a zombie, and many, many fat women stuck in the 1980s.  Anyway, he (VGM) is everything you see in the usual stereotype on television: lisp, flailing gestures, butt swish, ad infinitum.  Well, turns out this man is a lover of my native city.  I find this out when another woman in the office is asking him questions about NYC, and he is giving her some correct information, but mainly gushing and gushing.  So I walk by, lean against the door, and basically say with my usual smirk, “I’m from there, whaddya want to know?” I would gladly have helped her with any questions she had to the best of my ability, but whenever she asked a question, VGM decided he had to jump in and answer it first, meanwhile looking at me and nodding his head, as if expecting my support.  So I just cross my arms, continue to learn against the door, and quirk up an eyebrow…this should be amusing.  Now, there is absolutely no reason that this man should know everything about the city, and had he presented himself in any other way, I would have been less keen to laugh at everything he said.  Here are some tidbits:

o       “Where do you live,” he asked me.  20th street, by the FDR drive,” I say.  “oh, oh, that’s like by 5th avenue,” he says to me.   Me: “…uh…no actually I’m about as far east as you can get on the island.”  Him: “right, of course, I knew that.”

o       “well there’s no reason ever to go up above the 80s,” he says.  “I mean Harlem isn’t dangerous anymore…that’s right above the 80’s right?” he asks me.  Gee, I thought to myself, I gotta tell all the rich people on either side of Central Park they actually live in Harlem now.  No reason to go above the 80s my tuckus…

o       The woman’s daughter was planning on taking a trip to the city, so she was asking about transportation, you know, planes, trains and automobiles.  Well this is what VGM had to share “Oh yes, the airports are like right there.  I mean, there’s a train or monorail thing that takes you right to LaGuardia isn’t there?”  He says this while nodding at me, once again.  I kinda just smile and say “Really?”  Now…the only way you get to a train from LaGuardia is via bus, if you’re lucky enough to get a bus.  This is QUEENS, remember?

It continued on and on for about 15 minutes.  Sadly I don’t remember much of the rest, but I do know that after about 10 minutes of standing there, they both turn to me and VGM asks “So were you there on 9/11?”  Now, I’m used to this, after years of being asked it, no matter what fucking country I’m in.  But the thing is, when I reply “Yeah, I was at school, you could see it from some windows,” their fucking eyes lit up and they started chattering like that was the most interesting thing they’d heard.  I was standing there, more than a whit disgusted, and then more questions came “Oooh, were you scared?” “I would have been SOO scared…”  And the like.  At that point, I said my phone was ringing, and I left.  Since then, VGM has been friendly towards me, but I return it with normal New York snark. 

And speaking of NYC, I just came back from a trip home.  It was much needed relaxation and unwinding, although travelling to and from there has become such a fucking pain.  I swear, it makes me with that a)I had a car and that b)I could drive.  I’d gladly fork over the gas money rather than spend 9 hours of a bus or x number of hours going to and from airports.  ANYWAY, it was great being home.  Sitting there and talking with my parents for hours about damn near everything in my life, their lives, and the world makes me realize more than ever why I am the way I am, which I struggle with sometimes when I come up against the normal Pennsyltucky attitude.  As my dad said, dying of laughter from something I said, “Jesus kid, you’re such a snobby New Yorker.”  I struck a pose, preened for a minute, and asked “Is that a bad thing?”  And no, as we then discussed, it isn’t.  It just means that I expect more of people and of myself than normal people do.  I can’t understand people who don’t try to improve their lives when all they do is complain. Or the people who are happy with the incredibly small, inclusive world they create around themselves in suburbia.  There’s got to be more to life than working a boring job just so you can buy really big and expensive things.  There just has to be.  There is a big fucking world out there guys, why not try and understand it, or at least explore it a little?  And for months I’ve had to deal with people like this, who observe me like I should be under a microscope or behind glass on exhibit.  Their small mindedness limits my ability to handle them, and they have no friggin clue what to do with me.  Thankfully my parents showed me, once again, that being a snobby New Yorker and a member of the intelligentsia isn’t a bad thing. It’s better than the alternative, that’s for damn sure.  I love my parents.  I hope one day that I know as much as they do and have experienced even a quarter of all the stuff they’ve done. 

I think that’s about it for now.  Ha, if you’ve managed to make it this far down the entry, I congratulate you.

Be seeing you.

25th-Mar-2008 11:29 am - on cabbages and kings...
Too much Dante
Well....not really.  I don't much like cabbage, even though it was Saint Paddy's Day recently, and I don't know any kings....I do know a couple of queens though.

But, in truth, I have felt a bit like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole recently: a couple of weeks ago there was a very unhappy turn of events in regards to the boy’s future and when he’s going to go through his officer training next year. Without going into serious details, the dates of said training suck ass and royally screw up any possible stable plans I had for what happens after our lease expires in Pittsburgh. Joy. So, over the past few weeks I have had to ponder the following: 1. I don’t know where the hell I’m going to be living or trying to survive after Pittsburgh, 2. I have no idea if I can get a job (thank you awesome economy), 3. He’s got to find an engineering job damn quick and then we can sort of figure out where to go, and 4. The training means that I don’t get to see him for about 6 months. Oh and 5. After the training he can get sent someplace if his unit gets activated. So yeah, nice bomb dropped on my psyche there. I’ve recovered mostly now, but 1-3 are still constantly on my mind.
My sister made another unwanted appearance in my life a week or so ago. She tried to call me, but since I was actually having fun with Jen I decided not to answer. Good thing too. For those of you familiar with the story, you know my sister can be a volatile projectile of guilt and emotion. Now after the latest Xmas fiasco, I decided I didn’t really want to deal with that fraternal unit of mine, so I kinda nixed the contact between us, save an email now and again. A month or more back, she calls my mom and proceeds to basically say that she doesn’t think she can handle a relationship with my parents anymore, it’s just too much effort on her part, blah blah blah, martyr, martyr, thank you for existing blah. Anyways, cut to the present: I finally listen to the voicemail she left me last Thursday, which I really shouldn’t have done. It went something like this: “Hi Linda, it’s Donna. Um, I don’t know if you’ve disowned me as a sister or something *pause* or if you’re just busy…*quickly* it’s just busy-ness on my part, no disowning…” it kept going, but I deleted it at that point. Now the parents are each sending her calm emails asking what’s wrong and what can they do to help, but I’m staying the hell outta this one. She’s blood, so I love her, but I don’t gotta like her at all.
In other news, this week is my last week as the temp in this office. All I have to say about that is halle-freaking-lujah. Not only is office work incredibly boring and repetitive, but this job has been so mindless that I’ve barely had ANY work to do and I’ve actually desired boring, repetitive office work. No, seriously, I’ve been lucky to average 2 hours of busyness out of 8 every day. It’s been driving me insane. I’ve just been repeating my mantra of “I’m getting paid for this, I’m getting paid for this…” until the desire to scream and rampage dissipates just a wee bit. That and I’ve read way too many articles from the Times and the BBC, read about a dozen books, done god knows how many Sudoku, and tried pathetically to surf the Internet. I’m just no good at the Internet. Let’s hope that the next temp position is livelier.
That brings up the topic of politics: I’m staying the hell away from it. Most of the stuff I read and see that either makes part of my brain cry out in pain or makes me froth at the mouth is just so unbelievable that I don’t even have to try and make it funny; it already is so goddamn ridiculous. 
Let’s talk about books instead, a much safer and less twitch-inducing topic. Still addicted to my Russian mysteries (why aren’t they translating MORE…Ksen, you need to get on tha t=D), and I’ve decided to go on a sci-fi kick. Reread Gaiman’s Neverwhere (still a great and fast read), am currently devouring Time’s Eye by Clarke (Genghis Khan AND Alexander the Great?!? Heading to Babylon because the Earth has been tampered with and is now a patchwork of different times? Sign me up!), and I bought a couple of other books, including Nightwatch (yay Russian sci-fi!).  So hooray for books and how they keep my sane sometimes.
Other than that, I really haven’t been up to much, kiddies. I get to go home this weekend and see my city, parents, and best bud; something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. And there’s lots of interesting music and theatre events coming up in April, which I must get my butt to in order to keep me occupied and my level of anger at Pittsburgh low.  And all I have to say is IT BETTER BE FUCKING SPRING SOON WEATHER GODS!!!! I like the fact that for once here in Pittsburgh the sun is shining, but why must it also be 35 degrees and cold? You are mean and vengeful gods aren’t you?
Here's hoping....
doc smile
Because I find this stuff all rather hilarious, I figured I'd share.  And no, it's not just because I think the modern Valentine's Day is incredibly sappy and ridiculous...it's that after learning about what the Ancient Romans did on their version of the holiday, I think they had a better idea.  Or at least an idea that was similar, but not shrouded in chocolates and annoying cards and crap.  Bah humbug.

So kiddies, here's the first theory about what Valetine's Day used to be in Ancient Rome:

"For eight hundred years prior to the establishment of Valentine's Day, the Romans had practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men's rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The celebration featured a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the remaining year. "

I personally think that it's a great idea.  And it skips all the purposeless candies and cards and cajoling and dives right into the real carnal desire behind Valentine's Day.  Come on people, like Valetine's Day isn't all about trying to get laid.  

Here's another theory:

"In Ancient Rome, February 15 was Lupercalia, an archaic rite connected to fertility, without overtones of romance. Plutarch wrote:

Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy."

Now this has a more S&M feel to it, although that would work for a lot of people.  It could be a lot of fun: a holiday to let you get all your aggression out by running around and whacking people with something...and get away with it too!  Although we'd have to extend the whacking to the men too, just to be fair.

But no, of course the Church had to end whichever of these practices existed (because obviously they were too much fun for everyone involved) and so they decided to draw a new saint out of a hat.  And thus, ladies and gents, we have Saint Valentine.  Now, his mythology varies, but the basic gist is that either he married young couples who weren't allowed the marry (cuz the men were in the military and Cladius didn't want them getting attached), or he himself loved some chick he couldn't marry so he sent her a card from "her Valentine" (awww).  Either way you slice it, the end to his story is that he was condemned to death, and was probably killed in an interesting manner.  But, you know, since he was a matyr and was also promoting marriage over getting some first, what more could you want for a saint to replace the old Roman fun?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Time for an update of sorts...
Holy shit, the Giants won the Superbowl. The world MUST be coming to an end. No, really, isn’t there something about this in John’s Revelations? No, wait, that was about Leviathan and other actual giant giants. Close enough? Come on, we have to freak out about something completely unrelated to the world as we know it this week, otherwise how on earth are we good sheep going to be distracted from what’s actually going on? I say it’s tine to bring the Apocalypse back in fashion. Anyway, back to the game… I think everyone I know is happy mainly because the Patriots lost. So, hooray for the underdog and thank god New England didn’t win.

My job continues to be uneventful, but hey, I’m getting paid, I have access to the Internet, and I find various and sundry means to amuse myself. And more importantly, seeing as this is just a job to get me through to when the boy graduates, I got no problem sitting on my butt and saving up cash. Let’s hope that this one lasts for a while.

Even though I bitch and moan about how little there is to do here in the burgh of pitts (hey, gimme a break, I’m a New Yorker, I’m used to being able to WALK outta my house and go where I want to go, or just wander around for Christ’s sakes) I’ve surprisingly been to a number of cool events in the past week or so. There was a most illuminating gallery crawl downtown, a trip to the amazing Strip District market (every kind of cheese you could want…*drools*), seeing Sweeney Todd on Pittsburgh’s version of Broadway (all I have to say is Mrs. Lovitz and her tuba, and won’t you try the priest?), and this past Saturday going to see this concert of medieval and renaissance Scottish music. I walked out with a couple of cds and a good mood, and the boy decided that he wants to learn classical guitar, complete with finger-picking. But honestly, these musicians were amazing; I’ve never seen two people duel each other on recorders and crumhorns in such a silly manner. Not to mention the lute player who rocked out on every song. I didn’t know you could rock out on a lute.

Other than that, life has been pretty good. Not without its hiccoughs, mind you, but you gotta just try and have fun. 

So that’s my story for now, I’ll write a more detailed report (complete with humorous anecdotes) when I get a chance.

How’s things by you?
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