Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The Old Library II
Originally uploaded by (Erik)

Sometimes I wonder where human beings get off critiquing the value of what other human beings do or create. Honestly, what right do we think we have to say that something is "good" or "bad" or "right" or "wrong" based on our own insignificant judgments of quality? How dare we think we can decide the value of something belonging to someone else - especially their thoughts?

I'm getting really fed up with arrogance lately, and surprisingly, it's not solely because of any personal injustice that I feel. It's just something I'm observing more and more of in this academic community, and online as well. I would like to think it exists to a less outrageous extent in other sectors of the world and life, but I'll be honest - I can't know that. I'm stuck in this little bubble of bullshit for the next year and a half, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it while I'm under the control of tests, papers, self-righteous professors and university administration. I'm just glad I'm in this situation at the same time that I'm in a place like New York, where it's relatively easy to "get away" from it all.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Some days I love the Internet every day

Out of Reach
Originally uploaded by stephaniedan

Super awesome, thought-provoking link spam, for your everyday health. Some of these are via iCiNG, naturally.

1000 Awesome Things: Watching Something Download Really Fast. Remember the Internet in the 90s? If yes: Don't you love remembering the Internet in the 90s? If no: how fricking old are you anyway.

In 10 Words. This is an interesting linguistic exercise. It reminds me of this book my French translation/"voices of the projects" prof told us about that was written in French and avoided use of the letter e. Language is amazing, if entirely frustrating*.

More Music, Less Bullshit: Why Dudes Dress Bad. Hilarious and stylish. It also opened my eyes to the fact that, as a girl, I probably dress bad a lot out of laziness of the time too, without realizing it. Owning good clothes doesn't mean you are fashionable haha.

Si Dawson: These Are Not Your Stories. For your own peace of mind, I'll let you read it for yourself, and decide if you agree or not. Sometimes it's hard to remember that, on the Internet and elsewhere, no matter how convicted people sound or how retarded they seem, they might be smarter or less astute than their words make them appear.

jouez. Although a bit feminism- and politics-heavy for my taste, there are some really intelligent, debate-provoking things in this girl's blog. For the record, I don't know her.

Fathering On. It may be creepy that I'm reading the blog of jouez's father, but whatever, I like his idea, and I find it a really interesting concept: a "solo" father (not single, per se) trying to enlighten society's ignorance of the dad's experience of single parenting. It's a really interesting sociological question that really is not treated in the media.

CNN: Catcalling: creepy or a compliment? I've always felt uncontrollably offended when this happens to me, partly because of my upbringing, partly because of my own personal psychology, and apparently, partly because of a more general psychological female trend.

* - Another story for another day.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, goes my Friday night.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dear members of my Education class group,

Originally uploaded by Em.A~

Dear members of my Education class group,

You all are so fucking irresponsible. You are supposed to be teachers-in-training, but you aren't even disciplined enough to do ten minutes' worth of measly research on the educational system in England? I hand-fed you instructions on what to research and what to send me, and I sent out a million e-mail reminders and tried to make shit easy for you. I know that maybe the million e-mails was too much, but is it really my fault in the end, when none of you even had the balls to stand up and take responsibility for this project, for the constant e-mailing that it required? I'm looking at the syllabus and this is one of the main components going into our grade.

I sincerely hope that that ambiguous line in the syllabus about "class members grading each other" means that our group gets to grade each of its members, because I'm going to give all of you very honest grades that reflect your amount of effort in this ridiculous dance of not e-mailing me back/being late for meetings/refusing to offer suggestions/utter laziness.

I can understand that, because we are future teachers, we are all busy. We are busier than anyone else could ever comprehend. I am not even a future teacher and I'm busy. But none of you are busier than me, and none of you should have ever gotten it into your head that my assuming the responsibility meant that I had to do all the work myself.

I'm sure I'm overreacting. In fact, I'm about 90% sure that this project is going to go down really well and be pretty well-received, because of our combined efforts. I am just extremely bitter and extremely pissed that I had to be the one constantly worrying about all our asses in this course that no one cares about, despite it being one of the most relevant and useful classes we will ever take. I don't judge any of you for not thinking it's valuable as a class, but I really wish you could see that everything you do has value, and everything you do affects other people.

In fact, that is what this class is about: EDUCATION AS A SOCIAL INSTITUTION, bitches. Education is a social monster, life is a social monster, and you are all failing at it because all you're concerned with is managing your own lives instead of trying to interact with the people who have stumbled into it and are thus A PART OF IT, however minuscule and worthless, according to you.

Bitter, Self-Designated Group Leader

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

One Fell Swoop

Originally uploaded by Sofia Ajram

I've discovered a great new method for superfast de-cluttering. Yes, I am getting cluttery at school. I blame it on my high levels of busyness and low levels of actually caring about stuff other than food and sleep.

Anyway, my desk looks pretty horrible right now. My camera's dead, otherwise I'd show you. The desk looks like a colorful, toddler copy-machine android vomited on it. It got to be too much, so I took everything unnecessary off of my desk and put it on the floor. (The bed would also work.) Now the clutter was in my path, and at least for me, I can't stand a messy floor, because I feel quite obligated to clear it up. So, it got cleared up!

For those of you who don't mind paths obstructed by clothes and confused papier-mache gone wrong, the bed really would work better. Just pick somewhere that you're going to need to clear to use in the near future, and put all your clutter on it so you're motivated to clean it up. My desk was not a good place for my clutter, because I could easily work around it. Find what works for you, as always.

Now, this may end up taking you in circles, as you find more and more places to relocate your clutter, and eventually end up sleeping in a dresser drawer and bathing in the neighbors' kitchen sink. But it works short-term, and that's really all you need, to start.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's all been said before

Originally uploaded by Puss.In.The.Hood

I decided a moment ago that I wanted to post something, but I realized that there was a slight flaw in my plan, because I didn't have anything to say.

Now, this isn't entirely true, because I have lots of things to say; there is a lot floating around the caverns of my mind, but none of it is focused, none of it is meaningful enough to share. And that is what we do here, on the Internet, we share. Often we share ad nauseam, and I really think that cheapens the experience sometimes. If you just shell out every last token of thought that zooms around your head, how do I know what I should take seriously?

In an ideal world, everything everyone says should be worthy of my attention, because individuals are unique and important. But however true that might be about individuals in principle, the reality is that I cannot know the worth behind what you say unless I know you as a person. Lately I'm learning that all my perfect, self-righteous idealistic theories are naive bubbles waiting to be popped by the society that says "ideal isn't real," the mantra I have ignored all my life because people said it too much. You see my problem?

I suppose now is as good a time as any to learn that the cliches and dead metaphors of life may have been used in earnest by past generations trying to show new generations their own lives' beauty and strife, but that no matter how many words you throw at me, I won't learn to see unless I open my own eyes.

Incidentally, this reminds me of a hilarious quote, heard at the movie theater in 2002, where a British child watching the spider scene in Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets wailed, "Mummy, close my eyes, I'm scared!" Oh the ignorance of youth.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Domino Mag Does Creative, Cheap Rentals

Given the title of my blog, I think it's time I get back to its original purpose a little. Sure, people are flocking here cause they think it's the holy grail of the ever-enchanting Gramercy palace, but without my "clutter" purpose for writing, I think I'm getting a little off track. Don't get me wrong, I love thinking and digressing a whole stupid lot. But I also love projects like de-cluttering and finding cheap, creative solutions to doomed or even just mediocre living spaces.

Evidence: instead of studying for my midterm on bilingualism that I have tomorrow, I'm spending my time a) doing laundry, b) eating myself out of apartment and home, and c) rediscovering cool old bookmarks filed under "For 13YoC." Apparently Domino Magazine is shutting down soon, which is such a shame! The magazine is "the guide to living with style," and this article about decorating your rental place speaks a lot to their mission.

Relevance: we're in a recession, HI. I don't know that this fact necessarily affects me, because my family has always been pretty below-average, and then I became a college student, which automatically meant I became even poorer, as my friend S likes to remind us all, while she goes and gets herself temporarily suspended for protesting the cost of NYU.

But still Domino's slideshow appeals to me, because it applies to so many people right now, and they make cheap look awesome. I especially love their idea of lengthening the look of your sad little workspace, making it into something reminiscent of the tents at my epic 6th grade Greek & Roman activity day.

As a side note: I'm going to start de-cluttering (ha!) my tags, because somehow over the course of the past 9 months, this situation has turned really fruity and whimsical, with tags like "emotional" and "introspection" taking over. I'm just afraid that soon I'll be getting into tags like "existential rainbow speculation" if I don't end this soon.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Society and Brunhilde's Seriousness

take [10]
Originally uploaded by KarensJilly

Lately I've been noticing a lot that people take themselves very seriously. Either that, or they realize that taking yourself seriously is kind of pointless (because people tend to judge you more on the external result: how you interact with others, than your own internal self-concept, which they obviously can't see) and resort to outwardly belittling the mere idea of taking themselves seriously.

Example, because I clearly cannot express myself properly:

Person X: let's call her Brunhilde because I love that name and it is the only one that doesn't really connote anyone I know who might be offended by this. Brunhilde thinks very seriously about life, which is awesome and definitely ideal. Thumbs up for Brunhilde. But Brunhilde knows that in Society Y (let's just call it Society for the sake of simplicity and truth), most people don't convey her ease for critical thought and heavy reflection.

It is certainly true that in Society, other people have Brunhilde's internal seriousness, but for whatever reason, in Society it is not so acceptable to just come out and say your honest thoughts about your serious views, at least in casual conversation. So, Brunhilde is considering the two routes most people in Society tend to take at this junction.

1. Accept that all is lost and that no one will ever appreciate your unique serious thoughts, so you turn to the totally un-serious side of life and get by on humor, drunkenness and superficiality. It works for some people, and they still have these serious, thoughtful thoughts, but they keep them to themselves or maybe one good friend.
2. Realize that Society will never change its narrow-minded ways but say "fuck them all" and just express every single serious thought without any regard for the ridiculous conventions of Society's non-serious ways.

However, both of these routes have their flaws. In 1 it's obvious: you keep yourself bottled up. In 2 you seem to be more liberated by expressing your serious thoughts, but then Brunhilde wonders: don't people just end up taking their own serious thoughts too seriously? And get boring? Just being serious all the time and having no fun with it?

What's a good compromise? Is there a way to balance Society's intolerance for uninhibited expression of critical thought without becoming serious to the extreme? I'm sure there is - countless renowned authors/artists/etc. have found it.

Am I making a huge, gross generalization? Probably. Prove me right or wrong. Bring me stories and advice, I know you have them. Then again, you may not want to share, because you take yourself too seriously. ?

Edit 7:53 p.m.: When I first wrote this, it was generally just a thoughtful, curious glob of snot dripping down my metaphoric nose. But actually there is serious mucous there and I'm realizing that people who take themselves too seriously actually really block up my sinuses.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh, the scattered contents of a college kid's brain

Originally uploaded by suprises

Lately I have been essentially consumed with two very different thoughts, and they alternate. One is a general sense of awe and overwhelmption (sure, why not) about the essence of life and how the main themes in my academic life are all colliding and exciting and blah blah blah. It's getting a little too pretentious even for me, I can tell you, so I can't imagine how annoyed the rest of the world is with me.

The other thought is a general, fretful feeling about how loud my CPU fan is on my laptop. :( I have this computer, a Vaio VGN SZ270P, to be exact. I even bought a can of pressurized air so that I could be all macho-nerdy and unscrew the back of my laptop and blow that canned air through the provided straw into my stupid fan. Anyway, I decided that when this computer completely dies, I would like the latest Macbook as a replacement. I'm sure there'll be a newer, more expensive version out by that time, but my point is that the Apple kingdom is really winning me over.

Anyway, I also wanted to share a lovely link with you fine people. It is called SelfAbsorbed.me and has provided me with many minutes of entertaining reading about real life written funnier. Also one of the writers apparently went to NYU, because I found the site by Googling the 11-person suite at the dorm I want to live at next year. Read the article in question here.

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