Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dear Jenn

Me: You have a Tea Addiction.

Me: I know. But there are worse addictions.

Me: That's true but it is still and addiction.

Me: I know and I am coming to terms with that.

`Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse,' said the Hatter, `when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, "He's murdering the time! Off with his head!"'

`How dreadfully savage!' exclaimed Alice.

`And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, `he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now.'

A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked.

`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.'

`Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice.

`Exactly so,' said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.'

`But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask.

`Suppose we change the subject,' the March Hare interrupted, yawning.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Groundhog's Day Twinkie- As promised

Last year I tried to document the essence of the Twinkie. This year I convinced AK to be my guest photographer so that the rest of the world could have some of the Twinkie eating experience. I mean if you aren't me or Jenn you will never completely understand what eathing a 7 year old Twinkie really does to you but these pictures may help. I was telling people it was something like 5 or so years this year but I am off by 2. It really has been 7 years and that disturbs me more than eating the Twinkie. 2 years vanished from memory. Oh well. The pictures...

Before I started I showed the Twinkie to AK for verification purposes. It looked normal but it was really, really hard.

This is obviously before the first bite. Notice the expression- a healthy mix of excitement and concern. "I wonder what this year will bring...I hope I don't die."

Still excited and trying to figure out the best place to take the bite out of the 7 year old rock hard Twinkie.

The first bite. I think this picture is before the taste buds kicked in and its all about the texture. It was hard/stale and super crumbly. Very chalky.

Now I can taste it. But it's so dry that it's hard to chew and swallow. I think the taste is pretty much old high fructose corn syrup. Super saccharine-y and overpowering. This picture is my favorite because it is pretty much spot on for the whole experience.

Yes. Yes it really is that gross.

If you are keeping track over the years you will remember that the filling completely changed in color and texture and last year it was pretty much all absorbed into the 'cake' and dried out. However, this year I hit a patch of that while absorbed, was still chewy and still sort of white-ish.

Somehow I look normal while eating a 7 year old Twinkie???

Just a few more bites. I am sending proof of the experience out to the team of people praying for me in Rochester.

A close up of the star.

El fin. The wrapper with a view of the water from the 8th floor of the UMB library.

I urge you not to try this, not that anyone else is this crazy. The report from Jenn is that her Twinkie was dark (multi-grain?) but everything else is pretty similar in description. Cheers

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Week 2

Things are not well at UMB. I don't know a person who is not walking around stewing and furious. Things started out looking promising even perfect for pretty much everyone during the last week of Christmas break but by the end of week two everything had been upended. Those told they would not be teaching have been pressed in to it. Those told they would have days free for doing research or field work now have to come in. Everyone I know has been screwed in at least one way and most of us in several very large ways.

The problem now is that there is this pervasive undercurrent of anger. And from what I can tell everyone is trying their various ways to cool off and it isn't working. Tears, prayer, meditation, drinking, therapy, talking things out with others, trying to reason with the offending party. Everyone is still PISSED OFF and its leaking out in to the rest of our lives.

In the past 2 weeks I have been so angry I could not cry, so angry I could not stop crying, so angry I could not eat, too angry to be able to eat anything at all, so angry I could not speak, so angry I swore in front of my students, so angry I could not move or function or consciously think of the next reasonable step to take to move forward, so angry I almost went out and bought a shelter cat (I have no idea?).

I think part of the problem is that everyone is unhappy and everyone knows it and everyone does not have to be unhappy and we also know that too. BUT because of poor planning, last minute readjustments, miss communications and other human errors everyone got screwed over and now that the second week of the semester is drawing to a close the schedules are pretty much set in stone. Whatever you were dealt, you are now stuck with it. Suck it up and deal with it. But I think it is the overwhelming knowledge that it didn't have to be this way AT ALL that has everyone stuck. That and the fact that every other person you interact with has a similar story. Somehow that keeps fueling the angry and not letting it die out. Like an infection or something that keeps mutating slightly and reinfecting the host.

It also isn't the type of anger that is useful in fueling you to move forward or change things because you have to move forward in to the broken semester schedule and you can't change it. It is the "suck it up wuss" type of anger that requires rallying up more energy to throw at quenching the anger, It is energy draining, productivity sapping anger. And its everywhere I need to be productive.

I have a tremendous amount on my plate the semester and my ability to check off all of the boxes was tenuous at best when I signed up for it. Now the odds are stacked that much higher against me and resources that I need from other people are also starting to fail. Commitments are being broken, deadlines are not being met, expectations are not being made clear, and agreements are being invalidated to a shocking degree. While this comes off as a pity party it isn't meant to be. This is what I am facing and what I am seeing and what I am trying to figure out how to deal with. The majority of the people I rely on are facing the same problems and some of their problems are ME. I think that the general overall fuck-up has completely undermined everyone's trust. That is a hard hard thing and I think that is the root of why we are all stuck in angry gear.

A dear friend sent me this note last night. Then they told her she didn't have enough credits to graduate in June and would have to wait until December, long after they told her that the courses she took were approved. Now it looks like they might revert to the original plan but things are still painfully up in the air. (One step forward, two steps back, one step forward...)

Today she called me to get/give a pep talk and our homework is to get off our asses and move forward so our theses don't ruin our lives. So it is with that in mind that I post her list and my response...

AK's Life Decisions
1. I'm going to start painting. Sunsets, beaches, trees, water...all the things I love.
2. I'm going to listen to more makes me feel alive and sophisticated. (Download Eva Cassidy)
3. When I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. (Thesis, thesis, thesis).
4. I'm going to stop picking my mutha fuckin fingas!
5. I'm never going to eat a Twinkie again.
6. I am going to get a puppy and name him Mulligan and he will sit by my side while I do #1 and sometimes #2.
7. When I get frustrated with life, I am going to take a deep breath and thank God for all my blessings.

More to come...this was to wet your whistle (say it like Rabbit on Whinnie the Pooh).

I think I'm going insane.

Jn's Life Decisions
1. I'm not going to start painting. But I will write more. Sunsets, beaches, trees, water...all the things I love.
2. I'm going to listen to more makes me feel alive and sophisticated. (Download Eva Cassidy)
3. When I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it. (Thesis, thesis, thesis). I am going to keep a CURRENT to do list so things aren't forgotten, misplaced or mismanaged in to the ground and so I get back to being dependable.
4. It is unreasonable to think that I will ever stop picking my mutha fuckin fingas! but I am really going to try. (AK and I share a frightening number of neurotic tendencies.)
5. I'm am not going to eat another Twinkie for 362 days. I am never going to enjoy a Twinkie. I am going to post the Twinkie pictures...soon.
6. I am going to get a puppy and name her Ruger and she will go with me everywhere I can possibly take her.
7. When I get frustrated with life, I am going to take a deep breath and thank God for all my blessings. There are more blessings than just "I can still walk" and "No one that I know has died this week" and I will actively look for them.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Tomorrow is Groundhog's Day

If you don't know what this means to me then you don't know me. For reference see this:

Aimee does not yet know that she is going to be documenting this tomorrow when we meet to thesis but she will. More on this tomorrow obviously.

Also, dear facebook readers I still cannot log on. I love you very much and you can email me. I will respond. Also my cell has not changed so you can try that too. (This is particularly directed at you Anna and MelKel and Misha. Misha I got your text and yes we need to hang out.)