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gainsay (verb) to declare false.

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Fancy fair isle sweater for myself.

Monday, Jan. 15, 2007 - 1:58 p.m.

A picture update has long seemed neccessary. Thus. . .

This is the huge lace project I completed just barely before Christmas. I gave it to my mother. I ran out of blue yarn twice, thus the purple edging, which, thankfully, worked out beautifully.

This is PrettyHeidi wearing her first completed knitted project that didn't involve knitting 20" worth of knit stiches then tearing them out.

Then, for awhile my bedroom has felt like a boring white box, despite the myriad of pictures hanging on three of the four walls. Because I watch a lot of HGTV with my mother while I am home, I knew the problem was lack of a focal point, namely, a headboard. When I told PrettyHeidi and some other friends this, they laughed at me. They clearly are HGTV-deprived.

I didn't want any headboard that would required huge holes in the rented wall, nor a fancy expensive headboard for my particle board platform bed. I considered fabric, but that sounded like too much effort. I decided on painted stripes on purchased canvases.

First, I used painters' tape (then duck tape, when the few yards of painters' tape I purchased for three bucks ran out all too soon) to mark the white stripes, varying the distance between them for a random effect.

Then I painted the stripes in colors that I chose based on the quilt and the pictures I had already hung in the room.

After several coats, I pulled away the tape, and though the stripes weren't perfect, they looked good, and that was the whole point. I actually managed to hang them fairly level above my bed.

That was the crafty holiday project I used to procrastinate from writing my syallabus. It worked well, and now the room has a focal point, as they say on HGTV.

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2007 - 2:16 p.m.

Now, I am all about movies pushing the envelope, being edgy, and Black Snake Moan is garnering a lot of attention for its possibilities. I had only heard the muttering about Christina Ricci fighting for the part by taking photos that probably are soft porn at their most modest. Then, Samuel L. Jackson's presence always indicates a testosterone overload. Still, it was only after seeing the trailer that I suspected this is the sort of movie that makes me want vomit and punch out the lights of writer/director Craig Brewer.

Commentary on race and religion and pyschology, as one commentor puts it, sounds interesting, and again, I am all for seeing a movie with those elements. My problem stemming from viewing the trailer is Ricci. I am sensing a virgin/whore vibe here, interesting, but painted over with Hollywood gloss.

Now, if Ricci plays a "slut," "whore," "skank," "woman of ill-repute," she obviously will need to look the part, and her wardrobe of off-the-shoulder cut up shirts and jean miniskirts seems appropriate enough. And, it appears that the movie's catalyst is her being dumped on the side of the road sans pants and with her face punched in. Surely, this places Ricci's character in that wild but gross category.

Yet, lying on the road, returning to blurry reality, Ricci's pose is more akin to Playboy than a girl who has just been horribly abused. Would not the fetal position have been more appropriate? Then, despite her hard-partying ways, this girl's body looks immaculate. Despite her bloodied face, her skin is smooth and shiny; she's on the skinny side, but doesn't appear to be as unhealthy as her lifestyle would suggest.

In other words, Ricci looks sexy, sexy and abused, a winning combination for women's psyches. Why not cover Ricci in the bruises her character would have theoretically had from falling all over the dance floor, drunk and high, and from being beaten and most likely raped? And, though her hair looks fairly gross, it coupled with her body and fast-healing face add up to a strange rock and roll male fantasy look, one where the woman's vulnerability and servitude is coupled with a hot body for pleasure. It might have been to the credit of the movie had Ricci appeared as truly haggard as reality would have made her character. Granted, this might have also been a little too whore = ugly; virgin = beautiful, but that could have been dealt with with a little forethought.

Instead, Black Snake Moan appears nothing more than rated R pornography. Sexual fantasy disguised as social commentary. I reserve the right to change my mind once I see the movie (on video, I am not paying 10 bucks to see Ricci in her underwear), but as it stands now, I hope young women see this movie for what it is: Hollywood's skewed and disgusting view of human sexuality.

Saturday, Jan. 06, 2007 - 10:42 p.m.

Contrary to popular belief, none of the following has occurred:

1) I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

2) I have not been married off to an Argentinian Levi's salesman.

3) I have not decided to puruse my dream of hollowing out a mountain and living in the resulting structure.

4) I have not met the thoughtful and caring man of my dreams and eloped the Virgin Islands.

5) My students did not eat me alive.

Rather, I have been reading (The Mayor of Casterbridge, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and All the Little Live Things), knitting, watching more television and movies than should be reasonably healthy, painting, fighting the cold from hell. Notice, please, that writing is not on the list. I haven't even begun to writing thank you notes. I suck.

As my brother not so subtlely put it, I am a worse blogger than himself. The jerk. Though, I must confess he has refused inclusion in the possibly satanic force that is currently being referred to as Mister Cup Nation. For this, I am so proud. It takes a good man to refuse the internet powers of male poetic ignorance.

Hopefully I have insulted at least one person with the above statement, otherwise my vacation very well could be a complete loss. Until further insults occur to me... I'm done.

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006 - 12:09 a.m.

I realize my new design is a bit odd. I am not sure whether or not I like it, so I am going to wait and see if it grows on me.

In other news:

1) Yes, I did read in Boise, Idaho for the Western Literature Association Conference 2006. I read a piece about growing up among vermiculite and a what would end up being a national scandal. My reading was at 8am on Saturday, but the turn out wasn't bad. My friend Jerry was there, and, really, if Jerry is there, everything is going to be okay. Plus, out of three, I recieved the majority of the questions. It was encouraging. My essay about growing up in a place that was labelled a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency will have an audience. This is very good news.

2) My second time teaching English 101, introduction to college writing, is almost over. I like my students, but they became lazy. Those frat boys need to put aside the vodka. Or the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

3) My friend Heidi is making so much progress in knitting that I am thouroughly impressed. Her knitting, even the simple projects, looks beautiful. Yay Heidi!

4) I am finished with nonfiction writing workshops for this semester. Thank all the divinities. I am not picky.

5) To do before the semester ends:

a) present on David James Duncan
with two male classmates of mine.
We will be performing a modern
dance interpretation of said
author's work. The boys don't
know this, but they will love it.

b) write a 20 page literature
about Marilynne Robinson's book
Gilead. Hmmmm...

c) finish knitting Xmas presents.

d) listen to Lady Sovereign over
and over and over again.

Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 - 11:27 p.m.

Without any logic whatsoever, Lady Sovereign is my new favorite musician. She is all attitude. She is crass. She is what she is, and there isn't anything cooler than that. (Mom, Dad, this is so not your music.)

Plus, the name Lady Sovereign is brilliant.

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006 - 12:21 a.m.

Realize I havne't updated in awhile. The pictures will be down for awhile longer, until I have the money to update my membership.

A "friend" of mine expressed his diappointment that I took his blog off my link list. So, if you have a certain love for a community of blog commenters who do nothing but insult each other, go visit Mistercup's Poetry Page. Whatever.

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006 - 5:21 p.m.

Thank you to all of you who sent sincere comments regarding your happiness at my recent post. I would have cried out of such sentimentality if it weren't for the sarcastic "hey, you're not dead" remarks that came with those happy comments. Yeah, I too am happy I am not dead. But, really, thanks for the emails.

I have a lot of correcting to do tonight, reading freshman composition essays. I promised to have them corrected by tomorrow and have just under half finished. My students wouldn't be so excited to see their grades if they knew how poorly they did. Most of them won't even check their grades until next semester. Denial.

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006 - 11:09 p.m.

Don't panic. Your eyes are not decieving you. After more than a month, this is in fact a new post. Miracles never cease to happen.

What have I been doing in the this time? Uh. . . the usual. Boring, isn't it? The exciting is that I have get to read at the 2006 Western Literature Association Conference. When did I find out? Last week. When was I supposed to find out? July. How did I find out? I am a nerd; I was plugging my friends' names into Google. I plugged my name in and found my name on the conference's brochure. I've been telling people I was browsing the brochure for the conference and found my name. I guess the truth is more interesting. This Friday I will go down to Boise, Idaho and then read on Saturday morning. I am more nervous about the drive than the actual reading. People think that is weird.

Otherwise things have been moving on as usual. I spend quite a bit of time on my own, working and staring at the trees outside my window. My new place is quiet, except for my neighbors occasionally banging their cupboard doors, but I do the same thing. Plus, I can't hear them doing strange sadistic rituals like my last neighbors. I'm pretty happy.

I spend one night a week teaching my friends Heidi and Genevieve how to knit. Heidi usually gets to buzzed on wine to knit, but she's doing really well after a month. Genevieve is a first year literature graduate student with pretty red hair. She's totally irreverant and witty. Heidi probably won't like that I say that about Genevieve but only say she gets drunk on wine to the point where she has no hand-eye coordination. Heidi is pretty and lets me hang out in her office. It is warm and sunny in her office. Heidi is nice.

I recently finished a sweater for myself:

I wore it school on Friday and recieved compliments, even from my students. So far it is my most successful sweater. I've also knit a pair of fingerless gloves and gave them to Brittney, because she really wanted something I had knit and it was her birthday. Now it is on to Christmas presents.

I also have two new additions to my apartment. Meet Shannon the Wandering Charlie plant:

. . . and Farrah the Spider plant:

They seem okay so far. My last spider plant, Sera (RIP), died (sniff). I'm hoping these two plants are happier here. As always, Sun Tzu the Ponytail Palm lives a calm and happy life. (While I was uploading these picture, I saw pictures of Paws (RIP), my family's cat who died over a year ago. I almost cried. I miss the kitty. My parents have another cat now, a pure black one who goes by a different names for each member of the family and neighborhood. She is crazy and my mother's arch nemesis. Paws was crazy too, when he was that young. Heidi has an orange cat named Spud. Spud likes to ignore me and play with Genevieve. He bites her nose and chin, which I find endlessly amusing. Heidi and I are jealous of Genevieve. Spud should want to play with us.)

I recently had success with a squash recipe that involves grating a squash and then frying it like a pancakes. Because I used a very special squash that The Baby picked from his garden for me while I was home, I have dubbed this creation Baby Squashcakes. Heidi has decided she will one day open a restaraunt and name it Baby Squashcakes. On the menu, Alice's Baby Squashcakes will always be a favorite. Just in case my career as a writer doesn't take off. . . It's just fun to say. Baby Squashcakes.

How can this post end on a more succesful note? I think it can't. Here's to the coming weeks.

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