Sunday, March 28, 2004

Paper Should Cost So Much Less Than This

College textbook pricing defies logic.

Exhibit A: Dinosaurs: The Textbook
1. This book is used.
2. This book is 1/2 inch thick.
3. This book is paperback.

And yet it costs . . . $72 dollars.

I will be getting, oh, about $15 bucks for it at the end of the quarter when I sell it back. Or less.

Does this make sense at all?

Dorm Sweet Dorm

I have returned to the comfort of my dorm room after my week-long adventure with my parents. Good Jesus, am I ever glad to be back in my dorm room!

Like everyone, I do miss my parents. But I only miss them enough to want to see them for a few days. I don't miss them enough to spend every waking moment with them for a week, and therein lies the problem with my Spring Break. My mother irks me to no end. She's fine for a little while, and then slowly but suddenly, I start to twitch with irritation every time she opens her mouth. I do this not because she's painfully stupid. She's a nurse, an educated lady. I do this because she ruins perfectly good silences with innane commentary about whatever is outside the window. I don't understand why people feel the need to fill every singly silence with such irritating noise. We are not a family of talkers, Mom. We never have been. We don't relate to one another. This is not helping! Don't get me wrong, the woman isn't all this bad. I'm sure the reason I find her so annoying is simply because she's my mother. She had knee surgery a couple of years ago, and suddenly during this trip her good knee began to flare up (probably as a result of having to favor it for so long). So I took care of her and iced her down and everything for the first few days, like the good daughter that I've always presented myself to be around them. And then, as soon as we had left the San Diego part of our trip behind and began our much too lengthy drive to Arizona, I was no longer forgiving of her gimpiness. Rather, she was irritating AND malfunctioning.

My father and I spent a good 5 days wandering around San Diego while my mother was at her AORN conference and not unknowingly making me insane. San Diego was not as sunny as we had expected, so it felt very much like being in the Bay Area in springtime. Only, not as foggy. We went to the most amazing Wild Animal Park and the less amazing San Diego Zoo (which I cannot believe is so "world famous" in comparison to the Wild Animal Park, considering the sheer size and quality of the enclosures for the Zoo animals--so much smaller than expected). My father, sailor that he is, took me to every single Naval base in the San Diego area--and there are at least 4 of them. He drove me around the SD Naval Base, showed me places his ships were docked and where he had stayed and etc when he was stationed there. We drove to the North Island base on Coronado and all through the island. He bought me things. Because Daddy loves me best. (And the base is dirt cheap for all kinds of things. Where else in the world are you going to find Converse All Stars for 20 bucks a pair?) We drove around downtown SD looking for my father's old house, and finding a baptist church with the following sign on the marquee:

"Under same management for over 2000 years."

Our adventures also led us to SeaWorld one evening when the park was closed to everyone but AORN conference goers. Fun times were had by all as we rented my mother a wheelchair and I pushed her around the park at high speeds. It was essentially 4 hours of hopping from one show to another, with a free meal somewhere in between. But SeaWorld also contained the most awesome event of the entire vacation: I fed a dolphin. And got to pet him, too. This is me getting one step closer to being able to actually swim with one.

The drive from SD to Arizona was long and warm and a lot of me trying to read while my mother pointed out how dry everything is. ("Yes, Mom. It's a desert.") I got a sunburn from the UV rays penetrating the window. I was not happy. We got into Arizona very late that night, and got to stay in the swankiest cheap hotel ever. I highly recommend the Wellesley Inn & Suites. The best hotel you can get for $80 bucks a night (and thats for 3 people). I spent the subsequent two afternoons at baseball parks for A's Spring Training. My team lost both games. (Adam says I must have brought them bad luck.) I had to spend about 3 hours each afternoon in the hot sun. Barry Zito was not pitching (which is why we really lost). And I didn't get any autographs. Bah. If I'm going to spend 3 hours at a ballpark in the sun, not get autographs, and not get to see Zito pitch, then I may as well do it at my own ballpark! No more driving to Arizona for me! Besides, games are much more fun at our park in Oakland anyway. Ten times as exciting. (And garlic fries.)

I tried to convince my parents to drive all the way from Phoenix to Santa Barbara last night, but they gave up around Malibu Canyon and forced me to stay in a janky little inn where I had to sleep on the floor with no extra blankets or pillows because they didn't have any at the front desk. This is what I get for asking to stop and have food. Which is funny, because I thought my punishment for wanting to eat was having to eat in this creepy little middle of the desert cafe. It was the kind of place that, if my life were a movie, would have been run entirely by the dead. Or, if my life were a different movie, dead cowboys. So, needless to say I am glad to be back in SB with my roommates, because here I have a bed and sheets and blankets and pillows. And as far as I know, I have not yet been served food by a dead person.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I Have Head Explodey!

. . . and not in the good way.

Just took the hardest final ever. Art history is evil. Can no longer form coherent sentences. So much writing. 10 short answer analysis sections. 2 real essays. Took entire 3 hours. Couldn't find TA. Waited groggy outside Campbell Hall for her to give me back paper. Going to die now.

Monday, March 15, 2004

"I never went to bed with anybody for a role--that's true. I never got any roles, either." --Carla, Kennedy's Children by Robert Patrick

Booked my flight home today! Yay!

I probably shouldn't be this excited about going home just to wake up early and drive to DVC to judge the State Forensics Tournament--something I myself never got to go to in high school, despite all my whoreing and husband killing and transsexualism. Mind you, I was not actually a whore, transsexual or husband killer, but all Dramatic Interp kids take on a little bit of the people they play. If not because you love your character, then because you've spent a good year working on becoming them and understanding them and being them on Saturday mornings at 8 AM in front of a room full of strangers who are also playing at being someone. While I loved Carla and was Carla, I can't deny that there are parts of me that are Agnes and Sarah and Hedwig. I can't deny that there are parts of my abandoned characters in me, either. I am a little bit Betty and a little bit Amneris and (apparently) more than a little bit Joan of Arc.

But judging at State is exciting. Being at State is exciting. Being around exceptionally talented kids is horribly exciting. Being able to see said horribly talented kids doing their interps, their extemps, their expos, their debates, their oratories--that's exciting. And being with my old coach and my teammates is exciting.

And now that I'm thinking back on it and how much I really did love it, I wish I hadn't gotten so overwhelmed. I wish I hadn't given up. I wish I'd not given up on Hedwig just because my audience didn't understand her. Hell, no one understood Carla, but I made people love her because I did. And I should have treated all the characters I played that way. But instead, I just gave up. There were so many factors outside of it though. I wasn't even myself, then. And if I wasn't me, how can I be expected to be someone else when I've got nothing to work with?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Seaweed and Brine

Today is too beautiful for words. Spent a good three hours reading in the sun on the beach. It was absolutely marvelous. Heather and I are planning a picnic for Thursday afternoon. We will make sandwiches in the dining commons, and smuggle them out in our carefully concealed tupperware so that we may take them to the beach later for snacking. And we'll go swimming! And it will be marvelous!

Good gods, I smell so much like salt. But it's good salt. Salt and Coppertone.

Monday, March 01, 2004

I Am Not a Stranger to the Rain

I'm on the 3rd page of my art history paper (due Thursday) and I think it's a good time to stop writing important things and tell my rainy day story from last week, seeing as today is, again, a rainy day.

Santa Barbara has this new thing weatherwise. It's quite extraordinary. It's called rain. And it will only begin to do this at 9:40 am when I leave my English class and have to walk a good long ways to the HSSB. Santa Barbara, being a quaint seaside city, much like Venice, is not equipped to deal with massive amounts of rain, much like Venice. Last Wednesday at precisely 9:40 am as I left English, it began to rain. Big, scary, heavy rain. And it didn't stop. And it got much, much worse as the day went on. I was okay while I was in class, and even fine while walking back from Italian. The real terrors came at about 3:30 in the afternoon as I decided to brave the weather and get coffee before my Electra class. Little did I know what was about to unfold . . .

(note: I am switching to present tense for Dave Eggers style realism.)

It is really fucking wet outside! There are people wearing garbage bags like capes in an attempt to keep their backpacks dry. I scurried about with my hood up, gloves on, and my Eugene O'Neill stuffed nicely inside my coat to keep him dry. (In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have cared so much about a dead playwright's book. I could have just bought another one.) I choose my steps very carefully when going down one of the many flights of hillside stairs at UCSB because they are covered in mud that has slid off the hillsides. I choose my steps even more carefully as I walk along the lagoon path, which is flooded in certain areas with a mixture of landmud from the shoddy areas of the faculty club green and lagoon water. It is raining exceptionally hard. The front of my person is literally drenched. This is really uncomfortable. I make it all the way to the UCen unharmed. And then, right outside the fucking door, of all places, I fall flat on my ass. And hard, too. So, now I am wet pretty much everywhere. And my ass hurts.

I pick myself up, brush myself off (as though it would help), and head into the UCen to nab some coffee from Nicoletti's. I was hoping sympathy coffee from Brian the Barista, but no such luck. I pay for my coffee, and sit down on one of the nice, warm, dry UCen chairs for a bit and watch the rain through the picture window. After a good ten minutes, I brave the rain again. I think it literally must be worse now, rainwise. Definitely heavier and even more unrelenting. I trek to the HSSB through several large puddles that have accumulated outside of the Art Museum. Large, unseen puddles are proof that SB was not equipped to handle deluge. The water has soaked entirely through my All-Stars. And my socks. The next hour will be very, very uncomfortable. I have wet pants and wet feet. I am not a happy camper.

I climb the water-logged steps of the HSSB and squeak my way down the hallway to class. Everyone who has made it there before me is also soaked. Aditi still has water on her face that she has neglected to brush off. We moan about how miserable it is. And how miserable we are. This is the most uncomfortable hour of our lives.

Once the hour is up, I brave the rain again. It's still wet, but less so now. I make it down to flights of HSSB stairs before my foot lands in a puddle and a fall--again--on the landing. Ass is even more wet. Left side of body is now in a lot of wet, cold, uncomfortable, rainy pain. I whimper to myself as I very fucking carefully descend. I feel a bit like Myrrah, that I'm dissolving into tears, but it's really more like tears are dissolving me. I whimper all the way home.

And halfway there. I decide Raffi's place is a lot closer than mine. So I pop up at his door for sympathy and shelter and warmth. Kitties don't like this much water! I am soaking. My hair is soaking and I had a fucking hood on. Rafe blow dries me--hair to feet. With his hairdryer. It is both kind and humiliating, but, hey, I fell fucking twice in the rain. This is the highlight of my day.