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Saturday, December 6th, 2008
4:01 pm - This is a bit convoluted, so stay with me here
Went to a German Christmas Market at a small Lutheran Church on the Upper East Side this morning (Germantown in Yorkville! Adorable, elderly German expats! Who knew!). Had a blast (and two glasses of Gluhwein.). Bought german Christmas cookies, Stollen (two, actually!) and a Best of Air Supply CD (shut up! it was a dollar! at a church fundraiser! plus, in my defense, I also bought Sisters of Mercy's Floodland, also for a dollar, so there.).

And now I am at home, with two dogs piled on top of one another right behind me/wrapped around my hips on my writing chair, drinking tea (me, not the dogs). And I put on the CD and suddenly I am this starry-eyed, thirteen year old...

And you would think that this would be somehow beneficial to the Memory and the Social Constitution of the Self paper I am working on. Yes, I can definitely see how you would think that. But, unfortunately, you would be wrong. Very, very wrong.

current mood: calm

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Thursday, October 9th, 2008
2:01 pm - PLEASE TAKE TWO SECONDS AND VOTE!
PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified. Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with YES votes.

The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media. It can influence undecided voters in swing states.

Please do two things -- takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote yourself.

Here's the link:
http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html

2) Then pass it on.

The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think that this bigoted, homophobic, ignorant bitch is qualified.

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Friday, July 11th, 2008
8:00 pm - Let's play "snob, loser or nerd"!
Listened to my cd of Puccini's Turandot (great recording with Sutherland, Pavarotti, Caballé and the London Philharmonic) while making grilled salmon with a pomegranate-citrus glaze and drinking Vinho Verde.
Argued with the dogs about using their inside voice.
Lost the argument.
Ate by myself, as dogs seem to be harboring some opera-related resentment.
Watched Jeopardy.
Thoroughly enjoyed self.

And while am at it, allow me to mention that this sweet face?
Is the face of a tyrant.


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Monday, June 23rd, 2008
6:34 pm
Somehow, kind of out of the blue and quite unintentionally, I managed to weave myself into some sort of a itchy-uncomfortable-ugly-sweater gloomy frame of mind. In what will most likely prove to be a vain attempt at unpicking and perhaps even lightening my mood I wanted to tell you about something that makes me happy.

Living here.
Right here. This place makes me happy. Before moving here I had repeatedly heard that New Yorkers were rude and unwelcoming, that the city could be quite unfriendly and cold, that a sense of isolation people sometimes experience in large cities was here further exacerbated by a frantic rhythm of constant motion. I've lived in larger and more chaotic places before, so I wasn't concerned; the myth lingered however -- New Yorkers are rude and unfriendly. Turns out, not surprisingly, all that is absolute bullshit. This is one of the friendliest, most welcoming places I have ever lived in. This city, this neighborhood, this building are truly lovely. Any given day, walking around Hell's Kitchen I run into at least a couple of people who smile and say hello. The lovely ladies who own the beautiful store across the street recommended their pet sitter, the gallery owner always smiles and waves at me, the girl who works as a hostess at the restaurant next door, the guy from the dry cleaners, the people from the pharmacy, the pet store; all of them make me feel at home. And of course there are the neighbors in the building itself. The other day M. opened the door and found two bags of gourmet dog treats and a pouch of gourmet wet cat food (totally new, sealed). One of the bags has a note that says: Please accept Courtesy of the Tony Awards (Gift Bag). For the little ones (Noticed the sign of your door). [There is one of those "in Case of Emergency Please Save our Pets" sticker on our door that specifies the number of cats and dogs residing here.] I found that to be incredibly thoughtful and sweet... Also, a couple of days ago our next door neighbor invited me into her apartment for a brief visit. I always chat with her and she is a lovely lady who is turning 80 years old this week and has lived in her apartment since the beginning of World War Two. How about that? She wants me to come back for another visit later this week so we can have a couple of drinks. She seems to favor Gin&Tonic!
Living here. I absolutely love it.

***
Funny how the mid works. I wrote the word linger above. Doing so instantly brought to mind The Cranberries' first CD. Just like that. I hadn't listened to it for quite a while, let alone thought of it. I immediately put it on (oh the joys of having one's stuff at least semi-organized) and am now enjoying it immensely. Had I forgotten how much I like it? Because I do; I actually love it.

***
One other thing I am pleased with. Summers (despite the fact that they suck) allow me the opportunity to read fiction to my heart's content, something I dare not do throughout the academic year when I feel compelled to read only academic texts relevant to my so-called career . And so, throughout the year I covet and hoard. I acquire piles of books and patiently wait till Summer. Thus far this Summer has proven to be quite pleasant, reading-wise. The few books I have read in the last month or so have all been, while all very different from one another, excellent. Below, a list:
Barbara Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible
Anne Tyler's Digging to America
Joe McGinniss Jr.'s The Delivery Man
Marisha Pressl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Hmmm, I feel like I am forgetting something. Ah well, I guess it will come to me later. Or not.

***
Now, to the gym.

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Saturday, June 7th, 2008
6:01 pm
Argh!

I had written a post about the flea market/street-wide garage sale happening on my block today, about my fortuitous (and cheap!) purchases, about the fact that I love Hell's Kitchen so much, even when it's a hundred degrees outside (seriously, what the fuck!?!), about wandering around with Manuel, about nice dogs and neighbors and having a good day and then... Then I proceeded, inadvertently and definitely not on purpose, to erase it all, except for the very last paragraph, below.


And I ate way too much Ethiopian food and am now having a hard time convincing myself of getting off my ass and going to the gym. But I will, oh yes I will.

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Monday, June 2nd, 2008
4:13 am - More than a little
When the reboot button doesn't do it for you, all you are left with is:

Run for the hills, I guess. At least, that has always been my solution.

Right or wrong, whenever things get seriously hinky, I take off. Which becomes truly uncomfortable when you don't actually have a "somewhere" to go to. And, really, at this day and age, most of us don't. Have somewhere to go to, that is. Not because we don't belong, or because we came out of nowhere, but mostly because we are by now so far removed from the original "somewhere", but have not yet found (or founded, as the case may be) our own, true "somewhere", that we often find ourselves at a loss.
I have this impulse now. It is not new and, believe me, I know it quite well. Every so often something happens and I feel the need to run away. To run home. To hide. To find a safe place and curl into a little ball where no-one can hurt me.
And that's all fine and good; except when it's not, that is.
I still want to run. To assess my independence by going home (wherever that might be), by running away to the one place I can claim as my own, by escaping and finding the safe spot to hide, to curl into a little ball, to feel safe.

But what if there isn't such a place?



What now?

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Saturday, April 26th, 2008
1:49 am - Stream of (reluctant) consciousness
Still a little bit off. Not that I expected it to go away from one day to the next, but you know.

Turns out, Freud bores me. Or maybe that's not it, maybe it's just that I am not engaging with the text for some reason. Totemism and Taboo is something I've read before and am, overall, pretty familiar with the topic. I might not necessarily agree with the good doctor on the subject, but I should still find it interesting. Which I guess I do... But. But I am having a really hard time concentrating. Also, nothing seems to be really sticking and yesterday I briefly panicked about losing my memory.

Low intensity. A time of dispersal. Durkheimian peaks and valleys. There is a time for high social intensity and cohesion, for effervescence, for communion, and there is a time for social dispersal, for solitude and quiet. This seems to be my time of dispersal. I feel like staying in and having tea. All the time. I do not want to go anywhere or see anyone (which, when you think about it, is not all that bad if we take into account that both money and [local] friends are scarce). I just want to be left quietly alone. I want to read and watch TV and move at my own pace. Hmmm, maybe I am a tad depressed... Maybe that has to do with thoughts of impending Masters graduation that I shall save for future musings.

Lately, I have developed strong attachments to Diet Root Beer, NCIS and the gym. Strange, yes?

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Friday, April 25th, 2008
1:29 am - Nocturnes
I've been pissy lately. Not at anyone in particular, or perhaps simply at myself. Mostly, I think, it's stress. Although, really, there doesn't seem to be that much to stress about. Except. Except that I have barely three weeks of classes left and haven't even began really thinking about the final paper. Except that we invited M's parents to my Masters graduation (seemed like a brilliant idea at the time -- full of potential and unforeseen economic benefits) and they'll be here for a week and that always makes me nervous and while I still believe that inviting them was the right thing to do, I am nonetheless dreading it just a little bit. Except that I will be done with the Masters and despite the fact that I absolutely hated this program and that this school is absolutely wrong for me, there is something bitter-sweet about it. Except that I really, really, really need to get a decently paying job for this Summer and that is going to be a) hard - what with my lack of marketable skills, and b) painful - as I don't foresee it being easy. Except that, come September, I will no longer be an Anthropologist, but that's neither here nor there, and also a topic for a whole new LJ post. Except that my apartment "back home" is undergoing renovations and that costs money and drives me slightly nuts, given the fact that I am here and can't do (read: control) much of anything. Except that I wish I was easier on myself. Except that I really don't need a shrink to tell me that I am not extremely social and a people's person because, hello! I kind of knew that already and reminding me of my perfectly internalized and overly analyzed shortcomings is not necessarily helpful. Except.
Heh, I am sure there is more. But really, one of the main reasons I never write here anymore is because I can't stand the sound of my own perpetual whining. Because life? It is actually pretty damn good right now.

I've been bad at sleeping lately. Actually, no, let me rephrase that: I've been bad at falling asleep. At keeping decent, normal-people hours. I'm trying chamomile tea, valerian pills, lavender extract on pillow. Wish me luck.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2008
5:10 pm
It's all kinds of amazing that I woke up this morning to a call... FROM CHINA!!!

One of my closest friends, whom I have known since High School and who is, I believe, the only person from back then I keep in touch with, called me today.

He moved to China a year and a half ago. Although we stay in touch via e-mail (at which I suck, but still), it's been six years since I saw him last (incidentally, this is how long it has been since I last went "home") and perhaps, he called me once or twice in the years between my last visit and his relocation.

The amazing thing is, apart from the fact that someone called me from China, that talking is as easy and comfortable as always.

I suck at communicating oh so much, but the point is, and I have always firmly believed this, that friendships that are meant to, do last forever. I guess what I am trying to say is that, even if I don't stay in touch, my people are my people no matter what. They are never far from my mind and my heart and the minute I hear their voice again, time and distance disappear instantly and completely.

That, and the fact that I currently feel quite loved because this morning Gabriel called me from China.

current mood: touched

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Sunday, December 16th, 2007
11:43 pm
Ohmigod!

The Puppini Sisters are amazing!

current mood: oh so happy

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Friday, February 2nd, 2007
1:55 pm - Guilty pleasures
This entry is lovingly dedicated to any/all potential music snobs on my friends' list and beyond.
(On second thought, to anyone with better taste in music than me, which is, apparently, absolutely everyone.)


You guys!
I should be ashamed of myself. Honestly. I really should. Really. Except yours truly is currently busy having a fantastic time.
A ridiculously fantastic time, in fact.

I saw something that reminded me of this German band from back in the day, and so, instead of trying to tease some sense out of this article on culture, temporality and Marxian economics I'm supposed to be working on, I downloaded a fairly impressive amount of pure, unadulterated 80s Eurotrash and have devoted the last hour to dance around in my PJs while singing my little heart out. Even the dogs are terrified! Ha!

Seriously. I actually believe this is more fun than any grad student is legally allowed to have. Ever.

Eeeeeee!!!

current mood: ecstatic

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Sunday, December 31st, 2006
1:48 pm - Lo and behold
For years I would get deadly sick on Christmas Eve. It was like magic, really. A sucky, cough-y, sneeze-y, ache-y, phlegm infested magic, but still. I would get one of those instant, horrible and all but completely disabling head/chest colds and end up spending Christmas Eve/Christmas Day alone in bed, surrounded by tissue, tea and meds of all denominations.
I used to joke that it was my way of canceling Christmas. Eventually I realized that was exactly it. A family oriented holiday made me feel more orphaned than ever so, instead of collecting (very well intentioned and sweet, but still) pity invites to my friends' family gathering, I would "cancel" Christmas and, by the 26th would re-emerge into a blissfully Christmas-less world, perfectly healthy, happy and looking forward to New Years, my favorite holiday ever.
I quit the Christmas sabotaging a few years back. It was inevitable. As soon as I consciously realized and acknowledged what I was doing, it became kind of pathetic. I don't get sick on Christmas Eve anymore, instead I do my best to gather "orphaned" (even if only geographically and temporarily) friends/my own chosen family and do the whole dinner/cookies/presents/pretty lights Christmas thing. (Yeah, I know, Christmas is supposed to be more than that, but I am a presents/pretty lights/cookies loving atheist who knows how to throw one hell of a party. Oh, and Christmas carols. Yeah, carols. Years of retail employment get to you, eventually. They do. It's like conditioning therapy, only not so much, apparently.)
Anyways. This year, I have no plans for New Years. Okay, that's not totally true. Lets just say, no plans I would be terribly interested in, that is. Also, no money. None. Whatsoever. (I do have plenty of booze at home though, but that's a whole different story.) Additionally, there is all this pressure. (Imaginary pressure created by no other than yours truly, but still.) This is my first New Years Eve in Manhattan and I feel like I am pretty much obligated to do nothing short of spectacular. Yet, there is nothing particularly spectacular in the works for this evening, thus far.
Wanna guess who got an itchy, ache-y throat last night? And who woke up with clearly cold-like symptoms? Yep. That's right. I am happy to report that my self-preservation/self-defense/self-sabotage mechanisms are as finely tuned and working as wonderfully as ever.
I have never spent New years Eve alone. I don't imagine it being particularly bad. It might even be quite relaxing, you know? Nothing grandiose to actually live up to, no unrealistic expectations, no little disappointments. Just me (dressed up to the nines, of course), the dogs (delighted), the cats (bored already), a couple of bottles of bubbly, some good music, candles and the roar and glitter of my beloved Manhattan all around me. I do live three blocks away from Times Square, after all.

Happy New Years, everybody!

current mood: amused

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Saturday, November 18th, 2006
5:39 pm - Funny, mostly because it's true
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
 

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
 
Book Snob
 
Literate Good Citizen
 
Non-Reader
 
Fad Reader
 
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz


* Just substitute the word final in "final stages of a Ph.D." for the word early.

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Thursday, August 24th, 2006
7:08 pm - Finally!!!
Finally, finally, FINALLY!!!
Finally, today I was able to change the "location" field on my LJ's Info page.
I waited 3 years for this, people. Three years!!!
Woohoo!!! No more Ithaca (no offense, but seriously... No. More. Ithaca.)!

Patience. Yep. Patience will get you everywhere.

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Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
12:02 am - Is this thing on?
I live in a small town. Okay, so maybe it's not THAT small, but after growing up in a city of 28 million people, it seems damn small to me. And, actually, that's one of the reasons I never really warmed up to this place. I've been meaning to leave pretty much since the day I got here and, as things stand, I have now over stayed my welcome by about three years.
But back to the fact that this is a small town. The kind of small town where you, inevitably, end up running into people all the time. All. The. Time. Add to that the fact that I just spent two years working retail and, basically, I know everybody here. And the thing is, I'm not precisely friendly. I'm not sociable. Okay, so maybe I am friendly. I don't really scowl or growl or yell at people. At least not all the time. But that doesn't really mean that I actually want to engage in conversation with every single person I see, now does it?
And people here, they are friendly. Or something. The small town kind of friendly where they don't really ignore each other on a regular basis (oh, to be back in the callous anonymity of a big city!). So what ends up happening is that every time I go somewhere/do something I end up running into someone I sort of know and with whom I should (should being the operative word here) be able to engage in conversation.
As a little parenthesis here, did you know that when I was about 3 years old some doctors told my parents I was autistic? Yeah, my social skills were that good. Animals, I had no problem with. People, on the other hand, I could not handle.
Fast-forward a shitload of years and subtract one misguided autism diagnosis, and it's last night and I am sitting at the Lounge of the Lost Dog Cafe drinking beer and enjoying a pretty fabulous Drag Queen show. And then add a couple of people whom I have met a number of times in assorted situations who see me and come over to say hi. Hi! How are you? Fantastic to see you! How are you liking the show? Wonderful, no? Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
And then what? Then nothing. Uncomfortable silence. Awkward smile. Sip of beer. Rinse. Repeat.
And it's not like I am a total bitch. Okay, so maybe I have some major bitch moments, but those are neither absolute nor continuous.
And where does that leaves us? That, my friends, leaves us with a dire necessity for a copy of "Small Talk for Dummies". That's where.

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Friday, June 30th, 2006
5:20 pm - I am not a bookstore clerk, but I play one on tv.
In the last couple of weeks I quit my job, quit smoking, maybe (and that's a giant maybe, mind you) found an apartment in New York and almost (ALMOST) began the overwhelming project of cleaning and packing my apartment here.

It feels a bit strange not to be shelving books for a living (at least for the time being). I might be even missing it a little. I am now forbidden from buying books. Ever. Okay, so maybe not EVER ever, but not until I actually read ALL the stuff I bought for myself and conned Manuel into buying for me in these past two years. Oh, the one exception is academic texts, those I can buy. But no recreational reading material until my multiple "to read" piles are gone. Also, no more 33% discount, no more hanging around a bookstore eight hours a day, five days a week checking out new stuff while adding every other book to my eternally growing "iwantiwantiwant" list. And no more paycheck, so upholding this rule should be reasonably easy.

Quitting smoking seemed as effortless as starting in the first place (like, over 15 years ago). No physical addiction to speak of (according to me), and no withdrawal. The habit though, is a different story. Smoking is (was?) part of my culture. I hardly recognize myself when not surrounded by a Camel cloud with a cigarette between my fingers. Some activities seem to require it more than others. Drinking, for example. Also coffee, computer, tv, waking up; you get the point. But really, I don't FEEL like smoking, I am just still used to doing it. So I am done and it was very easy. And it's not about willpower and it's not about health and it's not about anyone else's opinion. It's just that I don't feel like it anymore. Also, I am allowing myself to smoke in select social occasions involving large amounts of alcohol. One or two cigarettes a week are not going to kill me, at least not compared to the pack-a-day habit I maintained for well over a decade. So that's that.

If I was to list my very special talents or abilities, procrastination would have to be one of them. Seriously, I have less than a month and I can't believe that I am barely starting to clean out this mess of an apartment. Okay, so it's not like my place is dirty (although, actually, sometimes it is) but it's big and I am a pack rat. A big, fat, obsessive pack rat. I have a theory about that, actually. Maybe I was terribly deprived as a child... No, that's not it. Okay, how about in a former life then? Oh, screw it, I am probably just plain psychotic because, seriously, who keeps EVERYTHING? Apparently, I do and in no discernible order, either. Manuel is pretty bad too, but nothing like me. So, I am throwing over half of this crap away and packing only (ONLY!!!) usable, necessary stuff that will actually fit in a much, MUCH smaller apartment.

And speaking of which, I would love, love, LOVE to know if we are actually getting this place (perfect location & the only place I have actually liked/loved of the half a dozen we've seen so far, expensive though) because if we are not, then we are in real trouble. And if that happens, I should probably re-think Manhattan altogether, which means Brooklyn here I come, which isn't bad per se, but dammit I watched all those movies and sit-coms and now I am finally moving to New York and I want it all and I want it right this very second and I am done waiting for things to get easier/better/whatever and I should seriously be allowed to have my cake and eat it too and that means Manhattan, most likely thanks to some stupid, romantic idea, but that's what it means, so there. Oooph.

I am yet to reach the "more excited than nervous" stage regarding this whole thing and I really should be cleaning and throwing crap away (why would anyone hold on to a dried out, not particularly flattering lip gloss for 5 years is truly beyond me) but I also promised myself that I would get back into the habit of writing everyday, so here we are.

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Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
1:30 am - Fear
Kali, our girl-cat, had something that looked/felt like some sort of minor stroke or small seizure tonight. She is about 13 years old.
I am scared. I am very scared.

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Thursday, March 23rd, 2006
12:41 am - For some reason, I found this visually enticing:

Cloud of interests for vampirekatvampirekat

1980s 1980s music anarchist black cross anarchy animals anna anthropology bats baudelaire bauhaus beer bisexuality black blank stares of incomprehension blood blue velvet bola books bret easton ellis cats cioran coffee colonia roma cooking crying at the movies dachshunds david bowie david lynch dead can dance death doc marten's dreams drunkeness dusk earl gray tea emily bronte emily the strange europe film fire fire walk with me flying fog food french german gus van sant hands haruki murakami hockey hooded sweatshirts keiner liebt mich kisses knowledge learning leonard cohen less than zero literature london love magnetic fields master and margarita melancholy memory mexico mexico city michael cunningham moon new zealand night nobody loves me ommegang pain passion photography pierceings poetry political prisoners punk rain reading religion russia russian literature sex skin sleep solitude spirit possession st. elmo's fire structuralism tarkovsky tattoos tea tears teseo the sisters of mercy the smiths theatre this mortal coil tolstoi tom robbins touch townes van zandt travel twin peaks vampires wim wenders wine wings writing

Get yours!


Created by lazy_nekolazy_neko

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Monday, March 13th, 2006
11:48 pm - Adventures in book-selling
It seems terribly sad that, when working retail, it is the horrible, abusive customers you remember most at the end of the day... Not the woman who had a lovely smile, or the older gentleman who was looking for that incredibly interesting book. Not even that other lady who was so sweet and who ended up buying several works by that amazing author you recommended. No, the ones that stick with you are not the kind, gentle souls, but the one customer who was mean or abusive. Those are the ones that, unfortunately, really get under your skin. No matter how much you tried to unburden yourself from the experience by sharing the incident with a friend or a co-worker. No matter how nice an evening you had once you actually clocked out. Nope. Unkindness, it seems, tends to leave a much deeper mark than kindness does sometimes.

Eeek.

Thank god for selective amnesia and the fact that, by the end of my next shift, there will be plenty of other inconsiderate assholes to occupy my consciousness.

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Monday, February 27th, 2006
11:56 pm - Whimsy aside
Seem like somebody actually likes me. Really, really likes me.
That is to say, I got into UCSD's PhD program. I should be ecstatic. Really, I should. Yet, for some strange reason, I am not. Of course, while I did get in, I am not being offered the desired funding, hence I am not even sure I'll accept the offer. But still, but still, but still...
So far, I have gotten a few very encouraging, even flattering, e-mails from several faculty members. One mentioned that my applications was unique, among other things, in that I expressed an interest in conducting extensive (one or two year-long) fieldwork in Siberia. Heh! Yeah, I can certainly see why nobody else is volunteering to do that...

Ahhh, anyways, I still have five rejection (ahem, I meant decision) letters coming my way in the next month or so. Meanwhile, I drink Gin Gimlets and wait.

--------------

My hands are constantly dry. At this point, the hand lotion companies should be paying ME.

--------------

Why my Dachshund is awake right now is truly beyond me.

--------------

I actually haven't updated this thing since August... Interesting.

current mood: humm

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