Mar 27, 2007


Cancer sure seems a big winner lately. It killed Cathy Seipp; now Elizabeth Edwards has it in her bones and Tony Snow, in his liver. Last week, the day Cathy Seipp died, M. sent a how-are-you text message to an old friend--an ex of sorts--and she replied that her dad had died of bone cancer that afternoon. M. called her that night, but she was too drunk and grief-stricken to talk.

The news was a bit of a shock to me, especially because I'd actually met the guy about a year and a half ago, back when he didn't have an inkling of his disease. He was a big, jovial, extremely likeable man who'd (barely) survived one or two Yugoslavian civil wars before getting his family out of there and safely to the US. Last fall, M.'s friend got into a terrible car accident and broke her neck. She was in a body cast for months. The very day she was released from the body cast and let out of the hospital, she learned her father was dying. That was four months ago.

I'm reminded that my mother was about this girl's age when she learned her dad was dying of lung cancer. She was in the US at the time, and he was in Mexico, and the cancer was so progressive she didn't have time to see him before he died.

Life can be so fucking depressing; it's no wonder people have religion.

Here are some pictures now. My next post, I hope, will be about puppies and rainbows.

No, I take that back--M.'s dad and stepmom are taking us to what is possibly the best restaurant in the United States later this week. So I think I'll write about that. Amazing food is even better than puppies and rainbows. And far, far better than cancer.

Mar 20, 2007

Woe Is Me

Remember how I said, not too long ago, that I would soon find out what I would be doing with the next two years of my life? Well, I oversimplified. The idea was that, if I were admitted to the masters program I applied to, my next two years would be spent going to school. And, between the confidence of my boss and my boyfriend--and the program's relative obscurity--and the perceived non-shoddiness of my application--I thought I would be admitted. But I wasn't.

Now, what to do? I don't know. I have few ideas, fewer that sound easy and none that sound both easy and appealing.

I could stay at this job, and stay bored and mediocre (but comfortable!) for the rest of my life--but on second thought, I really couldn't. Another year, in fact, would be unbearable.

I could consider, in the future, applying to graduate schools in other parts of the country, knowing that accepting an (as yet hypothetical) offer from a faraway school would mean leaving someone with whom I can easily imagine spending a non-trivial portion of my life. (This is the secular skeptic's bet-hedging, anti-romantic, ultra-cautious version of "He's the One 4-ever! *gush*", I think). As far as options go, this one falls halfway between unattractive and unthinkable.

More appealingly, I could strengthen my candidacy and reapply. But I obviously didn't cut it the first time, and how much can really change in nine months?

M.'s answer is always the same: self-teach and publish. And then, go for a Ph.D.

I'll try, but I don't exactly have high expecations.

Part of my trouble is that my interests are a poor match with my temperament. My classes in college overrepresented certain populations: the frats, the sororities, and, more generally, the social types. My classmates were the kinds of people who studied politics because they wanted to be in politics, who studied international relations because they were interested in being international lawyers or businesspeople or diplomats or advocates for various causes. Such was my perception, at least. These kids spoke up in class, and participated in debate, and many of them went off to law or business school after they graduated. Those who decided to pursue politics spent their college years in a networking frenzy. They worked for their local Representatives, or at the Department of State. Meanwhile, I don't like politicians; I don't even think I like people who like politicians. I rarely like businesspeople. Hell, I don't even really like people.

I became interested in politics and IR from a theoretical, strategic, and ultimately, descriptive (as opposed to normative) perspective. I like studying, I like writing, and I like empiricism. M. says that for these reasons he thinks I am better off going into academia. But academia in the "softer" social sciences seems more political and more hierarchical than the harder sciences. And getting into an acceptable Ph.D. program would be so terribly, extremely difficult--much more difficult than the program that just rejected me.

Maybe I should look into developing new interests.

Or, if anyone reading this happens to be the editor of The Economist, I've read your Style Guide about a dozen times and I think I'd make a decent assistant copy editor.


At least I can't complain that it hasn't been a gorgeous winter.

Mar 15, 2007

Die, SUV Driver

While biking to work yesterday I was crowded off the road by a jagoff in a white Lexus SUV. Said jagoff was consulting a map or somesuch and couldn't be bothered to watch the road, and so I was given a second's choice between the SUV and the curbside. The curbside looked better (softer?), so I hit it, flipped over my bike, and landed on the ground. It wasn't so bad--I got away with a few scrapes on the hands, a few bruises on the legs, and a renewed hatred for these shitty suburban drivers who, I bet, have absolutely no need for an SUV, and no clue how to drive one. Biking in the city is like maneuvering through an obstacle course, but at least the drivers there have learned how to watch the road. I've had more close calls in the suburbs, by far.

Oh, and I saw the SUV slow down for a moment, as though the driver saw me eat it, but then it sped up through the intersection once he/she/it saw I wasn't dead. Thanks, dude!

On a completely different note, my cat looks somewhat like Falcore from The Neverending Story.

Mar 9, 2007


"Let's Party" brand prepared crab snacks: yum!

In other news--

(1) I just spent an hour and a half organizing pictures on flickr
(2) My flatmate is an alcoholic
(3) A hoodlum in a low rider and a tophat rolled down his window while I was biking up a steep hill to ask if I had any Grey Poupon
(4) M. and I will spend most of this weekend entertaining his mother and her boyfriend


(5) Within the next few weeks I will probably learn what I'm going to do with the next two years of my life.

Mar 1, 2007


I wanted so badly to watch Apocalypse Now and go to bed early last Friday, but instead we danced all night and stayed up to watch the sunrise, pictured here doing its best imitation of a nuclear explosion.

At first staying up until daybreak sounded like a bad idea. Then, when I was up on the roof looking east, it looked like a good idea; but on Saturday, when I woke up at 6:12pm and the sun was setting and my head was still pounding, it felt like a very, very bad idea all over again.

Best photo of my flatmate ever taken, best Leffe ad ever made, both, or neither?

I don't understand how M. was comfortable with a(nother) weekend of hard partying right before his Ph.D. interviews. Methinks he's made of much sturdier stuff than I.