Tuesday, June 24

Duck of the Sea

I just made this recipe for Tuna Puttanesca by Rachel Ray, and it is delicious.

It calls for Italian tuna, which is tuna in olive oil.
I've eaten a lot of canned tuna, but it's always been packed in water or bland oil. Olive oil changes tuna into something almost magical. No longer does it taste like that stuff you buy because it's cheap, (and it does cost about four-and-a-half times more than regular tuna). It is transformed into something much more exotic--something so wonderful that to mix it with mayonnaise would be a sin. It turns Chicken of the Sea into Duck of the Sea.

I don't think I can ever go back to chicken; it's duck for me from now on.

Monday, June 23


My boss just called me at work to say that today is "my" day to make a free pizza at Flying Pie. The one day that I am too busy to breathe from 7 am to 10 pm! Man, I'm sad now. Especially since my stomach is pretending I haven't eaten for days and growling like crazy. I love pizza.

I ran out of work to do today at 9 am. I don't know what to do with myself now. I could trim the yellow leaves off the philodendrons on top of the file cabinet, but I don't feel like doing that. I could put this new dealer information in a file since it's been sitting on my desk for a week, but I don't feel like doing that, either. I could start working on my paper for Brit Survey, but it's not due until next Monday and I don't have the Camille Paglia article I need in order to write it. I wish "Desert Solitaire" was past copyright and was published on the web so I could just read snippets of it at work. But it isn't. Brian just reviewed an application for someone who hasn't paid off a wedding ring but is already divorced. Ouch.

[Redacted--no longer applicable].

Sunday, June 22

Drinking is Dumb

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why must we go out drinking at night when it makes us so sick the next day? Aren't I a little old for this? I'm typing this at Leighann's house, where I spent the night because I was part of her femmes fatale dinner and drink-a-thon last night. Now it's 5 pm and I'm still here because I don't feel well enough to risk getting in some cab to go downtown and get my car. Leighann is not well, either and thus cannot take me to my car on her little scooter.

Stupid, stupid, stupid Jenny! I have "squandered my Sunday" as my friend put it so eloquently on Facebook. And I have my marathon day tomorrow that goes from 7am to 10pm and there is a fly buzzing around in here that is driving me insane. I need to get my shit together so I can swing by Port of Subs on the way home. Mmmm, Port of Subs. I am so hungry.

Saturday, June 21


I haven't used this space for actual blogging for awhile. I haven't had time to breathe these past two semesters, let alone read or write or do anything I actually wanted to do. However, my workload of two papers per week (on the average) has left me with an addiction to writing that must be fed.

Sometimes I get weirded out about how the internet has changed the way we live our lives. If we'd been told in the 1980's or even the 90's that eventually we'd all belong to Facebook or Twitter or have webcams/personal websites that kept people updated on what we were doing from moment to moment, we probably would've thought it was absurd--only in a dystopian novel would such things occur. I think it's interesting and also a bit creepy that Facebook lets me know stuff like what books my friends are reading and who they're friends with. It's kind of like voluntarily submitting to Big Brother for reasons of ego. I wonder if people will eventually become so comfortable and so used to living this way that they'll be updating things like, "I just cheated on my spouse" or "I just took a shit."

Tuesday, June 17

the monk again

Ambrosio plays the feminized character during the selection from The Monk. In the section from Chapter 2, he admonishes himself not to give in to “temptation” and “the seduction of luxury and desire” (Norton 596). The idea of not giving in to temptation or not being seduced is one generally associated with the virtuous woman. In the scene from Chapter 8, Ambrosio is described as being “more timid” than a woman, which allows Elvira to get the best of him at first. Elvira in this scene acts the more masculine part, declaring ‘“I will secure [Antonia]” and threatening to expose Ambrosio’s attempt to rape Antonia to all of Madrid (Norton 599). When he kills her it is out of desperation and fear; he is operating from a position of less power, which is typically the female role.

This selection of The Monk supports the claims of Anna Letitia Aikin and John Aikin because it both compels the reader to satisfy her curiosity and stimulates the imagination. Lewis makes it clear in Chapter 2 that though Ambrosio is held in very high esteem as a virtuous monk, he has human flaws, namely vanity and lust. His unconventional lust for the painting of the Madonna coupled with his great pride makes the reader want to read on to see how these qualities will combine to bring about Ambrosio’s fall from grace. These qualities also enlarge the reader’s imagination because monks are often thought of as so virtuous that they are above normal human weakness; Lewis’s Ambrosio refutes those ideas. The Aikin’s two ideas of gothic allure are combined in the Chapter 8 reading because the reader must have her curiosity satisfied as to what happens when Ambrosio tries to rape Antonia, and she is continually having her conceptions of what a monk should be shattered.

The feeling I get from reading this is one of horror more than terror. Terror reading occurs more when the reader is forced to identify with the hero or heroine who is passive and who doesn’t know what is going on. In this scene Antonia is passive, but the reader is forced to identify more with Ambrosio because the story is told from his point of view. He is the monster in this scene, and it gives the reader a sense of horror to identify with the monster and to know what he is doing or what his intentions are.

Sunday, June 15


The people at my HOA are trying to rip me off. The reason I know this is because they tried to rip me off just the other day. When I went to my mailbox on Friday, I found a dunning letter from the Homeowners Association which states very explicitly, "Your account has an unpaid balance of $(bald-faced lie) for past homeowner association dues...Not paying your dues causes the Homeowner's [sic] Association grave difficulties in maintaining the community and could result in devaluation."

I resent the use of the phrase "grave difficulties." A bit self-important, really. Grave difficulties like they won’t be able to buy the yearly supply of koi after herons eat all the existing ones? Truly, a situation of life and death.

When I called the HOA office to tell them my account is not behind, the girl on the other end of the phone told me sweetly that I was a month ahead in January but I never paid my February dues. I had my check history on the computer screen in front of me and it clearly showed check XXXX written to my HOA and cashed for $135 in February.

"Nope," she said confidently, "you didn't pay in February. You're probably just confused because you had the credit in January. I'm making a spreadsheet for you right now so you can see when you paid and when you didn't." I love how people think spreadsheets will solve everything. I got it, and it’s just a chart that says exactly what she told me: they have no record of my February payment but they have all the payments since then. I wanted to tell her that in this context a spreadsheet is totally meaningless because it is basically just a visual representation of their side of the story. It’s not from their bank or anything. It’s as meaningful as if I'd made a spreadsheet showing which of my shoes I wear the most.

I got a copy of the check from my bank, but since it's older than 90 days all they could provide me with is a shitty, pixelated copy that is faint and blurry. I took it to the HOA office, but of course it was totally useless as you can't see the endorsement stamp or read the account number it was deposited to. The girl called me back to tell me that a) she could gain no useful information from the shitty check copy, and b) she has no record of my check in their files, where they keep both a spreadsheet (!) of all the homeowners' payments and photocopies of all of the checks.

I printed the more recent checks off and took them to the office. By that time the nicer girl who works at the office was on her break, and in her place was the middle-aged, supremely evil office manager. The evil office manager proceeded to tell me in her very harsh voice that they never received a check from me in February. I gave her all of my check copies. It is clear from the newer check copies that the disputed check was deposited at the same bank in the same account, because you can tell that the bank stamp and the account stamp where it was deposited are the same as on the newer checks (which are much easier to read). She said she'd research it and get back to me on Tuesday, even though she still "can't read" the Feb check.

My HOA sends letters out every June to almost every resident in my complex stating that their dues are behind (they used to both mail a copy and tape a copy on everyone's door; a heinous waste of paper). They are total liars.

Tuesday, June 10

2 divine images

The first stanza of William Blake’s The Divine Image shows how important are the graces of “Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,” to humanity; not only does man call upon them for aid in times of “distress,” he also attributes prosperity and happiness to them when he is not in need (85). The first stanza of The Human Abstract, on the other hand, points out that man wouldn’t need graces such as pity or mercy if there weren’t inequalities between men such as poverty: “Pity would be no more, / If we did not make somebody Poor” (95). This is paradoxical to the second stanza of The Divine Image, which sets up “Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love” as ideals that man should strive to practice because God is comprised of these qualities and man is God’s creation (85). The paradox suggested by the first stanza of The Human Abstract is that in order for these graces to exist there must be poverty and suffering, because “Mercy no more could be / If all were as happy as we” (95).

The final three stanzas of The Divine Image call for all humans to love one another because if man is both capable of practicing the four graces mentioned above, and if “every man, of every clime, / That prays in his distress” calls upon those same graces, then all men are really praying to the same God, whether “heathen, Turk, or Jew” (85). He also states that God is in all men: “Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell, / There God is dwelling too” (85). This call to all humans is shown to be idealistic in light of what Blake says about humans in The Human Abstract, which suggests the true nature of man rather than the ideal. Here Blake states that man is only humble when he has “holy fears,” i.e. when he remembers that he doesn’t want to spend eternity in Hell; his humility is based in selfishness rather than genuine respect for God (95). Out of selfishness grows a tree which shades man in “Mystery,” or evil, and which “bears the fruit of deceit” (95). Blake ends the poem with a vivid image of this tree as part of “the human Brain,” which is different from the end of The Divine Image, in which he calls upon man to “love the human form,” with the word “form” meaning either a body or an ideal. By stating that a tree bearing deceit lies in the human brain, The Human Abstract warns that though this “form” represents a divine ideal, though this body may be the image of God on the outside, inside it dwells not only God but also this tree of deceit.