mortality milestones

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. You guys! I made the first ever donations in my life as a working class adult!

2. Interview with Northwestern law lady is set for November 7th. Puking with nervousness already. As I was saying to a friend, how am I supposed to talk about my passion for PI and my outrage at the appalling income inequality in this country to a partner at the sixth largest corporate law firm in the country? Sheeeee-yit.

3. Now that all us fannish folk are moving on and up, it’s very odd to think that we still have this common background. “Hey, remember when we spent our youths writing fanfic about soccer players and effeminate Korean popstars? And now we’re doctors, lawyers, epidemiologists, professors, and nationally-famous journalists with four-digit twitter followings?” I mean really. It’s delightful and also jarring.

4. Recipes: Slow roasted Turkish lamb stew was unexpectedly delicious. Am excited to try this pasta carbonara recipe and this slow-cooked bolognese sauce.

5. Notes on various books I’ve been reading: Barbara Demmick’s Nothing to Envy robbed me of an entire night’s sleep. After reading the first parts of it I laid in bed for about six hours, feeling aghast that such a regime still exists in the world today. Grim, grim, grim. This book affirms my fervent belief in capitalism and the right of man to free enterprise — tempered by the understanding, of course, that government still has the responsibility of regulating industry and minimizing the costs of capitalism (cf. Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation). Particularly horrific details: “Kim Jong-il and his father are men too,” a classmate tells one of Demmick’s protagonists, after she (the protagonist) has her looks and grades evaluated by visiting party officials, and was judged unfit to be taken away to live in compounds around the country, where the government was rumored to keep other young girls to whom Kim Jong-il presumably dispensed his favors. Teachers exhorting six, seven year old students to “be grateful for the patronage of their great leader” while the students were starving to death. People picking individual rice grains out of mud to cook and eat.

I also reread Dillard’s The Writing Life and was both encouraged and discouraged to find that all of her neuroses can quite correctly be diagnosed as identical to mine. Now I’m working through the Portable Dorothy Parker and feeling wowed. Parker writes this incredible, stinging dialogue — I imagine sparring with her in real time was like being whipped, incessantly, with a willow switch — and there’s all this other great stuff too, astute commentary, world-enlivening detail, horrible snivelling characters, devastating irony. She is, however, something that I constantly have to take a break from, because the density of the writing and the personality traits that typify her characters tire me out. Unfortunately, Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace is much less compelling.

6. Three-year anniversary! D’awwwwww.

The itinerary in Chicago, which I’m leaving for this Saturday: Second City showing on Saturday night, a belated birthday dinner somewhere or other, a Blackhawks game on Tuesday evening with E., and a showing of 50/50 during one of the in-between time slots.

A creature of distinguished cuteness made itself known to me yesterday night.

“I’m always pretty warm because I’m a sock” — Mr. Sock, 11:36PM, 10/17/11

To the best person I know.

7. Additional reading: How Friends Ruin Memory: the Social Conformity Effect (Wired). A Dirty Business: New York City’s top prosecutor takes on Wall Street crime (the New Yorker on the Galleon Case–thrilling reading). Massachusetts Tries to Reign in its Health Care Costs (New York Times).

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