Friday, December 30, 2005

a bit better

as of today i'm feeling okay on only 400mg of ibuprofen! its only been two and a half weeks--i still hurt when the dose wears off but its an improvement. yay.

Friday, December 23, 2005


is the devil. i'm not in dire i-need-narcotics pain anymore, but my body wants them. i didn't use 'em more than 10 days, moderate doses...yep, i'm a shaky, achy, weepy bag of withdrawal symptoms. I think my last post was reflective of this--apparently darvocet withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to "Chekovian fatalism, Kierkegaardian existentialism, and teen angst."

Friday, December 16, 2005

educational videos

I've just had my wisdom teeth out, and though the swelling is slowly fading i'm not yet back on solid foods and i'm still hurtin' a good deal. I've been laid up and doped up with ice around my jaw, reading webcomics and getting the Boy to read me stories since tuesday, so i've had a lot of time to let my mind wander.

I've come to the realization that what we need in America is a new "prohibited" sign for public buildings--in addition to those forbidding concealed firearms, dogs, smoking, cell phones, solicitation, and chewing gum, we need a sign that reads "no theism." you could even make it graphical--containing as many different symbols for religions (or rebellion against such) as you can possibly cram into 4"x4"--so that even illiterate bible thumpers know the rules. These can be glue-backed or static cling so they can be displayed on doors and windows of buildings where religious bias and voiciferous theistic or atheistic sentiments are not allowed. These decals are a must for any government office or state-supported institution such as public education and healthcare and should also be available for purchase by business and homeowners in office-supply stores.

Applying one of these decals to your home or office should not indicate to your guests or clients anything about the beliefs of the owners or employees, but rather it should serve as a reminder to everyone present that the establishment functions without concern for it. In that way we can ensure that children are not being taught christianity or atheism in the classroom--they can be taught science--that is, what can be learned through experiment and analysis. We can be sure that women can get their prescriptions for birth control filled and their abortions performed if need be, but they are not pressured into preventing birth if they don't want to. We can be sure government spending is not skewed toward or away from any religious group. We can be sure all behavior surrounding sex can be universally understood from a biological perspective--whatever else you want to teach it is your buisness within the walls of your church or home. The function of the "no theism" sign is clear--"if you choose to enter this establishment, kindly leave your religion outside."

That said, since chances are that idea won't catch on, the secular world could actually do what the religiosos are accusing them of doing and distribute anti-religious literature on the other side of the street from them. While the First Self-Righteous Church of Columbia has their youth group stuffing "Jesus is the only way to heaven" pamphlets into the hands of every drunken college student in 5 Points, an equally loud and obnoxious team of youngsters can thrust "religion is for followers" pamphlets in the stumbling student's other hand and both can look dissatisfied when the kid vomits on them and throws them away. As Americans we have the freedom to speak up about whatever beliefs we choose, but rarely do you see people (at least in the south) using said freedom for anything except Christianity and racism. Personally, i'd love to see a table set up at the next university fresher's week handing out educational videos discouraging new students from joining the Campus Crusade for Christ (et al)--not because i don't want students to join the groups, but just to throw in a bit of variety. It'd be great--i can hear the introduction now:

"Hello, and welcome to "Secularism and You." In the next twenty minutes we'll take an in-depth look at the benefits of the religion-free, worry-free lifestyle that you can enjoy absolutely free of charge in just two easy steps. By the end of this video tutorial we hope you will gain the confidence to just say "no" the next time you are asked to join a religious group or student bible study--it'll be the right choice."

I'd imagine the two easy steps would be something like "1. recognize that religion is a human invention stemming from mankind's inherent fear of the unknown." and "2. affirm that there will always be things you don't know and get on with your life. have a nice day." Oh if only the Preston kids were still radical lunatics this pro-social effort might be realized. Curse my laziness--i'd never spearhead it myself. I'd also like to see a "leave me alone" political party formed, but that's something of an oxymoron so nevermind. wow my next round of pain meds just kicked in. I should probably stop typing before this stops being incoherent drivel and becomes incoherent drivel with spelling errors. wheee.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I would really like a big umbrella that looks like the little ones that go into cocktails. Anyone ever seen one?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Atheism in America

I had a startling revelation yesterday that I thought I'd share before my brain clouded over with the stress of exam week.

When I studied in southeast England, I learned that atheism was a-okay. Uni kids didn't form huge religious clubs or outreach programs, nobody ever passed out bibles on streetcorners--even in Canterbury--and I was never harassed into any pro/anti-theistic debate because not only did very few people take the concept of an oversoul seriously, but nobody cared either way. The country was not theistic or atheistic, it was apathetic. How wonderful.

If you look at the CIA Factfile on the UK and scroll down to "Religion" you get this spread:

Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census) (

So, when filling out censuses, about 75% of people do claim some sort of church affiliation. But when you watch the news over there, at least once a week an archbishop or other religious head will be on, complaining that there is a national deficit of churchgoing types. (I'd imagine they try to get on the news whenever they have two weeks or more when nobody shows) Moreover, you have to pay to get into the really neat historic churches around there simply because the people who run it are fully aware that nobody is seriously going in to pray. They just want to wander around and look at the neat architecture. I think most of them are free on Sunday mornings, but then you have to sit and listen. What it looks like, then, is that people still go through the motions of baptizing their children and claiming some sort of belief structure just for simplicity's sake--so that when they have to fill out surveys and censuses they don't have to write "hmm, never thought about it, really" and try and figure out what school of thought they fall into.

That's what British Atheism is, though! It is not a conscious rejection of theology or an inner philosophical debate between the two major schools of thought...British folks just don't care. They're not bothered by it either way and so contentedly live their secular lives--they work, they love, they play, they grieve--without being encumbered the psychological onus that is religion.

I can't do that, unfortunately. I was raised in the American southeast where if you're not Christian, your family gets angry with you and your friends try to change you. (This hasn't happened much since i got into university but middle and high schools were quite another matter.) I went to church for about four years in middle and high schools--a very tiny Presbyterian Church of America run by a fanatic who was so terrified that his attractive teenage daughter would get knocked up that he wanted everybody in the church under age 18 to come to the front and sign a Prayer of Purity, vowing before God, the congregation, and most of all, himself, that they would abstain from sex until marriage--but was never quite able to accept what i was taught there. There were too many inconsistencies. Too many places where it was written in Hawly Scripture that women were inferior to men. Places where it said that the only way to Heaven was through Jesus H. Christ, and everyone believing in other religions was, well, fucked. Particularly people who knew about Jesus but didn't believe he was the son of god (you know, that tiny corner of humanity who reads the Qu'ran or the Torah) as decreed in the year 325 by Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea. By the time i was 16 I'd pretty much figured out that religion was a means by which men could justify some bizarre penis=power sentiment and Americans could uphold prejudice. I opted to go off on my own to discover what it was I truly believed, as an intelligent and interested young American female.

I didn't find anything. Admittedly, i didn't look very hard, but after about a week of fretting i realized that pretty much all religions were simply variations of one another and i stopped looking.

So i tried out Agnosticism. I reasoned that I didn't know where the universe came from, and moreover I would never know, and neither would anyone else. I judged that I didn't know where i'd go when i died, and neither did anyone else, so the question was moot. Easy. Rock on. But conflict arose when i tried to get any sleep with this mindset. I gave my brain the seed "i don't know, i will never know, who cares?" and it took it as a challenge. Damn brain. I couldn't actively believe or disbelieve--i was stuck in the middle, as is the principle of Agnosticism--so i mulled over it, constantly coming back to this argument, and i quote:

"God created the universe." "But who created God?" "Nobody created God, God is eternal." "Eternal?" "Yes, god has no beginning or end. God simply is." "But dude, if God has no beginning, then god never started to exist. Thus god doesn't." "But eternity doesn't work like that. That's the point of it--it is relentless and always has been." "Eternity, and indeed time, are manifestations of mankind. If there is no one around to record the passage of time, does it pass?" "But we age. rocks erode. We can see the passage of time." "Circle of life, yo--matter cannot be created or destroyed. It simply changes state. Matter may walk and talk and read Emerson but it can also collect sediments at the bottom of the ocean out of clamshells which form into islands. Matter on earth is constantly changing forms, so it is impossible to judge the age of the universe based on how much it has decomposed--it will always be recomposing." "Hence eternity." "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." "oh shut up."

etc. Needless to say, i spent my first year of university both exhausted from losing sleep over this and smug from feeling smarter and deeper than everyone around me. I was on the brink of something, i was sure of it! But eventually i realized that i'd thought myself into a corner and had to acknowledge defeat. I couldn't draw any conclusive conclusions. So i did the next best thing. I got depressive and bitchy. Then i went to England and got my answer.

The reason I was bogged down by theology was because i was living in a theistic world! When I got away from it, i didn't care! I could live and let live and eat and drink and revel in how nice and secular the world coul..d...FUCK i'm back in America.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

the "real world"

you know what i'm getting damn tired of hearing? older people telling me how their eyes were somehow opened when they entered the "Real world"--some new plateau of world experience and comprehension that suddenly dawned on them when they were slightly older than i am now. every time i encounter some loser who has recently graduated from or dropped out of university and has done nothing but work some mediocre job, pay bills, and drink beer they invariably tell me that they were hopeful and naive just like me until they day they entered "the real world." I don't quite understand how someone who has lived twenty some-odd years and done absolutely nothing noteworthy can dare condescend to another twenty-something student who is willing to at least go out and try on a career and independent living. Hell, at least I'm willing to go out and try. Most of these "real worlders" who have spoken to me did nothing between graduating and settling into a dead-end job and/or dead-end relationship and now have nothing else to do with their lives than grumble about taxes and remember how they were really cool 'back in the day.' And they'll continue to carp on about these two issues until they are forced into early retirement and fail to receive pension and eventually die, ever hopeful for some redemption in another life--a compensation for how much their life sucked.

When i inquire as to the nature of this "real world" as opposed what i can only suppose is the parallel universe in which I live, and when I might expect to encounter it (is there some sort of bubble i have to pass through?) I'm invariably told to wait until i'm out of university. I go on further to inquire as to just what the real worlder has done with his or her time since graduation, and i'm also invariably told the same thing. "worked hard, never had enough money." How in hell does this differ from the world that I'm living in now? at least they're being paid for their work, not paying someone else to make me do it. I work, physically and intellectually, about 50 hours a week, and must not only pay tuition but inordinate prices for my dormitory and those fun random fees that just occur as a daily part of university life. I eat in a restaurant once every couple of months. I buy my alcohol in the grocery store and drink it at home so I can afford it. I don't own a TV, keep the air set from 68-72 all year, get my books out of the library, and buy my tea on sale. If it weren't for my computer and the fact that i wear shoes you could say that i live a pretty bare-minimum American lifestyle. I make do--i have an on-campus job that pays for groceries, i earn good grades to keep my scholarship, and i'm more than a few grand into debt with student loans. I guarantee you I work harder and longer than many of these post-academia real-worlders and have endured the same hardships of life.

The only thing I can decipher--given what i know about them and myself--is that you enter the real world the day you stop having a good time. The day i stop living is the day i enter the real world. (at this point the jaded real-worlder may stop and stifle an outburst of laughter with a knowing eye-roll or a sneer out of one side of his or her mouth--oh this little girl, she has no idea what she's in for) Well i got news for you. The day i stop having a good time--the day i stop having hope for something better in my future is the day i end my life. If entering the real world requires losing passion and interest, i can only hope i have the strength of will to cease living before i reach the threshold.

One thing i have a hard time understanding is the religious real-worlder: these angry, struggling failures who attend church and claim a faith in some form of deity although every iota of their psyche knows that said deity will not redeem them or make life any more fun than its turned out to be. They can only pray that they have suffered and struggled for a good reason, and that when they keel over from all the misery of it there will be a big comfy chair for them to relax in and they will become fat and happy. Yet at their core, no matter how they mask it with this faith or train their minds to embrace it, they still fear death.

The day my ability to pursue happiness ends, so will cease my purpose in and excuse for living. I can only hope this is a long time from now, and not when i'm twenty-four like so many people. If you're not having a good time, there's no reason to stay at the party.

I'm having a good time.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Theatre South Carolina's production of The Cherry Orchard is over, and the set is struck. Completely. There ain't so much as a broomful of dust remaining onstage from that piece of literary schmutz. It could have gone well--it could have been the best show we ever did. But it didn't, and it wasn't. It was horribly directed, weakly designed, unattended, and intellectually uninspiring. The actors slogged through and did their absolute best with what was given them to perform. I'm almost certain the number of tickets sold did not cover the price of building the set. If you couldn't make it to the show, count yourself among the lucky.

I devoted over six weeks of my life to this steaming pile of road apples. Not that I had much of a choice, but that was six weeks I could have been out playing and laughing and drinking--I turned 21 in those six weeks--and, y'know, behaving like a normal university aged student. but instead I carried around everything from children's toys to guns to shoes to bookcases and helped avert crises before they occurred. I allowed myself to be yelled at for nothing in particular while my director tried to make me feel stupid for not taking care of things that were neither my problem nor my fault. I spent five hours every night staring at the wall and trying desperately to stay awake. Don't get me wrong--I joined this stage management team willfully, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. My PSM (primary stage manager) and co-ASM (assistant stage manager) were (and are) wonderful people who i value as coworkers and as friends. The cast and crew were friendly and hardworking, and all very capable with their tasks. But no matter how you excuse it, this show did not meet its theatrical potential.

The Cherry Orchard, for any reader who may not be familiar with this Russian text, is about the downfall of the aristocracy in light of the industrial revolution. Written by Anton Chekhov, the play follows six months in the lives of the members of the Ranevsky household--Lyubov Andrevena and her daughters Varya and Anya, Lyubov's brother Gayev, ex-serf and self-made millionaire Yermolai Lopakhin, and a small entourage of friends, neighbors, and employees--as they run out of money and eventually lose their estate on account of their own frivolousness and their inability to comprehend that the world around them has changed.

This is not a tragic story. The family has every opportunity to avert their fate long before the deadline--the estate going to auction--but they don't. They choose not to. And then they're surprised when they lose the house, the land, and everything they've always had to the young upstart--the money-grubbing Lopakhin, who intends fully to tear everything down--the house, the workbuildings, and the entire cherry orchard--to build a neighborhood of villas to be rented by members of the emerging middle class.

This is very much a comic story. The characters who lose are morons, and the right thing happens to them at the end. As a reader i felt the Ranevsky's got what was coming to them. My sentiments at the end were somewhere between "poetic justice" and "well its about damn time." This story is unique in that none of the characters undergo a change--they all end the way they began: stupid. What changes is the world. To use a trite term for it, the family did not learn to swim and go along with the tides of change, so they sank.

Chekhov could have very easily written the play as a tragedy. He could have had the world move forward and crush their lifestyles in spite of everything they did to save it. He could have made the world to blame. But he didn't. The characters must work to prove that they don't deserve their beautiful house, their disused cherry orchard, their river or their leisurely lifestyle. There is not a single likable character in the entire play, so the audience is obviously meant to Enjoy the fact that they fail and industrialism arises.


at Theatre South Carolina, directors are not expected to read and thoroughly interpret plays before they produce them. So our good buddy the director--an elderly faculty member with few friends in the department--played it Tragic. He tried to instill a feeling of loss, of sadness, and to encourage the audience to pity these poor, pathetic creatures. He didn't use the underlying meanings of each line to their fullest potential--or, it seems, to any extent at all--and instead played the scenes exactly as the diction of the text would imply. He skated along the surface of the play and failed to dig any deeper than to add recorded opera and blue lighting to the more boring speeches and play up slapstick humor when it was unavoidable in the text. What resulted was chaos. The audience had no coherent idea of what the atmosphere of the play was or what they were supposed to get out of it. And the end of the play truly proved that the director had absolutely no idea what the play was about--when the old head servant, Firs, dies--sick and alone in a locked house fated for demolition--the house falls apart around him and the last standing image of the play is a series of structures, made mostly of shadow, which indicates that nothing is left but the stark, cold, painful reality of industry.

Chekov did not write this ending. The ending in the script reads "Then silence, broken only by the thud of an axe on the trees far away in the cherry orchard." Thud of axes. People cutting down trees. People clearing away the last traces of the bourgeois. People working. Industrialism was a dream come true to 99% of the population. Finally--they were free from serfdom and had an opportunity to work and make their own way in life. Yes, the system collapsed after a few years, factory working conditions were horrible and people died of varying forms of cancer encouraged by harsh chemicals and textile dust, but Chekov didn't write Cherry after the fact. He wrote it about the downfall of the aristocracy and the uprising of the common man. It was a Good Thing.

A better ending tableau might have been the house falling down and a number of ruddy, healthy, brown-clad lumberjacks cutting the trees. Maybe one would pause to wipe his brow with a handkerchief and then return, and we could watch the dead trees fall. Or perhaps the old wall could collapse and behind it would be studwalls of several small houses with green lawns and a seedling cherry tree each. Or the stage could fade to black and you would hear the chopping, and maybe someone whistling, or the choppers singing a work song. Or something implying progress or at the very least work. Not this angular, ugly black shadow looming in the future. It undermined the entire play--the entire reason Chekov wrote it. The Cherry Orchard Celebrates the downfall of the dominant class. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. Theatre SC failed miserably in its pursuit of honest portrayal of an important, historic piece. I wasted 6 weeks.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

bumper stickers

I just had a striking realization--i don't trust unoriginal bumper stickers. Cars that bear little yellow logos reading "smile--it confuses people" or "meat is murder" should not be trusted on the road, and their drivers should be socially avoided at all costs.

I just walked past a car with a small rectangle on its right flank reading "resistance is futile" with a big-eyed alien next to it. What does this mean about the driver? He or she is expressing to the world that they are in fact quite tame and boring. You know when John or Jane saw that sticker in the racks at the tat shop s/he lit up inside and thought "now There's a sticker that really expresses my individuality! When people read that they're going to think 'man, this driver is really cool.'"


the car is, in fact, owned by aliens who are attempting to fit in with human society by decorating their vehicle in a manner that seems nicely inconspicuous. Either way, and yes these are the paranoid ramblings of one who has failed to receive sufficient sleep for a number of months--trite bumper stickers should send up a red flag to indicate that this driver is a member of the "general public" that is often referred to but rarely seen. I don't actually know one off the top of my head, but i'd imagine a member of this grouping enjoys jerry springer, american football, and ready-made dinners, and dines at Applebee's restaurants on special occasions. They work in insurance, accounting, or another of several white-collar cubicle-based jobs, drink bud light, and always gripe about how lousy their life is but do absolutely nothing to improve it. They're the same people who fill that "barely literate" category--those individuals who can just about sound out the word "Bush" on a ballot and respond well to pop-up advertising but can only offer a blank stare and a bit of mouth dribbling when you ask them their opinions on the writings of Chekhov. They fill sidewalks and shopping centers with their vapid chatter about what happened last night on reality tv and parade around in the latest cheaply made, ill-fitting and unflattering fashions that they saw worn by persons of a similar character on said programming.

I fear this group, this They, this General Public, and i can only hope that through education and devout atheism i can avoid allowing myself to gain the same glassy-eyed, complacent, sheeplike quality of the societal standard. I'm okay with being mediocre--i have no wish to meet the expectations of the exceptional or endure the hardship of the pitiful--but i will not be General, normal, or popular. "It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority--by definition, there are already enough people to do that."--G.H. Hardy.

I could go into the specific offenses i take from being stuck behind some shit-for-brains driver who has taken the opportunity provided by driving too slowly to attempt to influence my opinions by quoting platitudes expressing that i should place artificial constraints upon myself and my civil liberties, but i may wish to drive that point into the ground at a later time.

So, in no particular order, i've selected 20 bumper sticker themes that you should be wary of, as the driver is either mind-numbingly banal or a visitor from another planet.

Meat is Murder, anything involving a request for you to smile, Honk if you're Horny, My other Car is a __, W: the president, any campaign stickers for either dominant party, Baby on Board, Choose Life, any image of sporting equipment, any image of a team mascot, any number of a sports player or racecar driver, any criticism of the driver or the reader, any form of "my child is an honor student", any popular band name or logo (unless the vehicle is owned by a member of said band), any quotation from the Bible or any religious leader, any other religious reference (including half-silly comments like "who needs GPS when you have Jesus guiding you?" or "in case of rapture, this car will be empty"), any slogan from a television show or advertisement (yes, i have seen a bumper sticker that read "can you hear me now?") any reference to beer, breasts, or bodily functions, or any form of rainbow, pink triangle, purple band, or other homosexual indicator. I don't care if you're gay. just drive.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


finally the weather has cooled a bit! it may only be temporary but right now it's about 59°F (15°C) and the sky is a clear, vibrant blue. the color i'd love to paint my walls, if only you could bottle it. The hue of the sky enhances the verdance of the foliage, offering a very attractive contrast to the viewer and making even Columbia look like a nice place to live. Every so often i don't mind living here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Happy Birthday to ME!! 21. finally. i'm dignified and old.

hoegaarden tastes the way lilies smell. i enjoy it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


this blog may encounter some neglect until the middle of november as i am currently an assistant stage manager for my university's production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and its taking up more time than actually exists in a day. what a shame.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

did your momma teach you...

when i was five, my mother told me not to cry over spilled milk. she also told me to get a sponge and clean it up when i did spill it. the same went for my garbage--it went in the trash can. my mother, wonderful though she is, is not extraordinary in this regard. I have never in my life heard any parent tell their child "oh no, you don't have to use the garbage can. you're above that. just throw it on the ground."


are so damn many people so selfish and lazy that they leave their garbage--non biodegradable, insect-attracting, sticky, smelly, tripping hazard-y garbage--anywhere but where it belongs? I just saw a melted ice cream in a giant plastic tub wedged firmly between a pipe and a cinderblock halfway up a wall. very creative, but still litter. i've tripped over countless styrofoam cups and soda bottles in the middle of paths. some were obviously dropped on accident, but they still weren't picked up and thrown into a garbage can--which, in columbia, are rarely more than half a block apart.

you know its wrong. you know its rude. your momma taught you that much before you turned eleven, dyed your hair blue, and stopped listening to her. you have no excuse.

there is one group of people--probably .000001% of the global population who have an excuse to not know any better. because their momma didn't teach them to. and their names generally begin with Queen, King, Emperor.... these people are (generally) plenty smart enough to not anyway and frequently have lackies who will pick up their garbage whenever they go out, so they are not a significant part of the problem. But anybody else. Even if your last name is Hilton or Kennedy or fucking Bush. someone in your life ought to have taught you not to throw your refuse on the ground.

but frequently litterbugs are the same idiots who don't flush public toilets. I say idiots, not to soften the blow of a word like "assholes" but to express that these people are not of normal human intelligence. if you throw your styrofoam cup in the middle of the sidewalk chances are you're likely to shit on the sidewalk too. and get into fights with your reflection. and chase raccoons and your tail. the only reason one might have to not be considerate enough toward their fellow human to pick up after themself is that they are not in fact human at all. My friggin CAT buries her foeces. i mean sure for her its a safety precaution so other animals have a harder time finding her, but the fact remains.

i don't have a solution to this problem. columbia is filthy because humans are lazy. i'm not going to pick up other people's garbage nor will i encourage anyone else to--not only do i have the immune system of a 90 year old and catch cold from merely looking at a doorknob but frankly i don't think we should. garbage is something for a society to be embarrassed of. we don't need civil nannies to go around picking up after public sloth. litter should remain in its place to punish society for raising and welcoming the low lifes who are willing to put it there. it should piss you off. so that the next time you watch someone toss their garbage on the ground you grab them round the shoulders, point at their waste, and say "pick that up. now."

smokers, this goes for you too. cigarette butts take years to break down--if you drop it today, it'll be there tomorrow, don't fool yourself about their biodegradability.

your taxes go to pay civil servants to pick up garbage that has been collected and bagged. these people do not get paid nearly enough to chase down your dixie cup as it rolls across a four lane highway. don't muse to yourself "well, someone gets paid to take care of this--i'm keeping people employed" to justify your actions. you're wrong. its nobody's job. prisoners keeping the sides of the freeway clean are being punished double: for their special crime and for yours against society. you should thank them.

i admit it. i'm rather anal-retentively clean. i feel justified in writing this because--and anyone who has come within thirty feet of me can vouch for this--i don't litter. if i make a mess i clean it up immediately and thoroughly. but i daresay that's preferable to the sloth i see on this campus.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I'm still speech-impaired, and though i have enough tea for an army, the only souplike product i have in my cupboard is a can of peas. well i have pot noodles and cereal but those are emergency rations and breakfast food, respectively.

well, actually, seeing as its the middle of the day and i just had a bowl of cereal and tea, and breakfast consisted of a turkey and hummus sandwich on the way to class...perhaps i should rethink the meaning of "breakfast". Besides being one of those words that loses its meaning when you look at it for too long (breakfast. break fast. break quickly? to suddenly collapse? this sounds dangerous. like a treehouse in a hurricane.) this cute little compound word, in its noun form, only really means "the first thing eaten upon waking." you interrupt the fasting that goes along with sleep. fine. But what does breakfast mean to me?

As a university student, to me breakfast means "whatever i can grab or make in under 30 seconds and eat on the way to class." this could be a toaster pastry, a sandwich, the occasional slice of cold pizza, a handful of almonds, or even a small bag of cold cuts and cheese (on grocery day when i've run out of bread). But rarely, when asked, will i list any of these as a favourite breakfast food. a good breakfast to me is an omelet full of mushrooms, sautéed onions, broccoli, sausage, and fresh mozzarella with a cup of black coffee and a glass of milk.

I have eggs, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, meat, and cheese in my refrigerator. i have milk and coffee. i even have a stove, pans, a spatula, a kettle and a mug.

Have I ever made myself an omelet for breakfast?

no. I don't wake up in time. I eat crap that i can grab or make in under 30 seconds so that i can actually make it to class. Damn the snooze button. If i woke up with my alarm i would always have time to make breakfast. I could make a friggin banquet. But i don't, because i want that extra 27 minutes of fitful, half-waking sleep i can get by pushing the snooze button three times. So i can spend the next 4 minutes frantically sniffing through my dresser to find something clean to wear, the following 30 seconds scrounging around my room looking for shoes (and the moment i give up on trying to find them i manage to trip over them and do an almighty face-plant into said dresser), a further 8 seconds smearing on deodorant and grabbing a mint and vowing i'll brush tomorrow, grabbing whatever grabbable food item i have and my books and rushing out the door.

when i could have had 27 minutes to calmly make an omelet and eat it too.

on an unrelated note, i'm a big fan of berry-flavoured antacid tablets. I think they should be called "calci-yummies."

Monday, October 03, 2005


my ability to speak has been forceably removed from me this weekend. what began as a mere head cold turned into what must be one of the most frustrating things in the universe--to have something to say but to be unable to convey it. it won't raise above an airy whisper--one that bypasses the larynx entirely--without becoming an incomprehensible screech (varying from the incomprehensible screech that is my usual speaking voice) that occasionally wavers into silence. its like screaming under water. my mom just told me that when you lose your voice its an indicator of a viral infection. bacterial i'd just be hacking up a lung. joy.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

oh for the love of pete

i just read that the Vatican intends to bar celibate gay catholics from attending seminary and becoming priests after a review of the priesthood's recent battery of court cases involving child molestation.

WHAT? people, by definition, like other gay people. not children. they're Homosexuals, not Poedophiles. jesus-please-us. give me a break. The Vatican has stated that the Pope's attack on homosexuality is an effort to express his determination to maintain traditional, conservative catholic values but honestly all they're doing is being prejudiced. they've taken a vow of celibacy. who cares who the priests envision when they masturbate furiously, alone in their single bed?

the fact that anyone is willing to take a vow of celibacy is a big fat red flare indicating that they're probably not quite right in the head. celibacy is in itself unnatural, much more so than homosexuality. celibate persons are frequently deranged and twitchy, and probably spend a lot of time hallucinating that the room is full of nothing but bouncing breasts or humping the furniure. i'd say that your average homosexual is probably a lot saner than your average priest, 'cos at least they're gettin' some. as far as my insignificant opinion is concerned, when it comes to churchy folk, to refuse your body's drive to copulate is to defy nature, which is defying God. priests are the biggest heretics in the entire church.

"cracking down" on homosexuality in the church will not cut down on the number of poedophiles in the seminary--indeed, it will open seats in the seminary for creeps and poedophiles, just so long as they're not gay. i half wonder if this statement on the part of Benedict is not to give a little nod to W's irrational hatred of gays and his desire to criminalise homosexual marriage (and i'm sure eventually homosexuality in general). aligning poedophiles and homosexuals is about the least sensical and most backward bit of jargon i've heard in ages. its like saying all people who like strawberries are more inclined to wear pleather. the two are not in the slightest sense related. its only a matter of time before dim-witted mothers start screaming at men holding hands in the street that they're going to hurt their baby or school safety lectures begin with "never take candy from limp-wristed strangers."

Monday, September 19, 2005

look what i drew

i want this image in a play. somewhere, anywhere. except with real people in a real space. (i don't just want this tacked up on a wall).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

tater tots

most spuds taste better fried with olive oil and rosemary. the difference between canola and olive oils is a dash of class.

Monday, September 12, 2005

hard to believe

I just read an article about how a telescope far off in space just observed a "gamma burst"--a big wave of light and energy equivalent to the energy emitted by the sun over its entire projected 10 billion year lifespan. as cool as this is, it got me thinkin'.

i have a hard time believing it. not that gamma bursts can occur or that they're really cool when you observe them, but i just have a hard time believing that we're actually receiving anything from the billion-dollar soda cans we send out into the cosmos. Like the Voyager missions to explore Jupiter and Saturn--I can't get mobile phone reception in the bottom floor of my house, and yet NASA has the gall to tell me that they've been communicating with a telescope millions of of miles off into nowhere since the 70's? Let's be reasonable.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

One Fine Day in My Stage Management Seminar...

Prof. K Dale White: Stage Management is a pretty high-stress career. You are going to get bogged down, you are going to get frustrated. One of the aims of this class is to allow you to explore your stress tolerance to see if stage management is right for you--if its a career you really want to pursue. So... Kristen, how do you handle stress?

Me: Well, i rant and rave to my mother over the phone, i bite my nails, pick at my skin, and i used to abuse my boyfriend when he was around--but these days I've resorted to yelling at inanimate objects when nobody's looking and throwing tantrums when i have a spare moment.

Prof: Boyfriend? I thought you were a lesbian.

Me: Not this month...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

never at USC

it just occurred to me, while playing a game of solitaire and allowing my mind to wander...
when studying post-naturalistic theatre at Kent, my classmates and I vainly attempted to get out of thoroughly analyzing a modern play text by saying "oh good grief, its obvious this is merely the idle ramblings of a playwright on drugs." To which our professor coolly responded, "it is common knowledge that usage of many drugs opens the mind to new ideas and sensations and allows the user deeper and more meaningful insight and understanding."

there's no way in hell a professor at the university of south carolina could get away with that kind of comment. shame.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Build it up

I just noticed--Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" shares a major quality with Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"--each build is bigger than the last. Both songs continue to develop in intensity, volume, orchestral and percussive involvement, driving like a runaway freight train on a gradually steeper hill all the way to the end. Neat.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

food: how like life.

the nice sandwiches never last.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Dangling Mandible Syndrome

I have had this pet peeve for a while, but I think I must not have noticed it while in the UK because it hasn't bothered me for a while until this week. This week I got back to USC and saw it again, expressed in nearly half of the faces of my classmates: Dangling Mandible Syndrome (DMS). The inability of morons to close their mouths when they're not using them.

The Syndrome is easy to identify but hard to treat. It is most often found in underclassmen who enjoy wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the logo of their favourite sports team or national brand designer (e.g. Tommy Hilifiger, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, etc.) who rarely seem to be carrying a notebook but can always be found with an expensive mobile phone. Many DMS sufferers drink every night of the week with their chosen on-campus organization, (when they actually attend class) chat loudly and distract other students, earn low marks in their classes, then complain that their professors are stupid or picking on them. Researchers have been as yet unable to specify whether the student's behaviour leads to DMS, or vice versa.

Graduation rates of students with DMS are generally low. Those who do graduate have often majored in Exercise Science or secretly majored in Small Engine Repair at the local tech school and just hang around the university to feel cool. It is yet unknown what, if anything, DMS sufferers are capable of doing for a career outside of the university setting, as graduates or dropouts.

Prejudice codes prohibit the university from preventing students with DMS from attending, so they tend to arrive in droves for the first and second years of a student's education, providing ample funding for the university without requiring anything in return from their educators. Their numbers graciously begin to taper off at the end of the sophomore year, dwindle during the third, and are almost completely eradicated by the end of the final of four standard undergraduate years. Some graduates are in fact DMS Survivors, brave and enduring students who worked hard to rid themselves of their incapacitating syndrome--and these graduates should be applauded. More often, however, DMS sufferers succumb to their weakness and earn only their MRS or TKE certificates. DMS is a serious problem among youths aspiring for popularity in an overpopulated university setting. Be Safe! Avoid Excessive Partying! Only YOU can prevent yourself from contracting Dangling Mandible Syndrome!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hairy Animals

A cloned Afghan Hound was born recently to a yellow labrador retriever in South Korea. I find the Afghan fitting for this task--they inherently have a look of incredulity on their faces. Now, in addition to not being able to take his silly haircut seriously, the pup can also look appropriate when folks try to convince him, in proper red-headed stepchild fashion, that that's really his mom.

(Example Afghan--not actual cloned dog)


I'm sure any frequent reader of this blog is well aware by now of my "pain=no" policy. Pain is your body's way of telling you that it doesn't like something and therefore you shouldn't do it, i.e. putting a hand down atop a hot stove, flossing, and sit-ups. Unfortunately, however, this policy cannot be an end-all and must contain a number of exceptions. Namely, aerobic exercise.

I took my first aerobics class today at the Blatt PE center. The instructor was friendly and well-prepared and led me and about fifteen other girls through a vigorous initial workout. I struggled to recall the area of my brain that simply watched and followed and did not attempt to rationalize or think through my actions--up crunch down down up kick down down...if i thought too much, i realized, i would feel the pain in my legs. if i just watched the instructor's feet and aped her movements my brain could wander off into its own little ethereal world and ignore the beginnings of what i can only hope is the merciless slaughter of the colonies of fat cells currently residing in my thighs. I got confused several times, there's one sequence i still can't get my head around, but it went fairly well until the cool-down.

Dammit if the woman didn't include crunches in her cool-down. I hate crunches. Everyone hates them--with good reason. They hurt. We probably did about fifty, some with feet in the air, some side to could have been worse, but that doesn't mean i have to like it. Youre straining and pulling and the instructor tells you not to use your neck but the tendons holding your head up hurt anyway and you start to go cross-eyed and you're looking to your classmates to see if someone--anyone--looks as miserable as you do and your hair is dripping sweat onto the new foam mat you've lain out for yourself and oh god you have to reach for your shoelaces but your fricking feet are up in the air somewhere...and then she says "feet down, pull your fingers as far from your toes as you can--breathe deeply." and its all better. the endorphin rush is worth it as you roll your head from side to side and half wonder if your water bottle is still cold.

A few minutes later one of my knees started feeling twanged and i realized that my natural high was crashing to the ground, but i didn't mind. I'd been feeling kinda mopey before the class but somehow beating my fat self up in the step-aerobics classroom really helped me feel nice about the world.

And then it hit me.

Goth Kids! Miserable pubescents who feel like life is worthless! Girls who feel unpretty and are contemplating suicide! STOP CUTTING YOURSELF! Aerobics HURT JUST AS MUCH but LEAVE NO SCARS to impair your ability to gain employment once you grow out of it! Join the Y! Sign up for a class! You'll want to leave your white face powder and black eyeshadow at home or all the sweating will cause your eyes to burn. Of course, if you're into pain maybe you should put on more. And when you're done beating the shit out of your sad little self you'll get such a rush of joy from your body Thanking you for Stopping that you might even crack a SMILE. Try it! It hurts!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

wally world

Wal-Mart. Say it aloud. Wal-Mart. It reaches the ears like a curse or an insult. The word itself elicits so many deeply buried memories of waiting in line, cheap hubcaps, dissolving clothing, and spoiled milk that frequent use of it can drive one into therapy. You're not just waiting in line to check out--oh no, if that were the case wal-mart would be just like any other store. No, here you have to wait in line to get into an aisle to pick out toilet paper. Here you can't buy bug spray without a group of hispanic men ogling you and making comments to one another in Spanish. While you pick out running shorts from randomly arranged selections of bright pink poly/cotton blends in sizes 2 to 56 you are serenaded by some helpless infant screaming her head off, cursing God for landing her in this hell we dare call convenience shopping.

I visited Wal-Mart this afternoon, I bought my $5 shorts and my moments-from-wilting broccoli, and i kept myself from screaming by reciting in my head, over and over, "what would the Fonz do? He'd be cool, man--he'd be cool."

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Back in Columbia. Lord its hot. I'm really starting to hate it here. Its like the fates are laughing at me for thinking i could have that which was unattainable--Ha! you thought you could have good friends, a happy relationship, interesting and challenging classes, beautiful scenery, and the appeal of being international? Now we will punish you with searing heat, ugly boys, pretentious fellow students, minimum-wage manual labor, religious nutjobs, and no free parking. MUA HA HA HA.

Its really not horrible bad here, but i am lonely. I'll be ASMing* The Cherry Orchard for Theatre South Carolina mainstage in October. I have my old job in the scene shop back, and my new boss (old ATD**, now TD***) is happy to see me. I may be running some lights and/or sound in the lab theatre for extra moola. I'm going to a ropes course with the CGC**** on Sunday morning so hopefully i'll get to know some crazy neato foreigners. (i, however, am not a foreigner anymore. i must get over this.) My directing class looks interesting and challenging, but i have a lot of friends in the class so hopefully i won't resent attending. The design class looks interesting, but unfortunately the prof has a tendency to ramble along on tangents and expects the students to pay attention while he does so. (i've had him before and he's pretty much just tolerated by the rest of the staff--oh well) I'm not sure about the rest but hopefully they'll be exciting, or at least worth attending. Man i hope no one is wasting their time with this--i'm just babbling.

*Assistant Stage Managing
**Assistant Technical Director
***Technical Director
****Carolinas Global Community, aka USC's on-campus international housing. Interestingly, all of my flatmates are American in a neighborhood intended for american students to live harmoniously with internationals... just like at Kent. I think there's a conspiracy going on.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

sporting equipment

I'm fairly sure the only way to make the futility of a running machine more pronounced is to make it actually go in circles. In fact, the footholds of an elliptical cross-trainer do go in circles. Such is life. That said, i use them all the time. not because my neighborhood isn't safe or because i prefer to work out in air conditioning or out of the sun, but because of my knees.
Who'd a thunk it? I don't have the worst knees of all time but there's no sense in making them worse. Cross trainers take the impact of running away from the knees and redirect it to the hips, which makes working out much less painful. Anyone who has heard my philosophy of "pain equals no" may recognize that i appreciate this greatly. As it is my knees are troublesome joints and have a tendency to slip, often without warning. It occurred to me moments ago while climbing a staircase that the quality of my joints actually keeps me out of what would otherwise be a potentially viable career option. I am speaking, naturally, of burglary.
A quality thief must be stealthy, quick, agile, and careful. I am none of these things, but above all of these qualities is the ability to be silent. Quiet is a valuable asset in the field of cat burglary and i, however light my step or shallow my breath, can't keep my knees from creaking and giving me away. I'm the audible equivalent of a walking bowl of Rice Krispies. My inability to move without snapping, crackling, and/or popping would have the police on me in seconds.
Now i guess that inability doesn't eliminate me from the field of armed robbery, but what's the glory in that? Pointing a gun at someone and shouting "give me your money, jewels, and other valuables" really doesn't take a whole lot of skill or artistry. Whatever one's career choice, I feel they should be able to take some pride in it--whether it's in its challenge, its earnings, or at the very least its honesty. And as armed robbery is some of the most dishonest work one can come by, it is rarely challenging until you're caught, and the money invovled in it is seldom more than pocket change, one can hardly call it rewarding. Though i may reach a point in life at which i am desperate for money to eat, i'm not too proud to ask the government for help, or perhaps my parents.
And there's the rub for armed robbers--beside the criminally insane, no person who is not desperate to provide for himself would feel any inclination to threaten others' lives or well-being on the behalf of their own. Destitution is unfortunately the stomping grounds of Egocentrism--one is not selfish, but rather the individual becomes unconcerned with how their actions affect others. The world does not exist beyond the wants and needs of the individual, so they are capable of acting in ways that could be harmful to others without remorse. Armed robbers and other such pitiful individuals--subway pickpockets, credit information hackers, middle managers, sexual predators--may in fact be humanity's closest link to the primal world. They rely solely on Freud's Id to govern their actions, and do not allow conscience, reason, or knowledge to interfere. And this does make perfect sense, really, if you consider the Id's tendency to overtake the senses in moments of panic (the "fight or flight" impulse). Thus if one is habitually living in situations that would cause the body and mind to panic--say, without food where there once was food--the mind is opened to allow the Id to reign superior over the introspective--and frequently useless--mental functions such as logic and love.
With the suspension of logic comes higher instance of this id-dominated lifestyle failing. A person making rash decisons does not stop to consider the consequences of their actions--indeed, to them there Are no consequences. The only job their panicked brain has given them is to Get That which is Needed. Only when the goal has been met can the cognitive components of the brain kick in to suggest that perhaps this wasn't a great idea and it may be time to flee the scene, which of course invites panic and allows the animal centres of the brain to take over again. Really, the human parts of the brain are serious pansies. Anyway, that brief interval after the completion of a job is rarely sufficient time to mull over the consequences of one's actions and how to evade any repercussions, if necessary, so the escape route is often half-baked. Which simplifies the apprehension of criminal offenders who act out of desperation.
Which makes the apprehension of lunatics that much harder. Terrorists, serial killers, embezzlers, and spousal abusers are not desperate. They are not responding to the needs of their body--they often perform their particular crime for the sheer hell of doing it. because its fun or somehow rewarding. (or in the case of some lunatics, they feel that they will be rewarded in another life) Thus they are not acting instinctively or without prior contemplation--they are in full charge of their faculties of reason and societal interaction. They've already come up with a plan B or a means of escape. The fact that they're prepared means they're already on par with the law, and the fact that they're insane puts them a step ahead.
Er...somewhere back there i was talking about my knees. Oh well.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Ever had one of those instances in which you're chatting with a group for several days and occasionally topic ideas that nobody thoroughly understands crop up? and you say "oh remind me, i should look *topic* up once i get back in front of a computer." And naturally you get back in front of said computer and lose all possible recollection of what it was you were going to look up. "If you wish to forget something immediately, made a note that this thing is to be remembered."-poe

Thursday, July 21, 2005

meeting new people

Opal212: i'm getting too old to meet new people
superbabeteam: umm... you are 21? 22?
Opal212: 20
superbabeteam: wow you sure are old.
Opal212: tell me about it--grey hair, wrinkles, and incurable halitosis are right around the corner
superbabeteam: go go gadget negativity
Opal212: the next time i want to meet new people is when i'm moving into my cute little suburban residence and my new neighbors are bringing over jell-o molds and offering to have a barbeque to help all the new families get settled, and i'll be the one single woman without kids standing there looking vampish and drinking gin
superbabeteam: well you have fun with that
Opal212: aw c'mon i just came up with a great visual
superbabeteam: yes, but it was depressing
Opal212: garden party with one new dad and his starter-home barbeque waving the bugs and the toddlers away from the meat and flames, moms standing around who've all gotten their hair done in the past seven hours wearing their floral capri pants putting paper plates full of potato salad on the corners of the tablecloth so it doesn't blow away, chatting about their kids and joining the PTA in two short years--and leaning against the one tree in the entire yard is me, with heavy eyeliner for three pm, with a bottle of gordon's in one hand and a cigarette in the other, disgusting and simultaneously enticing all of the young dads in the area with my low-cut blouse and tight last-season trousers...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

1 Month

yep. i've been home for a month. i've also been bored senseless for a month. i think there's a correlation.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Magic America

i don't care what the song says--there are no magic people here. america is just as boring as anywhere else in the world, we're just more obstinately proud of our boredom and wish to inflict it on ourselves more thoroughly. you can't get away with jack shit here. you can't legally do anything of note until you're pretty much out of university--which is when you have to grow up and stop having fun. i don't mean to say that consumption of alcohol is the only thing worth doing, but people aren't going to hang out with you if you're not "legal."

what the hell is Legal? i can go to adult jail for participating in or attempting to participate in activities that are legal for adults. i know i've said this before but this point really drives itself home when i spent a year in a place where the word Adult meant just that--fully legal adult with the rights, priveleges, and responsibilities of any other adult. And now i'm back home. sitting home on a friday night tip-tapping away on my blog with a mug of tea and a painful spot on my nose. Because at least in my area of the world there's nothing for me to do on a friday night that doesn't involve sitting around someone's house smoking weed and/or drinking illegally, paying too much to go into a dance club to be sober and not really comfortable enough to dance, sitting around in a park drinking and/or smoking weed and hoping you don't get caught, or hanging around in a pool hall that lets in anyone and watching fifteen year old girls pushing their pubescent breasts into the faces of frighteningly predatory twenty-one year old college dropouts in the hopes of being bought a beer.

I mean, lets look at this. Friday evenings offer few options to the impoverished under-21 university student. If you want any form of entertainment that involves leaving the house, you must pay for it. Movies, plays, ballets, and operas will range in price from $6 to $200 a seat. I can't afford to watch more than two movies a semester if i still want to eat six out of seven days a week. Dance clubs generally charge $7-10 for any person aged 18-20 so they can still get some money off you even though you're barred from the bar. I've found that in Columbia, at least, the only ones that'll let under-21s in are gay clubs. And as fun as it is to be a ignored all night when you're looking cute... Restaurants are another one of those things that are hard to afford and no nice meal is complete without a bottle of wine. Bars, naturally, are out.

What does that leave for the po' student to do with him or herself? Walk around town? Not if you don't want to be arrested on charges of "suspicious activity" or mugged, raped, or kidnapped. Drive around and look at other people having fun? As cool as you'll feel then, you can also be proud of the week's worth of gas you've just burned. Parks are closed, historic places are closed, most shops are out of the picture too. Feel like going to church? Chances are you'll find doors locked and security systems activated. Hell, i bet you can't even get into your workplace to put in a few more hours.

There is no reason why anyone not aged 7 or 70 would feel any inclination or need to go to bed before ten pm on a Friday night. And the stigma of being home alone on a Friday night is enough to drive even the most sheepish of frat boys into the streets. So. you have a choice. flash your fake ID and see how many bouncers you can fool into letting you in, or you can hang around with your other youthful friends and feel like a loser. And, chances are, be bored. And what will any cop tell you about bored kids? They're gonna smash things. They are going to steal cars, draw on other people's houses, take your purse, and go smashy smashy all through the town. They're also more inclined to partake in the recreational use of illegal or heavily guarded drugs, fornicate wildly, and not ask "what would Jesus do?" before acting.

Dance clubs and bars keep people from going out and being stupid in the late evening hours. That's why they're legal. It gives people somewhere to go where they're not in the streets or in their homes to be loud and have fun and wear themselves out before going to bed. And most bars have responsible bartenders with an emergency telephone nearby for when things get out of hand. And as long as people are hitting on each other in clubs they're not stealing hubcaps off the cars outside. They're like daycare centers--except for adults, at night. Up until a person is 18 or in college it is their mum's responsibility to keep them off the street and out of trouble, but once they're out of the house its fair game. If the government is going to actively prevent ageing teens from playing in adult night-care, they better be prepared to put up with them in jail.

You know, i've also been told by a cop that since the drinking age was brought back up to 21 the number of traffic fatalities has distinctly dropped. This sounds viable until you remember that before the mid 1980's cars didn't have air bags and seat belts were not legally required. also since the age has been elevated above those of most other nations there have been major innovations in tyre safety, anti-lock brakes, cabin design, and the ability of a car to not explode on impact. If anything, American drivers of all ages have become much more careless on the road and the number of DUI offenders hasn't altered. No matter how old, a drunk driver is still a drunk driver.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I wonder how many were tourists.

Why the hell would anyone want to bomb London? The Brits aren't the Infidels--sure they're a bunch of godless drunkards but thats why we like 'em. Americans have the Wrong God, which is what makes us the bad guy--the English are kind-of a middle ground. But I have a theory as to why London got hit this time instead of us.

If America gets bombed one more time by any (non-Christian) religious nutcases, chances are Bush's itchy trigger finger will find that red button and blow the entire Islamic world off the map.

I'm not saying its right, but any terrorist should use caution in dealing with the US any further. I'm quite sure most Americans are unconcerned with innocent, sane Islamic people--they don't give a rat's ass about the law-abiding, god-fearing men, women, and children. If levelling Iraq and Afghanistan will succeed in quieting a couple of religious zealots, W would probably support it. America's "war on terror" is an acceptable title for Christianity's "war on Islam." We should really face it--whatever your reason for joining the army, you're fighting in the name of Religion. Fanatical Christians are not really evil but they are idiots like the fanatical Muslims that they so frequently condemn, with the same respect for religious diversity and human life as bin Laden. I don't think we should condone one group and condemn the other--they both piss me off and inconvenience my daily life.

Actually, when it comes to the daily life, Christians irk me more--showing up at the door and asking if i've brought jay-sus into my life, lobbying the senate and supreme court to vote against the rights of anyone who isn't a heterosexual white male. Yep--you let Political Christians (not people of faith in government, for generally a truly religious person believes in equality and attempts to be just and fair in everything they do. No, I mean people who enter into or attempt to sway government to impose their ideals and personal restrictions on everyone else) have their way and you're looking at essentially what Afghanistan has now, including stoning and burkas. I like having the right to wear a short skirt, i appreciate the option of preventing unwanted births, and i don't want to see any laws passed to justify hating or harming my gay friends. Overzealous religious people fail to recognize a very important verse in that book they love to refer to--"Thou Shall Not Judge."

If we can get these lunatics to leave us alone--I don't think a vaccine is possible but some brainwashing may do the trick--i think we'll see much lower instances of hate crime and public destruction. Perhaps this is the "apocalypse" that the bible refers to so often--the day when all the normal people just get fed up with the religious folk and either kill them or drastically alter their perception. they say that the truly faithful will be taken immediately to Heaven and all the unsaved will be left here. Good Riddance.

Friday, July 01, 2005

at its finest...

"only the mediocre are always at their best."--Neal Boortz

Damn straight I am!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Biscuits: The Lack Thereof. Discuss.

I've been on the south beach diet for two days now, and don't i know it. i never realized how hard it would be to cut out bread, pasta, and simple sugars from my daily intake. but jeebus, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! i've been daydreaming about cereals and biscuits and toast all day while i cleaned and de-kid-ified my room. my walls are bare naked now save for some interesting bits of adornment--two giant flags (one UK, one England), a couple of posters of Alfred E. Neuman, the face of a 1970's stereo receiver that i thoroughly dismantled in middle school (it was thoroughly broken beforehand so i didn't bother trying to put it back together), my hat-rack (covered in scarves and a feather boa, oddly enough), a ceramic mask from mardi gras (arorned with shiny plastic bead necklaces), a very nearly bare corkboard (which once held everything from a dead lightbulb to superman Under-roo's in addition to outdated dental appointent notices and phone numbers with no names) and a large ornate mirror. would you believe i managed to clean out 5 big bags worth of tat from my desk, shelves, and dusty corners? i haven't even gone near the dresser or closet yet. though my mom has been getting excited about the idea for several days now--she can't wait to fill up some AmVets bags with my ill-fitting old clothes and outdated shoes. and it would make my dresser drawers open and close more easily, as well as make my closet...well, navigable. i'll have to see what becomes of that.
My sunburn from Barcelona has almost completely peeled away. i used some scrubby apricot soap in the shower today and that helped speed along the process. my life is so exciting.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


back in the US of A. the last time i was this lonely was in the seventh grade. i had no idea how much fun i was having and how much i loved England until i suddenly was no longer there. Airplanes are deceitful little bastards--you get in, the floor vibrates a bit, and then you get out. for all your body knows, you never went anywhere. when you're seated in the centre of the plane you can't even watch the ocean slowly move under you so there's no proof that you're moving at all. so when you clamber up the stairs into your vaguely familiar bedroom and climb into your big, cold bed with clean linens and a somewhat sterile feel to it, its confusing as hell. you wake up in the middle of the night cold and very conscious of your solitude, look around for something vaguely reminiscent of what has become home--the battery-operated alarm clock with the large aerial that never stays upright, Leonard on the wall covered in ticket stubs, the useless cabinet over the closet--anything. but all that greets you are silly posters, a few maps and hats, and a plastic US flag dangling limply from the ceiling overhead. its like waking up in an old, dusty photo album--everything you see is a picture of your own personal history: a sudden reminder of the way things once were. but aren't anymore.
Its hard to remind myself that i'm an American. For so long i was a Foreigner--a funny-looking girl from somewhere far off and mysterious. I forgot that being from america meant that america was technically my home, and that one day i would have to return. Its not easy to rejoin my life, my friends--people who up until last week were only words on a page, informing me of current events far away. Now i find that the people i really care about have taken on the same quality--they are now, and may always be, mere words in instant messages. Its like being friends with a keyboard. saying "i love you" in 12-point times new roman just doesn't have the same effect as wrapping your arms around the body of the person you wish to tell it to and whispering it into their attuned ear.
yep. i've finished filling out my tax return (doesn't matter if its after april 15 as the Man owes ME buddy), i've started a diet with my mum and sis, and i feel like crying.

Friday, June 17, 2005


My punctuation generally comes off the faster I go, like post-it notes on a sportscar. --Ben Hollingum

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

cheap thunder effects

After an all-too-brief trial period of warm, clear weather, Kent decided to click "Cancel" when prompted to pay for the full subscription. The depressing haze has returned, and the constant sky-dribbling along with it. Yesterday was dominated by this--a slow, constant "bleh, you are now wet" noncommittal sort of rain. It couldn't be bothered to stop or get harder and more interesting, so it just kinda spat everywhere in that typical English way. See, England is famous for its tupperware-grey sky and the nagging rain that keeps the grass steamed-broccoli green. That's part of the reason Brits feel like leftovers; that and their little empire being knocked out from under them to make room for American global dominance. (Don't let them fool you--they still resent losing us.) The UK is not known for its extreme weather in the slightest, so when the dull dripping yesterday was suddenly punctuated by a brilliant flash and a clap of thunder like artillery fire, quite a few dove for cover. Those indoors opened their doors and windows and searched the sky--for spitfires, horsemen of the Apocalypse, or both. I must admit that a "holy shit" escaped even my lips, though this bit of atmospheric percussion wouldn't hold a candle to the drum-and-light shows put on by southern skies. In fact, this particular peal of thunder sounded somehow fuzzy and distorted, like a bass line played overloudly through cheap speakers. This repeated twice, quieter and further away, then ceased. I doubt we'll be hearing from the thunder again anytime soon after that embarrassing and disheartening performance.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Biscuits: The Greatness Of. Discuss.

Few people are capable of appreciating both the British and Southern biscuit equally. I, luckily, am one. The thin, crispy dunk-in-tea-ishness of the British biscuit and the hot, steamy buttery flakiness of an American stand side-by-side in my personal Snack Hall of Fame. Similarly, hot tea with milk and sugar bears different qualities from sweet, light iced tea, but it is difficult to decide which I prefer. Thin, flat biscuits are ideal for dunking in hot tea, but a big fluffy biscuit goes excellently in a meal with iced tea at any time of day. What we have established here is a direct correlation. If the biscuit is cold, the tea should not be, but if the biscuit is hot...well, actually, it goes with either hot or cold tea. Or coffee. or coca-cola or milk or even kool-aid. Similarly, British men correlate well with British culture, and American men with American culture--both have their perks, and both suit their specific circumstances. But where an American man is generally less desirable in Britain--they're useless for helping to understand culture, they're loud and boistrous where most people here are quiet outside of pubs, and they'll never admit that perhaps their culture and political stance are not the only "right" ones in the universe--a British man can be quite palatable in America. They're certainly something to brag about to your friends and enemies. T o have an English boy on your arm in Bum-Fuck USA--unless his mouth contains a gnarled mass of greenish tooth-like material--is to have a glittering, smooth-talking trophy. It is unfortunate that this is rarely the case for English women, but they've really asked for it by being one of the ugliest races of female on the planet. It amazes and astonishes me that British people can bring themselves to reproduce, though I guess some poor souls get desperate enough that they'll even go for sheep. Not that the typical boy here is much to look at either, but unless he's a serious cockney or chav his voice will redeem him to you and your peers. (one must search for the atypical here to find a male counterpart who is not only audibly but physically attractive. If he's also intelligent, interesting, and attracted to you, be sure to bring a net to your next dinner party--you've found a serious diamond in the rough) For some reason, the female version of the British dialect involves an unholy cacophony of shrieked and brayed curse words followed by evil cackling and incomprehensible shouting (frequently at 4 in the morning). It is inadvisable to bring one such demon-posessed donkey into the States as it will probably be confiscated at customs as a "contaminated and possibly dangerous foreign plant or animal." The male ones can Get through the gate, though, and once Your bags are in hand and you've gotten your Passport stamped, you can start impressing your neighbours. I'm not sure if the same can be said for American women in Britain, but i've been rather successful with only my mediocre looks and my watery SC accent to compete with the local Quasimodo-ettes for attention. I guess my point is...i don't have a point.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

On Big Movie Stars

I never gave much of a thought to Ewan McGregor until today, but today I saw Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End. And I gotta say. Wow. That's one fine piece of man. He sings and dances and looks good doing it too.

Friday, May 20, 2005


castles are seriously cool. Especially ones built on a big cliffs. Big White Cliffs. of Dover.

(i took this picture 19 May 2005)

in other news, one of my housemates plays loud rap. i closed his door in hopes that it would grow quieter. he bitched at me, not because i wanted things quieter, but because I touched his door without asking. i think he's a twat.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

pointless babbling

if something requires thought and/or energy and/or talent but is completely without function or use, i have decided it shall be called "Art." anything that is presented as art but does not require thought, energy, and/or talent can be disregarded as "crap."

Sunday, April 24, 2005


why is it that if you keep your house fairly clean and wash your hands after you go to the toilet you're more likely to get sick than people who never have? i swear i have the weakest gastric system ever. i just can't take the germs when i eat at a greasy spoon or a kebab shop (not that i've done that since i learned my lesson last term). seems that kids who grow up eating bugs and sneaking handfuls of dog food either die really young or grow up to have kevlar stomachs. i don't have any food allergies or diseases, so i think this must count as some sort of disability handling the strains of everyday life. or maybe just red meat.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


i've just been travelling my little tail off this month--i spent an inordinate and unfair amount of time in paradise (Cassis, France) and putzing around London and Paris. generally had a good time, but it wasn't all fun and games--i had to go with my parents. its amazing how quickly and effectively a uni student is capable of blocking out all knowledge of having parents (besides being that distant and little-heard from ATM) but when one is forced to be in their express company for no less than two weeks one would swear that they'd developed a nervous tic. I had about four full-on migraines surrounded by a constant headache for the entire trip--though that may have been my body trying to adjust to the incredible food and clean air, i'm not sure. believe it or not, i slept in 2 fold-out beds that were much more comfortable than my school one. i'd never encountered a camp bed that was actually sleepable before this trip, but france showed me. neato. anyway. we had a nice time and i encourage everyone to get a passport and visit Cassis. you will be amazed by the water.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Reduced Shakespeare

The Reduced Shakespeare Company's show The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is very, very funny. If you've ever been forced to read ol' Billy in school you should appreciate it. It's under two hours long and the humour runs in a similar vein to most renaissance festival comedy shows, if you've had the pleasure to experience those. though the performers in this show definitly had more classical training, if their swordsmanship was not as finely developed as some i've seen.

I also had the pleasure to see The Mousetrap this weekend--good show, well written, though the actress playing the guest house owner was horrendous. Everyone else was good, particularly the flamboyant homosexual and the disappointed guest. A well-played whodunit, with enough laughs and scary moments that it doesn't drag or become tedious, though it also keeps you on your toes trying to figure out from context who the killer is. Oddly, it's not something the audience can figure out and is instead a startling revelation at the end. I thought Agatha Christie was more of a clue-dropper, but it was a good show regardless.

frickin' art

Maybe its just my cold, heartless, unenlightened interior showing through, but something the world would be better off without is post-modernist art. Drama has some entertainment value, as do music and even dance to an extent, but nothing positive can be said for red, black, and gray paint poorly rolled onto a cheap canvas and named "Exposed Painting Scheveningen Black Cadmium Red Deep" that has been purchased by a gallery and put on display. I'm sorry, but the gallery owner has been played the fool. That "artist" had no talent, expressed no emotion, and has succeeded only in laughing his socks off while pretentious dipshits look at his poorly painted wall covering and exclaim "i really see what the artist feels here" or "so true, so true." So much of what is passed off as "Art" today is simply useless, meaningless crap. If someone does submit something to a gallery that could possibly mean something or that requires skill or at least effort to produce, it'd be hard to find in the sea of bullshit that most people are submitting so they can eat rather than packing up their ego and getting a real job. Though the idiots wandering around babbling "oh yes, i see what the artist is saying here" even though they obviously don't ('cos the artist is actually saying "i have put color on a piece of paper. give me money") are just as bad as "artists" if not worse. They can belittle you for laughing at something poorly drawn (for any longtime reader, we're talking about shit that makes the grossly disproportionate doodles inside Canterbury Cathedral look like da Vinci's) just by saying "you just don't understand. You're not one of the elite who can appreciate True Art." Well honey, if the Elite consists of people like you who choose to delude themselves into thinking they've got some higher universal understanding, i sure as hell don't want to join. All "artistic" means is "functionless." Anyone who shares this belief would do well not to visit London's Tate Modern or the Whitechapel Gallery--it'll only serve to piss you off.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Pallid and Unhealthy

If there's one life-choice i absolutely cannot stand, its veganism. Go ahead and be vegetarian if you want--plenty of people are very happy not eating steak--but you've got to draw the line somewhere to define the difference between being a picky eater and being in denial about having an eating disorder. Being vegan is not healthy. You have to replace all sorts of vital vitamins, fatty acids, proteins, and loads of other things the hard way--with pills and gelatenous tofu-based products--just to stay alive. Just admit it, vegans--YOU HAVE AN EATING DISORDER. I just read through a list of candidates for PETA's "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" contest and though most of the vegetarians looked somewhat healthy, the vegans literally had to tint their photos so their weird green skin didn't show up. Without taking proper vitamins vegans' hair and teeth fall out, their skin flakes off, their eyes lose lustre, parts of their digestive system break down, they lose muscle tone and flexibility, and they essentially waste away like an anorexic. These are not physically healthy individuals, and as they do this to themselves willingly, we may infer that they are not mentally healthy. If you or someone you love is vegan, I urge you to seek assistance from a dietitian or psychologist to help you realize that you're an omnivore and its okay for you to eat meat. (my mom's best friend is a dietitian, now a major in the Air Force, and she eats and encourages her family to eat meat.)
Recently in the UK several parents have been convicted of child abuse for raising their kids vegan. All of the children in question were malnourished even though they ate the same quantities of filth as their parents. Children especially need calcium and protein and even cholesterol and fat that you're not going to find without some form of meat in their diet. I hope their mothers at least thought to breastfeed. "No! I can't! Breastmilk comes from me and I'm an animal, so i must be being cruel to myself!"
My policy has always been "If a tiger would feel no qualms about eating me, why should I feel bad about eating it?" (except that I've heard tiger meat is pretty tough. But the tiger and I could happily share a cow.)
At the beginning of high school I went through about a year of vegetarianism because i realized that chicken legs look pretty disgusting before they're cooked. Now, though I still think chicken legs are pretty gross, I've realized that I don't have to eat them but can still find a rare filet mignon scrumptious.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

frickin' snow

It has been snowing all day today in Canterbury. So far that makes the third snow in three weeks, though when it snowed on Monday it melted the following night. But now its back in full force--somewhere around 4 inches, and town is closed down. Interestingly, there's a spot on campus where you can usually look out and see all of town and the surrounding valley (the cathedral in particular looks neat from this vantage point) and as of today all of it was completely erased from the map. No light, no outline of a building--it was a uniformly gray mass from campus. Looked....odd.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bill Bailey

3 blind mice go into a bar. but deriving any humour from the fact that they were unaware of their surroudings would be exploitative.

-for the pupose of remembering the joke.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

fighting chickens

so i submitted my column on schedule to the Viewpoints editor. he made his mark and sent it to a copy editor, who also made his mark and sent it on to the editor-in-chief, who looked at it and sent it to the online editor, who apparantly lost it. what an efficient system.

it's been snowing for three days straight. its pretty but its getting slushy. i'm running out of dry trousers. may have to go naked. pity.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Cold Heretics

Gamecock article for 2/22/05. I wrote it in about an hour after having to spend two hours hiking around Canterbury to find a cap gun for a monologue (i had to go into literally 8 different shops before i found one that was suitable and reasonably priced) but i actually impressed myself with my writing capacity--to write 600 words off the top of my head in an hour and have it sound okay and fall into a fairly recognizable essay- or article-format maybe doesn't take skills, but it does take a world of patience. Look for it in all its edited glory tomorrow on .

Its snowing outside, and rather than bundle up and go down to the pub to stay warm I thought I might examine a couple of entities that England, for whatever reason, doesn't have. I've been in Canterbury for about 5 months now and have gotten to know most of the ropes of this area (besides the whole driving thing) so I think I can mention a bit more than the usual “they don't have American accents” and “nobody has SUV's because they don't fit on the narrow roads“ etc.

For instance, most folks here don't have religion. Whether they're atheistic or simply apathetic, church just doesn't come into play much here. Churches are tourist attractions and are usually full of beautiful tombs and relics of old, but the actual number of people who attend services could barely fill a pew. The clout Christianity has in American legal matters is often equated to religious policy in Islamic nations by the English, so they have a hard time judging just who are the fanatics. The new constitution being written for the EU omits religion completely and, aside from irritated comments by a few Catholic groups in Poland, everyone is pretty comfortable with it. If you are religious here no one is going to hassle you, but they may smirk about it behind your back. Secularism is just the only policy that all the different countries and cultures in the EU can agree on. Better to have no religion at all than pick one and fight over which it should be. It also prevents varying religious motivations for criminal actions (like jihads, crusades, and ethnic cleansing) from letting murderers and invaders evade punishment.

Another thing the English don't have is the diet craze. When news of the Atkins Diet came to England most everyone had a good chuckle and went back to their daily lives. They love carbohydrates here. My favourite food on this continent is, hands down, the Pasty (with an “a” sound like “agriculture”, not “Cambridge”) which is a wonderful beef-and-potato stew in a thick, crusty pastry. One goes great with a pint of lager. Pie, also, is not just a dessert food. Mince pie is lovely, along with Cottage, Shepherd's, and varying Potato pies--all of them full of fat and calories. The English generally don't count carbs, you can feel comfortable eating a candy bar in public without fending off remarks about “500 calories in one sitting” and the number of Kent students who use the gym fails to justify its existence. But most people here aren't obese, though a good percentage of girls are pleasantly pneumatic. It's a good look, to have curves. Most young people here don't have cars so they walk a lot, so by their very lifestyles they stay healthy.

Unfortunately, a third thing they don't have here is sunlight. I've never been so pasty (with an “a” sound like “pain” not “amicable”) as I am since I moved over here. It doesn't help that it's chilly most of the time so you have to wrap up in coats and scarves. Interestingly, because it is chilly most of the time, the coat and scarf have become leading fashion accessories here, unlike South Carolina's winter-wear look of “I had to dig for this in the back of the closet for our one cold day of the year.”

So I guess the English are a bunch of cold heretics, but at least they're fat, happy, cold heretics. Personally, I find them to be excellent hosts, and I almost, but not quite, fit in seamlessly.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ugh, Children

Last night I witnessed a brawl from my bedroom window. While there was nothing particularly interesting about the fighting itself, I must say I was alarmed and disappointed as to how it was handled. Besides being allowed to run on far too long at far too late an hour--i'm sorry, but ridiculous noise in a small housing court is unacceptable under any non-emergency circumstances at 4 am on a Tuesday--the measures taken by security to end this problem were dangerously insufficient to say the least.

The young man who was at the heart of the fighting, a skinny little rat of a kid who lives next door to me, was dangerous. He drove the heads of several kids into walls, used lighters to threaten and burn folks, kicked at least one male in the groin repeatedly, and continued hitting another chav around the head long after security had arrived and tried to settle things. He even audibly threatened the guards themselves. The kid was obviously angry and irrational, possibly just under the influence of alcohol but chances are on something a bit stronger, and was a threat to anyone within fifty feet of the court. Yet the security guards, after having asked the kids to return to their houses, simply left. They may have taken names but so what?

Kent University policy states that if you have a problem with your neighbors making noise, you should call them up and politely ask them to quiet down one or two times before calling security. You do not call the city police but let security call them if it comes to it. However, had I called next door and asked them politely to hush, chances are one of those nutjobs would have come over, thrown a rock through the window, climbed in, picked up a shard of the busted glass and stabbed me through the throat with it. The security guards did not actually approach the boy who was trying to crack skulls but let the other students try to restrain him. I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable.

A proper handling of someone who is persistently violent (this went on for over two hours, and security had to come over twice) requires calling the real police, having the asshole wrestled to the ground, kicked around a little, handcuffed, and dropped in a squad car to be taken to the station. Once there it is only proper to test the kid for illegal drug use, lock him up overnight, and make his mother come down from London to bail him out in the morning. Within a week the university would have him at least evicted if not expelled, and things would settle down again.

However, it looks like the kid may be getting off scot-free for this infraction. I can hear just about every word said through the walls of my house and at no point did i hear the boy being reprimanded, ticketed, or taken away. I'm sorry, but i think they're being a little too trusting. I don't care what they have to do to him so long as I can feel safe walking to my front door after the sun goes down (i.e. after 5 pm). With my current neighbor, however, i don't. I will be speaking to the reception desk for my housing development and informing them that unless they take measures to improve their security policy, i will be telling USC's study abroad office that I feel threatened. You better believe they'll talk and Kent could lose school participation and a good deal of money.

I don't want to see that happen--I like this school and Canterbury is a beautiful place to study--so I sincerely hope that something is being done about this and I won't encounter this sort of behaviour again.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Gamecock article

This gamecock article started with good intentions but began to wander and ramble near the end. Oh well--i had fun writing it. And since my editor seems to be flatly refusing to put me in print, my internet-published articles can be as lousy as i want, as i know nobody but my mother is going to read them. (Yay mom!) Anyway, I entitled it "Not So Different" but if you look at it on the 10th of February on, chances are you'll find that the published version is Quite Different from the draft I'm putting here. (They usually are, anyway.)

In going about my life in Canterbury, UK it has gradually dawned on me that, like it or not, there is not a whole lot of difference between Brits and Americans. Sure the English culture is older and has the written history and crumbling buildings to prove it, but the age of the country has little to do with the sophistication of its people. Though we may go about achieving our goals differently, in the end we generally wind up in the same place.
For instance, Brits like to pick fights with me over gun laws. They claim that England is a lot safer than America because they don't have guns. The number of Brits that are shot every year is low even in the seediest parts of London, but what they try to hide is the fact that stabbing crime is as high as ever and spreading to schoolchildren. It's because human beings are going to find means of killing one another no matter what. If they ban knives the number of people who are brained with big sticks will rise proportionally. Its just the government's cruel experiment in natural selection. At least guns level the playing field.
Another embarrassment that America and England share is the trophy wife. As much as Europeans blather on about being progressive, you cannot deny that almost every rugby, football, and even cricket player has some svelte, blonde, brainless piece of arm-jewelry waiting for him when he comes off the pitch. The girls generally have job titles like “aspiring model” or “freelance karaoke singer.” As long as they're happy, I'm not going to nit-pick. It's just that English folk seem to enjoy chastising Americans for objectifying our women. Pot, meet kettle. At least our girls dress like it's 2005, not 1992. The shoes in this country are ugly enough to replace syrup of ipecac for expelling harmful substances from the body.
Seriously, I've got to hand it to SC girls. We value comfort over style on our way to 8:00 lectures. I went to class in my pajamas once here and received scornful looks from every pointy-toed, dolled-up female who crossed my path. I almost pity the ladies here, trying so hard to look nice so that they can be upset when boys don't notice.
One would assume that they would learn before university age how male/female interaction works, but you must be patient with the English. It's not that they mature slower here, just later. Many grade schools here are same-sex and the first time boys and girls come into contact is university. The only reason I can find that they're able to grow up while they're still young enough to start families is a low drinking age.
The University of Kent has 9 bars on campus, run by the school. The drink is cheap and plentiful, the lights are kept low, and the music is loud enough to drown out your inhibitions. I'm pretty sure the function of these watering holes is to bring the students up to speed in social interaction and dating. It's a need-based drinking age. So while American kids spend the better part of a decade fretting over our inadequate bodies and drooling over that cute boy in the third row, Brits are undisturbed by teen angst as they dress in their smart little uniforms and focus on their schoolwork. We take the long road, they take the dull road, but we all wind up in the same place--hung over in some stranger's bed, searching for our underwear.

This column seems short somehow. Maybe i've just gotten used to writing 5,000 word essays full of bullshit and waffles for grades here, but i know i couldn't say all i wanted to and fit in the 600-word limit. Pity--i didn't have the heart to cut anything but i wanted to put in some sort of conclusion. Oh well.