Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Strange Things Happen to the Rice

Since finishing my dissertation I have felt the perhaps-predictable urge to immerse myself in literature unrelated to the 1950s, or to McCarthyism. Less predictably, I've had an odd predilection for the detritus of high culture. Usually when traveling I go straight for the worst trash to read on the plane; I'm talking Clive Cussler and Us Weekly. Flying to Nashville? I scarfed down The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Usually, when driving to work the Mary and I listen to nothing but Lil Wayne and Katie Perry; now I can't turn the dial off of WXPN. I've been scouring concert listings, looking for interesting Curtis recitals. A few nights back, when preparing today's lecture on baroque opera, I began to watch a DVD of Dido and Aeneas, and an hour later found myself still glued to the screen. Inspired by the recent Nation review of her correspondence with Robert Lowell, I just bought Elizabeth Bishop's collected poems, and have been devouring them a few a day, like vitamins.

Such strange gluttony! But anyways, Elizabeth Bishop: fascinating. My favorite poem in the collection is one the editors found written in a Fannie Farmer Cookbook she gave to her friend Frank.

You won't become a gourmet cook
By studying our Fannie's book--
Her thoughts on Food & Keeping House
Are scarcely those of Lévi-Strauss.
Nevertheless, you'll find, Frank dear,
The basic elements are here.
And if a problem should arise:
The Soufflé fall before your eyes
Or strange things happen to the Rice
--You know I love to give advice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Seven Facts

What better way to cure the non-blogging doldrums than a meme! I've been tagged by Joe for the following. You guys know Joe? You should read his blog, which he appears to be updating with renewed vigor. Joe and I spent a year of graduate school together before I left for the west coast, what, like six years ago? Wow, that's a long time.

The rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. If you don’t have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.

My seven random facts:

1. I have three framed pictures of my dog in my apartment.

2. I met my future wife on the very first day of new student orientation in college. However, she did not consider dating me at the time, because she thought I was too short.

3. I am 6'2" tall, thank you very much.

4. General David Petraeus, the current Commander of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, is a cousin of mine.

5. I watch a lot of reality TV, but whenever there is any interpersonal conflict (which is often), I plug my ears with my fingers.

6. I've been using a Mac since c.1984. Mind you, I was only four at the time, but my father brought home one of the those first models, and the interface was so simple, even a toddler like me could figure out MacPaint.

7. My fingers are freakishly bendy. I took a picture to post as an example, but it really doesn't translate well into the photographic medium. It looked vaguely like my hand belonged in a jar of formaldehyde in a museum somewhere.

I hate tagging people...uh...Kariann? Elizabeth? Dan? mb? Ugh, see, I hate tagging people. Tag, you're it if you want it.