historical preenctment

Today was a mail extravaganza day!  

It was the arrival of my GRE scores, which was a shock not that I didn't know them, but that I had confused them. 

I was in such blissful shock at the original reciept of the scores (directly after the test) that I had assumed the higher number was my Verbal section score.  It was not!  I did better in Math!  This is not to say I did not do well in Verbal -- I am 94% percentile! -- but wow, higher in Math.  Surprising. 

My mailbox also contained my new Historical Preenactment Society shirt.  From this comic of Dresden Codak, a fantastically nerdy webcomic.  

"Because the best history has yet to happen."  I love it.

Now I just have to fill out some questions on my experience with exhibit design, then off to a celebration of a friend passing the bar in Virginia.  


summers at balboa

The rest of my weekend - and by weekend, I apparently mean Sunday and Monday! - was spent buying an apron at anthropologie, a copy of the 1922 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, and satsuma-flavored body wash.  All of these deserve particular note.  

To begin with, simply: I love aprons, and this one is particularly delicious (photographic evidence to follow... eventually).  

As for Post, I was in a store, looking at the most recent edition (17th ed.) and lamenting that I am quite confident about how to type an email at work, and to not use "reply all," and so wanted one of the vintage copies of Etiquette.  As my gaze moved slightly down the row, a glimpse -- 20s font! -- and I pulled out what I now own: a reprint of the 1922 edition!   It's fantastic.  Chapter XVIII is: The Debutante.  This is preceded 
by Formal Dinners: Not For the Novice to Attempt.  I'm so excited.

Now: the body wash.  Important enough for an image.  It seems simple: Body Shop's Satsuma Body Wash.  It's orange-y.  

I opened it up in the store, and smelled it, and all I can remember is summers on Balboa Island as a kid.   Specifically, after long days at the beach or in the water or on our tiny inflatable boat (the Indefatigable), taking cool showers in this shade-filled bathroom, using satsuma and smelling oranges everywhere.

It was one of the many things I loved about Balboa.  The bricked porch, the built-in closets that seemed so old, kayaking, and the freedom to go everywhere we wanted on the island.  I loved the mornings, with the marine layer making everything foggy, and waking up, rollerblading down to the pastry shop, picking up cinnamon twists (delicious) and skating back to meet up with Kemps' Coffee Corner (namely, my Gramps and Mom eating the same cinnamon twists, reading the paper, and talking about current events).  

Not to mention Patrick's and my budding capitalistic ventures: buying shells and selling them (mostly to our parents) at inflated prices.  Yep.

95% of the reason I bought this body wash was because of how happy it makes me feel.  The other 5% is because it smells fantastic

the oscars!

Well, my theoretical Oscar bash turned into a very mellow gathering of five.  Ballots for some, "There Will Be Blood" milkshakes for all, and we all had a fantastic time.  

Mom has blogged about this, but I thought I'd expound on my love of all things Oscar.  Part of it is that it's such ritual in our house, but part of that is because it's so much fun to take part in something Dad is so involved with.  Even though I missed -- with the lack of TiVo and high-def TV! -- Mom's hair on the slim bit of the Sci-Tech awards, I still get a kick out of it.  It's one of my connections to LA, so I hold it tight.

In memoriam came on, which included cinematographer / babysitter extraordinaire,Lazlo Kovacs.  I don't know what to say that hasn't been said more eloquently before me, but I was so glad I got to see him a year or so ago in Los Feliz, abeit briefly.  His story of his escape from Hungary always boggled my mind -- filming the tanks rolling into Budapest, then hiding the film in a field to retrieve later, and then making their escape.

My favorite part is that he and his friend Vilmos (also a cinematographer!) got drunk on Coca-Cola when out of Hungary, because it symbolized everything about freedom and the West.  How wonderful -- and even better: we found out the professor I worked for during college and adore, Gabor Boritt, had almost the same experience the moment he got out of Hungary as well (in his son Jake's documentary: From Budapest to Gettysburg).   I love that two men that mean so much to me had such similar experiences.  It makes the world seem smaller and more connected. 


les poupées russes

J'ai repensé à toutes les filles que j'avais connues, avec qui j'avais couché, ou même que j'avais seulement désiré. Je me suis dit qu'elles étaient commes des poupées russes. On passe sa vie entière à jouer à ce jeu là, on est curieux de savoir qui sera la dernière. Celle qu'était cachée depuis le début dans toutes les autres. On ne peut pas l'attraper directement. On est obligé de suivre un cheminement, faut les ouvrir, l'une après l'autre en se demandant à chaque fois : "est-ce que c'est elle la dernière?"

[I thought of all the women that I have known, slept with, or those that I have only desired. I said to myself that they are like russian dolls. We pass our entire lives playing this game, curious to know who will be the last. Who will be the tiniest hidden in all the others. But we cannot get her directly. We must follow the path, open them all, one after the other, and ask, each time: is she the last?]

It's more poetic in French.

Just finished watching Les poupées russes, the sequel to one of my favorite films ever, L'auberge espagnole, which is itself a love letter to Barcelona but also a wonderful coming-of-age story of the lead, Xavier.

The film was fine -- all about love, this time around -- but what I loved the most (apart from the writer-as-narrator, because Xavier is so honest) was this monologue from the end. I love that idea of opening up russian dolls, one after another, until finally reaching that person you've been waiting for.


desire is prayer

What lovely inspiration I just found, from Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures:

"Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds" - pg. 1

Wow. So simple. This finding follows up a phone call from my Aunt that was unexpected and most welcome. It's all more encouragement to trust in God, and realization that I am slowly seeing my path unfold before me.


a new hope

Today, I went out with a group of friends that I realize I should spend more time with, because every time (once I drag myself into the city!) I end up having a fantastic time.  

Tonight, what was going to be a trip to a piano bar in Georgetown turned into a night of Teaism (delicious tea & jasmine crème brulée!), then playing this game with chips that involved standing in kung-fu stances (the burn!), then sitting around and talking about nerdy things.  I forget how much fun it is to talk with fellow nerds!  It also brings to mind how much of a hermit I've been recently, how I've been remiss on seeing the few people that I actually do know that live in the city. 

The worst part of it is, the people that now live in close (ish) proximity to me -- and by that, I mean the Washington DC Metropolitan Area -- are people that I absolutely adore.  They are some of my closest friends from college, and one of my best friends that studied abroad with me in France.  There is no feasible reason that we should not all get together, and frequently.  

I am hosting an Oscar party on the 24th.  I am inviting everyone.  Not everyone, but the friends that I love and cherish, from Williamsburg to Gettysburg and in-between.  It's a chance for everyone to meet, 
which always excites me, and another excuse to see everyone again.

What's quite fun is that I met a new nerd-friend.  I've met him before (see: previous gatherings with abovementioned crowd) but tonight we really clicked.  Old movies, nerd-ery, all of it -- but the best part was him saying that he felt that he was alone in thinking the first (and by that we mean fourth) Star Wars film to be the best.  Of course, I have always loved A New Hope, and I chirped up that absolutely, without a doubt, it is my favorite.

He looked at me across the table, agape, but in a good way.  He had this look of absolute awe and wonder on his face -- I had clearly shocked him, but in the way that he seemed delighted that I had.   

This is what I love about fellow nerds.  Perhaps it's because I am always so delighted to find those that share my love of nerd-ery that I hold close to my heart.  There's always that sense of wonder & incredulity that you could not have imagined that someone else could love this as much as you do.  

Of course, I'm the exact same way about books.  Anyone read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell


adventures on the streets

So last week, I got a spur-of-the-moment call from my cousin.  She had been in Baltimore this past summer working on Step Up 2: The Streets, which meant that, because she was close by, I actually saw her!   Now, the film is finally done (released yesterday) but she had gotten an invitation to a Cast & Crew Screening in Baltimore, and invited myself & her friend who was an extra.

Honestly I had no idea what to expect -- I vaguely knew the premise of the original (ballet dancer falls for boy from wrong side of the tracks who teaches her to dance) -- but I think the best part was arriving there and hearing everyone's sheer excitement to see her there.  She was pulled away every minute from a dancer, or a grip or the AD -- introductions were passed around, but it really didn't matter.  I didn't need to meet them - the joy was seeing her in her element. 

After the film, we went to the after party where music was blasting, and most of the dancers from the film were freestyling.  It was hypnotic, just to stand in the circle, just watching them move (and knowing I have never moved that coordinated in my entire life) and it was my favorite part of the night, just because I couldn't tear my eyes away.

There's something about the music, and the crowd -- it made me understand that need to dance in the film.  I've always enjoyed dancing -- it's been something I look forward to, but it's never been something that fuels me.  This dance -- this music -- it is what keeps these people going.   It is every fibre of their being.  How magnetic.

Oh, and the film was quite fun, too.  


memorials at night

A few weekends ago, a good friend of mine came to town.  He's not an ordinary friend: I've known him since high school (he later admitted to a crush on me!) and we've had contact off-and-on throughout college.  Recently, he officially became a lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne, and since he was on this coast, came up from Fort Bragg to see the sights of DC.
So we did.  I love sightseeing & the excuse to be touristy, so it was perfect.  After we were kicked out of the Natural History Museum (early closing), it was dusk, and he said he hadn't seen the (relatively) new World War II monument.  It is one of my favorites, so I led the way.

It was turning darker as we made our way across the Mall and past the Washington Monument, and what I hadn't realized was that all the water was gone from the memorial.  

The few spotlights were the only illumination, and we were completely alone on this chilly January night.  I've never seen the memorial empty.  It makes one more contemplative, more willing to read every inscription, every engraving, because you feel as if you're the only one keeping it alive. 

We walked by the bronzes, which show different scenes from the Atlantic & Pacific theatre.  By happenstance, one of the ones we walked by was the one of paratroopers jumping from an airplane.  I slowed down and murmered something or other and pointed.  We stopped.  He looked, paused, and then pointed to the figure right at the door: "That'd be me."  Then going down the line, he identified the sergeant and "his men."

I couldn't do anything but hold his arm.  

We walked on, and I spent a good deal of time just staring at the distance at the Lincoln Memorial.  I suppose it brings me comfort.  But when I stared back at the boy, he just looked at me and said: "What do you think our memorial will look like?" 

I had no answer.  For once.  What to say, to a boy -- I suppose a man -- who is leaving for Iraq in a matter of weeks?  What does one answer when he asks what his monument -- the monument to this war -- will look like?

I just cried.


I am the most productive whilst procrastinating

Activities accomplished while procrastinating (a brief history)

  • Reformatted blog (this one).
  • Stylistically checked entire wiki.
  • Created dictionary of own slang.
  • Created dictionary of British slang.
  • Color-coded Excel spreadsheet of saint's relics.
  • Googled self.
  • Created list of things that make me happy.
  • Cleaned room (multiple times).
  • Organized bookshelves by fiction/non, century, author.
  • Photographed / catalogued entire yarn stash.
  • Created umpteen Facebook groups. (17+ at last count)
  • This post.

...more to come, surely.