Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hang a Left!

I've decided to take my blogging in a slightly different direction. Yes, I'll still gush about good books and graduate school, but I also wanted to explore some of my other interests.

I changed the title. I like this title. I think it captures three important bits of my current interests: literature (duh), food (I love good food!), and running (yay for fitness). This will by no means turn into a fitness/food blog, but I thought it'd be fun to talk about literature one day, then share a tasty recipe the next. For those of you who have talked to me, you know that I'm passionate about healthy eating and running, so sharing those passions--as well as my love of all things literary--would be appropriate for a blog named "Eat, Read, Run".

I hope you all will enjoy a little variation in topic--I think I'll enjoy writing about it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rain Rambling

Caveat: this post contains a major amount of rambling and slightly jumbled thoughts.

So remember my last post where I talked about getting some kind of weird virus? Well, I passed it to Lance last week. And then we were both healthy again, and I managed to develop a sore throat that I'm increasingly suspecting is the result of the weird weather and vigorous Arkansas vegetation growth. Thus, I've been taking it easy yesterday and today, sipping on Masala Chai* and reading.

Speaking of rain, I ran a race in the rain on Saturday, while I was still well. It was an interesting experience, since usually the rain deters any exercise attempts or causes me to head to the HPER instead. I actually found the experience fun, although the stream of water into my right eye was a little annoying. I see why runners often wear hats.

The rain also brings me to a link I'd like to share with you: Robin McKinley's blog**. I love Robin McKinley; she's a fabulous writer and is responsible for several of my favorite books. Her blog is entertaining and quirky, and I'm enjoying reading about the personal life of a favorite author. Of course, now I remember that I wrote about this last time. Duh. Oh well, I'll just leave it.***

So now on to my reading. I've finished three, no, four books in rapid succession (man, I love the start of the summer, when I can gulp down novels that have been tempting me all semester). I started off by reading The Jane Austen Book Club, followed by The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which led me to polish off In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. I then moved on to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is a YA book, so it read REALLY fast. Yum. I promise to talk about each of these books individually for the rest of the week.

Well, I'm off to do some more reading. A trip to the library brought me Lady of the Snakes, Lost and Found, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Bee Season. And yes, I do realize I need to do thesis reading. Soon, I tell myself.

*Thanks to this guy. It's almost all gone, so I'm trying to savor the last few cups.
**She's been complaining about the rain. She's also the reason I'm using lots of footnotes lately.
***See caveat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Which Jenn Gets Sick (and Knits)

Some of my fellow knitters (and readers of this blog) will notice a sudden increase of posts on the Kniterati group blog. Apparently I can post there a lot and ignore this blog. I'll try to swing that a different direction--more posts in both places, perhaps?

My semester finished out nicely (still sporting a proud GPA, yay!). The weekend after the end of classes was crazy and full of activity, including seeing my parents*, seeing Lance's parents**, attending parties, and trying to sleep a little more. Fun times.

Then Wednesday, I got sick. Really sick. I ran a fever for a day and a half and lay on the couch and watched Gilmore Girls. It was great fun, really.

This week, I'm back at work. I took last week off from schoolwork, read a book for fun (The Jane Austen Book Club), and knit a lot and got sick. This week, I planned to start thesis reading, but I'm still feeling like I want to enjoy more of a work-free summer. I just got over feeling guilty for doing fun stuff instead of doing homework. Lance and I went and saw Prince Caspian last night, which was a lot of fun. We'll probably go see the new Indiana Jones next week.

So that's what I've been up to! (Basically a whole lot of nothing). I started reading Robin McKinley's blog, who happens to be one of my favorite writers ever, so it's been loads of fun.*** Time for me to go outside and play in the sunshine...

*After some arguing and cursing because they refused to tell me WHAT WAS GOING ON. We ended up meeting at a Denny's^, where the waitress looked at me funny for ordering a veggie burger (she didn't know what it was) and wanting to substitute fruit for fries^^. Then then "forgot" to tell me that my brother was in town this past weekend and that they were having the family over for a barbecue. Argh, family. Mine is terrible about communication.

^Gross. And in the armpit of NWA, no less!
^^Because apparently the usual patron of Denny's would sniff suspiciously at anything not made of beef or chicken or pork, then demand a bucket of meat and eggs. And forget substituting fruit--bring on the fried potatoes!

**And grandparents and brother and uncle. After seeing my family, I headed over to Lance's grandparents' house, where I received a warm welcome and many proclamations about how I was missed at church and lunch. Why is it that seeing Lance's family is less dramatic than seeing my own? I want to steal them.

***And has inspired me to make use of copious footnotes, just for the hell of it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I Owe Them Nothing

This post is mostly frivolous. But it's Friday, a time for frivolity. Enjoy.

The federal government, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to give me money. Since this money was fairly unexpected, I decided that I would pay off the last bit of my student loan (since I'm not paying interest at the moment, I decided that I had no reason to pay it off before). So now I'm all debt-free and stuff. And man, it feels great--25, and I owe nobody anything. Or I owe nothing to nobody.

Now for the frivolous part:

Kitties on a treadmill! I popped over to You Tube, and found many, many videos of kitties on treadmills. And I watched several and giggled a lot. Mostly because cats are kind of lazy, so it's funny to watch them willingly walk on the treadmill, then give up and fly off the end.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

In Which Jenn Concludes Her Semester

I just got back from turning in my final paper for 18th Century Novel (about the Arabian Nights' Entertainments). I was reluctant to let it go--I had fun writing it, and I really am interested in the ideas I had. As I was revising it, I thought about how the reader's relationship to Scheherazade is similar to the sultan's. As readers, we find the stories so compelling that we are reluctant to close the book; in effect, we are reluctant to cause the 'death' of the story, just as the sultan does not want to kill Scheherazade because the stories bring him pleasure and delight. Isn't that a cool idea? But I didn't have time to flesh it out--it became relegated to a sentence tacked on to a paragraph about the interaction between reader-audience, textual-audience, and the frame tale.

I think I'm going to keep working on that paper. It was so much fun.

Now for a bit of listiness--Things I learned this semester
  • I really shouldn't put off doing a paper. It turns out that I really hate rushing through writing and wish I could spend weeks working on a topic that I'm really excited about.
  • Procrastination only leads to my grief.
  • I eat a lot more when I'm working hard on something.
  • Exercise clears my brain to concentrate harder.
  • Sleep is not overrated, and coffee should not be consumed past 8pm if I want to sleep.
  • I have the ability to read and write a lot in one night, but it is an unsustainable ability
  • The Marquis de Sade makes me want to puke. But he's actually pretty interesting in his own right. (Damn my academic brain)
  • 30 Rock is a really funny show--and good procrastination/reward fodder. (It was actually a good reward once I stopped watching several shows in a row.)
  • I love the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
  • Being in grad school means you can drink with (some of) your professors.
I've obviously learned much more, but I think it's time to go do some work...(job work, not school work--I'm taking a break!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's Jenn Been Doing?

On May 1st, I had the grand plan of writing here everyday. I still feel like it's pretty important.

Then I forgot to post--it was a busy day!--and have since been absorbed in finals. I had a take home final due Monday along with a project write up, and tomorrow I have a 15-25 page paper due for 18th century novel.

Let me tell you, though, this paper I'm writing is so much fun. I have no clue how good it is, but I'm really enjoying it, so perhaps that'll shine through. I'm looking at narrative strategy in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments (1001 Nights in other translations). I get into a long discussion about how there are two different audiences--and embedded audience, then an audience of the text--and I use my favorite essay ever, Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" to further examine what the text does and why it's so powerful as a story. I'm really loving it right now. Oh, and I use The Princess Bride in my introduction. Neat!

What else have I been up to? I got to hang out with an awesome pal for a month (yay!). I ran into a former friend and, treated with complete coldness by someone who once I considered a good friend, decided to let that relationship go (I have since deleted that individual from my e-life). I've been procrastinating a lot. I've also been watching 30 Rock because that show is hilarious. (I like it so much that I want to take it behind the middle school...)

Anyway, my paper is due tomorrow, then I'll be free (sort of) for the summer! I already have a list of books I'm going to attempt to read...