Monday, November 26, 2007

Home for the Holidays

The Christmas season is officially here (though I kicked off my own Christmas season somewhere around the second week of October), so it's only fitting that I spent the last week feeling a lot like Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" as well as Ebenezer Scrooge. No, I didn't revisit regrets while being tour guided around my life by oddly dressed angels, but I did indeed visit my life, in a sort of surreal, feeling under-water kind of way. I went back to New York for Thanksgiving, for the first time since being carted away in a traumatic flurry of hospitals, oxygen tanks, and half-said goodbyes. This week was the only time I knew I'd have at least four days free with no work or school (and I ended up skipping a class anyway) and I knew there was nowhere I'd rather be for Thanksgiving than with my Brooklyn Family.

The weeks leading up to the trip had me wondering how I would react in returning to the place I'd lived for three years and not had any closure with. Would I start sobbing the minute I stepped off the plane? Would my life in Seattle evaporate and just convince me that I still lived in New York? Would I go numb? Would I be happy?

Well, it was kind of a multi-combo. I won't take the whole space to describe it, but more or less, most of my first day back I really did feel like a ghost revisiting my past. Everything looked familiar, but felt unfamiliar. I knew where to go, but couldn't remember how I'd gotten there. I realized, as I sat with Kim on the sofa I sort of helped pay for, in the apartment I'd spent 3 years of my life in, and realized that I'd never lived somewhere, left, had everyone remain and keep living that life, then return to visit that life. You know, when you visit your home, your peers aren't still in high school, things change. But going back to New York, for all intensive purposes, nothing had changed. Like Scrooge and Jimmy Stewart, I was visiting my life.

Also, the ghost metaphor makes sense, since when I left I was pretty much a ghost of myself. Barely walking, hardly breathing, and my parents had flown in and packed all my belongings away. I don't think it's an understatement to say that it was as if I had died. And suddenly, here I was, alive, walking down Franklin Street again-riding the C train and transferring to the F to meet up with people in the East Village- pedestrian dodging on 42nd street.

Fortunately though, I wasn't there to make up for past mistakes (though if I tried, I'm sure I could have found some). Mostly, it was just to rest in the warm embrace of those people that lower my heart rate, help me breathe easily, and call me nicknames I haven't heard in almost two years. Oh, oh the love. And the gratitude. And the Thanksgiving.

It was a short four days, but every second was a blessing. I thought about a lot, but also didn't analyze much. I made a lot of mental notes, but also just went with the flow. I was totally nostalgic, and completely in the moment. Rest. Rest. Rest.

I want to share more, and hopefully I will. But for now, being back in Seattle, I'm so glad I went back to my home, found it still warm and hearth-like, but also felt like I was the same person there and here. I know I've changed, but it was so nice to pick up where I left off, not feeling like I had to shift gears at all. I'm know I'm really different after what my Seattle experience has been, but it was nice to know I'm still the same. Coming home to Seattle was another homecoming. A different home, but one I'm grateful for as well. I'm grateful that there are nicknames here too, and different people whom I can rest with. And this doesn't take away from any other friendships. There's a difference between 1 year of friendship, 5 years, and ten years. And I'm so thankful for all of you. It was the best Thanksgiving week I've ever had.

Thanks for the pictures, Kimmy! And for my new/old digital camera!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Words and Lists, Lists and Words

After an unnsuccesful hour of trying to fall asleep after what has likely been the 11 busiest days of my life, and knowing that this current night is the last time I'll sleep in my bed for the next week, and that later "tonight" I'll be "sleeping" on a plane, I just can't stop the lists from running in my head, so maybe if I climb down from the old loft bed and type something out here, my brain will take a seven hour nap for the rest of tonight.

So in honor of the 50 pages worth of reserach papers I've written since mid-August, one of which I finished an hour or so ago, I thought I'd post the titles of my recent ones. After all, coming up with titles is my favorite part of any paper, (besides doing the research and reading the finished paper again about once a month). So here ya go:

Searching For Continuity From Plato To Kant

Genesis 35:22
A Case For Compassion And Creativity In The Interpretation Of Reuben’s Biggest Mistake.

Ways Philosophic Principles Can Guide the Church

Lessons from the Early Church for the
Seeker-Church Movement, in the face of Postmodernism

What The Emerging Discipline Of
Performance Criticism
Has To Teach Us About The Text
We Thought We Knew By Heart.

A Look at Dismissive Attachment Strategies in Partnered Relationships

I know, so fun right?
No, I mean it.
Which is why I'm doing it for four years instead of two.
But I would like a little break or something...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The LIST is coming

It's almost december, which means 2007 is almost over and that means...

My 2007 FILM LIST is almost done.

That's right, it's exactly what it sounds like: A list of every movie I watched in 2007. I mean, I know I'm not the only one excited about this. Everyone loves reading lists of what people do in their spare time. Try to be patient. It takes a year to make this list. Hopefully you can wait just a bit longer. We just have to. There's no other way...

Friday, November 16, 2007

No Time To Blog, But I Did Want To Ponder This Briefly...

I'm always fascinated by the cultural artifacts that are web banners and pop up ads, and this one may be my favorite so far. Is this what I think it is? I mean, come on, it's Is there really a dating service to help wealthy men meet trixies? I love the stress on "gorgeous" single woman, but the not-so-cryptic silence about these "succesful" men's appearance (despite of the euro-model they stuck in the picture). I mean, the parrallel study isn't hard to do here:
Men- succesful +women- gorgeous, young
= men- not young or gorgeous & women- looking for what "success" can provide

I mean, if you're really a high-heeled wearing gold-digger, don't you have enough assets to do your work for you? Do you really need a service to help you find lonely, rich men over 40? I think you know where to find them by now. And if you're a wealthy single guy whose just looking for a trophy date who wants a sugardaddy, what is a website gonna help you find that a sorority party won't?

I love the interweb...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Hi, My Name Is Kj, and I'm Addicted to Library Requests..."

So, at the end of 2004, when I stopped being able to purchase every book I wanted to read and turned instead to the obliging New York Public Library, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It wasn't long till I figured out that you could rent movies from the library for free, two weeks at a time, and (in NY) the late fee was only a dollar a day, so even four days late, it was still cheaper than renting. My roommates at the time can attest to the fact that after possibly forcing them to watch one of my "new arrivals" till 1am, I would then pull out my headphones and watch another movie till about 3, in a dark living room, so as not to keep them up any longer. You see, you can place items on hold online, and choose what library you want to pick them up at. I swear, most of my job errands were actually reasons for me to swing by the Jefferson Market (with my beloved curving staricase) or Ottendorfer Branches of the NYPL to pick up the 3-12 movies that arrived for me every week. I would check online sometimes five times a day to see if what I was waiting for had arrived yet. By noon, "American Splendor" might be in, but "Green Street Hooligans" would still be in transit, or worse, might have 277 Holds ahead of me. And NYPL would only let you request a maximum of 15 items at a time, so the very second something arrived, I moved another item up from my queue. It was a perfect poor man's NetFlix.
Well, the Seattle Library is quite decent, but the branch locations are not as easy to get to. I have to route my way through Ballard and switch buses, and time it perfectly along with another trip, like going to work. But, unlike NY, their late fees are only 15 cents day. Huzzah!!

And here's the biggest news, which I just found out. You can have an RSS feed telling you when your hold items have arrived! This is revolutionary! So, Seattle Public Library, though you're essentially out of my way, and you're a lot slower with hold items, and you have an understandably limited catalogue compared to New York, still, I salute Thee!

And I'm currently waiting for:

Northern Exposure, Sixth Season
Apocalypto, Mel Gibson
Children of Men, Alfonso Cuaron
The Bridge, Eric Steel
Beaty and the Beast, Disney
The Holiday, (don't judge me)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Surly Haiku of the Tired Person

New Moon! Let me sleep!
Stop telling my brain to stay
Up all night with you.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Smells Like My Grandma...

At least three times in the past week or so, I've entered a space, be it elevator or bathroom stall, following a woman of elderly persuasion, and been overwhelmed by a very familiar perfume smell, both pungent and intensely floral, causing me to, well, feel dizzy, then remark out loud "Smells like Grandma." This has brought me to wonder why it is that all grandmothers seem to wear the same perfume. And though it may not be the exact same brand of "Spring Flowers" from Crabtree & Evelyn (as I suspect one of the offending perfumes to be) but that there seems to be a cultural consensus on strength and specificity of floral scent appealing to this certain generation of women (and, perhaps implicity, their generation of men). Two questions emerge: the specific "why strong flower smell" question and "Why a generationally consistent perfume choice?"

To the first question, I wonder if the strong smell has to do with the difference in scent strengths in the 1940's- different chemical potentcies? Or strong smell as a status symbol in the depression era maybe? Or does strong perfume have more to do with weakened senses of smell by the wearers and their spouses? Will we wear stronger perfume as we get older to remind ourselves that we are still feminine? To cover the encroaching medicinal and bodily smells that are travesties of how deliciously we smell coming into the world as powder-fresh babies? I don't know the answer to any of these.

The second question of why a whole age of women would seem to wear the same perfume (and to my memory, my grandma has smelled this way for the 28 years I've known her) brings me to a recurring thought about when certain practices, preferences and abilities seem to solidify. I've heard various theories around this question, such as that:

1) women tend to dress in the style of the era during which they felt themselves to be at their personal peak of sexual attraction (why so many of our grandmothers still wear 1950's perms).
2) One's abiblity to draw stalls at the age that you stop doodling. Thus explaining why I draw at the level of a twelve year old.
3) Drug addiction causes emotional development to halt at the age one started abusing- ie: drug addicts with the emotional maturity of 14 year olds.

Now, please notice the above statement that these are theories and I don't neccesarrily agree or with any of them as law or generalized truths, but a lot makes sense about settling into what we think works either concsiously out of comfort, or subconsiously through seeming lack of options.

Which leads to me posit that in the 2030's there'll be a lot of grandmas smelling like Posion and Obsession, and around 2057 or so, there may be a lot of grandmas smelling like vanilla or CK One. I don't know which will be worse, but in the case of CKOne, grandmas and grandpas might all smell the same. Sorry grandkids...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

New Friends

My Birthday is a special time of year, because, besides Christimas, it's the only time of year that my DVD collection has any shot at real growth, (and it rarely grows beyond 2 at a time). I've been working hard to curtail my film purchasing, 1, because I have about $12 in my bank account, and 2, because for the past few months I've been babysitting my brother's 400+ DVD collection, and thus, never have a day without something new to watch. The introduction of my brother's film archive to my house also affected my wishlist, because a good 40% of the movies I had on "High" priority, suddenly moved into my bedroom, so it seemed redundant to ask for them when they were already close at hand.

So, that said, I really didn't expect to get any new movies this year. Also, I've really been hankering for books in a way I haven't since I lived in New York. Thus, it came as an awesome surprise to find my DVD shelf overflowing this year with new additions. So much so, that I've had to move some books around to new places in my room (and beyond). Likewise, this birthday saw some great new books added to my library as well, not the least of which being, a Jewish Study Bible TANAKH translation, that I fell in love with earlier this summer and did not want to return to the school library and now don't have to cuz I gots me own!

Anyhoo, he's the new eclectic members of the Kj Best Friends Forever DVD Club. Thanks to all who participated in blessing me through my love language of DVDs.
The Station Agent
State and Main
Edward Scissorhands
Groundhog Day
Jane Eyre
Star Trek: First Contact