28 October 2005

by Cecily
This girl is so funny I want to cry a little bit. She says things like this:





27 October 2005


by Cecily
My favorite party that I've ever had so far was a really spur-of-the-moment event that happened one summer when I was home from college. My sister was home, too, and our old family friend Anna. Plus some other hangers-on; a number of Anna's college friends were in town for the weekend. Jocelyn and I had never met them before.

Anyway we decided to have a party. "Come over to our mom's house later" we told a couple of people "we'll hang out over there."

When I say "party" here, you should not envision a bunch of people standing around drinking drinks and making small talk. Instead, you should envision about ten 20-something college kids rummaging through a treasure chest for costume items and dancing around the living room while "Camel Walk" is on repeat, really really loud.

A newcomer showed up, straight from the airport, in the midst of all this. He was one of the ones I hadn't met but he took one look at the scene and made a beeline for the costume box. A few minutes later, he was decked out in a brown wig, a tiara, a Marvin-the-Martian neck thing, a tutu, and some cowboy boots.

Then we played Zoom Schwartz Profigliano for a while, and practiced our Fancy Walkin.

My other favorite parties were the Science Parties we had in Minnesota. Those had costume boxes, too.

There is something really great about having people show up to your house and the first thing they do is dig through a box of stuff to find a costume. I think it marks the fact that now you are at a party; you MUST be at a party because look at that crazy outfit you're wearing!

We're having a Halloween party at my house on Saturday. I am partly excited and partly sad. The excited part is because Halloween is fun! And I get to wear that big giant head costume and dance around. The sad part is because I like dressing other people up and all of my fancy costumes are in a box in Minneapolis.

I'll improvise and everything. But it won't be the same. Last year I made an Evil Tooth Fairy costume for Trisha, including a tool belt with dental picks and a necklace of bloody teeth. And a Rapunzel-in-the-tower costume with a wig made out of bright yellow yarn. And an Andy-Warhol-painting-of-Marilyn costume where your eyes looked out of the picture, just like in Scooby Doo.

Then I made a lot of costumes for the adorable elementary school play I was the boss of. Wolves and ravens and a huge horse head. Princess hats. Fur-trimmed cloaks. Etc.

Why didn't I realize I would want these things for playing dress-up? It totally would have been worth the price of shipping one more box.

22 October 2005

Enrichment Day

by Cecily
We didn't have any classes at my school last Tuesday, because it was Enrichment Day. That is because there are no real holidays on Tuesdays and they have to balance out the classes. Some enriching activities (including free lunch) happened on campus, but I did not attend. I had my own private enrichment day, which included having lunch at the Sculpture Garden with my uncle, drinking coffee, and reading. My day also involved one very delicious kind of enrichment, and its name is Birthday Cake

I have made some fancy cakes before, but this one is the hands down winner so far. I think it is because I used its weight in frosting to glue it all together.

It was a cake for Julie, and she liked it.

but the best part is how deceptively pink and white the outside is. Because really, it looks like this!

That was a fun and tasty project. I love enrichment day!

21 October 2005

language and anger management

by Cecily
I just read "The Linguistics Wars" which is full of smart academics saying nasty, mean things to and about each other and then being angry and offended. Plus there's some social commentary in there, too, about the 60s. The part that I like the most in this book is all of the witty examples that the rebellious Generative Semanticists use in their scholarly publications. Usually they are about Nixon, as it turns out. Often about Nixon lingering in a men's room somewhere. Oh, those wacky linguists!

Either that, or they are personal attacks on other linguists who disagree with whatever. Like Noam Chomsky for example, they all say mean things about him and then he says mean things back and then everyone does interviews in which they act like they were being totally mature the whole time and they are baffled by the reaction of the other party.

This is an issue that hit home with me, because there is some social uproar happening in my classes. I can't really tell why. Some of it is related to personal dislike, on the parts of various people and in varying degrees. Some of it is related to widely varying discourse styles. But a lot of animosity and general awkwardness seems completely inexplicable. One kid got up and left the classroom in the middle of a discussion a couple of weeks ago. There are sporadic rounds of vitriolic or defensive or apologetic emails sent all over. Meetings are had wherein students complain about each other to professors and about professors to each other and about some professors to other professors.

The whole thing is making me really nervous. Nervous and also annoyed. Maybe I'll start circulating underground revolutionary mimeographs denouncing all of the people who say stupid things. I'll do it anonymously and everyone will have to stop making offensive remarks and talking shit about each other for fear of being publicly ridiculed.

18 October 2005

kitty kitty

by Cecily

kitty kitty
Originally uploaded by cecilycecily.

feline grace

by Cecily
My cat fell down the stairs last night. She leapt onto the bannister from the upstairs landing, in an attempt to be catlike and graceful. She really had no business being up on that bannister except to pretend like she wasn't trying hard at all and yet look, there she is, on a high narrow thing being graceful.

Sadly, though, she totally overshot. She made it up to the bannister all right, but then the whole act went south as she slid across the (very narrow) surface and tumbled over it, twisting and clawing and frantically trying to look cool as she went. During the fall I had a lot of nightmare visions about cats lying broken-backed on the stairs while I tried to call the emergency vet via relay on a hand-held wireless device.

But in fact what happened, at least from my perspective up on the landing looking down, was that the cat more or less bounced. Fell two flights straight south, hit the uncarpeted stairs, bounced, and ran off into the kitchen to recover her dignity.

She was kind of twitchy for the rest of the evening (every so often she'd suddenly bound across the room, fur standing straight on its ends, and glare at everyone wildly as though we had been making inappropriate racial slurs) but other than that, fine.

What the fuck? I can't even walk into a room without bruising myself in some ridiculous fashion. Accidentally kicking a table, running headfirst into the doorframe, etc. I am constantly covered with inexplicable wounds. Yesterday I cut myself on a plastic chair. Yes, that's right, I CUT MYSELF ON A PLASTIC CHAIR. Don't feel too bad, it's more like a paper cut than anything else. I'll live.

Maybe if I run into the kitchen real quick-like I'll find my dignity


by Cecily

03 October 2005


by Cecily
One of my classes is studying morphology right now. This is my new favorite word. "morphology"- it means exactly what you would think it would mean, if your only basis for an educated guess were Saturday morning cartoons. It means studying how things (well, words, mostly) morph into other things (also mostly words).

I am spending a lot of time fantasizing about doing totally ridiculous and time-consuming projects that I know would not be widely perceived as a very good use of resources. Like for example, I'm really excited about the idea of re-captioning a Simpson's episode so that all of the dialogue shows up in phonetic notation.

And, for another example, a comic strip (or animated short?) where the Power Rangers morph in a linguistic sense, somehow, and words and inflections are used to fight the forces of evil…

Clearly, that one needs a little more thought.

02 October 2005

when you're a stranger

by Cecily
My third-grade teacher didn't let us use the word "weird." She said it meant "creepy" and "spooky" and "supernatural," and that all of us third-graders really wanted to express the idea related to the word "strange." Her name was Mrs. Wiggins. She was pretty old, I thought, but then again I was only 8 so what did I know.

I still feel a little guilty whenever I describe something as "weird" when I know Mrs. Wiggins would say it was merely odd. But I'm not as convinced as she was that those are two separate things, weirdness and strangeness.

Anyway, it's pretty weird to be back in school. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom, working on things and staring out the window. When I lived in Minnesota, I used to spend a lot of time staring out the window. Way more time than I do now, in fact, but it was qualitatively different staring. I had no goals. I wasn't trying to think of a word, and I wasn't taking a break from hard cognitive labor. I was just sitting there on the couch, staring out the window.

Now when I stare out the window it's only for a few seconds at a time and I feel a very complete sense of isolation. I'm way more in an ivory tower now than I ever was as an undergraduate. Or maybe I just notice it now.

Other people are pretty weird to me, lately, too. I've had a couple of conversations about how much I suck at accurately predicting what anyone else's reaction will be to anything. Obviously, that's an exaggeration- I was able to carry on the conversations, at least. But a surprising percentage of my interactions with other people involve me being completely taken aback, baffled even, by what they say and how they say it.

Which is mostly good, because it would be really boring if I already knew what everyone was going to say all the time. But occasionally not so great, because it is a great hindrance to relationships when I never know what anyone else is talking about, or why.