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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Leaving town tomorrow for the weekend, through Monday. This is stressful -- cannot take computer (not trusting my laptop to those little international plug adapters!) So no work will get done, and stress will be had. Ah well. Will do my best to relax, enjoy the trip, and not think about school... too much! Happy weekend, all.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

And here we go

New classes start tomorrow! Er, technically today. In about 9 hours, in my case. :-) It's making me think of all those first days of school, my childhood Septembers. I could never sleep the night before -- I was too busy thinking about my new classes and my new teachers and my locker and the pretty folders and pencils I had bought, lunchtime with old friends and playing in the fall leaves (yes, even in California) and all the great things that come with being a year older. I'm not feeling it yet. But I'm trying.

Blah blah blah

[Again with the random post time...] Nothing much to relate. Had lovely visit with several folks in Cambridge over the weekend, where despite a truly ridiculously low temperature we managed to shop and eat to my heart's content. Classes starting up again, am feeling less than excited, have stuff left over to do from last semester, much too sleepy to focus on anything. Think will just go to bed (shockingly early, for me) and wake up early. Perhaps.

And unrelatedly:
Fascinating! Apparently someone hit this page twice today by submitting the following two very different questions to a search engine: "What is the difference between gravlox and smoked salmon?" and "Should I intern for a federal bankruptcy judge?" While I'm not sure I can really be of assistance in either case, suddenly I'm feeling quite happy about my apparent breadth of expertise. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2004

Gratifying!

So, ever since I went home over break, my laptop decided it no longer liked going into hibernation. Perhaps the warmer Western climes were making it feel more inclined to see the sunshine? Who knows. In any case, today managed to fix the problem. (Turns out that although the error messages variously identified the ethernet and wireless device drivers as the source of the problem, it was in fact a mysterious Third Driver I'd unknowingly installed. So I can have hibernation, but at the expense of not being able to check e-mail at my parents' place.) Yes, today I learned all about the Device Manager, sigverif, disabling drivers, etc. I know, I know, you Windows experts are laughing at my slow learning curve. Nonetheless, I feel pleased with myself. :-)

Update: Doh. It's back. :-(

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Finished Philip Roth's American Pastoral a few days ago. While I've received disagreeing opinions from a number of folks (with excellent taste in books, I might add), for various reasons, I personally found it rather phenomenal. What grabbed me initially was the descriptions of the New Jersey Jewish community -- the fifth or sixth generation Americans, whose ancestors went through Ellis Island at the cost of a few syllables off their last names. It's a very different pattern from what I've experienced, growing up around a mix of people most of whom had either come to this country themselves as children or have parents who did. The curve is so much steeper now. Roth's world starts in early industrial America -- the new arrivals work in factories, their kids work in factories to support their brothers and sisters, and their kids might end up running a little shop if they are particularly industrious. It takes generations before the first child goes to college, let alone becomes a doctor or lawyer.

Roth's theme is the craving for classic American normalcy -- the small town house with a tree swing in the front yard. The dream is so pervasive that after a few generations, seeking it out isn't just a desire for the appearances any more: it becomes the character's whole identity. Roth's protagonist is utterly, devastatingly sincere in his superficiality. He wants these things, the indicia of having "arrived", but wants them for their own sakes, barely realizing what they signify.

Really, though, I've always been a sucker for the superficial, and it's how he writes, rather than what he writes, that interests me most. This is a novel so unstructured that you can read sections at random (a bad habit of mine) without ruining a thing -- events are revealed in a seemingly random fashion as it jumps from one recollection to another. Of course, to do this and make it work requires an even more subtle structure. I would love to see the planning that went into this one.

In short, if you don't mind feeling rather shaken up and depressed for a day or so once it's all over, and can stand the creations of what one reader termed a rather dirty mind, it's a worthwhile read.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Just checking in...

Am currently in my third day of intensive studying for Corporate Tax. And by intensive, I mean that the quick trip to Starbucks tonight was the first time I've left the apartment and my laptop since Friday night (speaking of which: happy birthday N.P.!) Slowly, the mysteries of distributions, redemptions, liquidations, and the ever-present lobster pot are becoming clearer. However, I am beginning to have fears for my sanity. ;-)

Now if only I were able to sleep...

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Just found this picture and it made me very happy. Wonder if they still have those shirts...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

So clearly I have a bit of a preference for coasts... :-)
Make your own map here.


Thursday, January 01, 2004

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© Paula Levy
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