Thursday, June 29, 2006

Suggestions Welcome

Cats named (spacing indicates litter-separation):

Moonface (long-hair black, bright yellow eyes, adult) deceased

Tumbly (orange tabby kitten, smallish) deceased
Grumbly (brown tabby kitten, smallish) deceased
Rumbly (calico/brown tabby kitten, smallish) deceased
(here they be, my Umblies.)

Cats needing names:

Gray long-hair kitten, blue eyes, small, cuddlyface, smelly deceased
Black long-hair kitten, blue eyes, small deceased
Brown tabby long-hair kitten, blue eyes, small deceased
Darker brown tabby long-hair kitten, blue eyes, small deceased

Tito (Black long-hair kitten, blue eyes, tiny) deceased
Punky (Brown tabby long-hair kitten, blue eyes, tiny) deceased

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm Not an Idiot, I Just Play One in Real Life

Would someone please explain to me why it is that I morph into a gibbering idiot when within a 10-foot range of my advisor?

No, really. Seriously. Because here is the woman who is supposed to be relying on me to read and analyze texts for her, a task which (whoa no way) is pretty much entirely dependent on my ability to not be a moron, and every time we are in the same room I turn into a stuttering sycophant, with the nodding and the mmhmming.

Example 1: Somehow we got on the topic yesterday of how Duke will, from this point onward, never be getting another shiny penny of my money ever again. She asks me why I have come to this decision, and to anyone who has ever been here before it's probably blatantly obvious. So do I say "Duke is a training ground for the elite to learn that rules don't apply to them"? Do I say "Duke has a nasty habit of abnegating any role that involves teaching responsibility"? No, I say "dining and Epworth", because that is the pat answer I'd had memorized for two years, and I could see her give this little sigh of disappointment at my inability to engage in a real discussion, BECAUSE I AM AN IDIOT.

Example 2: We were talking about dogs, and I expressed disdain for people who buy purebred dogs rather than going to the animal shelter and getting a mutt, because there are a gazillion available mutts in this world and they need lovin'. She counters that people make most life choices based on aesthetic - clothes and (human) mates included - so to expect people to refrain from judging aesthetic-via-breed when choosing a dog isn't really reasonable. And this is true, but instead of clarifying what I meant*, I nodded and smiled, BECAUSE I AM AN IDIOT.

I would blame the internet for the atrophy of my verbal skills, but I hold up pretty well when I'm arguing with Aaron, so the only possible conclusion is that I AM AN IDIOT.

*While you obviously make choices based on what's attractive to you, I'm talking about people who make choices based on what's attractive to others - so, just as I would hope that you are not choosing a boyfriend based solely upon the social status they will confer upon you for being hot, I would hope you're not shelling out $800 for a purebred chihuahua so you can carry it around in your handbag with your iPod and your Razr. Plus, I don't care what breed of dog is your favorite - you WILL be able to find a dog you find attractive at your local animal shelter. If that doesn't happen (I give it 10-to-1 odds), there are specific breed-rescue programs with whom you can get in contact. In short, there is no reason to support the creation of more puppies at this point in time. There are already plenty of puppies.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


This was the banner ad in my Gmail box just now:

Hillary 2008 Bracelets - - 100% silicone white bracelets Show your support for Hillary!


Oh, how I hate Hillary Clinton.

All Five of These Are Elements Necessary to Life

Currently on Allison's desk:


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Nighttime Vignette

1:15am - "Ok, this is nice. This is early. I'll be all rested tomorrow."
1:16am - "Hi, cats."
1:17am - "Aw, you want to cuddle with me? Ok, baby. Come on over."
1:18am - "Ok, when I said - I meant maybe not with your weight on my nerve cluster like that. Yeah, your elbow - that's an, um, artery, or - OH GOD GET OFF MY ARM PLEASE."
1:25am - "This is nice. We're comfy. I am communing with the animals."
1:30am - "I need to roll over."
1:31am - "TS, uh, can you just - shift *tug* yourself *tug* a little?"
1:32am - "Don't give me that look, mister. I'm the one in charge here."
1:33am - "Ok, you know what? Fine! I don't need to roll over. I'm fine just like this."
1:50am - "You know what? to hell with you guys. I'm rolling over whether you like it or not."
1:51am - "There."
1:52am - "Hi, TS."
1:53am - "No, TS, look, when I'm like this there's no room for you to - my arm has to go where you're sitting. You can't sit there."
1:55am - "Or you could just sit on my head. Like you're doing now. Yeah, that's fine. I can breathe through your fur. We're all good here."
2:00am - "Please, God, don't let me die like this."
2:15am - *snnnnxxxxxxxxx* "WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU HEAR? BURGLARS?"
2:16am - "If you didn't hear anything, then why the hell did you launch yourself off my SKULL?"
2:18am - "There is no need for the adrenaline, body, so cut it out. It was just the cat. Repeat: it was just the cat."
2:30am - "Crap."
2:45am - "CRAP."
2:50am - *snnnnnxxxxxx*


7:30am - "I am not getting you breakfast."
7:32am - "I am not getting you breakfast."
7:35am - "GO AWAY."
7:45am - "FINE. FINE. I'm AWAKE. GOD."
7:47am - "Chicken or beef?"

And I wonder why I am tired ALL THE TIME.

Friday, June 23, 2006


When watching Lifetime, either of the lines "It looks like everything is really coming together for you" or "Finally, a ____ of our very own" indicate stay tuned! because someone is going to die very soon.

I Rock So Hard

So I says to myself, "Self, you haven't posted in a real long time. What could snap you out of this heinous writing funk? Also, corollary, what the hell is your problem?"

And myself says back, "Well, Self, we could try a Friday Random Ten. It might be better than nothing. And the problem is that we are BORING."

So here's my first FRT:

"Losing My Religion" - REM
"O statua gentilissima" from Don Giovanni - Mozart
"In the Days of the Caveman" - Crash Test Dummies
"Impromptu for 12 Fingers" - Michael Nyman
"H Kardia mou Apopse Xagrypna" - Elevtheria Arbanitaki
"Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major K. 333" - Mozart
"Short Circuit" - Daft Punk
"Thriller" - Michael Jackson
"How Does a Duck Know" - Crash Test Dummies
"Desert Eagle" - Ratatat

What I want to know is how I can have almost 7 days' worth of music in iTunes and still get two Crash Test Dummies songs. Not that they aren't pretty awesome, but still.

(Sidenote: I Pandoraed Crash Test Dummies once and the only suitable matches it could come up with were more Crash Test Dummies. Sigh.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Again I Turn to You for Advice

Dear peoples,

It is looking more and more like there will be a period in the middle of July wherein the apartment's rightful owner and I will be sharing a space. As exciting as that concept sounds, it has a fundamental flaw, which is that I have a feeling that my usual schedule (:

Wake up at crack of dusk
Watch Star Trek
Wander around house
Find something to eat
Watch Battlestar
DDR until 3am

won't really work when someone else is in the house. So I need to get out of the house. Does anyone have any suggestions for things to do in the Triangle area that are free? And close, because I can't afford gas? And by free I really mean I can't afford anything, so outside places would probably be best.

Thank you, my sagacious friends. I would post something fun to read but my life is not really that fun to read about right now.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Clarke's Rules of Social Discourse

1. Nobody cares how funny or ridiculous you are when drunk, with the possible exception of those present at the event at which you saw fit to become inebriated. Any story dependent upon the level of your intoxication should therefore be erased from your portfolio. Please note that this rule does not apply to those stories that are funny anyway. Thus, for example, "when I was drunk I threw an apple through a frat-party window and it exploded" qualifies as legitimate, as the removal of the "drunk" qualifier would not be seriously detrimental to the story's humor value. "When I was drunk I threw up on the subway" does not qualify and never will.

2. The disqualification of another person's argument solely on the basis of their vocabulary is unacceptable. Provided that your opponent has the requisite ability to make their point understood, you are honor-bound to accept and respond to that argument. Thus, refusing to engage in discourse with someone because they curse and you do not is not, as many would like to believe, a mark of your innate superiority. Rather, it is an indication that you are unable to defeat your foe in fair combat - in other words, a cop-out. You are more than welcome to attempt to steer the rhetoric of the debate in any particular direction based on the composition of your answers, but not through outright dismissal or criticism of your opponent. This also counts for typos and l33tspeak, as annoying as I find them.

3. Unless the discussion has specifically to do with religious doctrine or a specific topic for which mainstream society has deemed religious belief relevant (ie. evolution), invoking religion is also a cop-out. Using "well, it'll all work out according what God has decreed anyway" as a retort indicates that you have no idea what you are talking about. This is not to say that there is not necessarily a divine plan, nor does it imply that you don't know what that plan may be (although in my opinion there is not, and thus you don't). It means only that, when discussing earthly problems, one must use a universally-accepted, earthly fact set. Not everyone believes in your god, so you cannot drag your god in. You may use those universally-accepted facts to come to a little-accepted conclusion, though. "Flagellates are too complex to have evolved naturally, thus there must be a God" is an argument that makes me grit my teeth, but it derives from a biological fact about the complexity of flagellates and thus I am honor-bound to respond to it.

I expect to attract some criticism for this rule.

4. Being a jerk is not necessarily being assertive, and to be assertive you do not have to be a jerk. Let me be more clear. I have run into a number of situations lately on the intarnetz in which a commenter will make a statement like, oh, "all people who have children are lazy, fat, and stupid. They live on a diet consisting wholly of government cheese, are a drain on society, and detract from my quality of life. I, having no children, am inherently superior to all those women who have elected to spend their lives as breeders". Then, when the commenter is called out on the fact that her statements are not only incredibly offensive but patently untrue, they will respond with something along the lines of "I see no one here is willing to listen to alternate opinions. You are all fascists". These people fail to grasp the distinction between expressing strong opinions and being offensive. Thus I say to them that it is entirely possible to have concerns without impugning a large group of people. The fact that you have gotten called out for wandering into an argument guns a-blazing does not mean your ideas are unwelcome; it means that you, personally, have made yourself unwelcome. For example, had the original comment been phrased along the lines of "I've chosen not to have kids because I really worry about the impact our current rate of population growth is having on the environment, and I also enjoy having a lot of free time on my hands," the general response might have fomented a useful conversation rather than a slagfest.

Clarke's Rule #4 can boil down to the following: in general, the more secure a person is with their argument, the less energy they need to expend insulting those with whom they disagree.

5. Fishing for compliments is never under any circumstances acceptable. Acceptable self-deprecation is a skill at which one should be practiced in order to avoid the illusion that one is searching for positive feedback about onesself.

6. Comparison of one's opponent to a Nazi, horse, Ann Coulter, or someone's ugly mom indicates the immediate termination of the debate in question, with the win awarded to the opposite party.

7. (internet only) Anonymous commenting immediately negates the argument of the person in question. A pseudonym and legitimate email address, at the minimum, are required to be taken seriously. The obvious reasoning behind this statement is that if you're not willing to put your reputation behind what you say, you do not deserve recognition.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Truly, Television Corrupteth the Youth of Today

The following are phrases uttered by five intelligent young college students (and recent graduates), of attitudes ranging to the very- to moderately-socially liberal, while watching the runaway Fox hit 24.


"No, you don't need to get information from him, SHOOT HIM!"


"Ok, then torture him!"

"Clearly, the more you torture people the more quickly they turn good. This show has found the solution to all our standing problems with national security."

"Doesn't matter that she died; she was old, and the old are a drain on society anyway."

" " " " " " " " crazy " " crazy " " " " " "

"We have learned from this show that the only people to be trusted are white males; everyone else is a terrorist or in league with same."

"Slap her, Jack Bauer."

"Oh, Jack Bauer, call my name; you're so hot."

"Holy CRAP, he just SNAPPED THAT GUY'S NECK. Can you - can we rewind? Rewind, I want to see that again."

"Oh my god, that made me horny."
"You mean when Curtis killed that dude by turning his head around backward?"
"Yes. Yes, that's what I mean."
"You're the kind of person for whom they make crush porn."

"So how are they supposed to find the terrorist in that crowded office building?"
"Racial profiling."
"But that's wrong!"
"Aaron, the dude's first name is Habib and they have no physical description of him. The only way to win this game is by playing 'spot who's brown'."

My name is Allison Clarke! I am a staunch feminist, a pacifist, and a rabid opponent of racial stereotyping! Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I Ought to Know This

One of you out there has to speak Latin, right?

I'm trying to translate a text for one of my professors, but the author done gone and left some of the most seminal parts of the text in their original church Latin, circa 16th c. I can't understand the meaning without the quotes, but I don't speak Latin at all. Can you guys help me? There are two, and here they are:

"Quid ergo dicis de peregrinatibus Romam, Hierusalem, S. Iacobum, Aquisgranum, Treverim, multasque alias regiones et loca causa Indulgentiarum: item in dedicationibus Ecclesiarum? Peregrinationes istae fiunt multis causas; rarissime iustis." (Martin Luther)

"Qui vadit apud sanctum Jacobum et occidit patrem suum non facet mortale peccatum." (uncredited)

They both have to do with pilgrimage, which is what peregrinatibus/peregrinationes mean, I know that much.

Thankee kindly!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Nerd Meme

I like books!

the titles you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - Scott F. Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling

The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
(this is a terrible book)
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
Sula by Toni Morrison
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (I'm pretty sure OSC is a Scientologist. Talk about your buzzkills.)

Ways This Day Keeps Getting Better

9:45AM: Wake up.

9:50AM: Find DDR pad.

9:51AM: Turn on TV; channel is set at 57. Cable. Free cable.

9:52AM: Play DDR.

1:00PM: Free lunch; obtain gainful employment.

5:00PM: Turn on SciFi. BSG is on.

5:15PM: Thunderstorm.

Back, Back, Back Again

I have returned, triumphantly?, to Durham, where I will be living with roommates for the summer. One of the roommates, when presented with an expanse of open torso, will crawl up onto it and purr as he butts his head up against yours.

It is pleasant.