Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Random Post about a Random Thought

Her children included: Cerberus (the three headed hell dog) Orthrus (the less famous hell dog) Ladon (a snake who coiled under an apple tree. Hmmm), Chimera (the goat/lion/snake) Sphinx (Woman/lion who like riddles) Hydra ((the many-headed dragon), Ethon, Nemean Lion, and Teumessian fox (from DovBear)


Now I really want to write a story about Orthrus, the hell dog who never really made it big.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Storytelling

One of the few interesting things said by my professor for Law and Literature (a class that I anyway had planned on dropping due to scheduling conflicts, which gave me a somewhat inexplicable smug sense of satisfaction) was a quote from some lawyer attacking circumstantial evidence. He claimed that we have learned to see life as a Chekhov play, where every detail must have some significance, while in fact life is chaotic and random and never ties together nicely at the end.

While his claim re: evidence was weak (he made some ridiculous statistical mistakes: "Sure, he beat his wife, but what percentage of husbands who beat their wives end up killing them?" when the proper question is "what percentage of dead wives whose husbands had beaten them were killed by those husbands?" But I digress), the idea itself intrigues. Do we distort our perception of reality to fit into literary conventions?

I know that I tend to describe and perceive reality in terms of short stories or scenes from TV shows. A lot. In the past few days, I have said that the word Focaccia would make a good name for a menacing, black-mustachioed villain, and invented lines for that villain ("Beware the wrath of Focaccia!"). I declared a shabbat guest's description of a rich kids' camp where the director drives around in a souped-up golf cart and throws dollar bills- and one hundred dollar bill- for the children to fight over, usually violently, so ludicrously exaggerated that it was exactly a bad short story that I would read and get annoyed over its clumsy plot devices. I said that I wanted to write a short story about an heir to a chasidic dynasty who is convinced that he is not holy enough to be a rebbe. I listened to my Bioethics prof get annoyed at people trying to find solutions to avoid the moral dilemmas he posed and thought that one could write a short story for each one, trying to eliminate every possible outside factor that would avoid the dilemma itself and that perhaps this was the secret of science fiction. I constantly say "if this were a sitcom, x would happen now," or "if I were writing this short story, it would turn out that y." Not even to mention the degree to which my 'natural' personality, speech, and writing style are consciously and literarily affected.

But I think that maybe- except for the affected thing- it's not entirely a bad thing. Literary works may be unnatural, but thinking in terms of them provides a structure by which we can notice themes, congruities, and incongruities, a sufficiently impersonal perspective that we can see ourselves as others see us, a way of analyzing our lives as we live them. Which, of course, is a very me thing and may not be suited to others.

But the question still remains- does doing this distort our perception of reality or merely channel it? Do we force the story into the events or read it out? Or maybe neither and whatever his face lawyer was simply wrong?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

House Meeting

For those of you too old, young, rich or anti-social to experience the glamorous life of the apartment-dwelling college student personally, I humbly submit the following minutes of the last house meeting to give you a taste of the experience. Enjoy.

Apartment Seven

Full Board Meeting One

Minutes


Chair: EK (henceforth EK)

Presiding: EH (henceforth EH)

Secretary: Tobie (henceforth T)

Sitting around and looking pretty: Miri (henceforth M)

Honorary looking awkward: Gabe (henceforth 'the llama')

Sleeping on the couch: L (henceforth L)


  • The meeting was preceded by a dinner prepared by the Dinner Committee. Despite a delay in the rice preparation, which led to a member who will remain nameless eating another member who we shall for the purposes of this story call 'Bob' although her real name was Shprintza, the meal was received favorably. And then eaten.

  • During the dinner, the board raised and discussed a variety of pertinent issues, among them vegetable cravings, American cucumbers, and showing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to schizophrenics. The first was viewed favorably, the latter two not so much.

  • The first item on the agenda was raised by EK, calling for a vote on the American phone line issue. Upon the motion's unanimous approval, area codes for the telephone were discussed. In the end, Chicago was chosen for its plurality of board members and Maryland for its convenience for chatting with the president. EK, as punishment for her initiative, was made responsible for the procurement of above line.

  • Broccoli was shared.

  • M deplored the darkness of our condition and called for an immediate increase in the purchasing of lightbulbs. The motion was accepted, although no member concretely agreed to take responsibility for the issue, thus severely decreasing the chances that it will be resolved.

  • EH agreed to contact the Hot guy for wireless installation. Details of the hilarity that ensued regarding the epithet are omitted here, but the reader is invited to imagine it for his or her self.

  • In an effort to clear the bathroom counter, bathroom shelf space was allocated as follows: EK 1, T 1, M 2, EH 2

  • At this point, L was abducted by angry faeries, who agreed to return her only in return for being mentioned in the minutes with the cool archaic spelling. Attempts at bargaining were made impossible by the fact that they speak only Dutch.

  • Toranut was divided among the members, a system of permanent responsibilities being agreed upon as the most prudent course. It was further resolved that above toranut be finished by Shabbat, under penalty of severe being scowled at by other members. And possibly even verbally reprimanded. [EH: Bathrooms, EK: Floors, T: Kitchen, M: Living Room, Garbage, Assorted Misc]

  • Hosting for the upcoming Shabbaton was agreed upon by all parties, except for EH who is vacating the premises for the relevant time period in an effort to avoid all of this 'socialization' that she hears so much about.

  • T suggested that the Va'ad Bayit be contacted about the secret lounge behind the gas door. Possible uses included luggage storage and crowded but riotous parties. A delegation will be sent to the proper authorities on the sixth floor, preferably a delegation in fedoras and carrying ominous violin cases, for ease of negotiation.

  • N will be nagged regarding her property and her electric bill. N, be warned.

  • A full and only slightly fascist set of apartment rules were drawn up (see enclosed). Secretary will note that her efforts to ensure cohesion and order among them were largely mocked.

  • During aforesaid rule composition, the llama arrived and commenced looking awkward. And he did it very well.

  • M took exception to EK's doubt about whether any member would have a boyfriend in the coming year. In fact, she came across as remarkably defensive. Curious...

  • M's pointed suggestion of a strict no-skunk policy, as well as EK and EH's attempts to frame a no-puking-guest policy, were only moderately successful. (see rule 8: "Drunken revelries must be kept to a minimum")

  • EH promised the other members to explain some of the genders of some of the utensils at some point. The llama mocked the concept of utensil gender and had to be suppressed, Alice-in-Wonderland style.

  • M and T expressed concern about rumors of a secret conspiring coalition being formed between the red-headed members of the board. The rumors were denied. These denials, however, being made both in unison and in a secret code language and followed by an elaborate shared wink, did little to allay suspicion.

  • Arnona retroactive refund must be explored. T accepted the heavy task upon her slight shoulders, bowing under the weight like a dainty Atlas.

  • M raised the random underwear issue. Underwear Cinderella was suggested and rejected.

  • The board pondered the darker side of Sheri Lewis.

  • The meeting adjourned, EH and EK to their respective homework and M and T to face the dishes, exploding plates, brooms on the counter, encrusted green rice, and evolving vegetables. And much fun was had by all.