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[Comments] (5) Something to brag about: On & on I was going, about HP6 and the release party with one of the owners and a customer. He said I'd be working, and I said I'd love to, as long as I could have the day after off to read the book.
"Oh, you'll get to read it a week or two early," he said.
*agast* "Really?"
"Yes, so you can talk it up," he said (as if I wouldn't, otherwise...)

Apparently it's only illegal to *sell* books before the release date. Which surprised me! (and I'm still not 100% sure, so no one rat on us) but I was wondering how they had dressed up Thestrals (sp?) at the HP5 release party pictures and I'm on CD 9 and still haven't found out about them yet.

So yes. I get to read Harry Potter & the Half-blood Prince early. You may now be jealous of me. :)

Watch out world: Tonight it dedicated soley to getting organized. I'm starting with my room, then moving on to grad school applications. I reeeally hate the not-on-top-of-thing feeling, like a trainwreck waiting to happen, a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-in-a-cold-sweat nightmare just around the corner, because, oh no, how could I have forgotten *that? Only I'll never know what *that* is until I get to the bottom of the mess on my desk.

Er, yeah....

[Comments] (3) Whew: Now that's almost done and ready. We're getting there! Actually, tracking down all of those forms and printing them may have been the hardest part of the applications. The British sure are a lot less picky than than Americans. They don't want my GRE scores or anything (thank goodness). Most importantly, they don't want my money! (Or at least, not until I start paying tuition, that is.) But the no application fees thing is really saving the skin of my butt right now. My only expenses will be transcripts, which I'll order tomorrow, and postage!

For those who might be interested, here are the schools & programs I am applying to (in order of preference, based on courses offered).

1. MA in Modern History & Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London.
2. MA in Twentieth-century British History, Queen Marys College, University of London
3. MA in European History, University College London
4. MA in Modern History, Kings College London
5. MA Contemporary History, Sussex University

: I kept having dreams wherein I am packing hurredly for Europe. I'm sure this means something...

[Comments] (1) My diploma: I have it! In my hot little hands! I really *have* graduated! Wheee...

Also, ordered offical transcripts for my applications, and gave reference forms to my professor/thesis advisor Dr. Berend. Stacy is taking a class of his this quarter on Eastern European History, and I was browsing her textbook (written by him) last night. There is a very praising quote on the back cover by a history professor (unfortunatley retired) at the University of London, Birkbeck College (my top choice, see the entry below). I'll take that as a good omen.

[Comments] (7) TOPSHOPosity: The other week when I was staying at Christina's, we watched the special features to the POA DVD--not v. exciting, but anyway. I suddenly remembered a bit in the interview with the kids where Emma Watson related a story: She was in Topshop & a lady said, "That's funny, but you look just like the girl who plays Hermione," and she replied, "That's funny; I am!" It reminded me of this entry.

I think Topshop is like, the new social equalizer. You could see *anyone* at Topshop as long as you wait long enough. You could write a thesis on the themes of post-colonial deconstructionist modernity in Topshop. I could certainly write an essay on the personal significance of Topshop symbolism in my life.

And how. I am looking around my room, and rather wishing I had room enough for a crafts table, so my collage stuff wouldn't clutter up my desk so.

[Comments] (1) Bookstore adventures.: I had been avoiding listening to my next CD of OOTp, listening to music instead, because I knew the first thing I would hear was Harry and Cho's kiss. *gag* Finally I listened to it this morning--what a way for breakfast to go down! Oh well, now that that's over we can get on to more interesting things.

Paul Royer & Sara Langley came to see me today at Russo's. We had a fun time chatting etc but I didn't have anything new to tell them since mom already told them all. Paul bought a bunch of graphic novels, and one of the managers gave him my employee discount, which I thought was nice. And I did some more pre-sales for HP6. And a women who came in looking for something we didn't have left with Confessions of a Shopaholic on my reccomendation.

The only downside is, I have been spending so much time at the bookstore by the time I am off work and back from everything I have to do I don't have energy to do anything else, such as go to my newly-joined gym, work on my Serbia stuff for research, or write my novel! I brought my grad school applications to work to try to rectify the situation a litte. But now after 8 hours of work and Major League Improv I'm soo tiiiiired, but I have to do stuff because I turned down hanging out with friends, woe, since that is what I did last night and I'm woefully behind on everything! Ahh! I guess one just does not have time for much of a social life when one is trying to do as much as I am.

I wish I could go back to working four or five hour shifts at the bookstore, or longer shifts with less days. There are lots of people who would love to have *more* hours so I don't think it would be a problem. All the same, I am sacred to ask for less hours because they might think I don't like the job or something. I'll have to make it very clear that that's not the case.

[Comments] (1) My diploma, a closer look: Blah blah blah....With all the rights and priveileges thereto pertaining...

Rights and privileges? I get rights and privileges? I wonder what they are... If I were in pre-1945 England and it were a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, my vote would count twice, but, well... I'm not, and it isn't, more's the pity.

Fun fact: signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

[Comments] (3) Query: What is an appropriate thank-you for letters of reference? A card? A potted plant?

I'm at UCLA today. It seems like just everyone has their iPods on. I bet most of them are brand-new Christmas presents. I've also seem a few sexy-silver Powerbooks that may or may not be brand-new Christmas presents, and am temporarily overcome with jealousy. *Pets Dave* but he's not a Powerbook.

[Comments] (2) Guess where I am?: Hint: I spent today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

[Comments] (2) This just in: NaNoWriMo part II: Coming February to a computer near you.

This way, I'll be finished in time to take part in NaNoEdMo in March. Sleep is over-rated.

More on my NYC trip later.

[Comments] (2) What we've all been waiting for: Here are some things I did while I was in New York last week:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: There's a whole huge Egyptian temple, complete with 19th century grafitti. Nice. All sorts of cool stuff, such as armour displays, ancient Japanese scrolls, an Africa statue that looks just like demon doggie, and a huge 19th century European art section. I've become a bit jaded, actually, travelling to so many cities and going to so many museums: "Oh, look, a Monet." (Ten points to who gets the reference.) But still, it's nice to see the ones I haven't before, and I owe Madame Bousquet for teaching me all about the french artists. They're so much more interesting when you know what they were all about.

Times Square and a Broadway show: The TKTS booth in NYC is different from the one in London in the following ways: the line is much long, it is MUCH colder, and the tickets are more expensive. And by the time we go to the front, almost everything was sold out. Ended up seeing Democracy, a play about an East German spy in the West German government. It was good, but I felt rather like I was reading for class, and kind of wished I were at a musical.

Greenwich Village: Lots of nice little shops and restaurants. It might have occured to me to want to live there, had I not been so cold.

Lots of yummy food: Seriously. Sushi, Indian, pizza, even the diner food was delicious (and proportinatley more expensive).

Empire State Building (walked by but didn't go up; the wait was an hour--outside) Tiffany's (was closed), Rockafeller Center (watched ice skaters), Toys R Us in Times Square (impressive legos! Leonard would have loved), NY Public Library (if only I had more *time*--and there was a gift shop! in the library!), etc etc.

Next time I go, I hope it's not in the middle of January. I've never been so cold. Ever.

And quite a contrast to LA's annual January heat wave. I saw Phantom of the Opera last night. It was... long. You'd think they'd have cut bits out, but no. And some of the theatrics just didn't transfer well to film. Roaul was especially disappointed--it's like, they couldn't get Ewan McGregor so they just took whoever would do it for free. Other than that, good. But way, way too long.

Woe: I really wish I could get my school email to download.

[Comments] (6) Ugh: I came back from making my peanut butter and jelly sandwich to find Sadie in my room (she knows she's not allowed. she knows!) and the top layer of klennex from my wastebasket gone. Where did they go? Into her stomach? Ughhhhhh.... I've never known anyone to get into so much that she isn't supposed to as she does.

Also the cat food dish has gravitated out from my room. It's empty, hello! Maybe she is trying to eat the dish. This would not surprise me.

Hmmmm: It suddenly occured to me that I ought to go to London to try to convince the grad schools to take me in person. I found airfare for less than $500.

And then there's the Fawcett Library, the Imperial War Museum Archives, the National Archives in Kew...

[Comments] (7) Ohhh...Access: I really need someone who knows Access to help me out. I need to add fields in the form of an already exsisting database. I really hope that's even possible--there's like, 400 entries, and I *don't* want to have to start over. It occurs to me there might be a reason no one uses Access.

[Comments] (1) Pictures!: Yay! My Ofoto order came. I can feel a major scrapbooking session coming on! (Susie, did you ever look at that thing I asked you about?)

Whew: The morning began with an hour and a half sitting in front of the computer, exchanging rapid-fire emails with at least 7 people across the Atlantic. Who knew grad school applications could be such a process when one is actually serious about it?

Yay: All of my application stuff is in pretty neatly labeled envelopes ready to send, minus the forms that need white-out and the references and transcripts which I am still waiting on.

[Comments] (7) Failure: I tired to cook. I made soup and left it in the crockpot. But I have an extreme dislike of onions that is rather ridculous, and I overcompensated by putting an entire onion in the soup. It is rather onion-flavoured, blah.

[Comments] (1) On the wrong foot, and I haven't even started yet: Meh. One day left of January. I'm not ready yet! (This is not the attitude to success.)

And: My eyes are a bit dry & hurty, as while I was on the eliptical machine at the gym today I started reading the Lady and the Unicorn by Tracey Chevalier. I'm sure it's probably not good for my eyes, but it sure does make it go by faster!

[Comments] (7) Well: I gave my two-week notice at Russo's on Monday. I have been thinking about it for quite some time, sue to my lack of just that, and I realised that if I want to be serious about pretty much any of the other, more important, things in my life, I needed to stop spreading myself so thinly, as much as I loved working there. So I told my manager this, and she was really friendly & understanding about it, saying of course she would give me wonderful references and I still get my employee discount and anytime I want to come back I have an open door. Yesterday everyone was so nice to me, telling me what a good employee I am and how much they will miss me and I better be sure to come right back the second I have time again! Overall it was a real ego-boost. Maybe I should quit more often? Haha.

What else... we are getting a new computer for the office here, which is exciting because this one is ancient and now we will have Office 2003 versus Office 5000 B.C. and all sorts of other good things. We have a new research assistant, her name is Aly and I quite like her. She is a European Studies major too, and from Bakersfield, although she's younger than me & went to a different high school. She also has an iBook and a pink iPod mini and likes Harry Potter and is generally cool. We are all wishing we could have bought an Apple for the office instead of a Dell, but such is life.

February is well under-way, but unfortunatley FebRuWriMo is not quite so much. I wonder if I can reset the wordometer and go on with it again this month? But I think I might not count words, and instead write everyday, aiming to finish some sort of a vague first draft, then set to the re-writing in March. We'll see. So far I have about 30 words. But I have decided (as suggested in No Plot No Problem, though not so specifically) that the snow leopard ears that were in my stocking will be my "writing" ears.

This rather reminds me of someone: Orman had been taken to the hospital the day before with jaundice, but hadnt liked it and had walked home in a downpour, cadging occasional lifts, which seemed to have cured her.

Ahhh: I'm up to my ears in loan papers, and I can't make heads or tails of any of it!

[Comments] (3) Query: Does anyone know of any good freesource software for cataloguing a home library?

[Comments] (5) Woe!: Arthur Miller is dead. (I wonder how many people will go to his funeral?)

[Comments] (3) I'm a nerd, and this just proves it: I spend most of today reading. I'm totally wrapped up in this book, The Balkan Wars, about, you guessed it, the Balkan Wars. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

I still remember the first time I was so wrapped up in a non-fiction book I wanted to stay in all day reading it. It was this summer, for work, The Roses of No Man's Land (I think I even wrote an entry on it, but am too lazy to look for it now.) It actually happens quite often now for work (which is awesome, cause I can read in bed all day and get paid for it!) Well, this is the first non-work book that I have stayed in with all day, and I can't wait to get back to it.

Coming tomorrow: Birthday wish-list. (Amazing, related to the rest of this post. You'll see.)

[Comments] (2) Birthday Wish-list (something for everyone): Well, one month from today is that special day, my birthday. Yippeee! I am sure you are all thinking, followed by, what should I buy Rachel? Ill make it easier for you (I have helpfully omitted such items as a trip to London and my student loans paid off from this list):

Books
Something from my Amazon Wishlist (searchable by rachnmi@gmail.com). I dont mind used books as long as they are in good condition (price compare at bookfinder.com to find the cheapest on the internet!
A gift certificate to Russos. (This will come in handy for buying my copy of Half-Blood Prince.)
Something for my brand-new not-yet-begun rare book collection! Thats right see the bottom of the list for details.

Yummies
A box of peppermint Dewars chews
A bag of milk chocolate with caramel Ghirardelli squares
Trader Joes Gift certificates

Vanity
A pair of editor pants from Express, size 1/2 reg, in any color but black, grey, icky brown or cream. Perhaps a cute pinstriped pair!
Something from LUSH. I use a lot of Retread and Veganese.

Here are some rare books I would like. I have been checking bookfinder at intervals for these with limited success. Perhaps those with rare bookstores in their vicinity might have better luck.
McLauren, Eva Shaw. A History of the Scottish Womens Hospitals (1919).
Hutton, Isabel Emslie. With a Womens Unit or Memories of a doctor in War and Peace.
Aldrige, Olive M. The Retreat from Serbia.
Corbett, Elsie. Red Cross in Serbia.
Anything by Freya Stark
The Letters of Gertrude Bell, any edition.
Actually, I'd like any rare-ish book written by a women or about WWI, or Europe in general... Old books are cool!

[Comments] (1) Well, that was fast: I got three emails from schools today saying they recieved my application. They went out last wednesday, so thats 6 days at the most. Good job, airmail! Now I just have to wait.

Hey: I fed you pie; Im allowed to betray youBecca.: Well, today was a second sucessful writing session with Becks. Only she cheated, by not working on her story, but a different one (hence the quote). We only spent minimal time arguing about I-forgot-what (literary devices, maybe?) and were generally productive. So, ta!

Today I also went to a pilates class at le gym, and now I feel fab, and mom & I went to lunch at sushi place whose name I don't know. Yummers. I also went back to Russo's to buy some B-day gifts and was generally productive. Now I'm working on my summary for work.

We got a new computer for work and it is gorgeous. I love it. It could only be better if it was, I dunooo... a G5, maybe? But one can't complain. Of course, this means Access 2003 which I can't wait to play around with, and I will be super dedicated and get the database all nice and shiny and up-to-date. After that life will be a breeze! All we have to do is write an article, and then a book!

[Comments] (1) Kitty: Cuddle muffins. So soft and cute.

[Comments] (8) asdrtfgyhjkl;: Dear Rachel,
Further to seeing your application, the department has decided to make you an Unconditional Offer for a place on the Modern History MA starting September 2005... Best wishes,

Departmental Secretary
History Department, Room 336
King's College London

Does this mean what I think it means? I can't believe it... It looks too good to be true. I feel like someone must be playing an awful trick on me.

[Comments] (1) Ugh: Gretel stepped on my purse this morning and now my phone is kind of broken, and I called Walgreen to refill my perscription, but the insurance won't cover me anymore.

But on the other hand, Susie helped me do henna last night, so I am a red-head again!

[Comments] (1) Hum: I feel like someone raided hangers from my closet. Either my clothes have never all been cleean at once, or there aren't as many as there used to be.

[Comments] (4) Check check: Ever since I stopped being a student, Wells Fargo is charging me $5 a month for the privledge of a checking account. I don't have direct deposit anymore, so I don't even get the $2 discount. This is really irritating me, and I want to move my paltry sums to a bank that has truly free checking. Does anyone have any suggestions?

STAB: Have wasted the last hour trying to apply for loan consoldation, filing out form after form only to have it dissappear into cyberspace, and than reaapear after I have filled it out again, in a most bizarre and terribley frustrating fashion. I HATE YOU DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier? STABSTABSTATABSTABSTABSTABSTABS

[Comments] (3) Dear MS Word: Please stop complaining when I spell such words as "colour" with an extra "u," and PLEASE stop auto-correcting my realisations.

Anyway. Today was a productive day. I went to le dentist (also known as contributing to Robert's college funds) and to see Spongebob Square Pants at the dollar theatre (50 cent Tuesdays!) with Amanda, dragging her out of the house. I managed to get enough of my loan consolidation application filled out to request a paper P-note before giving up on the website (I even tried using IE to appease them!), which is a hugh cross-off on my to-do list. And, I'm almost done with my summary of Elsie Corbett, and I get to start writing in a new journal tonight since I filled up my last oen last night, which is always exciting, so yes, overall, a good day.

[Comments] (4) I have a nice sister: When Susie & John were here this weekend we went to see Grandma. Grandma asked Susie to go through a box of earrings she was getting rid of, just as she had asked me to when I visited her two weeks previously, only at that time there was much more stuff in the box, such a stationary etc, hiding a ruby & gold ring, once belonging to Great-grandma Rachel, my namesake. I failed to notice the ring, but Susie didn't. Too make a long story short, after much squabbling Susie agreed to give me the ring if she never wore it; but then a few hours later she just gave it to me. Isn't she nice! I told her, I would have done the same, if it was her namesake's ring.

And thanks for all the Word advice; I actually knew I could do all that stuff, but then, I can't find that preferences area on my version of Office for Mac. I hate the smartquotes, they drive me crazy.

[Comments] (1) I also have a nice brother-in-law: Who did my taxes even though they were a huge pain, and who convinced Susie to give me the ring :) Merci beaucoup.

Some good advice: Maud Mortimer (A Green Tent in Flanders), on difficulties in getting a travel permit: At last in despair I go to Headquarters and all difficulties vanish. Always go to Headquarters. This is quite a tip to remember whenever you are most harassed by the creative genius from obstruction of lesser bureaucratic ways.

The Balkan Wars (I should totally become a book reviewer): I finally finished reading it! I think it took me a while because it could have been a lot better written: it was repetitive in some sections, there were some simple fact checking that had not been done, it jumped around a lot chronologically with little explanation, and a lot of the military descriptions were dry and systematic, with lots of cities that weren't placed geographically, and no maps!

Also, while the book did a really good job of analyzing the Ottoman era and how this lead to a culture of violence and created territorial tensions that lead to the Balkan conflicts of the twentieth-century, the book basically stopped after the second Balkan war in 1913, only dealing with WWI, WWII, and the Balkan crisis of the 1990s in the epilogue. It was a great set-up with very little follow-through; I felt he could have done a lot more with exploring how the history of the region set-up the conflicts, and how they echoed in each other.

So yes, as predicted, I am now wanting to read The Balkan Wars II. I went through the bibliography and added a bunch of books to my wish list. I bet I can get most of them from the library, but I love to buy books from Amazon when they're el cheapo used but in good condition, because then they're MINE! Anyway, my birthday is two weeks from today!

But anyway, the thing I loved most about the book was the very end, in the last paragraph of the epilogue, when I was delighted and surprised to learn that the author, Andre Gerolymatos, eloquently espouses my own pet theory on how to establish peace in the Balkans:

Ultimately, the answer is not NATO occupation but economic peacekeeping, the integration of the region into the European Union. The blurring of frontiers will provide the political, economic, and social security needed for distinct and ancient communities to adjust their cultural, religious, and linguistic boundaries without fear of retaliation. Only then will national chauvinism and insecurity die a quiet death.

[Comments] (3) "22 is old, isn't it?":
no,not really
it's old for say kindergarden
but for life
not so much
well maybe if this was 15th century england
itd be old

--My favorite Stacy, who is older than she was--but not old--today.

[Comments] (1) Weird: If you stare at the word "Photocopied" long enough, it starts to look wrong. Try it.

My hands are cramped from cutting and pasting. I try to rest them so I don't get carpeltunnel (SP?) but it doesn't seem to be helping.

Yay: Shiny pretty new database containing all our books. All 219 of them. And it only took me 7 hours.

Torrential downpour = scary!: I feel like the whole LA basin is about to be swept away into the ocean, me and my shiny new database with it.

[Comments] (1) Help: I brought the infamous Access by way of an MS Office 2003 Professional Academic edition home so as to database through my days in Bakersfield, too, but I'm having some issues installing it on Mom's computer. The Brilliant Stacy insists that we are allowed to install it on up to five computers, but everytime I put in the CD or try to do any installation-like process, the only thing that pops up is the Business Contact Manager, which I don't want! So either there is some secret device on the CD preventing Office from being installed on more than one computer, or more than twice at all (it's already been installed on our new one more than once, because we reformatted), or Business Contact Manager has to be installed before anything else from some unknown Microsoftian reason, or I am an idiot and I have no idea what I'm doing.

I'm rather hoping it's the later, so someone can tell me what to do, and all will be well again in my newly-rose-colored Access world.

In other news, I got a small letter from Queen Mary, which as everyone knows when it comes to college applications is the exact opposite of a big acceptance package; but it was a letter saying they received my application, not "not thanks." It's rather unfortunate that they insist on doing correspondance via air mail which takes about two weeks longer than email. Oh well.

And by the way: Since my birthday is now a week away, I thought I would mention, in case anyone is still looking: I also would like my suede jacket drycleaned, and an armband for my precioussss iPod, since the protective case I have makes it too big for the belt clip, and it's annoying to have to take the case off eveytime I go to the gym (which is incidently also the place I am most likely to drop it). :)

[Comments] (2) Hahaha... Mystery solved: "Do you want to listen to music?" I asked Stacy. "Sure," she replied. As I opened the drive to put in "MTV Hit List 2002," what should pop out but microsoft office professional? Oh, hahahaha. Honestly, how was I suppose to know I had the wrong disk? It was in the case, which, as far as I could tell, only held one disk. Oh well.

[Comments] (5) Ugh: Hate the bank. Must go and scream at them tomorrow. Am tempted to revert to system of barter.

[Comments] (2) Nahnahnahnahnahnahnah: Boo for large packages from the bank which disguise themselves as admittance packages.

Yay for trips to vegas with the MLI team, new suits, and song additions (if I was a rich girl...)

[Comments] (4) : I got another email today; the subject was "Application MA CHP." Thinking to myself, "I didn't apply to the California Highway Patrol," I opened it and then realized it was regarding "Contemporary History and Politics", haha how silly I am! The sentence beginning with "Because of the distances involved" didn't sound very promising at first, but then I read on and discovered that they aren't going to require an interview, instead making an unconditional offer for a place on the MA program! Wahooo!

But on the other hand, I haven't seen Tonks in a day, and I don't know where he is, and he doesn't come when I call. :(

[Comments] (6) All settled: Hopefully, anyway--in terms of my bank account. I have learned a very valuable lesson this last week, and that is to really really really make sure everything is cleared before you close a checking account, and then wait a month just to be extra-sure, and not believe the people at the bank because they could be lying. Fortunatley a nice lady at a different Wells Fargo branch from the one that lied to me helped me do damage control, and it could have been a lot worse. I did have to go to the dentist and give them new money since they deposited my check a few days after I had closed my account, opps, but in my defense it has been almost an entire month. I just have to call again to make sure everything went through and the account is really closed. Whew.

[Comments] (1) By the time I'm done...: I bet I'll have the database entries memorized.

Had a very fun night out with Christina yesterday to celebrate our communal birthdays. We had dinner at CPK and went to see Finding Neverland, which was really good and all literary, but sad! which I was not expecting. Being the forgetful loser that I am, her present is still sitting on my shelf at home, but she gave me a really awesome gift: the two volume set of The Letters of Gertrude Bell, and Memories of a Doctor in War and Peace. So exciting!

[Comments] (1) Yay for the Irish: Happy St Patrick's day everyone!

(I like to pretend I have a bit o' Irish in me)

[Comments] (4) Reading etc. : I was really productive today. I did a lot of things I've been meaning to do for a long time, like file my taxes and register my iPod protection plan. My filing basket it all organized. Me & Leonard also went to Russo's to get a paycheck I had forgotten I had (which I promtly put into my nest-egg savings account with my birthday money) and I also bought Paris 1919, even though I really need to stop buying books until I read all the ones I have!

Yesterday I read Angels and Demons, which I thought was ok-ish. The only part of Dan Brown books I really like is the art symbology imposes upon city geography, and that could have been summarized in about 20 pages, which would have taken me a lot less time to read, but I guess it wouldn't have been very exciting. Anyway, for pleasure reading now I've started The Sixth Lamentation which I read on the elliptical machine at le gym, and once I finish Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them I'll start reading The Middle East by Bernard Lewis, in between spurt of The Stricken Land: Serbia as we say it (getting paid to read is a beautiful thing). I also finished listening to POA; next up is the Sorceror's Stone.

Grrr: why won't gmail let me get to it on the web??! I tried using IE and it says it's not a fully supported browser, yet Safari supposedly is, and I can't even access the stupid site! Grrrrr.

[Comments] (2) Rain drops keep falling...: I'm unexpectedly in LA today on urgent historical research business. Its going quite well, despite my lack of sleep; I just hope to torrential downpour lets up by the time I have to drive home. The good news is my car is leaking: water is seeping in through the faulty rubber stuff over the doors. Haha, just kidding, that's not the good news. I guess the good news it's mostly on the passenger side.

[Comments] (1) Whew: I just finished a book summary that is two-thirds the length of my future MA thesis, and one-fifth the length of a NanoWriMo novel. I am not known for my brevity.

Last night I was sent into a panic when I realised I never actually recieved confirmation from UCL and Sussex that they received my application. I sent out desperate emails but managed to convince myself that my applications were lost somewhere over the atlantic, and console myself by saying it didn't matter, as I am 99% sure I won't be attending either of those anyway. Actually, it was a bit of a relief, since I don't think I'll get in to UCL anyway, and I'd like to keep my record good (right now I'm three for three).

So today I get a nice little letter from UCL, dated March 11, saying they received my application on February 16th.

And waited a month to let me know. O-kay.... (Though to be fair, its possible they are so overwhlemed with applications maybe ti takes a month to get to the point in line where they actually open it... or something).

[Comments] (6) : It's odd, but something about listening to Harry Potter makes me long to be in school again.

[Comments] (2) Happy Easter: We had a lovely tete-a-tete at Aunt Pat's today, with all the uncles & some cousins. Last night, in honour of Natalie's birthday, chris and I kinapped her & took her on a series of adventures involving CPK & parks.

I'm trying a new system where I do one "when I get around to it" task everyday. Whenever I think of something that has needed doing forever, I write it down on the next day in my calendar. So far I am up to April 16, but this way it is actually accomplishable, instead of writing down everythign I can think of onto a single day.

The obvious problem with my system as it is is that things are done in the order of which I think of them, and not in the order of importance. Perhaps I should have a master itemized list that I can add to, and everyday just do whatever has the top priority. But then, the idea of actually having a task assigned to a day is that it has a greater chance of actually getting done. Oh well, we shall see.

I am getting an icky-throat. We'll see how well Susie's Umcka coldcare, which I got in my stocking, works. I also have a very large pot of chamomille tea. And on the bright side, all the left-over cold medcine from last December won't go to waste!

[Comments] (1) Too much to do: Must work on summary. Must send in tax form. Must make sure loan consolidation is all arranged. Must work on summary. So tired. Must not get sick. *gulps tea*

[Comments] (1) The things we take for granted: I think probably the most profound effect all this WWI reading has had on my diet is eggs. Eggs! I never really used to like them, but now I do, and I think it's because... I can have an egg anytime I want. I can have dozens of eggs! Eggs are cheap. And I feel like I should appreciate that.

I got a bunch of died hard-boiled eggs from Aunt Pat. It was my own little hunt. I looked at the center-piece (a cute little pott of grass) and said, "Can I have an egg?"

Dismal failure: Feel like crap. Terrible time at improv practice. miserable attempts at working amount to little. Am thinking of nyquil and bed, as must be off to LA tomorrow for work. Blaaaaah.

[Comments] (1) Argh: My throat is raw and painful. Whine whine whine.

I bought a half-gallon on OJ and I'm going to drink the whole thing!

Status: Still alive. May get out of bed for more than 2 hours tomorrow. May.

Clean, but still sick: I spent all day cleaning. My bathroom and room are all now sparkling & organized. The bad news even though I'm feeling better my throat is sore again, in a different way. Its not fair to come down with something twice in a row!

Ah: I always thought sugar was scarce duirng war-time because, I don't know, maybe all the sugar mills were converted into munitions factories? But in this book (Auntie Mabel's War) I read that Britian had imported sugar from Germany! Go figure.

[Comments] (6) Rachel's Life: You decide!: Where should I go to school:

University College London, Birkbeck, King's College, or Queen Mary?

Ok, so I don't promise to go wherever gets the most votes. But still, indulge me.

(Sussex has been thrown out of the running because they haven't decided if they want me or not yet, and time is of the essense. Also, I figured out it's not that much cheaper to go there than it is to go to the cheapest university in London. So unless they send me a desperate letter saying they'll waive the fee, or something...)

[Comments] (1) : I wanted to get an icecream cone after Pilates calss but I didn't have my wallet, so I stopped by home to get money. I also fed JB, and got confused & took the long way there, the result being I got there just as they were closing. Am now very irritaed and ice cream-less. Grrrr.

Shuffle: Has anyone else noticed iTunes' annoying tendancy to play the same songs over & over again in party shuffle?

[Comments] (1) The good news: Have got more than 33,000 words of my novel typed (60 pages). I have been working on it a lot these past few days. Just need to finish typing, write 50,000 more words (approx.), edit it beyond recognition, and I'll be done! Hurrah!

Freud says I am assez absorbed in my Balkan studies: I just realized that when I was decorating the pages in my calendar, I put my Easter stickers on the week of Eastern Orthodox Easter.

[Comments] (3) Back at Camp YRL: Just had a lovely chat with Prof. Berend who gave me some good advice about choosing a grad school. Am now waiting for Pareesa to call me (PAREESA!) but I don't think she got my last facebook message. Woe. Maybe I'll go buy myself a treat in the North Campus Store, as in olden times, before going back to work.

Freud says...: You know you really need to wash your car when you start to dream about it.

[Comments] (2) Hmm: Dave the Laugh seems to be overheating more easily and more often than usual lately, and his little fan goes on more than I have ever known it to do so before. Perhaps he has a fever?

[Comments] (2) I'm such a bad momma: Maybe DtL is just upset because I missed his birthday. Woe! Happy birthday Dave! It has been a great year! Many more to come I hope!

: I had a fun weekend. On Saturday Becca & I drove down to LA to celebrate Chris' b-day. There were a ton of Bakersfield people (well, also Natalie and Jessica) and we had fun reminicing etc.

On Sunday I was too lazy to do anything much; I started stalking Corrs singles on eBay and then decided to list a bunch of crap I have been meaning to get rid of. Hopefully it sells!

I think that's it. I'm going to write about the book I am reading later.

Huzzah! Rare Corrs Song: I dragged Pareesa to Northern Lights for "breakfast" so I could use the wireless to stalk eBay and make sure no one out bid me on my precioussss Corrs CD. No one did, and I won!! It's actually a single, containing 3 versions of "Only When I Sleep" and a super-special ultra-rare song called "Remember." Rare song rare song! I am disproportionately excited about this.

Also, the sun-dried tomato cream cheese from UCLA is not so good as it used to be. There are hardly any sun-dried tomatoes in it!

[Comments] (2) Mer: PayPal's Exchange Rate as of Apr. 20, 2005: 1 U.S. Dollar = 0.508072 Pounds Sterling

Ack: I am watching my Serbia article slowly climb in word count, page and footnote number. Clearly this is the logical occurance when one is writing something, but I'm trying not to be alarmed all the same. It's not going to be fun to cut. I'll be needing that machete.

Bonus weblog material:

This is one of my favorite stories: “A man from another Unit working in Serbia, during a conversation with Dr. Inglis poured out his woes with regard to the dissensions in his Unit. He wound up by saying, “I supposed you never have these troubles—you seem such a happy family!” “I looked at him, writes Dr. Inglis, “to see if he was laughing. But he wasn’t. He was in dead earnest. So I hid my smile and said, ‘Well, perhaps women can manage other women better than men can!’”

It’s funny, how tricky perception can be. I’d always thought, from reading different accounts, that Mrs Harley resigned from admin of the Transport Column because she really felt she’d be doing better with relief work in Monastir. But then I read a diary of one of the drivers, and it turns out they were at odds with Harley’s authority from the beginning. They were always taking cars off when she had forbidden them too—but they couldn’t think of any reasons they shouldn’t pick up the wounded.

I’m not sure exactly what happened… But someone must have complained—a representative from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Committee came out to investigate, and at the end of their six month contract Mrs Harley and her daughter went off to Monastir. Three months later she was dead, struck in the head by a stray bit of shrapnel.

It’s all a little confusing—I know I’ll have a hard time writing it. But my part is not nearly as difficult as Stacy’s, who had the warring Haverfield and Chesney, who could give the French-German rivalry a run for their money; and there’s the theory that Hodges resigned because she didn’t get on with Inglis—who is practically a saint.

So it’s not like we’ll be presenting a picture of these women working harmoniously together in a cheerful (and safe) atmosphere. I think there might be a predisposed tendency to perceive these women as all very self-sacrificing and easy to get along with, when that’s just not the case. But it does make it a lot more interesting! I only wish Harley had lived to write her side of the story.

[Comments] (1) Well, it's official: I filled out all my reply forms and the post-man is taking them away. I'm going to UCL.

But most probably not until next fall. Hopefully the dollar will have gone up by then.

Happy birthday mommy! I hope you are having fun in Utah.

[Comments] (4) Advice?: Once I get paid and have money again, I was thinking of buying some pounds in a foreign investment scheme so I don't have to worry about the sinking dollar rendering worthless all my hard-earned savings. But right now I'll get so few pounds for my dollars I wonder if it would be better to hang onto them and wait for the dollar to go back up... which hopefully it will... yes? no? maybe?

Whee: I made 15.89 selling some crap on ebay.

Heh.

[Comments] (3) : My PK's article on Serbia is going to be extremely long. And half of it is footnotes. And, oh yeah, Serbia isn't the only part of the article. I suppose I'll get v good at using the machete.

Update: I thought by word count was 4,500, which is bad (good?) enough, but then I realised that wasn't including footnotes. It's actually 8,000 10,000. Wowo. That's half two-thirds of my MA thesis, right there. (But a lot of it is quotes, or cutting and pasting from summaries I've already written.) I know I'm adding too much for an article, but I can't tell myself to stop; I know it will be much easier to save it as is, then go back and edit, and have the longer version for future projects, than to go through the materials again trying to add more detail much later. So yes, once the article is finished, the book will be practically written. (Except for France, hahahahaha... ha.)

And, I'm stalking a super-cute pair of gold heels on eBay which I really don't need. I've wanted gold shoes ever since Christmas, when Leonard gave me a cute antique gold purse, so I can wear them with my black editor pants and a cute top--but the trouble is I don't have anywhere to wear them to, and even if I did I have black shoes & purse that would work perfectly fine. That and I'm going to try to only spend $20 a week (not including gas) in order to eventually afford grad school... soo--no bidding on gold shoes for Rachel. No non no.

Theme parks of the future:
crisbcreme: just hearing the words "renewed public interest" i suddenly think of like amusement parks
rachnmi: lol
crisbcreme: "Come visit the WWI Serbian Amusment Park!"
rachnmi: ohh fab lets have a wwi amusement park
rachnmi: hahah
crisbcreme: try the mustard gas chamber!
rachnmi: rollercoaster through the trenches
crisbcreme: typhoid
crisbcreme: just in general
rachnmi: ambulance bumper cars
crisbcreme: haha
crisbcreme: oh we so need to build this
rachnmi: those flying jet thingys--you can drop bombs out of
crisbcreme: with your history knowledge and my mechanical skills
rachnmi: hahahaha
crisbcreme: learn while you play

[Comments] (2) Woe: I feel like everyone is getting ready to Move On and do Exciting New Things whereas I am just stuck with the same old, but I know it's ridiculous for me to complain.

Probably I am just grouchy because I am hungry but I don't have anymore food and I don't want to buy anything because I am trying to spend only $20 a week, plus I don't want to leave until I am ready to go-go, and it's still trafficky out there. Fab.

Plus WWI is not the most cheerful things to study most of the time; that and other things, such as the Armenian-Americans picketing outside the Federal Building demanding Turkish recognition of the genocide, make me want to despair for society as a whole.

PS according to the quiz I am 12% Repulican, and "People like [me] are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W." Even more fab.

[Comments] (1) Metamorphosis and other stories: A huge cockroach came to visit me this evening. After a failed attempt at siccing Tonks on him, I killed him dead with Spider Killer XXX. Now he awaits a burial at sea, once I get enough nerve.

Only about 20 pages left of my novel to type. Then I can print the whole thing & start revising. One of my May goals is to have a good re-written part one. Maybe I can do all of part two in June, depending on how long I make it. There are a lot of interesting people and things to write about though.... so who knows.

It's actually been kind of exciting work. It's been a good 5 months since I wrote it, so reading it again is like a surprise--I can't wait to see what happens next. And it's nice to see how it's shaping up. I'm getting all sorts of ideas, plot wise. But it will take some doing wading through all the narrative and making it as sharp as I want it to be.

I keep having weird dreams, too. There was one with all the Walch cousins, and we were at a cabin, I can't remember. Then at my old house, and I found a dog too keep Gretel company, but I was worried they were going to fight & hurt each other--Mom said it was a Croatian dog. Real mom said I'm getting too into this "retreat thing". She's probably right, if I am projecting Balkan ethnic feuds onto my dogs, real and Freudian... does that make Gretel a Serbian dog? Ohh the irony. Ok, stopping. Now.

Huzzah: I am all done typing what I have written of my novel! Nearly 55,000 words, and 100 pages! Now, onto fixing it...

Update: Ugh. I can't print it because I can't use Word on mom's computer. Even though I already put in the product key and everything when I used Access, it insists I do it again before I use word. How stupid is that? Hate MS. Hate.

Update II: Called Office Depot. How much is it to print from disk? 7 cents. Can they do it double-sided? 6.8 cents. Even better! I burned a CD and ran off. But when I got there Mr Phone Guy said he hadn't known I was talking about from the computer... ok... So no double-sided printing. But what he can do is print it single-sided, then make a double-sided copy on the copy machine. My little environmentalistic heart just about died. So I had him make a single-sided copy, which I could have done myself at home or work if I just had the patience to wait. But it turned out ok, since it cost less than $5.00 because he gave me a discount for the misunderstanding. And now I have 133 (1.5 spaced) beautiful pages of writing just waiting to be scrawled all over with green ink.

Also: I need to work. Clearly. I need to do the hours to get the money I need. But, as I told Stacy earlier, I can't seem to drag myself away from WWI in Serbia to focus on Serbia during WWI. Plus, these purely inspired spurts where I am really motivated to work on my novel and in love with the whole project are so rare that I feel I must take advantage of them as long as they last!

[Comments] (1) Tomorrow I play catch-up:
Oil change (has needed doing for 500 miles)
With free car wash (has needed doing since... I can't remember the last time I washed my car--may or may not have been this year)
Gas getting (has needed doing since I saw a station with $2.49/gal.)
Sears to get my glasses adjusted (has needed doing FOREVER)
Ross to see how much their Pilates/Yoga matts are (doesn't technically need doing because the gym has matts but they are ew-gross and all the serious Pilates people bring their own, plus I think I should start doing some of the leg stretches at home so I can do them better in class, and goodness knows I can't do it on the bare floor!)

My email inbox was feeling lonely so I answered a bunch that were sitting there (I have to let them build up and do it all at once... it's weird) so hopefully I will get some replies =).

I'm going to work on my Serbia article now, really I am (*hides novel rough draft and turns off Airport*).

[Comments] (1) Strange as it seems there's been a run of crazy...: There's nothing more relaxing than dreaming about chasing Gretel through the house screaming "bad! baaaad!"

[Comments] (1) Words I made up: Retreaters, refugeeing, and Britishers. Actually, I didn't make up "Britishers," I borrowed it from somewhere, but I'm still pretty sure it isn't a word.

[Comments] (1) Fab: Someone egged my car. Maybe they reallt didn't like my bumper sticker? Maybe the rain will wash it off?

If there were a contest for nerdiest 22-year-old, I'd totally win. : Shala. In a very good mood. Congrats to Tony Blair on his third term. I must admit I was rather torn about this election, as well as anxious about the outcome. While it is no secret that I am a fan of Tony Blair and most of his policies, his stance on the US-led Iraq war, as we all know, has caused quite a scandal, and while I understand his reasoning, I also very much understand not voting for him on an emotional level. So… Labour is still in power, but has lost a lot of its majority. What will happen? We shall see.

Speaking of elections (ish), I’ve been doing a lot of research on diplomacy in WWI as background for my article, since, I think, one of the most striking features of personal narrative of British women in Serbia, especially in 1915, to *gasp* critcise British policy! I know that doesn’t sound too amazing in this day and age, but these women were intensely patriotic. Their main goal and hope was to serve their own [British] men—largely denied to them because of the misogynistic attitude of the War Office… but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I am slowly discovering that the British were quite bastardly in their foreign policy for Serbia, and the women had quite good reason to be critical. It’s like uncovering… a dinosaur fossil, or something. Thesis material, anyone? Whooo. So back to how elections tie into the story. There seems to be a bit of divergence about the importance of the Balkan campaign in the different histories. But one thing is pretty clear: both the Entente and the Central Powers were aching to get the smaller Balkan states. In the scenario where this is actually important in deciding the fate of the war (and I certainly think it could have been, and even was, to some extent), I compared Bulgaria and Romania to swing states: they aren’t as big as say, Germany and France (Texas and New York), but since those powers even out, one has to get as many of the little countries on one’s side as possible, in hopes of tipping the scales and breaking the stalemate. It might have been 2000! I told this theory to Stacy, who added that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was the equivalent of California going to Bush. In order to balance it out, the US would need to absorb Canada as a state (= US entering the war). It almost works, as a metaphor.

More funny things were said, which I meant to write about, but can’t remember. Especially with Becca—but I think I wrote that down. Later.

There was a Call For Papers announced yesterday for a conference on WWI and popular culture. Stacy and I are aching to go. It would be really fun to do portrayals of WWI in romantic fiction; can anyone think of any romance novels set in WWI? It would also be really fun and relatively easy to do Depictions of a Mutually Adoring relationship between British women (esp ambulance drivers) and Serbia soldiers in Personal Narratives. The only problems: it’s in Newcastle. Which, incidentally, is where the Gertrude Bell archives are, and is also, incidentally, an expensive plan flight away. Since I’m not a grad student, I bet I wouldn’t be able to apply for any grants, and who knows if they would take my abstracts seriously, or even look at them. Woe.

[Comments] (1) : Just back from hanging out at Chris' and watching Chamber of Secrets with the special Goblet of Fire preview stuff that was on ABC last night--they taped it. Chris is all done with school and graduating next week. I also got an announcement from Becca. We're all getting so old! Fortunatley I think we've proven that just because you graduate from college does not mean you actually have to "grow up."

As for the new Harry Potter movie... the special effects look really cool. I'm super excited about it. But the boys seriously need haircuts, and I'm afraid Movie!Hermione is getting soooo much more annoying than Book!Hermione.

[Comments] (3) Thank goodness you're here! Someone just hit me with a frying pan. : I just watched the funniest movie with Becca at Chris' (Chris was there too). It was called "Scotland, PA," and was based on Macbeth but set in a 70s fast-food restaurant. Seriously hilarious. Great, quirky stuff. Weiiiird.

Also: apparantly without having seen the last post, Christina sent me an email with the following comments in it: "am I the only one who really wanted to hurt Hermione *every* time she said something in the GoF clips? What have these silly movie people done to her?... And the boys need haircuts..badly. They both look silly. I mean I know Harry has messy hair, but this is ridiculous."

3rd Annual May Day of Spontaneity: After frolicking on the beach, we retreated to the 3rd Street Promenade for a picture scavenger hunt. Objects included: worst street performer, inappropriately-dressed pre-teen, tattoo, and flamingo.

[Comments] (2) Book...book...book...GOOSE!: I went to a Subway on Pico because a) I wanted Subway and b) it’s right next to a used bookstore I’ve been wanting to investigate for ages. But when I peered in the windows, I realized it was closed—seriously closed. No hours posted on the windows, and boxes and Trader Joe’s bags of papers and junk covering every spare inch of floor. Woe!

Does anyone have any good used/rare bookstores in the LA area suggestions? I really need to go to used bookstores in England and hunt up my WWI books that weren’t published in the US. I’m skeptical as to how many of them may have made their way across the ocean and are sitting on a dusty Californian bookshelf waiting to be discovered by me(but that doesn’t mean I won’t look!).

Solitaire addiction: I was doing so well, I deleted the game from Dave, but then I discovered games on yahoo.com. Why it is so much more interesting than all of the other things I could be doing? Must be the allure of the forbidden.

It's kind of like social networking...: Some people I know like to collect friends on thefacebook. I'd like to collect friends to stop global warming.

[Comments] (2) Cleaning hoodlum house: I made a schedule for my novel. If all goes well I'll be finished revising and on my way to finishing in three weeks. Then I'll be done at the end of July. I divided it into 16 chapters (about 15 pages 1.5 spaced each) of which I've already written 9 and a half. So I'll revise three chapters a week for the next three weeks--that's two days per chapter, three while I'm in LA. Then I'll write a chapter a week (and do some revisign) till I'm done! Whee. The tenth chapter, which I've been stuck at for the last five months is where the idea of the whole thing came from.

So it's actually not too long. I was kinda afraid it might be. But all I have to do is cut out the useless crap and not write any more useless crap. 16 chapters isn't too long. And they're pretty short.

And speaking of my novel, here's a funny story of what was said one night while I was trying to work with Becca. I was debated whether I should keep my London scene, or whether I should rewrite it as leaving with the group for Serbia--or at least part of it--from Edinburgh, which I think makes more sense historically. But I like my London scene, and I explained to Becca why:

"She becomes her own woman, like--"
"She's a hoodlum?"
"No, she just...starts to break rules."
"That's what hoodlums do," said Becca in a knowing voice.

It was really funny when it happened.

My printer hates me: And guess what! The feeling is mutual. There's nothing wrong with it. It just won't print. I've tried about 50 times.

Pestilence: In my dream this morning my skin started breaking out in warts in like, 5 different places. "But I can't afford to go to the dermatologist!" I wailed.

In the same dream I ran into one of my disliked ex-roommates. I said something, mean but truthful, I can't remember what, and then, "Oh, I miss you!" I lied, and gave her a hug. This is the only time I can remember being deliberatly dishonest is a dream, and for some reason it really bothers me. Probably because if I saw this person in real life there's no way I'd give her a hug.

[Comments] (1) The time is ripe: for dreams, I guess.

After reading a chapter entitled "Evelyn bobs her hair" in a book on women pilots, I had a dream in which I got all all of my hair chopped off! Whew--thank goodness I woke up and found it was only a dream.

Although, I seemed to like my Haircut in my dream.

No, no, no, no must not chop off all my hair. I'll have bangs instead.

Perhaps it represents a latent desire to go back in time and work in Serbia during WWI. Although this would make more sense if yesterday I'd been working on the part in my book where the girls cut each other's hair. But that's for today.

[Comments] (4) Rainy Day: I did a lot of errands today. I manged to escape the hair salon with most of my hair, then went to Russo's to buy a birthday gift and pay for a copy of a book coming out tomorrow, yay! But I won't be able to pick it up till Friday when I get back from LA.

Then I went to TJs to get provisions. I forgot to find the sundried tomatoes.

Stacy & prob. Susie will appreciate this: the checkout girl's name was Odessa. I asked her where she got her name, she said a BeeGees album (which is an odd thing to name one's daughter after, but oh well).
Then I said, "You know it's a city in... Romania?" (I'm actually not sure if it's in Romania or Russia, but in my defense it's probably changed hands twice in the last 100 years).
"Yes," She said.
Then I felt lame, like those annoying people who point out obvious things about someone's name, or something, and then say, "You probably get that a lot."

But in my defense, Odessa isn't all that well-known of a city.

Also at TJs was the shopping bus from Grandma's retirment home. All the way across town!

The thing I hate about errands day is feeling like I've spent so much money all in one day. Which I have, like whoa, but all things that really needed doing.

Especially my gas. I have an 11 gallon tank; I got 11.04 gallons of gas.

Oh for heaven's sake: Paypal is confusing!

Oh the joy: As a bit of background research for one of my Belgium girls who later begame a novelist under a psuedonym, I'm dipping into Desert Love by Joan Conquest (1920), which is everything you'd expect, and more.

Just wondering...: What's the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day? I'm sure it might occur to me if I thought about it some more...

But, other than Memorial Day started after the Civil War (as I just learned reading Wes Clark's email about his radio address tomorrow) and Veteran's Day started after WWI, I can't think of any difference. I mean, it's ok to have two, I was just wondering.

*re-reads email* Maybe Memorial Day is for those who've died and Veteran's day is for everybody.

[Comments] (1) Dun DUN dun dun dun DUN dun : Leonard is here for a vist and we're having a fab time. We took Grandma to the cemetary and she seemed happy, and we went to the Home & Leisure Show at the fairgrounds which was a bit lame, then me & Len went to see Star Wars. I'm rather glad I listened to everyone talk abotu how bad it was before seeing it, because I went in with no expectation and it turned out to be not so bad!

In other news, I'm hopelessly behind on my novel editing schedule, but I'll catch up, and instead I think I'll read about Macedonia for a bit before bed...

PS: Kristen's post reminded me... I think the best part about Star Wars was seeing the trailer from The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.

[Comments] (2) Quote of the day: Pk said, "Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, they've been re-writing the history of Europe, and they're telling the truth." Stacy & I both started laughing.

[Comments] (4) Not everyone has lives outside of books: Why on earth do the UCLA libraries close at 6 on Friday nights?

[Comments] (1) Gym pet peeves & health ponderings: I really hate it when people do this:

Hog an elliptical machine by putting their stuff on it then standing by it stretching for 5 minutes. Hello? Someone could be using it while you are just standing there stretching!

Yack on their phone at the gym. Seriously weird. I don't care if it helps to pass the time. Who wants to be yacked at while the yacker is going "huff huff puff"? Who wants to listen to one end of a conversation while they are trying to work out? Thank goodness for iPods.

Use a machine for a chair while you sit and yack for half an hour to your long-lost friend you happen to see at the gym. I really hate this because one of the yackers in invariabley sitting on the only machine left I want to use. I feel like a jerk going up and asking "are you using this" when they are clearly not so get off please. I still do it, but I feel like a jerk.

Pregnant women wearing a sports bra and no shirt. Just.... ew!

There is this old guy who is at 24 all the time, Chuck and Garrett call him the mayor, because he goes arond saying hello to everyone and shaking their hands. I've never seen him actually working out. It was a bit weird at first but I think I am used to it now. He is probably just lonely.

Generally I like to be left alone when I am at the gym. I'm not there to socialize! Unless I've gone there with someone, or I'm at a Pilates class, I don't want to be yacked at.

Anyway. I think I have a bit of the hypocrandriac (I'm sure that's spelled wrong) syndrome. I've become rather obsessed with finding a cure for my chronic tiredness and sleeping. I know it's not my throid because I saw all those doctors about it senoir year of high school. I thought it was because I wasn't getting enough excercise, but then I joined the gym (and I go all the time, too!). Then I read in one of my women pilots books about the girl who couldn't stay awake for her endurance flights, and her doctor said she wasn't getting enough protein, so she started a diet of steak & eggs and problem solved! So I have been trying to eat a lot of protein. More meat, hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky, tuna... problem not solved. Then today at chez 24 I saw an ad for b-24 or whatever the vitamin is. Fatigued? asked the tv. Irritable? Yes, i thought. Now of course I will go buy some b-12 tablets. maybe it will help!

Probably though, I need to solve the sleeping problem by using my super self-dicipline to just not sleep as much. You can probably guess that this it not working very well.

I probably do need to see a dietrician. I get soooo irritable when I haven't eaten. I probably have low blood sugar or something. Maybe it's diabeties. Fab!

[Comments] (11) And while we're here: You know what name I like? Vera. Vera Brittain. Vera Lynn. It's just so...patriotic. Ish. You don't see many Veras about, and it's a really nice name. I think if I have a second daughter, I'll totally name her Vera. Failing that, a character in a book.

[Comments] (4) Blaaaaatherings: You know how there are some things that you just feel so good and relieved about doing, that whenever you put them off and off and finally do them, you think you must be crazy not to do it all the time! So then you get in the habit for a little bit, but then you get behind, and the cycle repeats itself... I am that way about a lot of things. I go through stages where my desk is all empty and organized. I go through phases where I write in my journal every night and get all my thoughts out so they are not clouding up my brain.

Anyway. My room is all clean--or organized, I should say. It's nice. The only problem is Tonks is right in the middle of the floor and I was going to lay out my yoga matt and do stretches. I should really *clean* it. But I'm going to work and do other stuff all day tomorrow--Mondays are always a bit crowded because MLI practice takes a big hunk out of my evening--so it will have to wait till I get back from LA.

I've been writing in my jounral really regularily for over a year now--probably an average of 4-5 times a week. But then I go through these phases where I just get so laaaazy, and I don't bother for a week or more. And I hate it, because it makes me feel so unresolved, or something. All that tension building up. But then I've been doing this new thing where if I'm just sitting at my computer I'll open up a word doc and type. Kind of like I am doing now on crummy. It's good because I can type a lot faster than I can write (have finally gotten to that point!) so there is a lot less thinking involved. But then there is nothing like curling up in bed at the end of a day with a pretty journal with pretty pictures glued in and a pretty pen to write it all down. I don't want to switch between the two because then it won't be a chronological story. But then does that really matter? I suppose I could print & paste, but one of the benefits of typing, I think, not taking up even more space in the universe with my ditherings. So who knows. Certainly not me.

I know how you feel about me but I'm asking you to put your feelings aside for something more important: Happy D-Day everyone. Yay for beating Nazis and liberating France!

[Comments] (1) I must not spend $100 on a book: I have just resolved not to buy any more books till I've read all or most of the ones I already have. (Unless it's something really special, like HP). But I suppose it doesn't count if I've already read it, right? Noooo, this one is out of my budget. But still, I want it! Even if they did get the title wrong. Just a little bit wrong.

All the same, I’m planning on going used book shopping in every rare book shop I can find once I hit the UK. There ought to be lots of goodies there, I am hoping, and for less.

[Comments] (3) Maybe I should take lunch breaks more often: I am having a bit of a crap week. But I had lunch with Christina and we got Inn-N-Out and had a picnic in the park then walked around on the running path, so now I feel better. Plus I am exciting for John & Susie to move to So Cal.

[Comments] (1) "What does he take me for?": I've just started reading a book called The Rape of Belgium, a cheerful book, as you can probably tell by the title. The exchange, recounted here, between Alfred and his cousin Wilhelm, reminds me of the series of telegrams exchanged between the Kaiser and another of his cousins, Tsar Nicholas, a few days later, I think. The essense it the same: the ability to maintain friendly relations and prevent European war is in your hands. All you have to do is step aside/sit and do nothing while we march through your neutral territory/allow our ally to mass armies on your frontier. Small price to pay for peace, right?

Pour moi c'est oui/History jokes can be funny: There is a quote in the Newsweek article on the EU referendums on the constitution in France and the Netherlands last week from one one the "founding fathers" of the EU, Kohnstamm. "None of the founding fathers had any illusions that it would be easy to build Europe through consensus and common interests, instead of war and conquest. But that didn't deter them then, and shouldn't now, he says. "I've seen so many crises--and seen so many crises overcome--that I am absolutely certain that this process will go on.""

This perspective explains why it's easy to take so-called "set-backs" with a grain of salt. I'm sure Europe will get to a constitution eventually. Rome wasn't built in a day.

A speaking of EU, Sumana sent me a link to this great blog of an MEP (Member of European Parliament) from Yorkshire. There is some really good stuff, especially in the "humour" section:

Corbett was seated next to Otto von Habsburg (son of the last emperor). Once, when Austria played against Hungary at football, I was curious to see his reaction and asked whether he had seen the match. "What match?" He asked. "Austria-Hungary" I replied. "Oh," he said, "who against?"

[Comments] (1) Why are financial institutions out to get me?: Stupid, stupid bank. Apparantly they have a policy of holding every check that gets deposited in an ATM for four days. And how exactly one is supposed to do business when one gets paid at the end of the month and has to give money to one's mom for bills at the beginning, well. I suppose that is not the problem. As long as the bank can keep charging $23 per "over drawn" charge (even though there is actually money in the account) I guess they are happy. They send a nice letter saying they will give a refund for such charges if I did not recieve the notice at the time of the deposit, and the check is paid. But as the lady on the phone said, this only counts if you make the deposit in the branch and not at an ATM, because an ATM has no way of giving you notice. Well, that covers all the bases nicely. And it's so easy to make a deposit in a branch when there's 2 of them and they're not open on Saturdays. Ohhhh hate.

Yelled at the lady on the phone, and then felt bad because she's only allowed to reverse one of the fees and I have TWO. TWO. That's forty-six dollars. I'm going in person (when I'll have time, no idea) to explain how utterly ridculous it is that they are charging me $23 for HAVING ENOUGH MONEY in my account for a check I wrote, when I don't even spend that much money a week on FOOD. I swear, if they don't give my money back, I'll close my account (but not until I make sure everything is cleared, I learned that lesson last time.) I may anyway, out of protest to the ridculousness of the whole thing. Maybe I'll just not have a checking account, and deal in cash and money orders. or something.

How on earth is one supposed to get ahead in life when people who are supposed to be on one's side, helping one (ie credit unions) are looking for every chance to suck one's blood. I was feeling much better but now have been plunged back into the depths of despair of Tuesday and Wednesday. I am so frustrated I want to cry. If I ever get to the point in life where I don't have to worry about money, I don't know what I'll do. All that stress and energy can go towards a worthy cause, like global poverty. Ohhh the injustice of it all.

[Comments] (3) Working hard for the money (and not spending a thing): I decided to go back to Russo's to work on Saturdays--for a number of reasons, but mostly because I miss the job & the people there. They must have missed me too, because there was a serious Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo shortage that needed solving. I love telling people about our upcoming HP party, and the best part was when a girl came in looking for Sophie Kinsella. My book-seller sleuth skills enabled me to tell her the next one is coming out July 19th (a great reading week for me), but she needed a book for a trip and had already read Bridget Jones, so I pointed her towards Georgia Nicholson. My book-seller magic 8 ball says she'll be back at Russo's for the rest of the series (6 books long) and for the Kinsella book next month. That is the best part about the job. Plus I got to work with Chaz, and he is fab. He tries to be all mean and cynical, but really he is just a tease. He was totally horrified when I did a realistic puppet show with the new finger puppets--a mouse and an owl.

But of course Saturdays are busiest because everyone is in doing their shopping and waiting for their movie. Which is good because it's never slow, but bad for the same reason. Luckily Chris came to rescue me on my lunch break, and I was glad to get away for a while. At the end of my shift my feet were killing me. It takes a while to get used to that kind of thing.

Also someone came in asking about The Historian, a Dracula book--there was an article in Newsweek about it. It's not out yet but I got her to buy a gift cert instead. The author got a $2 million advance. I need to get in on some of that kind of action.

Then I went to MLI show. As much fun as we have, it is a bit frustrating because we have been having really good practices and try as we may, can never have as good shows. We went out to eat afterwards at the "MG" (macaroni grill) and I couldn't afford the cheapest thing on the menu. So I just sat and ate bread and was a bum. I think I have been getting down too easily lately when I ought to focus on the good things. As I said to Garrett, as long as you're happy with your job and you like the people you live with, those are the most important things in your life. So I ought to remember that and be happier.

Shalala: I am going off to Cambria with the ace gang for an un-deserved vacation. And I am leaving Dave here. So talk to y'all Wednesday soir.

[Comments] (2) "Psychics? I thought it said physics!": I'm back. We had a great time in Cambria. There was much laughter. We went to the beach, sat around, ate a lot, watched Arrested Development, played games (such as Apples to Apples), threatened Becca with makeovers, and were just generally lazy. Now it is back to life and work, and possibly the gym. Oh yeah, we also watched The Incredibles, which I hadn't seen before, and it really lived up to all the hype (of my friends). Here's a funny story:

After the movie I was standing in the bathroom doorway when Becca finished brushing her teeth. "I'm invisible girl!" I said, putting my hood up. "You're not insubtantial girl," she replied pointedly. Later in bed we were talking about what our super names would be, and I said I'd be imagination girl, and everything I thought up would appear (like in the Room of Requirement). "You could be insubtantial girl," Becca suggested. "Yes, but what would my powers be?" I wondered. "I guess no one could ever attack me, but then, no one could ever, like, hug me." "I want to be insubtantial girl!" Becca exclaimed.

I took up The Notebook and I read about 50 pages before I gave up. I was midly curious about the plotline and how the main characters would overcome the various barriers to their romance, but I didn't want to read another 150 pages of lawn-moving to find out. Maybe the movie is better. It's a bit discouraging how so often the books that get all the hype are mediocre, and really good books remain unknown.

I hope Sumana is feeling better. I thought it was interesting that she said she was feeling "at sixes and sevens." I'm sure it's a really old phrase; the first time I heard it was in "Don't cry for me Argentina." But I like the think it orginated from the gridlock that occurred when the "six" started up the EEC (now the EU) and the ever-skeptical British began their own free-er trade club of seven.

[Comments] (6) One more month yaaaaaaay: I went to el banko and after a half hour of debating finally got a refund for my fees. They are really uptight. Argh. But I suppose they are used to having to argue with people and have it down to an artform. Anyway I think I will be extra careful not to incur anymore fees now that I know what all they charge for and all their idosyncratic proceedures. No more ATMS for Rachie, nonon. Once, in a delrious haze, I accidentally stuck my Kern Schools card into the Wells Fargo ATM to make a deposit and realised my mistake after entering my pin and seeing a checking account. I didn't even do anything and they still charged me $2. Nor did they ATM ask me if I wanted to accept the fee! Grr. Oh well. $2 is not that big of a deal now that I have my $69 back. Maybe later I will open an account with Union Bank as I hear they are nice, but I am beginning to be wary of all financial institutions.

Anyway. I listened to my Borrowed Heaven CD and Franz Ferdinand all the way to La and now I feel better. Plus I am excited for HBP. One more month yaaay.

I had a sudden epihany last night that maybe my plan to spend two weeks of November in London might interfere with my plan to do Nanowrimo again. Well maybe not. I was going to write my Study Abroad novel so perhaps seeing the sights and smelling the smells will get me inspired. But it will definitely interfere with my plan to volunteer as Municipal Liasion for Bako. Doubtful, though, that anyone else would want to do it, anyway.

Um...: Does anyone here know Flemish?

[Comments] (3) : I think driving throws off my equilibrium. I'm always triping over stuff when I get back. Plus my ears feel all funny.

Anyway. There was something I thought of writing when I was in the car, but now I can't remember what it is. Oh well. I'm a red-head again, thanks to Christina, who I may have convinced to come up to Bako for the HBP (I can't WAIT) release instead of waiting for laaaame Amazon to drop it at the door. That's about it. Becca is ignoring me on IM right now.

[Comments] (4) : I cleaned my room and vaccumed up all the spiders. Now it is all pretty and organized except for all the crap on my desk and toiletries and make-up on my dresser. I guess you never realise how much of that kind of stuff you have till it is all spread out. I really need to scrub the bathroom but I am too lazy. Oh well. I also did laundry and washed my sheets. Not only is Jelly Bean a bed hog, she sheds a LOT.

[Comments] (2) Someday I'll get a hang of this writing thing. : I was tres discouraged yest. while wading through the crap I wrote in the dregs of November. Instead of getting totally bummed and ditching the whole project (tempting as I've had a new idea I've been getting more and more excited about), I got myself psyched about how I can make the next part totally awesome from the first draft. So that's what I've been working on today, and I must say, it is le awesome. I am skipping from Decmeber 1915 to June 1918 and explaining the important things from the past when the oportune moment comes (and not in boring "Emma had been working at the hospital since february blah blah" or "Kingie was an ambulance driver who blah blah" but through revealing conversation or implication or however. I think this will make it more fun to read because I LOVE having to figure things out piece by piece and putting it all together, being kept on the edge of my seat not knowing what I will find out next. So yay.

Stacy: i want to be in the acknowledgements
you can write this
thank you to stacy edgar for absolutely nothing. she just wanted her name in here. so there you go
Me: hhaha
no actually i wrote the acknowledgements in my head one day while driving
Stacy: haha
Rachel: I think you were "my fellow expert in randomn knowledge" or something
the only one that will care about tha fact that Olive King, Isabel Hutton, and Elsie Inglis are characters in theis book
Stacy: haha
YAY

[Comments] (1) Random Post: Do you ever feel like there is just too much information? I mean, on teensy, tiny, obscure subject, let alone in the whole world, and you'll never be able to properly analyze and compare, because you'll never be able to remember enough of it at once? Does anyone else ever feel like that? Every day? Ok.

In other news, I have a weird taste in my mouth and no idea why. Maybe it was the BBQ chips. I've tried chewing gum, drinking soda, eating a bananna... Meh. Also, it's been two years exactly since OOTP came out. Less than one month to go till HBP. Whoo!

[Comments] (6) : I remembered what I wanted to write about on Friday. Before driving back I stopped to get Inn-N-Out and there were a ton of nicely-dressed family type groups in Westwood, which I thought was odd until I remembered that it was UCLA graduation. A whole year has passed since my own graduation! ...It would have been more poignant if I'd remembered to write about it then.

Here is a little annoying thing. Whenever I want to search archives or something for World War I, I have to do it like ten times with "WWI" "World War I" "World War One" "First World War" "Great War" &c &c. Can't we have just one phrase or abreviation? I suppose that is asking too much from a world that can't even agree on electrical outlets.

[Comments] (2) Oh, Sarah: Sometimes I feel like I ought to put more effort into making my journal entries well-written and amusant, because one never knows if, ninety years from now, someone will be reading it for research on whatever, and really appreciate the easy-to-readness.

"The inevitable and reiterated "where" [is] heard on every side. "Where are the stretchers?" "Where are my forceps?" "Where are we to dine?" "Where are the dead to be put?" "Where are the Germans?" No one stops to answer. People ask everybody ten times over to do the same thing, and use anything that is lying about."

--Sarah Macnaughtan, My War Experiences in two continents. (She was a writer, too, so I'm sure that helped.)

Also, my friend Heidi sent me a link to this vair amusant BBC story. Bravo, Poland.

Brillant: I managed to leave my computer power cord at work. So now I have less than half a battery to get me through till Tuesday. Which means I can't work on things like my novel or my work stuff on my computer.

But I can get around that. And on the bright side this means I'll have to severly limit timewasting activities such as solitaire and obsessive-compulsive weblog checking. Hmmm... maybe I should leave my power cord at work ALL the time!

But the music. For shame! The music.....

Sad.

[Comments] (7) Books & Rivers: Earlier I thought of something to write about but as usual, now I don't remember. It was probably a quote from the book I'm reading, Paris 1919 by Margaret Macmillan, v.g. I've decided to try and read it all before Harry Potter. In theory I have been alternating one non-fiction book with one fiction book, but I don't think it's worked out that way. There was the new Georgia Nicholson book, and the new book in the In the Garden trilogy, and I had to read those right away. Plus the Notebook for failed vacation reading. Harry Potter will be the same--I'll *have* to start reading it right away, whether I've finished Paris or not. I know it's almost 3 weeks away, but I've already been working on this book for a couple months. It's really well written and interesting, but I have a harder time than I think I would otherwise because I read so much heavy stuff for work. I was going to make a review list of all the books I've read recently but it will have to wait till Dave comes back to life.

It's been a pretty slow weekend round here. Last night after MLI I went over to watch "This is Spinal Tap" at Chris' but I was so tired from being up since 7 for Russo's that I feel asleep. It was good though. A bunch of the gang was over and the girls got really squeamish when JoDeena started talking about the details of her operation. I think all the WWI reading has de-sqeamished me. Ish.

Anyway, today I did a bit of scrapbooking and more of reading Miss Sarah, and Tonksie has started his diet. We shall see how that goes. He has already figured out where the normal food is hidden and started trying to sneak in. I weighed him and he is 15 pounds! Tomorrow MLI practice is canceled so I am going to Pilates for the first time in ages (maybe I should take Tonks, hee!)

Oh yes, I remember what I wanted to mention. When I was driving back from the gym I saw people swimming in the Kern River--a ton of them! It was a regular beach. This reminded me of something I learned in my London class, how (I don't know when but it might have been the twenties) they dumped a bunch of sand on the bank of the Thames and called it a beach so the people who couldn't afford Brighton could have their holiday there. There are pictures of all these people hanging out on (and in) "London Beach." I think it was the grossness factor that reminded me. A river running through a city will never feel "clean" to me. I remember one MIA activity where everyone got in the river but I cast my "jaundiced eye."

I got into a little game of "Would I rather" with myself and wondered if I would rather go into the Kern River or the Thames. Obviously the Thames, if only because by default I would then be in London rather than Bakersfield, but otherwise speaking, the only reason I'd be in either would be due to *falling* in, and in that case I'd rather be in the Kern. I'd have a much better chance at survival and the water would be a lot warmer.

They say that the Thames is actually one of the cleanest rivers in Europe, now that it is past its "Midde Age sewage system" and "Great Stink 1851" stages. It doesn't look very clean but it's an esquary right and the tide kicks up a lot of sediment. Ohh, the things you learn in college...

[Comments] (2) : So I am lazy and didn't go to Pilates. I was going to take Gretel for a walk instead but I forgot. And I can only stand reading so much of Miss Sarah because she is just so *sensitive* and takes it all so much more to heart than most of the girls. Which is good, but exhausting. The good news is I am progressing along all(most) areas of life and am now going to curl in bed with my novel and a purple pen. Tomorrow I am going back to LA and Dave shall be reunited with his power cord and come out of his coma.

Tonksie doesn't like his new diet food. He only nibbles at a little bit at a time, I guess until he isn't hugry anymore--kind of like how I was with the dorm food. And I wonder why I didn't gain the Freshman five till I went to England (no, kidding, I don't wonder).

[Comments] (3) In which Stacy is random:

Me: "Blah blah blah Red Cross in Serbia..."
Stacy: "I wish I were a sea otter."
MR: *Blinks* "Okaaay..."

But, as I told her, I am glad to have Stacy around to be amusant.

let's go swiiiiiiiiiiiiminggggggggggggg.: At Becca's. waiting for her to finish playing a video game so we can go swimming. we went shopping today! i was going to get a shirt made for the HP release party but I decided not to because it would cost $30 and that's not even with yellow writing. Oh well. As Becca said, sometimes a good idea turns into a bad idea because of monetary concerns, or something.

And since I'm still waiting... I had a really good diea in the shower about a fundraiser that a history department could put on. But since I'm paranoid about people stealing my ideas when I unwittingly write about them on my weblog, I'm not going to.

A bit late: Happy Canada day. Also, happy finding Tonks day. Yay for Canada. Yay for Tonks.

[Comments] (3) : We got a bunch of new HP stuff at Russos. They set up a phoenix by the door and an owl over a table of books with strings by the resgister that we can pull to make them move up and down. It's really fun to watch customers notice it and then try to figure it out. I bought some new books today, all presents. And I found out that I get to work 9-4 on the 16th. After working till 1 am the previous night, and before an MLI show. And are the hours between going to be spent reading sleeping? Wheeee....

: The Jelly Bean is a cute furball and the Paris 1919 book is calling me. But I must not go back to bed!

[Comments] (6) Hot July!: It is very hot outside. Luckily my room is the coolest in the house, due to large terraces with large quantities of vine growing on them. This also makes my room pretty dark, but right now I think that's a good trade-off.

July is an exciting month. There are lots of things for me to look forward to right now. I've begun a correspondence with a guy in Australia whose aunt was a nurse in Serbia during WWI. Tonight I'm hanging out with Jen. Then tomorrow is Chris' annual 4th of July BBQ and partaae, which is always lots of fun. Tuesday I go down to LA for workie, where I get to research a Franco-Belgian SPY NETWORK! under the German occupation. The fabulous Stacy & I are going to henna our hair. I am hoping for Weasley(ish) red since I won't have my special shirt.

Then Thursday mom & I are off on our grand adventure to SF! We shall visit Leonard for his B-day and watch the Giants lose while eatting hot dogs, yay.

After SF it is back to workie for more tales from Belgium, then up to Bako again to celebrate Basitlle Day with une fete. And then... dundundunDUN! It's Harry Potter time! Yay.

I haven't really thought much past then. There are still lots of fun things like John's b-day and the new Sophie Kinsella book and a tresure hunt. Hopefully somewhere in here I will find time to pick up pilates again, finish my book and start re-writing the first part, and working more hours because this book isn't going to write itself, and neither is the trip to London going to pay for itself. It will be November before we know it. Time sure does fly.

French at heart: and this is why. A nation of slackers! My kind of place.

More Europe stuff: The dollar is at a recent-time high of 56p and 86 euro cents. That's... still so bad! And I need to change my homepage from FT.com. I sometimes see articles I want to read, but I never want to pay for them.

[Comments] (3) Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes Mugir ces féroces soldats?: Had a lovely fourth. I enjoy the BBQ, swimming, and fireworks part of our national holiday. It's quite fun, as long as one doesn't get carried away. Mom and I had a conversation about how so many of the national anthems are very militaristic. I have been thinking about this a lot because of Paris 1919. Reading it, I have come to realise that in a lot of ways the latter 4/5ths of the 20th century were just about the very painful undoing of the decisions made at the Paris Peace Conference. It makes one wonder if nationalism is really such a good idea. I mean the 14 points, self determination and all that, sounds like a good idea *in theory*, but in actuality, when you start inspiring in people the desire for their own state based on a constructed national identity, which basically translates into ethnicity, which *isn't * so easy to draw borders around, well... things get a little messy. So I guess one really good thing about America is, for the most part, it is a country built up sucessfully on many different ethnicities and peoples, without each group demanding their own statehood or cleansing one another, etc. Perhaps it helped to start on a country with a clean slate (having basically been wiped clean of Native Americans...) Hmm, there is much to ponder on.

Anyway, yesterday I was at chez Burzlaffs and we were sitting in the street watching the Seven Oaks fireworks. The Stockdale Country Club, which we couldn't see, was behind us. All of a sudden there was this BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! Very loud and sucessive... "Oh dear," thought I. "Here come the Germans." It can be really quite frightening, if one closes one's eyes and listens to fireworks with a fanciful imagination.

[Comments] (3) Some very bad news indeed: It must be that since Septmeber 11th I am inclined to think of the worst. So when mom woke me up and said that al-Qaida was setting off bombs in the London Underground, I pictured huge gaping holes where Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road stations used to be, with thousands of bodies strewn down Oxford Streed and Charing Cross Road. I'm grateful that my gruesome imaginations are worse than the reality.

But this is still so...bad. London! How dare they?

I am feeling sad and distresssed and my mind in very much in London right now.

Still relevant:

Ok, so I'm a copy cat. Stacy posted this on hers first. I got it from the Victoria Listserv. (more on this weekend later)

Winston Churchill TO V-E DAY CROWDS Whitehall London 8th May 1945

There we stood, alone. Did anyone want to give in? Were we down-hearted? The lights went out and the bombs came down. But every man, woman and child in the country had no thought of quitting the struggle. London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered. When shall the reputation and faith of this generation of English men and women fail? I say that in the long years to come not only will the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, look back to what we've done and they will say "do not despair, do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straightforward and die if need be - unconquered." Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle - a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy.

But there is another foe...a foe stained with cruelty....We must begin the task of rebuilding our health and homes, doing our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance, in which all have a duty, and we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, and to our gallant allies of the United States who were so foully and treacherously attacked....We will go hand and hand with them. Even if it is a hard struggle we will not be the ones who will fail.

http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/YrVictry.html

[Comments] (12) No more waiting, no more aching:
says a friend: hey---three days, eh?
says I: I KNOW

[Comments] (5) People in Motion (Highlights of this weekend): On Thursday Mom & I drove up to SF and we had a yummy dinner cooked by Leonard. After dinner L& I played a fun game called San Juan, which is kind of like Settlers of Cataan, but you can play with two people, then we watched some episodes of Arrested Development.

On Friday we went to a place called Bombay Creamery and had ginger ice cream, which was really good, then we went to a taxidermy shop (poor animals!) called Paxton’s Gate, and the Pirate store next door, which is a very high-class pirate store. Like mom, I kinda wanted a short, but I didn’t need one so it stayed at the store. After wards we drove to Greens, which was tres tres yummy, and we had a view of the bay and of the surrounding areas, where people with “bike tour” vests on, who came in for lunch at Greens to-go, rode segways around. Fab. Then we went to the Friends of the Library bookstore. I was kinda bummed when I saw that women and society was the featured section, but at the other location. All the same, I found 4 or 5 books I wanted, but I only bought one, a collection of stories of Bosnian women building peace. We went back and had a lazy afternoon watching more Arrested Development, and then Leonard got to open his presents! (BTW, Leonard & Sumana, did the pictures come through for you, bc mom sez they didn’t work for her?) I got him A Peace to End All Peace and mom got him a cutie ceramic casserole dish decorated with aliens.

On Saturday it was off to the Giants game! We stopped at Leonard and Jeff’s house, then went to a Muni station where we took a series of shuttles to SBC stadium, then got seats, hot dogs, etc. I managed to let fall over my $4 diet coke, but I “showed the concession guy my eyes,” as mom would say, and he refilled it for free. It was a very fast game. There was some exciting defensive stuff, but only two runs—luckily both for the Giants. They won, yay! And we were all prepared to lose. I wanted to see a home run into the ocean, but I guess I can’t be too picky. Anyway, it was very exciting, and now I want to go watch more baseball but I think the season is almost over. I shall have to check the Blaze schedule.

After the game we went to Leonard and Jeff’s for a birthday dinner, BBQed shrimp, yummmm, and Jeff had gotten a Happy Birthday, Leonard cake so we go to sing to him, which was fun. We played San Juan again and I think when we got back watched more Arrested Development. On Sunday it was time to go, so we loaded up the car and drove to Berkeley, where we went grocery shopping at the Berkeley Bowl, which was like a Whole Foods only BETTER and not union-busting. We got some really yummy cheese and a bunch of other good foods. Then we went to Viks which is an Indian restaurant of sorts. It was pretty yummy. Followed by Gelato (this was the weekend of the yummy eats. It reminded me of my travels in Europe). Mmmm, gelato. Oh, gelato how I love thee… What—oh yes. So then it was time to say goodbye and mom & I hurried home to get Gretel from the doggie spa. She professed to have missed us, but the spa lady said Gretel was having a grand ole’ time. Now I am back in LA and WWI, but my mind is increasingly ever on HP. (See Below).

[Comments] (3) Ack: I was just gazing longingly at the picture of HBP on amazon.com when I accidentally almost saw the titles of the first three chapters. Luckily I managed to advert mine eyes and scroll back up before I had seen more than a word or two (of course that one word is now echoing in my head... argh, and I can't even be sure if it is what I thought I saw it was, or something). I will have to be more careful if I want to remain spoiler-free the next two days (TWO DAYS!). I am distracted enough without having to speculate on the meaning of chapter titles.... I have no idea how I'll manage to do other things over the period of time when I am actually reading the book. But this is almost the last one. I am determined to savor it over multiple courses, rather than gorge myself at the buffet of Harry Potter, as I have done every other time. Just as I am determined not to spoil any surprises that might lay in store. So. There.

[Comments] (4) "We have something to look forward to...":
35 hours till we storm the Bastille I mean the German Army occupies Brussels no wait...

The back of book blurb has been released. With the moral support of Rob I have decided not to read it.

Waiting is hard. Luckily I have the help of Violetta Thurstan and her adventurous nursing. Later I will be distracted by the handsomeness--I mean wisdom of Humphrey Bogart--I mean Rick.

Vive La France! Long Live Belgium free and independent! Soon, and for the rest of your life! Yay Harry Potter!

[Comments] (4) I think not; I've seen the lady. : Aren't you glad this is the last post you have to read about waiting for Harry Potter? Until the next book, that is.

While I was driving to Bakersfield yesterday I was getting rather bummed about not having the shirt I wanted to have, thinking with my plain Gryffindor shirt and my not-so-red hair I might as well not bother, because if I try at all people will think I'm Hermione, like they did on Halloween. But then I had a storke of brilliant genius. I could make a shirt like I did in high school! So I hurried to Kohl's to get a red shirt (only $5!), dropped by Jen's to say hi, then to Joanne's to get yellow fabric (right by the enterance and on sale, it must be meant to be) and iron on stuff and goldish yellow puff paint. It took a lot longer than I thought it would to cut out all the letters, so I took it over to Chris' and Becca & Rob helped be cut out the letters and line them up. It looks AWESOME. I predict at least 10 people tonight will ask me where I got it. It looks so sharp and snazzy and cool. It says "Gryffindor Quidditch" on the front with a lightening bolt, and on the back it says "Weasley" with the number 11. I looked up Ginny's birthday on the Harry Potter Lexicon (I remember it was on the calendar on JKR's website in August but I couldn't remember the day) and saw it was August 11, which also happens to be mom & dad's wedding anniversary. Anyway, the shirt is cool and I will try to put up some pictures.

I'm going to Sally's Beauty Supply later today. They were all out of the red hair temporary spray dye stuff from 4th, but the lady said they should have more today. I'm going to do my freckles with brown liquid eyeliner so they won't smudge. And I'm going to dry my hair straight. I will be soooo obviously Ginny. (Or Ron, if one asks Rob).

There was an interview with Mike Russo in the article on HP in the paper and he said, "It's amazing how many adults read it also, including most of my staff who don't have kids and are in their 20s and 30s." That's me!

We had a great Bastille Day. I went with Ron and Chris to the store to get brie & French bread, and the check out lady said, "Mmm, brie and French Bread!" I told her it was for Bastille Day. "What's that?" "The French national holiday." "Oh, I don't keep up with anything like that. I don't like French food or anything. Okkaaay.

Casablanca is such a great movie. I hadn't seen it in entirely too long. It is just stuffed full of goodness in every nook and cranny. All that great dialogue in one movie. It is seriously the best ever.

Gretel is cowering under my desk right now bc the PG&E people are outside doing scary work. She is usually not allowed in my room but I do feel sorry for her. I hope they don't turn off the power. We'll suffocate from heat.

I know I said this is the last post, but I remembered some things, so I'll just add on. While I was making my shirt I was also talking about my plan to paint my nails gryffindor colors. JoDena said, "you'll look like a Trojan when you're done." Ack!

And yesterday when I was driving Stacy to the airport we were listening to "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stephani. "This is especially our song," she said, "because it mentions London and Westwood." "Yes," said I, "but that's Vivianne Westwood." "Doesn't matter," she replied. "Still Westwood."

[Comments] (8) Trying to savour (just comments about reading, no spoilers here...): I have not yet finished The Half-Blood Prince. I am at the begining of chapter twenty. So far two of my friends, Becca and Rob, have finished. I am being regailed on all sides by those on all sides to "hurry up and finish" so I can discuss it with them. This is a stark contradiction with the last book, which I had finished by 1pm on Saturday (about the time Becs finished this time round) and had almost no one to talk it over with. Becca says I will really like the end of chapter twenty-four. But that's just over a hundred pages from the end, the point of no return, from which she also says I will be unable to put the book done. But I am anchored by talking to Chris, who is much farther behind than I, and spent last night watching movies to keep from reading too much, as I should have done. In fact I had several invitations out, but I figured, on three and a half hours of sleep, I would go to bed almost directly after the MLI show. I was wrong. I've been reading much to fast, and I read much to much last night. But it's soooo goood.... However, if I hang out with friends and do a bit of work today, the rest of the week I will have enough distractions, and I can go back and re-read some parts to look for clues, I may be able to eek out my savouring a bit longer. There will be time enough to discuss while we wait for the next book.

: Ok, so much for savoring, I finished. I'm not even going to say anything because I don't want to give it away.

Too funny not to share: Whilst I was having a late-night post-HBP therapy session with dear Rob & Becca, during which we discussed possibilities for book seven and re-read most of the funnier parts (this took a while), Rob made the amusing prediction of, "You know Harry's going to profess his unlying dove for Voldemort."

Harry, I give you the beast: There is a passing/ warm-up game we play sometimes for improv called "the beast." It goes something like this: I say, "Dayna, I give you the beast." "the what?" "The beast." "Oh, the beast." Then she says, "Ronnie, I give you the beast." "The what?" he asks. "The what?" Dayna asks me. "The beast," I reply. "The beast," she tells Ronnie. "Oh, the beast," says Ronnie. And so on. I'm going to suggest we play it tonight. There will be much giggling.

Between my late-night therapy session and my afternoon Dagny's write-out I have resolved most of the several issues I had with HBP (which I am sure many people share) and come to the conclusion that I really loved this book. I also realised exactly why it is that I love one particular aspect of this series so much. Later I'm going to type up my findings and email them out to those I know who will be interested, and perhaps post here in the comments, once I know those who like to be spoil-sports have already read the book and won't be tempted (coughmom).

[Comments] (1) Totalitarianism: Making the world safe for democracy since 1917.

Or at least, according to Stacy's book on the Russian Revolution.

More Stacy related tales: I was making fun of her because her horrorscope was terrible one day; it said something like: "There are no victims, only volunteers, so cut your losses now and move on." I laughed a bit at the morbidness of this then thought, "hey--I'm a Pieces, too!"

Also, I'm not the only one who thought Tonks was a cat when I first began reading HBP.

[Comments] (10) The dethroning of a Goddess: This started off as a post on Undomestic Goddess and turned into a long-winded post on HP. Who is surprised?

The new Sophie Kinsella book sucks, and I am disappointed.

It could be worse, though. Always the optimist, I said to mom, I could be one of those people who are disappointed with JKR for not writing Harry and Hermione as a pair. I could be refusing to read the seventh Harry Potter book because I misread all the character development that clearly indicated Harry and Hermione are BFF but not MFEO—I could be throwing away the entire fascinating series because the romances didn’t turn out as I hoped they would (I know you all are laughing because I’ve made such a big deal of it, but I figured out why it’s so important to me, and I’ll explain that below).

I’ll give Ms. Kinsella another shot. When Shopaholic and Baby comes out, as it inevitably will, I’ll read it. But for her next non-Shopaholic novel, I hope she tries a new approach. The “girl digs herself in a hole and only digs deeper trying to get out and cover her previous lies/mistakes but comes to a miraculous conclusion” concept is getting a teensy bit old. Undomestic Goddess is like a poor man’s Can You Keep A Secret? The heroine lacks the charm and motivation of Becky and Emma, and therefore the humour, while the crucial elements stand, is a bit lacking in resonance. The romance seems feels contrived. I may skip ahead to see if it gets better, but right now I feel it would be a waste of time to keep reading.

I’m going to stop here, for those who I know have not yet read the book—their copy is sitting in pretty wrapping on the Chinese cabinet—are lurking about. I’m posting the rest in the comments, so John & Susie and Alyson probably, and anyone else who’s not done, don’t read it!

[Comments] (1) Sissy/Cissy: I've come up with a pipe plan for Susie & I to dress up as Narcissa and Bellatrix for Halloween this year.

Everyone is here for a visit and we are having a great time.

Caught in a haze on these lazy summer days: I think July is my favorite month. (Note: not time of year... I do love the feeling of change in the air that comes with fall and spring...and also, you know, the lack of oppressive heat.) It's that fun summer atmosphere--swimming, BBQs, lazing about reading, hanging out. I have always loved July best. When I was little I used to think of it as the Saturday of months, because it was unpolluted by the presence or shadow of school.

I always have the most fun in July. Of course there is a down side to this--I am having so much fun there seems to be very little time left for things like working. Perhaps it is the lazy part of my heart that loves July so much. And maybe it's a good thing I want to go into academia. Summer Forever!

[Comments] (2) Pipe Planner: It was bound to happen sooner or later. I go round telling everyone all my cool ideas, usually prefaced with, "We should totally..." But I've gotten used to not being taken seriously.

Today I went into Russo's to buy The Historian for mom's vaca reading, and Jenn said, "When do you want to start your HP discussion groups?"

"Um, oh, er..." So I have until mid-August to re-read HBP so it is clear in my mind, and start planning discussion for the beginning of Sorceror's Stone. We're going to start at the beginning and scrounge for clues for the 7th book. I'm actually really excited. I got another copy of The Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter (since my last copy, back when both the book and Rachel's grocery money were relatively hard to come by, was sold on Amazon Marketplace) and I can't wait to start re-reading. I have all sorts of ideas for the group too. Yay! One of my ideas is to have a blog so we can have long distance discussion as well, and group members can catch up if they miss a meeting.

[Comments] (3) Another Suitcase: Peron's mistress in the movie Evita is played by Andrea Corr. How did I not know this??

[Comments] (6) Annoyances: I just refilled my coolant tank yesterday and the light is going off again. I took it in two weeks ago and the guy couldn't fink a leak, but it can't have boiled over again like he thought it was doing because it was fine last night and it's not hot here! I'll have to keep an eye on the temperature gauge... Grr, hate hate cars & all the trouble they cause. But I guess I can't complain bc any sort of transport causes trouble. Buses and trains get crowded and delayed and sometimes blown up, horses get old or sick or requisitioned by the army... and so on.

But generaly things are okay. I'm at work early today. Mr K. greeted me in surprise with "You're here early" (times three).

I'm still in shock about yesterday's discovery. I feel soo dumb... almost as bad as when I thought Platform 9 3/4 was at Victoria Station. Worst.fangirl.ever.

Still on it [stealing]: Now I'm mad that Madonna stole the "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" song from Peron's mistress. Andrea Corr is a much better singer.

Lunch with Chrisitna. Subway. Cheetos. Belgian chocolate. Feel fat. "They never really recovered," I told her. "Did you know the Belgians before the war had the world's 6th largest industry? But then the Germans stole it."

[Comments] (5) We get unlimited juice? This party's gonna be off the hook!: Just me and the kitties, now, but we are enjoying the quiet. I got a message from mom saying they are driving to Canada now.

Yesterday I promised myself I would never try driving back from LA on a Saturday morning. I have no idea where all those people were going, but it took like an hour to merge with the 5. Hate.

As a result, by the time Rob, Becs & I got to Food Day I mean Pioneer Day, most of the booths were running out of food and we had to stuff ourselves with corn dogs and watermelon very quickly, as they were about the only booths not closed up. How disappointing.

I got to do sound for MLI last night, and I gave everyone HP nicknames, and made sponsorships such as The Quibbler and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes everytime I read the score, it was quite fun. Then I went over to Becca's with Rob and we watched the rest of Disc 3 of Arrested Devlopement. Season 2 is doing re-runs which Becca is taping, so we get to watch those next!

Now I've realised I must go to the gym. I won't be able to go tomorrow since I'm taking my car in first thing. I hope they are able to fix it, and fast. I was going to visit Cissy I mean Susie & John this week and Susie & I were going to go shoe shopping.

Speaking of Susie & John, happy anniversary to them! (And also happy birthday to Harry Potter & JKR!) I know I have previously mentioned seperatley that Susie & John were married on Harry's birthday, whereas mom & dad were married on Ginny's birthday, but I never really realised the connection till someone, I think Becca, ironically enough, pointed it out to me. True fate!

Stranded: My car is at Barnetts and they are having a looksie. I hope they call me back soon so I can tell if I'm going to LA tomorrow or not. I hope they are able to fix it cheaply! I hope, I hope...

Becs & Rob came over last night to keep me company and we watched Strictly Ballroom. I thought it was pretty good. I've been picking tomatoes and stuff from the garden and putting them in the freezer. I really hope mom doesn't come back to find the whole yard dead, I have been trying really hard to take care of everything. There is so much to remember! Recycling, trash, green waste, arrowhead water, sprinklers, watering, etc etc.

Update Good and Bad: $275 for a new water pump. But it will be ready today or tomorrow morning, which means I can go to work and earn money to pay for it. So, well.

Update II: I got my car back, yay. My bank account is depressingly empty, boo... It's almost like the coolant tank was. No matter how hard I try to keep it full, the stupid light keeps blinking.

Oooh, spoilers: Rumours about a new Corrs album. Oh, yay!

[Comments] (2) Boring update # 567--In which Rachel is not obsessed, no, not at all. : I was so productive today! Until I spent like, two hours looking up stuff on the Corrs. Someone needs to take the internet away from me.

I am really excited about the supposed new album, whenever it does come out. It is allegedly of traditional Irish songs, and will assuredly be off the hook. I bought another single, Give Me A Reason, but only because it was $.80, so less than $4 with S&H. There are a bunch of others CDs I want, such as a Special Edition of In Blue which has a whole second disk of bonus songs, and a "Corrs Live" CD which was only released in Japan but is somehow available on Amazon. But these are considerabley more than $.80, so I'll have to wait.

Pictures from the GoF movie keep cropping up, too... heaven help us all.

Tonight I watched another movie with the ace gang, minus Rob who is at some graphics conference thingie hoping for a job. Time for beddie so I can wake up nice & early for workie and La!

[Comments] (1) Hazard to myself: I bought myself a sippy cup. It’s actually an official UCLA Library mug with a special cap to prevent spills. I’m sure it will come in handy, it is actually the only beverage container you are allowed to bring in the library. I used to sneak in stuff in my HP mug—yes I have one shut up it was a present it’s not like I bought it myself—and have it spill in my bag, but now I don’t even have to sneak! Anyway, it’s pretty hard to spill because you have to press down on a lever to get any liquid to come out, but I’m sure I’ll be able to manage, even if I keep the lid on. Possibly, though, it should be the only cup I am allowed to drink from.

Met up with Christina before going to the library and she lent me the first 10 CDs of HBP. Now my drive to see Susie & John tomorrow will be much nicer. I also talked to mom, she said she & Leonard have seen many dinosaurs.

I have been fiddling around with my RSS feed page but I can’t really get it how I want. I just want a view where every time I click on it, it shows all the latest updates on my feeds newest to oldest. Also Rob said I could get it to pick up Blogspot pages, …but I can’t. Clearly I don’t know what I’m doing.

A bit later: Haha, perhaps I should read this...

[Comments] (2) Hmm: Joining facebook groups is probably a new addiction.

I think the crepes mom made that I froze for this week went bad because my tummy felt all funny... but Stacy gave me a Naked Juice so now I feel better.

This morning before I went left I went to the Albertson's on Brundage and Chester to get some bagels & snackies, and I saw the big banner at the McDonalds and thought, 'I could get a diet coke for $.69," then thought, "Hey, where did that McDonald's come from?" Seriously, has it always been there? Why have I never noticed it before?

[Comments] (6) Shopaholic & Sister: I went down to visit Susie & John yesterday. In an effort to avoid traffic I left work in LA at one and got to Tustin around 2:45 (after a misadventure to Anaheim) and sat reading about May Sinclair in a Barnes and Noble Café until Susie got off work at four. Then we went shopping! I found a really cute pair of brown/pink heels but wanted to see what else there was, so we went to TJ Maxx and Ross and Target as well. I saw a couple more pairs of shoes but nothing I really loved, even though what I wanted was a pair of nice beige sandals, not brown heels. But I did see a nice pair of beige flip-flops at target, on sale for $10, but they didn’t have my size, so I’ll have to stop at the one in Bakersfield on my way home tonight. There was a nice beige corduroy jacket at Ross which was so cute even Susie insisted I buy it, and she cute a couple of cute work shirts. Then we went back to off-Broadway shoes so I could get my heels. I just grabbed a size seven pair, but I must have tried on seven and a half earlier, because when I put them on later to show John they were not nearly as comfortable as they had been in the store… So Susie is taking them back & exchanging them for me today, which means I will probably have to go back and visit next week so I can get my shoes. But it’s ok because I had a lot of fun.

After shopping Susie made yummy cheesy bacon Spanish rice for dinner while I tried to help by washing dished. John came home & we ate and sat around and talked & I looked at their scrapbook of cruise pictures, etc. Stacy sent along a peace offering of the really good hazelnut chocolates, I forgot what they're called, and a lychee jello which John said tasted "nostalgic." Susie played the piano and we sang (we’re just a bit rusty). I woke up really early, at 5:30 (but John was up even earlier studying) and left at like 6:15 to try again to beat traffic. It was not a bad drive at all, made better by listening to HBP on CD which Christina kindly lent me. It got to Westwood at 7:30 and sat reading at Coffee Bean until I figured it was a decent enough hour to appear at work. Mr K told Stacy yesterday that he is amazed at how early I have been getting here!

I really love listening to the HP books on audio. It’s a lot slower paced then my reading so I notice so many more little details, and I really enjoy the way Jim Dale reads the books. Even on my second time through I find myself tearing up at the “Sirius” moments in the beginning of the book and I laughed aloud when… (see comments) Plus it makes the drive go by much quicker and I hardly notice the traffic!

[Comments] (1) Yum: For lunch I am having a sliced tomato with freshly ground pepper and sea salt and fried zuchini and bell pepper, all from the garden. There may be hope for my survival yet...

[Comments] (2) : I've managed to get a CD stuck in my iBook. It won't come out no matter how many times I press the eject button, and I've already ejected it from Finder so it's not appearing there even though it's still in the computer! How to get it out?

Update. Never mind. I put it to sleep and when I woke him back up the CD came right out. Even more brilliance: the reason I got it stuck in the first place is because I stopped it in the middle of a burn. I've been copying Christina's HBP and realised I was burning the tracks in descending order... and I suspect I have have done for the last 8 CDs. So smart, this one.

[Comments] (6) Slob? Klutz? : Today was not a good day for my skirt. Sometimes I think I'm totally inept... but most of the time I don't care!

Going to see Susie & John again tomorrow, and get my shoesies, and possibly visit uncle Justin, yay. I made myself a schedule for workie with all the things I need to get done for August, and printed it for my boss, so now I *have* to do these things on time. This, as I discovered during my thesis, is the way to get things done. Soon I shall make a schedule for my book as well. And it will work, unlike my last schedule, because Becca will be my Gestapo enforcer.

[Comments] (12) Podcasting: I didn't really know what this new thing that came with the automatic update of iTunes was, but when I read that Mugglenet has a podcast, I had to figure it out! It is the sixth most popular one! I was going to listen to the first episode tomorrow at the gym but my iPod has died and I neglected to bring the charger, woe.

Susie & I went to dinner with Justin & Barbara at Acapulco, it was very yummy. I had a BBQ Shrimp Tostada, and we had a nice chat about Lorna Call and psychiatry and related topics.

[Comments] (10) Something else to talk about: Today is the 11th, so happy birthday to Ginny & happy anniversary to mom & dad.

Christina & I wanted to go to a French restaurant near here that got really good reviews on citysearch, and cast about for an excuse to celebrate. Our friendship anniversary had already passed, so we chose today. But when I looked it up today for a map, I noticed the hours and the fact that it's only open for dinner. Fab. So we went somewhere else, but it was still good. Stacy came along & we went to LUSH and I stocked up shampoo for the year (the solid ones last forever).

Generally I try to feel sympathy for the women I read about for work. But sometimes I have to try really hard. I was proud to tell Justin that Isabel Emslie Hutton was one of the first prominent women psychiatrists, and she was on the British Medical Association's committee to investigate Freud's teachings and pyschoanalysis. May Sinclair is just pyscho. She was a famous and sucessful novelist, yet she switched shamelessly between past and present tense, first and second person, sometimes within the sentence. She thought of the war as a grand adventure, a way to achieve exalted Reality with a capital R. A lot of women went to the front because they wanted an adventure, but also because they wanted to help; the horrible "Reality" of it sobered them up soon enough. May Sinclair... had a lust for danger, but not the stomach for it. She bemoaned the fact that she was not twenty years younger. The "very refinement of hell" was the fact that she was stuck in the village feeding refugees, not out on the field rescuing wounded from under fire. She was seemingly oblivious to the fact that the four thousand refugees, to whom she helped feed a daily ration of six slices of bread, had left their houses and were now sleeping cramped together on filthy straw in order to escape the same fire she longed to be under, and might have a different definition of the "refinement of hell." In fact the times she did go out with her ambulance she only got in the way. It disturbs me that someone in such close proximity to the horrors of the war should be able to imagine war a beautiful, wonderful thing--not for whatever ideals she thought these men were giving their lives to preserve, but because of the exileration it made her feel to be in what she percieved as danger, but was in fact, comparative safety... I suppose I ought not judge. I don't think, if I were in the same position, I would have thought or behaved the same, but I can't know, can I?

[Comments] (9) Lushie: I've been looking at everyone's weblogs, waiting for people to update, bc it seems no one has been updating--then I realised that includes me as well.

After my visit to Lush, I've been using my new Godiva shampoo with my flying fox shower gel, and my whole bathroom smells like jasmine! It's soo yummy.

I tried to listen to the mugglenet podcast at the gym but it wasn't on my iPod! So I'm listening to it now... interesting.

While I was driving, listening to HBP on CD, I had a brain-flash. What if Madame Pince is really Madame "Prince"? She's described in much the same terms as our beloved ex-potions master. However, a quick google search revealed that I was not the first to come up with this theory...

I need a haircut.

[Comments] (5) Someone should tell Jim Dale: When one is listening to audio, one notices these things.

I was reading about a "dispassionate" defense of the Allied actions (or rather, lack of action) in regards to Serbia in 1915, and, overcome with curiosity, I looked up the definition: Devoid of or unaffected by passion, emotion, or bias.

In HBP, this word is used twice in regards to (hey, if someone who intends to still has not read the book, let me know, otherwise I'm going to stop doing this)...

In other news, I was trying to win a special edition CD of In Blue on eBay, but someone sneakily and unfairly outbid me about 30 secnds before the acution ended. I didn't even have to time bid again! I though eBay had a policy of extending auctions for 5 minutes or so when this happened, but apparently not. I am trying not to be upset because there is another one I can bid on, but it just seems like a really bitchy thing to do.

[Comments] (4) Someone should tell these crazy journalist who think they're historians: Just like Kate Adie, who wrote a book on the history of women in modern warfare, Monica Krippner, author of Quality of Mercy: Women at War: Serbia 1915-1918, has a certain disregard for proper citations. Unlike Adie, who seemed merely to think that unless something had quotation marks, it did not require an endnote, Krippner deemed 2 or 3 pages of bibliography and acknowledgments sufficent for 200 pages of texts that relied heavily on block quotes and other information taken directly from sources (I know because I've read them). There's a word for that... I think it's plagarism.

One has no way of knowing what of the information came from what of the the sources. I suppose one must simply guess. An easier task for me than it might be, as I've read all of the published sources listed, so I can assume it's from one of the unpublished, or simply made up (she's gotten quite a few things wrong). But still, frustrating.

Krippner also has the charming habit of novelising information--in her book, these women are dashing about, waving letters in their collegue's faces, and shouting things they probably never, in real life, uttered. "Elsie Corbett was the first to see Flora. Dashing into the others she shouted: 'Flora Sandes has been brought in, badly wounded. We must do something!'" Cute.

How did this get published?

[Comments] (5) J'aime beacoup: I changed the viewing language on my gmail account to la francais. Bon temps.

Dispassionately was the word of the day yesterday. I put HBP on my iPod and was listening to it while walking to Stacy's, and I heard it again. This time it was the Apparition instructor explaining splinching, and it was done correctly. So who know. Maybe I was just misinterpreting Jim Dale's tone before? He does a really good job (mostly), tho, so I can't complain.

[Comments] (4) Lucky you: Harry Potter Discussion group first meeting tonight! I am very excited... more about this later.

[Comments] (2) Back again, so soon: Christina & I are in San Francisco, where we are house-sitting for Uncles Leonard & Jeff. We made it safe before noon, after leaving at six and stopping for Pea Soup. Poor Rufus may or may not have cancer, and has to have pills everyday, which he loves. We have many fun things planned but are also going to get a lot of work and writing done.

The HP discussion group went really well. There were a bunch of people and I tried to keep us focused on book sixie things, but mostly there was a really good discussion. September the 1st we leave on the Hogwarts Express, er, embark on our discussion of book 1.

Christina has one of those speakers where you plug it in into the wall or your computer, plop your iPod in, and it plays it just like a stereo. I was never very intrigued by them till now. It is soo cool!

[Comments] (9) It's true!:

You Belong in London

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Christina & I are having fun in SF. Yesterday we went to Leonard's for a very delicious lunch. Today we stayed in our pjs and read/wrote. I brought a ton of work to finish and also was hoping to finish my novel. It looks like it will be one or the other but not both. I have been working on my novel all day today, so perhaps that will win. Anyway, I am very relaxed, but feeling a bit sick, thankfully that doesn't matter as I don't have to leave the house or my pjs till Wednesday. Rufus is the easiest cat to give pills to ever.

[Comments] (14) Adventures in SF: "We should get out of the house today," suggested Christina.
"Really?" said I, who was planning on staying in pjs all day again.

So we decided to take the Muni on an adventure and ended up at the MoMA. They were having an exhibition of someone or other's collection of early photographs, and there were a bunch from Paris before/during the remodeling and modernization of the whole city, which was pretty neat. Also cool paintings and things. I was especially impressed with a set of polka-dot-esque Rouen cathedrals, but I don't remember the artist. There was a really cute journal in the gift shop made from "deconstruction paper," but it was not $14 cute. But I wouldn't say no to it for a Christmas pressie ;-).

We looked in one of their guide books and found a place around the corner called something like the Thirsty Bear and went there for really yummy tapas, from which I am still full. They always say 2-3 tapas per person so Christina & I ordered 4, but really 3 would have been just fine, and we were really hungry. I need to remember this next time I order tapas. Then we wandered over to Union Square, where we went to Louis Vuitton as a joke, and into Macy's to try on ugly dresses for a laugh. I actually rather liked a green one that made me feel like a modern flapper, but I managed to escpe without buying it. They were having some sort of back-to-school night, with lots of free food, which was unfortunate, as we were so full. But we did get free Benefit makeovers, which was also unfortunate, as we would have rather had them tomorrow, but fun nonetheless. Escaping from Macy's, we were walking back to the Muni station when Christina said, "I smell LUSH." Sure enough, there it was. She inisisted on going in to buy something called "Sonic Death Monkey." Which smells like Chocolate Orange. That's all. Henna time tonight.

[Comments] (3) Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!: As thanks for taking care of their preciousss kitties (Rufus now hates me, but that's good because it means he must be feeling better, and I'm glad he waited till the last pill to start fighting it) Leonard & Jeff bought us tickets to go see Wicked! It was a really, really good show. I thought it was a fairly good adaptation of Gregory Maguire's book, after all somethings must change... my only complaints would be it seemed to be focused more on the love story than the relationship between Glinda and Elphaba, and the ending was a bit too forced. But overall, very good, good voices, good staging, good costumes. I had a great evening, barely marred by the fact that we got lost on the way back. We got on the wrong muni line, got off to go back and switch, but when we got on a tram going to opposite direction it was still going the wrong way. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but oh well.

Today we went with Leonard to the Oakland Zoo. The Oakland Zoo has the official Rachel stamp of zoo approval. It wasn't so big, we were able to go through & see everything without getting tired, but it was full of enough pretty animals that I felt zoo-tisfied. There were adorable meercats, neato bats, camels, gorgeous lions--a whole pride of them--and tigers, and elephants and giraffes, quite a herd of them, and they all looked very happy. Plus there was a "sky ride" sky lift that took us over the tigers and the lions, one of whom rolled over onto his back rather like Tonks does when he wants his tummy rubbed, very cute, in order to see the buffalo roaming and deer grazing near the zoo. There were about a million and a half little kids there.

Then we went to Greens To-Go for lunch. I was bitterly disappointed that they were out of goat cheese sandwiches as I've wanted one since the first time I went to Greens, but the Caprese was very good, and of course we had to stop at the Friends of the Library bookstore where I succumbed to the pressure of my many-paged friends and bought AJP Taylor's English History 1914-1945 ("Don't you know that already?" asked Leonard) and Peter Mayle's French Lessons.

Fini: (ish). yay.

[Comments] (1) : To complete the adventure, Christina & I took the scenic route home on PCH. It took a lot onlger but was worth it. The road of doomish parts are especially beautiful, with majestic drops straight into the Pacific Ocean. It was a bit like driving on the edge of the earth.

But now I am back, and feeling very content in general, though I have a TON of work to catch up on.

[Comments] (5) I suck at life today [whiny post]: I was just thinking that my post-vacation happiness bubble was bound to burst sometime, and it did today when I arrived at PK's ready (ish) to work hard and I realised I've forgotten my glasses. Yes, my glasses. Yes, I kinda need them. Right now I am trying to decide what is more annoying, achy eyes or really dark vision from wearing my sunglasses. I've also forgotten several other essential items. I'm so frustrated with myself, and annoyed. I really want to just drive home tonight but I don't know if I should without my glasses. I'm so useless without them! I should really put my old pair in the glove compartment in case this happens again. Why do I suck so at packing? It seems like every week I forget something. Grr grr grr.

It doesn't help matter that last night I woke up to the lovely feeling of a cockaroach crawling on my hand. I tried to convince myself it was my imagination but I turned on the light and there was a cockaroach (or some other large bug) on my bed. "Eek", said I, flinging the sheet and sending the cockaroach flying. "Eek," said I again, and I went on a cockaroach hunt with my Birkenstock. Several items of misplaced furniture and one overturned lamp later it was dead, but still highly disturbing. A cockaroach. In my bed. Humaanahh.

[Comments] (6) It never rains when you want it to: It seems like I'm usually in a bad mood whenever I see I really bad accident on the freeway, and all of a sudden my life isn't so tough anymore.

So you'll be glad to hear I'm in a much better, Corr-ific mood. Borrowed Heaven is my feel good CD. I just have to put it in and by the time it gets to Hideaway whatever was troubling me has gone away. I got home and my Corrs In Blue special edition CD that I won on eBay (finally!) was in my mailbox. Yayay. And, wondering if I could sign up for some sort of email notice on Amazon to find out when the next CD is being released, I learned that the date has already been announced! "Home" is coming out September 27th!! I'm so excited! I was about to order it on Amazon but then I realized I'd much rather go somewhere day-of to get it. I hope Target will have it on new music Tuesdays. If not then Borders I'm sure, but bah, Borders.

Anyway. That's about it. Mom is going tomorrow to the Utah for Shelley's wedding (and thus continues the era of all my younger cousins getting married before me--not that I am complaining, mind you, just looking on with a slightly disapproving eye, as is entitled by my sage wisdomosity), so it will be just me and the kitties and Belgium. MLI is going really well lately, we've got a bunch of new kids coming to practice and they seem like a cool bunch; this weekend's show & practice were really fun. I have some other things I want to write about but they require thought- & linkies so it will have to wait. But as a hint there are two things that concern bad & good fan-girliness, respectively. And also USC stupidness. Which is always fun. =P

[Comments] (4) To give me a present, press one. To read this entry, press two. If you would like to contact me, please leave a comment. : I've spent an annoying amount of time on the phone today. First to call AAA, since my car wouldn't start. there seemed to be some sort of confusion that our membership had been cancelled, but it turned out to be a 'glitch in the system.' So finally the tow guy showed up to give me a jump so I could drive over and see my friends at Barnett's for a new battery. I'm now their most frequent customer or something. Listening to the hurricane news on the radio there reminded me of waiting to get my car fixed on September 11th.

We have about a million stray cats hanging around our house (they like to sneak in and eat the food while we're not looking, and have become astonishly bold) and one of them must've been hit by a car or something because it's lying on the sidewalk across the street, definitely dead. For some reason County animal control doesn't have a phone number listed in the phone book, so I started with the SPCA and had to call about five different numbers to finally get the right one, without speaking to a real person the entire time. I left a message and hope they come and get it. It's really disturbing, poor kids walking back from school! I'm really glad it's not my Tonksie or other kitty.

[Comments] (2) Oil and more oil: Tonight was our second HP discussion group. It went pretty well--everyone who came last time showed up again, and they all seem pretty excited about it and dedicated. One kid is even anxious to move it up to every week, which actually would probably work (I'm making all my friends come and I'd probably be just hanging out with them anyway) but I don't want to get everyone burnt out at the beginning. They are a pretty hard group to keep on track, but I managed to steer everyone through the five first chapters of Sorcerer's Stone we were supposed to read for today. Next week will be really fun because we can talk about our impressions of all the characters. So far we have really only meet Hagrid.

In other news I got to the go The Petroleum Club, "the most swankified place in town," for pasta night. We got in because Chris' older brother Paul works there as a chef. It was one of his last nights since he is moving up north. And it was reeeeaallly good.

I finally finished reading Paris 1919, which is a great read & I highly recommend it. It's very well-written, although it can be a bit heavy (which is why it took me soo long to read it) being so intense with well-packed information, and also depressing in most parts. Macmillian does a great job of de-bunking several common myths about the Treat of Versailles especially, and explaining how the decisions made way back then helped to form the situations of today, especially in Iraq. I think we as a public tend to view a lot of historical figures in a purely black and white light, but they were, just like the rest of us, only human.

Also I am getting a little sick of all this tradgedy stuff. It's enough to make a girl realise how lucky she is *knocks on wood*. My heart goes out to everyone who is having such a horrible time with the hurricane and flooding, etc, and all those people who got stampeeded in Iraq, and you know, everything else that's going wrong in the world right now.

[Comments] (9) Red Cross: Seems like everywhere I turn I am reading about this or that Red Cross. American Red Cross. Belgian Red Cross. Serbian Red Cross.

Looking at the pictures in the paper this morning, I thought, "this must be what it felt like for the Serbian and Belgian refugees when they were fleeing the invading armies." And every other such incident in the history of mankind. Although the circumstances may change, I think the nature of human suffering remains the same. And I can't help wondering how I would react if I were in a similair situation. Would I keep my cool, and be resourceful enough to get myself and my family out? Would I be brave enough to try and help others? It's a terrifying thought.

[Comments] (15) The Name Game: (something more cheerful for you to read about)

Stacy and I had a long conversation about names this afternoon: names she wants to name her children, names I am trying to decide on for the characters in my novel, big names I want for the film version (Keira Knightly, Maggie Smith are two). I've agonised before about whether it's appropriate to name your children the same name as a character in your book. At long last (and after a lenghty discussion with Christina while we were in SF) I decided to err on the side of caution, and since Kate is my number 1 choice for a girl, I have to pick a new name for the number 1 sidekick. C & I spent ages on internet baby name sites looking up Scottish names and what they mean.

Sidenote: I'd really love a names book, first and last, that tells me, by nationality, good names and what they mean. I mean--I don't know any Serbian names! The last ones are pretty easy to make up, just throw together a few letters (vowels are optional) and add "itch" or "ovitch" to the end. But I don't know any first names! Anyway.

One of the ones I really liked that we came up with was Andra, which I really like, despite my strong adversion to the name Andrea. You know how some names are just ruined for you because of experiences with people? And it really sucks when it's a good name. But yes--Andra. It means "Strong and brave," which I thought was just perfect for my heroine, who name was previously Emma. It's a lot less common, too, which I likeee, and more Scottish sounding. But it means I have to get used to thinking of her as Andra, which is going to be difficult after over a year, but I think I can manage.

This still left the Kate problem, however. The other two names I came up that I liked for her were either Tara or Lara. I wanted something short that also implied loyal. But since their names are said together often, I though having them both end with an "ah" sound might make it awkward, but Stacy assured me it would be ok. I like Tara better, I think, but then her last name is Williams, S. pointed out the "ll"s will sound nice together. So yay, Lara. It means "mare." Now only one of the main girls is left with her original name, and I did change the spelling of her nickname.

Mostly I am lucky, though, because I don't have to make up names as I am using a lot of real people. This is great as I am terrible at stuff like coming up with names. I still don't have a title.

And yeah, along with the names book I wish I had, well, there are a lot of reference books I wish I could wish into existense. Serbian officers and their activities during WWI. The fate of the Austrian prisoners after the great retreat of 1915. A guide to Edwarian slang and speech styles. Not to mention medical details. I'm lucky, though--there's so much I *do* know bc of the research I've already done.

So yeah. Is there a point to all of this? Probably not.

[Comments] (1) Something I'm good at: I rescued a book from the returns at Russo's on Saturday. I have no idea why it was being returned, bc we were doing books approaching their two-year mark, and this one was only published in April, but it looks so intriguing I wanted to read it. I was just going to check it out and then return it, but I told Joesph, on of our best customer, about it, and he wanted to read it, too, so he bought it and lent it to me. It's called The Boy who Loved Anne Frank and is about what might have happened in Peter's life had he survived, and his reaction when The Diary of Anne Frank is published.

It was good enough to keep me up all night reading it (and it seems like I never do that anymore!) and I'm still thinking about it. It's pretty well-written, anyway the style suits, and I love how the history and fiction fit so well together, just as Peter's repressed memories intrude on his carefully collected present. I really love a well-resolved ending, and this was one of the most satisfying I've read in a while. (I guess I should say I'm not disinclined towards an un-resolved ending, as long as it's done properly, but those I find intriguing rather than satisfying.)

Anyway, I was done by three a.m. or so, which is a realtively quick read, but now it is past one and I am in my PJs still and have not even thought about Flanders and Other Fields so I guess that's why I don't read a lot of fiction.

[Comments] (2) 'Cause everyone lived in castles...: I BELONG IN
MEDIEVAL ENGLAND Famous Ruler: King Edward III Living Quarters: Castles Hardship: The Black Plague Who wouldn't want to live in the "fairy
tale-like" days of knights and castles?

What Time Period Do You Belong In?
brought to you by Quizilla

[Comments] (12) From Flanders and other Fields: Memoirs of the Baroness de T'Serclaes, M.M. : To relieve the pressure, the King gave the order to open the sluice-gates at Nieuport and let in the sea so that it flooded the area--about two miles wide wnad thrity long--between the Yser and teh Mixmude-Nieuport railway embankment to which the troops now fell back. The water came in so slowly that men cursed in in their impatience, and the enemy at some points waded through the rising waters to take some of the villages along the line, but the sea won. It reached a maximum hieght of four feet, and saved a tiny sliver of Belgium from German occupation. The surface of this immense artifical lagoon was broken by trees and telegraph poles, and on it drifted the corpses of soldiers, fish, and animals, together with helmets, empty cartridge-cases, and food-tins.

[Comments] (5) A silver lining: The Leaky Caldron and Mugglenet are banding together to collect donations for the hurricane victims. At the end of two weeks they will give it all the Red Cross in the name of Harry Potter fans. I think this is cool beyond words. Linkie is here, in case you are interested.

Tonight mom & I went over to Pat's for a dinner to commemorate one year since Grandpa died. It was nice to see everyone and chat, and I got to play and cuddle with Leah, who is the sweetest thing ever.

Here is another quotie from the Baroness in case you are interested in that sort of thing:

“At all the big ‘holiday’ times of the year, such as Christmas or Easter, we would shout across greetings and friendly, facetious insults to the Germans, and they would reply in kind. To add to the fun, the Germans would sometimes hoist placards on long poles with such phrases as THE BELGIANS—(or it might be THE BRITISH or THE FRENCH or all three) ARE BLOODY FOOLS. This would be riddled with bullets. Next might appear ALL GERMANS ARE IDIOTS, and, of course, this sentiment would be heartily applauded. Next it would be LET’S ALL GO HOME, and this would cause great applause and laughter, and a feeling of mateyness. After such incidents the men would be restless and depressed. It made me think—about how we are all human beings together and can have no real quarrel to justify mass murder—and that is always bad for discipline.”

Psh. Someone tell me the HTML for a block quote? Thanks, Brendan.

[Comments] (11) But I shall resist: There is now a Harry Potter iPod!!! It's a good (?) thing it looks like it only comes in a bundle with the download of all 6 audio books, or I'd be tempted to buy it...

Anyway, it's not that special. It just has an engraving on the back, it't not cool colors like the U2 one... I don't want it, really...

Podcasting: I really love listening to podcasts while I am doing semi-brainless stuff like cleaning, etc. I don't do so well when I am driving or exercising, because then I like to let my mind wander and think, but doing repetitive boring stuff that requires a little bit of thought I like to have something to fill the spaces in my brain. So today I went to office depot to photocopy some ILL books that are overdue and I was listening to the pottercast and mugglecast. Anyway, the point of all this is that I've developed a new celebrity crush on Chris Rankin (who plays Percy in the films). I really like the way he talks. So, yeah....

Anyway, I had a great weekend, seeing Susie and Leonard, and everything. My weekends are always so hectic and busy since Saturdays are shot with Russos and MLI, but I wouldn't change it, bc I like the spending money, and it's not like I wouldn't be sitting on my bum anyway. Anyway. I re-arranged my booksheleves too... I guess it's time to stop typing.

Wow:
From: store-news@amazon.com
Subject: Amazon.com recommends Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)

: Sometimes I think I have a bumper sticker that says "I love for other cars to share my lane." You know, the one I'm in. Especially if the other cars are RIGHT NEXT to me.

[Comments] (2) Rachel Recommends: Lately, I had been feeling dissatisfied with the amount of reading, outside work, I was doing. The problem, as I have many times theorized, is that whenever I have a moment to read it, I either waste it on the internet, or feel guilty when I pick up that pleasure book, thinking I ought to be doing something “useful,” like reading for work (which pays) or writing (which will hopefully someday pay). The two combine to make a pitifully sad amount of reading time for me, and just looking at the shelves of unread books, or browsing in Russo’s and remembering my vow not to buy any more books until I had read the ones I already have (I’m terrible at this vow, in case you couldn’t tell), I would again, feel guilty. Well, sacrifices are sacrifices, and I’ve decided to make more time for my own reading needs, even if it comes at the little expense of “paying” (or prospectively paying) things. Last Sunday I read most of The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank, until it was finished. Yesterday I read most of Peter Mayle’s French Lessons, until it was finished. It actually made me want to eat frog legs & escargot… amazing, non?

Next on my list is The Historian. I hope I don’t try to read it all in one day. (It’s huge). I know, my life is so hard.

[Comments] (6) "That's because you don't have a Prada backpack":
1. Said Bon Voyage to Christina & sent her off to London after retrieving The Historian.
2. Caught up with the ace gang over a classic movie.
3. Must stop online stalking Chris Rankin and Sean Biggerstaff...

[Comments] (1) Europe's going to weep: Also, I should not read The Historian when I am supposed to be one.

Earlier Stacy asked me which is my favorite Franz Ferdinand song, and I was torn between "Auf Achse" (which I can't pronounce) and "All For You, Sophia." But listening to it today, I decided it just wouldn't be proper for me not to pick the latter.

Bang bang, history's complete
Bang bang, shoot me Gavrilo
Bang bang, the first six are for you
Bang bang, the seventh is for me
Bang bang, Gavrilo Princip
Bang bang, shoot me Gavrilo
All for you, all for you, all for you, Sophia
The Black Hand holds the gun The devil takes his run Urban, take the Appel Quay It's June the twenty-eighth The seventh was for me

[Comments] (7) Something new, for a change (just kidding): From a dream, here's a thought: How long until Harry Potter: the musical?

The new trailer looks super cool, so I am very excited about the movie, even if a bit wary of the supposed love-triangle (according to a fan who got to go to one of those sneak-peeks and then talked about it on pottercast) that, you know, wasn't in the book. Whatever. Not to mention Durstrang and Beauxbatons appear to be boy and girl-only schools, respectively, when I know that at least Beauxbatons was co-ed. And what's with the maze that's the size of disneyland when its supposed to be on the quidditch pitch? Ok, seriously tho, other than eveything they got wrong... pretty nifty stuff.

Tonks has been the cuddle muffin-ness lately. He lay in my lap (and across my book) last night when I was trying to write and when I woke up this morning he was curled up next to me just like JB. I don't know what I have done to deserve such affection from a kitty who used to shun my bed altogether, but I am not complaining.

[Comments] (16) Wishin': I left my drawer for bags open a crack after I got out my plaid overnight, and Tonks used the opportunity to usurp the drawer as his new hang-out. I dunno why he likes caves so much, but he is either their or under the bed. I guess all my suitcases will have Tonksie fur on them now.

Anyway, the reason I got out the plaid overnight is so I could pack up & go to visit Susie & John with Chris and go to Disneyland! Whoooo! We got in for free bc John is super smart & sly like that. It was E&Y day at Disneyland (we saw shirts everywhere) and they were supposed to get in free, but they have season passes, so they just got the extra tix and gave them to us! Maybe it's only bc I haven't been in a while, but Disneyland seems so much cooler when you didn't pay for it. We soon became addicted to fastpasses and went on all the cool rides. The new Space Mountain is soo, soo cool. And we def. got our money's worth staying from 9 am till past 11 pm.

Soon, it became Harry Potterland. While waiting in line for Peter Pan (I told Susie that when I was little I was amazed at how they managed to make it night while it was still light outside... or maybe it was I was amazed and how we could fly so high above everythign when I got outside and looked and saw how not tall the building was) we watched while Merlin found the little boy to pull the sword from the stone. "Look," said John. "It's Dumbledore. He's not dead after all."

Indiana Jones is the most HPish ride of them all. Chris still had his decoder card from ten years ago, but we had a fast pass so we didn't have much time to decode (unlike the days of two and a half hour lines). He did get, of one wall inscribing, "Chamber of..." "Chamber of Secrets!" I finished! Later on the ride, "Ohh, it is Chamber of Secrets... giant spiders, basalisk..." And you know that statue idol thingy at the beginning that taunts "Foolish Mortals?" Well, that's not what I heard. "Did he just say foolish muggles?"

We also got to watch Fastasmic and the fireworks show. I really want the soundtrack.... but I was too tired by the end of the day to look for one in the shops.

My feet are still sore, but I think I might go for a walk bc it is all windy outside, and I love wind like this. Plus I have a new Pottercast to listen to, and that stuff is like my new crack. I wish I had an unlimited supply of pottercast and mugglecast. Sadly, I don't think Chris Rankin is on this one.

The last few days have been full of fun goodness as well. I have been working on a birthday present for a friend, making her a notebook, which is one of my favorite things to do. (So if any of you alls have used up your notebook and would like a new one, please let me know...) Last night we all went over to Chris' to watch the season premiere of Arrested Development. The only bad thing about that show is that sometimes we laugh so hard at one joke we miss part of the next. It was really hard to not have more episodes to watch, since I am used to seeing them on DVD. The second season comes out in about three weeks, so we'll be able to binge then. Also, one week till the new Corrs CD! Whooo!

[Comments] (8) The bad and the good: So it's been a while week since I posted. Slacking, for shame.

I'll start with the bad news. I think I am getting sickie, and I took a full dose of nyquil last night, to the result that I slept like a rock for ten hours, through my alarm and was much later than I wanted to be getting down to LA, and I've been feeling drugged all day. Also, to my great dismay, the Corrs CD has been pushed back to be released NEXT Tuesday, as I learned when I phoned Barnes and Noble on Sunday. Oh, the woe. Also, I had to take one of the strays that got into the trap to the pound, and it was a very depressing experience. People, FIX YOUR CATS!

The good news is, I get to hang out with Natalie tonight! Also, recently to my great pleasure I've had a few viewing experiences to satisfy my europhiliac cinematic tastes. First, I got to see Kontrol, one of Chris' films that he orginially saw in his Leonard Malten film class at The School That Must Not Be Named, which is set entirely in the Budapest subway and is sufficently weird and profound all at once. Second, I dragged the willing members of the ace gang to see A Very Long Engagement at FLICS at the Fox (there were a million people there! You wouldn't think a society like FLICS would be so popular in a place like Bakersfield but apparently it is, good for it). I'd seen it before but liked it even more the second time and it is probably one of my favorites. Good WWII movies are plentiful but it is hard to come by WWI films, let alone good ones.

Also, Christina, who is in London *jealousy* and I had this conversation in which she made me smile:
me: i have to finish this project first
me: and there are a million things i want to move on to
me: well two, three if you count this
Christina: that's close enough to a million

Isn't she fab?

[Comments] (11) Azusa Adventures: Last night I went over to Natalie's to distract her from work. She is taking seven classes (seven *real* classes) so I felt a bit guilty but someone has to do it. We stayed up forever and made all sorts of plans, and I forcibly signed her up for facebook. Also, I tried my best to convince her to return to Bako after her graduation in Dec. to open up the Country Rose Bistro in the southwest. That is something I feel Bakersfield really needs.

Either I'm feeling better or I'm so out of it I can't tell the difference. I had a dream about the corrs last night.

[Comments] (5) 'Cause we're five: Stacy told me to do this.

THE RULES: List five songs that you currently love. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now.

Post these instructions, the artists, and the songs in your blog. Then tag five other friends to see what they're listening to.

Here are my songs:
All for you, Sophia by Franz Ferdinand
Defying Gravity from the Wicked soundtrack
Blinded by Third Eye Blind
For Good from the WIcked soundtrack
...aaand Palm Reader by Third Eye Blind

Yeah, I listen to the same three CDs over & over again. You don't? Once I get my new Corrs it will be on permenantly for a month. Anyway, I'm not going to tag anyone. Do it if you want. It is always interesting to see what everyone else is listening to.

Ho-hum. HP tonight. I'm working right now (well, not *now*, but... you know). I was getting rather frustrated for a while, but right now I feel like I'm in a good place. The whole of Belgium is complete (not too hard, as during the war it was like... 30 miles wide) so now I'm doing some organizational stuff & back to reading about Serbia. Yay!

Before leaving LA last night I went to Chinese with Stacy, which was really yum. My fortune said "Bravery and optimism are your best traits." I've gotten it before, so does that make it true? I know I'm an optimist ("You are, it's cute," Stacy said) but I dunno about bravery. Perhaps time will tell.

I need to remember not to down an entire Diet Coke right before leaving. The need to pee always presents itself just after leaving civilization, and I have to hold it, counting the miles all the way to Gorman. It's really pathetic how glad one can be to see that Carl's Jr.

Mom made shrimp pineapple kabobs for lunchie. Yummm. And I am feeling better but my head is still a bit fuzzy. Ok I think that's all.

[Comments] (1) Egads: I'm feeling so restless. Reading, a really good book, the kind that sucks me in a la Riddle's diary, always does this to me.

[Comments] (1) Are you going to Sweden To see the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack?: Just in case you didn't realise what a nerd I am...

A while ago on pottercast as guest fans they had a set of brothers who formed a band called Harry and the Potters. They played a new song of theirs called "My Wizard Scar Still Burns For You." I was intrigued. I learned more. They play in libraries and stuff and generally like to promote books and rock & roll, a sentiment I can heartily agree with. They have made two CDs, one released before OOTP and one after. I ordered the CDs.

The CDs arrived. I have been listening to "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock," in the car since. Ok, so, as musicians they are not great. They are ok. It grows on one, and the second CD is substantially better than there first, so there is hope. But their songs---are hilarious. Most of them, anyway.

Some of my favorites: The Human Hosepipe ("'Cause I'd rather not talk about your dead ex-boyfriends over coffee"); Stick it to Dolores ("Your educational decrees are not welcome in our halls"); Keeping Secrets From Me (angry rock at its most effective)

And it's 1 2 3 I send you an owl and 
No one ever writes back 
You're keeping secrets from me 
Secrets from your friend

And best of all, The Missing Arm of Viktor Krum:

Oh Ron
As a wizard we expect a little more from you
Because at Hogwarts they don't teach hokey stuff like Voodoo
You should know that dismembering figurines of your enemies
Won't help you impress Hermione
She's not interested in mutilated toys
What is it with you and her?

[Comments] (3) Sooo annoyed: Today was supposed to be a good day for music. Today has failed miserabley, and it isn't even 10 yet. The new Corrs album has been pushed back AGAIN. I'm so disappointed.

I know there are bigger problems in the world than having to wait another week for a corrs CD. But it is so frustrating to get all excited for it and then be told I can't have it yet. I have no idea why. The official (US) website is acting like it is already out, which it is in the UK. I wish I were there.

[Comments] (1) Bucolic?: I finished The Historian last night. I don't want to say too much about it here, because I know not a lot have read it and some well, but it was a really good book. I really enjoyed reading it, and I especially loved the history of it all, Eastern Europe during Ottoman and Cold War times, yay. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes that sort of stuff. It seemed to me to a lot more promiment than the Dracula stuff, although it was certainly long enough to include a lot of that as well. It is definitely the kind of book I would like to re-read in a few years to get all the stuff I must have missed first time around. Now I am intrigued to read Bram Stoker's novel.

[Comments] (4) I am the baby of the family, it happens: In the midst of my disappointment re: the Corrs CD (or lack thereof) I have been listening to Fiona Apple's new CD, Extraordinary Machine, in my car since Tuesday. I did a lot of driving yesterday so I got to know & like it quite well. I think my favorite so far is the title song.

I certainly haven't been shopping for any new shoes [lie] 
And I certainly haven't been spreading myself around 
I still only travel by foot and by foot it's a slow climb 
But I'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all the time 
If there was a better way to go then it would find me I can't help it the road just rolls out behind me Be kind to me or treat me mean I'll make the most of it I'm an extraordinary machine

I wish I knew more about music so I could talk about it and make people understand what I am trying to say. But I like the little bell, and the rythym which I can only think to describe as "creeping." For some reason it reminds me of "Peter and the Wolf."

I also really like "Window." The chorus is very catchy, and I really like these paticular lyrics, which for some reason really appeal to the historian in me. Consider the source's POV, DBQ and all that.

Because the fact in fact 
Whatever's in front of me is covering my view 
So I can't see what I'm seeing in fact 
I only see what I'm looking through 
But even when the window's clean I still can't see for the fact That when it's clean it's so clear I can't tell what I'm looking through
So I had to break the window It just had to be Better that I break the window Than him or her or me

And this song really reminded me of a certain someone.

I opened my eyes 
While you were kissing me once, more than once 
And you looked as sincere as a dog 
Just as sincere as a dog does, 
When it's the food on your lips with which it's in love. 

[Comments] (3) : Does anyone else feel like the world is ending?

It's a mess, but it's working: Yesterday was a fabulous day. First off, Leonard & Sumana were here to visit and we said goodbye to them in the morning, then I went to work for the Russo's at the Business Conference. For those of you who don't know, the Bakersfield Business Conference is a huge gathering of those who don't have anything better to spent money on than a trip to Bakersfield to hear people like Sean Hannity, Donald Rumsfield, and William Bennett (needless to say, there were protesters) speak. I didn't trouble myself with listening to the speakers but kept myself busy selling books during the rushes before book signings and during the boring bits, and walking around eating the free goodies. I take comfort in the fact that this is the last business conference, perhaps there is hope for society after all.

After MLI a crew of us went to Chalet Basque. Mmmm Basque food. For those of you who have never had Basque food, I suggest you come to Bakersfield and try it. For some reason, central CA has an abnormally high Basque immigrant/descendant population. It took me a while to realise that not every mid-sized town had 4-5 Basque restaurants. But mmmmm.... so good. I even tried the pickled tongue this time, it is not bad. And the company was just as good as the food.

I arrived home in a food semi-coma and was thinking about early bed when I checked ESPN just on the off-chance the UCLA managed to make an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter after the few minutes of the game I glimpsed on the TV at the restaurant while waiting for a table, and they did! UCLA beat CAL, YAY! This gave me a second wind, and I agreed to go over to Chris’ to hang out with him & Rob so I could more easily gloat. We ended up playing rummy, which they taught me, it is a very fun game, until like 2 in the morning, so so much for an early bed. But it was worth it.

Now I am rather content in my PJs. I am trying to pry details of Christina’s adventures in London to live vicariously through her and need to type up a list of suggestions so that she doesn’t make any more tragic mistakes such as go to Greenwich and not have pie.

[Comments] (1) “It feels a bit like we’re about to storm the Bastille, doesn’t it? I’ve always wanted to do something like that.”:

Me: im tired ok?
Me: i just saw the word "serbia" on my handwritten 
page and thought--"ooh, serbia, I am interested in that"
Me: for a second, thats what i thought
Me: that is how well my brain is working now
Becs: rach, i'm only going to way this once
Becs: go to bed
Me: say?
Becs: oh be quiet
Becs: i'm going to bed soon, too
Me: me too
Me: im just going to type for a little bit more
Me: i want to know what happens next
Becs: i can't believe you just said that

[Comments] (6) 11 months late, 30,000 words over. : I've finally finished and typed a rough first draft of my novel. There is a huge gap in the middle (ok maybe not so huge) and I want to completely rewrite the entire first 5/8ths of it, but still.

Some disjointed thoughts: I need a lot of red ink. But writing in red ink is a poor choice, ahh my eyes. Dictionary.com is my new fav website. I use some good words but I have a problem with repetition. I like adverbs too much. ly. People are always laughing and smiling at one another. I need another word for cheerful. Or maybe I need to use less cheer. I've cut down significantly on my usage of suddenly, really (and it's replacement, quite). I may be finally getting the hang of dialogue. And non-passivity. Sometimes I want to invent words because I think they sound better than the words that exist. Some of my characters need more dimension. I am finally starting to think of her as Andra instead of Emma. And she tends to get maudlin, and I'm not sure were to draw the line. I need to learn a little bit of Serbian. My doctors need something to do besides change bandages and I wish I knew more about operating, except I really don't. I'm not sure if Leonard likes the mixie I made for him, but I sure do. Punctuation, hello;--! (But I am training myself to use the ! sparingly, otherwise it is a bit like crying wolf, and loses its impact for when you really mean it.) I need sleeeep, as I have to go to workie tomorrow, and if I don't get "Home" there will be serious consequences. Sometimes I think it is really good, sometimes I think it is crap, and not only is it crap, but I get a fear that people will think "she doesn't know what she is talking about," which may or may not be worse than the feeling that I sometimes get, which is I don't know what I am talking—or writing—about. There are so many choices to make and I don't know which are the right ones. I'm going to bed.

[Comments] (1) *slow funeral march*: Pigwidgeon is dying... the woe, the despair.

[Comments] (3) The death of Pig: "Hello?"
"Hello, this is the Apple Store."
"Oh, hello."
"Your poor iPod suffered a massive corony and died, so we've replaced it."
"It died????"

My baby! My poor Pig. Is dead. After over a year together... he is dead. I took him in yesterday for battery testing and he is dead. But perhaps it is for the best. Now I will have a new one that will hopefully last longer. And hey, I am getting one of the last minis. I am rather excited to go pick up the new one. And I promise to never drop this one. What shall I name it?

Thank goodness for extended warrantees. The $49 was painful at the time but that is a fraction of the cost of a new iPod. I would be really kicking myself right now if I hadn't gotten it.

[Comments] (1) "Are you ghoulie or ghostie or wee student beastie?": "forgive Peevsie his little joke, sir." I wonder if this is where I get my little habitie.

[Comments] (4) I love Newsweek: Some interesting things lately: Soldiers in the Iraq war are starting to publish first-hand accounts, just like they (and the woman volunteers) did way back when; a long article on Mormonism and an interview with Gordon B. Hinckley. Also, Newsweek really likes Franz Ferdinand. They had a thing on them earlier and now this feature. I reeeeallly like them, too. My current fav song: "Eleanor Put Your Boots On," from "You Could Have Had it So Much Better."

Oh if you run
You can run to that statue with the dictionary
Climb to her fingernail and
Leap, yeah take an atmospheric leap
Let the jet stream set you down

[Comments] (1) The good news: I am still alive. Everything else is secondary.

Happy birthday Becca!: yay.

[Comments] (15) To seek a new disaster everyday: So last night it took me 5 hours to drive back from LA. I left earlyish bc I wanted to hang out with some friends who were in town (Bako) so I was really disappointed when that didn't happen, but there was a mudslide on the grapevine or something and it was closed. There was a huge jam just before Gorman and it took me over an hour to get to the front of it, where I was spit onto the 138. Not happy (and also starving). I took it to a tiny road that lead to Tehachapi (SP?) that was flooded through all of the dips. At some point my windshield wipers ceased to function so I turned the defrost on high and croached to see through the mist sprayed on me by passing trucks. This was about the time my leg started falling asleep.

I got through it by telling myself that the ambulance drivers in WWI had it a lot worse. And it could have been a lot worse. It could have been still raining. I could have run out of gas. I could have had to pee. I could have been alone (as it was there was a huge caravan of cars trying to get back to Bako). I never thought I would be so happy to see Bakersfield.

Has anyone ever noticed how everything gets complicated at once?

I got my new iPod. Her name is Elsie. She has been charging for about 24 hours now and still only shows a sliver of battery. I am worried.

[Comments] (2) Ugh--HELP!: I've just realised I have a car problem. The entire passenger side floor is soaked through with water. I do have a leaky car and it must have happened when I drove through all those floods. What should I do? I dont want it to get mildewy and it already stinks to high heaven. Get the upholstry detailed, maybe?

[Comments] (7) Third time's a charm?: After working correctly exactly once, Elsie kicked the bucket. Kind of a disappointing record for something whose two namesakes worked hard through most of the duration of WWI. So I took her to the Apple store to try to get her fixed. And I had to wait like an hour for a spot at the Genius Bar, which was v disconcerting, as I was anxious to get to work. While waiting I bought pizza to eat for lunch, and there may have been some consolatory Sephora purchases and drooling over GoF posters. I was just about to give up & asked the sales associate who had been helping me if I could just leave Elsie & have them call me with a diagnosis, when a 'genius', who had probably seen me organizing my receipts while he helped some guy with a mac mini, asked what was wrong with Elsie. He tried to figure out why she wasn't charging. No dice. He checked Dave to make sure he wasn't the problem (thank goodness he isn't). "I don't think you're an evil person who kills iPods," he said. But really, I think he did. Personally I suspect the USB cord which is kinds funky sometimes, so I'm only going to use my firewire from now on, which is better anyway. I really really hope this doesn't die. I NEED an iPod for the long flight, and also my gym attendance has suffered. It might help if I name it after someone immortal, or fictionally deathless. Would it be too fangirlish to name her Glinda (or Galinda "You know black is this year's pink!")? Unless she dies in Son of a Witch (BUT DON'T TELL ME IF SHE DOES). Meh.

Anyway, in non-iPod news, I got to meet Sumana's mom yesterday. She came down on the train and visited us for a bit, then I drove her to a friend's house in Pomona. I had a really great time talking to her all the way about a variety of topics—food, history, California, food, our families, food… She kept telling me to come to India, so I guess if I find a huge stack of money I know what to do with it.

I hoped over to Claremont to visit Jess. I had a great time visiting with her & her friend Natalie, helping them with RA stuff and just hanging out. Apparently the Scripps coffeehouse where we had breakfast is the largest female-only run business west of the Mississippi. The campus is totally gorgeous & hanging out with them made me wish I were in school again.

[Comments] (2) The decline and fall of the Inn-N-Out empire: Order. Wait fifteen minutes. Receive cheesburger with onions. Ask, again, for cheeseburger without onions. Receive different (?) cheeseburger less than a minute later (mmm, nice and fresh). Discover halfway through medicore cheeseburger that it does indeed contain onions.

Last time I go there (that particulair location).

Charmed!: Galinda seems to be up running and in working order, yay! *knocks on wood just in case*

[Comments] (1) Bad luck: There is no point in getting upset. What can I do? I need the working car more than I need the $800.

[Comments] (1) Divine intervention: At the ATM yesterday:
Please select a language
PIN entry
Fastcash $40 from savings
It's time for a new car
Please take your cash

[Comments] (4) I love Fall Back: I think I am 20 minutes late but actually I am 40 minutes early.

I have the best halloween costume ever. I am going to be not only Ginny (yes again) but Quidditch!Ginny. I made a red robe well really Becca's mom made it and I helped, with a Gryffindor patch and yellow numbers on the back like my t-shirt, and Susie went to get me a broom and I even have an Arnold! I will try to put up pictures once Halloween happens but it might not happen since I am leaving for London on Tuesday... But it is going to be the best Halloween costume ever and I can also wear it to the midnight showing of GoF, to all future midnight showings and books releases, etc... yay.

In other news Inn-N-Out atoned for its sins by sending me a coupon for a free meal, Susie came up to visit and we had a nice time and she painted my nails red & gold, and I am v, v busy trying to get everything ready. Whooo.

[Comments] (5) Leap until the Gulf Stream's brought you down: Goodbye, my friends, I've got a Blighty one. I'll update as often as I can feel like doing.

Halloween was awesome. My costume was popular among those who have read HP, Chris & Rob (Buster & GOB) amused those who have seen AD, and Becca (a Jedi) just looked cool. The turnout of trick-or-treaters at our house was rather disappointing, but the playing of apples to apples at Ronnie's later made up for it.

[Comments] (3) London calling: I am having so much fun that there is not much time to hang around computers and do things like email & update weblogs... not to mention I was a super-smart girl & forgot to bring the powercord for Dave so he is le dead (all that work getting addresses for nothing) but I am really having a great time. From an email to mom:

i went to the IWM musuem today to see an exhibit on laurence of arbia, and i mde an appt to go back tomorrow to look at documents. we have also done lots of fun stuff like the HP premiere which was crazy but we did see some stars, st pauls, brick lane, etc lots of really fun stuff. christina is off to prague and we are staying with heidi now, then we have our tickets all reserved for scotland thurs-sun, we'll come back & stay with chrisitina that last night. lots of lugging luggae around but it is worth it. having tonnnns of fun.

[Comments] (1) I've been spending my money in the old town: Back to the IWM today to visit the reading room. Soo awesome. Going again tomorrow. I want to get a job in their documents section. Also, Camden Town & Tate Britain. I don't know why it never occured to us to go to Camden on the weekdays, everything was open & it was so much less crowded, so that was nice. Finally found a rare-ish book, Freya Stark, Valley of the Assasins at the bookstore there, got my Corrs Home plus an Old Town/Heart Like a Wheel single at a record shop, and my falafel fix. NO DMs for me tho, i saw a pair i liked but they were size 3.5. Still having a great time. Dinner with Heidi & Oxford St shopping tonight!

[Comments] (3) But I love what we started: Back safe from Scotland (had a great time). Coming home tomorrow but I don't really want to. I like being on holiday. I want London to be my home.

[Comments] (2) 52 emails: I meant to post this last night. I am home safe but totally out of whack. Full update on trip coming later.

Well spotted! : I went to see grandma today. she is looking lots better and has had her hair done. She keeps talking about going back to Columbus Estates, I don't think she likes this other place much, and I don't blame her as there isn't much to do. I asked her what she is going to do once she is done with the quilt she is working on and she said, "go home!"

Leonard is going to fix up some sort of seperate travelogue linkie so I can put up my London adventures all in one place, they are taking so long to write out.

I have so much to do now that I am back. There is much catching up with friends to do, esp. as I missed Jen's b-day. There are so many yummy digestives to eat. I need to do a report of all the research I did while I was in London & Scotland before I go into work Monday. I need to rearrange my bookshelves bc I bought so many on my trip there isn't room anymore. Maybe I should get rid of some... nah. Maybe Susie can bring up the wicker bookshelf she said she doesn't want anymore and I can put it on the edge of my desk.

Most importantly, GOF movie tonight!! Whee!! I have been so busy having fun on my trip that I haven't had time to get properly excited for it, so I have to work really hard at it today. For POA Christina and I were preparing weeks in advance. But I guess you could say going to the premier to stalk stars amidst thousands of screaming fan girls (and boys) makes up for it.

[Comments] (2) Not as a last resort: GOF was awesome, I thought. I won't say much for the sake of those who haven't seen it yet, but I really enjoyed most of it. Of course there were parts I didn't like but they weren't the parts I expected to not like, so that's nice. I'm reserving final judgement till I see it again. The main bad part was all the fan girls; there weren't as many as at the premier but I had to stand with them longer, and they sang showtunes as well as as screaming. Please tell me I wasn't like that in HS, I like to think I only sang showtunes in the privacy of my own home/car or at specifically drama functions.

There was something else I wanted to write about but I've forgotten.

[Comments] (4) Wishing only wounds the heart: At Susie's request here is my wishlist for Christmas:

It is probably declasse to ask for money but I think I'll be needing it for tuition soon.
Trader Joe's Gift certificates
Express jeans (but I'm very picky so perhaps just a giftcard)
A nice dark brown leather belt, size med
CDs such as The Killers, Nora Jones "Come Away With Me," Third Eye Blind "Blue" (I used to have this but sadly it was stolen)
A Very Long Engagement DVD

Books!
Something from my Amazon Wishlist (searchable by rachnmi@gmail.com). The two I really want are Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and Almost French. I don't mind used books as long as they are in good condition (price compare at bookfinder.com to find the cheapest on the internet!
A gift certificate to Russo's.
I've pretty much given up hope for my rare book collection since even the venerable establishments on Charing Cross Road yielded only books I didn't really want for a lot of pounds, but I've copied my list anyway.
McLauren, Eva Shaw. A History of the Scottish Women's Hospitals (1919).
Hutton, Isabel Emslie. With a Women's Unit
Aldrige, Olive M. The Retreat from Serbia.
Corbett, Elsie. Red Cross in Serbia.
King, Hazel [ed] One Women at War: The Letters of Olive King.
Palmer, Alan. The Gardeners of Salonika.
Anything by Freya Stark except Valley of the Assassins.
Any rare-ish book written by a women or about WWI, or Europe in general.

Wish List update: I'd also like a set of flannel sheets so my cat sleeps on my bed again, and some rechargeable AA batteries for my stocking.

[Comments] (3) Just like a wheel: Many of you won't believe this, but Becca and I went shopping today, after watching GOF with mom. I think it was even better the second time. Becs needed new clothes for her new jobie, and I was choosen to help select these new clothes. We got her some really nice stuff and very good deals. Now she just needs to go to Journey's tomorrow to get her DMs before the holidays make the mall an even more horrible place to be. *poke*

[Comments] (2) This is why we buy the extended warrenty: Dave is dead. Well not really. All my stuff is there, but the system is gone, according to Leonard. He can reinstall it but thinks I should take it into the genius bar bc there might be a harddrive problem. They are getting as familair to me at the mechanics at Barnetts. I don't know why I have such bad luck, I swear I take good care of my things.

Grandma Rosie is also gone. This is making me very sad. In the book I just finished reading there is a "simple-minded" old women who thinks about people in the present tense before she rememberes they're dead. I keep doing that.

Go vote for Jo: http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2005/walkup/index.html?cnn=yes

[Comments] (2) 1928: “At the time, you see, the war was so ordinary—it was just our life. Yes, we hated it, and loved it, both. Loved it only because we gave so much to it, and because it was bound up with our youngness… It was our war, you see. And although it was so every-dayish at the time, and we were so sickened with it, it seems, now, to have a sort of ghastly glamour…Our hearts are there—unwillingly—for always. It was our war.”
Irene Rathbone, We That Were Young

wish list update: Still at the apple store. Sooo bored. I went around to all the computers to vote for Jo. But I've been here for over four hours and the reinstalling is taking forreverrr. And I had to buy disk warrior to fix the data key thingie that was wrong, hopefully it makes Dave better, but I'd much rather spend over $100 on this. (Bookfinder coupon for that book. HINT) The store has been closed for two hours now. I am just hanging with the boys setting up an ipod christmas display. They are being very nice to me.

[Comments] (3) If Dave can laugh that long: After all that, the reinstalling went wrong. Bekka, the genius who was helping me, said there MUST be something wrong with the harddrive, so Dave is being sent out for a new one. They were able to back up all my stuff so that is a lucky thing. I just hope I get him back sooon, I miss my Davie-poo. You never realise how much you depend on your computer till you have to go without one for so long. The first few days, even week, are ok, but then when you start wanting to send stuff to people's addresses, or reconcile your checking account, or burn CDs of musique....gah.

But anyway, I am actually feeling v appreciative at the moment. The people at the apple store were very friendly and helpful and nice, which is good because otherwise it would have been a very frustrating experience. And I realise again how many kind & caring people I have in my life. At the apple store they had these little red stickers that say "Lucky You" to put on things when people buy them so they know the iPods etc aren't being stolen, and I took a few, because it is such a catchy phrase, and eventually got to thinking, yes, lucky me.

[Comments] (6) 196 emails: And I have Dave back. Yaaaay! But now I'm having software issues. My MS word went bye-bye with the old hard-drive, so I can't open any of my word documents till I download Open Office, which sucks, therefore I have to get my hands on a new Word as soon as I figure out a way that doesn't involve paying for it, since even if I HAD $100 to throw away, which I don't, for the second time, I wouldn't want to spend it on office. I don't even neeed the whole thing, just word. It's so aggravating. Plus for some reason my Quicken won't open the backup data because it says it needs an updated version. How can it need an updated version for a file it created? Sooo tiiired.

[Comments] (1) What are we doing flying a car?: Well, my quicken is back up & running, and I've taken to using drafts in gmail instead of word documents. Overall it's been very nice to have Dave back!

I keep thinking of things I border on needing, so if anyone is STILL looking for giftie ideas for me, the plastic lining of my shower curtain is coming apart (maroon color) and I've recently become obessed with Librarything but I used up the 200 book listings that come with a free account, and now they have gift memberships!

[Comments] (5) Here's a thought: Maybe I will actually start reading advance review copies of books before they come out, and writing reviews to send back to the publisher. After all, it's nice to say thanks for a free book, and it could be the start of a new career for me.

An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army: I'm typing my Flora Sandes summary in Gmail and it's interesting to see the ads that come up as "sponsored links": "meet Serbians online," "holiday in Montenegro: online booking, stone houses on the coast."

Probably more like hanging around: Everytime I think of something to post crummy is down. Now it is up and I can't think of anything to post. Except this.

I guess I could say I went to pilates for the first time in ages and I barely survived. I felt like I earned sushi, and I couldn't think of anything else the entire time, so I dragged Gabe to Miyoshi and had a delicious sunset strip roll (except he kept making me laugh & drop my sushi piece into the wasabi, so it was v hot), and put it on my credit card since I am scrapping together my pennies to pay the fees for CSUB which are due the 29th, before I get paid.

Oh, I guess that is sometime to write about. I'm giving up my pipe dream of UCL and going to start an MA program in history at CSUB. But most of you already knew this. I always want to wait to write about big things (like a trip to London) until the are official, but then by that time I forget to write about it, or everyone knows already, so there is no point in making a big announcing post on my weblog.

Anyway, there are actually two really good professors for me to study under, one in a Western European/Women's History specialist and one is big on Eastern Europe and WWI. I am starting with a reading seminar in European History and an Irish History class, and I think in general it will be a good thing for me. I miss being in school, after all, even if it means I will have to be very poor for the next 15 months or so, as they want all my money and I won't have as much time to be earning it.

In the meantime, life goes on.

[Comments] (5) Ouch: I am sore all over. I can barely walk. I can barely move.

[Comments] (3) : A Mysterious Book Package has arrived in the mail today. It has not been opened, but put under the tree. However, I already know what it contains: the best present ever.

[Comments] (1) : I hope everyone had an amazing holiday. I certainly did, for the most part. More later. Tonksie seems to like my new sheets.

[Comments] (1) "You can't describe it.": I've been listening to interviews with some of the last surviving WWI vetrans.

[Comments] (1) Library Thingie:

I want to get the little widget thingie onto the side of my blog. But I don't know how to do that. And it's not showing up here anyway. Woe.

[Comments] (3) If they asked me...: I thought this would be kinda neat to do, before I realised it would take me THIRTY HOURS. But as I discussed with Becca, she and I (and Chris) have become rather OCD in terms of organizing information lately. This is an example. For another example, you can see the books in my library tagged "read 2005" at LibraryThing. This, sadly, though, is not complete, because I've reached my 200 book limit, so I can't add the rest of my books until I magically become a lifetime member.

Anyway, here is a list of books I read all or most of during 2005, in order of most recently completed first. Fun Times.

At the Serbian Front in Macedonia, by E.P. Stebbing (Currently reading for work)
The Truth with Jokes by Al Franken (Currently reading for fun)
The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke (Currently reading for class)
The French Revolution by T.C.W. Blanning (Currently reading for class)
Kosovo: Perceptions of War and its Aftermath edited by Mary Buckley (partially read)
Chamber of Secrets (for the DA)
Red Lily by Nora Roberts
We That Were Young by Irene Rathbone (work)
Divine Evil by Nora Roberts
An English Woman Sergaent in the Serbian Army
by Flora Sandes (work)
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
Sorcerer's Stone (DA)
Not So Quiet, Helen Zenna Smith (work)
Dear Duchess, Denis Stuart (work)
Half-Blood Prince audio version (I still have not managed to make myself listen to the last three cds)
The Historian, Elisabeth Kostava
French Lessons, Peter Mayle
Cellar-House of Pervyse compiled by Geraldine Mitton (work)
Flanders and other Fields, by the Baroness de T'Serclaes (work)
The Boy Who loved Anne Frank, Ellen Feldman
Paris, 1919, Margaret Macmillian
Strange beds, Joan Conquest (partially read, work)
My War Experiences on Three fronts, Mary Eliza Martin-Nicholson (partially read, work)
Journal of Impressions in Belgium, May Sinclair (work)
With the Lost Generation, Dora Walker (work)
A Modern Victorian by Susan Raitt (partially read, work)
A Nurse at the War, Grace Ashley-Smith McDougall (Partially read, work)
Under Three Flags, St Clair Livingston. (partially read for work)
Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella
Half-Blood Prince
Field Hospital and Flying Column, Violetta Thurstan (partially read, work)
War memories, Princess Marie de Croy (work)
Condemmed to Death, Thuliez, (partially read, work)
A Noble Woman, Gott (partially read, work)
Women Who Spied, (partially read, work)
The Secret War (partially read, work)
My War Experiences on Three Continents, Sarah Macnaughtan (the Belgian half, work)
Black Rose, Nora Roberts
Quality of Mercy, Monica Krippner (work)
The Rape of Belgium, Larry Zuckerman (partially read, work)
Women With Wings, Mary Cadogan (partially read, work)
Powder Puff Derby, Mike Walker (work)
The Luck of Thirteen by Cora and Jan Gordon (work)
The War in Eastern Europe, John Reed (Partially read for work)
Desert Love, Joan Conquest
Goblet of Fire audio version
Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers, Louise Rennison
The Hygiene of Marriage by Isabel Hutton
Memories of a Doctor in War and Peace by Isabel Emslie Hutton (work)
Auntie Mabel's War (work)
Sorcerer's Stone (Audio)
Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them, Al Franken
The Stricken Land, Serbia as we saw it, Askew. (work)
Notes from a small island, Bill Bryson
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Prisoner of Azkaban, audio
Daylight in a Dream by E.M. Butler (work)
Merrily I Go to Hell by Mary Cameron (work)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier
The Balkan Wars by Andre Gerolymatos
Birthright by Nora Roberts Audio version
Green Tent in Flanders, Maud Mortimer (Partially read, work)
Red Cross in Serbia by Elsie Corbett for work
Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts, audio
Corsets to Camoflage: Women and War by Kate Adie (work)
Order of the Phoenix audio
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Ignorance, by Milan Kundera
Stardust, Neil Gaiman

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