Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Great HMF Debate

I never knew this name would stick. I just started calling him it one day, he liked it and it seemed to resonate amongst our friends.

Sadly, until further notice, the HMF has be re-assigned a new name: TO-HMF. That is, The Original Handsome Man Friend.

Kind of like Original Recipe, only not.

This leaves the door open for (big breath now) a possible TCHMF (The Current HMF) in the future, and maybe, just maybe, further along TPHMF (The Permanent HMF).

Just so we have our names straight.


Monday, September 25, 2006

My Ipod Playlist, Lately

I've Been Down-Hearted Baby (Ever Since the Day We Met), Primitive Radio Gods

Dance Me to the End of Love, Madeleine Peyroux (hmm..not so much dancing..)

This Year's Love, David Gray

I'm Missing You, India Arie

And So It Goes, Billy Joel

Power of Two, Indigo Girls

Screaming Infedelities, Dashboard Confessionals

I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You, Colin Hay

Still Holdin' On, Clint Black and Martina McBride

Strength, Courage and Wisdom, India Arie

Torn to Pieces, Kelly Clarkson

Mr. Tambourine Man, Bob Dylan (this song has no special significance, except I like it and it
randomly reminds me of Malawi and an ambulance)

Run, Snow Patrol

She's Always a Woman, Billy Joel

Following My Compass, Hall Kristen

Winding Road, Bonnie Somerville (Garden State Soundtrack)

The One I Love, David Gray

Always on Your Side, Sheryl Crow

World on Fire, Sarah McGlaughlan

Sunday, September 17, 2006

i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it (anywhere
you go, my dear, and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whateer a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the roo and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

~e.e cummings

Monday, September 11, 2006

That's Right: Two Posts in One Day.

Things I Can't Live Without:
  • my flash drive (even with a missing cover); the saving grace of all grad students everywhere.
  • blue Toshiba laptop (with DVD capabilities and built in games - how many times did this save me in Malaw?)
  • my 100 yen faux Kate Spade pencil case - no more fishing at the bottom of my bag for a pen.
  • the internet. I am seriously addicted to email. How did we ever do research without it?
  • my pink lambswool heavy-soled slippers. Good for walking on sticky kitchen floors with.
  • my black makeup case - this thing goes with me everywhere. I don't even unpack it anymore.
  • my bus pass! and student id card! (good for lots of free stuff - and getting into the gym!)
  • Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Seriously good stuff, for only 140 calories apiece.
  • Ann Taylor anything. Yes, I am a 50 year old woman. But I have nice clothes.
  • my new Razr from Motorola. It's not gold, but it'll do (thanks for talking me into it, HMF!)
  • America's Next Model. Janice totally rules.
  • H&M (and HMF!)
  • chapstick. lots and lots of chapstick.
  • my passport.
  • oh yeah, and the Red Pants. :)
List to be continued...I'm sure...

Being Dum rather, mediocre.

Last weekend my graduate program had their annual welcome back picnic. In between gabbing with new students, I asked one of my friends how she was awarded her research assistantship with my favorite professor. I knew from my roommate (who is also an RA) that before coming to University, she got a call out of the blue asking her if she wanted this paid on-campus position. I wanted to know what this "out of the blue" phone call was based on.

"Oh," she said, nonchalantly, "On GPA."
"What, like, undergrad GPA?"
"Um, yeah."
"It's based entirely on GPA?"
"Yep," she said, seeming uncomfortable.
"That's ridiculous," I said, "I had a 3.74 GPA in undergrad, why didn't I get a call?
"Did you have a 4.0?"
"A 3.9? You had a 3.9 in college!?"

So I asked my other two close friends, who are, incidentally also RAs in my program. They both had 3.9's as well. Well, my roommate added that she actually had a 3.98.

I gotta say, I was a little taken a back. I mean, I'm no genius, but I always operated under the assumption that I was no flub either. This encounter just further underscores the overall feeling of mediocrity I sometimes have about my academic life. I mean, I have a genuine love of learning, but I've always known that if I had to chose between being a brainiac or having a well-rounded life, that I would choose the latter.

I've rationalized in my own mind how this can be a good thing. For example, instead of being smart or having gone to the right school, I'm personable, sociable. I've often felt that what I lack in brains, I can make up for in quickness of wit and creativity of delivery. Or bluffing. [Never underestimate the power of a good bluff]. This gets you surprisingly far, and is a powerful tool in the right situation. In fact, I'm the poster child for cumulative applications - while I do semi-respectfully on the academic portion, I usually rock the essay or the interview. I suspect I've squeaked by on these talents many time.

However, while all this makes me good party fun, it doesn't necessarily demand respect. I've often felt like I'm playing a game whose rules I don't even understand (but in my mind, can be made up!). Sometimes, people underestimate me. Sometimes, this gives me an out to do a shitty job [when in fact, I should be called on it].

I have reflected many times on how different my graduate career would've been if only I'd had one of those RA positions. I could've been on campus more. I would've felt more connected to the community. I would've been "in" on campus activities, instead of just showing up in the evenings and racing to class exhausted from a full day of work.

I wouldn't have so much debt hanging over my head.

And while, deep down, I still know I'm a good person and that there is a place in life for me (hey, someone has to be middle management), I'm still a little disappointed at not being "The Best."

I think that comes from growing up in America. In Japan, they tell students to be part of the status quo. You expect to grow up and become a salaryman or an office lady (until you get married), not Prime Minister, or an astronaut, a neurobiologist or Steve Irwin. So when one does become mediocre (and chances are, they will), they're not terribily dissappointed that they didn't turn out to be Prime Minister/astronaut/neurobiologist/Steve Irwin (RIP, Steve!).

Perhaps we need more of that here. Or perhaps not.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: the strive for excellence is one thing.

The acceptance of being who you are is another all together.

M is for mediocre,