Monday, October 23, 2006

My Space, Your Space

So, I have a MySpace page now. I set it up a week or two ago, for "networking" (according to my profile). I've gotten some very cool "friends" already, including extended family and friends I knew in jr. high, high school, college, and after that. I don't plan to do any more with it, other than to check my page once in a while to read messages and check up on MySpace "friends," but it was worthwhile to set up.

Anyway, I got a friend request recently from someone who, according to her profile, likes to read, but isn't much of a book person, and prefers to read magazines, actually. That's two readers who don't read books I've encountered in under two weeks! This must be a new fad.

Next time someone asks me what I like to do, maybe I'll answer that I write. But I don't like sentences. I'm mainly writing lists these days. To do lists, specifically.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Applications Suck

I am in the process of applying to some grad school programs for next fall. (More on this later. Much later.) And I have a quick rant.

I went to college many years ago. I am a very different student today than I was at 18. And at 18 I went to a science/research-oriented university and took a lot of very diverse courses.

I took more semesters of Chemistry and Biology (including labs) than I've ever bothered to count. I took a fair amount of Calculus. I took Physics and Psychology. I flirted with several different majors before I decided on English, which I chose because it's where I was getting the best grades.

So my major GPA looks pretty decent, but my overall GPA is pretty lousy. I very quickly grew frustrated with a university experience where I was one of 450 students in a lecture hall, the professor maybe didn't care too much about teaching anyway (let alone had any notion of who I was), and the "mean" score on an exam - earning the student a low B - was 33 out of 100. End result: I had a lot of fun in college. Once I decided not to compete in the rigorous science courses I continued to take, I enjoyed myself a lot more.

Now I want to go to grad school. I am willing to take the GRE, to submit samples of my current/recent work, to write wonderful letters of explanation. But so many grad programs have a ridiculous clause about what a student's undergraduate GPA must be in order to apply.
  1. This is stupid for students returning to school after a break - the sort of student I was 13 years ago is hardly relevant to the student I am today, and
  2. What I want to study doesn't have a lot to do with Organic Chemistry. I shouldn't be penalized for taking courses that I found challenging - I could have stuck to "Science for Musicians" and bolstered my GPA artificially.
Stupid applications.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Fan Girl

Paul has started feeding Ellie All Bran in the morning, which I think is hilarious. But since he's usually the one who takes care of what comes out of the other end when he's home, I figure, well, he'll figure this one out on his own. "She likes it!" he says.

I think she "likes" it because once she saw him eating a bowl and wanted to have what he was having instead of the Multigrain Cheerios in her own bowl. I doubt the All Bran (even the flakes with yogurt bits) would win in a toddler taste test, even if the only test subject was my daughter.

So, this weekend!

Saturday morning, we went to Forest Park for Arthur's Picnic in the Park Character Breakfast. Arthur and his PBS friends come visit St. Louis kids one Saturday each fall, and Ellie's school co-sponsors a breakfast for kids with special needs, so that they can meet the characters ahead of time in a more accessible setting.

Last year, Ellie was excited by the affair but a little afraid of the characters. This year, well, two PBS character breakfasts and two trips to Disney World before she turns 3 . . . we've created a character junkie. Unlike most of the toddlers, she had no fear of the larger-than-life muppets. Everytime she saw Elmo across the room (and she doesn't watch Sesame Street; she knows Elmo from books and stuffed animals) she ran over to fiercely hug his knees. Since Elmo has somewhat poor vision, and can't necessarily see his own knees (I would imagine) this was rather dangerous. I am relieved to report that we did not cause Elmo to do a Humpty Dumpty, and he should be appearing on PBS this week as usual.

Last night, Alison Bechdel did a reading at Left Bank Books. Hey, look! She already blogged it.

I went down to the reading with a few friends from one of my book clubs. And because I am a lucky, lucky girl, a wonderful local author (and amazing reader), Kathleen Finneran, invited us to tag along with a group of people (including Kathleen and Alison) when they went down to The City Museum for a drink afterwards.

The most humorous part of the evening, for me, was my slightly late arrival at the bookstore. Now, that part wasn't a shock (there was construction on Olive! I swear!) but I'd spent a little time in front of the mirror before I left the house. I was wearing a maternity top, but cut in a currently fashionable style, not obviously maternity. And black velvet stretch jeans, two sizes too large but not maternity. And tall, kicky black books. And lipstick! I was convinced that you couldn't really tell that I am pregnant, unless perhaps you caught me in profile in the right light. So imagine my chagrin when there was a flurry of activity and people insisting that some poor man give up his stool when I arrived so that I didn't have to actually stand for the reading, in my delicate state.

Alas, alack. I got a great seat up front, because at some point it became more of a spectacle to keep protesting that I was fine standing than to just accept the stool as graciously as possible. And my friends had to stand in the back and around the corner, unable to see the screen well. My view of the screen was partially obscured too, but that's just because I was sitting on a low stool in a side aisle about 5 feet in front of Alison herself. Obviously, I didn't mind a bit.

And I did go a bit Fangirl, but I managed to keep silent. I figure that was better than sounding obnoxious. I just came off as totally boring, a dud at one of the of the table drinking diet soda, which isn't too far off base. Anyway, it was great to see Kathleen again, and I found Alison to be utterly charming at the reading. If I ever publish something myself, and do a reading or two, I wonder if I'll lose my sense of awe at being around real authors.

I'm thinking no. I'm thinking that I'll always feel this way around amazing writers whose work I admire. And that's just fine with me.