overexposed, commercialized, handle me with care
reputation changeable

Saturday, December 31, 2005

i'd be lying if i said i didn't feel like kind of a lame-o being home alone on new year's eve, but at the same time i wasn't really looking forward to going to a party or whatever, so it is mostly a relief that none of my friends are having them, at least none of my friends here.

let me see. let me see.

the cat-related flooding, not TOO bad... we'll need new carpet in the dining room, and everything that was in the dining room is kind of haphazardly stuck in the living room, and the house smells weird downstairs.

the house = sooo cold.

my room... well, i had forgotten that i never really unpacked from camp. or from school last year. so. i kind of had to deal with that before i could unpack from london. actually i still haven't unpacked from london.

the flight home & everything... fine, uneventful, except full of screamy children. sooo screamy. shut up, kids. also: the inflight movie was the dukes of hazzard which was SOOOO funny. no joke. except part of my head was all, "omg objectifying women, omg racism, omg the confederacy, omg unsafe driiiiiiving" but the rest of my head was all, "this is so ridicularious! and dare i say occasionally ironically self-aware in the style i find most hilarious?"

and, in chicago my grandpa took us out for dinner AND breakfast, and both restaurants were deliciouser and cheaper than any in london! and they gave me allll the free ice water i wanted. it was glorious.

and.. i don't know, lots of stuff happened in london that i didn't blog about but i think it all happened long enough ago that i don't care about blogging it anymore.

anyway happy new year everyone, i'm going to go scurry downstairs where it might be warmer, i hope. and also: kitties?

posted by ~renata~ at 8:09 PM
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Thursday, December 29, 2005

listening to: mitch hedberg, the cd jokes

but also: listening to: tmbg, the statue got me high (in my head)

reid and i have been quoting mitch hedberg a lot on this trip. we've also been frequently indulging in one of our favorite types of humor, namely: saying really ridiculous/stupid/obvious/whatever things, often related to some random semi-obscure pop culture thingie, in a really intense tone of voice with widened eyes and slightly raised eyebrows. then you hold that face and stare at the person you're talking to for about 10 seconds after you've said your stupid thing. ie:

me: hey reid, do you know what tom petty's favorite kind of pie is?
reid: no?
me: (intensely) wilbury. (stare)
reid: i see. wilburies of the moving variety? ie, (intensely) travelling wilburies? (stare)
both: (laugh loudly)
mom: (confused look)

basically... pretty hilarious, we are. sort of.

i'm tired? tomorrow we're leaving london? today we saw billy elliot the musical? it was good but not as good as mamma mia!? that last sentence inadvertently contained an interrobang? i am not looking forward to dragging thousands of suitcases to heathrow? nor to a 7-hour flight? but i am looking forward to being home?

hey do you know who is funnier than me? answer: many people! more specific answer: mitch hedberg.

i wrote a letter to my dad. i wanted to write, "i really enjoy being here," but i accidentally wrote "rarely" instead of "really." but i still wanted to use it... i didn't want to cross it out, so i wrote, "i rarely... drive steamboats, dad there's a lot of shit you don't know about me. quit trying to act like i'm a steamboat operator. this letter took a harsh turn right away. hello, dad."

i would describe him as all-encompassingly hilarious. (i use the word "totally" too much. i need to change it up and use a word that is different but has the same meaning. "mitch, do you like subway sandwiches?" "all-encompassingly!")

okay i need to stop quoting mitch hedberg, and just go to bed, because i have to get up at jesus o'clock tomorrow.

posted by ~renata~ at 3:19 PM
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

listening to: the beatles, dear prudence

ohh for fuck's sake, when will i learn my lesson re: sweet thai chili potato chips? i think i just ate like half a bag. and now i feel kind of sick. but they are sooo good.

anyway... i need to pack up most of my shit tonight. not looking forward to that. at all. ever. argh.

my plans for the rest of break largely include:
- petting the cats
- watching dvds

devon: uhoh, is "possibly on crack" your official psychological diagnosis? but yeah, i do definitely sound cracked out here sometimes. sometimes like, i just type whatever comes into my head. and yesterday, that included tmgb song lyrics which would make anyone sound cracked out.

PS: i'd like to poison your mind, with wrong ideas that appeal to you (although i am not unkind).

posted by ~renata~ at 2:14 PM
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Monday, December 26, 2005

listening to: tmbg, we want a rock

the first time i heard this song was on a mix cd kait sent me like 505023 years ago!


anyway. let's see. xmas = over/uneventful. we sat around & opened gifts (not too many this year because um going to london together was the family gift but i got some socks and stuff), and watched both billy elliott and hard day's night. because, we're going to see billy elliott: the musical on thursday and we went on this beatles tour that showed where the opening of hard day's night was filmed. and also becaus hard days night is like the best movie ever. (except for josie & the pussycats, obv.)

oh MAN, "letterbox" is probably my favorite tmbg song ever, today.

i hope you are all having a good boxing day. i celebrated it by getting into a fistfight with reid. note: the preceding sentence was false. really we went to madame tussauds. i got my photo taken with oscar wilde, in wax form. i'm still debating over whether this is a superior facebook photo to me with creepy john wilkes booth, in wax form. i just don't think that anything can top creepy john wilkes booth but i suppose i should change my facebook photo sometime. maybe.

additionally: apparently one of the cats flooded the house while we were gone? by bumping the faucet, and the sink was stopped up. umm, shoot.

additionally: i should be allowed to glue my poster.

posted by ~renata~ at 2:59 PM
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Sunday, December 25, 2005

listening to: the byrds, 8 miles high

happy atheist children get presents day!

last night we opened our traditional one-present-on-christmas-eve present. i got socks! hooray socks! soon we will open more presents! probably i will get even more socks! and other things. oh no i just ended a sentence without an exclamation point!

also, this dinosaur comic RULES.

also, kait: hooray! i look forward to your xmas package so hard!

also, julia: hehehe... jews. i mean... hehehe... inaccurate cranium guessing. also we soo need to hang out when i'm back in america.

also: JACKALS.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:28 AM
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

listening to: beatles, i'm so tired

oh man. so we just played HOOPLA, a cranium-type game. it had two clear highlights.

highlight the first:
mom's guess re: my drawing: "fdr! crippled in a wheelchair!"

(the actual answer: lifeguard.)

highlight the second:
we were playing this part where you have to describe something as "bigger than __ but smaller than __", but that it somehow describes the thing... like, the example on the card is that kryptonite is "bigger than a rock but smaller than superman". so dad said:

"it's bigger than a badger, but smaller than... brutus."

the answer?

van gogh.

when pressed re: who is brutus, he replied "well, he's from popeye! he's a big son of a bitch!"

sooo good.

anyway. merry christmas/atheist children get presents day to all you christians/present-receiving atheists. and to the rest of you, stop being different okay.

posted by ~renata~ at 5:31 PM
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listening to: paul simon, under african skies



i'm just going to reply to comments in this post! because, i like comments and i have been neglecting them lately due to excessive business/tiredness/other people using the compy. in order of most recent to... less recent.

first: thanks, kait, priscellie, & megan. *hearts*

second: hi lars! yes, (as megan pointed out in anotehr comment but in case you didn't see), jason has an lj but it's mostly friends only. here. and, i didn't know that YOU had a blog either. crazy internet! and-and, yessss, mamma mia! rules.

third: i just thought i should explain that "cockfosters" is a station on the piccadilly line, the furthest east one. so if you get on an eastbound piccadilly train, it says "this train is for COCKFOSTERS" with cockfosters in capslock and it's basically amazing.

fourth: devon, yes, bath was soo pretty! i wish we could have spent more time there.

fifth: priscellie, burned tds would be amazing!!! i would love you forever and with three exclamation points or more!!!! and yes, a tori musical would be amazing. maybe even more amazing than mamma mia. maybe.

posted by ~renata~ at 3:22 PM
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listening to: tori, the beekeeper (live)

so hi! wooo for christmas eve morning confrontations, especially of the sort that leave both my mom & i sobbing.

i am inconsiderate because: i walk too fast.

note that i am also: used to walking alone, definitely not used to walking with my arthritic mom, hating of crowds, stressed out from having to plan the whole vacation, stressed out from having to share my living space with so many people, (until yesterday) stressed out from having to be an intermediary between my friends and my family, and exhausted from NEVER GETTING A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP EVER.

note also that: yes, i do walk too fast but i also try to stop pretty often to wait for mom to catch up.

note also that: yes, i understand that it's very hard for mom to walk & that everyone else is stressed out too & that mom's still sad that grandma (her mom) died.

note also that: apparently i am too snide and sarcastic.

note also that: my mom has offered me xanax twice in the last two days; once last night to help me sleep (i took it; it didn't help) and once today to try to make me stop crying (i wouldn't take it because the one i took last night made me kind of sick). she also offered me vicodin for my headache today. what, is she trying to drug me into walking slower?

anyway we all cried a lot and apologized and shit but i'm still just tired and not really getting the levels of personal time i need and... etc.

also i had to break my paul simon moratorium. but like. it was an emergency okay. paul simon is my xanax.

posted by ~renata~ at 3:08 PM
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so apparently the rest of the family thinks i'm an inconsiderate bitch, and also that if they talk about me while i'm in the next room that i will not be able to hear them.

good, good.

happy christmas eve, everyone.

posted by ~renata~ at 4:11 AM
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

oh. i have to say. that mamma mia! is seriously the best musical ever. or okay in the top five anyway.


it helped that i was sitting next to trina, my co-abba-obsessor. we were SO, um, ridiculous. especially during all three encores.

additionally: "does your mother know" has been in my head allll day.

also, today's trip to bath demonstrated the fact that i have become fairly jaded to old and/or picturesque things. whateverrrr, that cathedral was only 500 years old. i've seen older.

me and reid's new favorite phrase: "this train is for cockfosters." hahaha, that train is full of cockfosters. that guy is such a cockfoster. quit being such a cockfoster.

another highlight of today:

mom: we're going to tesco.
me: WHAT.
mom (not realize i'm joking): um... well... i just thought... your dad wanted some yogurt...

oh also i saw stonehenge? it was super hengey. and also, the jane austen centre in bath.

basically though, mamma mia! = the best thing ever.

posted by ~renata~ at 5:00 PM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005


i am:

- aware that i just used two colons in a row
- still alive
- still in london
- busy
- tired
- sad that trina left this morning
- glad that miriam + my family are still here
- tired!
- going to bath tomorrow
- that's bath the town, not bath like, a bath
- going to bed now.

posted by ~renata~ at 4:49 PM
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

listening to: tori, father lucifer

still sooo tired. lamesville. mike woke me up with his packing at like 4am and my sleeping patterns never really recovered. i haven't reallly had a good night's sleep in like a week, and seriously i am a girl who needs a regular sleep schedule. also i'm sick.

i feel bad because i get all cranky with my family but like... it happens?

okay. maybe i will go to bed. right now. and then life will be good.

posted by ~renata~ at 3:31 PM
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Friday, December 16, 2005

oh NO! i just went to check my flist before i went to bed, and john spencer, aka leo, died!!

<333 leo. and thus by exension, <333 john spencer. ergo, sad face.

posted by ~renata~ at 7:26 PM
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guys i think i need to put myself on a paul simon moratorium for awhile. lately he (& simon + garfunkel) are like, allll i listen to and i don't want to burn out on paul simon the way i did with ani difranco. or rent.

of course i really have yet to burn out on tori amos and i've been listening to her pretty obsessively for like 6 years now. so. who knows. but just as a preventative measure, no more paul simon. until 2006. at least. because i mean, when kait and i go on our awesome roadtrip we will probably listen to graceland about five thousand times and i want to be prepared.

speaking of tori (AND of 2006), i'm soo excited for fade to red. finally tori videos on dvd!! heh, i like that they are advertising it as "a must-have for any devotee or casual fan". first of all, tori doesn't HAVE any casual fans, she only has crazy people and then people who are indifferent to her/hate her. second of all, even if she has a couple casual fans, there is no way they would want a 2-dvd set of crazy tori music videos. i mean, i would describe myself as a "casual fan" of, say, lisa loeb. if i found out she was coming out with a 2-dvd music video set, i would be much more likely to say "hmm" than "i must have it!" that is like, the definition of "casual fandom".

i also like that tori's wikipedia entry says: "She is also known for making eccentric comments during interviews and in concerts." ohh crazy-tori, i love you.

and now for a random crazy-tori quote, since i haven't really done any in awhile:

Did Ann write any of the songs on your record?
Oh no, of course not. Oh no no no no no. As a songwriter, I'm sort of a seahorse. Don't they mate with themselves?

No I think they kill their mates.
Seahorses don't kill their mates! Do they? The men have babies.

The men have the babies, but the women always kill the men.
The men don't kill--the women don't kill the men!

I'm sorry, you're right. I get all these animals mixed up anymore.
Wait a minute. Seahorses I don't think--

It's a praying mantis.
It's a praying mantis. I'm a minister's daughter. I'm staying away from praying. As a songwriter, I join with the creative force. But I'm the sole songwriter.

sooo good. (you should go read the full interview; the interviewer gets fixated on trying to get tori to say she's better than dan brown and it's hilarious.)

ooh... *gasp*

M: So what's next for you after this tour?
TA: I've always wanted to write a musical. I've been approached, but I just need to think about it because it's very challenging and you could get it all wrong. We'll see...

can you even imagine how crazy a tori amos musical would be? i would go see it twenty times. especially if it had zombies and/or john kerry and/or animatronics.

anyway i am going to sleep now. goodnight!

posted by ~renata~ at 6:38 PM
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what did i do today? ohh, not much, just got up, showered, inadvertently abandoned my family at an international airport, bought some groceries, and went to a performance of handel's messiah.

yeah. so basically, i've been misremembering that my family was arriving on saturday forever, and my mom never really corrected me when i was like "blah blah, see you saturday!"

and then today i was re-reading an email from my mom, with her flight info... and, haha, they totally got in today! at 11am! and i didn't figure this out until 11:30 am! best daughter ever :( but, at least i did re-read that email and i called and paged them before they got too freaked out.

anyway. um. it's awesome to see them all again although they're cranky and jetlagged and i got cranky from the huge crowds at heathrow + on oxford street (where we went for lunch/so i could drop off books at school). hopefully tomorrow will be better.

mom also brought some of our christmas presents AND our stockings AND a tiny tree AND our ceramic christmas cat family, which i totally wasn't expecting. awwww. our apartment is all christmassy!

(a note on the ceramic christmas cat family: we've had it forever, it's a little certamic set: a christmas tree, a fireplace, a dad cat sitting in an easy chair, a mom cat holding a cake, a girl cat, and a baby boy cat. so it's just like our family!! or at least it was when we first got it; reid's no longer a baby. also none of us are cats. also my mom is unlikely to hold cakes. other than that: just like our family! reid and i always used to fight over who got to set it up.)

so... hooray. also, miriam and trina will be here soon! hooray!

oh, and on handel's messiah... christ (pun intended?), it's LONG. mike and i got so bored. i'm so non-classy. but seriously, we came for the "hallelujahs" and that's basically all, okay. i also liked the "we like sheep" part though. i was totally spacing out, and then all of a sudden it was like... "did they just say 'we like sheep?' whoa, they DID!" (in full: "we, like sheep, have gone astray" or something like that. but they sing "we like sheep, we like sheep, we like sheep" about 50 times before the astray part. sooo good.)

posted by ~renata~ at 4:52 PM
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

listening to: paul simon, graceland

tonight mike was talking about how his parents tried to instill him with yuppie values, and how he thinks what his parents have tried to teach him is that "money will make you happy." jenny agreed to some extent, and i said that i thought the values my parents tried to instill in me were more along the line of "work sucks; low budget roadtrips will make you happy."

in that vein i am listening to graceland and looking at websites for memphis tourism and basically just being really excited about, like, august or whenever me and kait's awesome road trip will be. kait, let's go here on our awesome roadtrip okay?

i'm also really excited about london with my family + miriam and trina. oh man, that's going to be so awesome too.

actually i'm also pretty excited about getting back to grinnell. oh and camp, i'm excited about camp next summer. and seeing the cats again. ohhh magneto i miss you.

MY LIFE IS JUST ONE BIG STRING OF EXCITEMENT. and a lot of anticipation. anticipation is awesome too.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:30 PM
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what up, guys. i'm done with my internship. apparently, technically i'm supposed to go in tomorrow, but i really thought that today was supposed to be my last day and ippy obviously doesn't know, so... not going. there's not really any work left to do anyway.

it was nice, we all went out to lunch and i got a nice card and a book and a gift certificate.

honestly though, i can't really say i'll miss the office or anyone there, really. i mean a, a 6 week internship isn't long enough to really get to know anyone and b... i don't know, i didn't spend a lot of time directly interacting with anyone.

but, um, stuff.

also i'm feeling kind of sick. um, basically i just want to sleep. and i'm sure all of you finals-takin' kids feel similarly. OH but i did want to post something. two somethings, actually. from eleanor rigby by douglas coupland:

i felt like me, but not me. i suppose it's why we like travelling; it's why cults target airports, why train stations sell the flags of all nations. travel dissolves you. it makes you need to rebuild yourself, forces you to remember where you're from.

and from the interview with the author at the end:

pet hate?
how about my pet love? i love being a fat when i meet people whose work i like, books or otherwise. there's something so great about fandom. i remember the year me and five other friends went apeshit over OMD in 1980-something. it brought us together in a way that still feels intimate two decades later. if you like smoething, let people know it. life is so short.

douglas coupland is so far, two for two in good books, and i want to read more of his stuff. he's like the canadian chuck palahniuk, and i'd say that even if he weren't actually canadian. it's similar sort of- realistically quirky characters, unexpected situations, commentary on middle-class society, etc.- but coupland is more friendly and, well, canadian in demeanor. oh one other thing from the author interview:

what keeps your writing positive and keeps you from being cynical?
i think cynicism is lazy thinking posing as depth and coolness. how many times have you ever heard of a hot young cynical artist who flamed out and was never heard from again? all the time. because there's no nutrition in cynicism. not that you have to be a goody-two-shoes, but your ideas have to be coming from a real place.

so... i think that the boron narratives gives douglas coupland its stamp of approval. STAMP!

and now, the boron narratives might drag itself over to the couch for awhile.

anyone else think it's weird that i just started referring to myself as my blog? yes? me too.

posted by ~renata~ at 1:34 PM
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

listening to: paul simon, spirit voices

fo' the curious: i uploaded and captioned even more photos and also created a new set: personal favorites. so if you want, just check out that set and bypass the other 500 photos. those ones are crap.

posted by ~renata~ at 2:37 PM
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hooray, no internship today! i think i will...


clean? nah, not yet.

finish up christmas shopping? yes, perhaps.

walk around hyde park? yes, hooray!

posted by ~renata~ at 6:32 AM
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listening to: paul simon, under african skies

last night i dreamed that i was escaping from prison. what was really weird, though, is that i've dreamed about escaping from prison before. but it's not like a recurring dream exactly, it's building off of itself, because last night i was all like, "oh, well, the last time i escaped from prison we did this..."

i believe we ended up sneaking to the basement of the prison-- which was basically just like a finished basement in any standard suburban home-- and then i think our plan was to slip out while everyone else was eating dinner. clearly in my sleep i'm a brilliant escape artist. slip out when everyone else is eating dinner... why hasn't someone thought of that before? it's genius.

and then i woke up with "under african skies" in my head. specifically:

take this child, lord, from tuscon arizona
and give her the wings to fly through harmony
and she won't bother you no more

maybe tomorrow night i'll escape from dream-prison with my new wings?

anyway. today i'm supposed to call ippy around noon and see if there's any reason for me to come into work; probably there won't be. i hope there won't be, i don't really want to go.

posted by ~renata~ at 5:30 AM
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Monday, December 12, 2005

dammit! i keep trying to caption a flickr photo "MONKEY" but flickr keeps obstinately changing it back to "Monkey". NOT THE SAME.


janet, jenny and i went ice skating at kew gardens! it was soo pretty.

however: this was only the 2nd time i've ever been ice skating. and the last time was about 12 years ago. so.

i learned two things today:
1. ice is very slippery.
2. ice skating is very hard.

i only fell once, albeit a delightfully spectacular fall-- flat on my face and all.

seriously though, i think that hour of ice skating was as the most mentally exhausting thing i've ever done. no joke. i had to use every single ounce of concentration to keep from falling over. (when i did fall over it's because jenny TALKED TO ME and diverted my attention :( i also had a few disastrous near-falls due to talking. what.)

anyway. um. i'm lookin' foward to:
1. bein' done with hippie crap news.
2. the gil farewell dinner.
3. my family coming!
4. miriam and trina coming!
5. going home? yes, mostly

not lookin' forward to:
1. cleaning up the flat
2. packing.

posted by ~renata~ at 5:33 PM
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hey guys, i bet if i start this entry you can finish it.

so i was running a little late for work and feeling a little bad about it... got here a little after 11 and...

all together now: ippy's not here yet.

which is brilliant! i have an hourish to caption all those photos i uploaded yesterday.

additionally: i would rate the hilarity level of the three most recent penny arcades as "very high".

posted by ~renata~ at 5:29 AM
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

guys. if this were livejournal, and if livejournal had "starry-eyed" as a mood, this entry could look like this:

current mood: starry-eyed

because. that jon stewart poster on my wall. is now signed. by jon stewart. and also, the executive producer and head writer of tds, whose names i have forgotten.

jon stewart!! seriously, there are probably people who i love and admire more than jon, but i think they might all be dead.

let me try to remember... it's not quite fresh anymore since right after i got home i ended up watching palindromes w/jenny and janet (one word review: weird) and then letting jenny use my computer for like, an hour, so.

random amusing quotes (JON STEWART EDITION)

"the management have asked me to make an announcement... tonight, the role of mary poppins will be played by 3 jews reading from a book you've never heard of." (the thing was at the prince edward theatre, where mary poppins usually is. the tickets have a mary poppins watermark. it's glorious.)

audience guy: "i was just wondering why george bush won the election? i mean, talking to my friends in the states, they all hate bush--"
jon: "well! i'm surprised your friends didn't defeat bush."
audience guy: "anyway, are you all just a nation of idiots or what?"
jon: "i do know why bush wasn't elected... but i'm choosing to keep that information to myself."

audience guy: "do you think you could take bill o'reilly in a fight?"
jon: "you have to keep in mind, i'm 150 pounds of asthma."

(really young) audience guy: um-
jon: whoa, whoa, have you been here the whole time? like when i was talking about the tea-drinking motherfuckers?
(really young) audience guy: (something about hating bill o'reilly)
jon: *bows* how is one so young, so wise? with great power, comes great responsibility. use it well... for you are truly a jedi.

audience member (note: not me): "this isn't a question, but, i just wanted to say-- i was going to have a sign but i didn't think they'd let me bring it in-- jon, i love you!"
jon: (gets up, hides behind one of the other guys) (awkward, 7th-grade style) "i-i love you too."
audience member: *starts mumbling vaguely*
other guy: "there's more? could you make it even more awkard?"

audience member: "who would you like to see run for president in 2008?"
jon: "lincoln."
guy: "you know who else would be good? jfk."
jon: "other-other guy, do you have anyone in mind?"
other-other guy: "daniel webster."
me and handful of other audience members: *LAUGHS HYSTERICALLY*
british audience membera: *SILENCE*

dang. i wish i could remember more. it was funny. OBV.

it started off with a clip from the daily show episode that showed after 7/7, and then jon and the 2 other guys (this is so disrespectful of 2 funny and intelligent men, but, whatever, they are non-jon stewart lifeforms) did some readings from america: the book. the highlight was when jon read the chapter about the media, which derives into a rant about 2 sentences in, and jon got SO worked up and the other 2 guys exchanged 2 mock-worried glances, and jon kept going and they got up and physically restrained him. soo funny.

and then, audience q&a. which i already quoted a lot of.

interlude: also while i'm remembering quotes, this one just popped into my head:

(walking past a garfunkel's, a popular british chain)
janet: i wonder if paul simon ever goes there.
me: yeah, and when he gets his food he's always like "i could have made this better."
jenny: !and i could have written the menu more lyrically!"

anyway. the signing line was, i think, the longest line i've ever been in and i've been in some pretty long lines. maybe it wasn't? anyway, it moved real fast though, partially because there were no dedications or anything allowed for the signing, signatures-only.

i wanted something witty to say to jon. what i came up with in my 20 seconds:
me: hello.
jon: hi.
me: i think the daily show is the thing i miss the msot about america.
jon: really?
me: yeah, that and peanut butter.
jon: well thank you. i hope you get them both soon.

and then i said "hey look over there!", stuffed jon in a giant burlap bag, and ran away.

anyway. so like, no one got that much time with jon and i'm sure he was exhausted cuz of jet lag, since it was a one-night-only thing and i'm sure he didn't get much time to adjust. when i got up close i was like "he looks kinda tired. oh. duh." but. it was still awesome because, it was jon stewart. <333

i am now deeply concerned with the safety of my autographed poster. perhaps i will get a tube and mail it home to myself, that seems safest? *pets poster*

interlude 2: last night when mike and i were walking to the pub, we heard these loud firecracker-noises.
me: is someone doing fireworks?
mike: they must be for my birthday!

well, it turns out that actually what mike got for his birthday was a terrible factory explosion that was apparently audible as far away as the netherlands. um, happy birthday, dude.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:13 PM
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listening to: bnl, auld lang syne

i made an XMAS playlist today! i made one last year too but then i accidentally deleted it. it's like 50% barenaked ladies, but i guess that makes sense because theirs is the only christmas album i own.

anyway. today has been glorious. i prepared a glorious picnic lunch: an orange from home, a cookie from tesco, a veggie delite sammich from subway, and a gingerbread latte from starbucks. the latte cost more than the rest of my food combined but it was so wroth it. then i took my glorious lunch and ate it in (also-glorious) kensington gardens. i sat on a bench by the lake, and some old men were sailing their model boats around, and it was crisp and fall-like and sunny (sort of) and good.

then i just took a nice long walk through k-gar and hyde park (they're more or less the same giant park, you just have to cross a street in the middle) and listened to graceland. i know i've talked about this before, but i really don't think it would be exaggerating to say that that album is the closest thing i have to a religion at this stage of my life. it's so amazing to me that it's older than i am and it still speaks to me in this way. unlike kait, i don't associate with my childhood or my family (and unlike kait, i associate it with kait, since she's the one who really got me into it). but it's just so full of peace and joy and wonder and reason to believe we all will be received and lightness and compassion and the story of how we begin to remember and truth and the days of miracle and wonder. and it's more than the lyrics (although as you know, i'm a lyrics girl and a musical ignoramus)... the whole... music... thing... it's so different and it just all fits together so well and it just, um, is good.

it's an album about how sometimes life is hard and sometimes it's more beautiful for having been hard, and it's an album about how all you need is love, and it's an album about how sometimes you can find love in places you weren't expecting to find it, and it's an album about how life is full of beauty, and it's an album about loneliness and an album about togetherness, and it's an album about how we will all be received in graceland, and it's an album that isn't about anything besides the beauty of itself.

seriously all that in just 11 tracks, okay. (well 14 if you have the expanded & remastered one like i do.)

(if anyone wants a copy of it, let me know and i will happily send you one when i'm back in the states. you'll like it. [or else.])

(to a lesser extent i feel the same way about rhythm of the saints. lesser, probably, just because graceland was the first paul simon album i really got into so it has like grandfather-claus status as my favorite. still though. if i have weaknesses don't let them blind me that is my favorite line and i guess it's his too because it turns up in two different songs, "the coast" and "rhythm of the saints". but i think it's a natural extension of graceland. you find your strengths and your weaknesses and then you start thinking about how they affect others. when your own insecurity or pain blinds you to people around you. well, i think.)

i-if anyone but kait is still reading, hello!

last night was fun, btw. we went to the aforementioned hipster pub-- they had a dresscode and boo (remember my old enemy? heh. he's actually not so bad if you don't talk to him about politics; the problem is prior to this i had only exclusively talked to him about politics, which instantly transforms him into a huge jerk. we're still not really friends but at least i don't actively dislike him anymore) anyway boo didn't make the dresscode and almost didn't get let in. his sin? he was wearing "trainers" (aka tennis shoes).

anyway. it was kind of loud so it was hard to carry on big conversations, but i chatted with people and it was fun. and i had 2 realy amazing (and really expensive) cocktails, a mudslide and a cosmopolitan. the cosmopolitan, okay, she took like 7 limes and hand-juiced them, and then sliced off a chunk of orange and burned the peel with a lighter and i have no idea why you would do that to an orange peel but it was so delicious.

and then coming home afterwards, jenny, janet and i stopped at a kebab house (note: these stay open really late in england and sell greasy food to drunk people) and i got a vast quantity of amazing fries. seriously, they were so good.

and then jenny, who was pretty drunk, started ranting about how much she hates amelia and how she hopes amelia will die. she went on for like, an hour in a really circular fashion ("i hate amelia -> i wouldn't care if she died -> i hope she does die! -> if i could get away with it i'd kill amelia -> actually i guess i would feel bad if she died, a little... not really, because i hate amelia -> so i wouldn't care if she died..." and so on.) it was so funny. it would have been kind of sad, but i'm choosing to chalk it all up to her being way drunk and not to jenny being consumed with bitterness and hatred.

anyway. so i'm going to upload a giant stack of photos to flickr, eat dinner, then go see and marry jon stewart. after the ceremony though, i promised kait i'd stuff him in a big sack and mail him to her.

also! last night i was talking to janet about how i was going to see jon, and she told me the CUTEST STORY EVER IN THE WORLD. apparently, jon and his wife like to do the sunday crossword together, and the way he proposed was through a crossword that had "will" "you" "marry" "me" in strategically placed answers.

HE PROPOSED THROUGH A CROSSWORD oh jon stewart i love you even more than i already did. WHICH WAS A LOT.

posted by ~renata~ at 9:42 AM
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Saturday, December 10, 2005

listening to: some of mike's stuff

that first sentence meme made me realize how often i start blog entries with "HEY" or "hi" or "so anyway hi" or something like that.

it's not a bad thing, i guess. i'm greeting you guys. seein' what's up. except you guys aren't expected to respond back. it's pretty one-sided.

whatever though. hey guys. hi.

let's see. edward scissorhands: the ballet was really cool, albeit a little hard to follow if one hasn't seen the movie. (look, i tried to watch it, but the next-door movie rental place didn't have it, and i was too lazy to extend my search.) my favorite part was the curtain call... after everyone came out, edward sort of wandered onstage, still in character, and then sort of looked over vaguely as if he had just noticed the audience and then came to center stage. and then it started snowing again and he looked up at the snow. and then bowed. it was just, i don't know, perfect.

and then friiiday, jenny, janet (jenny's friend who we stayed with in paris, who is now visiting us), and anne (a cool girl from the program) and i went to the stars concert. i liked them a lot-- i'd never really heard of them until like a week ago, but it was good, as was their opening act, a band called my latest novel.

but oh my god, my latest novel kept using the craziest instruments and janet and i would giggle and jenny would stand there trying to look hip...

tonight at the stars concert: (well, really during my latest novel, stars's opening act.)

jenny: look, he's playing a child's xylophone!
me and janet: HEE HEE HEE!
me: sorry we can't stop giggling, jenny, i know we're ruining your hipster cred.
jenny: you guys are just chronically uncool.

me: HEE HEE HEE! look, now he's playing a mexican scrapey gourd thing! there are like five of those in my house, i could start a band!
jenny: renata, i want to see your house, i bet it's a freakshow.

seriously though, "HEE HEE HEE" is a completely accurate transcription of the way those things made me giggle.

they also used one of those kids' flutey-piano things. it was AWESOME. also sometimes he would just hit mallets together. or clap.

hee hee!


today... what? oh, we went to a football game. and by football i mean soccer. it was, you know, stuff. i sat next to reese and we kept getting distracted by talking about how weird football fans are, and then we'd look up and they would have scored a goal, or some guy would be lying on his back on the field.

and then tonight we're going out to celebrate mike's birthday. we're going to some really hip pub. mike told me i had to wear my red leather jacket. i even put on makeup. and my swirly black skirt. but i'm still wearing my rainbow knee socks so i won't get mistaken for a real cool person. whew.

and tomorrow: JON STEWART YES.

posted by ~renata~ at 1:06 PM
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Friday, December 09, 2005

i just took an hourlong nap, and then just laid in bed for about another hour. it was so nice. i feel like "semi-conscious lying down time" is a highly underrated hobby.

anyway, end of the year meme, ganked from blue! 1st sentence from the first post of each month! hooray!

hiiii i'm home. wow, that physics lab was ridiculously easy. dear physics lab, nomination for the best typo ever: evil costello. i think i'm kind of over ani difranco. i win at the internet! okay hi. HEY. *wails* i've listened to this song like 230948238904 times today. hello! note: the intarweb isn't working so i'm writing this up in notepad, to be blogged later!

wow, remember that one time when i took physics? it's encapsulated forever in the internet, much like a struggling mosquito in amber.

anyway, that might have been more interesting if i would have rejected all the one-word first sentences... but that wouldn't have been REAL, you know. i am all about keeping it real.

tonight i am going to a concert, the band is called stars... i've only heard a few of their songs but they sound cool. and stuff.

right now i'm trying to work up the motivation to do edits on my internship paper so i'll be done with it forever.

oops i wrote this and then left for the concert and didn't publish it. *publishes*

posted by ~renata~ at 11:13 AM
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

holy smokes, guys, i'm pretty sure that neil gaiman's latest blog entry is one of the most brilliant (not to mention most funny) things i've seen lately ever.

additionally, i am using The Old Computer at work today and i would like to apologize to all of you who use 800 x 600 res monitors to view this blog. it looks pretty lame, it does, so i hope that none of you are using Old Computers. or Old Monitors.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:53 AM
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listening to: tori, general joy

first of all, i would like to give blue some sort of award for her recent comment, because it made me giggle. i don't know, picturing a cat sleeping in a phonebook is just very adorable.

also, kait: IT IS TIME... for the lion king to denounce the terrorist activities of the 11th of september :(

anyway. why is lj down again? so lame.

i just met with donna vinter about my internship paper. and guys, being an english/history major is weird enough-- yes, it's just writing lots of papers for both , but there are these subtle tricky differences-- but this was surreal, because it was an english professor giving me feedback on a history paper. what. so she would say things like "well, there are so many acronyms... i think you should use the whole group name whenever you start a new paragraph." whereas the official historian standpoint on acronyms is something like, "wahhhh poor baby can't remember what the acronyms stand for, i already told you once at the beginning of the paper". and just other small things, like "maybe you can just fudge that detail so the paper is more clear". so weird. omg, can you even imagine vbrown using the phrase "fudge that detail"... NO YOU CAN'T, not least because most of you have never met her.

um anyway. tonight i am going to see edward scissorhands. not the movie: the ballet. also we are going out to dinner because it is mike's birthday! hooray!

perhaps i will go to work now. perhaps.

posted by ~renata~ at 4:24 AM
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

unsent email:

dear donna vinter,

we know how hard the 7/7 attack must have been for you. we send you this image in solidarity.




renata, mike, and jenny

seriously, we just spent like half an hour looking at the "9/11 and terrorism tribute" section of the lion king fanart archive. it is one of the funniest things... ever. apparently, despite being an african lion, simba stands proud with america.

so brilliant.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:34 PM
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listening to: beatles, ob-la-di, ob-la-da

the internet at home is still not working, which makes me full of sad.

it's so close to being the end of my semester in london which is sad too, but that means it's close to my family + miriam and trina visiting, which is happy!

today (after soaking up the internet at the program site) i am going to go get some no-name nuggets from red veg, and then walk around a park! (i have not yet decided which one.)


also, i have been reading native son, and my copy has 30 pages randomly missing. but they have been helpfully replaced by 30 pages from black boy. apparently the publishers of this book felt that all richard wright books are interchangeable? it was very unsettling, though.

here is the changeover:

"Here; stretch out on the bed. You'll feel better in a little while," the mother said." [page turn]
Then, just before I was to go to bed, she uttered a paralyzing injunction: she ordered me to go out into the dark, dig a grave, and bury the kitten.

see, it kind of makes sense, except that there had been no kitten in the story prior to this. and at the top of the page it said black boy which was not the title of the book i had previously been reading. and also native son is in 3rd person so it was like "who is this 'i'?! what? oh."

anyway it seems that nothing too important must have happened in my missing 30 pages. maybe i'll get to the end though and be like "well, that didn't make any sense. i bet it was all explained in those lost pages. noooo!" at least i only spent 2 on it. and it was from the oxfam store. thanks for selling me a defective book, charity. if you're this good at selling books i can't imagine how awesome you must be at helping people. oh zing!!

also: why is livejournal down? i wanted to read my flist. booo.

also: happy birthday trina, if you are reading this, which probably you're not!!

posted by ~renata~ at 6:31 AM
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Monday, December 05, 2005

man, classlists for next semester are up and amelia is in BOTH of my english classes!! and so is stokesty. dangit. (i don't think i've talked about stokesty much, he's a nice guy but really like... angsty/pretentious/etc.) ohhh the high price of english majordom: high numbers of toolfaces.

posted by ~renata~ at 10:35 AM
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listening to: bnl, the flag

heeey i'm not working. ippy went to go smoke. she told me a tale of woe about how yesterday she wasn't very productive and she couldn't figure out why and then she realized it was because she "forgot to smoke."

shit, maybe that's why i'm such a slacker all the time, not enough nicotene! ever!

anyway. keith: yeah, usually i keep my white/privilege guilt to a minimum but sometimes it gets overwhelming. if i had partly cloudy patriot with me i'd quote it but instead i'll paraphrase... something like, "i'm pretty sure 'reflect on the sins of the conquistadores over your morning coffee' is one of cosmopolitan's tips for a great way to start the day." except it's not just the conquistadores, you know, you also have to reflect on the working conditions of the coffee growers and also the environmental damage being done by the coffee farms.

at least i buy fair trade coffee?

this is probably why i get so resentful of alarmist, self-righteous groups (/individuals/the letters page of the s&b), i don't need any more guilt. what i need is to be more productive with my guilt but like, sometmes it's just so much work. so basically i am a consumerist/self-aware/concerned/lazy citizen.

who doesn't own the west wing dvd box set :(

and i get these moods where i'm SO tired of accumulating stuff and i'm like "look at all this stuff in my room, i should just throw half of it out and have a more minimalist lifestyle, i don't need any of this. except for all my books, i need those. and the cds. and my nightcrawler action figure. aww and my grandma gave me that stuffed animal, i still need that..." and so on, through basically everything i own.

also, devon, yeah... well, at least we'll all have good company in greediness hell :)

anyway, maybe i'll go do some work now. maybe.

posted by ~renata~ at 6:13 AM
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Sunday, December 04, 2005

listening to: paul simon, train in the distance

dear pirated wireless,

yarrr, please start working.



anyway. sveske & thomas are here! mostly what they want to do in london though is go shopping, and stores in london, in december, on the weekend, are SO. CROWDED. i'm not that bad with crowds, but it's just really intense being surrounded by so many people. especially when it would be societally unacceptable to pull out my ipod and start listenig to paul simon which would have made the crowds much less crowded.

here are some things which i looked at but did not buy:
- the complete simon & garfunkel box set
- the complete west wing dvd box set (granted, even if i could have afforded it it would have been silly to buy it since i already own seasons 1-3, but, such a pretty box!)
- the complete james bond dvd box set.
- what is it with me and box sets? actually i don't own any box sets, maybe that's why i want one.
- the complete works of oscar wilde (cheap! only 5! i still might go back and buy it even though i already own like half of his works. just not in one pretty volume!)
- the complete grimm's fairy tales (again, only 5! still might go back and buy!)
- there was some other stuff too?

man, it sucks looking at stuff and then mentally doubling the price. like "ooh, this cd is 50% off! it's 10! which makes it, $20. that's more than i pay for fullprice cds at home, doh."

when i get home i'm going to go crazy from the cheapness and buy all these cds i don't even WANT. like "renata, i didn't know you liked eminem!" "i don't but this was only 5, dude!"

anyway. besides the shopping we did also see this really cool art exhibit that's up near tower bridge, this guy has been taking tons of photos of the earth from above... not like satelitte or anything, it said between like 30meters and... higher than that. but they're really pretty.

but also they were coupled with alarming facts about how our consumerist society is destroying everything ever, and most people don't even get to consume anything. like 90% of people have NEVER MADE A PHONE CALL.

of course 40% of all statistics were made up by zombie mark twain, but i'm sure something in the neighborhood of that is true anyway.

seriously, we're all so overprivileged.

except for me because i don't even have free wireless internet or any dvd box sets, poor me :(

i hate being aware of my privilege because then it makes me feel really greedy for wanting anything.

but i guess it beats being totally underprivileged.

(deep thoughts with renata: being privileged is way better than being unprivileged. FOR SERIOUS.)

also, some of the photos are online and they're really cool. i'd post links to my faves but i've only gots 7 more minutes of internet so just go look for yourself. really, they're beautiful.

also, don't forget to feel guilty about how privileged you are!! it's the perfect way to spend an afternoon! extra guilt if you're white! c'mon, do it.

posted by ~renata~ at 4:52 PM
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Friday, December 02, 2005

listening to: paul simon, graceland

okay stupid pirate internet isn't working AGAIN. for like 2 days. um clearly this is unacceptable.

chungy: jon stewart is dec 11, at 4pm or 7pm (i'm going at 7). you can book online at jonstewartlive.com.

everyone else: umm... today i did my laundry and walked around hyde park.

i just rented spy kids and i plan to go watch it.

my awesome new comic book tights fell down when i was carrying my laundry back. it was a little sketch. only not really because i was still wearing a long skirt.

today's questionable content comic was startling!

additionally, today's thinkin' lincoln was hilarious.

i like kittens.

tomorrow sveske is coming.

i made really good indian food for dinner but it all baked to the pan.

james garfield was ambidextrous.

i just bought trina the best birthday present everrr but it is a secret until i know she has received it.

i have 3 minutes of internet time left so i guess i will stop telling you random facts about my day and just publish this. i guess.

posted by ~renata~ at 2:36 PM
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Thursday, December 01, 2005

note: the intarweb isn't working so i'm writing this up in notepad, to be blogged later!

jenny: i always associate guys and dolls with that one episode of the simpsons.
me: me too, actually. "guys and dolls, we're just a bunch of crazy guys and dolls!"
jenny: is that song really in it?
me: no, it's not even a real song. i'm pretty sure mark hamill points that out in the episode. it is pretty catchy though.

me: wouldn't it be great it ewan sang "luke be a jedi tonight"? because, he's obi-wan?

anyway, okay, so, oh my god, guys, seriously, today was by far the most fortuitous day ever in the world.

first off: it is lucky that two days ago i thought to look for guys & dolls tickets online. i had decided that, even though ewan mcgregor *supposedly* wasn't in the show anymore (i had been lead to believe this by new posters in the tube, advertising some new guy as sky masterson), i still wanted to try to see it because i do love g&d and i've never seen a professional production of it. and lo and behold, i discovered that ewan secretly had one more week!! (not really secretly. i mean it was on the website and everything.)

then, i asked jenny if she wanted to go see it with me and she said yes. and then i looked and found out it was sold out for the rest of the week, boo-urns.

but THEN jenny said that she had overheard tamar talking about some sort of rush seats, and she'd ask her and let me know.

so this morning i got up and went to go see... tonight was the only night jenny and i could have seen it together, since she's leaving for dublin tomorrow and staying until monday, by which time EWAN will be gone.

and i was too late to get a rush seat for the evening show! but i got SRO, and we got there tonight and discovered that SRO at the piccadilly theatre is really not bad at all, we could see the stage perfectly and everything. and guys, ewan + hat = adorable. really. ewan/hat otp, really. BUT THEN, at intermission jenny said she noticed two open seats, and she had counted out exactly where they were. and we debated for about 30 seconds, and then went to occupy those seats. lucky us, their rightful owners never came to claim them, so we got some nice, cheap center-stage seats for act 2.

and guys, act 2... "luck be a lady" is seriously one of my favorite showtunes ever, okay. and seeing EWAN MCGREGOR sing it was just, like, asdklasdkl. (i know, i know, there goes all my "i only like hip, new musicals" cred, but seriously, do no fuck with "luck be a lady" okay.)

i should also add here that the rest of the cast was really great too, especially adelaide (aka jane krakowski, aka that chick from ally mcbeal) and nicely nicely. just a reallly great, fun, production. like sometimes you just want perfectly-timed arm waggles, you know?

and then AFTER the awesome show, jenny was like, "hey, let's go to a pub, they're getting all cute and christmassy." and i was like, "sure!" so we walked by a couple near the theatre, but passed them up for being too crowded. then we walked by another one, and decided to go in.

and then the first thing i saw was jon stewart.

okay not the real jon stewart, it wasn't THAT fortuitous of an evening. but it was a poster! advertising "an evening with jon stewart, december 11"!!!! so i like, freaked out a little. because, omg, jon stewart, and i'll still be in london for that. and also, i stole the poster on my way back out of the pub. (it's on my bedroom wall now. OH JON STEWART YOU ARE MY NEW FAVORITE ROOMMATE. note: sorry christine, julia, mary, et al... c'mon, it's jon stewart.)

BUT the point is, seriously, how lucky is it that all this happened? i doubt i ever would have heard about the jon thing if we hadn't gone to that pub (or possibly a different one, but it would have had to be one in the theatre district-- most pubs near me don't advertise stuff like that.)

and if i hadn't really liked g&d, i wouldn't have thought to try to see it even after ewan left. and if jenny hadn't overheard tamar, we wouldn't have known about the rush seats.

and, omg, ewan mcgregor and jon stewart and seriously LIFE IS SO AWESOME.

but i wish kait were here this week, we could rush for g&d and stalk ewan mcgregor and then go see jon stewart and be AWESOME.

posted by ~renata~ at 4:33 AM
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