Contrary to all appearances, I am, in fact, alive and well. I know I've been neglecting you, but I've been busy: moving, researching graduate schools, searching for jobs, cleaning my apartment, setting up my furniture, spending time with friends, dating Ross... Anyway, sorry. But I am BACK and ready to go, starting with this entirely subjective and disjointed list.
EIGHT THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
1. The Max. Public transportation, lovingly known as the Max. For the uninitiated, the Max is, quite simply, one of the best systems of public transportation in this country (although it still sucks when compared to Europe). I still drive a lot, of course, but with my apartment's convenient location (within walking distance of a Max station) I find it increasingly convenient to just Max it.
2. PhD Comics. I stumbled upon this comic strip, PhD Comics (short for Piled Higher and Deeper) and it is hilarious. I've found my voice in academia, and it speaks to me in four brightly-colored panels.
3. Ross. My boyfriend can put together Ikea furniture without directions. If I wasn't dating him for the free dinners, I'd be dating him for that.
4. The PSU Library. So although my apartment is awesome in many ways, it's not so awesome in others. One of the more minor of its drawbacks is that I don't have internet access. But as luck would have it, Ross (see #3, above) has at his disposal an entire university of computer access, which access I steal regularly with great abandon and minimal guilt.
5. The Zoo. Here's my feeling about the Oregon Zoo, and zoos in general: it would be wonderful if we had no need for them, if society and the universe were ordered such that there was no need to keep endangered animals on display. However, until that day comes, I am grateful that I get to work and teach at such a fine example of what zoos can accomplish towards conservation and education.
6. The Portland sky. I forgot some things about Portland and the Northwest in general while I've been away. For instance, I completely forgot how the clouds and the rain give the sky here an incredible depth that is completely lacking in the blue skies of Orange County. I didn't take this picture, but it's a decent example of what I mean.
7. The New York Times Magazine. One of the biggest blessings of being back in Portland is that I've had lots of time to read (see #8, below). It's a small thing, but I picked up this article in the New York Times Magazine at the Hillsboro library yesterday and I've been thinking about it since. Caution to my more sensitive readers: this is a fairly graphic and controversial article about the work of three female sexologists, but if you're willing to dive in it's also extremely fascinating and thought-provoking.
8. Reading. Like I mentioned above, I've had a lot of time to read since I've been back and it has been fantastic. I am currently working my way, for instance, through volume 1 of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, and today I read Peter Shaffer's Equus on the Max. I'm currently reading a biography of Lewis Carroll, and later today I'm going by Barnes and Noble to pick up Q and A, the book upon which Slumdog Millionaire (which was incredible) is very loosely based. Anyway, that's enough of that, and enough links. All I mean to say is that I feel very lucky to be able to spend so much time with literature.
1. PCs. I miss Grammy's Mac. I have converted, and my conversion is incontrovertible. No matter what Ross says.