"Afterlife" by Ingrid Michaelson, from her upcoming album "Lights Out." 

We’re gonna live tonight
Like there’s no tomorrow cause we’re the afterlife

Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
Album: Lights Out
Track: Afterlife

"Beautiful Times (feat. Lindsey Stirling), Owl City’s new single. 

My heart’s burning bad and it’s turning black
But I’m learning how to be stronger
And sincerely I love you dearly 
Oh, but I’m clearly destined to wonder

Artist: Owl City
Album: Beautiful Times (feat. Lindsey Stirling) - Single
Track: Beautiful Times (feat. Lindsey Stirling)

A shot from office hours this week. fionjlau knows where this is! 

Thesis work is killing me, but I’m not sick of it, just worried and tired sometimes. It’s the point in the semester where everyone is beginning to swap thesis horror stories: bad Professors, negligent readers, slavish work, no honors… the list goes on and on. Undergrads are mostly shielded from department politics, but thesis work is so concentrated that power dynamics and individual personalities are bound to surface in sometimes uncomfortable ways. 

Finally got caught up with my sister over the phone the other day - it’s been a while since we’ve talked seriously, but she let me blab about all the books I want to read in full after I graduate. One of them is James Joyce’s Ulysses, which my sister has actually taken the time to finish (when I haven’t, even though my interests technically fall within British modernism -_- )…She knows more about Molly Bloom’s thoughts than I do, no kidding.

Joyce is so visceral (think: animal organs, body parts, sexual fetishes, physical desire), but what he does with language and form is incredible. “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air.” Who can deny those famous first lines? Not I. 

Do racists still exist?

The answer is, of course. 

The other evening, I was sitting with a bunch of my roommates and their boyfriends down in the living room and the conversation turned to one involving affirmative action. 

What disturbed me most about this conversation was how angry the two white men sitting in the room were - they talked about how affirmative action makes it “easier” for minorities, such as African Americans, to get into top universities and graduate programs, as opposed to whites. While they acknowledged that there are historical inequalities that make affirmative action necessary, they remained upset over the fact that a “rich black man” who “has everything” has a much higher chance of getting into, say, Harvard Law than a white man of lesser financial means. 

No system (even ones targeting inequality) are perfect, but the fact is that both of these men used the “us-vs.-them” rhetoric  in which minorities are inevitably privileged by their instructors (e.g. given higher grades on assignments, even if their work is of a poorer quality). Both men complained that they were the ones being discriminated against - that because they are white, attending Berkeley was more difficult because their teachers “liked them” less and expected more out of them. Even worse, one of these men admitted to making blatant references to his homosexuality when talking to his teachers so that they would be “easier” on him. 

At no point did these men refer to their own white privilege. And really, they weren’t talking about affirmative action at all - they were displacing their own anxieties and failures onto others. One of these men dropped out of Berkeley, partly on the claim that the grading system is too subjective. The other man graduated from Berkeley, but claims that the Education minor is full of minorities that the teachers coddle. 

The fact is, both of these men did not get the grades that they wanted, and they blamed this on how the “system” was unfair to them. Not once did they seem to think, “This person received the higher grade not because they’re African American or Japanese, but because they deserve it.” Not once did they seem to ask themselves, “What is it about my own study habits that I can improve on in order to get the results that I want?” 

This conversation was particularly enraging because all the women sitting there (three of us) were minorities who have been taught from day one that not only are we at a disadvantage because we are female and women of color, but that we are the ones that must work harder in order to fit ourselves to the system, not so that the system can fit itself around us. 

As if I didn’t have enough Woolf - now she’s on my sweatshirt, too. 

"Hot Tonight" by Tokyo Police Club, from their new album "Forcefield." 

I burn the house down 

And I leave it behind

I didn’t need the money 

But the money was nice 

Artist: Tokyo Police Club
Album: Forcefield
Track: Hot Tonight

Lunch @Santorini with S. Love their balanced wraps and potato chips that are made in-house and drizzled with lemon oil.

A brief respite for Spring Break… now back to it!

"And I realized that books get their value from the way they coexist with the other books a person owns, and that when they lose their context, they lose their meaning." 

-from Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman [p. 153]

Novela with and the new roommates K & L. 

Never been to an *actual* bar in my life, but let’s face it: fill one with real books and name all the drinks after famous literary characters, and I’m sold. 

Pretty sure that S and I were the only ones actually getting excited over all the titles and removing volumes from the shelves - but c’mon, what’s the point of books if nobody pays attention to them?! I’m almost patently against books for purely decorative purposes - but then again, I’m biased…

The drive into and out of the city was a dream - but the guilt of not writing as much as I should have this weekend culminated in a rush of panic when I checked my e-mail and found a message from one of my readers asking for another part of my draft material. For a moment, I thought that I had made a hideous mistake and had missed an important deadline - but the reality was that my reader had gotten the dates mixed up. Anyways, a good reminder to get cracking. I had a punch named after Hemingway tonight, so that should help. 

"Our Time" by Lily Allen, from her new album "Sheezus." 

Let your hair down now
It’s the end of the week
This is our time now
Let’s forget everything
And put your glad rags on
Dressing up like we’re queens of the night

Artist: Lily Allen
Album: Sheezus (Bonus Track Version)
Track: Our Time