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Main | September 1999 »

August 30, 1999
[i'm sleepy...]

I'm sleepy. My new bedroom is very small. I want my computer back. I want to win a sweepstakes and pay all my bills. I want an internship.


Why would anyone call up a radio station and request a Sammy Hagar song? Does this happen in places other than Pittsburgh? Yes, I'm sure it does.

Sorry for the lameness of this entry.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 21, 1999
[just as i didn't...]

Just as I didn't feel like making the original beach list, I also have little desire to make Beach List 2: What I Actually Did. But since, if I don't make this list, I will end up a) going downstairs, lying on a couch and drifting in and out of sleep in front of the television, b) reading more of Shampoo Planet, a book I'll talk about shortly (reading is good, but not always productive), or c) going to the mall to exchange an ugly skirt I got for free from Express for two pairs of panties (something that needs to be done, but Express has become very scary. I also realized that they only hire attractive people. Not getting hired by Express could severely injure a teenage girl's self-esteem, I think), yes, since if I don't make this list I will end up doing one of those things, and since I would probably think about getting the list over with, were I doing one of those things, I should just make the list. So I will.

Because it allows for ease of comparison, but moreso because I'm lazy, it's the same list, but with different commentary and with some additions. You'll be riveted, I'm certain.

read fashion/men's magazines

What I bought: Maxim, Jane, Cosmo. I didn't devour them as expected. Possibly because magazines function mainly as an escape for me, and I was already experiencing a more all-encompassing escape, being at the beach. I am lucky, because now I will already have magazines to calm me in a couple of weeks when homework avoidance periods will beckon.

constantly reapply sunscreen

I applied, but I didn't reapply. Hence, my arms are tan. I even have annoying lines from my bikini top from the one day I went to the beach. I hate not being all the same color.

play pinball alone

I did this. It was fun. However, I used to be a pinball wizard, but I am only mediocre now. I think, actually, that the trick to pinball is to find one game that you're really good at. I found such a game when I was in DisneyWorld in 1990, but not since.

sit on a bench and watch people

I did this, too. Again, fun. Most interesting people I saw were a group of about twelve girls, all with bathing suits on over their clothing, all holding hands. I got up and asked them what they were doing. Pledging, they said, and asked me if I had a ticket stub. I didn't.

play Super Nintendo

Only F-Zero, and I couldn't beat any of my brother's records. I don't know what's wrong with me. We got Mom, Dad and Uncle Tim to play, too. They were funny. Dad seemed to think that turning and hitting the wall as soon as the game started was a good idea.

read books

The books: Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland. Not done with the Coupland novel yet. Diary has got me thinking in fragments and wanting to rate things as g. and v.g. It was a g. book, not very fulfilling, however. When it had insights, they were good, but for a diary, it kind of lacked introspection. And I did not, as did the millions of women mentioned on the back of the cover, feel like Bridget Jones was me.

The Coupland novel is okay, but it's also annoying. I don't know if the jumpy style was intentional or not. I don't know, I'm not done with it so I'm not going to rate it.

eat hoagies

Only ate one, yesterday. Asked for turkey, she thought I said tuna. Still, it was yum.

walk on the boardwalk alone

Did this a lot. Bought too much.

play in the ocean alone

Actually, the one time I was in the ocean, I was with my dad. We had fun. He bodysurfed and I stood there trying to look cute for the lifeguards. Not really, Greg.

buy flip-flops

Wanted brown, got blue. I like them, though.

play miniature golf

My brother and I played on my suggestion. I beat him by one. He beat me in the race through the hall of mirrors, though. We timed each other. Chris (brother) lost the first time and asked the guy (who was younger than both of us and trying very hard to look cool) if he could do it again for free. The guy nodded. Chris then ran through the hall of mirrors, hitting someone in the process, and ultimately beat my time. We are dorks like this.

You know, I did some other stuff, but nothing mentionable. Or at least, nothing I feel like writing down. I think the list as-is gives a pretty good idea of the shore experience. I did find this awesome '70s cut shirt (yellow) that says 'OCEAN CITY' on it, and I did get to talk to Greggy almost every day, and I also wrote him a big letter. But all in all, I was kind of lonely.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 14, 1999
[i don't feel like...]

I don't feel like making the list of what I'll do at the beach. But I'll make it anyway. My new idea is to make a page devoted to lists. If only I could bring a computer with me to the beach. Then making lists would be something I could put on this list. I could still make lists on paper, anyway.

read fashion/men's magazines

I'll read pretty much anything, even the really boring ones like Bazaar and Vogue.

constantly reapply sunscreen

There aren't many trees on the beach under which I could hide. I must protect my delicate skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sunscreen is annoying, however.

play pinball alone

Actually, I'm going to do everything alone unless my brother makes me let him join me. This is the first year in about five years that I'll be friendless at the beach. Sigh. But playing pinball is one of my favorite boardwalk activities, next to sitting on a bench and watching people.

sit on a bench and watch people

Sorry, that was lame, you knew that was coming.

play Super Nintendo

My brother and I play more Nintendo during the week we're down the shore than all times during the rest of the year combined. Games I'll play: F-Zero, Donkey Kong Country, perhaps others.

read books

I don't know which books yet, I'm going to take a ride out to Borders and stock up on books and magazines. I think I might pick up something from Douglas Coupland. I read Microserfs on vacation last year and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Even if his books are overly generational stuff-referential (I'm not sure if that really works as a phrase, but oh well), they're still fun reads.

eat hoagies

They're so much better in this area than on that other side of the state.

walk on the boardwalk alone

play in the ocean alone

I am so alone.

buy flip-flops

There's this one store that sells the most awesome flip-flops for 3 bucks. Once I found a cool brown pair in my size and didn't buy them because I was being weird about spending money that day. I have yet to find flip-flops of any color in my size again. So really that list item should read 'buy flip-flops if possible.'

play miniature golf

I don't want to, but I know some family member will rope me into it.

I think I'm making this vacation out to be more bleak than it will be. Being alone can be nice. It's been awhile since I've been able to spend an extended period of time in solitude. I think it will be a reflective and cleansing experience. Perhaps I will run into the ocean fully clothed as a symbol of it, of the cleansing of my soul. Aahhh.

When I get back from the beach, I'll make a list of what I actually did. I bet you thousands of readers out there can't wait for that.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 13, 1999
[today i'm driving home...]

Today I'm driving home. Tomorrow I don't know what I'm going to do, probably laundry. Maybe I'll try to write something to send to Annie from Out of Order because I want to write for this webmagazine for college women. I sent her a link to my page, or at least I thought I did, about a week ago. But it's not showing up in my sent mail and I haven't heard back from her, so I'm hoping she didn't get it, because otherwise I think she probably just thinks I suck. Anyway, that's tomorrow.

Sunday I'm going to go to the beach with Becca and Chrissie for a day. We did it a couple of years ago. I wore bikini bottoms that were way too small because I had bought the bikini when I was eleven or twelve. They were a size six, though, so they should have fit. They were also a bad flourescenty rainbow pattern. Anyway, I was fat because it was right after freshman year, when I gained the freshman fifteen that I didn't think could happen to me and lost my supermodel body forever. Well, I never had a supermodel body, at least not a Cindy Crawford or Laetitia blehblehbleh body. That Laetitia girl is way too sexy. She has to be stopped. But I think she's getting overused, anyway. She was in the first three ads of the recent Cosmo.

So I was fat, and my big white thighs were bulging out of these little bikini bottoms, and I wore a tank top instead of a bikini top, which was not very smart. Playing in the ocean I noticed my nipples kind of hurt. Then they stung after I got out of the ocean. I don't want to talk about what happened to them when I got home from the beach that day, but I will say that I'm all better now.

Originally I had a direction for this journal entry. I was going to make a list of all the things I will do at the beach next week. (After I go to a Delaware beach with my friends, I'm going to drive down to the Jersey Shore and meet my family. Unless my friends want to go to New Jersey, that's not worked out yet. Also, why is there a town named Jersey Shore in the middle of PA? Someone was being weird.)

I'm sorry this is so rambling. I wonder if anyone actually reads these. I was reading some girl's online diary the other day. She was fifteen. I read about how she lost her virginity and how there was "absolutely no way I could have gotten pregnant since my period ended the day before." I shook my head at it.

Okay, so here's what I'm going to do down the shore, but before I make it I have to share something about the phrase "down the shore," not so much about that phrase as about how my cousin Liam once wrote out invitations to his birthday party and next to WHERE: wrote "up my dad's," because his parents were divorced (they still are) and whenever he visited his dad he said he was going "up my dad's." But it looked pretty funny written on all those cards.

I think I'll make the list tomorrow. That's if I'm alive. It's Friday the 13th. I'm wearing my lucky socks (blue socks I bought from K-mart a few years ago, I had been craving a pair of light blue socks (why? Who knows) and I found them just sitting on the stocking rack. My craving was answered. Later I found a whole rack of light blue socks, but I still think my particular pair is special. It was more that they found me than I found them.). But I was thinking that maybe wearing lucky socks will just enhance my bad luck, because they're not good-lucky socks, just lucky socks. So. And the PA turnpike always kind of nerves me. But at least Greg got the tape that was stuck in my tape deck out, as well as filled my tires with air (Thank you, Greggy, you are wonderful). So tomorrow, if I'm alive, I'll make the list of what I will do down the shore.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 11, 1999
[classes i wish i'd taken at pitt]

Classes I wish I'd taken at Pitt

Popular Culture

Not Intro to Popular Culture, offered by the Literature department and which would have sufficed if it weren't always closed, but Popular Culture, offered by the History department. I think it mostly focused on the '30s through the '70s. When I couldn't get into it as a freshman and sophomore, I thought, "Well, by the time I'm a senior I'll be able to take it." Of course, it's not offered anymore.

Documentary Film

I want to watch documentary films. Maybe Filmmakers offers a similar class that I could take after I graduate.

Intro to Performance

Acting is fun.


Actually, I would have to take Intro to Painting, because I got a 2 on the AP Art exam in high school. Hopefully my mom's not reading this, mom, if you are, ignore the sentence after the next one. You said the F-monster (as Greg calls it), to me once, so I'm allowed to say it, too. Those judges were fuckers. I might not have been an awesome artist, but I was original, and originality is essential for survival in today's fast-paced, uncompromising marketplace. You can't get the jobs of tomorrow until you have the skills of today. I had the skills.

Ballet 1

It's been awhile since I've danced, and I liked dancing and think it would be a good way to get in shape again. Of course, I could just take a dance class somewhere, but then I would have to pay for it myself.

numerous Psychology courses

For instance, Psychology of Gender, Psychology of Personality, and others. These classes, however, would have required me to take Intro to Psychology, which was something I wasn't willing to do. I took Psych in high school, I knew enough to make it in the gruelling world of the upper-level course. I mean, I read so many women's magazines, you learn loads of psychological stuff from them.

numerous Philosophy courses

I really should have taken at least one good Philosophy course. I almost took Intro to Existentialism, but that was kind of a fiasco because, in a typical example of how I expect things to be fair when they rarely are, I thought I'd be able to sneak into a recitation section. I hate recitation sections. Anyway, I should have taken Kant or something.

There are more. Maybe I'll add them later. Right now, I'm going to go downstairs to my advisor and attempt to switch Film 4 to Intro to Digital.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 10, 1999
[i listen to classic...]

I listen to classic rock radio every day. It must be awful to be a DJ at the station I listen to. It must be hellish. They play the same exact songs every day, but in different order. I wonder if they've ever repeated the order.

I don't know why I do it to myself, why I allow myself to undergo a hell that the DJs get paid to perpetuate. I only like about sixty percent of the songs. I just pulled sixty out of the sky. I don't know what the percentage would be. It might be less. But liking a song doesn't mean I want to hear it on a daily basis. For instance, I like Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." It's not his best song, but it's pleasant. When they play it, however, I just think of Courtney Cox dancing dorkily on stage with him. I don't want to think about Courtney Cox every day.

But I can change the channel. I can turn the radio off. I can play my tapes. Sometimes I do. Most often, though, I don't, because I have a mental problem.

Some of the songs have become my friends. I really like the two Blue Oyster Cult songs they play. I might someday buy a Blue Oyster Cult record. I wouldn't feel bad about buying a BOC record because it would only be three dollars at Jerry's, maybe just two at Plastic Fantastic, depending on which city I bought it in.

This entry is lame, I'm really out of it because I couldn't fall asleep last night. I think I fell asleep around 5:30. Then my alarm went off at seven and I just thought work could wait for me. I guess I'll go play with Excel now.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 09, 1999
[i don't really like...]

I don't really like the last entry, the supermarket conversations thing. I think I was trying too hard for accuracy.

I was thinking about exploring issues of capturing reality in art, and why it is such a juicy idea to try to make artwork appear real. I don't mean painting, because in painting it's less appealing to try to make realistic works, at least to me. I want to mutate reality with paint.

With film, though, the idea of creating something real, something in which people make lots of mistakes when they talk, and waste a lot of time, and go to the bathroom, and act as real people act, the idea of making something like that seems more genuine to me. I know Andy Warhol was keen on real-time stuff, but I haven't seen enough of his movies (I mean films, Greg) to really know what his ideals were for them. Not that I ever could know his ideals, unless he wrote them down somewhere.

But the medium doesn't want to accomodate accurate reflections of reality. It wants to tell stories, it wants to entertain people. If I were to watch a movie where people were unchoreographed and unedited, but who were completely themselves on camera, I would sit there and think, "Man, this is so cool." But probably not many other people would think that. And besides, it's impossible to achieve that ideal, because the camera's presence introduces an element of self-consciousness in its subjects.

I guess the cinema veritae aesthetic (I was going to say movement, it was a movement, but I think the movement's over, so now it would just be an aesthetic, right?) approaches my idea of how films should be. They're usually documentaries, shot with long takes (to enhance the real-time aspect) and high speed stock (meaning the film is more sensitive to light because the f-maker can't trot around with a set of thousand-watt lamps). They try to capture real life as accurately as possible. When I see movies like these, I occasionally do think, "Man, this is so cool."

But in cinema veritae, the film as a substance itself is a barrier to the reality on the screen. Graininess in the film stock is equated with "realistic," which almost doesn't make sense, because it prevents the viewer from seeing a completely clear image. I guess the graininess could be a commentary on people's inability to perceive reality as clearly as possible (I could have said that better but I don't feel like it), but in acting as a symbol, the film again makes itself too much of a presence and obstructs the reality of the action onscreen.

Yet, the film itself is a real element, the filming occurs in real life, so making that element apparent (with, for instance, a shaky, handheld camera that reminds viewers of the presence of a cameraperson) is in fact more real than disguising it. So there's an inherent contradiction to the idea of portraying reality on film in the cinema veritae style because the camera obstructs the clarity of the image (if the viewers of the film were at the scene, their view would differ from that of the cameraman, would likely not be shaky and not possess grains (though really I just introduced another issue with the whole "if the viewer was there" thing)). At the same time, the camera's and film matter's perceivable presence in a movie lends reality to that movie, because their presence forces the viewer to realize that the act of filming occurred.

I think many old filmmakers have probably written about this subject much better than I am doing now.

And I'm sure no one's reading anymore because this is something that's much more clear in my mind than in what I'm writing, and I doubt anyone finds it as interesting as I do in the first place. It's also much too complicated of an issue to try to solve here. Really, I didn't say what I wanted to. Grr.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM

August 08, 1999
[a meryl streep complexion]

A Meryl Streep Complexion
conversations from a supermarket in Wynnewood, PA

30-something Man: Hey, you look just like that singer.
Me: What singer?
Man: Celine Dion.
Me: No I don't.
Man: You look exactly like her. Honey, get over here, you have to see this girl.

Different 30-something Man: Are you Irish?
Me: Yes.
Man: You really look Irish.
Me: Well, I am.
Man: Are your parents from Ireland?
Me: No.
Man: Are your grandparents from Ireland? Because you just look so Irish.

Elderly Woman: You have very pretty hands.
Me: Thank you.
Woman: Are you Irish?
Me: Yes.
Woman: They're a good people, the Irish.
Me: Thank you.

Middle Aged Woman: Did anyone ever tell you you have a Meryl Streep complexion? (Note: The woman asked me this again over a year later.)

50-something Man: You have the face of a little doll. You should have someone copy it and then you can sell it and make money.

File under DAILY. Posted at 12:00 AM