Mix CD Reminder & Other Business

Now that NaBloPoMo is over and I’m fully entrenched in the last week of classes and final exams at school, I think posting here might become scarce for a couple of weeks. Just today, for example, my inbox has been exploding with frantic last-minute emails from my 120 students who all have a paper due tomorrow. This has been super fun, but I won’t say too much about it because I don’t want you all to be jealous.

Nonetheless, I wanted to pop over here and remind you to send me your address if you want to be included on my Winter Holiday Mix CD Mailing List of Excellence! You can reach me at zemblangrammar at gmail dot com. The mix is shaping up to be pretty cool this year, so I hope you are all going to enjoy it!

Also, there may be some changes afoot here at Zemblan Grammar. If you would like to be kept abreast of any developments, make sure I have your email address. Either shoot me a note or leave a comment with your email address included in the appropriate field.

I hope you’re all in fine fettle!

New Moon

I thoroughly enjoyed the latest movie from the Twilight series, New Moon. If you know me at all, you know my deep and abiding love for both vampire stories and stories set in high schools, so this series forms a great combination. I’m not going to sit here and tell you why it isn’t lame for me to be into this stuff, though. If you’re not into the Twilight books and movies, catch up with me again tomorrow — I’ll still be slogging away at the keyboard for National Blog Posting Month!

OK then. Now that it’s just us fans left hanging around, I can tell you what I loved about the movie! Some spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the book. If you have read the book, nothing I tell you will surprise you, so feel free to proceed.

Edited to Add: Please move along if you have no interest in seeing the movie. Thanks.

I really was/am not a fan of Jacob in the books. The way he’s written, he just seems to me to be annoying and not even very cute. In the movies, on the other hand, I kind of love Jacob. Taylor Lautner made him much more likeable in the first movie, even with that annoying wig on. (Luckily in New Moon he goes to his own naturally short hair.) He just seems to be such an easy-wheeling kind of guy, and the scenes between Jacob and Bella had great chemistry.

JACOB: Wait, why am I wearing this shirt?
JACOB: Wait, why am I wearing this shirt? BELLA: Good question.

The rest of the werewolf pack added their own certain something to the film, if you know what I am saying, Ladies, and I think that you do.

Oh, indeed. That is better.
Oh, indeed. That is better.

As in Twilight, I also really enjoyed the other high-school characters when they were around. The awkward date with Mike and Jacob was done really well, and Jessica was hilarious in her scenes once again.

Subtle, guys. Subtle.
Subtle, guys. Subtle.

For me, the biggest improvement made in New Moon was the near absence of Bella’s voice-over narration. I hated that element in Twilight. It felt as if we had to sit and listen to Kristen Stewart read out the whole entire novel in all its silly prose. This time the filmmakers made the wise decision to limit that, and to give it some additional structural purpose above and beyond just voice-over narration (we hear Bella reading emails she has sent to Alice and see them being bounced back to her, unopened).

The makeup and special effects were also much better this time around. I think they had a bigger budget and it showed. The sparkling was more readable on screen and the vampires actually looked creepily supernatural as opposed to just weirdly pale like they did in Twilight (where paleness seemed to be the rule for all the characters anyway, making it not even really that weird).

My only problem with the movie was that this time around they opted to film in British Columbia instead of in Oregon — and while sure, most viewers can’t tell the difference, it means that I can’t anoyingly nudge people while watching the film and be all “HEY THAT’S IN OREGON YOU KNOW. I USED TO LIVE THERE. IT REALLY IS THAT PRETTY.”

While I’m thinking of things that could be described as “pretty,” here is a picture of Robert Pattinson.

Oh, who, me?
Oh, who, me?

I realized I didn’t have one in this review and thought to myself, “TRAVESTY.” So there it is — no need to thank me!

I quite like the soundtrack, too. While I think they really missed an opportunity by not including Blitzen Trapper’s “Furr” (C’mon! It’s a Pacific Northwest band, singing a sad song about a were-dog looking for love. Seriously.), they did include a lot of great artists, such as Thom Yorke, Lykke Li, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bon Iver, and more. It’s pretty all right.

Here’s the big single, Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox.” The first time I heard this video it was on MTV’s morning show, where they actually play videos, called “AMTV.” I looked up from my breakfast at the first sounds of Ben Gibbard’s voice, and Reader, you had better believe I squeed like a 12-year-old girl when I saw that not only was it a new DCFC song but it was from the New Moon sountrack. That pretty much made my morning. Here you go:

[Sorry about the stupid ad you have to watch there. Also, the video is not available on YouTube due to copyright stuff, so if you’re outside the US and unable to see this MTV-based embed, um, I don’t know what to tell you! Sorry! ]

Winter Mix for 2009 – Do You Want One?

So here’s the official announcement, folks! I am making another Winter/Year’s End/Holiday mix CD this year, and I’d love to send it to you!
Once again, I make no promises about cool, hip content. It’ll likely wind up being a combination of new things I’ve been listening to this year and old favorites that have somehow worked their way into my heart again.
If you’d like to receive a copy, please email me your mailing address — don’t leave it in the comments here, silly! Send it to me at zemblangrammar at gmail dot com.  I promise I will only use it for the purpose of mailing you a CD and I will not sign you up to receive dirty catalogues or anything. If you want to Fredrick’s of Hollywood to come to your mailbox, you’ll have to sign up for that yourself.
I’ll figure out exactly which bomb-ass tracks to include and get everything copied and mailed out sometime in December, just in time for whatever non-specific holiday, festival, or Saturday you might be celebrating. Or not celebrating.  I am equal opportunity and non-denominational like that.
It doesn’t matter where you live. I’m happy to send things overseas, but it may take the package a bit longer to reach you if you live far away fromNew Wye, which is in North America.
This was so fun last year — I reslly enjoyed getting to send everyone a little something and I hope you all enjoyed it, too. Let me know if you’re in this year and I will add you to my list!

So here’s the official announcement, folks! I am making another Winter/Year’s End/Holiday Mix CD this year, and I’d love to send it to you!

Once again, I make no promises about cool, hip content. It’ll likely wind up being a combination of new things I’ve been listening to this year and old favorites that have somehow worked their way into my heart again. Here are the liner notes from last year’s mix if you’re curious to see what sort of things might wind up on there.

If you’d like to receive a copy, please email me your mailing address — don’t leave it in the comments here, silly! Send it to me at zemblangrammar at gmail dot com.  I promise I will only use it for the purpose of mailing you a CD and I will not sign you up to receive dirty catalogues or anything. If you want to Fredrick’s of Hollywood to come to your mailbox, you’ll have to sign up for that yourself.

I’ll figure out exactly which bomb-ass tracks to include and get everything copied and mailed out sometime in December, just in time for whatever non-specific holiday, festival, or Saturday you might be celebrating. Or not celebrating.  I am equal opportunity and non-denominational like that.

It doesn’t matter where you live. I’m happy to send things overseas, but it may take the package a bit longer to reach you if you live far away from New Wye, which is in North America.

This was so fun last year — I really enjoyed getting to send everyone a little something and I hope you all enjoyed it, too. Let me know if you’re in this year and I will add you to my list!

Prevention and Maintenance

Maintenance and Prevention, aka “Please Take My Money.”
MacBook.  I spent the entire morning sitting around waiting for the FedEx man to bring me my magical delivery – my MacBook was on its way back from being repaired.  I couldn’t believe how fast they had gotten it done.  After warning me the repairs would take longer than 7 days, they were sending it back a mere 5 days later.  Apparently, however, Apple saved time by not entering my apartment number into the address form, so there was a whole to-do with the FedEx people having to call me to find out where I live and then taking an extra two hours to bring me my dang package.  The happy part, though, is that now I have my baby back and it is as good as new! Except better than new, actually, because when it was new it was empty and now it is (still) filled with all my precious, uncorrupted data. Two hundred ninety-four smackeroos.
H1N1. I soent the afternoon at the flu shot clinic waiting to be sprayed in the nostril with the live vaccine. Since I have never had a flu vaccine before (really!), they made me wait around for 10 minutes afterward to make sure that if I went into anaphilactic shock I would be near someone with an epi-pen. It was all very anti-climactic, luckily.  And it was free.
Car Door. Remember that one time when it snowed here in New Wye and it was all pristine and glorious and beautiful (but, weirdly, not actually that cold)? And my car door froze shut and when I tried to open it I ripped the handle off? That was eleven months ago and I just today got it fixed. One hundred and twenty-five smackeroos, my friends.  It’s not good not to know your own strength.
Dog. The dog had to go get his yearly vaccinations today (it was Vaccine Day for the Vague Family). One hundred and thirty smackeroos there.
Another Dog. On the walk back home from the vet, little Eegs and I were followed by a big Alaskan husky-type dog. I think he wanted to play with Egon, but the little dude was having none of it. I noticed a leash dangling from the dog’s neck and I even thought I could hear someone in the distance yelling “Marty! Marrrrr-teeee!” [SIDEBAR: who names a dog Marty? Everyone knows proper dog names are, for example, Egon.] I decided to be a good neighbor, so I scooped up my dog under one arm and gathered up the big husky’s leash and started walking him around the neighborhood looking for his owner.  Turned out to be a nice girl from the apartments next to mine, who was a bit teary-eyed and very grateful.  I hate that I am such a softy for dogs, because her reaction on seeing her dog had me almost start crying! Sheesh! Glad I found her, though.
Car Again. When I picked up my car from the body shop, the man in charge informed me that my interior door handle was about to break off, too (funny, no snow storm involved there, just wear and tear) and he thought it could “go at any time,” so he had already ordered me a new one. How nice! Only twelve smackeroos for that repair, for some reason. Oh, and when I went to the grocery store later, sure enough the door handle broke off.  Now I have to roll down the window and reach through to open the door from outside to let myself out of the car. Good thing I have power windows, which makes this so easy. You know, when the car is RUNNING. Jesus H.
Grading Papers. After finally being done with all this shite, I spent the remainder of the evening until 15 minutes ago grading freshman papers.  Life is fine, I tell you.
Mix CDs. YES, friends, MIX CDs ARE HAPPENING FOR 2009! I have yet to figure out what to put on it, but if you want a copy, get to emailing me! Even if I might already have your address, please send it to zemblangrammar at gmail dot com so I don’t have to sift through last year’s list to find it.  More on this later!

MacBook.  I spent the entire morning sitting around waiting for the FedEx man to bring me my magical delivery – my MacBook was on its way back from being repaired.  I couldn’t believe how fast they had gotten it done.  After warning me the repairs would take longer than 7 days, they were sending it back a mere 5 days later.  Apparently, however, Apple saved time by not entering my apartment number into the address form, so there was a whole to-do with the FedEx people having to call me to find out where I live and then taking an extra two hours to bring me my dang package.  The happy part, though, is that now I have my baby back and it is as good as new! Except better than new, actually, because when it was new it was empty and now it is (still) filled with all my precious, uncorrupted data. Two hundred ninety-four smackeroos.

H1N1. I spent the afternoon at the flu shot clinic waiting to be sprayed in the nostril with the live vaccine. Since I have never had a flu vaccine before (really!), they made me wait around for 10 minutes afterward to make sure that if I went into anaphylactic shock I would be near someone with an epi-pen. It was all very anti-climactic, luckily.  And it was free.

Car Door. Remember that one time when it snowed here in New Wye and it was all pristine and glorious and beautiful (but, weirdly, not actually that cold)? And my car door froze shut and when I tried to open it I ripped the handle off? That was eleven months ago and I just today got it fixed. One hundred twenty-five smackeroos, my friends.  It’s not good not to know your own strength.

Dog. The dog had to go get his yearly vaccinations today (it was Vaccine Day for the Vague Family). One hundred and thirty smackeroos there.

Another Dog. On the walk back home from the vet, little Eegs and I were followed by a big Alaskan husky-type dog. I think he wanted to play with Egon, but the little dude was having none of it. I noticed a leash dangling from the dog’s neck and I even thought I could hear someone in the distance yelling “Marty! Marrrrr-teeee!” [SIDEBAR: who names a dog “Marty”? Everyone knows proper dog names are, for example, “Egon.”] I decided to be a good neighbor, so I scooped up my dog under one arm and gathered up the big husky’s leash and started walking him around the neighborhood looking for his owner.  Turned out to be a nice girl from the apartments next to mine, who was a bit teary-eyed and very grateful.  I hate that I am such a softy for dogs, because her reaction on seeing her dog had me almost start crying! Sheesh! Glad I found her, though.

Car Again. When I picked up my car from the body shop, the man in charge informed me that my interior door handle was about to break off, too (funny, no snow storm involved there, just wear and tear) and he thought it could “go at any time,” so he had already ordered me a new one. How nice! Only twelve smackeroos for that repair, for some reason. Oh, and when I went to the grocery store later, sure enough the door handle broke off.  Now I have to roll down the window and reach through to open the door from outside to let myself out of the car. Good thing I have power windows, which makes this so easy. You know, when the car is RUNNING. Jesus H.

Grading Papers. After finally being done with all this shite, I spent the remainder of the evening until 15 minutes ago grading freshman papers.  Life is fine, I tell you.

Oh, but wait! Here’s a FUN ONE:

Mix CDs. YES, friends, MIX CDs ARE HAPPENING FOR 2009! I have yet to figure out what to put on it, but if you want a copy, get to emailing me! Even if I might already have your address, please send it to zemblangrammar at gmail dot com so I don’t have to sift through last year’s list to find it.  More on this later!

P.S. Someone please stop me from saying “smackeroos.” What planet am I on tonight? Must be all the grading-necessitated caffeine.

Our Heroine Withdraws to the Taiga

I went on a long but relatively easy hike this morning with Golightly and her boyfriend, and we spotted many a lovely nature-like thing.  Here are some photographs for you to enjoy:

Cute bridge leading into the woods.
Gentle leaves, gentle leaves, please array a path for me. The woods are blowing thick and fast around.
Reflective pond, swarming with dragonflies.
Annan water, you loom so deep and wide.
Rustic old barn hit by the sunlight.
I’m made of bones of the branches, the boughs, and the browbeating light.
I think I saw a shape-shifting faun-prince in these woods. Don't mess with his mom.
And all the while whispering arbors provide cover / What previous witnessed ardors of our lovers / Our heroine here falls prey to her abductor!

If you see any wounded fawns in the woods, just don’t piss off their mothers.

[Ed. Note For the Pop-Culture Impaired: these are song lyrics.]

What I'm Listening to at the Gym: Hip Pop

I’ve been running and otherwise working out at the gym a ton lately, and for me they key to success is super-motivating music. You know, the kind of songs that get you to kick it up not just one notch but maybe two whole notches just so you can get your booty shakin’ even more.

I have a tendency to enjoy semi-bad top-forty hip hop in these situations, but I’m also into anything with a strong driving beat – bonus points if it has uncomplicated lyrics that have anything to do with racing, running, dancing, walking 500 miles and then 500 more, shaking it, moving, or getting up offa that thing. I am nothing if not literal in my running music needs – no artistic metaphors for me; nothing that provokes too much thought! I like for my mind to wander around on its own, only dropping in by the music when I need to be told to be the one who’d walk a thousand miles to fall down next to this treadmill.

My running playlist has about 100 songs on it which I rotate around every now and then, but here are my current favorites (note: some are better for walking/warming up pace, some are better for a lighter run, some are better for ripping shit up – you get the picture):

1. Paper Planes – M.I.A.
2. Get up offa That Thing – James Brown
3. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
4. Heartless – Kanye West
5. Live Your Life – T.I. (featuring Rihanna)
6. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
7. Sports & Wine – Ben Folds
8. Stronger – Kanye West
9. Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna [This one is KILLER – Ed.]
10. Way I Are – Timbaland (featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.)
11. Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolph and Lil Wayne
12. Disturbia – Rihanna
13. Just Dance – Lady Gaga
14. The Distance – Cake
15. Today is the Day – Apollo Sunshine [If you’ve never heard this one go here – it’s perfect for running! – Ed.]
16. Hey Mama – Black Eyed Peas
17. Gold for Bread – Blitzen Trapper
18. No Sleep Tonight – The Faders
19. Survivor – Destiny’s Child [Good for when you feel like you’re going to die. – Ed.]
20. Iko Iko – The Dixie Cups
21. Bad Things – Jace Everett
22. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
23. Still Dre – Dr. Dre
24. L’Ami Cahouette – Serge Gainsbourg
25. She Bangs the Drums – The Stone Roses

So, do you have any suggestions for what I should add to my playlist?

Just Enough for the City

Tomorrow I am off on a whirlwind week of adventures, guests, and travel and I am quite full of busy anticipation. I’m going to see The Decemberists play in The Big City, host a couple of out-of-town friends here in New Wye, and then fly off to California for my grandmother’s memorial. That last item is not something I’m exactly looking forward to, you know, who enjoys a funeral, and all, but I nonetheless have to get ready for it.  Practically the moment I get back to New Wye I’ve got to start teaching the first of my two summer courses. Fine. Not the exact moment I get back, but at 8:00 the next morning.   Which, to my jet-lagged body, will feel like 6:00 am.  Um, yeah. That’ll be nice.

What this has meant is that this week I’ve had to get all the course prep-work done (dealing with book-order problems on not one but two texts I need, making the syllabus, planning lessons, yada yada), pack for two trips (City Overnighter and California Weekend + Funeral = weird packing combinations), and make my house guest-ready.

Oh and another thing: starting tomorrow morning, I’m responsible for my own pets plus Egon’s little friend, Diego the Chihuahua.  My friend B., Diego’s human, is traveling out of the country for a while and her dog will be staying with me while I’m here. While I’m away, he and Eegs will be boarded together.  This will be the first time for him to be boarded while I’m away, and thinking about that has been yet another source of stress leading up to the trips.

As you can imagine, I’m feeling pretty cranked up lately. I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but I couldn’t.  I was feeling too weird and anxious, so I decided to get up and work out instead, which actually helped.  Now I am going to try to relax a bit, do my nails, and get myself in the right mindset to have a pleasant and delightful trip to the city with some of my best friends to see The Decemberists. (SO. MUCH. YAY.)  I may not be posting for a while here, but you can always follow my mundanities on twitter if you miss me too much.