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April 19, 2007

Efrog Newydd

So, place names aren't always translated in Welsh. I don't know, I think they figure with places you don't talk about very often you don't need a name for. Or, maybe its that they figure the places were already named once, why bother with a second name. The obvious examples of this are places like Iowa. I know what you're thinking, what sort of Welsh speaker would being talking about Iowa? Well, an American Welsh speaker. Duh. However, this is not true of New York whose name is actually just translated into Welsh: Efrog Newydd. I like this. But, I like it not because New York actually has its own name, but rather because New York is named after (old) York which is the seat of the County York, or as we'd say it Yorkshire. Why is this interesting? Well, I will tell you. Its interesting because the Welsh have a word for "shire", sir. And, in most cases when you talk about a "shire", you use sir. Except for Yorkshire, in which case you use swydd. Which means "office". I do go on, but I only point this out because I think it is interesting.

I am here in the States. I made it here safely. I have eaten a sandwich that, all kidding aside, I think involved three quarters of a cow in the form of corned beef. Amazing. ( I didn't ask for a sandwich made of nearly a whole cow, I just asked for a sandwich. The prices seemed a little extortionate, but after they handed me a sandwich, I knew why.) Hopefully, my Mother, Sister and Aunts will also make it here safely and we will have a wondeful time frolicking through Efrog Newydd and the surrounding areas.


April 17, 2007


Well, boys and girls. Everything is printed out. The relevant supporting documents are whizzing their way in the mail. As soon as I pop it into the mail tomorrow morning my scholarship application will officially be Not My Problem. This is a huge relief to me, as you can imagine. Now, I just have a day to round myself up, back myself up before I have to get on a plane to go see my family. Now all I can do is hope that I make the right impression (and that my right impression is better than everyone else's right impressions.) I am feeling pretty confident about this. However, if things do end up going a bit pear shaped (one of my favorite British colloquialisms, I might add), then it wasn't meant to be and I will simply have to apply to other universities again in the fall in search of a place to study (that isn't going to make me a serf indebted to a bank for the rest of my adult life.)

Hooray. Send me good juju, if you have some to send and you're up for it.

April 15, 2007

Lost In Translation

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?
T. S. Eliot

I know everyone else discovered this film when it first came out in 2003; I'm a little behind the curve. It is beautiful and compelling. The story of two Americans trapped in a foreign culture by obligations who become friends, bonding over their inability to sleep as well as their outsider status with both the culture surrounding them as well as their obligations.

The film itself is beautiful, Tokyo seems to be perpetually glowing with a steely, blue light. The buildings all gray and white with people running around in charcoal and navy business suits. While shots of Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson) in temples around Japan are often lit brightly and warmly with a much richer colour palette including rich greens and reds.

So, I know this hasn't been much of a review, honestly I'm a little out of practice. The film was incredibly enjoyable and I recommend it.

How great would it be to start of a Jazz band with Bill Murray?

Anthony Bourdain

My friend Father Tom read A Cook's Tour about four years ago. While reading the book you could say that he developed a bit of a man-crush on Anthony Bourdain. He'd have lunch and he'd tell me about the places that Bourdain mentioned in the book and how he was a hard-cooking, hard-smoking New Yorker in a leather jacket and was, in fact, the very definition of awesome. Now, that alone should have been enough of a recommendation to read the book. But, if you know me, you know that my sister basically brow-beat with Wuthering Heights before I actually picked it up.

Well, they made a TV show out of Bourdain's cook tour and I've caught a couple of episodes this weekend. Its amazing. I'm going to have to read the book now. In the last episode he went to Portugal and France, feasting his way through pig and duck and....Tete de Veuax (totally misspelled.), Veal's head. How sweet is that? The French have a dish that is sweet breads with the face of the veal. I almost want to go try it.

April 14, 2007

Cover Letter Mania

So, I've been sitting, staring at the computer for the better part of the afternoon staring at the necessary and desirable criteria for the scholarship I'm applying for in an effort to write a cover letter for my application. And, so far I've gotten two sentences or so written. Neither of them are very good and its driving me crazy.

I'm sure its one of those things that if I could just get myself started, I could bang it out and at least then I would have a first draft. I think my problem is that I just don't know where to begin. I'm wondering if that isn't true, but I'm trying to got not get bogged down in a self-psychoanalysis of whether or not I really want it or if its just something that I'm doing because it doesn't really matter. The process of begging for money is something that I will be doing as an academic for the rest of my life (outside funding for research is something that brings prestige to your institution as well as something that makes you look good so that when the people in charge say, "Who should we give tenure to?" your name pops to mind.)

So, right now I've decided to take a break, blog (obviously), flip through some stuff and listen to some tunes. Hopefully, I'll be able to empty out my skull and then I'll be able to focus on the task ahead.

April 10, 2007

Love is in the air.

It feels like a Sunday. This is not true, however as it is Tuesday. I am sitting, showered and all ready to work on my cover letter some more when I decide that I should check my email. I am hoping to receive one or two pieces from people that I may or may not whilst I am home...the emails will hopefully give me a clue as to whether that will happen. There is really nothing of interest and so I log out which kicks me automatically to the Yahoo home page which has this headline on it:

Dreamed Up Phone Number Leads Man to a Bride

Well, I have to click on it, since I'm in a fantastic mood having just spend a wonderful day and a half with my boyfriend. (We celebrated Easter by sitting around and doing nothing. In the name of our Lord, of course. It was amazing. Just sat around, eating pizza and watching movies. The last one we saw this morning was Smokin' Aces. It was okay. The plot was a little predictable, the twists you could see coming a mile off. But, the characters were very interesting. Its a bit of a shame that they spend so much time developing all these fantastic nutters to not play them all to the hilt.

April 04, 2007

Wednesday Afternoon

I am sitting in my lat listening to the digital radio station Oneword. In the afternoons they have a program that is just someone reading Anton Chekhov's short stories. Its my favorite digital radio station because of its programming focus on literature.

I think you should check this out.

April 02, 2007


My friend Dan from the International Crossroads Community once said to me, "Eel tastes like sunshine." I found this to be intriquing which meant, I just had to try eel. The first time I had it, I was with my Mom and her friend Annie at the Japanese restaurant in Coralville, IA.

And, Dan was not wrong. Eel tastes like sunshine. Its an apt description. It tastes like sunshine in that it is light and fresh and it makes you happy, like the first rays of sunshine or the first sunny day of Spring.

Because of this every time I have the opportunity to eat it, I do. Today I met my friend Georgia for lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Cardiff. A Japanese restaurant that serves sushi and had Unagi on the menu. I have to say that I have been in the best mood all day. I attribute this to having ingested sunshine.

April 01, 2007

Last Night

So, last night I left John at a club in town without a ride home because he wouldn't dance with me. At least, that's what he keeps telling people.

While it is true that I left and it is also likely true that he did not have any money on him, I did tell him I was going and I did offer him cab money four times if he wasn't going to come. However, he likes be the victim and says that I didn't do those things.

He also says he bends over backwards to make me happy. Whatever that means.

He got a ride with one of Gavin's friends and then spent the rest of the night coming in and yelling at me and then leaving. He apparently walked to his friend Jigger's where he was eventually asked to leave because other people wanted to sleep. He came back and yelled some more. I told him that I was done talking to him for the evening and that if he wanted to discuss the incident some more he would have to wait until morning. He told me to fuck off and continued to rant at me. Around seven in the morning he went to his parents house. He came back and ranted some more, this time adding that is parents were appalled and disappointed. I told him once again that if he wanted to discuss the incident, he would have to wait until we had both gotten some sleep.

I have a searing headache because instead of leaving when I wanted to leave we had another two drinks. And, I don't care if I'm being selfish or if I'm a bitch or if I'm two faced or evil. I offered him two ways home, he could have come home with me or he could have taken cab fare from me but, and I don't remember what he said but it must have been inappropriate since I left him at the club (with my jacket because he had to coat check numbers... by the way, he didn't get my jacket for me on his way out...he ended up with Gavin's jacket and he's done nothing but moan about that in between telling me I'm a fucking bitch and that he is a much better person than I am.) He went to the pub about an hour ago, but not before telling me to fuck off a few more times.

So, I don't know what I'm going to do now. I mean, I could just come home and move back in with my parents. I could keep trying to get a job. I don't really want this to be how my time in Wales ends. There is a studentship that I was thinking about applying for; its sociolinguistics and Welsh and would be about Urban learners and would be very interesting. I am a good fit for it and I would get to work with Nik Coupland which would be awesome.

I didn't leave because he wouldn't dance with me, although that certainly brought everything into focus for me. Everything is about him. He is always, "me, me, me" and, apparently, he didn't want to dance. its always, "can you lend me a tenner?" or, "we'll do this next Wednesday" and then Wednesday rolls around and I'm all excited about our plans and he says at the last minute, "I don't feel like it. We'll do it another time." Or, "Why don't you dress up for me" or "why haven't you joined a gym you said you were going to join a gym." or "why aren't you happy I just want you to be happy." or, my favorite, "what are we having for dinner?" followed immediately by, "I don't like that." when I make suggestions or a million other little things that he says out loud on top of the unspoken shit like, "can you make up the rent because I'm (still) unemployed and will be a bit short."

Want to make me happy? Dance with me for three minutes, that's all it would have taken. How is that so hard? Dance with me to a song that I haven't heard since last summer...and the last time I heard it friends of mine were playing it. Like that would have just ruined everything and his world would have come crashing down around him.