just kidding



I've decided to move my blog to a tumblr version. Tumblr just has such an easy platform to use and I'm already on there 24/7 anyway...so stay tuned!

I'll be on hiatus through the first week of June, but I plan to start blogging with a vengeance once the summer is truly ahead of me.

Good luck with finals!


My So-Called Education?

Finals are fast approaching, and that means one thing: more procrastination, more Netflix, and more internet surfing. Just kidding, Mom.

While doing so, I did come across this article, which rehashes an idea that has been floating around the ideosphere for a while: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15arum.html?_r=1

First of all, a snarkier title there could not be. My “so-called education”? NYtimes, you don’t know my life.

It’s interesting to think about this from an English major’s point of view, however. Whenever I’ve been told that my major isn’t “real”, whatever that means, the critic usually points to the fact that my classwork isn’t quantifiable. I can’t hold up x number of problem sets and say, “Look, I’m a big girl now!” Instead all I have are papers that most people don’t necessarily find interesting (unless they really care about The Canterbury Tales, I guess, or maybe whether anthropomorphism can ever be anything but anthropocentric. Did I lose you?)

My major requirements are, to many people, disconcertingly vague (take at least one class focused on British literature and one class centered on the study of poetry, etc.) while math and science majors have reassuring sequences. In other majors, there is a way of definitely knowing whether you are “better” than someone else. Answers are usually right or wrong (NOT, for example, “a good start but perhaps if you delved deeper into ways in which Chaucer problematizes the ethos of pure violence, you might arrive at a clearer analysis…”). You can turn to someone and say, “I’m in Math 203”, which is by most standards definitively higher and harder than Math 202. Whereas someone in “Chinese Literature of the 20th Century” can’t say they’ve advanced beyond someone in “Reading and Roadtripping”

The NYtimes article raises the possibility that students use their four (more or less) precious undergrad years just generally dicking around and not learning anything. The assertion that there are people who only spend 12 hours on schoolwork a week is, I’m sure, shocking to us UChicago students who live in the Reg. People can take courses with less than 40 pages of reading a week?

Some of us are fortunate enough to go to colleges that still prize academics over fancy amenities. I, for example, read almost 300 pages a week and live in a building with rats and no air-conditioning. I’m sure many of my friends would agree that at least here at the U of C, there’s no lack of academic rigor. Yet.

However, the article does raise some pertinent questions, even for our hallowed institution. The point about teacher evaluations is, for example, quite relevant. A friend of mine has raged more than once about the flaws in the teacher evaluation system, which includes questions designed to steer students towards easier classes with less work. Practically speaking, most students do pay attention to those qualifications—but this system still, as NYtimes puts it, creates “incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades”.

The core at this University (and at other universities) raises other concerns. I have certainly felt like my time was being wasted as I sat in a physical sciences class, along with about a hundred other students, learning that water comes in three phases. (No joke, this information was actually presented as part of a lecture.) Is it really necessary to force students to take both humanities and social sciences, civilization studies, biology, and physical sciences? I understand the argument that familiarity with some thinkers (Marx, Smith, Foucault, etc.) is considered necessary to get on as an intellectual in this world. But is Core Biology really going to be useful to an English major? Or an Economics major, for that matter? Core classes do not explore the depth necessary to really know a subject, and they rarely cover ground that is truly new and exciting. Instead, they skim the surface of an impossibly broad topic, forcing students to do a lot of busy-work in exchange for little real learning. And yes, even non-writing-based majors should know how to craft a well-argued paper, but does that really require seven quarters of humanities, social sciences, and civ? It seems that time could be better spent learning more relevant information, or taking more focused classes.

What do you think? Are you actually learning anything at college? (Hopefully you’re learning something…)


On Top of the World

                One of my favorite classes last year was Japanese Theater, which covered, obviously, forms of Japanese theater. But it also led us down diverse paths of thought to consider what can be related to the study of theater. Societal customs, taboo love, the movement of money, the trajectory of history—how all of these fit together and weave an undercurrent for stories like Dojoji and Kurozuka.
                I wrote a paper for this class on reading different styles of movement, which I recently dug up again. After discussing the different meanings attached to styles of dance in Japan, I wrote:

“This idea still holds true today, even in much of modern American society. In a way, American society, like other societies around the world, has fetishized certain qualities of movement—giving the movement more significance than it holds in itself. A prominent example can be found in the practice of women walking in high heels. In an interview situation for a high-paid corporate job, a well-dressed woman walking gracefully in high heels will immediately make a better impression than another woman wearing loafers or sneakers. Although wearing sneakers does not signify anything about the second woman’s job capabilities, the interviewer will subconsciously infer information about the second woman from her footwear. The first woman will come across a certain way simply because of her movement, and the accoutrement she has chosen to accentuate that movement. High heels carry certain connotations—desirability, confidence, wealth—and being able to navigate them automatically conveys a clear message to an interviewer, even though the movement does not reveal information that is directly linked to the first woman’s job qualifications. Like the Japanese prostitute or the merchant’s daughter, the woman in high heels has internalized the idea that a certain movement will carry a particular impression along with it.
Thus, we can see that the idea of bodily knowledge is not limited to the dancer’s or mover’s own experience. Rather, we can think of every decision regarding movement—what shoes we wear, what dances we choose to study—as a conscious performative act, since all decisions about movement are linked to a particular set of impressions in our viewer’s mind. Movement is action, and actions make up life. Thus viewers often extrapolate a meaning from movement that is then applied to an understanding of an individual’s life, whether that extrapolation is correct or not.”

I don’t know why I suddenly thought of this paper. Maybe it was because I was waiting in line for a coffee and saw a rare sight on the UChicago campus: a young woman wearing a chic raspberry trench over a black dress with a pair of sky-high, absolutely beautiful heels. I immediately, and perhaps shallowly, admired her a little more and couldn’t help wondering where she was going, or where she had come from. It’s particularly relevant to me because I’m still confined to this clunky medical boot, and though I longingly peruse the espadrille section of Nine West, I know it will be a while before I feel perfectly, confidently myself again.



I started a blog post while riding in the car from Florida back to Kevin's home in Virginia. Then, I was still caught in a state of limbo. My foot was propped up against the dashboard, wrapped in a flimsy, bright yellow layer of athletic wrap that seemed to do absolutely nothing. I had a bottle of very inadequate pain medicine. I had only slept an hour the previous night, lying awake in pain and unable to reach the advil.

Now, I miss that painful car ride. At least, while gritting my teeth in pain and staring out at the endless stretch of I-95, I had something to hold on to. I told myself (and Kevin told me) that it was probably nothing, despite the pain, only a little turn of the ankle or a sprain. Once I reached the Urgent Care in Virginia, they would put something on it. A better wrap. Hey, I told myself, you might be walking again with a splint, limping comically, that's the worst that could happen, and then we'll all go to Outback Steakhouse and have a good laugh about this.

I must have been delirious. And when the doctor came to tell me that it was just beginning, that I had definitely broken two bones and would not walk (let alone dance) for at least another month and a half, I broke down into tears. All those hours for RBIM, all that money raised for Dance Marathon. (I am still holding out hope that I'll be able to do Dance Marathon). The pain as the nurse took my x-ray.

"It's the right foot?"
"yeah, the right foot"
"You sure? I thought it was the left. This paper says it's the left."
My right foot was swollen to twice the size of my left and wrapped in a bright yellow bandage. It was the right foot, and no mistake.

It's so strange to only have the use of one foot. I have to carefully reconsider every move now, especially because I've never sprained or broken anything, not even in my years of dancing en pointe, and I have never used crutches. Polished hardwood stairs are my enemy. I took so many things for granted, as I realized at our first stop for gas on the way back. For the first time in twenty years, I had to use my hand to push down the damp, spotted flush lever, rather than effortlessly flicking up one pointed foot and avoiding the rampant germs.  Now everything, from sitting down to getting something out of my own suitcase, is a long journey and an arduous one.

When I first fell, I was trying to skim-board.

You get the idea.

 We were in Daytona Beach with a friend, and it looked easy enough. The idea was to drop the board while running so that it would glide along the shallow layer of water near the shore, then hop on and effortlessly slice through the water. When I dropped the board and attempted to jump onto it, my left foot made it. My right foot didn't. Instead, it caught underneath the board. While the board kept moving forward, so did my body, but my right foot was now caught underneath me as I fell, and my arch bent nearly in half before it twisted out from under me and I lay sprawled in the sand with a mouthful of spray.

It probably would have taken me over an hour to hop to our fourth floor hotel room.
That's why I realize that I have been blessed throughout this, in a way. I have the most loving boyfriend in the world, who has willingly carried me in his arms through gas stations, restaurants, hotel lobbies, and hospitals, even when he himself was exhausted. Without him, I would be completely lost.

More mobile times in Jamaica.

Thank you for all your good wishes! My next step is to see an orthopedic surgeon, since the urgent care doctor wasn't a specialist and couldn't really tell me anything definitive. It will be tough getting around, especially during hectic first week, so if you see me struggling around on campus, don't laugh :)


Model behavior.

Well, it’s the end of another quarter.

One of the most wonderful things about being home (besides seeing my family and eating home-cooked food and sleeping in a giant white wonderland of a bed, of course) is walking barefoot on a clean carpet. There are so many small pleasures that I didn’t even consider when I was living here, being barefoot foremost among them. It’s a sign that I’ve really let my guard down, this traipsing barefoot all over my Mom’s neatly vacuumed floors. Being barefoot is a sign of trust, of that home-ness I’ve been missing. Is that silly?

It's been a busy, busy quarter, what with dance, work, classes, Theta stuff, Ann Taylor, and MODA. I'm sure some of you are wondering about that outfit....you know the one. (In fact, I had coffee with a good friend back home and the first thing she asked me was, "Can you just explain to me what was going on there?!")

In case you haven't seen it, let me burn it into your retinas.

That look of embarrassment and pain on my face is compounded by the fact that I am trying to keep the giant yogurt carton on my head from sliding off and falling down my back. The whole get-up went something like this:

yogurt carton tied to my head
bedsheet on top
red paint
red barbed wire

A lot of people had something to say about this outfit, which I think I can safely conjecture was the most "out-there" look on the runway. My designer, a very lovable and adorable person, explained it to me as she was tying me into it about an hour before the show. (Honestly, had I known what I would be wearing far enough in advance...I'm not sure I would have had the guts to go out there on a runway in front of my peers and members of the Chicago fashion industry). She said she was going for a wedding dress, which was sexy because it didn't reveal the wearer's curves. She warned me that the sexiness would all have to come from my facial expression.

Well...I tried, really I did, but the people shouting my name as I walked, coupled with extreme discomfort of the heavy sheet dragging down the yogurt cup tied to my head...it was a trial, let me assure you. Looking sexy was the furthest thing from my mind. 

To top it off, the dress came untied during the second walk around the runway and flapped open, exposing my legs and butt to the entire audience. And since my hands were basically bound to my sides with barbed wire, it was quite a challenge to gather the sheet closed.

Of course, as I was leaving the runway and going back to the backstage area, a random old janitor leered, "Yer thing is coming undone there..."
Yeah, thanks.

If you're wondering, my designer said she was inspired by this Yves Saint Laurent dress: (not the KKK or a bloody tampon, as many suggested)

The knitwork on this is amazing. And YSL can do stuff like this, because they're YSL. But a bedsheet? Not quite on the same level.
All in all, I have to say, it was a very interesting experience. I am not daunted by MODA, and I think I'll try for their Spring show. At least my designer had some sort of vision...something unique. Right? Right.

In other modeling news, you can vote for me on Ann Taylor's nationwide student modeling call. 

I think this is one of the worse I took. But...what do I know.

Happy Spring Break, everyone!



Just a little update from the Windy City.

The University of Chicago cancelled classes due to snow for the first time since 1967, apparently. However, they waited until 2am this morning to do it...after sending out an email last evening saying, "Please don't leave whatever building you're in." At that point, however, they still expected us to go to class the next morning. I sense a bit of a disconnect.

The Hyde Park area is almost eerily quiet, as people walk down the middle of 55th street and not a single moving car is in sight. I saw a woman on skis serenely making her way down the street...took a picture with the handy waterproof camera I brought to document our house's game of snow-football, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it to CVS to get those pictures developed in time.

In the meantime, here is a handy approximation of our current situation:

Last night, we were privileged to be the epicenter of a rare occurrence: THUNDERSNOW. 

It was, as you may have guessed, AWESOME.

Anyway, I will be spending this rare snow day doing what UChicago students do: studying for a physci midterm, writing a sosc paper, and doing hours of reading. Should have gone to school in Cali.