Thursday, August 31, 2006

Short lists

I have a bit of an obsession with listing, I can't explain it, but I think it helps me learn a lot about myself.

The last five movies I saw in theaters:
1. Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna
2. Cars (saw it at the drive-in, which was pretty apropos)
3. Pirates of the Carribean 2 (actually, I saw it twice - once with friends and once with family)
4. Krrish
5. Over the Hedge

The last five movies I watched on DVD:
1. The Weatherman (disappointing)
2. Masti
3. Deewar (the new one, not the old one)
4. Mad Hot Ballroom (my ballroom dancing movie fetish rears its sparkly head once again)
5. Muppet Treasure Island

The last five books I've finished:
1. The Tenth Man by Graham Greene
2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
3. How We Are Hungry by David Eggers
4. Devdas by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay
5. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

The last five books I've started but later set aside:
1. The Courage Consort by Michael Faber (I wanted more historical fiction, but alas, I was mistaken)
2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I read Love in the Time of Cholera earlier this summer; I think Marquez needs to be read one book at a time)
3. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (It occurred to me that I really don't care what the devil is wearing)
4. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (I can never get past the list of "facts" he has in the beginning - I know this book will make me angry when I read it)
5. Lucky by Alice Sebold (borrowed it from a friend and had to return it, otherwise I would have finished it)

The last five things I ate or drank:
1. A donut
2. A cup of blueberry coffee
3. A donut (somebody fell off the diet bandwagon and hit the ground running...)
4. A glass of grape Kool-Aid
5. Homemade penne a la vodka (I need to work out some kinks in my cooking)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If anyone needs me, for the next twelve hours I will be trying to decide what to wear to the first day of classes.

Also, I've established some goals for myself this semester:

1. Get all A's. A minuses are okay. B pluses are not.
2. Write a novel. It can be either good or complete, whichever comes first.
3. Bring the sideways ponytail back into style.

Of course they are listed in opposite-priority order.
Even with the ridiculous blogging and emailing I've been doing all day, I ran out of things to do at work three hours ago. Maybe it's a good thing I'm being let go; I think I'd be bored out of my skull if I stayed.

Bad breath

This morning when I woke up my roommate's parents were there - at 6 A.M. They had to drop off relatives at JFK for a flight at 5, and so instead of driving all the way back upstate, they decided to stop by our place to catch some shuteye.

Needless to say, Aunty would not let me leave for work until I had eaten something. Because none of the three of us in my apartment are breakfast eaters, there's very little in our kitchen that is not either Kool-Aid, frozen, or cake. So Aunty split up the lunch she had packed and we all sat around the kitchen table and ate.

Anyway, that was a really long explanation as to why my breath smells like fish curry this morning.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A post in which Basmatic ruminates on the many jobs she's had.

It is my last week working at the job I currently have, and it's a mixed bag of emotions right now. On the plus side, I'll be relieved not to be working full-time anymore, and the hours are so early I won't miss them. However, it's also been one of the easier jobs I've had, and I like the people I work with, so it's going to be a little sad leaving.

It's occurred to me time and time again that, at 21 years old, I have had more work experience than anyone else my age that I know. I've been working since I was 14 years old; during high school I juggled three part-time jobs, and I haven't stopped working since.

The first job I ever had (and one of my all-time favorites, actually) was working as a janitor at the high school I attended. My twin sister and I went to a private school, and since the family finances couldn't cover the tuition, we worked out that if we worked full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year, that would cover a chunk of the cost. Don't pity us: the job came with a sort of authority, an unlimited power. We had access to every room in the school, especially the library. We had first-dibs on all the textbooks. We knew where everything was, we found ways into the vending machine stock supply, we slept in the teachers' lounge. It was great. And, actually, there wasn't a lot for us to do. They made the guys (there were other students working to pay tuition, mostly guys) do all the hard stuff. We just dusted and vacuumed and painted a lot.

Also during high school there were the ubiquitous baby-sitting jobs, as well as a job at a college football concession stand. These were not as fun.

Once I graduated I had to find a different summer job. I worked at McDonald's. Ugh. I also started working as a cashier at a grocery store, but that quickly got out of hand. I don't mean to brag, but I am a very good cashier - I'm friendly and nice and I bag quickly and I can count change. They had to revise the rewards policy on my account (they used to give out $5 gift certificates to employees everytime a customer mentioned them to a manager or, in my case, to the company hotline once or twice - I got $25 in one day one time). They also realized that I was willing to work long, hard, often, and late. First I began doing the closing shifts (open 'til 1 A.M.!) and then opening (6 A.M.! Way early!). Then they began lending me out to different departments - I was bounced from front end to floral to hot foods to video to deli to grocery and back again, until I was working over 60 hours a week and completely exhausted.

When I got to college, I was dismayed to learn that I didn't have work-study (my scholarship was too big. How can a scholarship be too big?). I was forced to look off-campus for a job, and I found one at a Cold Stone Creamery a block away. That was fun - for about a week. If you've ever been to a Cold Stone, then you know the primary gimmick: employees must sing for tips. Yes. We had to sing. And we had to be completely cheerful and pleasant 100% of the time, which is very hard to do at a Cold Stone in New York (New Yorkers are not the nicest people, I'll be the first to admit). Some would drop pennies into the tip jar, expecting us to sing for a cent at a time. On the coldest day of the year the heat failed, and for some reason it turned out to be the busiest night ever. Oftentimes I wouldn't get out of there until 1 or 2 a.m., and then I'd have to be at class at 8. Also, I think the free ice cream was solely responsible for the freshmen fifteen I gained that semester.

And then, somehow, I weaseled my way into a fiction writing class. I was the only freshmen in there, but my writing impressed the professor so much that he recommended me for a position in the campus writing center. I quit my ice cream job and since then I've been a writing tutor. Most of my work is done through the writing center, but I've also started tutoring privately - mostly professors' children (strangely enough, 11 out of the 13 kids I tutor are of South Asian descent), but also ESL adults (I tutor a Vietnamese gentleman named Vng - once he asked what my major was, and when I said English, he was aghast. "You don't know it either?" he asked, dismayed).

This summer, though, I found a job that let me stay on campus during the break. The university I attend is one of the very few I know of that has a free-standing church on campus, and that's where I've been from 7 until 3 every weekday (and on weekends sometimes if there are weddings). The work isn't hard, and there isn't a lot of it, but the hours have been really cutting into my sleepytime. I do a ridiculous amount of ironing. There's a lot to iron - vestments, robes, linens. I answer phones, make copies, you know - everything that falls to the lowest rung of the ladder. Most of what I've been doing, though, is straight-up data entry, which I won't miss when the school year starts.

It's also a pretty nifty job because there's always free stuff. Bagels and donuts leftover from Sunday, an unlimited supply of coffee (which I have actually exhausted from time to time). Not only that, but since the church is run by Vincentians (an order of priests), I have a lot of St. Vincent DePaul gear. I have a St. Vincent DePaul t-shirt, a St. Vincent DePaul backpack, a St. Vincent DePaul blanket, a St. Vincent DePaul umbrella... it's like I work at a St. Vincent DePaul amusement park.

Anyway, since class begins on Wednesday my last day of work here at the church (I shouldn't be blogging at work, but I'm sure St. Vincent DePaul will forgive me) will be Thursday. After that it's back to tutoring all the time. I love the tutoring, but the atmosphere of the writing center will have definitely changed. Most of the other tutors have graduated, which means I have been the tutor who's been working there the longest. Aside from that, the center has moved from a two-room space in one building to a ridiculously huge space in the library - it's more than doubled in size and budget. The staff has more than tripled over the summer. The atmosphere has gone from "clubhouse" to "corporate,"and now that all freshmen are required to visit the writing center three times a semester.

I have been sitting here writing this post and completely ignoring my work! Time to get back on track.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's my favorite time of year again

I've always been one of those nerds who love school. I always will be one of those nerds. I love every facet of school - class, classmates, textbooks, homework, back to school sales...

So now that the semester begins on Wednesday, I'm ridiculously excited.

I've also gotten into this ridiculous habit of taking 18 credits every semester, even though I don't need all of them. I often can't make up my mind about which classes to take.

Let's see... my schedule this semester looks pretty crazy. First thing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I report to the Latin professor for independent study (I've run out of advanced Latin courses to take). Then it's off to honors logic, which will be tough since I am the opposite of logical. Let's see... then there's philosophy of literature, which should be a snap. The class is taught by a priest, so naturally his focus is on Catholic literature - I've been reading Graham Greene and Flannery O'Connor all summer to prepare. Finally on MWF, I have 17th and 18th century literature, and the professor's going to be tough.

On Thursday I'm taking a grad class - Postcolonial Lit. And I'm also taking an independent study in novel-writing (Shit! I have to write a novel! What the hell will I write about?).

So basically, my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be busy, but I only have one class on Thursday (and that's at night) and Tuesdays off. Now I just need to worry about my work schedule.


I have good news and I have bad news:
He's not mine.
He's my roommate's!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First Post What!

I love talking about myself, and I know that everyone is absolutely dying to learn more about me. So here we are. This blog has been established solely to facilitate discussion of my second-favorite subject - myself. And since I know you're all hanging on my every word, and that you are all dying to learn something biographical about me so you can make thousands of dollars of profit by revealing this information to The National Enquirer when you learn that I am really the mild-mannered secret identity of a kickass superhero, here are some tantalizing tidbits about myself:

  • I think I just wrote the longest sentence EVER.
  • I make the world's worst coffee, and I drink it black because it would be a shame to waste milk or sugar on the crap that I make. My favorite coffee, however, is Dunkin' Donut's blueberry flavor. Yummy hot or iced!
  • I can write with my feet. I cultivated this skill in high school, in physics class. That probably explains a lot about the grade I got.
  • While it is supposedly physically impossible to lick your elbows, I CAN DO IT. Clearly that is evidence of bigger and brighter things to come.
  • My pet gerbils are named after English faculty at my university. I had a hamster, too, but he died in July. I cried.

All right, I think that's enough for now. I have to save something for later, after all.