Death and — oh, you know how it goes

March 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm | Posted in life, random | 1 Comment

While most of my friends pass their tax stuff off to the family accountant, the guy who does the taxes in my family is my father. He’s had no interest in doing my taxes since about 1999, which is the first year I filed. I think my mom helped me with them once, but I’ve been on my own since my second year of undergrad. My taxes aren’t too complicated — I don’t own property or anything — but they’re still a pain in the ass. I can’t file 1040 EZ cause of the capital gains/losses (guess which) form I have to attach. This year, I have the added twist of having earned my income in Canada. Last night, I spent a few hours wading through the IRS website, looking for the various forms and publications that would shed light on whether or not I was a bona fide resident of Canada or just had physical presence here. I think I figured it out, but not before I came across a link on the site to something called, What’s hot in forms and publications. Let me say that again:

What’s hot in forms and publications.

I love the IRS and the US government for things like this. I’m sure there’s breaking news in the forms and publications department, but could they maybe have called it, What’s new in forms and publications, or Most popular forms and publications? Did they have to invoke Paris Hilton? What’s next? “IRS Gone Wild!”? “The Ladies of the IRS”? Can you imagine? I mean, don’t bother dressing it up for us, guys, we know what it is — it’s tax season, and nothing on the IRS website is going to make us pant and salivate, not even “hot” forms and publications.

I’m so getting audited.

So many books, so little time

March 26, 2007 at 7:42 am | Posted in books | 4 Comments

I found this list on another blog and realized that I’d read a lot of the books on it, so I figured I’d show off my reading prowess.

Look at the list of books below:
Bold the ones you’ve read
Italicize the ones you want to read
Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
If you are reading this, tag, you’re it!
[Edit]: Add three more books to this list before posting.

The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)

Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
The Stand (Stephen King)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
The Hobbit (Tolkien)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger).
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold).
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte).
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) and the other 6 books in the series
East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
Dune (Frank Herbert)
The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
1984 (Orwell)
The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
The Bible
Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
Great Expectations (Dickens)
The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
War and Peace (Tolstoy).
Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Les Miserables (Hugo)
The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
Shogun (James Clavell)
The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
The World According to Garp (John Irving)

The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck)
Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
Emma (Jane Austen).
Watership Down (Richard Adams)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
Blindness (Jose Saramago)
Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
Lord of the Flies (Golding)
The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
Ulysses (James Joyce)

[Edit: These last three are my added books. –Tasha]
The Brothers K (David James Duncan)
Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)
American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis)

Can you tell that I have no interest in reading Russian literature or Victorian lady literature? I hate to admit it, but I found Pride and Prejudice to be one of the most boring books I have ever read. Similarly, after being blown away by The Brothers K (David James Duncan, one of my favorite authors), I tried to read The Brothers Karamazov. I struggled through the first 50 pages and when still nothing had happened, I gave up. And I’m not entirely an immediate gratification reader — I loathed the DaVinci Code and, though I have read Grisham and James Patterson, will not ever, even if I am on a desert island and my only reading choices are for some reason what’s available at an airport kiosk, go there again. I read Ulysses. I love Virginia Woolf. I used to believe that I should never let the book win — I had to finish it, no matter how boring or awful I thought it was. Now, though, I’ve decided that if I’m bored by reading I should just quit while I’m ahead. Reading is as essential to my life as breathing and sleeping, and those two have never bored me, so why should I put up with it from reading?

Books book!

March 21, 2007 at 8:42 am | Posted in Friends | 5 Comments

When Alli started doing bookbinding, she showed me her secret Belgian bound books and I thought they were super cool. I immediately put a request in for one for Christmas. My idea was that, instead of a travel journal or a blank book, she could make me a Books Book. I read tons of books and I’m always on the lookout for new ones, but I never make lists. Or, I start to, but inevitably, I start to during class or on a plane or in the car, and it’s always, like, on the back of an envelope or a scrap piece of paper. Never in an actual dedicated journal, or even a spiral-bound notebook.

Anyway, Alli thought that was a great idea and immediately set about making a couple of book journals — for her family for Christmas. Not for me. Bitch ripped off my idea and didn’t even have the courtesy to make me one! Until now. And it’s gorgeous and perfect and I LOVE it.

booksbook11.JPG

booksbook2.JPG

Not too shabby, eh? There’s even a nice little note on the inside cover, thanking me for being awesome.

I have a confession to make

March 18, 2007 at 12:43 pm | Posted in life | 6 Comments

I am not a detail-oriented person. I say I am in job interviews, and I really do aspire to it, but I’m just not. Patience is not one of my virtues — it’s very, very hard for me to convince myself that putting in that extra time that details require is worth it.

I took a preservation box workshop yesterday. We learned how to make a variety of enclosures for fragile books, and the information I took away from it was pretty cool. I was working at a table with Robin who, along with Alli, is on her way to becoming a bookbinder extraordinaire. She is detail oriented. All of her enclosures looked so perfect — exact 90 degree angles, neat folds, straight lines. Mine, on the other hand, were every which way but so. I wouldn’t know a 90 degree angle if it bit me on the ass, and I had to go back and re-fold things a couple of times due to a thickness-measuring fluke — I also can’t measure things to save my life, so if I ever offer to perform any acts of carpentry upon your house, just smile and say no thanks — so my enclosures had many rough edges. I mean, they work, more or less, but they just don’t look pretty.

Of course, because I am in that very vulnerable state that occurs when graduation is imminent, I took this failure (to me) as a sign that I will never, ever get a job in the area I’d like to work in (archives, special collections). Alli reminded me that none of us are the best at what we aspire to be and that’s why we’re doing the support work for whatever that activity is. Like, her brother didn’t make the major leagues in hockey so he coaches (and is hilarious, and makes a pretty penny, and is adorable, and actually still plays hockey, so not exactly a failure in any measurable aspect); I’m not going to be a professional photographer so I’ll be a photo archivist instead. Which is fine. I mean, I realized a long time ago that I’m not going to be the best at anything. I’m just not very good at conceding defeat. But maybe it’s time for me to accept that I’m not detail oriented, that I am not good at things that involve measuring, that I’ll never be a carpenter or a seamstress or a drafter.

Huh. When I put it that way, in the context of things I never had any desire to pursue professionally, it just doesn’t look as important any more.

Kids are suckers

March 14, 2007 at 11:51 am | Posted in random | 5 Comments

And the people who run the elementary school near my house are brilliant. My walk to work takes me right by the school’s playground, and many times when I walk by, the kids are either playing before school or during recess. It has snowed a few times in the past month or so and, of course, it’s built up on the playground. When it became icy, I sort of wondered to myself how the kids and the staff were going to handle that: would the caretakers salt the playground? would the kids have indoor recess? Well, it turns out that I was totally wrong:

Apparently, all you have to do to get kids to shovel snow for you is hand them brightly-colored shovels. Even today, when most of the icy buildup has melted, they were out there with their shovels, cheerfully chipping away at what remains of winter.

If I have kids (God forbid, obviously) and we live in a cold climate where it snows in the winter, I’ll just find the most colorful shovels I can (making sure they’re made from strong stuff, of course), and send the rugrats outside to “play” as I sit indoors, smoking cigarettes and drinking Irish coffee. You can nominate me for Mother of the Year later.

Like a kid playing dress up

March 12, 2007 at 8:16 am | Posted in life | 3 Comments

My friends and I went shopping yesterday for suits. As in, job interview (for professional jobs, not the usual retail jobs) suits. I am not a dress-up kind of girl — my “uniform” is pretty much jeans, a tank top, and flip flops; in the winter, I throw a sweater and a coat on over the tank top and trade the sandals for sneakers. Lately, I’ve been invited to a couple of parties where there was dressing up required, either in nice clothes or in costume, and I’ve balked at the very idea of trading in this uniform for anything else. So, the whole suit thing isn’t my idea of a good time.

At the mall, we went to Banana Republic first, where I swear to God they charge you $400 for the word “suiting.” I put a pair of pants on hold, but it was kind of ridiculous because I wouldn’t have been able to afford the matching jacket (and by I, I mean my parents, because they were paying for it as a birthday present). We went to a bunch of other places and I didn’t even try anything on. To be honest, the whole experience was traumatizing. I mean, those skirts? Those goddamn pencil skirts? Look ridiculous on me — I have hips, and I try to minimize them, not call attention to them. The pants are usually ok but they are, like, four inches too long because my torso length doesn’t match the length of my legs. I wear button-down shirts approximately once a year, and apparently you can’t wear a suit jacket with a tank top.

After a couple hours of shopping, I finally found a nice, simple suit — dark gray, no pinstripes. I was comfortable in it and I didn’t feel too much like a child swishing around in her mother’s dress, pretending to be something that she wasn’t. I felt like a capable adult, maybe even capable of getting a professional job. I said maybe. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Scalpers suck

March 4, 2007 at 11:52 am | Posted in things that annoy | 3 Comments

So, I was too slow on the uptake to get Shins tickets, and now the show is sold out. I started looking around online for tickets the weekend after they went on sale (and keep in mind the show isn’t until March 17th), and found that some douchebags out there are scalping them for up to $150 each. For tickets that cost $27.50.

Scalpers, fuck off. You’re not making a quick buck on a bunch of rich people who are trying to see the Police or the Stones or something; you’re not taking advantage of ex-hipsters trying to relive their youth. (Even then, I object to the practice of buying tickets when you have no intention of going to the show, when you’re just trying to make some money.) No, in this case, by jacking up ticket prices from 30 bucks to 150, you’re just trying to rip off teenagers and students and young people. Fucking douchebags.

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