Monday, July 20, 2009

What Have I Been Doing With Myself, As Of Late?

Reading this blog.

I become obsessed with things, as gentle readers of this blog should be well aware of by this point in time. Normally, those obsessions come on strong and remain for a certain period of time, until after I've consumed all material available and get bored waiting for more or until I inexplicably stop caring. Things I've been obsessed with in the course of my on-line life that I no longer am (but still like a whole lot):

And a whole lot of other things.

The thing I like about What Ladder? is that it could conceivable that a couple of the professors I've had could be writing it. My favorite philosophy professor was/is that snarky, and a girl. My favorite literature professor is that disdainful of students, even though he wasn't so fond of early Brit Lit and is (as the pronoun alerted everyone), a he. Also, I didn't go to college anywhere other than America. But other than that, reading the sarcastic, sometimes impassioned, sometimes completely confounded thoughts of this professor has made my week.

Something else that has made my week:

Painting my nails.

I've been thinking a lot about gender performance recently, both how we (all of us) do it, and how we perceive it. It goes to the larger question of narratives I've been trying to articulate, though cowardishly not posting any of my rambling musings. What I've come to is that I've never thought of myself as particularly girly, but (a) I am seen as such by people who exist outside of my head, and (b) I take certain pleasures in girlish acts. Painting my nails (right now, they are an awesome shade of red) is one of those girlish acts. It is a lot more enjoyable now that I don't care how they turn out, much like coloring books became a lot more enjoyable once I stopped caring if I got a little of the color outside of the lines. That didn't happen until I was almost not a teenager, so I'm not all that surprised that it's taken me this long to get into nail polish.

Painting my nails is kind of like when I recite Our Fathers or Hail, Marys. It is comforting and slightly hypnotic. It is the closest I can get to meditating, and even though I'm not performing these acts for their normal reasons, it still gives me a bit of pleasure. I like these things for themselves, and for the moment I do them.

Another thing I've been doing lately is attempting to both listen to all of the music on my iPod and to categorize it in terms of how many 'boy' bands I listen to, and how many 'bands with girls' I listen to. At the moment, things aren't looking too good for the girls, and I hope to (someday) have a post cataloging my findings and what I think about them.


MediaMaven said...

Have you been on TWoP as of late? I haven't been on in months, and I probably won't return 'til the fall. One day I'll post about my previous life on TWoP...there was a time where I couldn't imagine my life without it.

It's funny that you wrote about painting your nails, because I was telling a friend yesterday about the last time I painted my nails (an actual shade you can see), when I was 14. My entire family made such a big stink about this, consistently for several days, that I remember remarking to a friend at the time that if I had eloped my parents would have been less shocked. To this day I do not paint my nails for fear of a reprise. Hell, my brother is quite accusatory whenever he suspects me of wearing makeup.

I tend to think I go overboard on the female artists, since I like a lot of pop music, and I feel kind of guilty. But I also resolved a few months ago to not feel guilty that I like to listen to [insert young pop star here].

I can see why painting nails and recitation are therapeutic and soothing, how they both lull you into a spell. Though you could recite poems or other chants that don't have a religious association.

petpluto said...

Have you been on TWoP as of late?

Nope. I don't have the time, and I was starting to get incredibly frustrated. It was nice when I could spend my time there, reading and catching up. But right now, I like writing for this.

To this day I do not paint my nails for fear of a reprise. Hell, my brother is quite accusatory whenever he suspects me of wearing makeup.

Wow. That is... I think intense is the only word that even comes close to describing it. And to think, my reason was just that I'm pretty bad at it, and that I hate doing things I'm bad at.

Though you could recite poems or other chants that don't have a religious association.

I suppose; I do know a lot of poems by heart (Psalm of Life, Paul Revere's Ride, a hella lot of Shakespearean sonnets), but to do any of those, I kind of have to think. The brilliant thing about the prayers is that they have become so ingrained in me due to Catholic kindergarden, they are an automatic. I don't have to wonder about the next line, because it's already there. And then, I get to just sort of drift away.

Which is much better than a lot of the other things Catholic kindergarden left me with, like the debacle of not being able to tell my right from my left without concentration.

John said...

A quick survey of my music on this computer (my primary computer is currently dead)finds:
74 bands comprised of males only
22 bands comprised of males and females
8 bands comprised of females only and/or female solo artists with backup bands.
Most of those 30 bands are grouped together on a playlist labeled "Chicks, man." Take from this data what you will.

As for non-religious mantras, I've always been a big fan of the Litany Against Fear from Herbert's Dune novels. It's great when you're nervous and need something to take your mind off what's about to happen (like a visit to the dentist.)