all the time in the world

So my parents have been snowed in, back home, for what seems like days now. And today they're watching as even more inches gets stacked upon the preexisting 29. Apparently this snowfall will be the recordbreaker for the mid-atlantic region...and of course, I'm not there to enjoy it.

My mom did, however, take advantage of the weather-related ennui to learn how to text images to my email (my phone doesn't get pic-texts). So she sent me photographic documentation of my father's current obsession: birdfeeding (and subsequent watching, I assume). I won't lie, I myself have been entranced by the chickadees, tufted titmice, downy, hairy and tufted woodpeckers, juncos all crowding around the feeders that Dad has repaired over and over again (duct-tape, people). And when the snow threatens to engulf the buffet, well, extreme measures must be taken.

But I think a bird cabana is maybe a little much.


Flash Flooding in WV and KY May 9 2009

The shots I thought were the most heartbreaking were of the cemetery. Imagine your own parents' or siblings' graves inaccessible, covered in dirt and debris from a flood -- a flood caused by the negligence and disrespect of an industry that's been devouring the resources of your homeland for well over a hundred years. Please Help.


In the Weeds, Part DAMMIT.

I just had to do it again, try and put together a coherent argument literally overnight...and it didn't work. I don't think I'm suffering the same crippling identity crisis as I had to deal with during the last run of all nighters, but I'm super not-thrilled by having been up all night again with not that much to show for it. Weak. Just weak.

Nevertheless this is the very end of it and I've been holed up in my room since midnight trying to think my way through an incomprehensible jumble of consumerism, Irish countryside, and Florence Kelley. I imagine I'll get there, hopefully before noon today. The frustrating part is how much I will want to then do everything at once: go to football training, do laundry, go have beers, sleep, pack for my sister's graduation, pick up my own graduation robes...the list, she goes on.

in the meantime, I'm procrastinating.


In the Weeds, Part ?

The completion of my long-standing incomplete, coupled with the near-completion of this semester’s paper, leaves me closing in on the best two outta three scenario. I’m still very much at risk of not finishing all the work I have to do in time for all the graduating I have to do, but I’m nevertheless closer for all that. In the meantime, New England wakes up around me, reminds me of how hysterical my love for the spring in Massachusetts is. It goes beyond the rational—it’s like being a wind chime or an Aeolian harp, as the weather strikes every combination of chords and I reverberate in a thousand different directions. I’m startled and delighted by every budding tree and flowering plant I see; I discover new vistas and tiny cameo-like groves of beauty every day. I feel like a born-again Christian must feel at the moment of her reawakening in Jesus Christ: that I’m filled with love and tenderness for everyone, that the world holds infinite possibility, that my life could be nothing if not joyous and great, that if we all come together right now we could just give peace a chance…*

Yes, I know I’m overdoing it but in all honesty the way I feel about springtime, despite allergies so bad my eyes are puffy and red for at LEAST two weeks straight, is that it’s pretty damn good, especially when you throw a graduation in there.

Also, that thing about love and tenderness for everyone: yes, everyone, EXCEPT that kid from Tech that I met the year Liz lived on Spruce Street and we slept over at her house. And the Mountaineers lost to the Hokies and that kid is probably still the biggest dick on the planet, no matter where he is.

*all sentiments herein expressed were totally sincere, up to the Beatles part. Then I was kidding.


In The Weeds, Part 2.74

Suddenly the night is no longer long enough. 48 hours and counting. I have some serious psychological self-analysis to do regarding this paper...once I'm finished.

In The Weeds, Part 2

up 40 hours and counting. to think that I could get paid for a whole day-nigh-day-night sequence of work, and the rest of the week is mine...


In the Weeds: Part 1

So I’m in the middle of finals, and frankly I’m not really sure how I ended up here. I remember thinking at one point that graduate school would be a good idea…I remember sneaking my way in to Boston College…I remember taking classes, pulling all nighters with the mentality of a college sophomore and the physical result of sustained and systemic dehydration (and I got them papers done. Usually pretty late in the game, but I got them done). Somehow, just as all roads lead to Rome all schooling leads (for the unfortunate and the unsavvy) to graduation; and mine is in approximately two weeks.

So. Yes. Holy God, I’m almost done a roughly four-year graduate degree. And in order to close the deal on that fact, I have to turn in a whole bunch of library books because apparently they don’t let you graduate if you still have library books checked out. And in order to turn in those library books, I have to finish all the papers and final exams that caused me to borrow the books in the first place. Some of you, though I doubt many (all two, anyway) of you, may be surprised to hear that I’ve had some of these books for over two years now. Anne K. Mellor might be somewhat disappointed to hear that her books are not heavily in demand at BC; in the two years I’ve had multiple books of hers on British Romanticism they have never been recalled once.

But what this also means is that I’m holed up in the library, frantically reading and writing for dear life (dear diploma?); I’ve done nothing but eat, sleep, breathe and absorb/regurgitate these documents (and I work out. That’s what constitutes “fun” right now, if fun is spiking your heartrate to 180 and sweating yourself into a chill). One thing I don’t do right now is write emails, though I do make the occasional comment on the FB walls – not enough, though; I refuse to change my status more than once a week if at all possible but unfortunately since I’ve started to frame every action, opinion, impulse and observation as though it were a status update, avoiding the “real” status update is kind of moot. The point is that I never realized how much of my emailing and communication acted as a kind of creative outlet for me. I miss it—I crave it. I need my friends’ inboxes to be that blank canvas onto which I splash my pithy and colorful if somewhat trite and pointless phrases, like Jackson Pollock when he’s just not drunk enough.

Composition Number Two being the obvious exception.

In lieu of the creative process that I apparently engage in every day when I write emails to my friends, enemies, colleagues and minions, I’ve decided to start this document-blog instead. I’ve already given myself 20 minutes on it and I think that’s quite enough for one day; the fretful OCD-voice in my head has set off the anxiety tension that I can feel in the muscles of my arms and in my stomach. Again, the two of you readers will find it difficult to believe that SlobbyPants McAteer has any kind of OCD issues but they crop up from time to time. So let me begin with that, and you’ll see how I intend to format this blog for the next week or so: by keeping in the spirit of my newfound love for detailed, organized outlines.

ITEM: my cheap-ass Chinese-made faux-sneakers have finally begun to bite the dust. It’s been about six or seven months so I’m not all that surprised, but the incessant “snick-snick-snick” of my snapped right sole has begun to drive me crazy. I’m pretty sure it makes me unpopular, back here in the fourth floor alcove at O’Neill. We band of brothestudentsss…well, we’re trying real hard for silence and solidarity, and a wee bit of broken plastic can seriously compromise that delicate balance.

ITEM: I’ve gotten really good at figuring out when my blood-sugar is low. And for the next week, it’s going to be low pretty much all the time.

ITEM: So far in this finals week, I have not resorted to smoking. I’m pretty stoked about this – the habit may finally be broken. The only thing that might set me back on them would be having my backpack stolen, like what happened when I graduated LAST time.

ITEM: Seriously, folks, if I pull this off – three 20-page papers and one oral exam completed in the space of a week and a day – it may mean that I’ve actually learned something. Not about Irish Studies…oh goodness me, no!...but about how to function like a quasi-adult. If I pull this off, I’ll be insufferable. Just for a little while.

DEPRESSING FACT: My friends and fellow ex-pat West-By-God-ians and I constitute “brain drain.” I didn’t really realize this until earlier today when I put on one of my Mountaineer shirts. I might be on the brink of becoming a quasi-adult, but I’m nevertheless stymied and upset by this problem.


Best Boss-Call Ever.

This morning, my boss called to thank me for grabbing donuts and coffee for her class (though I was grouchy enough about it) and to ask about a meeting appointment. She did a kind of out-loud mental track-back, and asked if it were St. Patrick's Day. I said yes, fiddling with my green silk scarf. She said, "Oh, and I even wore green shoes, but that was an accident...oh, wait, that means...I have to tell Zach to dress him in...okay, I gotta go!"

The translation? She got off the phone with me immediately to call her husband to tell him to dress their son (undoubtedly) in some kind of "Kiss Me I'm Irish" outfit. I can only hope, for the son's sake, that it stops there. I wouldn't put it past my boss to dress him like a leprechaun. That kid's gonna have PROBLEMS.


I Want...(take 2)

This Bracelet.

Here, I'll show you:

This is a pretty fierce WANT, and goes hand in cuff (ooo, see what I did there?) with this other fierce WANT: The Vera Wang Dress.

Again, I'll show you:

People, please...it's almost my birthday. I'll be 28 and solidly in my late twenties. It shouldn't bother me as much as it does, and rampant materialism is my favorite kind of escapism. Please consider this a favor to the human race; otherwise god only knows the depths of depravity to which I might sink.


Letter To Obama

In first 2009 issue of the online journal Politics and Culture, editors Amitava Kumar and Michael Ryan gave academics an opportunity to chime into the massive conversation that has gone on around Barack Obama and his historic presidency. Scholars addressed letters to President (then President-elect) Obama on topics ranging from rednecks to regiments, grassroots activists to Islamic immigrants. And on Obama himself. Dr. Cynthia Young of Boston College wrote to the president the way an older sister might write to her younger brother at a similar time of upheaval: critically but not sharply, reminding him of his responsibilities and encouraging him, Polonius-like, to follow closely his ideals.

Dr. Young has never been a gusher as far as I can tell and this letter is a prime example of the kind of conscience I think Obama needs to hear from during the next four years of his presidency. As she makes a point of saying in her letter, his careful invocation of and distance from the more brutal aspects of the Civil Rights tradition is perhaps the hallmark of a successful [black] politician but "It is also, however, a destructive habit, one that can hinder true and meaningful change, a habit that asks those who have suffered the most to bear the greatest burden for making necessary change".

So just read the letter and decide for yourself whether Dr. Young asks too much. I'm thinking she's just about right.