Dramatic Monotony

Saturday, December 29, 2001

Yesterday I hung out with Anne and Anna for a bit. We gorged ourselves on food... first, we ate mountains of Chinese food at Anna's house... moo shu vegetables, wonton soup, cashew chicken, charbroiled pork with vermicelli, pan-fried flat noodles with beef... yum. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Then we headed on over to Dairy Queen for a good old-fashioned Blizzard. I had the classic M&M ice cream concoction, my favorite. I remember when I first had a Blizzard... I was in elementary school, during summer day camp. Every Friday, we would go out to eat at Dairy Queen. I was a dipped cone girl, but one day, I decided I had an extra dollar and branched out into the wonders of that frozen treat. Every time I would get one, I'd eagerly wait for the waitress to tip it over and I'd wonder if the ice cream ever fell out of the cup. It never did for me. I felt pretty proud about that one.

Oh, wait. I've got to run errands. I'll finish my thoughts later.

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Okay, I'm back from Vegas, completely exhausted, broke, but very happy. Even though our football team lost and I missed my family's Christmas celebration, I'm glad that I went. I got to spend my holiday with some of the coolest people in the world, the USC Trojan Marching Band, TGMBITHOTU. I have plenty of stories to tell... some embarrassing, others rather thrilling, but I'll leave that to another blogger update. I'm still pooped, even though I slept almost all day.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

I'm here at Hector's with Hector (duh) and Sam. We had quite an adventure tonight involving In N Out Burger, a stalled car, lots of band people and Australian accents. Oh la la! Don't you want to know what's going on in my life?

Right now I'm talking to Hector's friends. I don't know them, but does that matter? I'm still having a rocking conversation with 'em! Woohoo!

Tomorrow (err... today) we're off to Las Vegas. I'm pumped.

And Super Shuttle jipped me. I hate them all, especially my driver. Also, I was surrounded by 15+ kids on the plane to LA. ARGH!

Okay, I'm going to bed.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Houston Culture

So, I've gotten a lot of comments about my letter to Brian. And I have a lot more things to add:

McGonigel's Mucky Duck: The premier location to see Celtic Bands. My favorite local Celtic Band? Clandestine!

notsuoh: An artsy club/coffeehouse locale on Main, next to The Hub. While I haven't been here myself, my friends rave about the coolness factor and said "You have to add this."

Bayou Bend: A collection of homes and gardens given by Miss Ima Hogg, daughter of a Texas governor. In the spring, this place is exquisite, with all of the blooming azaleas.

Theater District: I'm gonna have to quote an article in Texas Monthly: "Houston has a Theater District second only to New York City with its concentration of seats in one geographic area. Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations with more than 12,000 seats." The Alley, Theater Under the Stars, the Houston Ballet, the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, and the A.D. Players comprise the headliners of the Houston theater scene, plus many smaller dance and theater troops. I especially like the productions of DaCamera.

River Oaks 3: A beautiful cinema that shows mostly Indie and foreign films. I love coming here to see films... it has a wonderful atmosphere. Also, the area surrounding the theater is home to some of the most beautiful homes in the country. I love driving around, looking at all of the Christmas lights.

The Galleria: How could I forget this? Although most of the stores are a bit upscale, I love window-shopping in this amazing shoppying complex. And around the holidays, it's decorated beautifully.

The Richmond Strip: During the day, this area of Richmond is rather boring. But at night, during the weekends, it's home to drunken revelers, going from club to club. I'm not a big fan, but if it floats your boat...

Galveston: Although it's not the greatest beach, Galveston's Strand offers a good deal of enjoyment. Home to a lot of good restaurants and quaint shops, I enjoy visiting every once and a while.

Okay, that's it for now. If you have any more suggestions, feel free to email me. :)

Nicole is coming to Houston! Woohoo!

I've decided, after consistently waking up at 11 every morning, that sleep is a really good thing. I like sleep. Sllllllleeeeeep. Yup, I'm addicted... to sleep!

Okay, that was a completely idiotic blog entry. But I'm still going to publish it... just because I want to show the world how completely idiotic I am after I rouse myself from a deep sleep.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

I just watched Pearl Harbor for the first time.

Okay, I wanted to shoot myself throughout most of the movie, as my parents can tell you.

I'm feeling really dirty, from all of that Hollywood manipulation shit.

But Josh Hartnett's really cute.

That's enough of that. I'm going to take a shower.

After re-reading, I realize I forgot other great restaurants such as 59 Diner, Nikos Nikos, and Avalon Diner. Not to mention the Lai Lai Dumpling House, which servers American Chinese food in gigantic proportions with miniscule prices. I also like Kim Son, the best Korean food in town. Empire Cafe is another favorite. I skip the coffee products and go straight for the cake. Yum!

I like food, I guess. That's what I spend the majority of my time doing... either eating or thinking about eating. So *that's* why Houston has the most obese population out of any other city in America. Ah, well.

I've been reading the blog of another USC student, and evidently his family lives in Houston. He was complaining about how boring this place is, and I felt I had to respond... His blog, btw, is collapsing.blogspot.com... I haven't quite figured out how to link yet. So, anyway, this is the letter I sent to him.

Hey Brian,

After not reading your blog for a while, I decided to pay a visit today... and I must say, the bitterness about Texas is quite overwhelming. And while a lot of what you complain about is truth (ie, the stupidity of the driver's license bureau) it's not all cowboys and gun-toting NRA freaks here. So, I decided to tell you about my favorite things to do in Houston. Most will require a lot of driving, a sense of fun, and preferably a gaggle of friends, but family can also be enjoyable, if you're lacking in the friends department in Houston.

In no particular order:

Kemah: This touristy spot on the Gulf of Mexico can be a lot of fun, despite the high prices and the strange variations of weather. Parking can be a hassle, but this is the home of my favorite Joe's Crabshack. And sometimes, it's nice to just sit on a bench and people-watch.

Fitzgerald's: The premier venue for great punk shows... I don't know what's been going on lately (seeing that I live in LA), but I've been to many a good concert here. It's located in Montrose, my favorite part of town. It has a great artsy vibe going on.

The Museum District: I was almost an art history major, and this was a large reason why. This area of town (just past Kirby, centered around Bissonet) has numerous museums that are definitely worth a look at. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has an amazing collection (though I still prefer the Art Institute of Chicago) and a brand new building. The science museum's always fun, and the Cockerell butterfly center is always fabulous. I really enjoy the Menil Collection, a private collection of mostly contemporary art. And then there's always the contemporary arts museum, the place where I first saw Basquiat.

The Taste of Texas: A restaurant located at Beltway 8 and I-10. Okay, it's expensive, but it serves the best steaks in town. And if you get into the cowboy mood, it has the most tasteful cowboy decor in town. I'm biased, though. One of my best friends' family owns it.

Nam: If you like Vietnamese food, this restaurant on Westheimer and Fondren serves the best. It's really close to my house, so we eat there all the time.

Rice Village: Okay, yet another cool shopping area around Rice University (a cool school, if I say so myself.) I spend way too much time shopping. But this is also home to BW-3s, the only place you can get really good buffalo wings in town. And Anime Planet, my favorite source for all things anime, is just around the corner.

NASA: Okay, it's an obvious one... but it's still a lot of fun to remember all of those dreams of being an astronaut when you were a kid as you're whizzing around the space center on a tour. They have a lot of cool displays, which really appeal to the nerdy pocket-protector-wearing part of me.

Downtown: They've been having a big revival, though downtown's still a pain to drive around in because of all the contruction. I like going to Bayou Place and watching indies at the Angelika Theater, wandering around downtown and taking pictures of the fountains. One time I went to this little hole in the wall Mexican food place... it was amazing, but I can't quite remember the name of it. But look around for things like that.

I also tend to frequent the Soundwaves in Montrose, The Black Lab, an English pub in Montrose, and Value Village, a thrift store chain all around the city. I go to the one on Gessner, but I hear good things about a lot of them. My advice: get the car for a day and explore... it's a lot better than playing video games.

Okay, wow, I've written a travelogue.
I'll be sure to save this for future reference.


Monday, December 17, 2001

I just finished watching Yi Yi... it was a lot longer than I expected, but strangely enough, it didn't feel tedious at all. The movie concerned a family in Taipei, but I don't think the plot was the main focus of the movie. Instead, it centered on reflections. Everyone in the movie found themselves surrounded by images of what they wanted, whether it's the trappings of success for the the father, the idea of a boyfriend for the daughter, or spiritual depth for the mother. Yet, in the end, they stopped pursuing the reflections and started looking for reality. The grandmother in the movie, even though she never said much, provided the anchor for all of the characters. Her slow death dictates the rest of the character's actions... I liked it, and I high recommend it.

I've discovered that I tend to live vicariously. Whether it's through movies, music, or even someone else's blogger, I immerse myself in other people's lives. I've always been fascinated with the medium of the internet. I've met so many people through newsgroups, chatrooms, and websites... My life has been changed by the goings-ons of others... eventually it affects me too. A friend told me recently that my empathy is my greatest strength. Sometimes I wonder if I empathize a little too much with others... do I really understand myself? If I'm so caught up in other people's lives and thoughts, when do I contemplate my own? That's one of my great struggles, yet it's also my defining feature. Who knows?

I think I'm going to bed now. I ruined today for my father because I couldn't drag myself out of bed... I don't want to ruin yet another day with my insatiable need for sleep.

I'm back... Houston's been a good thing for me. I've missed all of my friends, and it's been nice seeing them. I've done a lot while I've been here, but I have to admit. I miss college. Now, this is strange... I've been looking forward to this trip home for a while. But I can't quite get over the fact that I'm not going to see my college buddies for a long time. True, I'll see a lot of the band bunch on Friday, which will be cool. I can't wait to get back to LA to see the group of them. I'm addicted, I think. Plus, I miss the feel of a flag in my hand. Already, I'm beginning to forget things... so I'd like to refresh and get back into the swing of things.

Random thought: I love Apples. Right now I'm using my Dad's PowerMac G4 with dual 800 mHz processors. It's a beautiful machine, as well as being hella fast. Also, I really like the keyboard. I have an obsession with keyboards. When I was smaller, I always wanted a cash register, one of those old computer models with the squishy, worn-out keys. I would watch the cashiers punch the keyboard with prowess and skill... I thought it looked like so much fun. The challenge of combining speed with accuracy... helping as many customers in the shortest amount of time, always with a friendly smile. Then that fascination turned into a habit; at every computer store my father and I would frequent, I would go and type "Jennifer Noble... The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" on every keyboard in the place. This continued for years...finally, in middle school, I stopped being so obsessive about it. Now and then, though, I find myself at a random computer... and I always test out the keyboard, still searching for that perfect squishy combination. And to tell you the truth, this Apple has the best recreation that I've found. So, naturally, I enjoy typing on it.

Phew, I bet *no one* really wanted to know that about me.

I'm going to watch "Yi Yi" now... I've realized that I havent' seen a lot of foreign movies, so I'm trying to expan my horizons. And this sounded like a good bet. I'll be back later.

Saturday, December 15, 2001

On the plane back to Houston, I wrote some thoughts that I've only just now had a chance to share. I'll add more later, but this is what I have now.

Thursday, 4:57

I’ve decided that blogging has become a passion of mine. I like the idea of having a journal out there, a testament to the world that yes, I, Jennifer Noble lives. The idea that other people read my annals, interested in what I have to say and what I’ve done. I suppose that’s the greatest shock... Ian actually emailed the other day, in a kind of “peek-a-boo” way. He was asking about Disneyland and my experiences with the mouse.

I’m on my home, away from USC for a long time... well, until the 21st. And even then, I can’t visit my home, aka my dorm room. I hope things go well in Houston. My first goal? To renew my driver’s license, even though I left my house keys at USC. Hopefully my parents will let me borrow the extra set, otherwise I’m stuck at home, even though I have a valid license! I’ve missed driving so much - in a few months, I’ve become accustomed to the feeling of utter freedom when you’re behind a steering wheel. True, you’re limited by traffic, by time, by road construction, but sometimes there’s a type of transcendence. Just with the knowledge that if you wanted to, you *could* leave the world behind... or just your city. Although, honestly, ever since going away to USC, I’m not plagued with the feelings of desperation that were my constant companions in high school. Now that I have all of this independence, I feel more in charge of my life, more... grown-up. It sounds strange. How can someone be grown-up at the age of 18? I’m still such a kid. I laugh all the time, I love to dance around... in fact, the other day I wore a tiara all day. I can put it all on the line, and in this state of innocent bliss, I feel more mature.

It’s a bit strange.

One random note: I love I-tunes. The visuals are amazingly cool. After years of sonique, win-amp and windows media player, I’m no stranger to “effects,” but with this program, I’ve seen more variations in patterns than I ever saw in the other programs. I’m in Apple-bliss, though. I love my iBook. It’s my baby... I’m thinking that I’m getting an iPod for Christmas. Wow, what a present! My dad told me to bring home a “good selection of CDs,” and he reminded me on several occasions. I think we’re going to make mp3s out of them and test out this iPod. That’s my take on it, anyway.

I had a really good conversation with Ryan today. He’s a cool friend. Last time I went to Houston, he sat across from me at the airport. Then I ran into him in the French language lab, and started talking to him. Turns out he lives in the same building group as me, he went to St. John’s, our big rival high school. Then I ran into him at the airport today, as we’re going home on the same flight yet again. The world’s very small, I must say.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Okay, so I haven't blogged in a few days. I've discovered something about myself... I like to write a lot. And if I have a lot to say (like I do about this past week) then I want to write even more. But I've also discovered that I don't have a great quantity of time. And so I just put it off... until I haven't blogged in forever and I'm so completely behind it's not funny.

I think that really stinks.

Okay, so I'm going to go through quick summaries of my days:

Saturday: I went to Disneyland... my roommate and I woke up at 8, got dressed, went to the ATM, and flexed out. We bought an awful lot of candy. For those who don't know, Flex is a meal plan option for USC... every day, you get $15.35 to spend at any eating establishment, but you can't carry that amount over to the next day. Every day, when the hordes of USC students realize that they're about to waste 6 bucks on their flex, they rush to Trojan Grounds, the campus coffeehouse, and spend every last dime on fast food. Well, we were ahead of the game... we realized that we would probably be returning at a late hour, thus avoiding the rush and evading the possibility of losing our money.

Then we went downstairs to meet the rest of the group. And that's when we realized that not everyone could go... there weren't enough cars! Nels and Phil couldn't find a ride, so the group shrunk down to just me, Nicole, and my roomie. And that's the group we stayed in throughout the day. (Except for that scary half hour when I was by myself, looking for my friends in Fantasyland while masses of people gathered for the Christmas parade. That was a little freaky.) We made many observations... Disneyland's a very trippy place. We've decided that in order to view the full majesty of the Disney experience, we would have to be on drugs. Wait, let me rephrase that... my friends would be on drugs, Jen would be sober, making sure that they wouldn't throw themselves off any rides. But anyway, Fantasyland = hallucinatory state. Space Mountain... a drug trip with a psychedelic background. Splash Mountain tells the story of how Brer Rabbit found his "laughing place," replete with mushrooms and black lights! And I won't even go into Alice in Wonderland or Mr. Toad's Wild Ride... it's just too easy.

Also, I want to mention that Fast Pass is an amazing invention. If you don't know what this is... well, find someone else to explain it. I'm a little tired, so I'll pass on the complicated ins and outs of best utilizing the Fast Pass option. However, it's a Good Thing. We saved a lot of time... plus we had a lot of fun trying to figure out the intricacies of the system. I enjoyed that part the most. (That's the dork in me talking)

Okay, so we decided to skip out of the park before the fireworks. So sue me. I didn't want to deal with the crowds (and there were a lot of them!) plus I had other things to do that night... like parties. I party-hopped between two places: The Blue House and the swimmer house. Personally, I enjoyed the Blue House party a lot more. Cool theater people, amazing music, a nice atmosphere... all in all, a really chill place. However, no liquor. So, I found myself at the swimmer house, partaking in possibly the worst Jungle Juice I've ever had. I don't drink a lot, and even I could tell it was horrible. I also ended up talking to a couple of girls from the band that I've never really had a conversation with... that was cool. Nicole got plastered and went home early, so Juan Carlos took care of me the rest of the night. He took me to Denny's, then he walked me back home. He's a very nice guy, and very considerate. I had my first experience getting drunk, and really, it's not that great. I don't think I'll be doing that much more. Normally I'm amazingly hyper, but when I've been drinking, I calm down a lot and get more introspective, a fact that shocked most of my friends. They were all taking bets on what kind of inebriated fool I'd be. And I disappointed. Oh, well. Glad that's over.

Sunday: Got up, worked on work, and that's about it. Oh, yeah, I went to Do Jump, "anti-gravitational theater." It was cool; a bit like a low budget Cirque Du Soleil, to quote my friend Alicia. The play showed at the Geffen Theater, right across the street from (f)ucla. Times like that, I wish that our surrounding area was anything like Westwood. There's nothing wrong with University Village... except for the fact that there's an inordinately high number of bums, which just doesn't promote a feeling of ease. Especially at night. I also learned that Andy's not coming back next year. He's going to Indiana University, a sad thing. :( I had words with Charles. I swear, sometimes I wonder about people's intentions, especially when they're so inanely counterproductive.

Not much truly exciting happened on Sunday night, after the play. I hung out with Brian and Vogue. I found out Vogue used to be a vegan... due to the restrictions of Flex, he's laxed into vegetarianism... Besides Ivan's extensive flatulence, nothing of importance happened.

Monday: Again, not much happened... studied a bit, talked to Drew for a bit, stayed up late. The norm. Oh, I studied for cinema with Nicole and Justin... they made a movie while I typed up cinema notes, attempting to study for my final. My favorite line: "Fuck the secret, evil organization. It's our anniversary!" Also saw a music video of a friend of Suzanne's... we watched it up in Jamie's room, after it took them twenty minutes to figure out how to turn on the VCR. I have to say, I thought it was a great piece of work... all about the kid's experience with making the B team in high school.

Tuesday: Woke up... worked on my paper, turned in my paper, went to my interview, took my cinema final, got mad at Josh and Megan, visited 2nd floor Trojan for the first time, came back, watched Desperado, took video of the band at Primal Scream, stayed up late talking, went to bed.

Wednesday: Woke up, studied for French final, took the French final, went to CPK downtown with Krissy and my roomie, and then went downstairs, bidding Ivan fairwell. Due to financial difficulties, he's forced to leave the wonderful world of USC and head back to Nebraska. He's finishing up high school. The wonders of RHP-ness. But at least he'll be with Marie, his girlfriend. That's the one high point, I believe. Brian really drives his roommates away... yeesh. Hopefully his next roommate will be cool.

Now I'm going to bed. I'm getting up insanely early... before I head back to Houston, I've got about six billion things to do, people to see, bags to pack... gotta love travel.

Maybe I'll actually blog a bit more during the break. ;)

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Well, in case anyone wants to know, my paper was finished. As the clock ran down and 5 o'clock approached, I began to get even more stressed and petrified. I find that at times like these, I have this overwhelming urge to play Spider Solitaire. However, for once, I stifled it, sucked in my procrastination instincts and wrote four pages in about four hours, a record for me. Normally, I take forever to write - I revise, revise, and then I revise some more. This paper writing experience was different, though. True, I started off with my one page for six hours of toil pace, but then I went to breakfast, thought over a few things, started a blog account, and got down to work! And even though 99.5% of the text on the screen was complete bullshit, I at least had something on the page. After a bit of minor tweaking (Helvetica font instead of Times New Roman) and a final coat of balderdash, the paper was finished.

I ran to the TO office to find that I had plenty of time to spare... nearly forty minutes ahead of schedule! All of that worry, anxiety, the tears (yes, I started crying at 4 because my roommate wouldn't shut up... okay, let's blame that one on PMS)... I don't have to worry about that again. Until Tuesday, when the next paper (final exam!) is due, yet another tome on Faulkner.

I swear, why do I want to be an English major? I'm foreseeing a shitload of bad times ahead, unless I change my paper-writing habits.

Tomorrow I'm going to Disneyland. I'm actually rather excited about this... I've never seen the original Magic Kingdom before. When I was younger, I was a complete Walt Disney World addict. We would go once a year, and I would spend the entire preceeding months researching rides, optimal wait times, the locations of all of my favorite characters in the parks, the best hotel rates... okay, I was a dork. I would even frequent rec.arts.disney.parks in order to hear the latest gossip from the Disney employees. But as I've grown older, I've mellowed out. I no longer obsess over spending long amounts of time waiting for a ride. I can stand buying food at peak dining hours. I can even be (gasp) spontaneous! It's quite a development.

I need to get money, but I don't know the PIN for my ATM card... I had to get a new one because I lost the old one... and that means they had to change the PIN. Hrm. I'll just call my parents really early tomorrow morning, otherwise I'm stuck here!

Friday, December 07, 2001

Right now, I'm procrastinating. Now, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that knows me. I'd like to share my AIM away messages, just as a sampling of my current state of mind.

Frantic Typing:
A girl sits at her computer. A blank page in Microsoft Word faces her. The cursor blinks unflinchingly while her insanity increases by the second.

Papers are awful.

Frantic Typing Part Deux:
Out of six hours of "work," I've got one good sentence. Let me share: "Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with crudely woven leaves and twigs; Faulkner uses the matted intricacies of the English language to cover his."

Okay, I'm in trouble. But I'm in trouble with one kick-ass sentence!

Frantic Typing Ceases:
I've given up. I'll never get the paper done. I've got five hours and it's not happening. I'm ruined. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

I did have a lovely breakfast though. Feel free to IM me now.

There we go. I'm going to stare at the screen some more now.