The theme, it appears, is "Seven things I haven't said on this blog." The trick is thinking of seven things that anyone who reads this blog could possibly care about. Oh, and Catty in Queens, you're on notice as my sole tag -- ante up a post!
- I love using Zotero and adore the fact that it costs nothing. I also appreciate that Zotero won a court fight against Endnote, who tried to sue Zotero for doing what Endnote did, only better and cheaper. It frightens me, however, that this further ties me professionally to the internet. Somehow it reminds me of those people in Dune who got all the cool powers from the stuff that turned their eyes blue, but then they were addicted to it forever and couldn't be without it.
- When Jessica Cutler was outed as the author of Washingtonienne, I read about her and decided that she was a sleazy ho-bag. When Brooke Magnanti was outed as the author of Belle de Jour, I read about her and decided that I didn't blame her in the least. I can't tell how much of the difference is due to the fact that Cutler is a lousy writer and Magnanti is a good writer, how much to the fact that Cutler seemed not to own up to the fact that she was basically a prostitute while Magnanti was up-front about it, and how much to my recognition, after many years of graduate school, that prostitution seems a more reasonable economic decision than anything I have done in my life.
- I don't understand the rules of American football, no matter how hard I try. (Frankly, I'm not much better at football/soccer, but at least I have most of the basics down on that, and can sometimes enjoy watching it.) I care so little that my brain refuses to retain or process anything well-meaning friends tell me. This makes me a virtual freak of nature, in my football-crazed university community. I try to avoid the topic, because just about everyone around here who tries to chitchat about the team looks at me like I've grown a second head, when I am forced to explain I don't even understand what the hell they're talking about.
- I'm a great fan of alcoholic beverages, but I've never really learned to like gin. I can occasionally tolerate it, if necessary, in a Tom Collins, but the taste is fundamentally nasty to me, even through a haze of mixers. ("If necessary" in this case means in college, when I might find myself at a little party in someone's dorm where there was no booze to be had but gin. Hasn't been a concern since then.) An innovative and very talented bartender in town who also dislikes gin has come up with some wonderful creations that he invented specifically to find a good-tasting vehicle for gin, and I can appreciate the artfulness of his craft, but he has yet to build a gin-based cocktail that I could choke down of my free will.
- I very rarely fail to finish a work of fiction that I have begun to read, especially since they're such rare pleasures nowadays. The only exceptions I can think of are Atlas Shrugged, Call It Sleep, and The Idiot.
My mom gave me Atlas Shrugged in high school, and seemed astonished that I hated it so passionately that I couldn't bear to read another page of shitty prose when I was around the halfway mark. I still can't fathom what she could have been thinking in giving me that piece of crap.
I've started Call It Sleep three different times, and each time it loses me somewhere about 50 or 60 pages in, and I never figure out why.
I found a dirt-cheap copy of The Idiot at a thrift store years ago, and picked it up out of nostalgia for a Russian lit class I had back in college. (Oh, and also because of a passing and hysterical reference to it in The Producers.) It turns out that, while I don't hate Dostoyevsky as much as I hate Tolstoy, I pretty much hate Dostoyevsky too. The fact that I enjoyed the last 100 pages or so of Crime and Punishment isn't enough to make me suffer through anything else the dude wrote.
- I sometimes feel like I have one of the ugliest accents in American English, due to where I grew up. DOU is a very long way away from that place, in a different region of the country, and I have learned to speak passable Network English, since I'll never be able to replicate the local dialect. But whenever I hear the dialect, I am struck by how soft and friendly it sounds to my ear, whereas my native dialect sounds like a chainsaw on steel. My recognition of this as a common phenomenon in sociolinguistics does nothing to alleviate the suspicion that I sound unpleasant.
- I strongly dislike raw tomatoes. I think I must have been well into my twenties before I could bear the idea of letting even a morsel of raw tomato into my mouth. That nasty-ass seed-ridden goop inside is what truly freaks me out; I could learn to deal with it if tomatoes consisted only of the exterior flesh. Whenever I am forced by a recipe to cut up raw tomatoes, it requires an act of will not to gag at the smell.
When I was a kid, this dislike extended to every form and derivative of tomatoes; I used to do horrible things to slices of pizza, in an attempt to exorcise the sauce. Since then, I've learned to enjoy various cooked preparations of tomato of almost all kinds. But the raw ones still freak me out.
ETA: Ah, YouTube! For those who are interested, I found a clip of that Dostoyevsky reference in The Producers.