Familiar habits

So, it's midnight on a cold Sunday/Monday in October, and I am wide awake, burrowed under my duvet - my lack of sleep can only mean one thing at this time of year: end of semester is drawing near. Yes, I'm back in school, for those of you who don't know, and in the process of pursuing my masters. It may come as no shock to those of you who know me well that my habits have changed little since finishing my undergrad. Tonight the first stirring up butterflies emerging from their cocoons can be felt in my stomach; the nervousness begins now. Why? Because I procrastinate - always have, and, apparently, always will.
Now is the time when I start telling myself that I need to buckle down, but rest assured it'll be another week before the 'oh shit' sensation kicks in and pushes me into overdrive. Even this weekend I was telling myself that I was going to get all my reading done early for the literature review paper I need to write, but instead I spent the whole day lazing on my parent's couch with the dog, watching a marathon on hauntings. Very productive.
Hopefully this week I'll manage to blast through the things I want to do, but it's always a matter of getting started. Like anyone who hates working out because it's good for me (rather than being active because it's fun), I hate reading when it's for my own good; I could read for hours on end when it's a book of my choosing, but assign text to me and I just can't stomach it. Assigned readings are literary codliver oil to my mind - I don't want to swallow those bitter meds.
Anyway, like it or not, this is the week. Goodbye to internet (well, somewhat), frivolity, and dawdling. Goodbye to 'ok, after I read this article/forum thread/chapter.' Goodbye to doing it after I cook this large dinner from scratch because it takes longer and distracts me from the task at hand more. Just get it done already...


Old promises come back to haunt me...

For those of you who didn't spend the mid-90s dressings in over-sized clothing and going to raves, some of the following terms may be foreign to you; for your convenience, here are a couple brief explanations:
Jungle - note - I did not write this entry. While much of the info contained is accurate, there is some debate over the Jungle vs. DnB, is it separate, or is it the same, issue. I apologize in advance if your own view (if you have one) isn't represented in that blurb but it is, after all, a wikipedia entry.
MC - To be used in the context of a Jungle set (series of records mixed by a DJ), not the more familiar usage related to Hip-Hop where the MC is the main event.

Now that that's out of the way, I'll get on with the story. About 11 years ago (wow, that makes me feel old), when I was in high school, I made a promise to my brother. At the time he was what we call a 'bedroom DJ,' or someone who buys records, turntables, and a mixer, learns how to 'spin,' but never performs in front of a live audience (well, other than ones own friends who visit said bedroom/in-house studio). I, on the other hand, was a wild-eyed teen of about 16-17, who was having the time of her life going to parties (raves) on the weekends and dancing all night to a new (well, relatively new to me at least) kind of music called jungle. In the midst of all this excitement, I told my brother that if he ever played out, I wanted to be his MC because I myself never had any aspirations at learning how to spin but wanted to get involved.

Fast forward to the present day - well, actually about two weeks ago. My brother and I have a mutual friend who goes by the name Axsent, and runs a small club night at a polish bar in Chicago using the crew name Neoteric. Axsent had been asking me for quite some time when my brother was going to play their night, so I jokingly told him he'd need to ask him himself. I was amused (and pretty happy) when my brother begrudgingly accepted, and began to dust off his old vinyl and practice. That amusement turned quickly into apprehension once my brother told me that he had called up Axsent and told him to put me on the flier as his MC for the night; Axsent had just been telling me about how the new fliers were all printed and ready to go, but had failed to mention the little detail that I was now on them. Enter the cold hand of fear gripping my stomach. These days I am a far cry from being the wild-eyed party girl I used to be; perhaps in my younger years I wouldn't have hesitated to jump on stage, grab a mic, and babble some nonsense over relentless beats for an hour, but now I don't even know what I'd say. The truth of the matter is, I hate MCs. I don't just dislike them, I hate them. I could go up there and do my best mockery of everything I hate in the hopes of amusing someone, but I also hate public speaking. Perhaps some liquid courage might loosen my tongue a bit, but we shall see.
I will go through with it all and fulfill that old promise; I do owe it to my brother, after all. Hopefully nobody will take my actions that night at any serious attempt to be the Mistress of Ceremonies; if all else fails, I can just use my post to order beers from the bar!


Not much to report here lately in the city of Chicago. We've been experiencing some unseasonably warm weather the last couple of weeks yet, inexplicably, where I work within the museum is holding it down at an unbearable 50F. Needless to say, I've been shelving books while wearing two hoodies (both hoods up to cover my Dumbo ears) while in the main stacks, only to have to peel all those layers off when I head elsewhere in the building. You have to love the state-of-the-art climate control we have it; it was a million times worse when I worked in Anthropology storage, especially considering it was summer (shorts and flipflops) and the temps would sometimes fluctuate between the 50's and the 70's in different areas - you never knew what you were going to get, so you couldn't dress for the weather in there.
So, here I am, now sitting at the reference desk in the main library, doing circulation statistics and drinking weak tea from an over-used teabag in order to fight off hypothermia (yes, I am too cheap to just go get another bag). Thankfully there is cake featuring prominently in the foreseeable future because it is one of my co-worker's birthdays. Bless her for feeding my sugar cravings; perhaps that rush of chemically-induced energy that I'm about to get will cause me to feel somewhat above arctic in terms of body temperature for the rest of the day.
If you're reading this, happy birthday M., and thanks in advance for the cake!


Quick update

I forgot to mention - for those following the progress of my talks with the condo association, I ran into our building's manager yesterday morning on my way out. He said he had taken my letter, scanned it, and then was going to email it out to the board members. Hopefully I hear something back soon.

Question for any botanists/plant collectors out there...

When I was in Malta for our honeymoon last September, I photographed a really neat succulent plant. Because the climate is so dry in Malta, the inhabitants get their gardening fix by cultivating container gardens that they keep on the walks in front of their homes, or in small, fenced in courtyards. I would really like to find out exactly what the plant is so that I can get one of my own (I have become a bit of a container gardening hobbiest myself because I live in a condo with a balcony and no yard).
I have managed to narrow down the plant to the genus Aeonium by looking at some of the books and serials in the Botany library at work, but I am not sure where to go from there. So, if there is anyone browsing this blog who might know something, or knows someone else who can help, let me know!

Here are the photos that I took (click on them to enlarge and reduce pixilation):

And here are some pictures of possible matches that were taken from sites online:

Aeonium arboreum

Taken from Plant Safari. The stalks look right, but the rosettes don't seem to be tight/compact enough.

No name

Taken from this page. The stems look right and the rosettes have the right kind of shape but the color and size appear to be different.


For some odd reason, a guy yelled 'go cubbies' at me as I rode past him on my bike this morning. I guess my ridiculously garish pink and orange bike top probably made me look a bit like a north-sider, but I still can't imagine why someone would yell that at a passing biker sans cubs gear. Perhaps he was just shouting it any anyone who would listen, like so many other crazed proselytizers that can be found on the streets of Chicago. I guess he didn't see my 'Jesus hates the cubs' button on my mess bag.