The Jesuits can raise way more money than you, anyway.

I’m applying to a bunch of graduate schools. You know this. Or you should. If you’ve been paying attention. Six month ago, I really wanted to go to this one university. I’m not going to name names but let’s just say it’s a Catholic university in town and it’ s not Marquette. They had a religious studies program, what looked like a doable curriculum, and I had several friends who went there and loved it.

(It also has the prestige of being the place where Drunkfest 2008…or, you know, the dinner dance, was held. But that’s really neither here nor there.)

I’ve only had a few dealings with their admissions department, but I am really, really not impressed. I mean, honestly. The condescension? I don’t need it. First they told me I couldn’t handle two master’s programs. Like, literally, the e-mail read, “I have concerns. We don’t want to set you up for failure.” And it isn’t true. But it scared me into only applying for one because I really didn’t want to be turned down for the program that I am actually a qualified applicant for. I really did not appreciate that.

Anyway, I applied a few weeks ago. I received an e-mail updating me about the status of my application, and saying that they still needed letters of recommendation and my final, degree-bearing transcript.

Lovely. The letters are in the mail. Or, at least they will be as soon as I threaten the professors that I have selected with bodily harm because NONE OF THEM ARE SENDING THE DAMN LETTERS AND DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW STRESSFUL THIS IS FOR ME PERSON WITH A DOCTORATE ALREADY??? NO. I DIDN’T THINK YOU DID.

The transcript. I don’t have a final, degree-bearing transcript. I’m not going to have one until June. So I e-mailed back explaining that I was finishing my senior year of college, and the final transcript would arrive as soon as it was produced after my graduation. In the meantime, I had already sent a transcript with all grades and all in progress courses listed. You know, like every other college senior applying to graduate school.

Oh. Oh, no. This is not good enough for Unnamed Catholic University That Is Not Marquette. The same person who sent me the nasty you’re-too-stupid-to-do-two-programs-at-once responded that they definitely required that final one.

That makes no sense, you’re thinking. Even ignoring the fact that the transcript I did provide them pretty much showed that I could essentially not show up next semester and still graduate with honors, that pretty much precludes you going there for the fall semester. But wait. It gets better.

Not to worry, she said, the final transcript would be ready by June, most likely. There would still be plenty of time to consider my application for Fall of 2010.

Um…yeah. There’s like a good six weeks in there, right? I mean, classes don’t start until the end of August. What’s that? You need to know what you’re doing more than six weeks in advance? Like so you can find a place to live and funding and apply for loans and I don’t know, KNOW WHETHER OR NOT I GOT INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL???

No. That’s crazy talk.

But my favorite part was the last line. If my computer screen was capable of reaching out and patting me on the head, it would have done it, that’s how consdescending it was. “You just relax and focus on getting that bachelor’s degree!”

You just relax and watch me pay the Jesuits the thousands of dollars a year I was going to pay you! Mmkay, pumpkin?

(Watch. Now no one is going to accept me.)

I miss him.

It’s not all sunshine and Ewan-McGregor-drooling here at The Agony and the Ecstasy, folks. Occasionally I do have real feelings. And this year, they’re not even the rage-filled, paint-fume-induced feelings of despair and homicidal tendency that I had last year.

I know, right?

Anyway. Today something awesome happened. Not a big thing, but something pretty cool to someone who is freaking out about being accepted to graduate school. (No, I wasn’t accepted anywhere. Trust me, you’ll hear the screams.) I was talking to my mom about it, and she said that Grandpa would have been so proud of me.

Which was strange, because as soon as I found out about this, the first thing I thought (well, okay, after “Why wasn’t I nicer to you in class?”) was, “Wow, I wish I could call Grandpa.”

He was always proud of me (of all of us, really), but I feel like he expected me to go to college and do well and therefore it was awesome that I was doing that but hey, I put your mother through law school so you can handle a B.A. in history, young lady. But graduate school is kind of above and beyond, and I would have loved to have called him this afternoon.

Because it would have mattered just as much to him as it did to me.

So even though feelings aren’t as raw as they were last Thanksgiving, it still sucks that he’s not here with us.

I’m really more of a synoptic girl.

Godspell was on tonight, and wow, I never tired of watching that movie and attempting to understand it. I think I wrote about this once and said that it was like taking acid and going to Good Friday services, but without any of the bad side effects like taking acid and going to Good Friday services.


There are crazy costumes and hippies and John the Baptist is also Judas and there’s that one “come here Jesus, I’ve got something to show you” line that skeeves me out and musical numbers interspersed with lines from the Passion and it’s like a canonical train wreck that I just can’t stop watching.

My only problem is that I cannot take Victor Garber seriously as Jesus because I’m a baby of the nineties and know him as That I’m Sorry I Couldn’t Build You A Better Ship Young Rose Guy From Titanic and Jennifer Garner’s dad from Alias.

You did not die for my sins, Spy Daddy.

Oh, and the Dixie cups at the Last Supper. I prefer to keep paper cups far away from my Real Presence, thank you very much.

Other than that, it’s fantastic.

I don’t know how to cook a turkey.

Really. I don’t. In fact, cooking meat of any kind other than ground beef pretty much escapes me. Probably because while I have no problem eating meat, I prefer not to think of it as ever actually being an animal. When it’s bleeding on your counter top, it’s very hard to do that.

Anyway. I don’t really cook for Thanksgiving. My father enjoys that, and hey, whatever blows your skirt up. I do make the pies, though. I’m quite good at the pies. Except for the part where I always forget to put them away. EVERY YEAR. They’re just sitting on the stove and I’m all, okay, I’m going to bed, and my dad is all, no, you still have pies out, moron.

(He doesn’t call me a moron. Ever. He’s a very nice guy.)

This year I had a teeny problem with the pies, though. I paid attention to the cooking directions on the can. Ha. Haha. Stupid idea. I don’t usually do that, because our stove is alternately freakishly hot or lukewarm and I don’t trust whatever brand Pick and Save came up with to compete with actual food companies. But today I was hugely busy with the cleaning and so forth (no joke, I got home from Starbucks at 11:00 and finally stopped in order to watch Hotch’s wife die at approximately 8:45.) that I left it in for the allotted forty minutes. In fact, NOT EVEN. It was more like half an hour.

Bad move. The pies? Were black. My father, who enjoys gnawing on charcoal, suggested that we just cut off the burned parts. I suggested that I get my keys and go buy some more evaporated milk because ARE YOU KIDDING ME IT’S ALL BURNED PARTS!

Also a bad move? Attempting to buy cinnamon (oh, yeah, we were out of that too. So Pies Part the First probably wouldn’t have been too tasty anyway.) and evaporated milk at seven o’clock at night on the day before Thanksgiving? Not smart. Not smart at all. I bought what I think were the last two cans and got the hell out of there as fast as I could.

Pies Part the Second turned out significantly better, I think. Well, and they have cinnamon. So, you know, there’s that.

I’d probably go to confession more often.

Attention, bloggroupies. Angels and Demons on DVD today, and I had already purchased a copy before school. Devotion, I tell you. After Mass, though. Which I realize is slightly ironic. And also possibly a little bit sinful.

Le anyhoodles, I was going to liveblog it. Because, I mean, really? What do you want more than all the comments that had to stay in my head or be whispered to my sister (she appreciated that, let me tell you) during the (multiple) theater viewings SPEWED ON THE PAGE? RIGHT? Mind-blowing.

But then I realized that it would a.) make my mom mad, because she prefers to think that I’ve never seen this movie and lalalala I don’t know what you’re talking about. And really, the woman is a saint. And half my readership. I’d hate to make her mad unnecessarily. Also b.) that’s like 2 hours and 43 minutes of near-constant “zomg Ewan McGregor soooo hawt ljdfkljfkjfdkjld drool.” With the occasional “NOT TRUE DUMB WHORE.” And you probably don’t need that.

So I’ll just say that there are few better ways to celebrate the beginning of Thanksgiving break than coming home a a collar-ripping good time like this. I don’t really want to think too much about why I find it hot, but damn, I do.

Skinny caramel lattes are never disappointing.

Okay. So I went to that meeting that I wrote about last night. And…it was worthless. Apparently writing an abstract is as easy as I had anticipated. And the conference that I could go to is awesome and easy and they accept 90% of the abstracts submitted and you don’t even have to turn in a paper, just give a 15-minute presentation except a.) I didn’t realize until this morning in the meeting that I can’t make it that weekend, and b.) I would have to deal with annoyingly impressed-with-themselves undergraduates and my God, man, shut up about publishing your stupid biology research, you’re getting a bachelor’s just like the rest of us.

Yep. I kind of glanced at the dates when I got the e-mail, and it kind of felt like I should have something going on April 17th. But whatever, I never do anything and April? I barely know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving. I figured that it was just so close to Easter that I was probably messing up the dates in my head.

Except I wasn’t. It’s Confirmation. Which I’m obviously not going to miss so I can present my take on the centuries of Catholic/Jewish relations to a bunch of bored faculty members and annoying undergrads. Dude. We have a new archbishop!

So that’s out. But the second reason? About the annoying people? That was almost enough to make me stay home anyway. Only three people showed up for the meeting, and one of them was a senior in the biology department. A senior who would not shut up about his damn research. And how awful he felt about having to dumb down his abstract for an interdepartmental conference. And how he knew he wanted to publish his research next semester, but he wasn’t sure where. And how his tuition was taken care of by grants. And how Jesus Himself came and blew some fairy dust on him.

Oh. My. Goodness. Shut. Up. I’m a senior too. I have good grades. But I am operating under no illusions that anyone wants to read my senior thesis much less publish it and so help me God, I will throw this pencil at your head if you don’t be quiet this minute I have had NO LATTE THIS MORNING.


Now I’m watching a two hour movie about Hassidism from the ’80s. Online. And totally not surfing other sites in another window. That would be irresponsible. But the guy playing the Hassidic boy? Is the voice of the Beast, from Beauty and the Beast? Which I am celebrating my 17th anniversary with TODAY NO LESS. It’s also John’s birthday. In an attempt to get me to ignore the fact that my mommy was leaving- again- to have another little screaming child- again- I was bought the videotape of Beauty and the Beast. And thus an obsession was born.

Also John. Happy birthday, John!


I recently received and e-mail from the head of the history department with a call for papers. Apparently, they can fund a certain number of students to go to this conference in April, and if you submit an abstract, you have a change to be accepted. Oh, and there’s even a meeting about abstracts and what they should look like because we’re stupid undergraduates who can barely dress ourselves. Tomorrow. At ten a.m.

This is a fantastic opportunity. I could in theory actually publish my senior thesis, and at the very least I’d get some idea of what the hell and abstract is or how one goes about writing one before I apply for a job that consists mainly of writing abstracts. Oh, and there’s that whole I’d get to hang out with a bunch of drunk historians for a weekend part that’s pretty awesome, too.

Except. I’m usually in Starbucks at ten a.m. on Mondays. Doing homework. Or reading. Or not paying for parking. All of these things I’d rather be doing that sitting in the basement of Bolton learning about how to write an abstract.


Welcome to hell. Where tuition is only $30,000 a year.

I’m (almost) finished with grad school applications. My final school is the one I’m fairly certain will accept me, so one would think that I’d jump right on that bandwagon, right? Wrong. They require a very large check and have a much later deadline. So…we’re going to wait until after the holidays…

They do not require quite as large a check as Northwestern requires. I’m applying to Northwestern because I think it’s a pretty cool program. Terminal PhD, full tuition and living stipend, and the ability to wear a “Northwestern” sweatshirt unironically. Take away the 89-mile one-way commute and I’d be all set. However, I’m almost 100% positive that they won’t accept me. Not necessarily because I’m unqualified (or because I had to use spell check to spell “necessarily”), but because they’re pulling from a much larger and more prestigious pool than…oh…EVERY OTHER PLACE I’M APPLYING TO. So. There’s that.

Nevertheless, there will probably be tears and large drinks when they do reject me. You won’t hear about it for about three weeks, at which point I will have gotten over the humiliation and be able to turn it into an amusing blog post.

The cost for the application that they will most likely reject? $75. SEVENTY-FIVE. Look. I know it’s not like a huge amount of money, but it kind of is, and it’s a good 150% more than ANY OTHER FEE I’VE HAD TO PAY. And I’m applying to pretty much anyone with an application.

That’s just adding insult to injury, Northwestern.

Meanwhile, today I did research in and “archive” that was, I’m not even kidding you, a file cabinet. Yeah. That was productive. I did, however, come to the conclusion that Moses Montefiore Synagogue? Looks like every ’70s era Roman Catholic Church I’ve ever been in. And I also found out that the rabbi had a married daughter, a seventeen-year-old son, and a three-year-old. Wow. That three-year-old must have been a surprise.

I don’t know what Northwestern wants if it isn’t very important historical research like that.

It’s going in the blog.

Television: *has a commercial that uses the word “tchotke”*

Mom: Ugh. The tchotkes.


Mom: I think we’re getting better though. We really got burned by tchotkes.

Dad: What? Did we have a tchotke problem?


A problem? A problem? I’m not sure I’d call it a problem. A giant sucking hole of evil that required painting and “Human” by the Killers came up on my iPhone yesterday and I swear to God I felt a little bit nauseous because I listened to that a lot while painting shelves and I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING INTERNETS.

THAT’S what I’d call it.

The man. Is oblivious.

I’m wasting my time in Milwaukee.

I have this professor. I really like her. She went to Yale. I know from other sources that she’s really proud of the fact that she went to Yale.

(Hey, why not? You got a doctorate from YALE. I’d be handing out flyers.)

Anyway. Our Thanksgiving break starts the day before Thanksgiving. So Tuesday is the last day of classes next week. The class that she teaches is from 3:30 to 4:45 at night. Or, the time that no one wants to be in class.

On the syllabus, there is a movie scheduled for that day. Immediately, back in September, I’m like, screw that. I’ll be at home, starting on my pies. Then she announces that she won’t even be there, there will be a sub to insert the disc and press play. She has to go to a “book event”. (I think that’s more like, “start drinking early”.)

Yes. Because EVERYONE is going to show up to watch A FRIGGIN MOVIE with a SUBSTITUTE TEACHER LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL on the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. Ha. Hahahaha. I would almost like to come just to see NO ONE ELSE COME.

I think this must have dawned on her, however, because today she finally cancelled class altogether and now we just have to watch the movie online.

See, I don’t have a degree from Yale, and I figured out back in September that that was just going to crash and burn. Maybe I should be applying to the Ivy League.