Sunday, October 31, 2004

Yeah baby...

Originally uploaded by verretc.


DIE SYNTAX, DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

" you're dressed as what exactly?"

Originally uploaded by verretc.

Happy Halloween everybody! Well, thanks to YaYaEmpress, I did not have to go un-costumed to the French/Italian Halloween party.

In case you're wondering, I'm dressed as an undecided voter. Even though I already voted. And I was never undecided. But still...

Yesterday I called up the Republican and Democrat headquarters and made up a little story about how I was having an "election party" and wanted stickers to give out to people.


Can I also just mention that the Republican party headquarters is on the third floor of a bank?? Prosperity Bank, to be precise. I think that pretty much says all you need know.

Anyway, the party was awesome, I'll post up some more pictures...we had it out in Round Rock and our hosts decorated up the place real nice like. We had skeletons and graves and dry ice and smoke machines and awesome food. Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie even made an appearance!

I was invited to another party tonight but I have got to do some major Syntax cramming. Stupid Syntax.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"Ahhh, Syntax, my immortal nemesis...we meet again."

Another big Syntax test coming up on Monday and I've been studying my ass off this week. I so wish I was one of those people who just "got" stuff with no problem whatsoever.

They suck.

But I will try my best. I kicked some ass on the studying front this afternoon, but tonight I have managed to procrastinate and put it off and well...I have finally just decided to go to bed because I'm not concentrating and I might as well put my energy into sleeping, which is just as important as studying...


I Voted Today

Well, my civic duty has been fulfilled, I decided to take advantage of early voting and avoid the big insanely long lines that I anticipate at the polls next Tuesday.

Not that my presidential vote will count for anything in the great state of Texas or anything. God bless the American electoral system.

I do have to get up on my soapbox about the whole voting machine issue. I have always voted with the infamous metal lever machines. They've been fine. Never had to do a punch card a la Florida or anything like that. But today was my first time using an "E-machine" to cast my vote.

Let me tell you something about the E-machines. They are confusing as hell.

First of all, the directions are incredibly long and incredibly obscure. Even after reading I was trying to push the button to move forward and I couldn't do it. Then I tried to cast my ballot and I couldn't do it.

God help the illiterate person, or the elderly mom and pop who are not used to computers. Or the college educated grad student (ahem, ME). There were signs up around saying if you had a question to ask one of the poll workers, but:

a. You would have to leave your machine unattended which makes me uncomfortable.
b. That takes away your anonymity.
c. All the poll workers I saw were all busy assisting other customers.

Someone told me the other day that there were some complaints already filed here in Austin because of the obscurity of the machines, and how there was an easy way to "accidentally" erase your votes, particularly if you voted along party lines.

I think I'm going to send in my own two cents to the powers-that-be as well.

I'm sorry, but if we're going to give everyone the "right" to vote, then we need to make the voting system cater to the lowest common denominator. I'm talking about ABC blocks. re you and me...etc.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"Need Some Wood???"

Something delightfully SCARY for Halloween!

I highly recommend clicking to see the 2nd half to watch Defender Bear and friends kick a little a$$.

And can I also say that they couldn't have picked a better costume for Evil Uncle Dick??

Phew and other random mumblings...

Last night I tried to register for classes next semester (can't believe that's happening already) and one of the ones I wanted was closed.

Big deal, you might say. Just pick another.

Well that's the problem. Cause ya see, there was no other class that worked with my schedule other than the evil evil brain destroying advanced Syntax class, whose counterpart I am already being forced to take this semester, and whose other counterpart I'm being forced to take next semester in another department.

You might not have understood any of that, but trust me. I'll be able to tell you anything you want to know about grammar when it's all said and done.

Fortunately, I sent a whining email to my advisor and he's letting me in the class I wanted. Thank ya Jesus.

So, in other news, normally I can't stand Regis and Kelly, but usually they're the only thing on when I'm up in the morning, so I have gotten sucked in. Well yesterday they were broadcasting from Notre Dame! They showed the whole campus and scenes from the pep rally and game, and you could even see the local news people. It made me cry. It was a beautiful day, with beautiful fall colors and I'm sure it's nice and cool and not 85 DEGREES LIKE IT IS HERE IN TEXAS!!!!!!

This weather thing is annoying me. Then again the weather thing in South Bend annoyed me too. As someone said to me last night, "Well Court, what's the common denominator in that little problem??"

Riiiiiiight. I get it.

Anyway, I know that come January I'll be quite content to be in warm sunny Texas and not in cold snowy South Bend, mais quand meme it made me a little homesick. Well, lucky for me, I'm going back to the Bend in November!! For the Pitt game! Whohoo! I am so excited to see ND football again, I cannot tell you how much I've been wistfully watching NBC each Saturday and burning with jealousy at all the fans who get to go.

Of course, I will probably freeze my ass off and be ready to leave at halftime like most last games of the year.

But still...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

"Get out my house"...

Well, last night there was a big shindig at Court's place. Hosted by my roomate for her friends' 30th birthday.

This little sound clip (courtesy of YaYaEmpress) describes my sentiments exactly at 3 a.m. Yes, 3 in the morning. Except there was no one here named Calvin.

The party was actually fine, although believe me I was concerned.
1. Because anyone who knows me is aware that I am not exactly a big social "party" kind of girl.
2. Because anyone who knows me is also aware that I am inherently afraid of people I don't know.

But fortunately a majority of people (including the birthday guests) were super friendly, and my roomate did a nice job of decorating.

She strung big Christmas lights across the backyard and stuck tiki torches all around, so we had a nice little fiesta atmosphere. The birthday boys and girl also brought pinatas, which I haven't done in years. Although I have to say that watching Strawberry Shortcake get beaten to smithereens and witnessing Bert (from Sesame Street) get his legs torn off disturbed me somewhat. Watching the Power Ranger get destroyed wasn't too big of a deal though.

The only issue was that as the night wore on, the guests of honor left, and there only a group of strange alterna-kids in their late teens/early twenties left, drinking the rest of the keg and throwing their cigarrette buts on the ground. We actually weren't sure who they were friends with and how they turned up at the party, but they didn't want to seem to go. Even after my roomate and I started picking up trash and putting away chairs and dropping every sort of polite hint indicating, "Get out my house."

Finally we told them we were going to bed and to please unplug the Christmas lights before they left. Maybe I should have put the above sound clip on loudspeaker. Although even then...

This morning I got to rake up all the pinata candy that no one took and was by then pressed into the ground and covered in flies.

Oh, and I also got to sweep and mop the muddy floors.

I'm a regular Cinderella.

But all in all it was fun. And now I can wait another several years before my next big party.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Slacker? Or just in control of my own destiny?

So this entire week I have been driving my car to school and paying $5 to park in the lot by my building.

It started out innocently enough, on Monday I was recovering from my trip to the Bend of course taking the stupid unreliable bus I have to leave an hour earlier to get to school.
So I decided to sleep in and drive my car.

Then that just kind of led into Tuesday, and then of course Wednesday I was running late, and this morning I am sitting on the couch and just want to sit for a little longer.

Is $5 worth the piece of mind? Yeah, I think so. I like being able to come and go when I want. And honestly I'm not spending money anywhere else...And I'll only do it this week...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Cold, rainy, and miserable? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well, I'm back from my little jaunt up North. I had such good intentions of taking some pictures but you know how that kind of thing usually works out. In my case, I needed batteries for my camera, and kept forgetting to get them, and then kept putting it off, and then I got back on the plane Sunday night without taking one single snapshot. Sorry Donna.

Otherwise, the trip was superb. Other than the overcast skies. And rain. And wind. And feels-like-33-degrees-with-the-windchill-weather. But quite honestly, it wouldn't have been South Bend without it. In fact, I already feel kind of ripped off because there was no 6 feet of lake-effect snow. Maybe next time.

I arrived late on Thurs and stayed with Nanci and Pat, back in my little bedroom from this summer. It was good to be reunited with my old futon, and I was pleased to see that the dip in the middle still conformed to my body. Even the cats welcomed me--Sprockets climbed up into my lap, and Java nuzzled my hand then bit it. Just like old times.

My first project on Friday was to buy a coat, cause damn it was cold. And raining. Did I mention it was cold and rainy?

I then met the PG folk for lunch at--you guessed it--Martins. I don't know which reunion was better--that with my friends, or that with my salad bar. It's a hard call.

After lunch I went to UP Mall for some mo' shopping, then headed to my friend's house for an afternoon chat. There was enough time afterwards to run home and change, then rush out again to meet Drevs at Hacienda and continue to the theatre for a viewing of Napoleon Dynamite. Not sure if Drevs liked it as much as I did, but OMG it was even better the second time around. You must all go and see this film.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to clouds, rain, and even colder weather. Whohoo! I went out to my regular friends of Bill reunion and afterwards headed out to--you guessed it--Martins-- for lunch. Ahhh, Martins. How I've missed you.

Spent the afternoon hanging out with Nanci in the warm kitchen, whilst the rain came down and the wind blew hard. Then hooked up with my buddy Jeff to watch the Purdue game. Not that I'm a Purdue fan. But it was an excuse to go to Between the Buns. Hooray!

Afterwards we went to see Ladder 49. Can I tell you all how much I hated this movie? Don't get me wrong, fire fighters are great, the acting was good, the film was well done, but it was way over-the-top-American-apple-pie-sticky-sweetness, with a dash of tradgedy added in for good measure. Puke.

To erase the bad memories, we decided to watch Office Space, followed by SNL's Best of Jimmy Fallon, followed by SheSpies, which is the most stupid yet terribly addicting show ever.

Sunday I met Bridg and Carol for petit dejuner and got to hear all about Carol's exciting new life event. She know what I'm talking about. Whohoo! Carol, just remember, I look best in black. And nothing strapless.

Sunday afternoon I kicked back with Nanci until it was time to go to the airport. Just as we were pulling out of the driveway, the sun pierced through the sky, as if to say, "Ok Court, you're leaving, now we can have nice weather."

A great South Bend goodbye.

The flight back had relatively few problems, and I was met by the lovely Leigh and her copain at the airport.

I feel I should also mention that not only was Leigh wearing a sleeveless shirt, but when I got home I had to turn down my air conditioner to 75. And today we had a high of 90.

It was so nice to see everyone this weekend. Made me a little homesick I must say. Not necessarily for South Bend. But for the people. I guess I'm at one of those crossroads in life where I don't feel I necessarily fit in anywhere. I love Austin, but know it's going to take time to establish strong relationships, and frankly it just makes me tired. So I don't know. I'm a little down I guess.

But there was little time for distraction, because today it was back to the grind. Blah. I have a big huge test in SLA on Thursday. And I have done very little to study so far. Bad Court! Bad!

Au travail!

"For my money, I don't know if it gets any better than 'When a Man Loves a Woman.'"

You are Michael Bolton.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Well, I'm off today to the land of corn and other...stuff. Yeehaw! Looking forward to visiting the Bend for the weekend, even if there's no game for me to attend. Cause people are more important.

I was quite pumped last night to discover that Napolean Dynamite (click on the link, you won't be sorry) is playing there, and only 2 months after it left theaters! It's good to see that South Bend is still current on the latest pop culture.

Oy. In any case, I intend to force all of my friends up there to see it. And I encourage all my readers too. It's hysterical. You won't be sorry.

I'll still be hooked up wirelessly while I'm gone, so look for blog updates!


Monday, October 11, 2004


I got an 88 on my Syntax test!! I can't believe it! I can't believe it!

Even the questions where I made up b.s. ridiculous answers I did ok on! Whahooey!

This is the first "real" grade I've gotten in my graduate career thus far and I'm off to a surprisingly good start. I'm stunned, tickled pink, ecstatic, flabbergasted, etc.

Do you know what I hate though? And it goes back to what I said after I took the test--I hate that congregating and comparing and blathering with others after a test. More specifically I hate it when people come up to you and ask, "How did you do?"

None of your damn business, that's how I did.

I don't know, I guess it depends on the person and the context (much like Aspect, muhahaha (syntax term)), but I just don't like to get into that comparing crap. Especially because the people who usually ask you are the ones that probably got a 100% plus the bonus without even studying, and they just want some more ego stroking. I don't like these people.

If they want to brag, they should just start a blog, like me!

Friday, October 08, 2004

What??? Are you saying America isn't the only country in the world???

Europeans Lament a 'Changed' America

By MORT ROSENBLUM, AP Special Correspondent

PARIS - In Paris, a hairdresser says with a laugh that if he can't vote on Nov. 2, at least he is splashing Heinz ketchup on his steak-frites as his contribution to the momentum against President Bush (news - web sites).

In Oslo, a young Norwegian expresses his thoughts on a Web site that takes advantage of Norway's two-letter Internet code:

Even in Warsaw, where many support Bush, Poles question the president's Iraq (news - web sites) policy. "He banged his fist on the table," said Ewa Wojcik, a 44-year-journalist. "Whether it was the right table remains a question."

Opinion surveys concur that Europe heavily favors Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites). But, beyond the numbers, conversations reveal a broad belief that the Atlantic Ocean is wider than at any time in modern memory.

From Britain to the Baltics, many sense a sea change in sentiment toward an America they once admired — largely linked to what they call an arrogant contempt of others after 9-11.

Cedric Judicis, 51, the ketchup-eating coiffeur, normally pays scant attention to U.S. presidential contenders, but this year he knows all about aspiring first lady Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the H.J. Heinz Co. fortune. Heinz Kerry gained much of her $500 million portfolio through her Heinz inheritance, but she does not serve on the board and is not involved with the management of the company.

Like many Europeans who see the American chief executive as reshaping their world, Judicis wishes he could vote.

"To us, America was always the gold standard," he said. "It made mistakes, but it always meant well. We were like pupils who admired the master."

Judicis has made six trips to the United States and, unlike some others, he is eager to go back.

"But America is different now," he said. "It rules by force, not by the weight of respect. There's a sense of 'do what I say and not what I do.' It was always so open. Now it seems to us totalitarian."

Jillie Faraday, a British filmmaker based in Paris, still loves to visit American friends. She knows the society well, avoiding generalities that often lead its critics astray.

Still, she excoriates the Bush administration because of Iraq. "Can't they see that they're just making more terrorists, more bitterness, more frustration?" she asked.

And she thinks a Republican cabal is conning an apathetic, foolish mainstream. She is outraged, for instance, at the new electronic voting system in Florida which leaves no paper record.

"If they tried to do that in anywhere in Europe, people would riot in the streets," she said. "Americans are fed propaganda, and they say it's democracy."

Most Europeans questioned said they were more opposed to Bush than in favor of Kerry. Few have firm opinions yet on the Democratic candidate. Many question his ability to rally Europe on Iraq, should that be his intention.

In Poland, the mood is mixed. Three of four Poles questioned by The Associated Press said they would not vote even if they could.

"Kerry seems weak, unconvincing," said Piotr Sakowicz, 44, an avionics engineer. "And Bush seems incapable of continuing his task."

Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes, 29, on leave from Norway's Socialist Left party to run his "" Web site, posted a letter to Bush, saying Norwegians respect America's "strength, generosity and creativity."

But, he added, four out of five Norwegians oppose the war because Bush's policy "only fosters resistance."

In Britain, where Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) supports Bush, polls suggest a two-to-one preference for Kerry. By telephone, a sampling of Britons explained why.

At 32, Chris Hoe, a British treasury employee, said he grew up with America as an example of an open-minded and free-spirited nation. "Now," he said, "I'm afraid that's been pushed aside by an ugly isolationism."

For Amanda Farrant, 36, a King's College expert on Middle Eastern borders, Bush's America is downright dangerous. By removing Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), she said, coalition forces gave the Middle East its first chance at regional cooperation in decades.

"But the way American and British troops went in, disbanding the border guards, you really have to wonder what brain cells are working up there," Farrant said.

She was disgusted when U.S. authorities recently turned back singer Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, as a terrorist risk.

"I'm afraid all sorts of things are turning people off about America," she concluded.

Arab leaders tried to warn Bush to gain more support and plan for a postwar transition, she said, but instead Washington is confronted by a region full of angry, frustrated people.

Views are poignant in Germany, where fresh generations are rejecting the old postwar attachment to an American ideal.

Vending machine executive Paul Bruehl worries about what he calls Bush's Christian fundamentalism. "In world dealings, you need intercultural dialogue, with Muslims, with Buddhists, with everyone," he said by phone from Cologne.

With a bitter laugh, Bruehl described a T-shirt he had seen that made the point: "And God spoke through the Bush."

But the strongest feelings are in France, which dates its trans-Atlantic friendship to the Marquis de Lafayette's help against the British in the American Revolution.

French Foreign Ministry officials say privately they laugh off anti-French slurs. But they describe a deep-seated unease with Washington, pushing them closer to European partners.

Among ordinary Frenchmen, the feeling is clear.

"We no longer feel much sentiment for America," remarked Laurence Torno. Her husband, a softspoken dentist, agreed. "It is too aggressive, too full of itself."

Their son, Pierre-Charles, 17, saved for years for a post-high school grand tour, starting in Florida and ending in New York. This summer he graduated and went to Australia.

"Before the Iraq war, my friends and I all felt a strong sympathy with America," Pierre-Charles explained. "Now we see no respect for people's human rights or international agreements."

One friend who went to America told him he was pushed around by kids wearing buttons that said, "After Baghdad, Paris."

Now he has revised his dream of studying medicine in the United States.

"I loved Australia," Pierre-Charles concluded. "It was very open, friendly, a great place. I'd had it with America."


Associated Press writers Monika Scislowska, Doug Mellgren, Barry Hatton and Mar Roman contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I gots me a book...

So I have to say that right now, hands down, my favorite class is Second Language Acquisition. In case the class title isn't explanatory enough for you, it's basically on the theory of how people learn foreign languages, how it relates to their native language, and the ability of users to ever achieve "native-like" competence in the second language.

I took this class with a "Well, why not?" sort of attitude, and I can't remember ever liking a class so much. It seems like each week I start to formulate some "Ah has" on how people learn and what they can achieve, and then BAM there's a new bombshell dropped. Trop cool.

I'm doubly excited because this week, after asking some questions post-class, my professor lent me a book that's "hot off the press" for a possible report, or at the least just my own personal knowledge. I finally starting looking through it today and it is oh so cool. As Oz would say, I need a towel.

It is so cool to enjoy and get excited about's what school should really be about.

On a side note, wish me luck tomorrow--I teach a class solo for the first time this semester. Can we say NERVOUS???

Umm, are you kidding me?

Say what you will, evil Uncle Dick, this does nothing to diminish the fact that your administration LIED, and as I seem to remember, the last lying president we had was almost burned at the sta- I mean impeached...

Cheney: Weapons Report Justifies Iraq War

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

MIAMI - Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) asserted on Thursday that a report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq (news - web sites), who found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991, justifies rather than undermines President Bush (news - web sites)'s decision to go to war.

Click here for more.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Dear Gross and Disgusting Girl,

While I certainly understand the satisfaction that can come from zit popping, no one particularly wants to watch you pop your boyfriends zits in public.

Particularly IN A PUBLIC EATING AREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. You might want to work on some of your own zits before tackling those of your boyfriend.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Princess Court

Hello one and all,

The weekend went by way too fast as usual. Here's a brief recap:

Friday night I was actually social and stepped out of my box, and invited some of my new friends to dinner and movie. We went back to Vivos, where my roomie took me my first weekend here. What can I say, I like their salsa. And the fact that they put ice and rose petals in the bathroom sink. And that they give you a long-stemmed rose when you leave. Touche.

It was too bad that afterwards we went and saw the worst movie in the world, The Forgotten with Juli Moore. Can I just say how dissappointed I was? And secondly What in the F*** was this movie about???? What were the people who released this movie thinking? Did they see the same movie I did? You know you're in trouble when an emotionally charged serious event is taking place and the audience erupts in laughter.

Oh well. If nothing else, it provided fodder for a week's worth of laughter.

On Saturday, I, along with my cousins, Alex and Eliana, watched 30 years of glorious history come to a deppressing end, when Purdue defeated Notre Dame. It was painful. It did not help that my good buddy Jeff (a Purdue grad) was in the stadium, shooting me evil text messages all throughout the game. And calling me at halftime to gloat. I fought back, although I got in trouble when 8-year old Eliana looked over my shoulder and saw me writing "Go to hell and somersault 25 times." D'oh!

The only bright spot during the game was getting to wear Eliana's tiara that she had just won that morning at the Disney store. I have to say I enjoyed wearing it around the house and was very reluctant to give it back. I might have to head out to the mall and get one for myself. I wish I had gotten a picture of myself in it.

Saturday night I forced Alex to watch Rudy, in order to edumacate him on Notre Dame football. The poor child knew nothing! But we've ameliorated that. He was a captive audience--although I don't know if it was because he was really enjoying the movie or because he was grounded and this was the only thing he was allowed to watch!

Today I attempted to get some studying done, but really just did the bare minimum. I don't know for some reason I just couldn't concentrate on the readings, which isn't good since they were in English and thus are a nice break for me. Oh well.

There's always tomorrow.

*****This just in! My roomate just informed me that she has "a couple" old tiaras from previous Halloweens! Whohoo! Problem solved!*********

Friday, October 01, 2004

Phonological Anomaly

So, I've been in school a little over a month now. I'm already starting to do random things like analyze the syntax of people's coversations and emails, or noticing irregular morphogical endings, or giggling when people use "incorrect" grammar (because what is incorrect anyway?) and it's kind of fun to apply what I'm learning in real life.

But of course, that also means other people will be doing the same thing to me, including my professors, who actually know what they're talking about.

So yesterday in my Second Language Acquisition class, we were talking about "native" speakers, and how they have different accents and anomalies as well (the point being, what is "native" competency?). My professor proceeded to write the word "Strength" and asked us all to pronounce it. After my turn, he got a great gleam in his eye and said, "Say that again."

So I did.

Then he got a big smile, went around the room with everyone else, then said:

"Courtenay, say it again."
"Class, did you hear that?" (huge excited smile on face)
"Courtenay, say this word..." (proceeds to write "strand" on the board)
(evil laughter)
"Now say this..." (writes "string" on the board)
"String." (feeling very nervous)
"Class can anyone hear what she's doing????!!!"

Apparently when I pronounce words with "Str" in them, I use an "Sh" sound. So "strength" becomes "Shtrength" and so on.

No one else in the class does that apparently.

I was then the topic of class for the next 10 minutes.

Even though I usually like it when it's "all about me", I don't know how I feel about being the class science experiment.

I kind of feel like a freak of nature. (sniff...)