In what was a thoroughly impressive move to try–on a whim: Yonatan brought an entire basketball court to my office today (at least sort of, it was a pretty elaborate $20 portable plastic basketball hoop set-up). It’s too big for my office though, so Yonatan is keeping it in his, which is just down the hall way– as this small, surprising world would have it. And so, while I should have been working diligently on my presentation for an upcoming philosophy conference in Ohio on the topic of diversity, I found myself instead shooting free throws and learning about soteriology (the study of salvation) with this religion scholar (and fellow fellow–again, as this small, and continually shrinking– world would have it) whom I had met by chance at Chad and Agata’s most recent poker night, which Brad and I had decided to get in on–on a whim.



held hostage   by its  ability to survive beyond
events it  hadn’t been designed to


So today is move day. Another transition. Last week, as I walked up toward the apartment, I found Bonnie doing some summer gardening– she looked so beautiful and happy outside sitting under the sun, surrounded by flowers and pots and soil. I had found such an amazing roommate, I thought to myself. Bonnie is super-independent and super-creative, two of my favorite qualities to discover in another person. Last week, she got the impulse to make a collage out of a bunch of her fashion magazines she had laying around, she worked through the middle of the night– cutting and assembling various male heads on various female body poses– the finished product was super impressive and hysterical. Framed as it is, hanging now up in the living room, you’d honestly just as soon assume it was a bought-and-paid-for art work from an exhibit. Bonnie’s goals include becoming a professional hair color specialist (and after working with my hair, I can attest to her level of skill and patience) and living in New York city. That’s where she lived before Tallahassee (but after living a year in Costa Rica!). Bonnie says she loves and misses the tempo and culture of the city, says she needs it to stay motivated and engaged with the world. Understandable. That said, I really, really hope we stay close, and our friendship grows, in what remains of her (and my) time in this town.


My friends, Sean and Brad, both gave me the very reasonable advice not to respond to this status update qua question prompt, but I was hopelessly compelled. Sean’s rationale was, “its a lost cause.” Basically, his opinion was that these were not people to be reasoned with. I wanted to believe that his was a premature call, though I did agree with general sentiment Facebook debates are better avoided. Any who, what’s done is done–what’s done?

Trinie  Does it make me a bad person if I secretly hope none of my boys end up with a girl with sleeve and neck tattoos?

HR Mac No!

Cindy  Ditto!

Berkely No that makes you honest

Me Two of the sweetest girls i know have sleeves. Why not just wish them happiness

Trinie  I know some wonderful ladies all tatted up…it’s the perception it leaves that’s all!

Becky  Awe that’s honest but just because we or they have sleeves/tattoos doesn’t make them bad!! My best friends have sleeves and if I could, I would.

Berkely  she’s not saying they are bad people. I get it Trinie.

Becky  I know but it’s basically profiling a perception and it’s art.

Becky  But I do see what she is saying

Trinie Not bad person at all! But the perception is trashy. Society has standards…first impressions mean a lot whether people admit it or not. I’m truly not aiming this post at anyone in particular. I saw a tv show advertising and the girl had a pretty face but was covered.

Trinie  I was thinking to myself, “huh, what a shame…I wonder what she’s going to look like in the nursing home!”

Trinie Besides, my small tattoos are hidden under clothes and eventually they will look like poo.

Bethie My tatoo looks like poo NOW!!! lol! I’m with you Trinie. I know tons of awesome people with sleeves, however they ones that have tatood their hands and necks are having trouble finding professional jobs now. It’s sad, but true. Many companies have grooming standards that won’t allow for them.

Colleen Believe me, tattoos look disgusting on wrinkled skin, not to mention they hide veins. Art to one is not to another.

Me  “She’s not saying they are bad people.” Right. She is, (quite literally, I take it) asking if *she* is a bad person for judging a person based disproportionately on the colors on their skin. The question seems problematic. What I find even more disconcerting, however, is the bandwagon style argument in support of this negative social-cultural bias: basically, more discrimination—only this time with appeal to ageism: Our society thinks old, wrinkled skin is aesthetically unappealing, so just imagine how aesthetically unappealing aged, wrinkled skin *with faded artwork* would look? There are tensions in the line of reasoning Trinie put forward: She knows ‘wonderful ladies’ that are ‘all tatted up’ but she believes the ‘perception’ is ‘trashy’. She felt bad for the pretty young lady on the ad and thought ‘what a shame’, while noting that she herself has tattoos–but reassuring us that hers are ‘small’ and ‘hidden’. When I see a person with substantial body art, my ‘first perception’ (‘judgment’) is not ‘trashy’—it’s something like ‘there is an individual that values body art as a means of self-expression.’ That’s it. Anything above and beyond that, and I think we’re dealing with personal projection and unchecked, negative social-cultural bias. And if I was going to be critical of something, I would think unchecked promulgation of an arbitrary, negative social-cultural bias a more appropriate candidate for scrutiny than an individual who I have yet to be acquainted with.




Me: I believe my phone to be sentient.

Me: And I think its recording my breathing.

Me: And what if I tell you it  is sending you these communications,

not I ...?

Sean: Sigh…this is what I was afraid of…

Me: And that this is what the human race is up against.


"It's perfect--from your perfect,  irresistible,  imagination."  

-Daisy, The Great Gatsby


You have to adapt.


It’s true that I have long been of the (unpopular) opinion that technology will ultimately be the end of civil society. Therefore, hyper-vigilant as I am about trying to translate my values into action, I had for a long time resolved myself to the simplest of cell phone technologies, a $12 (plus tax) number I purchased from Wal-Mart that had allowed me to text and receive calls, as well as set an alarm on its good days– everything a simpleton like myself could ever have wanted.


Alas, after hundreds of falls and brushes with death, my phone’s dip last week into the toilet bowl pool–probably in conjunction w/ my premature testing of God’s will on the matter (see earlier posts)–resulted in its final demise. I had no choice but to go to T-Mobile today and look into a replacement. My new phone is what the young folks call a “smart” phone. I don’t know how to use most of it yet, but I did manage to figure out a dial out–so I did what I do best, and called Sean for advice. I told him I didn’t understand half of the apps on my phone, and my finger was too fat to send text messages quickly, but that there were some super cool features– for example, a navigation app for my car! And insta- internet access! I asked him if he had any advice, to which he wisely suggested: “Now, just remember Mary, you need to play it cool. Most of these ‘magic features’ you are freaking out about people have been using since the mid-1990’s–so you’re going to want to bottle up your excitement on this one, k?”. Good advice, I thought. And fast forward our conversation a few minutes to our first text message exchange on my new phone:


Me:  Got my new phone.

Sean: Nice! Finished my article! Just in time! I win!

Me: Nice! Go Bamboo 🙂

Me: Sorry, I don’t know how to get out of incorrect yet.

Me: Boo boo*

Sean: Lol. Autocorrect. Welcome to first world problems, Marebear

Me: Auto correct*  😦


Sea Cows


Gang field trip–Edwin, Jeff O, Sean, Bilbo, Agata, Chad, Em, Thane, Gabsticles, and me–kayaking the beautiful Wakulla River yesterday. Edwin snapped this photo of the super cute manatee family we saw: (from left to right) Mee-maw, Pee-paw, and Baby-bear.


We also spotted several alligators, and a water moccasin! And I’m pretty sure it was the closest I have been to any of these animals. Kayaking was a  ton of fun, despite the fact that they had run out of two-person kayaks, which undermined my original plan to serve in the role of group navigator, while one of mis amigos favoritos handled the paddling.


Let’s see, when we got underneath the second bridge (half way point), Gabs helped the crew celebrate by distributing Airheads. On the way back home, Jeff O let me have control of the  i-pod (i.e. car music)–b/c he knows how much that means to me, and I tried to only select classics: Gangsta’s Paradise, Fiest, 2Pac… I’m sure the trend is clear here. Any who, the next time most of us will get to hang out again is in France (thats right, we’re going to mother-f@#%n France, ya’all), and I thought this kayaking trip made for a perfect hold-over. Beautiful day, finest of company.



i just hate--hate--people pointing their finger at my face. then why didn't you drop an f-bomb, and get out of there... what's that go-to line of yours? go f#$@ yourself?
haha, yeah, that would be it. that's me, real classy lady. but see,  i'm trying--or, well, i'm thinking about trying--to quit cursing for this other gig. and besides, i never gave him an honest response to anything,
it made no sense to me to start then.



“There was an assumption that I was personally attacking Sarah Palin by impersonating her on TV. No one ever said it was ‘mean’ when Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford falling down all the time. No one ever accused Dana Carvey or Darrell Hammond or Dan Aykroyd of ‘going too far’ in their political impressions. You see what I’m getting at here. I am not mean and Mrs. Palin is not fragile. To imply otherwise is a disservice to us both.”

-Tina Fey, Bossypants


“I’ve always been able to tell a lot about people by whether they ask me about my scar. Most people never ask, but if it comes up naturally somehow and I offer up the story, they are quite interested. Some people are just dumb: ‘Did a cat scratch you?’ God bless. Those sweet dumdums I never mind. Sometimes it is a fun sociology litmus test, like when my friend Ricky asked me, ‘Did they ever catch the black guy that did that to you?’ Hmmm. It was not a black guy, Ricky, and I never said it was.”

-Tina Fey, Bossypants


“We are a society that constantly celebrates no one but women and it must stop! I want to hear what the men of the world have been up to. What fun new guns have they invented? What are they raping these days? What’s Michael Bay’s next film going to be?”

-Tina Fey, Bossypants



mutation, you explained, has a negative connotation. we immediately think defect or disability, not adaptation. you hear, for example, about spikes in  bi polar, schizophrenia-- and you think disorder. yet we really have no idea how these responses to environment code for our species in the long run, how they bode for us-- whether what we have on our hands is a cognitive segue to some viable species adaptation on the individual level, or the group level. we really have no idea what we are dealing with, and are many times venturing hasty judgments. i sort of listened, skeptically, to your pet theory.

black box


the inside of a phone that starts to glitch a day later after you had went

on  about how impressive it had been- being submerged emerged in

change- only to a find a few morning tear drops

suspending it, held hostage   by its  ability

to survive beyond events it  hadn't

been designed to




“That image – of a little child being suffocated, or almost suffocated, by others who thought the whole thing was a game – melded with the furtive nocturnal slugs, and my solitary pacing and singing, and the separate, claustrophobic stairway, and the charmless abstract painting, and the gold-framed mirror, and the slithery green satin bedspread, and became inseperable from them. It wasn’t a cheerful composite. As a memory, it is more like a fog bank than a sunlit meadow.

Yet I think of that period as having been a happy time in my life.

Happy is the wrong word. Important.”

-Margaret Atwood, Moral Disorder; and other Stories



“She looked down at her own half-eaten steak and suddenly saw it as a hunk of muscle. Blood red. Part of a real cow that once moved and ate and was killed, knocked on the head as it stood in a queue like someone waiting for a streetcar. Of course everyone knew that. But most of the time you never thought about it. In the supermarket they had it all pre-packaged in cellophane, with name-labels and price-labels stuck on it, and it was just like buying a jar of peanut-butter or a can of beans, and even when you went into a butcher shop they wrapped it up so efficiently and quickly that it was made clean, official. But now it was suddenly there in front of her with no intervening paper, it was flesh and blood, rare, and she had been devouring it. Gorging herself on it.”

-Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman

I will never- ever- complain about my $12 T-Mobile phone again. Who gives a crap if  it can’t receive group texts from my friends’ smart phones?  If sending it the amount of information required to access a picture would probably cause it to spontaneously explode? If people go out of their ways at bars to chastise me for my phone?


It’s time we got some perspective, people…


Today, I dropped it in the toilet, it was completely submerged for more than a few seconds (to be exact, something like five seconds… a.k.a. the amount of time it took me to come to terms with the fact that I had to fish my hand into a toilet bowl if I wished to continue uninterrupted communication with the rest of the world). And not only did the incident not cause any perceptible damage to my phone…it never even turned off!


(I’m not saying it single-handedly renewed my faith in the good lord baby Jesus… or in miracles…. but I don’t say a lot of things that I believe. And god knows I say a shit ton that I don’t.)


you did a 180. "everybody sees" you chirped, running up to me (just to demonstrate that you too could wing a penchant for drama). you scooped me up in your arms, and there- in the air- for the first time, you made it real- and you had cast yourself as nothing, and i as everything. then the sobering clock face dead pan before me: i won't be easy. i am not easy. i am stubborn and stiff and have trouble w change, even when i want it. i couldn't stop smiling, couldn't speak, so i just kept nodding my head deeper and deeper into your chest, my legs gripped tight around your waist- so at least you could feel i was listening- and i would continue to listen


it was nice lounging out there under the sun beside the familiar rocky inlet. rolling the marbles back and forth over the crab holes. you slid the bottles over, smiled, and congratulated me on what you insisted could only be reasonably interpreted as progress. i couldn't keep down my grin. you really have 0% control over your facial muscles, mary mary. what's next? who knows, california. the odds are terrible. dad and me in paris. wow, now i have heard everything. what are you thinking? "everything, nothing- sometimes, all at once." so you are staying with us then? i...don't know. i'd owe a lot of money. we both laughed

-Margaret Atwood


Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.


-Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad


“You fit into me

like a hook into an eye


a fish hook


                                                 an open eye”


-Margaret Atwood

-Sylvia Plath


Live to the point of tears

-Albert Camus

Maybe there was something to her psychology sessions, we mused. After all, it was with an unforgettable immediacy that she had responded- what do hurricanes,  you, and see-saws all have in common? either that we’re pendulums, or that we’re most impressive to young children.

a mare is a female horse over the age of three

and why they roam around at night

is beyond me


+ Ran a 5K!

+ Got the semester grades I hoped for!

remember when i crashed the mercedes into the tree

recall what you said to me

because i do

Things i don’t want to forget about yesterday’s beach adventure. chatting with Tracie and Ben in the hall about the upcoming philosophy of  sex course, attempting to get all the immature jokes and puns about oral examinations and what not out of our system from now. then trying to print out directions with Adam and Ben, while they made fun of me for being stuck in the dark ages w/o a smart phone. then walking out to the parking lot to see all those lovely smiling faces.  Jay arriving to the rendezvous location already hungry. all of stock piling in cars and blaring our music and re-hashing our semester summaries, grades, summer plans, TA assignments. Edwin explaining everything about the world to us, while his sheeple awed over his incredible depth and breadth of knowledge. listening to Jay’s thoughtful and inspiring ideas for a future fundraising venture to assist malaria prevention and treatment efforts. family bonding time in the car, as Jay updated us on his love life. Adam saying awesome possum, every time he says it. the drive- through-debacle at burger king.  the beautiful perfect weather and water and sun shine. a wonderful drive, both ways. great conversation, plenty of laughter. laying out and tanning with Edwin, with the (understood) these-bodies-don’t-happen-by-accident attitudes. playing frisbee with Adam and Jay in the wa-wa. Hannah explaining to Mirja, Josh, and the rest of us how to fend off a bear (which, in case you are wondering, involves the seemingly counter-intuitive move of yelling, “No bear…..not today!” at the top of your lungs, right in the bear’s face, while flailing you arms….) which I still don’t buy, but alas, Hannah is a the Ontario Ranger, not I. seeing that big crab keep peek its head out occasionally from its little hole in the universe to snoop on our whereabouts. our group discussion about the movie Birds, then Hannah’s ballsy move to hold her hand out while a flock of sea gulls (which, as Jeff O so helpfully likes to remind us non-bird-experts, do not, in fact, exist–have him explain it to you) came and took food right out of her hand, hovering over our heads, creating a shadow of darkness over our little camp site (which, after we had just got through re-living the Birds childhood-movie-nightmare-marathon, made me super squeamish). Jay and Adam’s autism-inspired-sandcastle-operation (about 20-or-so single ((roughly)) bucket-shaped  piles of sand evenly distributed one from another). Brad, Adam, and Jay trying to make beach football look cool. my favorite activity: the whole group getting together to play football after Brad gave  Mirja and I a two minute run-down of the overall structure and rules of the game. Football was the best part, super fun game! Brad’s (perhaps, most ingenious yet) idea to capitalize on my strengths at the game by using me as a no-role-that-involves-actually-handling-the-football play, where I served as an effective decoy (if I do say so myself) by wailing super-loudly as I acted out the role of a wounded (star-)player. My acting was so spot on, that I’m pretty sure everyone believed it–even the people on my own team. At least that’s how it felt like it went down in my head, and this is my blog post, soooo yeah, let’s call that reality. Josh and Edwin’s discussion of anti-monopoly laws. looking up, on more than one occasion, to notice every person carrying on a conversation with either a smile on their face or in laughter, and like the little mummy bird that I am, feeling quite pleased with myself. of course, swimming in the ocean. feeling free from another semester, from others, from everything. stock piling back in the car and dinner at Seafarer’s Wife (I think that was restaurant name)  which was a ma-and-pa operation run out of a little sea-side house, where our fellow diners, and our server, were well into senior years. which i thought was actually really nice. everyone seemed to love the sea food. and I tried fried green tomatoes for the first time, and loved them. Brad , Jeff O and I conferencing some on must-see movies for this summer, as well as hearing out Brad’s pet theories on the direction Game of Thrones will take. getting everyone back home, safe and sound, saying our good byes, making more plans, and ending the trip with good nights and love you guys and the it-was-nice-to-meet-you’s being distributed with a generosity of spirit that, again, would make any mummy bird proud. and how incredibly lucky i am to have such great  humans  surrounding me.





I knew this summer was going to be amazing, the best one yet.


+ metaphysics & epistemology core exam
+ ran 1.5 miles without stopping