Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New NYC Blog

I re-started my NYC Blog.


Bookmark it. Love it. Pass it on to your friends.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coming 'Round the Bend

This has to be brief as I’m off for a study session for exam #2.

So I sat my first Oxford exam today. I experienced the pomp and circumstance of going to the exam schools in your sub fusc (Black pants/skirt, white button down shirt, and academic gown), cramming into the reception hall with the hundreds of other nervous students, and sitting in the hallway nursing my scotch before my exam.

Yea, you heard me right. I walked into my exam a little tipsy.

Now, its not because I am an alcoholic or I wanted to be a bad ass and brag how I aced my Oxford exams drunk, no its for a much more neurotic reason—I am a terrible test taker and was crying the night before and have a habit of blanking out when I am put under pressure. A little nip (maybe a shot and half of whisky this morning, if that much), calmed my nerves and allowed me to remember all that I did.

So the result? Well, the questions I answered while under the influence, I think I did ok on those two. The one where I sobered up because it was so hot in the room I almost passed out from my waking hangover, let’s say I didn’t do too well on that exam—especially with the room spinning and I blanking on the topic because of my severely low blood sugar, and rambling about marriage delays and how my generation is really selfish.

We’ll see how I do, or else I may be an Oxford ’08 graduate.

You know it wouldn’t be the failing part that would get me, it would be returning to this fucking hell hole having to do this shit all over again.

But I showed them today: my sub fusc was a pair of sweatpants and my worn loafers that look like slippers—take that aristocratic British system from this angry American. Oh yea, and we won the war too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I should be studying right now as I sit my first exam, since I was 20, on Monday morning at 9:30am. But a caffeine, taurine, and nicotine induced headache has kept me from doing little else than scarf down chocolate and copy my notes onto notecards. Oh yea, and chain smoking Marlboro lights.

My pound a day weight loss may be coming to an end very shortly.

Well, unless I become recommitted to the neurosis cause again.

My sleep schedule is incredibly fucked up. If it isn’t the massive amounts of legal stimulants that I am pumping into my body IV-drip consistency, then it must be the panic attacks that wake me in the middle of the night, only to leave my worn body and mind in that frustratingly blurry place where sleep and coherency lay.

After a rough day of pleasure denial, fasting, and pouring over my notes in an effort to distill them into succinct two sentence synopsis of the arguments, my brain gave out. It was 11pm, and for the first time since my trip back home to NYC last week I was tired at a reasonable hour. With my computer sitting on top of my nightstand, I watch some pirated copies of Family Guy and proceed to fall asleep to Stewie’s overt homosexuality.

Now, I wish I could say that for the first time I arrived back here that my dedication to my body’s well-being won out and that it was a good decision for me to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, but come on, it’s finals week.

When I woke up, I had to pee really badly. I look over at my clock and saw that it was 1am—which meant that I got a whopping two hours of sleep. I tried to hold it in and fall back asleep, but when I felt the pain in my bladder, I knew I had to get up from my bed and go to the bathroom. I was so tired I was tempted to crawl out of bed and go to the bathroom in my underwear, but I live next door to a conservative Christian. I don’t think he could ever get over seeing me in my skivvies prancing to the bathroom at 1am.

I come back to my room, crawl back into bed and try to fall asleep.

And I can’t.

I try masturbating, and then try to fall back asleep.

But it doesn’t help.

And then my mind starts to wonder. I don’t know if any of you ever had the experience where you don’t realize what you were dreaming until you are awake for a few mins. Laying there, in my bed, I realized that my dream was really fucked up and spooky—I dreamt that I overslept my exam and then failed.

Now, when your mind starts to wonder, and it is the middle of the night and the only thing to keep you company is the dark of a Saturday night spent home, it only serves to exacerbate a person’s neurosis. Which it did to mine.

So I sat in my bed, until 7! am, trying to fall asleep to Dave Chappelle, and nursing a panic attack that held my mind hostage so I could get no other studying done.

Which brings us here.

So, long time readers, you all know that after several tries, a freak-out, and weird periods, I have finally found a birth control pill that works for me! However, it’s also the one that has been liked to STROKES in the UK—and during finals time I become a heavy (about a pack a day) smoker.

I think we all can see where this is going.

Tonight’s neurosis has been trying to figure out if my headache is from too much Red Bull and drinking a two liter bottle of Diet Coke today or, if it is a symptom of my impending brain aneurism. And no I can’t take a xanax because there is no way I could do work while I’m on it.

Having gone to bed at 7am I set the alarm for 11:30am. A bit of a later start than I would have liked, but during finals, I need at least 4 hours of sleep to be productive. Part of my ritual during finals is that since I am rubbish in the morning, I use that time to head out to the grocery store, stock up on provisions for the day’s task (Red Bull, Diet Coke, and Marks and Spencer’s prepared meals) and use that time to engage my lungs in a way that doesn’t involve poisoning them.

This morning I walk down Cornmarket street, one of the main thoroughfares of Oxford where street performs are just as common as the homeless men (where are the homeless women, btw?) selling the Big Issue. Keep in mind that I am freaking out from my dream the night before/that morning, and as I am walking down Cornmarket, I see a stand handing out pamphlets for Jesus. Ok, this isn’t that big of a deal, it’s pretty common for the die hard Jesus lovers to evangelize on a Saturday morning to the tourists. However, this morning, it seemed every religious group was out. Literally every ten feet there was another group proselytizing, including the Muslims—which I thought were like Jews, you had to seek them out yourself. Of course, neurotic, sleep deprived, food deprived, love and hug deprived Shannon starts to freak the fuck out, and think that God is sending her a message telling her that she is going to fail—the dreams were prophetic.

Which brings me back to my uber productive day.

Why wasn’t I smart and stock up on ADD meds BEFORE I left for the states? Red Bull is doing a poor job of cutting it.

Anyway, I’m going to bring my computer back to my desk. Pop open another can of Red Bull (#3 for the day), ignore the temporary pain that it causes me in my kidneys, and start memorizing arguments and outlining exam questions.

Seriously, I really want a fucking hug right now. And sex. Like seriously, whenever I’m stressed there is nothing I want more than to boink someone.

Friday, June 15, 2007

'Tis the season

What was that Smashing Pumpkins song title again? “The End is the Beginning is the End”? When it first came out I used to dance around my room, in the ‘slutty’ clothes that only a 15 yr old could own (glitter mini-skirts, sequined tops that barely contained my already ample bosom, lotsa black make-up, etc.), and pretend I was in Billy Corgan’s music video.

Oh how times don’t change ten years later.

I’m doing the same thing instead my shirt is Moschino, I’m wearing Judith Lieber shoes, and am dancing to Maneater by Nelly Furtado thinking of all the boys hearts I could be out breaking if I wasn’t in this intellectual prison called my room—but at least I have my down comforter, unlike Paris. Procrastination couldn’t be more fun, especially since I sit and stare at my newly visible cheekbones—thank you redbull and Marlboro lights fast.

It’s finals time at Oxford and I forgot just how much being a student really sucks. Oh sure the lure of making your own schedule and discussing “intellectual” ideas for seven months is supposed to make it all worth it, but here I am, at the tail end of my time here and I have to say: I miss the fucking working world. The “fun” I’ve had for the past few months isn’t making up for the hell that I am currently experiencing—the anxiety brought about my excessive use of legal stimulants, the fears of failure, and of course the rampant insomnia that has completely thrown off my sleep schedule.The stress that I am going through right now trying to memorize dates and authors and who argued what and who counter-argued the other does not make up for the endless drunken nights, the sleeping until noon and all the “benefits” that being a student is supposed to grant you.

Without easy access to prescription amphetamines like back in the good ‘ol USA, I am stuck sucking down two red bulls every 12 hours, smoking a pack a day, and thinking that my best just isn’t going to be good enough. Like religious Jews who repent for their sins on Yom Kippur, not bathing and fasting in atonement for their sins, I have adopted the same idea. No showers and no real food until my last exam next Wed. Granted there is no real reason other than I would rather spend the time studying, so showers during this time become optional—I’m already on day three and I have to admit, I like the odor that I’m emitting.

But there is something about this time of year that brings all of us who are going through it closer, with the late night cigarette breaks, the finally honest chats about how we are really feeling—nobody has energy to put on the front that has characterized so many of my relationships here.

So, I’m going to finish my two liter bottle of Diet Coke, crack open the books, and pray that my penance of no sleep, not showering, subsisting on the chemicals of taurine, nicotine, and caffeine will be enough of an offer to the exam Gods.

And yes I know this isn’t brilliant writing, but at least I’ve started back up again. And its finals time, have a fucking heart.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I miss anonymity

Makes me want to do something about it.

I.e. start a new blog...

Although I am an attention whore, I prefer writing with complete carte blanche, being able to fully voice my frustrations/observations without the constraints of guilt. Read some Nietzche and freud, its the shit that keeps us in line. Want to know why my writing was so much better in NYC? Because I had nobody to worry about offending, and didnt have to water down my writing. So, I am starting a new blog and not telling anyone about it.

No, sweetie, not even you.

Now I can fully write about my degenerative escapades.

Off to a party and looking forward to home.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I hope my horoscope is true this week

I think we all have figured out by this point in time that when Shannon is left to her own devices for four days of unstructured time, things get a little out of hand. Absinthe drinking, three guys and me in a twin size bed, 5am Irish jig dancing, and of course the lost passport—which was underneath my bed the whole time. I guess I learned a valuable lesson, never invite three Irish men back to your dorm room for some after hour absinthe drinks.

This weekend took quite the toll on me, so much, that as I was waiting for my teammates outside of Merton College, hunched over in my hoodie with my hands in my face, that some man passes me and tells me, “Such a pity you have no money.”

Excuse me?

Oh yea, that’s right. He thought I was homeless.

“Uhm,” I laugh, “I’m actually just waiting for my friends.”

“Oh, well I would have bought you a cup of coffee.”

Exactly. Because, when I look like crap, I really look like crap.

Perhaps looking so rough that a pedestrian thought I was homeless should have told me that maybe today was not the day to revaluate my commitment to the rugby team. That perhaps, eating a big breakfast really wasn’t such a good idea, before heading off to practice on some fields that are a twenty minute walk away from my dorm, and a ten minute walk into town—with no bathroom available.

Having stomach problems, I leave practice early in search of a toilet since the bathrooms at the field were closed. I walk into a house turned into a neighborhood pub, and very meekly ask the bartender if I could use her bathroom—dressed in dirty sweats, and caked mud all of my hands (it was tackling practice today). She points in a vague direction, and I walk towards the back, and head up the stairs, where I am greeted by a large dog barking. Seems that the upstairs of the pub is their home, and I took a wrong turn.

She redirects me towards the bathroom, in the opposite corner from the staircase to her home. Now this is where it is an embarrassing moment. See, I had the post drunking shits, the loud, slightly disgusting kind. I stopped into this bar during prime Sunday Roast time, the English’s answer to the New Yorker’s brunch, where they are serving food. A lot of it.

The bathroom, only has one door, and it is right next to the dining area, no small hall way to act as a sound and smell buffer, no series of doors to act as an e-coli proof cell. No barriers.

I have to admit, that I almost decided to try another bar, but I was so desperate for a toilet, that I put my sense of shame on hold and took up residence in the bathroom for about fifteen minutes.

A very violent and noisy fifteen minutes.

They had to hear me, especially since the bathroom was in the middle of the seating area.

When I got out, I tried to fix my hair, wash my hands, make it look like that I really did not just spend fifteen minutes fighting a war with my bowels—when in fact that is what I really did.

As I was leaving I faked smiled, and ran out of the bar, only to put my cell phone to my ear and call my mommy as a distraction from my embarrassment.

Thank God the toilet flushed.

And in other news, since it looks like it is taking the college to process my student loan checks, and I drank all of my safety money, looks like I am re-master cleansing. Saving money, and losing weight! Well, and I’ll treat myself on game days to 1 quid kosher lunch on George St. Yes I know it is wrong pretending that I keep kosher for heavily subsidized lunch, and I know that I am going to hell for bringing my gentile poor student friends, but dude, 1 pound lunch! I mean, how could I not share the wealth?

But in other news, I know my posting has been erratic and crappy when I do post. First of all, as you know, this isn’t a forum for my pontifications—the school newspaper is now—but instead a way for me to let my friends know how I am doing, and tell them what life is like for a student at Oxford.

Seasonal depression has hit me once again, with me laying in my bed watching bad bootlegged movies on the internet, not doing any of my work that’s piled up, floating by because that is what I know what to do best. Hence why I have been MIA returning emails (sorry Corn), calling people, and all that fun stuff—I just can’t leave my bed. You know its bad when you are watching the Mighty Ducks and cheering on Coach Bombay. Hopefully the Master Cleanse will knock out the toxins, and fasting will create the high that helps me deal with the lack of sunshine.

This time, sans ciggs.

Try running around a rugby pitch then tackling with smokers lungs.

And I am back to reading my one book a week resolution. This week, Tropic of Cancer.

It’s so frustrating not having complete anonymity on this thing, because I really want to write about my weekend and pontificate why I am a perpetually single girl, but, it looks like it will have to wait a bit—it is far too personal for people at college to know what a relationship fuck up I really am.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tea and Marriage

I fucking have to stop drinking like seven cups of tea a day, or else I will not be sleeping at all this term. It’s just that this is so good—especially on a cold winter’s day, when my only makeshift winter coat is lost (forgot it in a bar, probably another reason to stop drinking) and I had to trudge through the cold that enabled snow in an unlined leather jacket. Luckily I still kept my wool sweater from first year of college, hoping that I would one day fit back into it. And in my better late than never habits, it only took me five years to drop the freshman thirty.

I celebrated by going shopping in NYC when I was there. Which, I will get to, eventually. As I mentioned, I have that nasty habit of no self-discipline and a ‘better late than never attitude’, hence why I write this at almost 2am, as the reading for my course on family sits unmarked on my nightstand. Oh, by the way ladies, if you ever want to feel even more cynical about love, sex, and relationships, study familial structure. I’ve resigned myself to auctioning off my domestic labor power to the highest bidder. As a woman, I’m fucked. I might as well be comfortable as I get the shaft from society.

It seems that so far 2007/ my twenty-fifth year on this earth has been fraught with situations that make me acknowledge my ‘maturation’, and get my head out of the sands of denial that the grown up bus is flying by. Weddings, a grad program that I can’t talk my way out of failure (I may be kicked out if I don’t pass stats—please say a silent prayer for me), in addition to cutting down on the excess—drinking, partying, my lack of self-discipline, and all the other shortcomings I need to overcome with the help of my therapist. Who has given up on me, by the way. Shannon, these services aren’t for long term therapy.” And my favorite, “For someone who is so self-aware..” I interrupt her, “I keep on making the same mistakes, over and over again. Yes, I know this. Why do you think I continue to see you?”

I’ve noticed an interesting shifts in my relationships ever since I left the women’s commune. Back in school, and growing up all of my friends were females. Granted they were beer guzzling, girl-kissing, pranksters who got as much of a kick out of lighting a fart on fire (Spring Break—Vegas), as knocking on each other’s doors when we knew someone was having sex (again, Lauren I am really sorry about that). But then I noticed a change when I left the iron gates of wimmen power—women for the most part are bitches. Back stabey, drop you for their boyfriend, say that you look pretty when you look like crap, who whine. This is when I began my foray into amateur fag enabling, and building my rolodex with those in possession of y-chromosomes.

These were my platonic friends, and I was their little sister. They bought me beers, protected me from skeevy men in bars, and cheered me on when I danced on bars, and in exchange I offered them a female perspective to their gal/boy problems, and playfully flirted with them when their gfriend/bfriend was being an ass.

Symbiotic relationship.

Until they got married.

I have a very good friend of mine who wants to visit me in England. I really like this kid. He is smart, funny, and adorably lovable in that dorky ‘save me’ kind of way. To put it diplomatically because I know he reads it and think his wife may read it too, she and I have a strained relationship. She thinks I am trying to steal her husband, when all I want to do is hang out with him, without her.

Whether girls want to admit it, your boyfriend/husband is different hanging out with his friends than you. He is more liberal with the off-color jokes, has a propensity to drink a bit more than usual, and tends to be a lot more honest, especially when talking about you. Often times I’ve been subjected to seeing my friends leashed by the constraints of their girlfriends/boyfriends, toning down their behavior, keeping conversation neutral, and forgetting the people that made me want to be friends with them in the beginning.

So my point—I think I just needed to rant. Part of my frustration fuelled that I missed the relationship boat here, and everyone has coupled off and I am (literally) the only person in my flat who doesn’t have a boyfriend. Or maybe it is the prospect of spending an entire weekend with a person not because I want to, but because of the symbolism of the ring that sits on the third finger of one of my good friend’s left hand. Or maybe, I am just grasping for straws, since I am too lazy to be help accountable to my memory and recant the rest of my time in New York—complete with the $1000+ bar tab (thanks Geoff for sharing your bonus with my me and my friends!) and a promise to buy a drug dealer Freakonomic next time I saw him.

But those stories will have to wait. When I am more mentally adept, and haven’t had the productivity bored our of me. Try reading a few thousand pages about cross-national studies on fertility rates and its impact on women’s work, by the same three authors and then get back to me. Instead of being mature and tackling my work, knocking the shit out—I’ve reverted back to my escapist ways, and spent the last few hours of the evening dancing around my room in my hot pants listening to Madonna and watching bootlegged movies off of the internet. While I look at the unread journal articles whose pages still have not been turned yet.

And don’t bother writing in my comment box that you are frustrated by my immature behavior, and how I am blowing an opportunity. I know this. But, at least I’m squandering it away sober, instead of drunk like I did last term. See, therapy is helping!

Oh and if any women executives (presently or former) are reading this who have families, and you live in the NYC area, please email me. I am recruiting women for my thesis which examines women’s participation (or lack there of) in the labor market after having a family. Which reminds me, I need to get the ball rolling on that one.

Off to watch some more bootleg movies. I think it’s Men In Black II tonight.

I seriously need to lay off of the tea after 9pm, and/or find the motivation to do my work.