Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Serge Gainsbourg is not my style icon

Day 1 of 2 of oral exams. Most are today. Stamina so far so good, to be improved with (more) caffeine. Happier than usual not to be a Mormon. Below, the extent of my non-oral-exam-centric brain currently functioning:

-Hadley Freeman on curve-flaunting. Spot-on: "curves" can mean a woman is (well, stands accused of being) fat, that an individual is not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman, or that a human is of the female post-pubescent variety and simply existing. As in, I flaunt my curves when I walk my dog in sweatpants, sweatshirt, and overcoat.

-Into The Gloss shakes things up, interviews a Frenchwoman whose approach to beauty is to wear no makeup, smoke a lot, and use fancy moisturizer. I cringed when I got to the part about her style icons being Jane Birkin and Serge friggin' Gainsbourg. Enough with this predictable performance of Frenchness for an American audience. A baguette-and-beret routine would, at this point, seem fresh and exciting. But my specific beef with Isabel Marant is those 90-euro white cotton t-shirts.

-Exceeding ITG in predictability is NJ Transit, which as of this month has decided not to grant my request for a monthly student pass. I may be ancient (clinging to my 20s by a thread), I may teach rather than take a class, but according to the registrar and other powers-that-be, I am a full-time student, and thus have damn well earned my right to a $344 (still kinda pricey!) monthly train fare. The reasons given: 1) My ID says "student," not "graduate student," rendering my claim of being a graduate student suspect. Never mind that I've never heard of a special graduate student ID at my university. 2) NJ Transit is having issues with "NYU graduate arts" students who according to the registrar count as full-time, but according to NJ Transit do not,  so [insert incomprehensible bureaucratic jargon here]. 3) NJ Transit translates "full-time equivalency" to mean 'random commuter sneakily trying for a discount on our precious and not-at-all-crappy trains.' Sorry I can't tell them how many hours a week I'm in class. That's not what my student status refers to. 4) I was taken to task for not having the "letter" one is apparently supposed to have to get this pass, a letter I didn't have when getting a pass in September, October, or November, and that's apparently not the same thing as the form I had stamped at the registrar.

After - yes - speaking with the manager, I left the Penn Station window empty-handed, convinced that there's some kind of larger and more profound beef between NJ Transit and either NYU in general or liberal-arts grad students in particular. I had been noticing, lately, that every time the conductors would check my ticket, I'd get this kind of skeptical look. Which I'd assumed was because I'm a bit haggard for "student," but I now realize is because NJ Transit is under the impression that student-commuting is an elaborate scam.

Given that I only teach for half of December anyway (and not at all in the spring), and wasn't entirely sure that pass made sense (the NJ Transit website seems to have gotten rid of the place where one can check how much regular weekly passes cost, because having that up there would be far too convenient), this is likely a case of the principle of the thing.

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