Saturday, April 19, 2008

I can has domain name!!!!!! will take you right to my new blog; no need to rack your brain for Cole Porter lyrics.

This was a gift from a friend who is more than awesome.


When I get the for-real job, I promise I will find a way to give back, or to "pay it forward," as it were.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Travels, New Title, New Blog

I've packed up and shifted my blogging home over to Bluelightful, Bluelicious, Bluelovely.

Please update bookmarks/site feeds as appropriate.

I hope all of the readers who have traveled with me here at PrettyBlueSalwar will join me at my new home!

New Blog Going Up Tonite

... and not a moment too soon.

Watch this space for the URL, if you haven't figured it out already. ^__^

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blog Transfer Status

Blog transfer is... more and more complete. 100% coming soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Clothes Problem Again

I was late to class today. Not by much (the university clocktower was striking 11:00 as I ran into the building) but late nonetheless.

I was late because I didn't have anything to wear.

I didn't buy spring/summer clothes last year. While I was still in the US, I survived temping by cycling through three pairs of polyester slacks alternated with about five work-appropriate blouses. There was no air-conditioning in my apartment, so I would come home and strip to a pair of gym shorts and a tank top.

In India, I bought seven blue salwars (and one purple one -- and received one orange salwar and one silver salwar as gifts).

Long story short, there's not much in my closet that's appropriate to wear -- especially to teach -- on a warm spring day. All the temp-clothes have long worn thin. I have tried to rock a kurta over jeans, but even that just looks faded and limp, a reminder that all of my India clothes (and, in fact, all of my jeans) spent three months being washed and wrung out in a five-gallon bucket.

When I did slip into the large lecture hall, late and miserably shabby, one of the other TAs leaned over and whispered to me "don't worry, I still think you look hot."

In preparation for the upcoming move, I have started selling off seven years' worth of accumulated textbooks; I went to the theatre building lounge with a few large (and heavy) boxes, set up a makeshift display, and within the first day made $139. If I sell them all I'll have around $220. I had hoped to save the money for the move, but some of it may have to go toward clothes.

We will see.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

BombayGirl's Meme

BombayGirl tagged me with the following meme:

First, the rules:
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
- Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
- Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
Let's do #1 and #2 and call it a day, 'k? ^__^

Six non-important things about me:

1. Right now, I'm doing my laundry.

2. Also right now, I'm selling off seven years' worth of textbooks on Facebook. So far I've made $20, which is fantastic. If I sell them all, I'll make about $200.

3. In a moment, I am going to go to the grocery store and purchase the following items:
  • Garbage bags (store brand)
  • Antibacterial hand soap (store brand)
  • Conditioner (Garnier Length and Strength)
  • Peanut butter (store brand)
  • Strawberry preserves (store brand)
  • Two loaves whole-wheat bread (store brand)
  • Frozen broccoli (store brand)
  • Frozen "whatever other vegetable looks good" (store brand)
  • Potatoes
(Gaurav, those are truly the essentials. ^__^ Will make enough sabzi for two weeks, and eat pbj otherwise.)

4. Tonight, I get to watch my favorite two hours of television: The Simpsons, King of the Hill, American Dad, and Family Guy. (I'll cook the sabzi during American Dad, because it's usually pretty awful.)

5. I've seen every episode of The Simpsons, or at least I think I have. One of these days I'll have to go through and check them off to make sure I haven't missed any.

6. The dryer's buzzing. GTG!

The Great Blog Transfer...

... is coming.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blue's Day

... 'cause they're all the same now. ^__^

8:30 a.m.: Alarm rings on cell phone. Hit snooze. Cat begins climbing on chest, arms, face. Cat begins kneading various parts of body. Mmmmm... free massage.

8:45 a.m.: Snooze goes off, cat leaps from bed. I follow, a little more slowly. Use toilet, feed and water cat, make cup of tea.

9:00 a.m.: Open up laptop and load up new episode of House, M.D. Unfurl yoga mat. Sip tea. Work teh yogas while listening to House make sexy, smartass comments. Intersperse positions with sips of tea.

9:45 a.m.: House episode ends, hit shower. Kitty likes to join me in the shower -- not in the actual shower itself, but nearby, breathing the steam. I let her do her thing.

10:00 a.m.: End shower, get dressed, makeup, etc.

10:10 a.m.: Dry hair.

10:20 a.m.: Microwave packet of instant oatmeal. While oatmeal is nuking, grab sabzi from freezer and whip together a PB&J.

10:22 a.m.: Eat instant oatmeal while checking email, Facebook, and Google Reader.

10:35 a.m.: Turn head upside down. Brush hair. Flip head backwards (my hair now smacks against the ceiling fan when I do this). Grab claw clip. Secure hair so it does not fall in face.

10:40 a.m.: Fill backpack, grab sabzi and sandwich, pour some Crystal Light "Immunity" (featuring vitamins A, C, B, and B12) into my reusable glass waterbottle, pet kitty, check three times to make sure my space heater is turned off, leave house.

10:45 a.m.: Seriously. Leave the house. I'm going to be late.

10:47 a.m.: Drive to campus in manner of Annette Bening's character from American Beauty, singing loudly to whatever 1930s/1940s American standards I've got in the CD player. On a good day I can hit all the words in Mandy Patinkin's rendition of "It Only Happens When I Dance With You" (it's at 4:08).

11:00 a.m.: Teach, followed by class, followed by rehearsal.

11:00 p.m.: Return home.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

We Just Figured Out Blue's Food

I can get so much mileage out of that post title. ^__^

My roommate, tired of her food getting "lost" behind, say, a gallon of milk and not being discovered again until it had started to smell, decided last night that we should separate out our food by shelf.

Our refrigerator looked pretty full to begin with; but as it turns out, 90% of the stuff in there is actually hers.

When I separated my food out onto its shelf, I discovered I had the following inventory:

1 jar peanut butter (store brand)
1 jar strawberry preserves (store brand)
1/2 loaf whole wheat bread (store brand)
Almost-empty squeezy jar of mustard (store brand)
1 jar lime-ginger pickle (Priya brand)
1 block sharp cheddar cheese (store brand)
1/2 block sharp cheddar cheese (it was a 2-for-1 sale)

Admittedly, in the freezer I have enough sabzi and gobi aloo to last another ten days, and a giant "family-size" bag of brussels sprouts which I portion out and eat along with my PBJ or cheese sandwiches.

I also have half a box of pancake mix sitting on top of the refrigerator, along with some instant oatmeal that I am not actually going to eat because I discovered too late that "sugar free" actually meant "coated in aspartame," and I can't stand the taste.

If the sabzi contains broccoli, potatoes, chickpeas, and green-and-yellow beans, and the gobi aloo contains... well, gobi and aloo... am I getting a balanced diet?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shah Rukh Out, Hugh Laurie In!

Yep. My re-entry into American culture is 100% complete.

I've stopped dreaming about Bollywood actors.

SRK, you were lovely, really you were, but things with you were getting a little... repetitive. I mean, your smile's still great, the way you toss that lock of hair off of your forehead before you prepare to start a musical number about your love of whatever holiday your particular film centers around is still... I mean, it's charming as always. Sexy, even. I still enjoy being around you. We can still hang out.

I think it was the whole abs thing that turned me off, honestly. To tell you the truth, I'm concerned that you might have an eating disorder. Or maybe a steroid dependency. And I know that I should be there, supporting you as you go through whatever psychological problem caused all this ab-abbing, but... um, I'm just not that strong. Which is my thinly-veiled way of saying "I don't care all that much."

Because this new guy has started appearing in my dreams. I didn't mean for it to happen. I just wanted something to watch on Hulu while I did my yoga. We were just meeting for fun. He was someone I knew from when I was a kid. Someone I hadn't seen in years. I never thought... but he was so fresh and new, and let's face it, he's a lot smarter than you are.

And now he's the first thing I think of when I get out of bed in the morning. Probably because the first thing I do when I get out of bed in the morning (after feeding the cat) is yoga, but let's not talk about when and where we meet. That's none of your business.

Did Kal Penn tell you? Don't look at me like that, I know you all have a network.

No, you don't need to know his name. Or his television program. Just... stay out of our lives, okay?

Oh, but if you ever do another movie with K-Jo, call me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

An Open Letter To Barack Obama

Dear Senator Obama,

When I received an email from you (yes, from you directly, not from "The Obama Campaign" or anything like that) inviting me to apply for an Obama Organizing Fellowship, I was thrilled.

First of all, I was thrilled that you had even thought to ask me to apply in the first place. Secondly, I was very excited about the opportunity to potentially work on your campaign, thanks to the generosity of your Fellowship Program.

I'll tell you; I seriously considered applying, even though I knew that fellowships didn't tend to pay much and that it would mean living in penury a while longer. I would continue eating cheese-and-mustard sandwiches if it meant I got to work for you.

Then I clicked on the link and discovered that your fellowships were, in fact, unpaid. They also required a minimum of 30 hours/week time commitment.

Senator Obama, you do realize that asking the young people of this country (as I assumed your fellowship was intended for students, since it was a summer program only) -- you do realize that asking the young people of this country to apply for unpaid, nearly full-time positions on your campaign will only appeal to a particular subset of applicants, don't you?

Your Organizing Fellows will be a collection of the well-heeled, with a few kids here or there who are practically going bankrupt doing this and trying to hide it.

The fact that you didn't at least offer minimum wage, that you didn't at all try to make this opportunity possible for the students who have to work through the summers, who can't make it on a full-time volunteer gig, breaks my heart.

The fact that you are offering "fellowships" that in truth must be paid out by either the parents of these students or by the students' own credit cards and loans, astounds me.

No doubt this kind of thing happens all the time; asking for campaign volunteers is no big deal, in fact, and I've got no problem with that.

But you called it a fellowship, and insisted it be a full-time commitment.

Next time, just call it an unpaid internship and have done with it. At least the poor students of America won't get their hopes up.

Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Only One More Post About Money, I Promise

So Gaurav at Gauravonomics has decided to go "off consumption" for a year. (His chronicle of the events can be found here.)

Unlike his predecessors No Impact Man and the people at The Compact, he's not giving up consumption for environmental reasons. He's doing it to gain "insights into what drives us to consume, or not, into the nature of consumption, into human nature itself."

Oh, and he's crossing his fingers for a book deal. ^__^

I support his choice while at the same time part of me goes "What's so special about not buying stuff? Hundreds of thousands of people already know what it's like to pass by a restaurant or store window and not be able to go in, even though you really want to."

Part of me, truth be told, is jealous. I should have rewritten these past few months of enforced frugality as an "off-consumption" experiment and tried to net me a book deal.

But, as Gaurav notes, actual poverty is different from "giving up buying." Today he offered the interesting observation:

Actually, if I did have financial problems, I probably wouldn’t have been able to turn my frugality into a public performance. Only because I feel secure, in terms of both money and status, I can be confident enough to do it.
The moral seems to be: when you're poor, you do what you can to appear better-off, even if it negatively affects your cash flow (e.g. buying interview clothes on credit for a job that may or may not materialize).

When you're financially comfortable, as Gaurav and No Impact Man are (No Impact Man allowed his wife to spend $1,000 on two pairs of shoes before the experiment began, to make up for the lack of shopping to follow), then frugality becomes a statement which can be worn proudly.

Gaurav, I await the riposte. ^__^

Ascetics Invented Yoga 'Cause They Were Poor

I'm busy. I start teaching at 11 a.m. and end my theatre rehearsals at 10:30 p.m. The days seem to blur into one another; despite our progress both in class and in rehearsal, it feels like I am doing, over and over, the same thing.

Thus: the busier I get with school/work-related activity, the more important it seems to be that I have some kind of alternate creative outlet, something wildly different than what I am doing the rest of the overstuffed week.

Last year at this time, it was cooking. Up through about February, it was still cooking -- but around the beginning of the year, something started to change.

At first I thought I was imagining things, but then the WSJ confirmed it: grocery prices have skyrocketed.

Milk has gone up by 26% and eggs have gone up by 24%. Grocery stores have tried to entice shoppers by cutting prices in other areas, but, as the WSJ notes:

At a Wal-Mart Supercenter in a northern suburb of Chicago, the price of a box of Little Debbie Frosted Donuts was recently reduced to $1.50 from $1.63 while a box of Sunbelt Oats & Honey granola bars was cut to $1.66 from $1.80.

But even with the promotions, the price of a basket of goods selected by Credit Suisse researchers at a Chicago Wal-Mart was up 2.5% in February compared with January. The basket price of a Target Corp. store in Chicago was up 2% and that of a Kroger Co.'s Food4Less store in Chicago was down 0.1%.

Since January 2008, I have purchased milk once: a quarter-gallon to make the quiche, and it was an event. I've purchased eggs twice this year, I believe.

I eat a lot of lentils and spinach, and when there was a sale on vegetables at the Kroger, bought a bunch and made enough sabzi to stock my freezer for a while.

So what have I been doing instead? Yoga -- and I've become obsessed. Obsessed to the point where I kind of plan my meetings around ensuring I will get an hour-long yoga break at some point during the day.

I started out doing a session in the afternoons, before rehearsal; then switched to the mornings, then realized that on certain days I could do mornings and afternoons. I've gone online and drooled over videos of ashtanga, fantasizing about a day when I could take ashtanga classes because it's supposed to be the hardest yoga ever, and learning it would be a superchallenge.

Long story short, it finally hit me: the reason I've become so interested in yoga and exploring my physical endurance is because I, literally, have nothing else to explore. I have frugalized myself down to such an extent that the only thing left is my own body. Other forms of entertainment -- shopping, movies, going to bars, going to concerts, discovering new music, even cooking -- are all out, at least until I get a post-graduation job.

On the plus side, I've got back abs. I've never had back abs before. I suppose lack of income has its benefits. ^__^

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

So I Did My Taxes...

So I did my taxes.

I earned just over $7,000 in 2007.

And... um... lived on that.

It was interesting to find out that working full-time for four months at my temp job (three months in summer, one month after I got back from India) netted me $4,800. Had I kept that job year-round, I guess I would have made about $14,400. That's... depressing.

On the other hand, it would have essentially doubled my current salary (which, in addition to the temp job, includes my monthly graduate stipend). Considering my current lifestyle, I could have lived on $14,400 and managed to put money aside for savings. On $14,400, I could have had enough extra to buy a Wii. ^__^

On the plus side, I'm getting about $900 back from the government (not counting the "economic stimulus package"). That'll be just enough to pay my student fees for this semester.