Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Blogus Interruptus

I am having trouble getting online. Consequently there may be a hiatus for an undetermined period of time. Sorry about the technical difficulties!

So I will take this opportunity to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you all the very best for 2004.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

A Day in the Life: Sun and Fun, Work and Toil

Today was a close duplicate of yesterday. The weather was fantastic again: sun, warmth, blue skies. Sara, the pooch, and I ventured for a walk again. This time we headed down to the river-walk in downtown Providence. The stroll up the river to Waterplace Park (seen here in a picture taken by Sara this past summer) is so nice.

It is actually kind of sad that there is such an amazing stretch of urban landscape and such an amazing day, yet there really wasn't anyone around. We skipped the architecture book this time. We just took in the sun's glorious rays and enjoyed the vistas. The dog kept a close lookout for any ducks that swam by. We got some coffee at Brewed Awakenings (sorry the link is pretty lame, but it is actually a pretty cool coffee house) right by Waterplace Park and sipped it while sitting in the sun.

The afternoon found me sitting at my desk, listening to Italians rattle on and on about many things. When they got to something that was useful, I typed it into my computer. It is amazing how much I have to listen to before I actually type anything. I have a couple more interviews I want to go through before I sit down and start the actual sorting and outlining process. This should all get done tomorrow.

Wait, let me rephrase that.

This WILL all get done tomorrow.

There that is better.

Oh yeah, check out the new poll.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Work and Play

Or I should say play and work. Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the temperatures were warm (for this time of year - almost 50 degrees). The perfect day to use one of my gifts from Sara of the past days: Guide to Providence Architecture. It is a lovely book that has thematic tours (most of them walking tours) that go through the fascinating architecture of this fine city.

After lunch we put the leash on our dog and headed out for a nice stroll through the now empty campus to learn more about the buildings we walk by everyday. It was great. Lovely day, lovely buildings, lovely company. The dog had a blast to hunting down squirrels who were also making the most of the fine weather. We only did a fraction of the tour, but it was enough. We will definitely be putting this book to good use. I hope we have many nice days like today.

The escapade early in the day meant that the late afternoon had to be devoted to work. I have not gotten nearly enough done over the past couple days and new deadlines are looming. I am not sifting through mounds of data I collected in Italy to see what I can use in the two chapters I am putting together now. This evening was spent listening to interviews, which can be interesting at times, but can also be endlessly tedious (more of the latter today). I need to sit through most of them, though, transcribing parts that will be useful. There will be more of this tomorrow. Joy, joy, joy.

The weather is supposed to be nice again. There may be another venture outside in the works.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Happy Boxing Day

For the holidays I made Sara a cake from a recipe I found on Michelle's site: Gingerbread with Poached Pears [thanks, Michelle]. I knew Sara would like it because she loves ginger and she loved having poached pears when we were in Rome. I just was not sure if I could pull it off. First I had to get all the ingredients. I went a few days before Christmas to avoid the chaos. It was still crazy and I had to battle frenzied crowds to buy my share of groceries. Then on Christmas Eve, I realized I did not have a loaf pan. So back to the store I ventured to get one.

The actual baking and cooking went well and was quite enjoyable (of course it was also an effective procrastination method to keep me from my dissertation).

I think it turned out well, except for the fact that not all the pears fit on top of the bread. Close enough and now we have some extra poached pears. Sara took some pictures so you can have a look:


There was some leftover, so if you are nice to Sara she might share [by the way, you can head over to Corn Smut and sneak a peek at her mid-hiatus mini-post].

Hope you all are having a nice holiday, have eaten well, and are having fun. Happy final days of Hanukkah!!! The menorah will be bright tonight and the days are getting longer. YAY!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Feliz Nochebuena!

In Mexico, my family celebrated Christmas Eve, known as Nochebuena (or the good night, which is also the name of Poinsettias in Mexico, from where they originate) more than Christmas Day. Although my father, mother, sister, and I would exchange our gifts Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, we would go over to my grandmother's house in the evening. She lived on the other side of Mexico City, so it was about a forty minute drive (without traffic).

My grandmother's house was rather big, with a big family room where we would spend most of the evening. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins would be there. There were always other people whom I was never quite sure who they were. The decorations included a very large tree and a big nativity scene with figures that were about ten inches tall.

As the evening progressed, all the children would eat dinner and then open their gifts. We would also go outside and set off fireworks. The adults would observe all of this, chatting, drinking, smoking, and commenting on the gifts and our reactions. After all the fun and commotion, the children would drift to bedrooms upstairs and go to sleep. Then all the adults would adjourn to the formal dining room where they would have a big and very late dinner. At some point in the wee hours of the morning, my father would come and carry me and my sister back to the car and we would drive home. I still remember sleeping on the floor below the back seat of my father's Caprice Classic. When we got home, I was always curious to see if Santa had already come, but he never had. We would stagger to our rooms and go to sleep. Early the next morning, my sister and I would be up and eagerly awaiting to head downstairs to see what that year's booty was. Our parents were still exhausted, of course, having only slept a couple of hours. After much nagging they would come down and we would discover the goodies brought by Santa and then exchange presents. Later in the day, we would go back to my grandmother's house and eat left-overs. Us children would always bring our recently received toys and compare them.

As we got older, we all wanted to be invited to dine with the adults later in the evening. Then me and a male cousin, Ricardo, being the two oldest, were told we could stay up for the later diner. It was so exciting! It turned out to be an utter disappointment. It was so incredibly boring. My relatives all would drink and argue and eat and argue and smoke and argue. Someone would get offended and storm off, then come back and argue some more. It was such an unpleasant experience that the following year I ate the earlier meal and went to bed with the other "children". I felt bad for my mother, though. She was always marginal in these conversations and I could tell that she was as bored with the whole situation as I was. She would ask my father if we could go, but he would insist on staying.

Two years after my first "adult" dinner, we went to Northern California for Christmas with my mother's parents. That was a completely different experience. One to be told at a different time.

With that I bid you a Joyful Christmas Eve, Best Wishes for a Good Christmas, and a Happy Sixth Day of Hanukkah!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I should be working on my dissertation, but I am tired and I cannot focus. It is probably all the starch and carbohydrates I had for dinner. Or maybe it is the wine. Whatever it is, little work is getting done.

Instead of being productive, I am posting a picture from that mystery roll of film. It is a picture of me at a lodge near Estes Park, Colorado. It isn't the best picture of me, but it will have to do.

As you can tell I am a little shy. Some may say I am shadowy figure, dark and mysterious.

But isn't Colorado lovely?
Strange Behavior

Even though I am an anthropologist, I have yet to figure out why Rhode Islanders like to park in random places and just sit in their cars by themselves. Even when it is very cold or hot outside. Sometimes it is just downright creepy...
Quick Wishes

I have just under an hour to wish you all a Happy Fourth Day of Hanukkah! And while I am at it, let me wish you a Happy Fifth Day of Hanukkah! One nice thing about having Hanukkah last beyong the solstice is that you witness how the days stop getting shorter and they start getting longer. This is because you light the menorah at sunset, and sunset will be a minute later today than it was yesterday. Yay!

[Since some of you have been asking, no I am not Jewish. Two of Sara's grandparents were and the traditions are important to her, so that is why we learn about them and celebrate them. If I were to label my religious beliefs, I would say that I am a Unitarian and thus embrace the commonalities shared by most religions. I also have constructed my own theology and spirituality, and as such am interested in the spirit behind many religious festivities. Thus to me, Hanukkah represents the freedom to Choose a religious belief and the light of hope and promise that shines through this the darkest time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere, of course). Likewise, Christmas is rebirth and hope. The solstice is a reminder of the balance that occurs in nature. These are all simplifications, but they are small examples to illustrate how I approach these days.]

Monday, December 22, 2003

Buenas Noches

La Cena:
Huachinango a la veracruzana
Camarones con salsa de chile, limón y tequila
Platanos fritos con canela
Frijoles de olla con chiles poblanos y queso
Pan Fresco

El Vino: Columbia Crest Gewürztraminer

La Música: Manu Chao – Clandestino

El Estado de Ánimo: Huevón

[Let me know if you need a translation or a recipe]
Mystery Film - Part III

It is no longer a mystery. I picked the pictures up this afternoon and there wasn't anything terribly exciting. There were some pictures Sara took of a blooming bulb she had, many pictures of our dog, and some pictures of a road trip we took for a wedding between Albuquerque and Estes Park, Colorado. Maybe I will post a few of them later on...

Sorry, Kat, no nude party. You must have been thinking of someone else (or we just have not found that particular roll of film yet).

Oh yeah, and Happy Third Day of Hanukkah and a peaceful First Day of Winter!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

More Holiday Greetings

May you be warm and safe tonight, the longest night of the year. Best wishes for the Winter Solstice!

Happy Second Day of Hanukkah!

There is something indescribably wonderful about bagels and lox with a good cup of coffee for brunch while reading the voluminous Sunday newspaper with your sweetheart in your snug warm apartment with a dog at your side as winter arrives outside...

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Need a healthy recipe for the Holidays? Why not try this?

Xoloitzquintle's Mediterranean Salad

2 Parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Part Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Honey per 1/2 cup of dressing
1 Tbsp. of Mayonaise
1 tsp Pepper per 1/2 cup of dressing
Pinch of salt

Blend all the ingredients in a blender or with a mixer to emulsify (I use a hand-held blender that works very well). You can store the dressing in the fridge for several days.

Baby Spinach
Arrugola (aka. Rucola, Rockets)
Cherry Tomatoes
Roasted Red Peppers
Feta Cheese (I use cow feta because it is milder)

Toss all the ingredients and serve. Add dressing to tast to individual salads.

I like the combination of the smooth acidity of the balsamic vinigar, the sweetness of the honey, and the saltiness of the pistacchios and cheese. You can also add some Granny Smith Apples, figs, dates, and/or olives to the salad.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Why Can't Spam take a holiday?
Shelo yichbe neiro l'olam v'ed

Happy First Day of Hanukkah to All! [It starts at sundown today]

Blessings to be read at the lighting of the menorah:

First Blessing
Baruch ata Adonai elohanu melech ha olam, asher kiddishanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. [Blessed are you our God, Ruler of the world, who makes us holy through your mitzvoth, and commands us to kindle the Hanukkah lights].

Second Blessing:
Baruch ata Adonai elohanu melech ha olam, she asa nisim l'avoteinu, bayamim ha-hem, bazman ha zeh. [Blessed are you our God, Ruler of the world, who worked miracles for our ancestors in days long ago at this season].

Third Blessing:
Baruch ata Adonai, elohanu melech ha olam, sheheheyanu, v'kiyimanu, v'higiyanu, lazman ha zeh. [Blessed are you our God, Ruler of the world, who has given us life, sustained us, and has brought us to this season].

Mystery Film - Part II

I went to pick up the pictures from that roll of film. As usually happens to me, they were not ready.

Try back on Monday, they said. Good thing I am laid back. I said, ok, thanks.

The mystery continues.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Blog Templates

Have you ever found yourself reading a blog and thinking it was someone else's blog because they have the same template?

That happened to me this morning. I was thinking, man did this person change overnight? Then I realized it wasn't who I thought it was.

Ok, so I am out of it. I need more coffee.
Mystery Film

The other day my wife brought walked into my office with a roll of film. Neither of us knows what its from. I am not sure where she found it. It does seem like we have used it because the little bit of film that sticks out on a new roll isn't sticking out [those of you who are photographically inclined are probably cringing right now at my terminology].

It's been sitting on my desk for the past couple of days. Every now and then I will stare at it and wonder what images are captured on it.

I will take it to get developed today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Of Mud and Dogs

Today our dog got to frolic in the mud.

By the end he was filthy. He was able to use some of his pent-up energy. He also got a nice warm bath went we got home. Now he gets to roam naked and damp.

I am actually kind of envious.

I could use a frolic in the mud. Followed by a long warm bath. And maybe some hot chocolate. I like to put my pjs on afterward, though.



I always wondered about this:

rowlf jpeg
You are Rowlf.
You are a loner, and love classical music, You can
play the piano without opposable thumbs. Then
again, you are just a Muppet.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Ol' Brown Ears
HOBBIES: Piano playing, punning, fetching.
QUOTE: "My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."
FAVORITE MOVIE: "The Dogfather"
FAVORITE SONG: "I've Never Harmed An Onion, So Why Should They Make Me Cry?"

What Muppet are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

[Via Lux]

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


These short days and early, dark evenings are sapping the life out of me. I have no energy, no enthusiasm.

I can't afford this lethargy. There is so much to do.
Does my ass look fat?

I am getting a little too pudgy, round around the edges, puffy in the middle, swollen, bloated, chunky, heavy, flabby, lardy, stout, wide...

...you get the picture.

I should eat less, but I love food.

I should exercise more, but it is too cold outside.


Kristin was a little confused about my dessert pizza. So here is the recipe for clarification.

Xoloitzquintle’s Dessert Pizza

1 ¾ Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Flax Meal
¾ Active Dry Yeast
¼ Cup Granola
¾ Cup Water (at room temperature)

2 Tbsp. Butter (Optional)
½ Cup Fresh Cranberries
¼ Cup Slivered Almonds
¼ Cup Chopped Walnuts
½ Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix the dry dough ingredients until well blended. Add water slowly to form a consistent dough. Knead. Let rise covered with a damp towel for 20 minutes. Knead thoroughly for five minutes. Let rise covered for 20 minutes. If you have a bread-maker, you can use it to make the dough for you (this is what I do).

Preheat over. If using a pan – 350 degrees F. If using a stone 325 and be sure the stone sits in the hot oven for at least twenty minutes.

Using flour to avoid stickiness, work dough into a thin flat layer with your hands or a rolling pin. Form the shape of your baking pan or stone and place it on it.

Optional step – once shaped and flattened, rub top of pizza with soft butter.

Spread cranberries, almonds, and walnuts over the top. Drizzle generously with honey.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until slightly crisp.

Mix confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Remove from oven and sift confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon mix over the pizza.

Serve warm.

I particularly like the mix of the sweetness confectioner’s sugar and honey with the tartness of the cranberries. You can use other fruit as well. If the fruit you are using is dry and small, you can add it to the dough or add it after you have baked the pizza (otherwise it will burn during baking). You can also mix other spices with the confectioner’s sugar, such as nutmeg, cloves, cardamom or powdered ginger.

It’s a pizza, be creative! And if you come up with some interesting combinations, be sure to let me know.

Monday, December 15, 2003

My Sweet Wife

Seeing that I was sad and mopey, my wife asked me to play Trivial Pursuit. She knows I like that game and I know she doesn't really enjoy it. So it meant a lot to me that she was willing to play to try to cheer me up. She is so sweet and I am so lucky to be married to her.
Holiday Smiles

Do the holidays, the gray dismal days, or other things have you down and glum?

Go over to Fishbucket and read December 14 offering of "A xmas tale".

It definitely gets you into the holiday spirit! Thanks Anne.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Sunday Evening

It snowed.

Now it's raining. It's a mess outside. It is a good thing we don't have to go anywhere.

I am sad. I am a mess inside. It's a good thing we don't have to go anywhere.

Somedays are good. Somedays are bad. I guess today was more of the second than the first.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I hope.


[via Kristin]

The people who live below us have their kitchen below my office. They have an obsession of cooking with onions and the odor wafts up into my office until it is intollerable. What's worse is that I am allergic to them and the smell makes me ill.


Failed Attempt

My recipe didn't work yesterday.


I might have to try it again sometime.

Tonight I made a dessert pizza instead.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Another random thought

Tomorrow is our department holiday party. I am making a dessert from Mexico. It is the first time I try it. It is called Puercoespina (Porcupine). It is a little like Tiramisu', which I have made for previous parties, except it is in the shape of the animal with toasted almonds on the top that resemble the spines. If it works, it should be pretty cool and very tasty.

Maybe if you are nice to me, I will even post the recipe. :P

Me sacaron punta

Got a haircut yesterday. I like it. It's hard to get a good haircut.

The barbers I go to are a father and son team. The father is from Sicily. The son usually cuts my hair, but yesterday I got the father. I was unsure whether to speak to him in English or Italian. My Sicilian is a bit rusty, so that was out of the question. I ended speaking to him in an unintelligible mix, but somehow he understood it.

[The title is the colliquial way of saying I got a haircut in Mexico. Literally is I got my head sharpened (like in a pencil sharpener). That was your cultural reference lesson for the day].


I woke up much too early this morning.

Sara had to catch a 7:00 train to Boston and I was her ride to the station.

Once I am up and about, I have a hard time getting back to sleep. The problem is that if I am up too early, my mind is pretty much useless for the rest of the day (not that it is that much better when I get sleep until a reasonable hour).

The nice thing about waking up early is seeing the sun come up and fill my office with amazing colors. There is something comforting and warm about that. Not worth getting up for, mind you, but if I am already up, I like it. So I am happy that today is a sunny day; unlike yesterday that was dark and rainy. And don't get me started on the slushy mess it left behind...

It is difficult constructing a linear narrative when your thoughts are jumbled and random. So I will stop writing.

[YAWN] *Sigh*

Thursday, December 11, 2003

More politics:

I took this quiz [link via Enigma] to see which candidate matches my political positions. Here are the results:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (84%)
3. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (83%)
4. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (80%)
5. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (74%)
6. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (64%)
7. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO - Democrat (63%)
8. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (61%)
9. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (48%)
10. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (44%)
11. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL - Democrat (41%)
12. Libertarian Candidate (31%)
13. Bush, President George W. - Republican (8%)
14. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (2%)

I would have probably put Clark and Kerry before Dean, and Kucinich lower. Of course, this only measures certain issues and does not take into consideration other non-issue factors such as charisma, leadership, image, etc.

Even before this quiz, I thought a Dean/Clark or Clark/Dean ticket would be very strong and one I would strongly support.

Bil at A Cry for Help will be very pleased with these results. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A little politics for a change

So Howard Dean got Gore's endorsement. I don't think it means much. I guess it does not bode well for Lieberman's campaign though. It actually sucks for him. Although any sympathy he may have garnered from me was soon lost when he started whining about it.

I am still undecided about who I would support for the Democratic spot would I to vote today. But byt the time I'll get to vote, I don't think I will have much of a choice. At this point, barring any catastrophic event, I would venture to say that Dean has the nomination in the bag.

I don't buy this crap that Dean can't win a national election. I remember a year ago when I first learned about Dean running. No one thought he had much of a chance. The manner in which he galvanized support I think indicates that he has the potential to win anything. The question remains as to whether the American public will wake up to the fact that a few individuals (I don't even want to say Republicans, but rather Bush, Rove, and the other chumps that are part of that oligarchy of power) are screwing the country (and other countries) for the own benefit.

I won't be holding my breath.
Somewhere between the banal and the intellectual: Postmodernism

theory slut
You are a Theory Slut. The true elite of the
postmodernists, you collect avant-garde
Indonesian hiphop compilations and eat journal
articles for breakfast. You positively live
for theory. It really doesn't matter what
kind, as long as the words are big and the
paragraph breaks few and far between.

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Dissertation? What Dissertation?

Oh yeah, I am supposed to be writing one of those, aren't I? Between the snow shoveling, dog walking, grocery restocking, errand running, house cleaning, and other stuff, I almost forgot about that.

Never mind that we are starting with the holiday party lineup. Gosh, wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we were going to all the welcome back and good start to the school year events?

Got the dog to the field where he could run today. There was almost two feet of pristine snow on it. Watching him bounce through it is very entertaining. He looks like a gazelle bounding across the savanna. I also threw the ball for him. The ball is a surrogate small creature. He chases it down and pounces on it. Except for today. The ball went up and ploop into the snow, leaving a hollow in its wake. The dog runs to the hole and sticks his nose in it, searching for the critter-er-ball. After some head poking and mad-digging he bounces into the air with the ball and runs back. Repeat as necessary. The only problem - the more he chases the ball, the wetter it becomes and the more snow and ice sticks to it. Soon the ball is too cold for him to hold. That's a dilemma that is hard for a dog to resolve. Come to think of it, I am not sure how to fix it either.

Maybe it is time for bed. Maybe I will get to the dissertation tomorrow. Hmmm...maybe.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Sunny and Warm

Sara Says "Let's Go There"


Puerto Rico!

And the view from our hotel room:

Hard to believe that only a few weeks ago we were there getting a tan!

[Sara gets the photo credits]
Snowy Mess!!!

The view from my office window:

It's hard to imagine that a few months ago I was complaining about the heat and humidity.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Winter Activities

What do you do after 18 inches (about 45 cm) of snow falls? You shovel and shovel and shovel.

There was so much snow to move. We need to go somewhere early tomorrow, so I needed to make sure we could get the car out. It was buried deep. Not only was it all the snow, but the wind blew some drifts that were about three feet (one meter) high around the car. Right off the street, the plows left an equally high pile of snow at the bottom of the driveway. That snow is the worst, because having been plowed, it is thick and dense.

At first I did not mind the shoveling. After being stuck inside for almost three days, it was nice being outside. It was cold and windy. And for most of the time, the snow was still falling. Not as heavy as yesterday, though.

Another nice thing about snow, it brings people out. People were all digging themselves out and there is something about snow that makes people more gregarious. Individuals that usually rush past one another, barely acknowledging each others' existence on most days, stop and chat after a snow storm. Today I met several of our neighbors who at best I wave hello to during my busy schedule. One of them even put together an impromptu cookout in his driveway. It was rather odd standing around in the cold, with snow still falling, drinking, eating, and exchanging conversation with people I only had seen in passing.

Our dog also loves the snow. He seems happier when we take a walk through the snow (as if being happier during a walk is even possible for him). He was also suffering from cabin fever and it isn't really possible to indulge him with his requisite runs during these storms. The back up is a walk through the snow covered streets. Since there was little traffic and most people had not shoveled their sidewalks, we actually walk on the streets. The way I tire our dog is to send him running up the snow embankments on the side of the street. When he gets to the top, he sinks and then has to leap out of the piled snow. Repeating this activity as we walk down the street provides him with a good work out and me with comic entertainment. It is hilarious seeing him leap in and out of the snow. Fortunately, he is tired now.

But so am I. And I am very sore. I am out of shape and today's activities are a reminder.

A long hot bath is in store this evening. I only wish our tub were a little longer. It is hard curling my tall body into such a small place. It will be nice and relaxing nonetheless.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Shakin' Saturday Evening Fun

Snowed in? Bored? Or just need to deal with some frustration?

Give the Online SnoGlobe a shake!

[link via Anne]
As if I did not know this already...

California is where you should live. Unless of
course you lied on the quiz which would be
stupid. It's crowded as balls there but the
weather is perfect, except for the occasional
earth quake.

What State Is Perfect For You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This result is especially taunting as the wind is howling outside and the snow continues to fall.
I say potato, you say potato

Annamatic had this on her site. Being the curious anthropologist that I am, it would be interesting to see the different answers people have based on their ages and where they live. So if you care to indulge me, answer the following questions (either in my comments or on your site and mentioning in my comments that you did so):

Your Age?
Where did you grow up?

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks?
2. The thing you push around the grocery store?
3. A metal container to carry a meal in?
4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in?
5. The piece of furniture that seats three people?
6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof?
7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening?
8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages?
9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup?
10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself?
11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?
12. Shoes worn for sports?
13. Putting a room in order?
14. A flying insect that glows in the dark?
15. The little insect that curls up into a ball?
16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down?
17. How do you eat your pizza?
18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?
19. What's the evening meal?
20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?
21. A window covering on rollers that pulls down?
22. A new, limited access, multi-lane road?
23. Heavy garments worn for work?
24. The highest grade of gasoline?
25. A stretchy narrow loop used to hold things (such as papers) together?

Thank you.

Friday, December 05, 2003

New material from the UK

From people with too much time on their hands:

Sad Apes - find out why. [linked in Sara's honor - it would have been Corn Smut material - which is on hiatus, if you haven't heard yet].

Strange Hedgehogs.
Lethargy and Snow

I know I have promised to write about the word above my blog. But I don't have the enthusiasm that it deserves so I will put it off yet again.

Today was one of those days that held so much promise for productivity and it has turned out to be an utter disappointment. And tonight is one of those evenings you feel like going somewhere and doing something. Anywhere and anything. Just out. Change of scenery. But I can't. It's snowing and the streets are treacherous.

The snow is actually coming down pretty quickly. This storm actually panned out. Not like the usual drill. Big fuss and no snow.

I like the snow.

It's so peaceful.

I took the dog out [he needed to do his business - but I will respect his privacy and not reveal any other details] and gazed in awe at the scene. The silence is amazing when it snows. Briefly interrupted by the occasional passing car that slips and slides through the neighborhood. It was too cold to stay out for too long (and I was in my PJs).

I did not see snow until I was five. It never snows in Mexico City. It did once, actually. In 1968. That occasion is legendary. Everyone that was there remembers it.

The first time I saw snow was during a summer trip to Oregon. We drove up Mt. Hood where there was still some snow left. I was in heaven. I loved it. Ever since I have been fascinated by snow, and even more by falling snow.

In Mexico percipitation is always dramatic. Pouring rain, lightning, thunder, gusts, and so forth. Snow is the opposite. It's gentle, quiet. I like that. Although I like dramatic storms as well. Both fascinate me for different reasons. What I don't like is drizzle, especially weeks on end.

Ah, the wind is howling through my window. It is nice being warm and listening to the wind. Comforting.

Side note: the howling wind is a nice added effect to the song "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes that is currently playing from my computer. Maybe you don't care, but I just thought I would share.

I still would like to go somewhere. Oh well.

A long walk through the fresh snow is in store for tomorrow. Followed by a nice cup of hot cocoa made with chocolate from Oaxaca. Mmmm.

Had some tonight. It was very good.

Time to bring these random thoughts borne out of lethargy to an end.

Good night and may you all be cozy and warm.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Coming Soon

Due to popular demand, I will soon address the issue of what Xoloitzquintle means, how you pronounce it, and why I chose it.

Right now I need to recover from a late night and a hectic day. The paper proposal is in the mail, though. Yay. [Yawn]

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Vacuous Mind

It seems like I am plagued by writer's block.

I have not written much here.
I have done nothing on my dissertation.
I need to submit a paper proposal for a conference at Harvard. Not much progress there either.

No enthusiasm. No motivation. No ganas [Spanish reference from Mexico that sums up the previous two statements].

No Entiendo

You are Manuel (played by Andrew Sachs)! You may be from Barcelona in Spain, and you may not speak English very well. Or maybe you just don't know what's going on. In any case, you
You are Manuel (played by Andrew Sachs)! You may be
from Barcelona in Spain, and you may not speak
English very well. Or maybe you just don't know
what's going on. In any case, you try your
best, and even though you seem to make a
mistake here and there, it's alright. We still
love you.

Which Fawlty Towers Character Are You???
brought to you by Quizilla

[via Kristin]

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

New Poll

Check it out in the sidebar and vote!
Winter is Officially Here

The first few snow flakes fell today. It was actually kind of pretty.

Of course, the blustery wind and cold isn't so nice (wind chill of about 10 degrees F).

Monday, December 01, 2003

Procrastination Method # 3333

Doodle your worries away with Mr. PicassoHead.

[Stolen from Anne]
Thanksgiving revisited

My wife and I decided to go out for Thanksgiving. We went out last year and had a good meal without the usual fuss. This year, we both had much work to do and the thought of cooking and cleaning for a big meal seemed too much of a distraction. We decided to go out to the same place we went to last year. By the time I called to make a reservation, the only spot they had was at 11:30 am. So we were going to have an early meal.

Before we started, we also made a point not to eat too much. We already had eaten too much during our trip to Chicago. We had a wonderful meal and ate about half of what was on our plate, taking the rest home for later.

Back home, when we reheated our leftovers for subsequent meals, our apartment filled with the lovely aromas of a Thanksgiving meal. We were both overcome with nostalgia and we wished we had actually cooked a meal so we could partake in the consumption of left-overs during the following week.

So yesterday I endeavored to cook up a Thanksgiving meal a few days late. My wife had turkey on Thursday, but she is trying to avoid eating meat. She did not want turkey again, so I only bought a turkey breast for myself, roasting squash with maple ginger butter for her instead. The rest of the menu looked like this.

- Apple ginger cinnamon sauce for the turkey/squash
- Three potatoes mashed potatoes (Yukon, red, and sweet potatoes)
- Herb stuffing
- Almond garlic green beans
- Home-baked light rye bread
- Home-made cranberry sauce (my wife makes the best cranberry sauce in the world).

We also had an excellent wine: McManis Merlot (2002). I highly recommend it.

Everything turned out well. We were also good about not eating too much, so now there are left-overs for this whole week. Yay!

Of course, I still need to clean up. There are still some pots and pans in the kitchen sink waiting to be washed. I guess that's the price to pay.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Seen recently:

an elderly woman + a cell-phone + fussing with the radio + driving in reverse + a parking lot = An Accident Waiting to Happen
Can you feel the love?

A $29 DVD player is more important than the well-being of another person. I *love* the spirit of the holidays.
Now Back to our Regular Programing

Now that the conference paper is behind me and the next deadlines are December 15 and January 1 for postdocs and job applications respectively, I can get back to the task at hand: the writing of the dissertation.

It looks like I have two weeks or so to crank something out.


Oh, wait. There will be all the different holiday parties, reunions, and events to attend. Hmmmffff...

Yesterday was Buy Nothing Day. While I support the spirit of the movement, I must confess that I did make some purchases.

Copies for my job applications.

Priority mail w/ delivery confirmation for five applications.

Three reams of paper and toner for the printer.

Milk and other groceries.

So nothing lavish, nothing *consumeristic*, nothing indulgent. I did look through the piles of ads that came with the newspaper and sighed with melancholy realizing that we can't afford anything. I must admit, though, that there was very little that captured my fancy.

For all you bargain hunters out there, I hope you found your terrific deals.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Just in case you were wondering

I found my passport tonight. Whew!
Career Planning

Sent off 5 applications for teaching positions at different universities and colleges today.

Two were in Minnesota (brrrr), one in upstate New York, one in New York City, and one in Virginia (DC area).

If you want, you can play guess the university/college.

If not, just wish me luck. I'll take all I can get.

I am tired. That was really draining.
Stories from Chicago - Part III (revisted)

One of my goals while in Chicago was to have some Mexican food. I had heard that there was very good food to be found there as a result of the large Mexican community in Chicago.

So one evening we (a friend whom we were rooming with, my wife, and I) escaped the confines of the chaotic conference to the Mexican neighborhood: Pilsen. You may wonder about that name - it is definitely not Mexican. The neighborhood started out as a German neighborhood and then turned into the Czech neighborhood. More recently all the European migrants moved out and the Mexicans have moved in, but the name has remained. Ah the dynamism of American (and Candadian) cities.

We had to ride the El (or L) (elevated subway) to get there, passing the old Greek and Italian neighborhoods on the way. The neighborhood was asleep when we got there. The streets were rather empty and most of the shops were closed. I had to use my imagination to picture the animation and vibrancy the neighborhood must exhibit during the day. All the signs were in Spanish and the windows of the closed shops displayed products from Mexico.

Fortunately, the restaurant we were going to, Nuevo Leon, was open. The food was excellent. A taste of Mexico in Gringolandia. I ate too many hot peppers, despite my wife's requests not to and her warnings that I would be sorry later. I wish there were more places like that in Rhode Island, but then again I would be rather rotund if there were.

On the way back to the el station, we passed a bakery that was still open. It was full of Mexican sweet-breads and fresh baked rolls. We decided to stop in and buy some for breakfast the following morning. My wife, again, became my conscience and told me not to get too many. This time I listened. I did buy some of the flour tortillas they were selling to bring back home with me. We ate them a few days later and they were delicious. The sweet-breads were also terrific with coffee the following morning.

Back at the el station, there were some non-Mexican men trying to figure out the automatic ticket vending machine. As we helped them, they said, "Hey, you folks were at the Mexican restaurant, weren't ya? We saw you there. Isn't it great? We're in town visiting from Kentucky. It is our second time there. We we went a couple of days ago and we just had to go back. Maybe we will go back again."

I guess people from Kentucky are friendly. And they like Mexican food. A lot. It was really good food.

And yes, as my wife warned me, I was burping up those peppers later that evening. It was worth it, though.
I am not sure what to make of this:

A stupid quiz told me I am Switzerland.


Switzerland -
A neutral power for as long as most can remember,
it has avoided war for several centuries.
However, it is still considered highly advanced
and a global power.





Powerful without Force.

Makes Excellent Watches, Etc.


Target of Ridicule.

Constant Struggle to Avoid Conflict.

Target of Criminal Bank Accounts.

Which Country of the World are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

[via MangoMonkeyBoy]

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Stories from Chicago - Part III

Something came up. The story will have to wait.

Political Rhetoric

I should not be surprised, but Bush's PR stunt by *secretly* going to Iraq really irked me.

To counter it, I offer you some counter-PR [warning: not family-friendly]. Also available subtitled in italiano and other languages (but you will have to look for them yourself). If you are into cheezy '80s music, you might enjoy this one (extremely strong left leaning political tendencies required as well).

[Links via MangoMonkeyBoy]

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Stories from Chicago - Part II

You would think that a hotel that charges $200 a night would have comfortable beds.

They don't.

The floor was more comfortable. I know. That's were I slept.

And you would think that they could have figured out how to keep the bed-skirts from falling off the minute you walk in the room.

They haven't.
Icelandic Wonders

In taking the quiz below, one of the multiple choice answers was the following word:


I have no clue what it means, but I am in awe of it.

[Maybe Kristin can help me out here - although the mystery of it is also pretty cool]

If my site here weren't called Xoloitzquintle already, maybe I would call it that. Heehee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Sometimes things just work out...

Kristin had this quiz on her site on which BMW are you. The quiz is in Icelandic and I don't speak Icelandic. I took it anyway, trying to make out what the questions and answers were. This was the result:

BMW E39 530 Touring

Hvernig BMW ert þú?

This makes some sense since we own a station wagon. So perhaps I know more Icelandic than I thought. Although I would rather be the BMW Isetta like Kristin. That's one funky car!

Following a link I found at Enigma, I took this Personal Attraction Test. Just to keep you informed, I thought I would share the results.

Who You Are:

You're a "real" man

You're a down-to-earth and easygoing guy. You love to work with your hands and can fix almost anything. You refuse to settle long-term for a boring job or doing something just because it's expected of you. Life should be "balanced" with plenty of time for fun, spontaneity, and relaxation! You try to avoid scheduling every minute of your day and instead prefer a more informal and "go with the flow" approach. You're a private person and a little hard to get to know, especially emotionally. When you express your feelings, it's more likely through your actions and practical support than through words. However, you also have a romantic and sensual side that only the special person in your life will be able to see.

I like this part:

Quirks women notice

You have a pretty even-tempered personality and may not have any especially annoying or quirky habits. Of course, seeming to be "perfect" could be seen as a flaw by some, in which case you may just want to pretend to have a bad habit!

Ha! I bet my wife would dispute that one.
Stories from Chicago - Part I

The elevators in the hotel we stayed in had tiny five inch screen televisions that were on CNN. So whenever you rode up or down you would get snippets of news. It was truly bizarre. You were never in the elevator long enough to really follow a story, unless you were willing to ride up and down several times.

I think the purpose was, rather than to allow you to catch up with the news, to break the ice inside such a small and confined space. There was never a lack of commentary by the elevator riders. So instead of staring at the floor number display in a nervous silence, riders would look at the screen and comment on the day's news, sparking spontaneous conversation.

Of course, we had the story of the century on throughout our stay: Michael Jackson's arrest. Almost without fail, everytime I entered the elevator something regarding MJ was on. MJ arriving in California with the scene of a a car leaving the airport. MJ entering the police station. MJ leaving the police station. MJ driving back to the airport. Lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. commenting on the case. Other lawyers commenting. MJ in Las Vegas. And on and on...

Almost everybody who got on the elevator was dimayed at the excess coverage. One guy just shook his head as he said, "The world is going to hell in a handbasket and this is all they care about." Indeed there had just been two bombings in Turkey, yet it got very little coverage.

A different time, I was waiting for the elevator with an openly gay couple. When an elevator arrived going in the opposite direction than we were going, the doors opened and one could hear the MJ rhetoric from CNN. Suddenly a woman in the elevator whom we could not see from where we were standing yelled out, "That Michael Jackson is such a queer!" Then the doors shut. The two guys standing there just looked at each other and started laughing. I chuckled as well.

Such obsession by the media is alarming, but getting it in such brief bit incessantly throughout the day on a small screen inside an elevator with a group of strangers was rather surreal.

Monday, November 24, 2003


Today was a day filled with stress and panic.

Case #1: Can't find my passport. Rats. Where did it go?

Case #2: Discovered at 2:00pm that I had a postdoc application that needed to be postmarked today. I had to put my ass into gear (no, not the one pictured here, rather the one I am usually sitting on) and piece it all together very quickly, go to the department to beg for letters, and make the necessary copies. Then run to the post office and put it in the mail. It got done. Whew!

Now back to worrying about my passport. Rats. Where did it go?
Just thought I would share...

...the topic of the paper that has kept me busy. It is also part of my dissertation.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Bergamo, Italy, this paper will examine how the image of the “foreigner” in Italy is conditioned by both an array of historical and stereotyped images and by a continual redevelopment of these images in the media, politics, and popular discourse. Much attention has been given to the new immigration phenomenon that Italy has witnessed over the past twenty years. Scholars have observed with interest how a society that had relatively low levels of immigration reacted to this new phenomenon. Many of these scholars assumed that due to the previous lack of immigration, Italy would present a clean slate for inter-ethnic relations to occur as these immigrants began to arrive and settle. These views often failed to foresee how the pre-existing categories Italians had with respect to people from different places would contribute to how individuals would react to immigration. Drawing from examples from texts and film, I will illustrate the historical roots of some the stereotyped images that still dominate the discourse surrounding immigrants in the media, politics, and daily conversations. Further I will examine how these perceptions coupled with individuals’ ideology, sense of belonging, and position in the social hierarchy will determine how they construct and interpret the immigrant within their community. Last, I will demonstrate that this image of foreigners is rather uniform regardless of an individual’s opinion on immigration, which contrasts with the real diversity within the immigrant population.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Back from Chicago

I am pretty tired. These conferences are really draining.

It was a good trip. I will fill you in on the details soon.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Everything is done. In a few hours we will board the plane to Chicago.

So this site will fall silent for a few days. Be sure to stop by on Sunday to hear great tales of exotic destinations and academic conferences!

Until then I will leave you with the following for your enjoyment [idea stolen from adventurejournalist]:

My Life in Addresses:

Mexico City:
Colonia Roma. Two bed apt. 1 bath.

Ciudad Satelite, Edo. de Mex. (suburb of Mexico City):
3 bed, 2 ½ house. Tiny back yard and maid’s room with bathroom.

Nevada City, CA.:
2 bed, 2 bed house. W/ studio and deck. Middle of forest, end of ½ mile gravel road.

Grass Valley, CA:
2 bed, 1 bath apt. D/W, W/D. Pool available in summer.

La Mesa, CA:
2 bed, 2 ½ bath apt/townhouse. On two levels. D/W. Complex offers pool, spa, tennis courts, weight room. Adjacent to lake.

Claremont, CA:
Oldenborg dorm, south side. Three room quad (two doubles w/ adjoining suite, balcony and bath.

La Mesa, CA:
2 bed, 2 bath apt. D/W & balcony. Pool, spa.

Claremont, CA:
Oldenborg dorm, north side. Three room quad (two doubles w/ adjoining suite, balcony and bath.

Lund, Sweden:
3 bed, 2 ½ bath house. Beautiful garden.

Lund, Sweden:
Sparta Dorm. Single w/ private bath. Shared hall kitchen.

Claremont, CA:
Oldenborg dorm, north side. Single with shared bathroom.

La Mesa, CA:
2 bed, 2 bath house on 1 acre of land.

Bologna, Italy:
3 bed, 1 bath apt. Kitchen only. Balcony, Washer.

Washington, DC:
Capitol Hill. 2 bed, 1 bath townhouse on 2 floors in carriage house of Victorian home. Fireplace. Shared W/D.

Arlington, VA:
3 bed, 2 bath townhouse.

Washington, DC:
Dupont Circle. 2 bed, 1 ½ bath row house.

Washington, DC:
Mt. Pleasant. 2 bed, 2 ½ bath apt. on two levels.

Washington, DC:
Adams Morgan. 2 bed, 1 bath apt.

Washington, DC:
Dupont Circle. 3 bed, 2 ½ bath row house. 3 floors. Bay windows. D/W.

Providence, RI:
East Side. 4 ½ bed, 2 ½ bath house. D/W. W/D.

Bologna, Italy.
1 bed, 1 bath apt. Wooden beams on ceiling.

Bologna, Italy:
2 bed, 1 bath apt. Washer, balcony.

Providence, RI:
Elmhurst. 2 bed, 1 bath apt w/ large shared yard.

Providence, RI:
Elmhurst. 1 bed, 1 bath apt w/ large shared yard.

Bergamo, Italy:
1 bed, 1 bath apt on two levels. Washer.

Providence, Rhode Island:
East Side. Two and a half beds apartment, one bath, double parlor. D/W, W/D.

Bergamo, Italy:
1 bed, 1 bath apt. Washer.

I have lived at some of these places more than once and I have not included some places where I have had shorter stints. I am tiring of the nomadic lifestyle and I think I am ready to settle down soon. Maybe.

See you on Sunday!

The Best Wife
I have the most wonderful and amazing wife. And I am not just saying that because she is a computer genius who came to my rescue this morning when I was in a panic.

I needed to save my overheads on a CD to take them to my wife's computer to print them on the color printer. My computer decided to be uncooperative and refused to eject the CD-R after I had saved them. After I manually ejected it, the computer then decided that it wasn't going to talk to the CD-Writer. I was freaking out, but Sara took over and fixed everything.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And even if you hadn't fixed it, you would still be the most wonderful and amazing wife. I am looking forward to spending some romantic time with you in Chicago.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Final Progress Report

23:41 - 2,353 words.

First Draft: Done. I need to read it tomorrow morning and do final edits.

Overheads: Done. Need to print them out tomorrow morning.

Playing: [Silence]

Brain: Dead

Plan for tomorrow. First, (see above). Second, pack. Third, copy CV. Fourth, dog to doggie hotel :-(

Good thing our flight isn't until 5:50 pm!

Good night!
Progress Report 4

20:48 - 2,214 words. After much editing and rewriting, the paper has started to take shape and has direction. Needs more polishing, though.

[Did take a break for dinner - Annie's Organic Mac'n'Cheese and Veggie Chili, with homemade hot sauce]

Playing: The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button.

May take a tv break...need to let this draft cool and rise.
Progress Report 3

15:26 - 1974 words (but a HUGE mess). [Panic!]

Playing: Hip Hop Hoodios - Havana Nagila.
Progress Report 2

16:00 - 1,037 words.

Playing: Walk Away - Dropkick Murphy's.
Progress Report

15:02 - 392 words.

Playing: Puro Party - Dr. Loco's Rocking Jalapeño Band.

It seems like blogroll got hacked or had a serious meltdown. All my links turned into links to Laura's Blog (I am not linking it because there are enough links in my sidebar!). She is sure going to get a lot of hits today.

I don't know if my links will return or if I will have to go reinsert them myself (what a pain). If it is the latter, then it will have to wait until I get back from Chicago. If you stop by today, leave me a comment with the link to your site. It will make linking easier.

Back to writing!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Grace Under Pressure

Did very little on my paper for Chicago today. The pressure is on tomorrow to come up with something. I have three or four usable pages right now. I need about seven or eight. It all needs to be streamlined so that it flows and is interesting. I also need to work on my overheads. That's easy, but time consuming. Early wake-up call.

Now if I could only figure out who this Grace is and why she's under pressure.

Which [Finding Nemo] characters are you?

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Saturday Night

I have lost the first battle, but I have not completely capitulated in my war against this cold. My head is congested, but I can tell my body is fighting it. I refuse to let this cold take complete control of my body.

Needless to say, it has destroyed my head. No concentration today and hence no writing. Rats! Tomorrow will need to be a productive day regardless of how I feel.

Sara and I made our way over to Federal Hill (the Italian neighborhood in Providence) today. We wanted to visit an Italian wine shop I had heard good things about. We were in search of a wine from the area where we used to live: Valcalepio (info in English). We also were in search of Braulio, a liqueur made from mountain herbs. It tastes a little like a Ricola in liquid and alcoholic form. Sara swears it makes her better whenever she has a cold. So a batch right now would come in handy.

We struck out on both counts. We did find a wine the province next to the one we lived in and that we had when we were living over there. I love the name: Inferno. We also got a liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, also made from herbs. THis one is made in Bologna, though, which is about three hours from where we were (far in Italian standards). We had a little this evening, but it may take several more doses before it starts working :-)

We did make some hot chocolate with the chocolate from Oaxaca (see post from a few days ago) this evening. Amazing!!! We cozied up and watched Finding Nemo. Wonderful film!!!

So even though I don't feel 100%, I had wonderful romantic evening (see previous post for details).
Today's News

cuddle and a kiss
cuddle and a kiss on the forehead - you like to be
close to your special someone and feel warm,
comfortable, and needed

What Sign of Affection Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

On the kiss on the forehead thing, it probably helps that Sara's forehead is right at the level of my lips so it is really easy to kiss (it is also a very kissable forehead).

Friday, November 14, 2003

Today's Accomplishments

Two postdoc applications completed and mailed today

Summer course proposal submitted

Nice compliment from a member of my dissertation committee

Got some wonton soup for my wife who is also not feeling well

Nap on the couch with dog warming my feet

But no progress on the Chicago paper. Rats!
The Lethargy Culprit
The cause of the lethargy of the past few days has finally revealed itself. It seems like my body is fighting off a cold.

The evidence? Sore throat, stuffy nose, and light-headedness. I guess I should also add no energy to the list.

I am not giving up without a fight, though. I have zinc and vitamin C in my aresenal, as well as multiple teas, juices, and garlic. And lots and lots and lots of water, of course.

I refuse to get sick! Damn it! I refuse!


Thursday, November 13, 2003

Stop Staring At My Ass!!!

I know you like my ass, but my wife will get upset. Actually, she is the one who helped me put my ass on here. She took a picture from Baja California, clipped it so that my ass would show, and put it into the template. Or something like that. If you have more specific questions, go ask my wife over at Corn Smut. Some of you figured this out long ago, but I thought we should reveal it now. I was the one who wanted it to be kept a secret, but I think enought of you know and the rest of you don't care, so it is pointless to continue to hide it.

So stop staring at my ass and go look at something smutty instead!

Before you do, tell me what you think of my ass.

[That's the last of the ass jokes, I promise!]

Addendum: I just realized that if your screen resolution is 800x600 you will only get a slight glimpse of my ass - well, tough noodles for you.
No Chicago Writing Today Either
Today has been so busy, that I have not really had a chance to sit and write. I think the Chicago stuff is on hold until tomorrow. No need to frustrate myself now. Thank you to all of you who had suggestions.

I did come up with a description for the summer course I am proposing to teach.

Would you take this course?

Politics, Culture, and Identity

Why do politicians kiss babies in the US? Does what we eat or how we pray determine how we vote? What do we mean when we say that all politics are local? Do politicians make us feel that we are part of a particular group just to gain power?

This seminar will utilize multidisciplinary approach (anthropology, sociology, cultural history, and political science) to investigate how political identities are constructed. It will address how people come to identify themselves with states, nations, ethnic groups, political parties, and other collective identities. The course will investigate how particular cultural issues such as race, ethnicity, nationalism, community, gender, religion, tradition, food, and art are employed to create and maintain political identities across various arenas – from the local to the global. It will also explore the manner in which symbols and ritual are employed to exert and maintain power in the political realm.

These issues will be covered through discussion of scholarly and popular texts (including films, magazines, TV, and newspapers), journal writing, fieldwork, fieldtrips, and other assignments intended to develop and promote critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills. There are no pre-requisites for this course other than an open mind and willingness to participate.

First it needs to get accepted by the summer studies program and then people need to enroll for it to be offered. I need for it to make it past all these hurdles because I really need the $$$ after I graduate because right now the future is a big question mark. So any feedback is more than welcome.
Now I got ads for foot lotion above my blog. HA!

You know its windy when...

...you see a pumpkin rolling down the street being pushed along by the blowing gusts.

A bad hair day indeed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ever have one of those days...
...when you just can't get yourself into gear? I have to write the paper for Chicago and I am just blocked. I know more or less what I want to say. I even have some images I am going to use. But when I try to write, all I get is drivel. Plus writing for a talk is different than writing for a paper. It needs to be concise and peppy - especially since my paper is at 8:00 am. Snore.... I need to be well prepared because I know people will be stumbling into the room late during my presentation, so there will be many distractions.

I'm hungry.

It is nearing dinner time and I can't even muster the enthusiasm to figure out what to have.


I am also cranky. Grrrr...

I can't believe that there were so many people who commented on the toilet paper question.

Although I am surprised no one brought up the bidet.

And I have only gotten one suggestion for Chicago.

Grrr...cranky, I said. Grrr....
Oaxaca Care Package
My mom, step-father, and sister just returned from a trip to Mexico (fortunately their home was still there) and today I received the package of goodies they brought back for me. Some of the items were requested, others were surprises.

Requested: Coffee (some of the best in the world) and chocolate bars to make hot chocolate (also some of the best in the world - rich, semi-sweet).

Surprises: Peanuts roasted with garlic and chiles, handpainted wooden bookmarks and a CD-ROM with pictures. Unfortunately, no mezcal!

Funny thing: I could smell the peanuts in the box from several feet away: pungent = tasty.

Thanks Mom! You know how to put a smile on your son's face.

Gracias Oaxaca! Saben como producir productos deliciosos.

My wife and I needed some cheer since we were not feeling well today (blame placed on the flu shot - although I have had the flu and I would rather go through this than the flu).

What brings more cheer than participating in our capitalistic society? Off to the mall we went.

Stop 1 - The Body Shop. Purchases: hydrating creams, pumice wash for feet, foot lotion, tea oil soap.

Stop 2 - Borders Books. Purchases: dogs made out of food calendar, Design magazine.

Enough - let's get out of here.

Commentary: Stop 1 has me worried. Am I a *metrosexual* male? The dry air in winter time plays havoc with my skin, especially my feet. If I am not careful, I get moderate excema and my feet become unsightly. My wife is also prone to dry skin, but she is better at keeping it hydrated. So if avoiding terrible itch and keeping my feet presentable makes me metrosexual, so be it. Stop 2 was intended for the previously mentioned book that I wanted to purchase, but felt too broke to get it. Unfortunately, it wasn't there. I believe it is not out yet. My wife liked the calendar and is addicted to magazines.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Question of the Day

Toilet paper - over or under?
My Kind of Town
I leave for Chicago in a week (no the paper I am presenting is not written yet).

It is not as exciting as Puerto Rico, but the change of scenery will be welcome nonetheless.

I am open to suggestions for things to do and see, but in particular I want to know about places to eat!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Bin with wool sweaters came down from the attic today.

Arm still hurts - damn!

Medical Prevention
Got my flu shot today.

Now my arm feels like someone beat it with a bat and poured concrete into it. Fun!

It seems like each year my arm hurts more afterward.

This better work. I better not get the flu.

Veterans' Day
Although Veterans' Day is actually tomorrow, we observe it today.

A big thank you to all the veterans that have served their country, and a special thought to those that are in harm's way right now. You all have my full support even though I do not support this country's administration and the decisions it has made.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Just so you know...

My life is rated R.
What is your life rated?

I am now not resposible for anyone taking offense.

Eclipsed Eclipse
I wanted to see the eclipse last night, but I forgot about it. I was watching the film instead. I did catch the last little bit of it when I went to return the films. It was the last little nibble that someone took out of the moon. Shucks. I love stuff like that and the weather cooperated for once in Rhode Island (it was very cold, but very clear). Maybe next time.
How well do you know architecture?
Take this quiz and find out. I scored 86,000, which makes me a "Site Engineer" (it's a weird way of scoring). If you take it, tell me how you did.

I have been to five of the ten places, so I guess that helps. I definitely want to make it to the other five sometime in my life.

[Thank you to Claudia for showing me the way to the quiz]

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Saturday Adventure
Tonight was another movie night, although my wife decided she was too tired to watch it and went to bed. The feature for the evening was Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I must say I was disappointed. I had heard good things about the film and the premise seems so fascinating. It just did not seem to build any momentum. The acting was fine, but there just was something missing.

After reading Sara's post about her husband making pizza at home, I decided to try it too. It turned out to be only a partial success. I tried making one on an oven stone and the other on a pizza dish. Tip for next time - heat the oven stone before you put the pizza on it. That pizza stuck to the stone and was not fully cooked. The other one turned out ok. I will have to give it a try again some other time - if my wife will let me.

We were consumers today. For my birthday, I received a gift certificate for Target from my mother-in-law (I really don't like that term - I guess it is all the negativity associated with it the is promoted in the media - I will use "my wife's mother" from now on). So we headed out today. Saturday afternoons is not the best time to shop - it is too crowded. So here is what I got:

Trivial Pursuit - The 20th Anniversary Edition. I really like Trivial Pursuit. It is one of the few occasions that all my useless knowledge comes in handy. Although my wife doesn't like to play and we don't have people over that often. So I am not sure when I will get to play.

Finding Nemo DVD - I have not seen it yet. But I love animation and I love the ocean. So I am sure I will like it.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil DVD - I also have not seen this film (nor read the book), but I have wanted to and have heard it is good. It was only $5, which is almost the same as renting it.

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here CD. Probably one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums, but I didn't have it in CD. My wife claimed that she had on tape somewhere, and then confessed that it might even be a copy of a tape. It was only $9, so I got it.

We almost went to Borders Books because there is a book I really want. But we are pretty broke right now and it is a pricey book, so I decided I didn't need to have it just right now. It can wait.

So that was my Saturday. Actually, I also did some laundry, vacuuming, and kitchen cleaning. Pretty exciting stuff, huh? It actually is when you are supposed to be working and being productive.

There is always tomorrow, either for productivity or something truly adventurous.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Quiet Evening at Home
I watched Bulletproof Monk tonight at home with the family. It was entertaining, although some aspects of the story were a little too cheezy for my liking. I did like the humor in it. It was nice for an evening after a busy week when the old nogin is not up to processing much.

Today I met with a woman who is applying to the graduate program I am in. It was a bit strange. She is just starting and I am about to end. It made me reflect on all the time I have spent here. I had not really thought about it before, but I have changed a lot. It has been a good run. And even though I will be sorry to go, the time to move on has come.

Hope, the new visitor, will be moving here in May, so I can pass the torch on to her. I will rely on posts by her, Bil, and all the other SNE Bloggers to keep me up to speed with all the happenings in Providence and the Ocean State.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!!
Things to do with leftover Necco wafers

We still have Necco Wafers left over and my waistline is already much too large. While I am not repulsed by them as some of you are, they are not worth indulging on. If I am going to partake of calories, I rather it be something chocolaty or ice cream. So what to do with these Necco Wafers?

Some of you had suggestions:
Hope (a new visitor, welcome Hope): paint tiny smiley faces on them and market them as "don't worry, be happy" jewelry on ebay.

Lux – use them as substitute communion hosts/wafers.

My wife and I tried thinking of other ones, but always came up with a problem:

-Coasters for shot glasses. Too small and they might get sticky if the glass sweats.

-Confetti. Maybe a little too painful and not festive enough.

-Confetti for people you don’t like. Could get sued.

-Mini-Frisbees. Too hard to catch.

-Substitute coins for vending machines and Laundromats. Don’t quite work right.

-You can use the wintergreen ones to light a fire. Apparently they spark in the dark - at least according to the fun-fact page from Necco.

Maybe you have other suggestions? I am all ears!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Scary Stuff
George Orwell meets Fast Food Nation meets Upton Sinclair in a Cyberpunk World (enter - only if you are ready, though)

[The truth brought to you by Kristin].
You know that you have had too much Halloween candy when...

...you start to feel your tummy bulge out over the waist of your pants as you sit and type.

It's almost all gone. Thank goodness.

Except for those Necco waffers, which I suspect will still be around sometime next spring.

Unless the dog finds a way to get them.
Quiet Please
Here comes a grievance. I am annoyed by loud and obnoxious aerobic instructors.

Today I had my yoga class. Most yoga classes end with the Savasana pose (deep relaxation) where you lie on your back and completely relax and meditate. It is a time to calm the mind and let go of any worries, thoughts or tension. When the mind wonders you come back to your breath. Being in a university athletic center, the room is not ideally quiet. Part of the exercise is tuning out that background noise.

Following our class, however, there is a step aerobics class. The instructor arrives just as we start our Savasana pose and starts fussing with the stereo equipment in the room. Then she leaves and stands by the door speaking, or should I say yelling, at some of her students in her annoying aerobics voice and tone. I am sure even the best trained yoga instructor would have a difficult time tuning her out. It is clear that we are in a relaxation pose, the room is dark and we are all sprawled on the floor. There is also ample time in between classes for her to prepare the music and set up for the class. My guess is she just does it to be annoying.

So what should be relaxing ends up being irritating.

Despite the annoying end, I still had a good session. I am definitely very tense.

I did finish my Santa Barbara application and I have to drop that in the mail today. I also am almost finished with a postdoc application. So all in all, there seems to be a good productivity vibe in the air around here. I hope it sticks around.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Nutty November
This month is going to be a doozy. There are many job applications and postdoc applications due. I am also supposed to be working on my dissertation. And then there is the conference in Chicago where I am presenting a paper (which I haven't written yet, of course).

On top of it all I am supposed to come up with clever things to write here. I don't want to let my fellow SNE Bloggers down now that they made me the featured blog. And I would not want to let my other faithful readers down either (you know who you are).

Just to warn you, things may get strange around here as my sanity begins to fade. I know, I know, you are asking, what sanity?

There may also be some complaining. More than the usual.

However, it may be entertaining.

You never know what may happen.

In any case, back to my job application for University of California, Santa Barbara that needs to be in the mail tomorrow. Now that would be nice place to be - have a look at the picture in the link, if you haven't already.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Trivia Followup
Sara wanted to know where I found out about the Amish wearing polyester.

Yesterday I was at a seminar for an advanced teaching certificate and the guest speaker was from the university's anthropology museum. The topic for the seminar was how to teach with objects and he brought in a few items from the museum. One of these was a doll from Amish country. It was dressed like an Amish boy in a gray button-up shirt and black trousers with suspenders. Particularly striking was that its face was blank - just plain white. Kind of creepy, actually. The blank face reflects the belief that an individual should not attract attention to one's self because it a form of vanity. The more generic the better. Have a look...(these are female dolls, but you get the picture).

The speaker passed the doll around and asked us to notice the clothing. It was polyester (the one's in the link have a cotton/poly blend). He asked why we thought it was made of this. We assumed because that it was because it was cheap and the doll probably was intended for sale to tourists. The speaker pointed out that the sect that made this doll also wore polyester.

The reason? A form of resistance to the rigid way of life. Polyester requires little attention, that is no ironing. When you have to iron with an iron heated up on a wood stove, ironing a wrinkled cotton or linen garment can be quite taxing. So this particular sect allowed enough flexibility in its rules to allow polyester. He also pointed out that it allowed buttons on the shirt. Other sects would consider buttons as potentially allowing vanity and not allow them.

Likewise, I have seen films where Amish people get around on rollerblades. Just goes to show that each cultural system has its own system of logic and sets of rules that go along with it.

Fascinating, ain't it?

[Now playing: Riders on the Storm :) ]

Addendum: Does this make sense to anyone? I found it while looking for an example of the doll to link to.
Hidden Treasure
Living a nomadic lifestyle of an anthropology graduate student leads one to not want to unpack boxes unless absolutely necessary. As a consequence there are many unpacked boxes in our apartment.

Today I was looking for some books I wanted to lend to a fellow student. Looking through my bookcase, I could not find them. Might they be in one of the many unpacked boxes? As I sifted through some of them without success, I did make many unexpected discoveries. One box was especially fascinating: in among many random papers and magazines there were two year-old maxipads, some old lifesavers, some plastic page covers (you never know when those may come in useful), really old junk mail, and a CD case full of music (that belongs to my wife).

I have "borrowed" some of those CDs and I am now cruising along to some great tunes. Playing now is Men at Work - Business as Usual (a terrific compilation of songs that always make me smile). Next to be played: The Doors - The Best of the Doors.

By the way, I now vaguely remember lending the books I was looking for to a different friend who is now away in Nova Scotia doing fieldwork. So I am sure the books are sitting somewhere in storage. Oh well...

Be good, be good; be good, be good,be good; be good, be good, be good; be good Joooohny... :-)
Did you know that...

...some Amish sects wear polyester?
Sleepy...Need more coffee....


Monday, November 03, 2003

The Pressure is ON!
Oh no! Bil at a Cry for Help just alerted me that I am the Featured Blog at SNE Bloggers (Souther New England Bloggers).

That's a lot of pressure - I am not sure if I can handle it!
The Stupid Ads Above Blogs
You would think the geniuses that design these could come up with a way to stop them after they become irrelevant or perhaps untimely.

I have ads for Halloween stuff above my blog right now. Umm...that's over, although there must be a freak or two out there already planning for next year.

I heard about people who wrote about the fires in California getting ads for real estate opportunities in San Diego and Rancho Cucamonga. Ummm...could we be a little more sensitive?

[Shakes head in disappointment]

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Time for Nothing
I have said enough in the past few days. For once I will not say much.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Día de los Muertos
Un saludo a todos quien nos visitan desde lejos en este día. Les dedico un traguito de tequila. ¡Salud!
The End of the World
Thanks to S, I have seen how the world ends. At least I will die laughing!
Halloween Recap
The ghosts and goblins had a wonderful evening weatherwise to haunt the neighborhood and extort candy from its inhabitants.

Sara recently posted on the issue of obesity in the US. Last night I had some insight as to why this is happening. As groups of children went house to house tick-or-treating, their lazy parents drove along them with their hazard lights on. At one point I looked down the street and saw about eight cars inching along with their hazard lights on. We live in a nice neighborhood and the weather was perfect, so there just can't be any excuse for not walking along with your children.

Meanwhile, although I ate too much candy (it was a VERY good night), I worked it off. We live on the third floor, so everytime the doorbell rang, I had to go down and back up. I did this a good dozen or so times. Forget the stairmaster!

Our dog was jealous. Everytime I open the door, he looks at me longingly hoping that he can come along, so doing this so many times in a short period of time without inviting him even once made him quite surly. Moreover, we don't have many guests over to our apartment, so the only time our doorbell rings is when there is a pizza delivery. This is very exciting for him. The bell rings, I go out and come back with a delicious smelling box. The pizza we get usually has a little dough-ball in the middle which he gets once we are done eating if he has been good. To him, I am sure, it is a pretty cool routine. Last night the bell kept ringing and everytime I failed to come back with the box. What was up with that? In fact, towards the end he looked very confused and annoyed.

I was amused by the "out -of-towners" that came to our upscale neighborhood (because of the proximity to the university, grad students live here too and we get killed on the rent) to get the better loot. I am not sure what the larger houses and estates were giving out, our treat-bowlhad fun-sizes (why are they called that?) of Crunch, Twix, Whoppers, 100 G Bars, and the classic Necco Wafers. Nothing special.

Always the anthropologist, I noticed the pattern of which candy different children took. Toddlers were drawn to the Necco wafers, African American children picked the Whoppers, the university students who came by were either enthused or repulsed by the Necco wafers, and pre-adolescent boys were very greedy taking anything edible. Some of these I can figure out, others remain a mystery.

A few doorbell rings went unanswered. Some during dinner and then towards the end of the evening when I pooped out from the running up and down the stairs. Amazingly I also pooped out at the point when there was just enough candy left for us to keep.

Hope you all had fun!

Friday, October 31, 2003

Trick or Treat
It’s hard to avoid the fact that today is Halloween. Our doorbell is sure to be ringing this evening with children dressed up looking for some sweet treats. I just hope there are some left by this evening to hand out to them. On the other hand, I hope we don’t have too many visitors so that there will be some treats left for me. For you, I offer this treat from my childhood:

Growing up in middle class Mexico, Halloween was always a strange holiday. It was the day leading up to the more traditional Day of the Dead, which is a grotesquely festive day. Mexicans tend to have a morbid fascination with death (I could go on about this here, but I will put that off for a different day). Rather than be mournful and sorrowful, November 1 is a day when one can commune with the spirits of those who have passed away. The festive nature can be seen in the abundant and amply decorated sugar skulls and skeletons. There is also the special bread, el pan de muertos (bread of the dead), which is baked just for this day. The food in general for this day is amazing. Throughout the country, one can see candlelight processions and elaborate flower and gift arrangements taken to graveyards.

Not wanting to pass up an opportunity for a party, many middle class Mexicans have adopted Halloween as well. When I was a child, there generally was a block party from which we made rounds through the neighborhood looking for sweet loot. Some factors made this process particularly amusing.

At the time, Halloween was a new concept in Mexico, so the variety of store-bought costumes was fairly limited. So unless you had creative parents, it was quite likely that your costume would look like someone else's. My mother refused to buy costumes, insisting that she could make it herself. At the time I resented not being able to have a costume that everyone else had. Now I realize that this was actually pretty cool. My favorite costume was when I was the Incredible Hulk. A friend of ours worked in the theater and she gave us some white makeup to which we added crushed green chalk. We ripped some old clothes and the costume was made. Never mind that I was a tall and lanky kid, I still was a cool Hulk.

Pumpkins in Mexico are not orange, but a yellow-green color. They are also hard as a rock. So attempting to carve a jack-o-lantern was always an impossible task.

The catchy phrase “trick or treat” does not exist in Spanish. Instead we had “Queremos Jalouín!” (We want our Halloween!), as though we were entitled to some candy.

Houses in middle class Mexico are surrounded by high gates or walls, which made knocking and demanding our Halloween impossible. So we rang a doorbell and demanded our Halloween through an intercom.

As I mentioned before, Halloween was relatively new and most people did not have any treats for us. So often we got whatever they could scrap up. Among the things I found in my bag were random stale cookies, batteries, clothespins, coins, pocket-sized packs of tissues, fruit, stones, and pens.

Most people just did not give us anything. For these people we carried a piece of chalk with us and wrote “CODOS” (literally elbows, but meaning stingy) on the walls in front of their houses. By the end of the evening, these houses would have a nice display of chalk graffiti.

As I grew older, Halloween grew in popularity and became more institutionalized. It spread into working class neighborhoods as well.

Now looking at it from an academic and anthropological perspective, I have followed the debates on how Halloween is just part of American capitalistic imperialism that is eroding the traditional values of the Day of the Dead. While I do see the consumer-oriented aspect of the day (the need to buy candy, costumes, etc.), I also remember having fun. I cannot speak for current day Mexico because I have not lived there for quite some time. When I was there, though, dressing up was part of the party and going out in search for treats and getting random junk was part of my own tradition. I still enjoyed getting my sugar skull and eating the special bread the next day. One did not replace the other. Each had its own special meaning to me. And these meanings will be different for each individual.

Ok, maybe that wasn’t a treat. I tricked you.

So here is a trick or treat option for you:

Treat: what is your favorite treat?

Trick: what has been the best/worst trick you have ever played or have had played on you?