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?

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Hmmm, what does this mean?

which art movement are you?

this quiz was made by Caitlin

Surrealism is style from the early to mid 20th century "in which fantastic visual imagery from the subconscious mind is used with no intention of making the artwork logically comprehensible." ( It was kinda like the Symbolist movement, but weirder and more obsessed with sex. It took a lot from Freud and Jung, after all. You are a person who cheats on quizzes. Or you're just really weird.
Famous Surrealists: Dali, Magritte, Miro, and You.

Found via Corn Smut
After the Rain some Spiritual Renewal
Off to yoga class in a few minutes.

I am in desperate need for some spiritual cleansing.

Stretching out my tense body will be nice too.

The sun is out. Looks like we may be in for a bit of nice weather.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Errant Day
I think that is what I should have called my previous post.

Never underestimate the energy-sapping potential of life's chores.

Today was filled with the fun-filled activities of xeroxing, visiting with my dissertation committee, going to the bank, taking the dog out, going to the registrar (hopefully to register for the VERY LAST TIME!), filling the car with gas, going to the postoffice (did get the Fight Breast Cancer stamps!), and a trip to the supermarket. Yes, it was raining most of the time. Yes, I did get wet.

I was supposed to come home and get started on postdoc application number 2. I had a look at it, but that's about it. I will tackle it tomorrow.

Given my day and state of mind I found this site EXTREMELY amusing [link via Plark]. Luckily I started looking at right before dinner time, so my hunger ripped me away. Otherwise I might have been there for hours giggling and laughing.

I also spent some time exploring Neave [found via Anne at Fishbucket - which is also a pretty cool place]. Neave has some cool early 80s video games you can download. Needless to say I have devoted a bit of time getting reacquainted with Tetris and PacMan. I also downloaded Space Invaders, which I used to love. Now I found it to be the most inane game. I must be getting old. Still love good ol' PacMan, though. And Tetris is one of those addictions you hate to have. Now all I need is a neon shirt, some white pants, a poofy haircut, and play some Simple Minds or some Thompson Twins and I would be right back in my formative years.

No, I need to come back to reality and the grown up world. I am still raiding the candy stash, though. Five pieces taken so far.

Mindless. Sweet.
Errand Day
Why does it have to pour rain the day I need to go out and run errands?

If only we could ship some of this moisture over to California. I guess there are still some challenges left for science. My thoughts are still with the people there, even though my family was able to leave for their trip.

I was watching the news about the increased solar activity and the electromagnetic wind storm that is bound to hit us today and tomorrow. During the segment they had an image of the activity on the sun. It occurred to me at that moment that a large burp from that giant ball of gas could make all the things I am stressing about irrelevant.

Speaking of electromagnetic solar wind disruptions, anyone working on anything important on a computer should back it up.

I find it fascinating that the two words that have sparked much response over the past few days have been mindless and candy. Hmmm....

Speaking of which, I already started dipping into the Halloween candy supply. It's for the kids....yeah right!

Stop by on Friday for a trick-or-treat special. There might be some candy for you you...yeah right!

I am off to get wet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Struggle du Jour Update
Draft 1 of the Postdoc application is done.

Tomorrow it goes out to faculty with requests for feedback and recommendation letters.

There will certainly be some revisions to do. At least it is out of my hair for a few days.

Off to watch some mindless television for a bit.
Struggle du Jour
A Post-Doctoral Fellowship application. Why do these things take so long?

Therapy: The Clash and Peter Gabriel. Maybe some Halloween candy.

Monday, October 27, 2003

I am not sure if this is appropriate given the fires in California, but oh well...

You are Form 0, Phoenix: The Eternal.

"And The Phoenix's cycle had reached
zenith, so he consumed himself in fire. He
emerged from his own ashes, to be forever

Some examples of the Phoenix Form are Quetzalcoatl
(Aztec), Shiva (Indian), and Ra-Atum
The Phoenix is associated with the concept of life,
the number 0, and the element of fire.
His sign is the eclipsed sun.

As a member of Form 0, you are a determined
individual. You tend to keep your sense of
optimism, even through tough times and have a
positive outlook on most situations. You have
a way of looking at going through life as a
journey that you can constantly learn from.
Phoenixes are the best friends to have because
they cheer people up easily.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
For all of you who have asked, Mom is safe. Thank you for your thoughts. She is just a bit concerned and coughing from the smoke and ash.

She and my step-father are supposed to leave for a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico tomorrow - if they can fly out. They are taking their insurance papers with them.

For a vivid verbal illustration of the situation I refer you to Gringo.

Addendum [23:32 EST]: For those of you who are visually oriented check out the pictures [link via Digital Catharsis]

Sunday, October 26, 2003

California's Burning
I just got off the phone with my mother who lives near San Diego. The fires there are everywhere. The highways have been closed and the airports have major delays because of all the smoke.

People are living in fear that their homes will burn down.

The heat has been intense, the winds extremely strong, and the air is incredibly dry.

The weather in our world has become more violent. I think earth is striking back at all the harm we have caused it. For once I wish it would hit our leaders so it would push them into doing something to change the course we are on. If only...

May the weather change and bring relief to the people of Southern California.
Time to put the Sports Poll to bed. We had a massive sample of 23, out of which 39 percent did not like animal competitions. Car racing was the second most hated sport with 22 percent. Baseball-haters and all sports-haters tied for third with 17 percent. One person hated tennis. All other sports did not receive any votes, unless you want to assign the votes that those who hate all sports cast.

Hope you had fun.

Check out the new poll and cast your vote!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Radmila's recent post on bad drivers, reminded me of something I heard once.

All drivers out there are either maniacs or idiots. Those that pass you are maniacs (Look at that maniac!) and those that drive slower than you are idiots (I wish this idiot would get out of my way!).

And don't get me started on Rhode Island drivers...they provide more than my needed RDA (Recommended Daily Aggravation).
Yesterday evening after we got home from a busy day, we find a message on our answering machine from our landlord that the boiler that keeps our apartment warm is kaput. The repair men will be coming on Monday to fix it. Until then our landlord will provide us with space heaters that he has left on the front porch. I go down and see three small space heaters there. Are they all for us? We live on the third floor of a three story house. Each floor is an apartment. Is the heat out in all of them or just ours.

I take them all up to our apartment. This will work. One heater in my office, one in my wife's office, and one in the living room. When we go to bed we can move one into the bedroom.

After a few minutes, the landlord stops by to ask if we got the message. He also informs us that it is one heater per floor. So we have to give back two of them. Hmmm. Not good.

Our living room and dinning room are really a big double parlor and it opens up into the kitchen. It is a rather large open space. The little space heater does not really work well there. Last night it did manage to keep it warm. And it worked well in our small bedroom. But this morning, when the living room was cold, it is having a hard time heating the whole place. I will have to bake something today so that the heat from the oven can help heat the kitchen.

One thing I would like to know, why is it that the heat goes off the nights that we hit record cold. Last night the temperature dropped to 25 degrees. The normal low for this time of year is 40. This happened to us when we were in Italy as well. On one of the coldest nights there, the temperture was like -8 Celsius (you do the math to convert), our heat went out. We did not have a space heater there. It was not fun.

It is supposed to warm up this weekend, getting back to normal tempertures. I sure hope so, I have a lot to do. It is hard to type when your fingers are cold.

Man, do I miss Puerto Rico now!

Friday, October 24, 2003

Secrets and a Tropical Escape...
So the secret is out, not that it was a BIG secret or even a secret at all. But yes, Sara at Corn Smut and I know each other. We are both in the same graduate program, both working on our Ph.D.s and writing (or should I say attempting to write) our dissertations. There is a certain level of camaraderie that develops in this process. But I digress...

I am here today to tell you about the trip to Puerto Rico.

The timing for the trip could not have been better. I finished a chapter, I was starting to feel better after several weeks of the unknown malaise (headache and dizziness), and autumn was in full swing (and little did I know that winter was soon to replace it). The only difficult part of the trip was boarding our dog for the days we were to be away. The place we board him is nice and the people really like him (our dog has copious amounts of charisma), so we know he is in good hands. Still it is not easy. Yet again I am off on a tangent.

Puerto Rico.

The purpose of the trip was for a Ford Fellows Conference. Last year I received a Ford Fellowship to write my dissertation. Other than being a generous grant, one of the perks of the grant is that they have a conference every year where all the fellows meet (there are also pre-doctoral and post-doctoral grants). The Ford Foundation pays all expenses to the conference for the year you have the grant and the next two years. So I was pretty excited when I found out this year's conference was going to be in San Juan.

The conference is nice and useful. There are sessions that give you insight and advice to help you get through the stage of your academic career that you are currently in. There are also one-on-one counseling sessions. It is also just a good opportunity to meet other scholars and learn about their research.

The conference was at the Caribe Hilton, which is a lovely hotel. I would say it is a little overpriced (we paid to stay an extra day), but we enjoyed our stay. It has a beautiful location right next to the sea, with a nice sandy beach carved out of the rocky shore. One of my favorite things is that they have a jetty that you can walk out on and look down on a small reef teeming with colorful tropical fish. There is also a little fortress that juts out to sea right next to the hotel that reminds you that not only are you in a tropical paradise, but a place of significant historical importance as well.

Old San Juan is charming. While roaming the streets, you feel like you are in a little town somewhere and not in a bustling city. The color of the houses, crowded with flowering balconies is so cheerful. You can't help but smile. Ok, the smiles may be a result of the wonderful tropical rum drinks (the Piña Coladas were amazing), but being in such a lovely place also helps.

The huge El Morro fortress is awe inspiring. We spent a few hours exploring all the passages and admiring all the different vistas of Old San Juan, San Juan harbor, the mountains in the distance, and the multiple shades of blue of the ocean. The small museum inside the fort was fascinating and the air conditioning was a welcome relief from the hot humid air. Although I must say the strong breezes off the ocean do a pretty good job at making the heat there tolerable.

Do I need to say that we ate very, very well? Puerto Rican food is rich and tasty. I loved the many ways they use plantains in their cooking. I am also a fruit lover, so I was quite taken by the multiple fruit shakes I had. And the coffee...ahhhh ... the coffee! Puerto Rican coffee is rich and flavorful, but not overpowering. Whether you have it with steamed milk or black, it is delicious. We had to make a stop at the grocery store to stock up on coffee and rum (I have a nice bottle of aged Bacardi for Lux's next happy hour). If you are ever in San Juan, go to Bebo's Cafe on Loiza Street. It is definitely where the locals go and for good reason.

The wife and I also had a romantic dinner one evening at a fancy tapas restaurant. [Side note: I find it fascinating how what is essentially pub food in Spain has become a trendy and even elegant food choice in the Americas]. It was fun to have Spanish food after seeing the legacy of the Spanish presence on the island.

We also spent time lounging on the beach and swimming in the very warm sea. Even one evening when there was a passing tropical shower, we headed into the ocean to swim around. It was lovely. I love the water of the tropics, so clear, warm, and inviting. I also collected a vial of sand to start working on my collection again.

Needless to say we loved Puerto Rico. I now understand why my Puerto Rican friends are so proud of their *country* (the status of the island is a strange one, part of the US, yet with a distinctive national identity). All the people we met and encountered were friendly and kind. We definitely will be going back. We really would like to explore the rest of the island, especially the Yunque rainforests and some of the more isolated beaches. Hopefully that will be sooner than later.

And to follow up on the wonderful tropical escape, next month we are off to Chicago. Oh yeah, Chicago in November, tropical it won't be. It could be worse; it could be Chicago in February. We'll have fun, I am sure.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

A Useful Mantra [created by The Mighty Jimbo]

Important lessons for the digitally inept.

It's a hoax. Don't delete it.
It's a virus. Don't open it.
It's spyware. Don't install it.
It's spam. Don't reply to it.
It's 25 MB. Don't email it.
It's your home email. Don't register it.
It's not (insert cute, funny, heartwarming, lucky, etc). Don't forward it.
Don't use reply to all unless all actually need to reply.
It's the "back" button. Use it next time the guy with the weblog pisses you off.

And for crissake, for the last time, there is NO email tracking system.

Thank you if only people would learn this!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Puerto Rico Dreamin'
This jumping back into real life business has drained me. I am so tired.

Please, could someone tell me where did autumn go? You leave for the Caribbean for a few days and the seasons go and change on you. The weather people on tv are talking about snow! Usually I would chalk it up to sensationalism, but when I went outside this evening to get take out for dinner, the air had that *snowy* feel to it. We had to bring all our peppers and herbs in from our porch garden just in case it freezes tonight.


Just a few days ago I was basking in the sun on a beach where it was 88 degrees and the sea was as warm as bath water.

I know I am not going to get much sympathy, but I am going to fret nonetheless.

You know what has me bummed out more than anything? The darkness. And it is going to get worse. We change back to the wretched Standard Time this weekend.

Yes, I am tired...and cranky...and I guess I will stop writing before this gets out of hand...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Jumping Back Into Real Life
I have not been very forthcoming with the details of the trip, have I? Many apologies to you all. I promise I will as soon as I get a chance to sit peacefully at my computer. I have found myself trying to catch up with all the things that piled up while I was away: laundry, mail, bills, email, and on and on. You leave for a few days and it seems like you have been gone for a year.

I need to do something about my email account. While I was away I accumulated over 300 messages, and I would say more than three fourths of those were spam. I can deal with them while I am around, checking my email every couple of hours (much more frequently when I am procrastinating), but this was ridiculous!

I do have some good news to share. I got my chapter back from my advisor (he is super-human, he can read things so damn quickly) and his comments were:

"Very nicely done!"

He did point out typos and a few things that needed fixing, but this is a HUGE relief. Especially because as I was on the plane to Puerto Rico I kept thinking of things that I forgot to include and weaknesses in my arguments. I am meeting with him tomorrow, where he might point something else out or get on my case for being behind schedule. That's ok, though. I probably need it.

Keep checking in for those trip details...I promise they are coming soon ;)
Puerto Rico was Fantastic!!!
Details at 11.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I'm Outta 'Ere!!!!!
Ok, all you happy campers, I am off to Puerto Rico today. It won't be all fun and play, I do have a conference to attend. I would bail, but meeting certain people and attending certain events might help me in planning that very uncertain future.

No need to worry, though. I do know how to have fun, and I really know how to eat well. My two left feet might skip the salsa dancing, but some time at the beach might be in order and I may even treat myself to a massage as a reward for finishing the chapter. We'll see.

Have a great weekend and remember to come back and visit here next week. I will bring back some souveneirs for you.


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I promised earlier another gift, although I don't think anyone read the earlier post. I think everyone is watching the Cubs meeting their destiny once again instead of cruising the net. No matter, I still present you with:

The Final Episode of 100 Things About Me

94. I have had several forms of intestinal parasites.

95. I find teaching to be extremely fun and rewarding.

96. I love going out on dates with my wife.

97. I totally understand why the indigenous people considered chocolate the food of the gods.

98. My morning ritual involves a newspaper, coffee, juice, and a bowl of cereal.

99. I like to laugh.

100. I have always felt like I really don’t fit in. It used to be a problem, now I accept it as who I am. In fact, I am proud of it.

Bonus: I could easily come up with another list like this. So look out for the “Another 100 Things about Me List.”

[I know it really wasn't worth waiting for, was it? Life is full of disappointments. Oh well.]
Post-Chapter Thank You's!
Now that Chapter 3 is out of my hair, I can think about tomorrow and PUERTO RICO!

[Salsa music fades in and Piña Coladas or other tropical drink of your choice with little umbrellas magically appear in your hands]

It will be a much needed break.

Before I go, I have two gifts for you to thank you for your support. One comes now, the other later tonight.

I know some of you have been hinting that you would like to know the topic of my dissertation. I don't really want to go into details now. Instead I will offer you the first few lines of the freshly baked chapter. This will give you a hint as to what it is I am writing. So here, happy reading:

Walking around Bergamo, or practically any other northern Italian city, on a Sunday afternoon, one would no doubt notice the impact immigration has had over the past ten years. The diversity of the people on the streets is striking. Senegalese men sell merchandise on the sidewalks or wander the streets selling trinkets out of small cardboard boxes that hang from their shoulders. Filipino women congregate in the main square to enjoy their day off from their jobs at the hotel. A group of Moroccan men sit at a café and watch the Italians on their Sunday stroll. Bolivian families meander from shop window to shop window taking in the latest fashion. The mark of immigration to Italy is more than the new faces that one sees in the cities: you can also see it the city’s landscape.

Check in later for gift number 2!


At least the first draft. It's in the hands of my advisor now.


Time for that drink at Lux's.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Don't Challenge Destiny
I am not a big baseball fan, but the recent experiences of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs have been illuminating. Don't challenge destiny. If things are not meant to be...they just aren't going to happen.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this saga. Boston and Chicago both have baseball teams that have not won the championship since 1918 and 1908 respectively. Everyone talks about the teams being cursed or being destined to lose.

There has been great excitement this year because both teams are in the semi-finals (they play best 4 out 7 games) and people have been hoping that desitiny would change.

Taking a break from my writing I was able to catch the latter part of the Chicago game. They were winning 3-0 and it seemed like they were going to make the final. Then everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, fell apart. A fan interfered with a play that would have put Chicago closer to winning. A player made an error during what should have been a routine play. Now it looks like they are going to lose the game. It is so sad.

There may still be hope. Chicago has another chance to try to win. Boston needs to win two games in a row in New York. But I am not holding my breath...

Those ten minutes I watched taught me - don't challenge destiny.


I am so close to finishing this chapter I could SCREAM!!!!
Another one of those days...
I got up this morning determined to get this chapter completed by the end of the day. The morning was more or less productive and I cranked out a couple of pages. I decided to take a break around eleven. The plan was to take the dog for a run, do some errands, come back home, have lunch and then get back to writing. So I drove the dog to the field I take him to where he can run around. When we got back in the car, I turned the key to start the car and I heard the sound that has made many-a-heart sink. Whir, whir, whuuuur…click [Silence]. No, no, noooooo!!!

Yes, the car was dead. I waited a while and then I tried again. Same result, a couple of lazy turns in the engine and then nothing. Rats!

There goes the productive day!

Think, what’s the plan now? My mind goes into contingency planning mode. We’re about a mile from our apartment, so we need to walk back there first. Then I can call AAA and have them give me a jump and then walk back to the parking lot to wait for them.

The dog was extremely pleased because he got a bonus walk out the fiasco.

On the way home, I came up with plan B, which in the end was more attractive than plan A. Plan B: see if any of the neighbors are around and if they have jump-cables. Once I got home I called our trusty friend/neighbor/fellow-graduate student. She had no jumper cables, but I asked her if she could give me a ride to Pep Boys to buy some and then back to my car where I would bum a jump from her. Thankfully she was free and willing. Friend/neighbor/fellow student to the rescue!

After executing the plan, the jump worked and I got the car started. Should I take the car in or drive it around hoping the battery charges? Thinking that there was no real reason for the battery to be dead, it must mean a bad battery or a bad alternator. Back to Pep Boys (after my good experience with them a few weeks back, they have earned my future business) to have them check it.

While I had lunch, they figured out that the car needed a new battery and replaced it. While I had the car in, I asked them to change the oil as well – it was due and I was going to get it done after we got back from Puerto Rico. Something else crossed of the to do list.

Everything worked out. And while I usually would have been in a cranky mood because of all of this, today just seems to be one of those days when I see the positive. The car died close enough to home and in a parking lot. Our friend was home and able/willing to help out. Pep Boys once again were helpful and took the car right away (and did not charge me an arm and a leg for the work). During my lunch adventure while they were working on the car I discovered a neat little Vietnamese restaurant and an entertaining shop where they sell motor scooters and espresso (while I never saw that combination in Italy, it definitely brought back memories). The weather was delightful. And a few hours after the crisis began everything was back in working order, except for probably me. So a late Canadian thanksgiving for good fortune.

I am tired, but I am going to try to get some more writing done. Let’s see how much I get done.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Procrastination Technique #3589
Let me start by apologizing. It's past 9:00 pm and I am just sitting down to work on my dissertation (and I haven't even started because I am writing this instead). Not good. Not a productive day.

Woke up with a bad headache (not a migrane Radmila, but painful nonetheless) that got worse as the morning progressed. I spent the morning trying to figure out my future should I finish this dissertation. That definitely did not help in the headache department.

For lunch I finally met up with the student I am mentoring. Nice kid. I was going to take him to a nice pizza place on Federal Hill (the Italian neighborhood of Providence). I totally forgot that it was Columbus/Colombo/Colón Day today and there is a big festival up there. There was absolutely nowhere to park. Nowhere where you did not have to pay an arm and a leg. So I took him to a Guatemalan restaurant that is in the next neighborhood over.

Luckily, by the time that was over the multiple Advils I had taken began to work their magic.

In the afternoon I met with one of my professors to talk about the previously mentioned future. I like this professor because he is realistic and a straight-shooter. He told me the future looks tough. He has before and he will again. Had I still had a headache, this would not have helped.

Came back home drained. I wanted to muster up the energy to work, but feeling the headache coming back, took more Advil and plopped down on our futon until the question of dinner came up. After flip-flopping about whether we should go out, the verdict finally arrived to stay in. But we did not have what we wanted. So off I went to the store and got what we wanted.

After dinner it was time to collect the household trash and recycables and take them out. Sunday night is usually trash night, but today was the previously mentioned Columbus/Colombo/Colón Day, so trash night is posponed until Monday night. By the time that was done, I collapsed in front of the television that was beginning to broadcast the lovely wife's beloved Red Sox game. Watched the first few, boring innings before gathering up the will to come into my office and begin working.

That is when I discovered and employed Procrastination Technique #3589: write about your boring day and bore other readers as well. So I apologize for having bored you and wasted your time for my own selfish procrastination.

I must have a smidgen of productivity somewhere in my body. I am off to look for it and put it to use before it expires.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Post-Writing Venting
I spent a good part of this dark and rainy day ploughing through my notes attempting to write the third chapter of my dissertation. My writing comes in waves. It is hard for me to get started, but when I hit a groove, I can cruise along for a while.

I really did not hit a groove today. I think it is the material. I am trying to combine qualitative info with statistics into a narrative, which is really difficult. It's like mixing oil and vinegar. You can shake it up, but they want to stay separate. If you shake it up just right, though, it emulsifies and you get something great. I am still trying to figure out how to shake my writing just right.

I just wish this would not take so long. This chapter needs to get done.

My head hurts. I think the time has come to call it a night. Please excuse me for not having anything interesting to write.

This could not be more accurate!!! [No, I do not live in the opera house and i do not walk around with half my face behind a mask]

You're Erik!

What Antihero from a Musical are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Rhetorical Question
Here I am working (ok, not at this very instant, but I am working) while my wife watches her beloved Red Sox play the evil Yankees (baseball for those of you not in the US).

Is that fair?

Don't answer that.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Back in the days of my old template, I started a 100 Things About Me list. I never aired the final episode, though. The time for that has come.

I do want to explain that I chose to do the list in episodes not because I could not think of things, but rather because I wanted people to read each one. When I read other people's, after about 20 or so, my eyes glaze over and I lose interest and I just skim through them. I also noticed that when I posted them in groups of ten or more, comments usually focused on the last or next to last point.

That said, I know there are many new visitors who probably don't want to or don't have the time to go through the archives to dig up the things about me that I already posted. The rest of you have probably forgotten them and probably need a refresher. I also don't have time to make it an item on my sidebar (which I will do sometime in the future). So before I post the Final Episode of 100 Things About Me, I will rerun all the episodes leading to the final one in one marathon special episode even if it means risking losing some of you to sleep, distraction, or even alien abduction. Here we go:

100 Things About Me (Recap Special Episode):

1. I am a dual national.

2. I was the longest baby ever born at that hospital (I am sure that record has been broken by now though).

3. My wife is my best friend.

4. I love dogs, all dogs (ok, really mean ones I may not like, but it is probably not their fault that they are mean).

5. I probably daydream too much.

6. Cats are ok.

7. My first swimming lesson was when I was 11 months old.

8. I still love getting a handwritten letter, even if they are almost non-existent nowadays.

9. I rarely write letters anymore- damned technology.

10. The farthest North I have been is Reykjavik, Iceland.

11. The farthest South I have been has been somewhere on Java, Indonesia.

12. My inability to properly use commas drives my wife crazy.

13. I envy my sister’s adventurousness: she has biked from San Francisco to LA, studied in Africa, rock climbs, and gone skydiving.

14. My left foot is half a size bigger than my right foot.

15. People who drive and talk on their cellular phones drive me crazy – pull over.

16. I am 6’5”.

17. However, I am not very good at basketball.

18. But I am a decent volleyball player.

19. My weight fluctuates between 210 to 220 pounds.

20. Keith Jarrett is my favorite pianist.

21. Growing up my favorite super hero was the Incredible Hulk.

22. I prefer the West Coast to the East Coast for many reasons, but number one is that nothing beats a sunset on the beach.

23. I hate the way Microsoft Word tries to format everything you type.

24. I despise the little MS Word paperclip helper.

25. I hate eating soup or cereal with a teaspoon.

26. I speak seven languages, three of them fluently (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Swedish, and English).

Stretch Break

27. I am allergic (technically it is an intolerance) to onions.

28. Having attended a British school growing up, I still put a “u” in color, favor, and neighbor. I still find myself using quite instead of really and perhaps instead of maybe.

29. I almost knocked Newt Gingrich down a flight of stairs in the US Capitol Building.

30. I sing, whistle, and hum in the shower. I am very bad.

31. Even though I don’t get them very often, I love getting flowers.

32. I used to collect sand from different beaches (and other sandy spots too). I should start that collection up again.

33. I have been to 26 countries on three continents.

34. I love to cook.

35. I love to eat more than I love to cook.

36. Cold, gray, rainy days depress me.

37. I have no tattoos. Never wanted one.

38. No body piercings either. Never wanted them either.

39. I love watching soccer, especially the World Cup. I used to love playing as well, but I am too out of shape now.

40. Not having found organized religion inspiring; I have constructed my own theology and spirituality.

41. I do occasionally attend the Unitarian-Universalist Church, and I probably would call myself one.

42. I love to cuddle, snuggle, and just be close to my wife.

43. Until I was 13, the only music I listened to was classical and jazz.

44. I want to live by the ocean or by some mountains. Best-case scenario: by some mountains that are by the ocean.

45. Despite the Latin rhythm that burns inside of me I can’t dance for the life of me.

46. Crossing the International Date Line really screws me up. Worse jet lag I ever had was coming back from Hong Kong.

47. I used to be a Republican. I am not one any more and I haven’t been one for a while.

48. I have never been a Democrat, but I usually vote for them.

49. I have been to Carnival in Venice. I am glad I went, but I never want to go again.

50. If I never make it to Mardi Gras in New Orleans before I die, I won’t be disappointed. I don't particularly like drunken pandemonium and debauchery.

51. I love listening to 80s music, even the songs I hated back then.

52. When I was in high school I wanted to be an oceanographer.

53. When I was five I wanted to be an airline pilot.

54. I still would like to learn how to fly.

COFFEE or other Caffeinated Beverage Break Have something, it is on the house.

55. I have driven cross-country five times, once by myself.

56. Comedies are my favorite movie genre, although I do enjoy a good drama as well. I don’t like horror films. Suspenseful films keep me up at night, but I will watch them.

57. I have never really forgiven my father for walking out on our family. Or cheating on us for that matter. I probably won’t be able to until he shows some sign of remorse.

58. I never wore braces.

59. Electrical storms fascinate me. I can watch them for hours.

60. I used to give blood. Now they won't take it because I lived in Europe too long and they are afraid of Mad Cow disease.

61. I recently took a sailing course and I loved it.

62. I lived in Mexico until I was fifteen.

63. I can be incredibly stubborn.

64. Usually I am easy going.

65. I fractured my skull in two places when I was three after falling head-first off a six-foot wall onto concrete.

66. I have been to 36 states (and DC) in the US and 28 (and the Federal District) in Mexico (Bonus points to the person who can tell me how many states there are in Mexico - the official name is after all the United Mexican States).

67. I went swimming in the Baltic Sea – it was very cold.

68. I almost knocked down former Italian Prime Minister and current EU President Romano Prodi on a street in Bologna (that’s my thing – I almost knock down famous people).

69. I love downhill skiing, but it is too expensive.

71. In love, I have hurt others, but usually I was the one who got hurt (fortunately this is no longer an issue).

72. I have never hunted.

73. I love the meditative state I go into when I am swimming.

74. Math and the natural sciences come naturally to me, but I find them terribly boring. I am more drawn to the social sciences.

75. I can’t stand the taste of gin.

76. I would like to relive my childhood except that it would mean that I would have to go through adolescence again.

77. I enjoy watching people.

78. I have eaten insects on my own free will – I did not like them.

85. I practice tai chi and yoga.

86. I once coached a youth soccer team (ages 5-8) where by chance every child had some form of disability. We still made the playoffs.

87. I have tremendous respect and admiration for my mother.

Hang in there you are almost done!!!

88. I used to stay up all night just to see the sunrise.

89. Now I find it hard to stay awake past 1 am.

90. I want to learn how to scuba dive.

91. I have crossed the Equator on a ship.

92. I am shy.

93. Blue is my favorite color.

Whew!!! Stay tuned for the Season Finale...Coming soon!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Kimchi-Eating Gringos
Two evenings ago, my wife and I were not in the mood to cook, so we decided to go out to dinner. We headed over to the new sprawling Koreatown in East Providence (read: an Asian store run by Koreans and a small Korean restaurant across the street). The restaurant, if you can call it that, has an extremely homey feel to it. It is basically a kitchen with bar style seating around it, a big round table by the entrance and some extremely narrow two-person booths along the far side wall.

A middle-aged Korean couple runs the place. The husband is the waiter while the very mother-like the wife is busy in the open kitchen cooking for everyone. Rather than a restaurant, it seems like a place Korean university students can go to have a home cooked meal for the place is always full of them. They either come in large groups and sit at the one large round table or sit at the bar reading Korean newspapers as they partake of their food.

As we walked in, the man seemed surprised to see us there for we were the only non-Korean people there, but he also seemed pleased. My wife and I both rather like Korean food, especially because it is spicy. At Korean restaurants we almost invariably get warned that the food is very spicy and we probably won’t be able to eat it. My wife, in particular, gets these warnings, although her tolerance to peppers is probably higher than mine. We always respond that we are aware of this and that we indeed like the food spicy. The staff usually walks away not believing us.

The other night was no different. After the meal, the man asked us how it was. We responded that it was very good (it was). He asked if it wasn’t too spicy. We said no, that we liked it that way. He seemed pleased, but very puzzled. How could it be that non-Korean people liked and could eat spicy Korean food?

Another day, another stereotype challenged.

[Word to the wise: If you ever find yourself in a Korean restaurant, be sure to eat all your rice. As a staple, Koreans place an extremely high value on their rice and thus must be consumed in its entirety. My wife and I have been diplomatically chided for not finishing our rice at various Korean restaurants. For quite some time now, we always eat all our rice!]
One more week and we are off to PUERTO RICO!!!!

I definitely need a break.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I appologize for my silence. As a means to escape the depressing reality of yesterday's events (i.e. the passing of my uncle, the California election, the Cub's loss in extra innings, etc.) I have been focusing on my dissertation. Something positive needs to come out of all of this, it might as well be productivity.

I am off to Lux's for Happy Hour! I could use some happiness!

P.S. Thank you all for your kind comments, they are much appreciated...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Death in the Family
Two weeks ago I wrote that my uncle was in the hospital in critical condition. This morning my mother called me to let me know that he passed away last night.

I was not close to him, and he had many, many problems, but the death has hit my family in California pretty hard. This in turn has made it difficult for me. While I realize that I could not do much if I were with them, events like this make you realize how far you are from the people that are important to you and make you wish that you could be closer to them.

I will probably write about my uncle later, for there are things I would like to say.

For now may he find the peace that so often eluded him during his life.

Monday, October 06, 2003

A while back I said I was done with quizes. This one I could not resist. Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors (I am such an intellectual, aren't I?).

Cat in the Hat
Which Dr. Seuss character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

I better look out though, my dog may come after me if he finds out about this. He ALWAYS wants to get the cat!
Are those coyotes real?
Tonya recently posted on “the sound of cackling and shrilling and chattering and maniacal howling” of coyotes. In her post she included a link to the sounds of coyotes.

I played the sounds for my wife and she thought that they did not sound real. So I decided to put the sounds to the ultimate test: I called our dog into my office. He usually does not react to the sounds of animals on the computer or television unless they are definitely real. Once the local news had a kitten for adoption on its weekly adopt-a-pet segment. The anchor was holding the kitty right by his microphone and it was meowing incessantly. This drove our dog nuts. He circled the television trying to figure out just exactly how the cat had gotten inside. Most of the time, however, the animal sounds go unnoticed (probably because they are not real).

In my office, I played the coyote sounds for him. Judging from his somewhat alarmed, distressed, and confused look as he tried to figure out where those sounds were coming from, I would conclude that the sounds are very real.

Mind you he has had encounters with coyotes. He has chased them away from my mother’s home in California. He also marked the area around the house to keep them away, which worked pretty well for it wasn’t until about a year later that coyotes started showing up again.

I always find it fascinating how animals manage to communicate with each other.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Dill-icious Brunch

Having recently bought a big bunch of dill at our local’s farmer’s market, I decided to make a Norwegian brunch today. While I don’t think Norwegians actually eat brunch, the food is quite typical as I have learned from friends from Norway. I actually have never been to Norway, but I lived in Sweden for six months. And while Scandinavians like to keep their nationalities quite distinct, their cultures are quite similar (and the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian languages are mutually intelligible). If there are any Scandinavian readers out there, I hope I have not offended you.

In any case, I am sharing the recipes for a dill-icious Norwegian meal with you should you care to indulge. It consists of:

-Dill cured salmon
-Dill scrambled eggs
-Dill potatoes

You can buy dill-cured salmon at almost any grocery store or specialty market. I think you can also buy it at IKEA (not just cheap furniture). Look for salmon from Norway that is ocean caught as opposed to farm raised. You will notice the difference. If you can’t find the dill-cured salmon from Norway, smoked salmon will work nicely as well.

Dill scrambled eggs.
Beat for eggs with a wisk, add a ¼ cup of milk (whole works best, but any will do), a dash of pepper, and ¼ cup of chopped dill.
Heat a frying pan, spread some butter, and add the eggs. Cook until fluffy.

Dill Potatoes.
Chop about eight medium sized red or new potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Add them to two quarts of boiling water and cook until tender (about ten minutes). Drain and return to pot. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of chopped dill. Mix gently.

Jarlsberg cheese goes well with this meal, as does dense multi-grain bread. Cracker bread would also be typical. Being American, we added our touch by having it with bagels and cream cheese. You can garnish the dish with some cucumber slices and chopped tomato, and maybe a stem of dill. Scandinavian mustard (which is slightly hot and sweet) is the perfect condiment.

Juices and coffee go well with this meal. Make sure your coffee is rich and strong though. Scandinavians like an extra dark roast. If you want to pair it up with a wine, I would recommend a fruity Gewürztraminer or Riesling.

For dessert (which we skipped), I would recommend mixed berries, although at this time of year they are getting hard to find.

Bon apetit!

Friday, October 03, 2003

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I have followed Sara's lead and put a button on my sidebar. It is linked to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Go have a look!

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. Fortunately they found the cancer at an early stage and she has fully recovered. She did opt for a dual mastectomy, though. I think it was for her own peace of mind.

I have known so many other women who have suffered through this, some more fortunate than my mother and others not quite.

I am ever so thankful to all the researchers and medical staff who have labored so hard to help women like my mother who have faced this disease. If you can, think about offering some support. For those of you in the US, it can even be by purchasing stamps at your local post office or online.

And while this is predominantly a women's illness, men suffer from it too (as macho as you think you may be, you still have breast glands under those nipples on your chest). So all you guys out there, in addition to your monthly testicular exam (testicular cancer is the topic for a different time), be sure to learn about how to perform a self-exam on your chest as well. Since most men don't do this, when it does develop it is usually caught too late. Consequently survival rates are much lower among men than women.

Good health to all!

[Just realized that the stamp link requires a cookie that will time you out. So clicking it will eventually send you to the post office page. To get the Breast Cancer Awareness stamps I was talking about, go to the post office website, then move your mouse over the "Stamps by Subject" label on the sidebar. A menu will pop up, click on Social Awareness. One of the choices on the new page will be the Breast Cancer Awareness stamp.)
50 Things you've been dying to know about me

In honor of Mala for her Birthday!

1. Your name spelled backwards: Eltniuqztiolox
2. Where were your parents born? Father: Mexico City. Mother: Oakland, California.
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Virus Scan Update
4. What's your favorite restaurant? Impossible to answer. It's like asking a parent who is their favorite child.
5. Last time you swam in a pool? Last May.
6. Have you ever been in a school play? Yes
7. How many kids do you want? Not sure, between none and three.
8. Type of music you dislike most? Country
9. Are you registered to vote? YES
10. Do you have cable? Just the basic service with the network channels.
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? Yes.
12. Ever prank call anybody? Who hasn't.
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Yes - Providence does not allow overnight parking on the street. I did not know that the first night I lived here.
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Both
15. Furthest place you ever traveled? Somewhere in Southeast Asia
16. Do you have a garden? Little porch garden. It's really my wife's but I am the one who waters it everyday.
17. What's your favorite comic strip? All time fave: Calvin and Hobbes. In print now: Several, but none truly inspiring.
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Yes, both of them.
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Usually shower in the morning to wake up. Prefer bath at anytime.
20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? Have I seen a movie in the past month? Office Space wins by default (although I did like it).
21. Favorite pizza topping? Depends where I am having pizza.
22. Chips or popcorn? Chips
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? N/A
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? No
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? No
26. Orange Juice or apple? Both.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? My wife, Mediterraneo in Providence.
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Again, too difficult to say. Chocolate = GOOD.
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 1996 (I usually vote by absentee ballot).
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Yesterday.
31. Have you ever won a trophy? Yes
32. Are you a good cook? Yes, if I do say so myself.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? Yes
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? No
35. Sprite or 7-up? Doesn't matter.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? Yes, ugh!
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Dayquil for my wife.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? I already found true love, so I will take the million dollars, thank you.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? No
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? No
42. Can ex's be friends? Sometimes
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? I don't remember.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? No
45. What message is on your answering machine?
"Hi, you have reached [Wife's name], [Dog's name], and [My name]. Please leave us a message."

46. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? Land Shark.
47. What was the name of your first pet? A super mutt named Snoopy.
48. What is in your pockets? Right back pocket - a beat-up wallet that urgently needs replacing. Left back pocket - empty. Left front pocket - 81 cents in change, a little capsule containing a plastic bag to clean up after my dog when necessary. Right front pocket - key chain with my undergraduate college engraved in wood and a coin from the town I studied abroad in Sweden (attached keys to my apartment, the the anthropology department, and a lock), a key hoop with my car keys, and a stick of lip balm.
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Kiss my wife.
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? My wife!!!

TAG - You're it. Go ahead and come up with your 50 answers. Let me know in the comments section when you post to your blog. Have fun!
Is the Providence City Council reading my blog?
It certainly appears so. Following yesterday’s post, today’s Providence Journal carried this article:

The panel voted to amend a city noise ordinance, to allow leafblowers to be used only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE -- With autumn comes a glorious blaze of colors in the trees, then falling leaves.

And soon to follow, the roar of portable leafblowers.

Concerned by the jarring noise of those power tools, the City Council last night took a first step toward prohibiting their use in the early morning and evening.

The council voted 8 to 5 to amend a noise ordinance, to allow leafblowers to be used only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Councilwoman Rita M. Williams, who represents the East Side and sponsored the ordinance amendment, recalled that on a recent weeknight, she was sitting in the living room at home and talking on the phone.

"Two houses down they had a leafblower, and I couldn't hear on the phone," she complained.

The council's inclination on leafblowers, if it follows through, would continue a trend of recent years in which city officials have sought to improve the quality of everyday life by tightening laws regulating noise, trash, rats, the felling of shade trees on private property, and even children interfering with traffic by leaving their sports equipment in the streets.

The noise ordinance has limits on amplified music as well as the noise generated by any machinery, equipment, fans and air-conditioning, among other noise.

There is a limit on the decibel level of such noises at any time of day, and the ordinance prohibits such noises if they are audible "to a person of reasonably sensitive hearing at a distance of 200 feet from its source."

"Whatever happened to rakes and brooms?" she asked her colleagues last night. People with leafblowers too often blow them into the street or into neighbors' yards, she said.

"After 6 p.m., when we're trying to have some peace and quiet, at least we won't be bothered by leafblowers," Williams said. Some communities in California ban them altogether, she noted.

I thank the city council for reading my post and so expeditiously addressing my complaint. As you can see they also read your comments. This evidenced by the fact that the council also addressed Smivey’s problem with air conditioners and Councilwoman Williams plagiarized Lux’s comments. Typical politician!

It also seems like politicians in California are also heeding the Mighty Jimbo’s request to ban leafblowers there (by the way, Welcome Mighty Jimbo!).

Unfortunately, I did not see anything about barking dogs. Sorry Radmila, that must be because you are Canadian. But I will keep working on it.

If you have any other complaints or issues with public nuisances, safety issues, or other matters, please let me know. Xoloitzquintle is here to fight for you and pressure all levels of government to address your concerns!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Needless Noise
I am going to borrow a page from Smivey’s site. I want to talk about something that sucks: Leaf-Blowers. Some idiot was blowing leaves at 7 in the morning. Some of us stay up late working and sleep in, at least until 8 or so. It is even worse to be awoken by the cacophony of a whirring engine when you have been fighting a headache for over a week.

My wife, who also stays up late working, was also awoken by the inconsiderate neighbor or the inconsiderate neighbor’s landscapers. She grumbled, got up and turned the fan on our window air conditioning unit, even though the morning was pretty chilly, with the hopes of drowning out the noise. She then crawled back into bed. Her getting up, however, signaled to our dog that it was morning and time to get up (which means he will soon get breakfast). He bounded out of his bed and did his “I am getting fed soon” dance. We had to groggily mumble from our nest for him to go back to his bed, which he finally did, letting out a long disgruntled moan as he plopped himself back down. Needless to say, the fan didn’t really drown out the noise, and we really did not get much more sleep.

Who blows leaves so early in the morning? These appliances are evil. The make a huge racket, they only move the leaves and dirt from one place to another, usually a neighbor’s driveway or yard, or out into the street where they clog the drains. They also create huge clouds of dust. I have been driving down the street and seen a huge dust cloud coming from a driveway. I quickly roll up the windows and cut the vent air so as to avoid breathing a handful of airborne dirt. Of course, as I drive by I see some idiot with a leaf blower. We have enough air and noise pollution as it is without these annoying appliances. Leaf-blowers both Blow and Suck!

[Thanks Smivey for letting me plagiarize your idea, which I did without asking].

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

A Note of Appreciation
I want to thank Lux for the lovely Happy Hour she hosted today. That was mighty thoughtful of her and it was a lot of fun. I am looking forward to the next one.

Maybe I will try to organize an evening soirée or chill session soon. Need to finish this chapter first.
Or is it the alien signals that are hurting my head?
In the comments to my last post, Radmila stated:

It's clear to me that you have to stop wearing that tin foil hat, you're clearly getting signals!

What is clear to me is that Radmila is psychic. How else could she know about the signals?

My office at home has an unusual phenomenon. When I first set it up about a year ago, strange signals were coming through the appliances. While speaking on the phone, I could hear faint music in the background. When I got new speakers for my computer, I could hear voices coming through them. Occasionally my computer makes an electronic noise that is somewhere between a tick and a beep, and the screen flickers at the same time.

After using this office for a year, the voices from the speakers have grown loud enough for me to figure out that it is the university's radio station. The same goes for the music on the phone. I am still not sure what the beeping computer and screen flicker are. Over the past couple of weeks, the radio transmission from my speakers has gotten so loud that overtakes any music that I play. I thought I could just get the stream online from the radio station, but some silly litigation has stopped the radio station from streaming its broadcasts online. So now I can't listen to music and I just switch the speakers off.

We don't have this problem in any other part of our apartment. Just this office. I have often wondered what kind of brain damage I am getting from this bombardment of radio waves from the radio station.

By the way, the headache diminished for a while with minimal dizziness taking its place, but it is coming back now. On top of it all, my stomach is having a hard time digesting 800 mgs of Advil.

I might take Kim's bath suggestion. I love baths, unfortunately I am too tall to fit into our bathtub without bending my legs way up. In fact I am too tall for most bathtubs. I will try it anyway...with some lavender salts. Mmmmm...
Are there aliens living in my head?
For the past week I have had this strange headache.

It fades in and out.

When it is out, I get a sense of dizziness that disappears when the headache comes back.

I have not mentioned it because I am not a whiner. Ok, I do whine. I often whine a lot, but only to my wife. Ok, I whine a lot here too.

Today I decided to go to the university's health center. They did a neurological exam, which is supposed to be very good at catching problems. It came out excellent. They don't know what it is. They told me to take lots of advil (800 mgs) and call them in the morning. Well, Friday moring.

Maybe it is stress.

A back massage would probably help. Too bad we cannot afford it.

Or maybe I should stop banging it against the wall. But I do need to finish my dissertation.


1000 Hits
I just noticed that sometime yesterday I got my 1000th hit. Wow! I actually don't know if that is good or not, but I am impressed.

Thank you all for stopping by, reading my rants and strange postings, and sharing your thoughts. It's been fun!