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... 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... 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!