Friday, February 27, 2004


Gay Marriage: yes.
The Passion: no.
Right for Gibson to make the passion: yes.
Need to make a fuss about it: no.
Oscars: probably not.
Land mines: no.
Patriot Act: NO!
Chocolate: Thank goodness!
Vacation: in desperate need.
Massage: also in high demand.
Super Tuesday: ho hum.
Bed time: yes.

The Perfect Partner

You know you are compatible with your spouse when the both of you are so tired you can only manage to speak in grunts and yawns, yet somehow you still communicate beautifully...

Him: Uhhh, [YAWN] rahr uhg to teh...
Her: [YAWN] Ya, gah ur geh tah....
Him: Urha dava rugh?
Her: Dah frumpa laag vaaah [YAWN]

Him: I am tired, I think I am going to bed.
Her: Me too, I think I will join you soon.
Him: Are you coming now?
Her: Yeah, but I have to brush my teeth first.

Our wonderful president would have us believe that he cares about the people of Iraq and thus *liberated* them. Yet he has not done a thing for the poor people of Haiti who in addition to living in extreme poverty and with an AIDS epidemic, now face a civil war and an anarchical society.

Right in our back yard to boot.

You gotta love his compassion and his Christian sense of charity.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Drivel at the end of the day...

The one thing I don't like about teaching: grading. There are a few short papers I am supposed to grade and hand back tomorrow. Have I done it? No. Am I doing it? Obviously no, since I am here instead. Am I going to do it tonight? Probably not.

Had a very busy day. Lecture, teaching two sections, busy work, a reception, and an *academic* dinner (that means a dinner with professors and scholars where you need to engage intellectually) on campus. It might sound stuffy, but it isn't really. It is actually interesting to see these nerdy academics socialize and hear some of the stories they have about each other. Best of all is the gossip from the academia. Hehe...Intellectuals can be catty and trashy as well.

Got some good news today. I have a phone interview for the job I mentioned yesterday. That is yet another step forward in the process. It will be next Wednesday. I am terrible on the phone, and I am not good in interviews. So the two together is not a good combination. Panic has not quite set in yet.

I am not terribly excited about Wisconsin, but there are worse places. Actually, I have never been to Wisconsin as you may recall from the states I have been to map I posted a while back (sorry, I am too tired and lazy to post a link as I should). I have been to Chicago (as you may recall from postings back in November - again dig in the archives if you wish and curse my laziness), which is about an hour away. I liked Chicago, but I don't know if it would be a place I would want to live in.

I am getting ahead of myself here. There are many more steps that I would have to take before I would have to decide about living in Kenosha. The interview and any subsequent steps that may occur will at the very least be a good learning experience.

This is all so draining, though. I just wish I did not have so many other things to do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Freaky Coinsidence

I got a nibble on a job application yesterday. They requested letters of recommendation and syllibi for courses I would teach. I little step, but a forward one nonetheless. The school is University of Wisconsin - Parkside. Where is that, you ask? It is in Kenosha, WI.

I know, I know that is not a lot of help. Kenosha lies on Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Chicago, almost on the border with Illinois.

Back to my story. Like you I wasn't too sure where it was, so as I had David Letterman on the television late last night, I pulled out the atlas and I was looking it up when something freaky happened. Sara was flossing (of course) and she wandered out of the bathroom and into the living room. Right at the moment she walked in, I spotted Kenosha on the map, and on the Letterman show someone said that Saddam Hussein now works as a vending machine repairman in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Huh?

Letterman was doing a segment called, "Dictators: Where are they now?" that mock the MTV and VH1 shows about old rock stars. The segment, of course, was about Saddam. So that was the story they came up for him.

Sara stopped flossing and looked at me increduously. She asked, "Did they just say Kenosha, Wisconsin? And are you looking it up in the atlas? That is just too weird! You need to put that in your blog!" So here it is.

I must say, that was very bizarre. Just one of those strange cosmic conjectures.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Think Green

How big is your ecological footprint? Take the quiz and find out.

Mine is 16 acres, whereas the average in the US is 24 acres. It is still not good. If everyone on earth had such a footprint, we would need 3.7 earths to sustain it.

[Thanks to Bil for the link].
:- (

It's been a couple of days I'd rather forget. Bad news, bad energy, bad moods.

It's made me sad.

Look at the penguin below. Go Gay Penguin! [Of course Nader couldn't be outdone by a bird, so he jumped in the race as well - ah envy].

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Politics Again

...but not the same old story. Here is a candidate I like.


[Link via Greengrl]

Note the poll has been updated to reflect the changing field. Those of you who voted for candidates that dropped out, I placed your votes in the "not Bush column". If you object, email me or leave me a comment and I will adjust it accordingly.

Friday, February 20, 2004


So what is the course I am an assistant in? Here is the brief course description found in the university catalogue:

Bosses, reformers, states, bureaucrats, politicians, the poor, the homeless, and the citizen. An introduction to the major themes of urban politics.

It is one of the most popular courses at this university. Mostly because the professor is quite dynamic and entertaining. The reading load is a little heavy.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Can anyone honestly tell me clearly why gay marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage? Can you do it without citing the Bible?

Why does society tolerate or ignore the kind of behavior that occurred at the University of Colorado? And why has it become a scandal just now? Does this happen at other universities?

I saw a Robin today. Is spring really near?

Does John Edwards really have a chance?

What film will win the Oscar? Does anyone care?

Do you anyone who has ever purchased anything because of a spam message they received? If you do, hit them.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Just thought I would ask...


I am making homemade pizza tonight.

What woud you like on yours?

Find for Today

In my need for mellowing I found this ambient radio station hosted by MAGNATUNE.

It is a nice site with some great mellow music offerings (but not only). Artists get 50% of what you pay (which is up to you) when you download.

Just thought I would share.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Ah Yoga...

Had my first yoga lesson of the semester today. It was crowded and I liked the instructor I had last semester better, but this one will do. My body is tired, but happy.

I met with my outside dissertation reader today. He liked my draft and he had some very good and helpful suggestions. It is always good getting positive feedback and good constructive criticism.

I have agreed to teach and extra section for the class I am TAing (this is actually a verb among graduate students - meaning "working as a teaching assistant"). Yes, I will get extra pay...very much needed extra pay.

Sara got into Berkeley - YAY!!!! [We kinda knew it already, but it is always nice to get the letter with good news].

Going to Boston yesterday was tiring, but Sara and I had a nice dinner, we bought the books she needed for her class, and I actually got a lot of reading done while she was in class.

I am off to figure out what to cook for dinner...

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Busy, busy, busy...

Yesterday: met with my advisor who gave me back my last chapter (said it was fine), did much scanning of images I discuss in the dissertation (many of them racist - from the Fascist period and from today), went to my monthly seminar on teaching (learned about using multi-media as pedagogic tool), took out all the trash, made corrections on that last chapter, and formatted the images I scanned.

Today: Lecture, TA meeting with professor, errands, drive up to Boston, reading.

After seven chapters there is an issue my advisor and I disagree on - it is not a big one, but disagreement nonetheless. I have to remember that I need to please him. He is the one who decides what goes in the dissertation. I can change it when I work on the book. I also seem to have annoyed him tremendously with a mistake a keep making with my grammar. Generally I write well, but I have some problems inserting commas where they do not belong and missing them where they do (this dirves Sara nuts). My advisor doesn't mind this as much. What irritated him was my using "that" where I should use "who". Example - the students that (who) study hard. Of course I do it in sentences that are more complex than that, but you get the idea. I think the problem stems that I construct such grammatical constructions in my
head, I do so in Spanish where there isn't such a differentiation. Or I am translating from Italian where the differentiation also does not exist. I have also discovered that British English writers tend to make that mistake as well. Since I went to a British school through 9th grade, that may account for it as well. In any case, I need to be more careful about that. I can't afford to irritate my advisor. Not this late in the game.
I find it amazing how the images of foreigners in Italy have changed very little beween the 1930s and today.

There is a fine line between using multimedia to teach and teaching so you can play with multimedia. I am not sure where that is.

I am signing up for Tai Chi and Yoga through the university's PE program. It will be good for me - physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Sara is still not feeling well and she has a make-up class in Boston late this evening. The class ends too late for her to take train/bus back, but she is also not well enough to drive back to Providence late. So I told her I would drive up with her. I will use the time when she is in her seminar to catch up on some reading and work on some applications.

By the way - the score is Personal Messages 2, Spam 0.

I am off to prepare for the busy day.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

New Email

Ok, you crazy kids. There are some of you who are just dying to email me and have been utterly frustrated that you can't. So to placate you, I went ahead and got an email.

Go ahead, send me a message...

...I may even answer.

Oh, yeah, the address:

We'll see if I get a real message before I get spam. Probably not.

I am feeling puffy today. Yes, I could stand to lose about ten pounds and get this body back into shape.

It is hard.

It is hard to go outside when it is cold again. At least I am walking to campus for the lectures and my sections. The dog also gets his daily walk. When it gets warmer, those walks will get longer.

And I need to eat less and healthier. But those sweets, I just can't resist. I seached high and low for some good chocolate cake...I had been craving it ever since writing it in Icelandic. Found some here. They have the best desserts in town. A place I need to stay far away from.

Enough complaining.

I have been exploring the various internet radio station that are preset on the iTunes player. There are several good ones.

A song came up that never ceases to make me smile: Day-O by Harry Belafonte. There are just certain songs like that: perfect for warming you up on a cold winter's day.

Peppermint tea is sitting here by my keyboard keeping me company.

Just like there are many things that I should be getting done, there are many things I could write about here. I don't seem to have the will for either. My guess is that I am still recovering from that flurry of words that traveled from my somewhere in my mind through my fingers onto the screen and eventually were transposed on to pieces of paper. Random thought: would that not be an interesting musical composition? The writing process - an idea is born, it is developed in the mind, it is discussed, researched, then it goes through the mechanical steps of being transformed from something abstract and fluid into something concrete and permanent. The tranformation uses the human body as a vehicle and the idea becomes a fixed and permanent entity that are found on the words printed on the page. If there is a composer that has done this, I am not aware of it.

The uncertainty of the future is troubling.

I got Korean take-out the other day. While I was waiting for my order, I picked up a Korean newspaper they had on the counter and began to look through it. I have always been fascinated by magazines and newspapers printed in other writing systems. What are squigles and characters to me have meaning to others. It gives you a sense of what it is like to be illiterate. But would I be thinking the same thoughts if I were illiterate? Probably not. The food was very good, by the way.

That's all for now.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Bad Luck Day

It is Friday 13th, bad luck day here in the US. I think the same goes for Canada and England.

In Mexico, however, the bad luck day is Tuesday 13th.

In Italy it is Tuesday 17th, which makes sense. Italians are always a little late (how's that for a good anthropological stereotype?!?).

Any others people know about?


I have a section that I teach on Fridays at 9:00 am. This means I have to get up at about 7:00, which is about half an hour earlier than usual. My sleep pattern is such that it is pretty routine. It is rare for me to wake up more than half an hour before or after my usual wake up time, regardless of the time I go to bed. This is also partly an indication that for the past year or so, I have not really had to go anywhere on a regular basis in the morning. I have had to get up earlier to drive Sara to the train station once or twice a week for her commute to Boston. But I am digressing here...

Knowing that I had an earlier start than usual for this morning, I tried to set up things so that the morning routine would be easier. One of these was setting up the timer on the coffee machine so that coffee would be ready when I got up. When I went to wash the decanter, Sara was in the shower. Experience has told me, that it is not a pleasant experience for the showeree, if someone turns on the sink faucet. So I put off the washing of the decanter. And set up the rest: programmed the timer, filled the resevoir with water (from our water pitcher), ground the coffee beans and put them in the filter. Since Sara was still in the shower, I wandered off.

I have mentioned that I have been quite out of it since I turned in the draft, so it should come as no surprise that I never returned to the kitchen before I went to bed. This morning, after I got up, I noticed the dog was more eager than usual to make his way to the kitchen. As I approached the kitchen, I heard something dripping. Even before I saw the lake of coffee in the middle of the kitchen floor, it dawned on me what had happened. I had never gotten back to the kitchen to wash the decanter and place it in the coffee machine. The machine has one of those convenient plugs that lets you pour a cup of coffee while it is still brewing. It only works for a minute or so. Eventually the coffee backs up and oozes out of the top. This was, in fact, what it was doing, and a nice little brown stream was flowing across the counter, down the drawers, and onto the kitchen floor. I looked across the kitchen and there was the dirty decanter sitting by the sink. Rats!

I quickly washed it out, and placed it in the coffee machine. I guess I got it half way through the brewing, because I still got half a decanter of coffee. That was good because I needed some coffee while I cleaned up the mess on the counter and the floor.

The surprises were not over, however. At lunch time, when we went to get some chopsticks out of our silverware drawer, we noticed that there was a nice pool of tepid coffee inside. That was the extent of the damage. Enough for one day.

Sara was extatic that this happened. You ee, the same thing happened to her when we first met. Except that she set up the coffee in her morning stuppor (she is NOT a morning person), and forgot put the decanter in the machine and ended up with a coffee lake of her own. So one of the first gifts I got her was a coffee machine with a timer so she could set it up the night before when she was more awake (and her heart has been mine ever since). She claims that I tell everyone this story (which I don't think is true, although I am writing it here, so she is probably right) and now that it has happened to me, she thinks I will refrain from bringing it up.

Probably not.

By the way, while our dog likes a little bit of coffee in his dish and he loves to clean up spilled food on the kitchen floor, he did not seem all that interested in coffee lake. He was probably wondering what was keeping me from helping him complete his morning routine: go outside for his morning business and then get his breakfast.

Just thought about the date and put it together with this coffee incident. Well, if that's the worst thing than can happen, I will definitely take it.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Real World Disorientation
I am still adjusting to my return to *real life*. It is something akin to coming out of a movie theater into daylight after watching an intense film. I feel startled, disoriented, and drained. I am starting to get my bearings just like your eyes adjust to the brightness of the day. But it takes time.

I am using my PDA again, which means that I need to remember that I need to be at certain places at certain times. There once is life for me outside of my home office. Nonetheless, I got to an appointment late yesterday because I thought it was at 2, when in reality it was at 1:30. Still adjusting.

Poor Sara is sick, and I think my body is fighting off the bug. Honestly, I did expect to get sick once I turned in my draft. The equation goes something like this: low immunity (from mental exhaustion) + abundant pathogens (from returning students from all over the country) + opportunity for contagion (from venturing outside of the confines of home) = sickness. I am doing my best to ward off the bugs: teas, vitamins, fruit, juices, zinc, sleep, and healing dances and songs (although Sara objects to these - I don't blame her, I am a terrible dancer/singer).

I need to get ready for lecture and then I have my first discussion section. No big plans for today...just get to know the students and let them get to know me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Return to the Real World

I am off to the professor's lecture this morning for the class I am working in as an assistant. It is a good thing that this particular professor is one of the most entertaining and theatrical lecturers in the university. I have been a teaching assistant for this course before, so I have heard the lecture before. I like to study the professor, maybe learn something about presentation for when I have to lecture.

My sections start on Thursday. I have not taught for a while, so I think I am a little rusty. It is probably like riding a bicycle, so it should come back quickly. I hope I get some good students. Experience has shown that so much depends on the chemistry of the group. We'll see.

The weather is beautiful today. Too bad I need to sit in a windowless auditorium for two hours. Phhttt....

Monday, February 09, 2004

Congratulations to Sara!

She got a big fat envelope from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health today. I had to wait until she got back from Boston to confirm my suspicions, she was accepted to the Masters in Public Health program. It is, as they pointed out very clearly in their letter, the #1 program in the country.

Not only is Sara beautiful and sweet, she is also brilliant. Of course, I already knew that. I am just happy that the people at Hopkins were smart enough to recognize it too. So I guess they can still claim to be #1. I am so proud of my wife!

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Where will I be?

I got the first bit of good news on the career front last week. I might have a phone interview for a postdoc at a small liberal arts college. That would be great. The problem, the location. Very rural and very isolated. I could do that for a year, but I know Sara will be somewhere else. There would be nothing for her to do there and she is already getting good news on her career options.

All I can hope is that this is just the first of many other good things to come.

In other news, I am still recovering. I can't take too much longer to recover, though. There is just too much to do!
I am still playing with the penguin. It is still entertaining.

The Return of Mucky Maize

You all probably know this already, but Corn Smut is back in business. If you haven't already, go over there and say hi!

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Random Update

I turned my dissertation draft in yesterday. YAY!

It still needs an introduction, conclusions, bibliography, and probably some revisions. Step one is done, though.

Just to let you know what my state of mind is, I have found this grossly entertaining (Warning - do not click if you are an adamant lover of penguins) - thank you, Kristin. It is just the hours of entertainment that my feeble mind needed.

Speaking of Kristin, she linked to a band that plays Black Sabbath (Ozzie's old band) in Latin with medieval instruments. Some of you might find it amusing. The rest of you might put it in that "people who have too much free time on their hands" category.

Now I need to catch up with the rest of my life, which has been on hold for the past six weeks or so. Funny how quickly things pile up, isn't it?

We went to see Big Fish today. I liked it a lot. It was very quirky. One of those story-book movies that makes you smile, kinda like The Princess Bride.

I am going back to play with the penguin.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Can You Picture It?

I think recent spam has come up with a way to generate random words in the subject heading as a way to bypass filters. Usually it is utter nonsense, but today I got this one:

Subject: savant dachshund contextual ale

Too bad the spam wasn't for the beer that brilliant wienerdogs drink in specific situations! I might just have bought that.

More to say, but not until tomorrow. G'night.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Quick Notes

- Just finished Chapter 7, a 44 page behemoth. I need to proof-read it tomorrow. Then I can turn in the first draft on Friday. It's only a week and two days late. Of course, I also need to write the Introduction and Conclusions. But the 258 pages that are the main body of this dissertation are written. Pending revisions.

- Ughh. Just thinking about the dissertation exhausts me at this point.

- I have been described as a space cadet that has been zombified. That is probably an accurate statement.

- The Super Bowl was an example of why I don't really watch sports often. I get too invested in it and I suffer. I don't know why, but the adrenaline kicks in, my heart races, and I yell out in cheers or in disappointment (much to the annoyance of Sara). But the Pats won, so it ended well. I should be good until the next World Cup (soccer). Unless the Red Sox make a run at the World Series again.

- My body is in desperate need of exercise.

- Last night it sleeted and the streets were covered with a perilous sheet of ice. Not fun.

- I received a rejection from a job I applied for at the University of Colorado. That one hurt because Boulder seems like such a nice place to live and I thought I had a shot at it.

- Heimabakaða sjúkkulaðiköku means "home baked chocolate cake." I sure could use some of that right now.

- The new seasonal beer by Sam Adams, the White Ale (so new it is not on their website yet), is fantastic!

- I need a vacation.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


It is always fun when the hometown (home-region?) team wins!

*In reference to the New England Patriots American football team that is playing in the Super Bowl (the final) today.