Tuesday, August 31, 2004

First Day of School

Today I had my first class. It did not go too well. It was not an utter disaster, but I felt like things just did not work. I guess I had high expectations and I just did not prepare well enough.


I just need to prepare better for next time...which is Thursday.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I like having a small glass of juice in the morning.

Recently I bought a bottle of what I thought was a mix of kiwi, apple, and melon juice.

When I poured a glass this morning, it was much thicker than I expected. It definitely did not look that appetizing: truth be told it looked like the water from a very murky pond. I drank it anyway - I am not one to dismiss food based on the looks. It tasted good, but I knew there was more in there than just the aforementioned fruits. So I looked at the ingredients and lo and behold there were a few surprises in there:

Ingredients by categories:

Boring: Pineapple juice, apple juice, mango puree, banana puree, kiwi juice.
Interesting: Spirulina, tamarind puree, lime juice, broccoli, ceremonial green tea, spinach, barley grass, wheat grass.
Fascinating: open cell chlorella, blue green algae, echinacea purpurea, odorless garlic, Nova Scotia dulce, Jerusalem artichoke.

I am not sure what some of those things are, but I rather have those in my body than some of the chemicals in many of the other foods I eat.

Lesson for today: There is usually more in the food that we than what is pictured on the package or container.

Bonus lesson: who knew that mucky pond water tasted so good.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

It's been a long and busy week. I got myself officially oriented. All I ever wanted to know about:

-Academic Policy
-Sexual Harassment
-The campus
-The library
-Tech services


Today I got some flowers for my front yard. The big dirt patch was just not that nice. Now it has some fall colored mums and two of those decorative cabbage things. As you can tell I am not a big garden person - that is Sara's domain.

I also got my internet cable connection and very basic cable for the TV. Nothing came in clearly here off a regular antena. So now I can watch the basic networks and a few bonus channels - the best being Comedy Central. I am happy that I am off of dial-up. That is just not nice.

I also tried to start the car cleaning process. Those impacted bugs from the trip were such a pain. I still did not get them all off. Even worse, as I was getting frustrated trying to get the blemishes off while the sun began to dip down below the horizon, the hunger pangs in my stomach were teased by the smell of food cooking on the neighbor's grill. Needless to say, there is still much left to be done on the car cleaning endeavour. It will probably have to wait until Sunday.

Tomorrow I get to partake as my first official duty as a faculty member: I am marching in Convocation. I will have to borrow a robe for the event since I still cannot afford my own.

It has been nice meeting the other new faculty members in orientation. There are some interesting people doing interesting research. It seems that there is a strong sense of camaraderie among the different cohorts of entering faculty. That will be nice as we begin the challenges of teaching our courses and trying to make time for our own research.

The potential for my future research here in the area looks promising as there are many Mexicanos here. They are all very segregated though. You only see them in comunal places such as the supermarket or the taco stand. I have not actually eaten at a taco stand here, but I hear they are very good. They must be if there are both Mexicanos and Gringos eating there. I will have to try them soon. As soon as I cleanse my system following all the junk I ate on that cross-country trip.

Things are settling nicely here although I do feel very lonely. I miss Sara.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Why are orientations always so disorienting?

Here's a question for you all:

I am teaching a course on Politics, Culture, and Identity this fall. I am going to be away at a conference for one class and I am thinking of showing a film. I am looking for suggestions.

Some I have thought of:

-Lamerica (Italian)
-Mi Familia/My Family
-In America
-East is East
-Big Night

I should be able to think of more, but it is late and I am very tired. Hopefully some of you might be able to come up with something good!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Election Prediction:
Based on the distribution of bumper stickers seen during my cross country drive, Kerry will defeat Bush in November.

I am not sure what the conversion rate from bumper stickers to electoral college votes is, though. So Bush still might be president despite the defeat.


Speaking of cross country drives, I still have not cleaned and washed the car following the trek. I really need to do something about the insect cemetery that is on the front of my car. Or perhaps I should call it a cannibalistic insect smorgasboard because at one rest stop the yellowjackets were feasting on the buffet of splatters on my hood.

The inside needs a good cleaning as well. There are dirt and pebble samples from numerous states and enough dog hair to reconstruct another dog - a small one.

I knew I wanted to wait to clean the car following the trip to the mountains today. I knew I would be hitting many bugs. It was a good call because I also ended up on several gravel roads that left a lovely layer of dust.

The plan was to do a major clean, wash, and wax tomorrow morning, but I just found out that it will probably be raining. That will take care the dust, but those dead insects (sounds like a good name for a band, huh) are stuck on there pretty good. Oh well.


The farmers' market was much smaller than I expected. The produce was very nice. I also got some bread and some local honey. I also fired up the grill and put the veggies on there. It all turned out very well except I was missing one thing: Sara. Good food is just not that good when you can't share it with the person you love. :(

The mountains were fabulous. It was much cooler there than it is here. The dog and I took a short but fairly intense hike. The brevity was due to the fact that I was wearing my sneakers instead of my hiking shoes, I left the water for the both of us in the car, and I was not sure where the trail we were on was taking us. I need to search for some maps of the area. There is a ranger station in town, they may be able to help me. I am looking forward to exploring the mountains some more as is the dog. I also want to do some skiing once the snow is on the ground.


Yay for Puerto Rico and Lithuania, both of whom beat the US basketball team. Everyone needs some humility.

Yay for the Iraqi soccer team who made it to the semifinals. Boo to Bush who is trying to exploit their success for his campaign. Just let them play. Go back to letting your attack dogs smear Kerry (he still has more bumper stickers on cars driving on I-80).


I bought some sandalwood incense at Target that is very nice. I love sandalwood.


Rip Curl Ale by Full Sail Brewing Co. in Oregon is VERY good. A nice discovery.

I am tired. Time for bed.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I need to wait another week for my cable internet connection to be installed and my lack of patience has gotten the better of me. So what have I done? I signed up for one of those free internet trials. This has not satiated my lack of patience, however, because the darned thing is SO SLOW!

I can go to my office on campus and get online there. Although I don't know whether I can get in or not over the weekend. They failed to give me a key to the department office and I still have not gotten my ID which I need to swipe to get in when the building is locked. I need to look into those things Monday morning. Monday afternoon the orientation for new faculty begins. I am not sure whether I am ready for this. YIKES!

I drove down to the Tri-Cities in South-Central Washington today. It is about an hour from here. It is not a pretty place, although the Columbia River (and the Snake River) are pretty impressive. The draw of the area are all the stores that cannot be found here in Walla Walla. I stocked up on pet supplies and some necessary household items. I also hear that it is the place to go should you get a craving for Indian or Japanese food as those cuisines are not available here. I have not been here long enough to suffer from any withdrawal symptoms yet, but I know these are iminent. The saving grace is that they have some great Mexican food here.

I also bought a Weber grill today (don't tell Sara - she did not want me getting more stuff). It was on super markdown because it is the end of the summer ($19 for a big one). I love grilling. My plan is to grill over the weekend and have food for the following week. I am planning to visit the local farmer's market tomorrow that I hear is great. It should be with all the agriculture going on around here. Unfortunately I cannot partake of one of the local specialties: the Walla Walla sweet onions. Oh well. There should be some great squashes, peppers, corn, tomatoes...can I find some eggplant? We'll see. Can you tell that food/cooking/eating is my hobby. I also need to pick up some more of the local wine (more on that later).

This is making me hungry even though I just had dinner.

I am also thinking of taking a drive up to the nearby mountains with the dog tomorrow afternoon - that is if the weather holds out. It has been very hot here, but the heat is supposed to break sometime this weekend. This change may bring rain to the mountains.

Amid all this excitement, I also need to start preparing for my course. I am almost done with the syllabus. It is so much work putting one together, although at times it reminds me of my teen years when I used to make mixed-tapes. Just like you need to find the right songs and place them in the proper order, for a syllabus you need to find the right reading that is the right length and put it in the right place in the semester. Ok...I am starting to babble and it is academic babble. That's what happens when you are away from your best friend and the dog is sick of you speaking to him.

I should cut this wimpy dialup connection and go do something productive.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

No time to post, but I found out something interesting about myself today thanks to Lux:

You're New Mexico!

A fan of spelunking and cliff-dwelling, you're the adventurous,
enchanting type. It seems like you can never avoid the sun, but that's what built your
house in the first place so you'll manage. You probably speak Spanish, and maybe even a
long-lost language in addition. And after much careful consideration, you now sometimes
agree that drive-through liquor stores are not the safest idea. Even though people think
of you as yellow, your favorite question is "red or green?"

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Won't Sara get a kick out of that! HA!

Monday, August 16, 2004

I am in my new office.

I have an office - with a window! It is pretty big and it has a lot of shelf space. If only I had my books here. It will be nice when I have a permanent job with a permanent office. But at least I have a job!

Things have been hectic. I have been trying to set up my home office and settle in to my new place. It seems like everytime Sara calls me I am at K-Mart (the choices here for supplies are K-Mart, Walmart, and Staples - and I refuse to shop at Walmart).

It is so strange not having Sara around. I miss her so much, it is like a part of me is missing. This is going to be a long year. I better be productive professionally to make it worthwhile!

The new house is very nice. There is so much room. We could easily put all our stuff in it, but our stuff is in Boston and it is going to stay there. I did have my first problem though. I tried running the dishwasher (which is probably from the early 70s - yet it almost looks new) and it somehow clogged the drain so the water backed up into the sink. This made the drain pipes from the sink leak. Not a huge disaster, but it really makes it hard to cook/eat at home when you can only wash you dishes in the bathroom sink. After a week road trip, I really was looking forward to making myself some homecooked meals.

I need to go somewhere to pick up the keys to my office. I only have internet access here, so I might not post as much as I would like. I am still waiting for my cable internet connection and my phone to be hooked up. Ah the joys of moving.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I made it!

It is REALLY hot here (110 degrees), but it is dry. I will take this over the humidity of the east coast any day.

The drive was long. Highlights include:

-Narrowly avoiding a storm with tornadoes.

-Seeing a pickup truck engulfed in flames.

-Getting souveneir mosquito bites in almost every state we went through.

-Adding Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho to the states I have been to.

There is probably many more, but I am too tired to think of them right now. There is so much I need to do. I have rented a huge house with nothing in it. I am off to search for "stuff" - I am suffering from withdrawal.

I should be around more now. Be sure to stop by...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I can't believe that I start the drive to Washington in two days. I am not ready - on many levels.

Two cable modems later, we got the cable internet connection working. I am typing this on Sara's computer which has an ergonomic keyboard. It is not going too well, especially because i do not type correctly.

This next stage of my life is kind of scary. And I have to do it separated from my best friend and life companion. I don't like that. As I don't like typing on this keyboard.

Have a great week and I will see you all on the other side.