Friday, December 31, 2004

So here we are at the end of another year. 2004 is in the bucket.

I have never been into New Year's. I just don't believe in arbitrarily creating a beginning and end to something. Why stop on this particular day to think about all the crap (and the occasional good thing) that has happened in the past year? It is also a day in which you are supposed to outline your shortcomings and make an effort to change them starting tomorrow. I really don't need to mutilate my self-esteem in that way.

That said, let me wish you all a good new year. May tomorrow arbitrarily mark the beginning of better things and dreams coming true (as if I would not wish that on you any other day).


In other news, Sara leaves for Chile tomorrow. :-(

I am really excited for her, although I wish I could go with her. I am going to miss her terribly.

I get to hang around in here in Boston for a couple of days before heading out to San Diego on Monday. I was looking forward to getting some sun and not wearing a coat, but it seems like all it seems to be doing down there right now is rain. It is one of THOSE years.

Be good!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

If you celebrate it, let me wish you a Merry Christmas, Joyful Kwanza, Solemn Solstice.

Sara and I are not much into the holidays. We get each other some random gifts, but mostly we try to avoid the crowds and find something to do on the days when everything is closed.

When we lived in Providence, we used to go to an Indian restaraunt that is somewhat innovative. I always would get duck with tamarind, figs, and hazelnuts. Yum. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We debated driving down to Providence today to keep up our "tradition", but we have been down in Providence twice over the past week and we just don't feel like driving down again. We looked around for a new place to go to around here, but really did not find anything. So we are going to cook here.

I have been remembering nostalgically some of the traditional things I used to have during the Christmas season in Mexico: tamales, atole, cafe de olla, and pozole. So we decided to make enchiladas today - New Mexico style (where Sara is from). The best enchiladas are not rolled, but served flat and stacked and topped with a fried egg. In New Mexico, the ongoing debate is whether enchiladas should be topped with Green or Red chile sauce. The compromise is to have them 'Christmas" style: with both chiles, half and half. It seems appropriate to have them that way today.

We are also going to see the Motorcyle Diaries. Also appropriate because Sara is going to Chile in a week.

I hope Santa (or Madman Winter as I call him) brought you all everything you wanted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Posting is sparse because I have better things to do...

Being in Boston has been wonderful despite the bitter cold weather, bad drivers, horrible traffic, and short hours of sunlight. Can you guess why?

I had a phone interview last week. Yay. I think it went as well as could be expected given that I was talking to eight people at once through a speaker phone. Talk about awkward and confusing...

We are looking to get a new car - the old-defunct-brand car is just too much of hassle. If all works out, Sara will be driving a hybrid soon. Yes, it is cool and environmentally friendly too.

I think I can see a ghost hanging out by the house across the street.

We have attended too many Christmas - er, Holiday Parties.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The troubles of modern day technology.

I was going to post about my drive to San Diego when I got to my mother's house, but I could not remember my Blogger username. You see, on my computer at home I have it set up so it automatically logs me in. I tried every username I have been known to use without success. I then tried to have it sent to me, but I could not remember which email address I used either.

It dawned upon me that I have too many damn usernames and email addresses.

After fussing with it for much too long, I gave up and walked away. No posting about the drive.

Now I am in Boston. I fussed with it some more, then I remembered that I have yet a different email address and low and behold, it worked! So here I am back in cyberworld again and back in New England.

And damn, is it cold here! Yesterday I did not even go outside. Today I will venture out...well bundled.

Friday, December 10, 2004

The semester is over! I collected the papers based on projects the students have been working on. Grades are not due until the 23rd so I can take my time grading them. I got some good feedback about the course, so I feel fulfilled. Now I can really start thinking about next semester's course.

I am not sure if my relationship with contacts is working out or not. I have not worn them all that much. The air has been very dry here, so it makes wearing them all the more uncomfortable. I did wear them to yoga yesterday with mixed reviews. I loved not having clunky glasses flipping around on my face as I moved from one pose to another. However, my contact for the eye that has the flat cornea is weighted so that it moves into a specific alignment. This meant that when I was in a pose where my head was inverted, the contact would start to rotate in my eye. Then it would rotate back as I brought my head upright. Maybe I will get used to having something in my eye moving around, but I am definitely not there yet.

I wore them today to the barber. I am so used to not paying attention when I am getting my haircut, it was somewhat startling to look up and see what was going on. I guess that was pretty cool. Oh, another cool episode involving contacts. I was waiting for a prescription to be filled today. As I sat looking around I completely overlooked the large rotating rack of sunglasses. Then it suddenly dawned on me that I could actually try them on (and see what I looked like). I am definitely going to get some sunglasses soon.

Ok, that's it for the contact lenses stories.

I am avoiding packing...actually, I am also waiting on some laundry. The dog is freaking out about me packing, although I think the stress has finally gotten to him as he is passed out on the floor next to me. It has not hit him that this time he gets to come too. Oh, if I could only speak dog.

Well, boys and girls, this is going to be it for a while. I might post some from Boston, but for the next couple of days I will not be connected, so you are on your own. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves in the comments section below. Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble!

Take the internet away from an academic for a day and her/his world is rendered meaningless.

Yesterday the college's network went down. They had a blackout that broke a router...or something technical like that. In any case, we did not have internet access on campus for a whole day!

My office is in the social science building, so I can only attest to the impact it had there. Perhaps things were worse in the science building. Perhaps no one noticed in the humanities building. These things I do not know.

Personally, it was irritating and annoying not to be able to access information with a click of the mouse. I was working on some job applications and I wanted to look up information about the particular schools I was applying to. No dice. That had to wait. I had a long list of emails I needed to reply to. No dice there either. I did have a few students come in to talk about their term papers, so the day was not totally wasted. Oh yeah, I had to be in my office because I had office hours.

So after working on some cover letters and helping some students, I took to wandering the halls and observing the behavior of the other faculty. It was so amusing. They were wandering the halls not knowing what to do with themselves. A few gloated that they had already collected their term papers and they could spend the down time grading. Believe me, I will never gloat about being able to grade.

We are seriously addicted to the internet. We use it for work and we use it to procrastinate when we are at work.

Is it like that elsewhere? Of course, look who I am offense.

Today the system was up and running again - with some quirks, of course. They tell us what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, etc. But I think they need to come up with a plan for us for the next time the internet goes down on campus.


In other news, I have two phone interviews for jobs. That's the good part. The bad part is that neither is in/near Boston. One is at Miami University (which is in Ohio - it is the name of the Native American tribe that lived in the area in case you were wondering if just some Floridian's got lost). That interview will probably take place in January. The other one is at the University of Redlands. They wanted to interview me on Monday, but I will be driving to San Diego that day. Ironically, I will actually be driving right past Redlands on Monday. Fortunately, they were able to do it on Wednesday, so I will do it from Boston.

So yeah, I am busting out of here on Saturday. The plans is to drive down to San Diego (which I will do in 3 days because it will just be me and the dog driving) and then on Tuesday I board a plane bound for Boston. This time I get to stay there for three weeks! I know, Boston in December is nothing to write home about, but it is not about the place rather it is about the company.

I am pretty eager to get out of here and see Sara. I hate packing, though, and I really have not started. That is tomorrow's project, along with laundry, haircut, and giving the dog a bath (he needs to smell good if he is going to sit in the car with me for three days!).

I should quit my online babbling and go do something productive.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It is that time of year...the one where you try to take the easy way out and you still end up spending more time on something than if you just did the "not easy way out thing".

That probably makes no sense. I'll try to explain. Because I am wading through grading and other end of semester chaos, I am feeling particularly burnt out and lethargic. Instead of writing something, I thought I would just point out the fact that my stat counter has gone past the 10k mark. I think I said something like, "Wow! That's a lot of visits, thank you everyone for stopping by (and leaving a comment every now and then)." Then I would do something that I have never done here before - write down a poem, which I did. But then blogger ate up my post and swallowed it down to that place where many cleaver and intelligent posts end up when Blogger decides to sabbotage them.

I know, I know, I should have saved it. I even thought of it. But I didn't. So sue me...

Before I get any crankier, I will go to the efforts of writing the poem again.
The Mexican Sangwitch

Is it a tortilla with peanut butter and jelly,
or jalapeños piled on Wonder Bread?
Is it a coney made with tortillas,
or a Kaiser roll smothered
with salchichas y salsa mayonesa?
Is it chorizo con huevo on whole wheat,
or refried beans on white bread?
Is it the patron saint of botanas,
or a Mexican who can only speak English?
Is the same as an American Taco?
Is it a Mexican playing tic-tac-toe?
Is it carne asada on rye,
or guacamole on toast?
Do you really want to know why?
Is it me inside of you,
or you wrapped around me?
Is it a güera dancing with two Mexicans,
or two gringos putting the moves on my sister?
Is it a super sandwich, with the official
ingredients labeled: HECHO EN MEXICO!
Is it a plain sandwich
made by authentic Mexican hands?
Is it true Juan de la Raza invented it?
Is it a moot question?
Are you a lawyer or a poet?
Does the judge really care?

Detroit 7/1990

I wish I could claim the credit for such brilliance, but the honor goes to Trinidad Sánchez, Jr.

Let's see if this works on this second try. I am saving it this time, though!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

After some wonderful time with Sara and a quick and hectic visit by my family, I had to return to my duties at the college. Things had piled up and we are now into the busiest time of the semester. Now you understand why I have been scarce around these parts.

There is a lot going through this feeble head of mine that I would love to get down here, but I just haven't found the time nor the energy to do it. I do want to mention the fascinating discussion over at The Daily Texican recently on the term Naco that is used in Mexico. Apparently it is also used in the US by Chicana/os and Mexican-Americans, but I have never heard it used here. I have toyed with the idea of doing research on the term and its use in Mexico City. Perhaps later I will develop my thoughts in this forum and elicit some responses.

This week I also took my class to the Washington State Penitentiary on a fieldtrip. I have a lot of thoughts on the visit that I would like to explore here.

For now I must return to my grading and preparations for my upcoming drive to San Diego and subsequent flight to Boston.