Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Meet Barney

Meet Barney

As per popular request, I am posting more dog pictures.

This is my mother's new dog. His unfortunate name was my fault. When I saw a picture of him I commented that he reminded me of Barney Rubble from the Flintstones: a little guy with a big head. His former name was Brownie, but my mom did not like it. Barney was close enough and she liked it, so it stuck. I guess it is better than Stumpy, which was a name floated around. I tried to sell her on Tlaloc later on, but failed.

Meet Barney Posted by Picasa

Barney II Posted by Picasa

Can you figure out what kind of mix he is? I still think he is Shepherd and Corgi, but who knows.

Monday, August 29, 2005


My energy reserves are running low.

As you probably have guessed, detox is over. We celebrated by getting a pizza - I got a simple margherita (fresh mozarella, tomato, and basil).

I have enjoyed having bread again. And chocolate. And dairy.

Do I feel any different? No. I certainly don't feel "cleansed". It was good to do, nonetheless. I find it helpful to take some time to re-evaluate everything I am putting in my body and why.

The end of the summer is here and thus begins the period of running around for us academics. The bliss of denial is no longer with us (that is, the "oh, I still have all summer to get that done" attitude).

I was invited to give a paper at a conference in Washington DC at the end of September. It will be a good conference to go to. I will be able to network a little - a good thing since I am on the job market- and I will be able to meet with some publishers to see what kind of interest there is in my dissertation. Still, that means I have to put together a presentation for the conference - more work.

Tomorrow I head down to Providence to meet with my old graduate advisor. This man is the type of person that writes a book (a good one at that) a year. Although I know that he is an academic super-human, it still makes me feel inadequate when I meet with him. I feel like I should be more productive in my academic career and that this career is going to stall for lack of such productiveness. Nonetheless, he has been kind and helpful to me, and it is in my best interests to keep in touch with him.

On top of this - Zephyr seems to have injured herself. She yelps anytime she brings her head up when she is lying on her side. I had hoped she would get better with some time. After a couple of days of no improvement, I took her to the vet. As I suspected it is a pulled muscle in her neck. She got some steroids to help it heal quicker - good thing she is not racing anymore, she would have been accused of doping. Not good in these days when baseball is under scrutiny and Lance Armstrong is out defending his honor.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Poor New Orleans

Things don't look good for the Big Easy. I am glad we had a chance to visit before it becomes the Venice of America.

  • After this I don't think they are going to sell Katrina and the Waves at any of the music stores down there. It will either bring back bad memories of destruction or the susto they got.
  • Maybe people in Lousiana will start believing in Global Warming and elect people that might do something about it (it doesn't seem to have happened in Florida and Alabama).
  • Now I bet the people down there wished they had not destroyed as much of the wetlands as they have (wetlands function as a protective barrier against storm surges).
  • Perhaps some of the Cajuns will move back up to Maine and the Canadian Maritimes (where they once came from and were formally known as Acadians). I sure would like that - I like their culture and their food. It would be nice to have it closer by.
I do hope for the best, which at this time just means that the storm center will track to the east of the city. This would mean that the winds would come off the land, pushing the storm surge away from the coast.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Why I am happy I don't live in Mexico City anymore (part 1)...

Why I am happy I don't live in Mexico City anymore (part 1)...

Mexico City Air Posted by Picasa

Picture from here. I will post and comment on more of these photos later.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Detox - Day 5

Detox - Day 5

Weight: 233
BF: 28%

I am looking forward to the end of this. Feeling better today, but no better than I did before I started this thing.

I really miss having choices.

Today I went in to the department where I am going to work. A friend of Sara's got hired there for a full-time tenure track position. I ran into her while I was there and had a nice chat. We decided to go to the student center cafeteria for lunch. My choices were severely limited. At first I thought I could get a veggie wrap, but, wait, I can't have wheat. Soups were all meat based. Things were looking grim, but fortunately there was a salad bar with a few options. They also had bottled carrot juice and they had apples. So I was able to put a meal together.

I had heard that there is a store I like, Wild Oats, near where I will be teaching. I went by to see exactly where it is and check it out. It is close and it will be convenient to pick up things on my way home from work (if I drive). I bought a few things while I was there, but it was hard not buying a lot of things I am not supposed to eat.

Tomorrow will be the last day of this. I know it supposed to be seven days, but I think I have had enough. I will continue to eat in moderate amounts and I will slowly reintroduce foods. I think I will continue to take some of the supplements (since we have them, we might as well use them).


Accupuncture update.

Yesterday evening one of the places where I had a needle got swollen and hurt for a couple of hours. It was quite strange. I did feel slightly euphoric as I went to bed and I did sleep well. I haven't noticed any major changes today. Again, it is hard to tell what corresponds to what since I am subjecting my body to numerous things right now.

I am more intregued and curious to see how the process progresses.

I'm hungry. Off to find some fruit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I fought the Law and...

...I won! I heard back today from the Town of Brookline that my parking ticket has been dismissed. I really thought that I would have to pay it, especially as I was opening the envelope. It was a nice suprise.

Case closed!!!
Detox - Day 4

Weight: 232
BF: 27%

No real news. I feel about the same as I did yesterday. I am still hungry fairly frequently and fruit and veggies just don't seem to satiate me.

Last night, in a half-kidding mode, I told Sara I was really looking forward to retoxing.

This should be a step in the direction of a healthy life, but I still believe that moderation is key. I also believe in choosing quality over quantity. I do need to become more active. I am looking to enroll in a yoga class and I am searching for a tai chi class as well. I am walking more because the dogs force me to. However, when autumn and winter roll around I don't think any of us will be too eager to head outside. I will have to keep on doing it, though, even if the dogs choose to stay home.

Along that vein, I had my first accupuncture appointment today - actually a few hours ago. I won't go into the symptoms I am having treated today. I went in with an open mind, not sure what to expect. While I tend to side with certain aspects of medical science, I also believe that doctors in this country are part of a very miopic culture that is more and more being dominated by commercial interests (read pharmaceuticals and insurance providers). I don't blame the doctors themselves for I have know some medical doctors and I know they work very hard and do have the patients interests at heart. However, I also believe that they are limited as to by what they can do and how they must practice by the larger system.

Now as to alternative medicine, I believe there are multiple ways of healing (and what we should actually be aiming at - staying healthy) and I am in favor of exploring these avenues as a holistic approach to medicine. That said, I also think there are many scam artists and self-deceived individuals who are out to push alternatives for their own benefit. So I proceed with caution and skepticism.

One way to put it is that I believe in the shaman, but only if the shaman is invested in my well-being. This includes the shaman being willing to say, "I don't know." You could also substitute doctor for shaman.

Ok, enough of a disclaimer. Accupuncture: how was it?

Interesting. The pressure points are sensitive areas and my body was stimulated when the practicioner inserted the needles. It did something. Of course it is much to early to know whether the something will have the intended consquence of addressing the issues I went in for, but I am inclined to be optimistic about it.

Most needles did not hurt going in. It felt like when you have an annoying tag on your clothes poking you. A few did hurt and some I did not feel at all. Once they were in, I hardly noticed them. Occasionally one would hurt a little or itch, but it would go away. I did notice a sensation of energy spreading from the point - kind of like an electrical impulse. It was strange, rather pleasant I would say. I did not feel the needles coming out, except for the one on my forhead. That one did hurt, but the pain was fleeting.

My next appointment is not for two weeks - so it will be a long wait for part two, but I am already looking forward to it.

Back to detox - we are going to cheat a little more for dinner tonight. I forgot to defrost the fish for dinner, so I thought, "Hmmm, maybe we could go out for sushi."

The menu for tonight was to be fish, brown rice, and veggies. Sushi is close. Ok, white rice that is sweetened is not the same as brown rice, but we can have fish and seaweed (we can also order seaweed salad). So two out of three isn't bad, right? I ran the idea by Sara and she agreed.

I am getting very tired of the same diet over and over again. I miss bread, I miss pasta, I miss cheese, I miss yogurt, I miss chocolate, I miss cereal, I miss variety.

Variety and moderation (except for chiles, of course) - that is my new mantra.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Detox - Day 3

Weight: 233
BF: 27

I am back among the living. Although I must admit we cheated a bit. I would not say we fell off the wagon, but we dangled off the side a bit.

Last night I could not stand my headache anymore so I took some asprin. It helped, a little - enough to get me to sleep. Sara had a more difficult time: read her account if you are interested. This morning we decided that we would bend the rules some more. Here is how:
  • We can have a little coffee in the morning (I had half a cup, Sara one).
  • Hot peppers are now allowed.
  • So are nuts.
  • Sara is dropping the weird supplements.
  • We might re-introduce other foods as the week progresses - although we are going to stay away from sugar, wheat, corn, dairy, and meat (I know fish is a meat, but you know what I mean).
I think these are sensible amendments. We are detoxing, not torturing ourselves.

As to how I feel, the fog has lifted. My stamina is still a little low. I have gone from craving sugar to craving fresh baked bread. Ice cream and chocolate are also sorely missed (but that is to be expected in any normal human). Yes, I do realize that those are sugar bearing foods, but I think I would have them even without the sugar.

The thing that has surprised me the most so far is that I had expected to spend much more time in the bathroom. That hasn't been the case. Actually my visits have been more numerous, but that is to take care the other business - a result from the increased intake of liquids.

Tomorrow we are both aiming to take on a work routine. I need to go into the department and Sara is going into her office. Hopefully all will go well.

In other news (I know the world doesn't stop just because I am detoxing):
  • I have my first ever accupuncture appointment tomorrow - the whys and hows are for a story to be told at a different time.
  • My best friend from college is having his first baby (yes, it is his wife that is having the baby, but again, you know what I mean).
  • My mother got another dog (her second). I will post a picture of it here soon. It is an odd looking dog. It has a huge head on a medium-sized body and he has stumpy legs. My guess it that it is a mix between a German Shepherd and a Corgi. I will let that image ruminate through your head before I post the picture.
One again thank you all for your comments, suggestions, and words of encouragement.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Detox - Day 2 (Part 2)

I am in pain. So is Sara.

We are dealing with some really bad headaches. Mine seems to shoot up my neck and up and around over the top of my skull. Sara's is a throbbing one which gets worse if she moves around.

Although the rules don't allow it, I am seriously tempted to take some asprin.

The meals were better today. I made some lentil stew with veggies and tumeric and cinnamon seasoning for lunch. Dinner was some Tilapia with tumeric, lemon, and basil, arrugula salad with radishes, strawberries, and blueberries and a lemon-basil dressing.

I had to make a run to Trader Joe's to get some more fruit. That was a test of my will power. As I went in, a woman was walking out with a very nice looking bagette. In the store the fruits are right next to the cheese display. I was good: no snacking, tasting, sampling, or stealing.

Mentally I seem to be more alert, but that just makes me more aware of this stupid headache.

As part of the program we are doing stretches and hydrotherapy. Our tub doesn't really work (not that I would fit in it anyway), so we just have to make do with the shower.

This whole process would be easier if we could actually do it at Canyon Ranch where it is part of a program. There others worry about your food, there are scheduled yoga classes, and you are not exposed to all sorts of tempting images, smells, and foods. Of course, we cannot afford that..

Thank you everyone for the support and ideas. At this point I need all the help/best wishes I can get. Off to drink some water...
Detox - Day 2

Weight: 232.6 pounds
BF: 25 %

I don't feel so good. I have a headache and my body aches, especially the back of my legs. I still feel like I am in a fog. I wonder how much of this is psychosomatic. I have gone days before without coffee and not felt this way. I have also eaten a "healthy diet" for a stretch of time without falling into this state.

I do notice the tension that was in my back, neck, and shoulders more now. Thinking that a massage might help ease this, I looked up massage in the local neighborhood phone book. It had two listings: one was for so-and-so physical therapy and the other was for "Sensual Alluring Ladies". Sara objected to my checking them out. She right, I am in no shape to get arrested right now.

As to the details of the detox program we are doing. It is one designed by Mark Hyman, M.D. who is the medical director at Canyon Ranch Spa in the Berkshires. A while back we read a book he co-authored called Ultraprevention, which we liked and thought made sense.

Need to run...more later.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Detox - Day 1 (Part II)

I am STARVING! Ok, not starving, but really hungry. We had salmon, brown rice, green beans, and carrot juice for dinner. So it was more like a regular meal, but somehow still not satisfying.

Hardest part of this:
1. No sugar. Yes, I have a sweet tooth and I am feeling it now.
1. b) Right behind no sugar - no peppers/spiciness. Dinner would have been improved ten fold if I could have put some hot peppers, chile sauce, or salsa on my food.

We managed to get out of the house. Sara wanted to go to a fabric store and I had no better suggestion, so that's where we went. While Sara looked at yarn and beads, I spaced out sitting at a table with pattern catalogues, occasionally being startled back into consciousness by some screaming child or some loud woman. After this draining excursion, I came home and took a long nap. Naps are good. Everyone should still have nap time.

The dogs got walked right before dinner. I honestly don't remember much of it other than we saw a cat with what appeared to be a field mouse or wood rat in its mouth. Of course Mr. Cat Hunter became the hunted as both dogs made an attempt to make it the victim. Mr. Cat Hunter can thank the leashes for its longevity.

I hope tomorrow is easier than today. I will try being a little more creative with the menu, but the options are quite limited. This detox really better work...

Day One
Weight: 236 pounds
Body Fat 25 percent (according to our crappy scale, which I don't trust one bit).

Breakfast: Lemon juice in hot water, fruit shake with rice protein powder and flax.

Snack: Fruit shake, mint blend tea

Lunch: Brown rice, brocolli rabe with tumeric and garlic, vegetable broth, carrot juice, and a mango.

Thoughts: It is strange going from eating for pleasure to eating for fuel/nutrients. I mean generally my diet involves a combination of the two. I find it sad when the highlight food of your day has been brown rice - I did think that before I had the mango, which was pretty good.

In fact, after lunch, my exact thoughts were: "that was unpleasant."

I do feel a little "spacy" and fatigued but not as bad as I thought I would. So far I have not experienced the "coffee withdrawal headache".

The only other thought I have had is that I have noticed how unsweet everything tastes. I already knew that I have an adiction to sugar and sweets. I am just realizing how sweet foods dominate most of my diet.

I don't know for how long we will keep this up, but we have planned for a week. We'll see how it goes.

Friday night we went to a concert. We saw Gogol Bordello, which is a difficult band to describe - they refer to themselves as Gypsy Punk. Opening for them were Reverend Glasseye and Throw Rag. I liked the first band a lot. They were quite original and the bass player was excellent. The second band was not my cup of tea - too punk without the angst.

I like Gogol Bordello a lot, but I did not enjoy the concert. I guess it is because I am a stiff square. First, it was generally too loud. Second, the bass overpowered all the other instruments - which are worth hearing. But the most annoying thing is the people. I don't enjoy having to shove drunk people off of me or have them spill their drinks on me. In a certain sense, it is interesting to watch if you can distance yourself enough. There was one guy who was barely standing flopping around like a fish. It seemed like he was alone. What drives someone to that state and that behavior. There was another woman, who also seemed to be alone, who seemed to be having orgasms to the music.

We have tickets to another concert: Bloc Party. We will probably also go to Bauhaus in November. I was thinking of going to see Rusted Root in October - I would have to go on my own because Sara doesn't like them all that much. However, after the experience on Friday I am having second thoughts. I am not sure why I can't enjoy concerts like other people. Everyone else seemed to be having fun. Oh well...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thank you all for the kind comments and words of encouragement.

For those of you who would like a Guayabera - Merida is the place to get them. Make sure that they are made out of cotton or linen, though. One of mine is really nice, but it is part polyester and it is really warm - not good for the weather they were intended to be worn in.

While they were traditionally for men, women look good in them too. Sara has one and although she has not worn it recently, she looks good in it.

The syllabus is done for now. Thankfully. I might tweak it a bit here and there, but I have the semester schedule laid out and the readings picked out. I now need to copy all the bits and pieces of books I am using to make the reader for the course. That is yet another tedious activity. I will be going into the department to do that tomorrow.

Going into the department is not that easy - it is about a 40 minute drive (at least an hour during rush hour). It is not that it is that far - probably about seven or eight miles. It is just the way Boston is laid out, there isn't an easy way to get there. Public transportation is not that useful either, although that may be an option once the semester starts (tomorrow I will be lugging many books with me, so the car it is). At least I can read or do something on my way there and back. If anyone wants to get me an iPod, I could also listen to recorded books - didn't think so.

I guess that is the price to pay after my "commute" last year, which was about 300 yards. Of course, my commute to my sweetie was about 3,000 miles. Not good.

Time to clear my head before I go to bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The interview was draining. I don't like interviews and I particularly don't like them in the summer when it is hot. I decided against dressing up - I wore a guayabera instead.

I think the interview itself went well and I think they were desperate to get someone to teach this class in the fall. However, the course is scheduled for the exact same time as the course I am already teaching. I asked about changing the time the course meets, but apparently the students at this very technical school (MIT), schedule their courses years in advance. So changing it would throw things off.

I asked the chair at the other university whether that course could be changed, but alas it cannot. So I will miss out on the opportunity to teach what seemed to be a fun class, to get some good experience, and to earn some extra $$$. It's all rather disappointing.

In my other activity, namely finishing off the syllabus for the course I am teaching, I am struggling in getting the reading load to something which the students can handle. I am having to cut out some fun, but lengthy, readings in favor of the more substantial ones. I also need to decide which films I am going to use. It is a tough task - everything needs to fit in neatly.

Sara is slogging through her last week of epidemiology and biostatistics. Despite the strain on her stamina and mental clarity these courses have placed on her, she has been wonderfully supportive. I will be happy when she is done with the classes and she is once again a little more lucid, though. I myself need to find some clarity too. I, however, have no excuse for my spaciness. Just the way I am, I guess...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I have an interview tomorrow to teach an extra course at a different university. I guess you could call it academic moonlighting. Some extra cash would be nice.

The strange thing is that the person I am meeting with is someone whose paper I read at a conference when she was unable to attend. She was part of a session Sara organized. At the last minute she could not make it and Sara asked me if I would read her paper during the conference.

This opportunity and interview popped up pretty quickly - maybe it is some kind of karmic thing.

I have also been working on the syllabus for the Latino course. It is a lot of work - tiring too. I think I have most of the readings set. I need to put in an order for the books and make photo copies for the course reader.

Random complaint: Is anyone else as annoyed as I am about the excessive coverage of that missing girl in Aruba?

I really wish I could go sailing. It's a great way to clear the mind.

I am going to give accupuncture a shot. Details to come...

My massage is still waiting for me.

Time for bed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

This Gay Marriage thing is for the Birds

Even birds are flocking to Massachusetts to take advantage of the gay marriage thing. Just read:
- It turns out there's a good reason why the eggs from Boston's famed Public Garden swans aren't hatching -- both birds are female.

Named Romeo and Juliet, the birds are star attractions at the park. The city went as far to name them after Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.

However, tests have confirmed they are both female. In fact the tests were done months ago but park officials waited to announce the results. Says one spokeswoman "why spoil the fairy tale?" (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Please pitty me, living in such an amoral place where even the animals are deviant!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Random Thoughts
  • I am tired.
  • I have been working on editing an article Sara and I wrote together. It is being published in Europe, so I need to change all the formating to the British style. It is tedious work.
  • My shoulders hurt and I can feel the tension work its way from my neck through my shoulders down to my arms. I need a massage - badly.
  • I also would like to learn self-hypnosis. It seems fascinating...
  • Although I don't know if my mind is the kind that would release to a hypnotic state. It is always running - I don't know where, but it is running.
  • Zephyr keeps getting ticks. Zeus has had three ticks the whole time we have had him. I don't know what his secret is. If he doesn't want to share it with me, he should at least pass it on to Zephyr. It is unpleasant pulling those little buggers off of her.
  • I have been reading a lot lately. I like it, but I find it tiring. Or maybe I am just tired and I am noticing it as I read. Dunno...
  • I should read more. It is good for me.
  • I should exercise more too. I don't think walking the dogs is enough. There is a yoga studio a few blocks away, but I have yet to get off my behind and head down there.
  • I don't know why, but I am craving Brazilian food...and a good caipirihna.
  • This month's Harper's magazine has some interesting articles in it - although they are also frustrating. Ask me for more details if you are interested.
  • That's all for now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

If you really want to irritate someone (now why would anyone want to do that?), send them something registered mail at a time you know they are busy and won't be home very much.

We recently got a slip in our mailbox that said something to the tune of: Sorry we missed you, you have a registered envelope. You can either pick it up at your local post office or sign the slip and we will redeliver it, just tell us where to leave it.

Sara signed the slip (the slip said it was for her, but not who it was from), also wrote that I could sign for it, and we left it taped to our mailbox yesterday. Today I was extra vigilant for the postal carrier just in case he or she (it is usually a he) wanted someone to sign for it. Of course he came while I was occupied with some important business. I went outside and found the slip in our box with some extra scribbling saying that a signature was needed.

I ran all around our neighborhood looking for our postal carrier. This was particularly unpleasant because it was rather warm and humid today. I finally tracked him down. He said that not only did someone have to sign for it, that someone needed to pick it up from the post office. While I was annoyed that this information was not put on the slip in the first place, I put on a smile(you don't want to antagonize your mail carrier) and I asked him whether I could go or if Sara was the one who needed to go. He said I could go.

I should point out that Sara has been very stressed (for reasons I won't go into here, let me just say the words Biostatistics and Epidemiology) and not knowing what this was was just stressing her out more. Thus I was determined to get to the bottom of this. As this was unfolding, our power went out, creating other difficulties - but that is another story for another time.

I headed down to our post office and gave the overweight guy behind the counter the slip of paper. He asked for ID and disappeared for a rather long time. I saw him pop out one door and go into another. Finally he came out and said Sara had to come in to get it herself. Ugh!

When Sara got home this afternoon, I explained the saga to her and we decided to just go down to the post office there and then. This time it all worked out. The mysterious envelope? Some little thing Sara bought on eBay.

While I am at it, let me vent a little more:
  • Why does the power go out right when you are in the middle of writing something important or just wrote down some brilliant idea on your computer? Moreover, how come the system saved version cut short right before this important thing or idea?
  • Why does it take me five second to get one contact in and half an hour to get the other one in?
  • And why do I get some trash in my eye an hour after said trial of getting the contact in? I swear a speck of dust feels like a boulder in your eye.
On the good news front, I found out today that a book I am reviewing for a publisher will get me either $150 or $200 worth of books from the publisher. I thought I was doing it for free (well, for professional advancement reasons, but no direct compensation).

Ok, I am tired and I have realized that I am babbling here so it is time to close up shop. Maybe I will go suck on a salted lime...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

As I was making some guacamole today, I remembered one of my favorite snacks when I was a kid:

I would dip a lime in salt (and ground chile - de arbol, pequin, or similar - if it were available) and eat the flesh.

I was a weird child.

However, I just tried it again with a left-over lime. I still like it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

On the Agenda:
  1. I sent my defense into the Town of Brookline today. It is nice that you can do it via mail. Thank you all for your comments. I did edit my letter and I drew a diagram to better illustrate my position.
  2. I spent about half an hour on the phone today with my old phone company trying to get them to stop charging me a trivial amount of money. I cancelled my service in Washington on June 6. In the process they failed to cancel some long distance service charge that is $0.99 ($1.21 after all the taxes/service charges)/month. Things like this are just so irritating!
  3. I can't wait until fall. I am sick of the hot and humid weather!
  4. However, I am running out of time to complete all the things that were scheduled to "get done over the summer"... [gasp]
  5. I am reading Always Running by Luis Rodriguez. It is an amazing story, gripping and chilling. I am defintely using this book in my course.
  6. On the menu for tonight: pesto genovese with basil from our porch. Yum! Off to make it...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Parking Ticket Saga...

Here is my defense:

August 5, 2005

Parking Clerk
Town of Brookline
P.O. Box 470708
Brookline, MA 02447-0708

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to contest the parking citation I received on August 2, 2005 for unpaid meter at 1295 Beacon Street. The spot at which I was parked does not have a meter.

As illustrated by the attached photographs, the only meter in the vicinity of the spot lies beyond the parking line for the spot I was parked in. Unlike all the other meters in the area that are double meters, this meter is a single meter. If the meter seen in the photographs is for the spot I was parked at, it should be labeled as such or the line should be painted further down the street so that the meter is within the parking spot. Given that it is not adjacent to the delineated parking area, I believe that I should not be responsible for this ticket.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.



The place of the incident! Posted by Picasa

No meter! Posted by Picasa

Meter beyond the spot Posted by Picasa

Meter-less spot Posted by Picasa

I hope this works...

Stupid meter maids!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today was one of those days when I got very little accomplished. I days like this because as evening arrives I feel so unfulfilled. It was just hard finding enthusiasm to sink myself into anything worthwhile - my ganas as Cindylu put it, went AWOL. I didn't relax either - that would have been accomplishing something in my book. I was just restless and unproductive.

I did get myself back to the infamous parking spot and took some pictures. Now I need to print them out and craft my defense. I will put that up here when it gets done.

Rather than continuing my cybermope, I will take on the meme that Scott threw my way...

Number of books on shelf?
This is an extremely difficult question for a couple of reasons:
1. While there are books that are definitely Sara's and some that are definitely mine, many are ours (and there are some duplicates). So what to count becomes a problem.
2. As Scott pointed out, there are numerous shelves to be counted.
3. While we have many shelves, most of our books actually are not on shelves, but rather in boxes or bins.
At some point we should make an inventory of what we have, but that day is far off. So how many books are there...I could not even guess a number. We are two academics, who have 7 and a half degrees among us. I can say this, a least half of what we own is books.

Last book purchased?

The last book I got was "Growing Up Bilingual" by Ana Celia Zentella. But I got it for free because I am going to use it in the class I am teaching this fall. I also have bought a load of academic books recently (all at the same time) - too many to list here. Probably the last non-academic book I purchased was "Retired Greyhounds for Dummies."

Book I'm reading now?

"Always Running. La Vida Loca: Gang Days in LA," Luis Rodriguez
"How the Gracia Girls Lost their Accents," Julia Alvarez
"Canicula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera," Norma Cantu
"Growing Up Bilingual" by Ana Celia Zentella
"Anything but Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles," Rodolfo Acu~a
"Lo sguardo della mano. Practiche della localita' e antropologia della visione in una comunita' montana lombarda," Cristina Grasseni

"Children of God," Mary Doria Russell

Last five books read?
"Retired Greyhounds for Dummies"
"Brown" Richard Rodriguez
"Latinos: Remaking America," edited by Marcelo Suarez-Orozco and Mariela Paez
"Food" Travelers' Tales
"Foods of the Maya" (I know this one is cheating, but I did read it!)

Sara was also tagged by Scott, but she is lost in an abstract, confusing, and exhausting web of bio-statistics and epidemiology at the moment, I will just point out that I am quite certain that the last books that she purchased, read, and is continuing to read all relate to those two subjects. Oh, prior to that she got some books by some medieval astrologer, physicist, something or rather, but who knows why or where those books ended up....

I guess I am supposed to tag three people for this...I hate doing this and I won't hold it against anyone if they fail to goes:

Oso, Mala, and Mariposa

There you go, Scott. Mission accomplished! I guess that's enough for today, but somehow I still feel unfulfilled...go figure.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Stars told me to do it...

As some of you already know, I am a masterful procrastinator. One of my refined techniques for putting things off is cleaning - whether it is my office, the house/apartment, the dogs, the cars, or doing the laundry, they all function well.

Today I decided that I would make an extra effort to be productive. When I sat at my desk and opened my browser, the home page is set at MyYahoo where among the headlines, sports scores and RSS feeds, I also get my horoscope. I am not a believer in these things, but I think for today it was spot on...
Libra Libra
Daily extended (by
Is there a thick layer of dust over your knickknacks? Are your books and papers piled haphazardly around the house? Well, no wonder you've got a case of the mean reds. Pick up your spirits by beautifying your immediate surroundings. It's amazing how much better you feel when your house, car and office are clean and organized. After you complete these small steps, the larger issues will become much clearer. desk is still quite messy and my car is still crying for a good cleaning (I should go check in on my L/H/H "brothers" at the carwash). I sure there is a lot I can do to "beautify my immediate surroundings"!

And I can't wait to see how the "larger issues" will become much clearer.

BTW - tomorrow I will head down to the infamous meterless spot and document my evidence (which might also find its way on here!).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What had started as an uninspired day took a turn for the annoying and frustrating this afternoon. While I was out running some errands I got a parking ticket in the City of Brookline, MA for an "upaid meter."

Now I am willing to pay my dues when I make a mistake, but in this case it is hard to understand how I could get a ticket for an upaid meter when there wasn't a meter for the spot I was parked in. Granted, there was a meter for the spot ahead of me and one for the one behind me, so I should have been suspicious. I have no objections to paying the meter - in fact, I have a pocket full of change that I would have been delighted to put into a meter, HAD THERE BEEN A METER to put it in!

The ticket is for $25, hardly a fortune nor worth fighting for, but I am irritated and I am going to fight this all the way to city hall! (I always wanted to say that!)

This case illustrates why I find many of provisions of the Patriot Act troubling. If local meter maids are overzealous in dispatching their "justice", how can we trust higher authorities to act judiciously when our civil rights and freedoms are at stake? Especially if there are few avenues of recourse, unlike this case where I can challenge the ticket.

More of an update later when my irritation disipates some...