Friday, February 24, 2006

Here is something I stole from Beav'.

It is a Goffmanesque experiement - made interesting because most of you have never "met" me.

In any case, follow the link and take the test [it's not hard at all].

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I have been watching curling at the Olympics recently. Mostly because it tends to be on when I am on the eliptical trainer at the gym. I tried to deduce the rules from just watching it (being the gym there is no sound either, not that it would really help). I failed, though, and I eventually went online and looked them up.

It also happens that someone from Sara's work sent out an announcement that a local curling club is having an open house on Saturday. I asked Sara if she was up to it. She said she would be happy to watch me do it (translation: I want to laugh when you slip on the ice and fall on your ass). Well, I AM going to try it, even if I have to endure the humiliation of slipping and falling.

Tonight we heard that the oldest participant at the Olympics is some guy on a curling team - I forgot which team and exactly how old (in his fifties, I think). Sara turned to me and said, "See, if you start up now, you can still make it to the next Olympics."

While I am certain that the competition for the US Curling Team is probably intense, I could compete for Mexico. That is exactly what Mexico needs: an Olympic Curling Team (we could even have a theme song and a movie made of our story, just like the Jamaican Bobsled Team).

Now all I need to do is find three other Mexicans to join me in my Olympic quest...

I guess they have to be males because the event is broken down by gender, although I am not quite sure why. I cannot for the life of me figure out why you need separate competitions for men and women or why you could not have a co-ed group. Maybe we could be challenge that system as well...why not?

So if you are a Mexican, male or female, who is interested in some strange sport (is it really a sport?) and you have the Olympic dream inside, let me know... Juntos, si se puede!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Don't you hate it when...
  • You bite your lip in some inauspicious way, then it swells up into a nasty canker sore that hangs around for almost a week?
  • The dog steps into some poop and then tracks it into the house, including hoping up on the couch?
  • The day seems sunny and beautiful, yet when you step outside you are greeted by a arctic blast of wind?
  • You have been working out for a couple of weeks and your weight only seems to go up?
  • You are waiting in line to use an ATM and when your turn comes up, the machine shuts down for maintainance?
  • You don't know where your future lies?
  • You discover you are going to have to pay a bundle in income taxes?
  • The dog horks up a dog treat on your head while you are driving?
  • You go to your local taco shop to pickup some quick takeout because you are tired, cold, and need to use the bathroom, only to find a large and indecisive family ahead of you placing a huge order?
  • People just whine about the crappy things that happen to them?
Yeah, I hate it too.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Gym

Observations of Exercise and my Gym

Oso recently posted about going to the gym and the reasons people work out.

I thought about this while I spent a couple of hours (ok, it was more like just under two hours) there this morning. As I strode on the eliptical trainer watching women's curling on the television overhead, I pondered why I and the people around me were there.

In his post, Oso discusses the issue of vanity. Now, while I could stand to lose several pounds, I don't think vanity is the issue for me. I certainly want to look my best for my wife, I am confident that she loves me regardless of the state of my body. My personal reason for being there is health, both physical and mental. As I approach middle age (or am I already there?), I feel the importance to nuture my body. The extra pounds I carry around are an added stress that certainly my body could do without. Moreover, the claim is out there that exercise is good for your mental state. I am not sure if I concur, but I am willing to give it a chance. If anything, right now as I try to get back into shape, I am so fatigued after my work out, I have little energy to stress about anything else!

As I observed the people around me, few of them struck me as vain. True, I work out at the YMCA, which is not your big-time workout freak magnet. It is a random mix of people of all ages and even nationalities. The were a couple that you might suspect of a little vanity - the young, short guy in the muscle shirt perhaps; or maybe the tall, sculpted woman in designer workout gear who jumped from one cardio machine to the other. The others just seemed people who wanted to get a little exercise.

There was one guy, perhaps in his fifties, wearing a tank-top and a backward Red Sox cap who was going psycho on the Nautilus machines. He would sit at one, count "One one thousand, two one thousand...", hyperventilate and then excert himself to exhaustion while shouting. He would then get up and yell at the machine...perhaps some insults? Not sure. Why he was there would be an interesting psycho-social research project.

I should point out that the area has cardio machinies and a Nautilus circuit. The free weights are in a different part of the building, so perhaps the people who are there for vanity reasons congregate there. I tend to content myself with the first area - there and the pool.

The pool seems to be used mostly by older people. Overweight and fairly hairy people (of which I can include myself!). It is hard for me to be more descriptive since I am without glasses and I cannot see much while I am there. I do have prescription goggles, but they don't work that well. They just help me avoid swimming into the side of the pool. The pool, however, is a bit of an ego boost because I tend to be one of the better swimmers - even though I am terribly out of shape. Not that I am an excellent swimmer. Way back when I used to swim a lot. I have retained some of the style if not the stamina.

I have saved the best for last - the locker room. I tend not to like locker rooms - I guess I am just a private person. This locker room is quite a cultural experience, though. There always seem to be old foreign people just hanging around there. Sounds of Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Yiddish float through the air. One time there were three old, fat, wet, and naked men sitting around drinking something from a thermos (vodka?) yaking in Russian. I never thought of a locker room as a community center for immigrant elderly, but apparently this one is just that. No vanity here, that is for sure.

And yes, I am very tired after a set of cardio, resistance, and swimming. Maybe I will go take a nap.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dumb Joke for Today (homemade!):

Why did Dick Cheney shoot that guy in Texas?

Faulty Intelligence!


That's all I have for today - SORRY.

Friday, February 10, 2006

All the alarms are going off fueling the hysteria around here.

I just realized that sentence could be read in so many different ways. It seems relevant to so many different scenarios. It is a sad world we live in, isn't it?

My particular reference was to the impending storm - a full-blooded Nor'easter - that is due to make its way through here tomorrow. Whenever a storm is forecast, the people dash off to the stores and deplete the shelves from the stock of bread and milk. It is rather quite amusing; that is unless you are trying to get your week's shopping done. Fortunately, our pantry is well-stocked and I can avoid the masses.

Given the storm and the snow they say will fall, I decided that I should go out back and clean the dogs' damage. Problem is that it is about 20 degrees outside and the wind makes it feel like a nippy 5 degrees. Frozen poops are easier to scoop (no need to mention the poopcicle pun - it has been done already), though and you don't have to deal with the smell...well, get a whiff here and there.

Another sad observation - the highlight of my day so far has been shoveling frozen dog excrement. Hmmm...

It was a quiet week on the job search front, which is good and bad. Good because there was no need to cope with demoralizing rejection letters, bad because no news becomes bad news as the year progresses. Moreover, the as you may have noticed, the angst of waiting is taking its toll. No need to rehash that now, so let's move on.

I am not sure what to move on to, though. Maybe I will have a cup of tea...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I was going to write something, but I need to go teach. Actually it is office hours that call first, then class. But of course, I need to stop and get some joe/java/umph before I get to campus. Before that, there is the long commute (about 40 minutes - whether I take the 25+ miles freeway route or the 10 miles city route) where I have to deal with Boston drivers. Seeing as to the fact that I am in sweats and a t-shirt, I need to change my attire prior to leaving the house. Brushing my teeth would be a good idea too.

I am not sure why I am going to go through all of this. No one tends to come to office hours and several students told me they would not be in class today because they need to go to a special lecture for some other class (there will probably be more absent because there are those who just do not say anything and then a few who will just skip class).

[Aside: it seems to me that students skip/miss class much more now than when I was in college. Maybe it was just that I was a such a nerd that I needed to be close to dying to miss class]

I had a cool lecture about food and national identity in Italy planned for today too. If only a few of them show up, should I treat them? Or should I just cancel class and do the lecture next week? The second option has the benefit of not having to prepare another lecture next week. Or maybe I will take them all out for a drink? No, I can't, I have some under 21 students.

Well, I guess I did end up writing something. Not what I was originally intending, but something nonetheless.

What I originally was going to write about was on how my career/professional life angst is draining my enthusiasm for teaching and how I "perform" in class. It seems like I can't focus. While I did not really write about that, I think that message comes across in what I did write instead.

I need a vacation. I need to get away from here and I need to get out from inside my head. Unfortunately neither is likely to happen.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lest you think that I have been offed by some government agency or republican group following my previous post, I should inform you that I am still around.

I have, however, been busy and in an apathetic mood.

I am growing discouraged with the job search. While I only have received a few rejections recently, the silence is even more troubling. We are nearing mid-February and if my application were to be considered I should be hearing from them, at least requesting supplemental information.

This is my third try and I am growing very weary of the process. And I am also beginning to doubt myself... not a good thing.