Sunday, August 27, 2006

MIA (missing in action or moving is awful)

Yes, I have been away. Moreover, things have not been going particularly well.
Driving down to NY we had numerous mishaps:
  • While at a rest-stop, I hit Sara on the head with the back hatch of the car.
  • We got stuck on I-91 for a couple of hours. There was a huge accident and they closed the freeway down. This is not good when you, your wife, and your two extremely freaked out dogs really need to pee. As the traffic crept ahead, we were finally able to get off the freeway, but we were in middle of nowhere. Driving around a bit, we found a country club that had a restaurant and a grassy patch next to the parking lot.
  • In Danbury, CT, we stopped to try to get something to eat. We could not find anywhere with a drive-thru. We finally saw a supermarket and ran in quickly there. We got two turkey sandwiches and went back to the car to eat them. It was one of the worst turkey sandwiches I have had in a long time. Sara could not eat it.
  • When we finally got to NY, exhausted, we were taking the dogs up to our new place. We had to go in an elevator, which was new to Zephyr. Zeus had ridden in elevators before, but this was an old one and more bouncy than those he had ridden in before. When we finally got them in and going up, we thought we were home. Wrong. When the doors opened, there were two very mean looking dogs barking at us. Our freaked dogs were even more spooked. We quickly pressed the button to close the door and we went down a floor. We exited and tried going up the stairs. Zeus made it up fine, but Zephyr who only learned how to do stairs last year, slipped on the stone top of the stairs, only making it up three or four stairs before retreating. Seeing that the dogs were gone, I went back down and took Zephyr up in the elevator.
We came back to Boston last night without the dogs. My mom and stepfather are dog-sitting in NY. We arrived to a very messy and unhospitable apartment (there is nowhere to sit!). Our bad luck is not over. Sara is not feeling well (ie. she is very sick).

There is still much to do and I am fading quickly. We'll see how this turns out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Moving Madness

Moving - it is madness, I tell you, utter madness. You don't believe me...have a listen:

You pack some stuff, then you turn around and there is more stuff to pack right where the old stuff you already packed was. You pack that, only to find more stuff waiting. It never ends. The stuff is out to get me!

Erratic behavior:
So I had two small piñatas that were certainly not going to make the trip. Why I had these piñatas is a long story and unimportant. And no, Scott, they were not toilet piñatas. Not wanting to confine these poor piñatas to the local landfill, I found a good home for them: the small Mexican taqueria down the street that already had a couple piñatas adorning the store-front. I had asked the owner if he would like them a couple of weeks ago when I was in there satisfying my need for a bit of my heritage. Today I took them down, but the owner was not there. The only person was a lonely cook. In Spanish, I explained that the owner said he would take the piñatas and that I was dropping them off. As I was leaving, I turned and asked the guy if he knew of anyone who was looking to buy a car as I pointed to the poor Daewoo parked out front. He said that he had a friend who might be interested, so I gave him my number and ran off to continue my hectic day. Think about it. Here comes in this big, gringo looking dude who all of a sudden starts spurting in Mexican Spanish something about piñatas and then starts babbling about a car for sale. Not your normal behavior.

I wake up before 7 am overwhelmed by all the thoughts running through my head. Enough said.

Sitting, staring...staring....staring......staring at all the stuff.

Ok, the voices in my head have not started talking to me, but I am sure they are just giving me the silent treatment.

Ok, we are all stressed here in the X household. Zeus is stressed because he knows what is going on. Zephyr is stressed because she doesn't know what is going on. Sara and I are stressed because we are not sure if we know what is going on.

One more car related anectdote: I had joked with Sara that we needed to park the Daewoo with the "for sale" sign down at the Hi-Lo Supermarket in Jamaica Plain (translation: the local Latino market in a neighborhood with a lot of Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans, and Central Americans). This came out of a previous joke that the Daewoo would look good as a low-rider, with the neon trim and some flames painted on the side. In other words, a "ghetto car".

Today I began taking the car to local used car dealers to see what I could get for it. In between dealers, I went to a self-storage place to get some more boxes. This place was near Jamaica Plain, in a fairly seedy part of town. As I pulled into the place, two Haitian guys asked me how much I wanted for the car; they had seen the sign on the side in passing. They were seriously interested in the car, much more than anyone else. The whole time I was talking to them, I kept thinking - we should have parked it at the Hi-Lo!

In talking with the Haitian guys, it came out that they were hopeful that the new president there was going to clean things up. By this he meant that he would arrest all the "trouble makers" and shoot them. Hmmm... He continued by stating that preachers (ie. Aristide) should stay in the church and out of politics. He concluded by telling that when Douvalier was in power, things were good, it was all the idiots since then that had messed things up. Good old Papa and Baby Doc - yes, they did great things for Haiti. But then again, what do I know...

If this ramble has not convinced you of my compromised mental state, I am not sure anything will.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Beyond Words: A Universal Illustrated Guide to Xolo's Life

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Headin' South, Again (or have I mentioned how much moving sucks?)

I am driving back down to New York tomorrow. I am taking a few things down and I will spend the night in our new digs. I will probably hit IKEA (I always pronounce it ee-keh-ah because I first visited one in Sweden when I was studying abroad there) to get some rugs and a shower curtain. I have a feeling we will be visiting that place quite often.

On Thursday I have to go to a benefits orientation at the college. Orientations are no fun, but I am extremely thankful that I will have benefits.

I am getting tired of the drive. I will do it again next week with Sara and the dogs. And one more time the following week with a moving truck.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Likeness is Uncanny!

[via Frankie]

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

You scored as Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is an archaeologist/adventurer with an unquenchable love for danger and excitement. He travels the globe in search of historical relics. He loves travel, excitement, and a good archaeological discovery. He hates Nazis and snakes, perhaps to the same degree. He always brings along his trusty whip and fedora. He's tough, cool, and dedicated. He relies on both brains and brawn to get him out of trouble and into it.

Well, Indy and I do share the following traits:
  • I do have an irrational fear of snakes.
  • We are both professors.
  • I am also an anthropologist (arachaeology is a sub-field of anthro).
  • We like to travel.
  • I, too, hate N*a*z*is.
  • Tough, cool, and dedicated - maybe not...
  • A whip? Some guy in Tijuana offered to sell me one.
I really should get a Fedora and a leather jacket - maybe that would change my job search fortunes. I do like the suit he wears at the end of Raiders.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Better Wine Tonight

Better Wine Tonight

At the same co-op that we bought the ill-fated Boston wine, I also found a bottle made in the same small town where my granpa lives. It is the same small town I spent my first year living in the US - my sophomore year in high school.

There are a couple of very small wineries there, but the wines are decent to good. I went wine tasting the last time I was there. Their production is small and the distribution is generally local. So I was quite surprised to see a bottle all the way over here on the east coast. The reason it made it, I think, is that the wine is organic and sulphite-free and we were smack dab in the middle of the People's Republic of Cambridge in an earthy co-op no less. I had to get it, for sentimental and nostaligic reasons.

It was a Syrah - usually not my favorite variatal. This one was different. It still had the peppery-ness of a Syrah, but it was more subdued. The aromas, however, were intense and there were hints of chocolate and coffee in the wine. I think Sara was perplexed by it - not quite sure if she liked it or not. Maybe she did not like it and did not want to offend my sensibilities knowing that I had a conection to the terroir from which it hailed. Not likely. Sara speaks her mind and she did drink it (which more that can be said about the Boston wine and another Syrah we bought a while back that tasted like it was made in a barnyard or horse stable).

I did not mean to write this much on wine. I just got carried away.

  • There have been only two tepid inquiries into the car. Not promising.
  • Lux got me hooked on this CD trading site. I have gotten rid of some CDs I never listened to or did not like and I picked up a few that I wanted. It seems that a lot of the trading involves people getting CDs of things they used to have on vinyl a long time ago. Just an observation.
  • I believe this sign is mean:

  • I saw a similar one that said, "Slow Construction Ahead." That would explain why road work is never done in Boston.
  • Have I mentioned that I hate moving?
  • I joined a bunch of MeetUp groups in NY. I belonged to a couple here - never went to anything. Let's hope NY is better.
  • I washed the dogs' bedding today - the lint filter in the drier was overwhelmed by all the fur.
  • The dogs know something is up already. They also think moving sucks.
  • I made a nice Caprese salad for dinner tonight with our home-grown basil. The basil is quite happy (and tasty). It doesn't know we are moving. Good thing, that would make it bitter.
I need to get some sleep, if you haven't noticed.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Winery in Boston?

We were poking around a Co-op in Central Square in Cambridge when we ran across a wine called Cantina Bostonia. It is made here in Boston out of California grapes.

It was not very expensive, so we decided to give it a try. I wish I could say it was good.

I can't.

Maybe we got a bad bottle - quite possible with such a small production outfit. The bottle we got is very acidic (not quite to vinegar, though) and it is excessively fruity.

With so many other wonderful bottles out there, I think I will stay away from Cantina Bostonia. And in any case, we are moving to New York.

Update: It is acceptable in Sangria.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Anybody Wanna Buy a Car?

Check out the Craigslist Ad.

Things have been hectic and busy. Among other things I have been trying to:
  • Work on my syllabi for my fall courses
  • Figure out what I am going to teach in the Spring - I need to propose the courses to the curriculum committee and get them approved. The process starts in September, so I also have to have the syllabi for those courses written.
  • Deal with the mundane bureaucratic aspects of moving - setting up utilities, cancelling utilities, requesting mail to be forwarded, figuring out driver's license requirements, car registrations, etc.
  • It turns out that I need a social security card to get a license in New York. I haven't had the actual card since I was about seven. So tomorrow I need to trudge down to the SS building to try to get a replacement card.
  • Ah yes, packing.
  • And chucking. How did we accumulate so much stuff?
  • And getting stuff to put our stuff in. George Carlin's bit on stuff is one of the greatest comedic routines of all time (you can read it at the link, but Carlin's delivery and piercing sarcastic tone is what makes it so great).
  • And dealing with movers who want to charge more than an arm and a leg (think genitalia) to move our stuff - most of it is not worth all that much. So there will be more chucking in the future. Anyone want some furniture?
Other than that, not much going on.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What Have I Been Doing?

Sara will tell you.

But I will show you.

We saw this:

And many more like it.


And I must say I am very happy that I don't smoke or work in a coal mine. Those lungs were pretty nasty. Although I do have scarring on my lungs from living in Mexico City for almost sixteen years.

If you have a chance to see the exhibit (it's in Boston until January and in Houston next year) you definitely should.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

An Infernal Place

I have seen what hell is like. And I'd rather not go back.

I admit, I like to complain. I have also been in some very unpleasant situations. Perhaps some were worse that the one I found myself in last Thursday, but at this point I don't think so.

Last Thursday hell was at the 169th Street subway station in New York.

On that day it was about 105 degrees with an opressive humidity. It was much, much hotter in the subway station. Of course I walked down the stairs only to see the train I needed pull out of the station. So I sat on an uncomfortable wooden bench and watched the few people who made their way down into the station begin to wilt.

As I waited I became cognizant of every single sweat pore in my body. Why? Because every single one was engaged in releasing copious amounts of moisture in a futile attempt to cool my body. I discovered sweat emerging from places in my body that I never realized had sweat glands. Minid you, I have been in steam baths and saunas many times. In the daze that was coming over me I was morbidly fascinated by the beads of moisture that eminated from every possibly point in my body.

The stagnant air became suffocating. The only relief came when one of the four or five trains that were headed in the other direction entered and left the station for these were the only times the air moved at all.

In retrospect I should have gotten out of the station. The lightheadedness and fading vision were probably a warning that my body was not pleased with the situation. By then, however, clear thinking was beyond me and the hope that a train with its heavenly cool air would come to my rescue was the only thing pulsing through my mind.

So I waited.

And I began to drown in my sweat.

And then I waited some more.

I believe that it was after twenty or twenty five minutes after I first arrived that my passage out of that infernal place arrived.

The cool air inside the train revived me - to a point. As I began to rehydrate and regain clear thought, I felt as though I had been in a tumble drier. I was somewhat dizzy and disoriented.

It is now a few days later and I still feel somewhat in a daze.

I am certain that the station I was in is not the same station that is part of the NY subway system. Somehow I stumbled into some type of metaphysical warp that took me to an another place that while it looked like a subway station it was a locale of penance. It gave me a glimpse of a place in which no human should be.

I hope I never end up there again.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Candidate for Worst Job

As much as I like to complain, nothing in my life can compare to having what must qualify as one of the worst jobs ever: being a trash collector in Boston (or any city in the Northeast) tomorrow.

These thoughts crossed my mind as I took the trash out and pulled our large trash can (rubbish bin for you Brits out there) to the kerb (curb for you Yanks out there).

Even though it was about 8:30 pm, it was still in the 90s and if it were any more humid there would be fish swimming by. The odor eminating through the closed lid of the bin was repulsive. The trash already in there has had a chance to ferment in the heat today.

Some poor soul will have to march up and down the streets through the infernal heat, dragging these malodorous barrels of refuse to empty them into a large truck. I imagine that one must become imune to the smell, but the combination of the heat, humidity, and fermenting waste...

I will refrain from complaining for a while in honor of those who will toil to keep our abodes free of trash...

...just a little while, though.

Hot in the City

Hot in the City

I am driving down to NY tomorrow.

I am picking up the keys to our new apartment and inspecting it. I hope to also meet our new super - one thing I know already is that a key to happy living in NY is being on good terms with your building's super.

I was also thinking of taking a few things down with me but there is one major issue. Tomorrow it is supposed to be extremely
I don't think I want to be schlepping things when it is supposed to be over 100 degrees.

Somehow it seems like I end up in NY on the hottest days of the year. Why?

On Thursday morning I will head out to the new workplace to do some required paperwork and then back up to Boston.