Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The secret code for today....

Dee Boosh ees fullah sheet...

Nothing else for today, thank you.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year

It's that time of year again - Chinese New Year.

You gotta love lunar holidays - you are never sure what day they are going to land on. I like the surprise.

Here are some tips for the Chinese New Year.
  • Don't clean for a couple of days - you might throw out the good fortune (I doubt this will be a problem for us. Anyway, we have good fortune galore stored around in dog fur).
  • Don't wash your hair today (again the good fortune thing).
  • Don't lend any money today (I guess this means also borrowing money or using credit cards).
  • Wear red.
  • Look for red birds (unfortunately, I have not seen my buddy the cardinal around).
  • Don't eat meat (we kind of already blew that one).
  • Don't curse or use foul language (it is hard because the Chinese character for fortune, which you are supposed to display, is "FOOK").
  • Don't cry or else you will cry all year.
  • Have an orange - it will bring you wealth.
  • And tomorrow, feed a dog a little treat and be extra kind to her or him - the second day of New Year is the day of the dogs . Especially meaningful because this will be the year of the dog.
And as one born in the year of the dog, I am hoping it will be particularly good to me (and to all of you too, of course).

One can only hope.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Doubly Rejected

Doubly Rejected

Does getting two rejection letters for the same position count as one or two rejections?

The folks at Brandeis University felt it necessary to let me know again, a month after they informed me the first time, that I had not been selected for a postdoctoral position to which I applied.

Why?
  • To make sure I had gotten the message?
  • To rub it in?
  • Just a habit of theirs?
  • To remind me, just in case I had forgotten?
Whatever their reason, it seems awfully mean to me, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Do you know what I don't like?

When you come home after a long day only to find your water heater spewing water and flooding your basement.

That happened yesterday.

And I did not like it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Life (the academic sort) starts for real this week.

Last week I had the first meeting of one of my classes, but it all seemed fairly informal. This week I have three class meetings, appointments, deadlines, etc. I just looked at my schedule and had a little freak-out moment. Yes, there is a lot to do and less flexibility in which to do it.

I am trying to schedule three visits to the newly joined gym this week as well. I have been a couple of times so far. I met with the trainer who set up my workout routine on Fitlinxx. Working out has gone all high tech on me. It has been a while...

I am starting to feel like a geezer...a ruco as I would say in my youth.

The shadows of uncertainty related to the job search are lurking all around me. I try not to docus on them, but my subconscious won't let me forget about it or escape dealing with it. It seems as though I am clenching my teeth in my sleep. Apparently this tends to be common when you are on the medication I am taking for my other problem. So how best to deal with it? Take another pill! I feel like I am playing a game of Whack the Mole with issues in my head. You deal with one, another pops up.

I should get back to my planning for the week. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The weather has been as erratic as a Boston driver.

Today we were back over 60 degrees.

Then the wind started blowing - gusts over 60 mph.

And suddenly a downpour was added to the equation.

The streets in Boston resembled the canals in Venice, although the drivers were unsure of what to do. The two choices seemed to be:
  1. Panic, stop, and look around.
  2. Ignore the two feet of water flooding the roads and try to plow right through it (usually aided by the SUVIS - Sport Utility Vehicle Invincibility Syndrome. Although there were also few individuals with the PEVAS - Pricy European Vehicle Arrogance Syndrome - who also took the same attitude).
Needless to say, those two don't make for a good situation out on the streets. Another example of the SBD (Stupid Boston Drivers) phenomenon.

Tomorrow classes start and my first one meets in the afternoon. I guess I should figure out what it is I am doing and where the class meets. The first class is difficult because people add or drop, so it is better not to cover too much material. Also students tend to still be in vacation mode (or at least not in think about the material mode).

Off to figure out my plan for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I am going to complain about the weather.

Yesterday it was about 60 degrees.

Right now it is 8 degrees; -10 if you factor in the windchill.

[Sherri - don't leave me a comment about the roses in your garden]

[Any of you Southern California denisens - I know you have lovely weather there: I used to live there]

Of course the dogs where pestering me for a walk this afternoon (they had done their business in the backyard already - they were just being difficult). I caved in and decided to take them. We made it about 20 yards down the street when a gust of wind hit me. We made a U turn and jumped in the car. I drove them around for a while, stopped at a park where they ran for a couple of minutes, and then drove them around some more.

When the weather gets bad - rain, ice, cold - the dogs look at me as though it were my fault.

Oh mystical fortunes, spirits, and whatever other forces control my destiny, may our future lay somewhere warmer - or at least more consistant weather.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

For all you art lovers out there...

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Get this book. The art is fantastic and you will be supporting a neat little independent press.


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I have not shared with you the glorious news that I joined the YMCA last week. My new goggles and swim cap (required, although there is less and less to worry about up there) arrived today. I also have an appointment with the trainer next Wednesday. And I plan on popping in on some yoga classes. I might even have a go at some climbing on their wall (I have a funny feeling that my patas are too heavy for me to be any good at it).

I would like to give the pool a try tomorrow, but I have an application for a postdoctoral position that is due (tomorrow as well). I also need to get a couple of book reviews written up before the semester starts next week.

Today involved a lot of poop cleanup. I had to take advantage of the mild and sunny weather that we had. I have been letting things slide in our backyard and the shit has been piling up.

They(I love the generic they, don't you?) need to come up with the poopless dog. It would be an instant hit.

Damn genetic engineers, when are they going to design something useful?

I do believe that a lot of what I shoveled was property of our neighbors' (and landlords') dogs, but none of it was labeled, so I just cleaned the whole yard.

As you can tell, I am not too fond of dog poop. I have yet to meet anyone who is. There are many academics I have come across (not to mention politicians) who have it oozing out of their mouths...come to think of it, they seem quite fond of what they say. Of course they never stop to pick it up afterward.

I should go do something useful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

After a nice break (due to the holidays, no doubt) the rejections seem to have started up once again.

In other news, I got my syllabi for this semester put together - almost. I just need to do some formating and clean them up. I should also decide what the assignments are going to be.

I also want to note, that my absence around here is partially due to the aforementioned trifecta and the need to finish up the syllabi, order books, and put together the course reader. In the past week, however, I attempted to post twice. Once the power went out just before I was going to click on publish (yes, I did get a power strip with a back up battery. However, I managed to plug in the computer into the outlet that is not on the battery). The other time Blogger just ate my post. Blogger burped afterward, which I thought was just a tad rude.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Trifecta

Busy.

Tired.

Lazy.



Any questions?

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year

Of Birds, Symbols, and Omens

The first bird I saw in this newest of years was my friend the cardinal.

Again I looked out of the kitchen window as I just had gotten up and I was on my way to prepare some much needed coffee and there he (or she?) was gently pecking on the ground. The crimson plumage contrasted brightly against the fresh white snow.

Was this an omen? If so, is it a good one or a bad one? By the way, is there ever a neutral omen? How about an indifferent omen? Never mind.

So a red bird. Being an anthropologist interested in symbols, I thought about it and this is what I came up with:
  • Red is supposedly the first color perceived by humans. So it is appropriate that it be the first color of the year.
  • Red is a sign of properity and luck in China and elsewhere, so it may be a good sign. Red bed-clothes were customary in Germany up to the Middle Ages as protection against the "red illnesses", such as fever, rashes or even miscarriages.
  • Red, however, also has negative connotations. Red in ancient Egypt was the color of the desert and of the destructive god Seth who inpersonated the Evil. "Making red" was synonymous with killing someone, evil doings were refered to as "red affairs". Writers of Egyptian papyri used a special red ink for nasty words.

But what of the bird? A red bird?

The first thing that came to mind was a firebird, or Phoenix, which appears in many cultures. In Egypt, China and Central America it was associated with cleansing and revival. In China its name is Fenghuang and it promises luck and longevity. I guess that is good, but of course there is that dying part that one needs to get through. It might be the death of 2005 and 2006 will emerge triumphally.

One can only hope.

Or maybe it was just a stupid red bird that forgot to fly south for the winter and is now stuck here in snowy Boston.