Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I find this CNN online poll very disturbing. It isn't scientific, but it really shows how close to fascism we really are.
Are there circumstances in which waterboarding of prisoners is acceptable?
Yes 53% 17280
No 47% 15286
Total Votes: 32566
I wonder if the answers would be any different if instead of waterboarding it read torture.

Witchhunts - I can smell them coming....
There is so much to do - or better put, there is so much I need to be doing.

Yet I don't have the wherewithal to even begin.

Two notes:
1. In Italian there is a great word that fits in where I have the "better put" that does not have an English equivalent: anzi. I find this frustrating at times. I want the equivalent of a word that exists in a different language. Moral of the story: avoid learning foreign languages - it is the cause of unnecessary frustration.

Second note: ........now I forgot. I think I was going to write something about the word wherewithal. Hmmm...not sure if that was it. But since I am on that topic, wherewithal is usually I word we use when we don't have it. And it is a cumbersome word for a period of time when we are feeling overwhelmed and unable to tackle some issue(s).

So there it is. The end of the semester is upon us. The realization that break is not really a break, rather a shift in activities. I will welcome the break in teaching. Four courses is just too many. It is not fair to the teacher and not fair to the students.

I am off to find a different way to avoid what it is that I need to get done.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I got my first official rejection of the job hunt season. It came via email. I am not even worth a stamp. At least it is environmentally friendly.

It just came at a bad time. It has shaken my confidence a little and my sinking morale went a little lower.

I need the semester to be over.

But before I wallow in self-pity too long, I need to send positive energy to a friend who is battling her own woes: health insurance claims denied (among other things).

When will we live in a country where it isn't a privilege to be healthy?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Órale, wassup with this? I should be a pepper not some Japanese flavor. And truth be told, most of what we call wasabi is just colored horseradish.

I'm tired. So I may be incomprehensible at this point.

Your Score: Wasabi


You scored 50% intoxication, 100% hotness, 100% complexity, and 75% craziness!




You are Wasabi!

You're pretty much insane. You're probably from another planet, even. When you're around people, you go straight for the crown chakra and get them all tingly. You're often imitated by those who want to be like you, but you're definitely one of a kind.




Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Off to DC

To the Anthropology Meetings.

Be back soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007


A walk in the park.

Company: two dogs.



Soundtrack:
Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
Keith Jarrett - The Köln Concert





Yes, this is Manhattan.

It should probably be called the forgotten corner.

You might say, how can it be forgotten if no one ever knew about it.




But the Wappani knew about it: they called this place Shorakapok and lived in the caves found here.

I am glad it is forgotten, but I honor the Wappani on this day of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weather

The sun returned today. Good thing I mentioned that I missed it yesterday. Speaking of weather, you know who would make a great weather person?

Steven Wright

I hate how weather people say the temperature as though it were the most amazing thing in the world. It doesn't matter whether it is cold or hot, whether it is far from the norm or just what is expected. I guess newscasters do that in general. I hate that false emphasis on everything. I believe Steve Martin mocked this in his film LA Story.


I also hate how local news now teases you throughout the telecast with bits of weather. They force you to watch inane bits or abuses of tragedy just so you know whether you should take your raincoat or not.

Which brings me to this. You know who else would make a great weather person?

Lewis Black.

Quick, direct, no BS weather.

I can only dream.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sparsity

Who knew that was a word? My spell check seems to be ok with it (it doesn't like ok, though). It seems like I used to be comfortable here and putting random thoughts, whine about a unimportant grievance, or just letting my brain fart away. I do not do that anymore. It is true that I am busy - four classes, job applications, a stalled research project, and general life demands will do that to you. However, I have time to dilly dally in other brief and random endeavors, so why not here. Is it the pressure I put on myself to spew something worthwhile? Have I - gasp - become self-conscious? Or have I just become bored with this medium (I do bore easily)? Truth is, I do not know.

But here I am...probably because I am home alone. The dogs are here, but Sara is off to San Antonio to see her grandmother, father, and family.

I thought I would have more free time, but so much crap has piled up and there are so many random errands that need to be run that I have been as short on time as ever.

Who knew it was so complicated to send a large envelope to Canada via priority mail with a way to track it? Tip: it is worth the extra few dollars to send it express (not that it really is express - it take 5 business days). Why? Montreal is much closer to New York than California, where I can send something overnight.

Just to let you know, avoid the Inwood post office station in NYC. I will spare the details. If you want to know, ask.

Why are people so unaware of others around them? Different post office: a woman took five minutes trying to decide between the Christmas knit stamps and the Madonna and Child stamps. In the end, she decided that she didn't like either and got THREE regular stamps. Mind you, that was the only window open and there was a line out the door. I thought the woman in front of me was going to strangle her. That would have been entertaining and worth the wait. I think she was 90 - the strangler, not the indecisive one.

I miss the sun. It went missing a few days ago.

I gave my Introduction to International Studies classes a naturalization test during our lecture on immigration. Based on the results, most of them need to be deported. They probably would also do poorly on the English language test and they might have a hard time showing their attachment to the Constitution (since most of them are quite ignorant of what it states) and proving their "Good Moral Character".

Most of my students' knowledge of geography is also abysmal.

What is even more discouraging is that NJ is supposed to have one of the better secondary education systems.

Our dogs are healthy - determined by a recent vet visit. They are also quite cooperative. The impressed the vet.

We put the notes left by our dog-walker praising them on the fridge.

I bet Zeus is smarter than some of my students. He definitely is more worldly - he's been to 3 countries and 27 states.

I like The Hives new album and I have rediscovered The The.

It's time to eat dinner.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sure Sign You are Getting Old

You do online quizzes for your dogs on a Friday evening because you are too tired to do anything else...

Zeus's DNA




And Zephyr's

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Land of the Brave

Despite Oso's previous traumatic encounters with delinquents around the world, he was brave enough to embark in the lengthy trek from Brooklyn to the hinterland of Upstate Manhattan to meet up for dinner last night.

He brought along someone for protection (or to distract the potential assailants): Dr. Cereal. I have followed the Dr.'s adventures in Monterrey and on Southwest Airlines online, but I had never had the opportunity to meet him.

Oso has become my official social network agent as he helps me meet online personae who are fun and fascinating (the previous example being Nathan and Rosario). I can't wait to meet up with him again because I am sure I will meet yet another interesting individual(s).

We decided (more like I dragged them) to take in some of the local cuisine (or rather the cuisine imported by the local Dominican community). The food was good and the conversation ranging from the mundane to the insightful. It is strange to me that I have only met up with Oso three times, yet it feels like I am meeting up with an old college buddy. It is interesting how this new dynamic medium is changing the nature of social interaction.

We did discuss the veracity of online personae and how it reflects and differs from the actual producer of the persona. Oso sheepishly insinuated that I am whiny online (which I am), but claimed that I wasn't in real life (yet I am - just ask Sara). During the conversation, I realized how much of an academic I have become. Theoretical questions bounced around through my mind: What would Weber have to say? Does this relate to Durkheim and his concept of organic solidarity? I bet Goffman would have a cool blog and he would probably use it to mess around with people's minds. I also questioned why did I have to immediately relate our conversation to the academic. Couldn't I just take it for what it was? Three guys enjoying some Caribbean food over beer and sangría?

Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable evening. I hope to meet up with Dr. Cereal again since he lives nearby (although a very long subway ride) and he has just started a job that I would like to hear more about.

And as far as I know, Oso got out of my 'hood without incident. I even walked him to the subway to ensure his safety. Although I was tempted to turn to the dark side after glimpsing his iPhone (which he demurely kept shielded even as he used it to look something up).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stressful Days

In addition to the loads of work that is consuming my life right now, the fires in San Diego have consumed my attention.

My mother's home is safe - thank goodness. However, they woke one night to the eerie red glow of the night sky. From their window they saw the fire come around a large mountain not too far from their home. They were packed and ready to go. Fortunately they did not have to.

While my mother and stepfather are quite pragmatic (and hence I didn't think they would be in danger), both have put so much time and energy into their home that I could not bear to think of it going up in flames.

Beyond the immediacy of my family, it grieves me to see so many people displaced, so many of the places I know damaged or destroyed. My rational mind tells me that homes will be rebuilt and lives will move on, but my emotions take pause in the wrath nature has brought. The earth has been speaking to us, complaining about how we have treated it. When will we listen? Probably when it is too late.

A HUGE thanks from me goes out to Nathan (and his co-workers) whose hard work at KPBS has helped so many stay informed and connected. If only more of the media worked for the public good we would be much better off.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visual DNA





I would say I am more of a dreamer and escape artist than a go-getter and conquerer, but these tests don't lie...

Thanks to Heliosphan

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sorry About the Wait

Ok, I know I taunted you with the picture and left you hanging for some time.

So what the heck is it?

I am a little disappointed that there weren't more guesses.

As to what it is, there is some debate and I guess it depends on the observer.

I consider it art, or at least a form of artistic expression. I call it Manchamantel.

Sara begs to differ (as her comment indicates, she isn't too happy about the picture).

She sees it as what it is: a stained tablecloth at Rosa Mexicano in New York City.

It is the mess we made during our dinner on Mexican Independence Day, featuring mole oaxaqueño, guacamole and chiles en nogada of a special menu designed by Susana Trilling.

While Sara sees the tablecloth as an embarrassing blemish of our lack of class, I see it as the fruit of us engaging and enjoying our meal - thus artistic. A clean table cloth is but a canvass on which we can feel free to create our gustatory designs while partaking of food.

The more spritually inclined might even see inspiration; perhaps spotting religious iconography in the image.

So there it is, perhaps it is banal and mundane or perhaps it is inspired expression. Who knows?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What IS that?


Since I probably don't have any readers left, I can without worry offer $5.oo or a secret-prize to whomever can correctly guess what the above picture is (Sara is not eligible to win). If you do guess, let me know along with your answer whether you would prefer the cash or the prize.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today: Acatl - Acatl - Chalchihuitlicu: 13-Coatl (snake)


As a year bearer, Acatl (Reed) is the sign of day in the tonalpohualli that gives its name to this xihuitl (year). This sign is associated with the direction of the east.

The 13-day period Acatl (Reed) is ruled by Chalchihuitlicue, goddess of lakes, rivers and seas, goddess of horizontal waters. This trecena signifies the transitory nature of all that we may gain in life: it is a reminder to view success and failure, gain and loss, as matters of fate and not as matters of personal worth. The elementals do not reward nor punishment our efforts but, rather, construct the maze within which we might perfect our hearts. The 13 days of this trecena reveal our hearts to us, based on whether we have decided to live within the house of shadows or to seek the secret of happiness elsewhere. These are good days to travel to new places; bad days to hide in fear.

Citlalicue, Her skirt is Stars, is the provider of the Spirit Soul (Teyollia) for days with numeral 13 (mahtlactli-omei). The volatile for this day is the Parrot (Toznene).

The protector of day Coatl (Snake) and provider of the Shadow Soul or Tonalli is Chalchihuitlicue. Coatl is the day of the snaking river that always changes without changing. It signifies the fleeting moment of eternal water. A good day for humility, a bad day for acting on self-interests.

Another year...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bidding Summer Farewell



My absence here is a combination of my hectic schedule and mental apathy.

Um...that's all I got.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Caveat q*uech*up

I would like to warn everyone that there is a nasty spamming worm making its way through the cyberworld. The way it works is as follows:
  • You get a message: "Invitation from Xoloitzquintle".
  • When you open it, it sends out a message from you with the same invitation.
  • The invitation is to a "social networking site" that really is some crappy dating service in Britain.
I, unfortunately, fell victim to this stupid trick and had to send out a warning to everyone who had ever corresponded with (I use Gmail and it keeps all that info), some of which are quite important and influential people.

This is a stress I don't really need right now.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I always wondered...

Via Sherri who I bow to in nerdom respect.


NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Light-Weight Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Home" Work

Despite our astronomical rent, our apartment has lots of "quirks". Things need fixing and tending to. Over the past couple of weeks I have had to:

  • Deal with the return of "Miguelito" - our unwelcome rodent guest. This involved setting up multiple traps (stick and snap). After several appearances, he seems to have gotten the hint and moved to other quarters without having to lose a limb or worse.
  • Take our fridge apart to figure out why the freezer was working but the fridge wasn't. The problem was that despite the lack of frost in the freezer, the vents between the freezer and the fridge got clogged with ice.
  • Learn how to fix a leaky tub faucet. I still need to get some tools to address the problem, but I think I know how now.

You may wonder why I don't call the "super" (aka the building superintendent who lives on site and should be responsible for these things) and have these things taken care of.
  1. From the stories I have heard from other tenants, he is not very reliable and it often takes several tries for him to get it right. From what I have seen in our bathroom, his work is not very good (it was patched up before we moved in).
  2. Trying to coordinate a visit with our schedules and the dogs is too much of a headache.
  3. I should learn how to do these things anyway.

In addition to these home duties, I have also been training as a iMac repair person. With all the crashes and errors I have experienced, as well as the calls to tech support, I have become a pseudo expert. I think I have isolated the problem: either one of my memory cards is bad or one of the slots is bad.

So my vacation is coming to an end - back to work next week - and I am tied up with home duties. Actually work already started as I have been putting in many hours working on my courses this past week. These four weeks "off" have really flown by. I could use another four.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reflections...

Going back to Mexico always leaves me in a contemplative mood. There are memories, thoughts, nostalgia, regrets, changes, and observations to process. They whirl in my head without my even knowing it. Perhaps that is why I am feeling tired, almost exhausted.

I hope to get to them, but not now. I am not sure when...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Finally!



I made it to Mexico.

Here is proof:


I guess it really isn't proof because I could have stolen the picture from someone, so you are just going to have to trust me on this one.

There are many more pictures, but I am not sure whether to post them or not. I could also write a lot about the trip both in terms of my observations and my own emotional response to being back. I am not sure if I will do that either.

The trip back was uneventful as far as scheduling went. However the airline lost one of Sara's bags and they have yet to find it.

That's it for now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Still Here & Going Nowhere Fast


Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to guide my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension thats learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Cant keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
- "Learning to Fly" Pink Floyd

I woke up at 4:15 am this morning to get a 5:15 car to LaGuardia to catch my 8:00 am flight to Atlanta where I was to connect to my flight to Mexico City.

I was worried because the weather report called for heavy rain overnight into the morning. Looking out of my dark window, I saw there was no rain.

However, at 4:30 am I checked my flight status online only to find that my flight was canceled.

Crap.

So I called the airline to find out that I have been re-booked for tomorrow at 6:00 am. I try to get an earlier flight without any success.

I am awake with nowhere to go.

I try to look for a one-way ticket to Mexico just to see my options. I find a $500 ticket in first class. I am tempted to buy it, but I am not that rich.

The rain? It came, but it was a mix of light showers and drizzle.

Tomorrow I am up even earlier to try this for the third time.

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, aren't they? At least that is what I hear...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

So Much for Mexico

As I mentioned, I was supposed to leave for Mexico yesterday. I was hoping to get away from a rash of bad luck and stress.

But I am still in New York.



The gods (perhaps Zeus?) decided to keep me here by unleashing a massive storm on the city.



The obstacles created by said storm were too much for me to overcome.

I left for JFK (the NYC airport) at 7 am for a drive that normally takes between 35 minutes to an hour and a half depending on traffic.

My flight was at 10:35.



As I started making my way on the freeway, traffic got progressively slower and more congested.

Until it came to a complete stop.

I managed to get off the freeway and began to meander my way through side streets.

It quickly became apparent that this was not going to work either.

At some point I began to second guess myself and began thinking that I should have taken public transportation to the airport.









The radio soon let me know that I would have probably found myself in a worse predicament as most of the subway system shut down due to flooding.

This left people waiting or if you were lucky you were informed before you began to wait that you should just give up.


It was somewhere in between the stopped freeways and the congested and obstacle-ridden roads that I went from being stressed to being zenfully resigned.

The radio mentioned that there was a tornado near the airport and that there were massive flight delays.

So perhaps it would all work out. If not, there was not much I could do.

As I slowly progressed towards the airport, the the skies cleared and the sun came out as if to taunt me. How could I be so late in such a clear and sunny day?

I arrived at the airport at 10:50.

My flight was gone.

For once a flight left on time even when there was inclement weather.


As you can imagine, the airport was full of some very unhappy people. I was given the choice to re-book for today making three or more connections or for tomorrow with one connection (my flight yesterday was non-stop). I chose the latter.

Given the traffic chaos, the fact that I had already parked the car in an off-airport location, and that I am flying out of LaGuardia on Friday (but we are flying back to JFK) I decided to take the subway back home. The A train runs from JFK to where we live, but it is the whole line of the longest line in New York. Moreover, it usually runs express (skipping over many stations), but to add insult to injury, yesterday it ran local (making all the stops).

At least it was running (one of the few), it had a/c (the weather turned unbearably hot and muggy), and I had a safe home (with some very happy dogs) to return to.

Tomorrow I get to try again. The forecast is:
Showers and thundershowers likely.
High 74F.
Winds E at 10 to 15 mph.
Chance of rain 60%. Rainfall around a half an inch.
I am splurging on a private car (same cost as a taxi) and requested it for 5:15 am for my 8:00 am flight.

Let's see how that goes.

Photos from the New York Times website

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Me Voy a México

I need a vacation and this trip will not really count. Why? That's a long complicated story for which I don't have time now.

Back in a week, hopefully with no intestinal visitors or other souvenirs.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Update

The cheating student's case has been referred to the vice-provost. I suspect that she will get a lecture and then the ultimate decision as what to do will land in my lap.

Fail the class?

Fail the exam?

I am leaning towards the first. We'll see.

My sister arrives tomorrow morning at 6:45 am - she is taking the red-eye from San Francisco. Like the good brother that I am I going to pick her up at Newark. I am excited to see her (and her boyfriend).

My mother and step-father arrive on Monday and then I leave for Mexico on Wednesday. I will be seeing my father and then meeting up with Sara who is there now studying Spanish.

Busy times.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Too Stupid to Cheat


Last Thursday was my last summer class. There is supposed to be a class scheduled for Tuesday, but instead of an in-class exam, I gave my students a take-home final with the option of emailing me the exam as an attachment.


Convenient for everyone involved.


© DavidJulian.com

I was already looking forward to my whole month "off" without having to teach. Of course, there is the whole issue of grading the exams that I was avoiding. Now if the students just do what they need to do, the whole process could be nearly painless.

The first exam trickled into my in-box today and with it my dreams for a quick start to my abbreviated summer break quickly disappeared. The essays in the exam contain blatant plagiarism. Now there are sophisticated programs I can use to check for academic dishonesty, but this exam only required me to open the document to see the damning evidence.

MS Word has the annoying tendency to lift links and insert them into documents when you clip and paste from websites. In this case, however, it immediately flagged the irregularity and led me straight to the wikipedia page where from it was lifted.

Common people - if you are going to cheat, do a better job of covering your tracks! How can you submit an electronic document with the hyperlinks to the site still in it? That is laziness and ineptitude to the greatest degree!

Better yet, read the syllabus and know that cheating is NOT an option and it will result in a lot of problems for you:
Students are expected to read and understand ______ College’s academic integrity policy, which can be found in the ______ College Catalog. Members of the _____ College community are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors. All the written assignments must reflect a student’s own work. If you use the material from other books, articles, and/or online sources, you must indicate it in footnotes, endnotes, or in-text citations. If you have questions about how to do this, let me know. Failure to make the distinction between your own thoughts and the insights of someone else constitutes plagiarism. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be subject to the College’s disciplinary procedures.
Moreover it irritates me because now I need to become involved in a bureaucratic process when I was looking forward to my brief month off.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Home Alone

Sara left for Mexico yesterday. She is doing an intensive Spanish program for two weeks - ya era hora!

I will be going down in about ten days to see my father and she will meet up with me. We will probably do some 'splorin' for a couple of days before coming back.

Things were really hectic around here before she left. I had the last days of my summer class, she was getting ready to go, and we had a minor dog emergency. Then two days before Sara was to leave, she got a call from DC. She had applied for a job there and she had an on-campus interview in June. The call was to offer her the position.

Talk about stress.

After much (and very quick) deliberation, she turned the position down. It was difficult for her because the job was good (although not yet tenure-track).

So I am alone now - with two needy dogs. They get that way when travel occurs - by anyone. It is hot and extremely steamy. I don't like this weather.

More to say, but I am just not really in the mood.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

We joined a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) Farm this year after Sara had finished reading Michael Pollans' Omnivore's Dilemma. We had been thinking of doing it before, but we had just never lived in one place long enough to actually do it.

The way it works is that you buy a share of the farm's seasonal production. Every week you go to the farm (some have collection sites away from the farm) and pick up that week's harvest. Our share started producing in mid-June and hopefully it will go long into the fall (probably mid- to end of October). After our first share, we realized the two of us could not consume everything we got in a week, so we split the share with a fellow anthropologist from the college where I work.

So far we have gotten a lot of lettuce and greens, a few peas (the fields got flooded in May and most of the planted peas got washed away), cucumbers, radishes, beets, basil, cilantro, parsley, carrots, and beans. It is fun seeing how the produce changes each week.

It is also nice chatting with the farmers and hearing what is doing well and what some of their struggles are.

For the most part, the veggies also taste great. There were a couple of radishes that where just to sharp and bitter for my liking.


Unfortunately, we are still very much tied into the large food production network. But I like mangos, avocados, coffee, spices, cheeses etc. too much to give up on it completely. I do try to get milk and yogurt from grass-fed and hormone/antibiotic-free cows. I think it is important to just be aware of where your food comes from, even if you can't or do not want to consume local, organic, and ethically produced food.

There have been omens about the breakdown or the poisoning of the food network recently. Sometime soon there will probably be a bigger emergency. I hope it doesn't come down my path.

With that I am off to munch on something that came from the field in the picture above.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Zephyr!


Thanks for putting up with us, giving us affection, and being a great all around dog.

[She turns 6 today - buffalo (as in the animal, not the style or the place - and yes, I do know it really is a bison) burgers to celebrate!]

Monday, July 09, 2007

2HT2BZ2WRT

Bleh, Phew, & Ugh...

Sorry, folks...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Encountering the Past

I met up with a friend from college today. I had not seen him since I graduated way back in the previous century. Fourteen years to be precise (to those of you who can do the math: congratulations!).

It is strange.

Reconnecting with someone whom you knew pretty well, but then just took different paths and fell out of touch.

The irony of it is that in college he was a music major and he now works at the UN, while I was an IR (international relations) major and I am not quite sure what I am doing.

I also studied abroad in Sweden a year before him. I convinced him to go the following year and to stay with the host family I had, which he did. Now he is still in touch with the family, while I have lost touch.

In a reminder of the passing of time, he updated that the host family's youngest daughter is now a medical doctor. She was 8 or so when I was there. Interacting with her was great because she did not speak English and it forced me to speak in Swedish. She would laugh at me all the time because as she put it, "I was a grown up that spoke like a two year old."

Back to my friend, it is a strange dynamic when you meet up again. So much has happened since we last saw each other, but there are clear memories that still linger: debating the virtues of Clinton, Tsongas, third party candidates, the Blue Jays World Series run (he's Canadian), and the wonders of Mongolian Bar-B-Q.

As I sit here writing, I wonder whether we will reconnect or whether it was a parenthetical encounter in our respective lives.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friday Date

Friday was Sara's Birthday. To celebrate we went to visit some old woman.







We got to see all sides of her.




We also saw a nautical replica of one of our dogs.




There were some spooky moments.



Some close moments.




Some strange encounters.






















And some very intimate views.




We also popped over to the place where some of our ancestors passed through.




And we looked back on where we had been.














And what would a visit and photo show be without a bird picture for Scott?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Simple Things that Still Leave me in Awe

Fireflies!


AKA - lightning bugs, glow worms, luciérnaga, lucciola, eldfluga, Leuchtkäfer

Amazingly there are some in our corner of New York City.

I had to take Sara out to see them.

She enjoyed them too as they don't have them in New Mexico.

Nature's firework show.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why It isn't so Good to Live in NYC: Reason #381

Our lease is up for renewal and they are raising our rent by 10%.

Is my paycheck going up 10%?

I wish.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Censorship?

I guess Blogger didn't like my nudie pictures of bikers.

I will leave it up to your imagination then.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Yet Another Entry in the Bad Idea Book

Recently in Spain they had some kind of protest bicycle ride.

Their choice of attire - or rather lack of it - just doesn't seem like the smartest way to go.






















Painful?


Um, yeah.









Especially when this happens:



I wonder if you need a special seat or something...

I would definitely think you would need to clean it off after a long ride.

I hope this isn't a fad that catches on.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Mall Chaos: The Holy Temple of Postmodernist Consumption

I take my students to one of the most obscene malls ever created for many of my classes. Anthropologically, it is a fascinating place. From a humanist perspective, however, it is tragic.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Request

I am going to be attending the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday.

If any of you have any tips about a good place to go, something to see, or how to survive, please let me know.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Added Traffic Irritation

The other day as I was stuck in traffic trying to cross the George Washington Bridge, the sticker on the bumper of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid in front of me chastised me:
If you care about the environment, why aren't you driving a hybrid?
Now, I do care about the environment and I think people in general should care about how we are harming our little planet (ultimately, though, the planet will be fine, it is us humans who will lose out), but I don't like being preached at by ignorant and arrogant individuals speaking though their rear (bumpers).

Let me offer my rebuttal:
  • My car, while not a hybrid, gets 35 mph on average while I commute to and from work.
  • Your SUV hybrid officially gets 31 mph on the highway (we all know those numbers are elevated and from what I have read, it is closer to 24 mph). So who is doing more damage?
  • You hybrid has a nickel based battery that when you decide to junk it, will also hurt the environment.
  • I would in fact have bought a hybrid if they were more affordable and even available when I was buying a car. Unfortunately, most of us can't afford they hybrids that are available now.
  • Last, if you cared about the environment so much, you would not be driving at all. Rather, you would be driving a hybrid with better mileage, in a bio-diesel, in a compact fuel-efficient car, or even better yet, on a bus or on a bike.
So please, peel that bumper sticker off and stop thinking you are more environmentally friendly than I am just because you are appeasing your conscience by thinking it is ok to drive an SUV if it is a hybrid.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Negative Energies


There seems to be bad luck and fortunes flowing through the X household these days. We have had computer troubles (see below), internet connection failures, and today the discovery that my debit card was used fraudulently.

The good thing is that the charges were made today and I checked the account this evening (my obsessive vigilance pays off for once). It still is going to involve some bureaucratic effort and maybe some creative transferring of funds to make sure our checks clear before all is said and done.

All I want is a stretch of time without technical failures, being scammed, victimized, or other stressful events. Is that too much to ask?

Of course, these trouble seem trivial as I read Ishmael Beah's book, A Long Way Gone, with one of my classes this summer. It does put everything in perspective. More on the book later, when I am not worrying about the little money we do have in the bank disappearing, my computer crashing, or the sky falling on me.

By the way, if you are curious, the above image is a Huichol yarn painting design from Mexico. The scorpions are there to repel bad luck and evil spirits. I hope they work. They have their work cut out for them.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Of Macs and Men

The ongoing ad campaign by Apple makes it seem like Macs are the perfect machines. Not only are they without flaw, but they make you hip.

Recently I have found them to be even more annoying because they are a reminder of my battle to get my new computer to work. Perhaps I feel like it is a bit of false advertising.

My first computer ever was a boxy Mac. While I occasionally got the dreaded bomb:



Overall it was a pretty good computer.

I just returned to Mac after a decade or so of fussing with PCs and the mess that is Microsoft. And while I do like my new cyberenvironment, I have been dealing with the 21st century equivalent of the on-screen bomb.

My applications crash and eventually I get the equivalent of Mac-pass-out: the screen goes gray and my computer tells me in multiple languages that it needs to be restarted. This leaves me feeling:

I have called Apple Care and been to the Apple Store's "Genius Bar" [where by the way, I did not see any anorexic know-it-all women like they show on tv, rather it was the expected pudgy, nerdy computer geeks]. The result has been having to reinstall the operating system and re-formating the hard drive. Both entailed a long process of putting all my applications, music, and files back on the computer.

Tonight as I was working on my lectures for tomorrow, the X-Machine started failing again. During this whole process, I have learned a lot about the techie things regarding the iMac. I have gone through the procedure, but there is still a hardware problem with my hard drive.

So I guess I will find myself on the phone with Apple Care again and probably making a visit to the Apple Store to see if the geniuses at the bar can fix this thing once and for all.

I must say this, it is nice getting a helpful (more or less) person who is fluent in English on the line when I call Apple Care. My tech support experiences in the past leave much to be desired. In the end, despite the problems I will refrain from tossing my apple in the bin.


I just hope that my troubles are soon over. All I want is a computer I can work (and play, of course) on. Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, I think my Apple is really a Lemon.