Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just a nice picture to start off.

Cooking - I enjoy it. Some friends and family members have told me that I should open a bistro or restaurant. I would never want to do that. It would move cooking from something fun to a chore.

Plus people are petty. I just don't want to deal with that, at least not when I am cooking.

Today's dinner was a combination of leftovers. A couple of days back I made some African Groundnut (peanut) Stew, which you usually eat with rice (or plantains or some other starch), but we ate all the rice. However, we did have left over rice from yesterday. It was some Chinese Forbidden Rice (which is a reddish black color) that we had with some Salmon and Fennel. When Sara saw me putting the two together, she said, "Ah Chinese forbidden rice with African stew...fusion!"

That's when it hit me, if I were ever to open an eatery, I would call it Confusion Fusion.

I thought I was clever, but then I googled it and found that I wasn't all that creative at all. Oh well.

The Xoloitzquintle Free University
Lesson 429 - Religions in Chiapas

My mother and step-father are currently undertaking a long road trip in Mexico. They are driving with their fifth-wheel trailer from San Diego to Yucatan. They have already driven down the Pacific coast and are currently in Chiapas.

I get sporadic and brief email updates from them. Recently, their observations have been quite anthropological. I almost feel like an arm-chair anthropologist (definition pilfered from Wiki):
Modern socio-cultural anthropology has its origins in 19th century "ethnology", which involves the organized comparison of human societies. Scholars like E.B. Tylor and J.G. Frazer in England worked mostly with materials collected by others – usually missionaries, explorers, or colonial officials – this earned them their current sobriquet of "arm-chair anthropologists".
There is quite a mess brewing up there when it comes to religion. I already knew about Catholicism replacing/merging with indigenous beliefs and the more recent arrival of Protestant missionaries (mostly Pentecostals, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses). But according to my mother, there is also an indigenous belief revival. They went to a Catholic church where they were told not to take any pictures or their cameras would be smashed. It turns out the whole service was a traditional belief ceremony.

In her most recent report my mother mentioned the conflict emerging with the growing Muslim population there. I had only heard brief mention of this somewhere, but I guess it is a growing issue.

After looking into it a little more, I also found out that the anti-immigrant movement in the US is already using the phenomenon in its propaganda. Alarmism at its best. When do we send troops to Chiapas? It is better to fight them over there than over here...but wait, they are already over here. They are among us.

I think I will just give up.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Humps are a Bustin'

This semester is really sapping all the energy I have. I am teaching four courses this time around. My first job in Washington state was one course per semester. As was my first semester teaching in Boston. Then I moved up to two. Last semester I taught three.

Four is just too many. I barely have time to think of the next one that is coming up, much less think about becoming involved with the college, my own research, writing, publishing, etc. There was talk that I might only have to teach three each semester next year, but that fell through. It will four and three.

What makes it worse is that should this job become tenure-track (and should I get it), my tenure clock has already started. Now it is not too hard to get tenure at school where I am at, but it is still hard to get anything done that will help make that transition easier. Should I want to try to move somewhere else, it is hard to keep productive research agenda that would make me a possible candidate somewhere else. And last, but not least, I am just not as good as a teacher when I am spread so thin. I start passing on activities, projects, ideas that I would like to do just because I don't have the time and/or energy to plan and prepare them.

Oh well, nothing is going to change. I am just tired and cranky and needed to vent.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Would you expect anything else from me?

You scored as Ecclectic Pagan. A veritable blend of all the pantheons and perhaps a dash of a few other religions as well, you're the versitile Ecclectic Pagan. You have no problem wearing an ankh while setting an offering to Herne on your alter just below your image of Hera. You don't believe in coloring within the lines, and are a bright free-thinker. While you respect the views of your fellow pagans, as far as you're concerned, religion is the sky, and there's no one about to clip your wings with lines and limitations.

Ecclectic Pagan


Shamanic Pagan


Zoroastrian Pagan


Eastern Pagan


Kabbalistic Pagan


Egyptian Pantheonic Pagan


Celtic Pantheonic Pagan


Greek Pantheonic Pagan


Roman Pantheonic Pagan


Catholic (Pagan?)


Norse Pantheonic Pagan (Asatru)


Sumerian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian Pagans


What kind of Pagan are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Once again, this mindless exercise comes to you via Sherri who has saved me from having to power on the few brain cells left functioning in my head after this week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Opportunity Lost

Yes, we could have cozied up with the stars at the Grammy Awards, but we won't. We had the chance, but it disappeared this evening.

Our neighbors who live in the apartment below us are a young couple. When we went to San Jose in November, we asked them if they would pick up our mail. Our box is small and even a couple of days worth of mail would have had it bursting. They were kind enough to do that for us.

Last week they asked us to return the favor. It really isn't that much of a chore since their box is about a foot away from ours. In the process of picking up their mail, one envelope caught my eye. Not that I snoop through other people's mail, rather this one had a huge picture of an old style grammaphone and "Invitation Included" in big letters. A few days later there was a large envelope with the same picture and Grammy Awards written next to it.

The guy whose mail we are picking up is a musician who plays in the band for a big name musical on Broadway and has been invited to the Grammys. We could have misplaced that envelope and shown up to the awards with a real invitation. But we didn't misplace the envelope, we gave it to them today when they came to get their mail.

That's ok. I really didn't have anything to wear. Plus the Grammys are kind of boring. Now if there is an envelope with Oscar on the cover...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The State of my Mind: Proof

I have mentioned my feeble-mindedness previously. You may have thought that is was just an excuse I was making for my perverse laziness. Today I offer you proof that I am indeed lacking in mental capacities - especially in the morning.

During our recent (and on-going) eating healthy episode, we have been eating a lot of grains, legumes, and seeds. I bought most of them in bulk at our local chain health food store. Among our lovely offerings, we have partaken of amaranth - which in it original form looks like this:

So this morning I proceeded to make some with some soy milk, apples, cinnamon, and walnuts. You really need to let it cook for about half an hour, but I was hungry so I served myself after about twenty minutes. As I ate my bowl while reading the paper, I noticed that it was rather crunchy...but I figured it was because I had not waited for it to cook fully.

Sometime later when Sara got up, I served her a bowl. She took a bite, looked at me with a perplexed look and asked, "Is this a bowl full of sesame seeds?"

Indeed it was.

Among the other grains, legumes, and seeds I purchased, there was sesame seeds. So I mistook the sesame seeds for the amaranth, cooked a pot of them, nicely seasoned mind you, and proceeded to eat a bowlful of them.

Sesame seeds don't digest very well. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning.

But I do know now where the amaranth is should I care to have it for breakfast tomorrow.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Feeble-Minded Once Again

[Via Sherri - and I am not linking because you should know where to find her by now...then again she doesn't exist so I don't even need to link her]

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

So I guess it is just me and my alter-ego.
The Xoloitzquintle Free University

On Line Lesson # 157 - Capitalism around the World

Ideal Capitalism
You have two cows.
You sell one cow and buy a bull.
They multiply themselves, the economy grows.
You sell the herd and retire. You are rich!

American Capitalism
You have two cows.
You sell one and force the other one to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when it falls dead.

Japanese Capitalism
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they have a tenth of their regular size
and produce 20 times more milk.
Afterwards you create cute cartoons called Vaquimon and sell them to the whole world.

British Capitalism
You have two cows.
Both of them are mad.

Dutch Capitalism
You have two cows.
They live together, in a union of fact, they don't like bulls and it's okay.

German Capitalism
You have two cows.
They produce milk regularly, according to standard quantities
and pre-established schedule, in a precise and lucrative way.
But what you really wanted was to raise pigs.

Russian capitalism
You have two cows.
You count them and you see 5.
You count them again and see 42.
You count them once more and find 12 cows.
You stop counting and open another bottle of vodka.

Swiss Capitalism
You have 500 cows, but own none.
You charge to store other people's cows.

Spanish Capitalism
You are very proud of owning two cows.

Italian Capitalism

You have two cows.

One dies and everyone stands around arguing about why it died and who is to blame.

Meanwhile the other cow gets stolen and resold on the black market.

Brazilian Capitalism
You have two cows.
And you complain because the herd doesn't grow.

Indian Capitalism
You have two cows.
And no one get's near them.

Portuguese Capitalism
You have two cows.
One of them is stolen.
The other one was bought through the Social European Fund.
The government creates the "TICV" - "Tax of Increased Cow Value".
An inspector comes and tickets you, because although you paid correctly the TICV, the value was for the presumed number of cows and not of the real amount of cows. The Ministry of Finances, also through presumed data based on your consumption of milk, cheese, leather shoes and buttons, understands you should have 200 cows.
You give the remaining cow to the finance inspector so he overlooks the whole thing and hope to get rid of the situation...

There will be a quiz on Monday. Have a great weekend...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Memes are for the Feeble-Minded...

...and for those who lack the creativity to weave words into innovative and coherent ideas. And that would be me. Moreover, Sherri, in her most perverse state, has tagged me with this one. Because it is rather untaxing, I shall comply.

I have been commanded by the powers that be through the words of their prophet (Sherri) to:
Grab the book nearest your computer. List the Title and Author. Turn to page 123. Read past the first 5 sentences, then read the next three. Type out those three sentences in your blog, then tag three bloggers.
First of all there are books littering my home office and there are multiple volumes that could tie for the honor of being closest to my computer. I shall pick two.

1. Reckoning with Homelessness - Kim Hopper.
All but the last two of those observed or interviewed were by themselves; the exception was a quarrelsome couple who had been living at the terminal for some time. Last, the terminal's homeless poor appear to be much older than the shelter's population. Health problems: Edema and related circulatory problems (e.g. cellulitis) were fairly common, as is often the case with homeless people who go for long periods without elevating their feet.
2. El Otro Lado: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City, and Beyon - Ruben Martinez
Skept will sometimes ensconce himself in the studio, drawing for days on end. Or he'll go out piecing in the yards. Then there'll be the urge to do a daring, illegal piece on the streets.
So there you have it. I am not sure what the point of any of this is. But that is nothing new and it illustrates how I am trying to find a point to everything.

The last commandment was to tag three people. But because I am a sinner and a rebel (and just part of the rabble-rousing riff-raff), I am only tagging one person: Sara. I hear everyone is doing it, especially the cool people. I also know she won't do it, thus bringing this misguided crusade to the much needed end - at least down this path.

Update: Rats! As I was doing this, Sara has gone and done this silly meme. I know she did it just to prove me wrong (again!). In any case, I refuse to tag anyone else. May I be cursed for the next five minutes or so ...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Took this extremely hard quiz that Sherri mentioned...

...the results were uncanny in how true they were...

...so I entered Sara's facts and they were so spot on I had to post my results here (Sara can post hers if she wants)...

Your Birthdate: September 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist.
A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around.
You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you.
You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people.

Your strength: Your devotion

Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness

Your power color: Lilac

Your power symbol: Heart

Your power month: June

I just love it that my power color is lilac! Now I know what color my spandex superhero outfit should be.

Blah...I don't want to go to work tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Late Sunday Evening...

Sara has updated her blog! It is a intriguing post: I think it shows that we have been going to too many Himalayan cultural events, restaurants, etc.

Random question:
Does a hearse get to use the carpool lane?

Sara and I are on a eating regimen that is supposed to help your body detoxify and recalibrate your metabolism. It is from the book Ultrametabolism. The food is ok for most part, but I am hungry most of the time and I really, really miss bread. Sara also pointed out today that while I thought the regimen was for one week, the books clearly states that it should be done for three! I am not sure what is going to happen with that...

So far I love my new computer.

School starts this week and three of my four syllabi are finished. I was supposed to have the last one done today.

Zeus got a bath instead. As did the bathroom. And Sara.

I really like the podcasts from Mangatune.

If you are in the need to procrastinate, go check out the project being done at the Museum of Sex. It is quite fascinating and anthropological.

That rumbling you hear...yeah, that one...no, it is not thunder...its is my tummy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A New Beginning ... (or back to where it all started)

I got my first computer at the end of my first year in college. It was a Mac SE that looked like this:

When I started grad school (the first time), I switched to a PC laptop (a 386, if I remember correctly). The old Mac got left at my mom's house where it was used by my sister and eventually made its way to the basement. I liked my Mac, but I was going to Italy and I needed something portable. Laptops were pretty new then - strange thought. It was a funny little thing with its black (more of a grayish green, really) tiny little screen and its fat keyboard/base.

I used the laptop a little my second time around in graduate school, but by then it was already getting a little old and clunky. It got stolen when someone broke into Sara and my first apartment (actually second...but that is a long story). By then, you had to pop the battery out and put it back in everytime you wanted to start it up, whether it was plugged in or not. The joke was on the stupid people that broke in.

I bought a new laptop - a Quantex (PC) a few months later right before Sara (and Zeus) and I went to Italy for the first part of our dissertation fieldwork. That computer lasted quite a while, but it was getting a little clunky and I needed something more reliable when I started to work on my dissertation. I purchased a HP Desktop. The Quantex passed on to Sara who wanted to play with it...something to do with Linux. She didn't really play that much and then it was given a better home by Volume 22's Scott.

The HP had some bugs from the beginning, but who of us is without fault. The computer served me well; somehow I managed to crank out a dissertation on it. It also moved around quite a bit: Providence, Walla Walla, Boston, and now New York. During these journeys, as it exhibited its flaws and its age, I began to think of moving on but I could never justify it. A while back it began to crash more than usual. Then the CD-ROM died, and then the DVD-CD writer. The strange noises got louder and more disconcerting. I knew the time to move on had come. Being the winter break, I had some time to research computers and debate my next move.

And I decided to go back to where it all began...many generations later.

So here it is, my new baby:

May its keys bring me much productivity and success. And may its innards stay healthy and cause few problems for many years.

And this is the first post from it - hopefully there will be many more.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

For Sherri

For Sherri

Since she asked and I am a bit swamped right at the moment...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

House Cleaning

I got rid of the Bravenet crap in my sidebar. If you still get popups, let me know. I will continue to remove junk until the problem is solved.

In other news, I have not had the wherewithal to write much here. Just needed some time off.

I have been exploring NY with Sara and recovering from the semester and that hellish move last August. I have one more week "off" before the next semester starts. I wish I had three. There is still so much that needs to get done.