Tuesday, February 27, 2007

East/Spanish Harlem

I am starting a new research project in East/Spanish Harlem (the name is a contentious issue - although soon it might be called Mexican Harlem or Harlemtitlán, but more on that at some other time).

I went down to walk through the neighborhood last Sunday and do some basic observations. I came across this interesting mural that is so rich in symbolism. I am hoping to find who painted it and try to figure out their intentions. That is one advantage of working in Mexican (and Latino) communities they tend to put their thoughts up on the wall in some form of creative expression - whether officially condoned or not.

I just wish I had more time to work on the project, but time is so stretched right now. I am really looking forward to Spring Break which is coming in two weeks.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

When you need to go...

How would you feel if they put up one of these down the street from your home?

Way back when...while I was studying in Bologna, Italy. There was something similar on my path between the university and my apartment. There was a little more privacy, but not much.

At first it was a bit jarring, but then I came to understand the benefits after I witnessed the amount of public urinating that took place in other parts of the city. I do admit I made use of it one night following an evening of much wine sampling at a cool jazz bar. It was a long walk home and my bladder was just not big enough.

The pit-stop spot also became iconic of how male-centric Italian society is. Unless a woman has some form of uncanny ability with certain bodily functions, the relief was only available to men. Although someone (female) I knew back then is purported to have been able to urinate off a bridge - there were reliable witnesses.

Anyway, this post just shows that my mind is incapable of writing of any significance. Not that I would otherwise have anything significant to say, but I think under different circumstances I could probably fake it better.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Just asking...

Is the garment I put on Zephyr when we go out in the cold a sweater even though she doesn't sweat?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

You know when...

...things are a bit overwhelming and you are a tad burnt out and you still have so much to do? Then you go and waste time by doing nonsense?

Yes, that is what I have been up to.

Taking pictures out of my office window.

I just switched my desk so now I look out on to the park, rather than having it to my left side.

I wonder how much daydreaming a distraction will take place.

That was a rhetorical question.

It will nice witnessing the changes once spring decides to get here. Sara has always had an idea of documenting the eruption of leaves during the one week in spring by taking a picture of a the same tree every day during the week the leaves come out.

Maybe I will do that.

I am always stealing her ideas. That's because she has good ones.

By the way, thanks to all for the kind words of support and encouragement. I truly appreciate them.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sorry but...

I am taking advantage of a rare snow day when the college was closed to stop by here.

I really needed this day off, but it comes on the day I have two classes that only meet once a week. That is a lot of material to try to make up.

My absence can be explained by the following factors:
  • I am teaching four courses this semester. I have come to learn that my limit is probably three.
  • I had to give a lecture to the college, which was a bit time consuming.
  • I got news that my father, who as most of you know lives in Mexico, had a brain aneurysm. He got to the doctor quickly, had surgery, and seems to have pulled through.
  • The news unleashed a flood of emotions stemming from the strange relationship (or one might say lack of relationship) with my father. This is much too complex to go into in a bullet point.
  • Dogs.
  • Developing my urban anthropology course. It has been a trial and error process. For the most part I think it has gone well, but it is time consuming. Last Sunday I took about half the students into New York City.
  • Learning how to use a Mac and some of the pitfalls of making the switch from a PC. Overall I am still quite pleased with my choice.
  • Grading.
  • Participating in college meetings, committee work, etc. Even though I am not on tenure track now, it is looking likely that I will be and I need to be active on this front.
  • Sleep.
  • Trying to design a small research project here in New York City.
During this time I have missed interacting with online friends. Sherri had a birthday, Frankie had a mini-crisis, Scott might be earning what he really should, Oso has gone intellectual, Red Robin has found good fortune in a job switch, Kelly ran off to an interesting conference and came back sick, heliosphan saw one of my favorite movies and got hit in the head, cindylu went through her own family health stress, and Beaver has been making the world a better place in India. While I shared the experiences, I wasn't able to respond in the way I would have liked.

Maybe I will have carve out a little more time (and energy) to spend time interacting with these friends. It probably will be hard to do. I am thinking of you all, I really am.