Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring is Plaguing Me

I sit, needing to grade, but unable to focus. Piles and piles of printed essays scorn and taunt me, but my mind refuses to listen. My conscience does a little dance trying to get my attention, but I am lost.

Tomorrow. Will I find my way then? Will the grading be done? Will I care?

And outside the warmth beckons with the sunny siren song; the greenery erupting in the reaching arms of the trees whispering soothingly through the breeze. Thoughts flutter and ideas bounce close and then fade into the recesses of my mind.

The blooming hillsides distract me; they draw me from my path of productivity.

All remains undone.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The light at the end of the tunnel...

The semester is almost over. I have stacks upon stacks of grading to do before all is said and done.

Then it's back to square one - summer school.

At least spring is here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Guttenberg's Tech Support

This is for all of you who have tried to assist others with new technology.

I hope that keeps you entertained as I trim the moss growing on my feet from all the rain and I stay up at night wondering if any of my students will decide it is time to make the world uglier.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Word of the Day:


Hope you made it through...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Doggie Update

I saw the blind woman and her dog again. This time I was sans dogs and thus more able to focus my anthropological eye on their actions.

After observing the dog sniff, tug, and basically not lead the woman anywhere, my conclusion confirms a hypothesis Sara had shared with me earlier: it is not an eye-seeing guide dog, but rather a blind woman with a dog.

As to Zephyr, she sustained some nicks and scratches during the squirrel incident. She really is not a tough dog. However, she now thinks she is a tough dog. The evidence? Dogs that want to mark their presence somewhere often scratch the ground with their hind legs after urinating or defecating. Zeus does it all the time, but Zephyr has never done it. Until yesterday.

I guess that squirrel was a right of passage of some sort.

One last thing. Heliosphan mentioned that she wondered what her dog was dreaming about. I am waiting for Steve Jobs and his pals at Apple to come up with iDog dream visualizer. Now that would be one gadget I would certainly buy.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Dog's Life

Since I have no life, I have to resort to writing about the dogs' adventures. And today was quite an eventful day for them.

We went for a long walk and visited one of the local dog runs. There they got harassed a bit by an overly exuberant Lab puppy. Zephyr was very adept at communicating through her body language that she was not going to stand for any funny business. Zeus had a more difficult time. He could not decide whether he wanted to play or be annoyed. Of course this indecision just encouraged the teasing by the Lab.

As we left, we were walking through the park and we spotted a squirrel. If we are far from a street and there aren't a lot of people around. I will let Zeus go and let him pursue the squirrel. He starts off slow, stalking the prey. He then picks up his pace as he nears the target or if the critter makes a break for it. Usually the squirrel runs up a tree and Zeus is left looking eagerly up into the branches. Meanwhile Zephyr and I run behind catching up with Zeus at the base of the tree.

Today, however, the squirrel ran past a perfectly good tree to climb up. Big mistake. What happened next took place in what seemed like slow motion. Zeus caught up with the squirrel and manged to latch on to its tail. He jerked at it and flung it up into the air where it rotated head over tail. Then as it was coming down, Zephyr lunged out of nowhere and caught it by its back legs. She then flung it to the side. Zeus was about to get it when I managed to step on his leash, stopping his progress. The limping squirrel was then able to escape to the safety of a tree.

I wasn't sure whether to feel proud or embarrassed or concerned. I felt bad for the squirrel. As much as I despise them, especially when they have tortured Zeus or when they were living in our attic, it still pained me to see it injured. I also felt like the whole world was looking at me and judging my vicious dogs that go around killing wild life. But then a little part of me was proud: my dogs got a squirrel!

Zeus and Zephyr were visibly proud of their accomplishment. It almost seemed like they knew that they had worked as a team and if it had not been for some unfortunate external intervention that squirrel would have been toast (or at least a snack).

Our adventures did not end there. Almost back to our apartment, we were about to pass a woman with a big black dog, some kind of lab mix. The dog spotted us and began to tug. He got away and began to sniff Zephyr while the woman yelled at it to stop. In these situations, I let Zephyr handle the social encounter and place myself between Zeus and the dog. Zeus does not do well in these situations, while Zephyr is quite used to social interaction. However, even Zephyr felt this dog was getting a bit too friendly and began to snap at it. Zeus tried to come to her rescue, but I managed to keep my body between him and the dog. In contrast to the squirrel experience, this one seemed to be happening in quick mode. At a certain point, I hear the woman yell, "Sir, can you help me? It is a seeing eye dog and I am blind!" I look up and I see the woman meandering around. I managed to reach down and grab the dog's leash. At this point all the canine parties calmed down. It was a bit bizarre, but I was in charge. I took the dog over to the woman and placed the leash in her hand. I asked her if she needed help or wanted me to walk them somewhere. She declined.

I am not sure what kind of seeing eye dog that was, but it certainly seemed like one that dropped out of training school. It certainly did not obey any of the commands and it actually could have put that woman in danger.

So that was our day. The dogs then got to nap the rest of the afternoon while I went grocery shopping, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and made a Spanish tortilla.

At one point, Sara caught Zephyr twitching in her sleep and wondered whether she was dreaming about the squirrel. She probably was, she probably was...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

What I Learned Today (or didn't)...

Sara and I went to the American Museum of Natural History today. There were some things I liked and others which were disappointing. The hardest part was negotiating the halls that were teeming with screeching children and MadMax-like strollers driven by parents that seemed to be on the brink of a psychotic break.

The subway rides there and back proved to be equally interesting. On the way there we were surrounded by a woman who seemed to be quite young (late teens, maybe early twenties) leading a gaggle of young children: five in total. The oldest being a girl with dark curly hair, maybe six. Then a boy, perhaps five; another girl three or four; and then two children in separate strollers. All the children had olive color skin and dark hair, except the youngest boy in one of the strollers. He was the standard for nordic-looking. I am not sure what the story there was, but the woman also looked like she was on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion.

On the ride back, things were uneventful until a young African American male, wearing headphones and carrying a mini iPod, came marching down the car. As he came closer to us, I saw from my peripheral vision that he was leering at me. He stopped just past me and he began to hurl insults aimed at me, but disguised as though he were singing rap lyrics that were playing on his iPod.

At the next stop, he stepped on and off the train, continuing to throw insults around. At the very end, he wished all us "white devils" a good day.
I wondered why he acted that way. What was his reason for provocation? Boredom? Frustration? Real anger? I will never know.

Then I thought, am I a white devil?

No, dumbass, I am a Mexican devil. Or perhaps a Mexican-American devil. Or maybe I am...

Next time we go to the Natural History museum, I will have to look for the white devil case and diorama.