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Friday, March 31, 2006


We live in a marginal neighborhood and there's been more than a little tagging of late around our house. Our fence invites it, but this week we got tagged on our garage door. Honey wrote about it, so I'll let her speak on the subject.

I've been thinking about behavior of people this week a lot. And animals too. I had a disagreement with a campus department this week. It didn't make me particularly emotional, as those things often do. I'm good at getting along most of the time, but when tensions get high, I can have trouble keeping my cool. I didn't have any trouble this week. It may be that the folks with whom I disagreed were either more civilized and didn't get personal or were too dispassionate by virtue of their field and dispositions to know how to get personal. I found it refreshing, actually. And I think I may have solved the problem already. Everyone seems to like my solution so far.

I've been home with Biscuit today. It's a state holiday and other than going to have lunch with my honey, I wanted to actually take the day off. Biscuit is theoretically a domestic dog. She's not acting like it. She's become obsessed with the contents of the office trash can. I have had to interrupt myself twice to go get pieces of paper she took out of it back from her. She shreds them into little teeny pieces and what isn't shredded is vomited back up. She keep barking at the trash can. I've tried to explain to her that today is Friday and that our time together today is special. The prospect of ripping up deposit slips seems more compelling to her.

Honey and I have been talking about finally dealing with our yard. When we bought the house, they had painted and recarpeted, but the yard was a mess and it hasn't stopped being one. We have solutions we like and can afford for the front yard and the side strip of land beside the tagged fence. We both hate that we're responsible for that strip, but we are and we'd like it to stop having ice plant and trash. A friend of mine once told me that Italians refer to ice plant as "la miseria." That about sums up how I feel about the area along the outside of the tagged fence.

Our back yard is a bit more vexing, as it is large, contains Biscuit most of the time and I don't think suburban lawn is eco-responsible in Southern California. We'll do something, I don't know what.

Since we got the house, I've been feeding birds in the back yard. I always somewhat despaired of the lack of diversity in the variety of birds that came around. I like the fussy house finches. My friend Sharon says they're "faculty" finches, lots of noise and disagreement but nobody really gets hurt.

I get mourning doves and house sparrows. My favorite birds to visit are goldfinches. They hang upside down in the nyjer feeder and when you have some, you have a flock. It's like the yard is full of flying flowers.

H and I have a song for them, based on "Goldfinger" that goes something like, "goldfinches, they're the finches, the finches with a touch of gold, but not too much, because it's winter or they're girls." The girls are pretty too, as are the boys in their winter coats.

I get scrub jays and even court them. They're loud and fussy, but what can you do? Corvids are smart and I like smart.

But that was basically it. I had a cowbird wander through once. And some starlings. Anna's hummingbirds will zip through. I can't get it together to keep a hummer feeder full. Too many bees. I did see an oriole once. Mockingbirds live in the neighborhood and they'll stop by sometimes to wag their tails and sing their fantastic songs. There are crows and pigeons, of course, but they don't come into the back yard.

But it's nothing like my folk's feeder I set up in Atlanta. Sit there for a bit and you get cardinals, titmice, chickadees, and the same finches I get.

Because our yard is such a mess, we have more bugs around. It's a meadow really. And it's a meadow with bugs. The bugs have attracted a pair of Black Phoebes. I love the Phoebes. They're fantastic. They like to hang out on the fence and their little peaked heads look so cool. They swoop around looking for flying insects.

We need to fix our yard, and we will. I hope whatever we do meets with the Phoebes' approval. I'd like them to stay. Maybe I'll send them a note.

Notes to write:
To the taggers: cease and desist
To Biscuit: cease and desist
To the Phoebes: a welcome note and the offer of a lease

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A meeting with the bath department

Today I had a meeting with the chairperson and a faculty member on my IHE campus from a nameless department. Let's call the department "bath."

The upshot of the meeting was that the faculty in bath want to add an additional course in bath to the program I oversee. I allowed as how I didn't so much like the idea. There's a crisis in bath skills, they said.

I suggested that maybe we try teaching people to bathe better in the current program. They said that they come in with such remedial bathing skills, that they have to work too hard to cover all the bath basics. And then our students go out and teach kids and they don't know how to bathe either.

I countered that our students don't want more classes in bathing. And that if they add more, our students will go major in something else, like rope climbing. Or cooking. They said it wouldn't bother them if that happened because the students we had left would be the best bathers around and that would be ok.

The major I oversee is the biggest one at our IHE. I said that bathing wasn't all there was to the issue. That we'd also need to talk to the dancers and the graffiti artists and the bloggers and the student government people not to mention the folks from the bath department's own college who talk too much about the weather.

I e-mailed the provost because the bath folks said he was on their side. He was non-committal, so I don't know where he comes down on the issue. I do know that our students could go bathe elsewhere, like at the local community colleges. My dean even suggested that we try teaching bathing ourselves. I'm not sure the bath experts would go for that.

Somebody pass me a loofah.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bball, toilets, and typewriters

Nobody wanted to comment on the vomit post? Sigh. Vomit is so fun to talk about.

Quick basketball thought: I have real ambivalence about George Mason in the Final Four. On the one hand, I like me an underdog. On the other hand, when I went to college, our lame-ass bball team was in Mason's conference and got its ass kicked pretty regularly by them. Later, after I had finished my PhD, the first academic job I wanted and got a nibble at was a job at Mason. I didn't even make the interview stage and the chair of the committee is a friendly acquaintance (you know, not a friend, more than an acquaintance--she rode in the back of my car for sixteen hours once) of mine. Anyway, I hate Mason for those reasons, but have this sort-of wistful Mason hatred/love that reminds me of college and make me think that my alma mater looks a little better for Mason's success. This doesn't really make sense as my alma mater is no longer in their conference and still sucks at bball.

I am excited about UCLA. I think if you have degrees from a place (even advanced esoteric ones) you can root for a place. What would be cool is a Mason/UCLA final. Then I could root for UCLA and against Mason and feel like I'm back in college all over again. Go Eagles, I mean Bruins.

My mother is really disturbed that we need a new toilet and haven't gotten one. I'm now working on it. The American Standard Champion looks like a good flusher. The one we have is an early low-flow and flushing anything taxes its abilities. Bless its heart.

I was listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" this weekend on NPR. They had Lee Smith on as a guest. I love Lee Smith. Anyway, she was talking about the Southern tendency to say really mean things about people and then follow them with "bless her heart" which makes the mean thing ok to say. I knew exactly what they meant. Something like, "she has a weak chin, bless her heart." It proves just how Southern I still am that the minute somebody says, "bless her/his heart" whatever they just said seems ok to me. I'm not sure it extends to toilets, though. So we'll get a champion. I want a champion toilet. I was never a champion in anything. I played soccer long before they started giving everybody trophies. I've never gotten a trophy. Maybe I'll get the new toilet a trophy.

My Honey bought me this fantastic bracelet made out the keys from a 1927 Remington typewriter. Every time I've worn it, she asks me if someone has commented on it.

Totals so far:

Times honey has asked: 2
Times bracelet has been asked about: 4

(My keys are white/ivory, but you get the idea)

Ok, that's enough for today. Weak blog entry, bless its heart.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Drive by Post

The big problem with owning cats and dogs...

Cats eat stuff they shouldn't (their hair, birthday ribbon, balloon strings, bugs, spiders).

Then they throw up what they shouldn't have eaten.

Then the dogs find the throw-up.

And eat it.

I mean, what worse than dog vomit that is indigestible cat vomit?

I don't want to know what's worse, never mind.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's my birfday

So break out the party hats...

And somebody bring ugly or weird cake...

And while you're thinking of me, remember others who were born today:

(If you get the last two, I'm impressed).

Other things worth noting from March 23:

Handel's "The Messiah" was first performed, 1743

Patrick Henry gives the "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, 1775

Lewis and Clark head back east, 1806

First ever use of "OK" in a newspaper, 1839

In the Roman Empire this is the fifth and final day of Quinquatria, held in honor of Minerva.

So, happy birfday to me and all this other stuff.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Interview outfit and what follows in my odd little mind

I bought an interview outfit via the internet and it arrived yesterday. I tried it on for my honey. She asked, "what interview?"

"The one for my job."

"You have to interview? Yeah, I guess you do, huh?"

She liked the outfit fine, pointing out that it would also work as a conference presentation outfit or for a funeral. Not that we have a funeral to go to but you never know, as Honey's mother says. (Though usually she says that about stopping at skanky garage sales of the type that Sandra Tsing Loh describes as "Foxy Lady t-shirt flapping above a scabrous lawn" or something similar.)

Speaking of funerals, I just bought the new book about obituaries from Amazon. My dissertation director once lamented to me that he wouldn't automatically get an obituary by virtue of his professorship at the IHE where I did my Ph.D. I had a hard time feeling sorry for him. He probably will get an obit. If not, it's the price he pays for staying in the big city. If he lived in some little college town, his obit would get lots of column inches.

My mother taught me to be fond of obituaries. She lives in a smaller city than I do and therefore has more access to the little obituarites. She calls me a lot to ask if "such and such who died went to high school with you." Makes me feel old. Still, I read the so-called "news obits" every day in the LA Times.

I'm reading this novel called A Brief History of the Dead which supposes that when you die you go this city which is a holding zone until everyone on earth who knew you dies too. I don't really like the idea. I've taught too many big lecture classes.

Still, remembering the dead and the past has a sweetness to it that I like. My mother's uncle Bert married but probably never "did it" as my grandmother said once. He taught piano in a little town in the southeast. Recently my mother was having her picture taken for some article she's going to be in (I zoned out on the publication. Mother gets a lot of pub and I try to ignore it). The photographer was from the same little town that Uncle Bert lived in. Mother said something about the photographer being too young to know him. To which the man replied, "I'm 46 years old and Dr. F taught me piano for 5 years."

Another mother and death story: she was in Canada giving a speech and she noticed that someone in the audience had collapsed. She stopped speaking and went over to see if she could help. The woman had no pulse and a doctor in the audience was giving CPR. When they got on the phone to 911, the doctor said "she appears to be in her mid-80s." As soon as he said that the woman's heart started again and she sat up and said, "I'm in my mid-60s."

My family and I have a presidential death bet. I've lost. My mother and brother are neck and neck having gotten Nixon and Reagan in the right order. When I suggested we should have included the first ladies after Jackie Kennedy died, my mother allowed as how that wouldn't have been funny. Whatever. I'll be sad when Jimmy Carter dies. Still, I have a bet on his death order relative to the other guys.

Some friends and I were discussing the relative aliveness of the cast of What's Happening. I knew that Shirley Hemphill had died and everyone agreed. No one but me thought Fred Berry (Rerun) was dead. For the record, he died in 2003.

My father's mother would greet everyone she knew with "so who are your people?" She was also dedicated to the obituaries. She owned this book called Looking Backward Through My Knott Heritage. She was related to the Knotts of Knott's Berry Farm thought she didn't think much of them. Southerners who move to California are suspect. Fine with me, says Suspect Number 1.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Third anniversary and the beginning of spring

So I'm in a meeting today with one of my favorite colleagues, a woman from the Theatre Department with lots of white hair and this fantastically loud voice that has a nice tone to it and never grates. Which I think is pretty impressive.

Anyway, she has the 16 year old son who is an underachiever. He had this big report to work on and instead of going out to buy a folder yesterday, he was going to try to buy one at school this morning. Theatre woman's (TW) husband decided his lack of planning was sufficient to prevent said kid from getting his learners permit. TW wanted parenting advice. I tried to demur, as I am not a parent. Finally, I said that they shouldn't prevent him from getting his permit. People often make bad mistakes while driving when they're young. But when the get older and more sensible, they simply become really bad drivers. Honey calls it adult onset driving and she's right.

TW then asked if she could make her son talk to her. I said no. And that I wouldn't have talked to my mother at all as a sixteen year old, but because my mother is a force of nature, I couldn't get away with not talking to her.

"He's in trouble," TW said.

"No more than anyone else. Besides, his not getting the folder just proves he's part of the laziest generation. And besides, we're all in trouble," I said.

TW worried about my comment. She puts too much stock in what I say, I think. But I do think we're in trouble, not because she and her late baby boomer cohort have raised a different kind of kid. Generations differ from one another. It's a thing. In case you're wondering...

Following the outline in William Strauss and Neil Howe's Generations, the current "living" generations are:

The Lost Generation (born 1883-1900)
The G.I. Generation (born 1901-1924)
The Silent Generation (born 1925-1942)
The Baby Boomer Generation (born 1943-1960)
The 13th Generation (usually called X) (born 1961-1981)
The Millennial Generation (usually called Y) (born 1982-2000)

There's a lot more to Strauss and Howe's argument, about periods of awakening and crisis and about what generations fit which molds. Whether or not you agree with them (I see some merit in their arguments, but it's too Anglo-focused for modern America), there is a difference between and among TW's late Baby Boomer sensibility, my X-ie rejection of her idealism, and her son's Y-esque deep connection to technology and the ennui it produces.

I am not the least bit confident that my generation is capable of leading or that the generation that follows is either. Boomers have a mixed record. Clinton was ok, W is beyond horrible. I was listening to AirAmerica this morning and Elaine Boozer, who was filling in for Stephanie Miller, kept calling W "the fishhead" which seemed so right. He's so rotten in all the ways that he can be. She also mentioned that the President of Venezuela calls him "Mr. Danger." Which is right too.

So, here on the third anniversary of a war that is wrong and has been wrong all along, I'll quote (how lesbian cliched of me) Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls:

And they want to tell you
It's a merciful sword.
But with all the blood
Newly dried in the desert
Can we not fertilize the land with something else?
There is no nation
By God exempted
Lay down your weapons
And love your neighbor as yourself.

I'm not crazy about the biblical reference in the last line, but she's right on otherwise. And she's another gay X-er from Atlanta, so go Emily!

My mother likes to remind me that my birthday coincides with the beginning of spring. She went in to the hospital in winter, she says, and came out in spring. The dogwoods were blooming. I'm very pro-dogwood, though the story gets a little old. Still, it has a nice nostalgia to it, I guess.

Since 2003, I associate spring and my birthday (which is Thursday, for those of you who want to send cards and letters), with the beginning of the current war.

It's funny, really, that I allow that TW woman's son should be allowed to make driving mistakes. Young men and women not much older than he are in harm's way right now and I can't stop it. And little mistakes cost them their lives every day. If spring is indeed the promise of the good to come, why is it that I think we're in so much trouble today?

The dogwoods still bloom and I can still go home to my decent semi-suburban house. I make plenty of money and drive a car I like. I have a nice honey who loves me and who I love. The future looks good on a micro level. It's the macro I'm worried about.

Happy spring anyway.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

D.C. deux and travel home followed by to Fullerton

First, let me lay aside the bad faith issue. While I appreciate everyone’s desire to understand my “bad faith,” to explain the details would be so tedious, you’d be sorry you asked. Vague version: I asked this woman to be part of a team. She refused to play nicely. Tried to change the nature of the game. She tried to derail the whole project. I thanked her; told her I’d pay her off and then told her she wasn’t going to get to play any more. She was pissed. Whatever. I have not yet responded to her e-mail.

Ok, so the conference actually started at noon. I am taking the elevator down in the hotel and run into the Assoc. Dean of Education at my IHE. I like her, though she and I could NOT be less alike. She’s glamorous in sort of a retro way, with matching clothes, handbags, nail polish, etc. We take a cab over because (she says) of the wind. Fine with me. I had walked over there once, discovered the huge-as bridge over Rock Creek Park that one had to traverse and was glad to take a pass this time.

Lunch is entertaining because of how funny SocStud Dean is. My home department at IHE is in the College of SocStud though I currently work in a different college and for a different dean. I’ve always been afraid of SocStud Dean. Her affect is confident, assertive and intense. She’s hilarious. I had no idea. She even makes fun of Assoc. Dean of Ed for the matching wallet and purse.

We go to dinner that night and I end up at a small table with the provost of whom I am very fond. He makes me nervous, but that’s only by virtue of his position, because he’s speaking in bad French, telling jokes, and being very cool.

After dinner, I continue my search for peanuts. My honey asked for them, and my honey doesn’t usually ask for stuff. I’ve told her I’m getting her a gold-rimmed W mug if I can’t find peanuts. I can’t tell you yet what I found yet. You’ll see why shortly.

The next morning is uneventful. As SocStud Dean and my friend N leave for Dulles, I find myself jealous. I have a terrible iced tea at Cosi and get a cab for the airport. My cab driver is one of those who wants to talk politics and doesn’t speak English well. It’s a DC thing.

I go to the electronic counter and Delta offers me an “earlier itinerary” for $25. I take it, since I’m scheduled to arrive at 11:30 and this one will get me in at 10:30. Problem: the longer leg (Cincinnati-LAX) only has middle seats. Me=panic attack. The Delta lady tries to help. Nothing can be done because my Atlanta seat is now gone.

I call my honey. She calms me down.

Then, (sigh) I run into two of the folks from my IHE. I don’t know either one well and I’m sure they can tell I’ve been crying.

We get through the security line only to discover that I have lined up in the wrong security line because I’ve been crying and that they did so as well because they saw me. We walk down to security line #2 and queue up again. This one is longer. Still, we get through it.

I hit up the Delta lady for an aisle and she finds me one. Cool. The flight starts to board. I call AD, she stressed. Can’t help you AD, but I’m feeling ok due to aisleness. They call groups for a while then they stop. Then the police and TSA show up. Then they tell us to leave the terminal. There’s been a security breach. They are getting boarded people off the plane.

One of my now traveling partners runs up to the desk and asks if we can be moved to another flight at Dulles. The guy gets us on one at 9:30 (it’s 5:30 when this happens). We go down to baggage and though we’ve been told they’ll off-load our bags, the woman laughs at the idea. When I mention that my laptop is in my bag, she fusses at me for putting it in there. Apparently, you’re not supposed to put them in checked luggage. I didn’t know.

I’m tense and am wishing I had:

1. Flown out of Dulles in the first place
2. Flown out of BWI in the first place
3. Left my ticket with the Atlanta flight, because getting stranded in Atlanta is ok. My parents live there and I could have stayed with them
4. Not checked my bag

Now my honey’s gift and my leather coat and my laptop are all going to Cincinnati and I’m going to Dulles and flying on a different airline. We get a cab. New traveling partners have no cash. So I pay the $75 for the cab ride.

Delta guy booked them and not me. United only has middle seats. Me=panic attack deux. This time I can’t cry.

We’re then pulled out for extra security because we’ve changed airports, airlines, and have no luggage. The woman narrates what she’s doing. She’s too vague. Instead of “Now I’m going to pat down your legs” she should have said, “now I’m going to put my hand in your crotch.”

Then she messes with my ipod. Don’t mess with my ipod. First, it’s my ipod. Second, it has limited battery life and I’m going to need me some Battlestar reruns on this flight.

I go straight to the gate after my ipod and I are violated while my companions go have beer and food. The guy gets me an aisle. He’s little and troll like and I would kiss him full on the mouth if I could.

I eat a sub and call Delta about my bag. Here’s something you may not know. Whichever airline you fly on last, even if they never had you bag, they’re responsible for you bag. Even though my bag is actually inside a Delta plane, United is responsible for it. As of 8:30, my original flight (and thus my bag) had not yet left for Cincinnati. We get on the plane and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. There’s no one in the middle seat of my row. I could weep for joy. I think I do.

The flight takes a long time because of major headwinds. We land at almost 1am. I head for the United baggage office, file my claim and go get the parking shuttle to where my little blue truck waits for me. The 405 is shut down at the 10. I turn off my car and read my book. At the point, I’m cried out.

When I get home, I have to wake my H and the dog up to get in the house. It’s 2:30am and I’m supposed to be in Fullerton at 10am the next morning for a meeting.

I have nothing against Fullerton. Or the meeting. But it takes me almost 2 hours to get there and 2.5 to get back. The latter trip with gastrointestinal issue resulting from the roast beef I had at lunch. I could have lived without Fullerton.

My luggage? It’s supposed to be delivered between 2 and 4 this afternoon by United. They called at 7:15 this morning.

I’m not at a meeting I told Sandra I’d go to. She was nice about it, but I feel bad.

It may be that my return trip is bad karma from:

1. That I booked travel out of an airport named for Ronald Reagan
2. That I dropped a diaper bag on a woman’s head on the flight to DC
3. That I didn’t contact my friend Deb and make time to see her
4. The presidency of George W. Bush or the mug of same
5. My putting my laptop in my luggage against TSA guidelines

Hard to say. I can say I’m glad to be home.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Our Nation's Capital--the first 18 hours

Greetings from D.C.

I arrived 18 hours ago after a long travel day. My honey says I make bad travel decisions and I'm in the middle of an itinerary that bears that theory out. Because I'm traveling on IHE business, I had to use the IHE travel agent. We played phone tag for a while and then she got me on the phone, while she had another call on hold. She wanted a decision NOW. I have a friend in the Philosophy department who says that when pressured to make decisions, most people choose one criterion on which to make it, even if the decision should be based on multiple factors. My decision criterion: Delta frequent flyer miles. So, instead of flying direct to Dulles (from which I could have gotten a cab I wouldn't have had to pay for), I flew to Atlanta and then to National. Sigh.

I lived in D.C. for 8 years and miss it sometimes. It's a great city, especially if you avoid the downtown state worship monuments and K Street. I'm staying in Woodley Park, near the zoo. It's an area of the city I don't know very well and, with the exception of my freshman year in college, I never lived in the city without a car.

I went to Kensington last night to see some old friends. R and J picked me up at the Metro station. Their kids had spent the previous fifteen minutes asking if everyone who emerged from the station was me. Was I that guy? Was I the woman in the wheelchair? One of their kids even asked how R and J would know it was me. R said at dinner that she told them she had known me for twenty years. It was one of those, moments. Twenty years. And, we could have known each other longer. It's always amused us both that our parents, who were friends when we were growing up, tried to get us to meet one another. We even went to the same horse camp (Little Lamb sucked, R. Sunshade ruled). But we both tried hard to avoid meeting one another. When we ended up going to the same college (I even applied to it at her father's suggestion because I wanted a D.C. school on my list), we ended up becoming good friends. My snoring in our Rome roomateship and her choice of that green satin for the bridesmaid dress notwithstanding. Still, twenty years.

After dinner I returned to my hotel room expecting some kind of guidance about today's conference agenda and meeting time. Nope. Nothing.

I talked to honey and she suggested I arrive at the earliest time I thought the conference could start. So, I get up early shower and walk the fifteen minutes to the location of the conference. I arrive to discover that the conference starts at noon. Noon.

I wander further down to Dupont Circle and have coffee and a bagel. I'm on the lookout all the while for a place to buy my honey the peanuts she asked for. I asked R and J where to get Virginia peanuts and other than Williamsburg, their best suggestion was Dulles Airport. But then there I am flying out of National.

In the meantime, I had 65 e-mail messages including one accusing me of bad faith. Nice.

AD got a bunch of stuff dropped into her virtual lap last night and she's not even at work yet.

I think I'm going to sleep for an hour and then go back out in search of peanuts.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

BSG, WBC, and me

BSG=Battlestar Galactica
WBC=World Baseball Classic

Friday night I set up our Tifaux to tape the season finale of BSG. SciFi had changed the time of the 90 minute finale and lo, I had 30 minutes of Stargate: Atlantis and 60 of BSG. I'm not going to even pre-apologize about this: that mixture is wrong. It's like Fear Factor and Amazing Race. One is good, the other is really not. Sigh. I saw the big-headed aliens as I was fast-forwarding. Sandra informed me last night that the big-headed aliens are actually the Norse pantheon in mythology. Thor=big-headed alien. Whatever.

So I watch the first 2/3 of BSG and then have to come into our home office and spend two dollars to buy it from itunes. The rerun on Monday conflicted with Medium, which wasn't gonna work, and the damn thing cut off right after Balthar had won the election and Roslin had conceded that stealing it was not a good idea. Mary McDonell's performance in the finale was a thing of wonder. And I love the twist. Vichy France, modern America. It's all wrapped up in the current and future season. Fandamntastic. And anyone who know any Emmy voters: my girl MM deserves the Emmy.

Today honey and I went to see round two of the World Baseball Classic at Angel Stadium (nee Angel Stadium of Anaheim nee Edison Field of Anaheim nee the Big A). It's a rainy cold day in SoCal and we had tickets to what was supposed to be the "B" game. Because Japan and the US lamed it up in the first round, we had the "A" game instead. (Mexico v Korea is tonight). We were in the right field pavilion which is not my favorite venue at the stadium. I really like the left field pavilion which is just above the bullpens and down low. The right field pavilion is higher and full of rowdiness. I don't mind rowdiness really, but WBC brought out patriotic stupid rowdiness.

Some of the rapier wit:

"Yo, Griffey. This is better than Cincinnati!"

"Yo Griffey. Where's Barry and his steroids?"

Question: "I wonder why England isn't playing?"

Answer: "They're probably playing cricket or watching soccer. Put another shrimp on the barbie."

(I resisted the temptation to turn around and point out the shrimp on the barbie thing refer to Australia and they did have a team in the WBC).

A lot of bile was spit out against Japan, the woman announcing the Japanese team in Japanese, women, gay men, Yankees (that was ok), and Giants.

Most often the subject of ridicule were the two center fielders. The Japanese center fielder, Kosuke Fukudome got a lot of "fuck you dome" lobbed at him.

We left early, which was good in the end. I didn't want to root for the U.S. given the way my fellow Americans were behaving. And the game turned on a bad call which went against the Japanese followed by an RBI by Alex Rodriguez. No thanks.

Fukudome, in case you're wondering, plays for the Chunichi Dragons and is a career .300 hitter.

The Japanese team was a real joy to watch, with three spectacular plays. First baseman Michihiro Ogasawara robbed an American player with a diving stop and flip to the pitcher. Ogasawara plays for the Japanese team with the best name: The Nippon Ham Fighters. Second baseman Akinori Iwamura of the Yakult Swallows had a nice play. The best one was by shortstop Munenori Kawasaki who plays for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks with a over-the shoulder catch in shallow left.

On the American side, A-Rod and Jeter were typically Yankee weak. Chipper had a beautiful homerun and Scot Shields acquitted himself well as the only Angel in Angel Stadium today.

Still and all, it was one of those experiences that makes me wish people didn't have to be so vocal in their stupidity. I guess that's what makes America great, though. We can be loud and stupid. And I guess I shouldn't be so pessimistic about the whole thing. The Japanese fans at the end of our row laughed at the what the hecklers said several times. Plus, I don't have to live on BSG's New Caprica, which looks like Vancouver winter in tents all the time. (Probably because they filmed it in Vancouver in winter in tents). It's better than Cincinnati, right Griffey?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Small things

Once while sitting in the Tri-Cities airport in northeastern Tennessee, a guy walked by me and handed me a book.

If you're wondering, the Tri-Cities are Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol (which is half in Virginia and half in Tennessee). This area is the center of what is sometimes called "The Lost State of Franklin." The State of Franklin lasted for four years in the 1780s, but was never recognized by the Congress. North Carolina, which claimed sovereignty over the counties involved at the time, won the war of rhetoric over the controversy. Obviously, since there is a North Carolina and there isn't a Franklin.

The Tri-Cities airport claims "You can get anywhere from here" and then lists the cities to which you can fly from it. Apropos of my worry about "forever" the other day, "anywhere" includes: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, and Orlando. So now you know.

The Tri-Cities themselves won the "All-America City" award in 1999. Also up that year, Fresno. I know where the hookers hang out in Fresno, so that you can go check with them about how proud they were to be a finalist.

2005 winners include:
1. Canoga Park, CA (which is not a city, it's part of Los Angeles, but then come to think of it, Tri-Cities isn't exactly a city either. Still, I live in L.A. and I've been to Canoga Park. Eh.)
2. Seward, Alaska (I've been there, liked it a lot. There was bingo on Thursday nights at the VFW).
3. Georgetown County, SC (I've been there too, it's pretty and very historical. You'll get grits with your meal, but don't take the boat to what Honey and I call "Biting Fly Island." If your experience is like ours on BFI, you'll be trapped for four hours and your underwear will get wet).

2005 finalists (but losers) include:
Athens, GA (indy music/UGA=weak)
Park City, UT (film/skiing=weak)
Golden, CO (beer=weak actually this one is true, Coors beer is weak)

It does seem you have to put in your AAC dues, many finalists become winner the following year. And then once they win, the can use the logo which in turn "reinvigorates a community's sense of civic pride."

Has this entry gotten away from me? Oh, right. Small things.

Anyway, it was one of those "small stuff" kind of books, though this was pre-Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. It was one of those books, though. The guy who gave it to me said I looked smart (nice) and that I should read this (don't tell me what to do) and then walked away (nice ass--actually I don't remember how his ass was, but I do remember he was a bouncy walker).

It was an odd encounter and I threw the book away later. Still, I sometimes wonder what small things I would appreciate now that I don't because I didn't read the book.

Here are some small things that I do like now (no implied order):

* How raising my bike seat today made me ride better and harder and more efficiently. Smooth.

* Speaking of the bike, my cool Pearl Izumi pittard carbon gloves.

* The squishy fresco lizard my mother brought my niece from Spain. My niece didn't like it and now it sits on my desk.

* The lizard's friends, the teeny devil ducks. My Honey and I split the six-pack of teeny devil ducks. I have orange, blue and green, which means she must have red, yellow and purple. Is that right? I also like that she and I each have half of them. And I like when people notice them.

* That my office has a view.

* How soft Biscuit's muzzle is.

* The amount of white on Halo (set off really nicely by the orange and black). It's just right to me aesthetically.

* Hugging my honey in the morning. This morning she put my glasses on top of my head so I could get closer.

* Chipotle (the flavor and the restaurant)

* The way shops at the beach smell. Like rafts, I think.

* Cool days.

That's enough for now. I'm off to the lost state of Franklin. Actually, I have to write a letter to all incoming students in my program for approval by the Integrated Communication Committee. They may live in the lost state of Franklin. Or not. But they may live in Canoga Park!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


My therapist thinks it's stupid that I told people I know about my blog. She's not given to strong opinions generally, but she was firm in her expression of this one. It makes sense that she thinks that from a therapistic point of view. She thinks the blog has the potential to be a good release for my emotions and that in telling people I know about it, I will censor myself. She even suggested that I start another one.

This one is enough, I think. It makes me feel guilty just sitting around being static when there are not new posties.

Still, I see her therapistic point. She, like any good therapist, is my advocate even in my ongoing war against myself. That's what I pay her for and trust her to do. And she's certainly right that I censor myself here. See my previous post about truth for more discussion of that issue.

All of this is not to say I told everyone about my blog. My mother, for example=unaware. Ditto the rest of my natal family. I told AD about it, but she's had the good sense (or lack of interest) not to ask about it.

Still, the blog thing is weird. You put yourself out there in a way that is at once distancing and intimate. I read Dooce's blog and really like her way of presenting herself. I don't, however, presume I know her or am her friend. She just posted about some thing she's going to in Austin and how people (by which she means her fans) can meet her at a coffee shop. How odd, I thought, to reveal intimacies, have people "know" you in that way, and then agree to meet them. When you know nothing about them. People who didn't live nearby seemed disappointed when she announced it, many of them suggesting other venues for meets and greets.

Fame is fame, I suppose. I know a former minor actress who had a stalker. The biggest role she had was as the third name in a big digit sequel (5 or 6, I forget which) to a horror/slasher movie. We find in others what we want to find.

None of this is to suggest I'm famous (I'm not), but that because my blog is read mostly by people I know, it functions differently than it would if it were read by strangers, Then I could emote in anonymity. Not so in spork world.

So, no rant today, just some musings about the lack of ranting.

And a couple of made up words.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


When I get home every night before my honey, Biscuit celebrates by running around the yard. I call it her “dogabration” and sing a version of Celebration (yes, by Kool and the Gang). They’re not very clever alternative lyrics, but she takes such joy in my coming home that it seems worthy of a song.

The problem with Biscuit, of course, is that those moments of joy are so fundamentally brief relative to the moments where she really can’t contain her base-self. Honey calls her “all id,” which is right. See cat, chase cat. Want cat poop, eat cat poop. See sock, eat sock. She’s not stupid--she just has no filter.

Which can be my problem too, though in a very different way.

Since I’ve not been able to correct the no-filter problem in my life, I sometimes despair of doing it in Biscuit’s life.

In the meantime, at least there’s the dogabaration in which we “dogabrate and have a good time. So bring your Biscuits and your Halos too, we’re going to dogabrate and party with you.” Join us sometime.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Giving stuff away

So I had these baseball tickets for the World Baseball Classic at Angel stadium next week. I bought a strip (as they say in the biz). I had tickets for Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Honey and I are going Sunday and I had sold (face value, no service charge) the Tuesday tickets to a wacky woman who works in the Dean's office. I was going to go on Thursday, but IHE business takes me to our nation's capital next week. I asked around to see if anyone wanted them at work. No takers.

I then thought I'd just give them away on craigslist. I like the free section and I don't want to sell tickets to a stranger. Weird thing.

So I post them on craigslist. I described them and asked people to send me their name and address. I said the first e-mail with an address that made it to my mailbox would get them. I check an hour later and found 21 e-mails.

A lot of people asked me to e-mail them back. Some left their phone numbers. Others left pleas about how their dad loved baseball. One sent a picture of a child and no other information.

One said that he had been she had been trying to get tickets to the WBC "since forever." I resisted the temptation to e-mail her back with the link. There are tickets available for $12 each in the same section as mine (I just checked). And forever could only be since, say, last fall when the WBC was announced. I had always thought of it as longer.

It's sort of the angels dancing on the head of a pin. If the answer is one, I'll be as dissapointed as I am now knowing that forever is less than six months.

One person replied to the follow-up where I said the tickets were gone asking if they were still available. Um, no.

A couple of people wanted to make sure they were "contacting the right guy" before they gave their address. Now, I understand hesitating about givine one's address out on one level. On the other hand, I offered the things for free.

I got some phone numbers and an offer to come pick them up.

Several people thanked me for offering them.

The "winner" (she was the third to get her e-mail in, but the first to include her address) wanted to take her six year old kid. I hope they have a great time (and that she's telling the truth). And to the people who tried, sorry I couldn't help you all and thanks to those who were kind.

I may give something away again soon. I liked it.

I miss Kirby Puckett already. Happy baseball season.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Don't buy a corner house

We thought a corner house was good. We were wrong. Our fence gets tagged, our "strip" between the sidewalk and the street is a dumping ground for sofas. Our big Oleander bush holds many treasures not our own. Today's haul==an old director's chair, a lamp shade, and a really old radio. Plus some random piece of electrical equipment.

Our neighbor came over to tell me that he saw the kids who tagged the fence (second time this week). I thanked him and sat down to fill out the second request for graffiti removal I've done in 96 hours. When I called about the sofa that someone dumped, the lady said, "you called in January."

"This is a new one."

We both sighed.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Necks, organs, and bodies on the floor

The Dean arranged CPR training for the "team" today. By which she meant the main faculty people in each unit and the office manager in each unit. I decided I couldn't go with just OM and made AD come too. AD was willing. It was one of those things. There were some funny moments, like when the OM of another unit asked if we should strip people before we performed CPR. And when I pointed out that the "do not try to put organs back into the body cavity" advice was just good common sense. As was the notion that just born babies are slippery and you might drop them.

They had those CPR dummies and I somehow managed (thank goodness) to get out of crawling around on the floor. If anyone has a heart attack lying on a table, I'm your woman. It was good actually because my left knee doesn't like me. I did feel like a weak sister, given that the Dean did it on the floor and she has at least 15 years on me. Still. Collapse on the table. Go ahead.

The whole thing gave me a headache and a neck ache. Which just shows how unable I am to function right now. It was effectively a "free" day and I couldn't deal with the freedom. Somebody chain me to my computer!

The room the training was in is one of the nicer rooms on campus, big and bright with excellent equipment. But the chairs that room has. Sigh. They're rigid narrow little assholes. They don't twist, they don't recline. And by the end of the day I couldn't look side to side at all.

These kinds of things make me contemplate the random. Like how many earrings AD has in her ear (as I stare over her head) while my neck still works. Why I can't stop looking at the Dean. Why the Assistant Dean wants to try out the portable defibrillator (aka the AED) so much.

That's not him in the picture and we didn't learn how to use one, but he was really glad when the trainer mentioned they could be bought at COSTCO. For $1500. So, if you're going to have a heart problem here at my IHE, do it in the Associate Dean's office. He really wants to say, "CLEAR!"

I'll get a certificate. I will not drop the babies, I will not use the AED, I will not try to shove your organs back into you.

But if you're gonna die, do it up high. Ok? Ok.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


After some heavy blogtries, I want to change it up and make a confession that could change how people think about me. I love lesbian romance. I mean I heart it. I do have some standards and I will try to outline them for you now.

Some background: me=ubergeek who used to get in trouble as a child for reading after I was supposed to have gone to bed. Came out to myself without a particular woman in the picture. Started going down to feminist bookstore in D.C. It was way easier walking in there than into the GL bookstore. I just tried to find the name of it and it seems to have gone away like the one here in L.A. The one in D.C. was called Lammas and closed (as best I can tell) in 2000 and the L.A. store, called Sisterhood closed in 1999. Thanks Borders!

So anyway, I would go down to Lammas and buy novels. Naiad was the big lesbian publisher in those days. At the time Naiad published two books a month as did Seal Press. (Both Seal and Naiad have since gone out-of-business--I didn't mean for this to be a theme). They weren't good books. Really, I promise. While I am not the most thoughtful reader of fiction the world has ever produced, I can tell the difference between crap and not crap. These books were crap.

Here's how they'd go. Woman X is alone in (you choose) a cabin, a casino, a spaceship. She meets Woman Y and there's an energy that she can't explain. They argue, maybe someone is killed, maybe the hyperdrive for interplanetary exploration goes out. There's lots of tension. They then have sex. Woman X is blown away. She doesn't know what to do. She runs away from the situation. She has an epiphany. She finds woman Y. They reconcile and have sex again. The book ends and they live happily ever after.

See how appealing that is?

Well, it is to me. I go in and out of liking this stuff but I'm back in it now. (I was in a funk about the end of the Willow Tara thing on Buffy for a couple of years). I dragged my honey to see Imagine Me and You and then provoked a fight about it when she kept worrying about whether the flower shops Woman Y (see above) owned in the movie would close because they had sex on the roses or because she kept running out to find Woman X.

I didn't care. I like regular romance well enough, but I'll deal with just about any version of this story I can find.

What I don't like: anthologies, especially "real-life" anthologies, stories that end badly, "horror" versions of the above (though scifi and mystery versions are great).

What I do like: less build-up, more romance. And if it's a movie or a t.v. show, lots of good passionate romantic kissing and cuddling. If it's a book, I like a things a little (NOT a lot) more explicit.

I am currently reading (in between weekly New Yorkers, monthly Outsides, and the L.A. Times) a book called Colder Than Ice. One thing you should know about this kind of lesbian novel is that there is one thing you can count on besides the plot outlined above. It will have a REALLY bad cover. Not Harlequin cheesy, just badly and amateurly done. This one, published by an imprint I've never heard of called Quest Books, looks like this:

Nice huh? The plot is the basic one outlined above, with Allie, the archaeologist, as Woman X and Michaela, the psychologist, as Woman Y. The setting: an archaeological dig in ... Antarctica. Of course. I'm about halfway through. No sex yet, but I can feel it coming. They're stuck in a blizzard alone, all all alone, in a snow pod of some sort. They're in danger. And together at last.

These novels are oversized (inevitably)and run about $18 today. They were $12 in the heady D.C. days.

I could analyze why I like these things so much, but my therapist and I have more pressing matters to attend to and, in some sense, I don't care.

My honey brought me flowers and a balloon after I accused her of not being romantic after not liking Imagine Me and You. I may try to get her to watch Saving Face but I'm worried that it's not going to be romantic enough for me. I have a friend who loves romance of any type so much that her knees wiggle when she thinks about it. It's nice. She'll probably like that I like this stuff. I don't know if she knows.

Anybody want Colder Than Ice when I'm done?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Carnivale, Mardi Gras, and Lent

One of my academic interests is festivals. It's an odd thing really, as the great festivals are very Catholic and I am not. I've been to Carnivale in Venice and behaved badly. I was drunk and young, but it was not my shining moment. I also went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans pre-Katrina and have felt very wistful about New Orleans as I read and watch the coverage of this year's event. This despite the fact that my Mardi Gras experience was very lonely in the way that festivals can be incredibly isolating for an outsider. It probably didn't help that I experienced MG without any mind-alteration. But I wasn't as young or as stupid then.

My experience with "real" festival has been very corporal, really. I remember the dizzy drunk sensation of Venice, the pounding headache of New Orleans, getting my period in the middle of the Palio, surrounded by 100,000 people with no way out.

As I said, it's an odd thing, I think, that I'm so interested in festival from a scholarly point of view. I'm not one to let go and my indulgences (to some degree) are a thing of the past. Certainly my alcohol indulgences. I like the tropes of festival and the structure of it fascinates me. The experience of it requires more self-release than I'm willing to give over to as I wallow around in the back end of my 30s.

Carnivale and Mardi Gras are two versions of the same festival, of course. The pre-Lenten celebration before the repentance of Lent. Easter is late this year, so Mardi Gras is late. It should come in the coldness of February in my mind, not the bright promise of March. As a kid in a Protestant household, I didn't spend much time thinking about what I needed to "give up." I knew that the liturgical season had changed, because my mom wore a different stole over her robe (she's a minister).

In case you're wondering; most Sundays Presbyterians wear green stoles--Lent is purple, Easter is white, Advent is purple, Christmas is white, Pentecost is Red. There are other days that are white, and a couple where red is an option (from the worship FAQ on the PCUSA web site). As a kid, I liked it when the colors changed. Now, of course, as an adult (and a folklorist), I recognize the power of color in theological symbolism. Red days are loaded in ways that green days can never be. And purple now makes me think of change while white makes me think of promise.

I don't go to church much, but I think a lot about the nature of religion in my life and in others' lives. I often (and this will probably upset some folks, so be ready ok?) find myself in the company of friends who eschew faith and bash it heartily. I understand why, especially given our current political leaders' screwed up positions on the nature of belief in the public arena and the scary way in which most people in my adopted state manifest their beliefs... Still, I listen to their harsh words and worry about my silence and the way it implies approval of their attitudes. That's too mild a description really, but I'll let it go at that.

I was in a meeting last week and a colleague of mine (a guy I don't like a lot but have some respect for) said to me "if we are judged in the hereafter I want to have done the right thing here." I was startled. Liberal academic don't say things like that in public meetings. And yet I found myself (in a meeting about strategic planning of all things) wondering about what it means to be a good person. My honey believes (and she is as moral a person as I know) that what we do in the here and now is all there is. I'm not sure that's true. She's very forgiving of my doubts. This weekend we talked some about my criticism of people who have trouble reconciling faith and their sexual identity. She was more right than I was, as is so often the case.

So, here on Ash Wednesday, what do I have to say?

One, that I am glad to have not overindulged yesterday, though I liked looking at the festival pictures (as usual).

Two, that I'm glad I didn't have to have a filet-o-fish with my Catholic co-workers.

Three, that I forgive myself for excesses in Carnivale in 1988.

Four, that I may no longer NOT say anything when faith gets bashed. Fair warning #2

Five, that I still don't KNOW what will happen in the hereafter, but I'm hoping that there will be one.

Six, that I hope the hereafter feels and looks like it should (which is nothing like what festival has felt like in my life, at least).

Seven, that promise of better things (whether they take the form of Easter or not) be with all those I love and with those who need it--which is pretty much everybody, I guess.