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Thursday, June 29, 2006

I get new business cards!

The job, she is mine. I "start" Monday.

Whooo oooo oooo.

Maybe I should buy a bike to celebrate. Oh wait. Did that.

Maybe I should smile a lot. Check.

Maybe I should have pea soup. Check.

It's also good that I have the job before anyone figured out about my fatal typo flaw. Good thing scout is my Honey. She edits things. But not Sporks News apparently.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pea Soup

I am not from California. It's a nice state, though I think it's a little big. I always feel a little weary when flying from the East Coast to the West or vice versa and when it occurs to me to go from the L.A. area to the Bay area. I wish there were a lot less in between my two destinations.

From L.A. to S.F. can be lovely if you take U.S. 101 (or "the 101" in Cali parlance). That takes longer than the traverse up I-5 ("the 5"). Honey and I chose the latter. It was hot. Proof:

We got stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of the brown on the way.

The traffic jam was AFTER we had passed up one of the better exit-opportunities (or exitpertunities if you will). It was all going to be ok though, because Honey and I both knew in our hearts what would be there waiting for us if we just stayed the course.

Pea Soup. Andersen's Pea Soup. Santa Nella, California.

Pause for a reflective moment.

I didn't know about Pea Soup until I met Honey. Here's a short primer:

Started in 1924 in Buellton, CA (rhymes with mule + ton), Andersen's Pea Soup had as many as four locations. Now each is independently owned (as best I can tell). There are three extant Pea Soups--one on US 101 in Buellton, one on CA 99 in Selma, and the one Honey and I stopped in in Santa Nella. Regardless of the freeway, the basic structure is the same. You start with a windmill, add two cartoon characters--Hap-Pea and Pea-Wee, give away some cheese, and sell pea soup and Scandinavian goodness.

The cheese is tasty and I always have a couple of cheese spreads on toast. Not the most hygienic thing ever, but I can handle it. My hand spends a lot of time in Biscuit's mouth (her choice, not mine), so clean is relative.

The soup is nice, too, as pea soup goes. No dairy or meat, though you can "play with you soup" and add ham and the like to it.

For sale in the gift shop are the expected and the unexpected. You decide which is which:

As the windmill bade us safe journeys...

...Honey took a moment to contemplate what it would be like to split the peas...

...and I felt a little sick. Cheese? Soup? Corn? (No I didn't eat the corn). Kitsch? I don't know. I do know that I'll be back, though. Because someday I'm going to remember to bring a cooler so I can have my very own crock of cheese.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We're Back

We're back from San Francisco. Honey and I both have big plans for tripblogs. In the meantime, she has posted a picture of her hand.

I had a moment of weakness in Redwood City (who hasn't?) and spent teens of hundreds of American dollars on this:

Ignore the red seat bag. It's getting a new coordinated one today. Shall we look close-up? Yes, yes I think we should...

Did I mention that it has full Ultegra? What is Ultegra? It's Shimano's high end groupo that isn't race-weenie oriented. What's a groupo? The stuff that's not the frame. Are you bored yet? Here's proof of the Ultegra-ness of it all:

Ok, that's enough. It's a 2004 Lemond Zurich made of carbon and steel.

I'll write about pea soup tomorrow. That will be more interesting. But less pretty. Much less pretty.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Some Wednesday thoughts

Honey writes great blog entries and organizes them into wonderful essays. I am not that organized. That's why I leave my shoes all over the house. So, herewith, some Wednesday thoughts:

Tomorrow I interview for my job. It's the job I have now. I have to convince people that I should keep it. There's another guy interviewing on Friday. I decided I couldn't be on campus while he was also on campus. I didn't want to try to avoid him.

So Honey and I are going to San Francisco for the weekend. We're taking our bikes, staying at a high thread count sheet hotel, and going to Citizen Cupcake.

I had a weak moment when I found out his name and googled him and looked up his dissertation. He's published more than I have. I know nothing else about him. I also took a small comfort in the fact that my name is pretty common, making googling me hard. In fact, you can't find me in the first ten pages of google hits on my name unless you include my middle initial, middle name, or some other pertinent detail. He could, however, look up my dissertation if he chose to.

I share my name with a famous madam (now deceased). When Heidi Fleiss was arrested in the early 90s, I got A LOT of phone calls for the madam. I lived in L.A. (so did the madam) and they all wanted to talk to her about Ms. Fleiss. My favorite calls were the ones where the reporter found the mix-up funny. My least favorite calls were the East Coast doofuses who called at 6am. Madam wouldn't have liked to be called then either.

Her death, my relocation to a particularly unglamorous part of the San Fernando Valley, and the current lack of notorious madams have conspired to keep those phone calls from me. Someone organized that particular conspiracy, I'm pretty sure.

Speaking of conspiracies...what cloud came over the Cardinals last night? They lost 20-6 to the White Sox. My National League-only fantasy team was not helped by the Cards' starting pitcher and "star" for my team. His stats from last night (look away from the horror):
2.3 IP
9 ER
4.268 WHIP
34.71 ERA

Yikes. Fortunately, Matt Morris did better beating the Angels. Is it wrong to root against my favorite team because one of my fantasy team is pitching against them? Interleague play is nice in that I can root unconditionally for the National League boys.

I'm going to tea to celebrate a friend's new adopted baby this afternoon. The baby is darling; the friend a lovely woman. Tea tastes good, but I'm so awkward that tea makes me feel like a giant freak. It's like I'm Biscuit in the tea room. I'll try not to break anything. No promises, though.

Honey watched Biscuit celebrating the "go out" suggestion last night and noted that Biscuit is anything but feminine. Honey claims that all dogs are boys at heart. Watching Biscuit flop around doesn't make me question that observation.

I wasn't going to quote Shakespeare about my upcoming ordeal, but the Macbeth quote calls out to me...

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.


Here are some good things that will happen tomorrow:

Eric Milton will face off against Pedro Martinez. Here's hoping for a 1-0 game, a no hitter by Pedro, an unearned run given up by a Reds' reliever in the ninth. Milton and Pedro are both on my fantasy team.

Meryl Streep, Cyndi Lauper, and Andreas Kloden* will have really happy birthdays

It's National Onion Ring Day

The American Library Association will begin their annual conference in New Orleans

The NBA and NHL seasons will still be over

Francisco Franco will still be dead

And I won't have to worry about my interview any more!

*What? You don't know who Andreas Kloden is? He finished second in the 2004 Tour de France. He rides (a bicycle) for T-Mobile.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Biscuit follow-up

She LOVED playing with the football last night and we put up with it for a long time.

Then, she started behaving badly and we had to take it away from her. She whined, tried to climb up the cabinet we had put it on top of, wouldn't go to sleep and repeated the whole thing this morning.

She can still play with it, but I may have to use Cesar Millan tactics on her. Calm assertive energy. Calm assertive energy.

That's me in spades. Not.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dog emotions, human emotions.

Biscuit (The picture was shamelessly stolen from Honey's blog. But then this morning Honey said that I shouldn't sue her because what's mine is hers and vice versa. I'm not sure she wants to take credit for some of my brighter shirts, but whatever. Anyway, Biscuit...):

went with us to Honey's parents' place this weekend. Biscuit LOVES Honey's parents' place. We call it the Ranchito and it's 90 miles east of us in the "high desert." Biscuit thinks it's great for a number of reasons. First, there are the really big hooved dogs she likes to sniff. Second, there are gophers. Third, there are no leashes. Fourth, there's the golden retriever to dominate. Lately her primary love at the ranchito has been aforementioned golden retreiver's squeaky toys. I gave Biscuit one of the late great Red's sheepskin squeaky toys. She immediately started to try to disembowel it. I took it back from her, informed her that it was Red's and that even though he was dead, she couldn't just destroy it. I may have cried a little. Red's passing still makes me really sad.

Anyway, Biscuit thinks the rubber squeaky toys at the ranchito are beyond fab. She squeaks them and squeaks them.

I bought her one. This one:

She heard it when I had an accidental squeak bringing it inside. I gave it to her and she really went to town on it. I made it longer than my mother would have, but finally had to put it up high on a shelf. She sat there looking at it. When I went in the other room, she came in, looked at me and then went back in to stare at it. Then she came back in to look at me, then went back in to stare at it. When Honey shut the door to the room with me and the toy in it, she whined and whined. When honey opened the door and I came out, she went in to stare at the toy some more. She had separation anxiety from a rubber football.

And I, I am mean. I bought it and now dole it out. Still, I like that when I get home tonight, I can give it to her and produce the kind of joy only dogs have. And then I can take away the joy and feel bad. Which is so human. The good news is that I can then give her the joy back. And then take it away again. They say baseball is designed to break your heart (and it does). Spaniel mixes are pretty good at it too.

Still, she's a pretty fantastic creature. Once more for the awww factor:

Friday, June 16, 2006


I'm heading off shortly to another meeting on the dreaded "bath" department controversy. I hate them. It's enough to make me want to stop buying soap. And to make our bathrooms into shrines to some obscure cult-like divine figure.

Actually, when you get down to it, I'm in favor of bathing; it's the math assholes that irritate me.

I was good in math in high school. I attended high school in Georgia and in that great state, in the summer before one's junior or senior year, it was possible to be nominated to go to a sort-of geek summer camp called Governor's Honors. I REALLY wanted to go to Governor's Honors. I wanted to go in English or social studies. The school wanted to nominate the strongest people in each area. We had to write essays, take math tests, do science experiments, and take history quizzes. I got all the problems right on the math test and my semi-rival wrote a better essay than I did in English. They decided to nominate us both. My heart wasn't in it. I didn't want to spend the summer thinking about math. AT all. I was good in math because I had a crush on my math teacher. She was lovely. I didn't know I had a crush on her then. I do now.

I didn't get into Governor's Honors. (Several years later my brother did. We still call him "sock stud" because he had a shirt that said that. Score one for him). English nominee didn't either. It was the first year in a long time our high school didn't send anyone. I should note that my high school class was also the only class never to win the homecoming float contest.

Anyway, math teacher decided that I could skip junior math and go straight into calculus as a junior. I was up for it, because she would be teaching it. Yea!

Late the summer before my junior year, she took me to dinner to tell me that she had gotten another job offer and wouldn't be coming back in the fall. I cried and never saw her again.

The guy they hired to teach calculus was this German dude who said sinus and cosinus instead of sine and cosine. Mrs. R made sine and cosine seem nifty with her warm Southern accent. We sniffed in class every time German dude said sinus or cosinus. It was all ok though, sort of, because by this time I had fallen into infatuation with the girl who was the valedictorian of the senior class. She sat in front of me in calculus. The drama that followed is a story for another time.

When I was a senior in high school, I walked across the street to Agnes Scott College every afternoon to take college calculus. I loved going over to Agnes Scott. It's a spectacularly beautiful campus and, at first, I thought my math interests were renewed. The professor was a lovely woman from South Africa named Myrtle Lewin (great name then, still a great name). When we got to imaginary numbers (the square roots of negative numbers), she lost me. I sort of understood what she was talking about, but the world had shifted.

I went off to college the next year and never took another math class. I didn't have to and I didn't want to.

In an hour, when I'm staring across the table at the math people, I won't think of Mrs. R or Dr. Lewin or the valedictorian. I'll think, instead, of the imaginary places in my mind. They're much more interesting than any imaginary number could ever hope to be.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Honey had a cold last weekend and I congratulated myself all week for not getting it. Then, lo and behold, standing in line at Souplantation Friday night, I felt my throat getting sore. Sore throat led to aches led to stuffed up nose and headaches.

Honey and I were out of decongestant and I had managed (with some help from Biscuit) to destroy our hairbrush (yes we share(Honey and I, not Biscuit and I or Biscuit and Honey)...whatever). So I went to the drugstore this morning. I should add that I took our last decongestant this morning and I am very much congested. 12 hours my ass.

I guess I knew this, but when I got to the cough and cold aisle, anything with suphedrine wasn't there.

So, I picked out a new brush, got some Kleenex (anti viral Kleenex! Will technology never cease? Supposedly it kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses. Now, I do have a question--if they can't cure the cold how can a Kleenex do what all of Western medicine can not? I mean, I believe in Kleenex. I'm just not sure these are SUPERKLEENEX.)

I go with my armload of stuff back to the pharmacy and ask for sudafed. The pharmacist looks at me as if I'm a threat.

"Do you have a cold?"

"Yesd." I then sniff to add emphasis to my congested response.

"Ok." She looks me up and down. I smile bravely and sniff again.

She starts to ring up the brush and Kleenex, then looks at me again and says--"I need ID." She scans it and nods when I don't come up on the drug dealer list they must have in the little box.

I walk out of the drugstore and imagine the little cameras that must be following my every move.

I walked out into the Southern California June gloom imagining all the trouble I could get into with my 12 Rite-Aid generic time release sudafed. She was right to worry. Once I tap into the superpower of the Kleenex and grind down those babies, I'll be able to take over the world.



Watch out!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

One Woman, One Vote...or not

I picked up Honey last night and we headed off to the local elementary school to vote in the California primary. In the weeks running up the election we had been "called" by Sally Field, Magic Johnson, Barbara Boxer, nurses, firefighters, the California Democratic Party, etc. etc. We were coming home to five and six messages on our answering machine every night and getting that many more calls through the night. And then there was the mail. Buckets of mail. Yes on 81, no on 82, nurses for Angelides (did I mention the nurses? There were nurses who wanted to TALK to us).

So we get to out polling place and walk in the door. The nice and efficient woman at the first table looks us up and we're not on the roster. We check the address ranges and our address is within the range. Honey and I vote. Really. I may have missed a local primary here and there, but in every national election since I was 18, I have voted. Ditto the federal and state primaries. I've voted in Georgia, Maryland, and California. I'm a registered Democrat and always have been. Nope, not on the rolls. Honey either.

So we go over to the "green zone" table and the poll worker sitting there does not speak English. At all. I tell her my last name, she can't find it, because she does not understand me. When I tell her it's not on the page it supposed to be on (I look), she marks another name for me to sign. As Honey said, it's GREAT for California polls to have poll workers who can speak other languages. And having someone who is fluent in Spanish is terrific. But that person ought not to greet me, the Angloist Anglo who ever Angloed around. I'm pink. I speak a little Italian. I passed my written test in German for my PhD. I should know some Spanish. I know that. Still.

OK, so then we're shuffled off to address book lady. She's got a line. There's this old guy who keeps getting ballots out of a box, that say "DO NOT USE" on top of them. Then an independent wants to vote. Old guy give him a Peace and Freedom Party ballot. Then a Republican Ballot. Then an American Independent Party ballot. There's this big stack of ballots marked "Non-Partisan." He doesn't get one of those.

So Honey and I fill out the provisional envelopes. Because our address isn't in there either. We live at 13718. The addresses skip from 13717 to 13720. Cool. Did our house sink into something while we weren't looking? It was 6/6/6 after all.

After we vote, we go back to address woman. She's REALLY in to giving out the "I voted" stickers. Our ballots? She sort of throws them on the table. She doesn't fill out the "Poll worker" side. They're just sitting there on top of the "DO NOT USE" ballot piles. We start to walk out and I say to Honey that I don't think our votes are going to count. The efficient woman asks us if there's a problem. When I explain about the unsealed provisional envelopes sitting on the table, she gets up and finds them. She has us seal them and says she'll be sure they get taken care of. While she's doing this, she fusses at non-English woman, sticker lady and old guy. None of whom pay her any mind.

She gives us each a slip of paper and tells us that we can call in 30 days to find out if our votes counted. By which time we can do nothing about it.

And people wonder how voter fraud could happen.


Friday, June 02, 2006


Last night I shook between 400 and 500 hands. I know that's nothing for politicians.

My program had 700 students eligible for commencement and I had the "big" side of them to shake hand with.

I've never much liked my hands. They're small and have stubby fingers. Sausagey fingers really. My mother has nice hands. My brother does too. Go figure.

Still, they're not bad hands to shake with, I don't think. The size isn't overwhelming and they're pretty soft. I don't moisturize as much as I could, but they're pretty soft anyway.

There was a pause there while I moisturized. Nothing like the present.

Honey said that I should have gotten the optional extra pocket put into my gown for purell.

Most of the students whose hands I shook last night were women. The men were all vigorous grippers and some of the women were too. Lots of the women offered their french tipped hands like dead fish. I was into reactive shaking. I offered my hand, but the squeeze factor was determined by them.

I shook hands for more than an hour. The folks who shook before me could not keep their feet on the yellow "stand here" sign and the photographer had to keep telling them to move back to the sign. One guy, despite being told not to, kept turning toward the photographer to be in the picture with every graduate, arms around each one. Here's the thing, though. His department had like 25 grads. Mine had 700. And my Dean had a bet with the SocSci Dean that we would be faster. It was on me really.

So I stood on the yellow sign and did not move. I hugged one student. One. After I shook her hand and made sure her picture was taken.

But because I was standing still on the yellow sign, my leg fell asleep. The very nice Dean of the Library, who comes to every graduation, kept asking me if I needed a break. No f'ing way, I thought. I'm going woman-up here and make it through. Then I realized my leg was numb. Collapsing=not good.

I let her take over for ten minutes. Then I finished off. Here's where I'm screwed up...I felt bad about taking a break.

Back to the hands. Most people's hands are pleasant. Some are long and some are stubby. There were about fifteen people who had really wet hands. REALLY wet. And then what was I supposed to do? Give their wet to the next person? Or wipe it on my robe?

Here's what I settled on. Wet hand=I'd wipe my face with my left hand and then gently rub BOTH of my hands on the side of my robe. When all else fails, blame your own sweat.

The Dean reports that the President was grateful we were the hand shakers (this was an innovation for us this year and apparently only our college did it). The Dean herself had cautioned against rings: advice that I took. I was a little sorry I wore a bracelet. More people grabbed it than I would have liked.

One student, in a haze, said "congratulations" after I said it. Lots had their names butchered by the name caller. "Close enough" a lot of them said. Too many of them brought their phones onto the stage.

Still, the sun had sunk behind the big tower on our campus and the breeze felt nice. Lots of them wore leis and the jazz band sounded great, as did the national anthem singer. Our speaker quoted cool people and is a progressive political figure in local politics who told them why the humanities was best for their futures.

My hand is a little sore, but I like that it helped send the class of 2006 out into the future. Now, if they'd just put the phones down for a minute...