Saturday, September 24, 2005

Snark On!

Conference weekend here in… ummm… I guess my school needs a pseudonym.  I’ll get to that later.  Conference weekend here.  Random notes:

  1. I need more casual dressy stuff.  I get the feeling I shouldn’t do jacket and tie at this one, but most of the rest of my stuff is a bit too ‘Grad Student/TA’-looking.  They say you’ve got to dress at the level you want to be promoted to, right?

  2. That guy and that guy need casual dressy stuff much more than I do.  I don’t think a sweatshirt (with hood) quite cuts the image you were wanting.  And you over there… didn’t your mother tell you about black dress shoes and white socks?  I guess not.  I bet you wear white socks with sandals too.  My mom would cut off my feet.

  3. Presenter #3:  Breathe.  That is all.

  4. Woman with comment:  Trust me – you don’t have a helpful comment.  You don’t have a question.  It seems like you just wanted to talk about your own research.  Bringing up your own research and claiming that it is vital to the presenter’s paper when it’s not only convinces people that you are either so ignorant as to not understand how the two are not related, or so oblivious that you don’t care.  You can pick which for me.  Neither is that good.

  5. Folks in the back row:  You are supposed to be professionals.  You are professors from good schools.  I really want to look up to you and your scholarship.  I don’t want to think of you as chattering insensitive twits.  When the room is small enough so that everyone can hear you, it might be best to take the giggling outside.  I had hoped we would get better behavior than we get in the undergrad survey classes.

Bikepath Anthropology

The season has truly begun. I saw my first 'walk of shame'r.

8am Saturday morning. Micro-miniskirt. high-heeled shoes in right hand. slinky something in left hand. Oversized sweatshirt on body. bare feet softly padding their way on the cold, cold path back to the dorms.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Brother the VJ

Proof that my bro doesn’t hold it against me that I saw Corpse Bride before he did:


Alien plant life – very very eerie.

Mischief-maker – watch or fast-forward to the end, the last bit is hilarious

The Corpse Bride

I heard my brother was going to see this tomorrow, so I had to see it first :)

Ok, first off, there really wasn’t any way that I wouldn’t like this movie.  I loved Nightmare Before Christmas, and I really enjoy the aesthetic of Tim Burton’s films anyway.  I like Johnny Depp  and Helena Bonham Carter, and I’ve always loved Tracey Ullman  (even though I’ve never recognized her voice in anything – she’s got way too many voices, don’t you know).

Alright then, that out of the way, I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I really liked the movie.  The story was fresh and the writing good – there were only a couple of things that seemed a little trite.  

The look of the film is wonderfully Burton.  It’s a difficult thing to give characters that the audience will care about when the entire premise of the land of the living is that it’s dreary and dull.  The two living leads must be dull, and they are, but there are touches of ‘life’ that help draw empathy – a blush of color on Victoria’s cheek, Victor’s attachment to a sprig of flowers.

The land of the dead is very ‘day of the dead’ish, and in a good way.  But unfortunately, that’s were some of the slightly clichéd things happen.  I imagine it’s a tip of the hat to Disney when you make a little bug/animal/dragon the inner voice of the lead, but perhaps it’s time to try something new.   Although I do have to admit that making that character a Peter Lorre-esque maggot is unique…

Although I really liked the Corpse Bride herself, I personally was more taken with Emily Watson’s character.  There seemed to be more depth there than in the Corpse Bride, and a little less of the slapstick found in Victor.

I also think that some of the songs were a bit oddly placed and written.  The Corpse Bride has a song in the middle of the film that could have been very nice, but it ended up repetitious and interrupted by clever animal/bug companions.  

I feel that most of my pics are nits and it’s obviously well worth seeing if you are even remotely interested.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

We'll Always Have Paris

I just had a brief talk about this with a good friend, and I think maybe it’s time I try to put it in words up here.

Recently my girlfriend and I decided to make exes out of each other.  This was a pretty long term thing too.  We were very near the five year anniversary of our meeting.  

I don’t have a lot of breaking-up experience, but this seemed to me a pretty civil version.  Very unhappy, but not angry.  We had been doing the long-distance thing for most of the time we were together, and maybe it was just a little too long-distance, too long-term.  

That’s not to say there weren’t concrete issues.  I won’t go into them here, but near the end, when we both were feeling the relationship strain, we brought up some fundamental problems that both of us had set aside for the sake of getting along well.  These problems, when we brought them out, were honestly just too much.

It turns out that it’s easy for two very accommodating people to accommodate themselves into a relationship.  It also turns out that it’s very easy to accept and even embrace what is comfortable despite knowing quite well that it’s not what it’s hoped to be.

We both found a great deal of comfort in each other without having to deal with many of the concessions that having to live within easy distance would bring.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I was pretty sure she was the one.  She’s not – I know that, but wasn’t it nice when I didn’t know it?

There's No Such Thing As A Stupid Question

Ok, Mr. Vocal.  We all understand that you have a knowledge of the material.  We all understand that you speak that language.  We’re all awash in your wisdom of the ages.  Please please please let the lecturer speak.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Subj: Re: Re: Re: Re: STOP IT!

Because my TAship deals with another department, I’ve been let into their emailing list.  Good god.  These people are chatty.  I really don’t need 20+ more emails/day to delete.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


The Bush Agenda – America is under siege. Not by natural disasters, not by terrorism, and certainly not by incompetent leadership at the Federal, State and Local level, but by, you guessed it: Porn.

Now, I can understand. There’s a lot of child porn as well as trafficking in humans for the sex trade and the ‘people’ involved in that area should be met with a harsh crack on the head from the hammer of law.

But that’s not what we’re going after here.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. (Emphasis mine)

I think an anonymous FBI agent puts it best:
‘I guess this means we've won the war on terror… We must not need any more resources for espionage.’

The jokes come quickly:
A few of the printable samples:
‘Things I Don't Want On My Resume, Volume Four.’
‘I already gave at home.’
‘Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves.’

Funny it is, but for crying out loud, I can’t imagine this is helpful or even feasible.

I should also note, that this seems to come from “Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III,” rather than Bush himself, but I doubt Bush disapproves.

Via Washington Post

Run Me Right Round Baby, Right Round Like a Record Player

11.17km – 1:02’33”

Very weird run today.  

Sometimes a run can make me feel so wonderful when I’m out there.  My legs just feel like they could carry me without my will to swing them forward.  The ground accepts each step softly and with forgiveness.  I truly enjoy those runs.

After some runs, I’m exhausted and my legs wobble unreliably under me.  I feel the muscle burn in my thighs and calves that invariably leads to the slow but sharp walk up stairs to my office.

Today, well, today was different.  The run started out slow, but I felt more tired than I usually do at the beginning of a run.  I just felt like I didn’t have any energy at all.  I had to consciously remember a trick I learned in the army – you can only push your legs so far, but if you imagine it as throwing your legs out in front of you, you’ll pick up your pace without burning those pushing muscles.  I have no idea if that’s good advice.  I made it all up, but it helps me.

Anyway, I pushed.  I threw.  I panted and sweated.  Every time I looked down at my watch, my pace was slower than I thought it should be.  The odd thing was, though, that I didn’t slow down.  Usually I’ll slow down at the end of the second and the third lap, but today I didn’t.  I just ran right through it.

When I got back to the gym, I found out that I ran basically the same run at about the same time, but my heart rate was 3bpm lower than last time.  So that’s a really good thing.  Lower heart rate generally means more healthy heart.  So yea!

Bonus locker room eavesdropping:

A:     Sure, I think I’ll do fine in Paris
B:     (European accent of some kind) Well, they all speak French, you know.
A:     Yeah, but… wait.  They don’t speak any English at all?

Books of a Feather

My friend rocks.  He’s become quite the big man in Far Far Away.  He just published a book over there and even included a story I wrote awhile back.  I just got a copy of it today.  I’ve only had a chance to thumb through it, but it looks great so far.  

It’s funny that I know a lot of people who publish books, but they’re generally for an academic audience.  His book is built to be sold in regular bookstores to regular people.  For some reason, that makes it seem more valuable through the difference.  

Long Haired Freaky People Need Not Apply

Um…  spooky guy lingering in the hallways,  could you please either find what you are looking for or find another place to linger.  You’re kinda wigging me out.  It’s lunchtime.  No one is in the offices except us chickens.  

Monday, September 19, 2005

By The Pricking Of My Thumbs...

Things are starting to roll now.  I’ve met with Youngish Prof, for whom I shall slave as TA this time ‘round.  I’ve seen the syllabus and the texts.  The schedules are set.  Oh, that’s ugly though.  I got three sections in the late-afternoon/early evening.  One.  After. Another. So I’ll get the folks napping after a late lunch or starving before an early dinner.  Joy.  I much prefer the early morning classes because students just sleep in – problem solved.

The especially fun thing is that the other TA is something I haven’t seen here.  She’s a 17-year veteran of the high school wars.  She just this year went back to school to get her PhD.  She said that one of the main reasons she knew she needed to get out of teaching high school was the arrival of legal teaching standards from on high.  Very interesting.

She is wonderfully full of experience and wisdom about teaching, but more interestingly, she’s got a refreshing dose of idealism and awe about getting back into the university world.  I’m afraid Youngish Prof and I kind of surprised her when talking about all of the CYA stuff we have to do – keeping detailed grade lists, attendance, percentages and ‘> x absences = F’ kinda stuff.  It sounded as if she had hoped she had left all that in the high school realm.

Youngish Prof explained that when the students come to argue, we have to be able to defend the grades they received.  She said, “So much for learning for learning’s sake, eh?” and “I thought this would be more like a community of scholars.”  I didn’t really know what to say.  Youngish Prof and I just sat there for a bit and then both tried to tell her how good her seminar classes would be.  I hope she’s not too disappointed.

Another interesting piece of the puzzle – she’s never taught or studied Gruub.  She’s got a background in the broader studies to which Gruub belongs, but she’s never dealt specifically with the topic.  She seems extraordinarily diligent, so I’m sure she’ll do fine, but it’s going to be a whole lot of work to get up to speed.  

The two of us came up with a good deal.  I’m going to rely on her expertise in teaching, and I’ll answer all the questions I can about Gruub.  

Badly written, badly written, but no time to edit, I have to get back to fixing wedding photos!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Another Fine Mess I've Gotten Me Into

Total photos taken by me at the wedding:


Now that should be a day or three of editing, right?