Wednesday, November 30, 2005

November embers

I finally do feel like I am in the home stretch for this quarter. I had a nice chat with Gweekers this afternoon and I think I have purged the system of any resentment or chafing.

So, would anyone want to see Capote this weekend? I have to teach on Sunday, but maybe Friday or an earlier show on Saturday? It's playing at the Egyptian through to next week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hey, where'd that day go?

Missed a Monday - how'd that happen? Maybe because I am still a bit busy? Hmmm? Could that be it?

Things are actually going great. I have been doing some fun stuff in the classes and it helps me to remember just how good I have it. Woo-woo!

It's pretty much my favorite concurrent resolution:
here for the findings of the Idaho Legislature commending Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City of Preston for the production of the movie
Napoleon Dynamite. This may be the only state legislation to ever include language stating that any "who choose to vote "Nay" on this ... resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" (Check out the Statement of Purpose/Fiscal Impact, too.) Oh, yes -- it passed.

Does anybody else out there remember
this show?

Here is where my next T-shirt is coming from.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another quick one, for Farmer Scott

Taking a walk this morning, Otis and I encountered a bunch of leaves on the sidewalk, which is not unusual, but these were particularly cool. They were bright yellow and red and really sharp-looking, and the stems were at ninety degrees to the palmate part, so there were lots of sticky-up bits, and it looked like the whole block was on fire. Question is, what kind of tree is it? Here's a sample; click for biggie goodness:

Here's a quick one for Mighty Mel

I have no idea why this is posted now instead of in 3 1/2 months, but here it is:

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The day after the day after

Wow - who knew that an Impromptu White Wall Spectration would garner such a crowd? What a fortunate man I am - a few phone calls, and I find my home filled with the cheer and good spirits of eleven people besides me and Otis: dinner guests Kris-10 and Rye-N; Forceful Jen (complete with microwavable booties and her own burrito); Dingo Donut and Johnbai with their special guest Calvin-sans-Hobbes; Sue, the Sailor (by avocation), Dean (by occupation) and b*tch (under provocation); JagGirl (with lion locks); Soapy (in fine voice but without burrito); Jimmy the K of the K-Men, fresh from the mountain; and the Late, Great Jim.

We watched - and sang along with - Star Blazers, and laughed at Xtian hijinx in Saved! and got eerie with Telly in a Twilight Zone. Then it was time for gentle, civil discourse on intellectual topics until I threw the last of the crowd out at 1:00 am. Good times.

So, of course, today the piper wanted pay: responding, responding, responding. At least misery has company: as I did my 101 and grad program papers, Otis was plowing through her own stack of HS essays. So many words!

At least it was sunny today, so we took a quick break to drive out to Golden Gardens and look at salt water, before coming back home to -- wait for it -- read more papers. We're almost done.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Seasoned greeting

When I was a kid, the last float of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (after the Underdog balloon and the Rockettes and all the rest) was the Santa Claus float, and its appearance was considered the "official" start of the Xmas season. In my recollection of the way the world was then, you really didn't hear Xmas songs or see Xmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, and, of course, like just about everyone else, I have a tendency to think that most of the ways the world worked when I was eight or twelve were better than the way it works now, and this is one of them, but there you go.

Now, although I have swapped out Xmas for INB* (or Appleday), it is in the spirit of that now-forgotten tradition that I offer the following (because it is entierly too cool to go unmarked and I wanted an excuse to post it). I give you the best comix-related holiday t-shirt ever:

Once you have figured it out and laughed yourself silly, click the linky pic and go buy one.

Yesterday was a fine Thanksgiving. Otis and I went to LFP for grub and then the Putnam kith and kin came back to the Ridge for a WWS* screening of Hero.

Many of you readers are likely on the way tonight for another IWWS*. If you're not, send me your cell phone number so I can call you, too! See ya!

*Isaac Newton's Birthday, more on which later

*White Wall Spectration

*Impromptu White Wall Spectration

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

I guess in the spirit of the day and following Ned's lead, I would like to mention two things for which I am thankful today: one is that my biggest complaints these days involve having to do too much of the thing that I want to do anyway; that's not a bad place to be, really. The other is knowing that when I post these silly little messages, that there are people who read them and care, and that there are even more people who care who don't read them. Thank you all.

Now let's join Superman, Power Girl, and the gang for some tofurkey!

Otis and I will be having dinner up at Putnam Hall and then coming bak to the Ridge to introduce her family to the joys of white-wall spectration. We're thinking of doing more spectration over the weekend, or maybe getting out and about if the weather cooperates. Keep in touch over the long weekend, gang.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ah, 's all good

I'm really not as cranky as I may have sounded.


Here's more like what I feel like today:

Monday, November 21, 2005

All I do is respond papers

This isn't even funny anymore. This is how I feel:

(Good ol' Rocky. Maybe the last time we had a "liberal Republican" in office.)

Anyway, only three more weeks.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dark twilight

Pretty cool title, huh? I think it would work well for a science fiction novel.

Anyhow, I am waiting for Otis to return from her feng shui / house organization mission to Eatonville on behalf of her employer / associate, the career / life counselor (stop me before I slash again!). I didn't get as much responding done as I had planned to this weekend, but enough, and there's still more to do, since Otis has to grade a slug of papers when she gets home, and I will likely work more as well.

I am looking forward to the short work week and hope to see some of you for Thanksgiving weekend fun! And nothing says Thanksgiving like Mexican wrestlers!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The day after the night before

I'm about ready to dive into some responding - I think I'll head out to a coffee shop and see if I can't get through my forty-eight or so 101 papers today.

I got my LDL blood test yesterday and through the miracle of the Internets had the results by the afternoon. Briefly, since the topic is starting to bore me, I am below the "danger line" for bad cholesterol, and just a lttle low on good cholesterol; my numbers changed by about 50% of what they did the first six weeks of the experiment. So, I am right on a cusp, forcing a strategic decision: do I stay right here, cuspily, or do I take the Lipitor. There's nothing more I can do through behavior adjustments. Sigh.

After a day of work and errands yesterday, we had an Impromptu Spectration last night: Johnbai, Dingo Donut, Mighty Mel, JagGirl, and Forceful Jen joined Otis and I for pizza, salad, popcorn, and a screening of the Japanese weepie Nobody Knows. (Next IS, Mel gets to pick the flick.) It was great to catch up with the gang (except for Soapy, who didn't get the messages).

Today is another mix of work and play. Otis and I got a walk around Green Lake in this morning, and still have lots on the agenda. We put the TV out on the sidewalk with a free sign and it was gone within an hour or so; that made clearing out the alcove a lot easier. Still more to do!

I'll close with a picture of the Founding Father whose inspiration I feel we need most right about now: that radical, humanist, anti-religionist, populist pamphleteer, Tom Paine:

Friday, November 18, 2005

NPO Morning

So, today after my morning classes I am going to go Group Health and get another blood draw for LDL stuff. I haven't been able to keep up the exercise regimen over the past few weeks, but my weight is still down and my diet has been good. I am hopeful for a positive outcome.

I have been keeping up with the work this week. I tried to get ahead by doing some papers yesterday up in Bothell, but I could only get through three or four at a time before my brain started short-circuiting and I had to take a break, so it was slow going. (They are not very good papers, and I can only read so many content-free sentences at at time.) I was hoping we were getting into the home stretch, with only four weeks (including finals week) left after today, but not so much: I have about 90 papers in hand to respond by Monday; by the end of the quarter I will have gotten another 580 assignments handed in that I need to respond. So, all I need to do is work all weekend, and keep my 3 hour a day pace going for another month, and then I can relax!

Apropos of nothing, here's a picture. Click for englargement and maybe you can see Wheylona or Neds.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lights and tunnels

I actually feel pretty good about having made some progress over the past couple of days in gaining control of the workload. I can't get complacent; there's still lots of work coming in over the next three and a half weeks. I have a feeling I am going to be busy over the Thanksgiving weekend...

In the file cabinet of my mind is a TV pilot for a detective series starring the Universal Studios Movie Monsters. The conceit was that monsters were accepted as part of the daily reality of life, if not totally accepted as full members of society. This particular group ran a detective agency and got involved in escapades and wacky hijinx, except on the 'very special episodes' that concerned major societal issues and whatnot. Anyway, the way my mind works, I figured I wouldn't use the big three (Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and Wolfman), except sparingly; the main character would be the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a fish out of water (get it?) in more ways than one. The other main character would be Bride of Frankenstein, and I expected a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension between them. (I toyed with the idea of making her the Ex-wife of Frankenstein, too). The supporting cast would be Invisible Man, Mummy, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and other lesser lights that I could dig up.

So, imagine my surprise when I found this on the net, apropos of nothing. A publicity still?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Still running

Yesterday, I had class 9 to 11; drove to Bothell and did lesson plans/grading until 3:30; taught until 5:45 (grading while the students wrote); drove home in rush hour and graded until 10:30 pm. Boo-hoo, poor me.

I got Netflix! Yay! Now we can watch lucha libre movies like this one!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Paying the piper

[Sunday night] Well, I worked all day today and I'm still behind. This is going to be a crunch week to get caught up, so the posts will be brief, but I will add a graphic to give your eye something to light on anyway, and something to click, too.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Forb, twip, armsaye, and one I forgot

Those were the words for the bluffing / dictionary / balderdash segments of the two episodes of Says You!, whose tapings Dingo Donut, JagGirl (aka RwT), Mighty Mel, Farmer Scott, Jimbo5, and I attended at MoHaI yesterday. It wound up being a pretty long day. Da boyz started with an early brekkies on the Ridge; we all assembled at the auditorium at about 10:30 am, and the taping of two half-hour shows took until after 1:30.

In addition to the bluffing game, there was stuff like which one doesn't fit (Tunnel - Gate - Triangle - Colorado) and make a three-anagram out of (Actor James opens curtains) and tell me what novel this is the last line of and what was the longest [shortest] title of a movie that won a best picture oscar and so on.

It was generally a fun time. We could tell the panelists were getting tired by the second show - which was the fourth they had done since the night before. There were no big technical glitches, and it was a pretty good crowd.

After the show, we went to Grateful Bread and sat in the cushy couches and had coffee and soup and stuff. Good times.

I got back to the Ridge a little before 4:00, just in time to catch my breath before Otis came home from class at 5:00 and we headed out to dinner for her father's birthday. All of Clan P was there; we had a great dinner at Gaspare's right here in the neighborhood, and then went down to Leilani Lanes to roll a few lines. Fun stuff, even if I lost the pocket and bowled a crappy second game. Otis rocked the alley the first game, but then her wrist hurt.

Needless to say, I got no work done yesterday. Otis is off to squeeze school again, so here's to a rainy, quiet, and productive day for me!

Friday, November 11, 2005

No school today

No classes today for Veterans' Day. As happy as I am to have a day off (prolly as happy as my students), I did want to take a moment to mark the day appropriately. Veterans' Day -- and "support the troops" efforts in general -- can be problematic. How do I separate my misgivings about government foreign policy and our nation's military adventurism abroad from the genuine patriotism, goodheartedness, and commitment to duty that I find - and admire - in so many of the military personnel that I meet and teach?

Here are two quotations that might cover the range of my response:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America , do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 , as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.
I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to fight in. -- GEORGE MCGOVERN

As for the rest of today, it will be the usual combination of work and play, and as usual, mostly work. I think I can actually get 100% caught up this weekend, the Says You! excursion notwithstanding. I might even - dare I say it? - get a little ahead!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

True confessions and coming attractions

Okay, so the whole walking thing - it hasn't been working out. Partly it's been the weather, and the early darkness, but mostly it's that with the schedule I have been working I am back to living in my car for most of the day. So the walking goal will not be met. Yeah, it sucks, but at some point you have to turn Mother's picture to the wall and face facts.

So, to make up for it, I intend to log another 200 miles on the bike before the end of the year. Once the quarter slacks into finals in about a month, I can get into serious riding mode again, and I'll have over three weeks solid to clock it in. It will get me back into shape for winter quarter, when my schedule will be more manageable and I can bike a lot more, including for some of my commute.

There will be some other changes come early December. Once I have the time, I will be moving forward on the remodel of HKC, and the launch of a new blog, and throwing some serious resources at Blockhead Rhetoric.

Otis has some changes to share right now; check out her brand-new artblog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election day catch up

I walked down to my local polling place and exercised my franchise in the old-fashioned way, casting my "Strong Democrat" paper ballot in person. Well, not entirely old-fashionedly -- we use a scantron form now. I never did like the little push-pin deal they had for so long. I can remember going into the old mechanical voting booths with my mom back in the City: all these rows and columns of little red levers were arrayed beautifully. Each row was for an elected position, and the columns were organized by political party, with a little symbol for the party at the top - I can recall there being a hammer and sickle, and another one with an arm in a rolled-up sleeve (Communists and Socialists?). Next to the symbol was another lever; if you pulled that one, it pulled all the levers in the column, voting for the candidate of that party for each office. When you had everything set, you pulled a great big lever to open the curtain, and the votes were recorded. It looked something like this. Those were the days...

Hey, I forgot to mention that N*W*C in Kirkland was a swell evening, aside from the rainy night and the bridge traffic. It was a fine show, and there were a whole bunch of folks there to enjoy it. Kudos to Sunni-V for his professional and personal efforts on the project.

I'm still chugging along on the work train. Spent a lot of time with paers over the weekend, and have been churning out lesson plans this week. I'll be glad for the holiday on Friday.

Hey, it's my sister's birthday. Happy Birthday, Norma Jean!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

An interesting test

I usually don't do politics on this blog, but I was following some links from Alas, a Blog and came upon this little "What're your politics?" test. I reproduce the results for my quiz, not so much because I think they are accurate (although they likely are) but because I really liked the presentation.

(update: links have been fixed)

You are a

Social Liberal
(78% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(23% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Morning lights

That's what I was going to call this post when I was going to write it before I settled in to do school work. But Blogger has been off-line for a while, so I am just here now, on a break.

The heading refers to the winter lights that Otis and I have strung up in the apartment. Just a couple of bucks for a string of 100 mini-lights at Freddy M's and we have something to ward off the winter rain and gloom. We have one string around the living room windows and another in the bedroom, plain white on white. It does help.

Here's to a day that I hope is bright, even in the rain.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Minor miscalculation

Today is Thursday, and on Thursday I teach from 9 am to 11 pm at North and then from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at Cascadia. To make the most of this split-shift day, I usually come up to Bothell directly from North and use the five or six hours I have free to lesson plan and respond papers, rather than going home and frittering the time away.

That was my plan today. Unfortunately, even though I took the extra briefcase along, it did not have in it the papers that I wanted to respond. So, I did all the work I could, and am now floating dead in the water, since the rest of my work is back on the Ridge, and I am here on Campus.

This is a sadness, since it means I have time free that will be very difficult to turn into any sort of quality time, stuck as I am on campus, and I will have to take away from some potentially-high-quality time this weekend to do the responding I could be doing now.

So, I blog.

Here's my earliest web presence, I believe. Way back when, I had a Packard-Bell PC that had come with a TV card. You could plug an antenna or a coaxial cable into the box and watch broadcast or cable TV or a VCR on the computer, and it had some primitive video-capture software. (I actually remember watching the Miss America pageant on the desktop once, when the TV wasn't working for some reason). I had come across this site that chronicled the Tales of the Gold Monkey TV show, and I offered to help, and the gal who ran it sent me some tapes, and I made and emailed her the awful low-res captures that you can see on her pics page.

This is a crime prevention site that has an email link to me (at an ISP that no longer exists). The source code says this cobwebsite was last updated in January, 1997.

At least this blog is a little more up-to-date than that, innit?

Happy holidays

As we move from the spooky holidays through the armed services celebration and into the Great Big Family Gathering Holiday (or the Celebration of 385 Years of Cross-Cultural Conflict, depending on your perspective), Otis has requested some air time to let you know that she has adopted a turkey for this Thanksgiving Day.

If you click on this link and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will meet Whisper. Otis chose Whisper not just for his birdly good looks but also for his approach - similar to her own - for spreading the word about vegetarian eating.

Whisper (or his photo, anyway) will be at the dinner table with us this year, as we chow down on cranberries and tofurkey.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Day of the Dead!

It's Dia de los Muertos and this happy couple looks to be having a grand ol' time! I hope you all are, too!

Just a couple of quick social notes related to this post:

The projector is great!

The art show was cool!

There is a great gang of folks heading over to Kirkland Performance Center for N*W*C this Saturday. If you want in on it, get in touch with Sunni-V!

The last Says You! ticket has been taken! The final complement will be me, Farmer Scott, Jimbo-5, Dangerous Dingo, Mighty Mel, and Rhymes-with-Theresa!