Sunday, December 31, 2006

Auld lang syne

I wonder about New Year's Eve sometimes. This whole December 31 to January 1 transition seems to have significance only because we say it does. It's not an astronomical or seasonal marker; it doesn't even have a very long history as a end-start time socially: March 1 was the original date of choice under the Roman calendar, and although it was dropped in 153 BC, it hung on in some jurisdictions until the 18th century. The Jewish new year occurs between September 5 and October 5, by Gregorian reckoning; the Chinese year changes sometime between January 21 and February 21. The Islamic calendar is lunar, so they have a movable new year every eleven months. The Tibetans, the Tamil and the Thai all use other dates than December 31 to mark the new year, as do the Bengali and Punjabi.

The January to December run marks the IRS year, but not most fiscal budget years. (How does that happen, anyway?) The academic year has its own measures, and terms of office in government rarely match the calendar year.

In any case, the new year is upon us, and the arbitrary nature of the date does not negate its significance as a social occasion or its usefulness as a milestone.

So I take this moment to reflect and to give thanks for the world I was lucky enough to be born into and for the people I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way. I generally have the same two resolutions every year; this year I add one more:

I will try to talk less and listen more.
I will try to ask more questions and make fewer statements.
I will look at the situations in which I find myself and ask how a little kindness might help.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Off the air

Grace Cunningham
1915 - 2006

Otis's grandmother passed away last night after a short illness. I'm Otis would appreciate your thoughts, calls, or email.

It has been a pretty busy last few days, and I'll catch you you up soon.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday season: the adventure continues

On Wednesday, Otis and I went up to Edmonds to meet The Angel and The Crocodile. Otis went to school with The Angel; she is now married to The Crocodile and living in Boston, so we only get to see them now and again when they come back for a visit, and we look forward to it every time. They made a walk-on ferry ride over from Port Ludlow (isn't that J-Force territory?) and we drove up to meet them for lunch. Great Thai food, a chilly walk around old Edmonds, and some Tenbucks coffee (courtesy Angel's gift card) followed, seasoned with cool conversation and lots of laughs. Brief visits, too far apart.

Click the pic for home-movie goodness!(?)

Wrapped around this celebratory episode was workish stuff: Otis is getting back into the swing after a brief hiatus from massage for the holidays and an overworked arm, and I'm hacking away at my syllabi and prep work. I did have a nice telephone chat with Yojimbo, and with JustJon, who clued me in to his recent developments (see what happens when you miss a blog post?).

Personal note: We visited Otis's grandmother in hospital: the good thoughts must have worked! She was very much improved and stronger; it was a remarkable recovery. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breaking News!


Well, it's not really breaking news, since it happened yesterday, but I just talked to Jon and read his blog today! Here's the story and here's the full photobook.

Jon & Kathy!

Visiting baby

In the continuing series of seasonal socializing, Otis and I went down to Beacon Hill yesterday to visit Ms. Matcha and Surfer-T. The happy couple just recently had a baby; well, to be specific, Ms. Matcha did the work (and a heckuva lotta work it was, too: thirty hours of labor was just the beginning). At any rate, baby Koa is happy and thriving with momma and poppa.

Things are still a little rough around the edges, but we expect to see the happy couple and baby-makes-three back in circulation soon.

Later on in the evening, we went to the Crest to catch Shut Up & Sing, the film about the whole Dixie Chicks vs. Red America kerfuffle that's been going on the past few years, almost precisely as long as the Iraq war as a matter of fact. It's a rather straightforward and unexceptional documentary, but the subject is still of interest in this country where dissent has started to become synonymous with disloyalty. The entertainers are interesting and sympathetic; Natalie Mains, who uttered the eleven words* that rocked the world, comes off as prickly, opinionated, brash, and filled with a genuine integrity and honesty. At the end of the day, it's hard to deny that the group sacrificed popularity and money for principle, and that's pretty admirable in my book. Oh, the movie is full of great music, too.

*"We're embarrassed the President of the United States is from Texas."

Personal note: Otis's grandmother, after a happy holiday, has fallen ill and is currently in hospital. Please keep a good thought for her.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Warm and wonderful

Well, we had a fairly quiet morning and afternoon on Sunday, and that was a good thing, because it has just been full speed ahead since Sunday night.

We went out to dinner courtesy Putnam Pater and Mater, along with Otis's grandmother and her brother (visiting from San Francisco). The place was just packed to the gunwales, doing land-office business, and demonstrating all kinds of other metaphors that imply how busy it was with festive holiday merry-makers. It was a good night, and an extremely high-wattage one.

Monday morning started with brekkies, and guests Stella and Dingo. We had pancakes (Otis made everyone's initials) and appley things (in honor of INB): apple-sage field roast sausages with sauteed apple and onion, applesauce, sparkling apple cider, and Stella's fresh-made (still warm) apple crumble. It was quite the spread. We were joined late in the meal by E-rik and Silvio, fresh from their own brunch with some guppie friends in the neighborhood. We whiled away a pleasant morning (?) together until about 2:00 pm, when it was time for our guests to head off to the movies, and for Otis and I to head up to the Putnam Compound in LFP.

The afternoon comprised a gathering of the full Putnam clan, all kith and kin: dinner for nine. Happily, dinner was take-out Chinese food, so not only was it totally yummy, but no one had to do any kitchen fussing! It was a great day, with everyone in a good mood, and lots of fun abounding. My own good times were abetted by two phone call from afar: Neds skyped in from Spain to catch up before she went to bed, and MaryBee called from sunny Florida for a holiday check-in. It was swell to hear from absent friends.

At the end of the day, it was a good holiday, filled with all the positive energy that a holiday should have.

Now, it's more or less back to work, although there's still some visiting on the agenda this week. Otis has massage appointments lined up, I have prep work to do for school, and there's a job to be found out there. And of course, we need to rest up for the New Year's Eve fest!

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Apple Day Morning!

Best wishes to everyone for warm and wonderful holiday celebrations!

There's pippins and cheese to come!
--The Merry Wives of Windsor

Sunday, December 24, 2006

New day, same as the old day

I am happy to report that I got just as much done on Saturday as I did on Friday!

Instead of a matinee, Otis and I went over to Johnbai and O's to watch Hustle and Flow with Dingo, E-rik, and Silvio. A warm house, yummy treats, and good conversation attended the viewing; J & O get props for making the most of their smallish place.

A a nod to the season, here's a panel from a recent comic. You can imagine your own context:

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Hey, I got everything on my agenda done yesterday! Heh.

In addition to nothing, Otis and I also went to a matinee. We saw Curse of the Golden Flower, the latest offering from the Zhang Yimou, the director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers, two of our favorite movies. This film was a good watch, but not quite as exquisite as the two prior films.

After an opening that is structurally reminiscent of the opening of Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, but with a totally different mood and sensibility, the film jumps right into Shakespearean-level drama. The first half plays like The Lion in Winter if Henry II had had ninjas*. The second half plays like Long Day's Journey into Night, with pitched battles between thousands of armored warriors thrown in between conversations. Seriously - the movie really concerns relationships, lost love, incest, jealousy, and family ties, but since the family is the imperial family of 10th century China, the stakes are high and things get a little messy.

The movie is visually beautiful: the colors are breathtaking, and the costume and set design are stunning. Zhang has also added a new ingredient to his usual visual splendor: boobies. This film ought to have been called House of the Golden Cleavage:


The film is ultimately unsatisfying, never really deciding if it is a sweeping epic or an intense drama, and ending with symbolism whose meaning wasn't quite clear. But it is sure is good-looking.

*Yes, I know ninjas are Japanese, but I don't know what else to call black-clad assassins who throw grappling hooks and attack silently in the night with martial arts and funky weapons.

Friday, December 22, 2006

They're ba-a-a-a-ck!

So, the Fall 2006 quarter is officially, completely, over and done with. All assessments have been done, all grades have been posted, and all paperwork has been filed away. Today is a window of irresponsibility: while I have some prepping to do, it can wait for next week, so there's nothing but nothing on the agenda!

After dotting and crossing yesterday, I had time to catch up with some traveling pals. First, I headed down to the airport to pick up Stella, who was returning from a relaxing trip to the City of Angels totally nixoned up: tan, rested, and ready. I dropped her off in the wilds of Woodinville and then hacked my way through some ugly traffic to meet Farmer Scott (in his seasonal guise as the Sugar Cookie King) at a local diner for catching-ups. Since I was late and there was a lot to catch up on (including Scott's expedition to New Zealand) the time went by entirely too quickly. We'll have to get together again soon.

Well, I should be going, because I have so much nothing to do!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy solstice!

We have made it to the darkest point of the season and we can now start steaming through the roiling seas of winter to the clear dawn of springtime!

Or something like that.

Hey, I'm finished grading/assessing! All sold, all done. I have a little bit of prep left, but it's really the fun bits, so no worries.

The socializing continued yesterday, even as I was glued to the computer to finish my work. Johnbai came over to do some bidness with Otis, and we threw lunch in free-gratis. Now I have to get ready to leave to go get Stella at the airport, and I might even get in a quick cuppa with Farmer Scott before I have to have a working dinner with some colleagues from Antioch.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wahine fatale

Isn't that a cool/weird picture? b came by and gave Otis that Hawaiian-themed bag.

Hey, kids! Check out the event notice on the Big Blog!

Just because I can

I must say that I have been having a good time being on break, even though I still have work to do. I have been sleeping later, like 7:00 am, and staying up later. I can relax in the mornings, because there's no place I have to be at a particular time. I can blog whenever I want to, even when I have nothing compelling to say. I could get used to this schedule, but I had better not.

I was productive yesterday, and took a big bite out of my assessments. I should be able to finish them off today.

Besides work, Otis and I had a chance to visit with Sairey, who brought yummy gifts. We also took a long walk down to and around Wallingford, coming back via Trader Joe's. Later, we made another excursion to Ballard for pho, and stopped by to see Kris-10 and Rye-N. It really is seeming like the visiting season these days.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If it's Tuesday, I must be blogging

Time to buckle down and get my assessing finished. I did manage to get my things in order yesterday, but didn't get a lot of practical work done. I will blame it on socializing, both F2F and telephonic.

Kris-10 came over for a writing group with Otis, but the ladies let me visit for a while and have lunch with them. It was very pleasant to sit and chat of this and that; a lot more pleasant than working, for sure! I was only dragged away by a phone call from JustJon, and we spent a lot of time getting caught up and running my mobile battery down. That call was followed on its heels by one from Sailor Sue, who has been too long from these shores! We hope to see all these folks before too long -- perhaps before year's end? -- but it was great doing the reach-out-and-touch thing.

Otis had a session in the afternoon, so I busied myself with some errands. Upon my return, we dove into dinner, and then were treated to a post-prandial visit from Yojimbo, on his way back to the island. A few miles of memory lane later, and there was no chance of my getting anything useful done.

Mission accomplished!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Sunday Funday: After a relaxing morning yesterday, while Otis was busy with Dingo, I went up to Caffe Vita on Cap Hill and finished off the grading for NSCC. Two schools down, one to go! It was nice to work in a different environment, and it reminded me of those heady days of GeekQuest Alpha (the cafe was our HQ for the event). So, just the AUS stuff to wrap up, and I can actually call it a break.

After a VV visit, Otis and I headed over to Ballard to visit TonyToniTone and Skippy at their party/art show. We picked up some nice prints of their photography, munched munchies, and had a chance to visit more with Invisible Adam and J-Force & Keeper.

Blogging Blues: Aargh, as Charlie Brown used to say. As I mentioned, I migrated this blog over to Blogger-space from an external server when I upgraded it to Beta. The Farrago "recent comments" hack wasn't compatible, so I got the same one Wheylona found. It still didn't work, and I found there was another related issue: when you're on an archived page, clicking the blog title should take you to the main blog page, but now it takes you to a "blog not found" page.

I have identified why this is, but not how to fix it. It's related to the recent comments problem that Otis had on her art blog. When you use an external server, some of the scripts apparently expect or insert (or don't expect or read) a slashie or subfolder for the blog location. I can't figure out exactly how or why this works; the Farrago hack worked fine on my external blog but not on Otis's. But now that I have migrated here, the hyperlink from the title is still looking for the folder that used to be on the external drive, even though there isn't one on Blogger. I can't see why it would do this, since it as a dynamic link, but there you have it.

Bottom line: my recent comments widget is wonky and my archive pages are frakked up and I don't know how to fix 'em yet.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

A royal mystery

Yesterday was a blessedly normal day. Otis and I made some pancakes for breakfast and then took a walk to and around Green Lake. It was a bracing morning, and as we walked clockwise, we ran into Hi-Lai walking anti-clockwise and had a nice visit. We came back and took care of household business, which included a short visit from JagGirl. I fought off some weekend-sleepiness for most of the afternoon and felt like a regular guy just being lazy (as opposed to an adjunct instructor blowing off grading).

I was all rested up, then, for a little socializing in the evening. We were thinking of watching a movie, but after ten minutes or so into it, we realized that Jackie Chan's Around the World in 80 Days is possibly one of the Worst Movies Ever Made. So, we wound up having a nice sit-n-talk over popcorn with Dingo, Johnbai, and O, punctuated by the sharing of creative projects, including Johnbai's JLA cartoon re-dub and Otis's classic Cinnamon Roll tapes.

Johnbai also brought along a gift for me, apropos of nothing: a Value-Village-scored T-shirt with this intriguing design:

Bai originally picked it up just because it said "New York" on it; coincidentally, I am not merely from New York, but indeed from Brooklyn, which happens to be Kings County. I did some rudimentary Googling, but I couldn't find any instances of Brooklyn's being referred to in the inverse form as "county of the Kings" (although there is a district in Ireland that is so named), so I don't quite know what's going on here. Any ideas?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

As the wind dies down

Wow, the 500th post turned out to be marking a wicked couple of days, with ups and downs all along. To catch up:

As the rain was coming down and the wind was building up on Wednesday night and Thursday day, Otis and I got the house all set for the Art Show. Part of that was hanging up the winter lights,



which was lots of fun in the breezy-gusty: I actually had to fasten the modesty snaps on my kilt!

We got goodies from TJ's,


re-arranged furniture, arranged literature,


hung art,

massage room art


art in living room


and all that, knowing full well that there might be little-to-no participation in the Art Walk because of the weather. That growing suspicion was confirmed when we walked to Subway for a bite and were drenched after less than two blocks.

We persevered anyway, and held a very wet dry run of an art show. Family and friends showed up in great support. The Reality Mom had come by earlier in the day with Stellita, and on the night itself Puntam Pater was the first to arrive. The Invisibles (Adam & Karen) came as serious buyers, and the library representation included TonyToniTone & Skippy as well as J-Force & Keeper. Kris-10 came with Jam & Poe and their little Banana; Dingo braved the downhill slide from Cap Hill, b & c stopped by on their way to salsa, Soapy came all the way from Kent, and JagGirl came last (as usual). While Otis didn't get to represent to the neighborhood or promote her biz, we called it a good night anyway. The Roosevelt Art Walk is a monthly event; she'll participate again soon.

Thanks to all who came and yay, Otis!


(Otis has her own post 0n Quiet Girl Gallery)

So, we went to bed after the art show, but didn't get much sleep. We didn't prep much for the wind storm, other than putting a sandbag on Outside Cat's house, so he wouldn't pull a dorothy, and we weren't worried much about damage, since there's nothing big close by that could fall on the house. But the whipping of wind was really loud, and Inside Cat was pretty freaky, so it was a restless night.

The power went off about 3:00 am, so Friday was weird day. We had hot water for showers and such, but left to find breakfast and wireless internet and that. We had coffee at Third Place Books, but their wi-fi was overloaded, so after a stop at home we went up to Cap Hill (since Dingo said it was normal up there), had lunch at a completely slammin' Piecora's, and then used the Cap Hill library for web surfing (Otis) and grading (me).

When we came home in the afternoon, power was still out. Putnam Pater & Mater were in town, since LFP will likely be dark for days, so we had a nice dinner at Araiya's together. Otis and I walked back to the house while the P's went to a movie; we could see clearly where the grid around our place, which was still dark, extended: here there was light, there there was not. Man, you forget how dark it is on city streets without streetlights and light leakage from houses.

So, out we went again, first on some fruitless errands and then to the Barnes & Noble to find wi-fi and read a bit. We hung out there a bit, and then came home to set up powerless camp for the night. We had just arrayed all the candles and set up the futon in front of the gas fireplace when the power came back. All of a sudden, the bother and the fun were both over, and everything was normal again.

So normal, in fact, that I think after brekkies and a walk, I'll be back to grading.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Blackout blog

Boo-ya! It has been a whirlwind since post #500 -- literally. There is so much to tell, but I'm going to wait until I'm not blogging on a laptop in a Barnes & Noble to tell it all properly. Suffice to say that grading continues, that Otis and I did a nice job on Thursday of getting her art show ready, that lots of great friends but no new customers braved the stormy night to come over, that the windstorm put on quite a show and then knocked our power out at 3:00 am Friday, and that it's still not back. And that doesn't even include our adventures at breakfast, lunch, and dinner today! Huzzah!

So, here's a dealie I completed that was sent in from LaLa-Land by Stella:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.


The Inland North

The Midland

The South


The West

North Central

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Ya think?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Post #500: so now what?

In a little bit of serendipity that shines some sunshine on theis blogo-mess, this is my 500th post on the blog. How about that?

One of the themes that I have returned to frequently since this experiment began is that of intention: why blog, anyway? I don't know that I have figured that answer out yet. I haven't even figured out what to do with the labels feature on Blogger Beta here. But I do know that I enjoy doing it, and I hope some others get some enjoyment out of my doing it, too. If you're out there, and if you have found me after the address-change screw-up, drop a line and let me know, okay?

The score so far:

Grading and assessing: 21 down out of 33
Next quarter prep: 1 down out of 13

I'm such an idiot

I have just been royally screwing up my blogopolis. Not only did I merge my accounts accidentally, but I just moved this site onto Blogger's server AND updated my template at the same time, thereby managing to mess up everyone's bookmarks and feeds AND my sitemeter and stuff, all at the same time!

Sometimes the technology makes stuff too easy, dunnit?

Anyhoo, today was for the last final, and some grading, and some errands, and getting the house ready for the art show tomorrow, and screwing up the blogs. The wind has been something terrific, though, hasn't it?

I think I'll go grade some more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Updates, abundance, and links

NEWS: We have a new address!
You will need to update your bookmarks, RSS feeds, etc.

The score so far:

Grading/assessing: 19 down out 33
New quarter prep: 1 down out of 13

Yeah, the goal posts got moved. But I'm still on track.

So, a door closes and a window opens and all that: it turns out that new registrations are running so high at Antioch that I will have two sections of Academic Writing in Winter. That helps to balance the budget a little bit, especially since it looks like I'm going to have a light spring. I'm back to 24 credits next quarter: five classes, four preps, three schools. Sheesh.

Linkin' logs:

Hey, Stella dialed in by remote with this great historical website. Check it out.

Here's a holiday classic, courtesy YouTube via Raincoaster.

This is sort-of comics, but it's also Jack Chick, so here it is, instead of going on that other blog.

Tactical error

My students are doing a two-hour in-class essay. I brought some materials to grade, but evidently not enough. We're only half-way through and I am out of work to do. There goes a potentially useful hour down the drain.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Again on a Monday

The score so far:

Grading/assessing: 13 down out of 30
New quarter prep: 0 down out of 12

I'm pretty much on track.

And that just about sums up everything I've been doing since yesterday, too.

Oh, except that I found out that that half-time grants director job I had applied for at NSCC has been filled. I have concluded that my application must have gotten lost. I had feared as much since I never got a confirmation postcard from the district HR office, but could never get an answer from them for sure. In any event, the wave form has collapsed and the cat is dead.

Hey - check out Otis's Art Show announcement on the group blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Breakfast Bunch

What a swell morning! Otis and I joined Dingo, Johnbai, Sachet, and Silvio for yummy omelets and such at Crave today. The ocassion - other than allowing Sachet to fulfill her insatiable desire for duck confit - was to tour Dingo's new massage space up on Capitol Hill. And what a space it is - inviting and funky and attractive and filled with potential. Otis smudged the room with sage and clapped out the corners to ensure nothing but positive energy, but the room had good vibes from the get-go. Dingo has done a great job infusing the shared spaced with her own personaity, and it looks pretty clear that her practice is about to jump to a new level. yay, Dingo!

After the shared community of the morning, Otis and I returned home, each to our separate labors: Otis had a session, and I was, of course, grading. We took time out for a trip to Ikea, where Otis got some more frames for her show this week, as well as a new chair for her massage room, some new lights, and a few supplies.

Work took up the rest of the evening, but I think I'm done for the day and will relax a bit. Just a few more classes at North and it's all over - except for the grading.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's Saturday night!

Wow, it's been a heck of a couple of days here.

After classes yesterday, while Otis was at a writer's group, I had a three-hour interview at Lakeside School. I talked to administrators, observed a class, and met with a student panel. It's a beautiful campus, and working with such a group of academically advanced students would be great fun. It's hard to say how the interview went, since the selectors aren't even sure of what they are looking for yet. The programs that need to be taken care of might comprise one job, or two jobs, or even three little bits of jobs, when the decision is finally made. In any case, I think I acquitted myself well, and we'll just wait and see.

Late night Friday brought chaperon duty for Otis and me: Invisible Adam and EMI Karen threw a big sixteenth birthday party for their daughter at the Green Lake community center, with a 300-person invitation list. There were about ten adults present as well as two off-duty cops hired as security; Otis and I were working the door, but there was no guest list or entry pass or any other control. I think the crowd peaked at 150 or so, but in the course three and a half hours, two different fights broke out and about a half-dozen people got ejected. Even so, it was a fairly mellow night, although the music was awfully loud.

We got to bed pretty late, and actually slept in until almost nine this morning. We still had time to run errands before getting to Johnbai and O's for a scrumptious brunch. O really laid out a spread, as usual: tangerine-avocado-pomegranate seed salad, poblano chili quiche, roasted potatoes, and manchego, with tangerine juice, coffee, and Mexican chocolate. Talk about yum! We hung out, shot the breeze, and then went comic book shopping (twist my arm). Good times.

The rest of the day has been filled with work and housework and enormous grocery shopping. Otis is framing artwork for her upcoming show. Maybe I'll help.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The film that wasn't

Blogging note: I upgraded this blog to Beta tonight, but I accidentally combined accounts with my comix account, so the profile and stuff will look different until I get it sorted out. I think this might mean that there will be some changes made in the near future - a redesign, which I had been thinking of anyway, might be my project for the break.

So, the last time we saw Ms. Matcha and Surfer-T, they gave us a free pass to see a preview of The Holiday tonight. After class today, I got all my grading and assessing organized, set a work schedule for the next two weeks, and actually got some evaluations done. Then, after dinner, we headed down to Pacific Place.

Traffic sucked.
There was no street parking.
We went into the PP lot.
It was full, and we had to circle around until a space came free.
After we made our way to the top of the galleria, the line was huge.
We didn't get in to see the movie.
It cost us $3 for 30 minutes of parking.

So, we came home, made our own popcorn, and watched the Battlestar Galactica DVD Yojimbo gave us. So there.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The big blog

Oh, so much to blog about. Or maybe it's just that I know I have a ton of stuff to do, and as long as I am blogging, I can pretend that I'm being productive, and so don't have to begin it yet.


To recap the week so far: Sunday, after blogging about and recovering from the super-duper Saturday night bash, we went up to LFP to celebrate the birthdays of Otis, her grandmother, and her brother with Pagliacci's pizza and chocolate cake AND tiramisu. Result: (1) Yum, and (2) oooohh, my stomach!

Monday: Last week at Cascadia begins, last real week at North begins, and actual last class at Antioch. The ice and snow storm really took the wind out of our sails this quarter, coming as it did just when students were starting to lose their momentum anyway. It has been hard keeping interest up the past few classes. My 099 was scheduled for an in-class essay Monday and Tuesday, so that was okay; the other classes were harder to motivate. Except, of course, for Antioch: even at the last class session, we had a hard time getting out of there on time, because there was so much still to do.

Tuesday: Morning class, then back home for a chance to visit with b, who had come to give a birthday massage to Otis. After b had to fly, Otis and I went back up to General Yiao's on Phinney Ridge for the lunch special. Once fortified with wonderful pan-Asian goodness, we took the roads and headed up to Bellingham for a visit/reccie/celebration!

First, Otis used some birthday loot to get herself a Regina Spektor album.

Then we stopped at the Bagelry for coffee

and I gave Otis the first season of Medium on DVD (now that Charmed is off the air, she needs a new Guilty Pleasure).

We took a walk around town and found a little low-rent galleria-type building that had giant Origami birds hanging.

It had a nice aromatherapy store and an import place for Otis to browse, and on the second floor, a little shop I stuck my head into:

We capped out tour of downtown Bellingham with a stroll through a new pocket-park, where Otis really got into the public art.

We cruised down to the Fairhaven district for more strolling and bookstore browsing, followed by soups and salads at the Colophon Cafe.

That about wore us out, so we headed home for a quiet evening in front of a (fixed) fireplace. Good times.

Today: was school and school, for me anyway. Actual last classes at Cascadia, and I can't even begin to look at the pile of portfolios and papers I need to grade. Otis, on the other had, kept busy with animal Reiki and getting a free Feldenkrais session from a networking practitioner.

Job news: Thanks at least in part to the good offices of Pater Putnam, I have an interview on Friday for a half-time, interim job at Lakeside School, teaching the classes associated with their yearbook, newspaper, and student radio station. It' s not a smooth-as-silk opportunity, but is definitely worth exploring despite any kinks in the hose.

Other people's news: Dingo has the keys to her exciting new massage space, right in her own neighborhood! b has the keys to her new massage space, right in her own neighborhood. Good massage-space karma all around!

Upcoming stuff news: Be checking out the Group Blog for news of Otis's art show and the group's next Chautauqua.

Th-th-th-that's all folks!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Full tilt!

So, it has been go-go dancer, go-go dancer since last post!

The b-day bash at the Putnam Compound was all kinds of swell, but lasted longer than we had thought it would be, and we both had work to do when we got home. Yesterday was my last Long Monday (next quarter, it becomes Long Tuesday) and it was long indeed. Today I am teaching now (the students are writing an essay) and then Otis and I will be playing hard, because it is her actual, official, real-live birthday!


Sunday, December 03, 2006

A break in the revels

Hey, what a heck of a night we had last night. A few well-wishers stopped by to say Happy Birthday to Otis, even though the actual day isn't for a little bit. It was a warm gathering (in both senses of the word), full of celebratory good cheer.

Invisible Adam and EMI Karen came by for the start of the evening, bearing better-than-Bailey's. Johnbai also had to leave after the opening festivities, but made his considerable presence felt even without slamming any Ro-Rock. Dingo was actually first to arrive, resplendent in her Johnny Cash kit, and Dar-Dar Binks and Mr. T followed soon after, after too long away. Stella brought some almond roca along with her good cheer. Soapy brought more ice cream, but this time we actually made a dent in the supply, I think. J-Force brought Keeper, on his first (but hopefully not last) visit to our strange little world. And the Special Guest Star (as Quinn Martin used to say) was April Breeze, blowing in with her gentle ways and soft touch (not).

The was much mingling, and then an Otis-knowledge quiz (won by AB with Soapy as runner-up - the start of a beautiful friendship) that served to sufficiently embarrass the Guest of Honor, and then presents for the Birthday Girl - all of them really thoughtful and sweet and completely unnecessary and very much appreciated.

We spectrated The Secret of Roan Inish (birthday girl's choice) and wound up the evening with coffee and tea before it got too, too late. The house wasn't even a shambles, despite AB's and Soapy's exertions to start a popcorn-pretzel war.

The feting isn't over yet, though - this afternoon is the Putnam Clan celebration of December birthdays, so we have a few hours to work and relax before we're off to the races again!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Easy Friday

Peer review: the English teacher's friend. It was a good morning.

After classes, Otis and I took a nice walk through the U-district and stopped at Flowers for their vegetarian lunch buffet. If you haven't tried it, you should. It was nice to get back to normal gray, cool, drippy weather - although I guess the rest of the country is having its share of weird stuff right now.

We came home and Otis attended to the business of running a business while I hovered in that nether-space between productive work and dinking around.

We both took a break to watch Kamikaze Girls, a Japanese teen Thelma & Lousie-type buddy story about the unlikely friendship between a lolita girl and a yanki scooter-gang chick that unfolds in a surreal narrative with plenty of violence and laughs. It was one of the weirdest movies I've seen, but actually quite good.

Now, on to the business of having a great weekend!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Okay, so Wednesday was a no-class day at NSCC, but Cascadia was up and running. I stayed home and worked/fiddled around all morning, then I headed up to Bothell after lunch, only to find that they were going to be closing early, which meant that my second class wouldn't meet at all. I went ahead and held the first class, but only ten students were there.

That's when all this offically got annoying.

Wednesday night was fine, and when the snow started late in the evening it was really pretty, but I knew it wouldn't last. Waking up to the raining skies and slushy streets today was actually a relief. My classes weren't quite up to full speed, but there were enough students to make it worth going with the lesson plans and making some real-live teaching and learning happen. Huzzah!

The quarter is going to end a bit scruffily because of all this, but what the heck.

Had a good day today after work. I ran some errands and then came home and made a nice little vegetarian hunter's stew (a gatherer's stew?) with some apple-sage field roast sausage. It turned out really nice for an improv. Otis and I went out for a bit, just to see the sky (the sun came out!) but came back quickly so she could dive right back into a big pile o' papers she is grading. (Oddly enough, my workload is light right now, but will hit hard next week when the quarter ends.)

I made a fresh salad for dinner, and we were graced with the company of Ms. Matcha and Surfer-T, who were in the neighborhood and stopped by for a little visit. Otis is still grading.

This is my new favorite blog.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Singing a snow delay song

So, the website is saying that NSCC won't start today until 10:00 am, and since my classes are at 8:00 and 9:00, well - you do the math, as they say. I'm having a cup of tea and enjoying the early-morning chill. Actually, I did program the furnace the other day and it comes on just before I get up, so it's really comfortable. Of course, the gas fireplace has punked out again.

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty futile exercise in instruction. I got to school fine, but only 30% of the students showed up for my 8:00 class and less than 20% (four, to be precise) at my 9:00 class. As an instructor, I am torn between going ahead with the planned lessons, to honor those who made it in, and using some supplemental learning activities, to keep the class together as a whole. I made the latter choice yesterday, and now today is going to be a no-nothing day. The remainder of the quarter is going to be a little tight, especially if it snows again today and tomorrow is another cancellation. I usually leave myself a little slack in the English classes as far as lesson plans go, but this quarter there are a number of presentations in different classes that are jamming up. Ah, well, we'll figure it out.

Otis and I did head out yesterday, to an appointment on Capitol Hill. The main roads were fine, but it was still icy in a lot of places - I don't think it ever hit 32, did it? We had lunch at Ballet and even stopped at the Value Village (which was cold inside!) before coming home.

When we got back to the RD, we saw some surveyors on the block, and it soon became apparent that they were figuring out the property lines for the lot next door and setting monuments in the pavement. It looked like a top-drawer operation, so I imagine we'll see a multi-unit development next door soon. I was told the place was to be torn down by January; that seems likely, with this prompt activity.

Out own property development has been successful. I have posted a picture of the cathouse-boxes. I mentioned yesterday that we heated one of them (there's an old heating pad in the one that is near the outlet) and that's where Mountie has settled in. Yes, two cats hang about now, but while Selkie was adopted, Mountie is more of a charity case. He's a cranky, smelly old street cat, but we feed him and try to give him a place to get out of the elements. He wouldn't settle in as a house cat - he doesn't have the people-savvy that Selkie demonstrated from the get-go, and Selkie wouldn't let him share the house anyway (I can't begin to imagine the literal pissing match that would take place). So, we have Hal Linden and Tony LoBianco, and still no litterbox.

And just so this isn't a complete wall of text, here's a picture of me in my current mood:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Still no snow day

Yesterday was a weather mix-n-match. No worries getting to North in the morning, although student attendance was a little light. I had no prbelm getting up to Bothell, either, but the empty parking lot told me a lot of the north-end students had taken the day off. Emails and attendance bore this out, and I ended the last class a little early.

This turned out to be a fortuitous choice; the drive from Bothell south on Lake City Way was a royal mess. It was snowing pretty hard, things were slick, it was congested, and things weren't helped by people who just gave up trying to drive and sat in their cars in the middle of the road with their flashers going. What is that all about?

Then, at about 85th Street, it just cleared all up, as if the weather front was sitting right there. From the Roosevelt Safeway south, it was just flurries and wet roads. I had no problem getting to Antioch, but again, the attendance was really light.

Selkie got me up at 5:30 today, and an early check showed that North was not closing for the day. So, since I was up, I left plenty early. It turned out to be an easy ride in - 5th Avenue was pretty clear all the way - so I am having breakfast and blogging.

Dingo reported her walking-home adventure last night in the comments on the previous post. Does anyone have any other reports from this "snow event"? (At least they're not calling it StormWatch '06! - or maybe they are.) Anyway, it'll be fun until the rains come back in a few days.

Cat note: Selkie spent all night inside and had a very brief morning jaunt; Mountie spent the night in his little (heated) house and was spunky this morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006

No snow day

Good thing I got everything done anyway.

Last night

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend vampire

(As I type this, NPR is playing a story on basque sports, like stone-lifting and wood-chopping. Agur, Wheylona! (Is that right?))

Yesterday was mostly papers, papers, papers: both Otis and I had stacks to plow through, and plow we did.

We did start off with a nice walk down to the U-district before we hunkered down, and took a break in the afternoon to head over to the purgatory of Home Depot. That trip secured some planter boxes which we adapted for use as cat-houses, in an attempt to keep the critters (Selkie, the indoor-outdoor cat, and Mountie, the outdoor-outdoor cat) happy over the winter. They also keep our front entry looking decent.

We had the good fortune to meet Gweekers and Mikey (and assorted kith and kin) down at the Blue Star for dinner. One of our dinner companions, five-year-old max, graced Otis with this lovely portrait of a (not terribly threatening) vampire:

We still managed to have sweet dreams.

Back to work!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And another long day!

The cat got me up again this morning, and after cleaning up the dishes I looked outside to see him on top of the shed, perched on the edge as if he were a forward scout scanning enemy lines. We are still observing/working out the relationship between Selkie and "the outside cat," the semi-feral brown tabby who is the only other cat that Selkie lets on the property (we feed him, but he mostly keeps his distance). Selkie seems to enjoy the company pretty well for a while, but then gets all territorial and starts swatting the other cat around. I think today he is exhibiting that latter behavior.

Anyway, yesterday, or "Recovery Day," as I have heard it called, was another long good day for us. It started off fairly early with a walk to and around Green Lake in the morning chill. It was bracing and made us feel less like little tofu sausages after the feast on Thursday. That being the case, we immediately followed the walk up with a big breakfasty brunch! Gweekers and Mikey had come over from The Spoke (along with momma) for the holiday, so they picked us up and we all headed down to Silence Heart Nest for vegetarian goodness. We had some nice catching-up time that lasted well into the afternoon.

Upon our return home, we saw activity at the house next door: folks were boarding it up and fixing the fence and stuff like that. I talked to them and it turns out the place has sold and is planned to be torn down in January; they were securing it further to make sure nothing untoward happened in the meanwhile (Mikey speculated that it might have been a condition of the sale). It was unclear if another private residence is going up or another townhouse property; I would guess the latter. So, I guess that's a good thing.

We took care of business, art, and naps in the afternoon, and then headed out for an evening with more Putnams: specifically, Otis's brother and his wife (who couldn't make dinner on Thursday) and the mater and pater. We had dinner at Aqua Verde and coffee at the new shop next to Araiya's, and then caught Casino Royale at the Neptune. Good, long day.

Now, for today: well, there has to be a lot of responding papers in it, so I know it'll be long; whether it's good or not will have to wait.

Shout out to JustJon: I don't know if we technically Bought Nothing, since we did have to pay for meals and a movie, but we did avoid the whole Black Friday craziness in spirit, anyway.

Shout out to Yojimbo and Johnbai: Yeah, Casino Royale is that good. Daniel Craig is indeed muy macho. But if I never have to seen another dramatized game of Texas Hold 'em again, it will be just fine.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Long day (and I mean that in a good way)

Wow - what a day! The First Extemporaneous Thanksgiving Pumcake Brunch was a rousing success, leaving little but crumbs in its wake:

It turned out that we had a pretty full house. Dingo, E-rik, and Silvio kicked off the proceedings, bringing along ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls as well as Dingo's pumcake batter. Kris-10 and Rye-N squeezed in some waffle time between all their holiday festivating, and JagGirl arrived with her apple crumble and her new beau, Dvd, our instant expert on classicval music and other stuff. Old pal Stella brought a new face, too: Della, another delegate from North of the Lake, known to me from Cascadia for a long time but never before a player in our games. Della didn't have to bring a fresh pineapple to contribute to the feast - her company was treat enough - but she did anyway. Even Johnbai and O made time to join us before heading east to family-land, and brought with exotic cheeses and bread to counterpoint out sweet buffet.

Dingo's pumcakes were the hit of the show, although the coconutcakes got a bit of play, too. I think I was the only purist around, so there's lots of leftover plain batter for me!

There was a whole lot of eating going on (appropriate for the day, I guess), but even sweeter than the food was the meeting and greeting and talking and laughing as new faces met old faces and ideas were shared and problems solved and the world made a better place through intercourse. Otis scored a hit with her choice to big-wall-spectrate Disney's Fantasia during the proceedings; it provided a great backdrop for the party (except when the nekkid lady centaurs came on, at which point it was forefronted).

E-rik and Silvio say "hi" to shutterbug Otis

Dingo hides from her culinary fame
as Johnbai sits mesmerized by good animation

Dvd, JagGirl, and Della share drinks and laugh

The whole magilla

We could have gone on all day, and we we sorry to have to shoo people out so we could get ready to leave for our next event, the traditional dinner up at the Putnam Compound in LFP.

It was a wonderful evening with the Putnam family and friends, highlighted by Otis's sweet animal-totem blessing before before the meal. The cherry on top was the presence of Ms. Macha (about as preggers as a girl can be) and her happy hubby, Surfer-T. After baby-makes-three arrives (any minute now) we hope to be seeing a lot more of them.

Poppa and momma to be

The weekend continues, with both work and play, and I am as thankful for one as the other.

And I aplogize for the cheesy, homeowners-association-newsletter style captions, but it's early.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thursday!

Here we are, on Thanksgiving Day, perhaps that most 'merican of all holidays, with a history that pre-dates even Independence Day. We could (and should) problematize this holiday, rooted as it is in the first steps of European imperialism on the North American continent; all human eneadvor is problematic, isn't it?

The History Channel has a new documentary on the Mayflower colonists. A Christian Science Monitor article explains how all the modern Thanksgiving traditions stem from just two passages in the records of those early English religious separatists from almost 400 years ago.

We could also look at the idea that thanks-giving is a universal ritual, and that the North American tradition is just an extesnsion of the ancient harvest festival ritual. There's a lot of truth to this view, but modern attempts in the U.S. of different thanksgiving traditions don't ever have the horsepower of "Turkey Day."

Or we could get all hip and cynical about it, like these guys.

Me, I'm just going to spend the day being thankful for all the privilege and good fortune I was lucky enough to be born into and enjoying the company of all those folks who make my life special.

And, I'm going to eat Pumcakes.

PS: I apparently got the traditional Thanksgiving nap out of the way last night; I slept through most of the Madonna concert that Otis was watching on TV. That's why there was no post yesterday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


My toes are in red woolie socks right now.

Teaching all day yesterday and then teaching this morning and a meeting this afternoon. Another semi-long day tomorrow and then a looong break. Yay!

Didja see the lightning and hear the thunder and feel the rain today? I saw the lightning with my eyes closed, that's how bright it was! And the rain came down sooo hard and there was even hail. But it only lasted a few minutes.

After the big rain, but still in the regular rain, Otis and I went to the Freedy M in Ballard. We needed to look for some house stuff and thought we would do grocery shopping at the same time. It turned out to be a bad idea. We didn't find the house stuff and the grocery shopping took forever; we had forgotten about holiday shopping, and the aisles in the store are too cramped, and the people in Ballard drive their carts the same way they do their cars.

I had a phone call from the east coast earlier today, and found out that my sister, her ex-husband, and their son are all getting married to their new partners within six months. I thought that was a bit unusual, but maybe not.

That's all I got!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Taking a break

That's the picture of me in my gimme-hat at the movies the other night*, with Otis in the backgound, but really, that's the mood we're both in right now.

Yesterday, Otis had a two-hour special at 10:00 am; while she was giving the massage, I went for a walk around Green Lake and did some errands.

Today, we went out in the early morning rain for breakfast at Silence Heart Nest.

Other than those two items, our agendas have essentially been full of responding papers and doing house stuff all weekend. We haven't really gotten out of the house much, and haven't socialized at all (except when Yojimbo stopped by for a minute on his way to Casino Royale), and have generally been hard-working slugs. Otis has been plowing her way though what seems like a brazillion "what's-my-mandala" papers; at least I have had the luxury of switching from class to class and doing lesson planning as well.

Hey, maybe I'll go crazy and walk to the store for milk -- life in the fast lane!

See youse Tuesday.

*A big ol' thanks to Dingo for forwarding that picture today,
from the test email completed at her place the other night!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Slow day, fast food

I don't like having class on Friday - I don't think anyone does - so I try to do something different or fun in my Friday classes. This week, the activities I tried actually seemed to work pretty well: the students woke up, got engaged, responded, and, in one class, wrote some funny stuff. (The othr class designed their own assignment.)

After class, the day unfolded deliberately. Otis and I did work (she's still wading through a ton of papers herself), had lunch, did work, took a walk, and so on. I was pretty sleepy all day; I think the cat disturbed my sleep more than usual this week.

We kikcked it off the evening when Stella arrived so we could carpool up to Capitol Hill for moovie nite. We met Dingo and walked over to Pho Cyclo, where we joined Sachet and Johnbai (and were joined by Soapy). After topping off with tofu, we walked back down Broadway to the Harvard Exit to watch Fast Food Nation.

I think Bummerman is going vent his spleen about this movie at length, so I will only say that it was disappointing on almost every level: pacing, narrative arc, character development, and even music. It's a shame, really - the movie, like the book, could have delivered an important message, but aside from one terribly affecting sequence towards the end, the entire film is pretty much a waste of time. Even in a town like Seattle, where viewers are likely to be predisposed to liking the film, the audience was restless, unengaged, and unhappy.

Nonetheless, the cinema experience was not a complete loss. There was a stack of free baseball caps on the lobby table, promoting some car, so we each snagged one. Viz:

(My picture and Soapy's got lost in the ether when Sachet tried to send them from her phone to the email, I guess.)

After the film, we retired to Dingo's pad for tea and sweet cookies and conversation; it was nice to end up in such a warm and welcoming pace, and it made a nice change from a late-night IHOP.