Friday, March 31, 2006

The clock, she ticks... and other news

The spreadsheet is ready to receive data and tomorrow I start developing some: The 2006 bicycling season is upon us! I arbitrarily set my riding season as April 1 through October 3 (to coincide with school quarters, financial quarters, April Fool's day, my birthday, spring, and summer) so tomorrow is the day it all starts. This year's theme is B2K: riding 2,000 miles. I figure that with a full season, and barring broken toes or other injuries, it is a reasonable goal. There are 185 days in the season, so that pencils out to just a hair under 11 miles a day, or 76 miles a week.

Tomorrow Otis and I plan to have a hearty breakfast and then hit the Burke-Gilman trail to work out the kinks (as if moving and cleaning and all that hasn't been enough work lately) on the short Gasworks Park to Matthews Beach ride. At 15 miles, we'll start out ahead of pace, for 24 hours at least.

There is a related good news/bad news deal here: The good news is that I will be able to ride to my classes at Bothell this quarter after all, so there will be one or two 30-35 mile trips per week on a regular basis anyway. The bad news is that this is only possible because my class at NSCC had low enrollment and was canceled, costing me a fair bit of income. Well, as the great Canadian bard Alan Thicke said, " You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life." I will miss the money, but I won't miss working a five-day-a-week schedule, and I do have plenty of projects to keep me busy.

Some of those projects involve just getting this new place all set up. We are officially out of the old apartment, lock, stock, and shower curtain. This place looks pretty good already, but it's still hard to lay hands on paperwork and supplies and stuff that is usually in arm's reach but is still squirreled away right now. No worries, though - it's just keeps getting better, little by little.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hawaiian I

So, I seem to remember that a few days ago, I was in Hawaii... I think I was there for a while, but it all seems a blur now. Overall, it was a great trip: some sand, some sea, some sun; a little rain (okay, a LOT of rain), relaxing and reading; just a touch of sightseeing. Here's a short slide show of some stuff from the trip.

I have said how busy we have been since we got back, and it has only gotten busier. We went down to Ikea last night. I am amazed that no matter how much stuff I have, when I move, I wind up needing stuff I don't have - and often not needing stuff I do have - just because the space is different (and in this case, bigger). We needed a tower for the spectration unit (since the bookcases aren't in the living room anymore), a desk for Otis (since we lost the two built-ins); and a nightstand for me (since we don't have the chrome racks in the bedroom anymore). We managed to get it all in a relatively low-stress visit without paying very much money. Yay!

I have managed to catch up on e-stuff a bit as well. I had 182 messages on my comics scholar list serv, so it took a while to get through those. I made slash and burn runs through my usual blogs and more thorough trips through our own blogville, and I have finally checked work emails for the schools I am not actually teaching at right this moment. It's pretty well back to normal, I think.

So, just a few more days of messiness and we can get settled in to springtime and the start of B2K!*

*More to come on this front soon!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Back in the saddle

Boo-yah! Was I really in Maui until 48 hours ago? Wow. I have been running since we got off the plane.

A full Maui scrapbook will have to wait a bit - Otis has all the photos, and we're not quite networked up yet. Suffice it to say that it was rainy and sunny and fun and wonderful. Otis is maintaining the "aloha spirit" and spreading it all over town. Here's what that looks like:

Soapy met Otis and I at the airport late on Saturday and whisked us through the cold Seattle night back to the Ridge for our last night at the white-wall apartment. We got up early on Sunday and finished the last of the packing and labeling. And then the whizziest move I have ever made began:

Dingo came by a little after 10:00 am to take me to the U-Haul to pick up the truck; she stayed for the she-hauling until she had to go get Johnbai at the ferry.

While we were gone, MaryBee showed up to pick some stuff up on her way to work, so she could drop it off at the new place afterwards.

Invisible Adam was very present for fetching and toting, at great risk to life and limb (well, limb, anyway). Likewise defying the injury imps was J-Force, who seemed sometimes to be on both floors at the same time. Sailor Sue came by on her way to a wedding reception, just so she wouldn't miss out on an hour or so of hauling heavy stuff down stairs. JagGirl arrived to wrassle some goods into the truck and her car, and Mighty Mel was mighty indeed (and cleaned out everything that needed to go - and some things that didn't).

By noon we were done loading out - Johnbai never even made it to the Ridge, but met us at the new place for the load in, and Scott Flowers arrived at the old place just in time to drive over with us. Adam had to leave us, but the new hands were more than up to the task and it was quick work to stash everything in the townhouse - we even set up the living room and were done before 1:30. We returned the truck, got pizza and were chillaxin' in the RD by 3:00 pm.

I just want to thank everyone who came out to lend a hand - it was a yeoperson effort on all parts, and it made a fun morning out of what could have been a long day, and gave us time to actually start getting the new place in order.

It slightly offset finding out that Otis's car is comatose on Cap Hill with some weird electrical problem - it actually sucked my car's life essence like some automotive vampire, and the Geo barely escaped.

Today was more of a whirl. I had to spend almost two hours with the cable internet installer today before I could get him to give up and leave so I could fix the problem and get my airport connection running. At the same time, I was trying to prepare my syllabus and lesson materials for class at 1:15; I barely got out of the house in time to drive to campus and make the photocopies before teaching my three-and-a-half hour class session.

And so it begins again.

A last bit: JJ sent some pix from the library "How to read a Graphic Novel" gig; here's my favorite.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


We have the computer with the internets tonight (It comes with this cool cellular modem - not dial-up, not cable, not wi-fi. It's totally sweet.) so here's a quick blog:

Island paradise? Check.
Lost luggage? Check.
Luggage recovered on the very next flight an hour later? Check.
Flash flood warnings for the whole state? Check.
Day that it mostly poured down rain? Check.
Day that it was hot and sunny? Check.
Frolics on the beach? Check.
Boogie boarding and body surfing? Check.
Sand-exfoliation of chest as a result? Check.
A little bit of sunburn? Check.
Totally overpriced food at resort restaurants? Check.
Totally overlooked decent Vietnamese and Thai restaurants in shopping malls? Check.
Seeing whales breach just offshore while eating dinner on the lanai? Check.
Getting a little bit of lesson planning done? Um, sort-of check.
Reading for pleasure after way too long? Check.
Pictures? Check and double-check:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

On the air!

It's funny, really. I bought a day-old bagel at Ken's yesterday so I wouldn't have to spend money in an airport snack bar while I waited between flights here in Honolulu, but I don't hesitate to slide my card though the reader on a pay-as-you-go internet connection to spend a few minutes checking email and blogging. Go figure.

I am in Paradise, but still in transit. As soon as the trip is over in another two hours or so, the real chillaxin' will begin.

And then you won't hear from me as much.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Last licks...

... before I head off to Hawai'i at dawn's early light. It all got done. I woke up at 5:30 this morning, so I got up and did some school work then. Classes were fun today - the students were mostly in good moods, and I got cards and gifts and stuff. After teaching, I made another run to the townhouse, got all of my grading / assessing / posting done, packed the apartment some more, cleaned up, visited Otis's gramma (who is back home now), talked to Otis, had dinner with J-Force, made another (small) run to the townhouse, got stuff ready for the trip, shaved my dome and here I am, whew!

I feel ready for a vacation, but not too awfully bad. I am getting a bit absent-minded lately: I drove all the way to work before I remembered that I had left some envelopes that I needed for class on the bookcase, and I drove halfway to the townhouse with J-Force before I realized I didn't have the keys.

Well, in less than 24 hours I wll be lying in the sun, not needing to remember to do anything except turn over every now and again. I'll even be off the net for a while!

Thanks to everyone who helped out this week, with bidness and with company. We'll see y'all on Moving Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I need to go to bed, but

Krist-10 and Rye-N sent along this South-Park-esque version of some familiar folks on a Maui vacation:

and I just had to share it.

Things are under control! I have made several trips to the new place (thanks, Mel and Dingo, for the assists!) with most of the odd-shaped and annoying items. Most of the stuff left around here is all packed and waiting for sinewy arms to lift it. My assessing/grading is ahead of schedule; just a few clerical tasks tomorrow and it's all done. I'm packed for Hawaii. I even had time to have a relaxing dinner with my to- and from-airport chaffeurs, Soapy and Dingo, tonight.

't's all good!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Betwixt and between


I Got Them Liminal Blues...

The place is torn apart. I am sort of packing, and sort of moving stuff out/in (I've made two trips), and sort of cleaning, and sort of trying to ignore it. I had to find the water meter and the electric meter at the new place to take readings so I can call today to have the stuff switched over. I had to make sure that my cable internet stops, but that the email and server accounts stay active until we need to start it up again at the new place. I have quarter-wrapping-up to do, but I am stalled on some of it and ahead of schedule on some of it, and it's hard to get a sense of where I am, really. I am eating all the miscellaneous stuff in the fridge, since I don't want to buy anything since we'd just have to move it. Boo-hoo, poor me - and I have to do all of this before Saturday morning, because that's when I leave ... for Hawai'i. Yeah.

Um, never mind. Everything's great!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blog break

I am up to my eyeballs in assessments still, but I am taking a little break for some chick'n patty 'n' corn dinner (yum - not so much) and blogging.

Saturday wasn't as productive as it might otherwise have been. I did get a significant bit of packing done, but I did not get as many assessments completed as I had planned to. Part of the reason was my lack of focus, but another part was that some students did not provide complete portfolios. Grrr. More work for me.

The SPL comix presentation went swimmingly. The crowd was on the smaller side, but they were very interested. The presentation/overhead part went smoothly, got laughs in the right places and lots of appreciative nods, and didn't take too long. The staged reading was successful at demonstrating how comix doesn't work with just the text; it worked in that it wouldn't have worked without the pictures being presented. After the bit, I met some of the folks, who included a freelance TV producer, a woman older than me who was a comics fan (unusual, that), and a guy who manages a comics store in Bellingham. A couple of other folks told me they were leaving the talk more interested in comics than they had been when they came in. I guess you can call that a success! And better still, I got to have lunch with JJ and coffee with Dingo!

Afterwards, I went home and assessed. And assessed some more.

This morning, I went over to meet the new landlords and get the keys to the townhome! I am hoping to be in a position on Wednesday to engage in some serious miscellaneous-moving-in action. Let me know if you want to play, but don;t burn yourself out nefore the real moving day, Sunday March 26.

Afterwards, I came home and assessed. And assessed some more. And yet more.

And here we are.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Well, I didn't get a whole lot done today, at least as far as responding goes. I went up to the hospital to visit Otis's grandmother, and I got distracted by some cleaning/packing action, and before I knew it, it was now. Anyhoo, I have about 12 hours of assessing to do before Monday, and about 4 hours (all told) of library-presenting and stuff, so I guess I'm just working the weekend is all. That's no hill for a stepper!

Hey, Otis called while I was blogging this. She and Mama are all settled into the grrrrreat condo (Thanks, K!) and everything is cool. H'ray!

Here's some hula action to end the day:


Otis is on the wing! Big Ed came and collected her this morning and I got a text-messaged aloha (of the farewell sort) from the airport during my second class this morning.

I just got back and had some lunch, and between school papers and wrapping papers, I'm a-gonna be busy for the rest of the day and the next week.

This is really just for Johnbai, but feel free to click here and here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A brief respite

Well, for me anyway. Otis is in the bedroom, making with the packing action (and simultaneously watching The Sound of Music). Boxes and bags everywhere. I'm staying out of the way for now - my turn comes later. Hopefully, we'll have things in pretty good shape on Sunday 3/26, but whatever shape it's in, it's going anyway.

I am in a lull between responses - tomorrow will be the start of serious bidness lasting though the weekend and into next week, with packing tucked in around the edges and my library presentation wedged in the middle. I imagine I'll have time to focus, since Otis will be off to Paradise in two days. I just need to survive until I can join her next Saturday. Then the only order of business will be this.

In the meantime...

I have been saving comix stuff for The Last Shortbox, but this might of particular interest to those of our community with connections to the tribe of Judah.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Closing the chapter on Oscar

I have had an Academy Awards night party for each of the three springs that I have been in the white-wall apartment on the Ridge. Since Otis and I are townhome-bound, last night's fete was the last of its kind: Don't Miss a Minute, Don't Miss a Pixel, and this year's Evening Wear Extravaganza and Pajama Party! will form the complete canon of White Wall Oscar Parties. And we went out with a bang!

Some old pals were unable to make it this year, so a shout out to them, and some new faces graced the Ridge: Silvio, downstairs Cat, Kris-10 & Rye-N, and Hi-Lai & Welcome Matt were all in attendance for the first time. Mighty Mel made a repeat and MaryBee returned after a year off. And, of course, the hardcore, three-peat perennials were there: Invisible Adam, Dingo, JJ, Johnbai, Linda S, Sunni-V, and J-Force.

Phasers were set on snark, and the show provided suitable fodder. There were no egregiously bad outfits, except for Charlize Theron's shoulder-poof gown, so the crowd good-naturedly mocked displays of emotion, failing careers, bad incidental dialog, boring acceptance speeches, and the representation of movie plots through interpretative dance. Lots of people on the show looked pretty haggard - what the heck is going on in Hollywood these days? Favorite moments were Dolly Parton's professional turn highlighting one of the nominated songs (sans dancers) and a captivating tribute to Robert Altman from Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin. Consensus was that Jon Stewart did a creditable job (I thought his best line was the subtle dig at the Baldwin brothers).

Much food of the Mexican variety was munched and no one retreated to the Oscarfrei Bereich in the bedroom.

As far as the awards themselves went, it was good that Dingo was keeping track, because no one really cared. Other than Johnbai's slow burn every time Crash won something, there were no big responses. There was no sweep, nothing outrageous, and, as JJ said, not many movies that really mattered. The spread between Most Correct Guesses and Shooting the Moon was the lowest ever: 12 out of 25 for the best predictor and 6 out of 25 for the worst. Go figure.

There was no universal formal portaiture this year, but here's a selection of shots, mostly from Otis:

Floor-length kilt? Kaftan? Jawa-wear?

Cheery Otie kicks the night off!

JJ, winner of best formalwear, looking resplendent in polka dots

Prizewinner Sunni-V, in his Brokeback Mountain get-up

J-Force put a lock on the best jammie prize by wearing three ensembles throughout the night!

Grand Poobah Predictor Hi-Lai got camera-shy at the last moment, but left a trace of tiara

Dingo, the fingerless massage therapist, took booby-prize for least correct guesses
-- on purpose, yeah, that's the ticket!

MaryBee has monkey-feet!

Despite their Crash-ing differences, Mel and Johnbai maintained both Oscar amity and comity
(photo retouched by an old Irishman on a train...)

Mesmerized by the white wall!

And so a chapter ends, and another begins. See y'all next year!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Lately, I have felt like I am on a bike ride or car drive that is turning out to be a lot longer than I had originally thought it was going to be. You know the feeling: you're clicking along, making pretty good time (you think); then you stop at a scenic overlook and check the map and realize that you aren't almost halfway there but merely less than a third of the way along.

This week has given the impression of home-stretchiness: my responding load over the past few days was actually much lighter that it has been, and I feel as if I can see the finish line up ahead. At the same time, when I make my to-do list, there's just all sorts of stuff still on it, not to mention the SPL gig (see the group blog), the Oscar party, the Hawai'i trip, and, of course, y'know, MOVING and all. Neepers!

Well, one sure sign that we're closer to the end is that the long johns are gone and we are au naturel beneath the Utilikilt once more.

We got a chance to break out the gray gabardine kilt last night for the Massage School Graduation.

Congratulations, Otis!

Otis had a small flock of well-wishers from kith and kin at what turned out to be one of the oddest commencements I have ever seen. It was more like an episode of Oprah than a graduation: a gum-chewing, wisecracking emcee; touching and/or "funny" bits from teachers; the cordless mic in the audience for tearful testimonials (all of which sounded the same after a while); stage-managed hugs; and so on. Even Empath Otis (with caring and sharing action) was overcome by cheesiness rather than emotion. Go figure.

Nonetheless, it was good to see the Putnam clan, and Kris-10 and Rye-N were boon companions in the long, dark hours of the ceremony. I got to give congratulations to b, and c was supposedly there but I did not see him. No pictures, since we forgot the camera.

And Dingo wasn't there, although this was her ceremony, too:
Congratulations, Di!

Okay, so enough of this fun and frivolity. I have to get to work, so tomorrow can be fun and frivolity all day! See y'all soon!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spring is in the air

It's a grand morning! There was a beautiful sunrise and it's realtively mild today; things just feel a little different. Maybe it's just because we have managed to survive the depths of February, or maybe there really has been a sea-change in the weather after that last bit of arctic air passed through.

Or maybe it's has something to do with being in the last stretches of the quarter: my master plan is coming into play and the pieces are falling into place. Things are pretty much under control, and this is going to me a good week, even with a bunch of time set aside for the Oscar party.

In any case, I'm just going to welcome (and share) this good vibe today.