Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Coming to you from the lobby of the Spokane DoubleTree. We got here about 5:30. Stella just came by, but head out to the airport. NatDog is nearby. Everyone keeps asking to borrow my laptop. I left my glasses on my desk. Not an auspicious start, eh?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spokane eve

Nice, powerfully short day today. I went in early with NatDog - traffic was so bad we cut from Lake City Way over to I-5 and went all the way up and then down the 450. I got all my morning work done, taught one class - observed by a bunch of Husky grad students - and then blew back home for a late lunch. Otis and I frittered away the afternoon, and then I scooted out here to World Cup while she took an evening appointment.

And lucky me - in the middle of this post, I got Skyped by Jon of Monmouth, and had a chance to chat a while!

Tomorrow I head up to campus and then van it to The Spoke with some colleagues. I'm sure I'll figure out something to do online from there.

Here's the graphic for today: a decision tree we all might do well to follow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wheels in wheels

My mind has been spinning lately, with RPG scenarios and caveman trades on top of all the reg'lar stuff of life. It feels pretty good, actually...

Sunday rounded out what turned out to be The Big Weekend o' Fun. Otis and I took ourselves out to an early breakfast at Silence Heart Nest, beating the churchy crowd to the parking spots and the good tables. We were so early, in fact, that Otis took a long nap when we got back, leaving me to play at my stuff the rest of the morning.

Johnbai made it a weekend trifecta when he dropped by after lunch during O's house-rental-excursion down the block. It's beginning to look more like we are going to be neighbors with O - she was doing all that application stuff. After that adventure, I went to a coffeeshop with Johnbai to geek out for a while, and then Otis drove us all to Cap Hill - home for Johnbai and pizza and Trader Joe's for us.

Today, of course, I had to pay for all that frivolity - I went into work with NatDog at 8:00 am and graded and prepped until my 1:15 class (with timeout for lunch with Stella). Short week, though - I'm back to the Spoke for a conference soon.

One of the comics blogs I read linked to this, and I thought it was sweet enough to share here:

A wistful moment from March 1937. For the past four months Popeye and his gang (including the prehistoric giant Toar and Alice the Goon *ack!*) have been struggling with the Sea Hag. Sixty years ago, she was known as Rose o' the Sea and Popeye's father jilted her. Now she's a genuine old-school no-fooling witch with Black Magic and a huge vulture pet. She has come for her revenge but then (oddly enough) she tumbles for Wimpy (who only uses her to get hamburgers). Love is hard to figure. The fights and captures and escapes go on but then it all ends when Eugene the Jeep uses his own natural magic to turn the Sea Hag into a mummy.

Despite all the terror and threats of death they've gone through, Popeye's gang are surprisingly saddened at the Sea Hag's demise. "When ya gets older," Popeye tells his hard-hearted Pappy, "ya'll un'erstan' that's it's even possible to feel sorry for yer emenies." The Sea Hag had intended to keep Poopdeck Pappy alive for a million years and torture him every minute, but even so -- Popeye and his friends are human enough to not rejoice at her death.

Oh, and once in a, while, The Onion is really, funny.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another dalai lama day!

Yesterday morning, I headed out into the world early, since Otis had some appointments. I moved the car out into the neighborhood and then started walking the U-District; it was easy to tell it was going to be a great day, weather-wise: blue, blue skies without a trace of cloud and warm breezes, even in the morning.

I wandered around the Farmer's market for a bit; it was still pretty much potatoes and kale, but I did buy a Caveman power bar in honor of the game the previous night.

I settled myself into the nearby Tully's, but before I could get much work (or play-work) done, I got Skyped by Jon of Monmouth! I was doing a George Jetson, sitting and sipping and seeing a pal a couple hundred miles away.

We didn't chat for too long, because I was met by Trots (without Bonnie) for some catch-up visiting. We drank drinks, and walked the neighborhood (meeting Jules, who had shown up at the Market) and onto the UW campus. I was actually starting to get warm in my sweatshirt by the end of our walk.

At lunchtime, I picked Otis up at home and we took some take-away up to Volunteer Park, Dingo had arranged for another park day - badminton, blankets, and buddies. Court2 was there when we arrived (although she had to leave), and we were soon joined joined by Sylvio, Erico, Johnbai, and O. Thus passed a languorous afternoon of lassitude and indolence, punctuated by a bit of badminton and some ballistic frisbee. The weather, while the sun was out, was absolutely park-perfect - here's hoping that we have lots more of these, and that Dingo arranges picnics!

Otis and I shook off the torpor and grabbed a bite of dinner before we slid down to the CD for an open house at a campus pal's new town home (there's some nice stuff going on around Garfield High!) and developed a new covetousness of bamboo floors.

We scooted right home, though, because Johnbai had not gotten all of the world-developing out of his system and wanted another go-round of Settlers of the Stone Age. So we threw together a quick game night: Erico, Sylvio and I played the game with Johnbai, and Otis and O lounged on couches, crafting. It took Johnbai a little less time to beat us than before, but the good times rolled (better than dice).

It was a full, full day of friends and I still made it to bed by midnight. Which was important, since today Selkie wanted to play at 4:37. I wonder if when I tossed him out on his ear (along with his brother) he went and played with this bold little fellow, who I saw later this morning as I was making my tea:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hi, my name is Walaka, and I'm a blogger

Man, you miss one day and you have start counting all over again...

Yesterday was low-key at work. I was on campus all day, doing prep and such, interrupting my solitary industry with a meeting to welcome the man who will be my dean starting in June; proctoring an exam for a little while, as a favor to another instructor; and attending my tenure review committee meeting. I like that kind of day.

On the way home, I stopped to get some goodies (of which more later), and got back to the RD just in time for a surprise visit from Scotty Tuxedo and Gina Tiara, along with the bambino and the puppy (one in car seat and one in a box - you guess which). The clan is up from the Mile High City for a whirlwind tour of the Pacific Northwest. We hope to catch up with them again today, but if not, a few minutes is better than none.

Then we hustled up to Cap Hill to meet Johnbai and the tardy Erico for dinner at the Hopvine, a prelude to an evening spent playing Setters of the Stone Age, a board game in the Catan series that seemed to take much of the complexity of the computer game Civilization and stuff it into little wooden and cardboard counters. (Here's a detailed review.) We had a great time spreading our tribes of homo sapiens out of Africa and across the globe, trading and using bones and meat to advance our societies. The game took a little longer than we thought, but fortified with shiraz and pretzels and eskimo pies, we hardly noticed. (Oh, and Johnbai won.)

So, it was a late night to bed, and this morning, after three or four days of allowing me to sleep all the way through to until six or six-thirty, Selkie decided he was tired of going out the window and jumping off the balcony to let himself out, and insisted that I get up with him. The time: 4:13. I did go back to bed, but it made for a nice early start anyway.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On a roll!

In pursuit of that ultimately meaningless and valueless goal - extended daily posting - herewith is an actual essai.

It is a given that the pedant's response to someone declaring a thing "so unique" or "really unique" or "very unique" is to point out, gracelessly but rightly, that "unique" cannot be modified. After all, the word indicates a singular, a one-of-a-kind, a thing having no like or equal, limited in occurrence to one. Clearly, logically, a thing can't be more or less unique, or unique to any given degree - it is either unique or it is not.

And yet, I have recently thought that there might be a meta-level of uniqueness, a state of ultra-uniqueness, if you will. Bear with me here.

Imagine a set of ten hand-made toy soldiers or figurines. Each one is unlike any other; every specimen is different from all the others. We would say that this is a set of ten unique statuettes.

Imagine another set of ten hand-made toy soldiers. In this case, our Gepetto has made four alike, and another three the same, and a pair of twins, and one of a kind. In this case, we have a set of ten soldiers, and only one is unique.

So, in some sense, isn't this last soldier in a state of ultra-uniqueness, for not only is he unique, he is also the only member of his tribe who is unique. In the first set, all of the soldiers are unique - giving them, despite their uniqueness, a shared characteristic. In that one quality, at least, they are not completely singular. Our last lonely soldier, however, amidst his multuplet cousins, is the only one who possesses the quality of uniqueness - he does not even share the description of his condition with his tribe. Doesn't that somehow sharpen his status?

When I first stumbled upon this line of thought, it made me think of the bumper sticker "You're unique - just like everyone else." Could it be that in this glibness there lies a subtle truth - that it might indeed be possible to be "more unique"?

I think it's definitely possible.

For the what-I-had-for-lunch completists out there: NatDog drove me to work! I taught, prepped and went to a budget meeting! Otis made yummy tofu for dinner! The cats are cute!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This would actually be on Twitter, if I did that

I am at 3PB/LFP with Otis, who picked me up at work after dining and spending the evening with her folks. She is blogging and enjoying a cup of decaf and a vegan raspberry oat muffin; I am blogging about not being able to decide what snack I want to have. The pizza is all gone; a milkshake seems like way too much; I'm trying to cut down on coffee; I don't care for soda too much; I'm tired of the Honey Bear teas; and nachos seem like a lot of trouble. Maybe I'll just have a little whine.

Good news, work division: My 101 class this quarter rocks the house; our class discussions are on-point, robust, and productive, and most of the writing seems to be following suit. My 102 classes are none too shabby, either. Makes it a good quarter! (And I think the apparent minority of Runners has contributed to that as well.)

Other good news: A former student of mine at Antioch has recommended me for a local grant-writing gig, and I received the email today. Cool beans! Maybe I'll investigate this and this as well.

Random nerdly graphics:

Cosmia Aviana, half-elf cleric

Nyro, elf wizard

Ossthrid Coopersdottir, human ranger

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Things that were longer than expected:
The drive to school with NatDog (there was a bit of traffic).
The bus ride home (just a slow driver).
The visit from Ned (she was coming to just drop stuff off but stayed for dinner).

Things that were shorter than expected:
NatDog's bout of feeling under the weather.
My work day.
The amount of time it took to clean my office.

Things that could have been longer but were short:
The foot massage I got from Otis.
This post.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The return of Dr. Walakus

I still clean up pretty good. I was out and about and in Ned territory by 7:30 am. Long day.

Mostly for Soapy: National Geographic wants your photographs.

Movies I want to see, summer blockbuster type:
Forbidden Kingdom (even if Johnbai says it sucks)
Iron Man
Speed Racer
The Incredible Hulk
Get Smart
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
The Dark Knight
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

How shallow is this?

This is sort of steampunky, kinda:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

... aaaaand we're back

Okay, so Ani DiFranco is da bomb. The concert in the auditorium at the Service Station started with some neo-beat poetry from feminist poet Judy Grahn, accompanied by Animal Prufrock, who I can only describe as an anarchic lesbian Mojo Nixon. Otis really dug the piece "(You Give Me) An Emotional Boner."

After the opening act, Ani performed for about an hour and a half, accompanied by drums, an upright base, and a vibraphone. She gave a great show, playing her acoustic like a fourteen-year-old boy jumping around his room playing air guitar. She really makes her guitar wail, the twanging strings a perfect match for her vocals, which range from delicate and almost frothy grace notes to earthy, throaty motorcycle engine roars. Ani is perhaps the most articulate singer-songwriter I have encountered; her lyrics are pointed and intelligent, and complex without being obscure. She played some old tunes, and some really new stuff that contained some commentary on current events. between songs, she talked to the audience, interacting with folks and accepting notes and signs from the crowd and working them into the act. She was clearly preaching to her choir - it was very definitely a Difrancophile house - and she worked the energy even higher with her accessibility and authenticity. And did I mention that she rocks the house?

One odd (to me) characteristic of the concert: the auditorium was devoid of chairs. The audience just milled about in a big empty space with a stage at one side, sort of like carpeted school cafeteria. People were sitting down for a while, but when the show started, everyone stood up. There wasn't a lot of dancing, because there wasn't room - we were as close together as a crowd around the ticket counter after a canceled flight. I've never gone to an "Only Standing Room" concert before.

Anyhoo, Otis loved re-connecting with her hero, the Righteous Babe. It was worth the trip.

Especially since the trip included bonus time with Gweekers and Mikey! We got up for the traditional Mikey's-three-thousand-calorie latte this morning, and then headed out into the neighborhood for brekkies. We pointed Renty Red homeward shortly before noon, and ran into only the same sort of snow flurries that we had coming over; the drive was fine. We've been back for a little bit, stretching out cramped muscles and chillaxing; I even got my suit ready for the morning.

Spokane Sunday, Spark notes version

The drive over was fine. Lots of pellety snow in the pass and some flurries around Ritzville, but the roads were all clear and there wasn't much traffic. We were having a cup of tea in Auntie's less than four and half hours after departure time.

Since we made such good time, we got to see G&M before the concert as well as after.

The concert must have drawn most of the alterna-culture of Spokane - Otis heard someone say "I have never seen so many people wearing clogs in one place before." There was a good energy to the crowd and it was a great show.

The morning is clear and cold, although they are forecasting snow for Spokane later today. I imagine the trip back will be much the same as the trip over.

But first, there's breakfast!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ragnar Forgesplitter is dead

In a rousing D&D session last night, my neutral good dwarf bard character came to a valiant but ignominious end: in a protracted battle against a hill giant, an unfortunate concatenation of events (die rolls) lead to his demise. Ranged along a hillside with his allies against the rock-throwing giant, Ragnar stumbled as he attempted a crossbow shot and and fell down the slope. As the giant closed, a comrade attempted a similar shot, but accidentally hit Ragnar in the back. Managing to rise to his feet, bruised and bleeding, Ragnar faced the giant, who stove in the dwarf's head with his mighty club, "crushing it like a melon" according to the DM. The remainder of the party and their allies managed to overcome the giant with teamwork, even after he used Ragnar's body as a weapon of assault.

I was moved by the outpouring of emotion from human, elf, and dwarf alike at the death of Ragnar. A traditional dwarven funeral was held as soon as possible, according to custom; in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wayfarer's Foundation in Purim.

But even as the battle raged, I was rolling the attributes for a new player character and plotting the storyline that would allow him to join the party.

Long Live Narley Noopin!
art credit: Claudio Pozas

Narley is a Lawful Good Gnome Monk. I got pretty lucky on the attribute rolls, and he's a tough little bugger who should be fun to play. I have to move into a different mindset now; Narley has motivations, goals, and skills that are quite different from Ragnar, although there is still a connection to the underground world. I think the team is re-integrating fairly painlessly, although we seem to be proving the old adage about how when one member of a team changes, the relationships throughout the entire team change.


Yesterday was a work 'n' play day. Before the action-packed evening, NatDog and I carpooled into campus to do union stuff and grading stuff and conference stuff, and to watch the snow come down. This weather is almost unbelievable, from sandals and shorts to snow in less than a week.

In a few hours, Otis and I will be heading off to Spokane for an Ani DeFranco concert and a visit with Gweekers (who just called!) and Mikey. The pass report is not happy, but not too nasty either; it will turn out to be a cautious and deliberate trip, I think, but at least we have plenty of daylight to burn.

I should start getting ready for the trip, but first some shout-outs:

Thanks to NatDog and TomCat for watching the monsters while we're gone; sorry we didn't hit the Dom Polski or the Hideout with you last night, but it was getting hairy just as you called. Next time!

Heys to Dingo, who hasn't intersected my orbit for a while but who has kept me amused with email news.

Thanks to my D&D team for some excellent play and company; with especial thanks to Johnbai for all the homework he does and to Soapy for not bringing those damn tasty potato chips this time.

Bon Voyage to Neds, who is off to the East Coast for an extended trip in a few days.

Heys to Yojimbo, who has been trying to get together with me all week but the timing has been lousy.

And here's to Otis, who was a zealous roleplayer last night and who has been a busy, somewhat achey, and slightly overwhelmed player in Real Life. Hang in there!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Maybe I should just take the 6:30 am class

So, I have been trying to re-negotiate my morning routine. You know the one: Selkie decides the day needs to begin sometime around 4:18 am, and starts walking around the bed and over my head and generally making a nuisance of himself. I have been getting up and letting him out (Mountie, the dutiful partner, would follow Selkie out, but is not so demonstrative) and then coming back to bed, but that's a bit disruptive (two storeys is a long way when you're half-asleep).

I have recently tried to initiate a policy of deliberate avoidance, hiding under the covers or shoving Selkie off the bed in the hopes he'll give up. I can also get up and herd him out of the bedroom and close the door, but that's almost as bad as just letting him all the way out.

Nonetheless, that's what I did this morning, and at about 4:50 or so I could actually go back to sleep. I thought I heard Selkie jumping out the window (which was the whole point of the cat door in the first place) and thought maybe my re-programming plan was beginning to work.

Then some big truck pulled up somewhere in the neighborhood, moving forward and backward as if parallel parking, setting off its back-up signal, grinding gears, and operating some kind of hydraulics at the same time. It sounded as if a recycling truck were having a nervous breakdown.

So I got up anyway. And went out.

The neighborhood is different at 5:00 am. The commuter rush hasn't started yet and the streets are empty of cars, but trucks are parked everywhere making deliveries and there's brisk foot traffic at the labor agency down the street. A quiet mist fell as I walked past darkened storefronts to the QFC; at the grocery store, the night shift workers were fading fast even as the bakery lady was brightly beginning her day. I bought some necessities and treated myself to a cup of coffee.

When I returned to the house, both cats were waiting out front and wanted back in because of the rain.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Yay! We finally got campus hoodies! They have the UW color, prolly because they were added on to the end of a run of Husky gear, but still!

Yesterday was another longish work day, but my classes are so cool this quarter I really can't complain. Otis even picked me up in LFP so I didn't have to walk after the bus ride.

Today, NatDog took me into work again. More prep and teaching, and an exceptionally pointless meeting in a series of meetings that are never terribly productive anyway. Administrivia and bureaucrap.

Otis treated (and catered) dinner up at the Putnam Compound tonight: homemade sweet potato - onion - garlic mash, Whole Foods herbed chicken breast (for them) and grilled tofu (for us), and salad and veggies. Yum!

Now we're out at 3PB/R, doing the Seattle laptop 'n' coffeeshop thing, figuring out how bad it will be driving through the pass in the snow on Saturday...

Science can be pretty: here, go play with some beads on a string.

Hey! Ze Frank is back on my radar - and he's got a cool new project. I think we should all enter stuff.

Bizarro world news: I read this article from Wired about the Swedish alternate-reality Britney. Check it out and then watch this funky video. Bjork-lite, anyone?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where did Tuesday go?

It wasn't nearly as full as Monday. I did some work at home, then went into school for one class. I checked in with Stella, who is back in town after dealing with some serious family stuff (and we wish her all the best). I got home at a decent time and spent the evening with Otis, punctuated by a visit from c. I cooked pasta and veatballs for dinner, broke up the cats fighting, and did a crossword puzzle.

I guess none of it actually happened, since I didn't blog it.

Sometime art that confuses also delights. Here is an art project for you: this artist is digitally removing all the birds from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Check out the stills and the video clips.

Blogging about cats is almost as bad as blogging about blogging, but Will Shetterly tipped us to this little clip that I needed to share.

Monday, April 14, 2008

All in a day's work

Time Selkie got me up this morning: 4:19 am
Time I got up myself: 6:10 am
Time NatDog picked me up: 7:29 am
Time of arrival at campus: 8:05 am
Time of first class: 1:15 pm
Percent of intervening time spent working: 90
Number of cups of coffee drunk: 2
Number of Subway points earned: 8
Time last class ended: 7:50 pm
Number of new papers to grade turned in today: ~42
Time bus arrived to take me home: 8:34 pm
Time I got to 3PB/R to meet Otis: 9:05 pm
Time I called Otis and found out she was at 3PB/LFP instead: 9:15 pm
Time we got our act together: 9:31 pm
Number of bananas left for breakfast cereal tomorrow: .5
Inches of milk left for breakfast cereal tomorrow: 0
Slices of bread left for breakfast toast tomorrow: 0

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hello, Dalai!

I never get tired of that line.

Yesterday was the best day of the entire year so far, weather-wise. It was clear and sunny from the start, and according to the weather service, the temperature at SeaTac was a record-breaking 79 degrees. Now that's what a spring oughta look like.

So, in the morning, we opened up all the doors and windows, and did stuff in and around the house, and watched the cats get into summer-mode, with a lot of stretching out on the sidewalk to catch the sun's rays.

There wasn't too much of an extended morning, because I had to drop Otis off at Eryk & Sylvio's by noon so the gang could head down to the football stadium to join 65,000 other people at an event featuring Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. I'll let them tell you about the details of that, since I had other plans, but I can say that there was a festival mood in the air all over the city. It was great to see all this excitement for someone other than a rock star.

I stopped off for a quick take-out lunch with Johnbai, who had perfectly appropriate plans for the afternoon: softball! He wound up having some field scheduling issues, so am not sure how that worked out.

For me, I had the worst possible plans for a beautiful sunny day: after lunch, I was sitting inside a small room in the Richard Hugo House, watching a powerpoint presentation on comics scriptwriting. Timing, as they say, is everything, eh? You can read about the class here.

In the evening, I picked up Otis and spent a few minutes in the I-D with my newly-compassionated pals, and then everyone wandered home for quiet evenings.

Now, we just have to wait for the next nice day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Home again, home again

So, I never did make it to the library - when I left the Tully's V2.0, the sun was shining way to brightly for me to go back inside. Instead, I directed my happy feet back down the toward the waterfront, past SAM and through the Harbor Steps.* It was well worth the short walk:

Walking along Elliott Bay, I was reminded of the my first visits to Seattle, almost thirty years ago, when I was living in Portland. How much time has passed since then, how much water under how many bridges and over how many dams...

There's still one thing that still doesn't make any sense to me:

This is, believe it or not, Christopher Columbus, standing on a Seattle pier in front of the viaduct, staring out at Bainbridge Island, which is more than 3,000 miles farther than the explorer/imperialist ever actually penetrated the western hemisphere. Putting aside the sort of modern-expressionist style of the sculpture, I have always questioned his placement here in the gateway to the Pacific (an ocean with which he is not associated). The plaque makes some sort of connection to the Italian-American community here, but I still wonder why they couldn't have picked a less geographically-bound figure, such as Galileo or Leonardo or Garibaldi.

While I was pondering, Otis called with updates from VMH, where she was with Pater for an outpatient visit. Since no one had responded to my dinner call**, I bussed up the hill and met her at Ballet for some victuals before we headed home together.

So, I think tonight holds Steamboy on DVD and maybe some productive activity later, but me-day is all over but the snoozin'. The lesson learned from this exercise: even when I give myself carte blanche to do whatever it is I want to do for a day, I wind up pretty much doing what I do all the time. Either I am really boring, or I have a pretty good life.

I'll take door number two, Monty.

*There used to be a tartan kilt place on the Steps, and the sign is still on the main directory, but either it has closed down or I've gone batty and missed it.

**Sorry, Soapy! I forgot about your email sitch and didn't get your email until we got home.

Feet don't fail me now

Buffed and powdered! The "sports pedicure" was great. The Spa Nordstrom is very tony, as one wold expect: nicely appointed, indirect lighting, mood music, all with a bit of a faux-zen atmosphere. Terribly, terribly chic and helpful staff.

Jamika first took me to a lounge for a footbath (just a big salad bowl of warm soapy water) for about five or ten minutes. She came to do a preliminary scrub with some sort of aromatic mixture and then took me into the treatment room. I sat in a nice comfy chair, which then rotated ninety degrees so I was essentially lying on my back with my feet on a padded shelf. Jamika put a towel over my eyes, turned off the room light, and went to work under a work light.

So, yes, of course I fell asleep.

I do remember her doing all the clipping and buffing and sanding and all that. And then there was the pouring on of something hot and the wrapping of feet in bags and booties. (She told me later it was an herbal something-or-other.) Then there was more messing about and massaging before she dipped each of my feet into hot wax and let them sit. Then she came back to unpeel my feet and there I was - all sportly pedicured. She poured some powder out on a towel and told me to stomp around in it before I put my shoes back on.

It was fun, and it actually did make my feet feel a lot better.

I left Nordstrom and walked down to the Pike Place Market, just to mingle with the masses. I stopped for bagel sammich at a place that was playing Christian Rock, and then wandered around the shops for a bit. The sun was playing hide-and-seek, but it was pleasant enough walking weather. I made sure I hit Golden Age Collectibles in the Market before I left and headed up the hill to Zanadu. I couldn't find anything at either place to spend my mad money on (a $50 American Express gift card I got for my birthday) so I'll have to keep trying.

I'm in another Tully's (I have been using up another gift card) but I think I might head over to the library in a little bit.

Oh - while I was walking around I saw this window ad:

Do you recognize the grouping? It copies Matthew, Jude,and Simon, the three guys on the extreme left side of Leonardo's Last Supper:

I guess the ad I saw was actually part of a larger image that copied the whole painting, which sort of made it less interesting to me. Without wondering if posing models to emulate classic works of Renaissance art helps sell clothes, I was struck by the near-universality of some cultural references.

It's all about me.

I'm coming to you live from the Westlake Center Tully's, where I am enjoying a cup of tea as the start of my day of just-me. The is shining and it's nice and warm; portents, I hope, of a great day ahead.

Yesterday was filled with teaching and with Otis's Art Show (another successful event, by the way, that you can read about here and eventually on Quiet Girl and/or Healing Nest). Today, I am finally cashing in the gift certificate that Otis gave me some time ago for a foot treatment* at the Nordstrom Spa. I will get a whole hour of relaxing while someone works on my feet and calves - heavenly. And it will get me set to wander downtown - I think I will work my way to the Market and the Waterfront, have some lunch, make some stops, and, of course, blog about it.

I already had a great start to the expedition - I stopped at Antioch and had a nice visit with Dahlwoman, whom I hadn't seen in a long time. The walking is great today, too - perfect weather for it. Catch you later!

*The catalog lists the treatment as a "sports pedicure," apparently since putting "sport" in front of something makes it manly enough for guys to do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Haven't we been here before?

Otis was up at the Putnam Compound for the evening, so she picked me up at Cascadia and we stopped here at 3PB/LFP on the way home, for tea and wifi. I actually had some B to TC, so now when I get home I can just kick off the Doc Martens and chillax.

Otis and I walked to the Bagel Oasis this morning for brekkies. Get this: after we order, we find that a bagel is $1.00, but a bagel with cream cheese is $2.50. WTF? Now get this: when the bagels come, I kid you not, each one had about a half-cup of cream cheese on it! Seriously, we scraped off enough to make one of those foil-wrapped bricks my mother used to buy. No wonder it's twelve bits for a schmeer! Who eats that much cream cheese? Next time, three bagels, two plain, one with cream cheese, and we'll make out like just fine. But we'll have to bring someone else with us.

All of my classes are full of good students this time around, but my evening 101 class rocks especially hard. They are just digging this graphic novel stuff like nobody's business - and because none of them is a fanling, they are actually approaching the books critically. Cool beans.

Some guy's mobile just rang, and his ringtone was the old-school phone sound (brrrring), just like mine and a few others I know. Is this a growing backlash against complex musical megatones?

Here is the picture that I was considering instead of the Einstein thingie from the other day (this is like a "deleted scene" feature on a DVD):

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Does the blogging always get this boring when school starts back up?

Wow - more teaching and prep today! Woo-hoo! For those of you keeping track, NatDog drove me to school today - and back! Otis is getting the place ready for the art show! Yojimbo gave me a great idea for a book (or at least an article) but I can't reveal it yet! Yito really digs my mini-PC! Even exclamation points have their limits!

The folks at Improv Everywhere, who gave us the Slo-Mo Home Depot and the Frozen Grand Central, did a nice thing and turned a Little League game into a spectacular. Check it out:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mondays suck for blogging

Guess what I did today?

You got it on the first try!

That was all for a rainy Monday. Otis did tell me there were some sunbreaks today, and she offered this photographic evidence of her gardening activity:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's still early

I was just talking to Otis about what we were going to do next and I realized that it's still early. I was thinking about going to bed.

Our hot water is acting funny. Some faucets are hot and some aren't, and some are hot for a long while and some are only hot for a little bit. What is up with this? I called the landlord.

We went up to LFP today so Otis could provide family massage night. Had a nice dinner, too.

I actually read some dead-tree texts today. The resolution was great - and there were no ads.

Isn't this a cool picture of Godzilla?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

As many hours as years...

Wow, what a busy beginning to the weekend!

Yesterday, in between works and stuff, I did my taxes. I like this on-line e-filing business; there's nothing like high technology to distill and focus that ol' universal misery, eh? gets it all over with in just a few minutes.

The sting of civic duty was ameliorated by a surprise visit from JJ - she was in town from Wisconsin and in the neighborhood, so we had an impromptu reunion at the Sunlight. As with all out-of-town visits, she's not here long enough, but it was great to see her.

Then it was some shopping and up to Cap Hill to hang with Neds at Caffe Vita while Otis did some writerly stuff. We all hooked up again with Soapy at Johnbai's for another rousing session of D&D.

Today, we did Otis's taxes, and recovered with some hearty pho in Ballard. Then it was up to the Crest with Dingo, to meet Yito for a showing of Atonement. The movie was... very... deliberate... and slow, even though... it was... occasionally... very... beautiful. It's very hard to make a literary novel into a watchable movie, and this one wasn't exceptional. But Keira Knightley actually acted in this film, and Vanessa Redgrave was a nice surprise, and all the gals thought James McAvoy was the bomb.

Neds and Stella were also at the Crest, watching Charlie Wilson's War, so we waited for them and then headed to 3PB/LFP for some coffee-an', where Neds got a ginormous piece of toothpaste cake and the rest of us shared a dainty cinnamon roll.

I started to mention this to Neds and Stella up at 3PB, but it's better seen then described:

click for linky

I think Otis might especially like this one, but everyone will appreciate it.

clicky for linky

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Graphic miscellany

I was cleaning up a thumb drive* recently and I found these photos on it. It looks like they might have been taken from the balcony of the apartment Johnbai and Dingo used to share. Any ideas?

When asked if he had any dietary restrictions to apply to the comestibles at the next D&D session, Soapy said

Yes - you should avoid adding vegetables, fruits, grains, or water. But feel free to use whatever beef, milk, or eggs you might have on hand. I'll bring some Tim's Cascade Hoof Chunks for dipping.

So, for him, maybe we can dig up a bottle of this:

Click for meaty linkness

So, the only question is this: are these two equally awesome, or is one just slightly even more awesomer than the other?

Zeppelins and steampunk go together like potatoes and onions (man, I love me some home fries), and I recalled this cheesy syndicated TV show from a few years back that had both: The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. The conceit of the show was that Verne merely recorded real experiences and adventures that he took part in. It was pretty dreadful, but it could look good. Here's the credits:

One of the continuing characters was Rebecca Fogg, Phileas's cousin. Here's her promo:

As I say, pretty awful stuff, but I guess they're still repeating the 22 episodes in Canada.

*See the poll in the sidebar.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Crespuscular cat

This isn't a very good shot, but when I was checking the mail tonight, Selkie jumped up on the trellis and looked so pretty against the dusky sky... he was showing off, so here's his fame.

First day of school! Yee-hah! A high energy day, but the two classes so far (out of three) look good. It's weird working evenings at Cascadia again - the place has an emptier, quieter vibe after five.


So, I'm gonna need to figure this out: On Mondays and Wednesdays, my teaching schedule essentially runs from 1:oo pm until 8:00 pm. It is my nature (or just habit?) to get up pretty early (viz.: this). I don't really know how I am going to structure a day that gives me so much time before I have to go to work. I would be nice to do some fun stuff in the mornings, but it can't be so fun that I can't/won't get back into work mode. On the other hand, I don't want to get to work too early, since the day will essentially be over by the time I get back home.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have class at 11:00, so even if I don't go in early to do prep and grading, it's less disjointed, although if I do go in earlier, I would come home earlier as well.

The other quandary is my biking schedule. Yesterday was the official start of my personal biking season, which was observed in the breach since it was 34 degrees and frosty when I was heading out. I'd like to bike to work on Mondays and Wednesdays; that alone might regulate the time-use situation. I don't think I'm going to start today, though; after two strong years, last season was a miserable mess, and I don't think I've got the chops right now. But I don't want to wait too long, so if the weather cooperates, maybe I can get some miles in over the weekend and start commuting on Monday.

Ah, well, it'll all sort itself out, I imagine.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The quarter of comics begins

So, this morning, uh, a person who shall remain nameless (but whose initials are NatDog) picked me up in the early morning frost and fog to go into campus and put the final touches on our syllabi for Spring.

As a present to myself, the focus of both my 102 and 101 class involve comics: Research Writing has a pop culture theme and uses Comic Book Nation as a model text, and Composition will use four graphic novels (actually, a graphic memoir, a graphic biography, a graphic short-story-collection, and graphic reportage) as its texts. Woo-hoo!

Also appearing on campus was Stella, with whom I spent some quality tea-time and from whom I received this book as a gift. It was her not-so-subtle hint that I pursue some post-graduate study.

I stopped by home to heat up some pesto gnocchi for dinner with Otis, and then headed down to Antioch. Even though the actual comics class was canceled, I took on three students on Guided Independent Study contracts to cover the same material. They will do much of the same work, substituting a wiki for class discussion. We had a rousing discussion tonight of the history and defintion of comics, and set up some guidelines for the rest of the quarter. It should be fun!

When I came home, Otis's book group had just selected their next book: Alison Bechtel's Fun Home, a graphic novel! I let them look at my copy, and they all seemed eager to get to it.

Have you had your recommended daily allowance of comics today?

High culture's battlements had been breached. The New Yorker signaled this defeat by printing a cartoon of a man asking, “Now I have to pretend to like graphic novels, too?” - Peter Rowe

By the by, don't forget Otis's latest art show, coming up on Thursday, April 10. This time her special quest is a henna artist who will be offering henna body art! Check it out.