Saturday, May 29, 2010

Useful facts.

aka, by-products of my revision process:

Did you all know about this "parasitic -n-" phenomenon? Me neither.

Carry on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Netflix is stalking me.

OR, possibly, I am stalking Netflix. What with the instantaneous episodes of Lost. I wish I could say that I hadn't whiled away hours for two days straight watching and watching. I wish I could say it, but I cannot, for I in fact have whiled away those hours, and I will never get them back.

Question: why do The Others have that sick fixation on other people's children? Can they not have children of their own? Are there no fertility clinics on the island? This feature of the show is totally creeping me out.

In other news: tomorrow I will be doing something productive during the daylight hours. And possibly watching an episode here or there. I said AN episode, the people. Just one. Or maybe two.

In other other news: SATC the Rematch was HORRRIBLE (yes, it needed an extra "R," it was precisely that bad). Exhibit A: Liza Minnelli, at the wedding of two gay men, doing "Single Ladies." Also, many more exhibits too banal and also lame to name.

Addendum to the other other news: If I don't plant some flowers soon, I will not be able to live with myself.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Signifying dog.

Tonight, for a variety of reasons, we couldn't take Bruiser for his evening constitutional. One of those reasons was not the fact that I am watching Lost like it's my job. I'm still in the first season, and I am currently experiencing thoughts that most of America had six years ago, such as, "Matthew Fox . . . dreamy."

HOWEVER. I had just finished with one episode and was about to start the next one, when the historian spoke from the other room. I paused, said, "What?" and he said, "I thought you were done with that episode," and I said, "I was, but I was starting a new one--but do you need to talk?" and at that word--the word that rhymes with "w-a-l-k" (I spelled it, although the B can also spell)--my intelligent canine roused himself from his torpor, and said, effectively, "I know that word: rhymes with walk."

Other signs and portents the B can interpret:
  • the putting on of sneakers
  • when I say, "so shall we do this?"
  • or when I say, "so, what do you think?"
  • or when I say, "Okay!"
All these things mean "walk." Walk WALK walk walk walk. The only word that's as important as walk in the Bruiser lexicon is "food," but he prefers that, rather than using the alphabet, we spell this word with actual cheese.

And now, resuming my Lost viewing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I'm working on a project that I last touched last October, a little video essay about flow. This means, of course, that I have been listening to little clips of Hank Williams all day, with a smidgen of cover action (same song) by Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, and Slim Whitman. It's a beautiful song.

As I was walking Bruiser this morning, with an overcast sky threatening rain, I kept thinking about this--the process or whatever it is--act of God? blessing? mercy? dumb luck--of falling into something and not being hoisted out of it by nerves or distraction or duty or whatever. Just going with it. The "it" could be anything: cooking, reading, writing, walking . . .

It's not too long before we go up to Idaho for an extended visit. I tend to think of this place as conducive to flow. I think it's because there's a river. River river river I can't wait to see you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughts on order.

Since my grades got finished (by the grace of God, a pinch of pixie dust, a sturdy set of rubrics, a malleable set of metrics, and a fair amount of cursing), I have accomplished the following:
  • picked up books on hold at the public library
  • paid slightly sad amount of library overdue fines so I could check out the above
  • found loads of books I purchased from Amazon etc. during bouts of stress-induced online buying
  • straightened up my study.
I don't really wish to discuss my method for straightening, since it's more like "moving things off my desk into other locations, such as boxes," but the surface of the desk is tidier, more expansive, slightly more without stuff, more conducive to creative work, which is what I'm after. (Also, my soul feels a little freer, even if I know I'm kind of lying to myself about the true extent of the tidiness--this is my particular bargain with chaos, and I guess I'm sticking to it.)

ANYHOW. I was reading an article in the Innovations edition of The New Yorker, an article about this engineer, Saul Griffith, and his work with renewable energy. Here's the writer's description of Griffith's lab:
Griffith seems to operate on the principle that excessive orderliness is inefficient, and that neatly putting things away is more time-consuming, in the long run, than searching through piles.
If only I had won a $30,000 prize for my innovative invention at M.I.T. when I was a student there (I went where I went, okay?), and then won a MacArthur Genius grant--I could totally be this guy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One sentence.

"The grading is finished," she announced,
"except for this one guy who, well,

where on earth is his community writing project,
and this other guy
who did not revise one thing in his final portfolio,
so I have to stew some more
about that,
but aside from those guys,
I say it's now officially summer,"

and with that
she wrapped the quilt more
closely around her because apparently
May is, like, late winter in
dark times.

tags: sententia

Monday, May 10, 2010

School or not school? you be the judge.

1. I have ten school-related meetings this week.
2. TEN.
3. Still grading.
4. I'm engaging in long obsessive worryings about this-and-that. School-related, natch.
5. I bought two heliotropes, a fantastic pelargonium, and three marguerite daisies (pink) today.
6. We moved the outside pots outside, where they belong. In the rain.
7. I'm still writing notes to students about things they may have forgotten.
8. I'm receiving application materials from students for the Folio editorships.
9. I am about to read great swaths of my French detective novel.
10. I wore a white dress with a grey polka-dotted sweater.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Spring pest alerts.

1. There are voles in our vicinity. Many of you are probably well aware of the Ways of the Vole, but here are some facts I did not know until recently, when the historian (a) announced that we had voles, and (b) did some research ("Google") on the vole:
  • the vole is very mouselike. In fact, it's hard for the uninitiated (aka Those Ignorant of the Classes of Rodents) to tell the diff.
  • Utah is rife with voles. RIFE.
  • They tunnel.
  • They eat plant matter, to wit: grass, your darling perennials, tulip bulbs.
  • They also will nibble upon the occasional snake (!) and various insects, and also snails.Then it's right back to your Tulip Bulb Buffet.
  • What to do with the vole? Your humane traps are useless. There are 900 million voles in your backyard and they are reproducing like, well, voles, with their natural predators being the hawk and the coyote, neither of which we happen to have in residence for Predation Duty.
  • Poison is right out. It will not be done in this backyard, neither in the here nor the hereafter, that is how strongly I feel about this.
In sum: Voles! F***ing voles!

2. There was one brief snake sighting today, in the grass (i.e., on the lawnlike roof of Voleville). It slithered away on its own recognizance. Perhaps it overheard us talking about the voles.

3. While I was out and about purchasing a lovely little gift for my mother today, I ran into the snail bait section of my local garden shop. Let me just say, the snail bait people are not subtle. There was one variety of snail bait called, and I did not make this up, "Snail Death." Poor snails. Do they have a choice about having that thin candy shell not fully enclosing their gastropodic bodies? or about the slime? or about the fact that they are disgusting. They do not. Yet the snails I cannot abide.

Perhaps the voles will be on the snail beat, and I will not have to pick them gingerly off my geraniums and lemon verbena (I'm sounding like a crotchety old lady, I'm fully aware of this) and toss them with great accuracy onto the parking strip, where they are (a) far away from my crotchety old lady plants, and (b) not in the street, where Snail Death of the non-bait variety surely lies.

tags: pest, rodent, reptile, gastropods, facts

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Open letter to the Academic Year 2009-2010.

Dear Academic Year 2009-2010,

Although I have not yet submitted a single grade, you are almost over. If not all the way over, then virtually over. "Over." As in, I am over you. Mostly. Except for that one student I'm talking to on Saturday morning. And the few extensions I granted, but really: OVER, just about.

I have totaled up the participation portion of your grade. I have read your portfolio, Academic Year 2009-2010, and I have assessed its rhetoricity. I have contemplated, though only by means of the sidelong glance, your collateral damage, and guess what? I am denying you your incomplete.

I have a gown but no cap and certainly no regalia, Academic Year 2009-2010. I am not down with regalia. I am, to be honest, not down with the gown, either, but I'm called upon to wear it. That's one of my problems with you, Academic Year 2009-10: you have been just about twenty-five percent too much of that kind of dress-up and show-up nonsense.

Academic Year 2009-2010, I feel I have satisfied your demands (except for the grades). I have the data and the documents. So this is me, blowing you a kiss goodbye. I am brushing the dust of you off my sandals, so to speak.

Academic Year 2009-2010, it's been swell. So long.



My agenda.

1. Grade.
2. Lunch with birthday boy grandson.
3. Consult with 3 students.
4. Grade.
5. Scavenge dinner.
6. Grade.
7. The Office.
8. 30 Rock.
9. Walk the dog.
10. Grade.

TAGS: tedious

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Quite a bit better, thanks for asking.

Readers of this blog will be glad to know that a certain Curtain of Melancholy has lifted around here.

What? You've never heard of "The Curtain of Melancholy"? Well, it goes a little something like this:
  • too many projects come to their
  • various critical points all at the same moment,
  • I think I'm going to collapse or have a stroke or something,
  • the critical points happen and everything goes fine, brief moment of elation followed by
  • a crash/deep hole of despair. Out of which I
  • clamber back into Life. Possibly.
Need a PowerPoint for that? Got it:

Anyway. Friday, I took the Folio editors to lunch. We had a wonderful time and I was reminded that their connections with each other are one of the ancillary--maybe even one of the main--excellent outcomes of this project. Then we saw Date Night, which was pretty darned entertaining (aka, just what the Date Night Doctor ordered--see how meta that is?). Then, a Saturday in which I took my grandson with me to the grocery store and made him lunch while his folks were moving house; cleaned out my closets and began transitioning to the warm weather clothes (if this sounds to you like too large of an event for clothes, you may be right--but that's how it works around here. Maybe. If it actually does help me to manage my sartorial apparatus); went to a work event honoring a colleague, which was fun and inspiring.

Curtain: lifted. Grading: commences tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.


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