Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taking a Walk on the Wild Side

Oh, what the interweb gives us for procrastination! Below, me getting down with my wild self. Courtesy of Lina.

Perhaps the tongue AND the ears were a bit much?


New Rules for Retro Fashion

I knew that it was imperative to sit in jeans before you buy them. I did not know that it was just as important to walk in a pencil skirt before purchasing. Holy crow! I minced my way into work today, and then faced the very very steep stairs leading up to my office. I thought seriously about just taking the skirt off and going up.

(inside head voice) What are the chances that someone would see me? Hell, I'm wearing tights. If someone did walk in, I could just claim that I'm pulling a Sienna Miller. Surely being caught without bottoms is better than breaking my nose trying to get up these stairs?

Needless to say, I ignored that particular temptation, but I think I did hear a seam or two giving as I tried to swivel my knees 45 degrees, like a deranged pigeon, to get to my office.

I suppose the term "hobble skirt" is no joke, right?

In other news, black tights are the girdle of the twenty-first century. I will not go gently into that Spanx night, but I'm not above pulling on ye old Hues to make it work. (Ooh, a Tim Gunn-ism. Who's up for Project Runway in 2 short weeks? Squee. Oh yes, squee indeed.)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes

Ah, jazz standards. Nothing beats them for blog titles!

Yesterday, for the first time since August, I had a Friday with no scheduled work. [Actually, I technically had an administrative meeting to attend. But I seldom go to these, because the ghastly presentations there are seldom relevant to my little tiny ACUN. I thought about going. For about 35 seconds. And then I promptly forgot about it.] I almost can't believe that I wrote that sentence above---the first Friday since AUGUST?! What the crap is that? You'd think I had a real job or something!

But no, faithful readers, it's true; between working on a collaborative conference presentation and meeting schedules, this was my first of the academic year. You'd think that I would have done something spectacular; something utterly fabulous; at least something noteworthy. Instead, I lolled around in bed and read my latest issue of Real Simple, then I culled through my crock pot cookbook looking for recipes, then I went to the grocery store. I came home, made myself lunch, watched a bit of Oprah, perused the online sales at Banana Republic and J. Crew. For dinner, I treated Senor Fluff to broiled wild sockeye salmon, spicy collard greens and Yukon gold potatoes. He contributed the glasses of Sterling Cabernet and a bevy of bizarre rentals from Blockbuster (Music and Lyrics, The Host, and Marvel's animated Dr. Strange. That, folks, is the man I call my own).

It might not look like much on film, but it was truly, truly a treat. More than what I did was the beautiful silence in my head. Do I have a billion things to do? Yup, sure do. But they didn't have to be done yesterday. Sure, I could have done a load of laundry. I could have gone to the gym. I could have repainted my grody toenails. But here's my new thought. I live in the land of "shoulds." I should do more around the house, should exercise more, should keep on top of my grooming, I should grade more papers, I should write to my MIA students, I should be a better person, I should, I should, I should. And living in the land of should really kills the mood, you know?

I wish I could say that I came to this realization myself. In actuality, it's one that I pulled right off of my favorite horoscope website. In Brezsny's own words (or at least the ones I wrote down):
The should part of your brain has a pinched scowl; the should part of your brain has appropriated the part of your brain that rightfully belongs to pleasure motivation.
Word up to that, my brutha! Let's face it: there's no escaping many of the shoulds. So I'm going to bring the pleasure motivation back, or die trying. [There's a weird Timberlake/50 Cent joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave it to all of you to dig out.]

Hooray for Fridays, and the cessation of the shoulds.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


My parents are visiting.
I'm only half-way through a pile of papers that I have to return to students at 1 today.
I'm being observed in my afternoon class.
The barometer has dropped, leaving me with the requisite headache.
It's raining.
I have no groceries in the fridge.
I'm conferencing with students later in the week. Do I schedule half for Friday, to get them out of the way, or do I bump them to Monday, so I have a day to recover?
The polish on my toenails is chipped and quite scrofulous.

This list could go on and on, but you get the point. Welcome to the suck.

Back in a day or two, with characteristic, renewed vim and vigor.


E.T.A: Now the mother-biting email server is down. WTF!!! And I can't even decide whether this is good, because it gives me a much needed excuse, or whether it's bad, because it means that I can't finish student papers until I can get access to them. Six of one?


Monday, October 15, 2007

Pop Culture Hair

So, following Ashley's sage advice, I did indeed cancel my class on Thursday (but just one) so that I could use the time to get ready for the conference. And I needed every second of that time, let me tell you! But, finally, loaded up with outlines, handouts, 4 different cords and the technology most appropriate to them, I left campus, and headed for the hair salon: the last stop on my whirlwind prepare-to-go-stand-in-front-of-people checklist.

I've written about my hairdresser before, I know (I've come to call him "the fetus" as I think he's about 15. A charming, brilliant, pomade-wielding 15, but nevertheless, 15). I think I've been boring him stiff the last few times I've been in. Let's face it: I wait as long as I can between visits (say 3-4 months), so by the time I'm washed and in the chair, I look far too much like Morticia Addams. And I'm not exactly the bravest when it comes to hair. Just some layers, and keep most of the length. Last time I went in (in June), there was a vague threat in his voice as I left, "next time, we're going to do something exciting." This might explain why I waited so long.

So there I am, on the breaking line between Morticia and Cousin It, and I can tell there's just no stopping this kid. So I mentioned to him that I've been watching a LOT of BBC America, in which all of the cool girls have bangs. "I know I can't do the straight across bangs, but maybe to the side? I just want to look like a cool British girl!"

And then, it happened. He said the magic word. "Torchwood?" he asked. "YES!" said I. "Exactly!" "This is going to be good." and he picked up the scissors.

So, now I'm feeling all very Gwen Cooper. Or, like this, only with longer bangs:
I'm not a part of an elite secret agency that saves the world from alien technologies, but I do have cute hair. I had brief doubts about the fetus; I hate a hair bully. But if it means that he can reproduce BBC hair with only a word to go on, he gets my vote.

Oh, and the conference was fine too.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hole in the Space/Time Continuum

This was the semester that I had it all figured out. I used to teach on Mondays and Wednesdays, because many many meetings happen on those days, and so I used to try to get a few days (say, Tuesday) at home to prepare for classes. Of course, in practice, the way that worked out was a day that looked like this: meeting/meeting/class/meeting/class/come home and fall down dead.

So this was the semester that I was going to do it; I'm going to commit! I switched to a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, with the understanding that I'd be on campus a minimum of four days a week. Those days, however, would be less rushed and crazy because I would segregate the teaching from the meetings. Best of all, I would be able to prep on Monday and Wednesday for the Tuesday/Thursday classes. I'm willing to be on campus more if it means I have more prep time and am not crazed!

Ha. It is to laugh. Because today, Wednesday, I had four meetings. Last Wednesday, I had five meetings. The Wednesday before that, it was another four. It may be the case that service/administrative work functions on the goldfish model---it expands to fill the time to which it is allotted. So now, I've created the 278 pound goldfish. Look out, Manhattan; it's coming for you!

At 9 p.m. on the eve before I teach, I find myself faced with an interesting set of options for tomorrow:
  1. I could finish my class prep and go to my morning meetings (oh yes, there are more). But I'd have to blow off finishing the article I swore I'd send off tomorrow morning AND the paper I'm due to give on Saturday at a conference.
  2. I could attend my meetings and finish my projects, but cancel my classes.
  3. I could finish my two projects and cancel my classes and meetings.
I know that people are feeling the teaching/research/service crunch all over. Really, I know. But since I can't clone myself or rip a hole in the space/time continuum to make myself some extra hours, I'm in a quandary as to which of my three fundamental professorial responsibilities I'm supposed to let go for tomorrow.

That goat farm in New Mexico is looking better and better...

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Goldilocks Syndrome

Like many of my neighbors, I've been cursing a blue streak about the bizarre heat wave in the Northeast. WTF, my friends? If only someone would perform a longitudinal study of weather patterns to determine if global warming were really happening, or if it's only some paranoid plot by the left to make us recycle and shit.

Oh wait...

Right. So yesterday, here in the Great Green North, the projected high temperature was 90 degrees. Yes, in October. This is a pisser for a number of reasons: first, it's damn hard for me to work when it looks like summer outside. Second, it's hot and I'm sweaty, and I had just about enough of that crap during May, June, July and August. Third, I'm sick of all of my summer clothes. Fourth, I live for sweaters, and my favorite sherpa-lined hoody is languishing in the closet, picking up dust, feeling bad about itself. I'm coming, my love! It's only a matter of time! Fifth, let's not forget about hair, and the frizziness that accompanies hot weather. The Asian fro? Not a good look.

This list could go on, but mostly it boils (and I do mean boils) down to the statement "This kind of heat in October is against nature. And it makes me cranky. Hulk smash."

So yesterday, I'm in the shower, and I opened the window in the bathroom. I love a hot shower, but I don't love a steamy bathroom when it's 90 out. The outside air was cooling the water, it seemed; I kept turning it hotter and it wasn't searing my skin off.

Click, click, click (the sound of the rusty gears in my brain shifting.)

A quick check of the basement, home of the major household machinery, reveals a leaking behemoth of an ancient hot water heater.

It's a holiday weekend (Thanks, Columbus, for killing Indians! We celebrate you and all your works!), we have no hot water til the guy comes on Monday.

The final kicker? The high temp. tomorrow is 68.

Yours in cold showers. Happy weekend to all.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Report that Prompts a Confession

I am now three emails deep into a "reply all" debacle that I'm wondering if I should have ever engaged in to begin with. Who was it, recently, who said that the "reply all" function was evil and should be destroyed? New Kid? Maggie May? All I can say is: Word up, my sisters.

Post dinner, I spent 45 minutes obsessively close-reading multiple threads of this mother-biting "conversation" and crafting what I hoped was a non-threatening, clarifying response that would be neutral but not blithe, rational but not dogmatic. You know, a floor wax and a dessert topping.

And when I finished, and read it to poor, long-suffering Senor Fluff, and changed a preposition, and checked my grammar, and debated, again, to whom I should address it, I hit "send" and thought: "there's not enough fanfiction dedicated to a certain pop culture television show about blood suckers in the world to distract me from obsessing about this crap."

Welcome to my confession. Avert your eyes, if it's too ugly. Sure, I spent years in graduate school studying elite, high Modernist literature and avant garde movements. I love a lapidary, page long sentence as much as the next girl. But when I really need to get out of my head (which is a lot, for the record), I've been surfing the interwebs for what 18 year olds think of as the epitome of romance between humans and the undead. And the supply is endless, and endlessly diverting. And sometimes, when it's really good, I bookmark it.

Judge me. Go on. I need it.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

One Hand Tied Behind My Back

Why, why, I ask you, can the stupid gits in my neighborhood not encrypt their wireless? My poor little MacBook is so confused; it's picking up 4 different signals at any given time. It's not that I don't totally groove on watching the little wheel spin while a page loads. Really, it renews my deep connection to the cycles of the earth. It gives me a sense of peace that far exceeds the one I would receive from being able to complete my damn work online. It's only 9:30. I really do have all night, by gum! What would be truly super would be if it were the same neighbor with the child who cries around the clock--the one we often refer to as "McScreamy." If he could manage to interrupt my train of thought AND my wireless connection, he'd be the neighborhood all-star. Hell, if someone could manage to pull a Nancy Kerrigan and bust out one of my knee-caps, we'd have a trifecta of gargantuan proportions.

The real rub, in all of this, is that I've gotten really used to watching YouTube clips in between student blog posts. When the videos won't load, it's just back to back student blog posts. There is no joy in mudville, my friends. None at all. I lay this all at the feet of my neighbors, damn it. And in the meantime, get the sick girl more cold medicine!

Thus endeth the rant. Back soon with far less crankiness.

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