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    New Site!

    Ok. I have set up a new site over on blogspot, so please change you bookmarks (or amazing memories, whichever you use) to my new site


    I have decided not to bother bringing over all my old entries and such, so my new place is pretty bare right now. And I will get a better design over there soon, but right now I'm a bit too busy!

    This site will remain up at least another 3 weeks, after that I'm not sure if it'll still be here, just without the photos and such, or if it'll be sent to the great nethersphere...

    6:50 p.m. - 2006-06-20
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    Smelliness

    This is short and icky, but I just have to share.

    I went to the ladies' room here on the 6th floor yesterday, on my way out of the office. I have had a horrid head cold all weekend, so I was not smelling much, but there was this strange little odor that struck me immediately.

    Luckily (perhaps thanks to the plugged nose) it wasn't strong enough to drive me out, but it was icky enough that I opened the window with a scruched up nose, and much rapid blinking. I opened the single stall door (with some trepidation) to find no visible culprit, thank god, so it was probably coming from another floor.

    But the thing is, it just wasn't the kind of smell one normally associates with restrooms, even ones lacking from proper janitorial attention. It was an entirely new smell, one that I couldn't help but try to place. To no avail, which is probably for the best...

    The best I can describe it is: Pickles, with a slight undercurrent of poo.

    6:03 p.m. - 2006-06-20
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    end of the year

    I really really really hate saying goodbye. I don't think anyone really likes it, but today has just rubbed it in and in and in...

    Chile is leaving tonight for pdx, which sucks. I don't know what this university will be like without her around. Not that pdx is too far to visit or anything, but we have had a bajillion classes together, and shared an office, and just hung around a lot, and it's going to suck not seeing her all the time. So when we parted ways in front of Hendricks today, that was it. No more Chile for me.

    And then at a department event this afternoon I realized that it was perhaps the last time I would get to sit and chat with W, who is wonderful amd I will miss. But she is moving to be with her fiance, and finish her doctorate in absentia, so bye-bye us.

    And then, and this is what's really making the old eyes water this evening, today I had to say goodbye to S and Sunshine, who are returning to Japan now that her husband's thesis is complete. So this is super final, and I am soooo sad. S is such a sweety, and a good friend and a great mom. We met through a conversation exchange program, and just had lots in common. And little Sunshine is about the cutest kid ever. Seriously. And these last few months, she hasn't been shy of me and has been talking up a storm and playing with me, and for christ's sake I'm crying now.

    We are going to try and visit them when we go to Japan next year, so I don't think it'll be forever. But I'm just really going to miss them. I hate the end of the year.


    9:34 p.m. - 2006-06-15
    1 comments

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    moving sites

    Sorry there has been no posts this week.. I am a) uber-crazy working on my thesis and b) planning to move this blog, as I am having some probs with the host and manager.

    More soon!

    3:24 p.m. - 2006-06-13
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    A Couple Short Rants

    Ok, a couple things have been bugging me the past few days.

    First is really a couple nitpicks. Mr. Duck and I went to see X-Men 3 this week, and it was a lot better than everyone made it out to be, but there were a couple things towards the end that really bugged me.

    **spoiler alert!**

    For one, when Magneto moved the Golden Gate Bridge, it was fairly cool. Nice effects. Problem being, of course that it's a freaking SUSPENSION bridge. When Magneto stopped using his power on it, as anyone who's seen the movie knows he had to, it would have collapsed in the middle. Straight down to the bottom of the bay. Immediately. No time for armies to run back across, especially.

    Seriously, that's how it works. Without the tension coming from the pylons on either end that are anchored in the ground on either side of the bay, there is nothing to keep it suspended. Cool effects and all, I grant the filmmakers that, but if they are going to make such a big fx deal out of that particular bridge, it would have been nice if they actually paid attention to the whole 'physics' aspect of it. Yeah, I know I'm a total nerd, but this is a comic book movie, so I'm allowed to be.

    Sencond point on the movie, was Wolverine's pants. When Phoenix was trying to obliterate him, they made a big point about his clothes shredding off, and then even his skin and muscles, but the pants remained untouched. I understand they probably wanted to keep it PG13, but, again, a little more thought would have been preferable. They could have just stuck with above-the-waist angles, or something more creative, I don't know. What I do know is it annoyed me enough to take me out of the movie at that critical time.

    And I guessed what was going on at the teaser after the credits in about 1 1/2 microseconds. So to all the folks in the theater who gasped when the doctor said his name, I say HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF FREAKING FORESHADOWING BEFORE?????

    Second rant is about how the media is portraying Beyonce Knowles right now. Beyonce is hands down one of the most beautiful women in the country, she is amazing and talented and has always had a trim, healthy figure. But these past few weeks, every time I get in line at the store, I see headlines about her "amazing new figure" because she lost 20lbs for a role.

    Excuse me? She didn't need to lose any weight, what she did was for a role, just like when Toni Collette gained 30lbs for Murial's Wedding. There is no congrats to be given, beyond an admiration for her devotion to her job.

    So what do all these editors think they are telling millions of young women, when a move from 'healthy and vivacious' to 'skinny' is to be publicly lauded on the front page of their magazines? They should be seriously ashamed of themselves. Beyonce was never overweight, never unhealthy, never anything but fabulous, as their own magazines have touted over and over again. But by referring to her new look as an improvement, they are declaring that healthy isn't beautiful enough, young women have to be skinny to be truly fabulous.

    Just to point out the obvious, but when Christian Bale went from healthy and gorgeous to skinny for The Machinist, talk was about his commitment to the role. And how unhealthy he looked, at that greatly reduced weight. When Tom Hanks did it for Philidelphia, I don't recall a single story talking about how great it was that he had finally reached 'skinny,' or implications that his normal weight had been less desirable than protruding ribs and sunken cheeks.

    And while I would expect this kind of b.s. from a magazine like Star, I think what really got me upset was when I saw it on People. I'm not a huge fan of People, but I page through it on the eliptical at the gym. It's just lightweight fluff, but I had always considered it to be the friendly, responsible celeb magazine.

    So the cover blurb last week about "Beyonce's Amazing New Figure" really made me stop and say no. It really upsets me that when it comes down to it, a woman as beautiful and talented as Beyonce is still reduced to a waist size. I hope she gains it back with a smile.

    8:01 p.m. - 2006-06-03
    2 comments

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    Birthday Weekend

    For the extreme lack of productiveness I displayed this weekend, I am suprisingly not stressed. Too much.

    A recap:

    Saturday was my birthday, and the in-laws, because they are brilliant, bought me tickets to see Beck in Bend. Freaking awesome!

    So we went over to the East Side (yo!) and it was sooooooooooooo cold. And rainy. And cold. And while we were driving over the pass through Willamette National Forest, I couldn't help but think, everytime I saw campers out in the rain, that this is one weekend that I would just lose my deposit and stay the heck home. Because I love the forest and the nature and all that, but pnemonia just isn't worth it.

    So we got there pretty early, and killed what time we could in the shops before getting in line, and then sat in line for a couple hours before the show. We were way up front in line, like total geeks. The show had to be over by 10pm due to city ordinance, and was scheduled to start at 6. Now, in my experience, no concert ever starts until at least an hour after it is scheduled, and when 5pm rolled by and the gates still weren't open, we figured par for the course. They didn't even open the gates until 5:45, and so we went in, and got a good spot, and at 5:55, the first opener started! Color me super-suprised!

    First up was M.Ward, who were very funky and fun. And then The Decemberists, who we had heard a lot about, but never seen. And we liked them quite a bit, very fun on stage. The best I can describe their sound is REM with an over-used library card and a sense of humor. Of course, everything is louder and more 'rock' when played live, so the experience doesn't translate exactly to the cd sound.

    Last was Beck, who I always love. I saw him in Sapporo for my birthday too, 6 years ago! The crazy dancer guy was back, doing his neverending crazy dancing. And this is one of my fave albums Beck has put out (Guero), so I knew all the songs, etc.

    About halfway through his set, right about the time I realized my toes had gone numb, some dildo ran up on the stage, grabbed the lead mike stand, and yelled "He's a Scientologist!!!" To which the audience gave up a general "wtf?" and a quiet "who the hell cares?"

    Which leads me to an aside, which is 'why all the big fuss about Scientology?' Really, so what? Who cares? What's the big freaking deal? People go on about their 'strange' beliefs and such, but you know what? In Christianity, the only two women in Jesus's life were the woman who gave birht to him, without ever actually getting pregnant and a prositute. That's just a wierd as anything L. Ron Hubbard came up with. And Sidhartha Gautama became Buddha after abandoning his wife and children, and sitting under a tree for years. So yeah, wierdness all around. There isn't a religion on the planet that isn't based on some funky-at-first-glance stuff. So ok, Scientology has it's share of strangeness, but why, in God/Jesus/Buddha/Mohammed/Aphrodite/Insert Your God Here's name, are we supposed to be so offput by this one group? And who on the planet is both sane enough to buy concert tickets and drive to the venue, but insane enough to think that a bunch of concertgoers in freaking Bend give a rip? We were there to hear some tunes, buddy, not discuss the religion of a man none of us have actually met or spoken to. Dildo.

    Anyway, the concert was good all around, and he played Loser for the encore, always a crowd pleaser. And instead of having cameras on him to project him onto the big screen in back, they had a live puppet show on stage, with men all duded up in 文楽 black playing the musicians as they went, and projected that up instead. It was mucho cool.

    Then Sunday, we went to our first trackmeet down here, the Prefontaine Classic (I know, what kind of person lives in Eugene 2 years and never sees a track meet, right? It's just that spring term is sooooo busy with other stuff, I've never gotten a good chance before). The in-laws came down for it, and a good time was had. At the end, I was standing and chatting with the family, when this little blond kid comes running up, and POUNDED on my leg. OW! I was about to say something about 'who's freaking kid is abusing me over here,' but when I looked down, I saw it was Blondy. She was just standing a row and half down from me, and so looked short out of the corner of my eye. Which reminds me, I have sworn over on her blog to call her 'Billy Goat' from now on, so consider her nickname changed.

    Anyway, we had dinner and introduced the in-laws to Sweetlife, and then went home and put in a movie we hadn't watched in years, and I just didn't do ANYTHING for my thesis until yesterday.

    But boy, was it worth it. And now I, as usual, should get to work.

    Oops! I almost forgot to give props for my presents! Teacee got me this beatutiful little purse, so now I finally have a formal clutch for fine occaisions (it's this soft cream, so will match pretty much everything). Love it. And S gave me a mini-rose for my desk, and a very cool Yukioe t-shirt, and yummy treats to share with Mr. Duck. And Mr. Duck gave me a Nekobus phone charm!!!! And a Totoro!!!!! He ordered them from Japan, just for me. So damn cute, I couldn't decide which to use, but luckily the Totoro won't fit my phone, so I put it on my bag, thus solving my quandry. Plus, he got UV and polarized filters for the camera, which I have wanted for EVER. And let us not forget the nano he gave me a while back - which has been named Mercutio, and is much loved. And my grandparents sent me a beautiful decorative paddle, similar to one Sis. A got me several years ago, so now I have a set! All around, quite the haul. May everyone else's b-day this year be as good!

    1:25 p.m. - 2006-05-30
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    Simple Pleasures

    I found this meme over at darkest faerie doll, and I think it's great. It reminds me a lot of Sei Shonagon's lists, from The Pillow Book, if anyone has read it (it's one of my faves, just the diary of a court woman from medieval Japan, full of poetry and anecdotes about court life, and lists of things she liked, or didn't like, or thought were "squalid"...)

    So the meme is:

    Instructions: Name some of lifeís simple pleasures that you like the most, then pick others to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not to use things that someone else has already used.

    Lifeís simplest pleasures in my terms Ö

    1. Sitting in the rain. The sound, and the feel of it hitting you, and watching it fall on the world.

    2. A cat, curled up on your lap.

    3. Cooking.

    4. Wrapping presents.

    5. Driving fast on a windy road, with good tunes.

    6. Chatting over coffee.

    7. Old jeans and warm sweaters.

    8. A clean house.

    9. Crossword puzzles.

    10. Nooners.


    I stole this, and I don't like to tag, so anyone who likes it, please feel free! If you want, drop a comment and I'll link to you.

    12:29 p.m. - 2006-05-26
    1 comments

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    Hey, Nordy!

    So, Nordy, now that you have this address, I'm gonna flip you a little sheisa.

    You know that game you play with your brothers online, World of Warcraft, right? Well, guess who else plays it?

    Go ahead, guess!

    I'll give you a hint... think back to methods one... Big guy, rarely washed... "Man!!! I KNEW that!!!! Stupid!!!"

    Yeah, that's right. You play the same shit as Him! I've seen him at it all through class 2 weeks running in my GTF.

    Boy, if I found out I like the same stuff he does, I'd really have to rethink my whole entertainment philosophy. And that of my brothers, to boot.

    heh heh heh

    5:59 p.m. - 2006-05-25
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    Lost season finale,

    Ok, so this is going to bore the pants off of any readers who aren't Lost fans, but my Lost buddy (hmmmm, I think I'll name her something hugely original and creative, like Elbie) didn't watch!!!! Whyyyyyyyy? This here is official warning that there will be spoilers, so read at your own peril!

    So tai chi ended late, par for the course. Love it, but it's late every, freaking, day. Anyway, we hurried up the steps and turned it on right as the 'previously, on Lost' part ended, and the show started. And the next few hours were composed of frantically cooking tacos, doing laundry and dishes, etc during the commercial breaks. But man, what an episode. Loved it.

    First things first, I am so glad they finally tied up some stories, and gave us some answers! 'Bout freaking time, two years later! While I am greatly anticipating the fall episodes, I am not left with the sense of frustration that has become so common with cliffhangers these past few years. This was a very well done episode.

    I had been formulating the theory for a while, officially declared at the site of the sailboat last week (as Mr. Duck can attest) that the island attracts things, either gravitationally or electromagnetically (a la the electro-wall in the hatch). Not really deep or anything, I know, but very gratifying to have at least ONE theory verified on this darn series. This I think was a giveaway, for those of us who love mysteries but aren't going to spend any time outside of the actual show thinking about 'what-it-all-means.' It was a little too easy, you know? The pirate ship, Caruso's ship, the balloon, the crack-runner plane, the ship Desmond was on, the plane the castaways were on, however the majority of the Others got there - too many vehicles getting sucked to the island unintentionally to be just a plot device.

    Crum, gotta go to class - more in a couple hours.

    OK, I'm back.

    Soooooo, Yay! Desmond is back! Or at least he was, I'm not clear on whether they died or what... But my feeling is that either a)they are OK and Michael/Walt will sail into the sunset, or b)Michael will turn the boat around to help his friends, and some/all of the folk in the hatch are dead. But that is only based on their penchant for killing off characters, combined with the feeling that they won't kill off that many at one time.

    And I adore Charlie, and was really worried they were going to get rid of him, so I'm SUPER excited that he's back with some dialogue and all!

    4 toes.... hmmmmm...

    I liked the "we're the good guys" line the Other gave Jack. The references to them taking the good ones and all are the most intruguing aspect of the Others to me. And I can't figure why, other than them being the main characters, they chose Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Other castaways have killed folk, and regret it, and are very strong, and have seen apparitions in the woods, and have fought the Others, so why just these 3? I cannot come up with a commonality that only these 3 have, and no others on the island. And I REALLY hope that there is a commonality, if they were just chosen by the writers because they are the biggest characters, I'm gonna be pissed.

    But most intriguing to me, still, is HOW THE HELL DO THE OTHERS KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THEM?????????????

    3:24 p.m. - 2006-05-25
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    Date Night

    Last night Mr. Duck and I went on a double date with two of my fave people ever, Chile and Chef, and it was one of the nicest nights in ages. It was nice weather, and Chef had come down from pdx to stay whith Chile (he's the fiance) for the weekend.

    We all went to see The Da Vinci Code, which we had been looking forward to. Personally, the less than glowing reviews didn't deter me at all - I was expecting a fairly light, fun piece and that's what I got. Plus, it had Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, and Ian McKellen and Alfred Molina! Who could resist? Seriously - there's no way a critic can poo-poo me out of seeing that cast.

    So it was fun, and the theatre sold out at our matinee, which is pretty impressive.

    I have gone to movies with Chile before at this particular theatre, and she gets lost. Every freaking time. Honestly. Last time, she went to the wrong theater (there is a second run complex next door), which was amusing but understandable given the close proximity of the two (even though I had specifically told her about the other one, and that she had to go around back of the mall to get to the correct one).

    But this time, I figured she wouldn't have any problem... Until we got there, and they didn't come, and I was stuck holding the only section of 4 empty seats together left outside the first 3 rows (which seats suck especially in stadium style theatres). Mr. Duck finally came in, sans pop, because in his 10 minutes in line, only 2 people got served because the people up front had 15000 kids with them, each of whom apparently needed their own stuff... So then there were two of us, and we were being eyed by folks coming in, hoping we would get the hint and scoot over so there were 2 empty seats together in our prime local (you snooze you loose, suckers!).

    But then the theatre really started filling, and I HATE holding seats when so many people want them! I was getting super uncomforatble, and Chile hadn't answered my call, and then about 10 minutes before showtime, Chef finally rang, to let me know they were lost in front of the other theatre, again!!!! So I explain that they have to go, around, in back, of the mall. And meanwhile, the other moviegoers keep on eyeing the seats.

    Did I explain how uncomfortable and presumptuous I felt? In a sold out theatre? So I leaned over and told Mr. Duck "once the lights go down, I'm not holding the seats - it's just rude at that point." And he agreed, and we sit there, staring at one entrance, and then the other, and then the first, and then the other, for 15 more minutes, until they finally showed up. And literally, as they were scooching down the isle, the lights dimmed. Oooooh - under the wire!

    So the movie was good, and while Mr. Duck felt it dragged on quite a bit, it didn't feel long to me at all. Mr. Duck also thought that there was insufficient action in the flick as compared with the book, but I thought just the opposite, and since I really get into the whole history/sort out the clues/mystery thing, I liked it just fine. I will say that the flaggelation scenes with Silas made me turn away. cringe

    So after, we went to Sushi Station (the only 回転寿司 spot in town) and ate waaaay too much. If anyone goes, I have to reccomend the Vegas roll - it rocks.

    And then, we hit Sweet Life. Damn, that place gets better every freaking time. First time, I had the creme brule (irish cream that time, but it changes - I've seen pistachio and ginger too), and it was in-cre-di-ble. But I have made it my goal to try everything, so since then I've had cannoli (amazing) and bought a lemon-curd cheesecake for Mr. Duck's bday (astoundinly good) and had bites of many other things on my friend's plates, and I have never been anything but impressed. This place, you walk in and have to spend a good 5 minutes just looking at all the yumminess before you decide.

    Anyway, I've had my eye on their little tartlets, and went for it this time with a chocolate-almond-coconut tartlet... Oh, man. So much goodness, such a little package. In order not to feel toooooo guilty, I only at half, and am gonna dig into the rest this afternoon.

    Point of everything being it is soooo much fun to be out with cool folks, and not talk about school even once, and just live like a norman person for a few hours. nostalgic sigh

    Now, I better work before I curl up and die of guilt/stress/overload.


    12:02 p.m. - 2006-05-21
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    Crum

    I had a long, nice entry almost done last night, when Firefox decided it simply had to close. Crum. And I really don't feel like redoing the whole thing - suffice it to say that I had talked about our soccer game Friday, and the benefit walk we did Sunday morning, and the shower I threw for K (who has officially been nicknamed Chile for this blog - pronounced "chee-lay" because she insists on saying it all correct and Spanishy, even though she is just a dumb American like the rest of us) including descriptions of yummy food and good times had...

    So instead, I present you with super-cute sunny furriness, in the form of Aki:


    Have a good Monday!

    4:10 p.m. - 2006-05-15
    1 comments

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    Call It Like It Is

    Ok, if you're going to have enough meat on hand to sell it wholesale, how many whales do you have to kill? A buttload, right?

    And how much can we possible learn, scientifically, at this point from dissecting that many newly deceased whales? We already know what their anatomy looks like, right? So wouldn't we glean more scientific knowledge by studying them alive in their natural habitat?

    I'm just saying, if you're gonna farm whales for the meat, you should just come out and say so - this "science" line is some of the most blatent bullshit I've heard in years.

    On a completely unrelated note, M:I:III is the best of the series so far. Fun, fast, Tom got his ass kicked by Philip Seymour Hoffman (and I giggled a bit, not because I particularly dislike Cruise, the scene just kinda elicited it - I'm an awful person, I know), decent twists that I won't spoil here.

    But I will complain about one thing - the noise level! Damn! My ears were ringing worse than they did after U2 came to town last! During the bridge scene (in the trailers where cruise gets thrown into a car by an explosion), I actually had to plug my ears! Part of the problem is that some of the pitches were pretty high, and since I have good hearing, turning those up to 100 freaking decibles hurts!

    Ah well, thus is the price we pay for mindless entertainment!

    1:57 p.m. - 2006-05-09
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    Immigration Debate

    OK, I saw something along these lines the first time several years ago, but it's making it's way around again, over at Jade's and other blogs. So here's the letter that's supposed to point out how unreasonable the Mexican immigrant population is being:


    Subject: trip to mexico

    Dear President Bush:

    Iím about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. Iím going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements.

    I know you can help with this.

    I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. Iím sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

    So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that Iím on my way over? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

    1. Free medical care for my entire family.

    2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

    3. All government forms need to be printed in English.

    4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.

    5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.

    6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.

    7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

    8. I will need a local Mexican driverís license so I can get easy access to government services.

    9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I wonít make any effort to learn local traffic laws.

    10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.

    11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.

    12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and donít enforce any labor laws or tax laws.

    13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

    I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox wonít mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

    However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P.

    Thank you so much for your kind help.

    Sincerely,
    YOUR NAME HERE


    The main point being made is a great one, especially about the not-learning-English (I am pretty darn liberal, but this bugs me. I spent a year studying abroad, and HAD to learn the language to function - it's how the freaking world works!), and the expectations of free services/extraordinary considerations.

    But I wish the author hadn't insisted on including the more racist aspects - we have a heck of a lot of mexican immigrants here too, but come Cinco de Mayo, it's WHITE folks partying it up, just like any other drinking holiday - and how exactly do folk think we got holidays like St. Patrick's Day, if not from immigrant groups bringing traditions with them?

    And honestly, the lack of insurance/poor driving is an awful stereotype that I could just as easily apply to 80% of the college kids in this town as to any particular race. To include such a thing is this letter is to pander to racist crapola, and the letter would have been sooooo much stronger without it.

    I think these little things thrown in amongst the more reasonable and honest are part of what makes this debate so divisive. Some people see the more thoughtful and important arguments made in the begining of the letter, and don't think about the rest, while others focus on the negative stereotypes in the middle, and don't consider the very good points made in the first several paragraphs.

    So hmmmm, all I can say is I haven't yet heard a very good/reasonable/workable solution to the whole mess, just lots of politicians posing and pandering.

    And me? I don't really have any fabulous ideas either, other than "stop pandering to the extremes." Exhibit A) The Great Wall of China. This famous 'keep them out' mechanism was built BEFORE the Mongols invaded. And it didn't work! Neither did the Berlin Wall. Neither is the wall Israel is finishing up right now - it has caused nothing but drama and hatred, and some silly wall seperating the US from Mexico won't work any better.

    And giving every last illegal immigrant amnesty isn't going to solve bupkiss either - the immigration is ongoing, not past tense, so in a few years we would be right back where we started, as Reagan's policy advisors can attest to.

    What we need are policies that recognize the fact that this immigration is NOT going to stop until the people of Mexico are able to live happily and feed their kids in Mexico itself. If my kids were looking at a life of abject poverty and hunger, and I could fix it by hiking a couple hours through the desert, I would do it in a heartbeat, and most of the anti-immigration folk would too. So the solutions, whatever they are, have to involve helping people. Or they won't work, as history has shown us time and freaking time again.

    Which is a radical thought, I know.

    3:14 p.m. - 2006-05-07
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    Colbert

    I cannot believe I just saw this! I am losing my edge! If you haven't seen this you realllllllly have to. OMG. I can't stop giggling.

    And boy, do those correspondents need a sense of freaking humor already!

    11:44 a.m. - 2006-05-03
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    Soccer Injuries

    It is too freaking pretty outside to study, but, lame me, I keep on trying. Unsuccessfully.

    I joined a club-sports soccer team this term. I was honest with the other players, by informing them that

    a) I am not competitive with sports/games. I would rather lose laughing than win with bruises or gloating. I'm just out there to kick the ball around in the sunshine, and will apologize every time I run into someone while trying for the ball,

    b) I, while enjoying a good match from the stands, have not played soccer since junior-high p.e. And even then, I bit.

    And yet I have played both games so far, and had a great time. Our team is composed of a bunch of grad students, and has apparently gotten a bad rep over the last few years for smack-talking. Apparently, the poor little undergrads we play don't like being riduculed by the folks grading them. Wussies.

    We are playing on the turf-fields instead of grass this year, which means that the surface is nice and springy, but the ball bounces like crazy and diving hurts like fuck a lot. Like rug burns, but with a plastic rug.

    While our team is on the bottom-rung, talentless, crap level, some of our players are actually really good. Dreadlocks, from the English dept, played for his university as an undergrad and has pretty amazing footwork. Problem being, of course, that many of the rest of us are simply not good/fast enough to really react to it... Mr. B, from poli-sci, has played since he was a kid, and is pretty amazing as keeper. And Sociology guy, while super fast and really good, takes it pretty hard when he misses a kick on goal. Poor thing. Some of us would be in 7th heaven to get that close to the goal without losing the ball.

    This team is obviously coed, which means that there has to be 3 males and 3 females on the field at all times, including keeper. But we don't have that many women showing up at gametime, so the 4 or 5 of us there get pretty tired. And then this week, we started getting hurt.

    I started it off by fighting Soc. guy for the ball during practice, and clipping his shin with my kneecap. Which hurt like a son-of-a-b***. I have been sporting a truly nasty looking knee, just in time for spring-skirt weather.

    Then Blondy, while performing the dangerouse 'chatting on the sidelines before the match' maeuver on Friday, was nailed in the forehead with a ball, and went over backwards like a plank. She giggled about it all night, but had a killer headache yesterday.

    And then during the match, W took a ball from about 4 feet away straight in the face! OOOOOWWWW! She got a bloody nose, and had to get walked off the field by the refs, and also was headachy yesterday. She was a total super-trooper though, and came back in during the second half.

    The best part of the game though, (aside from coming back from a 4-1 deficit in the last 10 minutes to win!!!!!) was the half-time pep talk. Blondy and another woman on our team had done research in Senegal last year, and one of their prof's is here to guest lecture at the university (and USC and Cal State I think), and came to cheer us on. Apparently, in Senegal, women do not play soccer, so he had never seen female or coed teams. During half time, he came over to give us some advice on how to play better (mostly, he reccommended we "elaborate" the game, which was just the coolest way ever of telling us to spread out, pass to each other, and expect to be passed to). And he was right, because we played sooo much better the second half.

    It was really a good time, and the weather was perfect (mid 70s, slight breeze, bright sunshine). It was even worth the pain in my old knee injury.

    And no, I have not made a goal, or a shot on goal, but I have saved a few shots!

    12:53 p.m. - 2006-04-30
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    Last Test

    I finally had my last test today, to get my teaching liscence. I was nervous, as this test covered math, science, and health subjects, none of which are exactly my specialty. But it was much easier than I expected. Really just the basics of everything, and I think I was able to fudge the essay part pretty well. The question regarded the static seen after rubbing a couple balloons on your head - "discuss the properties of static at work" and "explain why the two balloons repelled each other." Ooooooookay, sure. I'll get right on that. But I'm pretty proud of the answer I came up with - regarding a negative charge on the balloons due to the electrons transferred, and a positive net charge left on the hair... I don't think it's exactly what they are looking for, but I should get at least partial credit for being logical, and sciency, right? Anyway, this means that when I get notified of passing this test, I will have earned my teacher's liscence in Oregon. All I need now is a Master's degree in teaching, which will take me one more year in school, and I will be all ready for a career! 'Bout time, I know.

    We found out SIL Duck had her baby yesterday, only 6 lbs! SIL Duck was huuuuuuuge around the stomach, but no real weight gain elsehwere, so we all thought the kid was gonna be pretty sizeable. Never can tell. I'm upset on Mr. Duck's behalf though, because the father didn't bother calling us. He managed to call his family, but not the only members of her family living within 120 miles of her, namely us. She was drugged up for the cesarean, so it's not like she could have called on her own. But the darn surgery had been set for the April 21 since December at least, so the dad saying 'didn't have your phone number on me' doesn't cut it in my book. The man doesn't freaking work, so he had literally thousands of hours at his disposal to get ready for the birth, including gathering important phone numbers, and ours just didn't make his list. He notified his entire family, and made one apparent phone call for her. A**hole.

    But that's ok, it just lets us know where we stand. Mr. Duck isn't even really bothered, so I'm just being insulted on his behalf. Which is unproductive, but strangely satisfying.

    And on a completely unrelated note, my god it's hard to study when the weather is this beautiful!

    4:09 p.m. - 2006-04-22
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    Home Is Where

    Home is where I attempt to keep my owners from leaving by confiscating various neccessary items.

    Starring Aki and Panther

    4:55 p.m. - 2006-04-15
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    Cool, Cool, Cooler!

    I had a really good day. I love today. I haven't had such a good today since summer at least.

    Today, I went to the doctor to get my next shot, and he told me I won't have to do a yearly until 2007. Holy Hangnails Batman! Freaking music to my little ears!

    And after that, I got free books on new and interesting topics that I have never studied, from the office of the prof who absconded to Israel, leaving an office full of stuff for other folk to deal with. Aaaaaaaahhhhh.... free books.

    And after that, I saw Blondy present her research on female genital cutting that she spent 6 months in Senegal doing last year - she's brilliant and an entertaining public speaker. Her topic, which compares attitudes in Africa about female circumcision with attitudes here about breast implants, and the similarities of many of the reasons given for both, was quite thought provoking.

    And after that, I had coffee with my friend S at the museum cafe, which is always very nice and relaxing. Her daughter, who will be 3 next month, was wearing new shoes, apparently on loan from her boyfriend... too cute. She gets less and less shy of me all the time, which is very nice. Such a cutey.

    And after that, I returned to my office and checked my email and found out I GOT IN!!!!!! I'm in like Flynn, I'm gonna be a teacher! But first, I'm gonna rack up a buttload more school-loan debt... Ok, that part isn't so cool, but I can handle it, as it means I will have a job I love while paying it back. I'm In! I pretty much thought I would be, but you all know how much the waiting sucks.

    And after that, I went grocery shopping with the hubby, who suggested a nice bottle of celebratory Chianti. He really likes the 'my wife is a teacher' idea. He denies it, but I'm pretty sure he had some big-old crushes on his teachers in school.

    And now I'm gonna go have some pumpkin pie (diet schmiet - tonight I celebrate!) and then sleep like a log!

    10:05 p.m. - 2006-04-14
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    Anonymous Video

    My Norwegian officemate (we'll call him Nordy, just to be annoying) and I were chatting this morning, when the ever lovely W came into our office, to ask if we had been gifted with an unmarked VHS tape. Her office is up on the 8th floor, with most of the Religious Studies folk. Apparently several offices up there, and on the 9th floor (more Political Science) and even down here on 6 (us, and lots of Sociology) had a few doors with these blank tapes waiting for the occupants.

    "What was on it?"
    "I didn't watch it, I was afraid it was 'The Ring' or something"
    "Haaaahahahahaha"
    later, when the cute blond office mate came in (herein 'Blondy')
    "Did you watch it?"
    "She didn't - maybe it's porno, we should watch!"
    "What if they're ugly? I don't want to see that!"

    The videos were not on every door, but were apparently strategically placed - the only one she had seen on our floor was at the door of the only UO prof to make it onto Horowitz's "101 Most Dangerous Professors" list (which is crazy - if you can't find some hard core lefty profs in the Pot capital of the world, where can you find them? But that's another post). Which made us conjecture that it was something from waaaay out on the fringes, but we couldn't tell which side.

    And apparently we all actually did want to potentially see ugly people screwing, because we all trooped down to the library to pop it in a vcr.

    And of all the really cool things it could have been - porn a la Blondy, a hardcore right wing nutter video a la Nordy, a curse a la W, or my own preference, an invitation to join a secret left wing nutter Luddite club - it dissapointed us all.

    It was a pirated copy of a documentary accusing big business of being evil. Fun to watch over shots sometime, but no big revalation for folks living in Hippyville USA.

    Would've been cool if it was some whistleblower's taped statements, or some guy with questionable sanity ranting about whatever it is that keeps him up at night, or a couple of kids secrety filming their friend Cartman throwing a tea party for his toys... oh, wait....

    1:32 p.m. - 2006-04-13
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    Classroom Dynamics

    I am the graduate assistant this term for "Intergenerational Justice," a pet class by one of my fave profs. The concept is that we use our world in usufruct, and have certain responsibilities to past and future generations regarding our use of land, and our creation of laws, etc. We discussed the concept a bit back in "Consititutional Law," because the Preamble states that it was created "for ourselves and our posterity." All very interesting, and so far a good class.

    Well, I have been introduced to the class as their GTF, and it is a 410 course, so they should mostly be seniors, and thus used to the university system. Today, in front of me, I noticed a girl texting on her cell during class. Under the desk, so the prof didn't see, but clearly within my view. And then I noticed that she and her friend were playing hangman instead of taking notes (the friend, unbelievably, lost on "The O.C." - I don't even watch that shit, and I got it with "T_E _._.") And then a line of notes, and then some more texting, and another game, and so they passed the class. Right in front of me!

    And at first my question was, why are they here? It's the second week of class, they could drop it with no prob. Then I got to thinking about stories my sister A used to tell me about some of her classes at Tennessee State, where students would gossip over the prof, and openly cheat on tests, etc. And I thought 'at least it's not that bad.'

    But on further reflection, it is that bad. It's just different. While these two girls were not being loud, the students A had to deal with were only loud because they knew it would not affect their grades. The girls in front of me were doing the same thing - being as rude as they could without eliciting repercussions.

    So is rudeness regional? Is it really that different between UO and TSU, that what I consider completely inappropriate would be thought comparatively polite in Nashville? I didn't think people in general in Tennessee had different manners, so is it just a matter of institutional cultural differences between the universities? Or does it go further back than that, to the high schools that each university draws from? A was shocked at her classmate's behavior, because where we grew up it would get you kicked out of class. But clearly her classmates, and most professors, didn't think it out of the ordinary at all.

    But again, when I visited, I found everyone to be friendly and perfectly polite. I didn't have to learn new manners, because they are largely the same in the NW as they are in the South. So where does this difference come from? And I wonder how their classrooms work in other respects. For instance, in PS courses, probably 95% of the talking is done by male students, even on arguably feminine topics like abortion, and even in evenly divided classrooms. But in other subjects, like my Japanese courses, or "Human Rights" this imbalance does not seem to exist, at least not to the same extent. Does this translate to universities like TSU? Why shouldn't it?

    Pundits like to talk about the cultural split in our country, but what they are talking about is political, not actual culture. Because while we are pretty damn diverse compared to any other country on the planet, there is an 'American' culture that allows a woman like me from one corner of the country to go anywhere else, and toodle right along, understanding the vast majority of social expectations, cultural references, idioms, etc. And people move, all the time. From one state to another, from one region to another. Students come to this university from all over the planet, from every State in the union. So why should the acceptable behavior vary so widely from here to there? I am fascinated. If I was in Sociology, it would be my thesis!

    P.S. Becky, did I sound like a complete know it all on my comment today? I posted, and then thought 'I should have signed that Professor.'

    6:15 p.m. - 2006-04-11
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    Diet Update

    ***siiiiiggghhhhhhhh***

    OK, I haven't lost even one pound in freaking 3 or 4 weeks! AAARRRG! But thing is, suddenly my clothes fit different. I try to choose to believe that I am gaining muscle, and thus am still improving. But I am a sceptic at heart, and thus doubt my own good thoughts. For which there is no real help, this side of extensive psychotherapy.

    It's like my body refused to walk and chew bubble gum concurrently - I can lose pounds, or I can lose inches. But not both, heavens no. Just one or the other... Freak of a body doesn't know the laws of nature are supposed to apply...

    On a happier note, Mr Duck and I have finally caught up on Lost! I have to say, I kinda like the new 'other' they have hostage. Don't know why, he just seems like a good guy inside. The other 'other' stuff is all very fun as well - Frenchie's daughter and some crazy leader and everything. And Sayeed gets hotter every freaking week, I swear to god. And Jin and Sun!

    I was soooooo in Lost withdrawals last term. What kind of rat-basturd prof schedules classes to conflict with Lost? (just kidding - he's pretty cool. But still!)

    4:17 p.m. - 2006-04-07
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    Destroyed Kimono

    I could cry. Some pals and I wore my kimono for Halloween, and I took them in a few weeks ago for cleaning. I got these in Sapporo, at a special discount because our Kimono teacher was well known in town and they gave us a break on some used pieces (a new, hand sewn and hand painted silk kimono is about as much $$ as a new car. Needless to say mine aren't in that category, but they were still pretty expensive).

    Well, I had asked the dry cleaners, who charged me double their phone estimate, not to hang the kimono, as they need to be stored flat. Of course, the cleaners do not know how to properly fold Kimono, so this morning, at the end of my spring deep-clean-the-apartment stint, I sat down to properly fold them for storage.

    And my blue one, the one that I planned to give to K as part of her wedding present, is ruined. Completely ruined. The possum-brained dry cleaners used too hot of tools, and melted the decoration off. Not just one spot either, the whole damn thing is ugly and destroyed.

    And the part that is REALLY pissing me off, is that they didn't say a goddamn word about it when I picke it up. They just folded it so that the damage wasn't visible, and charged me FULL PRICE and acted like nothing was wrong. Why didn't they call me when something went wrong? Why didn't they STOP when they saw they were damaging parts? Did they think I just wouldn't freaking notice????

    So now I have to go in tomorrow and try to get them to pay for the damage. Not that the kimono can be fixed, it's just scrap fabric at this point. I am pretty sure, given their cowardly and underhanded treatment of the situation thus far, they won't want to pay replacement value. And I am not sure what I can do to make them, besides getting a lawyer, who's fees would cost more than the kimono did.

    A**holes. But seriously, I was so upset when I saw it I was on the verge of tears. Which is silly, since it's just fabric, but there are a lot of memories of Japan and my friends and such tied up in that thing.

    The drycleaners are just lucky that my favorite kimono, the one that was specially tailored for my long gaijin arms, came out OK. 'Cause if that one had been damaged, I would've dreamt of borrowing guns. And this is Oregon, half the people I know have hunting rifles...

    3:27 p.m. - 2006-04-02
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    Mr. Duck's Bday

    Mr. Duck had his birthday yesterday, but I was too tired after a killer hard tai chi session to actually write anything. But enough of my lame excuses - here is what I love (aside from oh, say, everything) about Mr. Duck...

    1. He has the best laugh. It's the first thing I noticed about him, before we even met. I could hear him laughing at work, and thought 'that guy seems cool.'

    2. He cannot keep a secret from me for his life. If he has something to tell/show/give me, then I know about it almost as soon as he does. Every time.

    3. He's cute, and the perfect height (taller than me, not too tall to kiss comfortably).

    4. He talks to me, nonstop. When in public, with friends, at family gatherings etc, people always comment on how quiet he is. And he is very quiet, until we get home. Then he starts talking, and doesn't stop until I inform him that I really am tired and need to sleep. He tells me about sports news, the weather, work, news items, interesting tidbits and happenings (many of which I had informed him of previously, lol) and on and on. But only when it's the two of us. He only does this with me, his parents, and one or two friends, so don't count on witnessing it anytime soon without aid of spycameras.

    5. He is so patient. When I get tired or stressed, I get crabby. But he never lets it bug him, and is always sweet and patient, more so than I usually deserve.

    6. He cleans the dishes whenever I cook for us, thereby encouraging me to cook real food.

    7. He tells me I'm pretty every day. Even when I don't feel it. And I know that he means it. I think most husbands think their wives are pretty, but often don't say it. It's very nice to hear.

    8. His good habits rub off on me and mine on him, so we go well together.

    9. He's a great snuggler.

    Happy Birthday Honey!

    10:35 p.m. - 2006-03-29
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    Trip

    We went to Grandma and Grandpa's this last weekend, as mentioned before. We spent the night in pdx Friday, and drove out to Elgin Saturday, with a stop in Multnomah Falls because Teacee had never been there. Then we came back Monday, stopping in Boardman for a milkshake (because I am physically incapable of going to Eastern Oregon without gettin a milkshake in Boardman) and for lunch in Hood River. Long damn drive for one day, especially since I did about 11 of 14 hours behind the wheel over the weekend...

    Mr. Duck and Teacee with their shared birthday Cheesecake (from Sweetlife, sooooo yummy).

    The three of us on the stone bridge at Multnomah Falls - the nice European tourist who took the shot was trying to get the falls in, so he cut poor Mr. Duck in half, lol.


    Teacee with a couple cousins and a friend from Elgin.

    Us in a small Italian resaurant we found in Hood River.

    Teacee with Grandma and Grandpa Duck, in their house.

    3:29 p.m. - 2006-03-28
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    Spring Break

    Thank goodness the term is over... What a long, stressful, just yucky couple months.

    Mr. Duck and I took Teacee to my grandparent's for the weekend (a mere 7 1/2 hours away by Jetta). She liked everyone, but she was just peas in a pod with my young cousins! Very amusing.

    Pictures will follow when I get them.

    But tonight, after a loooooooong day of driving, Mr. Duck and I are ordering in, while Teacee is out with her friends celebrating her 21st birthday!

    So, in honor of my Teacee's birthday, here's what I love about her:

    1. She is the most confident, outgoing young Japanese woman I have ever met. Seriously, never shy or nervous, even in a room full of strangers who already know eachother, and don't speak her language.

    2. She is beautiful, and she knows it. She looooves having her picture taken, and poses all professional like, which I find hilarious. No false modesty, no lack of confidence, no fishing for complements. Just very sure of her good and bad points.

    3. She studies harder than maybe anyone I know. She is here studying a second language, and just decided to study Chinese too because it looked like fun. She takes like 18 credits a term, and aces everything. Seriously dedicated to her studies.

    4. She's pretty much always game for everything. Very open and easy, and ready to do new things.

    5. She lets me practice my (horrible) Japanese on her. That shows a lot of patience, especially since my Keigo sucks the big one, which means I end up being rude a lot...

    Happy Bday!

    7:52 p.m. - 2006-03-27
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    No, It's Not My Birthday, Yet.

    Mr. Duck, who cannot keep a secret from me to save his life, found a good deal on what he wanted to get me for my b-day (end of May). So he got it. And instead of trying to be sneaky, he told me he had ordered something for my birthday. I told him, I would like to get it on the actual day, for once. He agreed.

    Then it came in the mail yesterday, and Mr. Duck, being one of the sweetest people on the planet, couldn't wait two whole months to give it to me. He thought I could use it now. So, I came home from some errands, and he handed me this, in black.

    How
    freaking
    cool
    is
    this thing!?!?

    I luuuurv the little, sleek, well designed tech. Like my razr, and my volkswagen, and now my nano. Like a kid in a candy store, I tell you. I think he wanted to cheer me up after my long, sucky term. And he managed it!

    And come my birthday, all I have to do to enjoy my present is pull it out and look at the back, where he had engraved "Happy Birthday Duck, love always Mr Duck.

    4:08 p.m. - 2006-03-21
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    Procrastination

    OK, I am done with my work for the term, but I still have a bunch to do for my thesis. But damn I am unmotivated today. In honor of all the crap I have done today instead of working on my research, I give you flat out hilariousness here.

    Enjoy!

    5:35 p.m. - 2006-03-19
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    Frustration

    As many of my friends know, I have been on a diet. And I have been doing really well, dropping almost 20lbs so far. Super proud of myself. All that good stuff. Except one thing - I haven't dropped a dress size. Not even close.

    I can see a difference in the mirror - my arms and legs look good, my face looks better, my rib area looks trimmer. But my tummy/hips/butt? No change at all. I could freaking weep.

    How is this fair? 17 freaking pounds already! No potatos of any kind in 3 months! 1 latte every 2 weeks as a treat! And the scale at the gymn shows all kinds of improvement, according to the freaking scale, I am almost halfway to my goal, even with the fact that I have added some muscle!

    BUT STILL THE SAME PANT-SIZE. I've gone down maybe 1/2 a size, out of the 6 or 8 I want to drop.

    So dadgum unfair. Mr. Duck can look at a diet book and lose 5lbs. He can walk 20 miutes twice a week and have do go down a pantsize. The second freaking week. But me, I diet for months, and have ZIP to show for it.

    Did I mention that I haven't had ice-cream since new years? This is serious austerity here. And yet, my ass is as wide as ever. Do you know how freaking good I would feel if I just needed a belt to hold up the pants? Not such a huge, unattainable goal, or so I thought. Wrongly.

    I should just embrace the larditude now, and save myself further frustration.

    12:38 p.m. - 2006-03-11
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    Cranky Old Lady

    Thursday night has become the new Saturday in this town. The kids behind us, all smelly undergrads, party every freaking Thursday night. Not Friday, not Saturday, Thursday. Buttheads.

    There is one specific young man who lives in the bottom apartment in the building behind me, whom I have come to call "belligerent drunk guy" - we'll call him bdg for short. When he has been drinking, he gets hot or something becuase no matter how cold the weather is, he spends hours outside, cussing and yelling and walking around. The first time I really picked his voice out of the crowd, it was around 1am, and one of my neighbors opened his window to tell them to shut up. Instead of doing so, bdg tried to get the older man to leave his apartment and have a fight, and when the man refused he spent half an hour walking back and forth to his car yelling about how he would "just buy this whole place... I'll just OWN this whole f***ing place!"

    Apparently the thought of this particular smelly drunk undergrad asking his daddy for money to buy an apartment complex full of other smelly drunk undergrads was supposed to impress the neighborhood in some way. I hear this guy weekly, always angry, always yelling and cussing. If he was my roommate, his ass would have been on the street months ago.

    Well this week, they were at it again. As soon as I went to bed, they all took the party outside, but unfortunately it didn't seem like anyone was having fun. It sounded like Quentin Tarantino on crack outside my bedroom - I haven't heard the f-bomb dropped that many times since Scarface. Seriously, these kids are in college, and I am thinking that they should have a somewhat exapanded vocabulary by now. There are so many interesting and pointed ways to indicate displeasure, but I would faint from shock if any of these kids had ever cracked a thesaurus. Or thesaurus.com.

    Well bdg was in fine form this week, selecting for his target a young woman who was attending the party. I don't know what she said to set him off, but he was yelling, and cussing, and threatening her. I tried to ignore it, and was hoping she and her friends would simply go home so that things would quiet down. But she wouldn't back down either, and then bdg started saying how she needed to back up what she was saying with her fists. And then hitting/slapping sounds ensued. At which point I rolled over, to raise the blinds and see what the hell was happening. Before I got the blinds up, another young man yelled "get off her! Get OFF her!" and then intervened. When I looked down, the two men were going at it. Arms flailing, grappling, then down on the grass and one guy on top waling on the other, and there were several young men standing over them watching, and a group of women about 15 feet away, also just watching.

    "Get them apart!" "Let them just duke it out!" "Hit him!" "Kick his ass!"

    The 'duke it outs' won, and they all just continued to stand there, while the men continued to fight. So I opened up my window, and yelled (in my best the-teacher-has-entered-the-room voice) "You all need to shut up, and break it up or I'm gonna call the cops!"

    And one of the observers, a young woman, turned toward the sound of my voice and said "there's nothing we can do about it!" Really? Nothing at all? The eight of you couldn't stop it? Because if I was down there, I'd do it on my own. But as it was, I had no intention of even getting out of my bed to fetch my cell to call the cops, I just wanted to sleep. So all I said was:

    "You have five minutes." And I slammed down my window.

    And withing ten minutes, they were getting in their cars and I was able to sleep. Guess my teacher-voice is pretty convincing.

    So now the neighborhood must think I'm the cranky old biddy who always complains, but I think I am fine with that. And next time bdg starts acting up, I might actually call the cops on his drunk, hostile, irrational little ass.


    4:46 p.m. - 2006-03-04
    2 comments

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    Is This Why I Went to Grad School?

    The results of zoning out for 1/2 hour of last night's 3 hour discussion on post-industrialization theory:

    All hail the Diet Dr Pepper:
    druggy disco parties
    divided domestic partners
    danish dairy process
    drunk dj's phunking
    dancers display physics
    dunces don't play
    discover dense popsicles
    dirty dingoes praying
    dirigibles destroy planes
    dredging dinky pipes
    date dreamy playboys
    dark dank places
    directing difficult philharmonics
    dimwitted defensive-linemen prancing
    disecting developmental pigs
    drinking delicious product
    defeating dizzy punks
    different dogs panting
    damn dithering prosecuters
    daredevils drive pickups
    dripping dreary precipitation
    diced dill pickles
    dry deli pastrami
    daily demand for pop

    11:45 a.m. - 2006-03-02
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    Dumb Lyrics

    OK, I should toooootally be writing a paper right now, but I keep getting so distracted. But if I get this off my mind, maybe I can concentrate.

    So, two things. First, I'm gonna try to type 日本語で。読める? このソフトウエアが出来るか分からないので。書いている時が大丈夫が、postをする後はどう?Teaceeさんも読むことが出来たら、ちょっと書いてお願い。

    Secondly, I have a lyrics beef. Mr Duck last night went old-school on the way home from tai-chi, and popped in the old Prince album with Diamonds and Pearls, and Cream. Cream, in my opinionation, is a fan-freaking-tastic song. So I was bopping along, and singing along, and the chorus comes. "...Cream, don't you ever stop/Cream blah blah blah blah blah"

    I have loved this song for something like 15 years now, but I realized I have never understood what he is saying there. It sounds like "Cream, sugar-candy-bar," only that makes no sense at all. Even for a Prince song. So I asked Mr Duck, and he didn't know either, but he did know that the lyrics were in the jacket. So, all happy and anticipating FINALLY understanding what he is saying, I looked it up. In the CD jacket. And f*^k but I was dissappointed. Apparently, Prince couldn't figure out the rhyme either, because it said "Cream, sh-boogie bop."

    No lying. No kidding, or chain yanking, or any damn thing. The reason that I have never been able to decipher the words, is that they aren't freaking words at all. Holy christ, how frustrating is that? Prince is a musical freaking genius, but he can't rhyme with 'stop'? Come on!

    So, so much for a moment of enlightenment. And now, back to the grind. Anyone out there got a 3 to 5 page response to "Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy" by Inglehart and Welzel, focusing on aspects of path dependence in their study that they wanna send my way?

    Anyone?

    12:58 p.m. - 2006-03-01
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    Calicos are Dumb

    Everyone knows that I have two cats, both beautiful, both very large for being female. One tolerates a few people, and adores me. The other, Aki, loves any adult who will pay her a little attention. This is a round, friendly, wonderful calico. She has never had an accident. She has never broken anything. She still has her claws, and has only ever used them on her scratching post and my luggage. Fabulous kitty, but dumb as a post.

    Now, when I say this I am not being mean. We adore this roly-poly little orange thing that sleeps on our legs at night, who has taken it upon herself to keep my lap warm and fuzzy whenever I study. Who talks to us at great length whenever we approach the drawer where her fishing pole is hidden. Seriously adorable, but seriously dumb.

    When I have mentioned this to friends in the past, they quite often ask me why I would say such a thing about the ever-popular Aki.

    Well, because she is. This cat 'hunts' birds by meowing at them. She stalks her toy by hiding behind things like the remote control. Do you think that a 13 lb calico can hide behind a 1/2 inch thick remote laying flat on the floor? No, but she does. She also thinks that if she sticks her head and shoulders under our baker's rack, no-one will be able to see the 11 lbs of orange/black/white fur left sprawling accross the kitchen floor. Sometimes at night, when Mr. Duck and I are almost asleep, she cries because she can't find us. From the living room. Of our 850 square foot apartment. The best part of that is that her ears and nose work fine, so her super kitty senses should pick up our very breathing from 20 feet away, but she loses us and won't stop crying til we call her and she remembers where we are.

    Well today, I have the ultimate evidence of Aki's thick-skulledness. Mr. Duck and I just got back from buying this beautiful teak platform bed, and when we walked in neither cat was at the door to greet us as they usually are. Panther was sleeping on the couch (par for the course - she hasn't gotten off the damn thing exept for food in days) and Aki was not immediately visible.

    Now, like many complete suckers, the places in our apartment where our cats are not allowed are quite few. The kitchen counter and table. The bookshelves. And definately not the electronics. They know this. They don't really care about this, because occaisionally there are clumps of hair on these locations. But normally they have enough sense of self preservation to get down quickly when they hear us walk up the stairs. And yes, like dogs, they know the sound of our car, our steps and our keys. I know when Lewis is home every day because Aki hears the car and runs to the door to wait for him, long before I hear anything. So it's not like we can sneak up on them or anything.

    Well just now, when I looked around the living room, what did I see? Aki's gorgeous little head, sticking up from the tv, where she was laying on the vent on the back part, soaking in the warmth. And do you know what her reaction to being caught with her paws in the proverbial cookie jar was? NOTHING. She just lay there, and gave me her cute, sleepy blinks. And for a second, I just stared back. Was this cat honestly sitting there, like nothing was wrong, wasn't even going to try and hide? Yes, as we said in Sapporo, sorewa soudesu.

    So I had to give her my big "Aaaakiiiii!" at which point she rather leisurely hopped down, and went to hide under the end table (another spot where only her head fits). So she got the swat and the loud voice, and then sat there looking like absolutely nothing was wrong. Like she had just woken up from a lovely cat nap in the sun. Or on her fleece blanket we have let cover in hair. Or in one of the two self-warming cat beds we have put in her favorite spots. Definately not on top of our tv. The little dillweed.

    5:16 p.m. - 2006-02-23
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    Best Damn Office, Period.

    We have the best damn office on campus. We are across from the grad lounge, where the hanging and socializing is supposed to happen, but everyone knows the real action is over here. You ask for evidence to back up this sweeping claim? I deliver.

    Exhibit A - We are all Political Science grads. While some other majors out there may assume that this means we are a bunch of boring, nerd-ass, never-gonna-graduate pontificators, they would be wrong. Not so much about the nerd-ass part, because we (and I am not afraid to use the plural here) are definately nerds. Geeks even. But the kind of nerd that can poke fun at itself, that always has a smart-ass retort, that gets all the references, that finds itself hilarious. Our conversations are informed, enlightening, irreverent, and crack-upable on a very regular basis. The kind of conversations that mere mortals wish they could enjoy at least once before they die. And yes, we will all, eventually, graduate.

    Exhibit B - We have the best decoration ever for a bunch of broke as hell social science majors. Our walls are painted baby blue and lime green. We have a lovely view of the quad and the museum from up here on the sixth floor. We have arranged the desks so that there is actual floor space in the middle of the room, which is a novelty in and of itself in this building. We have an original version of The Scream done in chalk by one of our office mates. Who else can boast this kind of style? No one, because the artsy students all have big, hideous, filthy shared studio offices over in the Millrace buildings, with no views.

    Exhibit C - We have the coolest office mates. We lay claim to the Cool Italian, the Funny Norwegian, the Cute Blonde, the Less-Jaded Young One, and my own ubercool self. And that is just in this room. Several other worthy scholars have offices on this floor, and stop by to visit daily. Can the poor punks stuck on the second floor or over in McKenzie claim this? Nope.

    Exhibit D - Well, do I even need an exhibit D? It is well known in the cannons of political science that any good piece of writing has exactly three points with which to back up the thesis, so I guess not. But I will add that we are the only grad office in my experience to stock high-end java for our own enjoyment. And we are located within two blocks of two pubs.

    And we are the prettiest.

    6:23 p.m. - 2006-02-22
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    Perfect Gift.

    Mr. Duck gave me the best valentine's present EVER this week. He went out and found me a Japanese tea ceremony set. Beautiful. Complete with bamboo scoop and whisk and a little laquer jar to hold the maccha powder. And a little jar of $$ maccha.

    So when I opened the box, I knew right away what it was, and my first thought was 'I wonder what kind of tea-bowl he chose?'

    Well I'll tell you. He chose the PERFECT kind. It's gorgeous.

    There are two general kinds of tea bowls, the kind that are painted and laquered and very formal looking. And then there is the (better) Raku style. This kind is very natural and earthy, where the imperfections of the hand-thrown bowl are part of the beauty, and the glaze is simple, usually monotone in earthy colors. These pieces often feel very Zen-like, and are meant to be admired for the passion and technique of the artist. Traditionally there is some small, intentional marring on the bottom of the piece (this was originally done by the artists so that they could keep a few of their pieces, because the local lords would not want ones with chips or scars).

    I love this kind of pottery, and this is what I would have chosen if picking my own set out. What Mr. Duck found is large and slightly uneven around the rim (but sits perfectly steadily, as a good bowl will). It is glazed in grey, in overlapping thirds. Did I mention I love it?

    I asked him how he knew to get me this kind of bowl, because I had never really mentioned to him which kind I prefer. He said he didn't, it was just a guess... And how freaking romantic is it that he knows me well enough to 'guess' the perfect thing? Especially as the other style is quite beautiful and more traditionally admired by us westerners. Coulda cried.

    So what I got him, which I know he liked, didn't nearly match that. Which means that it's ON for his birthday next month. Problem being that I have no. freaking. clue. what to get him that will mean that much to him, that I can afford. You know how sometimes people can be too perfect, how you know you will never derserve quite that great of a hubby? Happy Valentines to me.

    4:23 p.m. - 2006-02-17
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    Pairs Long Program

    Did anyone else watch the pairs skating last night? I was (supposed to be) reading a book for class, but it was on in the background, muted. I like watching skating muted, because generally I think that what they are doing doesn't match the music for a damn, and this bothers me somewhat - lessening my enjoyment. When on mute though the poetry of the dance and choreography comes through much better (for me anyway). So I glanced up and saw a clip of the Russian pair's fall several years ago, so I turned up the sound. The Russian pair skated this beautiful program, and took the lead by 17 points! I don't think I have ever seen that kind of point spread before. So I kept watching (no, not done with my book) because there was only one more pair to go, and the Chinese team came on. For those who didn't watch, hply christ! They attempted a thrown quad salchow, the first time this would ever be done in competition. According to the announcers, she 'didn't get enough rotation' but what I saw was her come crashing down, knee bent out wrong. She tried to stand up and skate, but couldn't, and her partner came over to support her weight, and ohmygod. I was just thinking 'poor-thing! poor-thing! OW!'

    Mr Duck and I couldn't figure out why no one else came out on the ice to help her, but the music stopped, and they went to the gate to see their coach and doctor, and then they went back onto the ice to finish their skate!!!!! You could see she was in serious pain, but apparantly according to the rules they could start back up from where they stopped, at the fall.

    So they kept going, and I could have cried. Seriously. I cry for movies and books, and sometimes even music, but never for sports. Generally I just thinkg 'that sucks,' and I go on. But wow.

    So they skated again, and she landed all her jumps and did everything, and it was a beautiful program. They were both just really young, and really determined, and the way he was so concerned for her and holding her up at first was just beautiful. I was soooooo rooting for them! But I figured the hugeness of the fall would nix any opportunity they had to medal.

    But the fall only took off one point! And omg when they won the silver, again with the misty eyes!!!!! And this time, they actually televised the medal ceremony, which ABC seems to not want to show if no Americans are on the podium, to which I say 'way to throw the bird at the Olympic spirit, Mr Network Man.'

    But anyway, the most dramatice skating I have ever seen. Now I'm gonna root for those two forever, even against the hometeam!

    5:35 p.m. - 2006-02-14
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    Hmmm, Am I A \"Dame\" At All?


    Katharine Hepburn
    You scored 19% grit, 28% wit, 47% flair, and 16% class!

    You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You
    go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand
    head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing
    and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or
    conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common
    sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet.
    You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the
    screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who
    like strong women.


    Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
    Classic Leading Man Test.




    My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 25% on grit
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 48% on wit
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 77% on flair
    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 24% on class
    Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

    3:28 p.m. - 2006-02-13
    1 comments

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    Tests

    TESTS


    I have been sooo busy! Finally getting some small shit done on my thesis. Small. But something.

    Today is a day of testing for me to get into the school of education. I think I got one question wrong out of one hundred. Frickin' cake. I am thinking that this could be part of the problem with our education system - these tests should be weeding people out. Seriously! Waaaay to easy!

    So now I'm thinking that if my transcript from pcc comes in time (stupid ass community college idiots can't even get one freaking address that THEY ASKED FOR right and now I'm freaking out becuase the app is due Wednesday and I still don't have the transcript) I should be a freaking shoo-in.

    And yes, I know I am a snob about some of this stuff.

    On another note, my class had their midterm yesterday, and some of them were pretty freaked out. I haven't graded anything, because I have waaaaaay to much to do before Wednesday, and I don't have to have those done 'til Friday. It's called time management, and it sucks.

    Now, back to the grindstone.

    12:27 p.m. - 2006-02-11
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    New Design

    NEW DESIGN


    I just got this loverly new design from Stephanie Davies. Love the duck, and the flowers, and the stripes... Very cool. Now my page looks like a real blog! What does everyone think? And I know most folk who visit my page, so you had better all leave notes for me! I have a couple days to consider any changes... But darn cool, no?

    6:44 p.m. - 2006-02-04
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    My Boring Existence

    MY BORING EXISTENCE


    I haven't written in several days, as I have nothing going on right now besides the most boring of stuff...
    Research on theories of regional vs universal international politics.
    Reading Poggi, Aristotle, Marx and Weber.
    Trying to go to the gymn, but rarely making it.
    Spending waaaaaaay too much time on the 6th floor of PLC.
    Grading freshmen's assignments, and thence discussing the idea of America as a 'post-literate' society.
    Eating only healthy food, but not losing any weight this week (maybe .5 lbs).
    Wondering if Stepmom Duck will ever grow out of her narcisistic bs.
    Trying not to act too stressed around Mr. Duck, as it worries him.
    Still getting crazy baby longings whenever I see a cute little one. Or clothes for little ones. Or shoes. Or toys. Or any-freaking-thing. I consider myself a very modern, educated, rational woman. Yet there is no denying the power of the biological clock. A microphone in my head would pick up something like "now now (after graduation) now now (when I have a steady job/income) now now (soon, I promise) now now now"

    Going for sushi now. Mmmmmmm, suuushi