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in the hoosegow

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

teaching story

Lots and lots of hilarious things happen when I'm teaching. Did I ever tell you the story about the trashcan? It has to be acted out so I can't relate it very well here. Anyway, I had picked out two topics to use in my classes today. I teach a lot of sections of the same class every semester so the class and I develop different topics each time so that I don't go crazy with boredom. On the way to the class I had an idea for a way better topic and used that for the first class. I saved one of the other ideas for the second class.

I began by asking if the students read the student newspaper (a few did--fewer than I expected) and then told them that I read it pretty much every day. I think of it as one of my duties as an outreach li-berrian. Then I told them about an interesting article I'd read yesterday and how it got me thinking about this topic in general. I asked the students how they'd develop that idea into a thesis and we started batting around ideas. Then one student said, "Maybe I can help you. I'm the one who wrote that article."

Seriously, what are the chances?

b-day redux

I know this will be disappointing to all of you who participated in the Great 3-Way Birthday Extravaganza of 2002 or other ranger-sponsored birthday events, but I had a rather quiet day yesterday. Well, if you don't count getting on all of my colleagues' nerves by being a snappy stressball brat it was a quiet day. Luckily, some of my pals took me to dinner (mmmmm, the sauce....) and showered me with love and prezzies. I'm kind of resistant to love right now, wearing my love-proof coat and all of that, but the prezzies made me happy. So thanks, and anyone who wants to play Sorry! is invited over.

in the presence

Universities are great places to meet people. I'm not talking about getting a date for Friday (although that would be nice...) but about meeting great thinkers and artists. Last night John Updike read some of his pieces at the InPrint series. We were lucky enough to woo him over to our campus for an answer and question period beforehand. I say answer and question because he began with seven of his favorite quotations about writing, then allowed people to ask questions. He responded to each question, but answered few. While this type of thing is frustrating in a professor, Updike's roundabout responses were witty, charming and insiteful. He seemed like the kind of guy you might enjoy having lunch with: not exciting exactly but humorous and warm and probably a neat eater.

Monday, February 27, 2006

eep--it's my birthday

I have been having a total life crisis these past few weeks. I will spare you the details but I will share this, from my horrorscope:

"You have a great deal of life to live so get out there and live it. Letting go of your fears will make more room for your dreams."

I could not agree more.

Friday, February 24, 2006

courteous driver

I took the online defensive driving class yesterday. It takes nearly 6 hours. The first time I took it (years ago, I swear) it seemed like I was constantly waiting for my time on each page to end. This time, whether it was a better version or I was just slower, the time for each page was about right. I occasionally had to wait but I also finished after my required time was up on many pages.

Now, anyone who's ridden with me knows I have a bit of road rage. I like to yell at other drivers. I even yell at them when I'm not driving, but I don't tailgate, I don't purposefully cut people off, I don't weave through traffic and I don't do that famous H-town move of getting off the freeway, driving really fast on the frontage road and then entering again in the hopes of getting a few cars ahead. It just seems futile to me. So I don't think I'll stop yelling anytime soon. My windows are usually rolled up and it amuses me and it helps me release my frustration. Passengers are hereby warned.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

graham was gay?

Ah, Monty Python. My colleague asked me to tape two episodes of Monty Python's Personal Best for her because she had to work late and I ended up watching most of them. The Eric Idle and the Graham Chapman episodes aired last night.

I distinctly recall an email conversation with an Amazon customer about Graham Chapman's death. It seems odd but I felt very sad about it. In subsequent years I've watched The Life of Brian and The Holy Grail with a different eye, developing my appreciation for Graham's understated, sometimes Peter Tork-like goofy and childlike style. I had a fairly well-formed opinion of the man, but I never realized he was gay.

Now, I can hear you asking yourself, does it really matter? Of course not--his style was his style and he's still funny as shoes on a cat no matter what--but I was still surprised, especially when I heard how opinionated he was about supposedly gay flamey characters. I know lots of folks who love Monty Python and some who think it's juvenile or just don't get it. I'm definitely one of the former types, and over time my appreciation grows rather than wanes. Graham Chapman has definitely played a big part in that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


How do you all feel about letters? I remember fondly the months I spent in Montana, Scotland and West Virginia during my college years, not only because the trips were adventures, I met cool people and mountains and seas are amazing, but because of the letters I received. One of my high school friends said she would save all of my letters to her because one day I'd be famous and she'd sell them or add them to a book of my correspondence. In the mid to late 90s though, something happened. Email. I've barely written a letter for the last decade. The last of the great letter writers in my family died when I was in li-berry school. While walking back to my office from taco bell, I realized how much I miss letters. I miss writing them, sticking the envelopes shut with stickers, saving fun bits of paper to write on or to make into envelopes, but I also miss getting them. It's nice to see a familiar address in my inbox, but it's nothing compared to a fat epistle in the mailbox. I suggest that all of you should write a letter this week, to your fat old granny who will respond with yet another recipe for zucchini bread, to a cyber friend who would never expect a real live letter from you, to someone whose address still lives in your address book but you haven't heard from in a while.

why i love my faculty

I was just looking around on one of my faculty's websites and found some stuff I didn't expect. Sometimes I forget that my faculty exist outside of the college, just like they probably forget that I exist outside the library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

old friends

I accidentally discovered that someone I did my first masters with works over at the neighboring university. How odd! Not that he's a professor, because I expect nothing less of him and many of my other classmates, but that he's here in town and has been for a few years and I haven't run across him before this. I had a lot of good friends in that program and I lost touch with many of them, so if any of you other UGA entomology folks are lurking, please contact me. I miss you.

Monday, February 20, 2006

gaming madness

And then there was Saturday...
Two of my friends and the one friend's daughters all dragged me out of my Saturday stupor to play games. We traveled down to Pasadena (called "stinkadena" by some folks in our car), got to the street, and knocked on the door. Some nice folks answered and were about to let us and our delicious plate of brownies into the house when we all realized we were at the wrong address. Laughing hysterically, we crossed the road. Once inside I noticed that the tv was tuned to a fascinating show: a security camera of the entrance. This was indicative of the general weirdness of the evening. I found myself arguing with someone about whether sunrise church services were only at Easter (I maintain they're not). We played a dumb game that said woman just couldn't get the hang of. We found ourselves using our pre-arranged get-out-of-here-quick excuse to go home. So, game night itself: C+, but the evening all together, including the cheesy B horror film The Corpse Vanishes that we watched later: A.

wedding madness

My good pal got married on Friday. It was my job to transport her mom (also my pal) and bro (the GE) to and fro. We worked some lunching and general fun into the day. The wedding itself was on the beach in Galveston. We were worried that it would be raining but luckily there was just a little spitting and everyone who made it on time was able to get down to the beach for the ceremony. The most fun that I had happened outside the chapel. There is a big carriage and a fake horse--if you've driven past it on the way to the beach you'll know what I'm talking about. I climbed up and pretended to drive, then I pretended that the horse was running away, all the while being filmed by the GE. Hilariosity. I promise, I behaved myself the rest of the time. Then we ate a lot of pizza and toasted the couple and fell down exhausted.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

i'm not imagining the conspiracy...

Haha! I knew it (from my horrorscope):

Take a look at what is going on around you today and do some internal processing before you reach a conclusion regarding the best way to proceed. You may find that a combination of powerful forces is at work, trying to win you over to their respective camps. Don't pigeonhole yourself into only one way of doing things. Keep in mind that the best route to take is oftentimes a combination of several different paths.

uh oh, i'm it

Tagged by Jane over at Wandering Eyre. Here're my responses:

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. ice cream scooper
2. wasp-watcher
3. house cleaner
4. nanny

Four Movies I could watch over and over:

1. Withnail & I
2. Keeping the Faith
3. Royal Tannenbaums
4. Philadelphia Story

Four places I’ve lived:

1. Kalamazoo, MI
2. Aberdeen, Scotland
3. Seattle, WA
4. Houston, TX

Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. Gilmore Girls
2. Related
3. Sabrina the Teenage Witch (on reruns on UPN)
4. CSI

Four websites I visit daily:

1. hotmail
2. myspace
3. bloglines
4. comics.com

Four places I have been on vacation:

1. Turkey
2. China
3. Mexico (if medical missions trips count as vacations)
4. Vancouver, BC

Four of my favorite foods:

1. burritos
2. green curry
3. french fries
4. spinach

Four places I’d rather be:

1. at home
2. Seattle
3. anywhere in Europe, especially Greece, Italy or southern Spain
4. anywhere but here

Four Albums I can’t live without:

1. Police box set (cheating, I know)
2. REM: Automatic for the People
3. Pierce Turner: The Sky and the Ground
4. Old 97s: every single one of their albums (cheating again!)

Four Vehicles I’ve Owned:

1. current Saturn
2. last Saturn
3. sorry ass hyundai
4. la Avispa

I know I am supposed to tag others in return, but pretty much everyone whose blog I read regularly has already posted this. Is it the beginning of the end?


In the midst of my usual angst, having a low-self-esteem day is awesome. Over dinner with the now-former-roomie I mentioned a time when I wrote a list of 101 things I loved about someone. She told me that I had to make the same list about myself. I laughed, I rolled my eyes, I did all of the usual evasive maneuvers (like my cat, I am the queen of the crocodile roll), but I see her point. I challenge all of y'all to do the same.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


For V-day, I got a bunch of gifts. Dear readers, this has not happened to me since the 9th grade, when my first love got me flowers and chocolates. Wondering what I got? 1. A blue Sigg water bottle. Beautiful! 2. A flask. Slender and sexy and comes with a carrying case. 3. Daily calendar of Mad Libs. I'm a bit behind but I got two of my co-workers to fill in the New Years one. If you're in the vicinity, come by and help me catch up. 4. A card. I can't in good conscience report what it said, for the sake of privacy and not burning a hole in anyone's retina.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Thanks to all who expressed your concern and good wishes. The apple has been located, the amber alert canceled. It had fallen onto the floor of my car and was hiding under the seat. I ate it last night and it was delicious.

Monday, February 13, 2006

pig intestines

I walked over to the computers to help a patron look up books on fractals. I walked back to the info desk to tell a colleague that I'd decided what my specialty sausage would be, should I ever open up a deli. What, he asked unsuspectingly. A Mandel-brat, I shouted, laughing hysterically.

rumbling into monday

I've come out of this weekend with 99% of my weekend tasks undone. I tried to see Grand Master Flash at the MFA but it was so completely packed that people were lined up outside waiting to get in. I'm not talking a few folks milling around waiting, I'm talking a long long line snaking around the back of the building. We drove past, called our friends to see if they'd made it in, and high tailed it back to the bar. Now you will understand my first sentence.

The weirdest thing--I swear I bought 3 apples at the store yesterday, but when I unpacked my bags, I only found 2. I thought, maybe one fell out and is in my car, but I never went out to check. I am hoping I don't come out to my car after work only to find it smelling like apple sauce. Actually, that doesn't sound so bad, except for the part where there's a mushy apple rotting on the floor of my car.

Friday, February 10, 2006

me me me


Jenica has this on her blog so I'm putting it up for you all to use. It's supposed to tell me how the world sees me or something. For those of you who have a hard time reading directions (like I do), you can choose only 6 words.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


My li-berry has cottoned on to the fact that people now consume bevvies (and food) around the clock: while they're studying, in class, working on the computer, chatting, all the time. It used to be rude to eat in public, especially in a building that wasn't a restaurant. Those days are long over my friends, and you can now eat and drink here and I won't tell you take TAKE IT OUTSIDE.

The weird side-effect of this decision is that I now want to go get coffee in the formerly illegal paper cup and wave it around as I enter the building. My colleague suggested we go as a group and do a can-can in the lobby, but we couldn't figure out how to do that without spilling our drinks all over the place.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

kitty woozle

I have one of the sweetest cats I've ever met. She has a wonderful disposition, until we go to the vet. As soon as we entered the building she began giving those loud distressed meows. In the exam room she tried to hide behind the carrier and in my armpit. The nurse took her out to get a fecal sample and came back several minutes later (the whole time the vet's jack russell terrier was barking like, well, a terrier) and said they couldn't get a sample. She had a few scratches but no poop to show for her efforts. The vet came in and Annika tried to climb up the nurse's front and mine to escape. Finally she'd gotten her shots and I opened her carrier. She sat in there licking like mad and didn't make a peep the whole way home. At home, she immediately cozied up to me and demanded pets like nothing had happened. I can't wait until I have to take her in for her booster.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

oh say

I just remembered a hilarious joke I had with myself while watching the superbowl, which was, wouldn't it be hilarious if Lil John sang the national anthem with Dr. John playing piano? I then did a funny rendition of what that would sound like.

"oh say can you see? What?! By the dawn's early light. What?! What so proudly we haled, at the twilight's last gleaming. Okay!"



I got my new glasses yesterday (yay!) and my eyeballs/brain are still adjusting to the change in prescription. I have a bad astigmatism so for a little bit everything looks all curved and not in the right place. For instance, when I look down the floor appears closer than it actually is. When I first got glasses I was continually stumbling over curbs and stairs.

On top of that visual issue, my allergies are back in force. I've turned from a virus-ridden phlegm farm to an allergy-ridden snot festival. Allergy medicine is making no difference (sneeze). I may have to fire it. Fluid tends to gather in my ears during allergy season which also makes me nauseated.

Finally, I have a heifer load of work to do. Trying to figure out what to do first also makes me dizzy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

i knew it!

I had a strong feeling this would be my result (haha!):

Your results:
You are Deanna Troi
Deanna Troi
Jean-Luc Picard
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Will Riker
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Beverly Crusher
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Mr. Scott
Geordi LaForge
Mr. Sulu
You are a caring and loving individual.
You understand people's emotions and
you are able to comfort and counsel them.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

oboe shoes

Ran across this on one of the many blogs I monitor:
I had to laugh because it reminded me of the visits we get from middle school kids and also because it describes "technology" in the way most people use the word. Anyway, check it out.

Just in case you were wondering, I did watch the superbowl last night. To be accurate, I watched half of the game and the halftime show starring the rolling stones. I was really there to eat and over the course of 2 1/2 hours I stuffed a huge number of chips topped with caso, guacamole, salsa and spinach dip into my mouth. I only had one beer because I knew that any patrolling cops would be so pissed off about missing the game that they would give me a ticket just for smelling like beer. I was sad to learn later on that the Seahawks had lost but obviously I didn't care all that much because I didn't bother to watch the end of the game but instead fell asleep on the couch.

Friday, February 03, 2006


I stayed home the past two days because I have turned into a phlegm farm. I'm still farming but my energy level is back up. It's a good thing because while I was away I got 90 email messages which included 4 requests for classes. One was also a notice that my proposal was accepted, so I'll be presenting at a symposium on undergraduate assessment in April. Yay!