Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I first heard about the flooding aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sadly, as I was playing World of Warcraft. One of my friends on the game sent me a letter (via the game) saying that he would not be on much now because his house was flooded and he was staying with a friend out of town.

The tv news is now on constantly in the background.

It's odd how all the emergency service agency and government official spokespeople are chastizing the news media for even raising questions or being slightly critical about their slow response. They keep talking about how this must be a national effort, how Americans need to pull together (it's what we do best), and so on. True, simply standing and criticizing is not useful. But dismissing any discussion of what these agencies and officials should've done to prepare for this kind of disaster because that is anathema to Americanness? Troubling.

I know sending money is important, but what else can people do to help?

And the whole coverage about looting? In addition to the [finding/looting] food issue, it seems odd that there is no voice suggesting that there isn't anything particularly unreasonable about people in a disaster area to scavenge food from devastated stores. Much of the food would go to waste anyways, right? I haven't heard much about the amount of violence, shootings, and so on. So if this is really just a case of looting food for survival, it's like we're so ingrained to value property more than human life that this kind of coverage seems natural.

I've failed in my mission to meet a number of deadlines for this week. Trying to cram a summer's worth of work into three days just isn't possible.

And it's already almost September! Next week, I'll leave for San Francisco for a week on vacation.

      >> 8:03 PM

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Yay Giles is alive! I just got home to find a spazzy puppy. I was afraid he would swell up and die from the bee sting, but he has miraculously survived it.

I don't think, however, that the thermometer connected to my air conditioning unit is alive. It seems always to register a steady 70 degrees. I would swear that it's warmer than that in here today. The humidity outside is just atrocious. There's no relief in the shade.

      >> 4:06 PM

My poor puppy!

The Power-That-Be are determined to make the first day of classes traumatic, whether or not I am anxious about teaching. On our morning walk, Giles got stung by a bee on his cute little floppy ear. So sad! And then I had to leave him to rush over to campus for class. I hope he's okay. He's shaking his head frequently and he's not liking us touching his ear. :( Rob's home, at least, though he's trying to sleep.

My first class has come and gone. The students seem okay. Seventeen out of nineteen students showed up. I also had two students who were in the wrong section. I sent them packing once we figured that out, though, about fifteen minutes into class. And then I had one student show up at the end of class saying that he went to his Monday class instead and then got lost trying to find my classroom. I guess other people are having a more hectic, confused first day than I am.

      >> 8:24 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005

Just now, walking Giles out in the oppressive heat, I came up with the delirious plan that Rob, Giles, and I should start a band called THOSE DAMNED SQUIRRELS! (exclamation point included in the name). Rob can sing. I can play keyboards or guitar or something (if I ever learn). And Giles can be a multi-instrumentalist, playing his Mr.-Potato-Head toy, his duck toy, his frog toy, or simply barking. At our shows, we would take breaks to walk Giles outside. In audience participation moments, Giles could wander about the crowd and get people to join in with making music.

I got my syllabus pulled together for class tomorrow. I still have to work out some details of the first class day, but I can always just wing that.

      >> 4:02 PM

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Giles and I made the coffee house and campus rounds this morning and early afternoon. He got lots of love from passers-by. And he only woofed a few times when he wanted attention. Mostly, he just wagged his tail very vigorously until the desired persons came over to say hello.

At the first coffee place, he was a bit unruly and didn't let me get much reading done. I did flip through a couple of books, though, and finally decide that I wasn't going to make the effort to finish them even though I had started them. (It's hard for me to let go of books that ultimately aren't interesting or worthwhile to read.) I also read an issue of The Uncanny X-Men and was disappointed that the issue of Astonishing X-Men was one that I already had read. I keep picking up duplicate copies of comics because I have a hard time recognizing covers and remembering issue numbers.

At the second coffee place, the baristas kindly brought out dog treats and a water bowl for Giles. He was better behaved there and I managed to read a couple of short essays from a collection on the globalization of the U.S. South.

Then it was off to campus and my office to do a bit of web research and to write up some notes on this article I'm trying to dash off in the next few days. I think I must be crazy. Instead of preparing for class which starts Tuesday (still no syllabus), writing my dissertation, putting together job search materials, or working on the conference presentation I have to give in October, I am trying to write a whole new article on two books I haven't really read yet. Argh.

      >> 2:27 PM

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pictures from Providence

Blue flower.

Mystery fruit.

Green stems.

Reflected parents.

Building head.

      >> 6:34 AM

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back in Durham where, thankfully, it's not too hot though still humid.

I dropped spazzy puppy off at day care this morning since Rob was snoozing away on the couch. Last night when he tucked me in after bringing me home from the airport, he insisted that he would stay up all night and take Giles himself. Silly sleepy head.

I went to traffic court this morning and had my speeding ticket reduced to nine mph over the speed limit (rather than the cited twenty). Paid $100 fine. So sad to see the $100 bill go. I lamented the separation with the woman taking my money and another woman waiting to pay her own fine (she then shared that she had just received a $220 cell phone bill for her daughter's phone and was sad to see that money go, too).

I also managed to pick up a friend from the airport and get some pizza for lunch before coming to work. Quite productive today, I must say. Now if only it weren't already the twenty-third of August....

      >> 1:37 PM

Monday, August 22, 2005

So shortly after I lamented that no one wanted to see Giles pictures in my last post, I snuck downstairs with my computer and waylaid some unsuspecting people at dessert with the slideshow. Yay! I made them watch it as they were eating delicious carrot cake.

I head home in a few hours. The travel time is lengthier than it ought to be since I fly past Raleigh-Durham to Atlanta and then take another flight back up to Raleigh-Durham. Atlanta's airport is strange -- they have these electronic trash cans. I suppose they compact the trash as people put stuff in? Or maybe the trash door is electronically controlled? I was a little afraid to use it, frankly, for fear it might try to eat me or one of my bags.

My sister and I packed off our parents on a ferry to Newport, Rhode Island, a couple hours ago. My dad is not one for laid-back vacations. He needs to have a packed itinerary and to see touristy things unique to whatever area he's in.

I may have caught my mom's flu/cold. This sucks.

      >> 1:51 PM

Sunday, August 21, 2005

No one wants to see the slideshow of Giles pictures I made. :(

      >> 8:58 PM

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'm currently in Providence, Rhode Island, at my sister's. Our parents flew over to visit her, and I came up to see them all.

I was very happy to walk around town earlier this afternoon. Walking I miss. I also had tea and crumpets while reading some more about aboriginals and photography and then bought three books from the sale shelves at the college bookstore.

Aside from the crazy-ass narrow, maze-like streets and ruthless drivers, I would love to live here. I guess if I did live here, I could conceivably spend a lot less time in my car, though, and hoof it or take the bus.

My mother has lost her voice to some sort of cold.


      >> 8:48 PM

Thursday, August 18, 2005

OMG. My crazier-about-her-dog-than-I-am-about-Giles friend just e-mailed me a link to [Animal Attraction], a friendster/dogster type social networking and dating site that is both for humans (pet lovers) to meet each other and for pets to meet each other. I guess it's also for humans to meet other animals (and vice versa). Wow.

Giles is currently chasing a bug around the room. He's such a bug hunter. He's not too good with small objects close to his face, though. He paws at the bug, but misses. Maybe I should put the bug out of its misery....

      >> 5:37 PM

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

On my list of six things to do today, I managed to do one. One of these days, maybe I will become a grown-up and do things as I should. Until then, I hope the world can deal.

I'm still trying to get my apartment cleaned up and organized. (That amorphous task is not on my to-do list -- perhaps I should break it down into accomplishable things like boxing up letters and postcards.....) It's strange how a cluttered apartment translates to a sense of cluttered thoughts. I'm sure it's the same for many other people.

I'm thinking about taking a drawing or painting class this fall. I picked up a catalog of one of the local art centers. I came across this description for a class:

This is a class for lovers of all things furred, finned, and feathered. We will follow a step-by-step approach to painting intimate, realistic portraits of your favorite animals. Beginning with the creation of a clear, accurate, pencil sketch, we will translate that drawing into a final painting combining watercolors and colored pencil. No prior experience with these media is necessary, although having some comfort with drawing is useful.
Emma Skurnick
- Obtain materials list at The ArtsCenter front desk and contact instructor, prior to first class.
- Thursday, 6:30-9:30pm, October 27-November 17 (4 weeks) $108 public, $97 Friends

I don't know if I should take it or not. Would it signal the end of any shred of dignity I might have left about not being a fool about my dog?

When I was hiding out from the massive thunderstorm last Thursday morning at Office Depot, I ended up buying a sketchbook and some drawing pens. (Never mind that I already have many sketchbooks at home and pens out the wazoo.) I haven't tried drawing in ages. Giles is hard to draw because he's restless and moves a lot.

Rob just looked at my little post-it with a list of things to do today and the one thing I did crossed off. He said, "Good job, Paul. You were busy with errands today!"

      >> 9:01 PM

Outside Bean Traders this afternoon, I read a bit about "photography's other histories" for my presentation in October. Giles accompanied me. He watched the little birds (sparrows?) hop by him with only the slightest of whimpers and no barking. There was one bird that carried a still-buzzing insect into the bushes near us. The insect was nearly half its size. And it buzzed loudly. After a few more stabs from the bird, the insect finally stopped buzzing. And then the bird hopped away. Do birds kill just for fun?

While at the Bean Traders, Giles caused an argument between a man and a woman at another table outside. This was when we first got there. The argument was hushed, but I think it was about the woman wanting a dog or pet. There was some discussion about a gerbil, having responsibility for taking care of a pet, and so on. I think their gerbil must've died from neglect. How sad.

      >> 3:42 PM

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Oooo. [Mighty mouse.] Spiffy new multi-button Apple mouse.

      >> 3:00 PM

Saturday, August 13, 2005

When I'm at my desk, Giles likes to lurk under it.

Dreams are all I ever knew.

      >> 9:17 AM

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Best line ever:

Narcissistic sado-masochistic rhetoricians who canít write their way out of a paper bag. Ouch.

[John McGowan's take] on Martha Nussbaum's gloss of Judith Butler.

      >> 3:19 PM

One of the cool things of having alts in World of Warcraft is that your characters can help each other out with items and money by sending each other stuff through the mail system. This is great not just for the transfer of goods to lower level characters but also for the correspondence that you can have with yourself and the relationships that develop out of such correspondence. For example, Kazumasa (level 25) has taken on the role of the admonishing parent with Stewart (level 9). In one letter he sent yesterday, he enclosed some linen (for first aid) and some words, "Be careful, young man." Stewart, on his part, treats Kazumasa as a role model. He replied with a piece of malachite and the words, "You are the coolest gnome mage."

      >> 1:08 PM

This book, [Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal], edited by Cary Wolfe, sounds like it might be interesting.

      >> 12:24 PM

Marjorie Garber wrote a book called [Dog Love].

      >> 12:11 PM

I stayed up all night leveling Stewart. Then, at five in the morning, I was in the main Alliance city Ironforge and started doing a shirtless, pantsless gnome dance with Kazumasa. I was joined by four gnomes. It was a naked gnome dance party. It rocked. I should've taken pictures, but I forgot to capture the moment.

Being at work after an all-nighter sucks, though.

      >> 11:36 AM

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Giles, Paul, and Rob

      >> 10:31 PM

Stewart, the Night Elf Druid.

I've taken the next step in World of Warcraft addiction. For this first month of game play, I've laughed whenever people ask me if I have "alts" -- alternate characters that I play. I thought it was funny that people would play many characters rather than investing their time in one character since there is so much to do in the game (so many different professions and quests to take on!). However, this past week, I created a night elf druid named Stewart. I'm afraid this means there's no hope for me anymore.

      >> 9:38 PM

[Witnesses to an Execution]:

The dispute hinges on one question: Did Asgari and Marhoni engage in consensual sex (either with each other or with others), or did they gang rape at knifepoint (along with several other participants whose fates are undetermined) an unidentified 13-year-old boy?

Article by Richard Kim about the executed Iranian teenagers and the media coverage it has received in the US as picked up by gay rights organizations.

      >> 7:19 PM

Dinner in thirty seconds.

      >> 6:11 PM

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Holy crap it's raining like crazy out there. I'm about a half hour late to work, even though I was going to be about a half hour early, because I stayed at the Office Depot hoping the rain would let up a bit. After forty-five minutes, the rain still kept pouring, so I ran to my car and drove through the downpour to work. Argh. It likes to thunderstorm and rain hard here during commute time. Evil weather.

      >> 8:29 AM

Monday, August 08, 2005

I bought [this Timbuk2 bag] for myself yesterday because I've long been looking for a smaller bag that holds just a notebook and a book. This bag is perfect. My laptop also fits just so. I got the lime green one.

      >> 1:25 PM

Sunday, August 07, 2005

He doesn't sleep all the time.

      >> 9:09 AM

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Yeah, so I'd have to say this was a week that pretty much sucked body-health-wise. Monday evening, at yummy sushi dinner, I had a pain in my left ear that made it hard for me to open my mouth and chew. The inside of my ear felt swollen. When it didn't feel much better on Tuesday, I called to make a doctor's appointment for Wednesday morning. By Wednesday morning, of course, my ear ache had subsided, but I went in anyways (paying the $62 summer fee). The nurse who saw me said my ears looked perfectly normal and unswollen. She said to take some ibuprofen if it hurt again. And that was it.

Then, there was Thursday's awful stomach pains. Thankfully, the pain has not returned. But I've been dizzy and a bit weak since then. I haven't been eating much since Thursday, though. I'm on a stomach flu recovery diet of lots of liquids (juices, water, decaffeinated teas, and broth). I added crackers and some other mushy stuff yesterday, but I'm still hungry and weak. I don't think I'm ready to eat lots of solid food yet, though, because I feel a bit queasy with the crackers and stuff.

It seems clear that my body is on strike this week. Maybe I should just stay in bed.

      >> 8:47 AM

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dear The Powers that Be,

Please, let's not do last night ever again. Severe stomach pain starting after dinner around 6:30 pm with nausea. Increasing pain over the course of three hours before I finally called the nurse-on-call hotline at Student Health. She told me to head on over to the emergency room. Emergency room visit, lots of waiting. Dizziness, vomitting. Almost passing out when the nurse drew some blood. Repeating my syptoms and details of evening (at least I didn't do anything fancy -- just lay around feeling bad) five times. And then finally the pain easing up when the doctor finally gets around to seeing me around 12:30 am. So once again, I'm left feeling really stupid for going in to see the doctor, even though I genuinely felt like I was dying for five hours before that. The diagnosis -- stomach flu. And then anti-nausea medication making me sleepy (finally, drowning out the constantly screaming baby two beds down frome me). And then finally leaving the hospital at 3 am. Please, let's not do any of that again.



PS Let's please keep the wonderful boyfriend who drove me to the hospital as soon as he got home from work and sat with me the whole time, though.

PPS Also, please develop ways to test blood and give IV fluids without needles.

PPPS Also, why are the medical students younger than me?

      >> 10:44 AM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

[Dinosaur paintings.] I so want these. But the bidding is already like, way high. More than I can afford. :(

      >> 2:01 PM

[You only like things with words.]

      >> 10:00 AM

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The company we keep.

      >> 10:39 PM

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Today, Kazumasa caught a 19-pound catfish.

      >> 11:01 PM

The lens shield on my camera phone broke.

      >> 5:10 PM

[Interview with Brian K. Vaughan at The Onion AV Club]:

AVC: But when The New York Times Magazine did its big piece on comics recently, they singled it out for derision. Do you find it's sometimes hard for people to get past the genre elements of what you do?
BKV: I don't know. The New York Times article is weird, because they were like, "It's about crazy lesbians on motorcycles," and it's like, "You really haven't read the book if that's what you took away from it." But I don't think so. At Vertigo, for a while there was this thought that high-concept equals lowbrow, and if you just had sort of a simple Hollywood-style log-line, it automatically meant it was going to be dumb. But I've always liked a good high concept as sort of an excuse to explore a million different things. I'm sure there are some people that won't read it because it's genre. But it's interesting, I think superheroes get much more unfair derision. There are so many good superhero books being done. Science fiction is almost more reputable, I guess, at least a step up from poor superheroes. People go see post-apocalyptic movies; they love shows like Lost. So I think people have taken Y as seriously as they should, for the most part.

I just read the latest graphic novel collection of Y a couple days ago (I'm reading them as they're collected rather than in the single issues). "It's about crazy lesbians on motorcycles" sounds cool to me. But it seriously is a pretty awesome comic book series. Much better than [Frank Herbert's] The White Plague novel in which the opposite occurs -- all the women in the world die except a few who survived in quarantined spaces.

      >> 1:28 PM

Okra pancakes? I inadvertently got some of them for breakfast this morning. Slimy. Would not recommend. But I've never been into okra and other people are.

I've got a pain in my left ear. I don't know if I should be concerned. Could be an infection?

Also, last night, Rob took me to get yummy sushi. Possibly because he felt bad for not leaving me a message that he was out. Not his fault at all, though.

      >> 8:32 AM

Monday, August 01, 2005

I just noticed something really cool in internet searching.... [Find in a Library]. Apparently, both Google and Yahoo! now return searches from WorldCat and allow you to find books in nearby libraries (with subscriptions to OCLC/WorldCat). So cool! For example, I can search for [Shyam Selvadurai's Funny Boy] and find out which libraries in my area carry it. Neat!

      >> 8:44 PM

I made a fool of myself after work today. I got home and found no Rob in the apartment. I couldn't tell if he had been home at all since Giles was still in the bedroom. Since Rob hadn't called or left me any messages, I began to assume the worst. I called his work, but he wasn't there. I stopped by his mom's, but he wasn't there nor had she heard from him today. I called his work again to find out if he had made it to work earlier this morning, and they kindly told me that he had been there and had left at 12:20. So then I started to call the police to see if there were any car accidents. But luckily, that was when Rob walked in. From an afternoon stroll at the lake. Silly me. Now people at his workplace and his mom probably think I'm crazy.

      >> 7:16 PM

August? What does this word "August" mean on my calendar?

      >> 7:17 AM