Sunday, April 30, 2006

After a quick last walk out with the dog, it's time for bed!

I'm making a bit of a dent in my to do list....

Giles is sleeping on the freshly re-sheeted sofa.

      >> 10:54 PM

When I finish my dissertation and get my degree, I totally want to write a book for a general audience just so that I can plaster my name on the cover with the degree "Ph.D." listed after it.

What made me think of this? Seeing [The Other End of the Leash] at the book store, by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. I'm only sort of mocking people who put Ph.D. after their names because heck, after going through grad school, we need all the recognition we can get.

      >> 6:10 PM

This afternoon we went for a long walk around Carrboro, the little hamlet in the area that is a haven for hippies. We visited [Phydeaux], the boutique pet shop, and got a toy and some peanut butter biscuits. We traipsed around town, stopped by my advisor's house (she wasn't home), and circled back to our starting point.

At the end of our journey, we stopped at Weaver St. Market, the upscale co-op where there was a folk music benefit festival of some sort.

Giles likes his treats.

      >> 4:40 PM

Giles likes to stand on the retaining wall of the tennis court.

We romped in the court a bit before heading to the dog park.

This is despite the fourth injunction on the sign,
"No pets, skateboards, or bicycles on the tennis court."

Oh, how tired we get at the park.

Giles got hounded by Bill and Opus at the park.

      >> 10:49 AM

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Currently in the office doing a bit of work (heh).

When we reached the third floor, we were greeted by barking from the Renaissance professors' hot dogs (dachshunds) attending what seems to be a review session for a class final. Giles was mightily excited yet confused. He's lying on the office floor facing the door, as if the dogs might open the door and come in to play at any moment.

Also, [Nothing to Lose], a film about fat activist, looks awesome. I wish I could make it to the May 8th NYC screening.

I'm considering going to Raleigh to hear [Richard Goode] perform tonight. Not sure if I'll be up for it, though....

      >> 3:22 PM

A Saturday morning dog park.

Whining to get out.

Hiding under the bench.

Begging to play with the big dogs.

Three blurs. Which one is Giles? Click to play movie.

Closeup under the bench.

      >> 9:39 AM

Ha ha. So after teaching my LAST CLASS EVER IN NORTH CAROLINA Thursday morning, I made a to do list for the next week, played a bit of World of Warcraft, and then proceeded to station myself on the couch in front of the tv for the next 36 hours. I finally moved to the bed last night because dog was in his crate in the bedroom. I meant to take him out for a walk then but quickly fell back to sleep.

A few quick things:

1) OMG how crazy is this whole Duke Lacrosse thing getting with a planned New Black Panther Party march on Monday.

2) Hilarity seen on Futurama a couple nights ago:

     10 SIN
     20 GOTO HELL

(The sign above a robot church's altar.)

3) Reading at local book store to attend:

Saturday, May 27, 2006, 2:00 p.m. (please note the time)
The author, a dog trainer and behavioral consultant, will discuss her new book, Happy Kids, Happy Dogs: Building a Friendship Right from the Start.

Now to tackle the to do list.

I need to add a few things...

      >> 6:16 AM

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

[Establishing an Off-leash Dog Recreation Area Program for the City of Minneapolis]:
Findings and Recommendations of the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), October 1998 (Excerpts from October 1998 CAC Report)
  • Throughout the centuries, the importance of dogs has become well established in many cultures.
  • However, for most people, especially for those living in urban areas, dogs are most closely associated with people as companion animals.
  • For people who have a small dog and a larger yard, providing adequate space and exercise is usually not a problem. For those people with larger dogs, adequate exercise is more difficult to provide. Merely walking a larger dog on a leash does not provide adequate exercise for the dog. In many cases, running with a leashed dog on a daily basis can meet activity needs for the dog and the owner. However, despite ordinances to the contrary, an increasing number of people are exercising their dogs without the use of a leash.
  • As a result, there are now several de-facto off-leash dog exercise areas scattered throughout the city. Individuals with or without dogs complain about the free running dogs because of fear, chasing wild animals and other reasons. When the laws are enforced, ticketed dog owners complain about not having a place to legally recreate with their dog(s). This situation has created an increasing number of problems and with the estimated 90,000 dogs living in Minneapolis, the problem is not likely to go away.
Hmmm. So interesting the documents on public discussions concerning the establishment of city dog parks. Apparently there is much I could do with this dog park project I'm considering....

I've also decided on a title for this presentation -- Dog Parking.

      >> 9:12 PM

[When a Web page outlives its owner]:
"I don't know what I would do if her profile came down," Palan said. "It would feel like she was gone entirely."
Nora Paul, director for the Institute of New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota, hopes these profiles won't be lost to the delete key. Academically and historically, she said, such documentation is important.
"Records of social life in the early 21st century are so ephemeral," she said. "Losing such a lovely virtual expression of love and grief would be a shame."

      >> 9:00 AM

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I decided to go to a symphony concert this evening on campus. Performing were the UNC student symphony and a solo pianist (friend of a friend). It's been too long since I've gone to a concert -- at least since I've moved to North Carolina, I think. The doubleplus was that they performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, one of my favorites.

Applause for the pianist and orchestra after Rachmaninoff.

Memorial Hall during intermission.

      >> 10:39 PM

Overhead at the American Tobacco Trail (on the other side of a copse of trees) while walking Giles late this morning: OH MY GOD I had my first hot flash last night.

      >> 12:03 PM

Monday, April 24, 2006


      >> 8:09 PM

[World Sound Day]:
The aim of this project is to capture and layer a collection of sounds from around the world. Contributors are asked to record 30 seconds to a minute of the sound within their environment. The sound file can be from anything and about anything; the most important part is that the sound file was recorded or chosen by the contributor. Then, on May 1st, 2006 I will publish the finished sound file: a sound map of the world, beginning from the international dateline and traveling across the globe, layering sound upon sound according to the location in which they were recorded.
Chuckles is doing a project on sound. Long live the sound!

      >> 7:01 PM

When we first got to the dog park, it was empty. We were lonely.

I went to get my book from the car and left dog in park.

Hot dog walking.

Giles surveys his kingdom and subjects.

      >> 5:16 PM

Just back from the grocery store.

Before that, I was at the gym for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Before that, I went over to Duke to meet with a student about the final essay for class.

Before that, I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant where one of the servers brought me some chicken-filled food though I had ordered a vegetarian combo.

Before that, I spent the late morning at one of my favorite coffee places where I bumped into two of my friends who are regulars there. Also, the barista said hello and asked if I had brought my dog. Sadly, I had not. I just had a mocha while tackling the last novel for my contemporary lit class. (The visit reminded me that at murkey cafe in Arlington, Virginia, the woman in front of me ordered seven shots of espresso in one cup. She was with the conference and explained she needed the caffeine to stay awake. But still. SEVEN???)

It was a pleasant morning reading for class at the coffee shop.

Before that, earlier this morning was my semiannual dentist appointment. Lots of whirring instruments, some blood, and the general admonishment to floss more. My impending move is seeping into each of my days -- I had to decline making an appointment in six months because by then I will be safely ensconced in the midst of Minnesota's thousand lakes.

Before the appointment, I barely had time to roll out of bed and get ready because I stayed up way too late playing World of Warcraft with Parick.

      >> 2:26 PM

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Watching an agility championship being televised on Animal Planet right now. Greg Louganis -- yes, the Olympic diver -- is a handler for a Parsons Russell terrier. Must take Giles to agility class.

My contemporary lit students made me watch Paul Haggis's Crash this evening for class. I let them choose the the final movie of the semester, and somewhat in revolt against the sci-fi/fantastic slant I had given the class, they gravitated to this particular movie. Brokeback Mountain totally should've won best picture over this movie. Crash is everything the more interesting reviews described -- a hit-you-over-the-head, pedantic narrative of race relations that ultimately does little more than say that we are all oppressed by stereotypes and nebulous societal pressures. There are some moments that could serve as a platform for more useful social criticism, though, like some of the characters' encounters with HMO health care systems and insurance policies.

On my way home from the screening, I picked up the dvd set of Margaret Cho's All American Girl (for research purposes, of course, and to show an episode to my women's studies class on Wednesday -- our final class day!). Then I stopped by Quizno's to get some dinner for me and Rob. And that's when I realized how much I am NOT in DC because I barely squeaked in before Quizno's closed at 8. While in DC, my friend and I ate dinner late every night -- usually around 9 pm. And the restaurants were all HOPPIN' at that time, and by 10 pm there were still quite a number of people eating. And at midnight -- even on Wednesday night, there were still plenty of people hanging out in the public circles, just walking and talking.

      >> 8:51 PM

Saturday, April 22, 2006

IT WAS A HELLACIOUS DRIVE BACK HOME, but I made it! There were intermittent run-ins with downpours. At a few points, we had to slow down to 40 mph as a max speed. There was just this blinding curtain of white with the spray of water coming up from the pavement mixing with the cascading rain.

I'm glad the conference is over. I was pleasantly surprised by one of today's presentations, though. Look at how much I jotted down while listening (usually I don't write anything down):

Marginalia in conference program.

I had gone to a panel to check in on one presentation, but was totally bowled over by another presentation. This person restored my faith in conferences and has reminded me why I keep going obsessively to conferences. She made a provocative argument about African American photography, thinking about a vernacular visuality in distinction from (or as usually subsumed by) oral or aural vernacularity. I was intrigued in large part because she's making the obverse argument that I'm making in my dissertation -- I argue that visual criticism dominates paradigms of Asian Americanist work and turn to an aural register to rethink such paradigms. But more than just having a great thought, this presenter read very well from her paper (no monotone here!) and answered questions very adeptly. All this despite the fact that it was on the 8:30 am panel and the fact that this is a new project for her (and that she is just in her first year as a professor!). During her presentation, she also wowed everyone with this amazing (but brief) walk through Judith Butler, Houston Baker, and Paul Gilroy's work on visuality and sound with regards to African American cultural politics. I talked with her for almost an hour after the panel and hope to keep in touch with her.

A cheeky sign on the parking meter: ALL MAY PARK, ALL MUST PAY.

I guess the parking meter sign is suggesting equal access but equal civic responsibility as well? This was where we parked after leaving the conference to get some food on our way home.


We ending up eating at Cosi. On our way out, I noticed the no dogs sign and was quite dismayed.

Five hours later, I'm home. I just opened up a bottle of Coca-Cola Blak, a drink my brother raved about and insisted I try. I bought some earlier this week, but with my cold, I couldn't taste anything so opted to wait on trying it.

Coke and coffee.....

It really just tastes like carbonated coffee candy.

      >> 7:51 PM

Friday, April 21, 2006

We've been staying at the hotel/student residences that's part of the FDIC complex in Arlington, VA.

Dinner tonight at Aditi, an Indian restaurant in the Georgetown area.

We got kinda lost on our way back from dinner. It's difficult navigating around these streets. I had no concept of directions.

      >> 10:50 PM

Paying attention during the plenary session.

Shoes for my feet.

So my next project for a cultural studies conference will be about social interactions at dog parks. I was just talking to my friend about it and realized that I can possibly string together some of my other work -- like the presentation I just gave today on the communication systems and social interaction in World of Warcraft -- to create a booklength project that considers how various sites (like a dog park or an on-line game) and props (like dogs and avatars) and activities (like exercise, play, and quests) enable or disable particular kinds of communication and interaction. And it would be totally a project about what I like to do that puts me in these social situations, all autoethnographic and participant-observer-y.

      >> 6:03 PM

How much do I love Korean-owned grocery-marts? They have the best inventories. There's one a block from the conference where I just picked up a sandwich for lunch later. I didn't buy any of the cool stuff, but just the selection of beverages (including bubble tea! might have to go back for that!), snacks, candies, and all is awesome.

I'm going to spend another 30-40 minutes tidying up my presentation notes and PowerPoint file. Then I'm going to print the notes out, head over to the conference for a panel before mine, and then present this silly thing. It'll be over in a few hours! Wish me luck, internets.

      >> 10:49 AM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Obligatory pseudo-artsy Metro window reflection picture. Hello from DC!

Accent Elimination! Sign picture snapped by friend's mom in LA.

      >> 6:29 AM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

[Mark Anthony Neal on the Duke Lacrosse debacle.] Sigh. How different would this all have been if the three team captains had come out with a statement condemning any possible rape that might have occurred at their party rather than forming a wall of silence? What if the team had taken up an anti-rape campaign as a result of these allegations, eager either to find outsiders who might have committed a rape or to oust their own members who might have been perpetrators? What's been so disturbing to me in all of the furor about this case is how much the lacrosse team and the defense lawyers have only been eager to disavow any guilt and haven't been at all concerned about addressing the conditions that make such allegations seem not only possible but likely. Neal's article really foregrounds these conditions and asks us to address them with as much care as the specifics of this rape allegation.

      >> 9:21 PM

Giles had fun at the dog park today.

I really need to see if people have studied dog parks as a site of social interaction. It really is quite fascinating to see how people talk to each other (or don't) in these spaces and how the dogs create particular networks of associations. Like, I talk mainly to people whose dogs play well with Giles. And I'm not particularly fond of the people who try to discipline Giles because they think he plays too rough with their dogs. (Rough play and aggression are not the same, people. Plus, when your dog keeps coming after Giles, I think that's at least some indication she is interested in playing with him, even if he keeps knocking her over.)

Dog-people relationships are so revealing, too, because people are wont to make their dogs the vehicles of some sort of personal transformation (i.e., the narratives constructed on Dog Whisperer). I am totally going to start doing ethnographies of dog park goers (dog parkers?).

Now Giles is sleepy under the table.

      >> 6:39 PM

Monday, April 17, 2006

(Click on either image to hear the birds chirp at the dog park.)

Giles pants at the dog park.

Giles rests at the dog park.

      >> 4:16 PM

[Camera phones and privacy.] I noticed a month or two ago new signs in my gym noting that camera phones are prohibited in locker rooms now.

      >> 12:10 PM

There's an army of squirrels outside our windows taunting Giles. I just put Giles in the bedroom so he would stop barking and racing back and forth.

I have a full on congested head now. I had difficulty sleeping last night because my nose was runny and I kept having nightmares. I guess it's time to drink lots of clear fluids and hope I can get this mucous out of my system fast. I hate teaching when I'm all stuffed up. I am feeling moderately functional today, though. Usually when my colds move all the way into this full-blown congestion, I get back most of my energy.

It's too bad I spent my entire weekend whimpering on my couch.

We did go over to Rob's mom's for a late Easter lunch, though. Rob's sister was there with her new family. We hid some eggs for the two little kiddies. Giles had fun finding them, too.

      >> 9:21 AM

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The idiom that's been in my head today is, "Like death warmed over." It's such an odd one. I wonder what it's origins are. Does it refer to a personification of Death? Or just to a person who looks dead? And why the "warmed over" part? Curiouser and curiouser....

      >> 6:19 PM

I spoke too soon when I said I made it to the weekend. Ugh. I've come down with a cold or some sort of throat infection. My throat hurts! Plus, it's so hot out. I'm melting.

I think I'm going to go get myself some Chloraseptic throat numbing lozenges, a cold Frappuccino, and a movie.

      >> 2:10 PM

Friday, April 14, 2006

[My dinner tonight is totally potato chips.]

      >> 8:18 PM

I've taken to calling Giles "Mahsnickety Dog." Don't ask me why. My brother left me a voicemail message yesterday insisting that Giles's name is pronounced with a hard "g" sound rather than a soft one because if it were the latter, then his name would be spelled "Jiles."

It's getting hot and humid here. The dust and pollen are getting to me. My throat, sinuses, and eyes feel irritated. And I've been faithfully taking my two prescription allergy medicines for the last month and a half.

I made it to Friday! Good Friday, at that!

[Will Gay Marriage Ban Harm Minnesota's "Creative Class"?]:
Maccabee says that "creative class" will choose to move to other more tolerant states like California or Massachusetts. Maccabee hopes the letter will sway some lawmakers to think about the possible backlash that a constitutional amendment could cause. Maccabee and others say Minnesota, particularly the Twin Cities, is currently a magnet to the creative class.
An argument both refreshing and troubling. It does seem that the Twin Cities, as a municipal entity, puts a lot of effort into developing and sustaining an arts culture (especially performing arts, but also fine arts with the recently constructed museum of modern art). I can't help but notice how "tolerance" and "inclusiveness" as key concepts are being mobilized by opponents and supporters of the same-sex marriage ban. It's so tragic to me that people feel a need to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Let's psychologize the issue and talk about how they must all come from broken homes, must all have had divorced parents, and whatever, to be so adamant about this one idea of what marriage and family should be.

      >> 6:08 PM

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A dog's life is hard....

      >> 7:57 PM


      >> 7:43 PM

I found out when I'm teaching my classes next semester at my new school. Plus, my name shows up on the schedule of courses! I'm like, official now. I'm not on the faculty list yet, but every little bit adds up to the idea of me as a professor!

      >> 1:50 PM

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The husky in [these pictures] is awesome.

      >> 8:18 PM

The bathroom of the coffee place I wasted my afternoon in has walls painted with "chalkboard stuff" so that you can write on the surface with chalk. Someone had already drawn the Squidward with "I'm watching you" -- backwards! I added the little SpongeBob drawing.

Here's Giles on the drive home today. We were leaving day care for the last time. Rob and I decided to stop taking him to day care and to spend more time with the dog.

      >> 6:51 PM

Crap. I just spent the past three hours idly surfing the web instead of grading papers or reading for class. I need someone watching over my shoulder to tell me to stop wasting so much time. :/

      >> 4:33 PM

Alternate vs. alternative

Color me puzzled, but I've noticed in a few places on the internets over the past few months various bloggers, commenters, and so on making a hard distinction between the meanings of "alternate" and "alternative." As far as I can see from various dictionaries, "alternate" meaning "switching back and forth between things" is the primary meaning of the word, but the secondary meaning is "alternative," meaning "offering a choice" or "different from the usual." Does anyone know why pedants out there want to insist on the mutually exclusive meanings of the two words? Is "alternate" as a synonym for "alternative" a colloquial misuse that has been recently incorporated into various on-line dictionaries? (Where's the OED when I need it? Where's Parick, our resident word expert, when you need him?)

      >> 3:44 PM

What Season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Are You?

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      >> 2:26 PM


      >> 10:56 AM

[A wonderful post on walking with/out dogs.]

      >> 9:49 AM

Monday, April 10, 2006

Back home now.

I had a good time at the Yale conference. It was exhausting sitting through a whole day's worth of paper presentations, but hanging out with people more informally was awesome. (Odd, huh, usually I say how I run away from people in social situations.)

I think I might have to re-think this going to multiple conferences in the span of a month thing, though. Apparently, I am unable to restrain myself from free-flowing coffee at these events. I think I drink four or five cups of coffee a day at conferences. And then I usually have at least two alcoholic drinks in the evening. This is way more than I need, obviously. And combined with the little sleep that I get, I always leave these conferences totally in need of a full day's rest. Luckily, I have that time today to recover. But I do also need to prepare for classes!

[Steve's stash sniffed out by duck!]

      >> 7:39 AM

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ha ha. Well, my conference presentation ended up being 25 minutes long -- five minutes longer than it should've been. I don't know how I manage to write twelve pages of crap sometimes. But it's over! Headed out now for some drinky drinks with some people from the conference.

Probably will settle in after with some movies I checked out from the library and brought with me (The Machinist and The Japanese Story).

It's been rainy here in New Haven. I think the rain's over for now. But I don't know what else there is for me to go out and see.

Yesterday, I quickly checked after lunch to see that my old hangouts were still around -- Atticus Books, The Booktrader Cafe, Koffee?. Book Haven, unfortunately, has closed. It has been replaced by a Labyrinth Books, though.

Annette, the flower lady, is still on the streets with her flowers.

      >> 8:43 PM

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hello from New Haven!

I just arrived at my hotel, happily finding a free Ethernet connection. I'm starving -- about to head out to [Claire's Cornercopia] for lunch.

Then I have to write as much of my conference paper as I can in two hours before the keynote presentation at 5 pm. Then I can relax and not be too stressed out about it.

I want to walk around Yale's campus and visit all my old haunts. I almost cried when the plane started descending to the Tweed-New Haven airport and when the taxi was bringing me to my hotel. Ah, nostalgia.

      >> 12:47 PM

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Earlier today, while sitting in the [SITES lab], also known as the graduate student hang-out place, I asked the two people in the room if it would be unethical to parcel out my dissertation to my students and have them write various sections for me. We're all for collaborative learning, right? Plus, I feel like I have all the argumenst and ideas set for my dissertation, but I just really don't want to write any of it. Writing sucks! My fellow graduate student sufferers thought that it was at least worth a try.

      >> 1:15 PM

[Minnesota professors should speak English, lawmakers say.] Ah, yes. Those instructable and unintelligible Eastern European and Asian math professors. I wonder if people in the US might ever get around to thinking that multilingualism would not only be a good thing but a necessary thing. I mean, people often speak of Europeans as being polyglot because of the proximity and overlap of communities speaking different languages. I wish the US were more like that. Because I hate being a monoglot. I think it would be so cool to grow up in those bilingual schools that are starting to emerge. And to, like, not just learn another language in a separate course, but to learn biology in another language. It would be mind boggling, I say. MIND BOGGLING.

And just as a clarification, I think it's silly that there's a proposed law requiring professors to speak good English. But I do think it's odd and contradictory that professors are being hired who aren't able to teach effectively. It's that whole research/teaching divide again, something I just totally hate and don't understand. I guess the problem is that there aren't many other places (types of institutions) where people can go conduct research as a job without teaching (except of course in certain "useful" fields like pharmaceutical sciences, etc.).

      >> 10:08 AM

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Later tonight, I am going to a reading by novelist [Colson Whitehead]. I am excited to hear excerpts from his new book, [Apex Hides the Hurt]. I saw him give a reading at the Brooklyn Public Library when I lived in the area six, seven years ago. (Just came across an article in which Whitehead talks about [the gentrification of Brooklyn neighborhoods].)

Before that, I'll have to pick up the dog from day care in Durham and take him home after talking as a panelist on interdisciplinary studies in [my department] for a "Boundaries of English" symposium (in Chapel Hill).

Before the panel, I'll be teaching my gender and popular culture class at Duke in Durham, focusing on [import car culture].

Before that, I hope to make it to the gym and then eat some lunch.

I'm currently recovering from the hecticness of the last few days at Cup a Joe's in Chapel Hill. I shouldn't be having this second cup of coffee (double latte), but I am.

This morning I spent an hour and a half at the Orange County Courthouse in Hillsborough. I needed to settle a speeding ticket. The line stretched down the hallway, out the back door, around the jury parking lot, and down the hill towards a doctor's office. The sheriffs had to come by and tell people to move their cars from the doctor's office parking lot or risk being towed. It was a long wait. But I read through the article for this afternoon's class on import car culture. That was helpful. When I finally got into the courtroom, the judge was lecturing someone about speeding in a particular neighborhood because little children might be stepping off the curb into the street, and even 40 mph on those streets would be deadly.

(OMG how fucking annoying there's this little kid who's going and sitting at people's tables and saying hi. And everyone's all, aww how cute, but she's being loud and obnoxious. Please, parents, don't let your kids run around unsupervised. I should totally make homosexual recruitment pamphlets to hand out to such children who approach me.)

Before court, I was a thirty-minute drive away in Durham, dropping off Giles at day care, getting my first latte at Shade Tree Coffee, and withdrawing $200 in cash to cover my speeding ticket and court costs (plus extra money for the coming week).

Last night, I hung out at a bar with friends to celebrate [hermance's] successful dissertation defense. The cake was delicious.

Before that, I was at a reading/talk by Junot Diaz, author of the stories collection [Drown]. I really like Diaz's writing. I think it's beautiful and brilliant. And he was amazing in person, too -- very smart and articulate. But somehow his affectation rubs me the wrong way and makes me uncomfortable. This is probably my suppressed bourgeois self poking its head out. Sure, the whole Dominican immigrant growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Jersey persona is very in-your-face about class and race issues. But I think it's the fact that all his protagonists (and the way he carries himself in person) are so masculinist and asshole-y that makes me not like his work as much as I otherwise would. He is very cute, though.

And before that, I walked the dog for an hour along the American Tobacco Trail by Southpoint Mall before dashing off an e-mail draft of my paper for a conference this Saturday at Yale to the discussant.

And before that, I met with a student in Durham on Ninth Street about her paper.

And before that, I was holding office hours after teaching my morning class in Chapel Hill.

I spend a lot of time driving back and forth between Durham and Chapel Hill. Sigh.

      >> 10:06 AM

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Chino Latino" truck on the drive from Chapel Hill to Durham.

      >> 12:36 PM

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm feeling culinary lately. After yesterday's kale and potato soup (admittedly a very non-labor intensive dish), I am making a version of this sweet potato, kidney bean stew thing I used to make with pork tenderloin. (Whoah -- hella windy outside. I think we might be under a tornado watch what with the severe thunderstorms lurking.) I'm substituting these Morningstar Farms veggie chicken strips instead, though I'm not sure they'll hold up well to a stew. I guess the fake beef strips would probably have been a better choice. I considered mushrooms, but I'm a bit afraid their strong taste might totally change the dish.

We'll see how it goes! Also drinking some red wine now, a cheap merlot-shiraz blend. Mmm.... wine.

      >> 6:14 PM

While reading last night, I pulled out some CDs I haven't listened to in years. I put on [Cause and Effect's Trip] and am re-loving it now. I just pulled up their [MySpace page] this morning and am curious to listen more to their newer stuff. For now, though, more reading. (Where's my coffee??)

      >> 10:01 AM

[Jamie 'must back squirrel-eating.'] There are so many things to say about this article. But how fitting is it that the imported-from-North-America grey squirrel is this rampant pest in the UK, pushing the native red squirrels out of habitats and towards extinction? It's the return of the colonial presence, I say! (Link via [sonatine].)

      >> 9:37 AM

Ah, how my best-laid plans were foiled even before I woke up.... I'm just getting up now, nudged out of bed by the sound of thunder. I had hoped to get up early (hah), eat a quick breakfast, and then take stinky dog for a walk. Then, I'd tackle the long list of things I need to do, like revise this stupid essay that just won't DIE. But since two parts of that plan are now shot, I think I will have to drown my sorrows in coffee and reading.

I do love thunderstorms, though.

      >> 8:54 AM

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It feels like I'm just getting started with my Sunday, and it's almost midnight!

It's that time of the semester when things are dragging a bit, mostly because I'm unable to sustain the enthusiasm and energy necessary to make it all the way through these 15-week semesters. Someone who recently finished her PhD in my program writes about how her students aren't keeping up with work: [Do the reading!] My response to these situations is to have those dreaded "meta" discussions. In fact, in this past Thursday's class, I asked my students to take a moment to write down and then discuss what they thought was the purpose of class discussions. It was quite clear which students are still insisting on the ["banking" concept] of learning and which ones believe that the practice of critical discussion is how and what they are learning in the class. I can't say I'm particularly good at creating the classroom space for more dynamic learning. One student complained that everyone just says whatever they think and she can't figure out what's "right" to write in her notes. Another student perceptively noted that even when discussion gets going in class, it still takes the form of dialogue between me and individual students, and students aren't talking to each other directly. I haven't looked at the written responses I collected from them all.... we'll see what those are like.

The past few days I've spent in recovery-mode, and I must say I am feeling much better tonight. Sometimes, it just takes doing daily tasks -- washing dishes, buying groceries, taking out the garbage -- to put me back in a better state of mind. I have to figure out how I'm doing my laundry, though, since our washer's motor died a horrible death a couple weeks ago.

      >> 10:55 PM

Tired after an hour at the dog park.


Where are we going?

      >> 7:44 PM

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Scenes from a birthday dog park visit

Behind the bench.

The sun's too hot!

I'll stay in the shade, thanks.

Hide! The sun's rays will scorch you!

Action shot. Giles runs!

      >> 12:26 PM

It's Giles's birthday today! Happy birthday, Giles! You're two!

      >> 8:08 AM