Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just saw something on Animal Planet about the US Department of Agriculture's [Beagle Brigade]! So cute. Beagles sniff out contraband fruits and meats at customs in airports.

My allergies are kicking my ass again. I guess I'm giving up and heading back to the doctor to see if there's any hope of finding some miracle medicine for me.

      >> 6:22 PM

Today, I have written one sentence of my dissertation so far. And it wasn't even a complete sentence. I couldn't figure out a word in the middle, so I left a ___________ to be filled in later. A fill in the blank dissertation! Then my friend Parick and I were talking about the difficulty of finding words and all that and decided that we should write "Choose Your Own Adventure" dissertations. They could be "Choose Your Own Thesis Statements" chapters and stuff.

I also asked Parick if I could just submit a bibliography as my dissertation. He said no. Then I asked him if I could submit an annotated bibliography as my dissertation. And he said no. Then I asked him if I could submit a video of Giles as my dissertation. And he said no. What kind of friend is he?

      >> 1:35 PM

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And you know what I hate even more about X3? I just read on-line that there was a short snippet of a scene (a coda) after the end credits. That I missed. Because I'm not a film geek who sits through the end credits of every fucking movie. And while I'm fine that some people feel they must experience ALL of the film, I hate people who roll their eyes at the rest of us who couldn't care less who the key grip is. Really, it's such annoying elitism when people get all high and mighty about being the "true" fans or movie-lovers because they sit through it all.

It took me a while, but after some web searching, I read a bit about the post-credits scene. And it revealed something that I expected was the case anyways. It's such a stupid ploy to leave things open for future movies but without guaranteeing them (the way the first two movies did) -- as some people pointed out on various message boards, it's all about leaving room for making more X-Men movies if this one does well and fans demand more. But if fans hate it, and more importantly if X3 is a box office flop (which apparently it isn't), then they can leave the three films as a trilogy.

      >> 7:03 PM

The heat seems to have gotten to the Internets. My cable connection is sloooooow. Or maybe I'm just projecting my extreme lack of energy due to the heat onto everything around me.

      >> 12:33 PM

X3. It sucked. What is funny to me is how bloggers defending the movie do so by attacking people who thought it sucked by saying critics just don't get the point of the movie (flashy effects, lots of cool superpowers, etc.). And critics supposedly are holding the movie up to the holy grail of faithfulness to the comic series (which is nigh impossible with something like X-Men that has gone through so many storyline changes anyways... continuity is fluid in that world anyways!). Umm. Yeah. There are so many things awful about that movie that aren't just about misplaced expectations. The movie itself just was poorly put together. Critics of the movie aren't going around saying people who like it are idiots.

      >> 11:51 AM

Monday, May 29, 2006


      >> 8:40 PM

Giles and I partook of the sun today.

      >> 8:36 PM

Sunday, May 28, 2006

That's MY lion!

Mine mine mine!

Well, I guess you could play with it a little.

Ok. Enough. I said MINE.

What part of MINE don't you understand??!!!!

      >> 8:06 PM

For the first time in the history of humankind, Giles lies down at the dog park!
Ah, summer heat. Defeater of all.

      >> 7:40 PM

My friend told me about a New Yorker article on Cesar Millan describing his effectiveness through movement ("phrasing"). I found this [Malcolm Gladwell interview about Cesar Millan] on the web site. What's the deal with this Malcolm fellow and why is he everywhere? (And why is he writing about dogs?)

      >> 1:59 PM

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A successful evening excursion to the dog park just before sunset. Witness:

One passed out doggy.

Two passed out doggy.

      >> 7:30 PM

That's MY squirrel!

      >> 4:36 PM

Dog sitting Dora, or, Giles vs. Dora, Round Two.

Now that we're at our place, the tables seem to be turned.

Dora wants to play constantly, to the point of being bully-ish.

      >> 11:17 AM

Friday, May 26, 2006

[If it quacks like an alien...]

      >> 9:37 PM

Itchies! The biting bugs and ticks have returned with a vengeance.

What's that behind you?

      >> 6:33 PM

It's hot out already! Ah, summery weather, how we've longed for your arrival this year. (Not.)

Finally went to the grocery store. Total bill: $96.29. This food better last us at least a couple weeks.

Off to see the new X-Men movie in a bit. Hope it's not too crowded (or sold out).

      >> 9:24 AM

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My, what delicious roots you have!

      >> 4:28 PM

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

[Mercury scare closes elementary school, UNC-CH library.] Oh no! I have some of the symptoms of mercury exposure (respiratory irritation, headache, nausea)! I'm going to get brain damaged and spinal problems! :( See, going to write in the library is dangerous to your health! Parick and I heard an announcement over the PA system sometime while we were up on the seventh floor saying that the entrances/exits were open again. We were confused because we did not know that they had been closed.

If I die of mercury exposure, I'm totally blaming it on my dissertation.

      >> 8:20 PM

The grass is always greener....


Time for some [Doggles®].



Sittin' at the gate, waitin' to go through.

      >> 6:30 PM

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,794 / 7,500

Man, this writing this is painful. Only about half of the "new" words in this count are actually words I wrote today. The rest is from stuff I wrote before. Maybe some more writing this evening. Am feeling a bit woozy at the moment.

      >> 3:29 PM


      >> 3:01 PM

[Dinosaur Comics bread rolls.]

      >> 2:42 PM

Because writing is hard, here is a screenshot of my computer desktop.

      >> 1:40 PM

Giles has allergies like I do! He was sneezy this morning.

      >> 9:24 AM

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It was very pleasant in the shade today.

Giles stands on some fallen trees.

Giles faces off against 97-pound Chewie.

Giles likes being at the park.

      >> 5:30 PM

[Buy my used CDs on Amazon.com's Marketplace PLEASE. :)]

      >> 12:31 PM

[St. Thomas honor student apologizes for grad speech.] Eek. This is my new school. I guess it's heartening to hear that students generally responded poorly to his speech. But at the same time, I think that might say more about the need for avoiding any kind of politics in a commencement address than the general tenor of campus politics. In related news, UNC's commencement speaker this year was someone involved in Teach for America -- the president or co-founder? -- and I was told by a graduating senior a few days before the speech that she would not be attending because she was afraid the speech would be "too political."

      >> 12:16 PM

Sunday, May 21, 2006

[Crazy Utahraptor] (animated short of Dinosaur Comics).

      >> 8:09 AM

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Why can't I have some coffee?

At the coffee shop, a passerby asked if Giles is part beagle. As far as anyone knows, he looks and acts muchly like a beagle. This passerby explained that beagles tend to be very sweet with people but a bit wary of other dogs when I said that Giles is kinda mean to other dogs sometimes. I guess after Giles got over his puppy love of everything that moves (including other dogs), he's settled into a general wariness of other dogs.

I'm currently working on the first chapter of my dissertation that provides some sort of explanation for the project's focus on sounds. I'm aiming for about thirty pages, or seven thousand five hundred words. I'm copying other academic bloggers with this word count bar:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,003 / 7,500

      >> 6:20 PM

Friday, May 19, 2006

Post-bath picture 1: The nose knows.

Post-bath picture 2: Tough dog pose.

Post-bath picture 3: Chameleon dog, able to blend into bookshelves.

Post-bath picture 4: Still damp. Stealth puppy!

Post-bath picture 5: Fluffy neck without collar.

      >> 10:39 PM

Under my desk.

Ghost dog! Eep!

      >> 7:57 PM

A well-behaved dog at the park today.

      >> 6:16 PM

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Giles came when I called for him and sat down.

      >> 6:44 PM

Dear Dissertation,

Stop fooling around and write yourself already!


      >> 4:47 PM

Read about telecom's plans to create a tiered system of Internet download speeds: [Save the Internet].

      >> 4:33 PM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

[Pass and Cross] thinks that I'm too nice to my allergies and that I should threaten them. Here's my revised letter:

Dear Allergies,

Bite my shiny metal ass.


      >> 6:14 PM

I sincerely hope the phone companies [denying that they have given the NSA substantive customer info] isn't just an issue of "definitions" (i.e., "I did not have sex with that woman") but rather is actually a claim that the NSA has underhandedly been obtaining customer phone records. Actually, that's kind of a scary thought, too.

      >> 4:28 PM

Dear Allergies,

I would very much like to have my life back now. Constantly sneezing or almost-sneezing makes it difficult for me to do anything besides moan on the couch in front of the television.


      >> 1:00 PM

Monday, May 15, 2006

Today I was supposed to turn in my office keys. After lunch I went over to campus and started packing up my books and papers. After two hours, though, I was still not done and gave up on finishing before the department office closed at 5. I'll go back in tomorrow morning to deal with the things I left behind. It's always amazing how much stuff accumulates in any space if you've been there a number of years (five years in that office!).

Now I'm in a bit of a cleaning mood. I'm starting to think about minimizing my belongings to make the move easier in a couple of months. I really should try to sell off or give away a big chunk of my book collection. It's just so hard!

In other news, my allergies are still being a pain in the ass. I wonder if I should bother going to the health services to get a different prescription medicine. The awful part is that I just bought two months' worth of the two medicines I'm on.

My life is so boring.

      >> 9:37 PM

The Chino Latino truck pulled up beside me at a stoplight today.

      >> 6:07 PM

What's that?

Coffee and scone for elevenses.

      >> 11:45 AM

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Dear Dog,

I'm afraid we will have to cut back on our trips to the dog park -- at least shorten our stays outdoors. See, my allergies are making me a sneezy, clammy mess. I feel miserable.

This doesn't mean I love you any less.


      >> 4:03 PM

I made lasagne for lunch. This thing is just a block of baked cheeses! I snuck in a thin layer of spinach (Rob, vegetarian though he is, does not like green stuff). Next time I should put in more vegetables.

For lunch, sauteed garlic green beans and a block of baked cheese.

I want to try to make it to the departmental end-of-year, graduation celebration. But it's already started, and by the time I get myself dressed and out the door, it'll be 3. Why can't I make it to anything on time these days?

My allergies are killing me, despite the two prescription medicines I'm on.

      >> 1:39 PM

It's gettin' hot in here.

      >> 10:42 AM

Homemade French toast and soy bacon for breakfast! Whenever I make food, Giles sits and watches me expectantly. He never gets any of my food, but he still thinks he will. Rob calls him my sous chef, though frankly, he is lousy at dicing onions.

How much vanilla extract do I put in here?

      >> 7:58 AM

Friday, May 12, 2006

Whoops. Well, I was too late, I think, for the birthday gathering. I got there about two hours late, and I didn't recognize anyone in the bar.

I stopped by the coffee place with the delicious mochas, though. (I love that it opens until midnight.) And as I expected, I ran into someone I know there -- the assistant to undergraduate studies in my department. It's such a small town. Now I'm home playing hide and seek with the dog. He's not very good at finding me, even in this small, two-bedroom apartment.

Rob's playing his game. He's installed this mod(ification) that is essentially a voice chat program linked to World of Warcraft, allowing members of a raid party to hear each other. It's funny listening to the other players chatting as they play. I haven't heard Rob turn on his mic to participate (though maybe he does when I'm asleep), but I'm sure it's very cute.

      >> 9:22 PM

So I just saw some Minuteman talking about illegal immigration on a television news report. And I can't believe that he is actually arguing that illegal immigrants are bad because they take jobs at lower wages and without benefits, making hard-working AMERICANS not only miss out on those coveted janitorial jobs but also shoving them into a lower class status because they have to compete for these lower jobs. Talk about blaming the victim! What about addressing the issue of low-paying jobs through businesses that are perpetuating the practice of paying workers low wages, rescinding benefits packages, and so on? The worst part was that this Minuteman co-founder had the gall to say that these businesses are laughing their way to the bank and yet couldn't make the leap to understand that perhaps it's these businesses that are doing the worst thing for Americans, workers of all nationalities, and the economy.

Now I'm off to make a cameo at a friend's 30th birthday get-together at the local wine bar.

      >> 8:22 PM

The bloggers and book reviewers at The Bark have taken on [Cesar Millan's dominance paradigm]. I pretty much agree with what they say. There are many useful elements to the Dog Whisperer's behavioral training -- exercise, rules, calm-patience -- but he has just one suspect explanation for every problem. As the show has progressed, his method has shown itself to be more and more based on this "be a pack leader" solution but without more useful steps to take besides exuding "calm, assertive energy." Aside from the fact that the show is a show, with editing likely part of the constructed narrative of miraculous retraining, it seems odd that people are becoming unquestioning adherents to his methods without knowing more about what he does. Admittedly, I have been taken by what seems to be Millan's effectiveness, but what really fascinates me about the show is how much it emphasizes the owners' personal transformations during the course of rehabilitation. Owners' neuroses and lack of assertiveness (especially female owners!) are usually the cause of the dogs' behavioral problems, and the solution is about seizing that masculine energy of calm assertiveness.

Today at the dog park, this annoying woman was babbling about how much she thinks Cesar is the best. She also made this remark that she's so impressed he was an illegal alien who firmly established himself as an authority on dog psychology. Which all leads me to wonder (again), why do people continually make such a big deal about "illegal aliens"? Seriously. Like, every study I've seen actually shows that undocumented workers contribute way more to local/national economies than they supposedly take out through social services. So what's the recent furor over illegal immigration? Totally a distraction technique, I say, by politicians creating a scare about a non-issue so that people won't think about the awful things that are actually happening.

      >> 6:08 PM

Hooray for the return of the sun.

Blue skies in my head.

Giles got a boo-boo on his belly. I didn't notice it until we were leaving the park. I suspect he got scratched by Champ, the dog he was molesting earlier. Giles had Champ on his back frequently, and Champ flailed away with his legs, kicking at Giles's overexuberant wrestling. I wish I had a dog who believed in non-contact play.

Giles naps with his dragon.

Here Giles naps with his head over the edge of the bed.

      >> 3:08 PM

[Ducklings are love.]

      >> 11:52 AM

Thursday, May 11, 2006

[We spent our short visit to the dog park today stalking squirrels.
The rains came shortly after we arrived.]

      >> 1:47 PM

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mr. Moody at the dog park.

Rob says Giles gets his moodiness from me. Perhaps. Today at the dog park, Giles was doing pretty well. After an initial bit of his usual over-exuberance, he settled down a bit and played well with the few dogs in the small dog area. Later, we went into the big dog area a couple times. The first time he was entirely fine with the two dogs there. The second time, he picked fights with two of the dogs. I ended up picking him up and walking back over to the small dog area. Then we came home.

It appears that the camera on my phone doesn't do color very well. Also, the last few days have been so overcast and dreary. Everything's looked rather lifeless outside. Sigh.

Let's Photoshop® some color into this picture.

      >> 3:49 PM


From [opal_ravioli].

Also, for future reference:

[Noted Asian American Creators Discuss Comics]

      >> 7:36 AM

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Let's go for a ride!"
Here's Giles getting in the car for our morning constitutional.

Fish in the student center on campus.

      >> 9:57 AM

I woke up this morning snuggled up in bed with Rob on my left and Giles on my right. Rob was in a deep sleep under the covers with me while Giles was curled up in a little ball on top of the covers. I was effectively trapped if I did not want to disturb either one. I lay in bed there for a half hour just to enjoy the warmth. Upstairs, our neighbor ran water in the bathroom for his morning ablutions.

As I get older, I find that I fixate more and more on things from my past as moments of pleasure. In this particular instance, I recalled often lying in bed upon first waking during my high school years (and even into college when I returned to my parents' house for vacations). I would just relax, unhurriedly letting both my mind and my body warm up to the day's tasks. I loved hearing my mom opening cabinets, moving pots, and running water in the kitchen while she prepared breakfast for us. There is something I find pleasing about the sounds of someone else getting a day started while I am still easing myself out of sleep, as if it makes my inevitable rising less difficult -- I am joining someone in a day already begun rather that creating one anew by myself.

      >> 7:24 AM

Monday, May 08, 2006

A feel like I've accomplished a lot if I manage to go a day without eating out. Of late, with the end of the semester, I've gotten back to preparing my own food. I even made my own lemonade, extra lemony, which I like to mix with some club soda. I've been assembling my own greek salads from lettuce, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and dressing. And tonight, I also made some macaroni and cheese (the baked kind), which turned out decently. A few days ago, I made some chipotle mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and lentil loaf (okay -- that was a frozen thing, but that's still "cooking" to me). And yesterday, I made a simple penne with pasta sauce (mixed with soy protein crumbles).

Sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't be utterly content being a homemaker. Let Rob find a job that can support us all. I'll make house, keeping it cleaner than I do now, and just spend time otherwise reading and thinking.

Of course, the pleasure I get from cooking for myself and tidying up around the apartment is in part because things get so horribly messy during the semester. Being able to feed myself without resorting to take-out every meal makes me feel competent and responsible. Cleaning up the clutter in my physical space helps me feel more sane, more pulled-together mentally. I'm trying to get into the habit of washing the dishes in the sink at the end of every day instead of leaving dishes to sit for weeks at a time, creating little mold and bacteria breeding pools. I'm also trying to vacuum more frequently, especially with Giles's hair shedding at an alarming rate.

If only I could get a handle on things so that my career work isn't in this total inverse relationship with house work.

      >> 8:01 PM

[EEEWWWW!!!!!] Horror movie-like guts!!!

      >> 6:44 PM

Despite the cold, overcast weather, I read on a bench outside on campus today with the dog.

Giles hates sitting around.

      >> 3:57 PM

Good morning!

      >> 8:00 AM

Sunday, May 07, 2006

New header image and color scheme.

Hooray for the end of the semester!

      >> 5:53 PM

Still got the essay portion of about a dozen students' final exams left to grade. I should be able to finish up in a couple hours -- none too soon, either, since grades are due at 5 pm today. I'll probably slightly miss the deadline, but I doubt that'll be much of a concern (will anyone even be at the registrar's office to record grades today?).

I spent the morning at the coffee shopping grinding away at the exams. Grading the essay part takes longer than I had hoped. Anyways, the coffee place near where I live is frequented on Sunday mornings by hordes of young parents with their babies. It's a bit scary. The worst part is how they gossip the whole time. And since they're all white, there's just a total lack of consciousness about how things they say are way racist. Like, at one point, they were talking about an "Indian" man and his child in kindergarten. They kept talking about how "dark" he was. It was like an epithet -- every time they mentioned him, that mention had to be accompanied by some permutation of "his skin is so dark." I take it they were talking about "Indian" meaning South Asian because they also mentioned how he came from "over there." But at one point, one of the women said something about "Kemo Sabe" in reference to him. Sigh.

      >> 1:00 PM

Best phrase ever: "narcissistic activist personality disorder."

From [Parents sue over book about gay family].

      >> 6:54 AM

Friday, May 05, 2006

OMFG LOL: [Evolution of Dance] (YouTube).

(Via [legalmoose].)

      >> 1:06 PM

Thursday, May 04, 2006

You'll never guess where we went this afternoon.

I really don't seem to notice high temperatures as much when there isn't much humidity. I knew it was on the warm side today, but I didn't think it was all that bad. At the dog park, though, everyone was lethargic and huddled in the shade (dogs and people alike). I was going to say Giles was very well-behaved today but really it was probably just that it was too hot to misbehave. Mostly the dogs just stood or lay around. A few spurts of running. A couple of tiffs (of course, Giles was in one of them). One woman hit another woman's dog, and there was a minor confrontation between people because it is such a no-no to hit other people's dogs even if the dog is molesting yours. This one guy who's always at the large dog area in the late afternoons was like NO WAY YOU DO NOT EVER HIT SOMEONE'S DOG YOU WILL BE KICKED OUT OF THE PARK FOR THAT. It was funny because he's usually the friendliest person and knows all the dogs that come in by name (and they all run up to greet him). The woman was initially very hostile. I think she yelled something like, "That fucking dog was biting my dog!" (And seriously, it wasn't even aggressive though there was some dominance posturing going on.) But after the dog's owner and the guy berated her, she kind of backed off and apologized. And then five minutes later, she left the park with her dog.

We drove home with the sun's rays shining right through the windshield.

Post park pup.

Seriously, though, it's so weird to me that people hit dogs at all -- especially other people's dogs, but any at all. Doesn't hitting dogs only teach them to be aggressive to humans, leading them down the path of biting people and all that?

I also really need to start wearing bug repellant when I go to the park. The biting bugs are starting to swarm. I have three or four bites from today. Someone told me lavender oil works well....

I gave my contemporary literature class their final today. I need to start grading them tonight so I have a chance of finishing tomorrow. After finishing the exams, I need to calculate the students' participation grades, and then I will be completely done with teaching for the semester!

      >> 5:55 PM

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We played with the big dogs for awhile since Giles was so wound up from being cooped up at home for two days that he would've eaten the small dogs alive. Plus, the whippets were in the small dog area. Giles does not like the whippets. There were cool, big huskies in the big area, too. He was good with most of the dogs in the big area. He didn't like one of the German shepherds, though.

Giles isn't sure what to do with the big dogs.

Giles is much better at paying attention to me at the dog park now. Yay!

      >> 6:26 PM

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Giles is busy barking out the window after being cooped up in the bedroom most of today.

      >> 6:04 PM

A teensy bit of writing done today. Also, our advisor saw us working, which is always good, right?

Now off to see Stick It!

      >> 3:26 PM

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dog parked, ate dinner, and now ready to read and grade.

Giles of the Woods.

Giles says hello to the dogs. (Click for movie.)

      >> 6:41 PM

As much as I hate not living in a city, it sure is nice having a woodsy view from my apartment. It's amazing what a difference a few days can make with the landscape here. A few weeks ago, I left town for a conference. The trees out back were still completely bare, and you could see far into the expanse of woods -- trees upon trees. By the time I returned, after some heavy rainfall, the trees had all sprouted leaves in profusion. Everything's so much shadier now.

This is the view outside my apartment.

Cardinals, squirrels, and other fauna frolick outside the window, taunting Giles.
(I wish I had a telephoto lens on my camera.)

This morning, Giles and I went to turn in some observation reports at the Writing Program. Giles got some lovin' from all the staff in the English department who told me I must bring him back again for a visit soon. The brief visit we made to the department offices reminded me how much I'll miss all the wonderful people there. They really have looked out for me. Both the Writing Program administrative assistant and the graduate studies administrative assistant had e-mailed me in the past few weeks to check that I had meant not to submit an application to teach next year. And today, the Writing Program director asked me what my plans were for next year, and when I told him I was off to a job in Minnesota, he said they'd miss me and the good work I've done for the department. Awwww.

I left Giles in my office briefly to run to the restroom across the hallway. He barked. We spent the next few hours at our usual coffee shop grading some papers.

I went to the gym for a bit and ate a late late lunch just now (I know, it's pretty much dinner time). My goal now that the school year has ended, aside from finishing this dissertation, is to work out more. My cardiovascular endurance has dropped back down to very little. I can barely jog a mile on the treadmill.

Now Giles and I are going to dog park. And then tonight, more grading.

Tomorrow is a dissertation writing day and possibly a viewing of [Stick It] with my friend who is also totally excited about the movie.

      >> 4:10 PM