26 November 2007

Waiting for Cookie Monster

Three things:

A lovely holiday was had -- the snow was gorgeous, the hot mineral springs were amazing, the hippies were entertaining. And then, what seemed like three straight days of eating and drinking -- very yummy. Followed by the Griswold family Christmas tree adventure yesterday -- more on that next time. I need to get my quality tree time in before I depart for the East Coast on December 10th. In "yay for the department" news (a new category I think), they just checked out a laptop to me for the entire trip, which will make my life, blog, research, etc. so much easier. Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend as well!

Quote from a student paper: "Women played an important role in the revolution because without them the men would have had nothing to come home to when the war was over." And before you ask, it's from a female student. Much like an armchair, women make many important contributions by waiting around for men to get home.

On the viewing of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special as an adult: oh, dear. I'm not even going to get into the special on the Mayflower, but as we were watching the Thanksgiving show, J. suddenly noticed that there was something strange in the seating arrangements. I tried to find a screen shot, but couldn't, so picture this: Marcie, Sally, Peppermint Patty, and Snoopy are ALL FOUR sitting on one side of a long table, with Linus and Charlie Brown at the either end of the table. Alone on the other long side of the table, across from the FOUR on the other side, is Franklin. Remember Franklin? He's Charlie Brown's black friend. Charlie Brown's Segregated Thanksgiving Special! It's disturbingly eye-opening to watch stuff as an adult that you saw as a kid, the little things that are slipped in or normalized. It also ties in with this Sesame Street news -- the early season DVDs are apparently appropriate only for adults, only this time it's because kids today need a more gentrified, less explicitly working-class/mentally ill/obese puppet show. Because it would be wrong to reflect in any way the lives of all the children who are not white suburban upper-middle-class yuppies. We're a nation of aspiration! Kids just need to believe that if they don't have the sane, shiny celery-eating lives of TV, it's because they or their parents aren't working hard enough. Even though this recent study on economic mobility pretty much proves that it really doesn't matter, 99% of the time, because you don't get out of the class you're born into. But you can still make a very important contribution, by waiting for someone that matters more to get home.

*By the way, I'm not actually attached to keeping Cookie Monster old-school either, given that he was originally designed as a marketing device for cookie and snack companies and then incorporated into a show for kids. Whatever, CM -- go talk to the Marlboro Man about karma.

20 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am a bad blog updater lately, but this weekend it was due to an annoying virus that laid me up for three days. You know how your body saves up whatever sicknesses it's been collecting for a while and then, when whatever stressful task(s) that have been weighing you down are finally completed and the adrenalin at last clears out, wham, it hits you? Yeah, I turned in my latest draft, finished teaching for the week, finally didn't have any encyclopedia articles or fellowship applications due the following Monday and my body clearly took all that as a sign that this was the ideal time to get sick. Which I can't exactly disagree with, but it would have also been a great weekend to get to have fun and talk to people (since my colds tend to invade my throat and render me mute). So not so much fun, but I did get to enjoy some fine sick movies, such as the ever-classic Neverending Story. I thought briefly that perhaps a new name would cure me of my illness in the same way it apparently cured the child-like empress in that story, but nobody shouted any out any windows at me. It's kind of hard to imagine yourself with another name, actually, I didn't get far in my musings. Also, I would like to affirm that the Lemony Snicket movie is just as good on second viewing as it was in the theater, I like that story quite a lot.

Finally, a few random points of order that never found their way into blog entries of late. This list of events is from one 4-hour period last week, in which I was reminded anew of what an ivory-tower bubble I live in.

You might be a nerd if:

1) The students who work the counter at the library recognize you as the girl who checks out more books at once than "anyone they've ever seen" and every time you approach you have to say "no, it's only a few this time!" Even then, they don't trust you until they've checked the hold shelf themselves.

2) The night of one of the biggest football games (apparently) for your school, like, ever, you are not only unaware it's happening until it's almost over (at which point you still don't really care), you are instead just bummed that you are missing the Ursula LeGuin reading in order to teach formal logic in a test prep course.

3) In trying to "engage" with your students about a letter from Jefferson to William Henry Harrison regarding Indian policy, you use the phrase "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" from the 1840 election campaign to explain who Harrison is/was, thinking they will surely have heard that before, since you had heard of it when you were a teenager. Um, no. More successful -- Thanksgiving cartoons from today's lecture. Also, based on the reaction in the room, any images of pumpkin pie elicit strongly positive student feelings. Declaration of Independence -- meh. Pie -- yeah!

I have lots more fondness for Thanksgiving after the lecture today, I must admit. I leave tomorrow for a day and night at a hot springs before driving back on Thursday to an already-prepared meal (menfolk are doing all the cooking this year), so the holiday seems extra good this year. I wish you all feasting, relaxation and no stress! Enjoy your "inoculation against Christmas consumerism!"

13 November 2007

We Eat a Lot of Cheese and Wear a Lot of Costumes

That might be the conclusion from the last several weeks of events and/or photos. This weekend we had a little get-together for Erin's birthday, involving magical creature costumes, fondue (again!), and a trip to a redneckety bowling alley where we caused, shall we say, a splash among the toothless locals. I haven't even uploaded the Halloween party pictures yet, but then I noticed my flickr account is also packed with photos of costumed square dancing and fondue. OK, let's be real: cheese + costumes = awesome time. Add publicly bowling in those costumes, followed by "boozy cake" = extra awesome. The black forest cake was yet again a hit, doused in liberal amounts of kirsch. We may have reached a BCC consensus that all future birthday parties will be celebrated with some sort of costuming theme involved.

This week my goal is to finish draft three of the neverending prospectus. My other goal is not to get infected with the yucky that is spreading like wildfire all of a sudden. Vitamin C & I are BFFs right now. Finally, I aspire to make my students think in complicated ways about slavery, freedom, founding fathers, ideas of progress, and the justification of self-interest. Ha! OK, not all my goals will be accomplished. As long as I can stop myself from flattening the LSAT student who keeps challenging me on irrelevant crap, it will be a successful week.

Addendum: 9 out of 11 encyclopedia articles finished and submitted as of yesterday. Woo-hoo! And -- never again!

05 November 2007

I Smell Turkey!

Random: Last night being E's bro's birthday, and because he has lacked that little joy called sleep for several weeks, we made a full-on Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner with all the trimmings. All the better to knock him out with tryptophan -- which appears to have worked, as he's still sleeping. Ah, the magic of tryptophan. You might ask about two vegetarians buying and cooking a big slab of flesh, and there was definitely some whinging involved, as my stepmom would say. We didn't buy a complete turkey, because it was just for B. & of course J., who could not have been happier about the situation. So we got some largish "part" -- I have no idea what -- at Trader Joe's and threw it on a broiling pan with some butter. Apparently, according to the menfolk, it was the best turkey they'd ever eaten, melty and moist, which makes me suspect that turkey is perhaps not best cooked in a giant entire bird all at once format. Whatever -- that information is unlikely to do me a whole lot of good in life. Here's the point: I woke up this morning to the realization that turkey smell, like fish or curry or garlic, permeates everything. My clothing smells like Thanksgiving dinner. The entire house reeks of dead bird avec buerre. I'm about to go to a meeting and I sense that everyone afterward will be craving a leftovers sandwich with cranberry sauce. I'm not exactly complaining, it's just really an odd sensation for me to smell roasted meat in my house or on my clothes.

Since I have been remiss for weeks in posting, I promise to have better things to say in future -- including a story about a student that I will unfortunately have to wait until winter quarter to fully tell, because if there's anyone who could track me down online and identify my blog at 3 am on a friday night, it's this kid. Oh the glamorous life of a teaching assistant! Also, photos of our Halloween party and my final -- sniff -- work in the silkscreen studio. I'm buying a slab of plywood and setting up my own studio in the garage, I swear.