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Monday, December 31, 2007

Monkey Bread and Brown Sugar Cookies

For Elaine.

Monkey Bread

Quarter
3 cans buttermilk biscuits
and roll in
1 c white sugar
2 t cinnamon
(ginger, allspice, or cloves)
Layer in a Bundt pan with
(walnuts and raisins)

In a small saucepan, melt
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2 T water (or orange juice)
Boil 2 minutes to make a caramel sauce, and pour over biscuits. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes.

Brown Sugar Cookies

Heat in a skillet
10 T butter
swirling constantly until dark golden brown and nutty-smelling, about 3-4 minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl with
4 T butter
and set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Combine and set aside
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar

Add to browned butter, stirring so there are no sugar lumps
1 3/4 c brown sugar
Mix together and add gradually to butter and sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 T vanilla extract
Allow dough to cool 15-30 minutes or more in the refrigerator. Roll into 1" balls and roll in sugar mixture. Place cookies 2" apart on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Cookies will look raw in the cracks; be careful not to overbake. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Excuses for my recent and prolonged absence

1. Busy. This summer I had more free time than I knew what to do with, and I spent about 6 hours a day in front of the computer. Now I spend 6 hours a day in front of a room full of teenagers, and the rest of my time recovering.

2. Lack of Interesting or Original Thoughts. I am not thinking or doing anything lately that a) I have not done before (and possibly failed at, anyway, like being able to buy skinnier pants), b) you would find interesting or care about (grading papers, making more papers, assigning papers, and grading them when they are turned in, and meeting with other teachers to plan, assign, and grade papers. Oh, and one of my classes won a donut party.), c) are not too gross to talk about, such as the discharge resulting from my cervical biopsy and resultant cryotherapy, or d) that I actually want to talk about, such as...

3. Being Depressed. Things have been bothering me lately, not the kinds of things I feel like going into here, right now, and usually I get over pretty quickly, but, really, most of my "adventures" lately have consisted of mood swings.

So anyway, yes, I am still alive, but just sort of idling in neutral while I wait for Christmas break. Hope everyone else is doing okay.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Start the month off weirdly

Here is something you can do for fun. Put your name in the google search box, then do an image search and see what you come up with. Here's what I got:

Apparently there's a market out there for inventing your own conjoined twins, and this is the "Erin" model.

What I really wonder is how the girl part wound up with such a nice tan. And, of course, how they manage going to the bathroom.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What passes for entertainment around here

I got up at a reasonable hour this morning to make monkey bread, and while it's in the oven I decided to "clean" by pressing "power" on the Roomba our friends gave us. Okay, so it doesn't get the dog hair up all that great, preferring instead to drag it around for a while and drop it off somewhere, but it does pretty good on all the other crap that makes its way to the floor.

Oh, and damn if it isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen. It just got itself stuck under the dining table, and you could almost see it all distraught about all the places that, being stuck under the table, it was never going to get to clean. Plus it chases the cats all over the house, and that's always lots of fun.

It's a lot like watching a zamboni on the ice rink--it doesn't do much, but for some reason you can't stop watching.

Anyways, my monkey bread is about to be ready.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Story of a Half-Hour

So the new couch ate the mouse for Tyson's laptop. Either that, or he was just too lazy to really look for it. While I was at school doing my tutoring thing, he borrowed mine from my laptop.

When I got home, I rolled my eyes in consternation that my borrowed mouse had not been put back (what was I expecting, though, really?), and plugged it back in to the jury-rigged USB-port card thing that I use ever since my motherboard fried the ports in the back of the computer.

To my continued frustration, the laser light went on, but the pointer failed to move on my screen. I tried unplugging/replugging both the mouse and the port-card itself, then closing and opening the lid to get hibernate mode to trick the mouse into working, then I tried all the choice swear words that have served me in the past, but it still wouldn't work.

Then I had the great idea that this was probably the opportunity I'd been waiting for to get a new computer! Ever since the first mention of Windows Vista, I've been wanting to go Mac, 'cause, you know, screw Windows. Give me drag-and-drop image manipulation, and I can live with relearning an entire operating system.

I came down off my euphoric potential-new-computer high long enough to try restarting my computer, the only thing that has been getting these weird kinks out, lately. And, sure enough, its "working" fine again. (Those are ironic quote marks, by the way.) Too bad. I was all about to get on the other computer and start shopping for a new system.

(Do I need to mention there are extra-credit points for identifying the allusive title?)

I'm sure they say the same thing about us.

Japanese culture is weird.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hiccups!

I have the hiccups, and I can't make them stop!

I tried holding my breath, taking big gulps of water, and even trying to drink from the opposite side of a glass.

I get them when I eat too fast, and they usually go away pretty quickly, but I've been hiccuping for 30 minutes now, and it just isn't fun anymore.

In my second semester at Tech, I had four 80-minute classes in a row with ten-minute breaks in between. I was experimenting with quitting smoking at the time, so I usually brought an apple or a sandwich to try to curb my oral fixation between classes. Because the break was so short, I always scarfed my snack as quick as I could, and I got hiccups about once a week as a result. The worst was when I got the hiccups right before my German class because there were only four other students and you could always hear me right in the middle of something--HIC!--especially when someone was reading or I was called on to do a translation.

Our neurotic cat, Clam, gets the hiccups from time to time, and they always confuse her. Her whole body jerks, then she looks around for the culprit, ears flattened, tail thumping. About the time she relaxes, she hiccups again. It is one of the funnier mind games I play with my cat.

Hooray! In the time it took to write this, my hiccups stopped! I guess getting my mind off my spasming diaphragm was all I needed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gak!

Okay, so I am poking my head in here really, really quickly. You should be reading this post in a high-pitched, manic voice because I have like 5 minutes of free time today.

Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you:

thejuniorshavecrucibleoutlinesduetomorrowandthefreshmenturnedtheiressaysintoday andimstillbehindongradingfromlastweekandneedtocatchupdidimentionthatmyjuniorshave morethan40assignmentssofarthisquarter? insteadofthesmarter(andmoreboring)choiceofworkingallweekendweallwenttocaliforniainsteadwhereitwascoldandtheboysgot somefishbutthatmeanttodaytherewasallkindsofstufftodo
thenigotalovelynotefromastudent-parentsayingtheyhad "moralissues"withtheessaypromptandthereforeshehad"excused"herselffromtheassignment sotherewasthatdramaandididntreallyknowwhattodoaboutitbesidesstew

whew

iwassupposedtostarttutoringforproficiencyexamstodaybuttherewasnoannouncementsandno flyersandnoplansoranything(thatonesmyfault)soanywaybut thatmeansihavetokicksomebuttbeforewednesday
soiamheretakingaquickbreakbecauseimfeelingguiltyaboutalsonotbloggingbutthereislaundry readytocomeoutofthedryerandahandouttomakeforact3ofthecrucibleandineedtomakeagrading sheetfortheoutlinesthataredueandifidontgetsomeofitdoneithinkmybrainwillexplode.

So there's that. Hope your weeks are starting out manageably because I seem to be stressed enough for everyone already.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One last September post...

So the weekend is winding down, and, due to a frustratingly-timed cable outage, I have to wait until 9 to catch the finale of Rock of Love, and my hand hurts too much to play any more Guitar Hero, so I figured I'd put up an update.

Here is a hodgepodge of all sorts of goings-on: I am behind on grading but will have plenty of time to catch up tomorrow. We got 2 new English teachers, so about 10 or so of my juniors will be levelled (they got to pick, so it will be the kids who hate me and want to leave anyway). Last week was a swim meet weekend, and there's another coming up in two weeks (the same weekend as the Renaissance Fair, one of my favorite weekends of the year). Somebody flipped the fall switch this week and it's cool outside now. I made white chili, one of my very favorite foods, tonight.

Anyways, we have enough time to put away an episode of Lost, then my trashy reality show. 'Nite.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Still working on that comic....

Okay, so when I say "I'm working on it," it's the same way I spend Saturday mornings "working on laundry" by playing Sims (yes, still, I know), or the way I was "working on" all those term papers in college by just thinking about them a lot until a day or so before the due date.

(All those papers, by the way, kicked ass, so procrastination and quality are not necessarily mutually exclusive.)

But anyway, I guess I'm just popping my head in to say a lot of nothing. I have work stuff more under control than usual, and am almost at a loss of what to do with myself, and I felt like checking in just to hear myself talk, I guess. Umm....I took a tutoring job for the month of October where I do something, I don't know what yet, to get juniors and seniors to pass the proficiency test by having four-times-a-week sessions for the three weeks before exams. But I can do them on Saturdays, too, so that's pretty good, and I get paid (in money and brownie points!), and, since I know almost nothing about these tests, I'm sure there's something I can learn and use in my regular classes.

Anyhow, my week is boring. Tyson is in Carson City for their field trip today, the one where the parents buy lots of sugary snacks in the Reno airport at 6 in the evening after being gone all day and the kids bounce off the walls for the entire flight home, then fall asleep in their parents' SUVs on the way home (can't say that's the kind of excitement I really want in my week, actually). There was a parent night on Tuesday where I met some student-parents of my own, and my boss pitched this tutoring thing at me, like, while I was teaching a class, so that, at least, was interesting, if not in the fun-interesting sort of way. Also on Tuesday, the autism teacher in the room next door to me got beat up by a tantrum-having kid he was trying to restrain. (The noise accompanying those tantrums seems to be a regular part of my week, particularly when I am giving a quiz or doing something involving lots of silence, like a discussion.)

I also am hungry for some cookies.

That pretty much brings you up to speed on my boring week. You know what would make it less boring for me? More comics ideas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's Splaving!

I had to get some DVDs shipped from Amazon today, when I saw this ad.

Because the only thing better than shoe shopping is having shoes delivered to your house the next day.

Now I almost have to buy some new cute shoes just to get the shipping discount! (It's a good thing it's 2 days on the wrong side of payday. Tyson made me get rid of the exact pair of shoes that I needed to go with my corduroy pants.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Apologetic APM

Last week's APM turned out kind of sucky. That's the last time I use a Dinosaur Comic to get us started; I guess Ryan North is just funnier than you guys.

This week's APM, while also comics-related, takes a different tack.

Ok, so Tyson said he would buy me a Mac (and Illustrator, I hope!) if I write 10 installments of a comic of my own. So I need a plan, because I have a freshly-sharpened set of extra-hard pencils, nearly a whole empty sketchbook (plus like a whole box of copy paper at school), and suddenly all my ideas are stuck.

Anyway, your task today is to turn yourself (or your secret alter-ego you always knew was hiding in there somewhere) into a character suitable for comics. Give me a few important, definitive characteristics, like "smells like dryer sheets," "pathologically averse to bananas," or "on a mission to save the universe from people who say 'literally' but mean 'metaphorically.'" Then give me a situation your character might be in, like sitting in an all-night laundromat waiting for your child to be born or correcting a stranger's grammar.

If your imagination is good enough, you/your character/your situation might be featured in the first installment of my comic, which will eventually make it to the internet. Eventually.

Small steps, you know?

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's weird when external events synchronize themselves with my regular life.

After reading all 966 pages of Questionable Content in the last 30 or so hours, it was amusing to see this headline over at The Onion today. Plus I heard a review of some weird indie-electronica band called Battles--a band that, within fifteen minutes of hearing about for the first time on NPR, was featured in Jeph's newscolumn for one of the hundred or so strips I read. Am I destined to become a sassy, post-college, indie-person? Or are the stars just aligning really weirdly today?

Anywho, that comic really, really makes me want to learn Illustrator. Anybody have a copy laying around they want to mail me? With maybe a really detailed book on how to use it? (Then I'll have a great excuse to go Mac, too! And when I am finally a famous webcomics writer, I will dedicate a book to you or something.)

The Reinstitution of Audience Participation Monday

It's neat how most of our key verbs are just one syllable long!

Yes, it is.

This weeks APM likes it short! We will write a tale with just short words. It will start with a girl named Elizabeth (we'll have to call her Liz, then). Liz lives in some place with a short name, like Chad, or it could be Mars. Or the moon. (It could be that she moves lots. I don't care.)

Our tale should have some good scenes where Liz does things that we think are scary or gross, or would not want to do, such as to put one's bare feet on a bug. Each of us must add to the tale and write that Liz does a thing that is not what we would want for us.

Liz will have a bad day!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Some Fun


Your Score: House Stark


36% Dominant, 45% Extroverted, 54% Trustworthy



Responsible. Respectable. Dour. That’s not shit coming out of your ass--it’s honor. You are clearly of House Stark.

You are a submissive personality, meaning that you are more than willing to relinquish control to someone more qualified; you will unflinchingly accept any responsibility that is thrust upon you, including servitude. Unfortunately for you, your unending patience and accommodating nature often make people look to you for a leader. In essence, you are the perfect leader: someone who has no desire to lead, yet is substantially well-qualified to do it.

You are also introverted, which means that people sometimes have difficulty understanding your thought process. Your dependable nature makes you predictable, but you’ve probably got all sorts of emotional dysfunctions when it comes to more intimate relationships. There are very few people whom you trust unwaveringly, and you’re not the type to confide in other people. So cold, so aloof--so Stark.

Finally, you are trustworthy--the very definition of the word. All secrets are safe with you. All of your vows are unbreakable. True to your name, you world is a stark place; there is black, and there is white. Your rigidity tends to undercut your overall value as a friend and ally. Honesty such as yours is hard to come by, which is easy to understand when you consider how easily manipulated you are by less decent individuals. Essentially, you’re the nice guy, and you’ll always finish last.

Representative characters include: Eddard Stark, Jon Snow, and Sansa Stark

Similar Houses: Frey, Lannister and Tully

Opposite House: Baratheon

When playing the game of thrones, you play it with one sword in your hand and another up your ass.

Link: The Song of Ice and Fire House Test written by Geeky_Stripper on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I hate my textbook!

What kind of American Literature anthology doesn't include the Mayflower Compact? It's like, a paragraph long. What the hell?!

But they did have room for a Maya Angelou piece in the middle of "First Encounters" literature. Who's in charge of this? Textbook people are idiots.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Conceptualizing New Vocabulary

From some posts this weekend, it seems that we may need some new strategies for incorporating unfamiliar words and phrases into our shared vocabulary.

I often find that using diagrams to illustrate shades of meaning can be helpful. It helps the person learning to think about the underlying concepts and their relation to each other, rather than a strict sign-signifier relationship.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's over!


The first week back always seems to drag by, so it is nice to have it done with. Plus, you have to be nice and not start counting tardies, or yell at the frightened freshmen because they were incapable of understanding the vocabulary assignment, or let the juniors see how much work you are going to be making them do.
On the upside, it is now a long weekend, and, thanks to my wonderfully efficient student aide, all my grading is done and I have about thirty minutes' worth of work to do over the next three days. That is very, very nice.
So my first week has gone very well. I don't actually have 45 kids in any of my classes, so that is great. I got most of the week's assignments back from the juniors (the "regular" ones with the reputation of not doing much of anything), and my honors freshmen will, I think, turn out to be somewhat less neurotic than a roomful of chihuahuas. I hope.
Also, the graphic arts guy is awesome, and he always has my copies ready in time. And he will print on colored paper, cardstock, or laminate things without administrative approval, which was a dumb rule anyway.
On the other hand, my LCD projector is almost as old as some of my students, and my pull-down screen is three feet wide. And, for some reason, the only voice jack in my room is in the one corner of the room where it doesn't make much sense to put a desk: where the cable jack is (and where the TV, then, has to be).
Yes, there are going to be some problems. There are too many crazy stacks of papers, already, that I need to deal with, and there are still 37 weeks of school left. There are about four kids in each class that need to say something out loud approximately every six minutes, and as many that are willing to sit and stare at a blank sheet of paper, rather than asking for help. A couple speak pretty poor English (although, given extra time, one manages to crank out spectacular work), and lots are just unmotivated or half-asleep at 7 in the morning.
Anyway, I just thought you would like to hear how things are going. I hope you are enjoying your own back-to-school experiences!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer is almost over!

In fact, my first class starts in just over 12 hours. Crap.

Not that I haven't been bored as hell lately, but still.....

And there's not really anything to worry about on the first day, but still.....

And I know that I'll do a good job, but still....

*****

I have a short list of things I need to be doing tonight so I don't have to do them tomorrow, but I'm not doing them. I've tried all my procrastinating techniques: cleaning the house, playing video games, reading all my blogs, and now I'm here (that should say something about the hard-core procrastination I am doing right now). Officially, my excuse is that I need some of the files that are on my jump drive, and I don't know where my keys are, and, hence, my Swiss Army Data Knife thing. Tyson may have them actually, and he's at Wal-Mart with our JVO swimmer getting swim and school supplies.

So too bad, so sad, I guess my homework will just have to wait. Seriously, none of it is for tomorrow, anyway, just stuff I should print up and get to graphics by the end of the day tomorrow. School gets out at 1:15, so I'll have more than an hour before I have to leave, and I will definitely have my keys then, and I will possibly be more motivated.

One thing I am....let's say apprehensive....about is that when I got my rosters on Friday, I had between 40 and 45 kids in each class. That is scary. And I saw some kids wandering around the halls doing whatever kids who come to school a week early do, and they are so huge. I don't know how 45 of us are going to fit in my room. Probably between 5 and 10 each period won't show up, on the first day or ever, but I only have 37 desks in my room. I'm trusting in karma to take care of me on that one; I figure I'm a decent enough human being that things will just "turn out," without me having to worry any more about it. I'm getting tables eventually anyway, and you can always cram one more kid if you have to, if nobody is too particular about their elbow room.

So anyway, I will keep everybody posted about how the first day goes. Right now, in my head, it's going alternately perfect or horrible, but I'm sure it will be somewhere in between.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Panic! at the Grocery Store

So yesterday I was pushing my cart through the grocery store, and just about worked myself into a panic attack. Seriously, if there was anyone else at my house who could have finished shopping for me, I would have just come home and gone to bed.

Let me tell you how it went:

I got a barbecue grill for my birthday (thanks, hon!), so I had planned on some inaugural steaks for dinner last night. Only I've never really bought steaks, except cubed steaks for chicken-frying, because they're expensive and not worth doing if you don't have a grill to cook them on. So I was staring at hunks of raw meat in the butcher block section, looking for something with a sign on the package that said "Great for the Grill! Impossible to Screw Up!" Finally, I asked an employee which ones were good on the grill. She made a few suggestions--a tri-tip roast, porterhouses, T-bones, New York Strips, etc., but what I really wanted was an answer. Something like, "Here, take these eye of round steaks. Marinate them in Worcestershire sauce and garlic pepper for two hours, then cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side."

Let me say that, when I am shopping and don't know what to get, the indecision is agonizing. The more I allow it to go on, the more powerless and insignificant I feel. Then I start fretting about what everything costs, and what percentage of my take-home pay that is, and then I start to feel guilty about every expenditure I've made for the last three months. So you can see where this is headed.

Desperate to make a decision, any decision, I glanced quickly at the price tags on the cuts she had shown me, and hastily (and, I hoped, authoritatively) put a smallish tri-tip roast into my cart. Almost immediately after I had done that, I changed my mind again, but I was determined not to let the grocery store lady know how crazy simple steak-buying was making me. I pushed the cart down a few more aisles, fretting the whole time about the prices of each item I picked up, knowing full well that five dollars here and four dollars there has a way of adding up very quickly, and there were all those groceries in my cart from before the steaks, before I had started obsessing over prices, that maybe I should try to put back.

Finally, I went to the meat counter, where there were only two kinds of steak to choose from, and ordered two giant ribeyes. No kidding, these were an inch and a half thick and weighed in at more than a pound each. They still cost as much as the tri-tip (which I couldn't go put back because, out of the corner of my eye, I could still see the lady who'd helped me restocking the meats), but they were steak, not roast, and I vaguely remembered hearing somewhere that ribeyes were pretty good for grilling. I started to worry some about how I was going to cook such thick steaks, and how I would probably mess up twelve dollars' worth of steak.

Then I started worrying about school, if I was going to be any good at it, or if people would like me, or if I was ever planning on going up and unpacking all of my stuff, and if I could get a bigger screen for my projector, and who I was going to ask for help with things like that since my new school doesn't have mentors like my old school did. And once that got going, well, forget it. I got the last few things I needed, and finally the meat section was empty so I slipped the tri-tip back onto the shelf. I got a doughnut for myself, which I later ate furtively in the car in the parking lot, because when I start to go crazy like this, I sometimes turn into a junk food junkie, which adds fuel to the fire of these neurotic mini-meltdowns.

My sanity was somewhat restored when I checked out and the bill only came to $112. Actually, I was mildly amazed, but still so far gone worrying about all sorts of other things. I still needed the doughnut in my car.

So anyway, I knew that the waves of panic and terror would go away as soon as I told somebody about them (thanks, therapy!), and as soon as I got home I told Tyson, and we laughed, and it was no big deal. So don't you guys worry or anything. It's funny now (and probably was at the time, I suppose!). I just thought that, given my recent absence from the blogosphere, I would give you enough honesty that maybe you would be happy with just random links and comics and things again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Okay, okay OKAY, already

So the reason I haven't updated lately is because a) I was in San Diego for a week and internet access was ten bucks a day, and b) I am a really, really boring person. I mean, it's one thing when I'm left alone to stew in my own juices for a month, but this is different. While Tyson was gone, I was SO bored I HAD to find something to do, and posting inanities on my blog killed about an hour a day. Now I'm only about 80% saturated with boredom, not quite to the point of prolific blog-writing desperation. It's like how they give ADHD kids stimulants like Ritalin; you'd think they would act even crazier, but eventually they get so hopped up it like fries their circuitry and everything.

Anyway, there it is: I am bored and boring.

But now I am bored, boring, and 27.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"I thought it would boost my social status!"

Two researchers at the University of Texas have apparently spent a great deal of time and money in an attempt to figure out why people have sex. The results are interesting.

Out of the 237 reasons given by more than 1500 respondents (ages 17-52), the top answer was "I was attracted to the person." The bottom answer?

To give someone an STD.

And that's the only bottom answer I believe. The top 50 are pretty predictable: "It feels good", "I was horny", and "The opportunity presented itself" are all ones I would have guessed. Take a look at the bottom list, though, and let's try to figure out how many of these people were being honest, while the Top 50 people lied through their teeth:


Someone offered me money to do it
I wanted to get a raise
It was an initiation rite to a club or organization
I wanted to get a job/promotion
The person offered to give me drugs for doing it
I wanted to punish myself
I wanted to hurt/humiliate the person
I wanted to breakup my relationship
I wanted to breakup another’s relationship
I wanted to be used or degraded
I wanted to gain access to that person’s friend
I wanted to get a favor from someone
I wanted to enhance my reputation
It would get me gifts
I wanted to make money
I wanted to hurt an enemy
Because of a bet
It was a favor to someone
I wanted to end the relationship
I wanted to break up a rival’s relationship by having sex with his/
her partner
It would damage my reputation if I said ‘‘no’’
The person had a lot of money
Someone dared me
I wanted to have more sex than my friends
I wanted to even the score with a cheating partner
I thought it would boost my social status
I wanted to be popular
I wanted to get a special favor from someone
I was afraid to say ‘‘no’’ due to the possibility of physical harm
I wanted to relieve menstrual cramps
My friends pressured me into it
I felt sorry for the person
I felt jealous
My regular partner is boring, so I had sex with someone else
I wanted to get rid of a headache
I wanted to change the topic of conversation
The person had too much to drink and I was able to take
advantage of them
I wanted to impress friends
The person was famous and I wanted to be able to say I had sex
with him/her
I wanted to get out of doing something
I wanted to get even with someone (i.e., revenge)
I wanted to make someone else jealous
I was competing with someone else to ‘‘get the person’’
I thought it would help ‘‘trap’’ a new partner
I was slumming
I wanted to brag to friends about my conquests
The person demanded that I have sex with him/her
I wanted to stop my partner’s nagging
I felt guilty
The person bought me jewelry


There are several reasons I can think of for these surprising results:
  1. People lie about why they have sex.
  2. I am too jaded.
  3. The only people I talk to about our sex lives are under 36.
  4. Too many reasons were closely worded and bumped other, more frequently-occurring reasons down in the lists.
  5. Soap operas, movies, and TV do not accurately present reality.

Do you have any theories?

A Possible Error in Judgement (hard to believe, I know)

Say you were taking a trip to Las Vegas and wanted to plan some fun outdoor activities. A day on the lake, say, or a long walk at the Wetlands. (Yes, we have one of those. No, it is not at a casino.) Or maybe you want to have an outdoor wedding reception next spring. A pool party, perhaps. Fourth-of-July fireworks. An egg drop contest. Perhaps it is your dream to retire, buy a condo here, and celebrate your golden anniversary at the communal barbecue pit by roasting a whole pig.

Go ahead. Set the date. The nice thing about Las Vegas weather is that all of these things are pretty much a safe bet. I can say, with more than 98% certainty, that my golden anniversary barbecue on August 4th, 2051, will be hot and sunny. So mark your calendars now. Bring your bathing suits. I'll supply the wine coolers and sunscreen.

Inclement weather just isn't a concern here. (Unless by "inclement" you mean 120 degrees.) After a while, you just take it for granted that things will turn out OK. Like when it's 3 a.m. on Sunday and you're hungry for creme brulee--it's just not a problem.

So when we woke up late this morning and decided to walk the dogs, weather didn't really factor into our decision. Even though it was overcast. And thundering.

We got almost all the way to the coffee shop on Water Street before deciding to turn back, just in case. Within half a block it started raining pretty hard, accompanied by more thunder and lightening.

Before you shake your head and think "I could have told you that was going to happen," just hear me out. This is the desert. Any given part of the valley receives, statistically, about 2 to 3 inches of rain a year, but that's just an average. I think we've managed maybe an inch since this time last year, and that's counting the snowfall in January. Also, we're in the middle of our first monsoon season in years, which doesn't mean anything except it's overcast, less hot, and more humid than usual. In theory, it sometimes rains, but almost always somewhere else, and not usually enough to do anything except bead up the dirt a little bit. So the clouds and thunder were more of a novelty than an actual indication of weather conditions, since it's been this way for almost two weeks now.

Seriously. Rain is just another one of those "it-won't-happen-to-me" scenarios, like getting carjacked or being on reality TV.

It does remind me, however, that being cavalier about the weather is another of those things I won't be able to do quite so easily when I live somewhere else. Somewhere without 24-hour grocery stores and restaurants with creme brulee in the middle of the night. Somewhere I may actually have to have backup clothing (or, at the very least, an umbrella) in case the weather changes suddenly. And, somewhere, God forbid, one day I may even have to learn how to drive safely on snow.

Speaking of errors in judgement I have made lately, my new breadknife Tyson brought back from Switzerland is very sharp. And typing is difficult with one's finger all taped up.

Friday, July 27, 2007

An Odd Synchronicity


Tyson and I have been obsessively watching Heroes for the last week, usually finding time for an episode or two at least a couple times a day.


So it was odd to see this Cat and Girl today, right after watching Episode 20. (Click on the comic to see a bigger version.)
Want to be in on this obscure pop-culture connection? Watch. Return. Understand. You can download episodes or stream them until August 3rd.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is my period of prolific blog-writing at an end?

Probably.

Tyson is home, and we have been working like mad to get things done around the house: flooring in the computer room, resolving some tech issues, coordinating various repairs to the van and motorcycle, replacing sucky furniture, and getting ready for Nick to come out in two weeks (!). There's also the matter of school-planning hanging over both our heads, as well as getting last-minute vacations squeezed in somewhere.

All said and done, I have had a lot less time to sit and stare at the computer screen this week.

Which should, in theory, give me more to blog about, but unless you want to hear about how much easier it was to pry the relatively newer tack strip from the floor in the computer room than it was the old crumbly stuff from the bedrooms, it's pretty mundane.

In case you were wondering, though, here is a brief overview of the week so far:
  1. ordered 7 cases of laminate flooring to be picked up in San Diego next week
  2. walked dogs every morning
  3. got up at about 7 every day
  4. got halfway through the first season of Heroes
  5. ordered a 50-foot S video cable
  6. bought a 3-piece recliner sectional from Ashley
  7. tried out Sleep Number beds
  8. brought order to thousands of coiled-up cables in computer room
  9. made quiche, chicken-fried steak, and beef Stroganoff
  10. paid bills
  11. went to the gym
  12. kept on top of kitchen cleaning
  13. did some laundry

See? None of that is very conducive to interesting blogging, even if it is one of my most productive weeks in some time. It's like some kind of Buddhist koan--how is it that a productive outer life begets a dull inner one, and vice-versa?

I'll leave you to think on that one.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Finished!

I couldn't get to sleep last night, a combination of Tyson's coming home today and that book release everyone's talking about, so I headed to my 24-hour grocery store and bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the first ten or so minutes that it was on sale.

After more than 9 hours of reading, I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed. I don't feel like the novel was consistent with the previous installments, and I don't think I like some of the character development that went on.

And that last chapter, well, it was obviously written by her toddler.

Yes, I am satisfied, as always, when such a story arc finally comes to rest. And I don't really agree with much of the criticism I've seen: "too dark," "too many people die," "foul language" (It says damn, like, four times. These have got to be the most polite 17-year-olds on earth.), "sex" (oh, puh-leez), "the devil's work," etc. But I do think there was a certain element of craftsmanship that was lacking.

Of course, I may just be grumpy from almost 10 hours of lying on my couch.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Colonoscopy

So. Bush is having a colonoscopy.

I wonder if they'll find his head up there?

All joking aside, what I really wonder is whether Cheney will give up his duty as acting president at the end of that time. Or if he'll declare war on Iran as soon as he signs the paperwork.

Jesus and Mo


For more Jesus and Mo, click here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

boring, boring, boring, BORING

I am so, so glad to have only 3 days left until Tyson gets home. I am so bored, I don't even know what to do with myself. And it doesn't help that Tyson is off in Zermatt, at the base of the Matterhorn, skiing and paragliding and eating gruyere fondue with curried pineapple.

Today I cleaned the living room, organized the various audio and video components, moved some furniture, and bought a nice lamp that actually matches things (not that your purple-and-red lava lamp wasn't neat, honey, it just didn't go), and now I am still bored. What I really want is a magic wand to move the computer desk, tear up the carpet, pry up the tack strip, use the angle grinder to get rid of the floor nails, vacuum up all the dirt, and teleport the 6 boxes of laminate flooring I need here from San Diego. (They could have done it in that Harry Potter movie I saw last week.) Then I could spend tomorrow playing with my table saw and putting down floors, which is actually pretty fun. Then I wouldn't be so bored.

Ugh. It is a good time I think for a nap.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Even I can't stop narcissism!

Ok, admit it. You've made yourself into a Lego person, a construction-paper person, and now you can't wait to be a Simpson.

Go ahead.

In a cheap ploy to drum up even more hype about the upcoming movie, you can now make a yellow cartoon version of yourself, just in case you're one of those people who doesn't photograph well.

If you make one you like, but don't have a website to put it on, just mail it to me and I can put it up here.

Have fun!

Nothing is any good if other people like it.


Elitism is great. Unless, of course, you agree. Then it sucks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Try some of the most inaccurate web-quizzes ever!

When you have nothing to do all day but stay inside, safely away from the 115-degree heat, there is a lot of crap to find on the internet. Hell, you knew that--you're here, aren't you?

Over at Blue Pyramid, there are several quizzes to take that yield the weirdest, least accurate results I have ever seen, and I have taken my share of what-animal-would-you-be quizzes.

I'm New Mexico. What the fuck? It's obvious that I'm way more Montana than New Mexico. I'm probably more Utah, even.




You're New Mexico!

A fan of spelunking and cliff-dwelling, you're the adventurous,
enchanting type. It seems like you can never avoid the sun, but that's what built your
house in the first place so you'll manage. You probably speak Spanish, and maybe even a
long-lost language in addition. And after much careful consideration, you now sometimes
agree that drive-through liquor stores are not the safest idea. Even though people think
of you as yellow, your favorite question is "red or green?"



Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



While I am flattered by being likened to a tiger, it barely counts, since it's for all the wrong reasons.




You're a Tiger!

You've really earned your stripes. People like to sing about your
eyes, which some find to be thrilling. You're rather fond of Detroit, as well as
half the universities and high schools all across America. When people want to calm
you down a bit, they use the word "easy". Overall, you're grrrrreat!



Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



This just plain doesn't make any sense at all. If I were a goat?!



You're Sudan!

Every time you get a headache, you reach for some aspirin, only to
realize that someone destroyed it. That's just how things are going for you right
now... it's hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to not have a headache. You try to
relax, but people always jump on you about something that doesn't make sense. If
you were a goat, you'd be a Nubian.



Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid



This is obviously total crap. I can tell you without even taking a quiz that I would be a fantasy novel: long-winded, fanciful, and a little too nerdy to be seen with in many public places. But definitely more enjoyable the smarter and dorkier you are.




You're The Guns of August!

by Barbara Tuchman

Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what
causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they
really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing
with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in
the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can
diplomats."



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



I have to admit, I've never really tried to imagine what it would be like to be a podcast. I could maybe get on board with my own cult, though.




You're Anime Pulse!

While you run in a pretty fast crowd, everyone agrees that you
are more animated than those around you. Everything about you indicates the
patterns of a cult, but you prefer to focus on the loyalty and popularity that
a cult indicates, rather than the scary stuff. You really like sunrises. While
it seems little is in your way, you are prone to concentrating on a
boulder.



I can't even begin to explain this one:




You're Davidson College!

You love your mama, Jesus, and America too. But rather than
finding yourself in free-fall, you've been on the rise lately, as people
have flocked to see you. Of all the wars that have been fought, you felt
the Revolutionary War was most justified. Cherish is a word you use to
describe all the feelings you have deep inside. If you were a book, it
would be Charlotte's Web.



Take the University Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


You know, I should totally be writing these things. I could do so much better. I understand that they are all completely made-up, but seriously...if I were a goat? I'm a tiger, so I like Detroit? Ugh. If somebody wanted to, say, write me some code and send me the template, I would totally make up some quizzes for you. They would be way better than this stuff.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Finally, I got a camera that works!

I'm actually pretty impressed with this picture: it's a tiny little 9-inch rainbow trout swimming along the shore of Long Lake, in the Little Lakes Valley.

I left for California at about 8:30, just as the sun was going down, and made it all the way to the White Mountains without stopping, where I slept by the turnoff for Schulman Grove. Check out the view of the Sierras from up here!

I got into Bishop, got a mocha from Looney Bean (which I promptly splashed onto my white sweatpants), and headed up the road a ways to Rock Creek Lake and the Little Lakes Valley.

This is the third time I've done this hike, and it is still just about the prettiest place I have ever been. I actually hiked the whole way to Chickenfoot Lake, about 3/4 mile farther than Long Lake, seen here, where I had never been before.

I got back into Bishop and returned to the Looney Bean, where I chatted with Tyson for a while before taking the kayak up to Lake Sabrina.

The weather was clear, and the lake was so pretty. The last time we were here, the dam had just been rebuilt, and the water was still very low, but now it was full and gorgeous--even prettier than South Lake. Unfortunately, my camera was acting cranky, and I was unable to take pictures that day.

I slept in the car at the pack station about a mile from the trailhead to Paiute Pass, fully intending to make the 5.5-mile trek in the morning, but totally punked out. It was just too cold to crawl out from under my blanket until about 9:30! Imagine that! Too cold to get out of bed! It was delicious.


On Monday, instead of hiking the pass, I was feeling lazy, and I couldn't really settle on anything to do. I went up to Mammoth and drove around in the mountains, thinking about reading a book by one of the lakes, but (this is mildly embarrassing) I couldn't find them. I'd remembered driving right by about 6 little lakes the last time I was out this direction, but didn't have any real luck just stumbling across them, and I didn't feel like the concentrated effort finding out how to get there would take.

Instead, I ate a fresh churro from Schat's and found a coffee shop with wi-fi and chatted with Tyson for a while. Then I drove aimlessly back to Bishop, got myself a motel room, and lived like a hedonist for the rest of the afternoon, taking a hot shower and watching Lifetime in the air-conditioning. For dinner, I ate at this place called the Petite Pantry where I had the best chile verde and apricot pie ever.

On Tuesday, I went back up to Sabrina, where I actually got some pics; there was a front coming in and it was overcast. There are some really nice beaches around the lake, and if it had been warmer out, the water would have been perfect for swimming.


Finally, I started back towards home, but this time I drove the 20 extra miles down to the Schulman Grove and the Bristlecone Forest. There, a 4.3-mile hike takes you down the ridge and into a valley where there are trees that were old when the Roman Empire was young. Methusulah, the oldest, is more than 4300 years old. Pieces of dead wood more than 8600 years old have been found there. (Interestingly enough, it is this 8600-year tree record that helped scientists make necessary adjustments to carbon-14 dating, allowing them to be much more accurate. In case you were wondering.)


One day, I will get a giant tattoo of a bristlecone pine covering my whole back, that's how much I like these trees. So you can get an inkling of my intense disappointment, anger, and frustration when my camera stubbornly decided it wasn't taking pictures anymore. I came very close to chucking the damn thing off the side of the mountain until I remembered I'd just have to go and get it if I wanted to take it back.

After the hike, I drove home. It was unexciting, except for a quick stop in Beatty for peanut-butter-cookie ice cream and dried mango slices.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I think this might explain it

Since I started dating Tyson (almost 9 years ago, if you can believe that!), my mom has been delighting in her role as one of N's several grandmothers, and has hinted at the fact that she would not be entirely opposed to an entire fleet of grandkids, presumably to spoil rotten and then send back home when they get tired and cranky. Now I wonder if she night not have an ulterior motive.


Ah, kids. Payback for all the stuff you put your parents through.

Funnier because I haven't had a proper shower in a while, either

After two nights of sleeping in a car, about 12 miles on the trail, 4 hours on the lake, and a soap- and shampoo-less motel shower, this gets even funnier. Particularly as it helps pass the time until I can shower again.

"Man Crushes"


Bad Astronomy has lately taken up the topic of man crushes, and, as a woman, I feel sort of left out of the loop, here.


I think the point of a man crush is that it is a strictly platonic male-bonding thing, and I'm sort of jealous that women don't have its equivalent. I think that women, even women who are very close friends, are constantly comparing themselves to one another. Then again, I'm just going off my own experience and 26 years of media exposure.

Plus, I'm worried about my legitimate girl crushes on Adam Savage and Nathan Fillion being that much more competitive, now that there are straight men in the running, as well. I mean, it's difficult enough thinking about all the women and gay men I'd have to beat down for a chance at running my fingers through Adam's short red hair, but the situation begins to look truly hopeless when I then add in all the straight men who "just want to be friends."

Who are your celebrity crushes (platonic or otherwise)? Why?

"Tyson Luck" Stays at Home and Wreaks Havoc There, Too

God dammit.

Okay, it's not like I didn't have internet access regularly during my trip. Ask Tyson; we've been IMing every day. But that new camera I bought is getting more contrary by the day. On Sunday, it decided it was going to keep all the pictures for itself, and not share any with my computer. Monday, it decided to consume batteries at the rate of 4 per day, and still have the nerve to display "battery low", and with an aggravatingly passive-aggressive-sounding beep, shut down. Then yesterday, in the very presence of the oldest f*cking trees on the planet, it decided it didn't take pictures anymore, either, and started shutting down every time I pressed the button to get a shot.

Most everything else went fine, and as soon as I liberate my pics from the memory card, I will tell you all about them. But we're talking about Tyson Luck today.

So I got home last night just after dark, only to find an orange door tag from the water company. I'll get to the details of that later, but there were a few other unpleasant discoveries when I arrived home: my dog had had a bout of explosive diarrhea inside the house, and whatever was in the trash can stank to high heaven (turns out it was bunny litter and raw chicken--eew!)

I thought briefly about going to the gym to take a shower, but it frankly seemed like too much effort, and the one time I tried taking a shower there, it was shockingly cold. They have those faucets that you have to turn from off to cold to hot, and there's nowhere to step out of the way of the water while it warms up. And also, I didn't feel like being naked and dirty in a public place, and then having to go home and sleep on dirty sheets that I couldn't wash until the water got turned back on anyway.

I went to bed, and about 3:00, the Diarrhea Dog started whining, just a little, about every 8 minutes, until I let him out. Fifteen minutes later, one of the cats cornered a mouse in the bathroom and was yowling at me to come check him out. As I walked into the hallway, he chased the mouse right over my bare foot and into the bedroom. We tried to catch him, but the cat couldn't understand that he and I needed to be on opposite sides of the crack in the door, so the mouse got away.

At 4:30, about the time I was good and asleep again, the dogs wanted in. Insistently. As though there was some dog-monster chasing them. When I went to let them in, though, they were all wagging tails and dumb "let's go play" smiles.

At 4:50, I had to chase my gray cat all over the house because she wouldn't stop clawing at the side of my bed. Shortly after that, the Mouse-Chaser decided to groom my hair and claw all over my sunburned shoulders. (Not very sunburned! Don't worry!)

I finally, finally was getting some good sleep when the alarm went off at 7:25, reminding me to call the water people first thing, so hopefully they would turn my water back on first. The door tag last night said a $75 check had been returned, but when I checked my bank balance online, there hadn't been a time where I had less than than in my account, so I had no idea why the check had bounced. When I called this morning, all the information they could give me was that it was returned because the account it was written on had been closed.

Shit, I thought, and ran through a mental inventory of all the other checks that might possibly be out there somewhere, chiefly the rent check that our landlord (and Tyson's boss!) keeps in his wallet for weeks, then cashes on a whim.

I tried calling the bank, but kept getting a busy signal. Then I realized that if it was anybody's fault, it was the bank's, and I'd better just pay and have my water turned back on. There was a $25 returned check fee, plus a $20 service reinstatement fee, and the woman on the phone was all like, "if you can't afford it today, I can put the twenty-dollar charge on your next bill" in this sweet, patronizing voice. Ugh, I wanted to scream, but instead was almost in tears from the overpowering sense of victimization I felt, and managed to hold my voice steady while I read off my account number to her.

I finally got through to someone at the bank, but, as she could only access my account history for the last 10 transactions, she was no help at all. She took down the information, and my phone number, and said someone would call me back. What I really hope is that, when they call, I can muster up the spine to tell them they need to pay the $45 it cost me to have my water turned back on, rather than my normal pattern of just saying "thank you," as though, by bouncing my check they had done me a favor.

Anyway, all this is compounded by the fact that I am sticky with dirt and leftover sweat, I have no clean clothes or sheets, a poop-smeared dog kennel, but no water in the hose to clean it with, which means scrubbing later today, no more bonus toilet flushes, even though my stomach is starting to gurgle, and a houseful of pets who are snoozing peacefully, saving their energy for another bout of restlessness early tomorrow morning.

I wonder how long it would take to pack up my car again and get out of town?

Friday, July 06, 2007

I will remember to put gas in my car this time, I swear

Woo hoo! Tomorrow is the day!

When I got into my car yesterday at about 5 in the evening, my car said it was 122 degrees. I thought it was exaggerating until I drove by the bank down the street. Nope. It was 122 degrees outside. (Even though the "official" temperature topped out at 116.)

Which makes me indescribably happy to be leaving tomorrow for the southern Sierra. I'm putting the kayak on top, throwing a mattress in the back, and getting the heck out of Dodge. My plans are to do three or four hikes, ranging in length from 4 to 11 miles, and checking out the world's oldest tree, some glacial lakes, and the view from the top of the Sierra range. I will also be visiting the home of the Best Mochas Ever (Looney Bean in Bishop), and going on the prowl for marmots and pikas before warming trends in the West reduce and gradually eliminate their habitats. (Not just because they are cute and fun to watch.)

Anyways, I do promise to be careful, and in a way I am, by letting all of you know where I will be before I go. If I don't check in here before, say, the fifteenth, tell the search-and-rescue people I'm somewhere on the east slope of the Sierras. That should help some.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Another Kayaking (mis)Adventure!

I know this will shock and startle many of you, but it comes to my attention lately that, for someone who often obsesses about the details of things in her head, I do not always make the most well-informed decisions.

Example: Yesterday I wanted to go kayaking at Nelson's Landing, about 40 miles south of here, sort of on the way to Laughlin. It felt too hot to even think about leaving the house until about 7 p.m., when I finally grabbed my keys and ran out the door. I made it as far as the dry lake bed on the 95 before I realized the sun had already slipped behind the mountains and there was no way I was going to make it to the water in time.

Today I learned my lesson on that point, at least. I left a little after 5, and everything was looking OK. Until I hit the turnoff to Nelson and realized my fuel light had come on.

Whatever, I thought, as I forged on ahead. I should be fine. I can almost drive across town and back with the fuel light on (one of the benefits of a nearly-30-mile commute is feeling comfortable with the needle below the bottom of the gauge!), and I was feeling heady and a little reckless and didn't want to turn back a second day in a row.

I drove all the way down, and the beach was the most crowded I have ever seen it. I managed to find a parking spot more than a quarter-mile from the water, but I just couldn't get up the desire to take the boat down and hump it all the way through all the gravel, just to paddle around in the middle of some family's barbecue. Seriously, people practically stand in ankle-deep water and grill burgers and shit there. It's actually not very pleasant or relaxing at all.

Besides, I couldn't quite relax because, in the back of my mind, I knew I didn't have enough gas to get back home.

I made it to the town of Nelson, where approximately 7 people live, and there was not a gas station or anything, naturally, so I pulled up next to a guy in a truck and did my best cute-pink-haired-girl-with-car-problem routine. The guy, whose name was Roland, his dad, Ron, and his uncle, Mark, dug through a shed, a garage, and the entire property, and came up with about a quart of diesel. They sent me down to the mine down the road to see if they had any gas, but no one was there.

When I got back up to town, they tried to siphon gas from a truck, had no luck, then tried siphoning it off the carburetor. I had no idea you could even do that, and apparently it didn't really work all that well, because about the time they got enough to slosh around in the bottom of the gas can, the truck's battery went dead.

At about this time, a man, a woman, and their son pulled up with a busted tire, also looking for help. Not having a spare, there was really nothing to do for them but call a tow company to come get them.

Finally, Mark called someone he knew down the street and found about 3 gallons of gas to put in my car. We sat around on the porch for about 5 more minutes, watching the little cottontails under the manzanitas, sharing breakdown stories, then I left. All the cash I had on me was a single, lonely dollar bill, so they made me promise to "pay it forward" and maybe come out for a visit next time.

Then I went to my friend Bill's house and blew up dry ice bombs to celebrate.

So, anybody who needs a favor, it's my turn.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Because we haven't done this in a while...

I have an audience participation thingie for you. Defective Yeti wrote a program to help us all become more vocabularious. Here's what you have to do:

Click here. He'll explain everything so I don't have to. Choose the number of words you want (I did all 100, and it took about 40 minutes). Then, if you like, you can post your results on your own blog. Don't forget to come in here first to let us know how you did.

My own results are here, but do yours first because there are definitions on the chart, and you're not allowed to cheat!

Good luck!

Monday, July 02, 2007

I can do it in the park...


and I can do it in the dark!


By "it," of course, I mean kayaking. By myself.


So my plan was to get to Willow Beach, about 15 miles south of Hoover Dam at about sunset (which, you'll notice from the above photo, that I missed by a good half hour), paddle upriver until the sun set and the moon came out, then turn around and paddle back by moonlight.

I put the boat in, and paddled lazily across the water, more like a narrow lake than an actual river, watching the hundreds of bats swirl and dive above the water. A few bright stars and airplanes started to become visible over the cliffs. It seemed like an evening made for being on the water.

What I failed to take into account is the fact that, particularly on a river in a canyon, there is a pretty severe gap between the sun dropping over the horizon and the moon rising high enough to be of any help. It's also very dark during that time; too dark, in fact, to see the shore well enough to park and wait.

I kept paddling upriver, and upriver, and upriver, looking over my shoulder with increasing agitation for the bright yellow rim of the moon, and all the while it just got darker and darker and spookier and spookier outside. Remembering the motor boats that tear up and down the river, I tried to stick to the shoreline, but it eventually got so dark that submerged trees seemed to jump out in front of me, and, given the way the sound of the locusts, ducks, and whatever else was out there carried over the glassy water, I figured I'd have ample warning of an approaching engine to get out of the way.

I still couldn't rest easy. I tried to calm myself by imagining worst-case scenarios. This sounds like it would work, because I'm a strong swimmer, my boat is sturdy plastic, and it doesn't seem likely to get lost or attacked out in the middle of a river, so the list of reasonable worst-casers doesn't seem like it would be that bad.

But oh! my imagination works better than just about any other part of me. I imagined hungry man-eating water tigers, floating dead bodies that were, in reality, zombies, and a parallel universe in which the moon was never coming out. I imagined Deliverance-style wildmen lying in wait along the banks (in reality, much to steep for anything but bighorns, and only bighorn-navigable in places). I started counting strokes, telling myself that I could turn around and check for the moon after 100 strokes, then 100 more. After 300, I got too creeped-out to count any further.

After about an hour in which the moon stubbornly failed to appear, I turned back downriver. The darkness in this direction felt a little less ominous, probably because it was, at least, familiar. Going with the current this time, I made it back to the marina fairly quickly. My pants and shirt, which I had stuffed behind my seat, were soaked, but my camera was miraculously dry. I balanced my boat on the roof rack, and got it tied down in just a few minutes, using the light from the restroom windows to see. When I got back into the car, I was surprised to see that it was after 10, and I had been on the river for almost two hours.

Now I am tired, and smell like a lake. I need a shower, a bowl of cereal, and to crawl into bed with a cranky gray cat.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In which I enumerate my awesomeness!

Today was a good, if outwardly inauspicious, day.

It was of especial delight because a) I didn't have to share my Sue roll (tuna, shiitake, cucumber, and avocado--yum!), and b) there is probably no sushi in Versoix, so Tyson can be jealous of my doings, for once.

  • I talked to strangers in a public place.

People who know me (and my antisocial proclivities) will know that, for me, this is cool. I talked to the sushi guy (he says "Hi," Tyson), and to the guy at the bar next to me. This was, in fact, way better than Tuesday night, in which I got all dressed up to meet a friend at an actual bar, and did not talk to people or have a good time.

It's called Into the Wild, and there's actually a movie coming out about it.

Where everything is different. It's been remodeled, it's staffed by tattoo-showing people (that was not OK when I worked there; I always had to wear a watch), and they closed at 10. (I spent four years of Friday and Saturday nights there making frappuccinos until midnight.)

I am working my way through the archives. Today I got to May 2005.

Soundly, and all by myself. That is the second car-thing I have fixed on my own this past week, and it was cool.


Tomorrow I am practicing my kayak tie-down skills by taking a sunset/moonlight paddle at Willow Beach. I will probably also do dishes, and vacuum.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I rescind my last post.

I just returned from the movie theatre, where I enjoyed another lovely afternoon all by myself watching Michael Moore's new film, Sicko. I agree with many of the reviews I read in that it seems like Moore has gotten away from a more journalistic style, but I think its effect was (or could be, or won't be, depending on your particular political bent) dramatic.

I am inches away from getting those packing boxes ready.

It would be so easy. Tyson's already in Switzerland, working. I could just eBay everything and come, too.

If Switzerland shared France's healthcare system, I would be there in a minute.

But, returning to Planet Earth, where I am in debt, have no passport, have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a bunny, a gecko, a tortoise, a turtle, and a snake to think about, not to mention an impending teenager, almost 3 more years on my lease, and no real concept of how one secures a job abroad, let alone completes permanent-residence status paperwork....and I begin to understand how the only people who can really afford the luxury of up and moving somewhere else are, well, people who can afford it, and people in their early 20s with no money, nothing to keep them in place, and without the sense to know any better.

Well, cheers to them. Maybe the rest of us can work on changing what we've got here.

And my that, I mean looking for jobs in Canada.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So.....tired!....No...more...boxes.....!



I just got home from helping some very good friends pack up their house in preparation to move to Missoula, Montana. When I showed up at about six this evening, it did not look like the home of a family preparing to move. There was still no truck, even though the U-Haul had been reserved for several weeks, and they had run out of boxes earlier, so there were piles of random things scattered all throughout the house. (It was with a sigh of relief, then, that I surreptitiously began checking kitchen cabinets and drawers to find them all empty.)

Finally, the truck arrived, along with a half-sister, her husband, and two teenage sons, intended to be the workhorses for the evening. I was a bit alarmed when one of the boys asked for "some kind of painkiller, like an ibuprofen or a Lortab" because of a torn rotator cuff, but things went just fine. The half-sister ordered us all around like a general marshaling her troops, but it soon became clear that what was really needed was a second truck of approximately the same size as the first.

Not being of a manly stature, strength, or gender, I was relegated to the more domestic role of throwing whatever miscellaneous items still sat on counters, shelves, dressers, and other flat surfaces into the nearest empty boxes. Even without my heavy lifting skills, the truck was loaded in about two hours. Unfortunately, there were still piles and piles of stuff--what will amount to an entire garage stacked full, when the last of it finally gets that far--just lying around everywhere.

I stayed for an additional three hours after the departure of the truck-loading team, and I can only guess that there were at least two more hours required to get everything into the garage in preparation for the carpet guys and the painters. Now I'm sore, cranky, and tired, and I no longer have any immediate desire to move ever again. Except as we moved through each of the rooms clearing them out, I couldn't help but imagine what my belongings would look like in the empty spaces, what color I would paint the walls, and how many day laborers I would hire from the gas station parking lot down the street to help me move in.

Because you sure as hell won't catch me moving my own furniture any time soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Aaahhhhhhhh



I went to this yoga class tonight at a different gym than I usually go to. My initial impression was that the instructor said things too fast. It's supposed to be, like, relaxing and calming and everything, and she was going through naming the asanas and everything with this very normal voice. Imagine the difference between, say, a hypnotist encouraging you to just breathe, relax, etc., and then his receptionist telling you your copay is $20. She was the receptionist.


The second problem I had was that I was inadvertently wearing the wrong pants. I had worn my ultra-light (and ultra-threadbare!) cropped pants all day, and they're usually fine for a cardio or weights workout, but when it came to poses like the crescent lunge (above), I couldn't get all the way into the stretch because I became too worried about splitting a seam. As entertaining as that might have been for everyone else involved, it wouldn't have been all that relaxing for me.


But about halfway into class, we started doing pigeon. Normally, I can lay all the way flat over my ankle, but with the non-stretchy pants, it was all I could do to get my hip all the way down. Then the instructor showed us this variation:


After that, I got more interested in just watching her twist herself all around than in trying not to split my pants. Doesn't it seem like everyone should be able to touch the bottom of their foot to the top of their head?

When we finally got to savasana, or the final relaxation part where you just lay on the floor in what is alternately called corpse pose or laying-down mountain pose, I realized why there were so many guys in the class (I've never been in a class with more than 2 or 3): the instructor walked around and gave four-minute massages to our faces, necks, and the backs of our heads. You could opt out, of course, and I heard several people rolling up their mats and leaving during this time, but I stayed. It was unreal. I had no idea that was exactly what I needed to close my practice. The whole process took almost half an hour, and afterward it was interesting noting who had stayed to be massaged: all the guys, and about half of us girls.

Anyway, I am off to bed very shortly. I think I am relaxed to the point of collapse.

It's not all bad...

There are some upshots, I'm finding, to Tyson being 9 time zones across the Atlantic. Here are a few that I've found:
  1. I get the dishes washed right after I get them dirty, or I can just rinse off the ones from earlier. Hell, they're my germs anyway.
  2. I can wear the same clothes three days in a row and nobody notices.
  3. Less laundry to wash (in conjunction with #2).
  4. I can leave clean laundry on the other side of the bed when I go to sleep.
  5. Pity points with friends. Free lunches and movies and stuff.
  6. I can leave the TV on all day, tuned to whatever I want, and I don't have to be watching it to keep "driving privileges."
  7. I can play on two computers at once.
  8. I'm forced to figure out how to do some things on my own, like hook up computer stuff and replace car headlamps.
  9. I'm not hampering anybody's schedule if I go to bed at 8:30, take 3-hour naps, or wake up at 6.
  10. I can vacuum at 6 a.m. and not wake anybody up.
  11. When I IM Tyson in the morning, it's already, like, 5 or 6 p.m. there, so I can see whether the day is going to go okay or not.
  12. I can keep the bedroom as cold as I want at night.
  13. I get to pick which side of the bed to sleep on--as long as there's no laundry sitting there (just in case my side gets too cold).
  14. I can watch tv and practice guitar at the same time. (See #6)
  15. I finally solved the mystery of who doesn't rinse their cereal bowls. (hint: It isn't me!)

That's not to say there aren't many, many things I miss, but being sappy is just so trite. Some of the less-smarmy things I'm sorry to be doing without are:

  1. punches in the butt
  2. punches in the porcupine
  3. a lap to lay across on our God-awfully uncomfortable couch
  4. sex

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It just doesn't seem fair...

So last night, I went to the grocery store to stock up for the next week or so. I tried to get all good stuff, even vegetables, which I tend never to eat when I'm alone. I got salmon, turkey burgers, fruit preserves, whole-wheat no HFCS bread, organic milk, tomatoes, organic spinach, whole-wheat burger buns, a fruit cup for breakfast, some high-fiber granola, yogurt, orange juice, and bananas. The total? About sixty bucks.

The woman checking out in front of me had 8 cases of Pepsi, about as many packages of nitrate-laden lunch meat product, Sunny D, a gallon of milk, and two boxes of no-name sugar cereal. AND IT ONLY COST HER 18 DOLLARS. That made me feel sort of angry, but also kind of smug, but then angry again. It shouldn't cost more to eat better food. Even the lifetime health care savings I'm probably earning by taking care of myself now, rather than later, doesn't offset the fact that I could have bought soda and lunch meat and a new pair of shoes.

GRRRRRR.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ow, ow, ow


I haven't had skinned knees like this since I was a kid. That's not really a picture of my knees, but anyhow.

I started going to an Aikido class at the rec center twice a week. On Tuesday, we did this knee-walking thing that gave me some fairly small patches of rugburn right on my kneecaps. No big deal. Some Neosporin, and everything was OK.

Until last night. I was wearing these white sweatpants to train in, and after the initial knee-walking part, I happened to look down at my pants, and they had all these brown splotches at the knees. Sure enough, I had ripped up my knees again enough to bleed through my pants. Ow.

But I did fix the backward-rolling issues I was having on Tuesday, and I learned my first throw. Now if some would-be attacker grabs my wrist, then stands really still to let me think about what I'm doing, I can step behind him, twist his arm down behind his head, and pull him to the ground. Provided he doesn't try to resist, or have a gun or anything like that.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One day down, 29 more to go...

At about this time yesterday, it seemed fairly certain that Tyson would not be leaving for Switzerland at 8 this morning. The airline said they could reschedule for Saturday evening, and we were pretty sure that was our Plan B. So when we finally got a call at 5:07 a.m. from the post office telling us his passport had arrived, we had about an hour to get out of the house, pick up the long-awaited package, and get him to the airport.

It was actually good, in some ways. It all happened so fast that neither of us had time to get all sad and sappy. It signaled an end to a lot of worry, stress, and frustration. Yes, having another few days together sounded nice, but they would have been filled with stress and resentment and not really all that pleasant.

On the other hand, it meant that he spent our last day together for a month on the phone, pissed off at government bureaucracy, while I played on the computer, trying to stay out of the way.

It's getting to be close to bedtime now, and, while it's fun to be independent when the sun is out, this is the time of day the house feels the emptiest. Miss you, baby.

Attention, Kooks!

Apparently, the way to get whatever you want is simply to threaten the safety of children. When people see that their available choices are to a) shut down extracurricular programs with the potential to get kids interested in learning or b) face public criticism when said kids are bombed by Christian fundamentalists, it really sets people's priorities straight.

That's just f*cking sad. It's not enough that kids are raised by fundies themselves, but even children of parents sane and rational enough to allow them to, I don't know, practice yoga or giggle over horoscopes get things taken away from them by these crazies.

What's really sad is that the library's decision to acquiesce and close the summer program is indicative of broader relations between the political right and left. The tacit assumption has always been that the left is "better than that," which means that, yeah, we as a nation were pretty pissed when Dubya lied about WMDs in Iraq, but we were really, really upset when Clinton lied about a certain blowjob he received. We expect people on the right to do what they do. The left is supposed to value the means more than the ends, so we've got this higher standard to live up to.

The whole situation reduces to the same schoolyard politics most of us grew up with: bullies continue to get away with their egregious behavior, while the good kid who fights back is the one suspended.

It makes me want to go back to bed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Erin's 100th Post Retrospective

It all started one hot, boring day in June 2006. I was three days into my first summer of freedom in twelve years, and I was getting tired of wandering around the house in circles.

My, it's amazing how things just don't change.

1. Vegas is still a miserable, smoggy, soul-searing, apathetic, lethargic, sun-baked hell-hole after about 10 in the morning.

2. I still don't have much more going on than meals and naps.

3. I still weigh the same as at this time last summer.

4. I think my skin cancer is back.

But if that was the whole story, there would be no reason for this blog to exist. Let's see what else happened over the last 100 posts:

There were lots of great vacations, with lots of great pictures. Click here, here, and here for cool, refreshing photos from the Sierras.

Last August, Tyson wanted some pictures for Tracy, an old friend from high school.

In September, we had a little poster contest. The second poster from the top was declared the winner.

In December, we got snowed on and said goodbye to the beach house.

Things were pretty boring around here until the end of February, with the debut of the a series of participation exercises. Soon dubbed Audience Participation Monday, these activities quickly became the highlight of this blog.

April brought a potential Spring Break crisis and a new job for next year.

May consisted almost exclusively of Audience Participation Mondays, and June, well, scroll down to reminisce about June. It's all still there.

I just want to give a shout out to all my readers who have been there from the very beginning--Tyson, my sister, and my moms. Without their support, this would probably have been another one of those "ehhhh" projects that sounded good, but never got off the ground. And for everyone else--Tammy, Erica, Elaine, Brannon, Michael, Billyfish, J--I'm glad you showed up and stuck around. (With apologies to anyone I may have forgotten. I can always add you in, good as new, and nobody will know the difference.)

Here's to another 100 posts.