Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

daily existence away from chicago

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Monday, January 31, 2005

Happy Jack

Check out Ciela and her cousin atHappy Jack

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Will FOX pick any of these up?

Academia Reality Shows

found via Bitch Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A study in white

A study in white

Sure she's cute, but you've got to admire the composition of the photography. Look at those angles, the light, the shadows. That's art, baby. Perhaps best seen as part of a series with Baby in Blue

You studied under this guy?!

You studied under this guy?!

Ciela has concerns over the quality of my graduate education.

Everyone's a critic.

Everyone's a critic.

But after explaining exactly what a professor does, she finds the idea of Tom LeClair to be very attractive. Or else she's thankful that this man is responsible for her father being employed.

Monday, January 24, 2005

To Do Today

Brief glimpse into today's schedule

X Grade draft of a student's paper
XWrite letter of rec for a student
XRead tomorrow's assignment and plan accordingly
begin drafting syllabi for Am Lit II and Creative Writing
begin reading essays from incoming students
Xconfirm projector reservation
elaborate comments on student essay from last semester
begin formulating introductions for Cincinnati panel
Xrecycle exams
find out when Seven Guitars is showing in Omaha for Af-Amer lit
tried, but can’t find a flippin phone number or website for the theater. I know it exists because I’ve checked it before.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

top five

Ciela got the Griffin iMic for our eMac so she could record her voice along with my guitar playing. We collaborate on songs—think Lennon/McCartney, Lieber /Stoller, Jagger/Richards, etc.

Along with the iMic came a handy little piece of software that very easily allows one to convert vinyl and cassettes to digital files and import them into iTunes. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running off material and stocking my iTunes library with tracks from college through my years at WEFT-FM where I must have dubbed half the library.

In that spirit, I offer my top five albums that I never seem to get tired of listening to. These five might not be the same five best albums, but if I had to do the whole desert island, they’d be the ones I take.

(in no particular order)

Poi Dog Pondering, Volo Volo
The Waco Brothers, Cowboy in Flames
Radiohead, The Bends
Over the Rhine, Good Dog, Bad Dog
Joe Jackson, Live 1980-86

The Runner-ups
Ani DiFranco, Living in Clip
Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, The Swimming Hour
Dhamba 8 Peasants, Fools and Kings
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville

And speaking of which, I just bought tickets to see Ani DiFranco with Andrew Bird opening in Lincoln. Perhaps they both move up by the end of February.

why read

From Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines
by Bill Hicks.

I'm eating and I'm reading a book. Fine. Right. Waitress
comes over to me (chewing), "What you reading for?"
Now, I said, "Wow, I've never been asked that. Goddang
it you stumped me. Not what am I reading, but what am
I reading for? I guess I read for a lot of reasons,
but one of the main ones....is so I don't end up being
a fucking waffle waitress. That's pretty high on the
list." Then, this trucker in the next booth gets up,
stands over me and says, "Well, looks like we got ourselves
a reader"....It's like I walked into a Klan rally dressed
in a Boy George costume or something.

I read this in a review, and it’s just enough to make me want to go get the book.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Poetry Meme

First lines of poems - leave the ones you recognize, replace the ones you don't (changes w/asterix).
*1. Let us go then you and I
*2. l(a
*3. She walks in beauty, like the night
4. Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
5. Do not go gentle into that good night,
*6. We real cool
*7. I celebrate myself,
8. That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
9. Because I could not stop for death
10. Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Monday, January 17, 2005

Your favorites

Last week was hectic. Our short term session got into full swing. For me this means trying to get 21 students to see the manufacturing of Disney cultural narratives instead of seeing the films as light-hearted, family entertainment. While the course is a bit lighter than my usual literature courses--I don't feel the pressure of accomplishing the multiple goals of teaching basic literary interpretation, teaching research skills, imparting a sense of the history of American literature, and trying to instill a critical sensitivity to the world in general--the disney course brings its own set of pressures. Namely, the stress of a full-force realization of just how insidious and ubiquitious are the standard disney codes.

Eq: a recent paper required students to evaluate images of gender in three films, providing examples based on Elizabeth Bell's notion of a three stage representation of femininity. All the students got the rather easy notion that the heroine will be young and nubile, the evil middle-age woman will be jealous of the youth, and the post-menopausal women will be kind, fairy-god mother types. What was notable was the ways in which they recounted the codes. Bell presents the evil queens as sexually powerful women who challenge the patriarchy and, thus, must be destroyed. The kids saw them as frustrated divorcees lashing out at their younger rivals. Bell notes that the grandmothers of the films are immensely powerful, but in a different sense than the traditional male potency. The students saw them as beings no longer attractive to men, so they don't even try to compete.

The thing is, many of them couched their responses as a directed critique of disney's superficiality, yet their language and choice of words indicated a complete acceptance of the determining role of men in defining the women.

Friday, January 14, 2005

She's spinning

She's spinning

She's spinning

She's spinning

180 degrees!

180 degrees!

Just too cute

Just too cute

Ciela sits with the help of Mr. Boppy

Ciela sits with the help of Mr. Boppy

Preparing for her music career

Preparing for her music career

Friday, January 07, 2005

Snow Baby

Snow Baby

Thursday, January 06, 2005

disgustsing

Because I am in my second day of snow closure, Ciela and I are at home watching the debate over the challenge to Ohio's electoral votes. While a number of moments were disappointing-- Republicans vociferously denouncing the challenge as frivolous while ignoring the clear problems and blatant conflict of interest, Democrat (senators--the House was quite a bit more fiery) only tenuously voicing their concerns, only sen Boxer objecting in the final count, some republican joker in the house linking the issue to terrorism (talk about a party bereft of ideas), another repub joker bringing Michael Moore into the debate (for a party that believes his works are irrelevant, they bring him up quite a bit), etc. etc.

But what was truly disgusting was the House ending its debate with Tom "Indictment" DeLay arguing that the challenge was an affront to the dignity of democracy. I threw up my potato.

DeLay, Fucking DeLAY! for whom the phrase "above the law" was retired. For whom the House repubs rewrote their own frickin' ethics laws (and were forced to retreat because the blatant hypocrisy woke up too many people), DeLay: whose pockets aren't big enough to handle the payoffs; DeLay who abused the newly formed Homeland Security department to chase down state senators in Texas.

This asshole has the nerve to stand up as the moral champion of democracy?! And the flippin' House applauded him.

The downward spiral continues

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year

Well, its good to be back.

I mean, really, really good to be back--as in back in a place where if I don't want, I don't have to travel for two or three or nine hours.

The last two weeks were both wonderful and incredibly exhausting.

We started out stranded at a Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. As we got on the east side of St. Louis, we heard of a really bad storm moving through southern Indiana and Kentucky--right across our route. It was an easy decision to stop in Mt. Vernon for the night. We had nothing planned for the Thursday before Christmas--we were only three hours away, my parents would be at work anyway, why not play it safe, pull over and drive the last leg after the roads had been plowed.

We stayed for two nights.

The storm had closed I64--our route to Louisville--and I24--the southern route around. Plus, I65 was closed north of Louisville. The Maginot line could not be breached. Pinned in, we ate well, watched a lot of the Weather channel, and worked out in the Holiday Inn fitness center. Ciela seemed to have a great time.

By Christmas eve, we figured we had three options. I64 was still closed, and pictures of the national guard rescuing stranded drivers (some waiting as long as 15 hours) did not encourage us to wait it out. I24 was open, but the newscasters were seeing mph's of 5-10. I57 looked to be clear all the way to Chicago, inverting our plans, with xmas in the north (where it was dry) and new years in the frigid, snowbound south.

We gambled and took the southerly route.

Perhaps the dumbest risk, I've taken. Especially in light of a 4month old girl in the back seat.

I24 we managed fine, and got to Paducha, KY and things were looking good. It felt like we had crossed the intense band of snow and could ride up the back side with no problem. Our plan was to head up the Western KY parkway, and the first 10 miles or so were dry as a bone. I had made a brilliant deduction. The WKY pkwy plows were amazing. KY must have tons of money to spend on its highways. They probably had millions of tons of salt down just because it was december.

Then the snow started to appear on the road. A little bit. The dry passages weren't as long. The snow patches grew exponentially. Ultimately, we were creeping along rutted fields of ice. Ecstatic when we topped 30 mph. Absolutely terrified when the wheels jumped their ruts and the tail end slid around.

We were lucky. I though our detour would take about 5 hours. It took nine and a half. We missed Christmas eve at my grandmothers, but made it to Louisville in one piece without any other problems but the mental strain of a nine-hour session of intense prayer, willing a car to stay straight on ice.

We could have had it much worse. We saw car after car in the medians and ditches. We saw snowmen built on the sides of interstates. We saw written in the snow in giant letters, "THIS SUCKS!" We saw film of drivers stranded in Indiana for almost the whole day. And when we finally had reached the well-plowed lanes of I65 northbound to Louisville, we saw an 8 mile stoppage of traffic for an accident on the southbound side.

And by the end of our stay in Louisville, we saw over 140,000 dead people swamped by a giant wave. I felt stupid for complaining.

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