Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

daily existence away from chicago

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Chef Ciela

Chef Ciela
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Ciela at Work

Ciela at Work
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Ciela's school/daycare had a Halloween parade and puppet show this morning. She's the youngest kid in the school, and has become something of the school mascot. She gets the rock star treatment when we arrive, with most kids who aren't engaged in work running over to hug her or say Hi. During the parade, she brought up the rear, mostly because she prefered to be a parade of one rather than follow the crowd. When they posed for pictures, I had to walk her up to the front of the group, and then run away and snap photos as she fled the group.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fun with a zoom lens

Fun with a zoom lens
Originally uploaded by shermans.

We were in Oak Park for NU Homecoming, which the less said about the 'cats loss to Michigan the better. But the game has become secondary, especially now that so many of us have managed to reproduce. This photo captures the latest offspring in all her glory. Down at the center is Blake in the arms of her mother, apparently radiating streams of glory. Or off-gassing. Aren't digital cameras fun?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What PoMo are U O?

theory slut
You are a Theory Slut. The true elite of the
postmodernists, you collect avant-garde
Indonesian hiphop compilations and eat journal
articles for breakfast. You positively live
for theory. It really doesn't matter what
kind, as long as the words are big and the
paragraph breaks few and far between.

What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla

As seen at Scrivenings

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I told a few people that I would have pictures of Ciela's Halloween costume, but Judy doesn't want anyone to see it before they see it live. So people will have to wait until the 31st for the unveiling. Let me just say she is very cute and got extra candy at the library tonight because of it.

Rebel with a Cause

Rebel with a Cause
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Shrine to Ciela

Shrine to Ciela
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Cactus Blog

Cactus Blog
Originally uploaded by shermans.

The Rude Pundit

A little something to remind me to check this blog again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

But would I trade it for a new bike

My blog is worth $2,258.16.
How much is your blog worth?

What I Need and What I Get

Scrivener relates that the "Needs Meme" actually has three parts. Besides the "needs' there are also "wants" and "gets." So lets go around again.

Scott wants Laci's money. [No, I actually have too much money as it is]

Scott wants to be outré but can't muster much beyond a misguided aesthetic of cool. [now that hurts]

Scott wants to have a fundraiser [Perhaps I do need more money.]

Scott wants to leave Las Vegas a winner. [gosh, more money]

Scott wants to be smart/funny. [but not at the same time]

Scott wants to put an end to the belief that American women have to wear a colorless, shapeless uniform to achieve liberation and equality [it has been one of my life goals]

Scott wants to wean the calves early again this year [the early bird gets the veal]

Scott wants to put your Slurpee machine on the Internet. [and I don't mean that as a euphemism]

Scott wants to have his Crusade and rue it, too

Scott wants to act like a man, but without sacrificing the arousing qualities one might desire in a pretty young lady [wow! the internets know me so well.]

And I get...

Scott gets her gold medal [in the transgendered Olympics, I suppose]

Scott Gets Down [and funky in the back room]

Scott gets sweet FA. [Sweet! What is FA?]

Scott gets a very good performance from Washington, as well as Fanning. [I always do bring out the best in Washington, but Fanning surprised me last night. He really did]

Scott gets way too jittery [especially after that fifth espresso]

Scott gets my vote [and I promise to keep my promises]

Scott gets one of Atlanta's nine sacks [and I bet Scrivener is wondering about the other eight]

Scott gets his first taste of zombie life when a hot co-ed gets a real taste of him [goodness me, I suppose I better be properly dressed for tomorrow's visit to campus]

Scott gets a chance to flex his Travolta-esque skills.

Scott gets acquainted with a cabezon [what the hell is a cabezon?]

Scott gets what he’s ultimately hoping for [ah, a happy ending]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

We have so much work to do

From the ASU student newspaper article, "Games make binge drinking easier":

Philosophy sophomore Taylor Miller said she usually drinks alcohol three times a week, and plays beer pong once a week.

Miller said she drinks simply for the purpose of getting drunk.

"Beer pong essentially formed with the same purpose," she said. "But they're doing it faster, and they're making it funner."

Philosophy major! Oh, my.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Shandying it

James Marcus at House of Mirth notes that there is a new film version of Tristram Shandy, one of my favorite books. This both intrigues and alarms me. But before we get to that, let me explain why I like the book.

I had heard of Tristram Shandy as an undergraduate at Northwestern, and I may have even been required to read it. I can't be certain because at that stage of my life, I really hated 18th Century work. I remember really struggling through those classes with very long books by the likes of Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson and the like. Not so much because of the prose--though in the case of Richardson, because of the prose, but I rather liked Fielding's work--but because it was soooo long. I probably fell asleep more often during Tom Jones than Pilgrim's Progress. Even if Tristram had been in that group, I most likely wouldn't have even noticed its genius in my soporific state.

But as I started learning more and more about modernist and then postmodern works--James Joyce, Wm Faulkner and Nabokov and then John Barth, Don Barthelme and Pynchon--I wandered back to the 18th Century when the novel was unmoored, and authors were willing to try much more than the confining 19th and early 20th century. Laurence Sterne's novel blew me away on this second reading. It was postmodern before pomo was cool. In effect, it opened my eyes to the alternate strain of writing, a DeLillo-esque underground history that was obscured by the mainstream literary historical march to John Updike. (Granted, this might just be what I gleened from my education--always biased by those teaching me. Perhaps lots of other people were taught that Tristram Shandy was the preeminent novel of the 18th century). Suddenly, I could see a literary timeline that included Burton's Anatomy of Meloncholy, Cervantes' Don Quixote, Wm Byrd's History of the Line, and countless other texts that are more or less overlooked in the general survey course.

I loved TS, if only for the motled page and the completely black page. These two moments were as powerful as Pale Fire's index and Barthelme's Glass Mountain. I loved Sterne for writing a novel about itself; a self-conscious work so twisted that the narrative couldn't even find its way past its own main character's conception. I've reread it a number of times, and with this movie coming out, I'll probably take another whack at it.

Back to the movie: I'm terribly worried about how a director can put on screen a work so completely antagonistic to representation. Indeed, a main theme (if not the main theme) of TS is the inability to represent reality. I fear that any film version will merely capture the superficial story and characters--funny in their own right, but not the masterpiece that the novel as a whole is.

But if Michael Winterbottom attempts to capture the spirit of the book in the way that a screenwriter like Charlie Kaufman reworked The Orchid Thief, the movie might have some merit. From the article in The Guardian, it certainly sounds like Winterbottom has created a very self-reflexive film. In any case, I look forward to its US arrival.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cooking from deep, deep scratch

Originally uploaded by shermans.

Cooking from deep, deep scratch
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Welcome to IKEA

Since we moved to Scottsdale, we've been trying to minimize the weight of our material existence. Placing the accumulated mass of life on the scales really calls into question the value of anything that cannot be put into a large backpack. This pursuit of eliminating the stuff of daily existence does not occur easily. Not only do we have to contend with a culture that places a premium on objects as the measure of happiness, but the dark pursuit of things travels with the more optimistic pursuit of ecological responsibility. We are continually seduced into purchasing a lifestyle, and then consciously reject throwing out any item that might have further use. The result is an ever increasing heap of stuff.

So we work hard to overcome the former, and hope that the latter resolves itself. But its never easy. Now with the fact that I need to buy a new bike (see below), probably need new soccer boots, and will shortly need new running shoes, my life slips into consumer mode. Just to make matters worse, I went to IKEA today and was flooded with desire for halogen lamps, aluminum soap dispenser, a sleek, low-slung queen size bed, a whole new lifestyle preferably in a nice 4th story loft apartment with exposed brick, nice balcony, open floor plan and cafes, theaters, bars and restaurants all with walking distance.

Then everything returns to square one.

Yet I took it as a favorably omen that midway through my trip, the fire alarms sounded and we all evacuated. Hundreds of shoppers desparate for a hipper, slightly more European life, stranded in the vast parking lot. Our near-purchases abandoned in the lobby, lonely piles of bright yellow and blue bags.

"Run!" I shouted to the people. "Let it burn. You've been given a reprieve. Return to your old beds. Leave the gleaming storage rack behind. In fact, go home and collect that which needs stored and throw it on the fire. Let the giant blue box blaze!"

Some people did get in cars, but there was, apparently, no fire. An alarm calling for no emergency. We went back inside and my friend bought a small hook in the shape of a dog's backside, and I purchased a small doormat for $1.99. Life is one small step after another.
Narcissistic post-script:
I once commented on a blog that blogging itself eventually felt empty and purposeless because it was inextricably tied to narcissistic impulses that themselves were empty and lead to dead ends. In that spirit...

I scored a goal last night in our 1-2 loss. The goal came in the first five minutes on a free kick from about 22 yards out. From just to the left of the goal, I bent a ball over the four-man wall and placed it in the top corner. Then, because I have never scored a goal on a free kick (unless you count the one two weeks ago that was already in before my forward stuck his weasely head on it), I looked around assuming I had made a mistake.

I scored a goal.

I'm not one to use emoticons, but... :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Come Back, Little Sheeba, Come Back

Originally uploaded by shermans.

In my mind I've been drafting a rather fascinating blog entry about urban transit and the complicated caculus that leads one to choose the bus and bike over a car and lot. This post, brilliant in its insight and perception, took into account ASU's parking crunch, the meager yet blissfully cooperative bus routes in the valley, and the ongoing construction of Phoenix's new light rail system. This post, omnivorous yet relevant, also detailed the drastic and catastrophic results of the metro area's rapid and expansive growth, and courageously compared this to the older, pre-world war II midwest and east coast cities like Chicago, Boston and Cincinnati. This post, delicious yet rigorous, finally linked the rising tide of obesity, our culture's preoccupation with pornography, fast cars, loose tax systems, and the haughty and arrogant disregard for nature to the saving grace of mass transit, bike paths, and the dense, pedestrian oriented developments designed by Duany, Plater-Zybek, and van der Ryn.

Instead, my bike was stolen.

I loved that bike. My brother-in-law, who also loved that bike, gave it to me three years ago when he bought a new one. I probably never would have spent the money on such a machine, but I rode it all summer when I lived in Omaha. I even biked the 25 miles to work a few times. When I moved to Scottsdale, I rode it almost every saturday. Putting in 40 plus miles through the desert foothills and along the canals. I had just started to bring it to campus on the bus, and then ride it to Ciela's daycare, where I'd strap it onto the back of the car and drive all three of us home. I had planned to ride it in the Tour de Tuscon in November, and I had hoped to ride it in my first triathalon.

The person that stole it probably saw only the fact that it was a road bike and believed it to be worth a lot of money. It wasn't. When it was new, it would have been a good steal. Now, it was over a decade old, I think, needed new gears and new tires, and was quite a bit scratched up from me learning how to unlock my shoes before I tipped over. I hope it ruined the guy's day when he heard the price the pawnshop offered him. I hope it sat for days on eBay without a bid. I hope he crashed on the way home, was hit by a car, and wet his pants on the way to the hospital.

That's the bike in the picture. And that is the top of the string of hills I would ride to get to Dana College in Nebraska. As I was leaving Omaha, I quoted a song that says water was the closest thing to wings. I disagreed, arguing that being on a bike was as close to flying as we could get. Now, I'm grounded, sad, and my ankles hurt from running. And now, everything moves so much slower.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

red tail hawk in Flagstaff

red tail hawk in Flagstaff
Originally uploaded by shermans.

This wasn't as spontaneous as it looks. We were at the Flagstaff Arboretum for a raptor demonstration. This is a juvenile that was being trained for release into the wild.

Ciela's Favorite Song--this hour

We've been dancing around quite a bit this afternoon, and doing some dusting in the meantime.
Bonus points for the first person who can identify the song and artist. It is danceable, but caution, Ciela has a strange sense of rhythm.

"Now lemme tell you a story
The devil he has a plan
A bag a' bones in his pocket
Got anything you want
No dust and no rocks
The whole thing is over
All these beauties in solid motion
All those beauties, gonna swallow you up"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What I Need

The "Google Need" meme seen at Scrivenings. Do a Google search for "[YourFirstName] needs" and then post the results.

Scott needs nude models. [yes, well, who doesn't?]

Scott needs me to sing his professional praise. [please, somebody recognize the genius]

Scott needs the practice. [in so, so many areas]

Scott needs a partner. [er, uhm, that one is a bit outdated]

Scott needs access to all 7 sites. [sounds vaguely Kabbalistic]

Scott needs a plan. [or at least a clue]

Scott needs a sure thing. [no comment]

SCOTT NEEDS OUR PRAYERS FOR A HEALING AND FOR HIS FAMILY. [God likes all caps because the allmighty has bad eyesight]

Scott needs to be a defensive stopper like Harrison. [it's always Harrison this, Harrison that...fuckin' Harrison. I hate him]

Scott needs to stop railing against GAAP and focus on the real problems. [like AFTO and RIIP and CLUP]

Scott needs your help with the 2005 campaign! [because he didn't even know he was running]

Scott needs to tell us what magic he performed. [ah, but you will have to wait on that one]

Had to do one more

Scott needs no introduction as a mountaineer.

Snoopy Rock 1

Snoopy Rock 1
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Finally things are working again on the blog. The pix are back. The series of Snoopy Rock photos were taken as the sun set over our table at The Hideaway in Sedona. I had a beer and a pizza. Come to think of it, that's what Judy and Ciela had as well, just substitute oatmeal for beer for Ciela.

Then there are some more photos of Ciela being cute and witty comments written by me. Or not so witty. It's late and I was getting a lot of grief for not showing more pictures. Enjoy the baby and leave me alone, already.

Snoopy Rock 2

Snoopy Rock 2
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Snoopy Rock 3

Snoopy Rock 3
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Snoopy Rock 4

Snoopy Rock 4
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Snoopy Rock 5

Snoopy Rock 5
Originally uploaded by shermans.

at the Louisville Balloon Glow

at the Louisville Balloon Glow
Originally uploaded by shermans.

She's not getting the real story

She's not getting the real story
Originally uploaded by shermans.

The political knock on Ciela P. Hermanson has always been that she's caught in the beltway bubble. Let's face it, childhood is nothing but an echo chamber where everyone tells you how wonderful you are doing. No wonder she thinks she's the center of the universe.

At the Louisville Science Museum

At the Louisville Science Museum
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Can you get any cuter?

Can you get any cuter?
Originally uploaded by shermans.

Ciela, Age 1

Originally uploaded by shermans.

Yes, so I know that Ciela's birthday was almost two months ago, but I'm just getting around to posting pictures and configuring programs on the new computer. I do indeed have a life offline. It's very rich and fulfilling. With fresh air and sunshine. And sound. And people who talk back to me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lack of posting

From the lack of posts, one might think that things are incredibly busy around the household. Or the more generous reader might think that I was actually working very hard on other writing projects--like a book, for example. But no, the truth is rather more mundane, though expensive. We bought a new computer, an iBook that is, of course, incredibly cool. It has, however, taken up the majority of my alloted time for mucking about with the electronics. The blog has suffered for it. Meanwhile, I've been transferring files, configuring programs, allocating memories...the whole rigamorole surrounding a new computer. We are just about in working order now, and we should be back to posting pictures of little girls any day now.

Meanwhile, allow me to update everyone on last night's soccer game. Opening week saw us completely in shambles, getting run over by a fast but not terribly good team. The captain, having an almost completely unknown roster, stuck me in center mid, a pretty silly place to put me. We lost 0-3, with yours truly blowing a breakaway attempt and generally clogging up the offense and getting beat on defense.

The next week, in my absence, the team lost 0-5. Obviously, my lack of conditioning and inability to stop anyone from going around me was a big part of our tight defense in week one. There was a very real fear that we might not score at all this season.

Week three--last night. We win 6-4 with me getting three assists. It's amazing how much confidence one can gain by a bad performance from a keeper. Two of my assists came on set pieces: me crossing in a corner that floated over his head onto my on-rushing forward; and a free kick after I got plowed by a defender. Again, I floated this one over the keeper's head, and would have scored, but my same forward ran in and touched it with his head just before it crossed the line.

Put me out on the wing, and things happen. At least, I don't screw up so much.

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