Monday, December 31, 2007
As there is steady internet at the local I am rarely home.
Thus I get to hear a range of bon mots. The dude in the fake motorcycle gear was special. Walked in, ordered a Becks for his girlfriend (!!!! well.. ok, I have one, so there's no accounting for taste) and when he heard there were none yelled across the bar asking if she'd take a "heiney-licking" instead? How risible! Repeated 15 times over the next 35 seconds? Not so clever. We can all hear.
The next drink needed to be a cocktail so he ordered a "gin n colonic" and offered to buy a round, without the gin, for the entire bar. Again, in case the subtlety of the joke was lost on a lout like myself, he repeated the joke 15 times.
For his next sally he asked for a drink without a "crap on the glass! My girlfriend hates a glass with a crap on it." To make sure this was true he yelled to her across the bar (she was playing pool) asking if she hated glasses with craps on them. She yelled back that she hated a crack on a glass and when the dude said "well, that's even worse, since crap is protein and crack is illegal," I decided to go home.
Probably for the best, and I didn't want to be about when our local Bob Hope remembered the 'other' meaning of the word crack.....
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
“They … Who can be more specific than that? One of their characteristics is that until the day they die they won’t assume responsibility for a single thing. They all have plausible alibis. … It’s also a scheme to develop you gentlemen and your successors as human capital. Gentlemen, we are not the ends, you and I. Rather, we’ve become the means without realizing it.”
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I would have thought someone (probably a teen blogger) would have asked that.
And, yes.. I only came up with that phrase because I COMPLETELY missed a lyric.. ;-)
Also.. because BAG is asking pesky questions about old Eddie Poe, we come across..
"addiction is the ultimate freedom"
now really.. shouldn't some juiced up hophead have written that in their 25,000 word post on how only they saw the injustice of the world and how difficult that sweet knowledge is?
And then THAT lead me to an ultimate truth that google has never admitted -
"freedom is the ultimate addiction"
Deeeewd.. that is so right on...
or I need to go to sleep...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
In celebration we went out for sushi and sitting there came across a new sake product. I swiped the table-tent which advertised it and it is scanned here for someone's delectation. First thing I noticed is that this is definitely not aimed at men. As I gazed at its overwhelming bubbly pinkness I could feel a nascent set of ovaries developing, way deep down in my body somewhere I couldn't exactly place. I quickly swigged some of my beer and belched. I'm sure the Japanese characters on the label say something like "girly-man."
I am impressed, however, by the phrase "Sparkling Flower" (although it really should be used to name a firework, not some girly Japanese hooch) and will add it to my list of silly nicknames.
On the other side was this odd layout. I wasn't sure why any self-respecting firm would give their product a "Sake Meter Value" negative rating, but there it is, the "-60". A bit of research indicates this means it is a sweet Sake, but I might take that "Value" out of there. It has multiple meanings. Semi-bad marketing.
Then again there is also the "serve chilled for maximum refreshment" which is often times a warning that if your taste buds aren't frozen, you really won't like the thing.
The remaining bits off the label, the Japanese characters, are semi-traditional stuff: Threats to "get back at the US" for WWII and several lines from an old lease to Dokdo Island.
I wonder if anyone orders this stuff?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
|You'll die from a Drug or Alcohol accident.|
|Let's face it - when you get drunk/high you lose all control and do stupid stuff. Unfortunately in your case those propaganda anti-escapism commercials prove true.|
|'How will you die?' at QuizGalaxy.com|
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Take it away and things seem mickle weird. So when I didn’t receive a single message from Sunday night until I went to sleep on Monday night I noticed it. Also, given the BAGs skill at driving, at any given moment there is a 13% chance that she is in a wheels-locked skid, at the side of the road being lectured by a cop, or held, upside down, by her seatbelt, in a culvert. The reality and the possibility might have intersected in a hail of glass and a tangle of steel.
I was so worried about this possibility that I went to sleep early.
Not unaccountably, for a man of my advanced age, I woke up Tuesday morning at about 4:30. While deciding whether I would go to the bathroom or not (it was cooooold) I pulled the laptop up onto the bed and turned it on. At which point it told me it was 1969 and that I might therefore have some problems. Not the least of which being the BAG would be pissed I had suddenly become pre-pubertal and that work would lower my wages if not fire me outright.
“I should just shut this down and deal with it in the morning, thought I.” But I had second thoughts.
The problems were odd, but not impossible. OK.. obviously not impossible. So I clicked on control panels, clicked on date and time, clicked on year and rolled it, clicked on day and rolled it, clicked on time and rolled it. Excellent, now time to check IM.
Hmm.. no message from BAG.. I decided to send her one. Which was when I first figured out that while I could click, drag and move (which sounds like an excellent song title for one of those post-pop pop bands) I couldn’t type a damned thing.
“I should just shut this down and deal with it in the morning, thought I.”
This was a thought I immediately ignored. Restarted the thing. Same symptoms. Scratched head. “Aha!” says I! “What if I plug in my external keyboard and see if it works?”
I’m a big thinker, you see. The thought was that this would tell me if I had a hardware problem from the big fall last week.
Lo and behold, the external keyboard worked.
“I should just shut this down and deal with it in the morning, thought I.”
I’m not one to get “third-time lucky” either.
I restarted it again and noticed that the system buttons were now missing initial letters, the battery monitor had disappeared, and attempted restarts just ended in weird grey screens.
So, perhaps, hardware and systems problems? I ran HD diagnostics and they came up completely clean.
“I should just shut this down and deal with it in the morning, thought I.”
Yeah.. you know…
I restarted the thing by pulling battery and cable and rebooted. Then I remembered what architects do when they have a foundation that is rotted and uncertain, condemned and unsafe
----they start slapping extra stories on the mother-fucking building!
Which is why, at about 5:00 that morning I downloaded the latest online system upgrade and installed it.
Which was pretty much like putting a pillow over your aged grandmother’s face until her pathetic struggles stop.
At 5:30 I was doing a complete system re-install. In a t-shirt and underwear (an inexplicably gross tableau for anyone who knows me) on the floor, shivering in fear and cold.
Since I had only about 4 gigs free, there was not enough space. I briefly contemplated suicide (Not mine.. I thought it would be a good thing for the guy at work who always wears running shorts). Then I started hacking the installation down until it would fit. It still installed all kinds of mac shit I don’t want – “begone foul I-Cal!” And why it always re-installs an old version of iTunes, I have no idea… it really isn't my idea of a "minimum" system install.
Finally, finally, about 6:50am, I had a marginally useful computer. I re-downloaded the updates, ran them and at 7, beaten and too tired to even make sure that my links to online porn were intact, I went back to bed. It took about 10 minutes with whole body under the covers until I regained feeling. Which was a not-so-good idea, because that feeling was painful cold. I slept for about 50 minutes until the pain from the frostbite on my defrosting toes woke me up and I staggered to work on bloodied stumps of feet.
The computer, anyway, was working. ;-)
I blame the BAG. Didn’t even call!
And as a guy, nothing can be my fault. It's the law.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
and you are busy writing someone's thesis
and you are applying for jobs in Korea..
ok.. only once then...
but as part of it you are getting your music collection digitized so that it can follow you wherever you go (Ipod's are small enough to fit in coffins OR urns!).
So then you go through your CDs and try to Limewire anything you seem to recognize. At this point you discover (relearn?) two things....
The Gattdamnt Dead Boys were one of the greatest Punk Rawk bands ever. And the newly remastered version of 3rd Generation Nation is effing brilliant.
And then, as you are congratulating yourself on your brilliant taste you go back and check that last song you downloaded....
Brimful of Asha.....
and you hate yer fucking self...
cause you suck.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Second - meeting with the Pres is as perfect as any I've ever been in. I have everything he asks for, including the things that aren't on our list, and he says if I end up staying next Spring I get me a lovely private office in the Student Center.
Third, I walked in and out of work today, so on the way home I stopped in the local to get a bit of something to ward off the cold. They have installed free wireless access! Fortunately for me I'd left my power cord at work, so I couldn't stay too long in celebration. Besides, I need to work on my conference presentation and the MA for the other person.
But the idea that the wireless will be there when I watch me the NFL whilst drinking an overpriced domestic? Brilliant!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
For money, of course, so that's ok since it's Capitalism. And maybe it isn't a friend.. you know.. an acquaintance, more or less..
But here's the interesting bit .... I cranked out 1000 words tonight without the slightest problem or second thought. Just line after line of prose as I peered at journal articles on Questia. And it's probably as good as any writing as I do. Which makes me wonder why I have such a hard time with my own writing. If the quality were higher when I was writing for myself, that would mean one thing. But this stuff was sleek, academic, and gloriously, gloriously empty. It will certainly get a degree.
As a reward for that writing I stayed up late and watched.... whatever William Shatner is now starring in. And it is spectacular trash. And by spectacular I mean totally trashy and awesome.....
Aaah.. and I bookmarked all those lovely jobs in Korea...
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Ho hum…. A perfectly awful ending to a perfectly awful day that actually ended ok.
Walked to and from work today, which gave me a splendid chance to think about things It was a splendid chance I declined to take. It was too nice to think….
Got the two reviews for Acta Koreana done, and will send them off when I get home tonight. I read online they are refereed, but it doesn’t seem I’m going through that process OR, I’ve misinterpreted and I still have to. Then I need to quickly query the other folks about the piece on Korean Marriage, or a review of Three Generations. Might be too much because..
.. I need to send an email to the chick with the Master’s thesis.. I haven’t heard from her and I will need to work like a maniac to finish it if she still wants it. Maybe I’ll start my reading tonight and take a few notes….. If it’s still on I’ll be huddled in a hotel all weekend. One with a gym ;-)
Monday, December 03, 2007
It has issues... CDs mount but don't show up on the desktop every time. Sometimes it won't shut down.
But I got it back and spent all Saturday afternoon backing everything (completely!) up.
So if it should code again, at least I'm protected...
Tomorrow I get the last piece of paper I need for Korea applications.. I hope...
Spent the day at teh Korean Embassy working on stragedies..
we shall see...
Saturday, December 01, 2007
That, my friends, is the sound of a laptop falling out of an unzipping case and falling to the floor. And then, of course, not working any more....
So.. this is bad. I back up at least once a month, but this time I actually went 32 days. Plus, there's all those wedding pictures there and the computer just clicks and hangs. I recognize this as the sound of a broken HD. I rush to the reception thinking.. ok.. at least I won't use the card with the erased wedding pics.. they can probably be recovered as they have only been erased, not written over..
Get to the reception... somewhere in all this fun I have lost my other card... Siiiiiiiiiigh...
Quick trip to the Snakeway, which only has one 256mb card left, which I purchase. I dunno how anyone else ever purchased one, since they are not in the computer system and so this whole thing takes way to long....
back to the reception where I have to set picture quality to medium (ick!) and a semi-dreary reception (though I did well with the champagne) in a 1930s semi-German, semi-campground-hall room with a sticky front door and one bathroom.
Shots there and then home in a funk as I see big expenditures looming on the horizon.....
Friday, November 30, 2007
The folks in Outreach purchased some delicious pastries and we had a little meet and greet at the information desk. These foo's have known me far to long to not know my birthday but since they have known me that long they also know big ceremony appalls me. So that was cool.
Everything else was on the downlow til about 2:30 when I checked my cell-phone. Which is pretty broken and so to hear messages I have to turn the little external speaker. So I head into my office which I share with our fine Indian (malaria, not smallpox) Webmaster. I sat down, put the celly on my desk, and let the messages run. 3 were business shit, but the 4th one, to my horror, began with my BS saying hello and then busting straight into a chorus of "happy birthday."
My age and alcohol addled reflexes were nowhere near quick enough to slap the thing off of my desk and shut off the message.
I look up and the Ind. Web. is looking at me with a look of infinite sadness and regret.
"It is your birthday? I am very sad. You should have told me this thing."
Every time I come back into my office he launches into this mixed sadness/anger thing about why I hadn't told him. Oh, and he goes into the next room and announces it to my Workstudy Student, the Instructional Tech, and a couple of instructors.
Now, somehow, I'm apologizing on my birthday.
Odd but amusing.
At least he later turned to trying to claim that another birthday meant I had become wiser.
Amazing how you can share an office with someone and the still don't know you!!
And damn you BS, damn you to HAAAAAAYEEEELLLLL!
After that.. watched a half of the excellent fooball game, drank some beer, and headed home for one of them dwarf bottles of champagne. BAG coming over later, but I'm so tired it will be one of those romantic sleep-ins that only old couples can do. ;-)
Sky Nest has just officially passed The Dwarf with its 10th real revision. I save them all so I can marvel at the dumb shit I initially wrote and also at the stupidity of what I have cut out.
So, it's like, process or some shite....
Now... some Physical Grafitti as loud as them speakers go... and dreamless, dreamless sleep..
Thursday, November 29, 2007
This comes from a PHUD I work with:
I am in the midst of gathering information critical to our institutional “Focused Midterm Report” for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, due on October 15th. In that regard, the following information would be very helpful in fashioning a comprehensive, compelling report.
Specifically, and given your role in our various marketing efforts, could you provide some manner of summary update—a kind of “state of the nation” status report--regarding our various efforts and endeavors toward improving internal and external communication (and especially marketing) so that commentary specific to such matters can be included/incorporated in the report?
Your help, most certainly, is much appreciated.
All of that ads up to, "Please tell me about marketing. If you could, please make it relevant to the Accreditation Report."
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
but re-printed The Dwarf and did another restructuring... looking forward to seeing what the BKF will have for me tomorrow. With luck I will have already addressed some of it. Also worked on Sky Nest, which has got much better, but time is getting tight and I'm a bit worried. I'll see what BKF has to say tomorrow.
Began the paper for Hilton Head, so that is good. As it turns out I'd taken pretty extensive notes when I read Kim's work and that pretty much cut and pasted in. I can bullshit this one by sending off whatever I have when the December deadline hits. Even if it's shit they can't cut me out now, and the discussant will probably have some good feedback, if St. Louis was an indicator. Anyway, I'm going to do this one in a much more PPT/Discussion way, so the actual paper is pretty immaterial except as a way to organize my thoughts.
The big issue is really this Master's Thesis I'm taking on. The first few chapters are due mid-December and that would be quite a load. I'll meet with the client on Monday to see how quickly they can start on altering the expectation that early deadlines will be met. She has a bunch of it (illy) written, so that will be editing, I hope. But I'm not sure there's any research in hand and that is problematic.
Ah well.... I missed the cold I was afraid would hit me while I was up crabbing. This means I still have the Nyquil, whiskey, and Codeine.
Time to visit Oz baby! OZ!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I look ill, but I don't care about it
I can't face your threats
And stand up straight and tall and shout about it
I think I'm on another world with you
I'm on another planet with you
You get under my skin
I don't find it irritating
You always play to win
But I won't need rehabilitating
I think I'm on a nother world with you
I'm on another planet with you...
The work week ends, with more work piled on top of the planning process and me reacting by taking a holiday day out of sheer spite. As traditional, catching a cold the evening before I head off for holiday frolic. Going out in the big water on a crab boat and probably primarily taking pictures. Then a trailer-park crab-fest Thanksgiving. If the illness persists I will keep myself well medicated with Nyquil and booze, if needed. Heck, I still have the lion's share of the Codeine I got when my knee was bad. Illness and booze and drugs? Trailer Parke and Nyquil? This could be a perfect vacation. To ease the pain of living, the pain of illness, and the pain of people, the BAG and I will be staying at this rustic guesthouse on the coast. And booze and drugs.. did I say that? Then, probably, send the BAG home and hunker down and write like a madman..
Just now the BKF pops up on IM and notes that my rewrite of the Choi Sehui piece is much better but still needs some tightening up. Since the rewrite was a frantic response to finally printing the piece out and realizing how gawdawfully CRAP it was, this is a heartening response. Several points pop out of this. First, I should always print my shit out while editing it - onscreen editing is bizarre and granular and I suck at it. Second, I like working collaboratively. I think I should shortly (cause you know, I'm short) write out the formal explanations for each of those things, just so I have them near and dear to my brain as I write. I guess the third point is how much I like the initial exploratory process of writing, hate the middle bit, and then love the editing and, if there is time, following my own, often simple and naive, arguments and examples down on Google and Questia to see what other people have written about them. This often opens up awesome (hideous?) new vistas of awareness and then the editing process turns to raw addition and then the beauty of trying to hack something tight and pleasing from the newly clayed piece.
But for now.. I need to drink a lot of Whiskey to protect against the oncoming cold.
Don't worry, I pop an Airborne in each one!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Which is a traditionally theory-laden and fucked-up academic title attached to a book full of insight. Really, why don't you just title it "My Advisor was a Feminist Commie (who got beat up every day in high school)?" Not that there is anything wrong with feminists or economic critics, but for fuck's sake..
Anyway.. I read this brilliant work while the BAG is in the other room watching "Titanic." Which I watched for a bit, amused at the clear homoerotic bits that preceded the 'traditional' narrative. Leonardo DiCaprio is buggering his best friend at the front of the ship (this is an actual scene, watch more closely), before he saves the queen at the aft. It's all a bit odd.
But as I read, the BAG comes in during breaks and gives me plot summaries. For about an hour the movie has shocked and awed even her timetables and reporting ability. Her summary is now, GARP style, reduced to, "it's still sinking."
Which is a horrible thing to say about a ship, or a movie...
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
But credit where it is due. I am coming to love Excel because of how nifty it is parsing demographics (and I bet I'd love Access if there were a Mac version). And Entourage just completely punked my Apple mail program which never could seem to communicate with my POP servers. I just popped my email addies in the box, added "mail.server" to the POP box and it worked the first time! Mirabile Dictu!
Working on my second review for Acta Koreana and cranking out a first copy of a reference letter that will (allegedly) come from the BKF on my behalf.
I will meet him in southerly cowish town on Monday to discuss the reviews and certainly break the seal on no-beervember. Failure...... mmmmmmmmm, it tastes like hops! ;-) No sweat there, I've been living the clean life (symptom - totally normal blood pressure. Now that just isn't right!) and will go right back to it or the BAG will murder me in my sleep.
Well, if she'd stop snoring and let me GO to sleep.
Always took candy from strangers,
Didnt wanna get me no trade.
Never want to be like papa,
Working for the boss evry night and day.
I need a love to keep me happy,
I need a love, baby wont ya keep me happy.
Baby, wont ya keep me happy.
Baby, please keep me
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
And weary grows the mind doomed to read it.
The hours of my penance lengthen,
The penance established for me by the editor of this magazine,
And those hours may be numbered as the sands of the desert.
And for each of them Kahlil Gibran has prepared
Another ornamental phrase,
Another faux-Biblical cadence,
Another affirmation proverbial in its intent
But alas! lacking the moral substance,
The peasant shrewdness, of the true proverb.
I demurred that I am very old, lazy, and far more interested in the critical and marketing sides of the whole endeavor. Which she understood and I would be very surprised if this didn't result in a job offer in short order. Probably in Seoul and at a decent Uni, so alla that is good. The day was also lovely and a trip to Bigger City is rarely a bad thing and in this case it certainly wasn't.
I also handed the review of The Dwarf off to BKF and he will have a go from his side. I think it needs a bit more grounding in the politics of the era, so I am off to read on that and BKF will certainly have something to say.
In the meantime I am completely reminded why I love sinfest:
CRAZY SOCIAL REALISM!
BITING SOCIAL COMMENTARY!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
So I spent last night resurrecting a thing from the past, the "Briefcase full of BS." In this case it is a lovely brown-leather traveling case with my updated CV, two copies of my review of Cho Sehui's The Dwarf (for Ed, you know! It would be a coincidence if a copy happened to appear in front of the Women of Ewha. Coincidence I say), my new cards and several articles about Korean history and literature. Also, of course, a dog-eared and annotated copy of The Dwarf. Let's hope no one of the crew I'm meeting are of the "pristine book" religion.
In any case, as the plan was to pick me up at 9, the BKF will be here around 10 and then it will be off to whatever it is.
On the other side of this coin, the planning process at work seems to be going well, although I frequently find myself arguing on the side of the consultant and not my president, who occasionally goes OCD over some PowerPoint slide or arcane piece of data that is generally unimportant while we are still discussing meta issues. I also wish the consultant would learn to recognize when the president has dropped one of his little jewels (normally a metaphor he is proud of, a joke, or some story) so that the president would not have to continue repeating these until they are acknowledged. It really slows things down. Not so much as the Pres being in charge of the Powerpoint (it hurts to watch someone struggle to do something relatively simple. But you grab the mouse out of the President's manly and noble hand only at the risk of your continued employment).
Ah well... it's a lovely day in Big City and I have 30 minutes or so to enjoy before the Embassy arrives. And the landlady is gone all next week, so I shall have privacy.
For what, God knows, but it is good to know it is there.
Finally, my favorite self-absorbed blogger continues to struggle under the massive weight of the beauty and solemnity that she so gracefully carries...
My inner introvert lets out a sigh and bemoans the fact that I am already popular
Alas.. struggle on Namaste, struggle on!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Got home and I've had another paper accepted for conference presentation. Hilton Head, South Carolina, Mid January. Maybe take the BAG and make it holiday-like. I am getting good at the "means nothing but sounds like a conference title" thing. Because I'm working on a review of "The Dwarf," I came up with this monstrosity:
Representing Modernization: Infinity and Inversion in Selected Work of Kim Yong-Ik and Cho Sehui
Now that's just shameless, since I have no idea what I will write about. Still, it will be another trip to someplace..... else... and another notch on the publication/presentation bedpost.
And, of course, plenty of fun to write as I will have to delve much more deeply into the Modernization/Industrialization of Korea, which was a pretty interesting period.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Or there's the totally insane English route..
I tend towards the former, since it has absolutely no residency requirement and thus I could do it from Korea. Not to mention I've done my time in English.
As to Korea, I learn many interesting things at Dave's ESL Cafe, including the fact that there are more jobs than I am being presented by my friends in Korea. I have no idea why that is, but it is.
And there is a clear route, via University sponsored short-sessions, that I could take to
a) teach and,
b) get experience to move up to a really reputable Uni (say, National University, Seoul).
and then, presumably, move back here and be able to teach East Asian Studies or English, or not teach at all.
poi dog pondering...
Saturday, October 27, 2007
2) I remember why it is I used to have a beard. My trip to MidWest City included the loss of my nifty Gillete multi-blade razor. So for the past few days I have been using the old single-blade kind. And 2 days out of 4 I diced my face up brutally.
Today I gave up and came to work unshaven as the gang is going out drinking tonight and I don't want to get a DUI because I'm a quart low on blood.
3) I love the word "punctilious" just because all those little syllables strongly suggest someone who would be fussily exact in the smallest particulars - it is a word composed entirely of them.
That will be all. ;-)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The President at Swamp Valley College has asked me to continue work there through our upcoming planning process. Part of his request is based on an understanding of what I do and part is based on a relative misunderstanding.
Many moons ago I wrote the only actual "plan" that Swamp Valley College has ever (so far as I know) produced. It had an internal and external environmental scan, demographic projections for the next 5-10 years, and a marketing plan to react to these. And it largely worked.
Which is the source of both his understanding and misunderstanding. I kind of like gathering data (particularly when it contradicts some of the chowderheads in instruction) and scheming off of that. On the other hand, my 'success' would be pretty minor in any other environment... it is only because no one here is intellectually curious about reality (as opposed, I suppose, to their academic endeavors and illy-lit offices) that the stuff I've dug up has any meaning. I mean.. all these clever laddies and ladies, you'd think they'd have seen what was happening around them..
Both points may add up to the same thing, but I think I will commit to this 6 months as SVC, particularly as all of the semi-promises about Korean University have coalesced into two job offers I haven't been suited for. This is sad, but perhaps another 6 months at SVC grinding away on conferences and reviews will break that logjam.
And I probably do have some bargaining stance at SVC for some small changes in condition.
We shall see. I have to bring this all to the president as a package and see what he agrees to.
Still.. it's nice to have a big hairy project to work on again... ;-)
Monday, October 22, 2007
On Saturday I bailed on the conference and set out on a walking expedition of the park, which began with the zoo.
The zoo was clearly marked with a Stonhengian “ZOO” sculpture so even I couldn’t miss the entrance. It was a nice zoo, but it was also a Saturday so the place was full of kids. All having important formative moments, no doubt, but running around like the mad-chilluns they are. It reminded me of why I prefer the zoo during the week.
The zoo is free – a very nice touch - so you can wander in and out of it as you see fit. There is plenty else to explore in the park, my hotel guy said it is bigger than Central Park in New York. Having never been there I just nodded my head as though I knew what that meant.
I believe he thought I was a man with intercontinental experience.
That's the only way I can explain the fact he followed me to the men's room every time I .. er.. 'went.'
Anyway, I had “breakfast” at the zoo, a tasty hot-dog, a truly awful hot-pretzel (most of which ended up in the garbage) and a Bud Light of epic proportions. Because the Zoo is a semi-educational venue I should note that I learned something I never would have suspected. Turns out there is a “season” for cotton candy. And when the cotton candy fields lay stripped of their crops, a few forlorn cardboard stalks poking uselessly in the air? When the seasonal Cotton Candy pickers have packed up their jalopies, tattered belongings, and sad families to move farther south to pick the Kettlecorn and Corndog crops? The Zoo has to stop serving cotton candy.
I also spotted this water-fountain with a dedication that seemed strangely apropos. The water fountain was donated by the Sippy family, who do good the only way they know.
Also, they had been hard at work on the Blue-Monkey Extermination Project as dozens of the savage brutes were hung like bunches of fruit at each concession stand.
Then it was a continued walk down the hill. This was kind of interesting because I walked past probably a mile of unused street parking as people headed up to the $10/$20 parking lots. Oddly, when I finally walked back, I walked on the inside of the park, which was pretty jungular. Here, people parked at least a mile away from the zoo and happily walked to it. I guess it's the difference between walking alongside a freeway and walking in some lovely green stuff.
On the way down I passed a big old metal sculpture that would look tacky at the Tiki-Room in Disneyland and looked even weirder on the side of the road. I suppose it represents the brass balls, steel will, and iron determination....
...aah.. I really have no idea..
Another mile or so down the road is the Science Center which is on both sides of the freeway (the freeway is spanned by an enclosed bridge which contains several amusing displays including radar guns so you can actually put a number to the lawless driving of the unconcerned Mid-Westerners out here). This is a really cool place and you could spend at least a whole day there. They had a Gemini capsule and although I knew from high school textbooks that they had been small, standing in front of the thing was amazing. It looked like something from a carnival ride. Which, I suppose, is about right.
There were dinosaur exhibits, a massive Rube Goldberg device and probably hundreds of hands-on things for kids to do, which kept the ankle-biting down. A bunch of cool things cost money and were scheduled (they have one of those plastinated people exhibits) such that I’d have to wait around.
It also included the "ice cream of the future" which is (as I noted before) the inspiration for the add campaign of a competing college.
It was completely cool, but with a blister developing on my little toe (yeah, I'm a wimp) I decided it was time to start the hike back to the lovely half-price bar. It had been three or four hours of tromping, and I was ready for a chilly one.
Just a final note about that bar. I did all my eating and drinking there from Thursday night to Sunday morning (when, alas, it was actually closed!) and this totaled $64.00. The bartender says the owner is re-thinking the half-off policy and I can figure why. But I was lucky enough to be around while it was still ending.
The life I freaking lead!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Another presenter on my panel did a hilarious and sometimes sad presentation on the state of modern Thai literature in the world - basically trapped behind social and governmental disinterest (at best) and the lack of translators.
The great panel was the one before mine (ours) where two women talked about Japanese bodily representations of Koreans during the occupation period. One traced the career of a Japanese gynecologist who was attempting to prove that Korean women were husband-murdering freaks. His methodology was suspect at best - one of his classics was to diagnose husband murderers as frigid or too-easily sexually excitable. Perhaps. But to classify some of the women as both? This paper also included a drawing of a Korean woman with a prolapsed uterus that will put me off sex for a year.
The second paper traced Japanese responses to Koreans before and after a 1923 earthquake. It would have been funny if it wasn't sad. The government created a false taxonomy (kind of like the famous "know your Jap" poster the US did during WWII) which did pretty much nothing but create confusion (partly because it was internally inconsistent) and result in the murder of people of all races, including some Japanese.
In both cases the Japanese were stuck in the "colonized our own folks" problem. Like the British and the Irish, I suppose.
Then, I had to race back to the hotel.. because..
The walk to the conference also began with one step, but it was a faltering one. I walked from the hotel, just over a mile and once I got there I switched from tennis shoes to work shoes and went in search of something to eat. Found an enormously chatty wrap-maker and was all the way up to the cashier when I realized I had left my wallet at the hotel. Awkward, but the nice people let me have it anyway.
The walk was when it sort of hit me that I was in a different place. Airports, taxis and hotels are all pretty similar, though the Chesire is a different kind of hotel. How different? Because I was at the hotel everything in the bar and grill was half-priced. I had three beers and a pizza for just under $13. That’s a bargain and if I hadn’t been tired, I’d have done more damage to the alcohol.
Architecturally this part of the town seems like a mix between Indiana and Lousiana. Lots of big stone houses on plantation like grounds. I’m right by some kind of park and walked by what must be the ‘rich church ghetto’. Six enormous churches (from Vedic to Christian Science) on lush grassy grounds. All of stone, of course. At some point on the walk I could see the famous arch, and the park has a zoo that is supposed to be one of the US’s best and is also free. That might take up some of tomorrow and will certainly make me wish I’d brought my long lens.
Many of the conference attendees seem to be Asian.
Which is my “duh!” moment for the day.
My discussant and chair were both great and I need to email them tomorrow with my thanks.
Now I think I need to take some pictures of the hotel, which is kind of odd. ;-)
Friday, October 19, 2007
a) so she could get to work on time
b) so I could get to the airport bar with two hours to work on my unfortunate state of consciousness.
The lure of the Monkey Bar overwhelmed my common sense, and I had the BAG drop me off at terminal 3. Which is where the Monkey Bar is and where I thought my flight was.
No such luck.
My flight was back at terminal 1.
So, on foot, I humped all my stuff back over there and was only able to have three beers and one increda-DRY™ sammich before it was flight time.
Good news for me, since that cost over 30 bucks, like I was at the Fairmont or something.
I managed to nap a bit on the flight, which was only half full. This was despite the requisite hollerin’ child 10 seats in front of me.
They put obnoxious pets into little (ventilated, VENTILATED!) boxes in the aft, or some other word for a place they store monstrosities (hold? cell? ballast?). Why can’t they do this with children under the age of five?
I pick the age of five because after that age the kid should be able to be cowed by the threat that other passengers will repeatedly beat him/her if noise continues. And if not, the beating is morally justified.
Once again, I have a bulletproof plan, and no one will listen
I write this at LAX, waiting for the next flight. On version 14 of my paper since I got my revision orders last Monday... Got all sneaky and read the papers of the other people and since I am going last I swiped quotes from their papers to use at proper times in mine.
it will seem like I was listening!
the hotel beckons...
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The designer, or the person who hired the designer, wrote an explanation of the dots to be placed inside their catalog which was the design kickoff. The person who hired the designer also held a college-wide meeting to explain what the design meant.
In that entire room, apparently, not one of these fine educators stood up and asked, “Hey, if you have to explain this to a bunch of eggheads like us, what are the chances that our potential students are going to make anything out of this?”
I showed the card that had been developed to the BAG. She picked it up with the dot-covered side up. She quickly flipped it over. She saw the unbroken green expanse with some small writing at the bottom. She flipped it over again, and once again. She looked up and asked, “which is the front?”
I laughed and said it was the dots. She shook her head in understanding and stared at it for about a minute. She shook her head and finally dropped it. “I don’t know, I just don’t see the word or picture in the dots.” I laughed my head off as I had tried to discover the same thing.
But, sometimes dots are just dots.
And if you have to explain a marketing approach to your audience? It just might be bad marketing.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It’s “Relating to the Environment” Day over at Blog Action Day. And they’ve bought the stupidity, as evidenced in this quote:
“A blog about money might write about how to save around the home by using environmentally friendly ideas.”
WTF? What is an “environmentally friendly idea?“ The “environment” is just the system around us and it changes constantly. Anything that changes the environment is, by definition, environmentally friendly. Therefore anything you do is environmentally friendly. It’s a term without any meaning and it’s gonna be BIG… medium …. small.. unimportant… Al Gore didn’t get his Nobel Prize for cheesy thinking like this.. he focused on a specific thing that could decrease the quality of life for humans. So that works…
I, as a tree-hugging communist (and practicing abortionist), might say, “save the trees” or “keep Lake Tahoe Blue” for aesthetic as well as practical (we do need that pesky oxygen) reasons. But if Darth Cheney wins and the earth is reduced to a smog-covered grey tableau of pockmarked earth with grey waterholes, smoking tree-stumps, and factory chimneys smoking above hovels, but before dome-covered cities populated by the rich?
Guess what? That’s the fucking environment.
Stupid farking hippies.
Now, get out there and reduce pollution, or hug a tree, but don’t give a shit about “the environment.”
Monday, October 15, 2007
There are several interpretations...
1) My paper is so excremental it can't be helped by comment
2) My paper is so brilliant she is slumped in her bathroom, under the sink, wondering why she payed all that money for her PhD when she just could have dated me
3) She's busy
Doesn't really matter...
I have another conference in my sights in January and will be sending off an abstract this week.
If the swine in Korea (who rather owe me, but who knows how that works with a Waygook?) won't find me a job I'll just keep plugging away here. Nothing else to do, really. Work for some big vacation time and try to do my research on vacations. I don't believe they'll let me down, but I have yet to see anything since Mr. Pak had something lined up for me last March.
The conference will happen, the reviews will publish, and I will continue to gnaw away at this thing....
Like the tailless rodent I am.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Guapo, as he henceforth shall be called, lives on a side of DC that is in the process of receiving what some folks like to call a remedial "face lift". I, for one, happen to feel right at home here. The first day after my arrival, we bellied up to the bar for breakfast at a place down the street, where Spanish is the first and only language and the fried plantains are simply divine. Further down the street, we continued our feast on enchiladas and two Coronas at a place where the jeans are skin tight and even the jukebox speaks Spanish. Guapo laughs good-naturedly that between my bus trips and grocery shopping adventures, I have become a rather popular figure in the local community. Four months in the Middle East have me haggling with the street vendors for better prices on mangos, which Guapo patiently says has nothing to do with my popularity..Classic stuff. Her topic, barely disguised by self-serving cultural analysis, is her own "popularity." And babydoll can turn anything into herself, normally with a beautiful slap at some sort of un-named class she can't stand for not being cool. After all.. "some folks" like to call things a "remedial 'face lift'" and those are the people who don't like Spanish, beer for breakfast and skin-tight jeans.
Do you get it. Really GET it? Those people aren't cool.
Heck (Hell, maybe!), Namaste digs the urban scene "I'm one of those people who actually finds the American suburbs more creepy and disturbing than the alley where the local drug users leave their needles." She is the loner! She is "radically different within." She is "not a part of a herd."
These 300 or so words of self-stroking are a two paragraph introduction to a substantially shorter section in which she admits she likes the United States.... because it is more convenient for her to shop there...
Namaste, Namaste, all is Namaste... ;-)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Discussant REDACTED,I hope I hit the right combo of suck up, deference, abject deference, and fearful moaning.
Attached is my paper, although I am still making minor changes to try to get it down to 15 minutes speaking time. Also, as this is my first conference, I am willing to make any changes you suggest. I suppose my main concern is that the work is more archeological than theoretical.
I didn't see, on the site, any preferences as to format for citations, or need for bibliography? If there is a standard, please point me to it and I will follow that standard.
Any other expectations a first-timer might be unaware of?
I look forward to meeting you in St. Louis (please send a return mail indicating you received this).
MY NAME WENT HERE...
We shall see
It occurs to me that the thing I'm really liking is generally the thing that is new to me. This is less than epiphanic. People like shiny new things, I have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD, and I have now been in my current job (if you exclude "boring drunkard" which, since I've never been paid for, I think it is fair to exclude) for twice the period I have held any other single job. I've probably only lasted this long here because I've worked at different locations and for about 14 different bosses in the six years I've been here.
But I also wonder if I'm bored because the United States has become predictable (stupid?)?
• Is there an active and shared culture in the United States or have contesting cultures retreated into vast mountain retreats from which the survey others with disdain? Politically this seems to be obvious. I blame the Ipod. ;-)
• Has culture become a Bloomian zero-sum game in which giving credence or play to one book or belief is to necessarily take credence or play from another book or belief?
• Is it moronic to try to judge the "culture" of a country that has only formally been in existence for slightly over 200 years? I mean, crap, I love England, but how many years did they spend painting their asses blue and fighting over dry waterholes, drier women, and wet tribal leaders? It took a few decades to get to Shakespeare, if I remember 11th grade cultural history correctly.
• If you don't become obsessed with one aspect of culture or another, is this a "40 Year Culture" in the sense that you'll pretty well have it figured out by that age and thus it loses lustre? And would that be any different in Korea or Sudan - I mean, I suppose most 40 year olds have their cultures pretty wired, no matter where they reside in those cultures.
It is the days that questions like this occur to me that I am thankful that I have never been a quitter. Specifically, I still drink...
Time to draw a red stripe over these freshman level questions.. ;-)
And I suppose I have answered my own question in a way. Any culture that can produce "Get Fuzzy" is still a valuable one.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
it's fixed now. I have lodgings at the lovely Chesire Lodge and my flight is cleverly planned so that I need not wake up early on either departure date.
The lovely discussant promises her feedback on my paper by Saturday. The BAG fulminates darkly about how Koreans always "love to hold me up." Hey, sometimes I stagger baby, sometimes I stagger! And I think a six day turn-around on a conference paper, for a post-doc who is reading several others, is just fine. As far as I'm concerned it means I don't have to do any more work on the thing this week...
Work itself is oddly under control... all these events are unfurling as planned and I seem to be marginally better at planning them. One community event and one Major Conference Entertainment to go, but with luck these will be the last for a very long time.
On a more (less?) amusing note, one of the previous wives of the "Just Married Uncle" has had a stroke pursuant to surgery. The surgery had been scheduled on the same day as the JMU's wedding, which led to some speculation that it was a sort of dramatic "fuck you" to the whole day.
As I noted to my BS, if this were true, the ex-wife clearly hadn't thought her brilliant plan all the way through. A death the day before would have had some swing, now it becomes a very sad footnote. I wonder how the JMU feels? If this has any impact any longer...
Oh well... as I sit at the bar waiting for
1) My laundry to dry
2) The BAG to get here
3) Total Consciousness..
I don't wonder all that much.
Because I'm selfish.
And all I really need is a good reason. ;-)
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
My Uncle’s wedding was no different, though as always it was lovely to spend time with the “kids” in my generation. Spookily (that fucker tempus fugits) there is a new generation of kids below us who will no doubt some day come to our late-life events and sit at a table far in the back, drink our champagne, and honor and mock us at once. It is a ritual of premature burial that all generations are subjected to. It is just a shock that it might come to mine. ;-)
I woke up without the hangover I had hoped for. This was disappointing, as I had put the work in the night before. I was amused to see, as I searched for the coffee-maker, which was inexplicably hidden under the sink, that the tea-maker was on the counter, as was the automatic rice-cooker. I'm just guessing the hotel gets a lot of Asian Trade. The ride up to the church was brief and easy, and I arrived to quite a lot of people I didn’t know, milling about outside a church I was even less familiar with. The service was nearly endless and replete with the idiocies of two religions, Catholicism and Urantia. It is a point against the orthodoxic stupidity of Catholicism that the quotes from the Urantia Bible (Instruction Manual?) seemed the height of rationality compared to the “we betrayed God so in time he betrayed his son” babble of the priest.
As I thought this sort of thing throughout the entire ceremony, and since I did not have the cheat-sheet in the program (lyrics to songs, prayers, call and response shiat, and the like) I couldn’t play along, I suppose it is only due to Gawd’s mercy that I wasn’t smoten by a plague of some sort.
Still, the venue was nice, and whatever else you can say about my uncle, he is a creative mofo. In the last month before the ceremony he decided (perhaps his bride had a hand, or clenched fist, in the decision – there were various tales floating about the reception) to create some artwork for the wedding. He made 7 incredible fabric/painting pieces which you have seen strewn throughout this little post. Two are recreations of actual weddings, and the others are multicultural type representations of idealized weddings (though I can't say why he made the Thai wedding picture with George Bush's face?)
The pictures don’t do justice as the textural differences between the paint and fabric, and the richness the fabric brings the pieces, was quite amazing up close.
As mentioned above, the ceremony not only mentioned eternity, but also approached it. The head.. uh.. Catholic, did quote his “favorite theologian, Elton John” which gave me quite a start as I thought the Churches’ formal stance on the ghey was that it was only appropriate for priests and the like.
The words I have to say
May well be simple but theyre true
Until you give your love
Theres nothing more that we can do
Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen
You say its very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But theres no other way
And now its really up to you
Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen
Just when I thought the long nightmare was over, the head dude called us back together for the “first eucharist” of the married couple. My uncle informed me this was not an event that should be photographed. This made me the only photographer at the event who wasn’t flashing away with abandon through the entire
No matter, I was beyond bored at that point. I like me a little ritual, but for chrissakes.. the champagne out there at the reception might be getting warm, and the icing on the wedding cake running like it was abandoned in MacArthur Park. Think of my gross physical desires you great drunken pederasts, and get this wedding over with!
OK.. that sounded a little weird.
Anyway, we sat around for about 4 hours drinking champagne, red wine and coffee. The last two hours of this binge were spent discussing what our plans after the wedding should be. I made any such plans moot by choosing the wrong direction on the 110 when I tried to head back to the hotel. I was past downtown when it occurred to me that I was going the wrong direction, and at that point I just decided to keep heading down to the airport. It was a beautiful day in LA, the traffic was reasonable except around USC (Hah! USC went on to lose to lowly Stanford!) and I got to the airport, then home, with little difficulty besides the truly enormous woman who was in the seat beside me on the plane.
And since I may get home and never post to this topic again, I give you a sprinkling of photos from the blessed event:
Holy Crap.. As I sit here “Running on Empty” comes on yet again… it’s like a message from Jackson Browne, or something.
That message is.. ‘get drunk ya fat fuck!’
And so, with an hour to go until boarding, it is time for this little patriot to go salute his fine country the only way he knows…
Some Sam Adams Lagers, and then a wide stance in the airport restroom.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Far away, away, I won't get trapped
By the sound, a town, the sun beats down
In the heat of Los Angeles
Gonna feel, feel, feel you up
Had enough, enough, enough's enough
In the heat of Los Angeles
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Take the US 101 N exit…..(to) …. Merge onto US 101 S
This probably would have worked, but I got trapped in the right lane during rush hour and kicked off the freeway somewhere in downtown LA. By a stroke of luck some freeway shadowing led me to Sunset, which I know from my years of gay hustling as a youth, and I did a bit more highway shadowing and soon ended up on Los Angeles Street, which is where the New Otani Hotel actually is. And really, what could be more right, more ‘here I am in LA’ than being on Los Angeles Street, right off of downtown? If I only had some sunglasses to wear tonight.
After a false pass at the parking lot exit I was in to the hotel parking lot entrance and registered. The room was bit odd. I had trouble getting the light to turn on, and while I was bent over the switch, something lightly smacked me on the top of my head.
When the light did turn on, it became clear that what had hit my head was a bit of the near torrent of a leak coming from the air-conditioning unit on the ceiling. There was a nice little puddle, which wouldn’t have concerned me much. But there was also the steady dual smacking onto the carpet of nearly matched dual leaks in the conditioning unit.
Those who only know me for my crudity and insensitivity will be surprised to hear that sleep is my “Princess and the Pea” issue. I love sleep immoderately, but find it difficult to achieve. Any noise alerts me and I start predicting the local hell of regular noises. I’m sure this was a positive trait back when saber-toothed tigers were on the loose. I’d have saved the whole tribe several times over. But in this day of garbage collections, cars containing sound systems worth twice the value of the car and, not to be too blunt, the BAGs otherworldly assortment of snores, googles, hoots, and rumbles (most of which suggest the four horsemen of the apocalypse are losing a close football game to the Hell’s Angels)?
My asleep vigilance is a positive negative (which I leave to the mathematicians amongst you to sort out).
Anyway… I turned the fan on to see if it would cover the sound of the drip. It would not.
So, I went downstairs to request a room-change and, bango-bingo, mysterioso.. was upgraded to a lovely suite. Completely unimportant for a one night stay at a hotel (most of which has already been spent in the bars – and they have THREE bars here… I can be a “nearly” drunk three times while actually working on a staggering hangover for tomorrow’s wedding. If that isn’t a good vacation, I don’t know what is)
So I got all set up in the new room, and headed down to bar number one in the lobby. Two Mex-Am women already drunk and highly entertaining. A guy from El Salvador. Some woman (probably my age) in vast need of stick-reduction-surgery so her lower alimentary tract could relax and so she could shut down “Outlook” and at least touch the one light beer she had ordered.
A grand time was had by all, except the woman with the broomstick impacted fundament.
Then, as the lower bar closes at 10, I moved up to the upper bar.
Where I still sit, having left two messages for my alleged relatives, who are apparently off in Japantown eating at some restaurant that is soon to show up on “Kitchen Hell” with a floor manager pleading, “you can’t kill the cockroaches, we’d have to come up with a new ‘sweet and crunchy’ sauce.”
I suspect I will have one more beer, hook up to the tubes here (THEY FREAKING CHARGE BY THE MINUTE! THAT IS NOT A SIGN OF A QUALITY HOTEL!!!!) and then see if they have porno on the cables.
That should pretty much bore me to sleep.
And as I sit here preparing to go, I see something new.. the bartendress tosses a handful of the (hottish) party-mix (nuts, chex, that kind of thing) they serve into a Styrofoam cup and then pours diet coke on top of the thing. Is this a drink, appetizer, or emetic?
It shocks me so badly I order another beer.
Just for my nerves.
Which are also rattled by the effeminate faced and hair-doed Japanese guy here in suits sharper than razors.
But now it is time to focus on the Angels game. Since I’m here in the city of angeles and all.
HAH.. just as I typed that, some Red Sox dude with Predator hair hit a game-ending home run and totally bummed out this room….
It’s enough to give me hope --- that when I head up to my room and chew a half a sleeping pill it will send me to the Emergency Room and I will have an excuse to NOT attend my Uncles’ wedding in the AM.
I am never that lucky.
When I got to the gate, the little Filipino dude who took about 30 seconds comparing IDs to tickets (yet oddly never once looked at the ID and compared its picture to the person presenting it) pulled out something like a mascara pencil and made big old circles around the two instances of SSSS on my ticket.
Turns out I’m a potential terrorist.
I always suspected this.
Sadly, as usual, I squandered any potential I had, and after something resembling a heavy-petting session with an even older Filipino than the one at the gate, I was let through. The nice woman at the gate warned me that this would happen again on my way back, as I had purchased my tickets within a week of my travel.
So terrorists don’t plan their attacks? They’re just sitting in the cave, partying madly for guys who don’t drink, do drugs, date women, or shave, and all of a sudden Abdul jumps up and yells, “Hey, Abdul! And Abdul and Abdul and Abdul and Abdul Mohhamed. Oh, OK, even you Abdul! Let’s get tickets on some planes, before the weekend, because my uncle Abdul is visiting on Saturday, and we’ll do some terrorism! Let’s go!”
That doesn’t make sense…
I realize that I’ve typed more than a page of academic text here, and all that tells me is that I should have had one more drink. It’s far too early in the day for me to get into any of the codeine or few vicodins that I have as a result of my various joint pains.
On the other side of this flight I have to pick up a rental car and part of my strategy there is to be able to speak and have control over my drool, bowels, and eyelids. Mixing drugs with these drinks would be bad (I hasten to add that they would be bad only because they would result in denial of my rental car. Let no man claim I’m against any kind of mixing of things that alter mood. All by responsible adults. Of course.).
But I swear to god.. if they push this flight back anymore than the 20 minutes they already have? I’m swallowing everything in my kit bag, including the shaving cream and slightly soiled thong underwear. And for those of you who are grossing out at the thong underwear? Of course I don’t wear the things. What kind of idiot do you think I am?
I found them in the airport parking lot.
And now, with the flight complete it is really only about a half hour late, not nearly as dire as the leaving an entire hour late might have suggested.
Friday, October 05, 2007
About 200 educators are here from around the state, which virtually guarantees that Student Success will increase, at least for a few days, in their districts. The "theme' is Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), which is the flavor du jour in semi-administrative academia. It comes with the standard, "how dare you judge me?" reaction from faculty.
But all this nice time allows me to search the web for examples of conference papers (and boggle at how stupid I am - my writing style is linear as algebra compared to most of this papers) and lift little bits and approaches. Between this thing and a quick round-trip flight to LA this weekend, I should have the paper done by the weekend's end.
And the presentation I was going to wait for on Sunday seems to have been cancelled, which will save me the cost of another night in the Hotel. All goodage..
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
So I drive down on a Friday. My relentless drive for success at work (for I am steely-eyed, slightly graying at the temples, rugged-chinned and intense) means that I have maxed out my vacation time. So I was able to take Friday as a vacation day and drive down to the embassy.
There is something very nice about bailing on work and taking a day off to drive somewhere. I was even unfazed by the fact that the splendid array of rock-songs-from-wayback-then that I heard on the way down, included the back-to-back combo (on different stations to boot) of “Time” by Pink Floyd and “Running On Empty” by Jacksone Browne. This is a terrifying combination of songs about age and lack of meaning for a man of 32 years old, much less for 41 year old (muscular and attractive though I am), but ruggedly handsome survivor such as myself.
Still, I made it down and much of the day was quotidian, even by cross cultural standards. The rice and beer of arrival, the telly-vision. and the attack of the killer bees.
The BKF is uncholeric by nature, and when he wandered back (from a bathroom break) to Mission Impossible playing in the living room he was preternaturally composed when he said… ‘AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEE3EGHGHHH! THE BEES HAVE COME FOR MY CHILD!!!!”
Well, or asked “how do you tell if bees are trying to start a hive?”
As it turns out, I have some knowledge of this. When I was but a young sprout, a cluster of bees looking for a new place to chill came swinging through my elementary school playgound. This was at lunch so all the kiddies, young (me) and secretly homicidal (my sister) were watching. The hive was relatively spread out and I, and some other kids, took too running through it. We got through so fast no bee had a chance to sting us.
Except I was a stinking hippie. With long, flowing, honeyed locks. Filthy and down to my ass. My little statement of rebellion against the man managed to catch a bee.
Like the cheese-eating surrenduuurrrr(!) monkey I was, I ran whimpering out of the swarm. Towards my sister, hollering, “get it out of my head!”
To this day I’m not certain if my BS was trying to kill the bee, or the voices she surely believed I was in thrall to (Zepplin, man!).
But, responding to either call, she took the plastic pony she had at hand, and beat my head (not using the body of the horse, rather using the spiv-sharp front hoof of the thing) until no bees could possibly still be alive, and the buzzing in my head could not possibly recede.
Really, it IS all about family.
Once I was out of the hospital I went to my 5th grade teacher who explained that bees, sometimes, would move nests and it would be in a big old fly-by.
Which, after that long and completely supernumerary digression, is what these bees were doing.
BKF is un-Korean in some ways. He is the guy who introduced me to the “Why The Fuck” theory of Korean response to a problem. This is the reverse of the Mexican versions which means, ‘Why the fuck fix it?” To Koreans the question is “Why the fuck not fix it?” And like Mexico, Korea has plenty of workers. Unlike Mexico, their workers. Er…. Work…
But BKF was unimpressed, or nonplussed by the attack… he tried to figure out who you might call to respond to such and insect attack.
But JAE’s old man was entirely bored.
So that little bee problem you see above (First pic is long shot; second is where something with a bolt was pulled off the wall creating the hole; third a picture is of the hole crawling with the evil, stinking (Japanese or American, depending upon you Korean orientation) bugs that was gonna have to be fixed!
Take it as a parody, or take is as proof of the efficacy of the Korean “WTF” theory, but the pictures you see here document the short but deadly war on the bees.
The old man first had to gird his loins. In this case he donned a heavy coat, a mesh bag for holding vegetables, a plastic bag, and some dishwashing gloves which were pulled on outside of the arms of the coat. This process took about 20 minutes and the entire nuclear family was involved in it. It was something very Korean, and something I can’t quite categorize other than to say it was amusing to watch but something deadly serious for the old man..
Then came the machines of war. The old man marched off to battle with two cans of bug spray, stick, a tube of joint-compound, and an old table. The boys brought the table round and it was on.
The attack was frontal. Two handed spraying of the hole with the contents of the two spray cans (which certainly hadn’t been full to begin with, but the bug spray cascaded down the side of the house like a waterfall. When the cans began to run out of propellant, the first work was done and you could watch bees fly away from the wall in uncertain spirals, and then at a certain point fall out of the air. So much spray had been applied that I’m certain several of the bees died of drowning long before their central nervous systems began to fire uncontrollably. One of those pictures over there is of Jong Qu nervously watching this part of the spectacle.
Finally, came the salting of the earth. The joint compound and a stick turned the hole in the wall into an Apiary Cask of Amontillado. There were only two kinds of bees, the ones trapped inside the wall, and the ones trapped outside the wall.
After a short interregnum in which scairt and lost bees beat about the sealed wall, all was calm.
Until the ghosts of the bees trapped within the walls rise from their mortal graves, enter the home through the power outlets, heating vents, cooling system, and around the light fixtures.
Then they will kill and kill AGAIN!
And just because, a relatively high-res picture of the lovely infant himself..