Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday and Festivals

It's been a busy couple days. Though I do not celebrate these holidays with family, it frees me up to be with my friends. I'm very thankful for that. Last Saturday, as many of you already know since you were there, I attended a holiday concert of rockabilly and surf music. A freakin' bargain at five bucks. Many thanks to Deb for putting it all together and convincing me to come all the way across Connecticut. And a shout out to Ninth Wave for a fantastic set! Jason James also rocked the Zen Bar late into the night (sorta Zenish, I guess).

Christmas Eve, I worked and worked. It used to be that when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I worked at a bookstore in the mall (most of my paycheck went to books) and I would always take heavy hours during the holiday. This was not only to give people some time off, but it was also a lot of fun because people are just nuts. Some are in a great mood, smiling and laughing as they make their purchases and hurry off home. Others are just wild-eyed with panic and fatigue. The entire gamut of emotions were on display.

But this Eve, I was driving back from Ashford down twisty Route 89. There was a full moon out that night and it hung large through the tree branches -- you know how sometimes the moon can look bigger than it usually does. As I rolled through the curves, the moon swung back and forth, first to the left and then to the right. It was lovely and calm, like a poem waiting to be written.

After a quick dinner, I ate sugar cookies and watched Rudolph with my neighbor. Reminiscing about how these shows traumatized us ensued (the abominable snow person, as Kate would attest later in holiday was scary!). I also noted that everybody, especially Santa, were complete assholes. And we couldn't figure out what was wrong with the little dolly on the Island of Misfit Toys (and what the heck is King Moonracer's backstory??)

Christmas day I drove up to New York to visit Kate and Gene and Kate's brother, Robert. For some reason I thought the roads would be fairly clear but I think it was full of people escaping from their families and finding no perch to land upon. Certainly with all the weaving in and out of traffic, a number of them were full of Christmas "cheer."

I finally made it to New York (gosh it's great that I know Kate's directions were going to be perfect -- you can always rely on her for that). I entered a house from a novel. Three floors, packed with plants (pokey lemon trees on the landings), paintings from floor to ceiling, and elaborate chandeliers. I was reminded of Sir John Soane's museum in London where he had bequeathed his house/museum (this was Britain in the 19th century, at the height of its imperial power) only if it was kept the way it was. So, there it is, a relic itself.

It was fantastic to see everybody. Just like old times. Gene was frosting cookies in the shapes of superheros (and one villain -- I wonder if he ever saw that Robert and I had amputated the Green Goblin's legs?). We watched Stardust, which was one I had been waiting to see. Then we drank, ate chocolate and had a wonderful Christmas Goose (and mashed potatoes, and chestnut stuffing, and green beans). I never had goose before and it was yummy. Then we watched Rudolph (again for me) and then a Junky's Christmas. We tried to watch the Simpson's movie but even Kate was falling asleep.

The bed was hard, but I loved it -- slept like a rock (ha ha ). In the morning, I woke up to quiche and bacon and coffee. I could get used to being waiting upon like this! But I had to be off -- back to Connecticut. Merry holidays everybody!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fun with Research

In my long list of very cool publishers, let me add Vertical Inc., who puts out quality, classic manga. They are responsible for the Buddha series by Osamu Tezuka and a lot of the "godfather" of manga's works. I asked one of the editors today if they were thinking of putting out the title Human Metamorphsis which is a funky, freaky title, and he said they were definitely interested. I hope it occurs because of all the Tezuka stuff I saw at the big exhibit last summer, that's one I would like to see. Ms. Hunt wants to see his chibi Crime and Punishment which would be all angsty and cute. It's Super-Deformed Raskolnikov!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stardate December 19...The Story So Far.

I sit all day in front a computer and now I sit all night in front of my computer. How can this be right? So, what's your excuse?? Am also watching my favorite holiday special, South Park's Christmas Critter special.

Well, to sum up the week since I survived my harrowing drive home (and now the fun of ice!). On Friday night, had a real ZOMBIE at Aloha Alochohula. You know it started to work when you felt the need to nosh on brains. I didn't drink too much because I had to get up and help lead services Saturday morning. What I like the most about the people at this synagogue is just how helpful everybody is. So, we are standing up there and, despite a cheat sheet, we sometimes don't know what is supposed to happen next. So, ask the audience and they help out. It takes a village.....

Saturday afternoon was game "night" with goodies and gossip! I'm sure J-zone heard more than enough about hair products than he ever cared to.

Saturday night and Sunday, I spent all the time finishing my students' research papers. There were some low points (and a few high ones). At least I didn't completely despair that I was the worst teacher on the face of the earth. On Monday, another instructor and I worked on placement for next semester. I allowed some of my students to come talk to me about their papers and placement (just one more teaching chance! "Wait! I have to tell you how World War II ends. We won!!! USA! USA! USA!") I was there until eight and had to talk two students "off the ledge."

Monday night, I called to with a very, very happy birthday to Miss Kate! Happy b-day!

Tuesday I had lunch with a special guest in from the West Coast -- Ms. Bertoni. She was visiting family in New York and had to drive her father to Brainard airport to pick up a two-seater plane he had bought. As proper ladies who lunch, we went to Rein's Deli in Vernon (ok, as two Jewish ladies who lunch). She and Lisa are doing extremely well and it was great to see her. Rachel is changing jobs, and it sounds like a great opportunity. After that and on Wednesday, busy, busy, busy (WHY did I start another job this week??)

Netflix viewings: Twin Peaks, season two (besides the clothing and hairstyles, holds up pretty well); an anime series that even my neighbor likes (there is an anime for everybody)-- Mushishi; and finally saw Stranger than Fiction which was worth it just for Emma Thompson and Maggie Gyllenhal.

Oh, and forgot to say that I talked to Ms. Hunt (check out her awesome webcomic listed to the right. She's got a new artist who I really like).

*whew* that ought to hold y'all for a while.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Seven Stages of Driving in Snow

Shock and disbelief: This can't be happening. The weather people said it wouldn't start being bad until one. Why is it snowing at 10? I've got to hurry up and get out of here.

Denial: Oh, I've given myself plenty of time to get home. This should be fine. I made sure I went to bathroom before I left. I have cigarettes and plenty of music. Maybe I can even stop and pick up something on my way home. This will be fine. I just know it.

Bargaining: To whatever superior being is up there, I will do anything you say if that big hill on Route 32 is clear and I can make it up it. Please, please, please.

Guilt: If I die on my mother's birthday (December 13) she will never forgive me.

Anger: Why the freak can't I see out my windshield! Why is the ice freezing on the wipers and now I have only a small spot I can see out of! Why are these people driving so fast! Why are they even on the road? Where's the &*%* snowplow guy??? Why didn't I leave earlier?

Depression: I'll never make it home. I will die in Franklin, CT.

Acceptance and hope: I only have control over my car. I do not control the weather. I do not control the other drivers. I will just aim for that little spot of road I can see that was left by previous drivers. At the next stoplight, I will get out and clear my windshield. I will make it home. You can do it, Wendy. Good girl.

So, it took me three hours to make it home. I left at 11:30. Stuck in traffic at the on-ramp onto 395 and sat there for forty minutes while I watched the snow pile up, knowing it would only get worse once I hit 32. I made it into my door at 2:30. The only time I got really, really stuck (not just fishtailing) was trying to get into my spot. The only car I almost hit was my neighbor's car. Fortunately, a new neighbor who was out shoveling brought some sand over and we cleared the light, fluffy snow. I made it! I'm home!!! I survived!!! I'm sure I'm not the only person who experienced this so I'm hoping everybody else made it safe and sound.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun with Grading/Saving the Writing Soul

The title is a misnomer since the last thing I want to do is talk about grading. There is just far too much of it this time of year. I was hurriedly finishing one set of exams just so I can be prepared for the research papers tomorrow. I just know that some of them will break my heart. It makes me feel like that with one more week or one more session or one five minute discussion, I could save their writing soul. But I'm preaching to the choir, right? I do have some literature that I could pass out.

Speaking of writing, I helped my niece write her paper on Macbeth last week. Of course "help" is relative since all I did was ask her helpful, guiding questions. I related this story to my students, and they were outraged. "couldn't you just tell her the answer!" they cried. Alas, no. Still, I was heartened that my niece did seem to understand the play. We take solace from where we can find it.

Yet another point about writing -- I had my interview with the DH editor, who has been in the business for a long time and was quite a talker. The discussion did descend, at times, into fan talk, and I definitely got the picture that he was used to speaking to fan culture (for instance, I had read some of these quotes before -- gasp! not like we don't repeat ourselves, yes?). I think I got some good stuff and some good directions for the essay. Although I started with a disclaimer ("I'm just simple manga farmer from the sticks"), my prep for the interview helped. He seemed a bit abashed that I knew of some of the manga magazines that he had worked on and that had not lasted very long. He was also extremely helpful in explaining some misconceptions I had about the business. Now, I really need to research.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Flying Squirrels Part Deux: the colony fights back

Okay, so this story is old but I figured I needed something amusing to write about. Last Friday, I helped out my friend and we were walking around the house when she kept noticing things out of place. Like "that bucket has been turned over," "that lamp has been unplugged," and "I remember I neatly piled the stack of papers." This quickly turned into several thoughts "ghosts" or a "break-in" (yes, we went for the less plausible one first). Shrugging, we turned to the work at hand when I noticed movement a few feet away. Out popped a little squirrel from under a chair. Not wanting to freak out my friend, I just said to her in a firm voice "here, you need to come with me" and we left the room, closing the door behind us.

A wee flying squirrel had returned to the scene of the crime. I ducked back in the room to get my purse, coat, and her cell phone. On my second foray, despite all the noises I made, it was scrambling across the table toward me. I quickly shut the door and started to laugh. My friend tells me after the fact that the squirrel wrangler (well, the trapper) had told her that this particular breed are very sociable, nosy creatures. They walk toward sound instead of away from it.

So, I took off since there was nothing else I could do. The wrangler showed up. My friend called me later to say that the critter had been easily captured. In fact, the wrangler walked up to it on the second floor and it climbed into his gloves -- I'm not kidding. He theorized that it had been left over from the previous invasions and since they had sealed up the house so well, the poor thing couldn't find its way out. When we arrived, it was like "thank God, maybe these people can give me directions! Why are they shutting the door? Why are they laughing at me?" All of the curtains on the windows had been slightly parted as the squirrel stared out to the nature it couldn't get to. I have named it "Emily Dickinson."

I also like to imagine the rest of the colony coming up with plans to spring their family member.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Horse to Bet On

Can I just say that the people at Dark Horse Comics are the best? I'm writing an essay for a book on manga in the U.S., and I put out an inquiry to DH on Monday. Within minutes, I get a response from the PR dept and then today I wrote to an editor there who phoned me within minutes of receiving my e-mail. I was terrified that he wanted to conduct the interview then and there, but thankfully we set up one for next Monday. I would have done it this week, but I'm meeting with students all day, everyday until then (why do I even assign a research paper when Wikipedia is around?). So, I'm super psyched.

Also received good news that my abstract was accepted to K'zoo next year. Looks like two trips in the Spring -- on to PCA in San Fran and then the great state of Michigan in May. Woohoo. I'm hoping a wombat will be my roommate? (There's the title of my memoirs!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Mad Rush....

See, this is what I was afraid of while writing a blog. I spend half my time apologizing for not writing. Yes, yes, I know. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle and now I am done with that.

I had a nice trip to Turkey Atlanta. The Logan airport was eerily sedate when I arrived there Wednesday morning. I walked right through security (lucky, they didn't see me!). The flight was also easy with the only empty seat on the plane between me and the guy on the exit row. Nice snooze time (how I envy the QOE's ability to sleep anywhere. My mother can do that too. How do you do it??) My mother picked me up at the busiest airport in the world, complaining about all the amateurs who only go there once a year. We got all our fighting done in the car ride home and were able to sublimate any feelings with food. She baked a coconut cake and an apple pie. Tons of homemade dressing and she went on a challah baking binge after taking a class (loaves of challah, challah rolls, she even made cinnamon rolls out of challah). Then on Friday we had birthday cake for my sister. I am still full.

My sister and her kids came over for Thanksgiving and afterwards we played some cards (and fought some more -- apparently neither my sister nor my niece know how to bid correctly). Then, since there was a "thanks for the movies" marathon on some channel (TCM? AMC?) we watched Rear Window and then Psycho, classic holiday fare, nu? My mother had actually seen all of Hitchcock's movies in the theatre and she was cleaning up and trying to get out of the room before the shower scene. I can only imagine what it had been like to see that for the first time in 1960. I also don't know why after watching Rear Window that I am always surprised how wonderfully sick Hitchcock is. It's like watching Freud on screen.

Friday, the kids stayed over and we had the aforementioned birthday and then went to the movies. Everybody wanted to see something different but I bullied everybody into seeing something I thought everybody would enjoy -- the Bee Movie.

It was okay.

Too bad the kids had already seen Beowulf with my sister (who did not enjoy it at all), but my nephew could not wrap his mind around the fact that Beowulf was a long poem. He didn't believe me. Guess what he's getting for Christmas??? (he's thirteen now and TALLER than me? My poor niece is the shortest one in the family, still holding out hope at seventeen that she will have a growth spurt -- poor dear).

Saturday, I went out with friends to Dave and Busters and even though it was crazy busy with people sick of their own families, we managed to have a good time. How can you not with a well-stocked bar in the middle of an arcade? (There's one in Providence, I believe; anyone up for a road trip?)

I returned Monday night into a warm, foggy night in Boston. Thank goodness that I had an aisle seat because it was one of those flights where you don't see the ground until you've touched down. I finally made it home to kitty snuggling. Pumpkin was so happy to see me that she nearly rolled off the couch. I had to catch her.

Then the mad dash of school. Just work, work, work. You know how it is when the students look like they are barely hanging on and need to talk? Well, that's what I have been doing instead of blogging.

This past Friday night, I led services at the synagogue. Our rabbi has been on sabbatical and the lunatics are running the insane asylum. QOE and Johnny 10x showed up (thanks!!!) and we went out for a nightcap afterwards. Faye showed up and brought a person I hadn't seen in a long time -- what a nice surprise. Things went smoothly. I only skipped one part of the service by accident (you know, the eucharist -- no, really, some other small part which bummed me because I had practiced it that day). And I gave a sermon -- pretty neat, right? And it was all academic and stuff since my medieval training led me to look at the "original." And students look at me like I'm crazy when I ask them to write five pages. Hey, I just wrote a couple pages on ONE word -- gosh I'm cool.

The title of this blog is very correct since I, indeed, have written this in a mad rush.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yikes, I haven't been posting

...and I really should be in bed. But what the hey, I'll be home for the holiday soon and won't be able to post from there. Did you catch the Simpsons comix extravaganza this past Sunday? Fortuitously, I tuned in and caught it. Had some amusing moments although surely they could have come up with better lines for Art Spiegelman, right? Kate did point out that Alan Moore singing to his Little Lulu comic was definitely worth the price of admission.

Another amusing thing for you as you waste time at work or at home: if you remember the "Land of the Lost" and ever been in a library, check this youtube video out. It's nine seconds of silliness that made me laugh out loud.

So, I leave for home on Wednesday. My sister's birthday always falls around Thanksgiving and I finally realized the absurdity of having a full (and I mean FULL) meal and then having birthday cake. How is this possible or normal? Fortunately, I have her gift ready to go.

Happy Thanksgiving you turkeys....gobble gobble

Saturday, November 10, 2007

There are jobs for English majors...

I know I shouldn't be laughing at this tragedy in Australia, but don't you just get the feeling that a disgruntled English major has been waiting for YEARS to write such a headline.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lovely, lovely fall days

Today was one of those snuggly mornings. I had put on an extra blanket on my bed and turned up the heat a bit. I awoke to the low purring of one of my cats which mirrored my mood rather than interrupted it. I didn't even mind pulling myself from the cocoon to face the day.

Last night was a lot of fun too. I met up with friends, Cheryl and Faye, who had been at a symposium on witchcraft at ECSU. It's surprising that they hadn't had the chance to meet each other yet what with their overlapping interests and mutual friends. At dinner, we saw our new first selectman, Jean DeSmet. (It's nice living in a small, left leaning town -- I rubbed it into my friends' face who lives in Alabama and longs for such choices we face here). After dinner, we attended a dance performance about women executed in Connecticut for witchcraft. It was called The Witching Hour.

Though Cheryl was not enthusiastic about modern dance, I really liked it. The performers, as Faye put it, had "real" women's bodies and moved with a lot of grace. The set was very striking with giant puppets as the male Puritans who condemned these women, speaking the words of Cotton Mather among others. In front of them was a lone woman who signed their speech. Some of the dancers integrated sign language into their dance. I also loved their opening sequence where the dancers imitated the crossing over the Atlantic with the slow heaving and tipping of their bodies. The performance was partially narrated by a modern, home-schooled girl, Addie Avery, who has taken it upon herself to get her ancestor (a grandmother, nine times removed) exonerated. She played herself which made her words all the more meaningful.

Thanks very much Cheryl for the ticket!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All Soul's Day -- Poetry Edition

On the Acaedmy of American Poets' website (, there's an interesting essay on the graves of poets -- there are lots of them lying around doing nothing in New England. In honor of dead poets everywhere, I give you a spooky poem from Emily Dickinson (you can see her grave in Amherst) -- the last line perfectly captures the feeling of coming across a snake unexpectantly:

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him, --did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,
--When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Heat is On

I have succumbed to the cooler weather. I shouldn't really complain since the last weeks have been warm, and Saturday was downright balmy. But now I have turned on the heat and so comes the stuffy air and the high electric bill.

This past weekend, I had a great time at Joey and Cheryl's fabulous Halloween party! I even won two prizes!!! The chocolate skull is just too cool looking to eat. My pals, Kate and Gene, stayed with me and it was fun to catch up with them. I miss them even if they are much, much closer than where they were before. I also greatly appreciate their help with my costume -- as the surviving member of the Donner Party (Donner Party of One). Gene won first place for his costume -- Raggedy Andy Warhol. I told a colleague of mine about his costume and she laughed her ass off. She said she could immediately visualize it.

Well, the semester is heating up (to keep with the theme of this post). I am taking over another class for the rest of the semester, and I have a lot of stuff to do between now and the end.
(Image courtesy of
yeah it's cute until you need to clean the juicy pumpkin innards from kitten fur
Happy Halloween you ghoulies and ghosties.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What I'm Reading and Watching

Besides all the research and writing stuff, I thought I would post my thoughts on what I've recently been perusing.

Since the local library has been stocking up on manga titles and that I now have a speedy wireless connection, I find that I've been dipping into Japanese comic books more than I have before. First off, Death Note, which I've read up to Volume 8 (12 is the last volume). This is one of those titles that the summary of it makes me think "that sounds awful" and yet, becomes very interesting. The premise is that everybody's death is determined by a group of "death gods" called Shinigami. They have a notebook which kills the victim once his or her name is entered. Now, the notebook is sometimes dropped or left for people to find who can use it for their own purposes. Indeed, it finds its way into one person's hands who decides to make the world a better place by killing all the nasty people in it (don't we all wish, right?). The manga then turns into a Sherlock Holmes/Moriarity thing with characters trying to discover each other's identity, twisting and turning under the rules of the Death Note. It's quite a dark series and extremely unpredictable. The anime just debuted on Cartoon Network, although I missed it. The DVD will be out in November. Must Netflix it.

Also reading, sad to admit, the current versions of Bleach and Naruto. Though pretty mainstream shonen fare, it's fun fluff. The amazing thing is that the twenty or so pages a week pop up in Shonen Jump, Tuesday in Japan. By Friday, the thing has been scanned, translated into English, and then cleaned up to make it look pretty. I find it fairly effective in guilting me to purchase the anime (when they are out uncut and subtitled) and related products to support the creators. I spend too much money nowadays ^_^;

Been Netflixing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya which has been rather amusing with its take on otaku culture although it looks like it's turning into a romantic comedy (I don't think I mind this but check back with me in a couple volumes). Speaking of otaku culture, I've also watched Genshiken 2 (which is currently airing in Japan).

On a completely, utterly different note, I watched the first couple episodes of Bleak House while I was grading papers tonight. I really should spend more time in the nineteenth century. I just enjoy it too much. And if one thinks that today's novels have too many coincidences to be believable, just take a look at Dickens. One would think that there are only ten people in all of England. However, he's still such a funny, funny writer, and his characters can be so tragic and so hilarious and so broadly drawn.

Addendum: OMG I just found out that the lead actor of Bleak House, Denis Lawson, is none other than Wedge Antilles from the original Star Wars trilogy. I just knew that my attempt at high art would spin back around to geekiness. Is there nothing that Star Wars doesn't touch? (shut up, Gene).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Catching Up

So, my friend's father passed away peacefully last Thursday night. He was just a few days short of his 92nd birthday. We should all be so fortunate to live not only as long but to be as independent as he was until the end. The memorial service is next Thursday, and I will arrange for someone to cover my afternoon class so I can attend. There's more family drama but I'd rather not write about that. I'm trying to be helpful but distant.

I'm watching the Red Sox/Indians game tonight (looks like the Sox will have won by the time you read this post). I really like having baseball on while I'm multi-tasking (made some phone calls, wrote some bills, now blogging) because I grew up listening to it on the radio. It's rather soothing, especially when it's not your team clinging to life in Game 7. Though I am a die-hard Braves fan, the Sox are my adopted team. Living in Connecticut is weird since there is no national team but rather is split down the middle between Yankees and Sox fans (and the occasional weird Mets fan). I've been to Fenway a few times (when the Braves were in town) and enjoyed it. It's the only park I've been to besides the ones in Atlanta (Altanta-Fulton County Stadium and then Turner Field).

My mother has turned into an obsessive baseball watcher. She's been glued to the TV watching all the playoffs and got really, really irritated with me when we discovered that I had a thirty second lead on what was going on. (Me: "Oh, he just struck out" HER: "WHAT?") For some reason, her broadcast was being delayed. My sister also watches it. It's a safe subject that all of us can talk about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We now pause for some cuteness

A Totoro bento lunch. Too cute to eat, eh? Find out more interesting bento lunches at the Asahi Newspaper website.

Thanks again, everybody for your kind words on my last dramatic post. No news yet. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hell of a Weekend

As my faithful readers (hello? anybody out there? Mrs. Pommelhorse...) already know about the incident with Rocky, the flying squirrel, a couple weekends ago, I have more life and death issues to write about. Most of you don't know about this side job I have but I have been working for about four years for this woman and her father, and I have gotten to know them fairly well.

Three months ago, the father passed out in his basement and lay there for a day until he was found. He was rushed to the hospital and thankfully recovered. The doctor ix-nayed the driving so sometimes I would do errands for him and take him to his office, etc (he's a retired UConn prof -- in his nineties but he still works everyday). Well, Saturday, as my friend was working with the pest control people to get the damn squirrels out of the house (some met a rather disturbing end in a toilet), she finds her father unconscious in a chair. They call 911 and the speedy paramedics revive him and rush him to the hospital. She calls me and I take her there. He's not doing well and the outlook is grim. I meet the rest of the family, who, though I never met them, all know who I am. I spend three hours there and I offer to take her the next day to get the living will which is at her house across the state.

On Sunday as I prepare to pick her up, my cell phone rings -- which is weird, because I never leave it on but apparently I had from the previous night. It's the granddaughter (my friend's niece) and she impresses upon me that they really need to get a hold of her aunt because there are "decisions that need to be made" and then she says "Grandad always told us that we could count on you" to help her and to help the family. Okay, dying man's wishes...gotcha. I don't remember much of the drive over.

Finally get a hold of my friend, and I call the granddaughter. My friend is too upset to articulate her decision although she makes it clear what she wants to say. So, I tell her brother what she wants and then hand the phone over to her for a confirmation "yes." We then go to the hospital and wait for the doctor. The father was "clinically dead" for too long, and he has extensive brain damage. It's only a matter of time.

I go in to ICU. I call his name and tell him "It's Wendy" and then I say that "I'm taking care" of his daughter. I know he is in a coma and can't respond and that any reaction would be just the body doing what the body does, but I swear to God a tear fell from his eye and fell down his cheek.

I wish him nothing but comfort at this point. He had such a fascinating and sharp mind. He would always note if something about my school would come up in the paper, and we would talk about it. He told me stories about driving to San Francisco in the thirties (the Golden Gate bridge was newly built then, in 1937). He went to the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. He was always sweet man to me and lived a long, healthy life. I am so glad that I could have helped out in the small way that I did.

Today is also the fifth anniversary of my father's death, and I'm remembering good things.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why did I have the bowl?

Surfing the internet looking for an easy laugh, I came across a Simpsons' quote and immediately giggled to myself out loud, while alone:

Milhouse: Remember the time he ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl Bart? Why did I have the bowl?

Okay, laughing aside, I should be bloggy and think deeply about the issue at hand. Do you ever come across a possession in your life and wonder where it came from? You know it because it holds a place in your house or apartment and yet, you aren't totally sure who gave it to you or where you bought it or what need it fulfilled when it was purchased. The opposite of this, of course, are those items that elicit a very clear memory. For instance, I keep ticket stubs for movie theaters (I get really put out when I get a misprint or one of those paper thingies they tear in half). I like to remember the movie, who I went with, what time of day it was, what else was going on in my life at that time, and so on.

On the other, other hand, you would think that items that we have to keep track of all the time would be important to our memory. Take the keys on my key chain. I have two for my apartment, two for my office (and one for the bowling alley there -- yes, where I work has a bowling alley), one to my mother's house, two car keys, and then two mystery keys.

I have no idea what they go to nor when they appeared. I used to think that there are two types of people in the world -- the ones who know what all their keys open and the ones who don't. Like, "that's a person who has it together -- he must know what all his keys do." But maybe it's just me.

So glad that all of you reading this know the obsessive minutia of my brain. Gotta stop otherwise I will be verging on deep thought territory (and must have one link on my blog).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poetic Dreams

So, I know that the most boring thing to hear or read about are people's dreams but this was just such a vivid morning dream and so weird that I had to share it.

I was sitting with two "famous" poets, one of whom looked like Yusef Kumonyakaa -- but was named something else, and Lindsay Lohan (you know, I had a better idea of how to spell Kumonyakaa's name rather than Lohan's). The poets were teaching her how to write poetry by explaining the art of cutting material. She was drawing a big symbol of "2/3" on lined notebook paper. I guess that meant to cut two-thirds of everything one writes. Maybe it's because I'm revising a lot recently and I've had to kill some parts. Who knows?

Why I dreamt about Lohan I have no idea. But if a book of her poetry comes out in the next year, does that make me a celebrity prophet? A gossip columnist Cassandra?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sunday afternoon challenge (wild animal edition)

I help out a woman on the weekends, cleaning out her parent's house, but on this Sunday we had some excitement. Her father had put out mouse traps because something was keeping him up all weekend by scrambling through the walls. This did not make my friend happy because she doesn't want the wee beasties to get hurt (although she didn't mind if we had brought a cat in because that's somehow more natural). Anyway, I hear a racket coming from the basement. I open the door to the stairs and at the bottom I see a larger animal (bigger than a chipmunk but smaller than a squirrel) pulling around a tiny mousetrap.

I think we need a bigger trap....

So, now we are stuck with a live, caught creature on a Sunday afternoon of a holiday weekend. I think about all the friends I could call who would be tough enough to take care of the critter, but then I decided that none of them would be up to the job (think Annie Hall and the lobster incident). After a quick "sit-down," we started calling pest control agencies. Nothing. Then I suggested that we call the non-emergency number for the police. The helpful person on that end gave us the number for animal control (I keep wanting to write "anime" -- God help me). No one at the animal control line but they gave us the number for the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection, I think). There, we got a live person who, at first, was reluctant to come out because they don't deal with creatures in traps. But thankfully, because we were clearly panicked, he came out. He easily found it and released it out the garage door (where it bolted for the woods). Apparently, it was a flying squirrel (see also here). I didn't get a close look at it nor did I watch what the DEP guy did, because I really didn't want to see the poor creature killed if it came to that.

I suggested to the father of my friend that he should have trapped and tamed it. Then he could spend afternoons launching it into the air like a paper airplane until it circled back.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Writing in the Dark

I don't know what it is about working at night, but I always feel much more focused. Maybe it's how quiet it is or the fact that I can't look outside the window to look at the trees or the little old lady hanging her laundry. All I can see is the computer and the text and the darkness. However, trying to adjust to a morning schedule, or, at least put myself on one, is tough (my first class is 1050 so I don't have to die getting to school, but I would like to work some in the morning) .

The worst part is that I try to stop myself at a decent time and my mind is still busy. (And since it's garbage night, I am physically wound up from taking down two weeks of garbage plus too many wine bottles -- nope, didn't drink them all myself!!). I feed the cats at night so I aim for that to be my stop time when they are running around my feet, exclaiming "hurry up, please! It's time!" and tonight I made to Boo sitting on some papers, staring at me, and Pumpkin running back and forth, meowing so loud I could hear her over my headphones (I was listening to, of all things, New Order).

On another note, teaching today was great. I gave them a very controversial essay about September 11th and they responded well. Oddly, though, over the years I have taught this text, the responses have become less outraged and venomous (although that is still there). Still, it felt good when one student left the class vowing to write a response paper on this essay because he "didn't feel like he got to say all he wanted to." What more could a teacher ask for -- a student, writing with a purpose and with passion. All of our tasks should be so.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Phone calls

You know when you need to make a phone call to someone and you feel guilty that you haven't done it yet, because you know it will be a tough one? Well, by using second person I'm trying to wiggle my way out of this difficult phone call. Ah, family. What can you do? I won't go into too many details in this public forum, but when you have three people who are absolutely sure that three different versions of right thing to do should have been done a few months ago and now, not much can be, it's incredibly frustrating. But I am glad that I did call even though the first twenty minutes were of me biting my tongue unsuccessfully.

Still, as screwed up as everything is, at least we know we would pull each other out of a burning building. Although we may fight about why the fire started in the first place...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Wacky Saturday

Napped a bit this afternoon then finished up a proofread job that I should have done a while ago. It was rather interesting about coin collecting. I always learn something new from working on books I would never normally pick up . Of course, the chapter on how to keep your collection safe from those evil "estate taxes" just confirmed that I was never intended to be this book's audience.

Ah, but my blog has now become embiggened. Kate has blogged about my blog and even posted a pic for moi. I still need to link up to all my friends, who are doing much more interesting things than me (napping, reading about coins), as soon as I can figure out how to put them up in a neater fashion. Tonight, as befits a wacky Saturday, I'm doing some research and some writing and listening to the Art of Noise.

It's the Middle of the Night

I'm still awake. I recently went wireless so I guess I'm enjoying the chance to write my thoughts to the world from the relative safety of my kitchen. I've started and stopped blogs before but since a lot of my friends now seem to communicate through this medium, I'm giving it one more try.

So, what have I been doing in the middle of the night, contemplating the idea of order in eastern Connecticut? Right now, listening to Neko Case and Suzanne Vega. Wrote a bit. Watched the first four episodes of Paranoia Agent by Satoshi Kon (so well worth it just for the opening credits of all the main characters laughing silently and hysterically while the world blows apart). I'm a big fan of Kon's work, having seen Paprika last month at Real Art Ways with friend, Ken, who said "that wasn't as weird as I thought it would be," high praise indeed).