Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Late night grading

The end of the semester is just around the corner. Just a million things to do before it's over. Then I'll soon be out of both my jobs which is a bit of a relief. I have too much to do (ah, the Academic's crazy logic).

I did hear that sadly, a third job has not manifested. While I will be in LA this summer, it will be for three weeks, not six. The second session did not fill. I suppose what with the economy tanking, parents are sending their little brilliant kids to more science and math classes than studying the graphic novel. Such a shame because I was looking forward to the class (but I'm also glad because I would have been so tired after that).

Maybe it's grading late at night that makes me just want to sleep and not work at all? It's been a tough year and I'm looking forward to a little downtime -- not to mention an honest-to-goodness vacation! Though with family aboard, maybe not so downish time.

Some more interesting posts also loom. With the spring, I become philosophical....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Belated Best Wishes

Happy Birthday, Gene Gene, you birthday-dancing machine! (did you go dancing on your birthday? or did you eat your birthday cake and did you get a belly ache? Cheryl told you that would happen.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bali Hai! Tiki-ness

I guess I should have been quicker on the draw because she who blogs first often blogs best. Both Cranky and the Queen have outscooped me just because I wanted to write about birds!

Actually speaking of birds, Sandy has two little birdies that were very cute at the party. The girl was in a cranky mood and since it was past her bedtime and she didn't have HER swing to sleep on, she knocked the boy off his. It wasn't even like she wanted the swing -- she didn't even get on it -- she just didn't want him to have a good time.

No, I wasn't such a dork that I stood by while watching everybody tiki drink and tiki drunk. I had my fair share at the awesome spread our host and hostess laid out for us. I drank some blue stuff with fruit and some red stuff with fruit then I turned to juice. Not literally, of course, although I felt very healthy with all this citrus. I just wanted to make it home without making a tiki spectacle of myself.

It was so good to talk to Perilous Cheryl and the Joey Zone (and Cheryl! Was I such a jerk to you? No! I was trying to cheer you up! I must be getting bad at this cheering-up business. Did I ever tell you that there is an anime where all the characters have names based on American rock stars? The bad guy's name is DIO! I would imagine that he would like that?).

So, I mingled and talked to people I knew and people I didn't know. It was a fantastic party -- kudos to Sandy and Mike!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

See how I lie to you?

You were expecting to hear more about San Francisco and about the Tiki party, but instead you are getting some stuff about birds (which is kinda related to San Fran).

On the Sunday of my trip to the West Coast, after Kate and Gene had packed up and were already at the airport, I had brunch with an old friend of mine and his girlfriend. Great greasy breakfast and fun conversation. It was a beautiful day, but all they could suggest to do was go somewhere and have a drink (ugh, why did you think I needed a greasy breakfast in the first place??). So, instead, we went to a natural preserve around one of the small bays. There was fantastic birdwatching there. If only I had my binoculors! Or my book! I could have identified a lot more winged critters. The flocks of seabirds mocked us by settling on the far shore where we could only see black and white blobs. Despite the fact that my friend, Dan, had promised me we would see herons, we saw no herons. What a liar!

Eventually, because the birds were so distinct, I was able to identify two of them when I got back home. (I'm such a bad birdwatcher that it took me days last summer to ID the pack of kestrels on the fence behind the dorm. I kept thinking "what a weird bird? And such unusual markings?" and then I saw it fly and I was "duh!" Kestrels are one of the easiest birds to figure out. Nothing looks like it! Nothing!) So, one of the bay birds was the Western Grebe, whom we affectionately had named "snake bird" because of how the neck was so long. The other was a hyper-active long-legged pair of birds that were Black-Necked Stilts. From the link, the writers say that it makes a lot of noise when it is disturbed. So, all of our "what the heck is that thing? You circle around that way and I'll go this way?" and "Can we get closer?" and "do you think it's a sandpiper?" and "what is it trying to say with all that yip yip yip?" were clues that the creature was telling us to "back off, man, or I will cut you!"

Not the most exciting post, but you better get used to it. Spring is freakin' here and the birds are a-twittering. Maybe I'll fall into the mud again for your amusement?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I promise the Tiki review will be forthcoming, but...

The title is a teaser of my review of the fab tiki party that Sandy and Mike threw on Saturday. The Queen and I (I feel a song coming on....) will have battling blog posts (and if Cranky wants to throw in her cents, all the merrier). But what I want to talk about today is that I'm about to go hear a newly minted Pulitzer-prize winning author, Junot Diaz. He has been scheduled to speak to us for months but what a coup to have him just a few days from receiving such a coveted prize (oh yeah, Bob Dylan got one too). I read, or rather listened, to his novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which got him this fame. What I did like about it was that the main character is a comic book, science fiction geek who grew up about the same time I did. Therefore, scarily, I got all the geeky references that he made. It was a good book, but not, what I think a great book. The Academy (not my workplace but the CAP A -- academe) is currently favoring the pop culture/high art split that we are seeing more and more in such works.

One amusing comment about the book to show its true geekdom is that rather than having a usual pompous quote from some famous personage on the front page, this guy writes: "Of what import are brief, nameless lives... to Galactus??" Diaz talks about this in an interview. I quote at length from it:

"The book makes it clear that the Galactus figure, the Darkseid figure, and the Sauron figure are interchangeably dictatorships and also even the mindset found in the United States. I think that in some ways it's asking a question of the reader more than anything, because in some ways, depending on how you answer that question, it really decides whether you're Galactus or not. In some ways I think there are plenty of people who are members of the kind of brief and nameless lives, and yet they don't give a shit about other nameless lives. Some people are incredibly powerful and still think that. And so what's interesting about this is that the person that that's being asked in the comic book is the very character whom the narrator, Yunior, takes on as his narrative alter-ego, his nom de plume. Galactus is actually asking the question in the Fantastic Four comic book to the Watcher, to the person that's telling stories. So I always think that that's a question to the reader but also a question to writers in general. This was the only way that the book could begin. I was like, 'Yeah, I like that. Okay.'"

Now, discuss. Galactus as postmodern metaphor.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fun with Cats

I got the tuna-flavored medicine for Boo. She doesn't like it. I have to hold her up in the air with her feet pumping in the air and stick the dropper into the side of her mouth so she will drink it. All the while Pumpkin is running crazily around my feet. TWICE a day, people! Twice a freakin' day. What fun. Boo is far too smart for my tactics. I suspect that she will begin hiding under the bed once I open the refrigerator door (or when I shake up the little bottle).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The time -- she is a'flying

[insert typical "I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged!"] Okay, so I've been pretty busy. Last week I was in San Fran with Miss Kate and Mr Gene. Much fun and vodka was had. We were blessed by extraordinary weather. Sunny and seventy. Isn't that bliss. And we had lots of yummy food (we serve both kinds of food -- Japanese and Korean). No, really, it's a joy to be in a place with excellent Asian food. Even the food court in the mall around the corner was excellent. Our last night, we went to a Japanese place and we thought we were so smart because there was a Japanese couple eating there. Turns out that they were tourists (maybe Kate has already blogged about this), marveling over the fact that we could use chopsticks. I'm sure I will talk more about this trip later -- like the Asian Art museum fun Kate and I had (how MANY Buddhas do you see in this picture? Where's Buddha? I'll enlighten you -- har-de-har -- it's too late, I'm being silly)

Oh, yeah, my paper(s) went well. I was especially happy with my last minute parody paper. Kate and Gene's guffaws bolstered my humor and emboldened and embiggened me. I only wish I had written it down. My paper, like others on the panel, came dangerously close at times to making sense. That's because none of us had read the silly Korvac sequence when it originally came out like some fanboys.

One amusing animal encounter to report. After the redeye back Monday night and fighting over the armrest with my new "friend" for six hours, I finally got back to the cold and to my car at Logan Express. As I walked up, I saw a little chipmunk go running under my car and up into the undercarriage. Why are these little creatures following me? I beeped the horn a couple times and drove away, praying that I was not carrying a little furry corpse across state lines. Good thing I was so tired and had to concentrate on the road so I wouldn't kill myself to worry about Chip and/or Dale.

In other news, I took the cadet bowling club to West Point this Sunday. It was a long day but we were triumphant! My little freshman whipped on the upperclass Army guys. I feel so proud. I told them I was going to find a trophy of a bear bowling to give to them (that's our mascot).

And in other good news, before I turn to the poor. My paper was accepted at Mechademia AND I'm teaching the graphic novel course in LA this summer (that's six long weeks on the West Coast, and, as Kate has pointed out to me, three weeks in the Valley, like totally fer sure). More on this later.

And in bad news, I took Boo boo to the vet for her yearly checkup and she has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. This means daily medicine for the rest of her life, or surgery, or she could go radioactive for a couple days as they kill the bad cells. This may or may not have the side effect of superpowers. I think I'm opting for surgery. The vet assured me that he has done a lot of these (there are more cases diagnosed in humans and in cats lately and nobody knows why) so I'm hoping to have it done during one of the windows when I'm not traveling. First, she must get her medicine -- tuna-flavored liquid. I did not savor the idea of force-feeding a pill. Apparently, with this disease, she will get hyperactive (and overeat and lose weight -- go figure).

I think everybody is caught up now. I'm sure I'm forgetting a million things (like I saw Jill while I was in San Fran - which was great).

Ta ta for now.