A Random Sampling of Real-Life Wisdom Culled from the Dialogue of 'Buffy'





02/16/2009 Monday 12:48AM
She: How can you tell the difference between boy cows and girl cows?
Me: Boy cows watch football.
She: Boy cows turn into footballs.
(later)
Me: They have special footballs for kicking plays. They're marked.
She: With, like, a bull's-eye?
Me: No, with a K.
She: With a K...Where do they get K-shaped cows?

I love that girl.

09/21/2008 Sunday 10:31AM
Here is my Week 3 pick:

here

09/14/2008 Sunday 10:50AM
Here is my Week 2 pick:

here

09/06/2008 Saturday 2:15PM
Here is my Week 1 pick:

here

01/23/2008 Wednesday 9:28PM
I'm watching one of those History Channel specials, "Life After People," the premise of which is to explore what would happen to the world if the entire human race were to suddenly disappear. To summarize, of course, buildings would crumble due to water and mineral infiltration; bridges and other metalwork would corrode; etc. In particular, though, dogs and cats would revert to their wild instincts and become kings of their respective habitats - cats in the aerial habitat of vines and trees, and dogs on the ground preying in packs on larger animals. I could wax philosophical about how puny humans are relative to the world, or how ephemeral our society really is. Instead, I'm looking warily at my dogs and cats. Are they just...waiting?
I'm also reminded of the Professor Falking character from WarGames: "...and when we're gone, nature will start again...with the bees, probably."

I found out yesterday that one of our upcoming grads won what I believe is a nation-wide contest to reward deserving students. The other instructor and I collaborated on most of the application packet that we submitted on her behalf. While I'm certainly not taking credit for her victory - after all, they're acknowledging the student, not the people writing the essay about her - it still feels pretty damn good knowing I played a role in her getting this recognition. The student in particular is dealing with a cancerous tumor of uncertain prognosis; is a mother of two young children; did her externship at a Ritz-Carlton where she was offered a full-time position following graduation; volunteers in her children's classrooms; volunteers at her church; and oh, by the way, maintained that 4.0 GPA throughout all of it. Good on her.

This is the second consecutive day I've updated here. Scroll down to find out the last time that happened. I'm too lazy to do it myself.

01/22/2008 Tuesday 8:17PM
Is there even a point to promising to update anymore? 2006 and 2007 were both pretty miserable days in terms of updating here. When I do feel like engaging in some updatiness, I don't know whether to do it here, or at Facebook, or finally creating a MySpace page. Facebook pages look increasingly cluttered with all the add-ons that are available (Poke Me, Quiz Me, Blow Me, whatever). MySpace pages look like Hong Kong viewed through a kaleidoscope (with bad pseudo-punk blasting in the background). So here I am, years later, still updating however sporadically at an old-fashioned Geocities page. Yay me.

New Year's saw Mariana and I at Rob Yee's house, with Tom, Joel and Lissa, Ed, Jon Hetz and wife, and an assortment of folks that few of us knew (and, apparently, a few that nobody seemed to know). There were rumors of poker, but nothing materialized until Tom stumbled over to the table to go heads-up with Ed. At that point Tom was pretty well spent, though, and it was about 2:30am when Mariana and I were leaving, so I don't know whatever became of it.

I've been playing way too much poker, not doing nearly enough of what I should be doing, and not regretting any of those decisions nearly enough.

Found in a student's essay: "Sex without foreplay is like fettucini alfredo without the alfredo sauce." Yeah, points for creative use of simile, and I'll never eat fettucini alfredo again.
Add that to the latest round of student plagiarism, and it's been a fun week.

What the hell, a little Friday Five vibe:

1. What do you need?
A product? A new DVD burner.
Emotionally? Renewed dedication to the job.
2. What won't you share?
The bathroom.
3. What do you hurry through?
Phonecalls with certain people.
4. Who is worth waiting for?
Could I get a side order of clarification with that? I have no idea what this questions means. Obviously Mariana is worth waiting for. (Was, is, always will be...) Seeing Led Zeppelin in concert would be worth waiting for.
5. Friday fill-in:
I can't bear to
: watch any movie where the dog dies.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it? See you in four months or so.

12/22/2007 Saturday 11:17PM
Mariana, to me: "You're sick and you're sweaty! Your hands are filthy and full of trash!"
Yeah, I feel good.

06/09/2007 Saturday 12:01PM
Dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango last night. More to follow.

06/07/2007 Thursday 5:51PM
Overheard in class today: "Without deviancy, what would life be all about?!"

An old friend poked me today.
Facebook, you know.
It links to the Hellmouth here, and I always worry that people will see the link, follow it, and then discover (or, perhaps, decide) that I don't update the Hellmouth often enough (or at all), and either wonder why I still bother with the link, or why I don't update often (or at all).
Both damned good questions.

03/31/2007 Saturday 7:04PM
Yesterday I was accused of creeping loonification.

02/10/2007 Saturday 10:02PM
She: "Round subs. How do you make round subs?"
Me: "You just...make the bread round."
She: "...Where do you get round meat?"

I love that girl.

02/09/2007 Friday 7:30AM
Overheard in class today:
"He must not have heard me screaming 'cause he shot me again."

12/04/2006 Monday 5:42AM
Happy Four, my love.

10/10/2006 Tuesday 12:57PM
I've been recording a lot of dreams lately. But I haven't been recording my actual real life.
I wonder what that says about me.

07/21/2006 Saturday 6:17PM
I'm alive.

At Mariana's, playing poker, watching Seinfeld. After this sit/go, we're out to get some supplies to make some crepes for dinner (or perhaps just for dessert).

Tomorrow is another graduation that I have to go to. No particular plans after that.

My aunt contacted us and wants us to go up to Tennessee to pick up some of my grandmother's stuff out of storage. I'm not sure, specifically, what is being stored, but apparently, it's a couch or two, some dining room furniture, etc. Although I would love to make the trip somehow, I don't know if or when I'll be able to, at least not as soon as she would like us to. She asked for us to do it by the end of August, but I have no days off except the usual Saturdays. I would have to either have Eric work a day or two for me so I could take a three- or four-day weekend, or even have him work an entire three-week class for me during what would have been a blackout period for him. That's a distinct possibility, actually. I could then take a few days off to travel, and on my return, basically work whatever schedule I want doing assorted duties on campus. Mariana has offered to come with me (or with my brother and I) if and when we do go. I don't know how feasible that is, but naturally I'd love for her to go with me and for her to meet my family (whoever is there!). And whoa, what if the Beloved Cousin(s) could come, too!

03/18/2006 Saturday 10:57AM
I'm alive.
Really, I am. I've just been very busy the past few days weeks months. Working a lot, sleeping very little, spending much time with Mariana. Our schedule is a bit different this semester, and unlike previous semesters, I'm not spending nearly as much time at home. The good side is I see Mariana a lot more now. The bad side is I 'm not spending nearly as much time at home.

I bought the first veggies of the seasons - some bell peppers I haven't had time to put in the ground yet. Everything else is in full spring mode. Fragrant blossoms on the orange, grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine trees; unfragrant blossoms on the mango, peach and plum trees; leaves emerging on the otherwise skeletal fig and starfruit trees; the papaya always producing new fruit; a baby pineapple peeking its red, spiny head out of the leaves; even the key lime and kumquat threatening to bear new fruit. It's a good life.

Last night I fetched some sushi and then we went to an outlet mall. Got some DVDs for work (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Freshman, Eat a Bowl of Tea) and a commemorative Emmitt Smith DVD. They brough me sushi Thursday at work, and that got me in the mood. The wasabi they prepared at work was astonishingly powerful. (I almost wrote mindblowingly powerful, which would have been literally appropriate. Why didn't I just write that, then? I don't know.)
Anyway, there were just small smears of the wasabi under the shrimp portion of the sashimi. But after eating it I could feel the heat rise up through my face; I'm quite sure I was beet red. I'm not squeamish about spice or heat, or wasabi in particular, which of course is a different sort of heat, a cool heat. But this stuff...wow.

Wednesday my boss, Rick, observed my performance at work. Rather by coincidence, the day he chose happens to be a day on the schedule which is full of material that allows for effective lecturing, meaningful discussion, and important concepts. The point, of course, is that I came off looking like a damned good teacher to the person right above me on the totem pole.

The class I have right now decided Friday to establish themselves as a charity. The details are still to be decided, but I'm impressed that they're doing whatever they're going to be doing. I'll let you know.

03/04/2006 Saturday 10:15AM
Yesterday's Friday Fiver:

1. What color is your hair? Brown.
2. When is the last time you accepted a dare? No clue.
3. Do you think you could have an affair? Never. It's been done to me, and I know how badly it hurts; I could never inflict that much pain.
4. How often do you feel like walking on air? Daily.
5. How about despair? Almost daily.

Yes, I admit it. I'm in a bit of a funk when it comes to updating.

Last night Babeness and I crashed early. She, like 5pm; me, like off and on until 10pm or so, when I went out for good. Just a brutal week for both of us. Sometimes there's a lot to be said for abandoning all pretenses and just sleeping for sleep's sake - going to bed early and sleeping late.

02/18/2006 Saturday 10:00AM
Yesterday's Friday Fiver:

1. Do you have good hand-eye coordination?
Yes, always have. Excellent eyesight, excellent coordination.
2. Have you ever held a gun?
Yup. Never owned one, though, and don't think I've ever fired anything beyond a BB gun. No philosophical opposition, I just don't and haven't. I'd like to, though.
3. What do you think of toy guns?
Again, no philosophical opposition to them. I don't have a problem with legislation mandating that they be obviously fake (colors, etc.), either, though in general I think folks get what they pay for when they brandish them as though they were real. That moron here in Florida, the kid who painted his pellet gun black, waved it around at school and was shot to death by cops, probably got what he deserved. For stupidity like that, I don't have much sympathy. It's a harsh world.
4. When is the last time you asked for forgiveness?
Please forgive me for not knowing specifically.
5. Your favorite Aerosmith song:
Probably "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," "Draw the Line," maybe "Kings and Queens." I'm over the age of 25, so yeah, I remember their old stuff, when they were a real blues-rock band. They were great before they started trying to appeal to teenage girls and before they discovered the joy of making limp, interchangeable soundtrack songs. RIP Aerosmith.

Moronic response of the day (so far), to the question about toy guns: "They're okay, just as long as kids don't go around pretending to shoot each other." Right-o, and toy cars are okay as long as little kids don't push them around on the ground or make engine noises.

Tonight Mariana and I are going to a concert of opera songs; her roommate is performing in it. It's been a hellaciously stressful week for her, and whatever she wants to do is fine with me.

Yesterday when I picked her up we did some random shopping, then went on one of our semi-weekly magazine blitzes at Barnes and Noble. Later we played some board games with her roommates. Danny won at Apples and Apples, then Danny and I beat Kyle and Mariana at Trivial Pursuit, 90s Edition (and thereby keeping alive my years-long Trivial Pursuit Winning Streak). Crashed very soon after that.

02/11/2006 Saturday 10:51AM
Yesterday's Friday Fiver:

1. Can you dance?
I'm a white male. You figure it out.
2. Who is your current crush?
The same one I've had for years.
3. Tell us about a dream you remember.
Are you kidding? I've been recording my dreams for several years now. Pick one.
4. Do you live with anyone, or do you live by yourself?
Live with my older brother.
5. When is the last time you bled from an injury?
One of the cats scratched my arm mildly a couple of days ago. The mighty Beavis saw me holding the cat and was offended. Beavis barked; the cat panicked and jumped; I winced.

02/08/2006 Wednesday 1:46PM
OK, so the prediction didn't turn out so good. Boring Super Bowl, I thought, though I only saw the first half. As a dedicated Cowboys fan, of course, I have to hate Pittsburgh, plus, everybody loves an underdog. But it was not to be.

Heard from an old friend today through Classmates.com. Really cool.

02/05/2006 Sunday 10:53AM
Seattle 34, Pittsburgh 30.

02/04/2006 Saturday 10:37AM
Yes, last week I boycotted the ridiculous Friday Fiver. Wow, he's 27 and lives in New York. Fascinating, simply fascinating. And she's 34, married, and lives in the UK. Ohh, so that explains why her favorite breakfast is muffins and juice. I have such a greater perspective on muffins now. Ye gods. So we'll give it another try this week.

1. Any plans to watch the Super Bowl?
The second half, perhaps. I'll be working The Other Job all day, and I should get home in time to watch a significant portion of it. If I had a greater passion for either team, I might have made plans to not be working. But it's usually a fairly lucrative day, so it's okay. Next year, though, when the Cowboys win their sixth ring, I'll be watching.
2. Friday or Saturday: Which is a better date night?
Probably Saturday. On Fridays we're usually both so exhausted that we're lucky to make it out of the house for any reason, much less a real date. Saturdays, though, are pretty cool.
3. Do you do anything special on the weekends that you don't do during the week?
Hang out with Mariana with no deadlines or time limits looming over our heads.
4. Where do you get your news from?
The local rag, the local talk-radio stations, internet, etc. Basically, wherever I can find it. Then, once I filter out the slant given to it by liberal wackos, I can usually get to a better understanding of what the real story is. My advice to people is to not rely on one source only.
5. Kevin, Norm, Colin, Jimmy, Tina or Amy?
My first answer was that I have no clue who these people are - the people who think of the FridayFiver questions? Their friends? shrug But reading around I find out these are the people who do, or have done, the Weekend Update thing on Saturday Night Live, a show that should have been put out of our misery a couple of decades ago. So that makes sense, then, I think I can come up with their last names on my own. Norm MacDonald, Tina what's-her-name, the chick who did the Mean Girls movie...Fey, yeah, that's it. Colin Quinn, okay. So my answer is still Who? Because, you know, it's freakin' Saturday Night Live. Who cares?

Irony of the Day: One of the first responses I saw to this week's FridayFiver was from somebody who said "I donít believe in organized sports. Sports are the opiate of the masses" and then answered #5 with detailed description and evidence that she knows who all these people are and watches SNL regularly. I suppose some opiates go unrecognized...But then, she says she gets her "news" from AirAmerica and MoveOn.org. So that kinda tells you a lot about her, doesn't it?
My favorite response (so far) to the "anything interesting on weekends" question: "Sometimes." Yeah, thanks for that. Update: Somebody just answered "Yes." No, no explanation or example.
And the folks who refer to Dennis Miller as "old school" Saturday Night Live? They ever hear of Chevy Chase? Jane Curtin, that ignorant slut? Probably not. But later somebody did point out that not everybody on LJ was born in the '80s, and a few people have mentioned Chevy, Dan, etc.
On the Friday-v.Saturday question, somebody answered "Uhh, I don't see how it would matter." Gee, those are three brain cells that are somehow being wasted.

I appear to be in a really crappy mood today, but I'm really not. I had a great week, got double-digit hours of sleep last night for the first time in weeks (heck, more than four hours for the first time in days!), started plowing through Stephen King's new Cell, it's been r***ing for about 30 hours in a row...Things are good.

I've had a lot of dreams the past week or so that I haven't kept up with. I'm going to try to record some of them in the Journal, but they'll be fragmentary.

Yeah, the Ralph Malph story is coming, too, although Mariana has given the thumbnail version.

01/30/2006 Monday 9:35PM
This weekend, Ralph Malph glared at me.

01/21/2006 Friday 7:58AM
Today's Friday Fiver:

1. What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Most days I don't bother, but when I do, I have a rotating variety of standard breakfasts:
-- oatmeal and juice or skim milk
-- cereal, type and brand determined by my mood (sugary and chocolatey, healthy and branny, etc.), sometimes supplemented by a bagel with cream cheese
-- standard southern spread of pancakes, bacon (beef or turkey, of course), sunnyside-up eggs, toast
-- grits
The oatmeal or grits are usually reserved for cold mornings. The big meals are only on mornings when I have plenty of time, in other words, very rarely.
2. Are you more likely to drink coffee or tea?
Iced tea, definitely. I'll have coffee perhaps two or three times a year, usually less, and only on cold mornings where I need a wakeup on the way to work. And I'll add one or two of those cute little flavoring cups at 7-11.
3. Would you consider yourself a good cook?
Sure. Not great, though, and Mariana might disagree. But I'm definitely enthusiastic and I pick up a lot at work.
4. What is your favorite meal?
Great googly moogly, like anybody could honestly name just one. How about a variety, depending on my mood:
-- a good, gooey, cheesy lasagna
-- a plate of hot, garlicky buffalo wings, with either ranch or chunky (not creamy) blue cheese
-- grilled jerk chicken, herb couscous, grilled veggies
-- sushi, virtually any kind
5. Green eggs and ham: would you eat it?
I like somebody else's response: it depends on why it's green. But the standard response seems best: sure, why not?
'cept I can't do pork. How about green eggs and turkey ham?

Yeah, I know this has turned into a weekly update. Sue me.
I'm on my way to another graduation, Mariana's getting an extensive haircut today, and I haven't slept more than five consecutive hours in days and days and days. Get off my back.

01/14/2006 Friday 12:41PM
Today's Friday Fiver:

1. Are you timely or always late?
Depends, doesn't it? Some things I'm obsessively on time for. Other things I tend to be late for. No, it necessarily doesn't correspond to the importance I place on them, if that's what you're wondering, so put away your psych textbooks.
2. Do you wear a watch?
Never. It's one of my OCD symptoms. When I wear a watch, I fidget with it way too much, making sure the watchface is perfectly centered on my wrist and not angled to one side of my wrist or the other, that the band is perfectly fitted and not too tight or too loose, that it's loose enough that I could spin it around with my other hand but not so loose that it would dangle and shift on its own, not too far up my arm or and not jammed too far down onto the base of my hand, that the watchface is perfectly clean and not smudged or smeared...Get the picture? I'd love to be a grownup and wear a watch, so I'm thinking about getting one. Or, you know, dropping the hints that I'd like to receive one. I'n not too much of a grownup to do that, of course.
3. What is the most important event you have been late for?
The reception after my best friend's wedding (which was held at a location miles away, so everybody drove separately). There was some miscommunication about when exactly it began, and my date needed to stop to get some medication, so we got there after the introductions had been made and everybody was already seated. I should mention that, uh, I was the best man at the wedding, and I was introduced even though I hadn't arrived yet. I still hear about it, so the recriminations have lasted far longer than the marriage did, ironically.
4. What kind of system you have for keeping track of your bills?
Not much. I have a few specific places where I keep incoming mail, and when I know a bill needs to be paid (which, unfortunately, comes after receiving a phonecall or two sometimes) I sift through them looking for the appropriate one. Some of them are paid online, and some of those are automatically paid, so I'm getting better.
5. What is your favorite time of day?
Probably...the 2pm-5pm range. During the week my workday usually ends by 2pm and I'm home from work by then, and the afternoon is free to nap, run errands, putter around the house, whatever. The 6pm-9pm range is good, too, for couch-potatoing and sitcom-watching, but by then I'm aware of whatever schoolwork I might need to prepare for the next day and I'm working on that. This is during the week, of course. Weekends are different; I work all day on Sundays, so nothing is especially pleasant. Saturdays are pretty cool.

So, the first week back at work was pretty dismal. We had laptops that were assigned to each of us. Before the break, though, they confiscated them from us, saying they all needed to be wiped clean of viruses, illegal software, anything we had put on them that wasn't supposed to be there. Fair enough. They said we could pick them up at the end of the break. Fair enough. So I got to campus Monday morning and headed over to IT to pick mine up. IT was closed, but other faculty members said the laptops could be found on a cart over in the administrative office. And they were. So I sifted through them...several times. Never found mine. Snagged my immediate supervisor and asked him what the situation was. He said oh, no, we're not getting them back. Or at least, the GenEd faculty aren't getting ours back. Some faculty are, some aren't, and eventually, even those who do will have to surrender them. Instead, there's a desktop computer in my classroom, that I'll share with the other teacher who uses the classroom.
That's terrifically inconvenient, of course. Using the laptop was itself just an convenience, but one we had all gotten very used to. Before it was taken I put all of my files up on the campus network, so I could reload them onto the laptop when I returned. But using the network isn't as convenient as having the files with me at all times. Now I have to use a memory-stick so I can shuttle files back and forth from work and home.
Oh, and the files we all put up on the network before the break? They weren't there when we returned. We were even told the network places we'd kept them in didn't exist and never had existed and that it was not their (IT's) problem. There was very nearly a riot; I swear I saw torches and rakes being carried down the hallways to the IT office. Next day, of course, or possibly on Wednesday, we were told that oh, by the way, the files have been recovered and are now up on the network. And they were, except the recent files - recent being defined as, everything since August or so. God knows where they are. So I have to scan in documents to recreate those files, retype the ones I can't find or can't scan, and, you know, re-invent the wheel occasionally.
Here's the thing. My class ends at 12:30pm. The next class begins at 1pm. Administration wants us all in our classrooms well before our class begins, with 30 minutes early being an approximate time. Okay. That means the afternoon teacher should get into the classroom around 12:30 or so, to "interact with students" before the class begins at 1. At 12:30, though, my class is just ending and then I have to use the computer to enter my attendance, grades, etc. That means the other teacher can't use the computer to get organized for his own class that's about to begin. So there's that daily stress - do you need the computer right now? Ok, let me just finish this up real quick. Oh, can I just log on to print this out? Well, hold on, okay, here you go. You done yet? I just have to do this one thing real quick.
Oh, the faculty offices they gave us? Yeah, there's some computers in there we can use. Two of them. So even then, I'd have to scramble out of my classroom, walk over to the other building, do my online attendance and other assorted duties, and then walk back to the original building to turn in stuff to the offices. Jee-zus.
At least they gave us a brand new photocopier. And Friday? I got new dry-erase markers. What does it say about me that new markers make it a good day?

01/06/2006 Friday 12:34PM
Today's Friday Fiver:

1. Have you broken any New Year's resolutions yet?
Nah. Well, actually, it's really too early to tell.
2. Broken any bones?
Never. I want to, though. That's #55 in my list of Things To Do Today.
3. When is the last time someone else broke your heart?
Hmmm. Long time ago. Probably...Spring of '92? Something like that. Yeah, thanks for that, Sonali.
4. What is the most expensive item you've ever broken?
No clue. Depends on the definition of "broken," I suppose, and on whether or not dollars were actually spent as a result. I mean, I've dented car doors and such. Does that count, if we didn't bother to repair/replace, but it would have been expensive?
5. What phrase are your tired of hearing over and over again?
"I ain't hatin' on him/her/them." Or maybe, "Grandpa, I love my Hyundai!" from the obnoxious little brat that her car dealer grandfather cruelly puts into his commercials. (See 5/09/2005 entry. Yeah, he's still doing it.)

Well, New Year's Eve we went down to Venice for Kristen's wedding. It was very nice, as weddings go, seeing as how I knew exactly three people there including Mariana. We decided to stop by Mariana's family's house after the wedding instead of before, so we wouldn't be under a deadline to leave. So we went onto the island and found the church. The reception was immediately afterwards, of course, in the same church, and we followed protocol by stuffing ourselves with finger foods and trying to avoid appearing in the backgrounds of random photographs being taken all over the banquet hall. We made it to her family's house around 5pm, and left around 7:30 or so, wanting to make it back home well before the drunks hit the road in force. Made much better time than I expected, and we were home just after 9:30. From there the night was basically over. Stayed in, channel-surfed, and I made dinner. Watched Dick Clark with a mixture of sadness and admiration.

Sunday I went to work all day, although the day was far less lucrative than I hoped or expected.

Monday and Tuesday Mariana and I hung out. I went home Tuesday evening; she had some work to do, and I wanted to watch the FSU/Penn State game, and we both decided to not bother the other. It was a thrilling game, and I'm mostly okay with FSU losing.

Wednesday I stayed home, and watched the USC/Texas game at night. Magnificent game, and I'm glad Texas won. As a longtime Alabama fan, I still feel a bit of rivalry against USC dating back to the late '70s when Alabama and USC were competing for the national championship. And I almost always root for the underdog when I don't have any other rooting interest, and I was tired of hearing about how great USC is, so I wanted Texas to win.

Yesterday I met Eric at the school library to get some things together for the textbook at work. It's slow going, but we will make progress.
That shoulda been a resolution...
Anyway, after that I came over here to Mariana's. I'm going to try to work tonight.

Today is the last official day of vacation. This weekend will mostly feel like any other weekend - with work coming the Monday afterwards. Fair enough. This vacation I:
-- spent much wonderful time with Mariana.
-- played obscene amounts of online poker.
-- didn't work quite as much as I kinda wanted to.
-- watched plenty of Degrassi: The Next Generation.
-- spent Christmas and New Year's pretty much how I wanted, although I
-- didn't get a holiday tree and
-- didn't make any cookies.
-- made only a 1% dent in cleaning up my bedroom. (That 1% consisted mostly of doing laundry, which at least involved picking up the clothes off the floor.)

Yeah, it was a great vacation.

01/03/2006 Tuesday 12:35PM
Just killing time, I've been reading a lot of random conspiracy-theory sites (that I won't dignify by providing links). JFK wackos ("The Zapruder film was fake!") to 9/11 ("Evidence of Timed Explosives!" and "What REALLY Hit the Pentagon?").
There are a lot of crazy people out there. But I always harken back to one of my basic beliefs: crazy people make the world alot more fun.

12/30/2005 Friday 11:29AM
Today's Friday Fiver:

1. How will you be ringing in the New Year?
Don't know. Earlier in the evening we'll be driving back from Venice, from a friend's wedding. No particular plans for the actual moment, other than holding Mariana's hand, kissing her, and drinking egg nog. Probably we'll be at her apartment, possibly with her roomies and/or assorted friends, possibly by ourselves.
2. How do you wish you were ringing in the New Year?
I have no particular fantasies about New Year's. Once I outgrew the alcohol-fueled "Woo! Party!" mindset, I stopped making or wanting extravagant plans. I've seen the new year come in at home alone on the couch, in the parking lot at work, at my girlfriend's apartment, and in various other inexotic circumstances, and generally haven't regretted it. 12:01am on January 1 seems kinda special. 12:08am on January 1 seems kinda like a few minutes after midnight.
3. Do you have any traditions that you observe on New Year's Day intended to bring you luck for the upcoming year?
Traditions, yes, but for good luck, no.
4. Do you make resolutions? Do you keep them?
I've made resolutions in the past, but don't remember ever keeping them. None of them were too extraordinary or worth mentioning.
5. Would you ever have plastic surgery?
Possibly reconstructive, if ever I had reason. I can't see ever getting purely cosmetic surgery.

You know, I generally like Mike Gallagher. He's conservative, and he knows how loathsome liberals are becoming, which makes him instantly likeable and respectable. As a talk radio junky he's my mainstay during his timeslot if I happen to be in my car (the morons are on the local sports-talk station in that timeslot, and that racist Savage guy is on the other primary talk station). But a couple of things have stood out the past few weeks.
He was talking about the new King Kong movie (which I still haven't seen), and about a couple of articles he'd read that apparently discussed the racist/racial/imperialist subtexts of the basic King Kong storyline. I haven't read the articles he was on about, and I haven't searched for them, as the overall topic isn't too interesting to me. What stood out, though, was the way Gallagher completely dismissed any possibility of a racial or imperialist subtext to the King Kong story. It offended him that anyone could even suggest that there was any significance to the idea of white Westerners travelling to a dark, exoticized island, plundering that place's material for their own financial gain, suffering the consequences, and then using industrial and military might as means of suppression.
Apparently, these articles discussed that underlying subtext, that King Kong is all about Western imperialism or Western racism. But all Gallagher could latch onto was the idea that the King Kong subtext positions blacks as apes or slaves to be captured. While mocking the idea of there being any underlying political message to the King Kong story, he even went so far as to sarcastically ask, "What, is Planet of the Apes about race, too?!" As I drove in my car, I couldn't help but blurt out, well, YES! Is it possible that in 2005, somebody out there (who might be named something like "Mike Gallagher") is NOT aware that Planet of the Apes is a commentary about race relations?
The problem for Gallagher seemed to be that he was conflating "about racism" with "racist." And those are two fundamentally different concepts. It's absolutely true - I might even say clumsily obvious - that Planet of the Apes and the King Kong story are about race, and Western imperialism. It is not true that they are "racist," as though they are meant to forward the notion of white or Western supremacy, or as though making or watching them makes one implicitly racist. Gallagher missed that distinction.
The disclaimer I should add here is, of course, that I approach this from my own perspective as Literature Major Guy, as Pop Culture Guy. As such, I am trained to look not only at Text but at Subtext as well. As I tell my students when trying to get them to think on these levels, I want to know what something is about on the surface, but I also find it crucial to know what it is about on deeper levels. I mean, that's why I love Buffy, because it's not about vampires and monsters.
Some things have no deeper levels, no subtexts, no agendas. But some do, and realizing that doesn't mean we have to subscribe to or agree with them. It just means we understand and appreciate the overall text on more substantial levels. I don't think it's too artsy-fartsy to think about symbolism, or hidden meanings, nor do I think it means we are too politically obsessed if we start identifying them. I think it's incumbent on us as thinking, active members of society to be aware of what's being said to us, about us, around us. It makes us more informed movie watchers, for one thing, but more informed citizens, more importantly.

My second Gallagher rant has to to with some inconsistency I noticed in some of his positions. During one show I listened to a few days ago (which might already have been from a "Best Of" rebroadcast), Gallagher took issue with the way some companies are firing (or not hiring) people based on their smoking, because of health-care costs to the company. He was upset that companies could make employment decisions based on what he viewed as unrelated lifestyle issues that did not have any effect on the company. He understood that the companies were doing this for financial reasons, but denied that the financial reasons were compelling enough. He kept referring to them (the companies and/or their executives who enforced these guidelines) as activists, as fanatics who want to impress their anti-smoking beliefs on everybody else. He accused them of always operating from the worst-case scenario, exaggerating the dangers in order to support their decision. He sarcastically said that companies might as well start firing swimmers, because as we all know, there's a danger of drowning and companies might have to pay for healthcare for swimming-related accidents, too. Never mind the very real differences between swimming-related healthcare costs and smoking-related costs. Never mind the tactic of using exaggeration to make his point while accusing others of using exaggeration to support theirs. The real inconsistency came when I was listening to the show last night (which I'm pretty sure was a "Best Of" rebroadcast). He was discussing whether or not blacks are good tippers. (And never mind that topic, as well; as somebody who relied on tips for many years, I came to my own conclusions that nobody will dissuade me from.) Anyway, one caller identified himself as some Great Wizard MucketyMuck from a KKK organization. Fair enough. As it turns out, though, Gallagher was able to verify the guy's information, and found out that the caller was exactly who he said he was. The caller stated his occupation, and Gallagher found it to be true, and mentioned the caller's employer on the air. Gallagher then started wondering aloud what would happen if that company knew about their employee's status as a KKK leader. It was very clear by the tone of his voice that Gallagher hoped that the company would fire that guy.
For me, that's the hypocrisy. Gallagher denied that a company would have the right to fire an employee based on reasonable expectation of healthcare costs, but supported a company's right to fire an employee based on noxious political views. I can't see any way to reconcile those two opinions, but I would have loved the opportunity to ask him to try.

12/29/2005 Thursday 11:06AM
At Mariana's apartment.
Yesterday Mariana and I did some emergency shopping mid-afternoon, after a morning of laziness. Went to Millenia Mall. She copped some Hello Kitty stuff and some lemon meringue-scented moisturizer that she loves and which makes her smell yummy. I had to be at work at 5, though, so we hurried home. I worked, went home and cleaned up, and then came back over here last night with some late-night dinner.
Well, let's just start last week, and I'll get in as much as I can.

The week ended on Thursday at work; Friday was the first day of vacation. We've been getting some Amazon deliveries to my house practically every day, for Christmas, so I had to go home after work before going over to Mariana's. When I arrived, we did some more shopping for "last-minute items" even though I was painfully aware that I was behind. Picked up a few items.
Friday we did more shopping and hanging out (see below).
Saturday Mariana's family arrived in the early evening. We had spent the day mostly puttering around the house, doing random cleaning, gift-wrapping, etc. Had a late lunch. When her family arrived, they brought their own dinner from Boston Market. I tried my best to entertain her little brother, putting back together the Transformer that he had transformed into separate pieces. They also brought a little gingerbread-house kit, which they started assembling after they ate. Then they all exchanged the gifts which hadn't yet been exchanged (mostly theirs to Mariana, and hers to them). We gave her parents a cute little set of seeds (one for "Birds, Bees, and Butterflies," one for culinary herbs, and one for herbal teas) which I picked up at work. Her brother loved the giant pineapple. Her parents generously gave me a calendar printed with a photograph of me, Mariana, and her siblings, which was taken at this most recent Thanksgiving, and a $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. Very nice of them. After all that hoo-haw died down, I picked a quiet moment to excuse myself so her family could have some family-time together. Went home, wrapped some gifts, and puttered.
Sunday I stayed home, watched football, and puttered. Played lots of small online poker tournaments, winning enough money to win back the entry fees and losses. (That's a clumsy way of saying that I finally became a true break-even player.) Had a marvelous time. Kept in touch with Mariana, even though I knew I wouldn't see her again until Monday night. The guys came over around 8 or so, Tom arriving wearing his Santa hat which we gave him a couple of years ago. We all did the gift thing, and then got down to some poker. We lugged the round kitchen table into the living room and used the folding poker-table top that I gave Ed. Got my ass kicked thoroughly. Let's see Doyle Brunson or Daniel Negreanu do anything with that succession of Q-3, 3-8, 3-5 offsuit. Bitch bitch bitch. Finally, on what we agreed would be the last hand, I stumbled into some running cards which game me a straight-flush (yes, it included wildcards), for a pot that would finally put me back close to even. And, of course, Tom had an extra wildcard, so I ended up splitting the pot with him. Damn. Damn damn damn. The only major pot I won all night, and I had to split it.
Anyway, the loot included DVDs of Million Dollar Baby, Young Frankenstein, Pitch Black, a three-disk set of Rachael Ray DVDs, the live Led Zeppelin set that came out a couple of years ago (and which Mariana had already given me...) and maybe another movie or two I can't remember at the moment; a tie in Dallas Cowboys colors from Tom; Rachael Ray cookbook; two new Muhammad Ali books; a nice Polo shirt (which may be too small); and possibly some other item or two that I'm forgetting. Everyone seemed pleased, and a good time was had by all, even the guy who got his ass kicked at poker for hours before finally winning a good pot on the last hand only to see that he had to split it with a guy who played a part in the hours of ass-kicking. We forgot the nog, though.
Monday I puttered and did some post-Christmas shopping. Had to go out to campus to turn in grades. Now, they've confiscated our laptops at work, so they can retrofit them and clean them up and take off all the bad stuff we have installed on them. So I had to e-mail my grades spreadsheet to myself, so I would be able to access it online from any open computer at work. My first step was to go to my classroom and find whatever late papers had been turned in. There were only a couple. Then I had to go over to the other building to get on an open computer to record the grades online. However, I wasn't able to download that spreadsheet from my e-mail, so I was a bit at a loss. Finally I had to call my brother and ask him to read me off all the grades from my home computer. Recorded all the grades online, then trekked back to the original building to turn in the paper versions. Finally done. Had to work at 5. Made an ungodly amount of money for a Monday night. Ty had to borrow my car for awhile to go move a treadmill he'd bought, so I used his car for awhile. It's hard to move from a Jeep Cherokee to a little Honda Civic, because in a tiny car like that, I feel like my butt is scraping the ground. Anyway, my brakes were grinding as well, and since I stayed at work a lot later than I planned, I arranged to drop off my car Monday night to get it repaired Tuesday - which meant I wouldn't be able to see Mariana Monday night as planned. So, got the car repaired Tuesday, and went over Tuesday night.
When I got over here Tuesday night, Mariana and I finally exchanged gifts. That wonderful girl gave me a bag of dark Lindor truffles (oh my...), a commemorative book version of A Charlie Brown Christmas; a book called Weird U.S., published by the same folks who did the Weird Florida book I spoke of below (see 12/09 entry); and a wonderful hug. Then she, I, and her two roommates went out to dinner at Red Lobster and gorged ourselves. Then, bloated and sated, the night was done.
Wednesday Mariana and I went to the mall again (see above). Ty and Ed and Ty's brother went to go play in a poker tournament in Tampa. I was supposed to go with them, but was on the schedule for last night. And after spending $342 on my car this week anyway, it was perhaps best that I not spend any additional money on frivilous poker. Of the three of them, only Ty's brother had any success, taking third in a ten-person sit-and-go tourney they all joined after they got bounced out of the main tourney. Sounded like fun, and I'd definitely like to go one time when time and finances permit.

So, we're up to today. Have no idea what the gameplan is, or what we're doing today or tonight. Maybe I can talk her into finally going to see King Kong.

12/23/2005 Friday 10:08AM
A "cretinous crook." That's how somebody described President Bush in something I read recently.
Man, some people are clueless. That particular somebody is clueless, I mean. Not President Bush.

Today - finally! - is the first day of vacation. I still woke up earlier than I wanted to ('bout 8:30am), but hey, I woke up on my own terms, at least. Mariana fixeded me breakfast without me knowing. She's wonderful. Today we might hit a mall or something for some last minute gettingness of stuff. Later I'll go schlep pizza for some extra bucks. We still don't know for sure when her family is due to arrive. Sometime late tomorrow, we think. Also not sure what the overall gameplan is. Far as I know, they'll just go get some Chinese food tomorrow night, and do some more Christmasing on Sunday. I don't know if they're leaving Sunday night, or sometime Monday. And no, I don't know when I'll be Christmasing with my family, either. I do know today is the first day of vacation, but beyond that, it's all a little fuzzy.

The office party (see 12/09 entry, below) was a little uneventful. We mostly sat with Eric, Joel, and Lissa. Joel was terrifically ill, of course. So we did the buffet line thing (okay, twice), shook hands with hands that need to be shook, and made sure to be noticed by people I need to notice me at office functions. We were only there for an hour, hour and a half or so.

Mostly, other than that, I've been working and not sleeping.

OK, we can do this:

1. Do you have any holiday plans?
Nothing in particular. Mariana's family is arriving at some point tomorrow, and New Year's Eve we're heading to Venice for her friend's weddin', but that's about it.
2. Will you be traveling?
Damn, I should have read ahead.
3. What is the worst thing about this time of year?
EVERYTHING.
I love the holidays, but damn, I hate the holidays.
What's (s)he giving me? How much is (s)he spending? Is he on the "just a card" list, or the "actual gift" list? Is it too early to do this? Is it too late to do that? When will I actually wrap the gifts? How late are they open? And where's that damn Hickory Farms kiosk?
4. Do you have any favorite holiday foods?
Egg nog. Hickory Farms. My mommy's pecan pie.
5. Is it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree?
Oh, stop it. It's a fucking Christmas tree. Look, I'm Muslim, and I love the holidays. And on years when I'm able, I get a tree. I jokingly call it my "holiday tree" in the same light-hearted spirit that I play "December carols." Catch me in a rare serious mood, however, and I freely acknowledge that it's Christmas. Not "the holiday season." There are only two real holidays this time of year: Christmas and Hanukkah. (That Kwanzaa crap can bite me. You don't just invent a fucking holiday, pretend it's historical, and pretend that it its exclusiveness is not racist. How obnoxious is that!) But I think devaluing Christmas is far more offensive than referencing it around people who devalue it, because Christmas is bigger than the PC idiots who devalue it. I don't know if this year has seen a bigger backlash against the anti-Christmas crowd than previous years, but sometimes it seems like it. And I think that's wonderful, and I say that as a Muslim.
Oh, and it's technically a Christmas tree, you pagan blockheads, because technically a fern is a fern. The object is the meaning you give it. When you mean it to be a fern, it's a fern. When you mean it to be a pagan symbol, it's a pagan symbol, no longer just a fern. And when you mean it to be a Christmas tree, well by golly it's no longer just a pagan symbol. Just because an object or symbol evolved out of an earlier form doesn't mean it still is that earlier form.

12/21/2005 Wednesday 5:56AM
Overheard from me last night:
"I don't remember what I remember."

12/16/2005 Friday 7:13PM
The Friday Fiver.
1. What's your favorite radio station?
740 ("The Team") AM, a local sports-talk station.
2. How would you describe the format?
Sports-talk.
3. Do you think satellite radio will become commonplace, like subscribing to cable TV?
Eventually, yes.
4. Have you thought about buying a satellite radio subscription?
Yah, but I can't justify the price. It's not expensive, but despite the driving I do, I don't think I'd get enough use out of it. It might even be that there are too many options; by the time I check all the ones I'd like, I'd be at my destination. And I'm very flighty - when I'd be listening to the classic punk, I'd wonder what sports-talk I was missing, and when I'm listening to old Led Zeppelin, I'd wonder what '80s stuff I was missing.
5. When is the last time you said goodbye?
About 45 minutes ago, when I left work.

12/09/2005 Friday 7:13PM
Well, poop, I'm awake now so I might as record stuff.

So, tomorrow is the big office holiday party at OCA. I guess we're going, if only for office-politics reasons (and to enjoy some really good food).

Mariana has been working incredibly hard this week, getting stuff done from school. I've been working a lot, of course, but no more so than usual. But I haven't been sleeping much, so I've spent much of the week in a hazy haze. Tonight I expect to crash fairly early. Mariana might as well, too, although she still has more work to do.
Last night Mariana and I went to go get my copy of Weird Florida signed by the author, Charlie Carlson, at the local Barnes and Nobles. He seems to be a good guy, and I chatted with him for a few minutes about local Florida sites. I asked him if he'd ever heard of the "Oakland Tombs," an above-ground family crypt at a particular old house that local kids had talked about when I was younger. There was nothing in Weird Florida about it, but he said yeah, he'd heard about it. We were only there for about ten minutes or so; the signing opened at 6pm, we got there about 6:05, and were home well before 6:30. Mariana got back to work while I made her some teriyaki stirfry. I left a short time later, went home and collapsed.

Wednesday afternoon Mariana and I went to the Millenia Mall for some shoppin'. I picked up an inflatable chair as a gag gift for Joel, who apparently is still too busy to buy any real furniture of his own. I imagine him sleeping on piles of dirty laundry, maybe circling three times like a dog before he lies down. Got a bar of 99% cocoa chocolate from Lindt.

Snoopy is coming on (I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!), and that's more important, so that's all for now.

12/09/2005 Friday 6:16PM
This has been such an exhausting week that all I can produce is the Friday Fiver.
Yay me.

1. What's on your feet?
Nothing at the moment.
2. Turn to your right -- what do you see?
How far away? On the floor next to me is a box fan. Beyond that is a small pile of assorted clothes and stuff. Beyond that is a TV and some boxes of stuff.
3. What is the last thing you ate?
A roast beast-and-cheese sammich from Subway.
4. What can you smell right now?
Nothing in particular.
5. Do you wear hats?
Only for one of my jobs.

12/04/2005 Sunday 10:26PM
Happy Three, my love.

12/03/2005 Saturday 8:14PM
Well well, another The Friday Fiver.

1. When is the last time you rode the bus?
July 2005, Washington DC, a vacation Mariana and I took.
2. Describe the last time you stood up for a cause:
This is pretty vague. I "stand up for a cause" every time I fuel up my SUV, a vehicle I drive and enjoy despite the fact that the lefty wackos have targeted as a primary cause of the destruction of the world. (Actually, of course, the wackos have targeted the drivers as the cause of the destruction of the world, but you know what I mean.) I "stand up for a cause" every time I do something right and good and decent - which, hopefully, is every day.
3. Have you visited Alabama?
Been through it, mostly when visiting other places.
4. Have you ever attended a rally?
Yes, both in support and in protest.
5. Have you ever been arrested?
Yes, twice.

11/26/2005 Saturday 2:14PM
Well, since the slackers at The Friday Fiver have left us bereft and forlorn this week, I'm going to make up my own Friday Five. Nothing dramatic, just questions from off the toppa my head based on what I've been doing or will be doing.

1. What ethnic groceries do you most frequently buy, if any? (Think foodstuffs.)
Chinese, mostly. There's a store called Dong A (spelt with Vietnamese characters, I think, actually) that we go to fairly often. It's located in the Little Saigon area of Orlando. Great variety of...well, everything Asian - fresh fruits and veggies, imported goods, random exotica, kitchen and household goods, you name it.
2. What ethnic food have you never been able to appreciate despite repeated attempts?
Vietnamese, I think. I always admit that perhaps it's just that I've never figured out what to order - but every time in a Vietnamese restaurant (admittedly, only a few times) I always seem to end up with a bowl of stuff floating in water. I know that sounds ignorant and disrespectful, and I'm not saying that Vietnamese food isn't good. I just haven't figured out what to eat. Every time, stuff floating in water. *shrug*
3. What individual food (not an ingredient and not a meal) do you consider most typically "American?" What's the ultimate "American food?"
I have this conversation with students fairly often. And I still don't have a firm answer. But for want of something more representative, I'll say a hamburger. Nothing incredibly symbolic of it, although I have heard people defend the choice saying that, like America itself, you can throw whatever you want into it and onto it and it still comes out pretty darned good. Same rationale for pizza, another good choice. But something about a hamburger seems incredibly American, so that's what I'll stick with.
4.Other than Thanksgiving (which may or may not be your number-one choice anyway), what is your favorite opportunity or reason to cook?
Eid, I guess, at the end of each Ramadan. Along with Thanksgiving (which I know you said I can't mention) it's the one time the preparation and anticipation take days.
5. What makes a feast - the food, the company, or the event, or some combination of them?
Another question I talk about with students. For me it's the food and the event. I occasionally say I'm having a feast, and plan one, even if I know there might not be anybody joining me, as long as there's some reason in particular to have the feast. I can have a luxurious meal, but if there's no event in particular, it's just a nice meal. I can eat with a lot of close family and friends, but again, if there's no event in particular, it's just a party. Probably no less enjoyable or meaningful, but to be a feast, the food and the event are the necessities.

There. Play along if you'd like.

11/26/2005 Saturday 10:06AM
I have no idea if that's correct. The day and date, I mean, although I'm fairly certain the time is fairly accurate. But other than the time I'm completely disorienbobulated, confuzzed almost to the point of incoherence. I think it's Saturday, although I keep thinking it's Sunday and it feels like a Friday.
See, yesterday we had our Thanksgiving feast. That's on a Thursday, right, so today must be Friday? Well, no. But, I've been with Mariana all day every day for the past few days, so surely it must be Sunday by now, right? Well, no.
I keep having to make these mental recalibrations. We had Thanksgiving yesterday because Thursday we spent the day down in Venice with Mariana's family. And today is still only Saturday because even though I've spent several consecutive days with her, we had the two days of vacation on Thursday and Friday so it's still only Saturday. Either way, I still keep thinking it's Sunday. But, you know, it kinda feels like Friday.

So, yeah, yesterday was feast day, although at this point I might as well recap it all.
Wednesday I tried my best to get out of work as early as possible. I still had to show a film to the class, though (and remarkably, almost everybody was in attendance). But for various reasons, I still didn't leave campus until about 12:30ish. I got my free turkey from the supply room, although I almost missed it - they had them boxed up to move out already. So I snagged one (almost fifteen pounds). Threw it in my backseat and left skidmarks in the parking lot getting the heck outta there. Fetched Mariana from school. Went to her house and collapsed.
I still wanted to do some cooking and preparing, though. (You know, mis en place.) So while Mariana dozed, I made a final blitz through a grocery store, came home and started preparing.
Cranberry-orange compote, check. Chopped up a good supply of ahnyawn and green peppah for stuffing and etc., check. Took sausage out of the freezer and chopped up some dates, both for stuffing, check. Cut up some yams, check. Washed various objects and locations, organized others, check. Sustained minor cut on thumb, check. Showered and returned to Mariana's. Teriyaki stir-fry for dinner. Sleep.

Got up Thursday morning in no particular hurry. Left around 10:30am for Venice; arrived without incident. Mariana and her family greeted and familied with each other; she played video games with her sister and brother. I sat politely and guested. Around 4pm we caravaned over to...Anita's house? I think the in-laws of Mariana's stepfather's sister. Or something like that. Anyway, it seems like a lovely (read: typical) family, mostly genuinely sweet and caring people, a few nuts, nobody truly unpleasant.
The meal was good, very traditional. We left around 8pm or so to return to Mariana's family's house. More familying, more video games, more talking. We finally left around 10pm for the trip back to Orlando. We were only 45 minutes or so from home when the tire blew out.
Got out, fix-a-flatted the tire. I could hear the air leaking, although in the dark and with only a tiny flashlight, I couldn't see the hole. (Mental note: get Maglight and/or chargeable spotlight for the car.) Limped along for a few more minutes and then the tire went completely. It was halfway off the rim before I could even get off the highway. Got out the doughnut spare and the hardware, changed it, Mariana huddling beside me in a slip-style dress and wrapped in a Hello Kitty blanket, holding the flashlight. Threw the dead tire into the back, even though it was still oozing noxious Fix-a-Flat fumes. Limped the rest of the way home, rolling the windows down every few minutes to clear out the fumes. Hallucinated regardless.
We wanted to go shopping yesterday morning, early, both to maybe get some deals and also just to see. 'Cause, you know, we're like that. Dorks, I mean. But I also wanted to get a new tire, and come home to cook. I originally planned for a 1-2pm feeding, which meant I had to get the bird in the oven by 9am or so. Well, I could see the problem. I checked with the nearest tire place, right around the corner, before we went home the night before. They opened at 7am, so eventually decided to forgo the early shopping. I would get there right at opening, 7am, and as soon as I got the tire done, I would fetch Mariana for some shopping. And that's what we did. The tire was done by 7:30am; by 8am I had finally roused Mariana.
First we targeted Target. Nothing much we wanted (which we knew anyway). Went over to Best Buy. Ridiculous crowd, with the line for the registers snaking around most of the interior of the place. There were a few things we might have bought, but nothing worth waiting an hour or two in line for. Went across the street to the Circuit City. Exact same scenario. Both places had the video game she wanted, but in neither case did we want to wait. Went back across the street to a smaller GameStop. They didn't have it. Through our mental hands up in despair and jumped on the highway to my house. Stopped by a games store near my house. It was nearly deserted and they had the game we wanted. Got it and went to my house. Mariana gamed while I prepped and cooked. The game involves rolling over stuff, wadding it up into a giant ball as you push it along. Seriously. But fun and funny, and utterly wacky. So that's what we did. I used a new meat thermometer for the first time. Got everything going. And then Mariana hit the wall.
I couldn't have woken her up with a firehose.
Hmmm.
So, around 4:30pm brother and I enjoyed a lovely meal while Mariana slept. The turkey turned out spectacular. Don't know if it was the neato thermometer or what, but there was no dry meat and no wet bloody meat. Appropriate sides came out wonderful, although in retrospect I wish I had thrown some stock into the turkey roasting pan to keep the veggies from charring as much. But otherwise things were wonderful.
Around 8pm she awoke, and we rolled up stuff into giant balls. Around 9:30pm she got hungry, so I fixed her a plate. Hours and many giant balls of stuff later, we rested. And this morning I awoke. She wants to be home by noon or so to do some stuff at her place, so I'm going to wash a few more dishes and then go try to rouse her.

11/24/2005 Thursday 9:35AM
Gobble gobble.
11/22/2005 Tuesday 4:57PM
The deed is done.
The bird is bought. Only twenty pounds, though.

11/21/2005 Monday 3:13PM
I got it! I got it!

It came today, after a couple days' delay.
The image isn't very good, but you can see the design. The top is hinged and swings up and back. The opposite side is hinged and swings down. The individual seasons pull out separately like drawers. There is also a booklet and a separate DVD of stuff.
Yay, I got it!

In much less important news, the ol' alma mater has won the Easter Division of Conference USA in our first year of membership. (This is college football, for the unitiated.) That means that we will host the conference championship game in two weeks, against either UTEP or Tulsa...which also means, officially, that the ol' alma mater will go to our first ever college football bowl game. If we win the conference championship, we'll go to the Liberty Bowl on December 31, against a team to be decided. Woohoo! New Years Eve party in Memphis! If we almost win the championship game, we'll go to the GMAC Bowl on December 21 against either a MAC team (our old conference, albeit only for a couple of years) or a WAC team. Woohoo! Winter Solstice party in..uh...Mobile!
Hey, it's been a long time coming. I went to home games when we were Division I-AA and not long out of Division II. Last year, our first with Coach George O'Leary, we went 0-for-2004. This year we're finally in a bowl game. It feels good.
And hey, I might even accomplish (at least) #70 or #71 on my list of Things to Do Today! (And I'd have an outside opportunity to do #17 and #29.)

11/19/2005 Saturday 1:20PM
Here's that Friday Five thing.

1. Favorite brand of jeans:
Levi's, 501s.
I hardly ever wear jeans, though.
2. Magazine you read regularly:
Just one? Ridiculous. Sometimes it seems like I spend half my income on magazines.
Okay, rather than name some obvious ones that everybody reads, how about some brain candy fluff that hardly anybody reads: Fortean Times
3. If a button came off your clothing, could you sew it back on?
Yup. Do it all the time.
4. Have you ever had a curfew?
Only self-imposed.
5. Most dangerous thing you've done:
Changed a flat tire one morning along the side of a high-speed interstate one morning on the way down to see Babeness in Venice. I was laying on my back, halfway under the car, trying to position the jack on a few inches of pavement while cars and semis whizzed by at about 80 miles per hour, about three feet from my body. I was completely vulnerable, completely helpless, knowing that if one of those drivers just happened to jog their steering wheel a little bit, happened to sneeze at just the wrong moment, I would unquestionably be killed. At some points I had the luxury of wriggling out and moving to safety when I saw cars coming, but at some points, I had to keep going regardless of the traffic.
To say it was terrifying doesn't quite capture the mood.

Last night Babeness went to do some sorority stuff. I stayed back at her apartment, puttering around, until she was done. Then we dinned at a Bennigan's. We ordered the "Pick Three" of some cajun salmon, some fire-grilled steak or something, and something called Mediterranean chicken. With three entrees, we still only got one side item, so we got some garlic mashed potatoes. We ordered the steak cooked medium, but when we sliced into it, it erupted in blood like it was still living. We asked for it to be redone, and the waitress said she'd have them cook it some more. And sure enough, we got the same steak back, this time obviously microwaved into submission and practically impervious. Nice. For dessert we did a "Pick Two" of white chocolate cheesecake and a molten-lava cake. These were fine, but a bit much, and we didn't finish them.

This morning Mariana was supposed to meet her sorority sisters at UCF, but the alarm didn't go off and her phone was on silent. So she didn't get the messages until late in the morning. Dropped her off at a restaurant where everybody was meeting. I went next door to another restaurant and ate, and when we were both finished, we came home.

11/18/2005 Friday 6:04AM
Wednesday afternoon Mariana and I crashed at her apartment. I awoke with a start and looked at the clock: 7:04, it read. I looked at the clock on the wall. 7:0something, it read. I looked at the cable-TV box. 7:06, it read.
My class starts at 7:30am.
Mariana's apartment is approximately 25 minutes from campus, with good traffic.
Huh.
I'm late. I fell asleep, didn't set the alarm clock, and now I'm going to be late to school, and I'm the freakin' teacher.
I jumped out of bed and started scrambling around the place, looking from one clock to another, trying to fight through the mental cobwebs to correlate the times. I was hoping that one time was an aberration and that the other two clocks would agree on a very different time. No, they all agreed within a minute or so. I ran to the window and peered outside, trying to determine if the light outside looked like 7:07am light. I couldn't tell. By now Mariana was awake, too, asking me what was wrong. I stood there, trying to recall the last thing I remembered. What day is it? I didn't set the alarm...does that mean it's Saturday morning?......No...I'm going to be late...Who should I call? Let's see...25 minutes from here to there, 5 minutes to change clothes, I can be there by 7:45 or so...What did I do last night...?...I came over here...last night was Wednesday...today is Thursday....wait...could it still be Wednesday? Wednesday night?....Have I been asleep for 14 hours or for two hours?
Finally it became clear. It was still Wednesday. I wasn't going to be late for anything. I hadn't missed anything (except the two early Seinfeld reruns). I took me a good ten minutes to calm down, though, and get the breathing back to normal.
Yeah, now I can laugh about it.

11/12/2005 Saturday 9:55AM
Yesterday was our long "in-service" day. It was a daylong series of meetings and seminars and discussions about various topics that the administration scheduled to replace the shorter but more frequent meetings and seminars we'd been having throughout the calendar year. We were happy about that; one long day instead of frequent shorter meetings was okay with us, especially since the long day would be on a day when we'd be at school anyway and not on a Saturday. So at the meeting yesterday they announced that one of the improvements they would institute would be more frequent departmental meetings. Go figure. Yay, administration!

It was okay, though, I guess. Lots of opportunity to vent although I don't think anybody has any real belief that things will change. I was surprised at how low morale was. One of the corporate-types asked us what our morale was on a 1-10 scale (10 being highest). I would have responded with a 7, but my colleagues responded with 4s and 5s, with one chef giving a 1. I think his actual explanation was, "There are some administrators around here, who if they dropped dead in front of me, I'd just step over the body and keep walking. I fucking hate coming to work here every morning." Another instructor said that in the past he was known for being heavily involved in activities (and he was) but now no longer cares to do so. He said that his class ends at 12:30pm and he's frequently off campus by 12:35pm. The corporate-type was dutifully writing down our comments and her observations, and I wonder how she'll spin that when she reports to her bosses.
Then there was the diversity seminar, taught by a genuinely good guy genuinely trying to say all the right things. One of them was that it's wrong to use our own values to judge other people. Now, I've taken all the cultural sensitivity classes and anthropology classes and I know all about ethnocentricism and cultural relativity.
But believing it doesn't make it right. We all use our own values to judge other people, and it's entirely correct and proper and appropriate that we do so. Unfortunately, that's not the politically-correct view today.
Not coincidentally, the world's a mess.

When I got to Mariana's apartment last night, she and her roommate and his boyfriend had already ordered pizza. Ate. Puttered. Collapsed early.

11/11/2005 Friday 7:53PM
Here's that Friday Five.

1. Have you ever been to the ocean?
Of course.
2. When is the last time you wore a swimsuit?
Few years. Last time I went to an ocean.
3. Do you respect people more for staying through difficult times or knowing when to call it quits?
No way to answer that question. Depends on the "difficult times," doesn't it? Let's see: some difficult times should be fought through. Some difficult times are evidence that something new is needed. Fair enough?
4. Name a TV show that made a huge splash in the beginning, but has since gone downhill:
The Real World.
American Idol.
5. Have you ever eaten shark?
I think so. Not positive.

11/05/2005 Saturday 12:04PM
Last night Mariana and I met Kristen to see Chicken Little. It was a good flick, a lot of fun and very funny, and well-made. We saw a special 3-D version. At first we were going to see a 9:40 showing, but then we realized it wasn't 3-D, and that we were already minutes late to the 9:30 3-D showing. The next one wasn't until 11:40, however, so we got tickets to that and wandered around to get something to eat until then. I pulled a double at work yesterday, though, covering for Eric, so I was really tired. I left Mariana and Kristen at a Johnny Rocket's and went back to Mariana's apartment to nap for a little bit so I wouldn't collapse during the movie. I wasn't feeling very well, either, so I knew that laying down for a bit would help.
Napped for an hour or so. Mariana called around 11 or so just to make sure I was still coming. Met them in the theater. Tried to get some Chicken Little bobbleheads from a little quarter machine, but didn't get quite the ones Mariana wanted. The movie made me laugh and weep, so that's a sign of a good flick.

Today is Eid. A month of fasting, finally over. I'm roasting a duck tonight, something I've never made before. Not entirely sure how to do it, but hey, all's a learning experience, right?

Here's that Friday Five.

1. What is your shoe size?
11.
2. How many hours did you sleep last night?
About 7.5.
3. Area code of your phone number:
Sorry, a little too revealing.
4. Last grade of school completed:
Grade? As in, school? 12th. Last schooling? Graduate classes.
5. Time it takes you to get ready in the morning:
If I go non-stop in hurry mode, about 25 minutes. Realistic time between waking up and leaving the house, usually about an hour and 15 minutes.

10/31/2005 Monday 9:04PM
Halloween.
I didn't carve a pumpkin. I didn't even get one from the Christians. But I did get some Hershey's Kisses and some Hershey's miniatures.
Hey, I celebrate.

I found some version of a Friday Five here. So I'll try to do them, but I won't hurry myself to do so. Join in if you wish. I really need to start writing here more again anyway. Here's this week's:

1. What's the last item you mailed?
Something for Mariana, probably. Maybe either something she sold on EBay or payment for something she bought.
2. Who has made you smile recently?
Mariana. Joel.
3. What's the weather like outside?
High 60s, a little cloudy, not too humid, though. Not much of a breeze.
4. Do you consider youself a good judge of character?
Yep.
5. What's your favorite photograph?
Hard one.
A picture of Joel and I on the day I graduated from college, the two of us leaning casually against my Trans-Am and looking spiffy.
Picture of Tom and I in high school, me wearing some goofy round-rimmed sunglasses with a pink sportcoat and Tom posing behind me in a mock-rapper pose.
Mariana and I in my car, an impromptu pic that turned out smashingly.
A picture of my father on Christmas morning, circa 1975, looking into a disembodied toilet seat that he gave himself as a gift. I think we needed a new toilet seat, so he got one.

Yeah, one of those pictures.

09/08/2005 Thursday 4:21PM
Let's welcome back my Football Picks. I've already made my season-long picks, and each week, I'll also be making my picks straight up and against the spread. Naturally I anticipate my week-to-week picks to be more accurate over the course of the season than the preseason picks, which of course do not take into account future injuries, etc. So we'll see what happens...Anyway, they're located here.

09/06/2005 Tuesday 10:44PM
Overheard in class last week: "I love English class. It's the only time of the day where I can just sit and draw" (Cardenas).

Overheard in class today: "What's with all the words on the board?" (Friend).

07/14/2005 Thursday 5:26PM
A few minutes ago I ate some figs from my tree's first crop ever. Ate them right there under the tree. And then ate a papaya from my tree's first crop in two years. (Last year's crop was destroyed when one of the hurricanes ripped much of the tree apart, and the previous year the tree was heavily damaged by a winter freeze.)
A few days ago when joking with a friend I referred to Mountain Dew as "proof of God." Well, a fresh sweet fig, eaten barefoot under the tree that bore it, is pretty persuasive, too. Follow that up with a fresh papaya from a tree you've nurtured yourself, juice smeared across your face, the skin and seeds tossed back to Mother Nature, and you've got quite a convincing argument.
I'd show you pictures, but Mariana has the camera.

And speaking of which, yah, of course, there's a lot more to say about Washington, and some pics. I'll get around to it soon. I promise. Right now, though, another fig.

07/04/2005 Monday 11:12PM
Happy Birthday, America.

In the hotel.
Woke up this morning about 7:30am, to finish chores and packing and preparations. Left the house about ten minutes later than planned, about 9:25am. Missed the exit right about the time I planned to, then after a ten-minute interlude and recovery, missed the next exit right on schedule. Made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, though, and eventually sat waiting for about an hour and a half. Ate a grossly overpriced lunch while waiting. The plane to Birmingham (!) was just a puddle-jumper, with 1x2 seating. Guess who had his back to the latrine and sat straddling the engines. Although we were assigned to different rows, Mariana and I were able to sit together; there were plenty of empty seats available.
The snack was crackers, those six-packs of cracker smeared with a rather dubious "smoked cheese" spread, and a soda. On the first attempt, the flight attendant pulled a piece of clear plastic from my drink right before she was about to hand it to me. It looked like the wrapping from the cup itself. I knew, instantly, that she was wondering if I had seen it or if she could sneak it out of the drink and hand it to me like nothing had happened. She saw that I saw, however, and gave me a new drink in a new cup. With no plastic.
Otherwise, the trip to Birmingham was uneventful, except for the sheer pleasure of losing an hour in the timezone change. And really, even that's pretty overrated. Waited for about an hour in the Birmingham airport.
Got on the plane to Washington, this time a 2x2 seater. Again, Mariana and I were able to sit together. Although she got the windowseat again, this time we were directly over the wing. And this time, at least, we were one row in front of the latrine. Clearly, things were looking up.
The snack was a small packet of peanuts, about the size of a single saltine cracker. And a soda. No plastic.
Got to Washington in a profound lack of eventfulness. Took the shuttle over to pick up the car - a shiny, silver four-door Chevrolet Cavalier. Made it out of the airport complex, and took the wrong turn right on schedule. Was a couple of minutes late on the next wrong turn, however. Eventually made it to the Sheraton and collapsed gratefully onto the beds.
Walked downstairs and asked about the Metro. Took the hotel shuttle to the nearest station, took that to a stop near the Mall. Walked the rest of the way. Saw stuff. Got hungry. Saw some vegetarians and heard some Hare Krishnas. Considered, for about one second, eating at the "Free Feast" tent. Decided against it. Debated whether to eat somewhere else in the Mall vicinity, or whether to go back to the hotel area to eat and then come back to the Mall, or both. Finally nixed going back to the hotel area, and found some food at a cafe in the Air and Space Museum. Walked through the glass doors into the museum and damn near stumbled into a Mercury spaceship. Cool. Got ridiculously overpriced lunch, wandered back out into the streets and back to the Mall. Walked up close to the Capitol end of the Mall. Heard the beginning of the Beach Boys concert, while Mariana ruminated over her disturbing tendency to be around Brian Wilson much too often for her comfort. Drifted back down to the other end of the Mall, towards the Washington Monument. Heard some Hare Krishnas and didn't consider eating the Free Feast. Didn't eat any vegetarians, either, although I hear they taste good.
Sat and rested near the Smithsonian Castle, and watched the crowds. Got bored, walked back towards the center of the Mall, near the Metro station. Finally found a bench, and rested until the fireworks started. The fireworks started. Oohed, ahhed, watched, and walked back to the Metro station. Waited about fifteen minutes for the shuttle back to the hotel. Packed into the shuttle, with about two hundred other people. They sat them on the trunk. They sat them on the hood. Some sat up with the driver, but I don't know if they made him feel good. Got back to the hotel, showered, collapsed, the first day.
Oh, did you see all the pictures we took? Go here.

06/25/2005 Saturday 12:09PM
At Mariana's.
Today we're going to putter around a bit, nothing special. We're saving up for...
THE WASHINGTON TRIP,
the first week of July. Mariana has much of the itinerary set up; we're going to do the tourist thing. More about that later, of course.

Last night we saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Decent flick, some good laughs. Before that we had a small dinner at a Johnny Rocket's, burgers and fries. Got some minor trifles at Barnes and Nobles and elsewhere.
The week was uneventful.

06/22/2005 Wednesday 5:14AM
I HAD JASON DREAMS AGAIN.

05/19/2005 Thursday 10:48AM
No, I haven't seen the new Star Wars yet. Soon, though. I have an implicit (if not explicit) agreement from Mariana that we can go. Maybe this weekend.

I've been feeling pretty funky the past coupla days. Okay for a few hours, then wiped out in mid- to late-afternoon. I'll get home by 2pm or so today and crash for a little bit.

Yesterday I voluntarily attended a "Faculty Council" planning meeting at work. End result is, I may have to do stuff. Shoulda known.

Last night I went to Mariana's. Her roomies are out of town, and I hadn't seen her since, like, Monday. Watched a couple episodes of Pete and Pete and one of Clarissa Explains It All. Also got Season 4 of Seinfeld. I was still feeling lousy, so I eventually drifted off.

Last Tuesday (the 10th) I finally bought a new refrigerator. Walked in to Appliance Direct ("The World's Largest Appliance Warehouse!"). Started walking back to the refrigerator section. Before I could even get past the Maginot line of salespeople at the door, somebody called me by name and asked if she could help me. I turned around, stunned that she knew me. I wondered how the heck she recognized me; I've been in the store a few times, could they really be that good? I looked at her and didn't recognize her in the slightest. Not a clue. But, I tried to play it off by acting like I recognized her. Some co-worker, I assumed, somebody I worked with for three days and who remembers me even though I didn't bother to remember her. I just laughed and turned back around, with a "Yeah, ya got me" shake of my head, hoping she'd think that I knew who she was. As I did so, I caught a glimpse of an old friend, Jon, who I knew had been the store's GM. Turns out Jon had seen me walk in and told the saleswoman to address me by name just to freak me out. It worked.
Anyway, end result is I bought a new Frigidaire to replace the leaky, inefficient old thing at home. (Our old refrigerator, that is.)
They delivered the thing Thursday evening, about 7:30pm or so. So much for "Same day delivery!" The drivers called me twice for foot-by-foot directions to my house, even though I'm only about 2 minutes from the store. Dropped it off in my carport, and I got to work.
First I went up and bought some ice and another cooler to store stuff in until the new one was cold enough. Quickly filled those up with stuff from the fridge. Then had to just pile stuff up all over the kitchen table and counters. It's amazing how much stuff is in a refrigerator; you don't realize it until the stuff is no longer in the refrigerator. Emptied the thing out completely and moved it (single-handedly, mind you) into the living room. Panted for a few minutes. Rocked the new fridge back and forth, manhandled it onto the handcart and wrangled it over to the door in the garage leading inside the house. Quick mental calculations indicated that I'd get a tight fit, but I neglected to figure in the actual refrigerator door handles. Because of the handles, I reluctantly concluded it wouldn't fit. Played around with it, re-angled it, re-attempted it, re-concluded that it still wouldn't fit.
Shit.
Moved the fridge back a couple of feet and decided to take the house door off the hinges, to regain the room taken by the house door itself. Managed to do that fairly quickly; I was worried some of the screws were sealed with old paint. Took the door off, re-angled the fridge on the handcart, re-attempted. Re-failed. Still wouldn't fit.
Shit.
Studied the situation for a few minutes. Realized that the thing simply was not going to fit through that damn door. Pushed the fridge back out into the garage. Propped the house door roughly against the doorway, hoping it would persuade the remaining 15% of the neighborbook mosquitoes not to attempt entry. Realized I would have to pull the fridge around the house, through the gate, over the loose sand and grass, onto the patio, and through the sliding glass patio door. Got the thing going through the grass, with much difficulty. Single-handedly, mind you. Fought my way through the low-hanging branches of the peach tree, having to lean the fridge over almost parallel to the ground to fit under the branches. Heard roughly a dozen peaches plop to the ground, giving their lives. Completed the grueling process of pulling the fridge through the grass and sand onto the patio. Staggered inside the house, collapsed on couch. Noted the garage door still off its hinges and cursed bitterly. Rested.
Went back out and prepared my final assault on the fridge, to pull it inside the patio door (which would, of course, also necessitate wrestling it up the little four-inch step into the house). Leaned the fridge over, got most of it wedged inside the door...and found my calculations were again fatally flawed. The thing wouldn't fit. The refrigerator door handles again, of course.
Studied the thing, wrestled with it some more, re-angled it. Nothing doing. Looked to see if glass door could be taken off the track. Saw no easy way to do it. Wondered if refrigerator doors could be taken off. Realized it would be a fairly involved task, since the hinge incorporated some wiring for the refrigerator door ice chute and light. Considered my options. Realized I quite honestly didn't have the strength left to tote the fridge back around the house, through the grass and sand, to the front to try the other door.
Shit.
Finally, I punted.
Called my brother at work, explained the sitation. He wasn't too pleased, but said he'd be home from work as soon as possible to help. Started putting the garage door back on the hinges. One mosquito offered to help and was promptly beaten senseless by the other mosquitoes who were by that time eating sandwiches on my couch, drinking beer and ordering pay-per-view pr0n. Was just finishing the door when my brother arrived. We studied the refrigerator wedged in the sliding door, and I explained that no, it just won't fit, and no, I can't really take the fridge doors off too easily. So we loaded the thing up on the handcart and double-teamed it back around the house, losing a few more peaches in the process. Got it back into the garage. Rested. Cursed. Peeked in the garage door and saw a buncha mosquitoes playing poker at my kitchen table. Cursed again. Went inside and re-arranged the furniture, clearing a path to the front door which is otherwise usually blocked by a table. Pushpulled the fridge around to that front, and managed to get it inside fairly easily. Yeah, the third time's the charm, right? Shut the hell up.
Took the old fridge out the garage door, and, being slightly smaller than the new fridge, it fit through the garage door easily. Maneuvered the new one through the kitchen and into its slot against the wall. Ed returned to work, I collapsed onto the couch again.
A few minutes later I started filling up the fridge, throwing away old foods, reorganizing, puttering up, kissing it gently every few minutes. I still didn't have the icemaker hooked up, of course; I thought I'd end up having to call a plumber to do that a few days later. The important thing was, it was installed. It was there.

05/09/2005 Monday 7:59AM
OK, people, listen and listen good. Are you ready? OK, here it is:
Nobody thinks your little kid is as cute as you do.
There. You hear me? You feelin' me, as the rappers say? You understand? I'll say it again.
NOBODY THINKS YOUR LITTLE KID IS AS CUTE AS YOU DO.
I didn't say he's not cute. I didn't say she wasn't adorable. I'm saying the world is full of five-year-olds, and we've seen plenty of 'em. They're not cute, unless it's your kid. Yours isn't any different. EXCEPT TO YOU. What, you think otherwise? You think it's just adorable to have your little kid record your answering-machine in that nervous, hesitant, stuttering, lisping, barely-articulate five-year-old voice? Hi, umm, you've weached..umm...the Bwown wesidence...hee hee..what? okay...Pwease...pwease weave a message an'......Mommy, whaddoo I say?...okay...Pwease weave a message an'...Pwease weave a message..an'...um...No I wanna do it, Mommy! Pwease...um...pwease...weave a message an...and we'll caw you back, uhkay? hee hee ha ha ha h-*CLICK*.
Sure, you think it's adorable. But a lot of people will just think it's annoying as fuck. It's your kid, not mine. I wouldn't care if I was calling to tell you your mother was in an accident. I hear an answering machine like that, I'm hanging the fuck up.
Hey, Mr. Car Dealer, you know who you are. You, with your gimmick of having your grand-daughter in the commercial say, "Grandpa, I love my Hyundai!" so you can end the commercial with "That's my beautiful grand-daughter!" She's not as cute as you think she is. She's not as smart and articulate and bright as you think she is. She looks and talks just like every other five-yead-old out there. You think this makes you look all sweet and compassionate? Piss off. I won't do business with you. Because of her, I won't do business with you, with anybody else who does business with you, or with anybody who's ever even heard of you. Or your grand-daughter.

You might think this was prompted by some particular incident recently. Actually, it wasn't. I just think it's good, sound advice for a healthier tomorrow, and some of you really need to hear it. And I've been meaning to say it for awhile.
As you were.

05/07/2005 Saturday 1:24PM
At Mariana's. She's still asleep...rather, she just stirred. But she's in bed.

Thursday day we found out that we needed to produce a detailed lesson plan for the two classes at work. Fair enough, I thought, I'll take the work indicated on the syllabus and put it into a clearer format. Then Thursday night Eric, the other Comp teacher, e-mailed me his early draft of the the Film class that he was doing (I was doing the Comp class) which indicated that I needed to dramatically expand what I was doing. *sigh* So I started typing. In a couple of hours I had expanded it to nearly 10 pages and still wasn't done. So yesterday morning at work I finished working on it and wound up with 12 solid pages of lesson plans for a 15-day Comp course. I felt like a freshman; it's been a long time since I produced a 12-page paper in a few hours. So we got that done, and assembled a packet of handouts for the class as well. This weekend I'm supposed to be evaluating some more texts for the Lit class, to see if there's any room or need to use them in the class. Also have to evaluate some potential Comp textbooks and handbooks to see if we might want to use them.

Last night Mariana and I fried up some chicken for dinner. I've never been an expert frier - I never know what temperature oil to use, or even how to bread items for frying. Mariana walked me through the basic process - wet touches dry, apparently, is what I need to know. So we fired up the oil and test-frieded a couple of pieces. Way too browned, we decided, and still raw in the middle. Tried again. Let the oil cool down a bit, and added some more oil. This time the pieces were much better looking and still cooked inside. So we proceeded onward with a better grasp of the overall process. Meanwhile I cut up some taters to make some fries. (Not quite as large as a "batonnet," to use the French term that I teach at work.) We had a fair mountain of chicken to fry, plus I'd gotten some shrooms as well. Finally we finished the chicken and mushrooms, so I dumped in a small handful of fries and turned around to the sink. At the stove I heard Mariana say, uh-oh, it's bubbling up...it's bubbling up...! I turned around and saw that yes, it was bubbling up, hot oil nearing the top of the pan we'd been using. I lifted it off the burner, hoping that would subdue the bubbling, but it didn't. The oil started spilling out onto the stovetop, even nearing the hot burner. Visions of hot oil and fire and flames flashed through my mind. Finally the oil stopped bubbling over, and we managed to wipe up the oil before it reached a burner. Unfortunately, though, it got on some of the other cold burners, so we had to turn those off to essentially smoke the oil off of them. The fries were ruined, of course. So we dumped the rest of them onto a baking sheet and put them into the oven. But naturally we finished eating long before those SOBs were finished baking, and we almost forgot about them. They didn't turn out too well. So the evening was not without catastrophe, but the chicken we did make turned out pretty good, and that's that.

05/02/2005 Monday 10:04AM
Some to report. I guess.

Today's the first day of another blackout period at work, this time lasting three weeks. Then we roll out the new Film class for good, and I return to more or less full-time teaching, back in my morning slot. And that's good. I like the mid-shift schedule, getting to sleep late in the morning and still being home by 7ish. But at that point I'm shifting into "night mode," and the perception that there is still significant portions of the day remaining isn't as strong. I was able to get stuff done in the mornings before getting off to work, but even then, there's this timetable looming over me where I know I have to be in the shower by such-and-such time, at work by 12ish, etc. So I'll be glad to get back to the AM schedule where I can be home by 2pm with the bulk of the day left open to me. I don't know how big my upcoming class is. I had only eight and nine students in the most recent class, and while we teachers love to talk about small class sizes, there does come a point of diminishing returns where an ever-smaller class generates ever-smaller energies for discussions, activities, lectures, debates, etc. It turns into more of a tutoring session for the half-dozen or students who show up each day, which doesn't allow for the interplay that a good writing class needs to be most successful. I'm checking right now to see if a roster has been posted for my 5/23 class...and it hasn't. But hopefully I'll get at least a dozen students if not closer to twenty, which is most ideal.

Last night after work Mariana called me over to bring her a filter for their air-conditioning. It had gone off during Saturday night and wasn't working at all; she spent the day in a sweltering apartment trying to get the right combination of ceiling fans, open windows, and box fans for maximum comfort. Dear girl. So I did some minor up of cleaning at home, then went to Wal-Mart to get some filters, then went over to her apartment. It wasn't nearly as bad in there as I was anticipating; it was cooler by then, and I actually found it quite bearable. So we changed the filter. We managed to get the AC to turn back on, but it wouldn't stay on. You can picture two goofy intellectuals trying to reason with a mechanical device that clearly isn't reasonable, can't you? Anyway, her roommate called, and by some strange twist of fate actually knew what to do. We had to pull that thermostat switch thing out of the little tube that collects the condensate and empty the water. The thermostat floats in the water and when it rises to a certain level, the switch no longer stays on, so the AC no longer stays on. So we had to bring that water level down so the switch would stay on. That was a fairly simple task, and once done, the AC stayed on and the temperature starting falling. It was really quite magical. Then we did some spaghetti. Then she studied while I graded, and then she studied while I catnapped, and then we both hit the wall.

This weekend was uneventful. Headed over to Mariana's after work Friday. Didn't do much. I fetched some sushi and Slurpees around 9pm. Around midnight or so we roused ourselves and starting cleaning her room - hanging laundry, shuffling papers together, etc. That lasted until about 2am or so when we both started fading. About 5am, though, she woke up practically screaming in pain - her jaw had locked up, and she could barely open her mouth. I couldn't find any aspirin, painkillers or analgesics anywhere in her bathroom, so I went up to 7-11 (where the clerk saw me at 5:30am wearing the same clothes I'd been wearing nine hours earlier when I stopped in for Slurpees) and got some Advil. I couldn't persuade her to take them, though, so I just tried to calm and soothe her. She did finally relax and drift off to sleep, however fitful.
Saturday morning (err, afternoon) when she woke up, her jaw was sore but at least she could open it, speak, and eat. So we puttered around. Late afternoon we did some casual shopping. Bought about $119 worth of groceries and couponed it down to about $102. Went home and fixed dinner. Puttered and the night was done.

Let's see...
Elsewhere recently we went to her friend Gloria's recital. Lingered and mingled afterwards, eating hard-boiled eggs and cheese. Babeness had gotten her a small gift beforehand, so after delivering it, we quietly excused ourselves.

I splurged and bought three small trees - a longan, a lychee, and a mango, all to either replace those lost to freezes, or just to add to the collection. Planted two of the three, but haven't gotten the longan in the ground yet. It feels good to finally have a mango tree again, even if I know it'll be another year or two, at least, before it contributes to the General Rob Fund of Caloric Supplies. The tomatoes are producing bountifully, and all the citrus trees are covered in tiny citri. Heck, even the Key lime, which hasn't done a damn thing except exist for the half-dozen or so years since I put in in the ground, actually has some baby limes on it. I'm hoping they'll set; I don't recall any baby fruit ever appearing on the tree before.

Also got another TV, for the living room, and put the one for the living room into my bedroom. Have been skulking about in various Best Buys and Circuit Citys and assorted electronic departments for several weeks before finally plunking down the $450. I'm pretty happy about it so far, but then again, I haven't really been home yet long enough extensively to really tinker with it.

I also saw my old college friend Shirmila at Wal-Mart a few days ago. Hadn't seen her in probably a couple of years. Turns out I didn't miss her wedding; I thought (or assumed) I had, but it's not until next July. Was nice to reconnect with her, even if only for a few minutes over a shopping cart. Her sibs are doing well. One is an EMT, the younger is just about to get her AA. Do I really remember that one hanging around Shirmila when she was barely in elementary school? Yikes.

04/21/2005 Thursday 11:10PM
Me, laughing: "Why are you you?"
Mariana, laughing: "Whaddya mean, why am I I?"

04/19/2005 Tuesday 5:24PM
Yeah, so it's been a coupla weeks.
WHATEVER.

I'm midway through the first rollout of the three-week Comp class. Going good so far. I didn't get to do the Film class, though, for various obscure corporate reasons. I'm sure we can roll it out in May, however. This time, though, I'm back to doing the damn French. Arrgh.

Sunday night Babeness (who may be various located at either 24 Hours or at ThreeFourTime) and I went to her sorority spring formal. She looked ravishing in a pinkish dress, I looked rakishly handsome in black and dark maroon. It was very similar to last year - a decent meal, some speeches, some good-natured teasing amongst the sisters. The only glitch came when the TV/VCR combo didn't work too well when they tried to show the video compilation of various pictures taken at different events. But overall it was a good time.

Saturday, we went shopping, for fun. Mariana showed great control by not buying anything. The guy at the candy shop recognized us. For some reason, we have this tendency to go to that shop when there are major sci-fi/gaming/anime conventions in town - last MegaCon, and now this past weekend when J-Con was in town. We didn't go to J-Con, but he assumed we had.
Later we went to Downtown Disney, where we spent some money at the Virgin MegaStore. We assumed it would be too crowded to get into a restaurant there, though, so by the time we were done shopping, we left Disney property for dinner. After much trial and error, we ended up at Fishbones, a great seafood and steak restaurant (rated by some so-and-so as one of the top-5 seafood restaurants in the country). We both got steak. They were wonderful, although the veggie side to mine was a bit disappointing. So we had a fine meal and went home, bloated and burping.

Friday, we both crashed early. Nothing to report, move it along.

Remember this?

She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes.
She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes.
She'll be coming 'round the mountain,
She'll be coming 'round the mountain,
She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes.

She'll be driving six white horses when she comes.
She'll be driving six white horses when she comes.
She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses when she comes.

Well, a bit of research will reveal further verses:
We'll all go out to meet her when she comes;
We'll kill the old red rooster when she comes;
We'll all have chicken n' dumplings when she comes;
She'll be wearing red pajamas when she comes;
She'll have to sleep with Grandma when she comes;
and
We'll be shouting Halleluja when she comes.

I just have too many questions.
Red pajamas?
What did the poor old rooster do to deserve such a fate?
And why the heck are we singing about her sleeping with Grandma?? What are we teaching our kids?
I've always hated this song. When I was a kid I hated singing it in school music classes. I mean, who the hell is she? Why is she coming 'round the mountain? I always visualized Dolly Parton at the helm of some old-fashioned covered wagon, with six white horses, each of whom would be wearing some outrageous feathered headdress like something out of a medieval festival. I hated her, and I didn't even know who the hell she was. I also didn't know she'd be sleeping with Grandma. If I had, I really woulda hated her. And Grandma, too, probably.
Mariana speculated that maybe she was Death, coming 'round to claim Grandma. Yikes. I said I thought perhaps Death would be driving six black horses, but maybe it's all symbolic and she's actually driving six pale horses. And maybe the red pajamas are representative of something. The Devil is frequently reprented by some vivid red clothing, a necktie or something. Who was it that rode a pale horse? Death? Apocalypse? I don't remember.
These are the conversations Babeness and I have at 4am. I love her, you know.

04/05/2005 Tuesday 10:36AM
Spring Break, Day 2.
I have accomplished exactly nothing so far, and by doing so I have met my goal.

Well, you know, I do have things to do this week - tax stuff, some last-minute planning, some gardening, etc. Next week I roll out the new film class in its full format for the first time. The weekend experiment went mostly well, but that was a weekend, and they lost a full day due to Easter, so it mostly doesn't really count as a learning experience. So I'm excited and yet nervous about the possibilities.

04/04/2005 Monday 3:05PM
One time in Paraguay, I think in the 1700s, a guy had a worse headache than the one I have right now.
That's the only time, though.

Happy 28, Babeness.

03/31/2005 Thursday 3:05PM
Y'all remember those FridayFives? I was thinking about those today. I thought they were kinda neat. Interesting seeing what different people had to say (depending on what the questions were, of course.) I usually took a few minutes and browsed the responses of random people who had posted their "mine are up!" notes. Guess it's my keen, inquisitive nature. And it was minor fun to race to be the first to post. But yeah, somebody should do that again. I seem to recall that at the time there were similar sites, something like ThursdayThree or TuesdayTwo, but there don't seem to be any now that I can find. Well, I did find an AOL guy who does his own "SaturdaySix," but it seemed a little cluttered, and I found some places where people made short-lived attempts at doing it, but nothing substantial.
Maybe I'll start my own.

03/23/2005 Wednesday 9:56AM
This is a Terry Schiavo-free Zone.

At work, still reading, still planning, still relaxing.
An uneventful coupla weeks. I had to work Saturday morning, and Mariana and I didn't do much of consequence over the weekend. Had fun, relaxed, that was about it.

Last week was my one-year anniversary at that place I work. The executive chef told me that no previous Comp instructor in the school's three-year history has lasted this long. I...guess that's a good thing, right?

Picked Mariana up yesterday. Saw Steve, former fellow student and former colleague. Chatted with him for a little while as I waited. I mentioned to Mariana that Steve and Luke are the two people I've known at UCF the longest - we three were undergrads together, fellow English majors. I guess I'm the first of the three to strike out on my own elsewhere; the both of them are still teaching there. I don't say that in a self-congratulatory way, of course, just that it was inevitable that one or more of us would finally leave, and in ways that sucked and in ways that I'm quite happy about, I was the first.

Mariana got her Ben Folds yesterday, and then learned there was even more Ben Foldsy goodness coming out faster than she can keep up.

The other Comp teacher and I have pretty much assembled the curriculum for the new "Film and Literature" course we'll be offering here, a class focusing on the intersection of film and literature and how they both demonstrate the various roles that food plays in society. We're still tinkering with it, but we know where we're headed and what films we'll likely be showing (Dinner Rush, What's Cooking, Tampopo, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Cookout, Mostly Martha, Simply Irresistible, Babette's Feast) and now we're sorting out which written texts we want to associate with each one. As time goes on, depending on how those films work out for these purposes, we're also prepared to incorporate others, like Tortilla Soup, Bend It Like Beckham or Bhaji on the Beach, Like Water for Chocolate, Fools Rush In, The Big Night, Fatso, and perhaps some holiday episodes of various television shows (or, for instance, things like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving). I'm pretty excited about it. Plus, it always looks good on the ol' resume as a teacher to have been given such a task and to assemble a class like this. (Not that I hope or plan to be needing or using the resume anytime soon.)

Ahem:
Mariana would like to announce the opening of her new website, 24 Hours. I've linked it there, but the full text address is http://24-hours.org. (Note: There is no 'www.' in the URL, and there is a hyphen between '24' and 'hours,' and it's a dot-org and not a dot-com.)
This is to replace her previous site, the 24 Hours site on Geocities that has been defunct for quite some time. The new 24 Hours is still unfinished, still in a barebones state, but exists and functions. She further requests that all links to her old site(s) be changed to the new one.
My own further research indicates this is already being done. Arrgh...but good.

I awoke this morning, early, to hear a tremendous thunderstorm. That's pretty cool. It's still rainy and windy, but not as much as it was about 6am or so.

Crunchy granola bars and peanut butter at my desk. Granola bar crumbs ON my desk. *sigh*

03/18/2005 Friday 11:37AM
"The One True Slayer
84 Bites of Slayage
Damn. Not only have you died twice doing what you do, but no one understands your burden and you find yourself disturbingly attracted to vampires. You are the ultimate repository of what it takes to be the Slayer, and no one can tell you otherwise. If you don't own all seven seasons on DVD, it's cause they haven't been released in your country yet. I am in total awe of you, and maybe just the tiniest bit creeped out."

My test tracked 1 variable. How I compared to other people your age and gender:

I scored higher than 99% on The Ultimate Buffy Test on Ok Cupid

Make of this what you will. I've already come to terms with it.

03/14/2005 Monday 8:10AM
"TABLE OF CONTENTS
*Cover/Title page
*Table of Contents
*Information page
*Essay - 200 words"

That's what I read in an application package I was evaluating (for the school I teach at).
I dunno, I just thought it was funny. By the way, the essay was 307 words.
From another essay: "For the past four years i have been taken colonary classes in high school." Reading this essay wore me out, so why don't you all just make up your own jokes, and leave them in the guestbook. All I can come up with is, yeesh, am I glad I didn't go to that high school!

03/11/2005 Friday 2:41PM
I was reading my 'Friends' list over there at my LiveJournal that I hardly use. One guy in the Orlando community that I subscribe to is apparently looking for a job. His post was only two sentences; the first sentences asks if anybody knows anyplace that is hiring (like, how hard have you looked??) and the second says "I have bad luck." Instantly my radar goes off; I don't have much sympathy for folks who blame "bad luck" for not having a job, especially when you're asking people online to suggest places that are hiring. (Again - how hard are you trying??) But somebody posted a response, suggesting one of the theme parks. He replies with, yeah, he had been hired there, but he never showed. So he doesn't know if they'd take him again.

Seriously.

Lots of people making polite suggestions, but nobody mentioning the obvious: that the guy's problem isn't "bad luck." He's made his own bad luck. He got a job, but blew it off and never showed up. And he's asking people for help?
Some people...

03/11/2005 Friday 12:18PM
Sometimes reality is too wonderful to fake.

This entry will not mean as much to you if you are not familiar with the movie The Joy Luck Club.
I was watching the end of Joy Luck Club at my desk at work. While watching, I was idly putting some 'Magnetic Poetry' magnets up on the file cabinet at my desk. At the very end of the movie, when June is in China introducing herself to her long-lost sisters and telling them that their mother is deceased, at one point I had two magnets in my hand, that I had pulled at random from the hundreds of magnets still in the box on my desk. As I teared up from the poignancy of the scene, I glanced down at the two magnets in my hand.
The first magnet said daughter.
The second said poetry.

We did manage to get the shed re-erectified. Surprisingly quick and easy task, too, not nearly as laborious as I had thought it might be.

When we were down at Mariana's parents' house this past weekend, Mariana, her mother, and I were looking through some photo albums from Guam, Taiwan, and various other places. Her grandmother was in the kitchen, as well. Mariana turned the page of that particular album, and there on the next page was a rather stark picture of a human skull sitting on an old wooden plank. It was soiled and weathered. Immediately, as a reflex I just said "Gyahh!" and recoiled a bit from the page; it was just so unexpected after some previous pictures of joyous holidays, silly candids, family get-togethers, etc. The next couple of pages showed the same skull in other pictures, along with Mariana's grandmother sitting next to it. Mariana's mother explained that there is a Chinese tradition where the skulls (or bones in general) of the dead are eventually disinterred and then transferred into some other container...and that the skull in the picture had been Mariana's grandfather. For the second time in just a few hours, I was utterly taken aback (see the 03/07 entry about our arrival at the luncheon) and floundering for an appropriate response. I don't remember what I actually said or how I responded, but we quickly moved on and flipped more pages. Mariana told me last night that there was a chance I had offended her mother or more likely her grandmother by my reflexive reaction to the picture of the skull. Still, though, was my reaction not reasonable or predictable?

I really want to spend some nice, fun, relaxing time with Mariana this weekend. The past few weekends have seemed so hectic - Epcot, travel, concerts, MegaCon, everything - that they really didn't seem like the stress-relieving mini-vacations I'd prefer they be. So I want her to just be able to have some fun without having to worry about doing something "big" with deadlines and responsibilities and appointments.

03/10/2005 Thursday 10:19AM
Tuesday there was a tremendous windstorm around here - very gusty all day, but with very little rain. I arrived home Tuesday afternoon (after a grueling morning of web-surfing and reading) to find our aluminum shed pitched over on its side, a crumpled mess. It had gotten blown over by one (or two, or three, or four) of the hurricanes that came through here over the summer, but we resurrected it and manhandled into some semblance of working condition - meaning, that it was mostly upright, mostly where it originally stood, mostly intact, and mostly dry inside. Until Tuesday.
Today I've got to go home and dissemble it, which might be a pain, considering I seem to remember it taking about a billion tiny screws to assemble it a few years ago. There's a chance we could still bang it back into some semblance of that semblance of working condition, but it seems to me that with each successive attempt at reconstructing it, we move further down the road towards accidentally fashioning something entirely new out of the parts. Perhaps after a few more storms, I might wind up with a swimming pool or perhaps a lunar rover. You know, a million hapless homeowners reconstructing a million aluminum sheds are bound to eventually fashion something useful, though likely not a shed.

03/07/2005 Monday 10:17PM
Just wanted to mention that I remembered the name of one of the porn stars/nude models at MegaCon: Dazza. Nothing special, just an aging model with ridiculous plastic breasts who is starting to show her years. Still don't remember the name of the Asian chick.

03/07/2005 Monday 9:04AM
I just did a very minor overhaul of the entries here, moving all of the 2004 entries onto their own page and starting this section strictly with the 2005 stuff. I should mention that my participation here in 2004 was so meager that I gave the entire year a single page, rather than breaking it up into months, as I did with 2003 and 2002. Oh well. It's there, at least, in The Archives . I really should do more.

This past weekend was a hectic one. Well, Saturday and Sunday were. Saturday we awoke, early, to get going down to Sarasota for an 11am luncheon given by the folks who gave Mariana her scholarship for this year. (See the 8/11/04 entry if you're really that interested.)
We planned to leave around 8 or so, despite only getting about four hours of sleep. I went first to fill up on gas, just in case, as is my usual plan. From there we were going to hit a drive-thru for an unhealthy breakfast eaten unhealthily while driving. While I was pumping the gas, though, Mariana asked me where her shoes were, the shoes she was going to wear to the luncheon. I didn't know, I told her, the last time I saw them, they were in her hand as we were leaving. Yeah, she said, they were, but now she couldn't find them. We were only about two minutes from her apartment, so we went back, and sure enough, they were sitting on the kitchen counter right by the door. So we finally got going, and Mariana drifted off after a little while. We got down to Sarasota to the country club at about 10:30.
We walked into the place, and approached the sign-in table, which was womaned by several older women. Mariana asked for her contact with the Venice Little Old Ladies Club, the one who had invited her back to the luncheon. "Oh, no," the woman told us rather matter-of-factly, "her husband died. She's out of state."
Insert awkward moment here.
We stumbled through our sympathies, Mariana realizing that the number of people at this luncheon that she was even passingly familiar with was now reduced to exactly zero. So we wandered around a bit, looking at the various gift baskets being put up for fundraising auction, and finally settled down at our table. Table 8, to be precise. We sat there, and sat, and waited, and watched, and sat, and waited. Gradually the tables filled in with little old ladies - as Dave Barry would say, I am not exaggerating - and around 12:15 or so the salads were finally brought out. We planned to leave, of course, around 1, to spend some time with her family before making back to Orlando for her concert at 7. So needless to say, we were constantly checking our watches, not wanting to rudely walk out during the little fashion-show which was to follow the lunch.
At some point I noticed that in a room of approximately 150 guests, I was the only male who was not an employee of the country club. Seriously.
Anyway, we got through the lunch. Casual conversation with the little old ladies at Table 8 gave us the opportunity to mention Mariana's concert later that night, and they urged us to leave whenever we needed to. Another awkward moment avoided.
Made it to her folks' house. Her sister had some friends over, and we mostly just chatted and rested. Mariana's mother and grandmother immediately started making some authentic green-onion pancakes for her. (Mariana ended up leaving with several bags of food - the pancakes, some noodles, various candies and snacks, etc.)
When we were just arriving to her parents' house, we saw on the northbound interstate (where we would normally be driving home) that traffic seemed very backed up. We hoped it would clear by the time we left, but it didn't seem to. We gassed up for the trip home, debating which route to take to try to bypass the traffic on that section of that interstate, and Mariana overheard somebody in the gas station saying that traffic was snarled and the delay would be hours long. So after some quick calculations, we decided to take another northbound route to try to make it back to the interstate at another location. That route was much slower, though, because of traffic, and it eventually took us back to the interstate at the exact same location that we had originally tried to bypass. Whatever. Anyway, traffic on the interstate wasn't backed up at all, so the circuitous efforts to bypass a backup that didn't exist cost us about 45 minutes.
So, Mariana drifted off to sleep as we drove. We were in quite a hurry, though; she was due to meet a classmate to hand off some materials at 7:20pm, and her concert was to start at 8pm. After the delay getting to the interstate, I calculated that with good traffic, we could perhaps make it to campus by 7 or so.
(Insert your own prediction here.)
Of course there wasn't good traffic. The closer we got to Orlando, the busier the traffic got, at times coming to absolute standstills (something that with 70mph speed limits always baffles me). We were losing more and more time, and meanwhile, my bladder was just screaming, and there I was stuck in the middle of god-awful nowhere with nothing around but barricades and bogs. Eventually, in pure and utter desperation to not soil myself, I pulled off the interstate in search of a convenience store whose sign I had seen from a distance. I located it and did my business, in a urinary performance that was truly legendary. I swear I flew backwards. That's not a very graceful thing to blog, but sometimes the truth will out.
We finally made it back to campus, about 7:30, hoping her classmate would still be there waiting. He was. Mariana handed off the materials, changed into her dress and ran into the auditorium. It was a good show, and afterwards, we didn't linger for very long. We had a craving for fajitas, so we went to Wal-Mart to get the necessary stuffs. It was a rather surgical shopping trip; Mariana looked ravishing but quite conspicuous in her dress, so we didn't linger. On the way back out to the car I remembered that we'd bought everything but fajitas. Jee-zus. I went back in.
Finally we made it home. I got to work in the kitchen, and about midnight or so, we managed to sit down for a nice meal - fajitas with all the fixin's, including freshmade guacamole for me. We were both practically incoherent with exhaustion by then, me more so than her since she'd dozed in the car riding down there and back, and after a couple episodes of sit-coms, the night was done.

Sunday, yesterday, my belly and I went to work all day.

Let's see...what else has been happening.

Got lots of veggies and herbs - various varieties of tomatoes and peppers, strawberries, more rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, oregano, basil, a few more. The tuhmaters and peppahs are already covered in babies. The peach and plum trees are covered in baby fruit, too, and the carambola is covered with the latest crop. The orange, grapefruit, tangerine, and lemon trees are about to go nuclear with blossoms, the papaya tree has some small fruit on it again after being ravaged by the hurricanes, and the fig tree is about to revive from winter dormancy.
Springtime in Florida. Eat yer hearts out, suckers.

Oh, we did see Alton Brown again, too. It was at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, in an upstairs section that was dramatically too small for the crowd that showed up. He talked for about 30 minutes, and though it was entertaining, it seems like a lot longer when you're crammed shoulder to shoulder and butt to crotch with the strangers around you. Afterwards we waited for a couple of hours for autographs and pictures. Everybody had a colored flyer, and they called each color sequentially to line up. Our color, pink, was one of the last colors, and we didn't make it out of there until after 9pm. As I suspected, he didn't remember meeting us this past April, but I swear I don't hold it against him. He posed for pictures, autographed our books, and was just as Altonish as could be.

We also went to MegaCon a couple of weekends ago. We went first on the Friday afternoon, walked around, browsed bought some of this and a little of that. Were pleased by the venders. I saw plenty of Buffy and Angel stuff. I was particularly enthusiastic about meeting Julia Benz and/or Mercedes McNabb. The McNabb signing seemed surprisingly easy-access; I was anticipating having to wait for hours like at a previous MegaCon when I met Nicholas Brendon and Amber Benson and if you have no idea who these people are, that's okay; they're actors from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But this time, at least, it seemed virtually like a walk-up, with no lines, no waiting. I hadn't brought any of the books I had in the car specifically for signing, and I didn't want to get autographs on some cheesy flier or ticket stub, so I made a calculated gamble to stand in line the next day, Saturday, hoping it wouldn't be too much busier.
Saturday morning we got there at 9am to get the special autograph tickets when they were distributed. However, the convention itself didn't open until 10am, and in the entire sprawling Orange County Convention Center - I think the second-largest in the nation, and soon to overtake the largest, in Las Vegas - we couldn't find any real foood. All we found were a few vending machines with candy and snacks, and a single coffee kiosk that also sold some pastries. Not one real restaurant, shop, or vendor. We were amazed, and quite upset.
About that time I also realized I had left my comics checklist in the car, so while Mariana sat fuming on a bench, I ran back to the car to get it. Yes, I'm a dork, I have a checklist for the Buffy and Angel comics I need to get. So I fetched that, and a short time later, the doors opened.
Now, if you've never been to a comics/gaming/sci-fi/anime convention, it's a unique crowd. In too many ways, the stereotypes are true - dark-clothed goth types who try too hard to dress up; skinny, pale gamers who truly look like they rarely see daylight; aging Star Trek fans; and the costumers who dress up like their favorite characters, usually (these days) from anime. I never see anybody in Spock ears, and although there are usually some Star Wars stormtroopers and Boba Fetts, even those franchises have very few obvious costumers anymore. The problem is, given the people who are attracted to these conventions, it's frequently difficult to tell the difference between a deliberate costume, and something that is just appallingly bad taste in clothing.
Anyway, we walked around, bought some stuff, browsed, had fun. I copped more Buffy and Angel comics and some sets of trading cards I didn't have, and Mariana got some Sailor Moon stuff and Hello Kitty stuff. (And, ahem, some posters of that Adrien guy.) And we also got Mercedes McNabb's autographs and pictures with her. I desperately wanted to get Julia Benz's, too, but she was charging - $20 for an autograph, and I think $5 for just a picture. Donated to charity, at least, but still a chunk o' change for somebody whose autograph I already have. So I reluctantly bypassed her.
Gil Gerard is huge, too. Just wanted to mention that. Erin Gray looked okay, though. Lou Ferigno was there, too, and Richard Herd, and one of my favorite Playmates, and a couple of porn stars (or perhaps "nude models" - the line is quite blurry). I can't remember their names, but if I do, I'll link them. You know, for gratuitous jollies. One was either white or Hispanic, one of those single-name types, and the other was an Asian - Linda Tang, Linda Wong, something like that. If you know who I'm talking about, first of all, shame on you, but secondly, leave a note in the guestbook and I'll update accordingly.
I've more to catch up on, I guess, but right now I've got to go home. From, uh, work.

02/14/2005 Monday 7:08AM
Happy Valentine's, Babeness.

01/16/2005 Sunday 12:18PM
Mariana and I went shopping last night - in the cold, miserable drizzle of rain. She remembered that we were supposed to go to Samantha's birthday party that she had been quasi-invited to, but thankfully she decided not to go. We'd gotten a big roast for the evening, a nice comfort-food dinner on a wet, nasty day, but we put that off for today since we probably wouldn't have time. Did the mall thing, and ate at an Olive Garden for dinner. While waiting in our car for our table, she said the evening suddenly reminded her of a certain evening spent just over two years ago in a parking lot near Research Parkway. I love that girl, you know. When we finally got in the restaurant, our hostess turned out to be a former student of mine at OCA. No big deal. Came home, rested, the night over.

Friday evening I had a lot of phonecall stuff to do while she collapsed. Later, while she rested, I went to the Hooters down the street to get some wings and a couple of sandwiches. She was awake by the time I got back, so while I was casually reading some online news, she came in and presented me with a beautifully arranged plate from among the stuff I'd brought. I love that girl, you know.

Today we're going to see Alton Brown at a booksigning. We saw him over the summer, got our pictures taken. He signed Mariana's spatula. So today we have to go get his new book and then make our way over there. I doubt he'll remember us.

01/15/2005 Saturday 6:05PM
Mariana points out another great phrase, which she recently found on another blog somewhere:
"unfettered wee-wee."
I like mine better. My phrases, I mean, not my wee-wee. That goes without saying.

01/13/2005 Thursday 6:13AM
"Poledancing catfight" is one of the great phrases ever assembled in the English language. Another is "work truck broke," which was the entire excuse submitted by a former co-worker for why he wouldn't be able to work his schedule one time.

Uhh, "poledancing catfight" is one of the greatest images ever created, too - much better than "work truck broke."

01/12/2005 Wednesday 3:34PM
"Poledancing Catfight Over Footballer."
That was a headline over there at Netscape today. They get all the best stories.

01/04/2005 Tuesday 7:25PM
Happy 25, my darling.

01/01/2005 Saturday 11:17PM
Oh my God, it's fucking 2005!

01/01/2005 Saturday 9:50PM
New Year's Day.
Happy New Year's Day.

At Mariana's. She's bongoing. I'm cooking. Rather, to be more specific, I am waiting for the rice to cook and for the chicken to defrost. Football on, shoes off, and life is well.

Last night we ate at a Longhorn's. Decent meal, though the steak was slightly underdoneded. Came back to Mariana's for board games, with Danny, Kyle, Sarah, and Melody (I think that's her name). Sam was a ringer and won at Balderdash. Then we teamed up for that Gestures game, but that didn't end.
Mariana also dyed her hair last night during the gaming, to a colour that could have been almost blonded. It wasn't nearly that dramatic, tbough, and it just lightened it slightly to reddish highlights - noticeable, but not a great change. Still gorgeous, though.

We were approaching New Year's during the gestures game, so we actually never finished. One of the terms I could have gestured was "bush." I couldn't decide - do I take it on and make some rather obscene gestures to illustrate "bush?" In mixed company? I didn't. (Don't remember what the other option was.)

Prior to yesterday was more of the same - rest, relax, time with Mariana.

Christmas was good. The Day was spent mostly at home. Mariana was with her parents at Disney. I met them out there at the Swan in late afternoon; then we dinned at a "buffeteria" in the restaurant called Willy's. Or something like that. We were all pretty disappointed, though we all played nice and agreed that our respective meals were all just smashing. But her parents treated, which was a very nice gesture, and I was quite appreciative, even though it was clear that everybody expected it to be a somewhat nice restaurant. From there Mariana and I excused ourselves.
The night was spent at my house. The next day Mariana and I met her parents at Millenia Mall. Mariana finally got her IPod and some various clothing. Then she had to be at work at the day was done.

Want to go even further in the Wayback Machine?
Go to The Archives.

A Portrait of the Artist:
As of: 12/22/08 7:48 PM Monday
Where I'm at: Home
What I've been doing: Playing poker
What I'm doing: Playing poker
What I'll soon be doing: Playing poker and eating dinner
Of course, what I'd rather be doing: Sleeping
The song/lyric running through my mind:Some commercial jingo
What I'm wearing: Grey shorts
Contact Me
AIM me: MasterRobpie
The Guestbook
The Guestmap

My Dream Journal
Soundtrack to My Life, Volume One
Things I Learned Today...
The Archives

Recommended Daily Allowance:

My Babeness

Macker
The Friday Fiver
Brian
That Technicolor Girl
The Onion
X-E
FrontPage
LJ Friends

'Buffy' Links

Things to Do Today

< # Buffy Blogs ? >

WebRings

The Current KeyWord Rankings:
(Format: Search term/Google result/Yahoo result)

"stuffing feedee" - #2 - #2
"Feedee comics" - #2 - #2
""kicked at the pigeons"" - #2 - unranked
""my gun clyde"" - #2 - unranked
"pictures of guam's beaches" - #2 - unranked
"mountain dew big finger souvenir" - #2 - unranked
""mad tv" "bittorrents"" - #3 - #1
"pierce bronson shirtless" - #3 - #3
"christmas feedee" - #5 - #6
"twilight zone bittorrents" - #10 - #9
"babeness" - #10 - #10
"porn bittorrents" - #15 - #14
"Rajneeshis" - #51 - #51

The Provisional AltaVista KeyWord Rankings:

(none currently)

The Provisional AskJeeves KeyWord Rankings:

(none currently)

Miscellaneous Rankings:

"girl facesitting pictures" - #2 (MSN Search)
"Guam's Girl Porn" - #13 (MSN Search)