Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What's the deal with flying?

I'm not talking about the delays or the upcharges or the overcrowding. Everyone hates that.

When I was a teenager I loved to fly. It was amazing. Get in a big metal tube and two to four hours later you were somewhere else. Along the way you got a view of another world up there. The clouds, the ground so far away. Crazy adventure. And then came cheap flights on discount airlines and it was even reasonably priced.

I can remember once flying somewhere and there were maybe 20 people on the flight. The flight attendants spent most of the trip in the back hanging out and talking to me about tattoos. I had about 10 rows to myself because everyone else crammed the front so they could get off quickly. But the flight was so empty that everyone got out quickly.

Now I dread it. Odds are good that I'll get motion sickness during takeoff and landing. Nothing like getting to your destination feeling ill. And with most flights having multiple connections anymore I'm likely to get multiple doses of nausea. Nice. I've tried eating and not eating before flying to try to deal. The only thing I've learned is that if I eat at least that way my stomach churn doesn't have heartburn too. But it does increase the feeling that I have something worth throwing up.

Beyond that I get sinus issues from all the pressure changes. Lucky me. I think I got it from my dad, he's got sinus problems. Something for me to look forward to as I age..

It's to the point now that just a whiff of that recycled airplane air leads to dread. I pray the little air jet will help. Part of me hopes that we deplane somewhere cold so the cool air is soothing for a little while. Last time I flew I went to Colorado which resulted in altitude sickness combined with the flight sickness. It took me a week to recover after I got back home.

Though if I being perfectly honest. The flight back from the job interview where I got my current teaching position was great. Maybe I was just to happy to notice anything else. Plus I had a really big seat right by the front door. So there is something to be said for getting out first.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Break

Yes, I'm being lazy. I'm trying to get over it but no promises.

I'm loving the video game Okami. I highly recommend it. I'm up to 26 hours of playtime and the end is not in sight quite yet.

I apologize for bringing this cold snap to our area. Wife and I tried to go for a scooter ride yesterday and watched the weather change from fall to "winter" within the first five minutes. We turned back for safety sake.

And in news you already knew, itunes store is a dangerous, dangerous thing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Paying off on the vote

I got that shaving thing done over the weekend.

Thanks to all of you who voted.

I now look ready to tool about the countryside in my Duesenberg J Walker Legrande Torpedo Phaeton or to attempt to convert my textile firm to the new methods of assembledge line production. Perhaps over the summer I will visit the continent by steam ship.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Look, up in the sky.

I was walking Dog just now (it's in the sixties in December by the way for those of you wondering). I looked up in to the sky in the twilight. And overhead flew a pair of pelicans.

Not the kind of thing you see everyday. Except for now it is.

And so you learn something from this post, in Medieval Europe the pelican was believed to use its own blood to feed its children when no other food was available. As such it became a symbol of the Eucharist. It was often used in heraldry to signify self-sacrifice.

And Dixon Lanire Merrith wrote "The Pelican" in 1910.

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill will hold more that his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I'm damned if I can see how the helican

Pretty sweet.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I need a ruling on this

Please, someone help me with this decision. I can't make it on my own.

Thanks to Pandora I get exposed to bands or songs I'm not familiar with from time to time. Sometimes they rule and sometimes they suck.

But I can't decide on one band. Interpol, do they blow are they actually secretly talented? My opinion varies wildly from song to song. Somebody help a brother out here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I didn't mean to do it

I finished the grading I was going to do last night. Dog sat next to me looking sad since I was ignoring her to get work done. So I said to myself,

"Self, we'll just watch a little TV and give Dog some attention."

TMC was showing The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Next thing I realize it's 3:30 in the morning. Yay, 4 and a half hours of sleep.

But how can you say no to the combination of Dog hugs and Robert Shaw?

You don't. Robert Shaw will hurt you if you do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The joys of pet ownership

Wife left for work while I was upstairs in the bathroom taking care of business, if you know what I mean. I could hear the sound of plastic rustling shortly thereafter. I knew one or both of the critters was up to now good. Possibly they were even working in cahoots.

I called Dog's name. Normally she drags herself upstairs just in case I'm calling her for a good reason. Today, nothing. I called again. Pause in the rustling. Then it continues.

I finish and head downstairs. Dog comes running up to me as if I have been away for years. Now this is not too far off from normal behavior but she was overselling it considering she didn't show up when called.

It is at that point that I notice the bag of candy on the floor. I walk up to it. Dog follows and tries to act surprised.

If she could talk I imagine it would sound something like this, "How did that get there? You should pick it up before someone figures out how to rip it open and get to the yummy, yummy goodness contained inside.... By the way, any thoughts on how someone without thumbs would rip it open? I'm just curious. Not for me of course, the cat was asking."

The bag was still intact though a little wet with slobber. Dog then changed tactics and acted like sleeping on the couch was all that she cared about in this world. Since no one was caught in the act, no punishment was given out at this time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Why I'm behind on grading

Wife received a very generous gift from her family, a new mp3 player. It's huge.

So of course she doesn't really need her old one. And mine is ever so small.

So I'm a little distracted right now updating it. I think I can squeeze another 30 albums on to it or so.

And grades are not due till next Tuesday morning.......

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just a quickie

You know what is frustrating about a new computer (or new to you as the case may be here)?

Trying to remember all your internet bookmarks.

I'm working on that anonymous favorite comedian question. If you know me, that's a lot more complicated than it is for most folks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another overheard

"You touch that bell again and I'm going to break your teeth."

Ahh, nothing like going to an all you can eat restaurant for hearing the love between a father and son.

Wife and I have a strange love for our local buffet feeding hole. It is not quality food but it is quantity and variety and sometimes that's what you are looking for in a meal. But the other customers really bring out an awful truth about me. I'm an elitist.

Bottom line, I have no love for rednecks. I mean, I want to be a good person and help those who are less fortunate than I have been. But apparently only if they are not stupid and mean.

I'm not too proud of this realization. And I'm skeptical that even with bringing this to my attention that I'll be all that willing to change. I'll try. But I'm betting that the next time I overhear someone threatening their kid with disfigurement by the fried rice I'm guessing I'm going to fail.

My fortune cookie was funny though. "Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." How many errors can you find in the grammar or meaning?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And the winner is

The flu. Or whatever death bug I have caught. The inside of my mouth is tender from all the cough drops that I need to live. As a result the beard shaving is postponed till I am more laurel and hearty (yes, I know I'm ripping off Mel Brooks for that joke). The top voter was "Go to hell." Errr, I mean friendly mutton chops.

I'm just sick enough to be achy and annoyed. Not sick enough to say "screw the world. I'm staying on the couch with my movies and playstation." Wife has decided I'm going to the clinic if I don't get better soon though.

I'm not sure why she thinks I need to be "tutored" at the clinic. Course I'm a little congested I could be mishearing her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Growing up sucks

I have this intense video game just sitting at home waiting to be played. And I'm at that point in the semester where I have to grade most nights. No time to pick it up and play.

"But Professor, semester break is coming up. You can play then," you may be thinking.

And to you I respond that you need to speak up, I can't hear you if you mumble. If I were a student that would mean tons of time to spend with it. But I have to prep a new class and revise a current one, seriously cutting in to my "me" time. At least I'm getting tattoo work done on Friday to help tide me over.

Life is pretty sweet when this is your biggest current complaint.

And the game is Okami for those of you actually curious. As the kids would say it looks "wicked awesome".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Polls are still open

Voting so far:

Mutton chops: 4
Chin strap: 1
Van Dyke: 1

I have an official type event next Monday so I'll keep voting open till then I think. Tuesday will be the big shave morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When it's time to change

If you're a regular reader you are aware that I'm a man of many skills and growing facial hair is one of my best. But lately I've been feeling a little uncertain with regard to what to do next with it.

So I'm leaving it up to a vote by readers. Whatever the majority decides, I will do with my facial hair.

Wife has selected four options from the following illustration:


The four finalists are:

Chin Curtain
Friendly Mutton Chops
Petit Goatee with mustache (technically a Van Dyke but the Van Dyke illustration isn't a Van Dyke)
Soul patch

So pick one of these four and vote for it in the comments section.

Yes, you can tell me which of the other options you'd rather see, but pick one of the four as well. And if you're wondering currently I'm closest to the Zappa currently.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hopping down the bunny trail

Many schools have famous alumni that are known across the country and world and help raise the credibility of their former institutions. These alumni are celebrated and promoted.

My current place of employment has a current student who is known across the country and it maybe the world. Well, her name isn't known. But her body and her nickname are. You may know her as Miss June. Yes, my school has a Playboy bunny.

Amazingly enough the administration is not trying that hard to celebrate this accomplishment. Go figure.

She is currently taking a media writing class and as part of that class had to write a magazine article. It could be argued that this isn't a true use of her unique skill set, putting her behind the scenes and not in the centerfold. But it is what it is. And for her magazine article she was assigned to interview the new Media professor. That would be me. Technically speaking I'm also a New Media professor. But I digress.

So I can actually claim till my dying day that a Playboy bunny once emailed me wanting to spend time alone with me. I will probably only make such claims while drinking however.

Prior to the interview Wife suggested I ask for an autographed copy of her issue. We soon realized that it would come off as way too creepy Uncle. Also I wanted to treat the interview seriously and the thought that I had seen her "cotton tail" would not help me with that. (Other euphemisms considered and rejected include "yum-yum patch" and "goodie basket")

Okay, first things first. The obvious. She was much smaller than I expected. Shorter and tinier. She also seemed to have more hair than the average person. Thicker somehow. Maybe it was extensions. But what I realized is how odd a crap shoot genetics is. How the right dominant genes have to come together in just the right way to create the right skin and bone structure.

I also really realized what a temporary thing beauty is though. If she's lucky and takes care of her self maybe she'll be one of those women who continue to remain pretty their whole life. On the other hand if I avoid major head trauma I'll probably remain smart without having to really do jack squat. I get to eat bacon and not feel guilt. Score one for brains over beauty.

During the interview the subject of pornography did come up. One of the truths of modern technology is how much porn has pushed many aspects of it. Home VCRs, especially VHS and DVDs, streaming video, pay per view. I could go on. Really, up until High Def. Because some things you do NOT want to see in High Def.

I also found out that Hef has a lap table that he uses to turn his bed in to an office. I have to admit that I wish I could spend all day in pyjamas and work from my bed. Not that I really put that much effort in to my wardrobe. And I do a lot of grading on the futon in the spare bedroom. How about that, I'm like a low budget Hef. Just with a lot fewer half naked co-eds around me while I work. He has many. I have none.

The one missed opportunity was being able to seriously ask her about why she did it. I mean I know all the cliches. "Blah, blah, blah, empowering, control of my body, liberated, pays well, exposure that I can use in my career, blah blah." But I study gender portrayals in the media. I'm aware of feminist theory. I hear my female friends complain about being treated like objects. And here is a young woman volunteering to be treated like an object, asking to be reduced to her body. How does she really feel? How does she deal with the knowledge that the guy she just met might have seen her naked and mentally views her as just a collection of parts?

How does she really feel about the creepy Uncles?

And even more important, is she going to write a good article about me? That's what is truly important after all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Overheard on campus

I'm in such a good mood because the country did good on Tuesday that I'll go with a light hearted and short post. But look for my post on being interviewed by a Playboy Playmate in the next day or two.

Female Student 1: Don't go hang out with Jerry. He's a douchebag. Hang out with me instead.

Female Student 2: I know. But I promised.

Got to admire her being true to her word. Jerry might be a douchebag but she promised to hang out with him and she's going to go through with it anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You know what?

Fuck being nice. If you don't vote for Obama then fuck you for ruining the country I love.

I just couldn't hold it in any more.


On the outside chance anyone does show up here looking for a new post today, go vote.

Do it.

I say vote for Obama and Biden but even if you don't agree vote anyway. You have the right, use it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In hindsight I could have told you this would happen

So after all my posts about how much I love Halloween, how did I spend it? Let's just say there was no need to warn the authorities.

I did wear one of my very fine smoking jackets to work and it was successful. Or at least a bunch of folks lied to my face about how much they liked it.

Then Wife and I tried to go to a southern diner for dinner only to find out that it had gone out of business. So instead it was a trip to Cracker Barrel where we did buy some candy after the meal. During the meal I also had the joy of convincing her it was not the best idea to spend nearly 500 dollars you kind of don't have on eyeglasses you kind of do not need. Always fun to have to be the spoilsport asshole responsible one (I have a much longer post I'm working on about that topic).

This was followed by sitting on the couch while we listened to a remake of the War of the Worlds broadcast celebrating the 70 year anniversary of that historic event (I'll get to lecture on it this week in my Mass Communication class. Ask me about it if you're interested). Wife enjoyed it so much that she slept through most of it and then was too tired to sing Karaoke with me.

Yep, I'm a wild man. How did you celebrate?

Friday, October 31, 2008

I don't understand the desire

I have students who have expressed a desire to read this blog. I'm not sure why. I guess they figure I'll reveal something super shocking. Or they really are that curious to peek behind the curtains and see the side of me that I don't show in the classroom.

Of course I play it up as though what they'd find here is terribly revealing. It sure will be a sad day for them if they ever make it here and learn just how boring and self indulgent this really is.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not my fault!

I'm not exactly what one would call skilled at mechanics. I'm much better at what some would call bodging. Or trial and error. Wife worries when I try to work on the scooters because some times things go well but more often things go wrong and I learn the hard way that's not how to fix something. Then there is swearing and anger and sweat.

And more swearing. I know I wrote that already but it needs repeating because there is often a lot of it. I'm more skilled at it than I am at things mechanical.

It is for this reason that I no longer own any vintage bikes or scooters. In order to learn how things work I run the risk of doing more harm than good.

So recently there have been two things that needed fixing but I couldn't get it taken care of myself. But each time I've been vindicated in the end.

First our bathroom sink kept getting clogged up. Over and over I would treat it and plunge it and get it draining for a little while but it would clog again. I finally got so frustrated I called in the landlord. It turns out that the pipes are so old that 80 years of iron flaking off the sides of the pipe had fused in to a solid plug of metal. It took several days for the landlord and a plumber to cut the pipe out and replace it. No way I could have fixed that.

Then this week I put a new back rest on my scooter. It was getting near dusk when I went to put it on. Wife actually said I shouldn't because it was getting late and she was worried there would be anger.

While I was removing some old bolts that needed to be replaced I did manage to strip it. Luckily I was able to attach the back rest temporarily and arrange to have the stripped bolt removed at a friend's house. He has elite mechanic skills.

I went over there today to get it taken care of. He used a tap and die to try and get it out and snapped on him. The bolt was so locked in that it broke the tool. He ended up having to file down the head of the bolt so he could grab it with pliers to force it out.

After it was all over I said that at least now I know it wasn't my fault the bolt got stripped by the allen wrench. He said, "Oh yeah, that wasn't operator error." Not my fault seldom sounds so sweet.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

White trash weekend

I should have written this when the memories were more fresh but last weekend was too entertaining not to mention.

Friday night Wife was having a girl's weekend. So I was free to feed myself and decided to do the buffet at national chain chicken shack. I'm a sucker for original recipes. We named our scooter club the KFSC for a reason after all.

Chicken buffet in a southern town is an adventure during normal times. But this night was especially spectacular. There was the usual assortment of the average and the overweight. And the expected moment where someone feels that the buffet isn't being refilled fast enough and starts complaining to everyone else in line loudly until finally one of the wage slaves puts out more chicken legs.

But there were a couple of extra folks that took it beyond the call of duty. There was grizzled guy in Chicago Bulls tank top with a buzz cut complimented by a glorious rat tail mullet. Normally that would be a sure winner for king of the rednecks. But not that night.

There was even more grizzled guy. The kind of grizzled where he could 40 or he could be nearing 60. You can't quite tell. He had a very dirty cast on his left leg. And no shoe on the other foot. Did he decide that it was wearing shoes that led to the accident and broken bone in the first place? Or did he feel that folks who are suffering with injuries are excused from such things as common decency? Or sanitation? I have to admit I'm leaning towards the latter because both he and his female "companion" kept reusing their plates. Paper plates if you couldn't guess. And there were numerous signs reminding patrons that you really should take a new plate every time. And there was a stack of paper plates they had to walk past every time they returned to the steam trays.

Seriously, reusing paper plates at a fast food joint buffet, who does that?

Then Saturday I went to Biketoberfest. Too many things to mention. The bikini bar maids. The right wing bikers advertising for the republicans. The born again bikers. The offensive tshirts ("Forget your tits, show me your pussy" being particularly memorable). The offensive women's underwear for sale. The racist tshirts. The biker "babes" who spent too many years on the back of a motorcycle in the wind and sun. The biker babes who will hopefully learn to protect their skin from the ravages of sun and wind. The camp site with the stripper pole out front. Goodtimes. Oh, and you have to love the ladies with meth mouth. Sexxxy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

They say bad things come in threes

So we've gone past that since August. First Bernie Mac.

Then Jerry Reed.

Then Paul Newman.

Now the news that Rudy Ray "Dolemite" Moore has died. All you need to know about him is this quote from the movie The Human Tornado (1976), "He think he's bad and ain't got no class! I'm gon' rock this shotgun up his muthafuckin' ass!"

I realize death is a part of life and all that but with these four deaths the world has gotten a lot less masculine. To truly honor Rudy Ray, go put your foot up a sucker's ass.

The "ballad" of Dolemite. Respect that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A little something for the randy lads

A very good friend of mine has a son that is now a senior in high school. So I asked him if they had had "the talk". He said his son was resistant to such attempts. The old "get embarrassed and then claim you knew all you need to know" routine. So my friend asked if I wanted to have the talk with the son.

Well, why not. I'm a man of the world. Before Wife came in to my life I entertained a few members of the fairer sex. So I compiled a list of things I have learned in my travels. Now I share some of that with you. Perhaps in the comments you might share a bit of your wisdom with the world. Or request further postings of my knowledge.

Heck, perhaps we'll turn this in to a regular thing where I answer questions for the love lorn. I am a professor after all.

Things a young man about town should know:

Theater chicks are hot and are likely to put out due to self-esteem and daddy issues. They are also likely to be insane, often owing to the same issues. Also likely to cheat on you due to needing a lot of approval. Avoid dating, get what you can and then run. Change names if needed. Or your appearance. Heck, just leave town altogether and find a new theater troupe.

And be aware that she's probably slept with every other student, male or female, in the theater department. And maybe some of the professors.

Art girls can be hot but might have desire to inflict wounds on themselves and others. Monitor their moods and their drug use.

Avoid women stronger than you. Unless you're in to that sort of thing, if you know what I mean. In which case invest in a good first aid kit. And learn how to untie ropes or hide a small cutting tool near the headboard.

If a woman enjoys it the first time she's more likely to come around for a second time.

Try not to be that guy who is "the friend." If a woman ever tells you she wishes she could find a guy just like you and she isn't trying to get you to cheat on your girlfriend, then she has zero interest in having sex with you. Being there for her every time she breaks up with another loser named Chad who treated her like crap will not increase your chances that she'll finally realize you are perfect for her.

Avoid being someone's wingman unless you find yourself attracted to girls with plenty of "personality" or "good hearts". If you secretly have a fondness for that type of lady, your cup will runneth over in life. Big girls put out. And are often incredibly freaky.

Follow some of this advice and in no time you will be quite the "hit" with the "ladies"

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I thought maybe some folks would have some good costume stories to share. Oh well.

What prompted me to write about costumes in the first place is a trip Wife and I made to the store. We were wandering the aisles and noticed some pet costumes and started looking through them to see if there was anything for Dog. Forcing your pet to wear stuff that makes them look hilarious is one of the best parts of pet ownership. I highly recommend it.

What we shortly realized is just how nice the pet costumes actually were. For costumes for a pet to wear once a year, these were surprisingly high quality. We then realized we were right next to the kids costumes in the store so we wandered through briefly.

These costumes were so nice. Even the cheap ones were pretty decent quality. It was messed up.

When I was a kid, my parents would never spend the money to get us store bought costumes. They were some sort of holy grail that only the rich kids got. But thing was, they also sucked for the most part. There were some top of the line ones or decent rubber masks. But most of them were cheap plastic masks that you were lucky you could see out of. They were also notorious for scratching your eyes. That is if the elastic band that held it on didn't break.

The "costume" portion consisted of a plastic jump suit that often had the name of the character you were supposed to be across the chest. In case the mask wasn't obvious enough I suppose. They were one size fits all. Which of course means one size fits none. They were also extremely easy to rip.

I'm guessing they stopped making them because they were also likely to melt and burn kids. Kids today don't know what they're missing by not having costumes that can injure or maim them.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rocktober has started

I love Halloween. Shocking, I know. A guy who loves April Fool's Day also loves playing dress up. I'm sure you're dumbfounded right now that this could be the case. But I do.

One year in undergraduate (I almost wrote one year in college but that does not narrow things down too much does it?) I even went so far as to shave one of my eyebrows for a Vanilla Ice costume. Sadly for you that while I have pictures of this event, they exist in the days before digital cameras were commercially available. It took weeks to grow back properly and itched. A lot. Totally worth it.

I'm just that dedicated to my costumes. Last year Wife and I dressed up as the scariest thing imaginable in our little town. Homeless people.

We went to a party where folks were possibly even more dedicated than I am to creating their costumes. Or they just have loads of money to spend on them. Who knows? The funny thing is that I think Wife and I were a little too convincing. We mostly just got stared at by people as if we were there to steal food and beverages. And since no one wanted to talk to us, ended up just eating their food and sneaking out. Like I said, dedicated to a theme.

I have more thoughts on costumes but I think I can get another post out of it tomorrow. So, on the outside chance that I still have readers, why not post in the comments section your favorite costume memory of all time?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One more political post

I'm linking to a post that is on my friend Andrew's blog. It is something he copied from someone else's blog. How blogosphere.

Elephant's on Bicycles.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


As you may have noticed, Paul Newman died.

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Slap Shot, Road to Perdition, and so on and so forth. Go ahead, try and pick just one as your favorite

Instead of trying to write some sort of memorial that will just sound flat, I'll leave that to better writers on such subjects. I will state that he could play tough, funny, asshole, and sensitive all at the same time and make you believe it and in him.

Time to bump The Long, Hot Summer to the top of my Netflix list.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I really am out of shape

We had the anniversary party. It was decent. Students showed up in decent numbers for the food at least, though well short of every student.

As for me, I got banged up racing a student through the obstacle course bouncy castle. And lost badly as I predicted. I feel like tomorrow I will have trouble getting out of bed.

Still, I'm pretty sure I had the best time for my age group.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The obligatory election post

So at some point every blogger needs to put something up about the upcoming presidential election. I think it's in the fine print when you accept the terms and conditions of getting your blog.

I'm going to go in a different direction though. Because I teach media classes I often resort to using examples from commercials and such to illustrate points in class. Like the equal time rule that governs commercial rates and times and ensures fairness with regard to broadcasting. And I try relatively hard to be nonpartisan during such times. I try to qualify when one party does something particularly heinous that the other party isn't any better. All that sort of lip service.

Thing is I bet my students think I'm a Democrat and an Obama supporter. But they never actually ask.

Technically speaking I define myself as a Social Democrat. That's a socialist that wants to change the system through education rather than violence. I hold out hope that we can create a better society. Probably just deluding myself. But come on, Sweden and Norway can make it work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There will be cinema

So I recited my little reworked monologue.

There was some laughter and not all of it was just polite. And a few students mumbled things indicating they recognized the source. Most just sat looking confused. Which is what I more or less expected. At least I was amused by it.

And then later during class I found out that around 90 percent of them had not seen The Usual Suspects. And I wept inside a little.

"I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The new scooter

Notice the nice cast on Wife. No, it is not a result of a riding accident. Yes, she is not wearing a helmet but we are only riding 2 blocks and my top speed was 15 mph.

It is capable of going much faster.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Working conditions

School year is going okay so far. We lost one of our professors to another University and there is a sense of loss. He left some big shoes to fill, figuratively speaking. The odd thing is how much it feels like I'm stepping up to deal with it. I mean I've only been here a year but already I'm being asked and expected to take on a pretty decent amount of responsibility. You see we've started a new academic track within our major. When I interviewed I was told this other professor would mostly be responsible for it and I would heavily support him. Now with him gone, it's become my baby to really shape and direct.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't been important or needed at other schools I've taught at. But not like here. And it's not like I can put my finger on anything concrete. I think it's just a side effect of the personalities and circumstances of the mix of professors we have. Somebody needs to step up and help out. Might as well be me.

I never thought this would be where I'd make myself useful though. I always foresaw my career as being one where I teach some classes that no one else really wants to teach and that is what makes me valuable. Instead, I'm valuable because I bring value. Pretty nice to feel needed. I highly recommend it.

Now I just need to talk them into letting me teach a class on Film Noir. Getting paid to show Sunset Blvd. or Night of the Hunter would once again prove that I have a cooler job than you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

You know what sucks?

Spending an hour or so updating your MP3 player and then the next day your battery dies during the first song. So not good times.

On a positive note, I finally have Helmet on CD. I had forgotten just how heavy they were.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I am a huge nerd

I prepared this for my first day of Principles of Cinema but I didn't finish re-editing it in time for the first class. I'm not sure if I have the guts to actually recite it but maybe, just maybe....

Ladies and gentlemen? Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for attending with us this morning. Now, I've traveled across half our campus to be here and to see about this class. Now, I daresay some of you might have heard some of the more extravagant rumors about what my plans are; I just thought you'd like to hear it from me. This is the face. There's no great mystery. I'm a Media Professor, ladies and gentlemen. I have numerous classes spread across this campus. I have many classes flowing at many credit hours per day. I like to think of myself as a Media Professor. As a Media Professor, I hope that you'll forgive just good old fashioned plain-speaking.

Now, this work that we do is very much a family enterprise- I work side by side with my wonderful students - I think one or two of you might have met me already. And I encourage my students to bring their questions, as well. Of course it makes for an ever so much more rewarding life for them. Questions means answers. Answers means education. So wherever we set up class, education is a necessity, and we're just so happy to take care of that. So let's build a wonderful class in St Augustine. Those answers are the future that we strive for and so they should have the very best of things. Now something else, and please don't be insulted if I speak about this - cinema. Let's talk about cinema. Now to my mind, its an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon going to the movies as a luxury.

We're going to study mise en scene here. Mise en scene means composition, composition means choices. We're going to analyze subtext here where before it just simply was impossible. You're going to have more subtext than you'll know what to do with. Cinema will be coming right out of your ears, ma'am. New ideas. Theory. Employment, education. These are just a few of the things we can offer you, and I assure you ladies and gentlemen, that if we do find meaning here, and I think there's a very good chance that we will, this class of yours' will not only pass, it will flourish.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just letting you know

Classes start tomorrow. I don't have any wacky stories or snarky comments to make yet. Just letting you know that those sort of things will be coming soon. Because it is just a matter or time till some student says or does something too amusing or shocking to not share.

In other news, Wife goes in for another surgery on her ankle tomorrow bright and early. So I have to have her there about 4 hours before my classes start. Thank goodness first day is mostly about reading the syllabus and setting the ground floor for what comes in the next class. Because I will NOT be at my best tomorrow. Let's just hope that this surgery finally finishes the work on her ankle. Now they think she might have a cyst where she just had surgery. It will be nice to see what goes wrong next.

I also have a long post about buying and selling scooters this summer. It was a saga and deserves full treatment.

So provided Hannah doesn't wash us away, (or Ike. Or Josephine.) then there should be some level of increase in my posting. Hopefully. Got to love those news reports though. "This storm could kill everyone, including the unborn. Or maybe it will miss us. Or maybe just rain overnight. But if this storm doesn't kill you, the next one will. Or your neighbors."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They sky is falling, the sky is, oh wait,

So a tree fell on us. Sort of. Friday morning we're sleeping relatively peacefully unaware that the power went out for five whole minutes. Crash!

"What was that?"

"I don't know." I look out the window. "Huh, can't see anything. Wait, it looks like a few branches broke off the tree and landed on the roof. Nothing too bad." And since said roof is not over our portion of the house we went back to sleep.

Later Wife walked the dog and came in. "You know that crash? It wasn't just those branches. A tree hit the house."

I put on a hat and braved the wind and rain to investigate. In fact there was what appeared to be a tree in the driveway. And a large dent in the roof. Quick call to the landlord to let him know what was going on.

Later I went back out to check some more. It wasn't a tree but it was a very large branch off of a very nasty looking tree. I had worried before that it might go down in big winds and was partially right. The people who had lived in that section of the house had moved out towards the beginning of the month so they had avoided a disaster. Especially since they used to park their car right where the branch landed. And where they used to let their tiny dog pee.

Actually, we were extremely lucky. Sure it rained for two days straight and had big wind gusts. And parts of town did get flooded. Some folks even had big time boat damage and loss. But our town survived pretty well compared to the rest of the state. Heck, we only had some brownouts and got to sit around watching team handball without feeling guilt for not leaving the couch. (On a side note I have come to love team handball. Perhaps it deserves its own post).

Course now we're making sure to upgrade our insurance in case next time isn't so mild. Nothing like spending money that you don't have to protect against something that might or might not happen. If I were the landlord though I would look in to getting rid of that tree no matter how cool and Southern Gothic it looks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fay is coming

We're waiting to see if our first hurricane is going to hit our home in two days. I imagine that despite the suggestions of the 80s German metal band, it will not in fact, rock us. Mostly I'm worried about wind damage to the scooters. I'm not scared exactly. Just nervous. They're not evacuating or planning to evacuate. Our back yard will probably fill up a few inches with water. It will suck. Some vegetation will get blown around making messes that will eventually get cleaned up. But how do we know for sure? Just have to wait and see.

But there are aggravations. I'm sick. Maybe. I went to an academic conference last week and didn't feel right but I thought it was just leftover airsickness combined with being at altitude making me feel not quite right. But I've been back for three days and it lingers. It's a strange mix of symptoms that keep alternating. How can I protect us from hurricanes if I feel dookie?

And on top of that now some pipe in the bathroom is leaking through the ceiling. Gonna be hard enough to get the landlord over here to fix it with the hurricane coming but I don't really like the idea that we could be without a bathroom for a couple of days while he tears up floors and ceilings trying to find out where the problem is.

I just want to watch Olympics and wait for the last few days before school starts so I can stop procrastinating about getting my syllabuses* ready.

*I just learned that syllabi may not be the plural of syllabus. Rather that technically no plural of the word is technically correct. Learning all the time. Even while waiting for Faye to wash us off the face of the earth.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pretty happy about this

I know I don't post often enough but this one is kind of important. Friday was Wife and my nine year wedding anniversary. Can't be bad.

I'm hoping for many, many more years of these.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I don't even have a joke for this

The movie Species has Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Forest Whitaker, Alfred Molina and Marg Helgenberger. It makes me wonder what kind of other movie they could have made with that cast.

Oh, and the selling point at the time was Natasha Henstridge, not the rest of the cast. I'm not going to go so far as to claim you are freaking out right now but I'm betting you've at least paused to think about this.

And for those of you struggling to remember, Michael Madsen was the one who played the psycho in Reservoir Dogs. Tim Sizemore is the one with the drug problem.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I'm watching X play a live show on television right now.

It is inspiring strange thoughts. You want to know the truth? When my dad was the age I am now, he had three kids, two of whom were teenagers, and it wasn't very long till a fourth was on the way. There are days when I spend all day on the couch playing video games. How have I managed to accomplish so much and yet still remain a big kid?

I think the Universe just loves me.

Speaking of X, I actually saw John Doe drinking in a hipster dive bar in Chicago once. It was pretty surreal to look over and think, "That guy looks like John Doe. Huh, because it is John Doe." He was being chatted up by a young thing. Or chatting her up. I didn't stick around the whole night to find out how that worked out. But now you can say you've read a blog post by someone who drank in a bar with one of the stars of Roadhouse. As an aside, Wife has a great fondness for that movie.

And didn't you think Exene should have died from the hard living she was doing? Nice to see at least one old punk rocker didn't become a total cliche.

Monday, June 2, 2008


You know that crazy lady who talks to strangers in the line at the grocery store? Or in the laundromat?

I'm married to her.

Wife has this tendency to make comments to folks she doesn't know. Many times, it is unintentionally the wrong thing.

Case in point, we had to do laundry this weekend. And we're nearly done when this Hispanic gentleman walks to a dryer near the ones we're using and starts taking his clothes out. Wife starts talking to him, saying "Show me your grill."

Hispanic guy looks confused. Wife starts pointing to her teeth and keeps saying, "Your grill. Show me your grill." She's doing this in a friendly manner. Hispanic guy doesn't understand and is smiling politely but you can see the look of fear in his eyes.

As quick as I can I try to get to her. To stop her. And I say quietly, "Honey, he doesn't have a grill, he has dental work cause his teeth are messed up."

By the time I get there she has realized this too. Now, this is not an isolated incident. In her defense it's remnants of her time as a polite southerner. And often she does strike up a nice brief conversation with someone that leaves both her and them smiling. Just as often she keeps the conversation going a little too long or she puts her foot in her mouth, to use a cliche.

Also in the interest of full disclosure I hate talking to strangers and most of the time don't want them talking to me. Sure, I'll often try to be polite, but as I've established in previous posts, I'm a jerk. And where I come usually we don't mess around in other people's business and don't want them messing around in ours.

What makes Wife's behavior that much odder is that she talks to strangers but hates a large chunk of the people she knows well. Go figure.

Me, I think you save a lot of time if you just avoid people from the start. That way you don't have to invest the effort later to pretend to be nice to them.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Grumble, grumble, grumble

I've closed the last three nights. When I get off work I'm too jazzed up from the frenetic pace of closing to go to bed. But I'm too tired to do anything productive. And I've had to get up and try to get going each morning to get some things graded for school. So each day, not quite enough sleep.

It finally caught up with me this morning. Cat managed to force the bedroom door open and get in. And every time my alarm went off he started whining for me to get up and feed him. I was too awake to ignore it and too tired to actually get up and chase him out. My mood is getting worse and worse.

I finally force myself out of bed. Cat keeps whining. I keep getting angrier. Dog wakes up and I hear her start whining to get walked. And I look down at the floor of the bathroom.

Wife has been letting her dirty clothes pile up on the bathroom floor. When it was just a little bit it was funny because Dog took to lying on them. It's become a favorite hang out for her. But the pile was reaching epic volume. Well, for a dirty clothes pile on the bathroom floor.

What I should have done was ask Wife to clean it up. And hopefully she would have. If she hadn't I could have been justified in being mad. But I was in a bad place. So I picked them up and shoved them in her hamper.

Okay, this isn't much of a story if it ends here. So then I took the hamper and put it right in front of the bedroom door. The bedroom. Where Wife continued to sleep while I had to be awake.

Yes, totally passive aggressive. She did nearly fall over it she later reported.

So it turns out I can be a jerk sometimes too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Double tall half caf soy cup of my dignity

"Boy it must be great to be a professor, you get summers off." Yeah, I ever get a summer off I'll let you know how that goes. I was scheduled to teach two classes this summer. If I had, we would have been fine financially this summer and I would have had two months to work on my research and prep for next year's classes.

But one of them got canceled when not enough students signed up by the very ridiculous deadline. We had budgeted around that money. That meant get a summer part time job. And when you're needing a quick paycheck that means service industry. Late 30s with a PhD and I'm slinging coffee again. Gotta do what you gotta do.

I keep hoping I've reached a point in my life where I don't have to supplement my income by putting on an apron and handling food products. And I keep finding out I'm wrong.

On the plus side, you get some really crazy stories working the service industry. So over the next few weeks I'm going share them with you. I'll try to stay away from the ones that will make you feel uncertain about eating out anymore but no promises.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mea Culpa

Wife promises that she has not touched the Netflix queue. And while she has lied to protect herself in the past, I don't think this is the case here.

So now it's just the bastards at Netflix messing with me.....

Not Cool

What should be the penalty when someone goes in and reorders your Netflix queue?

I have a pretty strong suspicion that Wife has been sorting things around a little bit. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm selfish. But we get three movies at a time. We have set it up that she gets one at a time and has her own queue with whatever movies she wants to see. From time to time she has movies I like but for the most part it is all her and her tastes and I don't interfere. She also is very slow to get around watching her movie. That's fine, that's her choice.

And then I have a queue that has two movies. I try hard to make sure that one of them is something we both want to see. And then the other movie is supposed to be something for me. And I'm likely to stay up late and watch it after she's gone to bed, send it back in, and get something quickly.

Only fair, right? I watch more movies, I get more movies. But lately I have been noticing that the movie that I put on top to replace "my" movie isn't the next one to be shipped. Lately the movie being shipped is one of those "our" movies. Once or twice this happens, I figure it is just coincidence that the movie I wanted wasn't available so it jumped a spot.

But I realized the movie being sent out today is not "my" movie, which it should be. And I checked yesterday that it was my movie at the top of the list. So maybe it was again skipped you might be thinking. But the movie being shipped wasn't in the second spot either. Or the third. So she went in and reordered the list. Without talking to me about it. This will not stand. I'm tempted to go in and delete her entire queue in retaliation. But that's too big a penalty.

So what is a fair come back? If you know, let me know. Cause this deserves something.

Also, if you want to be a Netflix contact of mine, drop me a comment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why Wife and I are different people

So I've been browsing various forums cause I'm thinking of buying a 200 cc GT or a Vespa S and want to get a good deal on one used if I can find one.

And while I've been looking I've noticed that a lot of people are trying to dump 50 cc ET 2s and LX50s. If I tried I could probably find one for around 1500 bucks. Maybe less if I tried. Obviously I don't want one of these but I've got a spare 150 leader engine that I picked up cheap for a project and even though I'm not doing that project I kept the engine as a spare just in case. It's pretty complete, even has the rear wheel and wouldn't take a whole lot to just bolt it into a new frame.

So I'm thinking it might not be a bad idea to pick up one of these cheap 50 cc bikes and swap out the engine for my spare. I can sell the 50 cc engine to cover the costs of getting the local scooter shop to help me make sure the wiring is done right and maybe even pick up a few bucks on top of that. Then I sell the Fly 150 or the new
Frankenstein bike and make a few bucks on that deal and still have a 150 cc bike.

So I mention this bit of brilliance to Wife and her response is "You already have a 150 cc scooter. I don't see why you would want to do this."

And I realize if I have to explain she's just not going to understand.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Penguins update

They won their first series, sweeping the Ottawa Senators.

Not saying nothing, just providing the facts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Show your love

It's playoff time in the NHL. Time to grow your beard.

That's right. If you're not aware of this practice, during hockey playoffs, you're not supposed to shave till your team is eliminated or wins the cup. Not all players participate but a lot do. In fact, at least some of the credit for the Anaheim Ducks winning last year should go to the impressive salt and pepper lumberjack look of Scott Niedermayer. A beard that impressive deserves rewarding.

I'm a Penguins fan. I can remember the night that they won their first Stanley Cup. I was so happy I called my dad. After all, it was watching the late 70s NY Islanders that sparked my interest in the sport. I don't think my dad was quite as excited as I was but he's not the biggest phone talker in the world so maybe if we were watching together it might have been a different story.

That's a long way to get to the gist of today's post. The Penguins' best player is a little challenged in the facial hair department. He's too young to grow much, though he is trying. So I'm pledging my help in that department. I'm not quite in the "shave twice a day" range but I'm not too far off. So I'm not shaving till the Penguins are out. Wife did insist that I trim it up a little so I won't be total mountain man.

I think she's just jealous that she can't grow her own.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I got rickrolled

Victims of my pranks: Wife and the official Mom of Professor Matthew. I told Wife I was going to call Mom and tell her we are expecting. Which we are, just a dog not the baby that Mom is highly desirous of us to have. And I was going to tell Mom it was Wife's idea.

So then when I went actually call Mom, Wife said, in a very insistent voice, "You better not tell her it is my idea."

I responded with, "Honey, what day is it?"

To which she replied, "Damn it, you got me too!" and then stomped up the stairs.

I have to admit that I caved pretty quick after I told Mom we were expecting and she asked if it was a baby. I told her that it would be another dog. The funny part was that was the part she didn't believe, it would be a dog not a baby. She had to be told she was not being pranked anymore to realize she was being pranked in the first place. I was told not to do this again because Mom doesn't "enjoy these sort of things."

I suppose you could also say we pranked the dog and cat. They got flea treatment later that night, including a bath for the dog. The cat thanked us for the flea medication by coughing up a hairball (with food bits) the size of a chicken mcnugget right next to me. And that is why you should have hardwood floors if you have pets.

And if you don't know what a rickroll is, then click here. It's pretty informative.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool

You know what sucks about getting older and more responsible at work? No more April Fool's jokes. At least not any really good ones. Ones that really freak people out. I had access to my department head's office while she was teaching a class (I was dropping something off and she had let me know her office was unlocked). And I did nothing to it. I played nice. Not even a little something. And I'll regret it for the rest of my life. Or at leas till next year when I don't think I can let such an opportunity go.

While the exact reason for this activity is lost to history, some speculate that it originates out of the transition to a calendar that started on January 1st. Those that did not know about the switch or refused to recognize it continued to celebrate April 1st as the start of the year and were the victim of pranks for their "ignorance".

I love pranks. A little anarchy. A little surrealism. Nothing cruel or mean. Just shaking up the status quo. Taking people out of their everyday habits. I have a cat named Loki. I have a tattoo of Coyote the Trickster.

Back when I was an undergraduate I worked at the campus radio station. And we knew that a certain key unlocked the station manager's office. So one night we put every chair in the station outside of the ones in the dj booth into his office. It was around 15 to 20 chairs. Another time we tped it. And I mean at least two rolls.

I could prank Wife but that isn't enough of a challenge. She trusts me. Well, enough that it would be too easy. Again, getting too old. Though there is still time. I think I'm going to have to make a phone call or two tonight. Somebody needs pranked. I'll let you know who I hit and how it goes. Maybe......

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rough day today

I'm having one of those days where you're not sure how you're doing. I've been wrestling with existential crises. Like am I ever going to be able to be a grown up? And where is the money going to come from?

For example, we want to get a house. It will be nice to own our own place. But then I realize houses have taxes that come due. And when something breaks you have to fix it. And yard work. I hate yard work. I have no desire to "putter around the yard." Sounds like hell to me. My personal theory is part of the reason my parents had so many kids was to have more cheap labor to pitch in around the yard.

And we have been discussing a second dog. But we can't agree on what kind of dog. And we can't do it yet anyway because our current lease only allows for one dog. I don't like her small dog choices and her big dog choices are totally impractical for the amount of space we have. For a little while there she was okay with a dachshund. Now she's not. So if we get another dog, we have to move.

And if we move I'll need a larger scooter for the longer commute. But the bike I really want is, simply put, more money than I should spend. I can get a used car for less. So I'm torn between desire and guilt.

Don't get me started on the issues surrounding the possible move.

I think I'm going to go play some video games and hide till this blows over.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Being a grownup

Recently I received an email from one of my advisees. She is graduating soon and she wanted to talk. She wanted advice about what to do with her life. She has a job lined up after graduation but she admitted she wasn't sure about her career choice and she was sure she didn't want to stay in Florida any longer. Since I just moved from Chicago she wanted to know if I could help her find work there.

I told her it is easier to find a job while you already have a job and in the current market it is better to take that first one and then figure out how to go from there. And I realized as I was talking to her a number of things, some of them unsettling. See, when I was her age I would have just gone for it. Move. It's an adventure and it is better to take the chance while you still can rather than let it get away. I lived my life that way for a long time. I moved to Philly for two years cause I had no where else to go. I worked in bars and moved to other states with little to no plan. Sure, while I did a lot of things that were foolish, and in some cases emotionally or financially damaging, it wasn't boring.

And here I am telling her to take the safe path. To do as I say, not as I did. I feel so old being responsible and giving responsible advice. And I know part of the reason I did it was because I didn't want the other members of my department hearing that I'm telling one of our best and brightest students to chuck it all for a risky adventure. And I also feel like such a hypocrite.

On the other hand, am I wanting to change my advice because I want her to see me as the cool professor (and of course spread the word that I'm cool)?

If I did the right thing, why do I want so badly to tell her to forget what I said and head for Chicago? Being in charge ages you so quickly. It might be time for a new tattoo just to calm me down.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I just sold my 1966 Honda CB 160 motorcycle. I am happy because we could use the money and the bike was slowly rusting due to the high humidity of the South. In Chicago I could keep it indoors protected. Not so much here.

I'm sad because this was a really cool bike. So much style. Most likely the most stylish bike I'll ever own. But I've learned I really shouldn't own vintage. I'm not a mechanic and old bikes need either skill and desire or extra cash to keep them running. Cash? No. Skills? No. Desire? I'm pretty lazy. I had the CB since the fall of 2004 and it was running properly for about 6 months of that time. Thanks to cold weather and other factors I've ridden it just over a dozen times. One of my greatest follies for sure.

I think this makes the eighth bike I've sold. They sort of blur together a little after a while. Might be the ninth. This is all since the summer of 99 or 2000.

I first got into riding for two reasons. One was I was living in Chicago but going to school in Evanston and that was a 30 to 45 minute bike ride one way. Sure I was in great shape but riding a bicycle in Chicago winters was getting old. Time to upgrade to something with an engine. But I didn't want the hassle of owning a car. I tried to find a moped (this was just before the recent rediscovery of mopeds by hipsters) but instead found a 50 cc scooter that fit the bill. And a thirty minute bike ride became a 15 minute scooter ride.

The second is because they're cool as hell. How can anyone look at all the different styles of motorcycles and motorscooters and not see something that makes their heart race a little. Part of my problem is that I buy one and love it but very quickly rationalize all the little ways it doesn't quite fit every possible riding situation I might find myself in. So obviously I need to buy another one (the other option is to take a bike and then modify it in some way. If I still had that first bike I would have but a kit on it by now and turned it into something dangerous and stupidly fast. And fun).

And that's the other thing I keep telling myself. Selling this bike just means that there is one less objection that Wife can raise when I finish paying off the move down and decide it is one again time to go shopping again. After all, we currently don't have a bike that is comfortable for us to ride two up on. It would be downright insensitive of me not to have a bike I can take her for a spin on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Photos and update

New photos on my flickr site of our lovely home town and the visit by the Family of Wife this past weekend. Check them out. There are a bunch of pictures of alligators. There is a post about it to follow when I'm not up past my bedtime.

School is going well so far. Still pretty early in the semester. The production class is coming along, some days good and some days could be better. But the more time I spend working myself on the projects they'll have to do (yes I am doing much of what I expect them to do) the more comfortable I feel with it. What has been most amazing is that although I haven't been in a tv or radio studio in at least 16 years, I still know what I am doing pretty much. I mean I wouldn't hire me to direct the nightly news or anything but I still have some skills that could pay some bills. In fact I'm making myself available to a fellow faculty member who does freelance production work and he might have some things for me to do. I'm also planning on doing some dj-ing on the campus station this summer. My first time on air since I got booted for on air obscenity in 91. Guess that deserves its own post soon too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I can overanalyze anything

Returning to that whole too smart for my own good idea, I have the amazing ability to overthink any decision I need to make. I can see too many sides to it and feel strongly for and against something, going over them in my head. I end up doing nothing because I can't determine enough of an advantage to one or the other. Makes Wife nuts.

As a counter to this I will often get so frustrated with not being able to decide that I will do something impulsive and irrational. Like get a tattoo whether I can afford it or not. Or buy a scooter or motorcycle I possibly don't need. This, also, makes Wife nuts.

Case in point, what to do about the car situation. I can keep the one we have now, paying it off and getting a better trade in next year (after fixing the exhaust). Or I can decide that it will slowly get more beat up and cost more in the long run than I'll get in total trade in value by letting it depreciate more. Which to do? And on top of that, what car do I get to replace it?

The front runners:

Honda Element
Pros: Decent but not great gas mileage, looks cool, can haul scooter when needed, can be cleaned easily if dog makes sick in it.
Cons: Most expensive realistic option.

Toyota Tacoma
Pros: Decent gas mileage, for a pickup truck, can haul scooter at any time, dog never really got sick in old pickup, boderline affordable.
Cons: Wife doesn't want one, would need to get more expensive crew cab model, harder to park when not hauling scooter.

Honda Fit
Pros: Best gas mileage, best price, Mom-in-Law works for Honda.
Cons: Small, no hauling scooter, dog got sick in last car from time to time so risk here.

Mini Cooper
Pros: Looks coolest, competitive price, second best gas mileage. Did I mention looks coolest?
Cons: Even smaller especially for long distance, no hauling luggage?, dog sick in tiny car so no room for smell?, Mom-in-Law does not work for BMW, only two doors.

So there you go, sort that one out.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I bet this doesn't happen to math professors

Some time last semester I was working in my office and a staff employee asked me about a comic strip on my door. It pokes fun at the career options of people who pursue higher degrees in the humanities. So he asked me what I studied. I told him media.

Here is the thing about studying media. Everyone has an opinion about it. And most of them that feel they need to share their opinions do not think happy thoughts.

He proceeded to tell me what was wrong with the news. I think it was mainly that they ruined Howard Dean in the last election or something. And I made a crucial error. I tried to argue logically. And play devil's advocate a little. I mentioned that if enough folks don't watch something they dislike its ratings will suffer and it will be replaced. Wrong tactic to explain things so simply.

He began ranting at me about other issues wrong with the news. Apparently a common misconception is that I have some level of pull with the networks and can get them to fix things if you complain to me. And I tried to point out that he was trying to argue several different points. And he got more worked up about things stating he was doing no such thing. Then I realized in his mind he wasn't. He was basically making one big argument and that is "Media is bad and you must agree with me about that."

He was was basically hoping I would say, "You're right, media is terrible." And I wasn't doing that. Which just made him more aggressive. I finally told him I really needed to get back to work since I had class in five minutes and I don't really even watch American news programs. I watch BBC America (remember that thing early about if you don't like it, avoid it? I follow my own advice) and pursue news online.

He went away and then came back three minutes later and made what he thought was some sort of sweeping finishing statement that was kind of sad considering he probably spent the whole time thinking it up. "The root word of news is new." Yeah, great. Except like I tried to tell him, finding new gets hard when you have 24 hours of news day to fill. Which means you turn to fluff to get something novel but he hated fluff news too. Way to argue for and against yourself at the same time.

And just in case you were wondering, this sort of thing happens semi-regularly to me. People find out what I study and suddenly they have a face for their harsh opinions about everything wrong with the media. I bet there are other academic fields that inspire similar reactions but I bet physics professors don't ever hear "You know what's wrong with gravity? It's incompatibility with quantum mechanics."

Written while listening to the Replacements. Good times.

New Semester

It starts up again in one week. And I'm teaching a production course. I feel so not ready for it. Though I have gone from feeling terrified to just a general sense of impending doom, so I have that going for me. It's not that I'm not smart and can't figure out how to use all the equipment. I need to figure out the equipment and then teach it to them before they need to use it to complete their projects. And since I don't have a production studio in my office (or in my office building since there aren't currently any available in the Comm Building) I can't really work on it too much during my office hours.

I'll get through it, somehow. Mainly because I always do. I'm mostly worried that the lack of confidence will leak into my demeanor during class. I'm sarcastic/caustic enough in the class room.

Actually it appears that I'm so sarcastic that some of my students from last semester hated one of my classes. I got some of the lowest evaluations I've gotten in years. I got good ones in two classes, average in a third and then the bad ones. The two lower ones were different sections of the same class. And I agree with some of the comments about how to improve the class. It needs an overhaul during the summer. Not that it does much for the students who will be taking it next semester.

But one student even went so far as to say they'll never take another class with me and recommend all their friends avoid me. Someone else in that same class said they loved my teaching. Go figure. I'll give you three guess which comment will stick with me over the next few days. Funny thing, if the person who said they hated me was the student I think it is, they might have gotten a B in the class.

Something else for those of you who read this and have finished your own college experience, you would not believe how often students whine and moan if you don't create study guides. Like it's my job to tell you what is going to be on the test. What next, complaining because I don't take it for them?