Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a day that kept looking up

I think I had a good day.

I got to campus before 11 am -- reviewed and compiled some notes in Google docs, which is a brilliant application; had lunch while catching up with Lupe and Whitney; went to yoga; had a meeting with profs, administrative assistants, and a statistics person to talk about a research project I'm going to do data crunching for (yay, a project with FINITE GOALS!); prepped for my meeting with Alex, which was supposed to be my yogurt snack time, but SOMEONE STOLE MY ORGANIC LEMON YOGURT; met with Alex, who gave me more finite projects (why upward mobility figures... more books that might help with thinking...); went to the 18th century group, where someone was presenting his quantitative research on the concept of human rights; ended up going to dinner, where I was able to talk to Denise. Really, rather a good day.

This might be a trend -- I also had a good weekend. Friday I met some of the first years over the debate and mediterranean wraps. Saturday I went to Jill's in the city, where we went buffalo exchanging. We had a lovely dinner after picking up essentials at the local organic grocery -- like the old days, we made vegetarian sushi. Lupe dropped by for dessert. Then Jill and I caught a bus to Hayes Valley, to meet up with Garth at this restaurant aptly named absinthe. Where we were very tempted by dessert, and had some seriously hedonist moments over a fig tart with fennel ice cream, and roasted peach sorbet.

Sunday Jill and I went to brunch at Herbivore, checked out the farmers' market, and headed back to suburbia.

And... I think I'm finally feeling settled. I'm going to do a formalist project on mobility.

Monday, September 22, 2008

british history, a - h

So I'm skimming through a 1000 page Oxford Companion to British History in the Lane Reading Room (because it's non-circulating), looking for 19th century entries to read, as Jessica W. recommended brushing up on the historical context of my period at this point in the process.

Some highlights:

Under "dueling":
"A ludicrous duel, averted in 1782 by the intervention of the Speaker, was between Lord North, notoriously short-sighted, and Colonel Barre, who had only one eye."

Under "Henry Mayers Hyndman":
"H. was converted to Marxism by reading Das Kapital on board an Atlantic steamer on a business trip...He also apparently alienated working people by his extremism, and his habit of quoting from Virgil in Latin... He is probably the only western Marxist leader ever to have played county cricket for Sussex, but that was before he saw the light."

andrew visits cambridge

Andrew: exactly
are you familiar with "punting" on the cam river
ahem, "the river cam"
i did notice, while walking on a small path next to a big open field,
what looked like wild raspberries and blackberries

me: cool =)
I'm surprised at raspberries, but blackberries it's definitely still
the season in a not too-hot climate

Andrew: ah, maybe they were just unripe ones
b/c they were growing on the same plant

me: oh honey
those are definitely blackberries then =)

Andrew: :-D
hey they could be some sorta weird old school hybrid

Saturday, September 20, 2008

it would be so much easier to be a cat

because this is probably the biggest problem that I would ever confront.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

from harvard street

The trip back to CA was smooth. I LOVE ALASKA AIRLINES. Why can't other airlines be like them? Not only do they have a higher concentration of funny/interesting flight attendants, but they STILL GIVE YOU SNACKS. GOOD SNACKS, made with unbleached flour and no trans fats and EVOO. And FREE BEER AND WINE. With freaking *refills.* Do they even do that in Europe anymore? And we made an almost imperceptible landing precisely one minute before scheduled arrival. Compare that to: American Airlines from Madison to PDX, which charged me $15 for my one checked bag. And changed the departure gate in O'Hare, which, I can tell you, means a whole lot of walking with heavy bags. United, from CA to Wisconsin, which wouldn't give me tea, TEA, as my beverage. Do they know how cheap tea is?! So it was amazing to drink complimentary red wine in an airplane while the entire U.S. economy is collapsing.

I'm settling in -- my first day was spent walking to Country Sun and Mollie Stone's for supplies, retrieving book & towel from my locker, unpacking, and finishing my "essentials" shopping at Whole Foods. It's interesting trying to construct a pantry with the limitations that 1) you must be able to carry everything, for up to a thirty minute walk, 2) you can eat it all before you move, and 3) you can prep it in a kitchen you're not yet familiar with. Which for me, boiled down to: a pound of spinach for salads, two salad dressings, tomatoes, one beet, assorted olives, apples, granola bars, oatmeal, brie, bread, plain yogurt, peanut butter, FIGS (because it's CA), and ice cream bars. Although that whole comfort food thing really doesn't work out for me. The last thing I feel like doing when I'm sadly disoriented and somewhat lonely (hey, even in the studios, at least everyone was being alone TOGETHER) is eating. Which is unfortunate, because then there's one fewer thing to distract me. Also unfortunate, is the internet connection here. And the fact that cable doesn't include Comedy central.

But, I did review a quarter of my orals notes, and I think I'm now going to break for Gaskell's biography of Charlotte Bronte, because all the sisterly bonding and resignation to work kind of fits my mood right now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

lapine adventure

Last Saturday we (ie, Mum, Tim, & I) embarked on the great LaPine adventure. We drove south-easterly, lunched at Smith Rock, consulted with Mer, who decided to leave a day early, set up camp, fed the golden mantled ground squirrels (think: larger, more aggressive, & pudgier version of the chipmunk), and waited for Mer.

Here's one golden mantled jumping out of the frame after grabbing a piece of cinnamon bread, which claims, on the side of the bag, to be "a good source of deliciousness" -- not calcium, iron, or whole grains, but DELICIOUSNESS:

Mer arrived, but her grand plan of showing up just in time for dinner was thwarted. Unfortunately, our cooler was too effective, so we had to defrost elk hamburger (ie, cut it up into chunks on a plate and wait) before we could make dinner -- ate around the campfire, drank beer, made s'mores... the usual. Mer and I slept in the tent. I had a down comforter and wool blanket, and both of us had not so comfy sleeping mats (in other words: an ancient backpacking mat, and, poor Mer, a woven rug). Don't ask me why I didn't have the COLD WEATHER LIGHT WEIGHT REI SLEEPING BAG I BOUGHT LAST SUMMER. ASK THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE.

Anyways, long story short, it was like 34 degrees that night. At one point I woke up and would have gone to the bathroom, BUT IT WAS 34 DEGREES. Later, I woke up freezing. And in the morning, it took a great deal of will power to emerge from the blankets. After realizing that Mer had been cold too, we kind of felt stupid for not combining our powers and making one big bundle out of our coats and blankets.

But all was well, because the next two nights would be spent in a spiffy cabin.

Mer and I participated in the group lunch, but left Mum & Tim to their own devices, touring the lava caves, as Mer wanted a new swimsuit. And apparently, when you live in Lakeview, that's difficult to make happen. So we drove up to Bend's Target, and got not only a teeny tiny green polka dot bikini, but matching dresses and leggings (although: in different colors). We got back in time to go floating in the Deschutes River.

Mer catches a crayfish. She's been doing this sort of thing for as long as I've known her:

Floating on:

Hung out at the cabin. And took over dinner preparations: makin' chili. Friday I had done ridiculous food prep: I picked a gallon of blackberries, and baked cornbread, biscuits, and chocolate chip cookies. So I took the aluminum foil off the cornbread for dinner, and it became clear that SOMEHOW, the aluminum foil had been LEACHING INTO THE BREAD. It was literally speckled. Well, knowing that aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's, I had to sacrifice the top half of it. SAFEWAY BRAND ALUMINUM FOIL: makes pretty designs on your baked goods.

Cookin' dinner:

One more technical difficulty, in the form of Netflix sending us a scratched up copy of Blazing Saddles, which I now have STILL NOT SEEN. Mer's dvd collection saved us: I was tempted by the my little pony movie, but we watched About a Boy instead (which we first saw while house sitting together years ago, and loved the music).

The next day we headed up to Paulina Lake -- Mer and I did part of the around the lake hike, which had some beautiful views... the water looked pristine and blue-green. But once we hit the exposed section of the lake, we headed back to the wooded area to wade and hang out. Then we scouted out the lodge... floated in East Lake... drove up the precarious road to the top of Paulina Peak (my favorite part was the lack of guard rails along the deeply washboarded gravel road).

From the peak:

After, we met up with Mom and Tim for dinner at Gordy's restaurant, which is kind of a glorified truck stop. But in LaPine, it was that, Dairy Queen, or the pizza place.

Sad to leave! Especially as I just had to pack everything to head to CA tonight... which kind of scares me, because I need to write a dissertation proposal this quarter, and I'll have to make a final decision about what direction to take. Also: Mt Hood is on fire. The smoke is worse today, much more of it, and spreading. Last night I could see the red of the fire and the reflection on the smoke.

On the river:

in the hood

Before I forget what I did last week:

Monday: Hung out at Laurance Lake.

Tuesday: lunch with Grammy at Twin Peaks. Followed by an afternoon visiting Dad -- walked the Indian Creek Trail, explored our favorite used book store, etc.

Weds: Brunch with Dad at Acre, followed by hiking with Mum. We finally made it up to Cloud Cap, where we hiked from Tilly Jane, STRAIGHT UP HILL for what they claimed was one mile, but what I believe was more like two miles, until we intercepted the Timberline around the mountain trail (where we saw marmots), and then back down to the Crag Rat lodge, where we met up with the people restoring it (one of whom was Joel, who I was surprised to see, since we went to school together from 1st-12th grade).

Thurs & Fri.: prep. to leave for LaPine, because it always takes as much time to prepare to go camping, as one is actually out camping.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the littlest meow

ohmygod CUTE.

Monday, September 08, 2008

new (to me) music

Santogold: L.E.S. Artistes

Sunday, September 07, 2008

all the favorite places

Still my favorite stretch of ditch trail -- about a quarter of a mile from home, and right before "the pipes" (old cattle guard).

Thursday: Hiking in the big backyard, up the old logging trail.

Friday: Black lake, Rainy Lake, and, after a hike, North Lake. We found tons of huckleberries -- I was glad I didn't miss the season. And got home so late we ended up eating down the highway at the Sawtooth Roadhouse. Aptly named, as it's near an old mill.

Saturday: Rendezvoused with the Elams up at Lost Lake! Megan and I managed to go swimming. We persuaded Mum to play a round of Cranium with us, and we realized how hard it is to guess humdingers (even when Megan did a pretty accurate rendition of Brick House). On our team, we somehow correctly fielded a question about George Washington Carver (peanuts! cotton!) and Eames originals (furniture!). Patrick taught us how to make s'mores even BETTER by pre-melting chocolate over the fire. Nothing like catching up with friends around a campfire.

Today: Went hiking with Mum up Lookout Mountain. At the top, we ran into a couple with this AMAZING dog. He was everything that could make me break down and become a dog person: white fluffiness with tan spots, floppy ears, huggable, not too big, not smelly, not drooly, way friendly, and did I mention the FURRINESS. Unfortunately he was a mutt, so we have no idea how to find another quite like him.

Before heading back down the highway, we checked out Teacup Lake (really: scuzzy pond) to scope out the huckleberry situation. Which wasn't happening -- we found ourselves trampling through brush to get one or two elusive, tiny berries. Huckleberries, my friends, are TINY. And it sucks when someone beats you to the picking grounds. But you know what WAS happening at the scuzzy pond at dusk? MOSQUITOES. I have a long standing hatred of mosquitoes. Not just the usual, yeah, they're ick. But truly, hatred. I think because, having dermographism, my skin freaks out whenever it's scratched, and gets even ITCHIER, and then mosquito bites go from irritation to CAN I JUST SCRATCH MY SKIN OFF HERE WHERE IT ITCHES?! I think that experience kind of gives you hatred, which you direct to the obvious culprit, MOSQUITOES. So I doused myself in some DEET lotion that Mer left in her room (sorry Mer, I'm borrowing it, I promise not to use it up, and I'll give you my zebra striped dress next week). Somehow, despite wearing jeans, a hoodie, and high concentration bug repellent, THE MOSQUITOES STILL FOLLOWED ME. I think I killed more mosquitoes than I picked huckleberries.

Luckily, dinner was waiting for us at home. Buffalo roast! Truly, roast beast. I love it: it's like getting to eat beef again, only not. And I made biscuits and Mom coached me through making gravy.

Somehow all my posts end up being about food.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"...and you, governor, are no hillary clinton"

Gloria Steinem makes me happy:

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

...Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

...She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency...

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

Also making me happy: The AP does some fact checking for Sarah Palin. Because I was wondering how the media was letting her get away with stretching the truth into downright lies last night... a speech full of negativity, lies, and no plan for change.

Sybil Vane of Bitch PhD analyzes Palin's (or should I say McCain's?) rhetoric. And asks the sort of questions I would want to ask if I found myself grading this speech as a work of persuasive argumentation:

"I guess -- I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

Nasty. The much-lauded grass roots voters, those who are most "energized" by the VP pick, are community organizers. Martin Luther KIng Jr was a community organizer. If state-sponsored service is the only service that counts, say so plainly.

"As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man."

Dicey. Take, for example: John McCain has in this last week noted (rightly) that candidate's families are not appropriate subjects of political discourse, and yet famously made jokes about Chelsea Clinton's ugliness. One doubts he made such jokes when HRC was listening.

"We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks," on that Bridge to Nowhere."

Insufficient evidence. Hired lobbyist secured $27 million in earmarks during tenure as Mayor. Bridge to Nowhere was supported before rejected, the latter happening once it became nationally unpopular and emblematic of earmarking.

"But the fact that drilling, though, won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all."

True. And yet - is anyone advocating doing nothing at all? Please support this implication.

"Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."

Rudy's line. Also, nasty. Also demonstrative of gross misunderstanding of international law. Being opposed to torture is only shamefully equated with "worrying" about Miranda rights.

"And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

Inaccurate. Non-partisan Tax Policy Center provides accurate info re: comparative tax plans.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Day 1 in Oregon: walking along the ditch to the blackberry patch, conveniently hidden behind some brush. No one else seems to have discovered it... and luckily the first wave was ripe.

The take:

Then some reading on the porch. Caught up with Mum in the garden, picked more produce (green beans!):

After dinner, Mom and I watched a bit of the RNC... which I was having trouble distinguishing from the Daily Show. Service, POW, lower taxes (for the top 1%), POW, rinse, repeat.

And I made blackberry cobbler. Completing the life cycle of the blackberry.