Thursday, December 25, 2008

the holidays, briefly

Christmas Eve here with the family.

Christmas dinner with Grammy in Hood River.

Crazy weekend trip to Portland: Devotchka concert, meeting up with Nate and Annie, shopping the sales. Lots of food: Henry's tavern for happy hour; Roxy's at 1 am, the 24 hour diner with suicide chocolate cake and a Jesus sculpture over the jukebox; Mother's for the best brunch in town.

Visiting Dad and going for pizza. And grocery shopping.

Things said -

"What's Benny got? Did he get a potato?" - Mom on Benny the dog stealing a potato for use as a toy.

"I thought your hair reflected in the window was a skunk's tail. That's not supposed to be an insult. Skunks have beautiful tails." - Merrie

"The question is not what my breakfast can do for you, but what you can do for my breakfast"

"What do you feel you can bring to my breakfast?"

- me and Mer, respectively

"Becky, your eyes match the wainscoting" - Andrew

Sunday, December 21, 2008

elk -- kind of like reindeer, but the females don't have antlers

It's snowing like hell. We no longer leave the house.

This morning we saw an elk herd trapped in the orchard that borders our house -- the owner built a fence to keep them *out*, but now that they've managed to get *in,* it's proving difficult to remove them. Even though all the gates are open. Mer and I trudged up, waded through the snow and cold, to check, and yes, the gate nearest the woods was open, and yes, the elk went right past it. Apparently having eyes on either side of your head fucks with your depth perception, and means you don't see open gates. Or, for that matter, people standing right in front of you -- Mer and I watched an elk cow approach us at a trot, till at about 25 feet, she suddenly recognized us as *not trees.* Now they're hanging out in the middle, stripping the little cherry trees.

Anyway, this is the local drama. Because someone shot one of the exhausted, trapped elk earlier, without the owner's permission, and possibly without an elk tag. Someone else called it in, but probably nothing will happen. So it goes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Best part of Thom Hartmann on Olbermann, as transcribed on Crooks & Liars:

Hartmann: David what he needs to do immediately is read Alexander Hamilton's 1791 report to Congress on manufactures. Hamilton laid out this six step plan to build an industrial economy in the United States and we followed it. We, Congress actually put into place in 1792 and it stood until Ronald Reagan came along and started deconstructing this, followed by George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush now and the legislatures, mostly pushed by the Republicans taking this thing apart. You could argue some of this started with Taft-Hartley. But basically the founders laid this thing out. They had it figured out and it worked. We built the biggest industrial infrastructure and industrial economy in the world.

We have gone, when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And the largest creditor. More people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now just twenty eight years later we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods, exporter of raw materials which is kind of the definition of a third world nation and we're the most in debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Where have I BEEN?

The studio in the Haight is DARLING. 1920s apartment building, wood floors, bay windows, separate kitchen with old school ironing board cupboard... I wish it were mine. Karl is subletting it to me for two weeks. And not only is he from Oregon, but he also lived on Harvard St. for a while. A little like things aligned and the mechanism could be overheard. We had a good chat about yoga props, beta fish and reverse evolution, Oregon sports... can't wait. After seeing the place, I met up with Jill for dinner and then made my way back home.

The N-Judah is confusing. On my way toward the Haight, I was perplexed by the three DIFFERENT munis that wouldn't let anyone on, and which this older woman, who was also waiting, signaled were not the one we were waiting for. And on the way back, at Duboce and Church, I ASSUMED that the ramp was the boarding area. Until the conductor came out and told me I was on the wheelchair loading ramp. And that the place to wait was up the street, where, by the by, THERE WAS NO SIGN INDICATING THIS FACT, although this information explained all the hipsters in skinny jeans standing in the middle of the road (NOT EXAGGERATING: MIDDLE OF THE ROAD). I missed the ingoing muni by like one minute, and then had a 45 minute wait at the caltrain station --> grand total of 3 hours to get home.

The weekend was good: Met up with Julia & her boyfriend for dinner at Millennium (yum!). They make some mean beets. I was inspired to buy some over the weekend. It was like Christmas but without the extreme cold: fake snow was falling to a Christmas choir downtown.

This week it's been back to work... In good news, Coupa opened on campus and it makes my life much better. [Because I was able to have a goat cheese arepa for dinner tonight.] Had the prospectus workshop yesterday (and an evening break: seeing Lauren off), and today I met with Denise. Who said she was "pleased" and that the draft is shaping up into an "acceptable" prospectus that people will be interested in. I agreed that the process worked for me, and that the panic stage is over. And then she recommended reading that I'm enjoying.

A bit from said reading, quoting Herder:

"all passions of man's breast are wild drives of a force which does not know itself yet, but which, in accordance with its nature, can only conspire toward a better order of things."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the good and the messy

Strange times: In two weeks, I'm out of this cottage where I've been renting a room. I'll be in Oregon for at least three weeks over the holidays (have yet to book a plane ticket back to CA: maybe will take the train?). And then I'll probably be here in CA till the end of January in a studio in the Haight (sublet: I'm checking it out tomorrow... kind of an adventure to take a bus somewhere new). And then, I guess, Wisconsin? And a dissertation chapter on Dickens?

Anyways, that was all to set up the fact that, regarding the messiness of life, I love this from Forster's Life of Dickens:

A longer time afterward he recollected the stage-coach journey, and in one of his published papers said that never had he forgotten, through all the intervening years, the smell of the damp straw in which he was packed and forwarded, like game, carriage paid. "There was no other inside passenger, and I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I expected to find it." (11)

Sloppier than I expected.

But: I went on the Target/Trader Joe's trip tonight and bought a box of chocolates that was on sale. And I was estimating the number of chocolates left, vs. the number I had eaten, and thinking, no, I shouldn't, when I realized that the box contains ANOTHER LEVEL of chocolate. Paradigm changer, my friends.