Friday, August 29, 2008

while listening to Obama

Me: You know, Obama makes me feel much less cynical about this country. I've been so cynical about this country for so long.

S.: You? No.

Me: I know, I know. But Obama gives me hope. He makes me feel like I could actually be proud of my country again.

Damn, that man can speak. Finally, someone who understands public address, understanding his audience, inspiring us by reminding us--not persuading us or convincing us, but reminding us--that this country really is better than the last 8 years.

One of my favorite lines: Change doesn't come from Washington; change comes to Washington.

Christ, yes.

And I loved the button on a person from Alabama that read "AlObama."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

network effects

A simply amazing story. (via Working Blue)

Read the blog entry first. Then read the news stories. I promise you'll be telling your friends about this. I was telling people about little Rowan before I knew how her cancer had been discovered.

Please consider sending a donation of ANY amount to help defray these considerable expenses. Checks can be made payable to Rowan or Marc Santos and mailed to:

SunTrust Bank, Tampa Bay
Attention Customer Service
2208 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, Fl 33612

In the memo line of the check, *please include the account number: 1000074628628* (four zeros after that first 1).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

not sure if I'm proud of this behavior, but hey

Across the way from the building that houses my department and my office is Watterson dining hall, where one can find such things as slices of pizza, overprocessed fried chicken, burgers, fries, and sometimes a "healthy" option such as a baked potato or some such thing. Many times during my career here at ISU I've run over to Watterson to get myself a slice of pizza to hold me over for, say, a night class that goes from 5:30-8:30.

So this is what I did last night at about a quarter to 5. But, lo! I walk in and instead of being able to walk right in to choose my poison, I'm faced with a cashier and a bunch of turnstiles that I'm apparently not allowed to go through until I pay some kind of fee. Meanwhile students are filing past me, handing their cards to the cashier, who swipes them and allows them through.

So, I say to the cashier: What's all this?

C: It's the new meal plan. It's all you can eat.

Me: What if I just want a slice of pizza?

C: It's nine dollars for the meal.

Me: For a slice of pizza?

C: It's all you can eat.

Me: You've got to be kidding me.

C shakes his head. Students are filing past me and I'm standing there dumbfounded. My mouth is probably hanging open, cartoon-like.

Me: So I guess I'll just stand here until I see a student I know and he'll get me a slice of pizza.

A couple students chuckle at me.

A couple minutes pass.

Me: Are people upset about this?

C: Yeah, faculty are pretty upset about it.

Me: I can see why. Nine dollars for a slice of pizza.


Me: You're not really gonna make me stand here until I see a student I know, are you?

He sighs. Not sure what to do with the likes of me. Difficult faculty. He's heard about us.

Me: I have to teach from 5:30 til 9:20 and I just want a slice of pizza.

The emotional appeal.

Finally he hands me a to-go container. A small to-go container. Apparently if one pays for the nine-dollar meal and wants to take it to go, one must fit everything into this small container. There goes my plan to bring five of my friends and pay for one meal.

I go through the turnstile and over to the pizza counter. Where they used to serve it up for you, it's now serve yourself. The student behind the counter shrugs when I ask him what he does back there. "Slice the pizzas," he says.

Me: Which one is the freshest?

I leave with my really-not-all-that-fresh slice of pizza in a container not made for it and I wave thank you to the cashier.

Monday, August 18, 2008

and so it begins again

Classes begin today. For me, tomorrow. I worry that I'm not worried enough to begin the new semester.

Hillary visited last week for 5 days. Far too short a time, but we got a lot done, including a lot of good visiting. We put in a new kitchen sink, which took 5 times as long as it should have because we had to keep running out to Lowe's for stupid plumbing supplies. We painted the kitchen a creamy coffee-milkshake color. No more blue flowered wallpaper, thank god. And she put a bee in my bonnet, as they say, about painting the kitchen cabinets. This is something that would NEVER have occurred to me, but once we started looking at pictures online, I warmed to the idea. S. and I can't afford new kitchen cabinets, but we can afford a gallon of paint and some primer. So that'll be the next project on the list.

In other news, S. and I have officially set a date for the wedding: June 13, 2009. We'll be getting married in North Carolina and then having a reception here in Illinois, too. To celebrate our 2 years together, we bought wedding bands this weekend. We would've gone to dinner at the place we met, but we were too full from lunch. So instead we settled in for a night of Cubbies.

We're going up to see the Cubbies play on Friday, and we're a bit disappointed that Jason Marquis is pitching. Not very exciting. And he's matched up with a pitcher who's 0-12. Lordie pie. Get me a beer or two.

Going into the office this morning to get things in order and to get myself back into my writing routine. I've got an article to revise and resubmit and a damn book to finish drafting (one should help the other).

And that's the news from Bloomington this morning.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Deputy Dawg

Leaving for our hamburger night out last night, I tell Belly she's in charge. And then I tell Wrigley she's not in charge. But be a good girl.

S.: She's second-in-command.

(Is he just the sweetest darn thing you've ever heard of?)

me: She's Lieutenant Wiggle. Belly's the Chief.

Add that to the list of names. Lieutenant Wiggles, or if you want to get formal about it, Lieutenant Wigginton (courtesty of Ty Wigginton, player for the Houston Astros, whose name I kept hearing this week and it stuck).

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Monday, August 04, 2008

the much-awaited toilet story

Look, Ma! I can type with two hands now. The cast is off, but I'm now supposed to be wearing a splint for 4 weeks (UGH) and I begin physical therapy this afternoon. Or what I call pinky push-ups. Poor widdle pinky. She hurts.

Okay, the toilet story.

Because S. and I have been planning to redo the floors in both upstairs bathrooms, we decided now was as good a time as any to replace the toilets in each. In his case, the tank cover was broken and there was a small crack on the base, and in my case, well, I just like new and clean. So we went to Home Depot one lovely Thursday evening (the night before I had my cast put on) and purchased two new toilet sets. It was an all-in-one thing--the whole toilet in one box, including everything you need to install the dang thing. It took a bit for S. to get both toilets into the back seat of my little Civic, but he did it, and we were on our way home after stopping to say hi to Jim in the parking lot. I had to tell him all about my pinky woes. He told S. he was very sorry. heh.

When we got home, I parked in the driveway so that S. could get the toilets out more easily. After we opened the garage door, I went in and opened the door to the house so the girls could come outside and say hi. For you out-of-towners who haven't seen Annabelle in a while, she's turned into one of those dogs who will stand right by my side without a leash. It makes my heart hurt to see this because it was so long coming. Wrigley, though, it seems, was from the start this kind of dog. So so attached to S. and me that she would be thrilled to come out and greet us and just check out the new toilets. Except this time she saw a bunny. And she was off running across the street. Meanwhile, S. has got one toilet box precariously out of the car and he's asking me to open the front door to the house, but I'm freaking out because Wrigley just got away, and the next thing I know I hear a very loud crash. The toilet box. It has fallen. In the middle of the driveway. But we can't really pay much attention to that because Wrigley's running loose. So S. goes on foot, I get in the car, Annabelle hops into the backseat with the second toilet, and we go get that little shit. She was fine, we were fine, but the toilet, it was not.

When we get back to the house, I say to S., "I have no compunction about returning this to Home Depot. Hillary used to work there and they take anything back--even shit-stained toilet seats. They'll take this back." I actually used the word compunction. Nice.

We open the box. Maybe it's not broken. S. pulls out the tank. It's in one piece. Great. But the base, well, we can't count that high. Many, many pieces.

S. and I have a conversation about what we're going to tell the people at Home Depot. I have no morals, so I say, we'll just tell them it's broken. S. doesn't want to lie. Me: We'll say we dropped it because the handles on the box are wimpy. This conversation continues on and off until the next day when we actually put the damn thing back in the car and go back to Home Depot. As we're pushing the thing to the return desk, S. tells me I'm doing this. He doesn't want to lie. We want our money back, but honestly. I keep mentioning the shit-stained toilet seat that Hillary has made me associate with Home Depot returns.

I hand the person the receipt, say we'd like to return this toilet. She looks at me, looks at the box, and does her scanning. The money will be credited to our card. Nobody ever looked inside the box.

We walk through the store to pick up a couple other things we need. Me: Honey, we could've put a garden gnome in that box and they would'nt've known the difference.

S.: Why would anyone return a garden gnome?

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