Thursday, June 28, 2012


I finished my 100 miles for the week today, for the fourth straight week.

As I was almost back, on the bike trail in town in a semi-narrow area, I passed a group of kids riding, let by an adult, and swept by another adult, coming my way.  I was going fairly slowly, as were they, and kept an eye out, because though they were riding nicely on the right in a line, they were also riding like kids, a little quirkily. 

I had just passed the last kid when at the same instant, I felt this big bump under my bike and saw something brown.  When I looked back, I saw a rabbit moving into the brush at the side of the trail, dragging its back end (or at least one leg of its back end).

Ugh.  I hit a rabbit.

I'm guessing it had been waiting for the group to pass, and hadn't realized I was coming from the opposite direction, and timed its dart across the path just wrong.

I didn't stop because I wouldn't have been able to do anything for the rabbit.  (I couldn't have caught it, even, I suspect, and chasing it wouldn't have helped it at all.  And even if I'd somehow caught up to it, grabbing a wild rabbit and carrying it on my bike, and then in my car or something?  No.)

I sort of take comfort from the idea that any rabbit uncautious enough to be hit by a bike going 10-12 miles an hour on a heavily used part of a town path is a rabbit likely to be caught by a fox, dog, or something else.

Still, I'm sort of grossed out by having hit a rabbit.  And surprised that I stayed up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Discomfort in the Discussion Group

A week or so ago, I posted about a discussion group I'm in for which we're reading bell hooks' Where We Stand: Class Matters.  For this week's reading, we read chapters on African American community and race, and on religion.  It seemed to me that hooks was nostalgic about her religious upbringing as a time when the church was central to the community and belonging, and also worked against greed and racism.

In the discussion, pretty much every other woman talked about her church, or searching for the right church/religious community, or something similar.

Except me.  I pretty much kept my mouth shut except when I said that I thought hooks was being nostalgic, and that my sense was that the African American church (as much as one could use "the" there) has been historically unwelcoming of gays and lesbians.  I also added a response to someone's comment about how students go on missions to other countries to benefit the people there, more than to proselytize, by saying that I thought the students went for a number of reasons, including resume building and tourism.

Other than that, I didn't have much to say.

It strikes me that I'm really bad at discussing my atheism.  I don't think these women would have been mean about it or anything, but I'm bad at it, uncomfortable, and tend to avoid it.

Partly, I'm uncomfortable because I don't have a sense of religious feeling or spirituality.  I don't see evidence, and I'm pretty sure if there were a diety out there performing miracles, we'd see evidence.  But I don't.

And in the absence of good evidence, I don't see a need or have a desire for a deity. 

Partly, that has to do with the pain/evil thing.  Why would a benevolent deity give a dog cancer?  I mean, sure, if you really believe that pain and disease of humans are punishment for original sin, but dogs by definition can't commit sin, so why punish them with disease ?  (That goes for all the animals out there that get horrible diseases.  Cancer is not a circle of life thing.)  A deity that would treat dogs (or other animals) horribly is not a deity I would want to worship even if I believed that deity existed.  And if the deity were evil, again, I wouldn't want to worship it.  (And just to say: the idea that a benevolent deity would hold a parents' behavior against a child is abhorrent.)

At the same time, I recognize that a lot of people really feel a need or desire for a deity and are comforted by believing.  I'm not out to attack people for their needs and desires, but I also don't want them trying to attack me for my needs and desires.  But it sometimes seems that even acknowledging that I'm an atheist is seen as an attack on someone else's religious belief.

Sometimes, my atheism seems to be seen as an elitist attack on their beliefs in a way that I'm looking down on them or condescending.  And maybe I am in a way, because I just don't understand that particular sort of need/desire.

It was an interesting discussion, but uncomfortable, too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bike, Bardiac, Bike!

I went out for a ride on the trail today, and since I was feeling good, I went hard, and checked my time at 15 miles: 16.7 mph average.

That's the fastest I've gone in a long time.  I kept riding fast, but then I saw some friends, and turned to ride more with them, chatting and relaxing.  It was even more fun.  (That probably says a lot about my biking attitude.  I was happy to turn around and ride a bit with friends chatting rather than pushing to do a time thing.)

Here's some perspective: from May 2007, I rode just under 16 mph.

From October 2008, 17 mph.

And from July 2009, 17.4 mph.

For me, then, this was a really good ride.  I think the bike fit helped.  Certainly, it's even more fun to ride with feet that aren't numb.

I've done just under 400 miles this month (compared to about 450 all of last year), and almost 800 miles so far this year (my goal is 2000).   I'm on a good track to finish my fourth week of 100 miles/week, and I'm really happy about that.


How is it that I'm overwhelmed by work and yet it's summer?

And weeds are overwhelming the yard.

I have to read stuff now, and respond.

And then I have to read stuff and learn.

And then I have to read other stuff and learn, and write a thing for the student engagement project.

And then I have to read some other stuff and write a paper.

And then I have classes to prep, and a paper to revise, and SAA stuffs to sign up for.

I need to get up earlier to get a ride in, or weed, or mow before it's too hot, and then work inside when it's hot.  Happily, today isn't too hot.  Nor is the area on fire, and I think this is a good thing.

Am I procrastinating because this thing I need to read and respond to isn't "mine"?  Or would I procrastinate just as badly if it were mine?  (The second, probably.)

Friday, June 22, 2012


I just got back from a 35+ mile ride.  It was GREAT.  How great, you ask?  Very!

I usually go out to ride with a rough plan.  I'll choose a route based on wind direction, how I feel, how much time I have, how hot it is, and so on.  Today, my plan was to go out QQ for 15-25 miles; depending on how I felt, I'd turn back at whatever point.

I turned back at about 13 miles (which is where the quieter road hits the busier road, and so it's a good place to turn back and stay on the quieter road).  My feet weren't numb AT ALL, though in the past, they've started going numb at 8-10 miles.    In addition to adjusting a cleat to be straighter and my seat, the bike fitter had given me a few stretching sorts of things to try on the bike, and they seemed to help a lot, but not as much as the cleat adjustment did.

I rode back most of the way, to the point where I cross a bike path, and then because I was feeling so good, and my feet weren't numb, I turned onto the bike path and rode a while more.  When I turned back, I turned more because I was hungry (I stopped on the way back to get a sandwich because I hadn't taken one since I hadn't planned to ride so far) and tiring, and didn't want to get too far out and face a headwind coming home. 

It's so much better to ride without numb feet!  I can't believe I didn't get a bike fitting sooner! 

Now I'm tired, but not sore or anything. 

I loved my bike a lot before, but now it's even better!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I went off and talked to some folks in different stages of their academic careers recently, and it struck me how much I changed in the first couple years teaching (after my phud) and what a difference that made for me in getting a second job.

One of the folks, let's call her Betty, was talking about her work.  She was excited, and the work sounds interesting, but there was something that I can't quite put my finger on that stood out to me as telling: she's still in grad school mode.  (She finished a couple years ago.)

I don't know what exactly it was, though.  And I know for me, teaching as a lecturer helped me learn to talk about my teaching AND my research in much more effective ways.  And during my first tt job, I somehow learned to have totally different conversations about my work and other peoples' work.  The thing is, I wouldn't have believed when I was a grad student, how very much I didn't sound ready.  I couldn't have recognized it until I hit it myself, though retrospectively, I'm pretty sure a couple of my friends were already there in grad school.  (So it's not just a grad school or not thing, or an age thing, but there's some change that happens to most people, and they're in a different mode and it shows.)

I was talking with another old hand later, and separately, and we talked about Betty a bit, and the other old hand had the same impression.

The sad thing is that in a super competitive market, Betty doesn't stand much chance against the people who have made it to the different mode already.  But I wouldn't know how to help Betty change modes, or even how to explain to Betty about the modes.

Have you noticed this phenomenon?  Can you explain it better?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fresh Start

I had my teeth cleaned today.  It always feels like I get to start anew, in a way, when they've been cleaned and polished.  No problems, just needed a cleaning.

I also went to a bike shop and got a bike fit.  It was helpful, and really interesting.  I wonder at myself at having numb feet after 12 or so miles pretty much every ride, and not getting a fit sooner.  He adjusted a cleat to straighten it (I moved them up earlier in the week), moved the seat a tad up and then down, and then about a half a centimeter back.

I finished my hundred miles for the week inside this evening (since it was raining outside), and the new fit seems to help!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


That's me.

The women's studies folks on campus put together a summer reading group to read and chat about bell hooks' Where We Stand: Class Matters.  We're reading a couple chapters at a time, and then getting together mostly once a week to chat.

The argument in the first bit is that we (US dominant culture) don't talk enough about social class and its effects on people's experience.  I think we talk more about social class than hooks thinks we do, but I see that we don't talk enough about it.  hooks talks about her family background and her estrangement, and asks how much one can hold onto and how much one gives up in moving from growing up poor to getting to the middle class.  That seems like a really good question.  (She makes the point, since maybe you're wondering, that she's already written books with start their analysis from feminist and race-centered positions.  She doesn't ignore either, here, but starts with social class.)

She talks a fair bit about not fitting in at college where she first went, and eventually at Stanford, where she went also.

I found the book a bit repetitive in its argument, but hooks is readable, and interesting, so it was okay.  But I didn't find it especially compelling as far as we'd read.

When folks started talking, though, it made me really think about how bourgeois my reaction was.  Several of the people talked about growing up very poor on this or that farm in the upper midwest, mostly.

I grew up pretty solidly middle class, and very bourgeois, since my family (grandfather, father, uncle) owned a business, and thus owned the means of production.

So mostly I kept my mouth shut.

The best question of the evening was when someone asked how we define "class."  Me, I tend to think in terms of a fairly Marxist definition.  Others not so much.  A few thought more metaphorically, where "class" became about acting in certain ways, or having self-respect. 

We're meeting again tonight, and I've been thinking about the new chapters and about last week's discussion.

I wonder if the folks that talked about growing up on farms grew up on farms that their families owned (or that their families owned with the bank or credit union)? 

How would that play into the Marxist definition?  Does it mean the same thing if you own the means of production and work with that capital to produce whatever it is?  Is there a difference between owning a farm that way and owning another sort of business?

One of the things that struck another person and came up in conversation later was how many of the people in the conversation had grown up and stayed very much in the same area.  In this conversation, at least, geographical movement was tied fairly strongly to having a phd and being on the tenure line (though not completely).   (The sample size is pretty small, too.)

It feels like there's something untold in hooks' narrative about college.  I think she grew up in Ohio, and I have no idea about how public universities in Ohio were in the 70s about African American students.  I know African American students in my home state went to college at lower rates, and had far fewer opportunities.  But I wondered why she'd chosen to go to a private school rather than a state school?

I guess my wondering comes from growing up in a state with (then, at least) excellent public secondary education, to the extent that very few of the kids I graduated high school with went to private schools.  (I can name two that I know of.  Everyone else I can think of who went on went to public schools.) 

I think private schools are more prevalent in some parts of the country rather than others, and maybe offered scholarships more than public schools?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pain and Doubt

I was reading a longish written piece today, and it was really hard, mostly because it wasn't well written.  In some ways, it was painfully badly written, with sentence, paragraph, and organizational problems.

I procrastinated about reading it (not horribly, but enough to mess up most of the day), and kept getting frustrated as I was reading it.  But I finished and responded.  I hope my response was helpful.

It's so much harder to respond to a longish piece that's poorly written.  Usually, say, in a writing class, you start students with fairly short papers, and while they are sometimes painfully badly written, it's three or four pages of pain.  This was considerably longer.

And those three or four pages, as you're reading them, you think about the most important things to repond to, and the things you'll be teaching the class as a whole, and you try to focus on a couple things, starting with big picture stuff.  But this piece needs to be right, and it's rushed, and it way harder to know what to respond to.

That's where my doubts come in.  I've read papers before where I felt that maybe I just wasn't smart enough to understand, and wasn't sure that wasn't the problem more than bad writing.  This paper wasn't like that.  Instead, my doubts come in about whether I can help this writer to do a better job writing this argument.  I have such doubts about how good I am at this part of life.

I did my best, focusing first on the bigger organizational stuff, and then including the lesser stuff to the extent that it absolutely has to be at least competent.

Now it's late enough that I'm going to put my bike on the indoor trainer, put food in my face, and then spin myself tired.  (The new week starts today, so I need to do 20-25 miles to feel good about my chances for another 100 mile week.  That also has to do with rain potential, and not just whether I can ride 100 miles.)


What with the news lately, I thought I should take time to reassure you that I ride clean.  Well, not really clean, because I get chain tatoos (or "noob marks") just looking at my bike.  How does that even happen?

What I can claim, is that I don't blood dope.  That's assuming that hormonal birth control doesn't count as blood doping.  I don't think a little regular hormones counts, right? 

I do drink a fair bit of coffee.  Please dog that never gets outlawed!

And while my blood has never actually been tested for doping stuff that I know of, the Red Cross tests it regularly (when I donate) for whatever it is they look for, and I either have it (red blood cells, yay) or don't (a variety of testable diseases, boo!), and they keep calling me every eight weeks for more.

Further, my performance on the bike (and elsewhere) demonstrates that I haven't suddenly become a super biker with great endurance or incredible acceleration on hills to drop whomever I'm riding with.  I can't accelerate convincingly away from mailboxes. 

I've also never won a race.  I think it's obvious that I haven't won because I've never actually entered a race, but there may be other factors in play.  The closest I get to "pro" on a bike is putting my sunglass earpieces on the outside of my helmet straps.  (I still have my lawyer tabs and dork discs in place, though I did lose one of the wheel reflectors a while back.)

So for those of you who follow my biking, you can be reassured!  You will have to ride slowly, or you won't be following for long, though.

This message brought to you by the letters E, P, and O, and the dollar sign.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Lunch

Do you remember the part in the LotR films (the first one, maybe?) where the halflings are with Aragorn out in the wilderness, and he's trying to get them moving, but they want to stop to eat breakfast.  Aragorn says they've already eaten, and one of them asks what about second breakfast, and then has names for three extra meals?

Today, I had breakfast, then went for a bike ride with a friend.  She invited me to stay for lunch, and fixed this incredible lunch, a really full plate full, and I ate every bit, and it was really, really good.  We chatted a bit, and I went home.  And within an hour, I was hungry for second lunch.  So I had a peanut butter sandwich.  And that was good, too!

I did finish my 100 miles for the week, though, and I still have an extra day to ride tomorrow.  I also went on a short walk/run with another friend in the late afternoon.  (She's trying to get into a habit of exercising, and I'm trying to be an encouraging friend, and also getting some exercise.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


A couple of days ago, I went to the big city with a friend, and we stopped at a big sporting goods store.  I got a new daypack, to replace the one that's been repaired twice and went to Japan and the UK with me.  I also looked at new biking shoes because since I've been biking as an adult, I get numb feet after a while and it makes biking longer less and less fun.  (I currently have mountain bike sort of shoes that make it possible to walk because the cleat's recessed a bit, but supposedly, they aren't quite as stiff as road shoes.)  It's a pretty common thing, and I've read that having really stiff soles helps.  They didn't sell me new biking shoes, but suggested some inserts, so I got those and changed out the inserts in my shoes.

Then I was looking at web stuff, and noticed that in addition to the changing shoe advice, some advice said to move the cleats back.

So I figured out how to move the cleats back (there are three possible positions on my shoes to screw the cleats in), and moved the cleat on my right foot back.  Then I put the bike on the trainer, and got on and rode a bit.

Typically, my foot goes numb somewhere between mile 8 and mile 12 if I'm just riding.  On a trainer, I tend not to ride for a long while, but ride in 5 mile chunks because, well, because.  (If you've ridden a trainer, you understand, I bet, even if you have more self discipline about it.)  But sure enough, my left foot started going numb.  And neither of my feet was particularly happy about the inserts.

So then after about mile 10, I moved the cleat on the left foot.  The foot was already sort of numbing, so it never did feel quite right, but the right foot didn't get numb!

And yesterday I rode outside, did 22 miles, and my right foot didn't get numb at all.  My left foot started to a bit, but not nearly as bad as usual.  I think riding may get even more fun now!

(I love the way bikers talk about "clipping in" to "clipless pedals."  It's a weird holdover, I gather, from when bikers used toe clips and used to have to reach down and either engage or disengage them to hold or let loose the foot/shoe.) 

Monday, June 11, 2012


I was riding along today and there was a sort of minimally painful scratchiness near my nipple.  I itched at it, but I'm not the best rider, so my itching wasn't very effective.  I tried to see down my shirt to see if there was a bug, but I couldn't find one.  I itched again and again.

Finally, I felt a hard pea-sized thing.  But by this time, I was near traffic.  So I gave it a good squeeze through the jersey and bra.  Ewww.

The poor little bug paid the ultimate price for ending up in my bra somehow.  I have no idea how he got in there, but the scratchiness stopped as soon as he did.

What I do for fun!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


After or during a bike ride, I love a peanut butter sandwich.  One of my friends was teasing me gently about my love on fb the other day.  It's not the most sophisticated food, but darn, with good bread, it's great.

I have friends who cook.  One of them gave me some homemade marmalade, so I had that on my sandwich, and it was very, very good. 

Weirdly, perhaps, I didn't grow up eating marmalade.  My Mom made wickedly good boysenberry jam from our bushes, and we ate that a lot.  But not marmalade.

But eating the marmalade got me thinking:  why do we have a separate word for a fruit preserve made from oranges?  The others are all jams and jellies (until I thought of apple butter, but maybe that's different?).  But orange, and it's marmalade.

Being a curious type with access to the OED, I started looking stuff up and learned that "marmalade" is first used in the early 16th century in England, a borrowing from Portuguese.  But it wasn't originally used for orange preserves, but for quince.  I didn't even know what a quince was, really (except for Peter), so I had to look that up. 

Originally, marmalade didn't refer to what we call marmalade, a citrus (I learned that there are other citrus marmalades) fruit preserve, but that it was boiled (to get at the pectins in the fruit) and served as block of gel with rosewater.   That doesn't sound nearly as good as our marmalade.

The thing that surprised me, but shouldn't have, was that fruit preserves in general come in to use pretty late, like in the 18th century, mostly.  I think of jam as a sort of old fashioned food, but not so much.  The thing is, you need sugar and a way of sealing up a container to do fruit preserves, and neither was really much available earlier.  If you don't seal up the container, then you have to use it more quickly, I guess.

I would also like to note that "marmalade" has good mouth feel as a word; it's fun to say.  It tastes great with peanut butter, too!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Another Weekend in June, Another Dairy Breakfast!

Dairy breakfast this morning!  They started at 5am, but we didn't get there until 6:30 after a bit of a drive.  Still, I got one of the free mugs for early folks. 

There had to have been several thousand people there when we got there, and way more in line when we left.

This breakfast had scrambled eggs made in huge skillets (with three or four people stirring each from a different side), curds, milk, juice, muffins, and frozen custard over corn flakes with strawberries.  That may not sound good, but it's pretty darned incredible.

I had my picture taken with a dairy princess and everything.  We saw a cow getting really irritated with inexperienced people trying to milk her from both sides at once.

All in all, good food (though not waffles) and a fun mug!

Thursday, June 07, 2012


So cool!

Excavators in London have found remains of the Curtain Theater.

I should go back, right?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I had a goal of riding 100 miles in the first week of June, and in each week thereafter.  So far, so good.  I've ridden about 110 miles this week, and there's still another day. (I may or may not ride; we'll see.)  I also didn't ride every day, since I had the neighbors' dog visiting with me last weekend.

The next goal is for next week.

For the year, my goal is 2000 miles.  I biked 450 miles last year, so that would be up a LOT.  Then again, I was gone part of the biking season walking around London and such.

I've biked just over 500 miles so far, so it's potentially do-able.  But I will be away for just over a week next month.  And then I have commitments to other stuff in August.  So it will depend on a long fall.

My heel is doing much better.  Yesterday, I was walking on one leg tiptoe and the other semi-tiptoe, and then iced them in the afternoon.  Today I'm walking as normally as I usually do.  I think I'll give it another day before I try a short run again.

There's also an article to write, books to read, classes to prepare.  I love summer!

Monday, June 04, 2012


I have twin boo boos.  The other one isn't nearly as impressive, though.  I think I did the initial ouchie yesterday, when I went out to play outside with a friend.  And then we went again today, and I made it worse, probably.  But I may be wrong.  It seemed to hurt right when I started today, but then, it didn't hurt when I rode my bike this morning.  Ice helps.  (That's the bottom of my heel, by the way, just so you're not confused.  And let me say, if you're not very flexible, taking a picture of the bottom of your heel isn't easy.)

MA Misery

We have a small MA program here at NWU.  It serves mostly people who feel geographically located and don't want to move elsewhere along with the occasional person who did a BA here and thinks this school is the be all. 

Our program isn't great, alas.  Part of it has to do with resources, and part with our students.  It's not that some of them aren't capable.  But even the most capable students tend to think of getting an MA here as a part-time thing, so they put it on the back burner, especially after their first year.  That means that they take a partial or full load of classes their first year, and the structure means that they usually get the work done.  And then they're basically told to find someone to write a thesis with.  Sometimes, they have a good idea, find someone, and get right to work, finishing in a year.

But sometimes, not.  Other things get in the way.  And then a couple years go by, and they think, oh, I need to finish that.  Or they get a letter telling them that they need to finish by the next semester.  So they think of something to write on, and do a desperate search for a thesis director.  Then they apply for extra time.

I'm working with three thesis students now.  Two of them are on their final extensions.  Both had extensions before they even asked me to be their director.  And both are desperate to finish. 

The thing is, with both of these two students, they tend to contact someone (me, in these cases) and they want to finish.  And they have an idea, so I give them feedback.  And then six months later, they come back with a half-assed draft of a prospectus or something, and want to get things hopping.  It's not that I'm unsympathetic, and I try to read quickly, but when I hear from someone only after six months, and suddenly they expect me to tell them they're geniuses and doing great stuff when they aren't, I get frustrated.

I think the problem is that my expectations are that graduate work should be a fairly high priority, at least as high for the student as it is for me.  And they have way higher priorities, but still expect me to read and respond to their work quickly, even during the summer (when I'm not on contract, but I am trying not to be a jerk about it).  Further, it's all done longish distance, because they're closer to here than anywhere else, but don't want to arrange to drive 50+ miles to talk about a chapter.

Now back to reading.  I don't know what to say to this student about this chapter. 

I've told the third student that I don't want to hear every six months, but expect more regular contact.  And I actually have high hopes, since this student hasn't gotten anywhere near the point of needing an extension, has done a draft of a chapter, and has a really solid idea.

Academic Cog's Summer Meme

This seems like a fun idea from Sisyphus at Academic Cog!  And where did all the memes go?

1. What is your favorite part of summer?

Warmth.  Wearing shorts and still being plenty warm.

2. What's your favorite quintessentially summer food? Least favorite?

Ice Cream!  Maybe a root beer float.  And Dairy Breakfast!

3. Best beverage to beat the summer heat:

Water from a hose.  I don't know what it is about water from a hose, but it's so good!

4. Least favorite/most annoying thing related to summer?

Knowing that fall is around the corner?  Rain.  Who the heck thought it would be a good idea to have rain in the summer?  (So says a person who grew up in a near desert.)

5. Pick one: the lake /the beach. Why?

Beach.  Because it means there's a coast.  And there's fresh air and sea smell.  And maybe a summer fog rolling in to burn off as the morning warms up.  (Not that lakes are bad, but beach!)  Beaches are best when dogs are playing in the surf.

6. Most amusing summer vacation trip you've ever taken?

Amusing?  I'm not sure.  I think I've only ever been on one summer vacation trip that wasn't pretty darned wonderful, and that was a family trip across I-80 from the Bay Area to Salt Lake City in a car with no air conditioning towing a rented rv thingy.

Among the best: during my teen years, my folks would pack a bunch of my cousins, maybe an aunt or two, and we'd go car camp at a lake and waterski.  Good times.  My bike trip in Yellowstone was also a highlight.  And London last year, totally a great trip.

7. Most ridiculous/cringe-inducing/blush-provoking summer outfit you have seen? (Bonus points if you yourself were wearing it!)

Me in biking lycra.  My not so secret super power is that people laugh.

8. Your absolute dream summer afternoon would be:

Not too hot, bike ride among redwood trees, or even a walk among redwood trees.  Just thinking of the smell fills my heart.  Pine tree smell is also good.  And if I'm dreaming, then there are hills and I absolutely fly up them.

That was fun!  Thanks, Sisyphus!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Political Mail

I got a piece of weird political mail the other day.

It lists my name, along with the names of about 10 people in my neighborhood, some on my street, some on streets near, and then in two adjacent columns, headed by recent election dates, either a blank or a "voted" next to each name.

In the other part of the piece it talks about doing one's civic duty and voting in the upcoming election.

I'm guessing this is something my party put together trying to personalize the voting process and make us think about each others' voting record?  It seems so weird, though.  They wouldn't want to do the "get out the vote" thing for members of another party, and I'm registered with a party through my voter registration.

While the local county clerks obviously keep track of who's voted, I wouldn't have thought that those records would be available to just anyone who walked in. 

I'm sort of creeped out by the mail.  I think there are two reasons.  First, it identifies me to other folks as a registered member of the party, just as it identifies those other folks to me as a registered member of the party.  Second, I live on a street with 9 houses, near other streets with lots more houses, and there is only a small number of names on the list.  Does that mean that only a few of us are members of this party?  Or did they just put in a few on each mailing list?  Are there really so few of us?

A few years ago, I was at a family party and a cousin's wife asked me something about if it was horrible to live in an area that was so not where we're from.  (Yes, people where I'm from are as parochial sometimes as people from anywhere.)  And I said, no, there were great people here, and jerks, just as there were great people and jerks where we're from.  There are really fine people whose politics I disagree with, and there are jerks whose politics are right in line with mine.

And I believe that.   But the attacks on teachers and public employees here have been so viscious and so sustained that I also feel a bit that voting for/with the attackers is personal.  And I'm tired of feeling attacked.

I'm also tired of the emails and mailings I get from my party re-emphasizing the nastiness.

I have friends who've been working dedicatedly on election stuff, and if we lose, I'm sure I'll feel bad that I didn't do more to contribute, but I'm so sick of all this.  And to think that it's going to go on at probably this level and more into November makes me want to wretch.

I'm going to dig up some irises today to make room for some strawberries.  And I'm going to give the irises to some other folks, one a neighbor who isn't on the list, and one a colleague whose politics I'm unsure of.  And I sure as heck hope they enjoy the flowers.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Another June, Another Dairy Breakfast!

  It's Dairy Month, and Dairy Month means Dairy Breakfast!  Belgian waffles, butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup.  Life only gets better when there's ice cream for desert.
Here's a curious calf.  I have a feeling this is going to be veal fairly soon, but I'm not sure.  But s/he sure was curious about my ipod trying to take pictures.

In other news, I'm so sick of politics I could spit.  It's not like all the ads are going to change my mind.  Nor, I think, are most people going to change their minds. 

'Nuf said. 

I'm frustrated by our administrative folks.  I got an email (on a department list) asking for folks who were interested to say so.  I did.  The list sender forwarded my interest.  And then I heard nothing.  So last week, I asked, and found out that I was supposed to have known to send a statement of interest and that the person who sent out the original call didn't bother to contact me or the list sender to say anything.  EFF that.

Then I found out that something I signed up for in part because the call for interest said we would be paid isn't going to actually PAY us, but is going to let us purchase books, technology, or travel.  It may be worth doing still, but I'm not happy that they mislead us.

We had a meeting last week, and had an assignment to do before the meeting.  We were supposed to read some stuff, and write some discussion questions, and then bring in a syllabus for the class we planned to work on.  I spent the morning of the meeting working on the syllabus, basically writing the whole thing, revising a couple assignments, and so on.  And we didn't need any of the stuff after all.  To cap it off, the person facilitating the meeting condescendingly kept saying about how s/he was modeling this or that thing that we should do when we teach.

I wanted to raise my hand and ask if s/he were modeling how to teach students not to bother to do assigned work.  But I didn't.  And I've changed my mind about which class I want to work on for this thing.  And now one of my classes is pretty much prepped for fall.  Bonus for me!

Time to do some reading.