All done

November 29, 2008

“Sheep Days” is officially done.  Check out the new blog I am working on with my wife, Alex, at


On hiatus

November 7, 2007

Until I’m done with comprehensive exams and dissertation prospectus, “Sheep Days” is on hiatus.  Hopefully I will complete both these tasks by the end of summer 2008.

Catching Up

September 30, 2007

I haven’t posted in a spell, though I have thought about posting a few times. But, alas, blogging isn’t like sinning or gift giving, and so the thought doesn’t count. Here are three proto-posts that never got off the ground and will likely stall here in short form:

  1. The community college where I work has a mass email list that goes out to all staff and faculty. One office that uses this list more frequently than I would like is the department of student records. Every week or two they send out a message with no body, only a subject line and an attached file. The attachment is always entitled the same way:  “deceasedstudent.doc.” When you download the file, it opens to be the name of a newly dead student. The phrase afterwards is always: “Adjust your records accordingly.”
  2. We went out for brunch last Friday at a local apple-picking farm and cafe. The waitress learned that we recently moved here from out of state and decided to give us some touristy tips for the fall. She said we should drive up the Great River Road, which hugs the Mississippi. Apparently the fall foliage and sights of the river are lovely along this road. Then she said something that was like a square peg in a round hole, at least for me: “You would never think that the Mississippi would be beautiful.”
  3. Did you know that Robert Redford’s film The Legend of Bagger Vance is based on the Bhagavad Gita? The main character is a golf phenom named Rannulph Junuh (R. Junuh aka Arjuna) who was ruined by World War I. He returned from the European battlefields to Savannah, Georgia, a shell of his former self, took up the bottle, and seemed to have forgotten his “one true swing.” A mysterious caddy, Bagger Vance (aka Bhagavan aka Krishna) comes to his aid and restores his dharma as the born-to-golf man he is. Hare hare, Nicklaus Nicklaus, hare hare. Tiger, Tiger, hare hare.

One of my favorite bloggers, Dave Bonta over at Via Negativa, has proclaimed September 2 to be International Rock-Flipping Day. Want more information? Want to participate? Check out the details here.

Old Feelings

June 26, 2007

I woke up this morning full of emotion. My diaphragm felt weak and sick, my ears were flushed, and I felt this awful shame. I can’t remember what I had been dreaming, but an old memory had surfaced and was pushing my mood around.

In the memory, I was in a bar called SoHa. “SoHa” was the clever name of this new bar, referring to its location on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan just SOuth of HArlem. It was dark inside, with red lights and some loudish music. The horseshoe shaped bar abutted the wall on the street; you entered on one side of the bar and circled around it as you got deeper into the space. I was with two people all the way around the bend of the bar. We were sitting in plush chairs around a little coffee table, leaning our heads in to each other to be heard. One of the people was the woman who would eventually become my best friend through my college years. For some reason, she had recently died her hair a platinum-y yellow. The other was a goofy, double-jointed, balding graduate student in economics who always wore a leather jacket and multi-colored leather shoes. It can’t hurt to reveal that his name was Tavis, a name I always thought odd but well-suited for its owner. I can’t recall for sure, but I think this was in December of 1997. I was a junior in college and had just returned from nine months studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Before and after my time away, I worked for a bartending agency. In fact, I had worked my way up in the agency and had become responsible for giving classes to aspiring bartenders. I would teach them several dozen drinks, including the fruity or creamy ones that no one ever orders, at least not in New York. In fact, most of the bartending jobs I did were at private parties or art openings and consisted of little more than opening wine or mixing gin with tonic.

Anyway, that evening at the bar, my friend Tavis, as he always did, decided to order some screwy drink that involved several liquors and juices and had some ridiculous name like Singapore Sling or Harvey Wallbanger. The cocktail waitress quickly returned to inform Tavis that the bartender didn’t know how to make his drink. Through the murk, we could see the hip barman pulling a beer, muttering, and rolling his eyes. Tavis cheerfully offered to give the recipe, which he proceeded to do. In a while, the waitress returned with the drink in all its unnecessary and pretentious grandeur. I was unreasonably embarrassed, and I remember that I wanted to leave and never return.

So there’s the terrible, shameful memory. I can’t believe I can still feel so small and worried about the bad behavior of others–insignificant bad behavior–after almost a decade.  I’m not even clear why this memory is so embarrassing.  Am I a freak? Do you feel misplaced emotions based on old memories?

Trying to come back

May 18, 2007

I haven’t blogged in almost a month.  The universe seems to be basically the same.

I have moved many times in my life, but this was the first time with two small children.  No move has stressed me out more; I seem to have become more and more tied to my daily routines.  These routines have apparently become more than just comfortable rhythms for me–I have been terribly decalibrated and am trying to get back on track.  I follow daily habits closer than most, so it has been trying to come up with new ways of making the coffee, of brushing my teeth, of vacuuming the floor, of putting away the dishes, etc.  I can’t just do these things “for the time being;” every act is a rehearsal for my regular routine.  Add to this my daughter Lily’s full-on two-year-old attitude that everything is hers to fool with, when and where she wants, accompanied with as much crying and stubbornness as possible, and I am trying to keep my act together.

Despite this stress, I like our new house, our new midwestern town, the rain and the green, mowing the grass, pulling weeds among the former owners’ shrubs, meeting the neighbors on a street so American it’s like a sitcom.

In any case, I’ve broken back into my blog, and I’ll try to keep posting stuff.  I have enjoyed reading your blogs, and also will try to comment more regularly.

Wikipedia Birthday Meme

March 19, 2007

Via One Word, this is the first blog meme I’ve ever participated in.

1. Go to wikipedia and type in your birthday, month and day only. (April 15)

2. List events that occurred on that day that interest you.

  • 1865 – Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth.
  • 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, causing the deaths of over 1,500 people.
  • 1920 – Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti murder two security guards while robbing a shoe store.
  • 1947 – Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team, breaking that sport’s color line.
  • 1955 – The first McDonald’s restaurant opens in Des Plaines, Illinois.

3. List a few birthdays.

  • 1452 – Leonardo da Vinci
  • 1843 – Henry James
  • 1858 – Émile Durkheim (a forebear in the field of Religious Studies!)
  • 1912 – Kim Il-sung
  • 1951 – Heloise, Hints from

4. List a death.

  • Other than the aforementioned Lincoln: 2001 – Joey Ramone

5. List a holiday or observance. (if any)

  • The feast day of Blessed Waltman of Antwerp–a big shindig every year!

6. Tag some other bloggers.

  • BesoMami
  • Outside of the Box
  • Blog Itch
  • Anyone else who cares to participate!