Tuesday, July 25, 2006

One for the road

So why haven't I been posting of late? Well, folks, that's easy: because on Friday afternoon, the computer decided to go kaputski. I couldn't start the machine again in any sort of mode, safe or not. When I finally brought it into the IT folk yesterday at campus, they basically figured out that my hard drive had melted and that there was little I could do.

This made me extremely happy that I had taken some time out on Wednesday to back all the important Word files onto my campus file space. Whew!

I did lose some amazing baby pictures (which I had not backed up on Wednesday, thinking I would do so when I had more time on Monday... oops...), but most of the early stuff was backed up in May, so I'm also OK there. Double whew.

And, as it turns out, I was due for a renewal on my computer since, apparently, the campus replaces them when the warranty runs out after three years. So I'm now typing on a new laptop (looking all space-agey) and trying to remember all the bookmarks I had saved on the old computer. (Still, I'm a-likin' this new one.)

And why might I not be posting for a few weeks? Well, see, tomorrow I am leaving for Ann Arbor, Michigan to see my parents.



With Xan.

Followed by my driving to Cape Cod

The straitjacket for when I finally arrive on Cape had already been sized and ordered. In any case, I may not be posting for a little bit because either (a) I'm having trouble finding a good, free Internet connection, or (b) I have gone plumb nuts. Either way, wish me luck.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Still portraying a Niagara Falls barrel

I confess that I actually uttered the following words since the summer began to another professor in the department: "Well, I'm not even sure how to teach about poetry in class. This is why I stick to teaching fiction and film."

Here is, perhaps, another reason. Personally, I'm mildly impressed at my 16-year-old self's turning-of-phrase in "captain at helm." I'm not entirely sure I would have come up with something like this now.

Since we're unearthing all sorts of the musty past, I confess that I've recently rediscovered a whole trove of poetry written during high school and college. Unlike the example on the pink card, most of my teenage stuff is best described by Henry Rollins (paraphrased here): "And you lock yourself in your room and dress in black and your write lots of poetry and you know it's all good because you are the king or queen of paaaain."

Exhibit A:

[originally published in Kaleidoscope, Colegio Roosevelt, 1987]

Eyes bright
Cheeks are rosy
A smile curled upon my lips
A friendly hello to a few friends . . .
Not much, but enough
To let them see what I
Want them to see.

Mm. Cheery.

It's stuff like this that led my tía Elsa to inform my mother that I was about to commit suicide at any moment. Don't let her know, but one of my most recent poems, written on the sly in the last year, is titled "Car, crash." (For those of you now even more worried about me, my most recent one - still in progress - is tentatively titled "Music for Anne Beattie's Frank," which is much lighter. No, no Xan poems yet -- I'm too busy running after him to write poems about him.)

Still, I wonder what that 16-year-old whipping out a ditty on the back of was probably a note attached to a carnation or something would think of me now, twice a lifetime later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Potential gothdom thwarted by big eyes

I have over the last week or so been trying to figure out how to goth out the various accoutrements on my computer. This is in part inspired by my far-cooler-dad-than-I-am nephew Joel who is in part my idol because he actually did funky, experimental looks and things that I only thought about in passing. (Case in point: nipple ring.) Despite my preponderance for Depeche Mode, the Cure and Interpol over Britney, I have never really seriously tried going goth. There was a moment when I had makeup on college, but it literally lasted days and really wasn't going to work at Dartmouth, at least not for me. This does not mean I dropped my penchant for black clothing, or my realization that I actually still look good with eyeliner; I just decided it wasn't really worth the effort to goth myself out for what it would get me.

Anyway, I wouldn't have done it with my computer either, Joel's coolness notwithstanding, if I didn't also read that it would be easier on the eyes. I don't know whether this is actually true or not, but it sounds good and provides a good excuse to pimp my desktop in a dark way. Indeed, I'm loving all of the new fun ways in which my computer now inspires me to dance alone in a corner.

Here's the problem: Xan's eyes just aren't amenable to the whole goth aesthetic.

You see, my desktop picture is the famous Ikea-after-finding-Dino pic (seen here) and, while everything else can be modified accordingly, my son's wide-open orbs of blueness seemingly fill up the screen, bringing joy and light and a smile to my lips... and otherwise thwarting my attempts to inspire despair through the color black.

And oddly enough, I consider this a good contradictory juxtaposition, precisely because it reminds me of me: sunny disposition from hell that would love to just wear lots of black anyway. Perhaps I can instill this in my son? Maybe I just need to buy him clothing that is slightly more offensive, for starters.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It must be the calcium caseinate

Do you see the unbridled joy in this boy's face?

This is what happens when, after an entire lifetime of organic juice mixed with flaxseed extract and no television, you expose a child to Twinkies and The Price Is Right.

Thanks to Uncle Jew for providing the semi-baked goods. (And before anyone jumps on me for the nickname, when seriously asked, this is the one he chose. No kidding.) Thanks also to Auntie Twinkie for taking the pictures, right before bemoaning the fact that creamy goo filling was getting all over the floor. (And yes, she chose that name, too.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ah, Zinedine, you foolish man...

Not that we were rooting for France or anything. I wasn't, at least -- I'm thrilled that Italy won, despite their cheap win over Australia in the 2nd round. I was sure he would win the Golden Ball (which he did). And on the way up to visit my sister-in-law in New York, Angela floated the idea that Zinedine would be a great name if we had a second boy. ("Oh yeah," I said, "then we would have Zin and Xan." "No," she replied, "we could call him 'Dean.' And I know how much you would love that, with your James Dean fetish and all." She has a very good point there...)

Anyway, I found him to be quite the gentleman footballer, even if (like me) he's ancient at 34.

And then he goes and does something really stupid, like this:

I mean, really, what was he thinking? Hmm, maybe no one will see me? Despite the fact that the ENTIRE WORLD was watching? I mean, come on.

Well, there ends my sports obsession for another four years. And we have all learned that I should not predict anything sport-related. Then again, maybe I can procure a Spanish footballing jersy on discount now? Hmm...

Friday, July 07, 2006

I can't believe it

I've made my own self-imposed deadline today for getting four chapters and the introduction into good enough shape to send it out.


And now, I can go to New York for the weekend. Without the computer.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"Well, at least there's one thing you can do in the dark"

The title of the post comes from one of Angela's ex-boyfriends, who turned and said that to her when the lights went out on the train -- and then whipped out his laptop. The moral here: when presented with a blackout, go for the instant romance.

There may be an exception, however, when watching a World Cup soccer match with friends and the lights go out during a terrific thunderstorm when Germany and Italy are still 0-0 ten minutes into the first overtime period.

After the collective scream, we scrambled around the house to find our portable radio in order to pick up the sole radio station that we knew was carrying World Cup games. Done entirely in Spanish with narration provided by an over-ebulliant Argentine and featuring a very catchy theme song ("¡¡Fútbol, fútbol, fútbol de primera, la radio del Mundial!!"), I translated as best as I could for everyone on our front porch, given the spotty reception and the excited Argentine. When, in second overtime, he yelled "Goooooooooooooooool," we still weren't sure who had scored and had to wait what seemed like an eternity before he yelled "Italia" and we all started cheering ourselves, no doubt startling all our neighbors still without power. (I was trying to act angrily, of course, since my "curse" is back -- but of course, I was rooting for the Italians. Sorry, Stefan.)

We just got our power back around 10 or so, and then it went out again for a while only to have just come back. And guess who's typing on a laptop now?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Lessons in hilarity

While out to lunch at an amazing Peruvian restaurant in Gaithersburg called La flor de la canela with a bunch of friends, it's the following comment at the table that causes my son (my son!) to crack up and laugh harder than at any point in time during the day:

"So, Jeff, do you have tenure yet?"


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Europa Europa

Well, as becks492 sadly points out, despite my whimpers of Allez Bleu!, France indeed did not lose today. In fact, they played darned well and Brazil justly deserved to lose. (This, unlike the Final in '98, which I'm still not over.) On the plus side, I said enough wonderful things about David Beckham under my breath to actually have him taken out with something of an injury and the darling upstart Portuguese made it through. At this point, I have no idea who I should really be rooting for at all. I'm just sad that all the New World teams are out and that, dagnabbit, the Europeans who sniffed "It wouldn't be right if the Cup is played and Europe and not won be a European" will have their wish come true. (I'm still bitter that Argentina, clearly the best team playing up until their goalie injury, is not still in this hunt. Boo.)