Monday, May 28, 2007


"The Winner Takes It All"
("But tell me does she kiss/Like I used to kiss you?/Does it feel the same/When she calls your name?")
Swedish reserve
a can of mace
Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know"
("And every time you speak her name/Does she know how you told me/You'd hold me until you died/Till you died, but you're still alive")

(Swedish entry and winner of Eurovision song contest 1974)
[Frankie Goes to Hollywood +
SNL's "Dieter"]
Verka Serdushka's "Danzing Lasha Tumbai"

(this year's runner-up -- you really need to see this to believe it)

The ABBA Gold CD that Angela found for me at the local library book sale
yet another trip to Ikea
happy child in back seat of car bouncing and singing along to "Voulez-Vous"

("vooooooooooo, a-HA! a-HA!")
completely manufactured Swedish goodness
realization that I walked through the entire store with Xan's child-size fireman's hat only after we got to the check-out line

("Dada wear the hat. DADA wear the hat!")
slightly mortified, but only slightly

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sweet dreams, little boy

So here we are, at the beginning of a new era.

See that? That's my kid. In a bed.

Just off to the left of the picture, you can just see the post that is part of his crib. Early this last week, I found him having climbed up the rail of his crib, stuck at the top because he was afraid to fall down. For the rest of the week, he slept with the rail at the lower position, so that if he tried to climb out, he wouldn't fall very far. (Pillows on the floor also helped alleviate fears for us. As it turns out, he didn't actually try again.)

We had our eye on this bed from Ikea anyway; it's just a regular kid's bed (not a toddler bed), but it does flip over into a pseudo-bunk thing for later. Plus, it comes with a canopy which, because it has stars on it, we naturally purchased. It would have taken me about two hours less time to put it together, but someone small insisted on helping when he realized what I was doing. (Oh yes, and we had to go back to Ikea to return the very cool sheets we bought; upon opening, we discovered to our horror that they were duvet covers instead -- and Xan has the coolest hand-made quilt ever, since it features monsters. Hence, the cool blue tones you see here.)

In any case, Ange tried to put him in the crib, assuming he'd prefer that. Nope: "Xan sleep in big bed." OK, then. If he hasn't slept in it in two days, the crib will go upstairs for good.

Then again, I can't believe this will go without a hitch. As I type his, it's only been four hours. I expect at some point he'll wake up and freak out -- and my guess is that that will happen around 5:30AM when he'll fall out of bed. Stay tuned for updates. For now, let's just hope he keeps on sleeping.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I keep looking for Rick

One of the major news stories today, of course, has been the change of leader in France. As such, news stories on NPR have constantly been playing "La Marseillaise."

Naturally, therefore, I've been playing that famous scene from Casablanca in my head all day. Because I really don't think of France whenever I hear that song. I think of Madeline LeBeau's open mouth singing, "Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras." Is that wrong?

Monday, May 14, 2007

But should it be a philodendron, a cactus or a spider plant?

My super fabulous undergrad assistant for the last year, Liza, graduated this last weekend. She took my class her freshman fall (naturally, earning a well-deserved A) and I wanted her from the beginning to lead my post-screening discussions at some point. She has done a great job this year and I'll miss her greatly.

I had met her mom several years ago when her cousin Grant (who was also my assistant before Liza) graduated and the whole family came from Minnesota to celebrate; this time, because we couldn't join them yesterday for dim sum, Liza and her parents took us out for lunch. Among other things, her parents asked about what students were really like and I have her my impressions. "I have to say, however, that the thing that really gets me are students who expect to get an 'A' for class participation for just showing up. 'I was here, don't I deserve an "A"?'"

"That's amazing."

"Yeah, I mean, a potted plant can sit in the corner every day. Does it deserve an 'A'?"

"You know, you should do that."


"Bring a potted plant to class on the first day. And just sit it on the corner every class. And you can always point out that by the end of the semester, the potted plant has actually grown."

This, I have to say, is brilliant. If anybody gives me grief, I can just point. That potted plant is getting more of an education than you are! Sheer brilliance!

I have all summer to pick my potted plant. And my pot. Because the Fleischer memorial hibiscus, currently in my office, is just way too big for me to lug all over the place. Consider this a solicitation for suggestions.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Until further notice, here is the party line

Enough people ask and I'm tired of giving the real answer. My wife has also snarkily noted that she no longer believes what is actually the real answer, so I have decided to stop telling anyone (including her) the truth.

So, if anyone asks, know that the answer (which I will deliver with my most Nutrasweet of smiles) will be this: "No, the book is not even close to being done. I have a lot to do on it. I may never finish. There: are you satisfied?"