Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

I love my cats so much, its almost twisted. I don't carry pictures of them in my wallet or call them my fur-children, but I'm getting close to that level of craziness. Here's a photo of BOK on Beorn's lap. BOK is an expert at looking relaxed.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

I would like to explain...

I haven't been blogging and I would like to tell the full story of the rollercoaster I have been on, but I don't have hours to explain. So I'll give a brief timeline/synopsis...

Last Friday-Rushing to class I fall and twist my ankle. This happens to me fairly often so I didn't think much of it.

Last Weekend-My foot is still sore so I try the RICE treatment.

Monday-My class is going to visit the site of our next project and since missing a site visit is highly frowned upon I spend the morning limping around on a gravel road. By mid-afternoon my foot is pretty sore and turning purple.

Tuesday-I skip my classes to take my foot to the urgent care clinic. The x-rays show a broken 5th metatarsal. The doctor warns me to absolutely stay off the foot until I can be seen the orthopedist on Thursday because it might be the dreaded "Jones" fracture. The prognosis is that I may have to be on crutches, not using the foot for at least six weeks.

Wednesday-I'm terribly slow and tired from trying hop around on the crutches. I manage to arrange for the student disability center shuttle to lug me around campus from class to class. Unfortunately, that doesn't solve my biggest problem, the fact that two of my three classes are held on the second floor of a building without elevators. Since I fell down and broke my foot when I had two good legs, I'm not at all sure about negotiating the stairs with one leg and two crutches.

Thursday-My upper body is so sore I can't life my arms above my head. I'm worrying about how I'm going to get through my classes and my two jobs while staying off my broken foot. The orthopedist takes a quick look at my foot, but he begins by mistakenly examining my good foot. Then he tells me that it should heal in about four weeks and I can walk on it as much as I want.

I'm not sure whether to be relieved or pissed off. I have missed almost a week of classes trying to stay off the foot. Between Beorn and I, we have had some sort of major health issue every week this quarter. I'm completely behind on all my work and have no idea how to get caught up. On the plus side, I can now walk around in my wooden shoe/brace with only minimal crutch use. Beorn doesn't have to do all the chores. I can now manage to walk and carry a glass of water at the same time.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Underpaid professions I'd like to try

Trillwing has written some great posts recently. Yesterday's installment, (The Clutter Museum: 100 years ago today. . . ) on the great quake of 1906, is facinating. The hundredth anniversery of the quake empasizes the small number of survivors that must be left to remember it. Last year on the anniversery the SF Gate wrote about a small gathering of survivors, take a look here. Here's another article on the memories of survivors.

As a teenager I had some strange jobs and one of them introduced me to a quake survivor. I served meals for a assisted living development. Its was sort of a strange job because we had to dress up and act like we were waiting tables at a restaurant, but it was really a glorified cafeteria. The best shift was Saturday afternoons when I would set up an ice cream sunday making station. Lots of the seniors were pleasantly surprised every week. One resident was a quake survivor, but, like many of the survivors in the media recently, she was a small child at the time and so didn't remember much. Somehow it was still facisnating to talk to her, a living connection to a time I can only imagine.

Trillwing also posted recently "underpaid professions I'd like to try." I think my number one underpaid profession would be oral historian! I love talking to people and hearing their stories.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How Evil Are You?

You Are 32% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.


Bad quarter, bad!

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. I was convinced I had strep, but the doctor claims its just a virus. Yuck! The first week and a half of the quarter were destroyed by my own lack of motivation and Beorn's rotator-cuff injury. When Beorn is hurting he likes lots of attention and has trouble sleeping. If he is having trouble sleeping he tends to make sure that I'm not sleeping either. Maybe I'm just a light sleeper, but he makes a lot of loud noises and rolls around in bed. Now this virus has wiped me out. Tonight was my first "review session" of the quarter. Instead of a required section, this quarter the class I'm TAing for is having us run weekly review sessions. I was expecting about 10-20 people, but 35+ showed up. I was exhausted so I didn't get everything prepared. Since its a geography class I was hoping to show them google earth, but couldn't figure out how my laptop was supposed to connect to the campus network. :( I'm disappointed with my teaching techniques but feel like I have limited time and energy to prepare for these review sessions. The prof gives the TAs her lecture notes but doesn't want us to share them with the students. She wants us to give them handouts and review materials but not directly from her notes because she doesn't want them to get away with not showing up to lecture. The whole class is about memorization, but I'm not allowed to tell them what to memorize. Also, there were two TAs last quarter prepping materials for review sessions, but I'm supposed to make up all the review materials again from scratch. I feel like I'm asking the students to do busy work and doing lots of busy work myself. I'm also behind on my own schoolwork and looking forward to at least three days of illness. Sickness makes me whiny.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

I'm a feminist icon now!

Look at this! I love bell hooks!

Which Western feminist icon are you?

You are bell hooks (no capital letters)! You were one of the first black wymyn to discuss in public spaces the differences between being a black womyn and being a black man or a white womyn. You are the mother of intersectionality and you couldn't care less about identity politics. Thanks for making feminism accessible and calling the white, middle class wymyn on their bullshit!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code


Antique Drafting Table

Its hilarious, I just checked my site stats and my hits have just about quadrupled! Mention sex and you get all sorts of random folks. Somehow I don't think my writings will be what they expected. Sometimes I think I'm just the kind of person that people don't know what to say to, maybe my thoughts are too wandering.

My big excitement for the day is the repair of my antique drafting table. Last summer Beorn and I went to a yard sale and spotted it. It was huge, old, and in need of a couple of repairs. Well, this Fall was not the best time for us and after moving its been sitting behind the tub containing the fake Christmas tree that our rich friends gave us.

These folks are hilarious, they are white, but the guy has decided that he's Buddhist. His wife has such low self esteem that she is trying to be the perfect June Cleaver housewife (she's terrible at it) so she just goes along with whatever he says. Last year the guy got a job in LA so we helped them pack up and move. We got a ton of stuff that they didn't have room to take with them. This guy is the most materialistic Buddhist I have ever met. He buys himself sports cars, racing bikes, and big screen TV's yet their house was always messy and broken down. When they moved they gave us a big screen TV, an almost new Mac, an 80 gallon fish tank, and a fake Christmas tree. The tree was too big to fit into the attic in the box it was in, so this weekend I packed it up in giant trash bags and stuffed it up there.

Then I made a trip to the hardware store and managed to find exactly the stuff I needed to repair the table. I'm so excited to have a decent work space! Now I just need to figure out how to re-string the parallel rule. I would post a photo but we lost the power cord to the digital camera during the move. I swear half my life is just trying find objects that have gone MIA.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sex in academia

The lawsuit that destroyed the department (mentioned in the previous post) related to two profs who were having a sexual relationship (allegedly) and an accusation that this was the reason that they both voted that another prof didn't deserve a raise. Its a ridiculous accusation because there are so many reason that another person might influence your vote that isolating sex as one of them is just stupid. Many people let their friends influence them and you just can't sue someone for that. Why should sex be any different?

So I thought I would write something about my attitudes towards sex in academia. What is appropriate? When should co-workers/administrators be concerned. I'll tell you what I have learned in my limited direct experience. As an undergrad I attended a tiny midwestern college, with a serious left-ish bent. I was a science major and all the science profs and classes were housed in one four floor building so it was easy to know what was going on with everyone.

First quarter in college I took a class with a Poli-Sci prof who was rumored to have affairs with female students. I have no idea if the rumors were true, but he only called on the skinny blonde in the class and a few male students he considered brilliant.

Third year in college, my organic chem. prof continously stared at my breasts while he lectured. He had daughters my age, but he liked to talk with troubled female students and try to comfort them. When I told female microbiology prof she offered to help me address the issue, but I felt he hadn't done anything clearly inappropriate, just made me uncomfortable.

Fourth year, the same Microbiology prof explained to a small class (maybe four women) how she discovered that it was a bad idea to have a relationship with your students. She had married her disseration advisor, had two kids, and then divorced. She was adament that it was never appropriate to get involved in situations of uneven power.

The next summer another student and I rented a house across the street from her. Over the summer she had an affair with a student who had just graduated. Its true that she was never going to have that person as her student again, but I was deeply disappointed with her.

Fifth year, the physics prof and the new biochem prof begin an affair. They are both married.

Here's my point, although none of these situations were examples of particularly good judgement on the part of the people involved, none of them involved the university administration, lawsuits, or other scandels. Students and other profs knew what was going on, but stayed out of it. Sometimes smart people do really stupid things, but its not possible for the rest of us to correct them if they are not ready to listen. The last thing you need when you are being an idiot is someone pointing it out to you or trying to destroy your career over it. Unless you directly cross some line I think everyone should butt out.

For example, profs should not have relationships with undergrads, even if they aren't in your class. (Most places have rules against that anyway.)

Profs and grad students shouldn't get involved unless they are not in any way involved in the same department.

(The same thing goes for undergrads and TAs.) Beorn is an undergrad at the same U. where I'm a grad student, but we are in complete different departments.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Tell me your sex stories!


How old is too old?

I tried to write something about this last night, but it got too confused. A number of years ago the department that was associated with my grad program was disbanded because of a lawsuit. This week the U. paper reported that the last professors that had been teaching undergrad classes in the discipline were retiring and so the classes would no longer been offered. Now I had found out about this several months ago, but all my friend who aren't in the grad program just read about it in the paper. So everyone is asking me if I'm worried.

This turn of events isn't a surprise. After the lawsuit, the agreement was that those professors would go on teaching those classes until they retired and then the university would cancel them. The bigger problem is whether the grad program will eventually be dissolved as well. Partly I think it should, because the university gives it no support and most students could enroll in other programs just as easily. But I'm not sure what that would mean for me. Do I want to get a PhD from a program that is currently self distructing? Also, my speciality is really a related discipline, so maybe I should switch programs so that I am properly positioned in the correct discipline. The problem is that I'm already in my early thirties, if I finish an MA and move on to a PhD program I could be in grad school until I'm forty. It seems that I would be at a disadvantage when competing against other candidates 10-15 years younger.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Women writers meme

Obviously I need to read more.
Spotted at The Clutter Museum.

Instructions: Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you've been wanting/might like to read. ??Place question marks by any titles/authors you've never heard of?? Put an asterisk if you've read something else by the same author.

Allcott, Louisa May–Little Women
*Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits
*Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
*Atwood, Margaret–Cat's Eye
*Austen, Jane–Emma
??Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters
??Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood
*de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex (I have read excerpts.)
*Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It's Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden
Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre (I think I read it in high school, but maybe I just saw it on Masterpiece Theater.)
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
*Byatt, A.S.–Possession
*Cather, Willa–My Antonia
Chopin, Kate–The Awakening
*Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express
Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street
Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History
??Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
??Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory
Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day
*Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems (I don't know, I have read a number of here poems.)
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer
DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
Eliot, George–Middlemarch
??Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen
Erdrich, Louise–Tracks
Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
*Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique (again, I think I have read excerpts)
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper
??Gordimer, Nadine–July's People
??Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley
*hooks, bell–Bone Black
??Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
??Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
??Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House
??Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them)
??Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
??Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
*Kingsolver, Barbara–The Poisonwood Bible
??Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
??Larsen, Nella–Passing
*L'Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time
*Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird
*Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger
*Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals
Martin, Ann M.–The Babysitters Club Series
McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts
??Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve
??Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind (yuck!)
Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables
??Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
*Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
??Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women
??Murdoch, Iris–Severed Head
??Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller's Wife
*Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
??O'Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time
??Picoult, Jodi–My Sister's Keeper
*Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
??Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools
Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News
Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead
??Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
??Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping
??Rocha, Sharon–For Laci
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones
*Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein
Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
??Smith, Zadie–White Teeth
??Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi
??Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle
Steel, Danielle–The House
*Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
*Tannen, Deborah–You're Wearing That
Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife's Tale
??Urquhart, Jane–Away
*Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
??Welty, Eudora–One Writer's Beginnings
*Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
*Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women
*Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One's Own


Thursday, April 06, 2006


Ever since the quarter started I have been unable to pull myself out of my spring break slacking mode. I feel like I could use another month or two of vacation. But I figure I'll mention a few bits of news from the first full week of the quarter.

1. I'm TAing a class that involves studying with a coloring book. Coloring is fun.

2. Next week the talks for the new faculty candidates start. I'm excited. The department will be hiring two new faculty members and a related department will be hiring an additional position. I hope they are young and enthusiastic, because there are way too many profs at the moment who are exhausted and ready to retire.

3. I went to a workshop on teaching and technology. Apparently Big Ag U. will be adopting a content management program called Sakai. Once its up and running it will be possible to have class blogs/wikis, chatting, and online office hours. The workshop facilitators also pointed out that anyone with a U. account will be able to create content pages for research projects or whatever else they want to collaborate on. Sounds great. The current system the U. uses is, frankly, really crappy.

4. My quarters always seem to end up having themes. Fall quarter was all about natural resources and restoration. This quarter is going to be all about urban planning. I'm not sure if I am going to enjoy this or be thoroughly annoyed by the end.

5. Last week, I managed to buy a couple of new bras. After reading a lot about bras and fittings ala Bitch Ph.D., I went to Nordstroms and had a fitting. Having bras that fit makes me a lot more comfortable, but my new official size made it clear to me that I need to change my eating habits and start riding my bike.

6. I actually made myself a new pair of underwear using my sewing machine, a t-shirt, and some elastic. The idea came from SuperNaturale. It took a little while to figure out, but they turned out really comfy. Also, I never wear men's style T-shirts because they don't fit right, but sometimes I end up with some in my closet. I bet now that I have done it once I could make a bunch in an afternoon. This website has more detailed instructions on how to sew them together and even create fancy lacy nickers.

7. I bought a new bike seat. The old one was all torn up from sitting outside in the weather for too many years. I haven't managed to install it or ride my bike because it keeps on raining.

8. After reading a whole bunch of blogs over spring break I considered creating a new blog about cooking, crafting, and gardening and keep this blog focused on my academic ramblings. People seem to try to keep their blogs focused. I just can't do it though, my life doesn't seperate neatly like that. The last thing I need is to start focusing on trying to please others (readers).


Sunday, April 02, 2006


I have been neglecting my blog since I have been on spring break. Generally I’m not a big fan of travel vacations. If I have some time off I generally like to spend it cocooned in our little cottage, gardening, crafting, gaming, and goofing around on the internet. The only problem with this type of vacation is that there isn’t a maid. I had to talk myself into cleaning and cooking. After writing so many pages in a few days at the end of the quarter, I didn’t feel like writing anything.

I wrote a short paper on gender and online gaming. Beorn and I have been online gaming of and on for a number of years. During college I spent a lot of time on a text based MUD. So I have been interested in the way gender is expressed in these spaces for a long time. A few years back I tried searching for research on the subject through online databases, but didn’t find anything. I should have known that journal and article about online gaming would be in obscure journals and conferences. Searching online this time produced a whole bunch of links.
Women in Games Conference


Women in Games International


Gender & Computing