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Quote Of The Day [Wednesday 29 Apr 2009 at 04:06 pm]
Loved this thing that I saw today. (from Matt Yglesias)

From Byron York's Washington Examiner column:

On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.
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Office Costume [Wednesday 29 Apr 2009 at 08:46 am]
I met a girl after work.

She was dressed in a formal orange and white blouse, white pants, high heels that matched the blouse, and rouged cheeks and lips.

I was astonished how much less pretty she was that way. Everything about the costume shouted that she was artificial, much older, or bland.

I suppose those are office work values, though.

She couldn't walk much through the neighborhood in those shoes either.

Especially distinct was how much less enticing her face was when all painted. Women have told me before that face painting makes them more appealing to fellows; this idea is dead wrong.

Good thing she was still fun to talk to. Once the office work complaints were over she was the same as ever. All that fancy blouse and bad shoes and ugly paint is just a shell and eventually scrubs off.
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Life Is Tough [Tuesday 21 Apr 2009 at 12:21 pm]
A few weeks ago a friend of mine on LJ posted about a dating frustration and told the story of how she visited a local bar and took home a fellow she met there. She had sent him away first thing in the morning with no intention of ever seeing him again.

I wanted to post that I was jealous. As a man I can't just go out to a bar and meet someone who will be interested in a quick meaningless night together. When I´m frustrated there really aren't any such easy outlets to forget things for one night. But men aren't supposed to admit in public that it's hard to seduce women so I didn't say anything.

A week later I was introduced to a new acquaintance. V and I have some common friends. She's a student at a large public university near where I live. She was very aggressive and direct about why she had requested an introduction. Apparently she finds me very handsome. She asked me soon after meeting if I was a little shy, and I told her that indeed I am. She then promised to be hot and exciting enough for both of us. She mentioned that relationships don't really need to be serious and that she really liked sex.

I was more put off by the whole meeting than I expected to be. V is a pretty girl but slightly overweight. She smells nice and I liked sitting close with her pressed up against me. But she displayed no interest at all in who I am deep inside or my interests in science or books. Any time I tried to expand the conversation to find commonalities she turned right back to how nice it would be if we were just kissing already.

I took her number but when she texted me later I didn't respond. I guess I was wrong about the whole jealousy of one night stands thing.

The next day I was at lunch with some friends. A very pretty college girl I didn't know was with them. I made some small talk about books and she had obviously read some. C was a little bit too pretty for my usual taste. I feel like the really sharp looking girls are a little dangerous and prefer a more rough hewn outdoorsy look more than the model look. After lunch we all had appointements including C but instead of heading out to her class, she followed me to the juice bar where I bought an orange juice. She didn't get anything but suggested we could find a place to sit while I drank it. We talked for another half an hour together before I had to leave but I still wasn't thinking of the event as more than casual. She was already very late for class by then.

And when I was expecting to say goodbye she asked for my phone number. And carefully entered my full name into her phone. I was a little surprised but realized that I'd somehow inspired more interest in her than I'd expected, though I still didn't know her intentions.

We exchanged a few text messages over the next week and she suggested we should get together. When I called her on the appointed day she told me something had come up and she couldn´t go out. We talked a couple more times on the phone and set up a date for last week. When the time came she didn't show up. I called her and she didn't answer.

Guess I was right all along about pretty girls.

Even though I was prefectly happy to let this girl go without ever getting her contact info it really hit me hard when she stood me up. I was kind of befuddled and upset all evening.

Sunday I went on a tour of a local archaeological site. Pretty, but more the athletic type than the model type, A climbed the hills with me much swifter than our companions. We talked a lot between the sites. She slipped me a post it note with her name and phone number written out. After last time it makes me a little nervous, though. I suppose I ought to call her.
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International Coffees [Monday 13 Apr 2009 at 08:18 pm]
I went out for coffee with some friends. Some of them were German and some Mexican. We all sat down with our coffees, which were really milkshakes as is the custom nowadays. Well, they all sat down with coffees. If I'm going to have a sinful snack, I'm going to eat cake instead of coffee so I picked a nice slice of carrot cake.

We started trying to talk but quickly noticed that all but one of us spoke English and all but one of us spoke German and all but one of us spoke Spanish. Yup, another language barrier situation. Four bilingual and trilingual people couldn't get it together to agree on one language.

With patience we managed to get along fine. But each one of us had to do a little translating from time to time. Translating is really much harder than simple bilingualism.

We did hit a rocky reef of misunderstanding once we entered on traditional cooking. Sometimes there simply aren't words and especially aren't words I know to describe traditional Mexican and German food ingredients in English. I told a story about traditional Indian cooking to break the tension -- that way nobody understood the exact foods involved, including me.
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Responsible Citizenship [Friday 10 Apr 2009 at 11:13 pm]
The County came by every building in town last week to post a notice about what we should be doing to help with the water shortage.

The first item was that we should fix all our drips and leaks.

I'd known for a couple months that I needed to deal with the drip in our apartment. My roommate is good at cooperating in home maintenance but even basic plumbing is well beyond his expertise. I knew from the start that this was the kind of job where I would have to turn off the water, haul out a half dozen tools, try to be gentle with plastic flanges, and reassemble pipes exactly the way I took them apart.

So I was putting it off. I didn't really want to have to deal with it.

And then the County came by with their notice.

I did it that same day.

But I wonder why a notice from a giant faceless government body posted on every building equally was what it took to spur me into action.
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Food And Stuff [Thursday 12 Feb 2009 at 08:53 pm]
Tonight I cooked chard, onion, and garlic tacos with stringy cheese and fresh tortillas. This morning I had a Oaxacan style tamal with red sauce and a fresh squeezed orange juice.

The fellow at the market stand who sold me a papaya and some mangoes this afternoon asked why I hadn't been by on Tuesday for veggies. I wonder how I got so predictable. Anyway, I have an afternoon class on Tuesdays now. I'd have to bicycle awfully fast to make it to the market in the afternoon. This particular market only opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday I had gourmet pizzas with my friends that had avocados and sweet corn along with fancy pepperonis, plus other varieties. Tuesday I ate a chocolate tamal. Wednesday I made spaghetti primavera with chopped veggies and noodles topped with a little cheese.

I called the girl who skipped our date last week to talk. She detailed to me why she was certainly too busy to ever plan spending any time with anyone outside her responsibilities. That really wasn't what I wanted to hear, but it was good for me. She's very pretty and smart and interesting with just a bit of the iron determination I really like in a woman. That kind requires a little more motivation when I have to forget about her, especially after getting unreasonable false hope from her initial feigned interest. A nice explanation of why everything else is higher priority than me, unpleasant as it was, helped me out.
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Dinner With Friends and Coffee With Nuns [Friday 6 Feb 2009 at 10:29 pm]
I went out to have ethnic food with friends. The ethnicity in question was one of those where they write in squiggles instead of regular letters so I couldn't even figure out which restaurant was which. Lucky for me I showed up early and my friends soon found me to show the way.

They may write with squiggles and we did need my immigrant friend of the appropriate nationality to order our dinner but they cook with genius.

Afterward three of our party were walking home and it turns out my nun friend lives pretty close by me. She invited the two of us to come in and have coffee at the local home of the nuns.

It looked like a regular apartment house with very well maintained architectural details. The early 20th century lights were restored and the fancy ceiling moldings were carefully cared for. The living room had been transformed into a beautiful, spare prayer room with stained glass and an altar. There was no late-20th century technology to be seen anywhere.

Quite a few people were living in the building for its size but there was no clutter. The nuns live a life of fundamentals and have nothing to clutter with.

My friend the nun had to leave to meet a new arrival at the airport so the friend who can order dinner in squiggles and I had coffee and tiny cups of spiced creamy rice with the mother superior.

The mother superior has lived in Peru, Ecuador, France, Brasil, Switzerland, and other parts of the world. She stays, like others in her order, a few years to help or start a service project and then moves on to another home of her order around the world. She has eight thousand sisters and every time she moves she gets to meet more and make new connections with old friends.

Outside the poverty and abjuring she made it sound like a great life.


I was walking the streets of the city without much exact purpose, as I like to do. It's a big place so I don't often run into people I know. But this time I met three pretty and inseparable young women I met at a party last week. We asked about what was going on and started a small conversation.

The we realized something.

We didn't share any common language.

Very little of the conversation was getting through; just the "how are you" and "what are you doing right now" and the like passed the barrier. We tried a few mixes to try to get messages through and maybe it would have worked with enough effort.

You know how it seems a little better when someone tries to explain something to you in broken, badly accented Japanese and arm waving but it seems somehow better than just arm waving, even though you don't speak more than 20 words of Japanese? It's an illusion.

Anyhow, we went on our way. Everyone in that group was bilingual; it just wasn't enough.

I love living in the city.
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Too Bad [Wednesday 4 Feb 2009 at 02:46 pm]
Oh well, she called and flaked.

I thought I'd arranged it pretty well with the puling each other aside at a friend's party to talk, suggesting getting together, and calling to set the date. Anyway, dating is dating and dating things happen to you when you try it. Okay, let's see what's next.
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First Date [Wednesday 4 Feb 2009 at 12:54 pm]
Okay, I have a first date in one hour. I have no idea what I'm going to say to her.
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A Very Serious Season 7 Manifesto [Monday 2 Feb 2009 at 08:02 am]
[Tags|, ]

I've been thinking about the subject of this post for a at least a couple days. And finally, I decided to write down some indisputable truths about the end of Buffy Season Seven (and beginning of AtS5). Not all of these are self-evident, but you will find on careful reflection that no one could honestly disagree in good faith with any of them.

1. Even if Spike hadn't had that amulet and even if only one slayer had managed to survive Buffy's original idiotic plan, the humans could still have won the battle just by retreating to the hellmouth and cutting down the Turok-Han one by one as they came out. That goes double if they'd blow a hole in the roof so they only needed to guard at night (about 8 hours a day in Southern California in May).

2. The closing of the hellmouth was performed by men without feminine help. Spike didn't know what the amulet did when he wore it. Buffy didn't know when she gave it to him and neither did Angel nor Lilah when they passed it on. The heroes of closing the hellmouth were the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart who made the amulet. All men. Unless the wolf was a she-wolf, in which case it was a one-third feminine effort.

3. Angel was supposed to wear the amulet. Why would the Wolf, Ram, and Hart want Spike around keeping Angel honest? They were trying to trap Angel inside the WRH organization so they could corrupt him more easily. Incorporeal but with the WRH staff to do his bidding in the world he would be entirely at their mercy and quickly go bad.

4. Those slayers were going down inside the hellmouth. The went in with about a couple dozen and came out with Kennedy, Buffy, Faith, Rona, Violet, and maybe a couple others. Even if the battle had turned their way by the end, and there's no evidence for that beyond the music, there weren't enough left to survive even the occasional very good day for the thousands of remaining demons.

5. The thing that made the original slayer spell awful was the death sentence. Slayers die young. There's no retirement plan. Willow's spell wasn't a curse because it doesn't have that limitation, so far. We all have to do things we don't like in life like working for a living, or homework, or fighting a war, or being infused with the spirit power of an evil demon so we can fight the forces of darkness. The difference is the surety of death.
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Art Museum and Police [Tuesday 27 Jan 2009 at 06:10 pm]
Well, my nun friend did come along to the art museum, but I still haven't persuaded to come along to the bars of our fair city. My favorite items at the art museum were the ancient hand-drawn maps of the city and the abstract expressionist masks. The masks don't obviously resemble human faces at first but when you allow your mind to follow the shapes of the masks themselves instead of trying to think of a face, the features and expressions make a strong impression.

On the way home I saw a subway policewoman serving and protecting us passengers. She had a long ponytail of shiny hair pouring out the back of her cap, a pretty face, and a smart uniform. She was also wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a pistol, of course. I was enchanted. But I was also too intimidated to ask for her number. It's hard enough to approach a stranger; doesn't help when she's packing heat.
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FIC: Before The Rising Of The Sun 1 [Sunday 25 Jan 2009 at 10:47 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , ]

Title: Before The Rising Of The Sun (1)
Spoilers: Follows the comics to ATF 14 and Buffy 20, so Warren never really died and Wesley's been a ghost and Buffy will kill Willow in the future and all that.

She was sitting at a sushi bar eating a slice of raw eel on nigiri when Spike walked in.Collapse )
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City Life And Food [Sunday 25 Jan 2009 at 07:11 pm]
After I bought some baklava, I was taking a walk back home through the park. Slowly I realized I was hearing the sound of a tango. I followed my ears to the park kiosk and found a dozen couples in casual dress dancing the tango. They had a big speaker up and were there together under the lights doing their ochos and mulinetas.

I love living in the city.

In other news, I'm tired of trying to stick to a diet. Does anybody have a recipe for deep fried goat cheese? I'd like fingertip-sized pieces so that I can dip them in sour cream and munch on them as fingerfood.
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Cop Out [Thursday 22 Jan 2009 at 05:12 pm]
[Tags|, ]

Okay, I have a half-finished post-NFA fic where Spike says "have you two even gotten out of bed since Charlie pushed his cop out cutCollapse )
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Hot Nun Action [Wednesday 21 Jan 2009 at 09:05 pm]
Today I tried to persuade a nun to come bar hopping with me and my friends.

First I suggested that we'd all have a lot of fun and she told me that she has to pass all nighttime fun suggestions through the mother superior and very few festivities make the grade.

I told her she could tell the mother superior that it would be educational. We do have a companion with a history degree taking us to the neatest old water holes in downtown.

Then my friend told her that bar hopping would be a good way to meet people who might need a little guidance in life. I think that one was really a non-starter, though.

Oh well. Next week, some of us are going museum hopping and I think she's coming along for that.
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Papayas [Wednesday 14 Jan 2009 at 07:16 pm]
I love to eat a ripe papaya in the cold weather.

I peel off the skin with a potato peeler and then I cut it in half and the seeds scrape out easily. After that I slice it into pieces that are just a little too big to eat comfortably so that I can stuff them into my mouth and feel gluttonous.

Then I devour the sweet orange flesh with its fruity aroma drifting up from my mouth into my sinuses and I let the tiny tingle of all those papaya enzymes wash over me.

The food handbook says it's low calorie, though. I need plenty of those for my bicycle commute. I guess I'm just going to have to eat another one.
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Tree [Thursday 11 Dec 2008 at 11:22 pm]
The apartment manager just put up a tree in the lobby two days ago. Yesterday it was decorated with lights and bulbs and such. I like it and I especially like getting to see it every day without it being in my apartment.

There are just 13 units in the building and we know several of the neighbors so it doesn't feel like an impersonal tree so much as a shared one. Well, there are also three restaurants, a stationery shop, and a car bling store in the building but we don't share the lobby with them most of the time.
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Buffy and Riley [Wednesday 26 Nov 2008 at 08:52 pm]
I like my version better.
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Weight and Health [Wednesday 26 Nov 2008 at 03:55 pm]
I weighed 206 pounds at the beginning of August. Today I weigh 174 pounds.

Of course, I'll be putting a pound or two back on this weekend.

I'd like to target the 150's so there's some way to go yet.

I'm at my mother's house so I dug through the closet and found three pairs of pants I used to wear in high school. I tried them out and found I could get one pair of them on with a little stretch. I'm not quite there yet, but I did acquire my first pair of jeans in a decade. I forgot how nicely they fit; it's nothing like the relaxed feeling of wearing slacks.

I've been riding my bike everywhere instead of the train (or a car). I stopped eating food just because it was there. Snack foods other than bananas and oranges were banned from sticking around the house. I eat a full meal at late lunch and don't eat dinner unless I'm hungry; usually a snack suffices. I started cooking more (and I'm good at it).

My back doesn't hurt anymore after a couple hours sitting. I feel stronger and need to sleep less.

To anyone who is contemplating a struggle against the spare tire, I strongly recommend it. It takes discipline but the benefits are just great.

Now I'm going to try some of these chocolate eclairs. Maybe I'll limit myself to just two.
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FIC: Scooby Corner (ficlet) [Monday 17 Nov 2008 at 01:26 am]
[Tags|, ]

Title: Scooby Corner

"...aches might be a side effect of that hand operation, Angel?"

"Hand attachments can have side effects, but I don't think arthritis is one of them." Angel pointed at Spike's chest. "Maybe the spot where the Glark'krk impaled you on its horn is the problem."

"Seriously, Angel, Glark'krk? Are we letting Andrew name the demons in Klingon now?"

"Don't get overconfident Spike. Even Andrew can look scary with slayer backup."


"...with Andrew and a couple of the new slayers. It's the kind of memorial she deserves. Maybe I can even track down some of her demon friends."

"That's a great idea, Xander." Willow held her hands up quickly, "not that I'd like that kind of memory, but Anya really would have appreciated it."

"She was her own kind of unique." Xander's eye almost teared up as he pushed back from the corner of the rough hewn wooden table. He turned from Willow on his right to Buffy on his left by the stove in the atrium of the drafty Scottish castle. "And how are you feeling about Andrew's latest news?"

"Wha?" Buffy had been staring into the distance. "Andrew's latest what?" She focused back to the conversation without remembering what it was they had discussed.

"The news about the bleached menace. I can't understand why he gets brought back, but I owe him an eye so I'm going to hold off complaining for now."

"Are you sure he hasn't tried to get in touch yet, Buffy?" Willow raised her voice in concern, "maybe he just doesn't have the right number. We do have those doubles set up."

"It's okay, guys. There was never anything official going on between me and Spike anyway. I was just happy that he had an heroic ending." She scratched at the table surface. "It's best that he's not coming here. Just imagine how much trouble he'd be with all these slayers to train."

"Not a good mix, slayers and vampires together." Xander trailed off at the end of the sentence. "Still, another male in the castle might be a relief sometimes."

"I just can't be responsible for taking care of a whiny vamp all the time. Let Angel look after him. That should keep them busy." She stopped and saw Willow look at her curiously. "I'm glad he hasn't come running back to me, now that I'm ready not to need him anymore." Buffy folded her hands on the table and the subject was closed.


Buffy stood inside the door of her castle bedroom, leaning back against the door with her eyes down.

She looked up at her closet and walked over with determination. From the top shelf she pulled down a brand new red silk blouse and pulled one of the tiny pins from the packaging.

Reaching under her bed she pulled out a small cardboard box postmarked from her trip to Hispaniola. Buffy reached in to get a tiny figurine with a little scrap of black leather wrapped around it and white hair.

She took the pin and stabbed the figurine in the knee. Then she pulled it back out and stabbed again harder.
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I had a date [Sunday 16 Nov 2008 at 09:58 pm]
[Current Music |Mountains Of The Moon, Aoxomoxoa]

My ex-wife asked me for a divorce two tears ago. It wasn't a surprise. She'd told me she didn't love me before we got married. She had been pregnant at the time. It was when I finished being stay-at-home dad two years and the littlest one was in day care that she asked. Actually, she waited for an extended family tragedy first.

I loved her. We worked on mediation for a while. The mediator gave up. Eventually I did, too. We started the divorce this Spring.

By the time we did it, I didn't even feel anything.


A few weeks ago a couple friends and I started having dinner together. First W invited two of us over and cooked for us. W is a classmate of mine, though older than the average at the university. K was W's best friend and I had noticed her around. From W's kitchen we had traditional ethnic food and tiramisu. We had a very nice time together and decided to do it again.

We had lunches together and eventually set up a chance for my turn to cook. Last week I brought K and W along shopping and then to my apartment where I demonstrated cooking some of the more exotic items we'd bought. I set out fancy cheeses, chocolates, and crackers with a nice local wine. We all talked about our lamentable single status while dinner cooked. Eventually I served exotic veggies in mole poblano with some nice simple local basics on the side.

Then it was time for dessert. I brought out the big gunCollapse )
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More School Daze [Monday 10 Nov 2008 at 10:28 pm]
The Japanese exchange students invited me out for karaoke. Never before have I felt so inadequate for being able to carry on a conversation in only two languages. Even the couple other non-Japanese folks could at least manage three.

I compensated by dancing like a madman.

"The Power Of Love" is a great karaoke song. It was a really great experience; I'm going to try to arrange to do it again.

I wonder if there's some way to fic it.


I came across a handful of people on campus working on a an amazing life size work of art near the main campustown street. I took a picture and asked them to details. Turns out there was going to be a display of the genre coming up.

I brought up the scene to my art class professor and he immediately switched the entire topic of the day's lecture. We got a different set of example works, a new set of slides, and an history of the style of art in question and its history and similar fields. It was awesome. Interested students and education on demand.


I took a test. It was pretty hard and I did pretty well. There was no stress since I already have my degree and don't really care what score I have as long as I'm learning what I wanted to.

Sure is a different experience from taking responsibility for getting a project delivered, though.
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Getting out the vote [Tuesday 4 Nov 2008 at 05:45 pm]
I'm taking some intensive half-semester university courses this fall.

I canvassed all my classmates who are citizens and made sure they all know to get out to vote. Found polling places, issued multiple reminders, helped the ones with absentee ballots from out of state get to the nearest post office.

From what they tell me, we're going to post 100% turnout for Barack Obama. Such idealistic and well educated young people we have today.
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FIC: Hot Bath (ficlet) [Sunday 2 Nov 2008 at 08:16 am]
[Tags|, ]

Title: Hot Bath
Thanks: To all seasonal_spuffy participants
Spoilers: Ajá
Disclaimer: Under this state's English-only law (XXI Rev Stat 223-224 1998) certain emotions such as angst and ennui have been excised from this fic.

"There was blood in the gravy." He barely put up token resistance to her fastening the shackles behind his back. "Stop being so limp."

"It's no good after it's been cooked. Has to be living blood, slayer." It looked like he was disappointed in her. "You should know that."

"I do know that. I know all about vampiresCollapse )
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European view of the USA election [Friday 31 Oct 2008 at 04:52 pm]
I found this posted anonymously to an internet message board.

The European view of the US election, in Star Wars characters:

Obama: Luke. Young and inexperienced, but a candidate for hope.
Biden: Han Solo. Technically on the side of good, but a mercenary at heart.
McCain: Palpatine. Aged, evil politician, with undoubted experience but doubtfully the people's good at heart.
Palin: Jar-Jar Binks. Irritating as all heck.
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School Ephemera [Wednesday 29 Oct 2008 at 06:56 pm]

Today I was chatting with a group of Japanese exchange students. We were talking about USA politics and the election coming up.

I digressed into the story of Dubya Bush's push to design and test new nuclear weapons in the Nevada deserts and the risks to most of the country downwind from even underground tests. It was a close fight and we managed to cut off funding by a slim margin of only a few votes in Dubya's Republican congresses in 2003-2006. Just a few elections with different results around the country and we'd be testing small-scale weapons ready for battlefield use about now.

They seemed unusually interested in my story of political maneuvering and local election races. Then I remembered. These were Japanese exchange students.


We had a substitute professor in one of my classes for a few days. She was about my age. Most of the professors have the decency to at least be a little older than I am.

I was puttering around the department outside late after class trying to jury rig my shoe laces for the run home (one of them was broken).

She noticed me outside and we got to talking about the class subject matter there in the sun. A few minutes later she said she was on her way out and invited me to a late lunch. I learned a lot about what it takes to struggle along on an academic salary and where the opportunities for research and advancement are in her specialty. She heard about my favorite mountain climbing adventures. Plus, I got to have lunch with a pretty girl and a smart authority figure.


My lit prof liked my spontaneous comparison of short stories from one of the authors of our readings to a nice Gogol story. Looks like I have a nice topic for the class paper.


Last Friday a handful of classmates and I bought lunch and lazed about on the Psych department lawn in the sun for a few hours. We told stories about where we're all from and how we're all rooting for Obama. Then we figured out how to work through our homework together. One of us fell asleep in the shade. Just a nice lazy afternoon in the academic life.
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The Real Controversial Survey [Saturday 25 Oct 2008 at 01:02 pm]

1. Do you have the guts to post this survey in your journal with the title "The Real Controversial Survey?"

2. Suppose a seventeen year old woman has been having an affair with a young adult man and gets pregnant. She decides to abort the baby so that she will fit into her already-picked prom dress in the Spring. Whose responsibility is it to persuade her otherwise? Doctor, minister, parents, boyfriend, circuit court judge, state legislature? What if she's eighteen? Assume she's capable of making up a better excuse.

3. Especially if you picked parents above, what if waiting for her eighteenth birthday would make the baby mature enough to have a heartbeat? Does that change your answer?

4. How do you feel about post-marital sex? Should either partner have a right to an advantage in settlement of a with-cause divorce if the other partner simply loses interest in romance and wants to vegetate? What if the first partner has gained weight? Lost hair? Are unlucky marrieds just stuck or should they be required to have affairs if they want love?

5. There's a cute kitten and a puppy with big round eyes both about to be run over by a clear-cutting lumber company truck. You can only rescue one of them. Would you be willing to pay 30% more for a house to mandate more sustainable timber harvesting? Would you be willing to mandate that homeless families with children should have to pay 30% more, also? What about the jobs that are going to be lost and the communities that will die when timber harvesting is reduced? Also, puppy or kitten?

6. PC or Mac? Why? IE or Firefox? And just what is wrong with people who make the opposite choice?

7. Resolved: Whatever we do about illegal immigration, all immigrants should be required to seek citizenship within a few years. Join us like you mean it and renounce foreign loyalty (and foreign citizenship) and you are one of us forever; otherwise, go home. Affirmative or negative?

8. Who would make a better president, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or Governor Jesse Ventura?

9. If God himself told you to kill someone with your own hands, would you do it? What if it was a really bad person and you believed God really meant it, not like when he tested that one guy? What if God emphasized that it was really important?

10. Have you ever killed an animal for food with your own hands? Was it a mammal and not some cold, slimy fish or something? Do you think people without the guts to do it should be vegetarians?

11. Write "I did not cheat or lie on this test." and sign or type your handle.
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FIC: Church Street p4 [Friday 17 Oct 2008 at 12:27 am]

Warning: Final Part

See memories for more parts.

Read more...Collapse )
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FIC: Church Street p3 [Thursday 16 Oct 2008 at 11:23 pm]

Warning: I found a bit more

Read more...Collapse )
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FIC: Church Street p2 [Thursday 16 Oct 2008 at 11:09 pm]

Warning: Very little more

Read more...Collapse )
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FIC: Church Street p1 [Thursday 16 Oct 2008 at 10:44 pm]

Warning: Disconnected fragments without motive. More coming.
Title: Church Street p1
See memories for more parts.


Janet Wize was eager to get home. She wanted to lay her hands on the new granite counter tops she had just installed.

She liked her home. And crossing the park was the fastest way there, even at night. It was usually a nice safe neighborhood up above Noe Valley, so she didn't worry.

She giggled a bit passing the tall bronze statue of Miguel Hidalgo. He was the great hero of Mexican independence, sure, but would her two bedroom flat be worth 1.6 million dollars if it were still in Mexico, even with newly refinished hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances? She thought not.

She started up the steps, climbing the bridge over the tracks. The hills got steeper here but she just sped up. This close to home the American Dream practically filled her bloodstream with delight. Soon she would be in her very own home.

And that was when the fangs sank into her neck.
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School [Wednesday 15 Oct 2008 at 10:58 am]

I never thought I'd do this again.

Yesterday I went down to the local public university and enrolled in the late-Fall half semester. Three short term intensive courses. Classes start tomorrow.

I'm a college student.

I went walking around campus. Do you remember that Star Trek episode where everyone ages backwards? Well, today's students don't remember Star Trek at all. Also they seem to have gotten about twenty years younger than they were last time I was a student. They're all fresh-faced and youthy.

Some of the professors have gray hair, so I'll still look like I fit in with somebody.

There's nothing technical on my schedule but I still gravitated toward the science and engineering departments. Now I have notes on the math and tech seminar schedules so I can visit. There seem to be a lot more young ladies around the mathy bits than I recall; I'm glad to see the exponents of aggressive recruitment turned out to be right about that.

Frisbees flew and people were studying under the sun on the grassy central quad. People rolled about on bicycles. It all felt like an exotic place I thought I'd never see again.
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Buying...A Bicycle [Sunday 5 Oct 2008 at 10:03 pm]
I went to the part of town where they sell bicycles. I went there because I want a bicycle. I'd like to have a nice hybrid city bike with slick tires and fenders for the rain. I want to ride in the countryside a little, but mostly I'd like to use it to commute.

There was something funny going on. Sometimes women approach me in public places. Now that I've lost a lot of weight, I'm better than average looking once again and I overdress to attract attention. Also, I often make direct eye contact with strangers. All that is on purpose, because I'm painfully shy.

But this was outrageous. Several times on each block a young woman prettied up in a scandalously brief and snug dress with shampoo commercial hair would not only make eye contact back, but greet me. I responded with polite hellos but I was worried. While many of the ladies seemed enthusiastic, several were oddly listless. Perhaps bike shop owners were trying to lure innocents off the streets into their shops with pretty greeters.

I stuck with the pretty greeters theory.

Later I looked it up in the local newspapers online. Turns out there are five syndicates pimping six hundred sex workers in and around the bicycle shop district. The local police have a policy to overlook the entire operation so long as everyone cooperates and there's no violence.

I visited the bike shops at two in the afternoon on a Saturday. There were children around. Just across the street there's a grocery market. I liked the nefarious bike shop greeter idea better.

I think I'll go early in the morning when I return to pick up my bike.
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Corporate Travel [Wednesday 1 Oct 2008 at 10:42 am]

I flew to visit a corporation. They didn't reimburse my trip to the local airport, so I spent 19¢. They did reimburse my trip from their airport to the office, so I spent $40. They doubled the incoming taxi reimbursement so I didn't need a receipt on my way back to the airport. I took the local bus instead, straight from the stop across the street from the hotel, for $1.75.

The hotel was a nice one with free alcohol (always a better word order than alcohol-free). Cost $250 a night, though. Last time I was in town I was paying my own way as a contractor so I slept outdoors at the campground which cost $9 including the bunkhouse shower.

I booked my ticket to this destination last month for $240; The ticket they bought for me cost $400. They said it was the cheapest flight they could find.

There does not appear to be a happy medium in the travel industry. It just all depends on who is paying.

Next time, I want them to fly me around business class.
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Fiction Rule Of Thumb, Corporate Travel [Wednesday 1 Oct 2008 at 10:05 am]

The cartoonist then excludes Lewis Carroll and JRR Tolkien in a note. But what about Shakespeare and Joyce? I don't think this relationship is reliable.
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Rising Gas Prices Hit Hard [Monday 22 Sep 2008 at 02:30 pm]
It's getting tough to afford the cost of living nowadays.


PORTAGE, Ind. — A man facing drug charges allegedly told a police informant he’s charging customers an extra $25 because high gas prices have boosted his delivery expenses.

According to Porter County court records, 18-year-old Anthony Salinas of Hammond told a confidential source for the county’s drug task force in June that with rising gas prices, he had to add the extra charge to the $215 he allegedly was charging for 7.2 grams of cocaine.
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More On The Scary Vampires And Women Article [Monday 15 Sep 2008 at 08:21 pm]
The article I quoted in my post yesterday made the Sunnydale Herald and even earned a rahirah ficlet today (q.v.). The writer seems to have caught on to the traffic spike because he came on over to LJ to argue on some journals.

The latest from the same blog is titled Sarah Palin vs. Buffy: Why They Hate Her Part 2. The decent people of this nation can't oppose Palin's candidacy just because of her terrible management practices and disastrously anti-family social policies. There must be some kind of hate involved, according to the author.

But my favorite part is this:

Unlike TV's Buffy, Sarah Palin married her High School sweetheart. And not to a man resembling hunky TV-vampire "Angel" either, source of much misery mixed with romance and passion. Nope. Sarah Palin married "Xander."

Ah ha.
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More From Online [Sunday 14 Sep 2008 at 03:39 pm]
[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]

Again, submitted without comment.

The Vampire took a new, somewhat scary turn, with 1997's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." While the movie (fairly unsuccessful) had vampires as somewhat icky jokes, the TV series had the Vampire presented as both monster, and romantic boyfriend, in the same package. Buffy's sexy Vampires, both foreigners (keeping that part of the tradition), were preferable to the middle class, brave, nice, but "boring" men who sought her. Even though her Vampires kept, well slaughtering people, Buffy presented the disturbing fantasy that a beautiful and "special" young woman could, by power of her beauty and sexuality, control a testosterone-driven, violent, aggressive man and domesticate him into her lover and intimidator. Even after one Vampire boyfriend slaughters some of her friends, and another rapes her ("Spike"), the title character keeps coming back for more, even to the point of professing her love for "Spike" and having implied off-screen sex with him.
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At The Comic Store [Monday 8 Sep 2008 at 10:46 pm]
I was at the comic store today looking for Buffy comics. Right there next to the few Buffy issues there was a large display of many issues of something called "Spawn."

Now, I was a disgusted as any decent person. But it turned out not to be what initially came to mind. In fact, it had nothing to do with Spawn at all, but an entirely different kind of story.

For one minute, though, I was scared.
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Submitted For Your Approval [Monday 8 Sep 2008 at 07:26 pm]
Saw this online today. Submitted without comment.

Church Sign Ohio
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