Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day on the Mountain

Aside from the blisters(!?) on my inner shins, skiing was a blast. First time to go in 10 years and everything was fine. I started by taking a group lesson, which helped alleviate the fear of so much time passed. Quite a bit has changed as far as lodge buildings and new lifts, but I still remember that mountain pretty well. I skied there nearly every weekend as a kid. As soon as my lesson ended I jumped on the super quad and headed for the summit because I knew some of my favorite runs came down off of there. There were some icy patches, but nothing that spoiled a run or ever made me feel I was in over my head. 
The Girl and her friend had a 2-hour lesson and spent the rest of the day diligently and adorably trudging up the bunny slope and gliding back down. That left me with nothing else to do but enjoy the mountain and the day with its the wild weather, which went from sunny to blizzardy and back with clouds whipping across the sky and the sun a glowing moon-like disk behind them. 
It was a great pay off from a last minute decision. I plan to get back out there a few more times this season.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in the Saddle?

I got a generous Hanukah gift from my Dad and decided it is now feasible to take The Girl to Gunstock to learn how to snowboard. My plan was to take The Girl and a friend to do the newbie snowboarders' program and I would do something mellow, like taking a newbie x-country skier lesson. I called the Nordic Center to ask for details about the program and was told that the warm spell we just had has basically wiped out their snow base. That leaves me with a choice of sitting in the lodge all day, exploring the Laconia area (not all the exciting) or getting myself back on the skis for downhill action. (Suppose a newbie snowboarding lesson is a possiblity, but I tried that years and years ago and I spent most of my time falling down and getting up again. I have better odds of enjoying myself with skis.) The mountain offers a deal that includes an all-day lift ticket, equipment rental and a 1-hour group lessons for $95. It's kind of last minute for me to decide that I'm going to do this after a ten year gap, but I grew up skiing Gunstock every single weekend and I know there are nice gentle runs that I can stick to and be the pokey little skier I am.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Wow. I just read that Ijima Ai was found dead in her apartment. I was never a big fan of hers, but I did admire how she came from her rough start as a porn actress to become a published writer and mainstream tv personality. She was a lot less dumb than so many of her counterparts.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Hell

I lived it this evening. It actually took one hour to get out of the parking lot of the Fox Run Mall because the traffic was so insane. Why in the world was I at the mall 3 days before Christmas at the end of the business day? Because The Girl needed to buy presents for her friends. It was a little bit bad getting into the mall around 3:30. It was insanity trying to get out an hour later. 
And somehow, I seem to find myself in that position every year because I think, "Oh, it's early enough in the day for me to just run in and get that little whatever it is I need to pick up without too much trouble." It's like a roach motel. Easy to get into and impossible to escape! 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Crunch

I thought I had it all under control when it came to knitting Christmas presents this year. I started before Thanksgiving and had a few gifts done even before December rolled around. And yet, here it is, less than a week before Christmas and I have four projects that need to be finished. It's not impossible to finish them all in time, but it would help a lot if I stopped wasting hours doing things the wrong way and then re-doing them the right way. That would definitely help.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice Out!

An ice storm came through on Thursday night that left us without electricity for a day and a half. I don't recall the storm seeming overly stormy and the next day it got sunny and things started melting, but the power didn't come back on. Luckily the Boyfriend is pretty magnificent when it comes to winter and survival. He had a fire going in the fireplace starting on Friday morning that kept us warm until we got power back this afternoon (Saturday). He also knew where to find the flashlights, candles and camping lanterns that kept us from being totally in the dark. 
He also recently purchased a solar/USB/ hand crank-powered combination radio and flashlight that let us get some news from the outside world. That's how we learned that about 300,000 of PSNH's 500,000 customer's were without power. The worst outages ever here in New Hampshire. 
I spent most of Friday moving from knitting to reading to playing my new DS game. 
By the afternoon I was getting stir crazy and it was nice out, so I decided to venture out in search of coffee. I stopped by my sister's house, which also had no power, and tried to call my mom, but her phone service was knocked out. A drive through town revealed that some neighborhoods and businesses had full power and were open and packed. 
Once the sun set it got cold and we ended up sleeping in the living room, near the fireplace. 
Saturday morning and we still had no power. I hung out for a while, but was getting really irritated at this no electricity thing. The charge on my cell phone had died overnight and I had no way to charge it and no way to get in touch with anyone, so I went out in search of a mobile charger that would work in my car. It looked like everything along Central Ave and all the big box stores in the neighboring town were open for business. At my fourth store I finally found a charger to work with my phone. I plugged it in and drove around a bit (after waiting in a drive-through line at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee) and finally was able to call my girl, who was at her dad's house that had never lost power through this whole ordeal. I was supposed to get her at noon, but couldn't even call her until 12:30 (there are no more pay phones anywhere!) and when I got a hold of her, I advised she stay there until I got power back at my house.
Once I got back home Boyfriend and I decided we would finally see what we could salvage from the fridge and freezer. It was a nice chance to clean them out, actually. Just as he carried the big cooler out onto the deck, the power came back on. Obviously we should have put all that stuff into the cooler last night because if we had, the power would have come back on then.
I went and got my girl, came home and took a shower and am now enjoying being clean, warm, and having access to all things electrical. One interesting thing about these winter weather events is that you get a chance to appreciate how it feels to be home with your people without any of the usual distractions. (On the flip side, I suppose that could be an uncomfortable scenario for some folks.) We were quiet, but I thought it was kind of nice and cozy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'm Back...?

Holy crap. A whole month? Really? 
I can look at this a few ways. I'm not spending much time blogging because I am spending more time participating in my life rather than analyzing it. That's not so bad.
Or I'm uninspired to write. That's kind of true, too, but not in a bad way. Just in a "I don't really feel like it now" way.
Maybe it's just that life is pretty good these days and I'm content. And contentment does not inspire me to blog. But that's not a bad thing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Election Day Experience

I was a poll checker for the NH Democratic Party in my ward this afternoon. I figured in the polling place, away from any "electioneering", the tv and the internet was the sanest place for me to be. The turnout seemed very high. The majority of names on all the pages of the poll books I saw were checked off as having voted either in person or by absentee. There seemed to be as many new voters registering and voting as there were registered voters casting their ballots.
I voted at around 7:30 this morning, which seemed to be late enough to miss the early morning opening time rush. I was at the polls from about 2:45 pm to almost 7 pm. I was expecting to see a late afternoon rush, but I think it was busier from 3 to 5 than it was from 5 to 7. I think everyone was expecting to encounter long lines and decided to vote early. There weren't really any appreciable lines the entire time I was there. It got busy, but the polling place was run very efficiently. I liked being there. In future elections I think I'd like to work as a poll worker rather than a partisan participant. It was cool to see the wide variety of folks coming out to participate in our democracy.

It's Finally Here

After I got out of the shower this morning a song popped into my head. I'm full of cautious optimism at the moment since I already went to cast my vote. And yet...
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
--- The Who

Monday, November 03, 2008

Secretary of Suck

I recently read somewhere that NH's official state voter information website was ranked last of all 50 states. I'd say that's about right. They don't even have the proper poll hours or voting locations listed for my town. I called the Secretary of State a couple of minutes ago to ask if the information on their site was correct because I had read something different on my town's website. The reply I got from the SOS was that, if indeed the voting hours and a polling location were not as stated on the SOS website, it was my town's fault for not informing the SOS of the new information. To follow up on this I just called the Dover City Clerk's office and reconfirmed the information on their website and also told the woman that the SOS website had old info and told me it was Dover's fault for not letting them know the current info. The woman told me they informed the SOS of the changes after the primary in January and that she would call them about it again.
What kind of nonsense is this when the state agency in charge of elections has a website with an election news page reporting 2004 and 2006 results and and an Elections Division page that looks like someone composed it with the wysisyg editor from Netscape Navigator. So much for the "high tech" state of New Hampshire.
I know it's late in the game to get anything done about this, but if you have an extra moment give the state Election Division folks a call at 603-271-3242 and ask them about the accuracy of the information contained on their site. Maybe they'll do something about if before the next elections roll around.

22 Hours Until It Starts!

I can't wait for Election Day to start and end already. I've been trying to think about what to obsess about next. It will probably be about knitting up holiday presents and whether or not Pierce Law will actually merge with UNH thus allowing me to actually consider going for a law degree without plunging myself into serious debt with student loans.
I started volunteering one evening a week with the Obama campaign back in early September. That approach worked well for me. I put in a decent number of hours and yet didn't burn out. Tomorrow afternoon I will be volunteering in my local ward polling place as a poll watcher. I think it will be a good place to be. There is no electioneering allowed inside the polling place. I will be away from the TV and the internet until at least after 7 pm, which means I won't be checking my "regular" sites every 2 minutes to see if anything new is posted.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I hope these guys are tonight's musical guests on Saturday Night Live with Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some Knitting to Break Up the Political Crap

Evangeline On Fire
Originally uploaded by bassbot
These are the fingerless gloves I made from the yarn I dyed a couple of weeks back. Don't they look toasty? (Except for my finger tips which will be sticking out all cold and what not. I don't care.)
Today I had a lunchtime knitting session with some ladies at school who I hooked up with via Ravelry. Knitting and chatting at work!? God I love the internet and all the fun it brings.

Palin Comes to Town

I tried to leave the house a little early today because I figured Mrs. Palin's impending visit to our local high school this morning was going to make traffic a nightmare. Doors to the event open at 9 and we're usually in the area about 90 minutes before that. Of course, we ended up leaving at our regular time and traffic was normal to light for that time of day. There were a few McCain/Palin lawn signs stuck in the median and other public properties along the road leading up to the school. One of those signs was placed to block part of a very large (6 feet tall?) stark sign that read, "Inferring that Obama is a terrorist is racist and un-Christian." I liked that.
The house across the street from the entrance to the high school had a McSame/Sara Bush sign on the lawn. Aside from the signs and saw horses set up to proclaim there will be no parking along roads people usually don't park along anyway, there didn't seem to be much going on other than kids going to school.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feeling Touchy, Are You?

I don't think I wrote anything particularly offensive in my last post, but some spammy commenter seemed to feel offended enough to leave a trollish comment. Fear and desperation drives some people to show their worst sides. It's too bad.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wrong Number

I got a call this evening from the "RNC" inviting me to get tickets for Sarah Palin's appearance at Dover High School this coming Wednesday. I couldn't even tell if it was a recording or an actual person on the line because they didn't ever stop to interact with me.
I worked the phones when Obama came to town last month and we talked to people to invite them to the event. We didn't just read the script at them, we got their names for the guest list and interacted, answered questions, etc.
Anyway, recording or not, after the young man's voice told me to visit the website for tickets I said "no thanks" and hung up the phone. I hope no one shows or that they get a lot of protesters showing up. I'd love to go just to photograph and video the crowd, but I have to work that morning. If anyone is free from 9-11 am Wednesday the 15th in Dover NH, I suggest you go check out the scene at the high school.
There is school that day. I wonder how all of that is going to work.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Slim Cessna's Auto Club

Slim and Munly
Originally uploaded by bassbot
Last night I went down to Cambridge to see my friend Bob, who is touring with Slim Cessna's Auto Club. I've heard their CDs, which are great, but that didn't prepare me for the live experience. Holy mackerel! What a show. It was a quasi-religious, rock and roll experience. I didn't get home until 3:30 this morning and suffered a mighty hangover all day long, but sometimes you've got to pay a price for a good time.
They are on tour and winding it up with shows in New York and Philadelphia this week. If you happen to be in those areas, I highly recommend you go see them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yummy Yarn!

I should totally be in bed right now, but the debate was pretty blah and my camera battery finally recharged so I'm uploading photos of my yarn wound into cakes.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Between Class Chatter

There were a few free moments to spare before the start of my last class today, so we were chatting about current events.

Me: I don't get why Cindy McCain decided as a 24-year old heiress that she wanted to date and then marry a 42-year old married guy with a family. If I was a rich young woman I wouldn't be in a hurry to marry anyone.

Girls in the class: I hadn't thought of that.Yeah I don't get that either.

Guy in the class: Maybe he was really awesome in bed.

Girls and me: Ewwww... *shudder at the mental image.*

Last Saturday I did something that I haven't done on a weekend in quite a long time-- went out and had fun with a group friends. (Wow. The simple fact of writing that and realizing it's true kind of makes me sad.) Anyway, we all gathered at our gracious hostess' house to dye yarn. If you aren't a knitter or other yarn junkie that probably sounds just plain weird, but it was actually a blast. It takes quite a bit of time and the actual dyeing is messy and definitely best done outside. I never got around to researching techniques or planning out what kind of color combinations I wanted to use so I ended up being pretty spontaneous with it. Of the four skeins I dyed, I am pretty happy with three of them. The fourth, a sock blank, came out kind of stupid looking but I'm hoping once it's wound into a skein it will look better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Wish...

I wish I could hear Katie Couric talk about Sarah Palin off record for even five minutes. Does she feel bad for Palin? Is it hard for her to maintain her professionalism in the face of some of that nonsense?
I hope some day she spills the beans about it, even if it's years from now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anything to Save a Buck

Last spring the local school board voted to "privatize" custodial services at the elementary and middle schools in order to save $185,000. This meant that staff that had been employed in the schools for years and sometimes decades were let go. The new company, UGL UNICCO, which is based out of state, took over the janitorial duties about one month ago. Yesterday two of their employees were arrested for smoking pot in the middle school parking lot last Thursday night. It turns out one of those employees had been arrested for drug possession previously, but it didn't show up during his pre-employment screening.
Now the school superintendent is outraged and calling for drug screening of all UGL UNICCO employees. I'm really not surprised. I think they would have been better off keeping the staff they had. I know some of those people had nieces, nephews, kids and grandkids in these schools and they would not pull that kind of crap. But God forbid we employ people with a vested interest in the community when we could save a few bucks by hiring some outside corporation willing to make a low ball offer.
Man. The world really sucks lately.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Rant on the Economy

I don't get it. We're spending $10 billion a month for the war in Iraq and now the Treasury Secretary is saying the government is going to need to spend "hundreds of billions" of dollars to deal with the financial crisis and to bail out all these corporations that fucked up big time. None of these "solutions" is going to help out the shareholders of any of these companies. They (we?) are out of luck. I'm not exactly sure who the bailouts will help, but my guess is that the CEOs and other executives don't need to worry too much about losing their homes.
And who really pays for it? We do. With our tax dollars.
I thought that deregulating and giving reign to free market forces meant that going out of business was supposed to be a natural end result of businesses that chose poor policies and practices. Apparently government bailouts for major fuckups is okay, but government regulations that could prevent this mess in the first place are bad. That seems to be the logic we have been operating under.
Yeah, definitely time for a change.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are You Registered?

If you live in NH, here is some info about registering to vote in the upcoming election. The following info comes straight from the NH Secretary of State's website.
New Hampshire residents who will be 18 years of age or older on election day, and a United States Citizen, may register with the town or city clerk where they live up to 10 days before any election. You may also register on election day at the polling place. The town clerk's office can inform voters of what proof of qualification they should bring to register.

There is no minimum period of time you are required to have lived in the state before being allowed to register. You may register as soon as you move into your new community.

1) Apply to your town or city clerk's office. You will be required to fill out a standard voter registration form and will be required to show proof of age, citizenship and domicile.
2) It may be easier for you to register with your community's Supervisors of the Checklist. By law they are required to meet on the Saturday 10 days prior to each election. Check the local newspaper(s) or call your clerk's office for the date and time of such meeting.
3) Qualified individuals may also register to vote at the polling place on election day at all elections. You will be asked to show proof of age, citizenship, and domicile.

If you meet the state's voter requirements and qualifications and are unable to register in person because of physical disability, religious beliefs, military service, or because of temporary absence, you may register by mail. You should request an absentee voter registration affidavit and a standard voter registration form from your town/city clerk. The absentee voter registration affidavit must be witnessed and then both the affidavit and the voter registration form are to be returned to your town/city clerk.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Alert the Media!!!!

OMG!!! Me and my sweetie actually agree on something! This doesn't happen all that often.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Go 207!

207 reporter pwns McCain in an interview. I take back the bad things I've said about Maine tv news in the past.

(Tried to embed the video but I got error messages. Watch it. Really.)

Citizen Reporter

Here is my crappy cell phone photo proof that I was just at the Obama event earlier today. It was a little chaotic outside and I ended up waiting in the wrong line and almost didn't even get in, but when I explained my situation to a nice police officer he escorted me through some of the cordoned off areas and I was able to get into the gymnasium and and even get a seat.
Senator Obama comes across to me as a person of substance. He talked about his tax relief plan contrasted with McCain's. He talked about his plans for health care and in the process I learned that McCain's plan will tax what I pay for health care benefits, which pisses me off. He kept on point and on the issues, even when one person in the audience called on him to start hitting back hard at the Republicans' dishonest and sleazy TV commercials. Obama said he and his people will rebut the lies that are spread and will not get distracted with the nonsense that brings people away from focusing on the issues that are what this election should be about. He mentioned his tax cuts will "will cut taxes to a smaller share of the economy than they were under President Reagan." He also promised that he would not raise income taxes, payroll taxes or capitals gains taxes for the middle class. I think his plan to not tax
senior citizens who make less than $50,000 a year is a good one and should pick up his support among senior voters who pay attention to these issues. (To read the full text of the prepared remarks go here. )
For a political event, it managed not to be too nauseating. I guess partly because the main point of it was to give undecided voters a chance to hear the candidate and ask him their own questions, so although there was the usual contingent of rabid follower groupies on hand, Obama wasn't completely preaching to the choir. I do, however, hate hanging out in crowds because it's always the selfish, obnoxious people who are the loudest. (People complaining about where they were made to line up because the police weren't about to cut off access to the court house, which is across the street from the gymnasium, for a political event.)
Gotta run now. Might write more later if I have the time and remember anything by then!

Update: Overall, I felt like Senator Obama respected the intelligence and time of his audience by keeping his focus on the issues and outlining the differences between his and McCain's economic, education and health care plans. It wasn't too dry either. He is an effective and engaging speaker and he makes you feel like he believes you are a person of intelligence, too. It wasn't like I took a few hours out of my day to waste time at some rah! rah! rally. It also made me feel like if he can keep focused on the issues and ignore the dog and pony show, maybe the rest of us should try a little harder, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hello. My Name is Pam and I'm calling from the Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign

So, you know last week, after spouting off here about McCain's vice-presidential pick I decided to walk the walk and signed up to work the Obama-Biden campaign phone banks tonight.That turned out to be a really good idea.
The task this evening was to call voters who had previously identified themselves as "undecided" and invite them attend to an invitation-only event being held here in town with Senator Obama tomorrow to hear and ask questions about his plan for middle class tax relief.
I was lucky right off the bat. In spite of my shaky voice and general awkwardness (I absolutely hate making phone calls), the very first person I called was really happy to get the invitation and agreed to attend. I had several people accept the invitation. Many more wanted to go but couldn't make it mid-day on such short notice. Only a few people were mean or rude. One of the names on my list was a former student of mine. I called and he picked up, so I told him who I was and still did my spiel. It was awkward, but kind of funny. (Even funnier that he apparently emailed me shortly before I called him to ask if he could use me as a reference for a job application.)
I asked to be put on the guest list for this invitation-only event and I have no classes tomorrow. So, around noon time I will be in the McConnell Center Gym listening to Senator Obama talk to a small (probably less than 200 person) crowd about his plans for tax relief. If you haven't done it yet, go check out and see how the Senator's tax plan will probably save you more than McCain's proposed plan. (If you make over $600,000 a year, this probably doesn't apply to you. And you probably don't read this blog.)

PS: It still freaks me out that people I know in real life read this blog. I'm used to using it as a place to blow off steam and like to operate under the (most likely false) assumption that I'm sort of a quiet, private person who keeps her opinions to herself. Now why I would want to see myself that way is probably something I'd need to work out with a therapist. Which if I had one would be fine, but mine basically told me I didn't really need her anymore last year. And that's nice to have a professional opinion about my progress in coping with all the crap I went through during and after my divorce, but also kind of scary to think that all the rest of what I'm left with is really just the way I am. Wow, too long for a ps and also TMI. Go me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Real Life is Just Like High School (and we aren't the cool kids, again.)

If the majority of voters in this country really believe that it is in the nation's best interest to vote for a presidential ticket using the same criteria they would use for choosing a class president or the winner of a beauty pageant then we probably deserve whatever idiot we get in the office. Since when does intellect and education not count as a qualification for the job of President of the United States? (Oh, yeah, since we voted W. into office eight years ago.) Since when is it okay to air commercials that spout outright lies about the competition? Apparently holding political ads to truth in advertising standards is not an issue.
How can people believe that some guy who graduated nearly at the rock bottom of his class from Annapolis, who has spent over 20 years in the Senate and who voted with Bush 90% of the time and some right-wing, Christian governor lady who may not have much governing experience but who is shrewd enough to bill her state for over 300 days of food and lodging when she stayed at home and thinks matters like wars between nations are "part of God's plan" are just like them and will bring the kind of change that will make everyone's lives better? It's like the popular kids in high school sucking up to the dweebs to get elected class president. Once the voting is done they'll just act like they never knew you or would have ever acknowledged your existence.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back to School aka Tempest in a Teapot

Oh yeah, school started last week. I was so busy freaking out over the political situation that I neglected to mention it here. This is my sixth year teaching at this school, so I don't get too freaked out about new semesters anymore. (I did have anxious dreams the night before classes started though.)
Enrollments are okay this year. The elementary class was, as usual, very popular and had a waiting list of about a dozen students. As is my custom, on the first day of class I gave the requisite "scary speech" about how much time and effort it takes to learn Japanese, category three language (scroll down for the details), blah, blah, blah, three writing systems, need to be seriously dedicated, etc. A lot of the students registered for the class are seniors, so I asked them specifically to realistically assess whether or not they have the time and motivation the course will require. I thought it was pretty much my standard spiel. Apparently it had a little more impact than I realized because later that day I got an email from my new boss telling me that "several students" had gone and complained to the dean about my "telling them they had to drop the course." WTF?
I was asked how I was going to handle the situation. I said I'd talk to the class again the next morning and clarify what I had said. And that is what I did, making it known to all the class that some of their classmates were totally wimpy crybabies who take things way too personally. I didn't say it like that exactly, but I sure was thinking it. I did let them know that no one had ever complained to the dean about the standard disclaimer of "hard work ahead" before. I'm just glad that class is sandwiched between my second and third year classes. Those classes are used to me and me to them and we have a lot of fun. It's still hard work, but they aren't crybabies.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Put Up or Shut Up

Talking about myself here, not the usual harping about the Republican VP choice you have come to expect from this previously not-very-political blog.
Starting this week I'll be doing a once-a-week 2.5 hour stint working the phones for the Obama-Biden campaign. Figured if I was going to bitch about it all this much I might as well do something to try to make a difference. Democracy only works if people get involved.
Polls show the race in this state is pretty tight. If I want things to change I better be active in trying to make a difference.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Eventually I WIll Write About Other Topics. Really

John Stewart rocks.

Campaign First

If you're planning on watching the Sunday morning talking news heads get into it with the candidates tomorrow, don't look for Sarah Palin to be among them. Obama will be on ABC's "This Week," Biden will be on NBC's "Meet the Press," and McCain will be on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Where's Palin?
Top McCain aide Rick Davis had this to say about putting Palin in the same unscripted hot seat situation as the rest of the candidates, "We're going to do what's in our best interests to try to win the election. If we think going on TV news shows are [sic] in our best interests, we'll do it. If we don't, we won't."
So, you see, it's not really about doing what is in the voters' best interests to make sure they have a chance to fairly assess the candidates' mental acuity and ability to think on their feet. It's about doing what's in the campaign's best interests.
If she's ready to be picked to run as VP, she should be ready to face a few Sunday mornings pundits.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yes, It's A Fake, But Still...

The image is photoshopped, but sometimes "art" is truer than fact.

Yup, I'm one of those bloggers. The kinds who posts bad stupid internet garbage.
But now I'm listening to McCain talk about education and I think he is quite insane. Also, his smile is scary. And he can't read the teleprompter very well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Good Night

I've stayed up a little past my bedtime to see what Sarah Palin's speech is about. I think it's about 10 minutes in and so far all she has done is say what a great man John McCain is and then she spoke about her family for a while. What does this have to do with her ability to govern the nation?
Fine, she's an "average hockey mom" and she likes the common folk. What is she going to do about the economy, foreign policy, energy policy?
I don't care that she was on the PTA. Even CNN keeps cutting to footage of the youngest daughter tending to the baby. This is boring. She's regular folk. I get it. I want someone smarter than that running the country. I'm not impressed. I'm going to bed.

Monday, September 01, 2008


I question the judgment of John McCain and the advisors of the Republican party for deciding that a woman with minimal political experience, a special-needs infant and a pregnant unwed teenage daughter was the most appropriate choice for a vice presidential candidate. What was the rationale behind this decision? "She's pretty and seems like a really nice lady, so let's go for it. She'll appeal in a "Legally Blonde" meets "Juno"-ish sort of way."
I think those commercials that claim "he's out of touch" are right on the money.

I also question Sarah Palin's judgment for accepting the offer. With a 4-month old infant and a pregnant 17-year old at home, is this really a good time in her life for her to enter the jungle of presidential politics? She's young by political standards and has at least another 20 years to try to become a big shot national politician, especially since her party apparently likes her. Why not wait it out for another go round in 2012?
Future pregnancy pact teenagers (a la Gloucester) are going to have all kinds of great comebacks for angry parents now. "But why is it such a big deal that I'm pregnant at 17? The vp candidate's daughter is having a baby at 17 and her mom said she was proud of her for it. It's not a big deal. Why can't you be proud of me?"

Well, at least this takes care of those rumors that the 4-month old wasn't Palin's child, but her daughter's. Either way, I really question her judgment there, too. (I'm not the only one.) So much for abstinence education.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Good! I think McCain just threw away his chance at the presidency with his VP candidate choice. After all those ads about Obama's lack of experience and "is he ready to lead?" messages, McCain choses a running mate whose experience in governing consists of one term serving as mayor of a town in Alaska and less than two years serving as that state's governor? That's who he is putting in place to be "a heartbeat" from the presidency when one of the largest issues surrounding his candidacy is his age and whether or not he'll be around to even serve out a full term? Wtf were he and his handlers thinking?
I think the choice of Palin is such blatant pandering by the Republican Party to "the female vote." One 30-second look at Palin's stand on the issues will convince any voter that she is a far cry from Hillary Clinton's positions on the issues and women will not now be suddenly, magically flocking to support McCain because he chose a "hockey mom" with a husband who races snowmobiles as his running mate. Is this supposed to offset the elitism of McCain not even knowing how many homes he owns?
I think he's blown it. My dad, sister and I were all in the car on the way to lunch during Palin's speech and my dad even said he wouldn't be voting for McCain now. Most of the time he's a pretty pro-establishment guy (my Dad), and if he is turned off by this decision, I'm sure many other are as well. And I don't think it will convince anyone who was already on the fence about choosing McCain over Obama, to swing in McCain's direction.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jia You!

James Fallows is now posted to Beijing and is blogging about the Olympics.
Nice to read some coverage of the games from someone who's there, understands the place and is not pushing any particular government's agenda. He has always been one of my favorite journalists.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Reasonable Likeness?

Found this cool site and made my own avatar. (It's over there on the right ---> )
I guess it kind of looks like me. I have a hard time understanding what I look like since there aren't any particularly distinctive features to my face. About all I can say about it is that it's a long oval.
My hair is a little shorter than this. The only choice that matched my length had wavy hair, and mine is not wavy. (Not without serious coaxing anyway.)
Suppose anyone who reads this and knows me could comment as to whether it looks anything like me.

Friday, August 08, 2008


The supermarket I frequent has a sign outside the entrance touting their brown rice sushi. I don't think I've ever bought their supermarket sushi, but I have seen the Asian dude (have no idea of his actual ethnicity beyond that) behind the sushi counter near the deli. Today that particular corner of the market was unmanned and instead I witnessed some tall, dirty looking guy in a red t-shirt and jeans open up one of the packages of sushi, scoop out all the gari (pickled ginger) from that box and then put it into the box he was buying.
It was so disgusting. And I could smell the ginger from several feet away.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

And I'm Not Going to Spend $48 for One That Just Sort of Fits

I went bra shopping today. Why it takes 2.5 hours, three stores and about three dozen different styles tried on to end up with two bras that kind of fit okay is beyond my comprehension. I'm really not that oddly shaped.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


We got a Wii recently. It's a blast.
We got the Wii Fit yesterday. It's crazy fun.
(It's also pretty nice that the scale shows everyone's weight to be way less than it actually is.)
I'm working on a translation job that will keep me busy for the next several days and the Wii Fit is proving to be the perfect break activity. It gets my muscles stretched and my blood flowing a little. That must be better for my concentration than my usual break activity, which tends to be ... reading.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008



Note: I was going to try to do a show/hide or expandable summary of this post but figuring out CSS and all that is more of a pain than writing in a foreign language. Maybe I'll just post the translation in English in white text that you can select to read.

Nothing particularly special happened today, but since it's Language Week I figure I should post in a language other than English.
Speaking of "week", we got a Wii this week. It's pretty fun. We only have Wii Sports right now, but it's also fun to make Miis or see othe people's Miis. I really want a Wii Fit, but they're hard to get a hold of.
Sorry for writing such a lame blog post. But I bet out of the people who come to this blog regularly only 2 or 3 even read Japanese.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Survived A Fake Japanese Game Show

We're watching "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" right now. While it's awfully cool to be hearing Japanese come out of my TV on a network channel here in New Hampshire, so far the show seems kind of lame.
I read somewhere that it's not an actual Japanese game show, but a game show put together by ABC that was filmed in Japan with a Japanese host who is based in L.A. So it's more "faux reality".
I'm finding the fake over-reactions of the host and the Japanese audience annoying. But then again, mochi has finally made it to American prime time.
Mostly I'm bracing myself for all the questions I'm going to have to answer from my newbie students in the fall about stupid crap from this show.

你好 to Language Week!

I found out through Kinga's blog that next week is Language Week, which means blogging in a language I don't usually use for blogging. I'll probably mostly use Japanese, but I might even try out some of my uber-primary Chinese and Spanish skills as well.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is This What You Get When You Mix Jewish and Buddhist?

"The psychic told me I've lived thousands of lives!" my mother told me, excitedly.
And you still haven't transcended? was my initial reaction, which I kept to myself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm blogging from Jott....

I'm blogging from Jott. It's really cool, it's really pointless, but I'm excited. listen

Powered by Jott

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My Asia Perspective

With the popularity of G4's nightly broadcasts of Ninja Warrior, aka Sasuke,and MXC (which I can't stand) I suppose it was only a matter of time before something like ABC's new show called "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" came along.
It's so odd how Japan has become so popular and mainstream now, about 20 years after its global political and economic relevance peaked. Don't get me wrong. This burst of popularity certainly works for me and my chosen careers and I won't deny how fascinating Japan is, but if I were young and starting out on my path, I'd be learning Chinese. As a matter of fact, despite my mid-pathness, I am learning Chinese. (It gives me something to do with my brain while scraping paint from the house. Think global, work local?)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It Takes A Family

I'm not sure if my family would have even been able to deal with it, but I wonder if something like this had been available if things might have turned out different with my younger sister.
I always found it so weird that none of her doctors, psychiatrists or therapists ever asked me about anything. We were a year apart and had mostly the same group of friends for so long. I always thought I could have provided a lot of insight if anyone had bothered to ask. Instead what I got was some directive to practice "tough love" and to not let her in if she came home. That was fucked up.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rest In Peace, Geoff

I know the whiskey it won't soothe my soul
And the morphine won't heal my heart
But if you take me down to the infirmary
I won't have to sleep or drink alone.

So, take me down
To the infirmary
Lay me down on cotton sheets
Put a damp cloth on my forehead
Lay me down let me sleep
Lay me down let me sleep

-- David Lowrey

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wish I never had to ponder
what to wear
to a rock and roll funeral

Knitting Meme

"Mychawd", who possesses mad knitting skills and devotion, tagged me for this meme.

1) Bold things you’ve done,
2) Green thing you are currently doing
3) Red out things you’ve abandoned or will never attempt
4) Italicize things you want to try

American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items

Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns

Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing yarn

Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Kitchener BO

Knitting a gift
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets

Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting socks
Knitting to make money
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO

Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down

Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

The only other knitting blogger I know who springs to mind is Heidi, so I'll tag her. But feel free to join in if you're a blogger who hasn't yet "come out" about knitting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Voice of a Jumping, Screaming Flea

Finals are done. Papers are graded. Grades have been submitted.
So, I'm done, right?
Mmm, not really. My desk is still looking like a war zone. I am on a mission/rampage to make this institution acknowledge the importance of Asia in a 21st century education and as a result am all over the place trying to create new contacts and work the ones I have. It's an even rockier task now that a hiring freeze has been effected and everyone is set to hunker down and protect their own turf. It's the lack of foresight that gets me. I mean, isn't it obvious? No matter where you are, you can't ignore Asia.
I've got the mindset of a leader and the qualifications of a peon. It sucks that I'll have to go back and earn yet another degree if I ever want anyone to give credence to my ideas. Either that or I need to find someone to front for me. I don't care if I get the credit. I just want to see this place move its ass out of some other century (20th? or 19th?) and into this one.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

My mom gave me a wonderful Mother's Day present this year. Many of them, actually. A big bag full of old pictures and letters sent home from camp. I've gone through the pictures. Generally I can say that I was a cute baby and toddler. Also kind of cute in the early years of elementary school. Something went horribly wrong late elementary school and into junior high because suddenly I look like a white, girl version of Urkel in all the photos. (Big glasses, striped or plaid shirts, no suspenders, at least. But there is evidence of white overalls worn with red Nike sneakers.) There seem to have been a few sane years during high school before I so unwisely decided to capstone the period with a permed, "new wave" mullet. Nice.
What really stuck me was how many of the photos were of me and my younger sister, Kate. We were born exactly one year apart. Our mother often dressed us in matching outfits. In most of the picture Kate was there, standing to my left. Two peas in a pod. She has been gone for 14 years now. Until I saw those pictures again I had kind of forgotten how we were always together. It makes me miss her all over again.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Haiku-ish, sorta

Acid yellow fills my eyes
Makes me dizzy

Saturday, April 26, 2008

High School Reunion

Yesterday I went to my high school reunion. The reunion is actually a three-day affair, but one day is really all I can handle. It's the first reunion I ever attended.
It was ... interesting.
I attended a couple of classes and that was great. The interaction, depth of discussion and mutual respect among the students wasn't just a time-induced hallucination on my part. These kids really do delve into the material with very little teacher prompting or leading. As I told Mr. Vorkink, after sitting in on one of his senior religion classes, "This place ruined me for education." It showed me an ideal that I very rarely have gotten to revisit since I left. My college students rarely discuss things (unless I put them into small groups); they report their opinions to me sequentially, almost never picking up and building on what the previous person said. Maybe what's great about the Harkness method is not just that everyone talks, it's that everyone listens.

So yeah, that part was great. Seeing people I haven't seen in a couple of decades, and then some, was, at times, almost like hallucinating. A face would trigger a flash to a moment or an image I hadn't considered in all those years time. It was exhausting, in a way. None of my really close friends from those years attended, but there were plenty of people I knew. I also realized that the setting for almost all my nightmares of being late for class, not being able to find the right classroom, not knowing the subject for the final for the class I forgot to attend all semester, the setting for all those academic nightmares I still suffer with some regularity, was Phillips Hall. Good to see the marker of my slumberous angst in all its solid, gracious glory after all these years.

The cocktail hour and dinner was somewhat of an overload for me and brought back almost every old concern that I'm not good enough, smart enough or rich enough to be part of that world. So many lawyers, venture capitalists, finance types and doctors. Actually, the doctors tend to have turned out to be pretty cool people. I mean, everyone was nice, but hearing about the constant global business travel, African safari vacations, the summers on the Cape, and all those business cards with VP of something making lots of money written on them, what I do, lecturing at the state uni and living a small and normal life, made me start to feel inadequate. The two things that seemed to uphold my credibility were the 12 years I spent living in Japan and that I am a parent.

I could have gone back and spent today at the reunion, but yesterday was enough. I got to talk with some very nice people I never really knew when I was in school with them, I got to hug some folks I haven't seen in a really long time, and I was really happy to be sought out and warmly greeted by someone who, in retrospect, I had often wondered if my callous teenage self had treated with less care and concern than he deserved.

And one lesson learned way too late: don't put an idiotic photo that you unwisely think is so cool in your yearbook. You will have to wear the damn thing around all day long 25 years later.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Fever

It was beautiful yesterday; temps around 80 and sunny. I decided to skip out early and went home around 3. Too nice a day to stay in the office.
So I went home... and vaccumed the house.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I heard the first ones yesterday when I was walking the dog. There is no happier sound in spring.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Well, Duh!!!

How dumb am I? Just this evening I realized that the whole Facebook concept came from the Face Book that was published every year at Phillips Exeter, where I went to high school. It was a little white book with everyone's mug shot. It was how you figured out the name of the cute guy you saw in the dining hall and how Mr. Mahoney could walk by just about anyone on campus and greet them by name. (Freaked me out when he did it to me since I'd never spoken to him before.) I can't believe I've been on Facebook for close to a year and have read several times about the kid who started it being a PEA grad and never put it all together.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My girl turns 13 today. She looks and acts like a teenager. And she's growing every bit as gorgeous as I ever imagined. In turn, as the way these things go, I am fading (slowly? quickly?) On my way to becoming invisible. Something we all know happens. I'll look back on this ten years down the line and scoff at how little I knew, no doubt. Forty-three really isn't so bad, but I feel it sometimes. The incremental fading away.
At thirty-three I didn't feel age. I was not invincible as in my teens, but I was on my way to becoming my strongest. Hard. Tough. Knuckle push ups and 700 squats to start things out. Ninety minutes of mixed martial arts followed up by an hour of capoeira, just for fun. The bruises and aches were the same as they would have been if I were twenty-five. But if I had been twenty-five I probably wouldn't have had the stamina to bear it. I built a hard shell to contain everything that was falling apart.
More moderate now at forty-three. Physically things still aren't too bad. But the world sees me differently. Maybe it's because I work on a college campus, but I recognize times when I'm on the verge of being invisible. Is it them or is it me? I wonder sometimes. Not yet at the point where students tell me, "We just can't imagine you ever having been our age." Still, I speak of years and events and sometimes have to check , "Where you guys around yet when this happened?" I still say Walkman out of reflex even though I'm on my second iPod.
Sometimes I'm glad I got labeled "the fat one" or "the smart one" so early on. It meant I never banked all my self worth on beauty, which I thought I lacked. I had to find something else. I mean, I tried to do my best with what I've got. Don't we all? But good day or bad, good year or bad, appearance wasn't really what I was counting on, especially not as a young woman.
So, now mother of a teenager growing brighter. She shifts. I shift. It will be good to remind us both that how we appear to the world is secondary to who we really are and will be. She may not realize it, but someday she'll be where I am now and I'd like her to remember that it's nothing to fear. It's just how the wheel spins.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lost in Translation

These computers and the Internet can do some pretty slick tricks, but they still can't translate for you.
Just ask these Chicago Cubs fans who thought they were proclaiming the inevitability of their new Japanese import's success. What their signs really said were, "Yo! It's a coincidence!"
Nice to know it's still gonna be possible to make a few bucks off of translation for a while.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Winter-- Are We Done Yet?

The first crocuses finally made their appearance this week, despite yet another Friday morning snow. They really aren't the most impressive of flowers, but at least they give me some hope that this long, long winter has got to be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Vacation

How in the world does this daytime cold medicine get away with being labeled "non-drowsy"? I took it a little after 7. I slept (passed out?) from 8:30 to a little after 10. Now I'm on the couch, still in my pajamas, watching I Am Sam and still noticeably buzzed on cold medicine. It seems to have stopped the sneezing and the runny nose, but it's not doing so much about the chills.
Yeah, I really know how to spend my spring break.

ps: It's snowing/raining, too.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I just had a surprise visit from a student I taught five years ago. He was in the first group of kids I ever taught here and transferred out to the University of Hawaii to major in Japanese the following year. Now he has graduated and is back in New England and pretty damn fluent in Japanese! I was only one of many teachers he had along the way, but I am so incredibly happy and psyched to see how far he has come. We just chatted for about 30 minutes non-stop in Japanese. And what's even better, he did his study abroad in Kobe and speaks Kansai-ben!
Yeah, I really do like this job. The results can be so rewarding.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What Matters Matters And The Rest Does Not

I had another birthday. It was pretty good. I got to celebrate a few days early with my little tribe. It was my turn to be banished to the basement while the rest of the tribe baked me a yummy cake. (chocolate cake!!!) I got cool and useful presents: a ball winder for yarn, a new bag for my gym sneakers and a new shirt to work out in. We went out to dinner on The Official Day, as well.
The biggest surprise was hearing from half a dozen (!) former students who sent me birthday greetings through Facebook and other SNS sites and my intermediate class who wrote birthday greetings to me on the classroom white board in Japanese when I was out of the room between classes. The new number that attaches to me for the next 364 days is surprisingly not really on my mind much, but knowing that I have a great guy, a wonderful daughter, and current and former students who have taken a moment or two out of their day to touch base and wish me well really makes me happier than you'd think it might.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yeah, Crocuses

If only this were true...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some Things Are Worth More Than Money

The best thing I've seen this week. (even though it's not really new.)
(I make them learn the difference between ソ and ン, among other things)
With thanks to Kinga for turning me onto it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Couch to 5K Update

I just finished Week 4 of the Couch to 5K training plan. So far it's going good, even though it is officially more like my fifth week since I did an extra day of a couple of the weeks' plans. The first and second weeks were pretty easy in a lot of ways; psychologically they weren't tough but all my ever-aging tendons and joints needed the time to get used to what I was doing. Week three was good. Week four had me worried at the beginning because it had me running for longer intervals. The first day was a bit tough and this morning I was not feeling very inspired to go finish up day three. So, I convinced myself to just go to the gym and ride the bike, not run. I figured some sort of cardio was preferable to not doing anything because I didn't feel like running.

Then, once I got to the gym there I was on the treadmill finishing up the third day of week 4's workout. It turned out to feel pretty good and, just like the previous weeks, I was able to increase my speed for all of the intervals. I'm still not a fast "runner" (okay, jogger) by anyone's standards, but I'm improving. I haven't lost any weight, but I feel a whole lot less jiggly in the butt and thighs than I did a month ago. And the point isn't weight loss, the point is to run this on Mother's Day with my girl.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"This Is the End of My Childhood!"

So proclaimed The Girl as she headed back into the dark, tropical depths of the orthodontist's office this morning to have her braces put on. This event was preceded by many days of pre-teen angst and fluttering of stomach. There was some pouting for a short while after the procedure was finished, but all in all I think it wasn't nearly as painful or horrid as she had suspected it would be.
My favorite moment of the day happened right before the appointment. I left work and picked The Girl up from school in my usual t00-prompt manner and we were almost at the orthodontist's office nearly 15 minutes earlier than the appointment time. There's a market right nearby so we decided to go in and see if they had any soft food (for later) or soon-to-be forbidden food she might want to get. We ended up sitting in the car in parking lot of the orthodontist's office with a small container of sour gummy worms on this completely gray, rainy, messy disgusting February day, recklessly eating gummy worms and cracking up at our own dorkiness. Good times!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Big Game

So, are you all ready for tomorrow? Got your chips and dips and pigs in a blanket all prepped and ready to go? I sure hope so because, you know, I wait all year just to watch it-- The Puppy Bowl !!!!!!! (Puppy Bowl IV, to be precise.)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Comment received on a student evaluation from the fall semester:
"We all love you!"

On With The Show

The power cord to my MacBook Pro bit the dust this weekend. At first I thought the cat had gnawed on it, but it was actually burning up from the inside. I noticed the computer wasn't charging properly on Thursday night. On Friday I started looking around on Apple's site and discovered that this particular power supply has flaked out on a lot of people. I called Apple and told them about the problem and a new cord is on its way to me. (Thanks Marvelous Boyfriend for purchasing the 3 year Apple Care when you got me the machine!) I kept using the cord into Saturday, pushing and mushing it around so it would connect and continue to charge. But once the smoke started coming out and I pulled the plug with a big fanfare of spark, I realized the jig was up. Oh well. The new cord should be here soon.
On another note-- I'm getting really tired of the cleaning lady at school getting annoyed with me for showing up to my office while she's working on the floor. She was in here today when I arrived and said "Don't you get here at 8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays?" implying that I shouldn't be here when I was on this lovely Monday morning. I reminded her it was last semester when I had to be in extra early (7:30 or so) on those days but that I am in everyday at 7:45. It's my frigging office! Don't make me feel like coming in early to work is a problem.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yet Another Theory

I know the world and the internets do not need one more opinion about what caused the death of Heath Ledger, but after reading that he had recently flown from London and the general opinion that it doesn't seem to be that drugs did him in, I'm wondering if it wasn't an embolism caused by a clot formed during the long flight that killed him. Sometimes freaky shit like that happens.
Whatever the cause, it surely sucks that he is no longer among the living. He was very talented and excelled at what he did.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Isn't NPR Supposed To Be Smart?

I've been trying to broaden my horizons and listen to NPR and the local community radio station lately. I've even programmed the stations onto my car radio. This afternoon NPR broadcast a report from someone at the South Pole. This was followed by the commentators (is that what they're called? They aren't DJs) mentioning a couple of times that the South Pole was 1,000 miles from New Hampshire so we listeners should consider donating $1,000 to the pledge drive.
One thousand miles? Georgia is about one thousand miles from here. Is Georgia next to the South Pole now? I don't think so. Wouldn't the South Pole be more like ten thousand miles from here?
The first time I heard it I thought the commentator was just ditzy and skipping a zero in a script and didn't notice. Then the other guy chimed in again with the "one thousand miles from New Hampshire to the South Pole! Why not donate $1,000 in honor of that?" That's when I realized that although there is some interesting programming that comes from NPR, the whole snooty mystique that can go along with it is likely just as full of morons as the dumbass morning DJs on the commercial station I listen to sometimes.
"I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like, such as and..."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Somewhere Between the Couch and a 5k

A few weeks ago I got a membership to the municipal rec center, which is just down the street from our house, so I could stop using sub-freezing temperatures as an excuse not to exercise. I didn't want to embark on yet another series of "New Year Resolutions" that are dead before February, so instead the girl and I decided we want to run a 5k race on Mother's Day. Now I'm using the Couch to 5k Running Plan to train for it. So far, so good. Nothing else seems to improve my mood and general well-being more than regular exercise and now that I'm doing it to feel good and with a goal of something other than losing that same boring 10 pounds I'm always trying to get rid of, it's something I look forward to rather than a chore.
I'm susceptible to shin splints so I need to work into it gradually. There is plenty of time to work up to it by Mother's Day, so I'm keeping to the plan and not pushing myself to do more even when I feel like I could. I even found a Couch to 5K podcast. It's all techno-y tunes, which is really not my thing, but it's still kind of fun to run to and I like that the guy who put the podcast together decided to start running again when he turned 43. I'll be of that same vintage in about six weeks, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Primary Eve

Since this is basically my next-to-last day to play political pundit, I thought I'd report that I saw Hillary's bus today.
Actually, I was just trying to get to the city rec center to go work out and found I couldn't get into the regular parking lot and the whole block was crawling with cops, supporters, reporters and tv crews. It was actually really easy to find a parking space across the street from the McConnell Center but I wasn't allowed to go into the building via the regular door. I had to tromp around to the other side of the building and go up, in, and through the Adult Learning Center section and then back down stairs to the rec center. Once I was in there it was fine and I did my time on the treadmill watching intermittent streams of people walk by.
I finished my workout just in time to see Hillary's bus drive by, followed by all kinds of vehicles with tinted glass, flashing cop lights and Maryland plates. A young man was walking down the street shouting ecstatically "I saw her! I actually got to see her!" A young female cop walking in front of him agreed nicely that that was indeed excellent for him.
I kind of felt like a dork for not even knowing that she was going to be in town this afternoon, but that's how it happens around here. The canvassers are everywhere. I have taken to telling them I am registered with whatever party their candidate is not. That way they don't have much to say to me.
I'll be voting first thing tomorrow morning, after I drop the girl off at her school and before I go to mine. And I don't care if anyone sees it as "wasting" a vote. I like Richardson and I'm voting for him.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Big Debates

I watched the primary debates last night and all I can say is that I am more undecided now than I was before. I am not a Republican, but I watched their go at it and thought it was a lot of posturing and jabbing at each other. I am also pretty much appalled by the Republican take on managing immigration and wished they would have spent less time talking about walls and sending illegal immigrants to the "back of the line" and more time discussing the economy, which is in the process of grinding down into recession and will probably be the number one issue by November 2008.
The Democrats were a lot more civil and worked harder to find common ground. I had been leaning toward voting for Obama, but I actually like what Bill Richardson had to say the best (aside from his take on how to deal with Pakistan.) I get the feeling that Hillary Clinton is the toughest of the bunch, which of course gets her labeled a "bitch" by people who feel threatened by that. A lot of people make a big deal about Obama's race, but that's a non-issue to me and I feel, over all, there a lot more people in this country threatened by the thought of a woman as Commander-in-Chief than a guy who's father was African. Lots of people say "Oh, I wouldn't mind a woman in office, just not THAT woman." That's fine to say, but once those same people start throwing around the B word and the Ice Queen label, the sincerity of their "I'm fine with a woman in office" statements falls flat. At the very least, the inherent depth of their sexism is showing.
Edwards panders to emotion rather than intellect, which is a big red flag to me. I'm afraid his shucks-y manner and the fact that he's the only status quo white guy in the Democrat lineup is going to pull him a lot of votes. Obama is very charismatic and I do like what he claims to be offering. I'm just afraid I'm a little too jaded to believe he'll be able to pull off as much Change as he promises. I really may not know who I'll chose until I walk into the voting booth on Tuesday.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Live from New Hampshire

Well, I live in New Hampshire and I have a blog, so I guess that qualifies me to be a presidential primary "expert" for the next 4 days . The TV ads are constant and ridiculous. Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul are running racist ads promoting fear mongering. Giuliani's demonizes the Middle East in general and Ron Paul's seems to say immigrants were fine in the good old days when then immigrants came by boat from Europe, but now they swim across the river and come from Latin America. Mitt Romney continues to be smug and is aiming straight at John McCain, his closest competitor. Huckabee, who stormed the Iowa caucuses, has a weak presence here and I don't think he has a snowball's chance in hell of placing better than third in the Republican primary here.
I really hate Romney and Giuliani. Huckabee is a Religious Right nut job. Ron Paul is way far out there for the general American public, although he has a fairly decent base in NH. I'm not even a Republican, but I'm hoping McCain wins the Republican primary because the thought of any of the other Republican candidates having a real shot at the presidency is terrifying.

As for the Democrats, I think Obama may have the momentum to take the prize and that is fine by me. Overall, the Democrats ads are less apocalyptic and I appreciate that. Everyone has said all along they thought Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in. I never believed it. Edwards does nothing for me. Bill Richardson was the candidate I really had the most interest in, but he never moved out of middle of the pack here.

It was kind of good that the Iowa caucuses took some of the spotlight off of NH this week. I am so tired of the junk mail from the candidates, the radio and TV ads and the poll requests. Four more days to go and then the dog and pony show will move in.