Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Red Tulip

blue sky now gray now blue
spinning round, sunlight beams
flowers pink, purple, violet
not everything is at it seems

click clack your life away
borrow from the coming years
crawling, running, walking
it's all the same, no one hears

find your own way out
the one red tulip among yellow
breaking down the walls
bright shining sparkling light show

you know the way out
it's through that door over there
you won't have to give up much
but you don't know what from here

but it's always better, we all know
to be one red tulip among yellow

Monday, January 29, 2007

more new plans....always more plans

Yet again, I have had a brainstorm that may or may not die tomorrow. If so, that would be really sad because I just got done with writing an essay on diversity.

I am now applying to teach at community colleges. We will see how this progresses, and I'm not even sure if it's a very good idea because well.... I'm here, and they're well, they're there. And I'm not.

But anyway, they all want a different application filled out, and most of them also want you to write an essay for them. One, they wanted to know my philosophy on the community college learner-centered approach. I haven't started writing that one yet, so I'm not precisely certain what it means. Or more precisely, what it means to the human resources people who read these essays. The diversity essay was interesting. I deeply resent having to write such essays. I think diversity is absolutely necessary and community colleges fulfill an important role in educating non-traditional and minority students throughout the country because large universities don't seem to be able to handle them. But, I always feel like I sound so trite in these essays. Yuck.

Anyway, we'll see how this latest brainstorm works out. I mean, for all I know, the job I actually get this fall could be working at some corporate office in Seattle. Could be worse.... I could be living in California..... I'm applying to seven community colleges in CA - it might actually happen. God help me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Currently Reading: Life in a Medieval City

One of the best things about reading multiple books by the same author(s) is that since their research is usually somewhat focused, you end up meeting the same people again and again. For example, in the Life in a Medieval... series, I have encountered Thibaut the Songwriter no less than three times now. I almost feel like I know the guy. :)

Some fun quotes:
"In Pisa plunder contributed to the construction of a large tower designed to house the bells of a new cathedral; unfortunately this edifice did not settle properly."

"A cardinal accused the communes of abetting heresy, of declaring war on the clergy, and of encouraging skepticism."

"Horse and donkey traffic made the narrow streets as foul as they were congested."

"Eudes' two sons divided up his domain and started a war with the kind of France after which one son died and the other, Thibaut the Trickster, duly tricked his nephew out of his share of the inheritance."

Thibaut the Trickster was father of Thibaut the Great, who established the great fairs at Troyes (the city about which the book is most concerned), who was in turn the father of Thibaut the Songwriter, my new favorite Medieval dude.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The stories that really matter

One of the teachers I work with brought in English newspapers to work on with her class. She had been under the impression that at least one of them was a tabloid based on the cover picture. The cover depicted a rather scantily dressed beautiful Indian woman and a rather unattractive white woman with short brown hair yelling in a rather frowsy sort of way.

This story, the story about racist slurs made by essentially a nobody on Big Brother in Britain against a really famous Bollywood star was on the headlines. Front page news on five out of the six papers she had. It also happened to be in every news segment I watched on BBC and CNN Intl over the weekend.

I find this fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, it was a rather stupid comment that started it all - this girl just seems to be to be an ignorant idiot who has motormouth syndrome. Not to discount the amount of damage such people can cause, however. But amid all of the problems our world is currently facing, racial slurs against a Bollywood star - and the fallout in India, which was fascinating to hear about - is what has apparently captured the attention of the English press.

Final note: 24 US Servicemen/women died in Iraq on Saturday.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Here's the best recipe for European style pizza I've ever tried. Most of my crusts turn out too doughy and soft to make a truly good thin pizza, and this is definitely one of the best. The picture is from right before it goes into the oven.

I'm sorry, I had to...

Jumanji and other random thoughts

Last night I ended up watching Jumanji for some inane reason - it was great practice though, because it was all in German. And I understood most of it! Go screenwriter who wrote a script children can understand.... :)

I also watched a bunch of BBC World and CNN Intl because - well, they're in English - and I now know when the Daily Show Global Edition plays on CNN! yay! So, my Saturdays at 5:30-6:00pm are now booked.

On BBC World, one of the shows was about cancer survival and such - prevention is key, really. If you don't get yourself checked frequently, especially since every single person on the planet now has massive amounts of chemical deposits in his or her skin/body merely from living and breathing on the planet, then you're being short-sighted. Also, all girls should get the HPV vaccine! I can't emphasize that enough - a girl I had in one of my courses at the UO had to miss two section meeting because she was with her sister in Portland, who had cervical cancer. This girl had cervical cancer at the age of 19. It is now known exactly what causes it, so please, if you have younger siblings, younger family members, friends of the family, any girl who has not yet become sexually active must get this vaccine.

I also watched about ten minutes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, but the language was much too difficult. I got all the words for opening doors and sitting down, but no way do I understand the technical language they use in those shows. Keeping the positive thoughts going...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Food issues

The more I read about what goes into food -- thanks to C. for this little nugget - the more angry I get at the food producers who care so little about their consumers, which they show by what they put into their products. I do love the way the comments are set up on this article, though - instead of saying "post a comment" they say "complain about this post." I think that's hilarious. :)

So what is a non-vegetarian to do about the problems regarding animal byproduct usage and the enormous amount of global warming attributed to cows and sheep? (do not laugh, those cows produce a LOT of methane - although it still pales in comparison with CO2 emissions)

My solution:
1) I buy almost exclusively organic, locally produced products. If I can't buy organic because something is sold out (occasionally happens with the milk, not enough organic milk is stocked), I will buy the local option, if there is no local option, I do without.
2) I will not buy beef anymore. Unless it is produced locally without hormones, additives, lousy food, and so on, it's not worth it to me to pollute my body.
3) I already read all the food labels - I need to learn all the tip-off words in German, though. German labels are more clear than labels in English, I think, because labels in English often use a Greek or Latin version of the name to cover up what the product actually is, whereas the word is crystal clear in German.
4) Switch to grains/nuts/legumes as a source of protein. Soy, almonds, chestnuts, wild rice, and more all have excellent health benefits that won't clog your arteries.

I'm still going to buy wool and silk. Silk - I don't know so much about, but I do know that it would do more good to boycott t-shirts made by virtual slave labor in Bangladesh than to boycott silk because it's a bug by-product. Wool also makes the best scarves, and I happen to love making wool stuff.

Above all, I think it's important not to buy packaged food, regardless of your food eating persuasion. All packaged food will have health consequences in some form, and packaged food is typically the most expensive way to feed yourself. The healthy choice ones (probably of the best on the regular food market, Amy's is a worthwhile choice if you can get it) cost about $2.50, if I recall correctly, and you got a measly portion of potatoes, a sad looking little cut of steak, and some heave-inducing vegetables. For the same amount, you can buy a potato for change, buy a whole bag of vegetables, fresh or frozen, and buy a small piece of cheap steak (you get two in a pack usually) for $2.50, which you can use twice. Point is - it's not a good value, and it messes up your body. I personally like the premade food at some grocery stores, such as Central Market in my hometown and Market of Choice or Capella in Eugene. Those are excellent options if you don't cook, still cheaper than eating out, and it's not packaged.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Red scarf!

I crocheted a red scarf for my brother to pass the time while we were gallivanting about. I'm rather pleased with the result - nice red, nice texture, nice length - it's about eight feet long. He appears to have it double wrapped here. Took me about twenty hours or so total to make. Not too shabby!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush Joke

How many members of the Bush administration does it take to change a light bulb?

  1. One to call Fox News so they can broadcast a story denying that the light bulb needed to be changed in the first place
  1. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed
  1. One to blame Bill and Hillary for burning out the light bulb
  1. One to arrange the invasion of a country rumored to have caused the light bulb to burn out and to find the stockpile of light bulbs
  1. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb
  1. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner: Light Bulb Change Accomplished
  1. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark
  1. One to viciously smear 7
  1. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along
  1. One to arrange a Press Conference where Bush will tell everyone that he is the "Decider" and he decided all alone that the light bulb needed changing
And, of course, the lightbulb never got successfully changed

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Colbert Nation

I have found that Stephen Colbert is growing on me. At first, I was a die-hard Jon Stewart fan - still am - and found Colbert's act a little odd. I had been watching the Daily Show for years, while Colbert had this new, upstart show.

Then came the Emmys. I have a secret fascination with awards shows, even though I rarely watch the shows that are given awards because I like reruns better, and I am too cheap to pay for cable. I am also usually too cheap to spring for movies, so the Globes and Oscars - which I also watched - were usually more of academic rather than personal interest to me. When Colbert and Stewart walked in to announce the nominations, I expected them to be funny. I didn't expect Colbert to begin with, "Good evening, godless sodomites." Having actually watched this live, I can say that I didn't know quite how to react, then realized that Colbert was getting these shallow Hollywood types to laugh at themselves. And I also must say one more thing - BARRY MANILOW WON??? WHAT?!?! Barry MANILOW - the Copa Cabana man - beat out Colbert and Stewart in a concert he did for fun?? I mean.... MANILOW!!! Okay. Done now. Moving on.

At the White House Correspondents dinner, his comments regarding President Bush are funny and worth mentioning, such as the line "Reality has a well-known liberal bias" - but since Bush invited him and expected nothing less, it's not that important. What cemented my respect for his particular brand of criticism was the way he completely lambasted the press. Criticizing the way they have consistently failed to meet their own standards of journalistic integrity and honestly questioning the system, Colbert gave props to Helen Thomas for asking the questions that for some reason, everyone else was afraid to ask.

I used to watch Colbert just for the Word. Now, I watch Colbert to see one of the funniest and smartest guys on TV (except that I watch on the internet). As Jon Stewart said, they'll never run out of good material as long as the system in which we live is so unbelievably absurd.