Friday, December 29, 2006

Travelbug, travelbug...

The household chores are stacking up (the woodwork that never goes away, the fireplace brick, the foundation paint and foundation mortar, cleaning out the basement, hooking up the vent stack to my kitchen sink, restoring my lamps, rewiring a living room light fixture, having insulation blown in, etc) and I've been kinda at leisure for the past 3 weeks, so that means I'm starting to think about traveling somewhere where I couldn't possibly work on the house even if I wanted to--which, if memory serves, is precisely when I feel the compunction to do household chores. If the student loan thing comes through, I'll be able to have some Cashdolla to pay the bills with and will take some of the sting out of the daily grind.Should I go somehwere, or shoudl I just sit at home and mow the lawn and start a garden? All those maps in the desk drawer [Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, and other inexpensive places] will only get out of date. And we really can't have that, can we?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Russian cartoons

One thing I remember most about my television watching while in Russia was the interesting animation "filler" that would show up between shows. Other things that I remember were the surreal endings to many Soviet films that made no sense [for example, a film about Tchaikovsky suddently turns into a movie with horses galloping in slo-mo through chest-high snow], and gratuitous breast exposure, but for this post I'll stick to the animation. I've not quite figured out how to include the actual pic of the cartoon like other blogs do, so I'll just include links.

Speaking of links, YouTube has some fantastic examples of thesse cartoons, some of which are rather rare. A more modern cartoon is The Ends of the Earth, which had me laughing pretty much the whole time. And yes, I believe the cow's name is Martha.

Soviet-era composers, many of them, made their money from writing soundtracks to various movies, and some, including Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke, also wrote soundtracks to some of these cartoons. Here's an example of Schnittke's work with Ballerina on a Boat. I don't believe this soundtrack has been recorded anywhere else.

And then there is this one entitled Gagarin after the famous Cosmonaut. There are quite a few others out there.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Logjam o' Lit! Thanks Brian!

Surprise surprise! I get not one, but two boxes full of literary journals and other goodies from my friend Brian. Two of the journals even had CDs included of the writers reading their works. I started leafing through them right away, bringing a couple along with me to the restaurant where I had lunch. The CDs were playing in the stereo on the way there. Many have interviews which are very interesting to read, plus I get a whole lot more back issues of Poetry Magazine, which tends to have interesting pieces, not to mention its often rather crabby Letters to the Editor section. It could be seen as the LaScala of the Poetry Journal world. I've got plenty of reading ahead of me! Thanks Brian!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tunes--Silly Blog Trope

Ok, here it is. The idea of this, which I'd gotten from other blogs tracing them back to this blog, with likely didn't come up with the idea to begin with, was that you put on your music, with everything on your hard drive in shuffle mode. Push Play and for each of the stages of a typical movie, you type in the song that comes up and how it fits. The soundtrack is supposed to be uncannily apt. I've wasted time doing this three times and it still won't work. My bad. And even if it did, how would this be anything but a boring report of how pop lyrics apply to my life? Boring and depressing, that. Here is the hybridized version.

Opening Credits:
You Couldve been with me--Sheena Easton
"Maybe that's why your'e such a strange and special one...You can't even love yourself, and with a few exceptions, not anybody else" Well, that sounds lovely. This movie must be a great date flick.

Waking Up:
Cybele's Reverie--Stereolab
Kinda retro, kinda cheerful, kinda busy morning-like music. Scenes of Dave getting ready in the morning. Brushing teeth. Sliding on the bathroom floor. Scrubbing the steam off the mirror. I'd translate the lyrics, but I don't know French.

First Day at School:
Moscheles Concert Studies Op. 105 No. 2.
Evidently I'm going to Dance classes. Stretching at the barre, anyone? One and two and dip and >crunch<

Falling in Love:
I Don't Want your Love--Duran Duran
"I don't want your love to bring me down..." Yep. Pretty damned romantic.

Fight Song:
"Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn)--The Eagles of Death Metal"
Hmmm. Sounds more like an after fight song.

Breaking Up:
"In Another Life--XTC"
Really? I have this song?
"I hope you don't get those headaches in another life"

Afraid--David Bowie
Ok, first off, I would never go to Prom even for money. The horrible power ballads, giving way to people crunking in evening wear. It's a prospect almost as bleak as this list I find myself typing.
"I put my faith in education..."

Souvenirs No. 2--Charles-Valentin Alkan
The subtitle is "Three pieces in the pathetique genre. Stormy, rather dark, and difficult to play. Ok, now I'm depressed.

"Ever Fallen In Love (With someone You Shouldn't Have Fallen in Love with)--The Buzzcocks, as performed by Nouvelle Vague.
Umm...I'm thinking that some of these songs are out of order.

Chaconne from Partita No. 2 BWV 1004 by J. S. Bach
Ok, seriously. Not good driving music. Not even a little bit.

You Say You Love Me--The Downbeats
Ok, Considering that this is a Motown song from 1965, I suppose it qualifies as a flashback.

Getting Back Together:
Waiting for Benny--Charlie Christian
Here's a song that Benny Goodman's band cut while their illustrious band leader (who tended to take credit for their compositions) was on his way to the studio. I suppose I could picture the movie scene in a Jazz club or something.

Well, now that we know it isn't a biopic, I feel better.
Symphony #3 Movement 3 by Avet Terterian.
This would be rather electrifying at any wedding, perhaps as a processional, or perhaps when the Klingon guards come in to set the place on fire.

Birth of Child:
Paperback Bible--Lambchop
The song is nothing but quotes of people putting things up for sale on a radio show. Evidently I'm giving the kid up for adoption.

Final Battle:
Fantastic Voyage--David Bowie
"..and we never get old, remember that dignity is valuable; our lives are valuable too...And I don't want to live with somebody's depression."

Death Song:
"From the Flagstones"--Cocteau Twins
Hold it--No Bach in "Todesbanden"? no "Ich Steh mit fuss im Grab?" Oh well. Not at the top of my list of favorite songs, but the only one I can think of that has the word "oriel" in the lyrics.

Funeral Song:
Skin Trade--Duran Duran
Umm--Evidently I'm donating my body to science.

End Credits:
I can't go for that (No Can Do)--Hall & Oates
And neither can I.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I have moved through the valley of the shadow of exams and interviews and come out a whole being. For that I am thankful.I get to sit at home and do with my time what I will. I might actually get a job. I might actually write in a way that isn't mandated by a class schedule. I might wash dishes. I might actually write record reviews, which certain parties in the UK might appreciate. Regardless as to these options, I have finished with my first semester of grad school!! [Wild, stormy applause.]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Back to writing. I've got most of one long poem done and then I have to finish up an essay tomorrow. Oh, and revisions. I'll see if I can squeeze out a record review or two if all goes well. [Thas' a mighty big if, bub...]

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas is coming...

...and so far I haven't had to deal with any extended listenings-to of holiday tunes. This is a good thing. Ever since my undergrad participaton in the PMO Christmas Show, I've not been able to deal with a full 2 months of Christmas music. Epecially when rendered by the likes of the last generation of singers who need to see how many vocal riffs and runs they can pack into Silent Night. Grr.

At any rate, here we have some pix of Purdue's Union..I figured I'd better start taking pix of it, as they have stated that this summer will see major updates to the building, which, if Purdue's record of "major updates" is to be concerned, means that we'll be looking at the interior of an Arby's. The before and after pix of the interior of University Hall speak volumes. I'll see if I can find them and will post them here.

The holidays have hit Purdue. Here's the tree. Note the artful positioning of the lights. All of the ornaments, aside from the satin balls, are various student groups at the university. Viewing from the mezzanine/second floor, I noticed that quite a few of the glass balls have slipped off their respective twigs and are resting precariously on top of the pine needles, waiting to drop like glittery bombs on unsuspecting undergrads. I can't wait to read about it in the Exponent: TERROR TANNENBAUM.

Speaking of the Exponent, they've had some doozies lately. I've even started using some of their articles as exactly what not to do when writing for my class. Even spellcheck is optional with these folks, it seems. We also have an editor who l o v e s melodrama. The "Dateline: 10 p.m. The unwitting had no idea DISASTER was about to strike" variety. My favorite faux pas is the caption under a photograph of a visiting lecturer, where he is described as "having a speak" with the engineering students. It's a phrase we now use in the office whenever we need to have a heart-to-heart with an erring student.

And Monday after classes, I went to Sgt. Preston's for the bestest beer and called Eric to see if he'd eaten yet. He was with Theresa and also the fab Ms. Goddard. They hadn't eaten and were up for a burger, so I worked on drafts until they showed up. Food was had. Poetry was discussed. Revision was griped about (note manuscripts on the table.) I've been getting comments I look very professorial with the grey and the beard. In a fashion-related aside, I bought the sweater on sale precisely because it looked so completely 1985. Plus, it's pseudo-Christmasesque, so it gives the appearance I'm in the Holiday mood. Rah.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Running with scissors, sleeping with pencils

Know where your writing instruments are at all times. Especially when one sleeps on an inflatable mattress. This is a very important thing. After working on various drafts for my final portfolios, I fell into blissful sleep, only to wake up at 2:30 in the morning, engulfed by the world's largest showercap. Thinking that somehow in my sleep that I had messed with the air nozzle, I turned on the electric airpump and went back to sleep. At 4:00 I was wallowing in a sea of flocked rubber. I found the leak, which is of course irreparable, and proceeded to empty the air out of the mattress. Rather than use the air pump again, as that would likely disturb the neighbors [fancy that--my neighbors possibly getting disturned by noise], so I lay on the mattress, sprawling to maximize coverage and pressure--a decidedly awkward thing to do. I worked a bit on reading and revising, then finally got tired of things and got things packed up for the car and drove to campus.

I've got two meetings today and then I get to watch my freshmen do their final presentations. I'm scooting out of town after class so I can sleep in a real bed, and then I'm back for my last official class of the semester on Wednesday. Yay me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ah, sometimes savvy street art gets it entirely right. This lovely bit is from Banksy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Spiders and Slumber

Woke from a dream [I'd keyed myself into my brother's house and then started organizing things in the bed of his pickup truck, then walked back in to put the keys away, only to hear him still in the house, likely wondering what in hell I was doing] and began reading the last 4 pages of The Gold Bug by Poe when I saw movement along the edge of the quilt I had shrugged up to my shoulder. This is what it was. The spiders have taken to sleeping with me, it appears. After saying several nonsensical words which sounded like Daffy Duck on slow playback, I slunk out from under the covers and got a glass and trapped him. Bleah. After taking a couple of pictures, I took him out past the driveway and dumped him into the grass. I then finished up on The Gold Bug, which, after 3 attempts in junior high school, I never got all the way through. I'll have to see whether I can do that with Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It isn't that I don't think it isn't a good book. It's just that it's so easy to put down and not pick back up again.

Tomorrow I head back to the Hallowed Hall of Heav for the final weeks of the semester. This is my floor. On a Sunday. No students. I do find it rather difficult to concentrate on work while there, even on quiet days. After all, there's the Internet. The soda machines with Fresca, the Nectar O' the Gods. The junkfood machine with its lovely spinning snack spirals. The latest issue of The Exponent to ridicule. etc. But I doubt I do much better here at home, where I've got far more distractions. I've got papers to grade and a letter to write. And reviews to type. Oh, scratch most of that--just realized I still have two poems to write for workshop. I think I have a rough draft of something somewhere.

My floors are getting dusty. And I really need to strip the wax off my kitchen floor. It's grody-looking. Nothing like the magic of creative avoidance, which makes household chores wondrous in comparison to the task of grading papers.

Oh well. Back to work.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Well, here is proof, for those of you not exactly sure what Davo has been doing, that he is, indeed, instructing students in "the art of writing." I have started reading papers and it is a task I find myself easily tiring of. Perhaps it's the turkey and all that food I ate yesterday that's making things a bit draggy. Or lets just face things: perhaps its just reading the papers.

After a brief sun-filled nap on the couch, I had more Thanksgiving leftovers and went to town on the laundry. Changed the sheets. folded things up, put things away. Wrote drafts for three more reviews. Worked on my CV. Worked on my resume. Washed dishes. I need to get all these things done so's I can focus on things poetical. Right now, after all that food, I'm still having difficulty rolling over and getting out of furniture, in which I find I sink lower than in times further in the past, such as, eh, last week. I hope to be on the 4-paper-a-day plan, which will have the papers done by Tuesday, that way I've just got the no-doubt enjoyable final presentations to grade. The rest of the semester will then be taken up with writing and revising. Cake, right?

Monday, November 20, 2006

And the semester comes down...

Well, I've collected my final term papers for the semester. They sit in a rather thick stack, in folders, on the passenger seat of my car.

I'd thought of bringing them in, but decided against it. I'd like another couple of days without any dealings with the freshmen for a while. I had late-night emails from students, on the eve of the due date, asking questions that should've been asked about two weeks ago. Ah, time management skills. I'm sure the final result in those folders is gonna knock my socks off. There are times I have to wonder if I can teach my way out of a wet paper sack. This is one of those times. But then again, students have to listen to important instructions. Ah, well, so I'll sit here with a glass of orange juice, listening to Motown (?!!), and think of all those other things I get to work on this week in addition to grading those papers weighing so heavy in my car. And then I'm gonna go to bed.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This pic accurately depicts what I've been looking at for the last month. Much typing. Much typing. a paper on a poem cycle I couldn't quite understand. Typing poems for workshop. Typing a book review for Sycamore Review. Assignment sheets for my poor deluded freshmen. Frantically trying to find something to do with my Long Poem project, which needs to be at 15-20 decent pages by the end of the semester. And record reviews--I've been neglecting them and now those in charge have been starting to ask questions. Not suspicious-type questions, but an APB has gone out for a disc I've held less long than others in my stack. So it appears I'll be listening to lots of classical music over the course of Thanksgiving and Winter breaks. I've gotten two reviews done since yesterday evening and hope to get another in the can before I switch gears and attenpt to come up with something halfway poetic. Much typing. Much much typing.

In other news, the weather in Indiana has been horrendous, with typical extended periods with overcast skies and cold temperatures, combined with blowing rain and leaf-clogged storm drains. My upstairs neighbor, the man of the repeated weeknight alcohol gatherings, finally went over the top with a Halloween bash on the preceding TUESDAY night, with over 15 in attendance directly over my head. Doors slamming, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" blasting, and one particularly annoying drunk undergraduate who sounded like every bad stereotype of a sorority chick, whose voice could cut glass. I heard every inane thing she said for the evening. Finally, after having my windows rattling with every hop up and down on their floor, my radio's antenna wavering to the point it would tap on the wall, I got out of bed and went to knock on the door. They were loud enough not to hear me. So I open the door and yell up the attic steps. That also is not heard. I repeat it: "It's late. Shut the hell up." Those on the upstairs landing look down at me with some curiosity. The evident host of the party arrives, wobbling, at the top of the stairs. In a rather pathetic little-kid whine, he says "but it's my BIRTHday..." I look at him a moment, taking things in. "Happy birthday. Shut the hell up."

After some further discussion, I went back to my room, with earplugs in and both fans on high. After another half hour I was able to get some sleep. He's been fairly good about being quiet since then. That goddamned subwoofer he has. I mean, who in their right mind would buy a subwoofer when one lives in an apartment, aside from outright intent to annoy one's neighbors? Bass frequencies that low carry through fan noise and even earplugs. I've tried it. nothing will keep that out. The whole apartment would vibrate. Little bastard.

In happier news, now that I've written my paper on John Berryman, finished the book review, and such, all I have to do is to write and revise poetry and do record reviews for the next month and a half. I'll be famous. All over the Interweb. It's all part of my insidious plan to take over the worrrld.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, as far as the ones I am in the program with, here they are, and with definite resonance to my sense of Mannian recurrance. Eric is in, to someinstances, quite like Brian, and Theresa, to some extent is quite like Kristen. Regarding other coments on their personae, I'll reserve comment for the time being...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So little time, so much to write about. I guess I'll start with the item above, which I found in the grass not far from my car yesterday morning. I couldn't quite understand why someone would leave their rear-view mirror on the front yard. It was going to be a big day--I was dressed up for the symphony, which I'd be attending with Joe, who so kindly had put a ticket on reserve for me. I also had to figure out where West Lafayette's city hall was, so I could contest a parking ticket I got that asserted--falsely--that my license plate was expired. I'm carrying a laundry basket, trying not to get lint on my suitcoat. And this rearview mirror that I almost trip over. Though I wasn't really processing things well at that time--I was also thinking of the appointment I was going to and what I was going to be saying to my student regarding his paper and why he didn't get a good grade--I still immediately recognized the mirror as belonging to a Ford Taurus or a Mercury Sable. I pulled out my keys so as to put laundry in the trunk when I noticed something very, very wrong:

Well, shit. Some ass sideswipes my car overnight and doesn't bother leaving a note or anything. Other damage wasn't immediately apparent as I call my insurance guy to see what needs to happen. He mentioned that if it was only my rearview mirror that I'd do just as well to fix it myself, since I had a $500 deductible. By the time I found the atrocious architectural abomination that housed West Lafayette City Hall, the dew had evaporated off of my car, I found I had matching red paint stripes almost the entire way down the side of my car, including the front wheel. Subsequent phone call with insurance company. The agent recommended that I file a report with the police, especially since I had one of the battered appendages of the offending vehicle. This I dutifully did, as I certainly would love to see this person get in some trouble. That done, I had to call around for arrangements to get estimates done, etc. I just got through that found I had just enough time to dash to campus for my appointment, which didn't go all that well, in that the student in question was having difficulty with understanding the fact that "what is intended" and "what actually appears on the paper" are two different things. My feeling on the matter didn't improve much considering that he was over a half hour late for the appointment. From there, I called for directions to an auto dealership in town to look at my car. Due to my schedule, the work will have to be done up in Lafayette, rather than my usual place. Once the damage was looked over the total came up to [deep sigh] $2,400. I guess I'll be making arrangements to park in some driveway or other from here on out. Once the estimate and appointment to bring the car in were all squared away, I had just enough time to get to my class. This was the second installment of individual conferences with half of my students to discuss their papers and my comments on them. Some were not even remotely pleased with their grades. One even had nerve to be indignant regarding the grade I came to. I mentioned that I had told the class specifically what I was going to be looking at in order to grade the papers and, after my repeated conversations with them on the matter, if those things were not included in the paper, a lowered grade should not come as a surprise. So, after an hour of systematically removing myself from various Christmas-card lists, I walked off to my wounded car and beat feet to Indianapolis, where I met up with Joe and Royce, who were already halfway through their warming martinis.

During the conversation, it dawned on me that I hadn't even asked what was on the program. It turned out to be the Rachmaninov 3rd piano concerto in the first half and Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben in the second. Perhaps it was the second martini, or, more likely, the fact that it was my first live music experience in months, but I was quite on the edge of my seat during the entire concerto. At the same time I noticed that the soloist underplayed various things in the left hand or overplayed and banged other sections but that didn't matter. The music was there and there was no room for hit-and-run drivers, indignant freshmen, or insurance policies. The music was there and there was no other place to be.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Campus, for those of you who'd been there in years past, hasn't really changed all that much. The main thing that took some getting used to was the fact that Steven Beering already has a hall named after him, the spectacularly ugly liberal arts building that stands on the former site of Education Hall, which was itself the site of a rather singular drunken breaking-and-entering event during my freshman year. Perhaps more on that later.

I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of Beering Hall on its own, seeing how ugly and poorly designed it is, so instead I thought I'd snap a pic of a prettier building on campus that is directly in front of it; the Recitation Building (Or RECITATION BVILDING, as its plinths read) is the place where all must live somehow through math classes. Beering Hall is the ugly pile of bricks behind.

Directly across the mall from it is this lovely flipboard display, which went up during my undergrad years. It seemed like the most impractical thing to stick right in the middle of campus, but some graduating class or other thought it would be a wonderful thing to offer the university an Amber Alert style sign that was sure to cost lots of money to maintain. In cold weather the glass would frost up, making it unreadable, or the blacklight would go out, or some such thing. As you can see the flipboard has been removed, and as an afterthought, it has been turned into an oddly-placed "Welcome to Purdue" sign, plonked right in the middle of campus. Money well spent. To the left is Wetherill Hall of Chemistry, which still smells like, um, chemicals, as does the whiff that comes up from the manhole covers in the sidewalks surrounding it. Further back and behind the sign is Heavilon Hall, the place where I spend all of my time these days:

This is the home of the English department and all of its smaller factions, such as Literature, Linguistics, the Writing Lab, the offices of the Sycamore Review (Purdue's literary journal, which I now help select poetry for), and Creative Writing. Audiology and Speech Pathology have been thrown in for good measure, and languish in the basement. This building shows up in students' schedules rather unflatteringly as HEAV.

As far as my lovely office space, I happen to have a photograph of that as well:

The room is a former classroom (evidenced by the blackboard behind the bookcases) and of the three desks, which one is occupied by our hero? Yep--the messy one. The room is jam-packed with 10 desks, half of which are occupado and generally the place is very quiet, much unlike the other grad offices, where a good deal of conversation happens, as well as the odd football toss or two. One possible reason it is so quiet might be because the air conditioning in this room is set to "Stun and Immobilize" mode. Nothing quite so brisk as stepping into this room after getting all sweaty from pedalling ones guts out on Chauncey Hill. Invigorating isn't quite the word. Another of the great perks of my office is that it is right in the middle of the front of the building, which affords a rather pleasant view of the Union and the older part of Stewart Center which used to be the library up to the 50s:
The Engineers have redesigned the area here, which I think looks nice. The centers of the circular areas are echo points--if one stands precisely in the center of them and claps loudly, one can hear echoes off the neighboring buildings. The whole area has them and, in the first week of classes, was mobbed with people clapping as if in some sort of ritual. Some people think its kinda neat. My more cynical view is that it is one of the more elaborate schemes to quickly identify and smirk at incoming freshmen. Still, though, the result here is far better than the asphalt parking lot that was on the spot when I was an undergrad. The little grassy knolls were intended to be "outdoor classrooms" and have steps leading to the grass. An insect which I've seen nowhere but in Lafayette, the Cicada Killer, seem to rather like the grassy areas to make their underground nests in. Those not prepared for the Cicada Killer will--without fail--freak right on out in front of anyone passing by. Put simply, this bug is just like a wasp, only about 4 times larger and a bit territorial. You can see what they look like here. Comparing the wasp to the size of the cicada it's killing gives you an idea just how Gi-normous the things are. While walking to lunch I've seen multiple incidents of people going into full-out Daffy Duck mode, scattering folders and papers behind them as they try to avoid impending doom. One thing I've learned though is that, territorial though they be, they won't sting you unless you grab 'em. And who would want to do that?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Instruction and recreation

Here is the long-awaited post with the photographic evidence of the fabled grad-pad. But first, we have my Monday classroom, where I torture my freshmen with talking of academic writing, theses, supporting arguments, and proper use of quotation marks. To some I have attained magical superpowers of clairvoyance, such as the first day I was in this underground room (by the way, I really am impressed that they made the extra effort to add fake windows to give the illusion that one isn't 10 feet underground), where I talked about my rules and regulations. I asked them to look at my syllabus online, where I had added it with a bright poison green background. The reason for this was hardly premeditated. I simply had to have the website up and running with my syllabus. As I was talking about the class layout from the front of the room, I noticed that the students all had unearthly-green faces from the light of the monitors. My do-and-don't conversation continued and suddenly I noticed that certain people's faces started flashing white rather than green, and that mouse-clickings were heard. I stopped talking, took a big breath and said (with some extra gravitas) "And let me make one thing perfectly clear. Any random web-surfing or IM conversations during class while we are in this room is very bad form. Does everyone understand me?" In a flash, all faces were poison green again, with the added expression of "Shit, how did he know?"

Which brings me to the apartment. It is the upstairs bedroom of what once was a rather pretty house on historic 9th street hill. I push my way past the very wide front door into the narrow foyer and up the stairs to my one bedroom and original upstairs bathroom. Oh, and closet. I have a closet, which also contains the refrigerator. The poor thing appears to be low on refrigerant, as it never has once shut off in the time I've been there.

This pic is from the front door. Just out of the view to the left is the the fab table Holly let me use ( the chair for it is visible), but also the fab bookcase which was already in the apartment, as well as the spacious closet which would be even more spacious if it didn't have an avocado-green refrigerator in it.

Here we have a pan over from the earlier pic. As you can see,
we have a typical landlord big-house-hack-job. The former bedroom now has a counter and range. The sink is convenient, though a bit, um, in the middle of the floor. Behind the jutting-out of the sink, I have my fantastic "cardboard boxes stacked up to serve as dresser" system set up. The bike tends to obstruct easy access, but that's the only place for it, unfortunately. The gas range, though a nice thought, really isn't something I'm planning on using much, save as drying rack, or to heat soup. Beef Wellington is not on the "to do" list.

Here is the view of the sleeping wing. Trust that I am taking these pics with my back to the wall, so as to give you the best possible epic sweep of the living area. Directly in front of the cabinet and range is the inflatable mattress, as seen here. As often as the thing squeaks whenever I move, it's a wonder I don't dream constantly of scuba gear. Also note the splendid nightstands, one being a folding chair and the other being a laundry basket. High class digs.

Speaking of scuba gear, I should probably find something else to do other than editing HTML. More later.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Worth a thousand words?

I had promised my peeps some pix, but bluntbrained Davo drove home without his camera, bookbag, cellphone and various other things he was planning on using over the course of the long holiday weekend. In rooting through old pictures, I found this, taken while I was at Purdue as an undergrad. The site is currently a big mess--the buildings in the background (temporary barracks built during WWII and until several years ago the best Purdue thought the Fine Arts worthy of being housed in) have been demolished and an enormous building is being constructed that dwarfs all around it. I still have that American flag t-shirt in some dresser drawer or other. Wasn't I hot? I'll ignore the fact that the pic was taken 16 years ago. Something of actual substance forthcoming once I actually get pix from my forsaken camera.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Racking up the Hepatic Odometer

Ah, college life. I really thought I remembered it, but it appears I haven't. Not to mention, grad school adds an interesting twist, namely, the need to cart 4 boxes of books from home to weigh down the rather battered bookshelf left behind in my overpriced apartment. Oh, and the get-togethers, which are frequent and multi-layered. There tend to be a couple over the course of the week, and then some more intricately-constructed serial affairs on the weekends, such as this past Friday's soiree for the English department. All of the professors were there, and I chatted with most of them. Over the course of one conversation in particular, the professors were engaging in a round of good-natured one-upsmanship. One woman, very charming, who I remember from my undergraduate years, mentioned that she had kissed Allen Ginsberg, and, being a woman, that list is presumably relatively short. Another British prof leaned over to mention that she had actually danced with Prince Charles, which certainly got the admiration of all present. As she was sharing the particulars of her story, I thought if they looked over at me, sitting on my chair with my sparkling pomegranate juice, I'd drop my bombshell: I've met Orville Redenbacher. Twice. They didn't really look my way, so I stayed put, but popcorn is trump and everyone knows it. I sat back, comfortable knowing that my experience that would have annihilated all other competitors.

The Allen-Ginsberg-snogger leaned over and we talked a bit about sparkling pomegranate juice, and, being in the English department, we tried to figure out how the brand name [Izze] was pronounced. Was it "eetzee" or perhaps "itzee"--Italian or of some sort of Pyrenees dialect, etc? We decided that the best way to know was to find out where the stuff came from. In looking at the can, which looks rather like an oversized Everready battery, we found the company is in Boulder, Colorado. We looked at each other. "Definitely 'Izzy'" we both decided.

As that party wound down, the grad students were all conspiring to go to a downtown bar, then, after a few drinks, head over to another one not terribly far off. I reminded myself that these are 26 year olds, who are able to absorb such quantities and somehow shrug it off the following day. I, however, tend to stumble around like a drugged ox, uttering monosyllables, and in general acting much like many of the neighbors I'd have had if I had actually rented the first apartment I saw on my arrival here in Lafayette. Considering that the tequila shot I'd consumed as a matter of tradition had caused me to break out in a sort of cold sweat, I'd decided that, after a spot of wine, the aforementioned snakebite (ugh, ugh, ugh), and sizeable quantities of excellent food, it was time for me to sleep on a mattress that was not inflatable and bask in some real, bonafide airconditioning. I arrived in Indianapolis after 1:30 am. The lawn doesn't need to be mowed, and I was able to work on record reviews and writing while the gang at school prepared for their Sunday party.

Grad school--it's all so exciting. At times I feel I'm living The Secret History or The Cheese Monkeys but then I realize no one's died or gone crazy just yet. We still have two whole semesters before summer break, though. Who knows what might happen in the meantime? Pix forthcoming.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Progress being made

After putzing around the house yesterday, I managed to finally get off my duff and take a whiff of the lovely cool air outside. Doing so made me feel guilty as hell for not getting more done on the house this week, so I slunk back inside, put on some grubbier gear, and propped a ladder against the house and started painting. The green is all but done. I only have the eaves of part of the house left for trim.

In addition, I managed to draft a total of SIX record reviews, which I'm sure will please the website. It's likely they've forgotten all about me, as I haven't shown up on their radar since June. I'm not out of the woods yet--I still have about 24 more discs to review. The price of greed. Beware, children, and take heed of my plight when you reach later life!

The landlord for Lafayette has called me back to inform me that indeed, I have been approved to rent from them and can move my items and accoutrements starting tomorrow. Good thing, as my duties at the university start that very same day. I'll be packing up the car this evening. I'll devote next weekend to getting the bike up and running so that I might be able to tool around the town without being impacted by British Petroleum.

But no, the lawn's not been mowed, the housepainting isn't completed, the backporch woodwork ain't varnished, nor is the closet door. In spite of that, however, I'm gonna just sit here and drink some Cabernet.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A serious lack of Progress?

In this two long weeks that I've had between my job of ten years and my new ocupations as grad student, I'd had such high hopes, such high hopes...finishing the housepainting, restoring light fixtures for the living room, tuckpointing the foundation to list three things. Of the above, none are done. It's either been too hot or too wet for any of the outdoor tasks. One lovely thing I've found out about house repair tasks is that they don't go anywhere.

Dad was kind enough to assist with the relaying of the two chimneys, seen above, before the roofers came. We were in a time crunch--the mess needed to be made on the old roof before they tore it off, so we had one weekend to do the masonry. Right in the middle of the worst of the heat wave. We fried like eggs. That, the roof going on, and packing for school remain the only items in the "completed" column. Oh, and hacking down the jungle my flowerbeds became.

In new news, I've put in the deposit for the Grad Pad, which will be taking the form of a former upstairs bedroom in a formerly quite impressive large house on 9th Street hill in Lafayette. A refrigerator is parked in the former closet, but hey, I've got a kitchenette, as well as the original upstairs bathroom, complete with enormo-tub. No lease signed yet, but deposit has been made, application filled out, and assurances made. I assume I'll be moving in Monday, with a phone call being made sometime this weekend.

What a thrilling post. The blogging thing is rather new, and it's taking me a bit to get into the swing of things.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ok. This Blog thing is new. I'll at least give myself that. But when I can't even log into my own blog or even find it on Blogger, I figure there is some sort of problem.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Here we are--after some trials and tribulations in getting a username and blog title. I'm in. Another blip in the blogosphere. Ta-da.