Thursday, February 28, 2008

proof that my work is indeed relevant

I'm eating lunch while prepping for a phone interview, and I'm experiencing something horrifying on television....a History Channel show called History Rocks. The concept of the show is a combination of Pop-Up Video and the standard reductive pseudo-documentary tv is famous for...particularly this channel.

This one's on the eighties. They started off with a bit on Pac Man...yes, the video game is the most important thing about the decade to these guys. {ac Man was, incidentally, covered while "Everybody Wang Chung" played. They just finished doing Black Monday to the strains of Foreigner's "Urgent," and after the break, it's the fall of the Berlin Wall to Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It."

Ug. These people need me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

damn you, Bing Crosby

We had somewhere around 6" of snow. I live about 20 miles away from where I work. Naturally, this causes a problem.

I get up, and the spousal unit and I check the television and web to see if our work places are open. Hers has announced that they're closed until noon. She goes back to sleep. I go "grrrrr." and hop in the shower.

I make and pour coffee. It's 8am, and now, I'm awake. That's when my school decides to stay closed until noon. Caffeine is in my system now, so sleep is realistically an impossibility. I'm slightly peeved.

I go online and cancel my first wave of conferences. I get the standard web stuff done. I check into applying to the MLA's conference (it's the biggie for Lit types), but they make you join and pay the $80+ dues to even consider your proposal. I'm ticked.

Spousal unit gets up, and I gaze longingly at her for a while. Her school decides to close for the day, and she vows to wear pajamas for the entire time. I look out at the 6" of snow on our cars. I'm still ticked.

So I check my school's web site, and I have to dig to find anything...but still no notice of closing. So I go out and shovel off our cars and all the snow around them. I work steadily, but it's still that fun "you're outside, it's below freezing, and you're sweating" kind of work.

I come back inside, check the web, and NOW they've decided to close my workplace. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

This is all further fuel for my rampant paranoia, of course. And to make matters worse, after they finally decide I don't have to risk life and limb to work, THEN it quits snowing.

a strange serenity in face of the storm clouds

I am so horrifically overworked right now, I should be in absolute panic. I have a month to finish an article for a contracted book. I have another article I'm co-writing with a friend. I have two articles that need revision and resubmitting. I have two more articles in various stages of the of which I have to then convert into a book chapter. And then I have the big book revision project.

Not to mention, of course, the joys of teaching 4 online comp I and three business writing sections.

However, I'm strangely at peace. I am actively researching and writing...with only minimal tv immersion/screw off periods. I think I can actually make all my deadlines. I have faith.

Not two weeks ago, I was in depressive/"the world is going to end" other words, I was acting like my brother. However, I got in succession potential good news on both the book and the job hunt...nothing I can discuss right now, but it's a real lift to have some actual validation, some recognition that your efforts are in fact appreciated. You can bet that if there's any progress I can discuss, you'll here it here.

Damn, I'm actually only one step away from breaking into the whole "ant can't pull a rubber tree plant" routine.

rolling frames

Last Thursday was the lovely spousal unit's birthday. To celebrate, we had a bowling extravaganza on Saturday. The main thing we learned? Proficiency at Wii bowling does not really translate to the real world.

I didn't get the hang of it right first 6 balls were all gutters. Of course, when we had 10 minutes left on our lane, I started throwing strikes. My dad was a great bowler, which makes my own ineptness at the sport that much more disappointing.

As we were leaving, I thanked some of our friends for coming, because my spousal unit would've been heart-broken if people didn't show up. The response? "we couldn't break her heart...that would be like slaughtering puppies."

Friday, February 15, 2008

a momentary boost to a poor ego

I've been asked to write an article on Captain America prose novels for a contracted book. While doing research today, I typed in "Captain America" into the search engine of one of the library's research databases, and my Journal of Popular Culture article was the first one to come up! It briefly made me feel famous.

Also, there has been some acknowledgment of my scholarly existence! If anything ever comes of it, you can bet you'll hear it here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

don't trust the gub'ment

In my initial preparations for tax filing, I was running through the 1040A and found out there's several things that annoy me.

I teach college. Specifically, I do writing. Many of the things I teach are the type of things that, if they were any good, most high schools should really teach. Should one be able to finish public education and still have to ask: What's an argument?

So I was pleased when I saw that there is a slot for educational teaching expenses. However, since I do college, I don't qualify...never mind the fact that I do so much high school-appropriate stuff.

Also, the spousal unit did have to pay tuition this year, and I know I can claim that. However, according to the form, I can claim it in one of three different ways. Obviously, I was confused, so I called the IRS, and after hearing the same classical "hold" music for twenty aggravating minutes, they told me that there's no real guideline as to which one I should use, and I should really just do all three and find out what works.

Now, I am a supporter of the graduated income tax, but c'mon... This just kind of reinforces my dream that the IRS must really be a dungeon, with dungeonmaster figures managing the phones, letting out maniacal laughs whenever they're able to fully and utterly confuse or torture someone.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

rooting for the monsters

Last night, several friends, the spousal unit, and I went to see the movie friend described it as "Blair Witch meets Godzilla."

For those of you who haven't been exposed to the mega amounts of hype, the premise is that the movie is supposed to be the retrieved film from the minicam of a New Yorker taken as the city is attacked by some giant monster. As such, it's supposed to be "the average person's point of view of a major calamity" kind of thing.

The film starts off with the "let's set up the character" stuff. One of the major characters, it seems, is about to move to Tokyo for a job or something, and his brother and friends are throwing a going away party. There's some subplot with him and a girl whom he has loved for years. It doesn't matter, really. The set-up went on for about twenty minutes, and although it was supposed to build our sympathy for the characters, it instead made me wish that the monster would hurry up, attack these people, and make them die slowly and painfully.

The humans were all annoying. They were the "hey, we're in our mid twenties, unbelievably rich, thin, and spoiled, and we're partying yet can still cry when our stupid little boyhood crushes go bad" types. They were stupid. They were petty. I wanted them to suffer.

Then the monster attacks NY. Everyone runs to the roof, and when debris started to fly, everyone ran to the street. A building collapsed/exploded, and the crowds scattered. Some of the major characters found refuge in a store before the clouds of smoke, dust, and crap hit.

Right then, I started to feel dramatically uncomfortable. I wondered how a 9/11 survivor watching this film would feel about their experiences being ripped off and regurgitated so the viewer can feel sympathy for spoiled brat 20 year olds who have Central Park-overlooking apartments.

It went on. The characters never became likable. We only really got limited exposure to the monster. We never figured out what it was all supposed to be about.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to focus on the small scale stories instead of adopting a big picture view. Hell, in most cases, the desire to look at the details, at the humanity, would be appealing and gutsy. The problem with this film is that the humanity we did get to see was annoying, the horror was hidden, and the big picture was non-existent. Unfortunately, while many of the lead characters died, they did so in quick, non-pain-filled ways instead of slow and horribly, which is what they deserved.

When the closing credits started, one film-goer let out a loud "That's it?" As we left, I heard another say "That's the worst movie I actually saw in the theaters." Personally, I wanted to make the filmmakers sit down and watch Godzilla 2000 to see that monster movies do not have to suck. It also made me aware that any piece of crap can be hyped into being the "best selling movie of the week."

Avoid this film, unless you just have excess time to kill, money to blow, and incredibly low standards.

a loss in Bowling Green

For a while, I doubted that she even exist. She was the thing of legends, of stories. Everyone else I knew had seen her, but whenever I was in the area, she seemed to have vanished.

It is in downtown Bowling Green where she was rumored to hang out, in the window of a corner in a downtown store which I would often pass yet never enter. Indeed, it was a strange place for a rumor, a legend, but that's were they said she stayed.

She was Window Kitty. In the window of a craft/scrapbook store, the owners set up a mini bed for their store cat. Window Kitty had free reign of the store, but she slept in her window bed, and people would stop, double take, then stare and "aww" over the cute little cat in the store window.

Or, at least, that's what everyone told me happened. For my part, years passed of walking to dinner, walking to the library, or walking to the bar, and each time, I would head past the downtown store in hopes of seeing her...but she was never there, apparently content to wander the aisles every time I was in the area instead of posing and being cute for my convenience.

For the longest time, I doubted. I suspected a conspiracy, that everyone was in league in a conspiracy to make me hunt for cats that weren't there. Then I wondered if said kitty really did exist but consciously avoided me. Maybe Window Kitty had spies that told her "Hey, Mike is coming" and then hid in response.

One day, I saw a sign in the window, telling passers-by that yes, this was a real cat, and please stop banging on the window. Still, however, the actual Window Kitty eluded me.

This went on for years, and I got more paranoid and hurt with each failure to see Kitty.

Early last Fall, I was walking to my favorite downtown tavern, and something in the window caught my eye. It was a sleeping cat, and she was gorgeous. Window Kitty was real! Moreover, she decided to take pity on me bless me with her presence.

Every time thereafter, whenever I would be downtown, I would look, and Window Kitty would be there. She became a landmark for me, a reminder of BG in this time.

Last night, the spousal unit and I were going to eat downtown, and we passed Window Kitty's window...yet there was no cat bed. We looked in the window, and there was a new sign.

Window Kitty, the sign said, had passed on. The sign said to not be sad, because Window Kitty was undoubtedly now sleeping in heaven's window, purring up a storm.

Goodbye, Window Kitty. I'm sorry I never went in to pet you, but I'm glad I got to see you. Downtown Bowling Green will never be the same without your purr.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

this just in...

Puxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. More winter, folks. However, I'm still up for celebrating Groundhog's Day, that most Freudian of all holidays.