Thursday, October 30, 2008


It is 1:00 AM. I have just realized that I am booked solid from 7:30 AM until 12:00 AM tomorrow. This will indeed suck.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The News!

Sometimes, when elections are looming, earthquakes are killing people, and students have been demonstrating their ability to ignore the simplest instructions, you need a little of this to brighten your evening.


Sharing is fun!

I discovered today that my internet exploits are being shared with a certain body of undergraduates at an institution of higher education that I fondly recall. Well, if y'all want to listen to these ramblings, you are more than welcome to them! Here's a tidbit that excites me: today I shared a milkshake with an adorable gentleman to whom I have alluded in recent posts. For some reason, I forgot the word milkshake for several hours thereafter and couldn't figure out why "ice cream shake" sounded unnecessarily awkward and inaccurate. This linguistic limitation passed, however, and the word I am now futilely seeking is an appropriate secret code name for the gentleman in question. Those who have met him are welcome to propose options.

I believe that my personal "worst movie of all time" has been supplanted. I can't even recall what it was, but it has been replaced by Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. A gem of a catastrophe, Death Bed sparkles with gratuitous female nudity, yellow foam repeatedly erupting from an innocuous-though-disastrously-70s four-poster bed, fake blood that resembles red paint to a startling degree, and an inexplicable consumptive ghost narrator who lives in a painting and steals gaudy jewelry from the dead. Plus there's a scene where a woman's head gets sawed off with the chain of her crucifix. It makes less sense than I am conveying. The highlight may have been a character who--The Mysterious X and I agreed--looked just like whats her face.

Tomorrow is an important day, so I must now to bed. In 5.5 hours I will be out on the street, holding up No on 8 signs to make sure well-intentioned people don't turn into complete morons in a week. Then I have the first lecture in the guest lecture series I'm organizing. Between those I may be seeing the aforementioned gentleman. Or after those. Or both. I am more excited about this than perhaps I should be, but dammit I deserve this excitement. I shared a milkshake!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Dear Internet Diary,

How am I supposed to pay attention to my schoolwork? There are too many other things going on! In order of importance (least to most):

1. Students. They have an assignment due tomorrow. They are freaking out. They are legion. They are emailing me non-stop.

2. No on 8. Every moment of every day we are working to protect marriage equality. And yet, some people who claim to be supportive are completely unwilling to spend 30 seconds just talking about it. Last night, while out recruiting volunteers for Election Day, I actually heard the excuse, "I can't take any time off work; I'm in sales!" Self-important jackass.

3. A boy. Most important of all: A boy who likes me and whom I like. I can barely pay attention to any of these other things.

Internet Diary, will you make my professors cancel all of my classes so I can get other stuff done? It'll only take a week or so. Then they can slowly get started again, maybe without all the reading and the writing. That's all I'm asking for.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rumblings in the interior

There may or may not be big news of a personal nature in the offing. Let us see what tomorrow brings. Not necessarily tomorrow in the literal sense; tomorrow may refer to any time in the not-too-distant future.

I leave you with this: a sugar glider!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I hadn't thought of Bruce Coville, one of my all-time favorite kids' book authors in a long time. Then I got an email from 'Nald with this link: Bruce Coville Interview. As the interviewer says, he's just as cool now as I thought when I was eight.

The series featured in the interview may have been my first literary experience of social commentary. Plus, they're about ALIENS! And TEACHERS! Two of the awesomest/scariest things out there. If you have the mind of a child or the ability to recall what that was like, I endorse you reading these books. Plus most of the rest of his oeuvre.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Good" News

"The good news is, you backed everything up three weeks ago."

Thus spake the Apple Store "Genius" and thus ended the life of Shevek II, my noble hard drive.

Cross your fingers that the course webpage for History of Rock does not spontaneously combust in the next few days, or all 128 of my graded papers will need to be re-graded.

Banking schmanking

Most of the country is experiencing all sorts of financial catastrophe. I am not, a fact for which I am extremely grateful. However, I am experiencing once more the supreme pinnacle of incompetence embodied by the particular branch of Bank of America located near my apartment.


1. When I moved to the great state of California, I was required to close my accounts in Rhode Island and open new ones here. This was not BofA's fault; it is a requirement for establishing residency. What WAS their fault was the fact that in the process of transferring my money from one branch to another, they managed to charge me over $100.00 in overdraft fees. Or overdraught fees, if I'm feeling British. Thanks to the always-friendly, always-competent BofA branch on Angell St., Providence, RI, I was able to recover this money.

2. During this initial transaction, I was assured that my old accounts were being closed. This was the sole purpose of the transaction, after all. One month later, I received another overdraught fee from the "closed" account. Again, RIBofA managed to recover my money.

3. I asked for a BofA credit card, at the instigation of the banker who "helped" me set up my new accounts. Today, 14 months and 3 days later, I have seen no sign of this credit card.

4. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I had too much money when I opened the accounts. They automatically signed me up for a "VIP" account, which resulted in their placing a minimum balance requirement on my accounts, a balance I recently dipped below because of the four-month gap between my paychecks. Surprise! Another $20.00 fee for having too little money. Yes, that's right. They charge you money for not having enough money.

5. In an attempt to recover this fee (and to have it explained, as I knew not whence it came), I went back to my least favorite branch of BofA. It's at the end of my block and Im lazy; sue me. I was informed that I had gone below my minimum balance ($10,000.00 between checking and savings, an astronomical amount to require) and that I would need to open a different type of checking account. I did so. However, to recover the fee I would need to call customer service, as the banker currently servicing me, the customer, was apparently not part of that department. I departed in a snit but with a shiny new bank account and a promise of a four-month grace period on the old account before I would have to get a new ATM card, close the account, and figure out the hellish details of changing over all of my automatic debits (gas, electric, internet, phone, LA homeless shelter, gym, and who knows what else).

6. Today I contacted customer service. The friendly but harried representative on the phone immediately reversed the fee and informed me that it would be much easier for me to just change the type of the account I already had instead of opening a new one. I would get to keep my ATM card, not have to redo all of my auto-debits, and as long as I had direct deposit set up, I wouldn't have to pay any monthly fee. Unlike under the plan I had set up with the banker at my branch, which would actually still charge me $20.00 per month for that four month "grace period." Leading me to question what on earth that "grace period" was doing for me.

7. Because my new account is listed as "recently opened," the helpful representative was unable to close it and transfer my $25.00 (minimum required amount to open a new checking account) back into my original checking account. I need to do that at my local branch. I shudder at the thought of the fortitude that would require of me. Therefore, I plan instead to simply wait until that account is no longer "recently opened," and call the same woman I spoke to today.

To sum up: I have no issues with BofA as a whole, as it seems not to be on the verge of sudden complete collapse. I have many, many issues with the wholly useless bankers who work at my local branch. If the woman on the phone had been less helpful, I would have withdrawn all of my money today and taken it to Wells Fargo, the happy (and solvent!) bank with the ponies in its logo. For now, however, BofA is experiencing a grace period. They are in my good graces for now, but they are teetering on the brink of incurring my everlasting wrath. Consider yourself warned, Bank of America. If you choose not to read this warning, I will charge you $30.00 per month until you notice.

Plus my computer died yesterday. Apparently it didn't like me searching for "Bea Arthur" on jstor. In an hour I will leave for my appointment at the Apple store and see what's going on. Wish me luck; I haven't backed up anything in three weeks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pedagogy III

A public service announcement:

Heroine: A woman distinguished by exalted courage, fortitude, or noble achievements.

Heroin: A white crystalline alkaloid prepared from morphine by acetylation, which is illictly used as a powerful and addictive drug producing intense euphoric sensations.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Morsel for thought

"'W.' is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). The film has some extremely graphic images of real war and some expletives."

In what context are "extremely graphic images of real war" somehow comparable to "expletives"? Puritan America rides again...

Pedagogy II

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Family Matters

Siblings, I missed many of you keenly this weekend. For those of you who trooped off to a mysterious event of which I dare not speak on these public internets, I hope it was everything it always was for me. For those of you who trooped here to LA for a non-mysterious weekend of delight and ice cream, I had a fantastic time. Even though I was struck mute by the last gasp of this unpleasant disease, I still loved seeing y'all.

Congratulations to DQ, who leaves the ranks of the unemployed this week, and also to the Moron and 'Nald, who join said ranks. I hope your various altered employment stati do well by you.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Reasons why today is wonderful:

1. I took magic Canadian medicine last night, and my head feels amazingly light and unsqueezed this morning.

2. The projected high temperature is finally seasonable: 70 degrees! I'm in such a good mood that I will even deign to translate that into furriner: 21 pitiful metric degrees.

3. Several important people (and one mildly important dog) are coming to visit tonight from the metropolis to the north.

4. I ate a meal last night and didn't feel grossly bloated!

5. Connecticut rocks!

A few details now on point number 1. Magic Canadian medicine is weird. It combines Tylenol, a decongestant, vitamin C, and some other stuff in a powdered drink that approximates hot lemonade. Apparently, the standard effect of this cocktail is a sudden lack of both symptoms and consciousness. For me, the symptoms faded but the consciousness multiplied sevenfold--I felt more awake than I had since about Sunday. I went to sleep around 11:30, woke up at about 3:30, explored the internet for three hours while vigorously kicking my feet to expend some of my newfound energy, then napped again from 6:something until 9:something. I should by no means be perky and energetic now, but I am. Conclusion: magic Canadian medicine is MAGIC.

Or has buckets of caffeine.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Today marks my fourth day of sickness. Monday afternoon, I suddenly felt ill in class. Tuesday I spent the entire day in bed. Yesterday I went to school in the morning to TA and hold office hours, then ducked out of the 6 hours of campaign work I had signed up for in order to spend the rest of the day on the couch, wallowing. I did drag myself out to go to birthday dinner for Z2 and Absinthe, which was a bad idea. I ate soup, and couldn't finish it. Because apparently sick now equals loss of appetite. Since I started feeling unwell on Monday, I have eaten two pieces of toast, two small bowls of soup, and a couple handfuls of nuts and dried fruit. All of these were out of a sense of obligation, because eating is good for you.

Today I am abandoning Mrs. Crash to present on Schopenhauer alone, for which I feel guilty. This is on top of backing out of something like twelve hours of campaigning for no on 8 so far this week. Being sick always makes me feel like a shitty person. I know that this is silly, but I spent too much of elementary school pretending to be sick when I wasn't, and now I feel like I'm lying every time I get actually sick.

I'm crossing my fingers that this whatever-it-is clears up before the weekend; I have plans to have fun with friends and I do NOT want to be sick for them.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My new home

I have a new home on the internet. I now reside at 538, a fabulous, fabulous polling site. I've been known to do some math in my day (no scoffing, now), and 538 fills that arithmetical hole in my life with amazing, wonderful numbers. Supposedly, their model is ridiculously more accurate than any other predictive methods. The internet told me this, so it must be true. The model even predicted that the White Sox would win their division; that's damn good.

This evening, 538 made me even happier than it usually does. Why? Because it's currently predicting 343.8 electoral votes for Obama, 194.2 for McCain. Because North Carolina, Indiana, and Missouri all just jumped into the Obama column. Because it's even vaguely possible that GEORGIA and part of NEBRASKA will go Obama. WTF!?

I don't have the math background to know if these polls are accurate. I don't trust polls, as a rule. However, one Randall Munroe trusts 538's math, and that's good enough for me.

Now if only they kept track of California ballot propositions...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Slippery subtleties

"The subtleties can be slippery. The Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington, Del., where Mr. Biden lives, is promoting a video produced by the conservative Catholic group Fidelis that is intended to persuade Catholic voters to put opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage above all other issues.

'Many issues are at stake,' a caption reads as the video displays a fetus and choral music swells. 'Some are more important than others.'" -from David Kirkpatrick's article currently on the front page of the NY Times website.

Some of the subtleties are slipperier than Kirkpatrick noticed. The phrase "choral music swells," for example, describing a video that purports to explain the danger of same-sex marriage. That chorus is full of gays. I guarantee it. Any chorus large enough to "swell" has at least ten gay choristers. Statistical fact.

Fuck you, bigot-Catholics. Stop giving the decent Catholics a bad name.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Celebrity sightings

So I live in Los Angeles, home of the celebrity sighting. I have seen TWO celebrities in the 14 months I've lived here, and both were gay musical theater writers. Neither one of them lives in LA. I clearly have not mastered the celebrity sighting techniques required for citizenship here.

For those who are curious, I have met Richard Thomas, best known as the composer of Jerry Springer: The Opera and John Cameron Mitchell, best known as the writer and star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (less known as Dickon in The Secret Garden musical). Richard donated $173 to Equality For All and John hung out at my apartment with me and my ex-roommate.

So I may not have the quantity, but I've got the quality.

Oh, also I know a writer for Family Guy, but he's not famous.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


My take on the VP debate, in brief. Republican strategists are well aware of the prevalence of debate-centered drinking games among those Educated Liberal Coastal Elites. They know that every time Sarah Palin says "maverick," each ELCE takes another drink. They figured they'd could kill us all off in one night, and they told her to go for it.