Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Music meme

I've loved seeing these on other people's blogs, though I confess I haven't tried to guess many - it's more fun just to read the lines by themselves, kind of like the haiku meme. So here are mine.

Bonus points for anyone who knows #21! (And extra bongo bonus points for anyone who knows the bonus lyric at the end.) The hardest ones will be #10 and #15, though, because they're from CDs put out by local bands, one from the cool town where I lived way back before the days of Google, and the other from the cool town where my Studly Brother lives. (So he'll probably know that one, come to think of it.) And a fifty-point deduction for anyone who CANNOT guess #17 or #19. Ready, set, play!

Step 1: Put your MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 25 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Bold when someone gets them right
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING.

1. Qué horas son, mi corazón
2. Thanks for the boogie ride, I'm more than gratified
3. En cambio constante, todo se mueve y deja de ser lo que era antes
4. And the hail falls hard and the wind whips in my face
5. Help me breathe, help me believe
6. There were people living in a green valley, found a way to make a lot of money
7. Pa' el cementerio se va, la vaca de mala leche
8. Poor old Johnny Ray sounded sad upon the radio
9. I do believe in you and I know you believe in me, oh yeah
10. Woke up this morning and what did I see, all of the bigots had gone to sleep
11. Lone Star, where are you out tonight
12. We can't play this game anymore, but can't we still be friends?
13. Here we go again, another round of blues
14. Don't bother me, I ain't got time for your misery
15. Wake up y'all 'cause I'm a crazy fool
16. Late nights in rustic motel rooms, stale lives left by someone else
17. Here she comes now sayin' Mony Mony
18. Tok tok, quién es?
19. Istanbul was Constantinople, now it's Istanbul not Constantinople
20. Tengo que confesar que a veces, no me gusta tu forma de ser
21. He held a job at the Buckeye Creamery
22. And when I see the sign that points one way, the light we used to pass by every day
23. Hazme un lugar en tu almohada, junto a tu pecho me calmaré
24. The song came and went, like the times that we spent
25. Full, full moon and that same sad nature

Bonus (I cut this one from the list because it's from a recording of a live performance that varies quite a bit from the original, but it's fun anyway): Bring on the bongo, bring on the bongo bong!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chicken Little

No, really, the sky is falling! Or at least our house seems to be falling apart around us. A week or so ago, a storm took down part of the silver maple in front of our house. The next day, our microwave made a loud POP and promptly stopped microwaving. Somewhere around there our phone quit working, and yesterday we came home to a pool of water on the kitchen floor and a refrigerator full of distinctly unrefrigerated food. (I'm a little bit scared to be using the computer right now, lest I wreak some similar destruction upon it.)

Some of these have a bright side. The maple only lost one substantial branch, and it fell in the only part of the yard where it could possibly have fallen without doing any damage to anything. The microwave is still dead, but we actually still had our old microwave in a box in the garage from the last time we moved (the house came with a built-in one), so that at least has a temporary solution. It took AT&T a full four days to fix the damn phone, and the "fix" involves a large black cable strung over our neighbor's fence and through the yard, so I'm hoping that story's not quite over yet, but at least the phone works, which is good because we need it to call all the other repair people.

The fridge is being more obstreperous, and more puzzling. The motor works, and it blows air, but the air is not particularly cold. Naturally, we discovered this on a Friday evening, so we spent the evening buying ice, rounding up the coolers, and trying to decide whether the previously frozen stuff was at all salvageable. Then I discovered that the manufacturer had a website where you could make a service request, and, wonder of wonders! one local service place had an appointment available on Saturday. We jumped on it.

Except that Saturday morning, we get up to find... a perfectly working fridge. The freezer is frozen again, and the fridge is warmish but clearly on its way to cooling. WTF? We debate about whether to keep the service appointment, because something clearly *had* gone wrong even if it fixed itself. But then we decided that a) a Saturday service call was going to cost us an arm and a leg, and b) if the thing was running perfectly, the service guy probably wouldn't be able to tell what was wrong with it.

So I cancelled, and we loaded all the stuff from the cooler back to the freezer, and went about our business.

Until, later this afternoon, I went to put some leftover lunch things away, and... again the damned thing is blowing lukewarm. I try kicking it a few times, which doesn't seem to have much effect besides scaring the cats. I call the service guys back, and they say sorry, not only did you lose your place today, but we don't have any openings again till Wednesday.

This week of course is the last week of class, which means there are countless meetings piled on top of the usual schedule, so I have no idea when we're going to find a way to be home during the precious rare minutes that the service people are willing to come out. I think we're pretty much doomed. Anyone wanna come over for a big meat/cheese/egg/yogurt feast before it all goes bad? Come quick, before the stove breaks down.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meme of the mundane

The lovely and talented Billie tagged me for the Mundane Meme! which is just the kind of thing my poor worn-out brain can handle at the moment.

Favorite laundry detergent:

I am committed to a variety of particular household and personal products, but I must confess I have no real emotional investment in my laundry detergent. I like the whole line of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products (especially the dishwasher detergent), but our grocery store quit carrying those, so I need to figure out some other way to get them.

Favorite item used for an unintended purpose:

The Oracle Sock. The LWI used to own a pair of ratty funny-looking argyle socks that we tied together to make into a cat toy, many years ago when OneCat was tiny and wildly hyperactive. Since then, we have never seen either cat actually touch the sock or even acknowledge its existence. Nevertheless, it travels around the house on a regular basis, usually seeming to comment on the general situation of cats - lurking outside the bedroom door on mornings when we sleep too late, or perching on Places Cats Are Not Allowed (such as the dining room table) when we're too many long days out of the house.

Favorite way to buy music:

Um, people still buy music? I've never actually purchased music online, but for the last couple of years I've subscribed to an internet radio (formerly MusicMatch, now Rhapsody) that lets me play or download as much music as my little heart desires. So I buy access to music, but not music itself. Ironically, I still possess the first CD player I ever bought, long enough ago (1987?) that I wasn't entirely convinced that CDs were really going to be the Next Big Thing.

How clean is your car?

Spotlessly clean, because it's only two weeks old! I meant to blog about this at some point, but we have ourselves a brand new car, and every day we are absolutely delighted with it. One of the things I appreciate the most about the LWI is that we work in remarkable harmony in coming to such decisions; we started out liking the same make/model, both spent a few weeks carefully researching (and briefly favoring) other options, both came back to the same original choice, and ended up agreeing on it down to the color and accessories. (I am a little baffled as to why he thought a roof rack was essential, but hey, you never know, I might get a kayak someday.) And all of this gets away from the question of how clean it is, but we both drive around every day chortling with glee about how lovely our car is.

How clean is your apartment/house/room?

Okay, that's another story, because we haven't bought a new house lately, and there's an awful lot of accumulated grunge in the old one. Today it's reasonably clean, because I tackled it yesterday after a few weeks of neglect. I fear that's the last good cleaning anything is going to get before the end of the semester.

How clean is your office?

Oh, yeah, like you don't know the answer to THAT question. In April? Are you kidding me? I'm lucky I can find my desk.

Favorite weekly free time:

Probably Friday night, to the extent that I have any free time at all. Fridays we teach in the morning, go to the gym, do the weekly shopping, and grab a late lunch on the way home, and by that time I'm usually pretty well wiped out, in a happy Friday sort of way. So Friday evenings are spent flopped out on the couch with a book or the previous weekend's New York Times.

Is there a word, phrase, or gesture that is identifiably yours?

Oh, that's greatness.

Most effective medicine for one (or more) of your ailments:

Red wine; one glass every evening cures the woes of the day. I hardly ever take standard medications of any kind; I fortunately don't suffer from any substantial ailments, and I tend to think of occasional aches and pains and sneezes as my body's way of warning me or correcting itself, meant to be responded to, not silenced.

A favorite thing you try to sell/push/encourage your friends to try:

Mmm, I'm not a big fan of pushing things on other people, even if I really love them (the things or the people). If I were to recommend anything, it would probably be yoga, which is a wonderful remedy for most of the things my friends and colleagues complain about. Stress, stiffness, low energy, back pain? Get a little down-dog in your life!

Favorite new (or new-to-you) thing:

Besides the above-mentioned lovely new car? Boy, I haven't done much new lately. One new-to-me thing (in a slightly more abstract sense) was the conference experience I described earlier; I've finally gotten to the point where I know probably more than half of the people in this organization, and it was new and pleasant to feel that greater sense of connection. I tend to be a loner in terms of my research and academic identity, and I'm not all that great at networking, so this was a positive new experience.

Tag! You're it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


One of my big tasks this spring was organizing the annual conference of the principal academic society to which I belong. Some of the most useful conversations I've seen in the blogosphere lately revolve around things like the process of getting tenure, planning new courses, working with colleagues, or various pedagogical issues, but I haven't yet seen much discussion of conferences besides reporting on the quality of individual panels or social events.

Here, then, for your enlightenment and instruction, is my Participant's Guide to the Academic Conference, from the (somewhat jaded) point of view of the organizer.

1. It will be much appreciated if you register by the registration deadline, rather than waiting to register on-site. Organizers need to have a reasonable idea of how many people to expect. Presumably you know fairly well in advance that you're going, especially if you've needed to purchase plane tickets, so why not share that information with the organizers?

2. If you have received a request (or, indeed, several) to confirm whether or not you will be attending the conference dinner, please respond to this request; it is very simple to email a Yes or a No. This is far preferable to casually mentioning to the organizer on the day of the banquet that you don't plan to attend, or that you've suddenly decided to attend and bring three guests.

3. It is not recommended for you to call the organizer at her home on Friday night to ask for a digital projector to be provided for your panel on Saturday morning. The organizer has many talents, but she is not able to make equipment materialize out of thin air; that is why she asked you to indicate any audio-visual needs with your proposal three months ago.

4. It is not appropriate to refuse to pay the registration fee for a conference on the grounds that you will only be attending for one day.

5. It is equally frowned upon to ignore several suggestions to update your long-unpaid membership in the organization hosting the conference, especially when you are participating on two different panels in that conference. If you are benefiting from your connection to the organization, the least you can do is pay the (quite paltry) membership dues.

6. It moves into the realm of the genuinely heinous for a single person to commit every one of the above-listed sins.*

7. Most of you, of course, are not guilty of these acts. If you register on time, show up for your panel, take part in discussion, head out for some social outings with your fellow conference-goers, and generally enjoy the collegial interaction that is the main point of all these things, then you are entirely responsible for the conference's success, and the organizer loves you. Thanks!

*Yes, that really happened, and of course this person is a well-respected, well-paid full professor at a large R1 university. Nevertheless, he is now blacklisted from all future meetings of this organization, and God knows I'll never do him any favors.


As seen in several places... a haiku generator based on your blog. Mine seem to reveal a certain degree of anxiety, but it looks like everything turns out OK in the end, which is pretty much how things have gone around here lately. Get your own here.

i will be done yet
eight things i can't use those
connections as much

wanted to change times
or something god knows what but
it matters a lot

perhaps that is all
the titians and grecos and
van goghs and hoppers

again did the third
and the fourth and all manner
of things shall be well