Monday, August 23, 2004

I got behind in everything over the last few weeks. The clutter on my desk has spilled over and is making a bid to take over and force out my two officemates. I succeeded in not adding anything more to the pile but did nothing today to reduce it. I did make progress on the laundry over the weekend, and after tearing more of the garage ceiling out, have determined that the bathtub is leaking from pipes going into the tub and not out of the tub as previously suspected, or possibly, is leaking from both places. Fixing the leak is going to require removing the faucets and pulling off the tub surround, so... Did I mention that I made good progress on the laundry this weekend?

Anyway, I started getting caught up on blogs and e-mails this weekend, and found Gwenda's links on the Dairy Queen Moolatte controversy. I was dismayed at first and then amused. The interview with the Dairy Queen executive was painful to read. Dairy Queen is based in my hometown, Bloomington, so I can understand why he didn't recognize the critic's sarcasm at first. I've never encountered the word "mulatto" outside of books and film. (In this part of the country, sadly, to most people, if you are black, you are black and that's that, there's no need for further distinctions.) Who knows why he didn't seem to get it after a couple of sentences? I have had at least three conversations with African American and other co-workers on the subject of Moolattes and other iced coffee drinks and none of us ever made the connection. I wonder if it's because like me, in their minds, they stretch out the Moo to be a cow sound and are heavy on the -te. I always felt silly ordering it before on my once every few weeks splurge, now I'll feel a little more guilty, too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Diversicon was a fun, relaxed convention with friendly people and interesting panels. We've decided that this will be an annual event on our calendar and now we hope to draw as many others to it as we can. At about 120 attendees, there's plenty of room and it's easy on the pocketbook. The auction had a lot of great stuff that went cheap. We got a load of books, DVDs and video tapes for only $30. When I was writing out the check, I felt a little guilty, but only a little since we so recently faced one of us being out of work. My favorite item was a video tape of Scaramouche (and also Waterloo) for only $1 (or was it $2?) When Eric announced this pairing, mine was the only bid and my arm (probably the one that sometimes pretends it's accustomed to holding a sword) shot up completely on it's own accord. The auction was followed by a concert by Keg Salad, a band that you need to see, along with its sister band, Mad Melancholy Monkey Mind, if you ever get a chance. In addition, there was scotch, there was beer, there were readings, there were movies, there were books, there was poetry and we were there with 'zines and chapbooks.

Friday, August 13, 2004

A very good end to the day and the week. Alan may no longer be unemployed, I received a promotion, the cats already are starting to get along better thanks to the Feliway, my review copy of the The Anchor Book of New Amercian Short Stories (edited by Ben Marcus) arrived, I received a beautiful box of new managed network cards courtesy of FedEx and 2BuyStore to replace the ones we lost to the lightning strike, and I got the great feeling of accomplishment and closure that comes from solving a nagging tech problem before I had to leave for the day. (I spent the free moments of the day wrangling with one of those nasty browser hijackers on a friends laptop. Stupid little ziphelp.exe file. I'll post details later tonight, since the only full instructions I found on removing it were in German. We love you designers of Hijack This!)

After evening drinks at Kieran's last night to say good-bye to co-worker, former boss and buddy John, I met up with Alan, Mark, Martha and others at Dulonos. We'll be spending the weekend at Diversicon where Mark is the Special Guest. In addition to catching up a little with Mark and Martha, I had a great discussion with Steve and Shari about sleep disorders, met Guest of Honor S.P. Somtow, who is fascinating, and Alan and I signed up for a table at the convention, which will lead to us actually saving money on memberships. Mark and Martha will be playing for us in their Keg Salad incarnation on Saturday, otherwise I have no set plans for the whole weekend. Yay!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

It's been a really nice weekend so far. I've been sitting on the couch with my laptop watching the end of Bringing up Baby and catching up on everyone's blogs in kind of a blissful haze. Despite Alan's being laid off earlier this week, we managed a nice birthday celebration for him on Friday. In the evening, we went to see the Bourne Supremacy (I loved the car chase scenes!) which he bypassed last weekend to see The Village as an indulgence for me. It was dinner time after the movie, but we'd filled up on popcorn so we went and did some writing at a local bookstore/coffee shop. Alan is working on an epic poem - I'm not sure that's the right term for it but I mean epic in the sense that it's really long. While I struggled to find some focus, he was writing away and would look every up once and a while ask something like, "How do you spell chrysanthemum?" and then go back to writing. We found a really good book called, cat vs. cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat. Ever since we lost our dog last summer to cancer, our house has been a war zone with our three cats playing the roles of Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. I've only read two chapters but I've already discovered that the litterboxes were most likely disputed territory with the dominant cat sprawling nearby probably preventing access to them when we thought he was just lounging. The man behind the counter at the bookstore asked me if I had cats. I laughed and said I had too many and explained the situation. He looked kind of sad and longing and said, "I love cats." When I told Alan about it later, he said I should have offered him one of ours. We looked at all three and worked through various scenarios. In all three cases, removal of one of the felines resulted in detente, but then we were faced with which one and, of course, that's an impossible question. (Tonight, the two aggressors are sprawled in their favorite spots looking cute. It's a deceiving cuteness, though, since the terrorized one is conspicuously missing. He disappeared after an incident a little while ago that occurred out of my sight but involved a mad scramble and some hissing.) After the bookstore, we had takeout at home and watched Secret Window on pay per view. It was the only movie on at that time and I had wanted to see it after seeing a preview (and for Johnny Depp), but this one was one I should have waited to see on free cable. Today we headed over to my parent's house to say good-bye to the Asia-dwelling contigent of the family. They're heading back to Beijing to get ready for school. My cousin will be starting college at Wellesley and her brother will be back to highschool. It makes me feel so old to think that I was in college and in Tokyo with them when he was born. We had a few good games of croquet, good conversation (including some strong mixed views on The Village), and a great turkey dinner with lots of leftovers to take home. The spooky kitty just came out of hiding to let me know it's time for their last feeding and it's probably time for me to stop rambling and go to bed. First, I suppose I should weigh in a little on The Village. I never really paid much attention to the M. Night hullabaloo, although I've seen all the movies. A trailer of The Village gave me the chills and provided a couple nights of very creative, creepy nightmares, something that hasn't happened since I was young and watching Mel's Matinee, a show that I found out was also an influence on the Coen Brothers. So, while I watched, there was already a fond spot in my mind for the "movie that could have been" which made me a more generous viewer. Occasionally, the "movie that was" tipped its hat to the "movie that could have been" and once or twice it rose above it. Mostly, it was just a very different movie, one that never bored me, had a lot of suspenseful moments, was beautifully filmed and acted, and ultimately, although in my opinion an enjoyable movie, wasn't as good as it could have been.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Happy Birthday, Alan!
I noticed recently that time lags in my blog directly relate to increases in workplace stress. It has been a stressful month, even with a vacation thrown in the middle. Anyways, this made me angry enough to interrupt work to post.

Asian American Journalist Association's Statement on Cheney Campaign Background Checks