Sunday, August 31, 2003


Notable because.

Catherine and I had our first public argument in 11 years. One time last March or April we had a pretty serious "either something changes or I'm leaving" argument on the bike path, but no one was around to hear us, so it doesn' t count. Today, everybody on both sides of the street could hear us, including her co-worker who interrupted me mid-scathing-sentence on Kirkwood Avenue.

Notable because.

For the first time in 11 years, I didn't give a damn that her co-worker knew we were fighting, that people could look at me and tell I hadn't slept in days, that complete strangers could tell we were both angry. For the first time in god knows how long, Catherine had to stop and listen to me and believe me and not put me off because I was just going to raise my voice all that much more if she continued to bury her head in the sand.

Notable because.

Catherine realized she couldn't just put me off with a "I'm sure it will get better, honey." I didn't have to listen to any more platitudes and accept any more well-meaning pats on the head. I didn't have to listen to any of my friends change the subject or brush me off or chastise me when I tried to talk to them about what's been going on in my head. I didn't have to pretend I was coping just fine, and I didn't have to lie to anyone.

Notable because.

I got what I wanted, which was a promise from Catherine to help me try and solve a few things, instead of just pretending that nothing is happening and that everything will eventually work out on its own. I got what I wanted, for her to acknowledge how humiliated and depressed and desperate and scared and exhausted I am, and that some of the things she's been doing just haven't been helping.

Notable because.

I made it through one more day, despite my total lack of desire to do so. Nothing is solved, nothing is better at all, but at least someone finally stopped and listened to the truth instead of trying to make me hide it in the back of my throat, where it was getting seriously close to choking to me to death.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Last night I figured out that if I was dead, Catherine would save about $500/month--she could actually live on her paycheck if it wasn't for me. She could stop paying my health insurance, she could sell the car ($4000 blue book value) and stop paying car insurance, she could save herself the $20 a month I waste on internet services, she wouldn't have to pay for music lessons or gym fees, she could get rid of my cell phone. The utility bills would drop, the garbage disposal bills would drop, and she'd probably start feeling quite wealthy. And that's without even selling all my junk. She could sell my drum kit, my trumpet, my guitar, my telescope, my computer equipment, my weight bench, my heavy bag, my power tools, my drafting equipment.... Financially, she's a whole lot better off without me.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Finally got off my lazy butt and set up the telescope. No, I haven't got it balanced, and no, I haven't replaced the bolt in the gimpy tripod leg. Still, we did give it a go tonight, and I guess it went okay. Catherine saw the polar ice cap on Mars, she's happy. Actually, it was a huge pain in the ass because I didn't have the thing balanced, nor do I have a spotting scope mounted, so it took a lot more work than it really needed to. But Catherine's happy, so that's all that matters.

Also, I remembered how bad deep sky telescopes are for planetary observing. It's hard to navigate by sight--you can see three stars with the naked eye, and a thousand stars through the scope, so you can't just jump from star to star. You need a deep space atlas, and they aren't that helpful for planetary observing. Catherine is interested enough in all this that--if I ever get a job--maybe we'll get an 8" cassegrain to add to the viewing collection.

I would just like to point out that it is a full three hours past my bed time.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Hmmm...shoulder or knee? Knee or shoulder? If you've only got ice enough for one joint, you have to make some painful decisions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

You know, I'm pretty sure that posing in lacy underwear is a dishonour to your black belt. Her body, her decision, but I think I would respect Diana Lee Inosanto more as a martial artist if I didn't feel she was doing me a diservice as a woman. She had an interview in this month's Black Belt Magazine, and I thought she had some interesting things to say about how women are socialized to behave in a certain (submissive) manner. It's so hard to take her seriously, though. I'm not saying she shouldn't celebrate her body, I'm really not, but does she have to do it in a way that unquestionably invites the (male) gaze to devour her? She talks about the fact that men don't respect women in martial arts classes, but I really feel like she's contributing to the continued visualization of women as sexual objects, even in the dojang, where that shouldn't be happening.

I don't know, I just get so tired of women glamming it up for sports. The WNBA publicity this season was totally disgusting. It's all about snagging male viewers. Get the men, get the money. I understand the practicalities of the situation, but I don't have to like it.
Well, I may have lost my voice, but I gained a belt. Passed my orange belt test this evening. Added a couple pieces of pine to my short stack of broken boards in my office--palm heel strike and side kick did the damage. My goal, inasmuch as I have one, is to make it farther up the ranks than I did in college. If I go one more belt level (green), that will be even w/my college rank, so I need to go at least two levels, to purple. I was in a lot better shape in college, though, so I may give up on this yet. If I stick it out, I could conceivably be a purple belt by the end of the year. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

What is it with band directors and drummers? If our director doesn't learn how to control his tendency to berate the percussion section, he's going to find himself with one less percussionist. My foster father was the same way, but at least I understood why. Drummers in junior high and high school are always pounding on something, they're a constant distraction. But you know, at this point, we're all adults, we don't sit back in the back and bang away at the snare just to have something to do. We're working our asses off most of the time, trying to cover 6 parts with 3 people. Brian and I both practice more than any responsible adult should, and we're both dumping money into lessons every month. We are not goof offs.

It just bites my ass that the conductor can spend 20 minutes rehearsing the clarinet section note by tedious note, but when he has to give the percussionsists five minutes of his attention, he acts as if we've committed some sort of heinous crime. Why is it if he has to spend a couple of minutes with us, we're "wasting the whole band's time," but if he spends twice that on the trumpets, they're not accused of doing the same thing? Brian seems to be able to shake it off, but I am definitely not getting paid enough to put up with this.

Monday, August 25, 2003

I am such a wuss. I got up at some ungodly hour this morning to go in for an MRI on my shoulder. I've had one done before, so I figured, hey, no big deal. A little loud, a little tedious. Well, the last one was in an open machine, and this one was in a closed machine. There's nothing quite like being strapped to a table and sent into a tunnel to start off a panic attack. I spent 45 minutes staring up at the top of the plastic tube, telling myself to get a grip. Such a big baby.
My birthday apron. Now I have no excuse for not cooking dinner.

New apron for my birthday

Sunday, August 24, 2003

We managed to add an extra two, if not three, hours on to our return trip by getting lost in Brown County. It's bad when you know you're driving south along the lake, but you can't find a road heading south--much less a lake--on your map. Neither of us is an idiot, but we had to ask for directions three different times before we made it to a spot we recognized.

Although we drove right through Portland, we skipped the big tractor engine show. We picked up a flyer for it in Geneva, and I must say, when I saw they were going to have six thousand different spark plugs on display, I was sorely tempted. Hanging out with 30,000 other people actually interested in all those spark plugs didn't sound like a good time, though.

We had a great time watching the kingfishers and herons at the Loblolly Marsh this morning. The DNR has been working on reclaiming the wetlands--the former Limberlost Swamp--for the past six years, and the Loblolly is a good example of what can be done to return cultivated land to a more wild state. I'm not sure if turning corn fields back into marshland is a good idea or not--surely the land has been poisoned with pesticides, surely we shouldn't be pretending we can control nature--but it does seem that the area *wants* to be swamp land. I know it took a lot of human work to turn it back into a marsh, but no human brought back the birds and fish and frogs and bugs.

Loblolly Swamp

Loblolly Swamp

Loblolly Swamp

Anyway, after we spent some time out at the Loblolly, we went back into town and talked with the site manager of the Limberlost Historic Site. We talked to him quite a bit yesterday, but it must have been slow today, because he didn't seem like he was trying to get rid of us. Probably everyone that would usually visit was in Portland at the tractor engine show.

Oh, I am not making this up, Catherine took a picture of it: we stopped at a Shell station at the intersection of 27 and 67 to wash off the Deet, and outside the gas station they had a converted soda-vending machine full of live bait. $3.00 for premium night crawlers, $2.00 for the regular kind, $1.50 for moths. What kind of quality control do you have when you're buying your bait out of a vending machine?

Live bait machine

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I should have had more alcohol on my birthday.

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Friday, August 22, 2003

The whole point of our trip--to visit the house at Limberlost (Geneva, Indiana). The Queen Anne influence is obvious here. Beautiful house in its own way, but I much prefer her house at Rome City.

I feel like I could write a book about Gene Stratton-Porter, I've been living with her non-stop all week.

The house at Limberlost

Carriage house

Since all the hotel rooms in this part of the country are full, we end up at Bearcreek Farms for the night. We are not senior citizens.

Catherine dutifully wears her wrist band

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A lightning show after an evening of swimming in Lake James.

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Thursday, August 21, 2003

After LaGrange, we went directly to Rome City to see Gene Stratton-Porter's second home, in Wildflower Woods, on the shores of Sylvan Lake. A brilliant house, ideally laid out to take advantage of all the daylight available. Particularly charming was the conservatory w/its dry sink. Too hot to spend too much time in the gardens.

Cabin in Wildflower Woods

Decided to drive to Garrett for no real reason, stopped in Avilla on the way for lunch at St. James Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in northern Indiana. Ended up in Auburn. A quick look around led to an hour spent in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. An hour wasn't enough time, so we went back the next morning. It's just a totally cool way to spend the morning, and not just for the cars. The museum building was the former administration building for the Auburn Automobile Company, complete with showrooms. A lot of the offices were laid out as if they were just waiting for everyone to come back from lunch. I especially like the drafting/clay model rooms. Looking forward to going back. Looking forward to owning an Auburn Supercharged Speedster.

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LaGrange, Indiana. Not so much happening here, but that's quite alright. Never pass up an opportunity to sit in the shade. We didn't get a chance to try out the coffee shop, but can give the local bakery two thumbs up. Just across from the courthouse is a mural celebrating the LaGrange corn school. How neat is that?

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Susan's cookie, shaped like a fish

Hitching Post, Courthouse Square, LaGrange, Indiana

LaGrange County Courthouse, 1878

Corn School mural, LaGrange, Indiana

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Fairmount, Indiana, "where cool went to school." An un-planned detour on our way to northeast Indiana. Who knew that Fairmount could claim four famous people? Wish we had time to hang around longer.

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Fairmount Historical Museum

James Dean's Grave Marker

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Wow, those Amazon people are wiley. Spend a few minutes reading jigsaw reviews, the next thing you know you're getting power tool catalogues in the mail.

Audioblog is all set up. If I see anything truly fascinating on the road in the next few days, I can call up my journal and describe it, as long as I can describe it in two minutes or less. Anything more complicated than that will have to go undocumented. I can't imagine anything exceptionally exciting appearing in front of my car in northern Indiana, but you never know.
Mm. My anger carried me through a strong 45-minute run, so I guess that's okay. I wish all my anger was so productive. If general disgruntlement could be harnessed and used for fuel, I could keep a small nation in business w/out it ever having to resort to using fossil fuels.

Catherine can never become an invalid, because I'm a totally incompetent caretaker. I've just been following her around--when she hasn't been in bed--asking, "How do you feel? How do you feel? Should I get a doctor? How do you feel?" She's probably ready to shoot me. I can't tell if she's sick or REALLY sick. If she feels like fainting or vomiting, do I reassure her it's probably just the allergy medication, or do I pack her into the car and take her to Promptcare? Somehow when I'm sick, she figures out what to do--ignore me, bring me water, call an ambulance. But all I seem to be able to do is ask, "Are you better yet? Are you better yet?" like some twisted parody of the cell phone commercial.

We've been at odds a lot lately, a lot of stress in our lives. A lot of stress at her job, a lot of stress w/my lack of job. So we bicker about stupid things. We're both tired of it but seem to keep at it. I hope the time away from home does us both some good.
It is absolutely amazing the number of hits this web page gets as a result of the keyword search "how to make a meth lab."

Monday, August 18, 2003

Well, Catherine's sleeping, and I'm trying to decide if I should stay here *just in case* or if I can go for a run. She says it's okay to go out, but I'm not all that sure. A not-so-unreasonable chunk of my afternoon was spent waiting for her at the doctor's office, and than at the pharmacy. We're not sure what she's allergic to, but she looks like a burn victim, the hives are so bad. Head to knee, really harsh looking welts. She's pretty uncomfortable, but says she isn't having any trouble breathing. She's not known for telling the truth about things like this, though, so I think I should stick around in case I need to force her to seek more medical attention.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

What is thoroughly cool today: Diane gave me her dad's old snare drum. Very vintage, very awesome Ludwig snare from the 1950s. Sharp sound, tons better than my own snare, and I'm in love with it. I want to be in a rock and roll band that plays music from the late 1950s/early 1960s. I will give myself a buzz cut and wear a suit and tie and Buddy Holly glasses, and everyone will say, "Hey, is that Drew Carey on the set?"

What is thoroughly uncool today: I've just spent the last three hours working over various forms of my resume/CV, editing cover letters, and generally trying to sell myself to the world. I hate this whole process. It is kind of funny--I'm applying for one job that I don't really want, but am really qualified for. By the time I finished editing my resume and writing up a cover letter, I felt bad that I don't even want the job because, damn, I'm a good candidate.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

It's too bad I can't just stay unemployed, I'm really good at it. Quite productive when I don't have to go the office. For instance, today I managed to argue with my wife, go for a run, go out for coffee, make two trips to the hardware store, practice my drum exercises, make up with my wife, buy and install a 60# heavy bag in our garage, work out, go to the public library, go to my drum lesson, go out to dinner, and make a trip to the grocery store. That sounds like a pretty full day to me.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Me at the computer, courtesy of Janet:

Susan wants lunch
Work was more rewarding today, both professionally and personally.

On a professional level, I got concrete evidence that my method handling the viruses was the right one, even if it might have broken a couple of other things in the process of pounding the virus to death. We got a list of all the infected machines today. There were three on the Hoosier that actually had--and replicated--the virus. That was three more than I would have liked to see, but it was better than the 20 or 30 or 100 machines on other forests. I do believe that it was my maverick behavior, my insistence on patching machines and running the virus cleaning tool despite my boss telling me not to, that kept us functioning at a basic level. Three days later, the WO still hasn't released an official fix for the virus, still hasn't pushed out a security patch, still hasn't helped anyone with anything, so a good deal of the Forest Service is still offline. The Hoosier is almost all back on, with the exception of two Catalyst machines, and a whole mess of people who can use the MS Office suite. We don't have a fix for that, and I'm sorry I have to leave before I could get everything back in order, but we're a lot better off than every other National Forest that is sitting there waiting for the WO to "certify" the Symantec cleaning tool and approve it for use.

On a personal level, everyone made it clear that they were sorry to see me go today. Made it *really* clear. They threw me a kind of funny surprise going away party. Everyone is always teasing me because I eat the same Subway sandwich for lunch every day. At the last Diversity Luncheon (south Indian food), Brenda stood up and said she heard that Subway was sending a search party to find me because they got worried when I didn't show up for lunch. So, today they brought in sandwiches from Subway, plus a bunch of food other people made. Brenda got a whole bunch of Subway sandwich wrappers and cut scalloped hearts out of them for place mats, and then tied up all the Subway napkins with yellow ribbon. So it was pretty funny, and good to know that they'll never forget me as long as Subway remains a viable franchise.

I got my first USDA "Certificate of Merit" today--the gov't is big on handing out certificates. It's really big, and even framed, and commends me for my "extra effort in the deployment and configuration of the Hoosier National Forest's computer systems, the rough inventory tracking, and friendly customer service." Kind of cool. Janet drew me goodbye card that I'm going to have framed, a picture of me working on a computer. It's perfect, it even shows how my feet never touch the floor because I'm so short. And apparently I griped too much about the price of getting my brakes fixed last week, because the Social Club gave me $85 toward the bill, enclosed in another really sweet card. And John said I should be expecting a bonus check in the mail. And he gave me tomorrow off, but with pay. Also they gave me this great long-sleeved denim shirt with the new Hoosier National Forest logo stitched on it. So, I guess they might actually miss me when I'm gone, if the financial investment in my departure is any indication.

I'm really, really tired, it's been a hellish week, but at least I'm leaving feeling a little better than I did yesterday when it seemed like everything I touched fell apart.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Well....I cried all the way home from work. And then I cried again trying to explain why I was crying in the first place to Catherine. So, something is definitely about to break open here, and I've got to do something about it before something really bad happens.

The short term fix is changing my plans for next week. I was going to go to Virginia to do some research for a paper I'm supposed to be writing. I'm still going out of town, I'm just not going anywhere to work. I'm not sure which direction the car will be headed when it leaves our driveway, but it will definitely be headed AWAY. I need to put a break between this job, which ends tomorrow, and school, which starts the 25th.

Last Friday afternoon, work was so stressful I had to leave the office four times to walk around the building and try to calm down. I actually thought I might throw up. The server was apparently running slow, and my boss simply walked into the server room and turned off the power switch--no warning to anyone who was working in the office that day. Turning off the server crashed everyone's applications, and a bunch of people lost a bunch of data. And everyone was calling my name, trying to get me to fix it, and there was nothing I could do. Who the hell just turns off a file/application/authentication server with no warning in the middle of a work day? I've had a lot of IT jobs, and no one I have ever worked with would have pulled such a stunt, particulary when there was no rush, people could have saved their data, closed their applications, and been just fine. Thank god it was Friday afternoon, thank god half the office is out on fire. Otherwise I really would have thrown up.

And I came home and told Catherine what had happened and said, "Well, at least I've lived through the worst now." Ha.

This week's virus took down the entire Forest Service system. Not just on the Hoosier, but the entire system, nationwide (except my system because I ignored everyone above me and installed my own security patch first thing in the morning--what are they going to do, fire me?). It is so fucking stupid--why didn't the WO push out the security patch a long time ago? It's been available since July 16--almost a whole month, and yet no FS systems have been patched. And to make it worse, all the systems needed to have Service Pack 2 or higher to be patched, but the WO hasn't even pushed that out yet, and Microsoft is all the way to Service Pack 4! I feel like I've been running for two days solid, and everything we do to fix the problem is just making it worse because of this stupid Service Pack 2 issue. I'm pissed at Microsoft for their lame-ass OS, I'm pissed at the WO for not keeping up on the security updates, and I'm pissed at the idiot who wrote the stupid virus.

Because it's not just a matter of time and money. We have 130 people stuck in the system who need to be out on fire, but they can't go anywhere because every single fucking Forest Service computer had to be unplugged from the network all day yesterday and a good chunk of today. Some idiot is apparently running around starting fires on the Flathead National Forest, and the people who are supposed to be fighting the fires can't move because no one can get their information through the dispatch system. It is mighty damn stressful to be standing in an office full of people who are supposed to dispatching firefighters, and not be able to do anything to help them because our hands are tied by the WO and none of our own solutions are working.

So, tomorrow's my last day, and I'm mad because I won't be able to fix any of this mess before I leave. I have to leave with all these systems in disarray, and it just isn't right. I hate not being able to finish up. On the other hand, I haven't exactly been very effective and solved the virus problem, so it's not like they need me here to help.

Anyway, I need to go, because I'm starting to get attached to people, and that sucks. I'm having a hard time saying goodbye to the people I like when they go out on fire, because I think of Storm King and wonder if they're ever going to come back. Clark rode back up from Tell City with us today, so he could meet Daron and Dave to drive an engine truck out to the Flathead. When we got back to the office, Daron was washing up the truck, and I realized that I really didn't want him to go out on fire because I really liked him and what if there's a blowup and he can't deploy his fire shield?

I really need a vacation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I'm sorry, I'm doing the best that I can. I really am.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A semi-successful first outing with the telescope. We only had about 15 minutes of clear sky, and any view of the stars was occluded by the light from the full moon. So we didn't even bother with the stars, I just focused in on the moon and gave Catherine, Amanda, Garry and Amanda's sister the best view of the moon they've probably ever had. There are all kinds of warnings about looking directly at the sun with a telescope; today they all learned the dangers of looking at a full moon with a deep sky telescope. We're all semi-blind now.

Now that I've got it all cleaned up and the mirrors collimated, I need to spend some time balancing it. I can see why Meade didn't stick with this design, it's really hard to work with the mirrors and the counter-weight system. Still, we're looking forward to some good viewing over the next winter.
We ran into Diane and Garett yesterday, and I guess that was okay. I've been avoiding all my friends, especially everyone from the library, because I just didn't want to have to explain that I lost my teaching job. Everyone at the library thought I was an idiot to be leaving a relatively high-paying job with benefits for a definitely low-paying job with no benefits, and I just don't want to hear them say, "I told you so." Or even worse, look at me with sympathy and sorrow and try to cheer me up. Diane and Garett were pretty matter-of-fact about it all, though, so it wasn't too bad. They made it sound like it wasn't any big deal and that I'd have a new job, a better job, by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. They're obviously wrong, but at least they didn't fuss.

We walked around with them and their friend, Jenny, and it sort of felt like "Be kind to Susan day," as they both spent a good chunk of their time telling Jenny about all the wonderful things I do with my spare time. Diane has always told me I've raised extracurricular activities to an art form, and I suppose she's right, I focus a lot more on the things I do outside of my job than the work I'm supposed to be doing inside my job. But yesterday it got to the point where I really thought the next thing Diane was going to say was, "Oh, did I tell you that Susan single-handedly designed, built and piloted a rocket to the moon last week?" it was that bad. Garett said everytime he sees me he feels bad because all he does after work is go home, watch Friends and maybe play his guitar a little. I told him the partial truth, that really, he's the smart one because I'm always tired, always on edge, trying to do too many things, while he's getting a good night's sleep. I didn't tell him the rest of the truth, which is that the only reason I do all this crap is because I can't stand myself the way I am, and I keep hoping I'll turn myself into something better. It's like I'm both Capability Brown and his landscape, simulataneously.

When I was younger, I always wanted to be really, really smart, and do really, really cool things with my life. I figured if I did all this remarkable stuff, if I was totally brilliant, then when people found out I was gay, maybe it wouldn't matter so much. Coming out cleared that up, but now I do the same thing, operating on the theory that if I spend all my time doing all this stuff, people will be distracted by the deeds and not notice that I'm a total nutcase; or, if they do figure that out, it won't matter so much because hey, at least I'm building houses for people who need them. I hope this plan is working.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

I told myself I wasn't going to write anything more until I could think of something happy to write about, but that was starting to feel like it was just going to lead to an eternal silence. I don't know where the happy thoughts are right now, but they're definitely not anywhere within my reach, and I'm not sure I even care. I'm getting pretty good at shrugging off everything and everyone around me.

About the only thing good that happened today was that Bobby gave me a lot of compliments when I was drumming this afternoon. The funniest thing he said--and it really was supposed to be a compliment--was, "Susan, if you told someone you were a drummer, and sat down and started playing, they would never know you were lying." What he meant was: "Susan, you sound as if you've played the set all your life; you're a little rusty, maybe, but otherwise, you've got it down." It just didn't come out that way. A few sessions ago, he told me the only thing standing between me being an adequate drummer and me being a really good drummer was the matter of self confidence, and I guess he's right. When I'm home alone, I relax and play a lot better, and when I just shut my eyes and stopped thinking about it today, I could feel myself leaning into the music. He swears I was in a groove, and said he wished he had a bass guitar to sit down and jam with me. Also, he said he wished he had his Pocket PC so he could record my sound on the kick drum, because it was really sharp and unique and cool.

Afterward, he said (consumate salesman) that I play well enough to seriously consider upgrading my kit. He wasn't sure until he heard me today, but he thinks it's time to invest in a higher level set. I'm so tired of saying, "Well, if I ever get a job..." but that's the way it is right now. I just don't have 1/3 of $880. He told me that when I buy a new set, he'd throw in a harmonica, which obviously decided the matter right there. I have to get a new drum set.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I tried, but I couldn't trick Catherine into writing for me again. "Nothing interesting happened today," she said. Well, newsflash: not a whole heck of a lot of interesting things happening in my life right now, either.

Multiple choice question:

1. Susan's teeth ache because she ground them together instead of snapping at:

a) her physical therapist
b) her boss
c) her band director
d) all of the above

My money is on d) all of the above.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

And now a word from our guest editor:

A fairly typical Bloomington weekend—

Friday—Garry and I walked home from the Kinsey after work. We’d missed the 5:00 bus and figured we’d beat the next one out to Rockport Road. Susan had her drum lesson downtown, and arrived home shortly after we did. We all checked out the progress of the garden (the tomatoes are looking good, but the zucchini didn’t survive the baking soda-and-water fungicide treatment that we gave it a few night ago).

As the students will be returning in droves in a couple of weeks, we decided to go over to the east side of town for a light supper at Panera, a chain soup, sandwich and bakery establishment that is almost always packed during the school year. After we decided to try the fire-roasted vegetable bisque, it was removed from the menu board, leaving us with less-inspiring soup options (vegetable and chicken noodle). As we headed across the parking lot to do a bit of literary shopping over at Borders, we ran into the Kinsey’s visiting Korean researcher Dongwoo and his wife and daughter. Delightful people—Dongwoo is going to make us a CD of Korean pop music from MP3s.

After making our purchases at Borders (magazines for Susan and baby animal stickers for me—so much for literary), we stopped by the campus Starbucks for a couple of decaf coffee beverages. We made it home just as a thunderstorm was arriving, but luckily it was a very brief one.

Saturday—A beautiful day, especially for August in Indiana. Sunny, but not too hot, and not too muggy. We were up early, as I wanted to check out Rich and Lisa’s yard sale that began at eight. They are moving to Massachusetts this fall. It’s pretty typical that as soon as we make friends, they leave town. Anyway, I found a great 1930s photo album, but otherwise it was pretty much a bust. We’d hoped that Rich might be selling some of his home movie collection, but no such luck. We also found that it’s not much fun looking at other people’s junk when one knows the other people. Luckily I found the photo album, as I didn’t see anything else that I needed to add to our own stack of junk.

At 4:30 we headed south for Orleans, for an evening concert with the Bloomington Community Band. The band’s first gig of the season was in Orleans, so I wasn’t too excited to be going back so soon. It’s a tiny town—its historic district is one block long (and only on one side—the park where the band performs is across the street). It was threatening to rain, but luckily it just sprinkled. The crowd was small and elderly, but appreciative, and the band sounded good. Unfortunately the main street is also the highway, so at times the car noise was a bit loud. Susan’s fellow drummer Brian brought his three children, and after a couple of songs I noticed the son urgently asking his dad for something. Shortly after that Susan gestured to me to come over, and my suspicion was confirmed—I was entrusted with finding a bathroom for the restless group. Luckily I had already gone on such a quest when we first arrived in town, so I was able to escort them to the Shell station one block up the street.

It’s really quite amazing to watch Susan play all the percussion parts. She quite often has several instruments to play within one song, sometimes even two at the same time! This was the first time I had heard their Beatles medley, in which Susan gets groovy with the tambourine.

Sunday—A work day. After fortifying ourselves at the west side Starbucks, we picked up supplies at Lowe’s and commenced on home improvement projects. Susan is making a really cool table from an old wooden door, using the jigsaw her parents just sent to us. I used the rake to clean out the flowerbed next the garage. Hot work.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

I love getting rejection letters.

I didn't get the full time job at Ivy Tech. I'm not surprised, but I am a little angry that they didn't even bother to give me an interview. I was more than qualified, had the education and the experience, more than enough in both cases. I've been an adjunct faculty member at the college for three semesters, and had good student evaluations. You'd think they'd at least make the effort, if only for appearances' sakes. I guess what they're really saying is, "Hey, if you want to teach for almost no money, with no support, we'll take you, but no way are you good enough for us to pay a living wage."

But you know what? I don't even fucking care. Not about being unemployed, not about anything. Government sponsored indiscriminate killing in Iraq? Who cares? The creepy Pope trying to govern my body? Whatever. Ripping a hole in the ozone? Not going to worry about it. You can beat people to death with a big stick, and I don't give a damn.

Friday, August 01, 2003

The good news of the day is that Mr. Land is actually going to be okay. He pulled out of it, had quadruple bypass surgery, and gets to go home. The doctor said if it wasn't for taekwondo--or some other equivalent activity, I guess--he'd be dead. He only survived because he was exceptionally fit to begin with.

Mr. B. is kicking our asses in place of Mr. Land, and I am absolutely exhausted. Which is just as well, otherwise I'd stay up half the night writing a long essay on how the world is going to hell in the hand basket hanging off George Bush's arm.

I will say if I have to hear Toby Keith and Willie Nelson singing about vigilante justice one more fucking time, I'm going to break the steering wheel off the column and beat someone over the head with it. Rightwing radio all the way to Tell City and back *three times* this week. Raise your glasses against evil forces around me and I'll shoot you myself.

Oh, I should also point out the the Klan activity is *not* happening in southern Indiana, but up in the "civilized" part of the state, Michiana. So those of you who are complaining about how backward the Midwest--and particularly southern Indiana--is, you should shut up.

And speaking of southern Indiana, if you're advertising for a social services position in Crawford County, you should not title your ad "Have a true Appalachian experience without ever leaving Indiana!" Trust me, it's not a selling point. I couldn't live in Crawford County, anyway, because everytime someone says, "six o'clock fast time" or "five o'clock slow time," I have to come to a complete halt in the middle of the street and try to figure out what the hell time that means. Case in point: Welcome to Crawford County!