Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Things I'm at:

1. We may have attended a WNBA game in early September, I can't remember. If not, I haven't watched any basketball--live, televised or otherwise--since July. This weekend we saw three games, and that was probably three games too many. Two women's games, one men's game, and all were so incredibly dull I'm thinking of skipping the rest of the season. Except Catherine probably won't let me.

2. So, the roadkill situation in Yellowstone is getting out of hand. One roadkill death a year is too much, in my book, but damn, I wish I was living somewhere with such low numbers. I saw 5 dead deer today. I usually see "only" one or two new dead deer a day, occasionally as many as three. I'm guessing the dead deer truck didn't go out on Friday, so those five probably add up to the average one a day over the weekend. I've seen more dead animals in the last six months than most people see in their entire lives, and some. Take as many dead animals as you can imagine, and double or treble it. Maybe do it again. That's how many I see. No kidding.

3. Work is disappointing. It's typical, though. I've been talking to some other intern architects, and they are experiencing the same thing. Paying your dues architect-style is one big, boring waste of time. I should be glad I haven't been laid off, though. I haven't the faintest idea what we're going to be doing with ourselves for the next couple of months. My boss turned down so many projects in the fall that we're now without. Just in time for Christmas.

4. If I was judging a university by its online application system, I'd have a very short list of potential graduate schools right now. One system is so bad, I'm thinking of sitting down and filling out the paper application instead, even though that would mean writing out the information for the six institutions previously attended plus four more pages of garbage someone probably already has in a database somewhere.

5. Nothing says winter in Columbus like the smell of raw sewage.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

So far, a fairly successful Thanksgiving weekend. We thought we'd have to stay home because of the weather arriving late Wednesday, but by the time we dragged ourselves out to the interstate on Thursday, everything was clear and dry. Still quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground up north, but nothing to get in our way.

Dinner with the family at Valpo on Thanksgiving. We finally figured out what kind of food to contribute to the day, and that cut down on the stress factor a lot. Small group this year, only ten adults plus Ray, so everything was a bit calmer because of that, too. Maybe a little less alcohol imbibed because there were fewer people mixing drinks. It was good to see Beth and Mike again, especially. It's terrible that we only live three hours apart and we still only see each other on Thanksgiving. We promised to come up to go to a Komets game and go tobogganing at Pokagon State Park, but we tend to break our promises all too often, so we'll see.

The Raymonster was feeling sick w/an ear infection, but was still cute and personable. He has an incredibly long attention span for a two-year old. At least, he was riveted to the Spiderman movie, even enduring the commercials.

Suddenly all our friends have children, and the friends that don't have children are talking about having them. We thought we'd escaped the child-bearing phase, since everyone I know is pushing forty or even over forty, but I guess that's not the cut off year anymore. Toddlers are cute and all, but never in a million years would I take on responsibility for one. I can't quite see what the attraction is, but since everyone keeps reproducing, there must be some hidden rewards. Other than coming down w/the flu because your kid puked all over you, or having to change diapers full of green gunk from the electrolyte-replacing juice your kid has been drinking. Those rewards are obvious, of course.

Drove home Friday morning after watching Finding Nemo w/Ray. Sorry to leave the snow behind, but then again, coming south also means leaving the long pants behind. Got home in time to check the mail, feed the cats, and run back out again to go to the holiday lighting ceremony on the town square. Catherine also managed to buy my mom's Christmas present while we were out, and we bought some Mexican vanilla at the chocolate shop because I've been meaning to get some for months. I actually wanted the Bourbon vanilla, but since it cost even more than Mexican vanilla and they're both derived from Vanilla planifolia, I decided to go w/the less expensive bottle. I'm sure the planter will appreciate the half-a-cent he's likely to make off the sale.

Anyway, the lighting ceremony was nice. We thought about staying out and going to hear Bobby play at Kilroy's, but the set wasn't scheduled to start until 10:30, and that's an hour and a half past my bedtime. This morning Catherine is off doing some thing at a scrapbook store, and I'm on my way to drum w/Bobby. Basketball game tonight and tomorrow. Then back to work for three days, then off to Manhattan for four. And then it will practically be Christmas so no one will expect me to be at all productive, which is how I like it.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Having my say will probably result in the loss of every single one of my left-leaning friends, but you know....that's okay. I'd rather be honest and alone than deceitful and surrounded by people who haven't a clue of what's going on in my head.

Yes, I voted for Kerry, and if I'm angry at anyone right now, I'm angry at myself. I cast my ballot for a candidate I didn't respect. I didn't believe in him before I voted, and the fact that I voted for him anyway means I'm a huge part of what's wrong with the world.

To everyone else who voted for Kerry: quit trying to make me vilify my friends and family who voted for Bush. On a day-to-day basis, every person with whom I interact, with the exception of Catherine and my boss, undoubtedly voted for Bush. And you know what? They're not stupid. They're not evil. They're not even remotely bad. Our value systems are sometimes vastly different, sometimes almost identical, and while I'd like to think I'm the one who knows what's best, I can't be sure that's true. Really, my political affiliation/position at the moment can best be summed up with "I DON'T KNOW." I don't know what's right or what's wrong, and I think other people should be honest and admit they don't know either.

Par exemple: the weekend after the election, a man who voted for Bush explained his thought process to me. He listed about a dozen reasons why he didn't want to vote for Bush (he didn't vote for Bush last time), and said he had a hard time with his final decision. But what mattered most to him, his number one concern, was that we stay in Iraq, and not leave too soon. He voted for the candidate he thought would "stay the course." My initial reaction was, of course, "We need to get the hell out of Iraq!" But do we? I don't know. I feel certain that we shouldn't have invaded in the first place, but now what? If we leave now, will it get better or worse? Do Iraqis want us to leave, and even if they do, will that lead to the best result--whatever that is--ten years from now? I have no idea what any Iraqi wants. Like everyone else, I get my news 3rd, 4th or 5th hand from various sources. I've never been to Iraq, I know no Iraqis, and even if I really knew what they wanted, I don't know if I would be able to tell if that was the right thing to do. So...this guy thinks we should stay. I don't know if he's right or wrong, but he did vote for the right guy if that's his number one priority. There's no flaw in his logic--Kerry wants to leave Iraq, Bush wants to stay. Yeah, I wish his number one priority was my health insurance, but that's just me, and who am I to say what's most important in the world?

Anyway, my message to the left who keep sending me e-mail telling me what to think is this: stop looking at the &*$#@! electoral map and judging people you've never met. Don't you realize that red and blue have been imposed on those people, you're looking at a multiplicity of views through the eyes of a two party system? You can't tell anything about anybody by a single vote between two candidates. Look at the electoral votes from past elections, and imagine what they'd be like if the voters had to choose between only two candidates. Millions of people can't be represented by only two parties, and I wish we could all get together and do something about that.

I agree, there seems to be a huge lack of critical thinking in the United States, but I have to say, it applies as much to the left as it does to the right--and to everyone in between and on the fringes. "Critical thinking" is really an interesting concept, isn't it? For years--decades--the academy has been trying to get people to examine and undermine binary oppositions. Rational/irrational, male/female, good/bad, nature/culture...identify and subvert, if you please. Listen to the academy since the election, however, and there is only good and bad, right and wrong, red and blue. The left is screaming that the people who voted for Bush aren't rational, their thought processes are deficient. Irrational thought is only good if you're the one acting on emotions and instinct apparently. What happened to inhabiting the gray areas?

I don't know...Democrats seem absolutely shocked by their defeat, and I just suddenly realized how much hope they place in government. It's almost as if they were hoping for some sort of social Reaganomics: trickle down liberalism. But I don't think any president will make much of a positive difference. Listen--the juggernaut of Coca-Cola culture left our shores a long time ago. No one president is ever going to change that. Kerry wasn't going to get rid of Walmart, was he? He wasn't suddenly going to fight American capitalism, was he? It wasn't like Osama bin Laden stopped plotting because Clinton was in office. There's something much more wrong with our culture than simply a corrupt administration, really there is. Bush might (will) make things worse, but Kerry wasn't a savior. I'm afraid we as individuals have been cast in that role. We can't make politicians do it for us.

Yes, I think the we'd be better off if Kerry had been elected, if for no other reason than we might be able to find a few more allies in the world (not that I think any other country would be stupid enough to join us on our suicide missions in Iraq). But substantively, I'm not sure how much would have changed, especially w/a Republican congress. We can hope that a Supreme Court justice would die while he was in office, but four years really isn't much of a window of opportunity when it comes to death on the bench.

And even if Kerry had won, wouldn't we still be a divided nation? Not as severely divided as the electoral maps would have us believe--not even close--but divided none the less. We've been divided since the moment we declared independence from Britain and promptly went out and started shooting our neighbors in the name of freedom. We were divided before we became a union, and the moment the union was formalized in 1789 (Washington: 69 electoral votes; Adams: 34 electoral votes; scattering: 35 electoral votes; 8 votes not cast--don't you think Adams' supporters were angry?), we started the grand devolution to Civil War. Reconstruction was a disaster. Follow through to the class and labor wars of the early 20th c. Maybe we were a bit more unified during WWII, but there were so many Roosevelt haters, it's hard to say. Culture war? Try the Rosenberg scandal, try the Red Scare. Vietnam was just the icing on the cake. We are not a country characterized by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we are a country based on revolution, disagreement and strife. So please stop lamenting the loss of our founding fathers' values, because quite frankly? They sucked.

So, all this is to say, I now belong to the "I don't know" party, and I'm going to stay there for a good long while. I don't know more than my neighbor, I really don't, and I'm not going to vilify him or her for seeing the world differently than I do. It seems counterproductive and counterintuitive, and I'm not going to do it, no matter how much I hate individual politicians.

Just say "I don't know."
This morning as I was rushing out the door to work, I saw my reflection in the window of the back door, and said, "Damn! I forgot to comb my hair again!" It was sticking up everywhere, and once it has dried that way, there's not much I can do about it except take another shower to calm it down. Catherine asked me when the last time I combed my hair was, and to be honest, I can't recall doing it since it Saturday. I don't have the kind of hair that can be left alone for a week, so that's a sad, sad commentary on my life.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

We're exhausted--Catherine probably more so than I--but last night's premiere of Kinsey was a success. Well, there was a bit of a fiasco with the ticketing, but I think that's forgivable. It's not like the Kinsey Institute is usually in the business of arranging movie premieres. At any rate, everything else seemed to work out very nicely. Somehow I ended up with a ticket to the V.I.P. reception, but I stayed at the regular reception (good food) with our friend Erika while Catherine spent time with the Important People. Laura Linney actually took the time to fly back to Indiana from Vancouver, just so she could attend the reception and make some opening remarks before the film. That was very generous of her--no way I'd fly across the country for a two-hour appearance. Bill Condon was there, as was the producer, Gail Mutrux.

Overall, I'm gratified that all the work Catherine and the rest of the collections staff put into supporting the movie was recognized. Bill Condon actually mentioned Catherine and Liana by name and thanked them in his public remarks before the opening, and I know that meant a lot to them and the rest of the collections staff. Catherine really enjoyed working with all the people from the movie, they were all very nice and real. Some people from the major media outlets can be a bit....hm....*imperious*...but that wasn't the case with this project. They seemed genuinely interested in the Kinsey Institute, and very concerned that the movie they were making wouldn't harm the Institute in any way.

In terms of Catherine's job, perhaps the most important speech of the evening was delivered by the Chancellor, Kenneth Gros Louis. He very firmly indicated that he--and thus the University?--supported the past, current, and future work of the Kinsey Institute. It is an absolute rarity for the Institute to get such open and public support from the University, and I hope IU sticks behind the Chancellor's remarks once the anti-Kinsey protests get into full swing.

I liked the movie. It was a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Or, at least it was funny to people in Bloomington, but it could have been because we were all reading between the lines. The first time Catherine saw the movie, she didn't like it so much, but I thought it was just because she was too close to the subject. The people at the Kinsey are very protective of Alfred Kinsey and his reputation, he's like their father. They are also understandably worried about the public response and what it means to their future, so they can't really watch the movie as just a movie. She also thought they left a lot of stuff out, so it felt as if it was full of holes, but I think the regular audience won't see it that way. You only know there's a hole if you're intimately familiar w/Kinsey's life, and most people just aren't. Seeing the movie again last night, Catherine decided I was right. She was so anxious the first time she watched it that she couldn't really focus on it as a movie. She really liked it last night.

Anyway, aside from one awkward scene near the beginning, I liked it. I think people in Bloomington were dismayed that the movie gave the impression that Herman B Wells wasn't going to stand and fight for Kinsey, and that was absolutely untrue, but again, that's not something people outside IU are going to care about. The ending was much different than I thought it would be, so optimistic. I always think of Kinsey as sort of a tragic figure, dying before he finds out that they win the court case and his work can still continue. But the movie emphasizes his will to finish his work, rather than all the obstacles still in his way, and that's nice. And I love Lynn Redgrave, and I loved her role at the end. If she had been upstairs at the V.I.P. reception, I would have dumped Erika in a heartbeat and spent my evening following her around.

I'm surprised the movie was rated R instead of NC-17. I would have thought that the lantern slide scene alone might have pushed it over the edge w/the ratings people. It really is unusual to sit through a movie that doesn't just have sexual content, but is unrelentlessly *about* sexual content. It renewed my weariness with the topic of sex, actually. I think it's only an interesting topic if you don't have to deal with it all time. When people hear what Catherine does for a living, their eyes light up and they just start chatting about all kinds of things. It is rather assumed because we live together that of course I'm interested in hearing these things, too. You know what? I'm not. There was a scene in the movie where one of the young wives finds herself in the middle of a conversation about everyone's sex habits, and as she's standing there, shifting around uncomfortably, I found myself thinking, "I know EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL!"

Anyway, we're tired. We had a choice of two after parties, and we decided to go to the one at the home of Wendy Corning (Kinsey's granddaughter). An apology to the people who own the first house off the road to Wendy's house: I'm sorry I ended up outside your front door at 11:00 at night, and I'm even sorrier I had my headlights on full beam). It was very nice, with more good food, but by half-past midnight, I was almost falling over with exhaustion. We were out late at another Kinsey event on Friday, and we ran in a 5k race yesterday morning before getting all dressed up to go to the premiere, so we were both really running on empty by that point.

In the end, there was something really rewarding about the evening, listening to people talk about how important Kinsey was, how important the Institute is, how important the work there is. To us, the Institute is rather pedestrian. It's just where Catherine goes to work every day (seven days a week, lately). To me, it's just the building next to the parking lot where I drop her off and pick her up, and really, her job is usually just a point of disagreement with us. For the past two years, at least, I've been nagging her to find a new job, one that doesn't require so many hours for so little pay. But there was a moment there last night when everyone just felt like we were touching greatness, that Kinsey had started something more important than we could understand, that it was essential that someone keep up the good work. I think for Catherine, especially, it was good to hear that what she does is helping someone, somewhere. Well, I'm still looking forward to her next job, but in the meantime, this has been a great reward for her and I'm glad she got to experience it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Well, I've got a dress, shoes, and a date, so I guess I'm ready for tomorrow's big event.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

I swear (I hope) this is the last job I will have that doesn't offer sick leave.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Join staff and Friends of The Kinsey Institute for a benefit reception and presentation of Fox Searchlight Pictures' film:


with special guests Laura Linney and writer/director Bill Condon

Saturday, November 13, 2004
6:30pm to 10:30pm
Indiana University Auditorium,
Bloomington, Indiana

Schedule of Events
6:30 pm-7:30 pm
Benefit Reception

7:30 pm-8:00 pm
Welcome address by Chancellor Kenneth Gros Louis and opening remarks

8:00 pm-10:00 pm
Film screening

10:00 pm
Bill Condon and Julia Heiman answer questions about the film

Tickets are $50 for the Benefit reception and screening.
Order tickets from Heidi Frankson at The Kinsey Institute,
812-855-1557 or email hfrankso@indiana.edu
Contact Heidi for VIP tickets, as well.

Purchase student/general admission tickets ($20) for the screening through IU Auditorium Box Office, 812-855-1103. (doors open at 7:20 for these upper level seats).

Submit a question
for the after-film interview with Bill Condon and Kinsey Institute Director Julia Heiman.

The Kinsey Institute would like to thank the Ford Foundation and
Fox Searchlight Pictures and these sponsors:

The College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University
Office of the Vice President for Research, Indiana University
The IU Alumni Association
One World Enterprises
Bloomingfoods Cooperative Grocery
Bloomingfoods Encore Cafe
Acorn Distributors
Bloomington Bagel Company
Bloomington Brewing Company
Crystal Pure
Limestone Grille
Progress Linen
Restaurant Tallent
Runcible Spoon
Sushi Express
Trojan Horse

Monday, November 08, 2004

To: Dr. C.A. Horton,
Head of Analytical Chemistry Division,
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Tennessee, USA

Forward to:
384 East Dr.
Oak Ridge

From: Dr. S.C. Pande,
Ore Dressing Division,
Indian Bureau of Mines,
NAGPUR. (Maharashtra)

Dt. 19thJune, 1976

Dear Dr.

I have gone through two of your very good reviews on the trends in the determination of Fluorine and through your original papers on fluorine determination.

I am also engaged in the determination of fluorine in Fluorspar samples and its beneficiation products done in our laboratory.

I have to confine myself to the Willard-Winter techniques of defluorination and determination by using Thorium nitrate as titrant and Alizarin red-S as an indicator at pH 3.1. I cannot take up the Spectrophotometric methods becaue of the high percentage of CaF2 required to be analysed in the concentrates.

I am in constant touch with Prof. T.S. West (Imp. College of Science & Technology, London); rather I had visited him once in theyear 1974 and he had suggested me the indicator.

Of course, I am fully aware of the neutron activation and ion-selective electrode techniques (rather I used them in Czechloslovakia - UNESCO training programme), in the year 1973-74 with Dr. Weiss) but because of the lack of facilities here in India it cannot be introduced in my laboratory.

I am compiling the work on fluorine determination and without your cooperation it would always remain as an incomplete task. Would you be kind enough to make me abreast with recent developments in the determination of fluorine in all the products (particularly from your laboratory). I shall always remain grateful to you for this help.

I am looking forward for the reprints of your work & suggestions in making this compilation complete and uptodate.

Soliciting your kind cooperation at your earliest as the manuscript is to be ready by August end or September 1976.

With Love,

Sincerely yours,


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

And a shout out to Frances in Toledo. I hope your day at the polls turns out to be unnecessary, incredibly dull and boring, and a complete waste of your time. Somehow I doubt it's going to turn out that way, though.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I was right--no hockey. The UVa women's team played Friday night @ 10:00, the VMI team played Saturday night @ 10:00, both games too late at night for me to be interested.

Still, I got done what I wanted to get done--more or less--and spent the rest of the time visiting friends, used bookstores, and unfamiliar restaurants.