Friday, May 07, 2004

Gathered thoughts before the weekend 

Betrayal is an absolute bitch, but I suppose none of us can ever expect permanent graces otherwise. Enjoy the Pax Romana while it's there, but don't obsess about it when the first hostilities arise.

Driving is a settling, centering practice, and I think this will be one of the more lasting establishments of American culture.

People are coming into town this week, lots of them. With whom do I begin? How will everyone be together after so long apart? I think I've grown accustomed to telephone and internet communication with these people for months, years even. Do we talk again, or will we feel the need to bring along keyboards and cellphones for when we're at the bar?

I heard it went down. I wonder if he had anything to do with it?

Everyone in the world needs to listen to Ellen Allien and Lali Puna. Let the hero keep the house clean. Germans are winning.

Score! Lightning bug #1 spotted!

Someone said it recently and I find myself agreeing: honeysuckle is the best smell in the world. It makes me thirsty for pina coladas.

Pina coladas are good.


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Science is cool 

An important aspect of viable nanotechnologies centers around the necessity of small molecular machines to move about in a given medium. This group has tackled the problem in a unique way by employing the high-affinity and high-specificity of DNA base pairing. The result of this novel tool is that the molecule effectively walks on two legs, staggering locomotion by maintaining an anchor point until the free "leg" binds to the substrate. Read more about it here while crossing fingers and hoping so hard that machines hurry up and take over the world so I can sit around and do nothing all day.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Johnny, are you queer? 

I never knew that I could identify so much with anything that appeared in "Valley Girl." In trying to figure out ways to find out if an interest is even gay to begin with, I've decided to turn to the Josie Cotton method:

"Oh, why are you so weird, boy? Johny are you queer boy? When you asked for a date
I thought that you were straight.
But Johny are you queer?"

Right on.


Today has been truly strange.

First thing this morning I got an email from the financial aid people at Tulane asking me to give them a call when I had some free time to shoot the shit. Considering, I sent an email to work saying I would be in later in the day as yesterday's (fictional) dental work had caused some intense soreness that was exacerbated when my teeth met. It was that easy, it is that easy, to wedge in some time for oneself where I work; everyone knows this, everyone respects this, and we all keep an eye out for one another, from the tiniest paeon to the head honcho (even though, among the twelve of us, I suppose I'm that paeon). Anyway, the financial aid office didn't really have anything pressing to say. It turned out, rather, that they simply wanted to have a representative speak with me to answer any questions about the formidable cost of attending, a gesture that I consider the nicest touch (aside from, you know, that massive undergraduate scholarship) I've ever experienced in academia. I ended up laughing on the phone with the lady caller to whom I'd been assigned, and we laughed about expense and poverty and headaches. She even sent me an email a bit after the call that read, "I put your name on the list to receive an application for Tulane's in-house financial aid... fill it out so we can try to get you some CASH!!!" I was touched that she added three exclamation points (and I figure that one needs three exclamation points to justify a seventy-thousand dollar eighteen-to-twenty-four-month experience).

After watching comedians on television (I want a gym monkey), I spent an hour or so (on my shady, breezy front porch, of course) working on my office's annual report before I realized that the office laptop wasn't cutting it and that I actually needed to go to the office for resources... and to have a big desk to spread all of my notes and planning shit out. It's the first day that it's actually been hot in quite some time, so I opted for a tee-shirt, shorts, and shoes without socks. Walking across campus to the office, I looked at sweating people in scratchy, multi-layered clothing that covered every visible inch of skin and silently thanked my boss for her liberal attitude toward dress and appearance in the workplace. "We're the wealthiest slice of campus after athletics," she'd told me, "maybe even wealthier than them now; keep it that way. Wear whatever the fuck you want." Sense amid the insane, I reminded myself, stretching and yawning in the breeze by the Cooper Fountain as some tenured professor from the Physics department grimacingly sponged his twilled forearm across his mottled forehead.

I walk in, plop down at my desk, and swing open the window. There are robins beneath it, pecking around orange peels I'd cast out a few days ago. I check my mail, goof off online for a bit, and finally open the annual report draft, a horror of editing gaps, notes to self, and highlighted lines awaiting revision or the insertion of some important bit of information. Brady comes in and we kill a couple of hours in conversation. Marjorie comes in and we kill some time with conversation. Donna-Rae follows. Somewhere in there I run a couple of errands across campus. Somewhere in there I help a few students who came into the office. Somewhere in there I get a hint that my pay had gone up a bit.

Just now, settling in for a couple of hours of overtime to make up for having accomplished nothing between 2 and 5 p.m., Donna-Rae lets me know, casually, as she's walking out the front door, "Hey, Sonja increased your pay, by the way. Still no beefits, but you're going up to eleven an hour." The number isn't all too impressive, and as Donna said I still don't have university insurance, but, hell, today has been downright interesting... and I got a raise.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004


I'm already terribly late for work, but I woke up this morning with images from a dream that persisted long after the end of sleep. There was a bottle of wine that poured out a syrup-like, wine-colored goop in my kitchen that, when I started pouring a glass, made people start showing up at the front door. A hispanic guy had brought a beer (a single beer) as a thank you present. I spent much of the rest of the night (or day, whichever it was) picking up paintings and boxes that shouldn't have been in the living room and sorting them away in their appropriate places in the house. I'm not one to suspect that dreams convey any sort of symbolism other than the symbol of a hyperactive mind and poorly-understood mental processes, but I want a Freudian to tell me what s/he thinks this means. Syrup wine?


Monday, May 03, 2004

Furniture music 

I hate to post something directly from the frontpage of boingboing, but this is an incredible audio program made by the BBC describing the history of chillout. I've only been listening to it for ten minutes and they've already talked about Erik Satie and Brian Eno, back-to-back. Nice.

My favorite detail thus far is a description of Satie's musical aims--to construct a style of music that could be listened to or ignored with an equal fidelity, a music to accompany the sounds of knives and forks at dinner. I love this stuff.


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