Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


Man, I am telling you. Just try moving 3000 miles from home and try to escape the never ending plethora of people who want to see you while you're home. Yah, I'm that popular. Granted, I love seeing people more than I love sitting at home doing nothing, but still. Holy Moly. Oh, and try a reminder of why I despise LA. Sat in traffic for 4 hours trying to get to a Christmas party Sat night. Four hours! And you know how far away it really is? An hour and a half. Jeez! Anyways, don't get me wrong. I love coming home. So much better than the freezing ass cold it is in Philly right now. However, I am looking forward to some potential couch/beer/bonding time with Randi tonight. Lordy, lordy is it good to have friends!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Haiku Headin' Home Friday

Flight to CA tonight
Hoping everything is on
time and I have seat.


Leaving the boyfriend
to head home to his home town
Sucks to be apart.


Old friends, family
Christmas cheer, toasts, good food, naps
I can't wait for it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Report Thursday

I finished reading Robert Bausch's A Hole in the Earth a few weeks ago and never posted anything interesting about it (as far as I can remember). Upon Cod's recommendation a while ago, I checked out this book from the Penn library, hoping to enjoy some light reading. What I found was not necessarily "light" reading and I am still not sure what my opinion is of this book. We follow Henry Porter, a middle aged, single man whose life is turned upside down one summer. His daughter from a previous marriage turns up (having just graduated high school and turned 18) and his girlfriend of several years tells him she's pregnant. Henry is a school teacher with very little money, so he supplements his income with gambling at the racetrack, which is one of the reasons his first wife left him. I am not sure if this novel is an accurate representation of a middle aged man not wanting to take responsibility for his life or if its the representation of a whiny, immature little boy who never grew up. I so disliked the main character during the first few chapters that I could barely get myself to read the book. Thankfully, the chapters are short and quick so that made it easier to get through. As we grow older, our focus tends to be more on those around us than ourselves and our lives. Narcicissm and insularity are reserved for our adolesence and college years and then we have to grow up and take responsiblity for our lives. I think this book is about this man's journey to that point (at 40!) but to be honest with you, I could not identify with any of the characters, save for maybe the 18 year old daughter. Henry hems and haws over his girlfriend's pregnancy, worrying about telling his family (you're 40 for crissake!) and his daughter and how he will be perceived. He fixates on how much his father hates him and how much of a disappointment he's been to his entire family. And yet, he does nothing to change his life of make improvements of things. He does nothing to take responsiblity for the family he has and the family that is just beginning. He leaves his girlfriend hanging and eventually helps her to see the light that he is not the greatest guy and she should just raise the kid on her own. I think I disliked Henry so much because he was lazy and he was not proactive. He just let things happen to him without taking part in his own life. He never fully took control of his predicament, allowing people to come and go in and out of his life without the slightest inclination towards trying to keep them in (or out of) his life. He complained and made up ridiculous excuses for why things were the way they were without really doing anything about it, which really pisses me off in general. And then he disappears. Without a trace. At the time when people need him the most, he leaves. Granted, he does come back in the end. But his behavior throughout the book set the tone. No matter what he did at the end, I was convinced he would always be the guy that lets stuff happen instead of getting things done. And, unfortunately, this is just not someone I can identify with.
As for the book itself, I must admit after the first several chapters I really got into it. I guess just because I didn't like the character, I was somehow invested in their lives and wanted to know how things turned out. I did wake up super early one morning and read the last 150 pages because I couldn't put the book down or get it out of my mind. I think once I accepted that I did not like the title character and that I don't always have to identify with characters, the book became easier to read. Bausch is an excellent writer, forming images in my head that persist weeks later. Altogether, it was a difficult book to get through, but I think it was well worth it. It has made me think aboutmy own life and why I've had such a visceral dislike of the title character. And it's kept me thinking about it for several weeks. That, to me, is the sign of a good book.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Day Late

Borrowed from Randi:
  1. 5 things on your Christmas wish list. An IPod Nano, shirt, sweater, thank you notes, diamond anything :)
  2. 5 things on your tree, (if you’ve put one up yet.) An Oscar, lots of Pooh ornaments, some crazy kitty ornaments, swaddling clothes, and candy canes.
  3. 5 of your Christmas traditions. Christmas Eve with Randi and family, early morning present opening while eating Grandma's coffee cake and pears, a fire in the fireplace Christmas morning, baking up a storm with my mom, watching lots of Christmas-themed movies.
  4. 5 things you like about Christmas. The lights, the chill in the air, the decorations, the cheesy music I can sing out loud, seeing family and friends.
  5. 5 things you don’t like about Christmas. The impatience, the expectation of finding the perfect gift, the debt, too much indulgence, too little time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh, Tannenbaum

Perhaps it's the many years in Christian school, but kitty under the tree always makes me think of this:

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out to the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Yes, kitty is Jesus. And the Oscar is an angel. Don't you agree?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

This past weekend was great. I'm doing this outreach project with some local high school kids and I got to hang out with them Friday afternoon to come up with some cool science fair projects they can do. I loved chatting with the kids (they are really smart) and I loved getting to know one of the undergrads I'll be working with. It's so great to get out in the community since I'm always just in lab, doing my own thing. I am really excited to see where our projects will go.
Friday night, we watched this weird movie with some friends of ours. Let me tell you, do not watch Gummo. It's horrible. And awful. And just a terrible movie altogether. It was fun to watch it with other like-minded individuals, tho. We had a blast critiquing it fer shure.
On Saturday, Alex and I took some Latin dance lessons and signed up to take some more. It's part of my birthday present, I we had a blast! It was so fun to just let loose, not have to do well, and crack up a lot. We hit the defunct Ben Franklin museum for some giggles and then hit up Triumph Brewing Co for some lunch. We lucked out and scored some tickets to Hairspray for Sat night. It was a blast - I was singing and dancing in my seat the whole time (yes, I'm one of those!). It was a fun-filled day all around. On Sunday, I did some shopping around town and I've started to prepare to head home for the holidays. I'm bummed out that Alex won't be there, but I think it's great we both get to see our families. I am sure one day soon enough, we'll have to coordinate two families, kids, and all that crazy jazz. It's nice to not have to do that yet! Anyways, just a few more days to crank it out and then home to relax. So looking forward to it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Political Wednesday

I don't have much to say except this: while I am sure both male and female politicians are involved in corrupt back room dealings, only the men are stupid enough to get caught. Seriously, trying to sell Obama's vacated Senate seat for half a million? How stupid can you get? Buying prostitutes while in office? Seriously, fellas. You are not invincible, you are an elected official. Stop dicking around and do your job.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Haiku Getting Started Friday

High School, man, how long
has it been? Lockers, Backpacks
Long, crowded hallways.


Went back yesterday
Helping with the science fair.
Kids are super smart!


Planning some fun stuff.
Play with glowing fish, fruit flies
So much fun to teach!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Favorite Part of the Macy's Parade (belated)

At Long Last

The phenomenal South Street Bridge is closing this coming week. I can't believe an era that started in 1924 is over (thank god!). The bridge, as you can see, is crumbling to bits and I am so glad they've decided, even in this shitty economy, to shut 'er down. For posterity, I decided to take some pics since they'll be tearing this sucker down in a few days.

What I see every day walking to work.

See, the sign says so!

It's become a haven for artists of all types (some talented and some not). I've always enjoyed my walks into work to see what's new.

I personally enjoy the eyeball. Unfortunately, they painted over all the naked pics that were posted.

But, seriously, when you have to repair sidewalks with metal plates, I think it's time to go.

You can actually see the freeway below through this!
And the "turrets" are crumbling beyond belief.

But the view of the city you can't beat. I'll miss you, SSB. Mostly because you're the most direct route from my house to my work. But also, you've represented the crumbing infrastructure and blight that most cities are facing these days. I hope the destruction of this bridge and the building of a new one represent a "new day" for our American cities. And more jobs. And a better economy. And a better President. Oh, wait, we already got that!