22 June 2009

Is it fatal error or error fatal?

I've been on a mission to study Spanish for at least an hour or two a day. Today I made notecards. And I'm pleased to inform you that I love when phrases translate exactly the same (or at least a word switched around). Like a "fatal error" is simply "error fatal"

I think I made one today by joining facebook. I have resisted and resisted. But I made the leap- and I'm pretty sure I already wish I hadn't. I've got joiner remorse. Though I'm going to stick it out for a good 24 hours before I "deactivate."


19 June 2009

Get (un)Lucky...

I am not one of those people who believe in luck (or unluckiness for that matter). So, simply claiming that "I'm just having bad luck this week" feels weird to me, mostly because I'd probably feel more comfortable looking for structural or symbolic explanations that make sense to me by the fact it would be tangible, not simply some idea of an outside operating force making or breaking my day.

After this preface, I have to say...I've had the worst f'ing luck the last few weeks. My entire life feels like a snow globe that someone shook violently and set down to see where the pieces fall. Okay, yes, dramatic, but there have been a string of events lately that have made me less than thrilled with my current state of affairs.

What could possibly have driven me to believe in luck?

Driving home today from a lovely lunch with two of my favorite people in the world (Eric and Stephanie), my 13 year old truck decided to overheat. Not only did it overheat, but right at the emergency exit I was making, it completely stalled. It was so unbelievably hot that my truck just stopped. That's it, no more. The steerving wheel locked up and the brake stopped working. So, there I was, off of Interstate 85 outside of Charlotte with a smoking engine in what felt like 100 degree weather. And when I woke up this morning, I make a fatal flaw in wardrobe selection. I hadn't a clue I would be standing outside my car on the interstate in the heat. Jeans were not a good choice.

Luckily the world is designed where if you plan in advance for emergencies and have a little savings, you can mostly avoid asking anyone for help. This makes me very happy. I called AAA (which if you don't have, trust me, I now fully endorse...Larry was a godsend) and they sent a tow truck and planned for me to have it fixed at one of their car centers. It was so simple, really. Almost too simple.

And I also can't say enough about how friendly folks are in Charlotte. I had two homeless men, a truck driver, and several passing male motorists stop to ask if I needed help. Awww, the ol' damsel in distress act. Apparently I offended one of the my rescuers, as he said, "geez, I was just trying to help you" and slouched all the way back to the intersection and continued to ask my other rescuers for spare change. Is it so offensive that a single woman might be able to take care of herself on the side of the road?

The last couple of hours have been filled with absolutely torturous waiting. I was sure my engine was blown. I was sure I'd have to give up my truck. I don't want to do this. I love that truck.

Finally, Bob from the car center called me...And I'm getting out for 350 dollars. After reviewing my accounts to see if I could scare up 3K to rebuild the engine, 350 sounds like pocket change. I'll be back with vehicle tomorrow (if all goes well). Maybe I should even treat my truck by cleaning it out...perhaps it'll be bring good luck.

And oh yeah, during my wonderful walk through the mean streets of Dilworth this morning, the song "I Wanna Be Ignored" by Ezra Furman and The Harpoons played on my iPod. As you know, I absolutely adore Ezra Furman and all the Harpoons. They are delightful. Here's another video to enjoy. They make me feel better.

16 June 2009

After defending my dissertation...

It might be a little early to plan for this, but I've figured out the type of "speech" I'll make after successfully defending my doctoral dissertation. It'll go something like this...

So, be ready committee members.

12 June 2009

Belcourt and Bonnie Prince Billy

On Wednesday night, I saw Bonnie Prince Billy perform at the Belcourt Theatre. It was my first visit to the Belcourt and now I'm troubled by the fact that I've spent an entire year of my life in Nashville not visiting this place regularly. I'm starting to fill my calendar with plans to attend every movie possible. If you are in the Nashville area, don't delay.

Now, I bought the tickets to the show for Tim's birthday. I had briefly been exposed to Bonnie Prince Billy, but it wasn't something that really hooked into me. At least until Wednesday night. The show was beautiful. Fantastic. Perfect.

What I was the most impressed by was the incredible combination of musicians. I couldn't imagine a more perfect group of people playing together, nor could I imagine any one individual being missing and producing the same beautiful music. I really fell in love with Cheyenne Mize, who apparently also plays with Arnett Hollow. I'm now looking forward to exploring new music.

Show one of the summer down, several to go.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davemadethis/3616093389/in/pool-nashvillest/

09 June 2009

My dear Cleo

I suppose I don't necessarily think a blog is the best place for this, but as I've said in the past- the blog serves as a journal for me in these modern times. A place where I can document the events that happen in my life, but also a place to explore ideas. Hell, I'm pretty sure it doesn't need prefacing, but at the same time writing about this on a blog also makes me a little uncomfortable. Perhaps I'm not from the generation that is completely accustomed to putting their thoughts out, regardless of how personal, moment after moment in some type of constant feed to their friends and colleagues.

Regardless, I'm going there, mostly because I want to document it.

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I informed my mother that I wanted a kitten. I had cats before this. There was Miss Kitty, the first of the cats. A cat that I picked out from the pet store and chose to be my first cat- right after the attendant at the pet store said, "You shouldn't pick that one, she is a withdrawn and quiet." I knew she'd perfect. And she was. She was the kind of cat that picked fights with the neighborhood dogs. Perfect for me. The loss of Miss Kitty wasn't full of sadness. In fact, from what I remember, she just disappeared. Unless there is something my folks didn't tell me. Miss Kitty did have kittens though.

My sister and I were head over heels in cats at a young age. We had four (that I remember). They were our best friends. There was Poky Pooky and Pooky Poky (yes, that's right), Dots, and one little fella with a short tail...whose name fails me at the moment. All of which met a bitter demise, whether from a car or a dog or a farm in the country.

Later, I decided I wanted another cat. And on Christmas that year, I was given a cat. It must have been 1988. It was the most beautiful (and expensive) cat I had ever seen. An Abyssinian. I had never heard of such a cat. He came with a long history of show cats, but all I really wanted from him was to be a lap cat. And he wasn't. We named him Cleo. Yes, we were gender bending even then.

Cleo turned out to be a cat with his own opinions. Yes, a great cat for me, indeed. He didn't like strangers. He regularly attacked the mail when it arrived through the mail slot. I do believe the vet called him "Satan" and put a sign on his cage when he was there that said, "WYA" or "Watch Your Ass", at which they later informed us.

Cleo had an independent spirit, though we kept him inside all the time. He wasn't the kind of cat that liked this, so he regularly escaped to desirable places- like under the house. My mom always found him, through extensive search parties. He also hissed at most people. At times, I think we felt his hisses were a way to weed out the good from the bad.

One of my favorite stories about Cleo is when a father of a friend came over to visit. He decided to use our bathroom in the back of the house, which is where Cleo was often stationed. We forgot to warn the father about the cat. And the last thing we heard him say after closing the door was, "Hey, little kitty"- knowing this could only end in a gruesome attempt at friendship.

Cleo passed today at 5:15 in my mother's arms. He was 20 years old. And he was a member of the family. He always had been and a perfect one at that. He had the temperament and the disposition to fit in perfectly with us.

Not being in Charlotte, my sadness was obscured. I'm sure when I return to visit the family and I see where he use to sleep or think about him crookedly walking around the hallway completely confused, I'll feel the pain of him being gone.

When I thought about Cleo dying today, I thought not only about him, but other cats that have passed through my life. I also thought about a song that my first college boyfriend wrote about our cat, Ella. I have spent the last three hours pouring through cassette tapes to find the song that Jake wrote about Ella, because it seemed suitable and it seemed cathartic. It seemed necessary. Finally, I found it. And the lyrics are below. And I suppose it should be dedicated to first and foremost, Cleo- but also, Miss Kitty, Poky Pooky, Pooky Poky, Dots, the short tail fella, Ella, and Tereza... but also the cats that still share my life with me- Que, Sabine, Igor, and Biscuit.

by Jake Barrow

Take a walk
By my side
You're my one feline friend
Awaken from drunken slumber
I never have to dream alone

Bite my face
Scratch my eye
Tear at my curvy ways
Point the tail to the sky
Point the eye, eight to die

Sharpen eyes, piercing to me
Sharpen claws, dreamful for you

Curve the back
Orange eyes
Make the hell
Create the hell
Nature to track the small
The winning prize is on my porch

Sharpen eyes, piercing to me
Sharpen claws, dreamful for you

When your life has come and gone
Wait for me, to sing for me
You might go-
but not your cry
and not your grace
and not your sigh...

08 June 2009

The Dylanology of Sociology

I know what you are trying to do, Dylan. Put off our inevitable meeting. But it won't happen. Not this time. (For those of you that bought tickets to see Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp in Sevierville, TN- the show has been cancelled.) No worries, Bob. I'll be there in Louisville. And just for that, I'll be there several weeks early. (Mid-Paragraph Note: I won't be there weeks before the show, but rather, the show is weeks before the TN one).

On a side note. A colleague asked me the other day, "If you could go back and major in any subject, what would it be?"

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I answered (without faltering)- sociology.

Aww, the thrill of doing exactly what it is you want.

01 June 2009

Slowly, it's slowly ending

As you (my handful of readers) may have noticed, I have not been posting my regularly top five songs of each month- and now that I'm halfway through the year, I'm feeling a little sad that I haven't. So, just to get me back in the groove, I thought I'd post a song that I'm most certain would have ended up in one of the months. And one that I'm really loving right now.

Potential, you're a loaded line
The veil between the world and the faceless bride
There's nothing yet but a bunch of white
Oh, potential, you're a loaded line

Tomorrow, I will wait for you
Laying right here, floating in this swimming pool
There's a lot of things I've got left to do
Oh, tomorrow, I will wait for you

The days keep slipping down into the cracks
It takes a while to realize where you're at

Slowly (so slowly), slowly (so slowly), slowly, it's slowly ending

Dementia, you better treat me good
The human race is in a second childhood
I never learned but I understood
Oh, dementia, you better treat me good

Sometimes, I need a place to go
Classical music plays from a radio
I sit real still, let my shadow grow
Yeah, sometimes, I need a place to go

My mind keeps slipping back into the past
I hope someday that I can get it back

Slowly (so slowly), slowly (so slowly), slowly, its slowly ending
Slowly (so slowly), slowly (so slowly), slowly, its slowly ending

And soon that train is going to pull away
I hear it whistling
I try to wave
At a blurry face
They can't tell who I am

Slowly (so slowly), slowly (so slowly), slowly, its slowly ending