Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Randomalia Redux 

Broke out in hives about 1:30 in the morning last night. Think it was all the Aleve. Took an antihistimene, but it didn't let me sleep until 3. Mostly gone now except for a strange wart-like rash on the palm of my hand; let's hope hair doesn't start growing, or everyone's going to know I jerk off lefty (just kidding, mom).

Back not much better, either. I walked through the workday a fragile glassbacked flower, oozing slow and stiff from Information Commons to classroom. Some dozen coworkers asked if I was feeling better -- word sure travels fast around the 'mill.

In a failed attempt to catch up on sleep and/or rest the stillsore back a bit, conked out on bed in dress clothes from 5 to 6:30. Result: left sleeve rumpled, butt hurts from wallet, no change in status of back or grogginess. Why only left sleeve?

On duty in the dorm again tonight: two kids failed room inspection for general pigsty-ness, and it's a bear keeping them quiet with this year's new "open door" policy raising the stakes for casual conversation in the study environment. Looks like the boys are getting a bit lax as the term finally kicks in. Damn, I miss living at the end of their hall.

Ordered a pair of pepperoni pizzas from Domino's for delivery after study hall, since I slept through supper. Tempted to leave my name as "Peter Piper" when I called and picked 'em, but managed to keep my dorky humor to myself on this one.

There's a couple of boards outside the main dorm entrance, one unknown in origin, the other with "Harry's Board" written across the surface like big black graffiti. The latter board's been in the dorm storage room for years, but I can't remember a Harry, so why his board? Ah, life's little mysteries...

Meetings all morning tomorrow, and into the midafternoon. Note to managers everywhere: calling it a "pizza party" does not make a required get-together any less of a meeting. Especially if you hand out agendas with the pizza.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:46 PM | 6 comments

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Soothing Sounds Of...Me 

Alarm at 7:30, and barely made it to the bathroom, even hunched over like an octagenarian. Back to bed immediately, alarm reset for 8:30, hoping for a miracle.

No such luck.

Skipped work. Slept until noon, and woke up unmovable, my back on fire.

So I've been on my back all day, aside from a few sessions in chairs, my daughter on my lap, her "computer" balanced on my precarious knee. Didn't put on clothes. Spent a fruitless hour in the bath, rust dust collecting by the drain.

But they say music is theraputic, and I sure hope they're right. I'm here, anyway, cranked up on coffee and Aleve in the basement of good old Stone Hall, broadcasting to the unseen uncalling hordes, hoping for the best. The show must go on, eh?

Playlist follows, as always. Breaks represent anecdotes from tonight's bedtime story readings, as always on the hour and the half hour, and taken this evening from the Alvin Schwartz collection of bear stories Fat Man In A Fur Coat.


Tributary 9/20/04

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man
Michael Franti and Spearhead -- Everyone Deserves Music
String Cheese Incident -- Drifting
Barenaked Ladies -- Grade 9
Stevie Ray Vaughn -- Wham
Oysterhead -- Oz Is Ever Floating
Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers -- Just One Kiss

Tom Landa & the Paperboys -- All Along The Watchtower
Patty Griffin -- Change
The Gourds -- El Paso
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise -- It'll Come To You
C.J. Chenier -- Falling Up
Barry White -- Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe

Santana w/ Dave Matthews -- Love Of My Life
Johnny Cash -- Hurt
The Soggy Bottom Boys -- I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow
Tish Hinojosa -- Hey Little Love
Dolly Parton -- Shine
Sam Phillips -- I Need Love

Jackson Jills -- Groove Is In The Heart
Mary Gauthier -- Goodbye
Sara McLachlan -- Dear God
Peter Siegel -- My Culture [buy Pete's new album here!]
Crooked Still -- Orphan Girl
Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Des'ree -- Ain't No Sunshine
Jeffrey Foucault -- Mayfly

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show on WNMH 91.5 fm. C'mon back next week now, y'hear?

posted by boyhowdy | 11:59 PM | 4 comments

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Back 

I've thrown it out. Not sure how -- might be merely that I've started wearing Darcie's old sneakers, or something as sillysimple as that -- but it doesn't matter, really.

What matters is I've already cranked myself up on as many Alleve as I could stand, and it hasn't made much difference.

Have library duty, and been here since one. It's been busy for a Sunday, so I've been in and out of the chair far too many times: checking color printers, helping students cite the Encyclopedia of African Countries in proper Chicago style, finding books on local mammalia. Willow and Darcie stopped by with the dog for a while, but I was too busy to spend real time with them, so they left a while ago. Now I'm almost done, and thank the lord, because, damn, I'm in some serious pain here.

Am I even making any sense through this haze of spasm and muscle relaxant? Maybe I should just quit while I'm still alive.

posted by boyhowdy | 5:05 PM | 1 comments

Friday, September 17, 2004

Music and Mayhem 




Great show last night at the Iron Horse, starting with raison d'enter (and good friend and uberliberal) Peter Siegel, who squeaked out five-or-six songs ranging from shanty classics to folk-raps to a fun poppy ditty about his wife's polkapolka polka dot bathing suit. We sat with Peter's parents, his wife (and my friend and coworker) Michelle, and their 4 month old Zinnia, a round-legged cutie who incidentally spends two mornings a week with my own spouse while her parents work. Willow stayed with Ginny -- it was nice to have a date after all these months as the three of us.

Main act Crooked Still, an americana band featuring banjo, vocal, standup bass and-of-all-things cello, who we'd seen from a distance at Falcon Ridge way back in July, was funky and consistent, though their set wasn't much different from a) their album, and b) their Falcon Ridge sets.

Happily, Peter and his back-ups Ellen (percussion) and Naomi (fiddle) managed to sell all 25 tix required by the house, so there's a good chance he'll be asked back again. Unhappily (for Crooked Still, at least), that accounts for a good two thirds of the house last night. If you're listening, Aoife, it might be time to consider broadening the repertoire a bit.

Then tonight localfolkie Erica Wheeler did a show in the student center, with some coworkers opening. Nice set, actually -- and a sweet femmefolk cover of that old Garcia standard "I Know You Rider," which is always fun -- though the students didn't really appreciate it: most didn't come, and those who did didn't stay long (or, worse, hung out in the back of the student center and yelled at each other like, well, adolescents). Erica's's off to the Boston Folk Festival (darn, I knew I was supposed to be in Boston this weekend) to lead songwriting workshops tomorrow, so you know she's got the creds.

As for the mayhem: crossing the wide bridge high over the Connecticut River this afternoon on my way from Info Commons coverage to class the treads on the Grand Marquis's back passenger side tire flew off with such violence it hit the fuel pump safety-off switch under the car and left me stranded. Luckily, a good samaritan stopped to give me a ride before the floods came (and I mean "good samaritan" sincerely -- he had to move tracts off the seat to make room for my sorry ass). Unluckily, I never ended up covering the back window after the glass slid off the track, and the tow truck came long after the deluge began. Thanks to Darcie who saved my ass by driving what will now be forever known as "the good car" to sit in the rain and wait for the tow truck while I taught blogging for the first day of Ed Tech 101.

More on this later, surely -- I'm beginning to think the damn car is cursed. Shame, really, given how well it started out.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:17 PM | 12 comments

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Mediageek Note 

According to geekblog Slashdot, Spam turned 100 years old yesterday!

"Surprisingly, the first spam wasn't sent via e-mail. In fact, 100 years ago, Cunard sent out telegrams to selected (rich) members of the British social elite, advertising tickets on a new liner, and becoming the first spammer. Let us all take out a moment to consider how to best 'repay' the spammers who followed for the 100 years of 'joy' they have given us. ;)"

Um...yay? Just goes to show you, though, how insidious the cultural mindset that new technologies actually bring about the full effect of their brand new potentials...when instead, they are most often both culminative, finally making normative what before was exceptional...and, simultaneously, merely harbingers, containers of the next big thing to come, several c-changes from now.

Kinda makes you wonder what tiny niggling thing in this wave will be the next big promise, what tidbit here the coming glut, of the unimaginable technologies of, say, 2100.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:25 PM | 1 comments


BusyBusyBusy 

Three instructional class visits in two days, a holy host of meetings of all sorts, two duty nights in a row and the first day (finally) of my course in Media Literacy have kept me too busy to blog. Well, that and the continued and somehow refreshing lack of a network connection at home -- still not sure I want to fix this.

Could have made some spacetime this afternoon, my usual sacred time off the books, but Darcie wanted to nap, so I took Willow out -- first to the farm, where we picked raspberies and threw grass at the cows and chickens and Willow had a breakdown when she misinterpreted a faint noise outside the sugarhouse as Daddy, a cow was coming, and I was very scary!... and later to the library, where Willow had another breakdown when the little bird in "Are You My Mother" gets lifted up by the backhoe (in the book, it's called a "snort") and the bird's mommy is gone, Daddy! I want my mommy and the bird wants my mommy too!, which necessitated two trips to the water cooler, a spilled full cup of water, and the eating of several of those tinned shortbread cookies -- and then home to wake up Darcie, and the three of us were off to Friendly's for a mediocre chicken sandwich supper and a grocery run.

Now I find myself in a happily deserted and locked down library, in otherwise darkness, catching up on the digi-verse whilst the family sleeps and the kids begin their dorm lockdown for the night.

Oddly, I can't think of a thing to blog about.

Maybe I need a nap or something. Or more coffee. Something, anyway.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:05 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Better Late Than Ever 

Traded library duty shifts this week so we can go see Crooked Still (and dear friend and opening act Peter Siegel) down at the Iron Horse Thursday night; ended up finishing up that library shift on one campus at ten...when I'm supposed to start the radio show at the same time, six miles and one police station away on the other campus.

Which meant no time to stop for coffee. And a rush job getting started. Also, an owl flew up out of the darkness and scared the shit out of me just before midnight when I stepped out for a smoke in the moonlessness, and I'm still shaking.

Hope this seems up to the usual standards, folks.


Tributary 9/13/04

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man
Spacehog -- Senses Working Overtime
Trey Anastasio -- Cayman Review
Manu Chao -- Me Gustas Tu
Nellie McKay -- David
Dan Zanes -- Wonderwheel
Aimee Mann & Michael Penn -- Two Of Us
The Jayhawks -- Save It For A Rainy Day
Muddy Waters -- You Need Love
Joss Stone -- Fell In Love With A Boy
The Biscuit Boys -- Ramblin' Fever
Patty Griffin -- Love Throw A Line
Ben Harper -- Please Bleed
Kris McKay -- Wish You Were Here
Billy Bragg w/ Wilco -- My Flying Saucer
Ware River Club -- I Love Her, She Loves Me
Dusty Springfield -- Son Of A Preacherman
Acoustic Syndicate -- Crazy Town
Shawn Colvin -- Say A Little Prayer
Daniel Lanois -- Falling At Your Feet
The Be Good Tanyas -- Rain And Snow
Owen Hand -- She Likes It
Crooked Still -- Last Fair Deal Gone Down

You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5 FM, bringing you the best of all genres week after week. Listen -- it'll make you glad your radio works.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:00 AM | 5 comments

Monday, September 13, 2004

Just This Once, I Wish I Lived In Ohio 

Because if I lived in Ohio, I could take advantage of Operation Ohio, and -- just for the price of a simple email request -- Tobias Wolfe, Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers or some other cool writer would call me on November second to remind me to vote. How cool is that? Man, McSweeney's has the best ideas.

Oh, yeah, I'd also have to be a college student to be eligible. But I could fake that, I bet.

(Offer also valid in Wisconsin and Florida. But not Massachusetts, dammit.)

posted by boyhowdy | 9:17 PM | 2 comments


Too Much Of A Good Thing 

Spent too much cash and a fine late summer afternoon yesterday at the Connecticut River Brewers Festival down Holyoke way -- mostly a tent filled with microbrew kegsellers, and a couple of decent pulled pork vendors off to the side. It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny and warm by the banks of the river, with a nice crowd, decent music, good companions -- including brother-in-law Josh and his long-time mate Clay, sis-in-law Virginia, her roommate Christina, and her friend Kevin -- and a rollicking good time had by all.

I think.

To be honest, given my low tolerance (hey, at least I'm a cheap date), I remember little of the festival, and less of the sushi supper afterwards at sister-in-law Virginia's new houseshare digs. Luckily, my inner Hunter Thompson was keeping track of the afternoon. Here, verbatim, the taster's notes I found in my pocket the morning after; they seem to be in order, which explains the last bits below:
  1. Summer Haze (Paper City Brewing Co.). White head. Beer color light, almost yellow. Rich taste -- a breakfast beer! -- w/ strong orange-peel in scent and taste. Slightly bitter kick but no aftertaste. "Champagne." Yummy! 4 starts, though the orange might get a bit much after the first few pints.

  2. Pale Ale (Flying Dog). Slightly strong and bitter; a decent PA, though the bitterness stays with you for a moment after each sip. Light brown/caramel color. Rich and crisp for a PA. 3.25 stars.

  3. Grape Ale (Concord Brewery). 2.0 stars! Grape kool-aid plus beer, with the flavors mized badly (not like the raspberry from Peoples Pint, as a comparison). Grape aftertaste overwhelms the acceptable but unexceptional basic brown underneath.

  4. Cascade IPA from Amherst Brew co. "Almost like licking a dandelion." BITTER, but OK. Strong. Dry, solid, amber color, almost no head. 3 stars. More?

  5. Heavyweight Brewing Lunacy. Very yeasty...unfiltered? Golden rich color, low/no head. A deep, rich belgianesque...but that yeast/hop taste so strong!

Also, found on a separate scrap entitled "other people's beers":
  • Concord B., Oatmeal Stout. Solid coffee taste, not too bitter, black -- 4.0.

  • People's Pint Pied PIPA: rich, sweet, full-bodied. The best IPA in town - not too bitter, balanced. 4.5 stars.

  • Harmony Springs Birch Beer (not real beer) -- sprite-light, memories of summer camp.

Looks like I did have a good time after all. Wish my head didn't hurt so much trying to remember any of it.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:24 PM | 1 comments


Heartbreaking Dialogues With Children (# 216 in an ongoing series) 

Me: Come give me a hug, Willow.

Willow: No.

Me: But Daddy has to go to work now, honey.

Willow: No, I want you to stay here with me.

Me: Willow, honey, I'll be back really soon. But I have to go to work so we can get money to buy things we need, like clothes and food, okay?

Willow: (wanders over to her closet) Daddy, I have lots of clothes in here! You stay home and play!

posted by boyhowdy | 3:30 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, September 11, 2004

ADHD In The...O Look, I'm In The Paper! 

This Fark-found article about Adults Being Diagnosed With ADHD seemed potentially interesting, but for some reason I had trouble staying with it 'till the end. Wonder why?

Ten years and counting past a partial ADHD and visual processing disability diagnosis, and I still...um...hey, did I mention that our visit to the fair yesterday made the paper? I had to scan in the pic, as unfortunately The Republican doesn't include 'em in its online edition -- but I swear, this is the pic which accompanied this article:



So much for playing hooky -- now everyone will know why I took the day off!

posted by boyhowdy | 8:21 PM | 13 comments

Friday, September 10, 2004

Love, With Mitigating Factors 



How fast would you run for an Oreo cookie?


I love that, two weekends every trimester, the school pays me to play ping pong against high school students for four hours Friday night and five hours Saturday. Of course, technically I'm supposed to be at work, so I can't leave -- I don't have to play, but I do have to go.

I love that we're still netless at home. Really. And not just because it means a chance to get reacquainted with Adult Swim. But yes, the infinitely numerous mitigating factors here are obvious and hardly worthy of mention.

I love that I have the kind of schedule that allows me to take a morning off from work just because the Franklin County Fair is in town. We've learned in past years that Friday mornings are the best time to go -- not a crowd on site, and the kiddie rides are the only ones open; while my teaching peers and student charges droned through Friday morning long block classes, I had my hands full of two year old, sharing a gleeful couple of hours of the finest flora (the biggest yellow pumpkin, smallest cherry tomato, prettiest wreath), fauna (4H ducks-and-bunnies, a baby animal petting farm, and baby's first porcupine), and fried food -- the stuff only a smalltown country fair can bring. Unfortunately, NRBQ isn't playing until tomorrow night at 5:30; I'd love to see them again, but who wants to hit that mob scene?

Speaking of the fair, I love that I live in a world with Robinson's Racing Pigs in it. Pity we had to miss them this year.

Also, I love that Willow wanted to go on the merry go round six times. On the other hand, I'm still kind of dizzy.

I love, too, that I have the kind of wife who makes an effort to make a Shabbat dinner happen for all of us, even though the kid's a Jewnitarian, and Darcie's just plain UU. Making it a picnic on the side lawn was a sweet gesture, even if the primary reason for eating outside was the inevitable grungy disaster that is our kitchen and dining room after my first few weeks of work, and the kid wasn't so happy with waiting for the food while I tried to spin her around during L'cha Dodi to welcome the evening. Thanks, honey. I only wish I was home tonight to co-digest.

And speaking of being outside for a picnic -- I love that my potty-trained child is a friend of nature, but why is it that every time we let the kid pee on the grass, the cross country team comes around the corner?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:18 PM | 3 comments

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Broke 

Ran out of cash; missed a cablemodem payment, and ended up netless for 24 hours. Paid by phone, but found that we needed to re-enter the registration and serial number for the Comcast service...and can't find the registration receipt or the install CD. [Hey, a brand new reason why I haven't blogged! Um...yay?]

So I'm blogging from work (library proctor duty), when I'm supposed to be chasing nonworking kids out of the Fiction room during study hall. No time for more, as the kids are a bit loud today after a full 24 of sweltering heat and rain so bad that our walls and staircases are dangerously sweating back home -- I'll try to get something in tomorrow night (while on dorm duty, this time), since we're off to the Franklin County Fair tomorrow morning, and Willow already can't stop talking about the petting farm-animals area, and the merry-go-round sure to follow. Three cheers for playing hooky from work!

posted by boyhowdy | 8:54 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

l337speak Chic  

Pouring my vocational energies into developing the perfect reality-cracking mindset for the new library information commons the past days, most joyfully through the mentorship of a new band of workjob students. We've already got a livejournal going -- their idea, and their work setting it up -- and a virtual conference space for discourse, wherein I continue to remind them that we're not technicians but information coordinators and literacy teachers, and try to engender a service model of proactive humility.

Great stuff; great kids. Their eagerness to help discover what it is we all do reinvigorates me.

In thinking about how to describe our role, today's threaded discussion about possible nametag phrases produced the following tongue-in-geekchic possibilities:
  • Ask me -- I'm smarter than you!

  • Ask me! I'm experienced and suave!

  • Ask me -- I'm l337

  • Right click on me for help!

  • F1

  • Likes evenings by fireplaces, long walks on the beaches, and helping with homework. Wait, what?

  • Big Brother

Though all are too geeky to use (we'll probably go with information commons assistant), I will forever treasure the envisioned snorts of laughter resonating through the ether once we started tossing these around. Ah, it's good to be teaching again...can't wait 'till the media literacy class kicks in next week, what with the elections and all.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:46 PM | 3 comments


Back In The Saddle 

The phone didn't ring once; my Girlyman CD skipped a bit; the network cord was stolen from the radio station computer, so I couldn't blog the playlist as it happened. I forgot to do the weekly contest, and talked way too much. But all in all it sure was fine to be back on the air, in the cool basement, alone in the dark with my own personal wall of sound.

Here's tonight's playlist, the first of many for a new school year; from Jeffrey Foucault on, all songs are by artists I saw perform live this summer:


Tributary 9/6/04

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man
Keb' Mo -- Love Train
Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Fat Soul
Squeeze -- Dr. Jazz
Phish -- Back On The Train
Yo La Tengo -- Magnet
Beck -- Devil's Haircut
Cake -- Manah Manah
Gillian Welch -- I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll
Sarah Harmer -- Almost
The Posies -- I'm Looking Through You
Girlyman -- Postcards From Mexico
They Might Be Giants -- Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Jeffrey Foucault -- Mayflower
Crooked Still -- Angeline The Baker
Eddie From Ohio -- Let's Get Mesolithic
Ani Difranco -- Little Plastic Castle
Erin McKeown -- Civilians
Soulive -- Turn It Out
John Gorka -- Out Of My Mind
Lucy Kaplansky -- It Ain't Me, Babe
Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem -- Butter And Egg Man
Dar Williams -- Are You Out There
Jourma Kaukonen -- Red River Blues


You've been listening to Tributary, your ten to midnight Monday night show here on WNMH 91.5 fm, serving Northfield, Gill, Keene and Brattleboro -- and you -- every week...with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, some funk and folk, blues and bluegrass, jazz and jambands, alternative and everything in between. Damn, it's good to be back.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:49 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Mom Report 

Just got off the phone with mom. Hot off the family wire:

- Willow had a phone conversation with my mother today. Willow's total contributions to the conversation were "yes" and "where's Grandpa?"

- New Ohio State Veterinary School vet student (and sis) Sarah installed in Ohio one-bedroom awaiting semester's commencement. Soon, she will be required to dissect a horse. Thankfully, she decided not to get the Ohio State cheerleader outfit for two year old wildchild Willow.

- Bro and artist Jesse left a message on my mother's answering machine about being in the NYC protests surrounded by a thousand empty coffins or something. That was him on the cellphone just now, but mom didn't get it in time.

- Rhythm and Roots was good but less diverse, musically speaking, than in the past.

- There's a Yom Kippur service at the temple on Saturday morning just for kids. Also babysitting. Also, mom always buys an extra ticket.

- Mom and Dad Tuesday leave for Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Another state or two, and Dad'll have collected the whole set of 50. (Go Dad!)

- Mom rocks.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:56 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Never Again Will I Live In The Air 

An epiphany today, a third time up the narrow stairs bearing wet, freshly hung shirts before me like a torch: Fourteen months in our new apartment, and the thrill is gone.

It's not just the lack of a washer/dryer hookup, or the absence of dishwasher, though these would almost be enough. It's that there will never be such things. The water pressure doesn't rise this high. Even if it did, the stairway's too narrow to bring 'em in.

Moving in was a bitch. If we owned a couch it never would have made it; now we mix and match chairs moment to moment, and wish we felt more settled. If we owned a piano, it'd be in pieces off the fire escape; I don't think Darcie's played since last year.

The stairs are slowly killing me. Willow weighs 35 pounds and must be carried; the dog needs walking thrice a day. Groceries collect in the car.

For God's sake, it's an attic -- it was never meant to be an apartment in the first place. Eaves, which shrink the headspace and still knock the occasional head, arising. Tiny windows, too small for air conditioner, and sparsely placed. The constant heat which rises from the floors below.

And living in the air is a drag on our lifestyle insidous in its effect. We avoid stairs if we can -- so we keep Willow inside more, though she revels in the sunlight. We can't bear dragging the laundry up and down, so the clothes pile up on all four bedroom walls, padding the place just fast enough to contain our growing insanity. The heat makes us listless, and we sleep when we should work. We have to spend an entire day every three weeks cleaning out the car again.

It's clear we can't stay much longer.

Every problem I have with this place is due to a combination of height and history. So now I know what I'm looking for, and it's not much, really.

There's nothing I wouldn't do for a nice two-story Victorian all our own. That, and a yard that fades to forest, and goes on forever, shaded and cool.

Oh, and a washing machine.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:29 PM | 14 comments


On Development 

When Willow says fire passer she's not talking about the Olympics. She means pacifier, the suckling soothe baby Zinnia uses on her twice-weekly morning visits. As yet the transposition is rare, and exclusive to trisyllabics, but I'm not sure what to think: High-verbal and determined to get it right (both paternally inherited traits), she had no trouble with even these same words weeks ago; we can find no correlation between tiredness and tongue-tied.

Is this merely wordplay, a sign of creativity? A brainfart? It seems natural, but where does it go from here? Parenthood serves the catcurious so well sometimes; it's as if I had all this brain just begging to be utilized all these years, and never knew it.

In other development news -- the professional type, this time around -- my mother in law has helpfully sent me a job listing somewhat up my alley and certainly within my range; now I can't help thinking about taking the damn job just to stay in the area. I probably won't, though. Coming to realize that having my own classes means the world to me.

Which reminds me: it's getting on time to contact the prep school placement folks.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:27 PM | 0 comments

Friday, September 03, 2004

Download Some Jazz 

Jazz 101 [warning: .doc format], a poem written by NMH student extraordinaire Doug Garrison, mostly during Chem class last year...and delivered with about as much slam-style soul as a white boy can muster at a recent school meeting to kick off our theme for this year's residential life curriculum.

Theme, of course, is Jazz. My advisees are reading Sonny's Blues for Monday, and I'll surely report on this personal fave when I can; until then, read 17-year-old Doug's masterpiece out loud to yourself, curse your creative inabilities, and read it again. Well, that's what I did, anyway.

More on all that jazz as events develop, but here's a hint: it promises to be a great Winter around here.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:57 PM | 0 comments


Priceless 


Like this, except our kid is cuter


We'd seen Ginny's new hardwood-and-privacy apartment, and spent 80 bucks on beer and sweet barbecue for three and a half at Smokin' Lil's down in Easthampton: crawdad tails and catfish fingers; two kinds of ribs, pulled pork and baconbeans; a mildly carbonated summer beer brought in from local haunt The People's Pint.

The Wal-Mart cart already held new panties for the newly and self-potty trained wee one (who proved us right by holding it in even while I sprinted through the aisles looking for the bathrooms); three dollar t-shirts (purple) and dozens of cheap brown socks for me; some frilly low-cut shirt-likes for her mother -- not to mention a small glug of Tide detergent, and some other miscelany.

How, then, to resist the $45 price tag on a Fisher Price PowerTouch learning system (a.k.a. Leapfrog clone), complete with a starter booklet of her favorite iconographs (Sesame Street) in her favorite settings (farm, kitchen, music store)? After all, she'd been playing with the kindergarten-level store demo dilligently and, wonder of wonders, correctly for twenty minutes already, smoke practically rising from her gleeful and eager brain -- and all without falling from the cart.

We had to get it. It was breaking my heart just thinking about walking away from all that brainjiggling, knowing full well that, without it, tomorrow she'd be back to the stuffed animals and other mere objects of her already passing childhood. Darcie, bless her parental instincts, even bought a flashlight so we could use it in the car on the way home.

Of course, once the car started and we opened the package, we discovered it takes a phillips head screwdriver to open the battery case. Guess her brain will have to develop on its own until tomorrow, at least.

She's asleep now, of course -- happy as a clam, with her favorite bunny curled up against her head as if it alone could help keep the brain from leaking out overnight. But for me, it's going to be a long night to wait. After all, something came together, an epiphany, in WalMart of all places this evening -- the heart of a teacher and the fullbody love I feel for her combined in one glorious rush there in that aisle tonight. We've been only waiting for this moment to arrive.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:21 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, September 02, 2004

When I'm At Work I Look Like This 


...and here's how you access the virtual desktop.

Note new haircut, holding shape (mostly) despite 90 degree weather and 95% humidity. Nice, eh? Yesterday a student in the dorm said it makes me look 30 years younger, which would put me back in diapers; nonetheless, I appreciate the compliment in the spirit it was given, as it sure beats heck out of "Oh my God, what did you do to your hair?"

posted by boyhowdy | 11:31 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Is It Really Wednesday? 

My sincere apologies to...um...me, and regular and sporadic readers alike, for my absence over the last few. Some possible, actual, and marginally legitimate excuses follow:
  • It's the begining of school -- which for me, as always, means 16 hour workdays, and a heck of a lot of intercapus sprinting. In the last three days I've overseen the creation of a ten minute slide show culled from over a thousand pix of orientation and opening-day activities, met with my advisees for three hours and chaqnged their schedules around via phone and network for another three, stood dorm duty and library duty, and attended more meetings than at which you could shake a proverbial stick.

  • The laptop is dying a relatively rapid death. Adaware doesn't even run anymore -- always a bad sign -- and we're learning to manually close addons via the taskbar as the computer loads (faster! faster, or we'll never catch up!) as the stupid beast loads. Looks like we're going to have to rub a magnet against the casing sometime soon and start from scratch, but in the meantime, this means no computing from home -- and given the above, who wants to be in the office even an extra minute?

  • Hotness continues, and, though I think I look great with it, I'm not talking about my new poster-boy windswept haircut, either. It's hit ninety in the shade for three days straight; I went through four shirts the other day, and it just keeps coming.
Of course, it might be one of these, or all of them. But, as always, let's not forget the possibility that I just suck.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:22 PM | 1 comments

Sunday, August 29, 2004

In The Bag 

Willow waddles over in a flannel babyblue pillowcase pulled up to her ears, her eyes peeping over, and crinkled at the corner from an unseen grin. We're pretending she's a bag of groceries, and when I throw her on the pulled-out futon bed it's the trunk; she shuts her eyes in the pretend darkness until I "open" it and throw her over my shoulder.

And over and over, in the cool airconditioned room, with little variation. Until we decide this load of groceries is for mommy, and something in there sparks: she slides down the bedside, her jaw set determinedly, walks over to the loveseat where a long mommy curls her feet against the ivory armrest edge, and announces Hello, Mommy. I'm a fruit snack and you have to eat me!

Mommy, to say the least, is a bit startled at what, for her, is an out-of-context outcurst of imaginative cannibalism. Me? I'm overjoyed.

I'm liking these bedtime hours. They're quality time. And though the whirlwind world accelerates into the schoolyear around me, there will be time for these hours, at least, in the hard days ahead. Bring it on, year. My daughter will keep me sane, and damn the torpedoes.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:32 PM | 1 comments


Hot Hot Hot 

And humid, too -- especially after a day of helping the new students find their way through frist the school network registration process and then, back in the dorms, the inevitable challenge of roommate meeting and roomspace establishment.

Wish it were yesterday -- we were up North in the trees and hills, picking up the camper at our once-housesitting gig. Cold local microbrew and a dip in the pool on our last free day for weeks made for a nice send-off to summer. Except it's been in the low nineties for fortyeight hours now, and yesterday's cold blue water seems like a fever dream.

I've had to restart this entry (and this laptop) so many times it's not even funny. Guess it's even too hot for the laptop. I'm going in for a cold shower before my hairgel melts any further.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:41 PM | 0 comments

Friday, August 27, 2004

What's New 

My brain is full, so tonight we're resorting to the list-and-sort.
  • Haircut. Though it will be a bit pointy in back as the hair settles, with a little bit of gel (hooray for free samples!) I can finally shape the front the way I want it.

  • Schedules at work. I'll be doing dorm duty on Tuesdays, and Thursday nights as a library proctor. The former is a bonus because it saves me an extra night in the dorm; I'd have to go in for staff meetings Tuesday nights anyway. The latter is a new experience, but I think the split taskset of studyhall shusher and on-site student-paper-supporter likely to fit like a glove.

  • Students impending, and the school year begins anew. I'm scheduled for some fun training and teaching over the next few days, most notably a rapid-fire one-on-one network orientation marathon at registration Sunday, and a verycool opportunity to swear at the ninth graders (and, from there, to help kids develop an awareness of how cyberspeak is communityspeak, too, so they might fight the tyrrany of the computer-distanced tonality so otherwise endemic to virtual space) the next.

  • Shingles are not back after all. Instead, this morning's doctor has referred me to a dermatologist and, from there, an allergist. The antihistamines worked some, but I still got drowsy in the park down in Northampton today, and had to lie down a bit on the grass while Willow threw coins in the fountain (and I really mean IN the fountain, here -- good thing we had extra underpants with us).

  • Willow is wearing underpants, and hasn't had a single accident (except with the grandparents, who are less familiar with her particular need-to-pee signals).

Also new: the cat finally stopped smelling like skunk once we took his collar off; a new and larger deskspace in the much more open group office in the library; these four not-shingles bumps on my ass, which form a perfect (if slightly tilted) square. Not a bad day, if I do say so myself.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:23 PM | 16 comments

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Yes, I am aware that my comments aren't working, thanks. 

It's an enetation problem. I'm working on it.

In the interim, I have enabled the autoblogger comment function. God help us all.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:22 PM | 2 comments


Olympic Games 

I'm the guy who watches the Superbowl for the ads, and get snacks during the game -- even when the Patriots make the game. But though the Olympics haven't really cut into my Terry Goodkind reading much, when the tv's been on, I've been watching. Like a rattlesnake in a cage, you just can't help staring for a while when you pass.

I saw Phelps just enough to say I've seen him, and enough of that Retton-record-beating gymnast chick to know that she's no Retton when she's off the parallel bars but the cameras are on. Missed table tennis because we didn't get that staion, but saw some kayak slalom event which went badly for "our" American, and learned that some kayak slalom poles must be passed upstream. Saw a sloppy greco-roman semifinal lurchfest and plenty of trackstars.

I've seen men's volleyball at 2 a.m., and prime time women's beach volleyball. Even had a conversation with the Varsity coach here at school today in the snack bar line at supper, and finally figured out what that short guy in the red jersey was doing in among the huge guys in blue during all those group hugs (for those who care, he's a back-line perma-sub, able to grab a low ball to the back and pass it up).

And I've probably seen some other stuff, too. It just isn't that memorable, I guess.

As a media teacher, the Olympics fascinate me; they have better viewership creds than the superbowl, since theyir atheletes cover a larger breatdth, and come from a larger pool. But the way they drag out doesn't let them sustain the concentrated attention of our short-span theater viewing public. I suspect most folks are like me, watching sometimes, mostly just letting the idea of the Olympics -- that they're happening now -- settle into the brain like a string around the finger.

We've got a friend in the Olympic Village -- our festival buddy Dave was selected a long time ago as temp staff, bus-boarding athletes in return for a few event tickets, women's volleyball among them, supposedly. And artifacts, too -- Dave gave us some damn ugly mugs back before he went.

But it isn't enough to keep us watching for long. I mean, only those who were nationally ranked saber fencers in their adolescence (hi, PJ!) could make any sense of this too-fast-for-human-senses, lunge-fast sport. Guess that's why they were on so late, and why they're not shown in the constant replays and recaps, themselves dragging the pace even more than before, though their intention, surely, is to keep us high with highlights.

Too bad the two week high isn't sustainable. Good thing there's an antidote. If, like me, you're Olympicked out, Jonathan Crowe's celebration of these last place finishers makes for some light and enlightening reading. As a bonus, Crowe's rubric for tracking which country is the biggest loser seems cohesive and fair, with -- now that it's been adjusted for an error a bit back -- home team Greece in the lead. Go, team!

posted by boyhowdy | 8:51 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Going Back To School Is Like Jumping Naked Into A Freezing Pool 

A wonderful Willow evening, with a red rustwater bath and an hour mutually babbling. ("I play a song like this on my kazoo, okay? Here's a mousie, and it's tiny; I have it in my hand! Just pretend you're Liz, and I read this book to you, daddy. See the owl? It's a bear!")

But I've got itchspots all over, and I'm worried my shingles may be coming back everywhere at once. And I'm still turning into a brainfog machine, pulsing like an overtired nightdriver, by late afternoon, and a day full of faculty meetings and more faculty meetings to officially open the school year didn't help.

Also, I've become addicted to those overly thick Terry Goodkind books, having discovered the set in the last few days of our recently ended housesitting stay. The odd quirk of my reading habit -- I find it essentially impossible to sleep unless I have finished the book I've started that day -- exacerbates the exhaustion.

Still. Everyone at the community back-to-school lunch today agreed the little one is so adorable, and so smart. I'm tempted to agree. So I got that going for me.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:25 PM | 0 comments

Monday, August 23, 2004

Sleepytime Me 

The burning at consciousness's edge began late yesterday; by this afternoon I was fading in and out, the road North again stretching before me in that timelessness only the overtired and delirious ever experience. Coffee, cigarettes, a shock-dive into the pool: nothing helped, and I sunk further into the daze of our lives, the funk of the fried, the impossible undreaming that takes me like night through the school year, eating at my brain like rats on a bagel.

Too many days of up-early in the chill of early autumn mountain fog; too little REM sleep on the edge of consciousness, unwilling to trust completely a subjectively untested bedside alarm clock. This time. But there will always be something, now.

Tonight long past Willow's bedtime the householders came home from the hills of Scotland. The year's work has begun; already, the desktop bulges with responsibilities and careful negotiations, the knife's edge of the in-house servicegiver. On the drive back South Willow fell asleep quietly, an unfinished bottle, while her mother in the passenger seat kept the mist from our windows. And I? I followed the perfect upright sharp-edged moon hung copper in the sky, perfectly halved, like my autumn heart.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:15 PM | 0 comments
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