Monday, February 23, 2009

9 thoughts in my head

1. I am wearing new cowboy boots today. It's very satisfying.
2. My to-do list is terrifying. Remind me to never get sick and miss 4 days of work the week before taking a few vacation days.
3. Should I be concerned that I still have little to no appetite? Can I live on tacos, coffee, and yogurt (1 serving of each per day) indefinitely?
4. Statistical significance is freaking me out.
5. Is a western-wear shirt, a pencil skirt, and heels appropriate for a national conference presentation?
6. I'm really hoping to love the new Neko Case album. Mark also reminded me to pick up the new Morrissey, which he thinks is amazing.
7. My mom gave me a great new clutch. It's navy patent with gold hardware, and is oversized. Women stop me to compliment it and men generally think it's horrible.
8. I'm reading The Perfect Scent, by Chandler Burr and it inspired me to start wearing perfume again. Today I'm wearing Fendi, which reminds me of Melanie. (My other favorites are Chanel's Egoiste for men, Jil Sander No.4, and YSL's Paris.)
9. If I don't get outside for some exercise, I will go crazy. But will I die if I try to go snowshoeing while still wheezy from bronchitus?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

what's the frequency, Kenneth?

Update! Denver's Fox station now comes in badly. Denver's ABC station comes in pretty well. I got the latter to a barely-snowy setting, but then when I tried moving away from the antenna, the reception got worse. When I sat between the dipoles, it got better. When I leaned in toward the tv and raised my arm up, it got even better. My mom said I was required to stay there so she can watch the news. Her laughing comment, "You're going to get cancer! Stay there and block the radiation!" Nice mother I have, huh? (By the way, neither of us really thinks cancer is funny. At all.)

Needless to say, I'm not still sitting three inches from the teevee, but I am watching the insipid network news and it's surprisingly satisfying. Once we go digital, I should be in pretty great shape. Yes, I realize I'm posting a lot about my tv antenna, but it's on my mind these days. I think it was spring training starting that really spurred me on to get hooked back up on television. If I can watch some baseball this season, that would be nice. I'm also determined not to pay the cable company any money, ever. You might remember my fight with them a couple of years ago, when they wanted to charge me for cable that wasn't even working properly (I got sound or a picture, but never both on the same station). Well, they will be on my list forever.

In more entertainment news, I went to the MFA Creative Writing reading tonight. It was a nice way to end the weekend. I especially liked Julie's fiction piece, but I enjoyed all of it. The coming week has lots going on, and I need to balance out all of it with getting actual work done. Being sick for almost a week, then taking a few vacation days for Mom's visit means I have a lot to do in the next couple of weeks. But there are some good shows in Denver, and it looks like I have company for both Andrew Bird's show on Thursday and the Railbenders on Friday. Fun times.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

adventures in television

I finally picked up a digital converter and an antenna. So far, I can't get any analog stations, probably because I live too far from the transmitters. I'm picking up two digital channels, clear as a bell. So I have Wyoming PBS and Denver PBS. Not terrible, but I still don't have any local news. I can almost get the sound of the Cheyenne Fox station, but no picture. Bah. Guess I'll have to wait until June and see which digital stations will reach me. This is annoying.

Monday, February 16, 2009

new music Monday

Tonight I bought three new CDs. When I was still in the 206, I used to go to Sonic Boom and buy a stack of new stuff at least once a month. They always have the smokin' deals on new releases and they have everything I would want. Since I've moved here, I never buy music in stores. Actually, I get a lot of music from the library and by occasionally ordering from S.B. online.

But tonight, I was in Hastings and wandered to the music section. A sign proclaiming "Hot and New" caught my eye. I guess I thought the selection would be pretty middle of the road, but I was surprised to see some stuff I've been meaning to check out and all of it was on sale for $8.99 or $10.99. Nice. My haul: Ben Kweller, Changing Horses; Andrew Bird, Noble Beast; and Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion. I will report back when I've had a chance to give them more attention.

One thing I will note is that all of these albums are in those now-ubiquitous all-paper cases. I like the idea behind these and I rightfully hate fragile plastic jewel cases, but the paper ones are so freaking annoying. Either the CD falls out constantly or is ridiculously hard to remove at all. Why, in this age of packaging and marketing, can we not have a useful holder for compact disks?

Andrew Bird is playing the Bluebird in Denver at the end of the month, and if I fall in love with this record, I'm going to want to go. I'm already planning to go to the Railbenders show the next day, so it could get tiring and crazy for me. A tiny bit of sadness: Junior Boys are coming this weekend and I can't go. My mom's coming to town and it would totally not be nice to bail on her to go to Denver for a show. But hey, my mom's coming for a visit, which should be really nice.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I'm neither a huge fan of nor a huge hater of Valentine's Day. I think it's a little weird to have one sanctioned day for really commercialized and cliched gestures of love, and I do really despise all the sexist advertising that accompanies the date. Men, the only way you can show a woman you love her is to buy her diamonds, red roses (better plan ahead), or tacky stuffed animals? Women, if you don't get one of these approved gifts, you better act like a child and pout because that's what women do. Gross. But there's something sweet and lovely about couples doing something little and nice for each other on Valentine's Day, like making a nice card, going to dinner, and spending time together. Who could hate that, really?

Once, I went on a first date on Valentine's Day. Weird, yes. Planned, no. The guy in question and I had been sort of working up to it for a while. It was obvious we liked each other, but he seemed shy and I was preoccupied waiting to hear back on grad school applications, so nothing had happened. Finally, he asked me to go see The Royal Tenenbaums with him the next night and I agreed, so the date was set. The next morning, I got an email from him--I probably still have it, hang on. Yes, my email is like a junk drawer.
Friday, February 14, 2001 2:45 a.m.
Subject: VD
From: Anonymous ex-boyfriend (spoiler alert!)
To: Kaijsa

I'm going to bed, but Jon Auer is on the radio singing "Baby Bitch." Happy V.D.?!

It literally took me an hour to realize what he was talking about. When it finally dawned on me, I proceeded to feel weird about the date all day long. And what was up with the question mark and exclamation points?

Before the movie, we went to Starbucks for some coffee. It was all going fine, we were having a conversation about something, and then at the same time, we both looked around and noticed that literally every table had a snuggling couple in it. My date kind of smiled, shrugged, and grabbed my hand. It was funny. And then we held hands for the next five hours. So it was a good date. We were together for about six months, and then I started my master's program. I still wouldn't necessarily advise a first date on VD, but in my case it was pretty fun.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I haven't been sick for a long time, like late 2007. There were times I felt like something was coming on, but upping my fluids and vitamin C and taking naps always worked to head it off. So I was feeling pretty invincible, especially after seeing my coworkers get sick over and over this fall and winter and never having more than a sneeze or two myself.

Well, I guess I'm mortal after all. I got a huge smackdown this week, in the form of the real-deal flu: headache, body aches, chills, fever, head and chest congestion, wracking cough, dizziness. The first day also featured major nausea and vomiting. That seems to have gone away, but I still don't feel like eating much. I had some ice cream last night, but lost interest when it was clear I couldn't really taste it. I'm trying to drink some orange juice right now, but my throat is so raw it hurts going down.

Not that there's a good time to get sick, but this week was particularly bad. I have classes scheduled every day and we're in the middle of both website usability study and interviews for a faculty position. A colleague covered two of my classes, but I decided to come in this morning for today's session. I figured I'd come in, teach the class, and go home--no problem. Uh, wrong. I managed a shower okay, but it took me 45 minutes to get dressed, then by the time I got to campus I was almost too dizzy to walk. I got through the class--barely--but was a sweaty mess by the end.

Now I'm back home on the couch, wondering if I'll ever feel better. It's only been two days, but I feel the same as I did on Tuesday, minus the vomiting, so I wonder how long this crap takes to heal. I'm scheduled to work this weekend, but I think I'm going to have to get coverage. Spending hours on the reference desk in this condition is not a good plan.

Monday, February 09, 2009

shiny shiny

I love television, and I'm not afraid to say so. Even though I haven't subscribed to cable tv for a couple of years, I keep up with several shows by watching online. At first, I went to various network websites and streamed shows there. Then almost two years ago already (!), Hulu (owned by NBC) came along and made life so much easier because they have content from more than just NBC shows. I really like the interface and the way the subscriptions work and automatically queue up your shows for you, but not everything I'd watch is available on the site.

Sometime last fall, I discovered Fancast (owned by Comcast), which includes some shows from networks that don't partner with Hulu. The subscriptions aren't as slick, and I don't like the interface quite as much, especially the way not all the content is fully embedded in the site. To watch WB and ABC shows, you get kicked out into the network site, and a new window spawns. I don't much care for this arrangement, frankly. Hulu links out to other sites, too, but they make it more clear that the content isn't actually on their site. However, it's easier to watch HIMYM there than on CBS's horrid site, so I continue to patronize Fancast.

Just the other day, I learned about the latest entry in the streaming tv portal race. It's Sling, which is still in beta. So far, I like it. For one, it's a little more social than Fancast, which isn't at all, or Hulu, which allows comments on show and individual episode pages. Sling also has a blog, which is written byTara Ariano, whose own blog I linked to a couple of sentences ago. Ariano was a founder of TWOP, and other sites I've enjoyed through the years, and she both writes well and knows television well. The quality of the video is really good, and you can subscribe to shows and have them added to your profile automagically, which I love.

All of this brings me to another weakness I have: technolust. Another interesting thing about Sling is the Slingbox ($179.99 and up) they have available. It's basically the same idea as the Netflix Roku ($99 and up)--it allows you to stream television shows/movies on your tv. Now I'm torn. Eventually, I'm sure there will be some miraculous and cheap invention that combines a Tivo/DVR and a box that will stream anything from any site. You can stream Netflix (not sure about other web content) on a Tivo HD, but they're $399 and I already own and no longer use two Tivos that are in perfect working order. Apple is hawking its Apple TV ($229 and up) which could do all of this, sans DVR option. I know people who use a Mac mini ($599 and up) or a Windows box for this very thing. These options add in the amazing Roku SoundBridge features, letting you stream internet radio and your iTunes, too. Bliss.

I'm definitely too cheap to invest much in anything like this right now. I'm also not shelling out for an HD tv or cable, but I am thinking of getting an HD converter and a digital antenna to see if I can get some over-the-air channels. If that works, I'll reconnect the Tivo and see if there's a way to hook up my Windows box, too. There aren't many connectors on the tv, so this may not work. Of course, I'm still focused on getting my Ubuntu laptop to work with wireless (ethernet is a go, though), so my skillz might not be quite as sharp as they need to be. It makes me think, though, about how to use what I have and sort of jury-rig together a solution that works without buying a ton of new electronics.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

happy hour

I had planned to work late again tonight, but when 5:00pm rolled around, I was burned out and was glad to go downtown to meet some people for happy hour. I still have to do a bunch of stuff this weekend, but there's plenty of time to do it.

What I'm really looking forward to this weekend is sleeping until I wake up with no alarm tomorrow. I've already stayed up too late again tonight, but that's okay.

Have you seen any good movies? I watched The Duchess last night, and was pleasantly surprised by it. Sometimes I'm really in the mood for a soapy costume drama. A friend told me today that he just watched and enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl. Looks like I'm not alone in my tastes. Speaking of movies, I keep trying to force myself to go to a new one in the theater, but I just can't. Maybe it's that I'm not ready to sit still at 7:00pm, but the thought of a 9:30pm show makes me weep from exhaustion. I haven't made it to either of the spring film movies, either. What's wrong with me?

But I'm not just full of complaints. I've also enjoyed several things this week, namely the music I borrowed from the libraries: Hayes Carll, Neko Case, Bill Frisell, and Drive-by Truckers. I've spent so much time at my desk, banging out reports, handouts, lesson plans, and answering emails that I've had more chance to sit still and listen to music. All I want to hear right now is country.

Also, the most delightful bit of dialogue appeared on FNL week before last, courtesy of the always delightful Tim Riggins.
Lila: Where are your pants?
Riggins: They're over there, by the refrigerator. It was hot
The logic is unassailable. Damn, I love that show.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

transform into new variable

The other day, a friend asked why I haven't been blogging much lately. It's true, though I have started posts and abandoned them several times over the past couple of weeks. What's happened since Midwinter?

I replaced XP with Ubuntu on my virus-infested laptop. Then I found out my wireless drivers don't work, so I can't connect to the internet. FFS! I swear something broke in my head when that happened. I have set this total clusterfuck aside until I have the time and mental stability to deal with it. Until then, I use ye olde craptop with the burned out battery and slow-ass processing.

Peter moved away. I had been in denial until I saw him walking toward me to say goodbye and I just burst into tears. It's not all sadness, though. He'll always be my friend and I can't wait to hear about his new adventures.

My mom's coming to visit me in two weeks. I'm really looking forward to it.

I watched a hockey game, in person. And the Superbowl, on tv. And a basketball game, on tv. I saw some mediocre sketch comedy last night. And read a pretty YA novel.

I got a haircut, with bangs. Now I'm thinking I need to get more of it cut off.

I've been spending even more time in my office lately. There's a lot to do right now, and it's easier to concentrate after 5:00, when my phone doesn't ring and email tapers way off. Sometimes I come home and just stress out over stuff I could be working on if I'd stayed at work longer.

Rick and I presented our research to the library faculty yesterday. I think it went well and it was fun to talk about it. I'm always so impressed with him when he talks about this stuff. I'm lucky to have him as my research partner.

Thinking about the research often makes me tired or anxious. There's always so much more to think about, cross-tabulate data, group results differently to show relationships. And it's nerve-wracking to think that our article is going to be reviewed by people who know so much more than we do about social science research. But then when I talk about it and answer questions, I get so excited and think that this is actually what I'm meant to be doing.