March 31, 2009

My Luck Has Turned

Today I had lunch at the on-campus Burger King. (I'm sorry, nutritionists in the family. It was cheap and fast.)

My change included a genuine 1943 steel penny.

That made my day. Which is a good thing, as it's a rough week academically and personally.

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March 30, 2009


Yesterday I was talking with a friend, and laughing how one should never take the snowbrush out of the car, as that would guarantee snow the next day.

And today, it was snowing on the way to class. My friend accused me of having removed my snowbrush, which was a baseless calumny. Someone else must have done the cursed deed.

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March 26, 2009

Good News Never Calls Before Noon

My telephone woke me up this morning. It was my father, calling to tell me that his mother had died at about 1:30 AM.

R.I.P., Anabel.

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March 25, 2009

I Decided "Woody Guthrie" Was Too Narrow, So My Paper Experienced Mission Creep

My "Works Citied" for the paper I turned in this morning:

  • Ahamed, Liaquat. Lords of Finance. New York: Penguin, 2009.
  • The Bangville Police. Dir. Henry Lehrman. Keystone Film Company, 1913.
  • Barry, Dan. “A Few Moments of Hope In a Mountain of Rubble.” New York Times 13 September 2001: A1.
  • Bush, George H. W.  “Letter of Resignation from the National Rifle Association.” 3 May 1995.
  • Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato: New World Library, 2008.
  • Guthrie, Woody. Dust Bowl Ballads. 1940. BMG Distribution, 2000.
  • Marty, Martin E. Modern American Religion, Vol. 2: The Noise of Conflict, 1919-1941. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • McElvaine, Robert S. The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941. New York: Times Books, 1984.
  • Shakespeare, William. King Lear. c.1605. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
  • Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 2006.
  • Terkel, Studs. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression. New York: Random House. 1970.
  • "vigilante." Def. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Merriam-Webster Online. 22 March 2009.
  • Watkins, T. H. The Hungry Years. New York: Henry Holt & Co, 1999.

Maybe I'm overly proud of myself, but I feel proud to have such an eclectic bunch of citations.

I really wanted to work in:

  • D_, Esther Louise Schaller. Unpublished Memoirs. 23-28 January 2009.

But she is too young for her memoirs to cover the time period that I was discussing.

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Stupid Stapler

I got up a little early today, and had some time to kill before the bus would arrive to take me to class. While rearranging a closet, I remembered that I'd been given some fancy high-gloss laser printer paper, intended for printing photos. "Hmmm," thought I. "I wonder what the paper I'm turning in today would look like on really nice paper?"

So I loaded my printer with ten sheets of the stuff (eight page paper + title page + works cited) and printed out the whole shebang. It looked good. It was a bit too glossy, but the paper was very white and it made the ink look very black, giving a nice contrast.

Then I tried to staple it. My stapler just couldn't handle ten sheets of extra-heavy, high-gloss paper. The staples were skidding off the top sheet or a middle sheet, they just wouldn't go through the whole stack. I tried to force one through manually with some pliers, and ended up stabbing myself in the finger with the sharp staple tip, and bled all over my nice paper. Cursing, I tossed it in the recycle bin, went to class, and turned in the copy that I had printed last night on boring old regular paper.

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March 23, 2009

Small World

I was walking through the student union today and saw a girl wearing a Horseheads High School sweatshirt, which was kind of cool. Small world and all that. Then I realized that it was an HHS Class of '05 shirt, and I felt really old.

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March 21, 2009

Stop Honking, I'm Going as Fast as I Can

This morning I decided that it had warmed up enough for a run in the great outdoors. (I've been doing my running inside UB's capacious gymnasium.)

It turns out I was wrong about it being warm enough; while my core was toasty and my extremities were managing, my lungs became deeply unhappy. I was still hacking up phlegm three hours later.

I didn't write this post just to talk about phlegm, as fascinating as that subject is. No, I wrote this to mention people honking.

I went running from my apartment away from the University, into a residential district. I stayed on the main drag, because it had good sidewalks, plus this time I didn't want to get lost on the identical-looking narrow residential streets in the area.

So I'm running along, it's only been three minutes and already my chest hurts from the cold; cars are whizzing by, and someone honks and waves. I look up and wave back; I can't see who was in the car, but it's probably a friend of mine, driving to a Saturday breakfast somewhere.

A few more cars pass, and someone honks again. I didn't know that there were so many people I knew in this neighborhood, but I wave again. Then a third person honks and waves. This is getting strange, because even if my friends did live in this area, not many of them would be out driving on Saturday morning. Then I came up with a theory- it's all about my clothing.

This time of year in Buffalo, you need warm clothing to excercise outdoors. Many people go running in slick form-fitting breathable lycra. It looks comfy, but I don't own any. I work out in my USMC-issue green sweatsuit. Which is, as I just said, distinctly green, and also has visible "USMC" logos. I'm used to running the streets of military towns, where such a thing is unremarkable. But Buffalo is a long way from the ocean and the Marines. I wonder whether people were honking in a "Support the troops!" sort of reflex.

Thinking that made me feel guilty, too, since (a) I'm no longer actively serving, and (b) while conducting PT wearing issue sweats is authorized, you are supposed to be within the grooming regs to do so; and my current facial hair is pretty much as un-regulation as possible.

But I'm not about to go off and buy a hundred bucks worth of fancy lycra running tights, nor do I wish to shave off my beard, so I guess I'll keep running in the USMC sweats, and I'll hope that the Commandant doesn't go driving past and snatch me up for being out of regs.

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March 20, 2009

Spring Is Shearing Season

I'd been letting my hair grow, but it was beginning to annoy me. So I decided to shift my hair growth plans downward slightly. So now I'm sporting 10mm hair and 10mm beard and moustache.

I was told today that it makes me look older. When I didn't seem pleased, the complimenter hurridly clarified that it made me look more like my age. I'm still not certain I liked that, but I'll live with it.

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March 15, 2009

Riding Around In My Automobile

The drive back from Owego to Buffalo today was just glorious. Blue skies, warm weather, easy traffic- couldn't be beat. The middle section was all highways, but on the city streets at both ends, I rolled down the windows and let my elbow hang in the breeze.

Back at my apartment, I just turned off the furnace and opened the windows. Ah, that lovely breeze...

But this is Buffalo. I know for a fact that Old Man Winter has a few more good punches to throw at us. But I'll enjoy Spring while it's here.

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March 07, 2009

Carbon Dioxide Is a Harsh Mistress

This morning, I was craving blueberry pancakes. So I whipped up some pancake batter and tossed in some fresh blueberries. The mixing bowl I was using was just barely big enough, but it's not like one has to get very vigorous stirring pancakes anyway. The skillet was getting warm, all was ready. Just then, my phone rang.

No sweat, I turned the stove down to it's lowest setting, went into my bedroom, and spent ten minutes coordinating a meeting schedule for the group of people that will be working together on our final project for one of my classes. Calendar suitably marked, I went back to the kitchen.

Where through the magic of chemical leavening, the batter had spilled over the top of the bowl and spread itself liberally around the counter. Some had slopped onto the floor. Whoops!

I should save this memory for a screenplay someday.

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