November 2003 Archives


I'd like to add that I am rather unimpressed with Berkley Breathed's new Opus strip, and am kind of annoyed that it has taken Frazz's place on the front page of the Sunday comics. Sure, Frazz is still in the comics, but on the inside pages. The front page is now Foxtrot, Opus, and Prince Valiant. Sure, Foxtrot is funny, but Prince Valiant?? What the heck is *that* doing on the front page?

Update: Oh lord, I just read that there is a PV movie in the works. Why?


Kee-rist, is it windy out. Today was sunny and pleasant. I'd almost call it warm. Now, though, it sounds as though a swarm of banshees were flying around outside. Not quite sure how I'm going to sleep through it.

Blog Lit

I recently finished reading Why Girls Are Wierd by Pamela Ribon. At the risk of sounding cliché, I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more.

I picked it up while I was on my graphic novel binge, as it was on the shelf labeled "Graphic Novels and Pop Culture". (I love that shelf.) I was drawn to the cover, and the blurb on the back amused me even more. Since checking it out from the library, I saw it mentioned in an article on "Chick Lit". Having read it, I'd say that it is more "Net Lit" than Chick. Sure, the heroine is a sassy, single 25 y/o woman, but it deals with the nature of blogs, the internet, and idenity than it deals with "chick" issues.

I give it two thumbs up and suggest reading it yourself.

Ps and Qs

I've just spent a good chunk of time reading my way through Gothic Miss Manners. It is positively delightful, and reminds me of my college years, when I hung about on the fringes of the goth scene. (Especially when she mentins how much space goths can take up when dancing.) I've actually heard the "Nice boots, wanna fuck?" line used. More than once.

My favorite bit has to be this:

Oh yes, what is that you’re saying? But that isn’t being honest about your feelings or opinions? Twaddle. Social conventions are NOT for “being honest about your feelings”. Social conventions are about ensuring civilized behavior and people not trying to strangle each other during coffee. Once the person(s) you don’t like have left the area, if you have to, hold whispered conversations with close friends about how much you don’t like that so-and-so, how their views are suspect, how they have stupid shoes. Fine. Just don’t give vent to those feelings PUBLICLY, or start spreading gossip about the person you don’t like.

Most excellent, and so true. I may not always be the world's most polite and socially ept individual, but something about that statement amkes me want to try harder.

Also, I love her dress.

That is all.

Golden Gate

In my quest to catch up, I've finally gotten to the October 13th issue of The New Yorker, Which means I've finally gotten to read the "Jumpers" essay. Wow. Once every two weeks, on average? That's a lot of jumpers.

This line struck me the most:

“That bridge is more than a bridge: it’s alive, it speaks to people. Some people come here, find themselves, and leave; some come here, find themselves, and jump.”

That's just spooky.

Let it snow...

Actually, I'm not quite mentally prepared for snow, but this collection of snow and ice crystal photomicrographs by Wilson Bentley is certainly helping.

Truly exquistite!

Do not taunt happy funball.

Here are some fun little flash toys that my dear friend W (no, not that W) sent my way. Enjoy!

Old News

Ponderosa food = gross

School of Rock = funnny

Right Honorable

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The British Parliment can be damn funny. I wish our reps could be that amusing.

(Thanks to Meg.)

Maharaja East

Went the the east side location of the Maharaja Indian restaurant this afternoon. Oh god, the lunch buffet was so amazing. It lived up to everything I've heard about it. We ate ourself silly on plate after plate of savory rices, curries, and tandoori. They also had the very best bread pudding I have ever had. I never used to like bread pudding, but I would return to the restaurant for the bread pudding alone.

The service was also excellent. At no point were our water glasses allowed to be empty. As soon as the water reached the halfway level, a sever was at our side filling them up with ice water. Empty plates were also wisked away with similar alacrity.

For a mere $6.95, I ate my entire day's worth of food (and then some). I came away more than satisfied, and ready to return...after I've had a few workouts to balance the indulgence of today.


Follow the bouncing ball.

Ok, there was no bouncing ball. In fact, the Sing-along Sound of Music was more Rocky Horror than Sing-along With Mitch. A PG13, less organized Rocky Horror. With accordians.

Charmaine Carr, who played Leisl in the movie, was present to co-host the event. (I'm pretty sure that the other host was Big Gay Al, from South Park.) As we entered the theater, everyone was handed a small plastic bag filled with props: a couple of picture cards, a square of "curtain" cloth, a sprig of artificial edelweiss, and a party popper. They told us to hold up our props at certain times, given a bit of hand gesture choreography for "Do-Re-Mi", and asked to do things like boo whenever the Nazi's appeared onscreen, and to bark "Rolf, Rolf" when he appeared. The crowd was quite mixed, with many small children, so we were asked to go no further than innuendo in any other comments.

From the beginning of the film, the audience was quite noisy. Unlike Rocky Horror, during which the audience participates with standard responses, many people shouted out whatever came to mind, whenever it came to mind. The 4 year-old girl sitting next to me kept shouting out the most random things. It was extremely difficult to hear dialogue over the collective "cleverness". We also discovered that the audience's idea of the tempo differed slightly than the actual tempo of the recorded music. We could have used the bouncing ball over the subtitles.

As the evening wore on, the crowd settled down a bit. There were still moments of hubbub, but as the novelty wore off, so did the urge to shout. Even when I couldn't hear the soundtrack, it was pretty amazing to see the film up there on the big screen. And, when all is said and done, singing along with a huge crowd of people is always a bit of a rush.

They kicked off the evening with a costume contest. I think, if I ever go to this event again, I may have to go in costume as well. The favorite costume of the evening was the big, bearded Mother Superior. But the "aaaaaaaaaaah" went to the tiny little girl dressed as Maria when she first arrived at the VonTrap villa.

Best audience participation moments:

Cries of "Free Bird!" and "Play Stairway!" everytime the guitar came out.

The waved lighter at the climax of "Climb Every Mountain".

During the escape, when the Captain relates a plan to walk up into the mountains and cross the border out of the country, someone yelled, "Those mountains border Germany!"




Seen in a college women's room: a young woman with a Muslim headscarf and modest long sleeved shirt, also wearing a pair of sweatpants with "Cheerleader" emblazoned across the butt. The overall effect was very odd.

Seen playing in the college chamber orchestra that accompanies the Choral Union: a student that I sub-taught for a week in February 2002. Granted, he was a senior then, so seeing him a college now is no big suprise. Still, I subbed for his high school orchestra for a week. I wonder if he recognizes me at all.


Awful day. Rotten in so many ways. I was teaching a class of 3rd and 4th graders, many of whom had major attitude problems. The teacher had left complicated yet vague lesson plans. The schedule was all in flux because of a special schoolwide project that kept calling students out of the class. And just when I thought I was reaching the finish line, I had to break up a fight. I actually had to kept a little 3rd grade girl in a COPS style, arms-behind-the-back lock/hold, to keep her from continuing to hit anyone or hurting herself. Yeah, that was fun.

I think I will decline to teaching that class again.

Very Graphic


On Friday I stopped by the Hawthorn branch of the Madison Public Library, and was unable to resist the pull of their amazing graphic novel collection. By the time I checked out, I had acquired a stack of 17 of them, including several volumes of Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise. I've spent much of this weekend sitting in the sunshine in my living room, reading.

I'm currently reading After the Snooter by Eddie Campbell and enjoying it thoroughly. It is a comic artist's comic form. Intimate little vingnettes on family life, the world of comics and self-publishing, growing up, and more. Other well known figures such as Will Eisner, Alan Moore, and Neil Gaiman make cameo appearances.

If you are a reader of comics, you may very well enjoy reading this one if you ever come across it.

What gives?

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I never used to get spam in my regular mailbox. I have a number of webmail accounts (hotmail, yahoo, etc) that I use when I need an email address to sign up for something. Even my kayjay address is webmail. My personal e-mail only ever gets sent to people I know personally, or for business (like my credit union).

Yet recently the spam has finally found me. First it was a couple of "business opportunity" spam messages. In the past few days, however, I have gotten a deluge of horse pr0n spam. What. The. Hell. Did I somehow get put on a "Catherine the Great" mailing list?

I really don't want to change my e-mail address. I love my address, plus it would be inconvenient as hell. I think I'll wait and see how much the spam increases

Spammers are among the lowest of the low.

What's in a Name?


K1 sounds like a mountain peak. In a way, K/1 is as challenging as mountain climbing.

I have been teaching the same class of kindergartners and first graders since last Tuesday. In that time there were three days with no classes for grade schools, but that is still quite a few days of teaching...all without complete lesson plans. When I started, there had been a sub with ful lesson plans the day before. She left me a slightly adapted, though incomplete lesson plan for my day, since she couldn't return. The teacher is out of state, caring for her mother during chemotherapy, and thus has not been able to return to give me any better plans. So, for several days I have actually had to put together my own lesson plans. As someone with no teach training other than my on the job experience, that has been nerve wracking.

At the same time, it has been great. Not only do I know where I am going every morning, but I know the kids. I know their names and personalities. I know their strengths and weak spots. I know their routines. I am also getting to know the faculty and staff, which I usually don't do. In a way, this is one of the best assignments I've ever had.

Tomorrow will be my last day. On Monday a new long term sub will take over, one with actual experience and certification to teach these kids. They are not sure how long the regular teacher will be gone, but I can't teach for an assignment of more than 20 days. In addition, I don't really know what I am doing. I am feeling my way as best as I can, but for the long term the children deserve more coherent instruction. The Principal and several of the staff have complimented me on the job I am doing, but we all know that I am just here as a stop gap measure. Tomorrow the new sub will be working with me, so that I can show her what we have been doing, and to help the kids with the transistion.

In a way it will be a relief. In a way I will miss it. I hope I can return to that school sometime soon.

Hit and Run

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Last Wednesday night, while I was driving through the rain to the Pat McCurdy show, I passed the scene of an accident.

I was a few blocks from my apartment and turned onto a Sherman, where I noticed several cars and a bus pulled over to the other side of the street. They looked parked, except that the headlights were on. I wondered if an emergency vehicle had just passed, since it looked so odd. I drove past rather slowly, since I could see people standing around and I had no idea what was going on. The last thing I wanted to do was hit someone in the dark and the rain.

Lying in the street between the last of the cars and the bus was a blonde woman. Standing around her were several people. It didn't look good. By the time I had gone a few more blocks I could begin to hear the sirens. The whole thing bothered me, and I made sure to drive slowly and carefully the rest of the way.

It wan't until Sunday that I heard what had happened. A pedestrian named Susan Quigley was struck by a fast moving vehicle. The driver did not stop. Susan died in the hospital the next day. She was a Lutheran minister, a wife, and a mother. She was 47 ears old.

The driver of the car had made a right turn off of a side street "at a high rate of speed" and struck her almost immediately upon entering Sherman, but did not bother to stop. It was up to other drivers to pull over in an attempt to give aid. The car is believed to be a late model Toyota, possibly a Camry or Avalon four-door in maroon or red. The car is also missing a driver's side mirror, which was left at the scene, and may have other body damage as well.

While I can imagine that hitting a pedestrian with your car could cause shock and confusion, I have a very hard time getting my head around the notion of not stopping. The driver is an asshole of the highest degree. I guess they may have been drunk. I really hope they are caught.

The side street the driver turned out from was one block from the side street I always turn out from. If I had left my house a few minutes earlier, I might have been a witness to the accident itself, and I thank God that I wasn't. The aftermath itself is burned into my brain. If I had actually seen her be hit, I doubt I could sleep.

As it is, I am keeping my eyes open for a car that matches the description. Strangely enough, there was another, non-fatal, hit-and-run in the neighborhood the week before. I also remember one day in late summer, seeing a sports car jetting down a quiet 25 mph street a block from my home at what had to be at least 50mph, if not more. It was fast enough to shock me, and too fast for my to get a license plate number. As a frequent pedestrian, I take this personally. This is also a neighborhood full of children. What is wrong with people that they tear through residential neighborhoods as if they were on the beltline? And what is wrong with people that they refuse to take responsibility for the injuries their stupid actions have caused people?

This is going to stick with me for quite a while.


Matrix: Revolutions = Surprisingly good.

Teaching the same K/1 class for a week = Exhausting yet rewarding.

Repeated trips to the garage for the very same clutch problem = Extremely annoying.

Witnessing the immediate aftermath of a fatal hit-and-run = Rather distrurbing.

Grey as wool

I am having difficultly remembering when we last had a truly sunny day around here. Combining the greyness with the brevity of the days, and my plants are starting to look droopy. When it comes down to it, I'm feeling a little droopy, too.

All Hallows Eve

Halloween in Madison is quite a trip. It can be fun and exciting, and also a little bit scary. The energy is high, but wildly unpredictable.

Even getting to the downtown area was a challenge, as the road was backed up bumper to bumper for blocks. I did manage to duck out of the bottleneck early and park on the east side of the capital, where I could avoid most of the pedestrian crush.

I was dressed as Snow White (not the Disney one) complete with black wig and apple. I was quite happy to have a costume that didn't leave miles of exposed flesh. The night was mild compared to some years, but is was still in the low 40s, and there was a wind blowing. Not that there weren't plenty of scantily clad men and women to make up for that. Bare skin made bearable by alcohol.

I made my way to the Orpheum where I met up with my brother, the birthday boy, dressed as the Joker. We were soon joined by my sister, dressed as Marilyn Monroe. My dad even made a brief cameo appearance, wearing a rubber monster mask along with his everyday clothes. While at that party I saw Death, (from Sandman), Hedwig (of Angry Inch fame), a bunch of Amish, the Ambiguously Gay Dou, Jesus (from Big Lebowski), and Moses, who was packing heat like any good NRA member.

After about two hours, we decided to hit the street. Stepping out of the theater, we ran into some more of my friends, dressed as Lara Croft, Captain Mullet, and the Scarecrow (from Batman). They joined us for the walk.

As we walked, The Joker "battled" with a number of superheroes and Captain Mullet, Lord of the Trailer Park, posed for pictures. It was wall to wall people in both the sidewalk and the street. At one point I became completely seperated from the group. My sibling and Hedwig were somewhere up ahead, and the rest where somewhere behind me. The flow of the crowd pushed me along a diagonal and then out into a clearing. I paused for a bit to get my bearings, which allowed the group behind me to find me again, but made us lose the group ahead of us to be lost to us entirely. We didn't see them again for the rest of the night. We decided to continue down the street in a human chain, to prevent us from getting seperated again.

The costumes were amazing, and the level of inhibition was hovering at the low end of the scale. The combination of alcohol and fantasy is a potent one. I would list the costumes I saw, but at this point, many of them are a blur.

As we reached lower State St. the crowd became packed even tighter. The closer to campus, the more the students. Passing the area by State Street Brats, we decided that if there were going to be a riot this year, that was were it would start. People in the rooms of the hotel overlooking the street were calling down to the crowd and climbing on the windows. Last year's riot also started with people in windows flashing the crowd, and bottle being thrown. There was a no glass bottles rule this year, but judging by the amount of broken glass I had to step over in the street, I'm guessing that not everyone abided by that.

We made it to the end of State Street and onto campus without incident, and stopped in the Union to warm ourselves. A group of "sperm" were also standing in the lobby, along with a group of superheroes.

Eventually, we made our way to the car that my friends had come in, and they gave me a ride back to my car. Personally, I was very glad to be on the far side of the capital, because there were so many pedestrians to avoid as we drove from one parking structure to another.

As far as I know, there were no major disturbances or arrests last night, which is good. There will surely be more celebrating tonight, since this is a weekend in a college town. Here's hoping that it will be two good nights. Personally, I'm getting ready for next year.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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