Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The return of the Mac

I'm back online. My houseguests (my folks) have returned home.
It was a great visit as I always love spending time with my parents. Now, I need to concentrate on "academic" work, so I've returned to my Lolita project. I'll be blogging on that site, which you can find by looking at my profile.

Congrats to Ivan Basso on his huge win in the Giro ... a 9 minute margin is tremendous, and he is the favorite heading to the Tour de France. Thing is: CSC didn't really have to work all too hard as Basso never had a consistent challenger.

Poor Jan Ullrich had to abandon due to back problems. His name came up in the Diaz (sp?) scandal as well, but so did Basso's and about 198 other people's, so we'll see what happens with that. Liberty Seguros has pulled its sponsorship from the team. What does this mean for Vino and the boys? We'll see. He's riding the Dauphine Libere and the Tour. He's just a monster on the bike, but I wonder if he wishes he'd stayed with T-Mobile?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Where have you gone, Dr. C.?

If you are checking in and wondering why no posts in many days, the answer is: I have houseguests.

I promise to be back online soon.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Da Vinci [sic] Code Review (It's not as bad as you think)

Saw the Da Vinci Code yesterday afternoon and was anticipating the most terrible movie of the year, but I think that award will go to Kane's See No Evil.

I have read many of the stunningly bad reviews of Tom Hanks' latest effort to add to his collection of Oscar awards - didn't he win about seven in a row? Ok, this won't get him another nod, but it was an enjoyable film...if all you're looking to do is watch a reasonably pleasant mystery/adventure film and NOT think about the deeper implications of the SACRED FEMININE and Jesus' love child with Mary Magdalene. If you want philosophy, read something by Colin McGinn or Dr. Seuss. If you want to be mildly entertained, watch this film. You have to love anything Sir Ian is in, and he does make the movie that much more enjoyable.

It was remarked to me that Paul Bettany likes to show his rear in films. I've not noticed this, but if you are a PB rear-follower, you might want to see the movie for the obligatory PB rear scene.

No one has mentioned Alfred Molina's turn as Bishop Big Bucks, but he's also a lot of fun to watch. I would have liked to see Sir Ian and Molina in the same scene, as I bet they'd play well off of each other, but it wasn't meant to be.

Well, that's it for now. As I said, I think the movie is worth watching - at least to pass the time until X3 comes out.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Corwin to Morrow and back

Yesterday Mike and I did our first bike ride together with his new bike .

It was about a 30 mile round trip, and we cruised along at about 15-17mph with some faster breaks. The trail was somewhat crowded but not as busy as I imagined it would be. My big fear was losing the bikes off the back of the car on the bike rack; I just never trust those things. Has anyone had a bad bike rack experience?

Sadly, the Corwin Peddler is closed and for sale. What happened? It was a great place to stop after a ride, and the folks in there were always cyclist-friendly.

The newly tuned Specialized Allez Elite (triple) that I ride felt really good. I'm still not entirely comfortable with the saddle, but I don't know to what saddle I would change it. Mike and I are talking about a century at the end of the summer, so we'll have to start planning/training for that I suppose.

Overall, it was a good day of cycling.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"I could crush you...but I won'"

Ullrich won the Giro tt. He made a statement today that he'll be ready for the Tour de France; as I posted earlier, this is his "tuneup" race. Basso was 27 seconds behind, so he remains the GC leader. The hard cycling hasn't started yet, so we'll see what happens on the mountains, but certainly Basso must be favored.

I just love the helmets these guys wear:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kidd Coffee in Middletown, OH

So, I am here in Kidd Coffee in Middletown, OH. It's right off the I-75 exit for those looking to visit. Still, you have to take the most roundabout way to get here - or not, depending on whether you take the first left or the second (if you ever drive here, you'll know what I mean). There is free internet here, but if you're online too long, they send you over to the US Army recruiters next door. I'm serious!

I was actually starving for a toasted sesame seed bagel from Panera, but driving 15 miles to get there seemed like a waste of gas and time. So, I'm at Kidd Coffee - at least it's not Java Johnny's, where I spend too much money and time.

I'm amused as well because there are three gentlemen, suits, at the next table who are using IBM Thinkpads (just like your humble blogger). Two are weighing standard Alan-issue clothes (white shirt, tie, dark slacks) but one is a rebel, wearing a beige shirt and dark pants. I guess he didn't get the memo.

Well, I better get some reading done.

Monday, May 15, 2006

One line updates

Work on On The Road With Lolita continues...
It was odd NOT having a marathon this weekend to attend and still feeling just as exhausted as I did with the Flying Pig...
Did I mention I'm teaching Summer II, not Summer I, which is something that throws a bit of a wrench into my plans...
Am back to being at the gym alone (not a relationship program, but a time issue as I have more daytime freetime than Mike does; plus I like working out IN a gym rather than pounding pavement for 2 hrs)...
Since getting back my ultratuned up cycle, I have yet to get outdoors...
My lawn needs to be mowed.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Do you know where your White Castle burger containers come from?

I bet you don't. They're produced by the Smurfit-Stone plant in Middletown, OH, a plant that is part of a sale to Texas Pacific.

What is Texas Pacific?

Well, it calls itself a "venture capital firm," a phrase that always frightens me and reminds me of the big bad 80s.

Could yet ANOTHER company be leaving Middletown, OH?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Who uses a grand tour to get in shape??!?!?!? Olaf pole lacquer second

Jan Ullrich, of course!!!

Here's an English translation of his latest German diary posting:
Hello fan,

Olaf pole lacquer second - we are pleased about the successful entrance in the giro! So it can go further! Since we do not have a driver for the Gesamtklassement, we want to try to show us in the stages.

Class, as André Korff on the last kilometers worked. Despite some Rempeleien and by the dangerous gyroscopes lead it Olaf carefully into the point. Without it pole lacquer could not have ignited its turbo. It harms that McEwen still vorbeisprintete. But Bettini and Petacchi to strike, that are already which!

For me it concerns with the giro until further notice only to come welfare into the goal.

If then there good messages wait for me, it is doubly beautiful!

Of you


Yes, Olaf pole lacquer second!!!

Btw, next time someone asks me, "How do I get in better shape?" I'm going to say, Olaf pole lacquer second.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


My Chabah sandals arrived, and they are spectacular (thanks, Damien!).

I was heading out to my car when I noticed the PRIORITY MAIL package on my front porch. Although I was wearing a fine pair of sandals, I had to go back into my house and try on my Chabahs!

Here are my sandals:

Aren't they beautiful?

I highly recommend these sandals - the offical sandal of twentyonestages!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I love Maggy!

One of my favorite tour riders is also one of the biggest, Magnus Backstedt. The picture to the left is one I had sent to me via email. See, it's personalized. Really, it is. I received this last year and was absolutely giddy.

Magnus has an official site. He just posted on it the other day after a bit of an absence. He's rehabbing an injury, and I look forward to seeing him on the tour again. He's a great competitor and an energetic guy. He doesn't have the typical cyclist's body, which I appreciate. He's HUGE.

Go, Maggy, go! Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 08, 2006

Our happy home

There are pigeons, I believe, nesting on top of one of the carport pillars as you can see to the right. You can't really get a good look at the bird, which is a shame, because she's pretty. Her mate is never far from "home". As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning, I saw him resting in the neighbor's driveway with one eye fixed on the pillar and the other on me - birds can do that, you know.

Last year I had robins above my back porch light. This year pigeons roost. What's coming next year? Posted by Picasa

First Marathon: The Flying Pig 2006

To your right you see someone about to embark on his first marathon. Doesn't he look happy?

Btw, if you see that shirt he's wearing ever again, it will probably be on a homeless person, because all discarded clothing during the race was going to be given to area shelters. I'm not sure if that's cool or strange. I mean, why would some poor homeless person want a sweaty, used t-shirt from a skinny white guy who just ran a marathon?

Overall, the experience of the Flying Pig was enjoyable and - I hate to say it - moving as Mr. Marado suggested it would be. I did nearly cry when I saw the wheelchair competitor who was flying on 3rd and later when I saw the marathon winner and new course record holder - there was a great "shot" of the "escort" on the bike pointing the the runner as he came to the finish line as if to say THIS GUY IS IT. 2:19 Wow. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Does anyone know what happened to the Super Destroyers?

Back in the mid 80s, I remember watching a tag team called the Super Destroyers (or Superdestroyers) on WCW. They wore masks - didn't everyone? I remember thinking they were very cool, but then they seemingly disappeared. I've googled them and found teams named the Super Destroyers, but none really look like what I remember. I'm sure the name was given to a few different tag teams, so I'll probably never figure out precisely which team I had in mind.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The end of the spring semester

Well, I received my students' final portfolios and projects today, so it's officially the end of my Spring 2006 semester. Now I have grading to finish by the weekend. The end of the semester always makes me sad. Usually I feel as though it's time for the semester to end - I'm tired; the students are tired - but I also feel like there's more we could accomplish. I also always have students and classes that I will miss a great deal. I'm still learning how to teach, and I don't think I'll ever quite have it "figured out," but I do love being in the classroom. It amazes me that my mom talked for almost 4 decades. I suppose I could accomplish the same feat, but she taught elementary school, which I think poses far more significant daily challenges. My job is easy compared with hers.

Now that I've been in Ohio for a year, I can say that I made the best choice possible last year by leaving MOC. As much as I enjoyed the students and people there, I could not see a long-term career at that school for a variety of reasons. I *can* forsee being where I am for the rest of my career.

Oh, I don't want to babble too much about teaching, and as I type I smell cigarette smoke, which must be drifting into my house through one of my open windows as no one in this house smokes. Or perhaps it's a smoking ghost? There's a title for a Web site: The Smoking Ghost (a la the Smoking Gun).

Welcome readers

My review of the Smackdown show is up on rajah, so perhaps I'll get some traffic. I should have spent more time on the review, but it came out decently I thought. It's nice to see something non-academic written by me on the web.

Today I am collecting student papers between 3-5pm. That means tomorrow will be a grading marathon as this weekend is the Flying Pig - a marathon of a different sort.

Tonight is supposed to be the restart of Wobbly Wednesdays, but I don't see that happening. I do see a several mile run occurring once Mike gets to the house from work.

More later.

Smackdown tapings 5/2/06

Here's what I sent in to rajah.

Went to the Smackdown tapings last night. Good, but not great, show. Place was packed with a very small section "blacked off". VERY LOUD.

Began with tapings for Velocity (William Regal and someone vs. some team; Matt Hardy vs. Animal; Gregory Helms vs. ?). Highlight for me was Lashley vs. someone destined to lose. He needs to work on his in-ring skills if he ever wants to be a top tier wrestler imho. Regal didn't play to the crowd like he did when I saw him in NC last year. He's usually a good crowd-worker as a heel. Maybe he was having an off night. Paul Burchill's entrance was somewhat cool. I like the Johnny Depp look.

Now, for SMACKDOWN.... (btw, the sound was ridiculously loud all night....)

Show opens with Rey doing one of his promos only to be interrupted by JBL, who says the crowd will never chant Rey's name - crowd responds by chanting more "Eddie" - would think a chant of Rey would have been more appropriate (thanks, Cincinnati, for making JBL's pt). Rey says he's never backed down from a fight, so JBL tells him he has an opponent for him if Rey's a man of his word. Big shocker (not): it's Mark Henry. Wow, Rey does look small in the ring with Mark Henry. Wow, JBL is in bad shape. He looks worse every week.

The following matches aren't in order.

Booker T vs. Gunner Scott... Sharmell comes out and announces the next King of the Ring. Boring match. Booker is boring. Later, there's a dressing room encounter between Lashley and Booker setting up the King of the Ring final (if Lashley gets by Finlay, and he will).

MNM vs London/Kendrick...never even started as MNM attacked, got DQd, kept attacking, and left. My boyfriend was thoroughly confused.

Kid Cash vs.Supercrazy (no Juan Deere) vs. Nunzio with Vito for a title shot against Gregory Helms... interrupted by the Great Khali, whp cleaned house and left.

Finlay vs. Benoit... I was surprised at how much I liked this match. Real back and forth match with Chris selling Finlay's offense fairly well. Match ends when Finlay sneaks in a chair shot. Highlight was Finlay's temper tantrum during which he tossed chairs into the ring. I don't know why he didn't get DQd. Here's my big beef with WWE: it used to be that this sort of crap (throwing chairs) always got you DQd. Now you only get DQd about 20% of the time (ie MNM's pre match attack). Benoit got good pop post-match.

The Gymini with Simon Dean vs. Scotty 2 Hotty & Funaki.... silly match with The Gymini going for all these power moves that seemed needless on the long drink of water that is Funaki. One of the twins pinned Scotty, who seemed to have ants in his pants while on the apron. Simon Dean was wearing a green neon jumpsuit...very 1980s.

There was a backstage promo with Theodore Long, Daivari, and the Great Khali. Undertaker has challenged the GK to a match at Judgment Day. GK wasted no time in signing the contract. No Undertaker this week.

Mark Henry vs. Rey with JBL as guest announcer... pretty good match with Rey getting some offense on Mark Henry, knocking him to his knees, delivering the 619, etc. but it all ends with one big splat as MH picks up the win.

After the match, Mark Henry is about to crush Rey by jumping from about 10 feet above the floor; he's dragged Rey like a wounded animal up the ramp after tossing him through the ring. People are in hysterics near where I am sitting. JBL runs up and begs Mark not to do it, because "If you destroy him, there will be nothing left." JBL promises Mark a title shot after Judgment Day. MH doesn't splash Rey - probably would have killed him had he done it.

Dark match: triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Title: Rey vs. JBL vs. Mark Henry... starts out with JBL just trying to get the pin, but Mark Henry won't allow it. Decent dark match with Rey getting the win and Mark Henry and JBL left in the ring with JBL begging Mark Henry not to hurt him.

Final thoughts: WHERE IS THE BOOGEYMAN? I was hoping for an appearance. Someone had a "Got Worms?" sign. As I said above, I really hope Lashley develops more. He doesn't seem to have a strong ring presence yet. Batista improved dramatically, and I hope Lashley does as well. I could see a Lashley vs.Batista main event someday for the title. Was also hoping for a Batista appearance last night, but I don't think that will happen until Judgment Day (or after).

Biggest pop:

Biggest heat:
the guy in front of me who kept holding up the Raiders Jerry Rice jersey
Mark Henry

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today's Flashback: Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me"

Rockwell, Berry Gordy's son, with Michael Jackson on backing vocals...

"I always feel like somebody's watching me."

Countdown to Smackdown!

Those who know me may not know my dark secret (no, not that one): I love wrestling. Give me Ric Flair in a sequined robe any day, and I'm a happy gal.

So, tonight I have tickets (floor seats, about 7 rows from the ring) for the Smackdown LIVE tapings in Cincinnati, OH. I wish it were RAW, but I'm not willing to go to Columbus, OH for something as silly as this.

Anyway, I anticipate that tonight will be a fun evening. Last year I went to my first professional wrestling match. It was a house show in a rundown place in eastern NC. This year's event is a live event, which means pyro, commercial breaks, etc. I doubt that will make it a "better"experience.

The thing that amazed me about last year's show was how rundown and cheap everything seemed. From the building in which the show took place - looked like a WWII bomb shelter, and probably was used as such - to the interesting crowd lined up outside for more than an hour (even though everyone had assigned seats, etc.) to the group of people gathered around the tour buses hoping to get a glimpse of Batista, et al. (btw, Batista is still out of Smackdown rehabbing an injury; I WISH he were going to be there tonight - that would be awesome) I was also amazed last year by how many families with small children were there. I thought it would be a rougher crowd, but it was very tame looking. The highlight was seeing someone walking around with a championship belt over his shoulder (think John Cena wannabe). Who BUYS a fake plastic belt and parades it around an arena?

Oh well. I will file a full report when I get back. I should write a bit about my students' visit to my house last night, but I'll save that for another time.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The phrase for the day: "dapped up"

ESPN annotates this as "shook hands" as in, Marcus Vick says, "We just kind of dapped up and hugged each other" when explaining how his chat went with Dumervil, the guy whose leg Vick stepped on during a bowl game noless.

Now, you use it in a sentence:

"Staying in school cost me 24 million dollars" or why Matt Leinart better hope his USC degree is worth more than a pro career

Read the sad story here.

Noticing the birds

Well, it's springtime, which means the birds are seemingly more plentiful around the yard, in the trees, on the wires, etc. Last year I had a nest right above the backdoor of my house. This year, a pigeon is roosting on top of one of the pillars that hold on the carport roof.

Right now I am looking out my kitchen window at a robin sitting on powerwires, who is literally raising his tail feathers, lowering them, and swinging the wire by doing so. It's like watching a little kid on a swingset. Raising the tail feathers like that must be some sort of communication - a mating call? I really should know these sorts of things.

There's a famous story that a student once came to speak with Nabokov at Cornell after he became a well-known (to Americans) author. He asked Mr. Nabokov for advice on how to be a writer. Mr. Nabokov turned to his window, pointed to a tree, and asked the student, "Do you know what kind of tree that is?" The student responded, "No." And Mr. Nabokov replied, "Until you do, you'll never be a writer." Or so the story goes, I believe.