Sunday, January 30, 2005

Winter days

Polar Bears! BRRRRRRRR!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Nerd Alert, redux

I log my submissions to journals as well as to book contests via Microsoft Excel.

In my spreadsheet, I compute the costs of submitting to book contests. So far in book contests entry fees alone, I've spent close to $300.00. That's not including things like postage and paper.

But that's not what I'm here to talk to you about today . . . I love my spreadsheet.

That is all.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm digging my new schedule

I love having my Tuesdays and Thursdays off. For the past four years, I haven't had a day off during the academic work week. Basically I taught Monday through Friday. This semester's different. I'm on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule and the two days off makes a huge difference. I feel so much more rested and productive.

This morning I graded all the student homework, paid some bills, wrote some letters, sent some poems out to journals, sent my manuscript out to contests, and I wrote. Wow!

Only thing is, I haven't showered yet. *shudder* Better get that bit checked off my TO DO list.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A dog loose in the neighborhood

I walked Jake this morning, before school, and a stray dog followed us home. It was a funny-looking dog. She had the coloring of a German Shepherd, but she had a patch of white under her chest and really floppy ears. She'd jump from snow bank to snow bank while Jake whimpered. I wanted to bring her in because it was cold.

This morning wasn't the first time I had seen her. She's a bit of a ghost in our neighborhood, prowling around at night, tipping over garbage cans and tearing up the trash bags left out for collection on Wednesday. It was the aftermath of a garbage night so that's probably why she was around the neighborhood this morning.

I let her get a whiff of Jake and vice versa. She was really skittish. She'd come up, paw Jake on the neck, and then recoil as soon as Jake would make a move or as soon as I said something.

I was running late from all the commotion, so I had to drag my reluctant dog into the house. The stray just stood outside our door, watching us go up the stairs. Maybe she'll come around this afternoon.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Cool and nerdy Christmas gifts I'm still enjoying

Ok, I have to say that I'm STILL playing with my new Christmas toys. Among my favorites are the Season 4 and Season 5 DVD's of The Simpsons. I'm sitting in my office thinking about them . . .. You won't believe all the stuff they have crammed on those DVD's.

I'm also watching a lot of the Seinfeld Season 1 and 2 DVD's.

Finally, I got this game, World of Warcraft . . . uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *drool*

But I must also say that I'm resigned to remain faithful to my New Years resolutions. More writing, more reading, more teaching. Be good, Oliver. Be good.

School days, school days . . .

I taught two classes this morning. I must say it was very hard getting up. I've been going to bed late during the holiday vacation and now it's coming back to bite me.

My mother called me last night. When I was in Middle School, we hosted a Brazillian foreign exchange student. He's coming to visit them tomorrow. Now he's got two daughters and is a judge in Sao Paolo. It should be interesting. Of all the places to visit from Brazil . . . Ontario, Oregon?!

In other news:

It was roughly -5 degrees outside and my car was NOT happy. But it started.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Days Remaining: 3

Syllabi Created: 3

Mental Stamina: 55%

Revisions, revisions, revisions

Went through Furious Lullaby again. Probably the sixth time through the entire manuscript, though I've revised poems here and there. I filled in some holes by writing four new poems and revising the first third of the manuscript. I need to live with the new order for a little while . . . see how I feel about it.

This time around I'm looking at consistency and I was pretty hard on myself. Personal mission: cut or reduce the "to be" verbs as well as causality words and temporality words. I use causality and temporality words a lot.

I also need to shore up my syntax. It's muddled. It's always been muddled. It sounds like my father's thought patterns which are episodic.

Anyway, I've been having fun. I actually don't mind revision as much as I used to. Boy, when I was in grad school, I struggled with the process. Now it's a game. Sort of like the puzzles in those Highlights magazines I paged through in doctor and dentist offices.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Days of vacation remaining: 7

Syllabi created: 3

Mental Stamina: 60%

Fun with my name . . . another moment of procrastination

So I tried this and I saw that there were many many word combinations.

Can you imagine how many words Aimee Nezhukumatathil can make with her name?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Word of the day

best boy (best boi) noun

The first assistant to the gaffer (head electrician) of a film crew.

[Apparently borrowed from the sailing terminology.]

"Cast and director commentaries are one thing, but do we really need one from the post-production team, as we've seen on the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King? What's next? 'Reflections from the Key Grip and Best Boy?'" Mike Snider and Thomas K. Arnold; Press 'Repeat' or 'Skip'; USA Today (Washington DC); Dec 28, 2004.

This week's theme: words related to movie making.

This word brought to you by

I always wondered what this meant . . . but I was afraid to ask.


Days of vacation remaining: 8

Syllabi created: 0

Mental Stamina: 40%

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Poetry and freezing rain

It's dreadful outside. Had to crank up the snowblower after getting about four inches of snow, which is not so bad. The bad part is the thin layer of ice that's forming on top of the pavement. Weather dude says it'll be like this all day, so I'm going to bundle my feet and read poetry.

I've got some poetry goodies. Sarah Gambito's Matadora tops the list at the moment, with her lush lyricism and stupendous image-making. I'm also reading a bit of A. Van Jordan's M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A. Love love love his poem, "from," so dig that book out.

Anyway, it sounds like someone's throwing grains of rice on my windows. Very strange, the freezing rain. . .

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Notebook thingies

Eduardo Corral has asked for some notebook musings and so you have some. This is from the top page of my yellow-pad:

-like sable plumes on helmets
-cards perfumed with balsam
-sometimes her yellow hair
got into the corners of his mouth

-bound in tunic and dark carmel papers.

-in the moonlight it is jade-green snow

-there are two versions of her story

-licorice-flavored tobacco

-a bat caught in a wall of linen

-rings on the inside of the coffee mug from milk look like tree rings

-dizzying trapezoid rooms

-moisture on plums form a window

-agates in the window and dry pussywillow

-linger like red berries in winter

Running around . . .

Busily, really. Two students who are applying for grad schools have asked for recommendations . . . quite suddenly. I'll be working on those today.

Unpacked three boxes filled with Christmas candy that my parents couldn't eat. Meredith and I have a ridiculous amount of food in our house. There's no way we can eat it all.

Oh, and an old lady at the airport turned to me and said, "Hello Yule Brenner."

Please give a warm welcome

To C. Dale Young, newest member of the barrio!