Thursday, March 29, 2007


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
And the third.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Another version.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Help! Southern Illinois University Press sent me three versions of covers and I'm having a hell of a time deciding on which one. Suggestions would be appreciated!

Monday, March 26, 2007

You can already see the difference

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
We're going to let the tile cure over night and then apply the grout. The white dealy-bobs are spacers to keep the tiles 'bout 1/4 an inch apart. You'll notice that the shower glass has already been replaced. More to come.

One word of advice for future do-it-yourselfers . . . don't take on a project you can't complete within a reasonable amount of time. It's taken us over a month to complete this bathroom, mostly because we can only work on it one day a week. Had it been the summer, this project could've been done within a week.

Almost Done!!

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
At last, the tile work's done. Here's me applying the final bit of mortar. Meredith was the tile bringer and layer. After this step, we wait over night for the mortar to dry. Until then, it's kind of slippery, and you don't want the tiles to slide out of their spaces. Then, you grout between the spaces.

Oliver Villa

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
That's me, laying down the thin set mortar for the tiles. It was a slow process.

The tiles . . . slate from India. Very very nice tiles, but very very uneven.


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
That's right honey, I'm posing for you and that damn camera . . . but when you're asleep . . . when you're asleep . . .

Demolition Woman

Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Meredith's taking in the sights and smells of the awful remains of a 30-year-old tan toilet.

Apparently, the damn thing had sprung a slow leak and had slowly eroded part of the plywood underneath. Luckily we caught it, and it was a great excuse to demolish the bathroom. Meredith set to work right away

Friday, March 23, 2007

Old Bathroom

Old Bathroom
Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Here's a photo of the old 70's style bathroom. You'll note the carpeted floors, the gold-rimmed shower doors, the wooden toilet seat, the tan toilet, and the over-sized vanity.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lucky Day

There was a raffle at AWP to win a prize . . .

I won an iPod shuffle From the Fishouse.

I think I'll ask for all my poems to be put on the shuffle multiple times. . .


Meredith grouted the floor yesterday. I did clean up. The floor looks FREAKING AWESOME. I've got pics. I'll post the before and after stuff after I get done grading.

Speaking of grout, when I was an undergrad at LMU, there was a urinal in the library, set into a tile backsplash. The grouting between the tiles had a bunch of sayings like "Wayne Groutsky" in one person's hand writing and then "The Grout One" in someone else's hand writing. There were more plays on the word "grout" than anyone could imagine. Ever since, I chuckle when I hear the word, "grout."


As for the grading, I'm almost done with stacks and stacks of portfolios. I had my students in my poetic forms class create their own forms. Some of the forms are super complicated, but doable. I'm impressed!


Currently listening to Beirut as I grade.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Ridiculously little sleep last night. Mere n' I finished tiling the bathroom. The unfortunate thing is that we chose to do this task at 9:00PM. Aside from a few slip ups here and there, the floor looks great. Grout's next.


In my CD splurge, so far this fellow's winning over the control of my playlist.


Meredith bought me another tub of jelly bellies. More later.

Monday, March 19, 2007

CD Splurge

I went to my my favorite record store to purchase many CD's.

Here's what I bought:

Rufus Wainwright, Want 1 and Want 2.

Arcade Fire, Neon Bible and Funeral

Lily Allen, Alright, Still

Brazillian Girls Talk to La Bomb

Beirut, Gulag Orkestar

The Shins, Wincing the Night Away

M. Ward, Post War

No, I shouldn't be buying so many CD's at one time, but I've been a very very good boy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

When Home Repair Gets Nasty

Sorry I've been away for awhile. I've been in the crawlspace under the house. I've discovered a few things about this house we've purchased . . . we had a rodent problem. That rodent problem is now gone. How do I know this? Because there's an empty tray of rodent bait in the crawlspace and . . . let's call it evidence . . . that the rodent population is in decline.


Also in the crawlspace, I've been trying to place some 2x4's adjacent to the toilet flange (the drain thingy where all the yuckies go) so that I can bolt in the toilet. This job would've been much more miserable if I didn't have a nail gun and a miter saw. Yay power tools. The house is clearly thirty years old. Again, I'll try not to gross you out with the details, but there's evidence of a leaky toilet around the plywood and the floor joists.


It's the end of the quarter. Thank goodness. I want to buy some CD's to celebrate.


I've been thinking about poems and poetry again. Now that Spring Break's here, I think I'm going to dive back into the stuff I started working on in the summer. Jumping back's always the hard part. Once I get going, though, I'm hoping I'll be able to sustain the pace through the spring quarter.

Which is another thing. The quarter system sucks. Just when you think you're done, after a long winter quarter, up jumps another academic quarter. Holy crap.


Anyone writing an epic?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bracket Racket

The NCAA Tourney is here.

I haven't filled mine out. I'm down on the Pac 10 this year. Usually I like a few teams to go pretty far from that conference, but this year . . . This year I think it'll be a team from the East. Maybe G'town.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Karaoke in the Cantina

Meredith and I went out to get Mexican food at our local Mexican restaurant (by local, I mean we drove 'bout 25 miles). The place was packed (note to self: never go there on a Friday evening). A mariachi band was making the rounds going from booth to booth playing hits like the macarena (shudder). After we had sat down, they stopped playing because it was now karaoke hour.

The first woman wasn't so bad. She did a rendition of Journey's "Faithfully." Then some dude sang "Runaround Sue." And then some awful singer sang something I didn't recognize.

This lead me to think about some awful choices for karaoke songs:

1. "Ziggy Stardust" by David Bowie.

2. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan.

3. "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zepplin (can you imagine how long you'd have to be up there to perform this?)


Years back, when I returned to my hometown from college, a group of former high school classmates and myself went to the local watering hole, Rusty's Pancake and Steak. Rusty's had a karaoke night on Fridays. If you know anything about my home town, you'd know that Rusty's was the place where all the cowboys from the outskirts of town descended for drinks and talk. The air was quite thick with testosterone and steer smells. Anyway, cowboy after cowboy got up to sing country songs. I had a crush on one of my classmates who was quite crazy. She wanted to go up and sing Abba's "Dancing Queen." I, of course consented because 1) I was stupid and 2) I was buzzed. So we got up on stage and the words to the song are flashing on the monitor. The cowboys in the audience are glaring at us, like we've ruined their evening, and I'm thinking to myself, "There's a beer bottle over there on the ledge. If I can get to it and crack it open, I'll have a ready-made shiv if I need to fight my way out of the bar." None of that was necessary, of course. The cowboys were quite civil and after the song things went back to normal. I got the hell out of the bar as soon as I could. As for the girl, she went home with a cowboy.


Bathroom remodeling update: We painted our last coat yesterday. We start on the flooring some time this week. I returned a bunch of piping because our contractor neighbor devised a short-cut for our plumbing. I don't know what the hell I'm doing as far as plumbing goes. To me, it's even more frightening than electrical work. Anyway, once we get the flooring done, the sink and the toilet will follow. We're almost done and the bathroom looks so much better. No more carpeted bathroom floors!


I have no poems. They're all out. I suppose I could write some, but I'm not exactly in the mood.

Monday, March 05, 2007


The outcome of this week's show has left me in a state. What in THE hell?


I'm sitting in my office amidst the spoils of AWP. I definitely need to clean up. Books everywhere!


I'm looking forward to having an actual break from travel for awhile. I've travelled somewhere for two weeks straight. I think it's wreaked havoc on my immune system. I wonder if Airborne really works. I know it's just preventative, just wondering.


Oh by the way, last Tuesday was my birthday.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

AWP Aftermath

Whew. The folks who left Friday had the right idea. While I love attending AWP and seeing old friends, making new friends, and being surrounded by lovers of words, I get burned out rather quickly.

Overall, I had a great time. I saw lots of bloggers (Paul Guest, you are everywhere. Mary Biddinger, you're as cute as bunny slippers. C. Dale Young, I want a Green Lantern T-shirt now).

I spent most of the time semi-trapped by the book fair, mostly because they structured the damn thing like a medieval city. I kept having to circle to find the things I wanted. The bookfair was also extremely hot. I think the AC wasn't working. At one point, the air smelled like something was burning.

I didn't attend a lot of panels this year. I either had a table time conflict with a panel or I had to meet someone for coffee/breakfast/lunch/dinner.

I'll write more soon, but for now, if I didn't say goodbye to you last night, sorry. I went to bed very very early.