Friday, June 13, 2008

Big Hurdle

To update my previous post: I've sent it. My dissertation is out of my hands and being reviewed by my committee. There will be more work to do later, but for now I am done with it. It's a very good feeling. A great mix of pride, relief, and a sense of 'now what?'.

The 'now what' consists of me going to Chicago in two weeks to start internship. Back in May, I went up there to find an apartment the morning after the Wilco show - by the way, best show I've seen them do of the six I've seen, the setlist is here, and you can listen to all three nights of St. Louis shows here. I went on Saturday, the third night and final show of their tour. It was just phenomenal.

So right, I fortunately ended up getting an apartment and am planning to leave around June 28th. Although I haven't done any actual packing to speak of yet, I have been getting rid of mounds and mounds of paper and junk from my office, which has been enormously cathartic and satisfying. I'm going to try to spend the last few weeks enjoying the people and places here before heading north.

I've also been thinking of good Chicago movies to watch in preparation. A few come to mind right away: The Fugitive, High Fidelity, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But I'm sure there are more. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I currently have, on my computer at school, a document called "Full dissertation". It is 166 pages long. I'm so close to being done with it I can smell it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Blogday to You

It's my blog's fourth birthday! Or anniversary. Whichever way you choose to look at it. It's been through some ups and downs, including lack of posts for months at a time. And looking ahead to my move to Chicago and unknown access to the interweb, it may go into hibernation for a while. But for now, it's alive and kicking.

I forgot to mention about the Radiohead show (which was fantastic, by the way) that I saw them literally a few days after I moved to St. Louis, at the same venue where I just saw them last night. So seeing them again right before I leave town sort of made for some nice closure. The circle of life.

Yeah, it was a great show. Unlike last time (when I had seats), I was on the lawn. It made for a different experience. I wasn't as close to the stage, so sometimes it felt harder to connect to the show, but the lawn provided a great view of the sky. And we happened to get the one good day sandwiched in between all kinds of gross weather. So that was lucky. And being on the lawn, in the middle, pretty far in the back, also gave a great view of everyone else who was there. You look out, and it's just a sea of people in all directions. When Radiohead was on stage and it got darker, you could look out and see probably hundreds of cell phones being held up in the air, their little screens lit up. Kind of a more modern version of the cigarette lighter in the air thing. Also, they were undoubtedly taking all sorts of pictures, audio, and video.

Speaking of which - one of the best parts of the show was the video. Each of the guys in the band had a video camera that pointed at them, pretty close up, so even way in the back you could see what each of them was doing. And each shot was displayed in its own box next to the others and projected on a screen on stage, so if you were far enough back you could kind of take them all in at once. It was a great effect. Thom Yorke spent some time looking directly into the camera in a creepy way. The lights also made the show. They had these big vertical tubes on stage that must have had lights inside them, and during different songs they lit up in different ways and in different colors. During a song that talked about rain, it really looked like rain was coming down. At some points the lights even tracked the vocals, going up and down.

I think I also failed to fully grasp that I'm seeing two of my desert island top 5 (or 3) favorite bands in a span of 4 days. What are the chances? How great is this?? Can't wait to see Wilco.

In other news, here is one of the people who Wash U is giving an honorary degree to tomorrow at Commencement. I hadn't heard of her before, but apparently she is awful. Very conservative, anti-feminist, bigoted, you name it. She actively worked against the Equal Rights movement.

And the best part? She called her critics "a bunch of losers" and told them to "get a life."

Apparently when you reach a certain age, your idea of an insult reverts back to the level of a 7th-grader. I'm probably not going to be at Commencement tomorrow, which is too bad because I'd really like to see what happens.

More on the story here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Concert week

I'm going to see Radiohead tonight. I'm seeing Wilco on Saturday night. Life is good.

Also, it's one day shy of the 4th anniversary of this blog. Woohoo!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Bleachers

I'm going to the Cards-Cubs game tomorrow (Sunday) night, so if you've got ESPN take a look. Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of me. It should be fun. I haven't gotten a chance yet to see the rivalry up close. And it'll be my second game in about three weeks. We went to a Saturday afternoon game a few weeks back. Chilly, overcast, low-scoring. In fact, St. Louis didn't score at all. San Francisco had a solo homer and a couple of other runs, and that was it. The game was over in about 15 minutes.

The most notable part of the game was one of our fellow fans. We were sitting in the left field bleachers and sat directly in front of a woman who gave us a warning when we sat down.

"You must be new," she said. "Just to warn you: I'm loud."

No problem, I thought. I've heard a lot of ballpark knuckleheads before. I can deal.

After a pretty uneventful top of the 1st, the Cardinals came to bat. And our lady friend went to work.

Skip Schumaker steps to the plate to lead off the inning.


Mind you, she's right directly behind our heads, in the row right behind us.

Next is Chris Duncan.


At first, people in her general vicinity look around at each other, laughing nervously. No one really knows what to do. But she's clearly a regular. She's greeting people as they come into the bleachers to sit down, asking about friends, family members, recent surgical procedures. She's calling the vendors by their first names, and they are returning the favor.

Eventually, she gathers support. People get into it and accept it as part of the bleachers experience. She even gains some new recruits who are sitting in the same row. They start doing her chants, her cheers, her sayings. She hands out t-shirts which explain "the rules" that you must follow and live by if you are going to sit in the left field bleachers. I wasn't lucky enough to receive a shirt, but I believe one of the rules banned cell phone use during the game. I'm certainly in favor of that one. I'm sure there was something stipulated about no Cubs jerseys. Anyway, by the end of the game, I game to realize that this woman in the row directly behind us was probably a Busch Stadium institution. And like it or not, if you sat around her you were going to hear it all.

I wish I could remember all of the sayings (or yellings) that she had. Everytime a guy whose last name was Izturis came up, she inexplicably yelled "COME ON, ITCHY!" I guess that's close to Izzy. And since the Cardinals already have an Izzy, you've got to go with Itchy on that one. Following foul balls with two strikes, our friend would also invariably scream the following:

STAYING ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE! TWO RBIS!" (or however many RBIs were possible at the time)

The best was when a Cardinals player would make the third out, killing a rally. This would prompt the following muttering: "Son of a biscuit-eating basketball player!"

I also wish I had at least gotten her name, so I could refer to her as something besides "that loud lady behind me at the Cardinals game." Oh well. Maybe tomorrow night I'll get a chance to ask her.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama's got skilllzzzzz

Get on the court with him and he'll Barack your world....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

They took my baby

I had to say goodbye to the old Civic this week. For those who weren't aware, it had been having problems already, like strange noises coming from nowhere in particular and not always telling me how fast I was going. You know, typical old car problems. It's a 1994, I believe I'm the third owner. I bought it from a guy in DC, and it's basically served me really well since the spring of 2002. If I had been able to put more money into it, it certainly could have kept going for a while longer. But in January, as I was driving home from school, I got into an accident. Minor, no injuries. But it was enough to render my car undrivable unless I got some pretty substantial work done on it. So that was pretty much what did it. I decided to donate the car to the Kidney Cars program, so that at least some good could come out of it. And I already knew that I had the Camry from Kia's grandmother, which made the whole decision easier.

So from mid-January until the end of March I rode the bus to school and took the MetroLink (St. Louis's subway) home with Kia. It was a pretty good system. I even enjoyed it. I didn't have to pay for gas, didn't have to park, and I felt good about doing my part to green my little part of the world. And on nice days, it was pretty pleasant to get a walk in before and after school. It sort of clears the head. Unfortunately, this period from mid-January to late March also seemed to coincide with the worst winter weather I've seen here since I arrived in 2003. Maybe I just had a different perspective, since I was car-less. But on more than one occasion I found myself trudging through very deep snow drifts, completely unheard of for St. Louis. Sometimes I'd be doing this with a suitcase in hand, if I were going to be going on a trip. Other times, walking over a bridge over the highway on my way to the bus stop, I was pretty sure my face was going to fall off from the wind. But I survived. All in all, it was a good experience.

So when I was given the Camry at the end of March, I figured that was as good a time as any to let the Civic go. I filled out the paperwork and made the arrangements with the towing company. Then on Friday, sometime during the day, they took her away. I never even named her! I should have taken more pictures! What's something else dramatic I can say?

Goodbye Civic. Thanks for running no matter what, even after I ran you into that snowbank that one time. I'll miss you.