My Finest Hour (?)

I jump up an octave halfway through, and a lot of warbling ensues. I only have about the one octave to work with in the first place...


Double X Rated

While my major concern at the moment is the explosive decompression of the hot water heater in my apartment building last night, and the subsequent coldest-shower-ever I took this morning, I am happy nonetheless to announce the following:

We found out yesterday that our kid-to-be is definitely a girl. I am elated with this news.

A few advantages to girl-having:
  1. Faster mental development all around.
  2. More to the point, shorter time to being housebroken.
  3. Fewer physically violent and/or randomly destructive urges.
The only disadvantage I can think of right now:
  1. It's statistically likely that she will date stupid guys eventually. But that's still quite a ways off, so I'm not really worried about it.


Untimely Meditations

Just a few passing thoughts on the news of the day:
  1. I respectfully disagree with my homie K; the "iPad" is a stupid name. Her counter-examples, of "notepad," "pad about," and so on, do not convince me, because when I hear the word "pad" without a prefix I think of a so-called sanitary napkin. I think most people do, too.
  2. State of the union: as usual, I agree with Obama. The dems need spines and the republicans need to shut the fuck up. I'm as disappointed as anyone that health care was derailed, but let's remember: it was derailed because the republicans always put sour grapes before the welfare of the country. Oh, also, someone needs to put Lieberman on a rocket whose ongoing mission is to never come back to Earth.
  3. On the other hand, the best state in the union, in a stroke of incredible against-all-odds wisdom and justice, voted to tax the rich to save the jobs of thousands and thousands of the non-rich. Oh, Oregon, how I miss you.
  4. While I sympathize with my friends from socal, remember: we need rain. It makes life itself possible. It also keeps loud stupid people indoors and encourages everyone to think more about cool jacket / sweater ensembles. Rain is a good thing.


Getting Older by the Shoulder

I have never been as old as I am today. Sometime in the next few years, the style of dress I invented (I call it "dapper old man") to accommodate the business casual codes of former workplaces will slide over the hump from hip and semi-ironic to simply age-appropriate. The physique and energy level are holding steady (read: skinny, tired), but I've noticed a sort of hang-dog tightness to my facial features that didn't used to be there. When I hang with my homies now, we all have that slow, deliberate movement from kitchen to back yard and back while we talk about how stupid everyone is who's more than three years younger than we are.

Talking with B last night about the imminent arrival of the kid, we concluded that the third trimester is scary because the actual "going into labor" part is pretty close at hand. We're cool with it, we just need about six more months. I have always felt the same way about death, actually, that it's not that we really need to be immortal, it's just that we need to have a natural lifespan of about 250 years in order to figure things out.

But no. We will forge ahead with time flapping past like one of those stupid little picture flip-books, and pretty soon I'll be a whole new kind of sleep deprived and I'll have more important things to worry about.


Quick and to the Pointless

I'm not really sure what I ought to blog about these days. In the past, the blog was there mostly to inform friends who live far away about my comings and goings in California. For a while after I started the program here at the UC to the SC, a good-sized group of my fellow grads were also blogging regularly, and it was a fun kind of intellectual collective to participate in as we bitched about classes and professors and the absence of hope or justice in the universe. Everything is quite a bit more diffuse now, with fewer friends updating their blogs and fewer comments on posts, leaving me with the feeling of spitting words out into the ether.

There's also the circumstantial changes, most importantly the imminent end, or at least hiatus, of my academic career. The famously awful job market for historians hit the KFR household pretty hard this year; one of the jobs I applied to, in a backwater in Wisconsin, had over 160 applicants. That's over 160 people with PhDs, many with published articles or books, many with post-doctoral positions, many with bigger names on their letters of recommendation than I have. Even if the situation improves in the next few years, I have absolutely no interest in going through this meat grinder over and over.

There's also the fact that I'm going to be a dad in about three months. At that point, I will have way bigger fish to fry than worrying about whether or not anyone cares about the intellectual legacy of Andre Gorz.

Anyway, I think I'll just keep plugging away with this thing, probably just a little less frequently.

P.S. I had a nice trip to Oregon recently and saw lots of lovely, wonderful people.
P.P.S. The pregnancy is going really well.
P.P.P.S. I am totally going to finish my dissertation on time.



Not that this kind of thing really needs announcing, but I'm taking a short blogging hiatus. Back in a bit.

Fight the Power,


I Can't Stand It, I Know You Planned It

(I have "Sabotage" stuck in my head this morning, which is an odd situation in that the song consists mostly of the big drum-hits ["DUH-DUN! DUH-DUN!"] over and over.)

Here's the latest on my end (this will excite you):
  1. I installed a new, cheap Nvidia video card in the computer. It cost 20 bucks. With it, I am able to play the weird half-translated Russian version of Borderlands (an "import" in the same sense that Somali pirates "import" big ships sailing past the east coast of Africa) I got off of ebay, also for 20 bucks.
  2. The video card is silent (i.e. passive cooling.) Along with my new super-quiet power supply and processor heat sink, my computer is now non-annoying.
  3. Installing the video card reminded me yet again that linux is tricky. It remains a hobby OS, albeit an awesome one. I had to install the special kernel module from nvidia's site rather than use the one in the kernel itself, because the latter straight-up didn't work.
  4. B and I watched two movies in the last two days: Funny People and 9 (note: the animated, Tim Burton-produced 9, not the new dancing one.) Neither really worked. Both were aiming for a sentimental response, but that response was unearned by their respective scripts; you, as the viewer, didn't get attached to the characters because they were either unlikable and confusing (Funny People) or introduced far too abruptly (9).
  5. I am reading Lemmy's autobiography. It's as hilarious as I expected. I was interested to hear him talk about the birth of rock n' roll, which he was a part of back in the 50s/60s. While I will never like The Beatles, I was still surprised to learn that they were full-on badass brawler types in the early years, smacking the shit out of hecklers and so on (it's hard to square that with "I wanna hold your hand," but times were different then.) It's also refreshing to read once again about how much sex people had in past generations; it's further grist for the mill in reminding kids that they invented neither sex nor drugs.
  6. We got a mess of digital pictures printed by various online photo companies (we got gift certificates for xmas, you see.) B has done an amazing job putting them in albums. Now we have old-school hard-copy photo albums again! We win!



B and I celebrate two anniversaries, our wedding anniversary in June and our dating anniversary in January. I think we do this because we were already in the habit of celebrating the latter when we got married and we saw absolutely no reason to stop. I was going to write up a post on B's and my 10 years together, but she beat me to the punch and wrote an incredibly cute one, to which I must defer. So, go read hers:

10 Years in the Making.

On our agenda for the day: some kind of crazy pan-Asian noodly soup situation at a restaurant and a mini-cheesecake afterward. Because we aspire to be noodly, cheesy, but (hopefully) sweet kids in general.


Unsolicited Movie Review: Julie and Julia

KFR movie review time. Last night B and I settled in with a bloody mary (me) and some sparkling cranberry juice (her and Baby X) and watched Julie and Julia. As everyone already knows, it's the story of Julia Child's life, from her arrival in France with her diplomat husband to the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, intertwined with the story of some histrionic boring person named Julie, who cooked all of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking over the course of a year in about 2002 - 2003.

The Julia Child half of the movie is awesome. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are awesome. The dialogue is funny and their relationship is believable. The filmmakers also did a nice job with the Parisian setting. My hero Jane Lynch rocks it as Julia Child's equally enormous sister.

The boring histrionic person half of the movie sucks a butt. The reason that you, the viewer, care about Julia Child's trials and tribulations is that she's an incredibly likeable, charismatic person (both in real life and in Streep's portrayal.) Julie Powell, on the other hand, has absolutely no appeal. Halfway through her story arch her husband storms off for 24 hours, sick of her shit, and I wished I had the option of storming out of that half of the movie along with him.

In short: why the heck did the filmmakers decide they needed to do both? They could have made the Julia Child part into the whole movie, and it would have been a really, really excellent movie, a semi-romantic comedy even people like me who hate romantic comedies would have liked. Instead, they made half of a great movie and half of an awful movie and bred them into a strange mutant.* Like one of those weird hairless cats.

* SEE ALSO: Lord of the Rings II and III. B and I always skip the Golem parts, because his voice is so annoying.
* SEE ALSO: B reminded me that the Julie and Julia conundrum is precisely the same as that of Big Fish - the fantasty sequences with Ewan McGregor are great, but the real life sequences with Generic Actor McGee are as boring as death itself.

P.S. Amy Adams, who played Julie Powell, looks like a little boy.


Ought Ten

As everyone on the internet is busy flailing about with year and/or decade retrospectives...I am no exception. Only mine's shorter.

2000 - 2009: Graduated from college, played in fun bands, moved to PDX, worked in IT, got married, moved back to Eugene, got a MA, moved to Santa Cruz, did coursework, lived in France, knocked up my wife.

2009, specifically: Got back from France, worked on the dissertation, did trips to Oregon, TA'd French and then Russian history courses, taught two classes over the summer, pregnancy occurred, ran D+D games, house-sat in Bonny Doon, presented at a big conference, tried to and failed to get an academic job, had a nice holiday season.

New Year's Resolution: to have the fixings for bloody marys on hand most of the time. I think I can stick with this one.

P.S. Off With Their Heads is the best band I've discovered lately (thanks to my homie S.) They are awesome and you should listen to them.