Friday, November 30, 2007

throw off your mental chains!

this is a recruitment post.
the idea is that if you see the pictures you will want to be in them.
the goal is to have everyone in the world join the team. like world peace. just ask coach fredrick. (MY old coach. and so famous!) jump rope "make[s] this world a better place."

these pictures are actually old (if you can believe that i've had a team since it was warm enough to practice in viv's backyard!) and not everyone is represented, but it's all i've got right now.

viv and i do the wheel while erin goes solo.

viv and i let miles in on our wheel.

and rob and tammie rock the double dutch. i wish i could show you his power tricks.

leo focuses on his "fundamentals"

and then rob stuns all with his mad skills in the wheel.

why is rob so good at everything?

but jump rope is also for fun and games. here we stole cake from the sorority sisters and ate it. yum.

*thanks to rob for sending me the pics.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

as i stand knocking

it's the kind of thing that makes you want to write. that makes you wish you wrote.

i was talking to my friend with literary aspirations this morning on el internet. i told him i never had anything to write about anymore.
it was slow at the up's so i was reading. and i was reading short stories by thaddeus brewster. i hadn't read them in a long time.
brewster stories always make me think about the process of writing. yesterday was thanksgiving and my father and i were discussing good stories and bad storytelling.

i'm scandalously reckless with my keys. when my sister exclaimed at the number of keys on the ring i tossed to her, it never occurred to me that i might need any of them. it didn't dawn on me that the reason there were so many keys was that for most places i go, i need a key to get in.

it's happened before, working on a weekend, but there's always someone there. i knocked. and cringed at the mocking soon to begin. i knocked again. i could here faint clicks and shifts that gave me hope my boss was still around. then i heard it. "hey." it took me a minute to realize that the man studying at the nearby table was addressing me in such a private moment as i had imagined myself to be in. "you working?" "i'm trying to."

bernie went on for 45 minutes to tell me about the signs of the times and the bible code. to inform me that i was young and smart and unfortunate.
he shook my hand at least three times and finally allowed me to go back downstairs and find a security guard to let me in to the office.

meeting bernie makes you think.
at first i thought about the end of the world and that it was sad to have to see all the "evil" of the banks and "you know people talk about the beast...some of that's this, right? the computer." but that notion promptly yielded its position to other thoughts. it didn't take long to remember that the world isn't completely done for (i am the author of a happy blog, for goodness sake) and i wished i could have interjected a positive note into our one-sided conversation. as i recalled the conversation, stepping around photocopied newspaper articles on the ground and wondering who exactly it is that comes in on a late friday afternoon on a campus holiday to do work at the library and what exactly they were working on, i reflected on my reaction at the outset of the conversation.
i thought he was completely insane.

he wanted to show me his books. all about the bible and the bible code and the apocalypse.
next would come the bank and the 22 cents and the overdraft charges. maybe he could get them reversed.
but that's why he's so mad.
and the bank.
and that's why he had to come get these books.
he had another book by this author, it was written in 2002, but this was written in 1996.
and he just found this one. it was written in 1973.
he was sixteen.
in the panama canal zone.
he was sixteen.
in high school.
but the lady at the bank was just rude. (foul language ensued and picked up toward the end of the conversation.)
and that's why he had to come get these books.
he was in the pawn shop.
the lady there is nice. she likes him.
and i don't know if you remember, but they found these artifacts that were hitler's.
and he remembered the newspaper article.
and the jcc threw him out.
and the skybox threw him out.
did i get cookies at the gateway? they threw him out.
and that's why he had to come get these books.

i'm not doing him justice.
the story was so incoherent, i thought he was just loopy. but all his dates checked out, he knew what year it was, he had a legitimate looking print out from chase bank. but there were no connections, no transitions. yet he told it to me as if he were making a clear, organized progressive argument almost as if each point had a causal relation to the next.

as i kept listening, knowing against reason that there must be some sort of organizing principle, i was finally able to follow his train of thought. i finally grasped how all the seemingly disparate anecdotes he was relating to me related to hebrew and code-breakers.
and i felt like i had just lived in a faulkner novel for an hour.
and i wanted to tell a story like bernie.
but i can't.
not quite.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

la pa'leer

shall i tell you?
i work in the library at the u.
i really like it, even though it can be a little monotonous.
one thing i really like is that i go through all the periodicals when they come back from the bindery. i have to make sure their records on the computer match up and everything is correct.
from an outsider's view i'm quite certain it looks like i'm just flipping through magazines all day.
however, like the conscientious employee that i am, i don't read the articles. i merely look for the pertinent information and move along. when i find one that catches my fancy i add it to my list of the pa'leer, which you have below. sometimes i would add a note to remind me what i liked, other times i wouldn't. now i'm mostly baffled, but i'm sure i'll be pleasantly surprised when i once again open them up. you'll notice that there are lots of architecture magazines...and not so many science journals. sorry, jo.

today i was feeling bad about not following through on my plan of working my way through la pa'leer on friday afternoons. and i was daydreaming the littlest bit about finding a desk and browsing through the wealth of treasures available in the biblioteca and then reality hit and i realized what i had been doing for all the months i've been working at the lib: i've been preparing all the records so all the serials can be loaded into the "arc." which means: NO BROWSING. certainly i can still get all of the books i want, but i can't just walk through the stacks and find something new. AND i can't have all the issues of one magazine together.

and this raises the following ethics of library science question: when is it too much? are libraries relics of the past? should libraries embrace the "digital age"? i can't tell you how many "08CAN"s and "CANFLIP"s there are (how many journals we no longer receive whether because we have subscriptions to the online version or because of lack of funding for buying hard copies.) my environmentalist side thinks this is good. my technofascinated side thinks this is cool. but my eyes hurt and my sentimentality longs for the time of dusty, heavy tomes of knowledge.
nobody even notices the books in the library. i don't think anyone but me has noticed that all the books have moved into different locations. the only thing anyone uses are the cushy chairs and the computers. don't you just want to cry?
it's great that we now have robots working at the library and all, it's great that we have so much more space now that the robots are taking over, but we can no longer browse through our old serials. if you want to read an article, you have to know what article it is and request it. no more discoveries in the stacks, no more found gems.
i think that is a sad tragedy of life.

but not to leave you on a sour note, with no further ado, i give you the pa'leer, all the books i wanted to browse that i will now have to use a computer and robots to get. (in roughly chronological order. oddly enough.)

world of interiors

sight and sound

japan architect

rivista di studi italiani v.21:no.2(2003:Dec.) -italo calvino


journal of semantics


journal of soil and water conservation


american heritage (esp.2006:june/july)

design news- v.61:no12

wired v.14:no.11(2006)-faceblind

techniques et architecture

chemistry world (2006:Feb)


american lit. hist. v.18:no.4 --the courtship of henry wikoff

neophilologus (v.90:no.1 -a little noticed english construction pg. 107-117)

riba journal



achis (2004:no.4 "murdernity")

acta orientalia v.64(2003)


metropolis v.25:no.6 --greenest building ever. library at free university in berlin


news photographer


Friday, November 02, 2007

val david

today is not a sad day, but there was something of a somber moment this morning as i realized that i have an ocd i had not previously recognized.

if there's a room that you go into often and the decor rarely changes, if there's a poster or something written there, do you have to read it and say it in your head as you look at it no matter how many times you've seen it? HAVE to?

there's this poster at work. in the conference room. and every day when i go in to turn on and turn off the lights, i read it to myself.
until this morning i thought that i read it because it's in spanish and i like to practice. beyond that it is worthy of note because it says (in spanish) "we tell our children not to get into a car if the driver seems drunk...but what if the driver is their parent?" and while i think, yes, children of alcoholics is a sad situation, i just think, i would not tell my children that. i would tell my children "don't get in a car if the driver seems like they're not me." and that would be that.

i sublet ren's apartment this summer. it was so nice. but i confess that in 2 months i didn't get everything unpacked. i had one particular box that sat in the middle of my room for most of the time i was there. (i didn't know what to do with the stuff; i used it so i couldn't put it in storage, but i didn't have a place for it.)
my sister had got the box from work.
on it was written "val david"
i know now exactly what that means, but it was a mystery to me then. every time i was in my room i would say "val david" in my head. several times a day.
so many times that when my friend wanted a name for his band i thought it should be "val david" since it was such a fixture in my brain.

one more.
i have a box of emergency crafts.
it's an office max file box. everything on it is in english and in spanish.
under "location" it says "ubicacion."
i don't know that word. i assume that it means "location" but i don't know.
every morning i wake up, look at the box and say 'ubicacion.' in my head.
sometimes i say 'location ubicacion.'

this morning i after i said it i was thinking about it and how on the ocd test there's this question about counting when you go into rooms and i was always like, 'well, i don't have it that bad. i can't even think what that means.' (cause my brother and sister were all like "oh, yeah." and when i said i didn't understand the question they said "if you had it, you would understand." and i was like 'ok.') and then i thought 'oh no!! i bet reading the same things every time is the same thing! i do have it that bad!'

and i was kind of sad.

but it doesn't hurt people, right? just a minor annoyance to me, right? not a sign that i'm getting more crazy?