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bad news, emily!

Monday, April 23, 2007

If Quoted, Be Smart

This quote sounds utterly ridiculous
"There was not anybody that I can remember that was black," she said. "The white people have theirs, and the black people have theirs. It's nothing racial at all."
It was in an article about a school in Georgia that is holding it's first integrated prom.
My reaction reading the headline: WHAAAATTTTT?????????
Read the article here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just one of thousands of broken hearts

I'm surprised by how hard I am taking the recent shootings at VA Tech. I've been feeling a constant state of unease, even edginess to the point of fear ever since the killings occurred on that campus. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I work on a college campus and it seems so incredibly possible that a similar thing could happen here. There was an incident last year when an alum drove an SUV through a crowded part of our campus right near our building, intending to run people over. Thankfully, there were only a few injuries. But I still think about it from time to time.
It's also really close to home because I knew, even if only casually, a German teacher who was killed at VA Tech. Jamie Bishop used to work here at UNC at OASIS, the language labs, and the German department, and I had interacted with him a number of times in the course of our jobs. I know a lot of people who were close to him and I've had an intense reaction of empathy that brings me close to tears just thinking about their loss. I had met his wife, too, when she was a grad student here. My heart goes out to her - I don't know how she'll survive the pain.
Unintentionally, I find myself playing out scenarios in my mind of how I would react if a shooter came into our building. How would I alert everyone in my office? Where would be the best place to hide? Would I be brave and pro-active or would I be paralized with fear? I don't mean to, but I think about it dozens of times a day.
I've had restless nights and have been in an irritable mood this week. I almost blew up at a few coworkers and almost lashed out at my boss yesterday over something small.
Really I just want to go home, sleep soundly for a few hours, watch movies or non-news TV to distract me from my thoughts, eat comfort foods, and snuggle with my cats.
And I want this underlying nausea to go away.
One thing that has really moved me since the shootings has been how other communities have expressed their support. The chancellor here at UNC sent out an email to everyone on campus and closed with the words "Today, we are all Hokies."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Pats on the Head

It's amazing sometimes how much people fish for compliments... needing the pat on the head, wanting to be sure that everyone knows how popular they are with certain important people, or how something they did was recognized or rewarded.

One of my colleagues started a random conversation with an off-handedish "you know how I'm writing this Encyclopedia article..." as if that was the old news, and then continued with "well it turns out it's about international pedagogy, so I have to do more research..." He knows that he's never mentioned writing the article to me because that's not his way. He's been using this technique with me for years but I totally see through it and refuse to feign the "we're not worthy" praise he's trying to get from me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cat Herders

This is an ad from a Super Bowl a couple years back.
It's kinda like life at our house.

I read somewhere that there were like 40 trained cats involved and 6 or 7 of them were trained swimmers.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I was googling "nc driver's school" to see if I could take a class or something to get my car insurance lowered and I found something hilarious on the Mecklenburg Country Sheriff's Dept website.

One of the frequently asked questions is

"Can you tell me if there are any warrants out for me?"

Dude, if you have to ask...

Special Guest Star...

I had a bizarre dream the other night.

The plot and a lot of details became fuzzy in the first few minutes after having woken up (I hate how that happens) but here are some of the basics:

At one point Fidel Castro called me up and asked me if I could donate any furniture to his family because their home had been bombed out. I said he should probably ask Lara & Daniel because most of the furniture in our house belongs to them.

Then later in the dream I was with my dad, who was Hawkins from the show "Jericho" and all of a sudden I was his son, but I was actually Walt from "Lost".

It doesn't happen a lot, but I have been difference ages, genders, and ethnicities in my dreams. Once I was a young Asian girl and this time I was a young black boy. I think it's pretty cool.

Does anyone else have any dreams they remember where they were someone other than themselves? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bodies, Beautiful Bodies

I'm so excited about a new exhibit that has come to Durham:
Bodies The Exhibition
I'd heard about it in the news awhile back but I think it was located in Florida at that point and I figured I'd never get a chance to see it. Of course, if it came to D.C., which I'm sure it will, I would make the trip for that (visiting friends, too, of course).
But here it is, at Southpoint Mall of all places! At first I couldn't imagine where they would set it up. Inside the mall next to Abercrombie & Fitch or The Gap? Across from the food court? Wisely, they've set it up in a detached building on "The Streets."

I completely understand how the idea of an exhibition of cadavers could be horrifying to some people. I, on the other hand, am totally fascinated by it. I think my personal beliefs about the human soul play a large part in my non-horrification (if that's not a word yet, it is now, citing LiD). I believe that the soul separates from the human body after death, and the physical body is nothing but a frame of cells.
My friend Sarah recently went to her grandma's funeral, which once again brought up the topic of cremation vs. burial. For me, I'm all about cremation. Citing my beliefs about the human soul and the physical body, I figure why take up space in the ground for something that's scientifically built to rot away? It made no sense for Sarah's grandmother to pay for an extra layer around her casket to delay the decay of her body 10 more years. It's still going to decay. I love Sarah's dad. He told his kids he wants to be cremated and have his ashes put in a leaf blower to be blown out across a lake, as a final farewell to the fish (he loves to fish).
I hereby make a formal announcement: I wish to be cremated. I don't need my ashes scattered anywhere, but if someone really wants to do that, they're welcome to find a place and do it. And then use the money that would have been spent on a casket, grave, etc. to throw a party. And be sure to serve mini quiches. Those things are yummy.

Everyone has their own tradition

This is a gem I read off of Powells Books newsletter this morning and it made me smile. Like the people at the Bull's Head bookstore here on campus, the Powells staff are clever folks and their newsletters are always entertaining. I'd want them to live in my neighborhood.

Every year we were wakened by my father's voice, speaking in a soft but firm whisper: "Let's go, sleepy-heads, it's Easter Sunday."

We always rose, heavy-lidded but eager, and quickly dressed in the clothes he'd laid out for us on the ends of our beds. We gathered in the backyard, forming a semicircle around my father, who held sway like a ringmaster — or a drill sergeant who gave hugs. "The Easter Bunny was here," he'd inform us in a solemn tone. "And here's the proof." He'd hold up a colored egg that seemed suspiciously similar to the ones we'd dyed only a few nights earlier. (If anyone were foolish enough to express this seeming coincidence, however, my father suggested the speaker hadn't gotten enough sleep, and sent him back to bed to miss out on the Easter fun.)

"So we know the bunny's around," my father would continue, "and he must be stopped. You know what rabbits do, right? Unless we want to drown in these damn colored eggs, we've got to turn him into fricassee. First one to get the Easter Bunny between the eyes wins the prize."

And so began the annual Brockman family Easter Bunny Hunt. Next came the drawing of the straws, the biggest getting first pick of the weapons Dad laid out on the picnic table. Of course we each wanted the BB gun. I always wound up choosing last and usually ended up with the rusty hatchet we used for chopping firewood — which made dispatching the bunny a horrendous, truly messy affair. Luckily I never found the varmint myself. My brothers seemed to have more skill in tracking the colored eggs to the culprit who had laid them.
Although I never won the basket of candy and G.I. Joe toys, I always managed to sneak a few jelly beans when the victorious sibling wasn't looking. Besides, rabbit fricassee and a week of colorful hardboiled eggs for lunch is truly its own reward."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Downplaying the Crisis

I am very proud of myself.
I refrained from going ballistic on one of my coworkers who could very well have screwed us over in a big way. Us in general and me and one of my big projects specifically.
I had every chance to get mad at her outwardly and even played out some furious "chew out" scenarios in my imagination, but I managed to keep it contained and use a calm tone of voice when I was dealing with her in person.
I refrained from running to our boss to tattle on her incompetence (though when I was asked point-blank about something I couldn't lie) and I'm really proud of myself for that. It was such a temptation because this woman has screwed up a number of similar things in the past.
I'm proud of myself for initially giving her the benefit of the doubt even if she really didn't deserve it.

So now I just have to wait to see if there has been irreversible damage, and that waiting could take up to 2 weeks.
And I have to manage this anger that isn't dissipating.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

That Cat is Unbelievable

I just can't believe it. It's too absurd. I was outsmarted by my cat.

If you know me, you've probably heard me talk about how Zoë has annoying quirks. One of her two biggest - and the one she shares with her brother - is that she wakes me up at ungodly hours of the morning to try to get me to feed her. We're talking anywhere from 4:30 to 6:30, usually around 5:15. I've had very few solid nights' sleeps in the last year.
I try to ignore the rustling in my room, or the shaking and banging on the door if I've left that closed, but even if I ignore their pleas, I still can't sleep through it all. Even if I sleep on the couch downstairs Zoë will wake me up by chewing on magazines and papers on and under the coffee table. It really is ridiculous pet drama.
So I had a plan.
My housemate Sarah is out of town for a few days, so I decided I'd fake out the cats by sleeping in her bed with the door closed. They wouldn't know where to find me and I would be able to sleep until my alarm went off. The cats never bother anyone but me and Lara & Daniel (parents of the other two cats who also wait patiently by my door in the mornings) so I figured Sarah's closed door wouldn't hold any interest for them. And, I know this sounds silly, I even took the precaution of sneaking into the room when Zoë wasn't looking.
But can you guess what happened at 6:15 this morning?
I couldn't believe it - how did she find me???
I stood behind the door just to be sure that it was really this door and not mine next to it. I opened the door and found Zoë sitting there, looking up at me with an expression that said "silly Mommy, why are you sleeping in here?"

It's ridiculous. I don't get it. My cat totally outsmarted me.
Maybe I should stop calling her a Freak Show.