January 2005 :: February 2005 >>

Happy New Year!!

and best wishes for 2005! Take this as a formal ressurection of this blog, with a new look and everything... we'll see if it takes.

new years day report

A warm New Year's Day, and the first time in months and months that Leah and I both had a day off on the same day when there wasn't also a major holiday to celebrate and/or recover from (that takes care of last weekend, which was also a vacation for both of us but which came with its own stresses). Today we got to take a nice walk and get some things done and watch a movie and generally relax, and how pleasant it was. It does not, I confess, make for very interesting reading in these pages, but if we're really going to get started again we can't give up on the first day, for lack of content. So bear with us, the excitement will start again before we know it.

Actually, I've been off work so long I can barely remember ever going. However will I survive on Monday?! It'll be interesting, that's for sure.

wedding expo blues

We went into Boston to go to our first wedding expo today, cause it seems like the thing to do. We're still looking for a photographer and a band or something, and we had some hopes of making contact with those sorts of individuals at this event, where they are said to congregate. Plus, it was free... or it should have been. More on that in a minute.

Overall, we weren't too impressed. First we had to wait in line for about 15 minutes to get in, and let me tell you, we almost bailed right away when we saw the million people who were there before us. Things could have been worse, though, cause another million and a half or so came right after us. That made us feel better somehow, so we stuck it out, and eventually made it to the show floor--which proved to consist mostly of stands offering free magazines and expensive cookware. I guess there were some things of tuxes too. Not much in the way of photographers or bands though, so that was disappointing. I think the best word to describe the overall effect is 'weak.'

Which would have been fine, it being free and all, except for one thing: the coat check costed two dollars a coat!!! And even worse, the money was charged in a distinctly underhanded fashion: they took your coats first, and then, with them already on hangers and vanishing into the back room, they told you that you now owed them $4.00. Of course, no one but the worst sort of cheapskate could ask for the garments back at that point, and even though we may actually be the worst sort of cheapskate, we were too taken aback to do anything but pay up.

It turns out they actually did have a sign warning about the charge, but when we approached the desk it was turned around, facing the proprietors. Now, that might have been a mistake, but get this: when we came out of the show, I didn't see the sign at all, at first--but then I noticed it lying face down on the floor partially under the desk. Wanting to warn other people about the scam they were facing--I have no objection to charging people for watching their coats for half an hour, I just want people to be able to make their decision about the worthwhileness of the payment for themselves!--I stood it back up, and placed it carefully at the foot of the much larger sign advertising the coat check's presence. While we were putting on our coats, though, one of the coat check guys came out, picked up the sign, and put it back on the desk, facing inwards again. Well, I could understand it if he didn't want it on the floor, but surely he only put it up backwards by mistake. So to help him out, I went back and switched it round again. He wasn't looking when I did so, but in a moment he turned around and, if you can believe it, turned it back again! Since I have to assume the sign did not exist solely to remind the coat check workers of the exhoribitant price they were charging, the only explanation is that the whole thing was an underhanded trap designed only to snare unsuspecting Expo visitors, just as we ourselves had been snared. At least I was able to save one person with my first placement of the sign, and several more by loudly complaining on the escalator on the way down.

Besides all that, it was nice to get out and about in Boston, and we had a very nice walk through the Public Gardens and down Newbury Street out of the deal.

back to school day

So I went back to work today, and I survived. Had fun, even. The childrens remembered all about school even after the long break, and, just as Mrs. Beaty predicted, came back in like they owned the place. The only sign that they'd just had eleven days off was a rather elevated overall volume, all day. But then, we've seen that at unpredictable intervals throughout the year, so I suppose it was just like any other day.

In an unrelated matter, I suppose I should say something about the new look and name here. Well, we're clearly not in California at all, or anywhere that might be called West (well, excepting West Arlington, where we do indeed now make our residence, but that hardly counts), a change was needed. There ain't no palm trees here neither. So, in view of our impending nuptuals, I thought we'd go with a wedding-inspired theme--complete with the cute little wedding cake topper Leah gave me for a present a while ago (it lives on the top of my monitor here). Plus, we like pink here in the squibix family. So there you go.

really not in hot water

We had some cold times here in Arlington earlier this winter, and we managed to be blessed with hot showers all through those periods; for some reason, however, that blessing has now been removed from us. The weather isn't even that cold anymore--unseasonably warm, even--but we've been having to run the water for like three or four minutes before getting in the shower to give it time to approach bearably warm. And since the heat from the radiators is also just getting started about the time we want to be getting in the shower in the morning, bearably warm just ain't good enough. Too bad I don't know the first thing about water heaters and pipe insulation: I don't even feel like I know enough to call the landlord and ask about the problem! Oh well, spring will be here soon... I hope...

accenting the negative

So one of the reasons I stick to my home territory with such tenacity is, I'm maybe more conscious than most folks of language and dialect and what not. And when you combine that with overwhelming desire to appear to know what I'm doing (which in the case requires fitting in linguistically), I'm pretty much stuck in the neighborhood where I grew up. Only problem is, now that I'm five minutes away in Arlington store clerks and people keep asking me if I just moved here and if I'm from England or something.

Now, part of that is the different between Lexington and Arlington speech, which sure does exist. But also, the other thing about listening to language and thinking about it means that I tend to pick up all sorts of odd locutions and accents that happen to catch my fancy. So between Lexington, that, and living in Santa Monica for months, I guess I'm just spoiled for Arlington. I might as well head off to Newfoundland, then! But I guess Leah wouldn't like that, though.

I'm watching a PBS show called 'Do You Speak American' as I type this. It has its moments, but if I had that kind of money do so a program on dialect in the United States you can be sure I'd do a better job!

snow day

Today was the first snow day of my professional career, the first snow day I've seen for very long time: I've been out of school for some five years now and the four years before that I spent at Cornell, whose administrators seem to share some opinions with the US postal service (neither sleet and all that, in case I lost you there). So there hasn't been any hope of a day off due to snow* for about nine years, but let me tell you, the giddy anticipation when the forecast calls for messy weather tomorrow isn't any less when you're getting paid to go to school as it is when you're still slave labor filling in worksheets for the government. You should have seen me last night! I would have had trouble going to sleep with all the excitement, I bet, if I hadn't stayed up so unreasonably late watching that silly documentary (described below).

And then when I work up, at 5:00 and forty minutes before the alarm was due to go off, I heard cars going by on the street and inwardly despaired, though I still couldn't go back to sleep (like Christmas morning or something!). When we got up I went out to clear the cars off and see Leah off to yoga, and when I got back inside it was past 6:00--past time for calling of the scholarly activities of the day, I feared! And yet I had heard nothing. As the internet was having issues at the time, I sat down in front of the tv to watch the slow progression of educational establishments on the bottom of the screen. Newburyport, something else that starts with 'New', Newton Country Day School?! What about Newton Public?

Oops. So I hurried in to the shower quick ate breakfast, but over breakfast I watched the ticker tick through the list again; and this time appeared the blessed message: 'Newton. Closed.' Scarce seconds after that I got the call informing me officially that I didn't have to come in, and I rejoiced openly.

Sure I'll have to suffer for it later--we're going to be in school til the end of June this year--but that doesn't dampen my present enjoyment one bit.

we don't need no sled-ucation

Yes, the title of this post is the worst pun ever. I am sorry.

The children in my class were good in gym today. So much so that the gym teacher made a point of telling Mrs. Beaty afterwards that he wasn't sure he had the right group of kids. And that was even we took them outside and made them run up and down the hill as many times as they could in our half-hour recess time.

No, not really: we're not slave drivers. When we make them run to try and deenergize them a little it's always on flat ground. In this case, they ran up the hill on their own because they wanted to slide down it. See, like the Waldorf school in Lexington but better, Mason-Rice comes with a beautiful hill that slopes down onto the yard. So, when it snows, everyone who remembered to bring all their snow gear gets to come out and take advantage of the conditions. There aren't any sleds, so usually things don't get too exciting for an experienced sledding professional such as myself, but today things were just right: a reasonable amount of wet snow followed by a bit of rain and then a good hard freeze. And, to provide the key element, the snow day yesterday allowed the local kids (some of them from my class) to come out and pack the snow down with their sleds, before it had a chance to form a crust. The paths of the snow tubes made little frozen bobsled runs, just as smooth and glassy as you could ever wish. I have to say, I didn't stand on my dignity one bit and had three or four good runs myself (of course I had brought my snow pants!). And to make everything just perfect, the frozen solid nature of the middle of the hill made climbing up that section impossible, so everyone walked up the edges without constant shouted reminders from me.

In other news, our heat and hot water went out completely this morning, and have now been fixed. I imagine the gradual cooling trend we experienced in our showers (and faucets) was related to this problem, and hope and expect to see (or rather feel) piping hot water again next time I turn the tap.

Wiki-ed good fun

All my writing energy today went to working on the Wikipedia: like reviews on Amazon.com, more public improvement projects for which I'll never receive personal credit. It's all for the betterment of humanity, though. I find, however, that though I can churn out entries here with a bare minimum of thought (as I'm sure you've noticed) the act of writing a review or encyclopedia article for public consumption slows me down to a crawl, as I check every fact twice and mold and reshape each sentence with painstaking care. Clearly, I should note, those are not activities undertaken by all Wikipedia contributors. But they are by me, so my first article isn't even done yet, despite hours of work this afternoon. Almost though, almost. I'm expanding the entry on the Art Ensemble of Chicago; after that I'll move on to other marginalized jazz figures, and after that who knows? Sharing knowledge is just such a joy.

I should be asleep right now!!

Leah and I are a little sick, and right now I'm alot tired. She's asleep, lucky for her. But I've been reading things on Wikipedia for about an hour, and I want to make sure to post here because I'm afraid if I miss two days in one week... before I know it I'll stop writing entirely! We're trying to establish a pattern here.

A week or two ago I read Losing My Faculties by Brendan Halpin, and today I read Andrew Clement's latest book, Report Card. Both made me fear for the state of education in America, and indeed for the future of our civilization itself. How do kids survive it? Or teachers, for that matter?

a published wikipediast

I am now a published wikipediast—not that it's hard, you could go and change just about any page on that whole site if you had a mind to, which counts as publishing. But I put alot of effort into my first article, so instead of a blog entry this evening I give you the art Ensemble of Chicago on Wikipedia. Enjoy!

I want one!

The big news, of course, is that Apple came out with a new computer yesterday: the cute little Mac Mini. It's hardly an original idea on my part, but wouldn't it be nice to have one of those in the living room, somewhere over by the tv; you could use the tv for a monitor, of course, and with a wireless keyboard and mouse you could operate the thing from the couch. It would be just the thing in our house to replace Leah's laptop as the living room music server, and then the laptop could go back to being, well, protable, instead of being hopelessly encumbered with cords. Ah, the things we could do if we had money.

On an entirely unrelated note, let me tell you that rainy winter days wreck absolute havoc with the pickup sitution at Mason-Rice elementary. It's bad enough on regular days, with folks just stopping their cars in the middle of the road while they wait for a spot to open up (and there's not much room on that road in the best of circumstances, either). Today saw the addition of long, drawn-out honking, cursing, people shaking their fists out of windows at each other... well, maybe not those last two. But it was a mess, I assure you. I was glad to escape with my life.

frozen fog

I heard that it was going to be warm today. So the first thing, when I steped out of the front door, was the whole front porch was coated with invisible ice so my foot just shot right out from under me. Fortunately my flailing right hand landed on the railing, because otherwise it would have been even worse when I slid and/or stumbled down the first three steps. And even then it was only the fact that the lower steps are concrete that kept me from serious injury; even though they were as icy as the wooden steps above them, the ice was so thin that the texture of the concrete protruded and provided some minimal traction.

What seems to have happened was, the air temperature was above freezing so a considerable quantity of fog formed, even before the sun rose. The ground was still quite cold, however (as were our front steps we find), so all that moisture came to rest and settled in nicely in solid form. The fog didn't contribute to the slippery situation at school, though; there, it was all just snow compacted by the action of hundreds of tiny booted feet into a dense, glacier-like layer, and then polished smooth by the action of warmth on its outer layer. Positively deadly. Who knew that warmth in winter could be so dangerous?! Let's have a good cold snap back again, or we might not all survive until Spring.

winter is broken

I went out this morning to take out the trash, and of course I put on my warm pants and coat and boots; so imagine my surprise when it was hotter outside than in the house! Like about 75 degrees, feels like. A little odd, if you ask me. There's gonna be some puddles today.

dis combobulated

We watched House of Flying Daggers this evening. I wrote two articles for the Wikipedia today, one of which (unbenownst to me) was already being linked to by three other entries.* It started off really warm today, but now it's cold. I'm quite tired at this point.

*That's the beauty of Wikipedia, you see! I can understand it if you don't know what I'm talking about, though.

too much tv

It was about a year ago that I first started this blog, as 'squibix goes west.' Seems like a whole lot longer than that, I have to say! I can hardly remember back then. In fact, the only reason I thought of it was that today I was watching the Patriots play the Colts in the playoffs, and it occurred to me that I had written a post or two about the last superbowl. Well, here's hoping I'll get to compose something similar this year! So far so good, with a convincing win by the Pats today--which is wonderful and all, except for one thing: watching football games is alot of time in front of the tv. And... it doesn't help if you watch two or three more shows after the game is over.

Oh well, we don't watch very much tv on a regular basis, so I guess we'll survive. And Leah went to the gym for two or three hours of her tv time, so at least she was building muscle while her brain attrophied. Me, I went for the two-for-one deal and lost muscle and brain all at once! At least there's only three football games left until baseball season. And I expect they'll all be good ones.

Martin Luther King Jr.

So in some ways, I don't like Martin Luther King Day. It's a chance for rich white folks to get up on their hind legs and conratulate themselves on how enlightened and free of predjudice they are, maybe sing a few choruses of 'Black is so beautiful,' and then get right back to what they were doing before. I mean, come on: the message of the holiday tends to be, too bad Rev. King didn't manage to stick around long enough to see his dream come true, cause it has now, really!

Well you can tell how much you agree with that. And yet, MLK Day is actually one of my favorite holidays, because I think Rev. King is more worth celebrating than anyone else we get a day off of school for. His accomplishments weren't something that only he could do; all he needed was the bravery to stand up and say that the way things were being run was just wrong. He can't have been the only one to think that, but he was the only one strong enough to speak out, to take a stand, to say that everyone should be able to see things could be done better. And as soon as he said it there were plenty of people ready to follow him and help change the world; they were brave in their ways too, but it took his spark to get the whole thing going.

Now, I don't think we're anywhere near done with his project. In fact, I don't know that we ever can be done, really. But that's no reason not to celebrate his life; on the contrary, we need to celebrate it more, and use the occasion of the celebration to remind ourselves of the work that still needs to be done (in that spirit I offer this drawing). So make cupcakes and sing songs and all today, and tomorrow get out there and make the world a better place!

Plus, it's always nice to get a day off.

it's not that cold...

Right now it's three degrees farenheit outside, they tell us, and it didn't get much above ten all day, so it was never what you'd call warm. But come on people, it isn't that bad. In fact, I kind of like it. I sure wouldn't have kept the children inside for recess; what harm could it have done them to go out for ten minutes or so, and see what it'd be like to live in Montana? But alas, more cautious folks than I are in charge.

The thing about this cold business is, if you have appropriate clothes on it doesn't really bother you. Sure, your cheeks might sting a bit, but with fleece-lined pants and a canvas coat over a fleece jacket over a sweater, why, it's just like sitting in front of your fire at home. Hats and mittens are good too. Warm socks. It's funny, though, to see how much the breeze can do at those temperatures. It was sunny, so when the air was still you'd swear it wasn't any colder than 25 or 30. When the air started to move, though, even the slightest bit, it was another story. It really goes to show you what they mean when they talk about windchill; it's kind of silly to be thinking about it at 25 degrees (when it's that warm humidity has much more of an effect on percieved temperature, I find), but around zero it starts to make more sense. And when you think about what it's like in Siberia, or down there in Antarctica... woohoo!

And why do I like it, you ask? Well, it clears the air up something wonderful, for one thing. The air just looks different when the temperature is below 15 or so. And then it's interesting to see everything turn gray, something else that really changes the look of things. And smoke and steam and factory exhaust look so much prettier in the cold, too. Some other things too. So from my warm house I'm sure pleased with the cold. I do pray that the people who usually sleep outside find somehere safe to spend the night, though, that's for sure.

die, comments, die!!

I just deleted all of the 4353 comments on this blog (and the 17 on the other one), by the simple expedient of replacing the comment.db file with an empty document by the same name. (After all that talk about mySQL I ended up using a flat file database for this blog installation because it was less confusing to set up.) The file was almost 12 MB, for goodness sake; it clearly had to go. I apologize to the posters of the five legitimate comments that this blog had in its early days, you can rest assured in the knowledge that I still have your comments saved, and I will even reinstitute them on the blog if I can ever manage to troll by hand through the 360 pages of database entries I've saved on my machine here.

So let me take this opportunity to say, I hate spam. I really do. This comment spam is bad enough (and it would be far worse if I also had real user comments to worry about) but it's the email spam that's really getting to me now. The filter on my mail client catches about 40 or 50 messages a day, and another five or so get through to bother me; and it's really unacceptable. I'm not tech-savvy enough, I'm afraid, to deal with the problem properly. Right now I'm trying to think of ways to disable my regular email address for a few months and use a backup instead, in the hopes that the bounces would lead the spammers to give up; but even if I did find a way to do that (the difficulty is remembering all the places I used it to sign up for usernames to things) I don't think it would help. I would say I have only myself to blame, since I foolishly posted my address several places on my site where I was young and foolish--it's still there too, I ought to fix that--but even people who's addresses have never appeared anywhere on the internet, that ought to be as pure as the driven snow, have problems with spam. What a sad state of affairs.

ps. Fuitadnet hosting is also a sad state of affairs. Terrible. Never use them, if you're looking for hosting.

the best website ever

Synthetron? Speed garage? Nu Style Gabber?! What are these strange strings of letters, you may wonder; and to find out, all you need to do is take a look at Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music. We had another chance to experience this wonderful resource this evening, when Leah wanted to show the site to her brother and asked me to dredge it once again out of the murkey depths of the internet. We'd first been made aware of it, you see, some time ago, when we were in California, and I'd forgotten all about it since then. First place I looked for a trace of it this time was here in this very blog, since I was sure I'd have written about it; but apparently that is not the case. So here you go: go check the site out, and learn more than you ever wanted to know about the strange and wonderful world of the dance music of the last 30 years. And listen to about 300 samples while you're at it, too.

Continuing in the music vein, today was the Winter Concert at Mason-Rice Elementary, and I enjoyed it very much. The chorus was the best, even if I do disagree with the pedagogical methods and, um, personality of the music teacher (only sometimes on the latter). I sure wish I had that many singers at my beck and call. It's interesting, though, that at this age the singers are so much better than the instrumental musicians; by the time they get to high school the chorus will be perhaps three or four times better than we heard this morning, while the folks blowing or scraping on those odd objects will have improved, oh, fifty-fold. Or a hundred even, or, like, infinity. I think it has something to do with practicing. Which makes you wonder, what would happen if all those singers kept working at singing? The world would be alot like a Broadway musical, I have to imagine.

who will buy..

... our nice little house here? For it is, indeed, for sale; or it will be in a couple days anyways. It's what you might call incovenient for us: our landlords now are just fine, thank you very much, and who wants to deal with a whole new set of folks? But even worse than that--so terrible, in fact, that everything else positively pales in comparison--is that we now have to keep the house clean, so people can come look at it.

Actually, no. It won't be anything but a benefit to us to have a little added incentive to straighten up around the place from time to time; after all, it's us who live here so we're the ones get to enjoy all the cleanliness. The problem lies more in the fact that our present situation allows other people to tell us we need to clean our house, on a certain timetable. That does not please me at all. Even worse, the real estate guy let slip a little warning about someone in Boston who got sued by his landlord for cheapening the value of the property he (the landlord) was selling, most likely by telling the truth about the dump that was on the market, that he happened to be living in.

And that seems a bit much, suing and all that. Because obviously, what interest do we as tenants have in driving up the price of the house? And why would we not have the right to give our honest opinion about the house where we, lately, spend alot more time than the landlords? It doesn't seem particularly fair to me. Not a nice situation at all. And then there's all the folks are going to be traipsing through and the open houses and all that... no, all in all this is not a development that I can say I am pleased with.

Who will Buy? - by leah

Since Dan weighed in on the house-selling situation, i must too give my oppinion. I agree that it's true; it is the biggest inconvenience we have so far faced. It sucks that we have to clean all the time, and have people trapsing through our house etc, but that's not why i'm upset. The situation sucks because now i'm wracked with worry that we will not have a place to live in June. Our lease only goes through may, and if the new owners are not looking for an income property, but somewhere to live, then we're out of there faster than you can say "my parent's basement." This would mean that we would be looking for a new place to live during final stages of planning our wedding... and what if we can't find a place in time? We move back into our childhood bedrooms? While i'm picking out garter belts???

Even though i would really like us to have our own house and be paying money into a morgage rather than a landlord's pocket (we're all seen that commercial), i wasn't thinking of it so much on the soon side. I could really use anouther year in our current place, to mull things over and all.

Dan says i should have more faith, and he's right. it's easy to have faith that God's taking care of you when everything is going right and you don't have to maybe move out of your home in four months. It's harder to be faithfull when you DO maybe have to move in four months, and even though i believe intellectually that everything will be okay, well, either way you start to think of contingency plans just in case God really doesn't like you.

In either case i pray that either we will get to stay in our current house for anouther year, provided that they don't raise the rent on us, or that we get our own house that's nicer, but either way that we're not kept waiting for an answer for weeks and weeks and weeks. Already my weak composition can't take it! I tossed and turned all night with the worst headache ever!!!

Attention all our friends: for our wedding please give us a new house. Thanks!

nine below!!

The weather has bad timing. It's all kind of winter storm out there, but it won't get me out of any work at all: things'll be all cleared away by monday morning. It's blizzarding right now, but a blizzard at night is no concern of ours, snug as we are in our little home here. Also, it has snowed before, I believe--whatever the surging hordes at Trader Joe's this afternoon may have thought. It seemed that they were getting ready to be snowed in their houses for a week or two; was there a forecast that I missed? So snow, whatever. No, the big news today is that when I checked the weather this morning they were reporting nine below in Beford. Hoowee! It got warmer (all the way up to 12 or 14!) by the time I went out, so I didn't get to experience the wonder of this remarkable cold, but I do know that I could see my breath on our stairwell in the middle of the day. Good times. And there is looking like it's going to be a good lot of snow, too.


So, yeah. There was alot of snow in this storm. Enough that it took about three hours to shovel out the cars and the front steps, which kept us from going and doing something fun in the snow. Or more fun, rather, cause I had fun shovelling too. We have a sort of snow fort going on at the bottom of our steps now: the pile between the sidewalk and the street is about five feet tall, and there was no way I was going to shovel out the sidewalk down the hill. Fortunately the way up the hill, to the driveway, is much the shorter path.

Being stuck inside all day with the snow gave us a chance to paint our kitchen, which we did. It looks wonderful now, if I do say so myself. It took a while, but it was much easier than I expected, which leads me to wonder: why did we wait so long? Oh well. It went so well that we're already thinking of which room to do next. See, they all have just this hidious wallpaper...

Also I watched the Patriots beat the Steelers in the AFC championship game. Woohoo!

a sunny snow day, of all things

So remember all that I said about the weather and timing? I take it back. Despite the fact that this morning dawned sunny and beautiful (and a note on that sunny: how I welcomed it, o forgotten sun!) there was still no school today across all of eastern Massachusetts and much of New Hampshire. Newton included. So I didn't have to go to work, and even better, I heard that I wouldn't have to go to work at about 2:00 yesterday afternoon. The only thing better than a snow day is a sunny snow day, and the only thing better than a sunny snow day is one you know about in advance. Lexington, and some other select communities, has another one coming up tomorrow, but it appears to be back to work for me; it's just as well, though, since I only have a half day. It's hard to think of it now, but we will have to make these days up in June, I understand it.

Anyways, we took advantage of the day to go skiing (cross-county style) and had a very pleasant time indeed, except for Leah's boots don't really fit and gave her a bit of a blister. Cross-county skiing is one of my favorite things to do--really, going out and playing in the snow all day is one of my favorite things to do, and skiing is an acceptably grown-up way to experience that joy. I'll still stoop to good old sledding once and a while too, though. Or even more than that.

still snowing

It's still snowing. Not, that is, that it's been snowing continuously since that big blizzard the other day--we had two whole days of clear skies between then and now, two days that Lexington and many other communities around the Commonwealth had off school. (Me, I had to go work on Tuesday.) But today was a snowy day, all day, so of course that meant everyone had to go back to school. Wait, what? At least Boston and some towns on the Cape realized their error, and have now cancelled school for the rest of the week, but still, it would have made alot more sense to cancel today and then have school on Friday. But who am I to meddle in the affairs of superintendants?

So anyways, it started snowing sometime last night, and it continues to snow at this moment. We've only (only!) gotten about five more inches, but added to the considerable amount that was already on the ground it looks pretty impressive. The coolest feature of all this accumulation is the new look of the sidewalks around our neighborhood. I thought the one outside our house was pretty cool: it's shoveled out, at a width of about two or three feet, to an average depth of two feet or so, and it cuts through piles about five feet high where it crosses our driveway and our neighbors'. But that's nothing compared to the situation down on Mass Ave, the main street hearabouts: there the average depth is five feet, and walking down it puts one in mind a castle parapet. At one point I had to turn sideways to fit through. Awsome.

bon aniversaire!

By the way, today marks the one year anniversery of this blog. Woohoo!

too sleepy today

I forgot to really sleep last night. We stayed up kind of late watching the season premier of 'Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica', which is one of the few good shows on television, and then after that we watched the premier of the Ashley Simpson show, which is one of the bad shows on television. And then we had to wake up early so Leah could go to 6:30 yoga. So it's questionable whether I'll make it through today.

On the other hand, it sure was pretty driving to work today. The best part is going west on Route 2: the sun is just rising behind me, and the nearly full moon was just ahead just above a band of thick purple-gray clouds. The rest of the sky was blue blue, and the rising sun lit up the snow on the ground and on all the tree branches pale orange. Very nice. Too bad there were other people on the road, driving badly and cutting in line and just doing their best to spoil any aesthetic appreciation I was attempting to undertake.

joyeux anniversaire

Dan asked me how to spell "Birthday" in french, and as i was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling in a state of post-workday malaise, i incorrectly told him that anniversaire had only one "n" in it. And to think i sailed through that college as a French major with a 3.94! Well, i could plainly see when i saw it in writing that it needed an extra "n". Sorry Honey!

But i'm not sorry for the next part: the appropriate adjective modifier for anniversaire is joyeux, not bonne. Joyeux literally means happy (joyfull might sound like a tempting translation, but the french version is much more casual and really isn't strong enough to merit an American word of such furvour.) Joyeux is mostly used in idom in the same way we American's use "happy": joyeux anniversaire, joyeux noel (happy birthday, and happy Christmas for the English Americans). The word bon (literally "good" in all American implications) is used as a modifier in many idoms ("bonne chance" par exemple) which involve well-wishing, but unfortunately not for birthdays. On the other hand, ther is the popular expression "Bonne Fette" which means, generally, happy holiday, or have a good holiday, and can be taken to mean any holiday, whether it's Christmas or your birthday or a party on the weekend when your parents aren't home.

So that's what dan meant: Bonne Fette et Joyeux anniversaire: felicitations a Squibix Web: le cite ou on racconte toutes les aventures de Dan et Leah.

20° = thaw

It got to be downright balmy by the afternoon today: the temperature made it all the way up to twenty or so (farenheit of course). I felt like walking around without a jacket, and did open my car windows for the first part of my commute home (until I got on the highway). The snow started melting, the ground was wet--it was practically a heat wave.

We went out for dinner this evening with Leah's family to celebrate her father and brother's birthday. It was good food. The food combined with the wine combined with the drive home made me feel kind of sick, so I think I'm going to stop writing now.

Burns Day

Happy Birthday Robert Burns! Burns birthday is usually celebrated on the 25th of January, but I see nothing wrong with moving it to a weekend for the convenience of revellers; so this evening I went to a nice rousing Burns day party and ate and drank and read poems. I did 'To a Mouse' for my main contribution; here's the clincher of that fine lyric:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

housing crisis

Well, not really a crisis yet. But we have been looking at some other houses, in case we get kicked out of this one. We found one that's really nice; it's a newly-refinished condo not very far from here, that has a working fireplace and both an upstairs and a downstairs. That's class. Only problem is that, as a condo, it needs to be purchased rather than rented. Leah's father expressed some interest in aiding us with the purchasing (indeed it was his idea in the first place to go out looking at condos, and he did all the research), but it's obviously a big decision for all parties concerned. Of course, there's a good long time before we have to worry about being homeless, and even if this house doesn't work out there's more, I'm sure, where that came from.

In other news, Mrs. Beaty was at a conference today so I ran the class by myself. Well, there was actually a sub and a student teacher there as well, but the latter is just a pre-practicum student and it was only her second day, and the former isn't really a good teacher. A pleasant person, perhaps, but. Anyways, I didn't do the best job ever, but I think I acquitted myself reasonably well for a first time. Hopefully there will be many more at some point in the future.

January 2005 :: February 2005 >>