28 March 2009

food for thought.

"It doesn’t seem fair that we can look back and connect the dots in life, and see what led from that to this, but we cannot look forward and anticipate in any way what constellation today’s dots will form in the vast space ahead of us. I guess it’s just best to assume that heaven is right here, right now, and let the stars fall where they may."

computer, when do I get my tang? also i'm thirsty.

I am posting this entire episode because between Jack's storage issues, Tracy's word plays and Kenneth's muppet-vision I don't even know how I could choose clips. The muppets were really the best part. I could watch this episode again and again... when 30 Rock is good, it is sooo good.

25 March 2009

theme song for my move.

This video is cool enough to stand on its own (add "being a dancer on 'Soul Train'" to my list of career aspirations, please) (I also think I'd like to be Elton John for Halloween) but it is totally emblematic of the cool space my future city holds in pop culture. Rockin' dance music for a snowy day.

24 March 2009

this blog is turning into a bunch of emotional crap. somebody find me a video of a dog running into a wall or something, stat.

It's funny to me the way my perceptions have changed since I decided to move away from this place. Tonight I was looking for a qtip when I happened upon the giant jug of handsoap refill. I refilled the soap dispenser and realized that I probably won't need to fill up the handsoap again before I leave, and alas the jug of handsoap was magically transformed into a jug of bubble bath.*

Everything's been like that the past few days. I drive down the Sunnyside-- the street I drive down the most in this town--and I think about how there will be a time in my life, quite soon really, when I don't drive down that street, when I won't have occasion to recall how I almost ran over some extras from "High School Musical 3" on that very road last summer during a freak rain storm.** And the mountains, yes, today-- absolutely pissed that I had to put on my puffy coat-- I looked at the mountains and noted to myself that this could be the last time I get to see snow on those mountains as one who lives in Utah.***

I did this when I left Tacoma, but having lived here just nineteen months I find it striking. So I order that pizza from The Pie, drop in to see my favorite people in the department, and take another longing look at the valley because I know I will miss Utah when I'm gone.****

*About eight ounces will do if you are going for an effect similar to "Pretty Woman."
**Yes, that was one sentence. Lately I've been rewriting the newspaper articles in my head as I read them... I'm in a strange place with words these days.
***Who am I kidding? This is Utah!
****Which is not to say I'm not excited about leaving, but that's another post all together.

22 March 2009

a little sunday CDR.

I post from time to time on my love for Christopher David Ryan's work, and today I find these new bits particularly lovely. I think it has to do with all of the peace and quiet I feel inside, having a sense of my future and basking in the joy of working on projects I have complete control over. With Vivaldi's Four Seasons playing, a cloudy day outside, a book on British war nurses in front of me, a little art seems like just the ticket. Prints can be found here and here.

21 March 2009

i decided.

I had to make the best decision for my future, not just the short term. I think a life with a PhD from Temple University-- School B-- is a life I can look forward to and the life I most want. I am still a little shocked that I made the decision-- actually turning down the U, actually sending off the forms-- but I think I would be remiss to surrender such a great opportunity, both for learning and personal growth. I think Philly will offer me a new and different perspective on the world-- something you can never get enough of as a historian trying to understand what it means to be human. I'm nervous and I know I'm taking a huge risk-- I have never taken such a leap of faith in my life-- but I know that there is really no better path for me to take it this point.

Holy cow!!! There aren't words to express how crazy this feels and how wildly excited I am.
Watch out Philadelphia! The Granny Bike's going East Coast!

20 March 2009

duly noted.

Rough day on the Granny Bike front. Enjoy this plucky song with me.

19 March 2009

trial by blog, update.

First I wanted to thank everyone for their fantastic, well thought out feedback. It's given me a lot to chew on and it has been nice to know that people care so much about my journey. Feel free to leave thoughts if anything else comes to you. The jury is still out and will be, perhaps, for a few more weeks. I talked to the graduate director at School B today and here is the information I now have:

-I have until the "official" April 15th deadline to respond, although they have asked people to respond by April 1. So, hypothetically, they could make me an offer during that 2 week span if they have TAships to give out. After that, in spite of it being an ethical quandry, she said I could accept both schools and pull out from one during the summer. Not preferable, she noted, but she suggested that I do what I need to do on that front. Basically, she made it sound like she's letting me make my acceptance of admissions contingent upon funding if that's how I want to do it. Not sure I feel good about accepting multiple schools, but I like having until the 15th.

-She said that last year they were able to fund everybody that wanted to come; most years, they are able to offer 80%. People that come unfunded are almost always funded by the second year. It's hard to know what the circumstances will be this year, but historically they have a good track record for funding.

--Their waitlist is chronological with PhDs getting priority-- she didn't say where I'm at on the list but I am definitely in the top group.

--Touchy feely stuff that gave me a good impression: she recalled my writing sample and commented on how interesting it was. She also said they don't admit people that they don't want to come (no courtesy admissions). Her advice to me was that if only thing holding me back is money then I should think pretty seriously about coming, something my Mom told me about an hour before.

What did I get out of this? Well, even though she couldn't make any guarantees as to what kind of offer they will be able to make, she represented her program well and tried to give me confidence in the program. And really? I appreciated that she was in her office calling people back at 6:30pm.

So I'm undecided, still, and I'm going to let it be that way for a while(I will probably continue to shrink from the stress... that's another post for another time...).

Tough tittie in Tacoma City, as my grandmother would say.

18 March 2009

trial by blog.

I have a conundrum that I would like to put forth to my readers, mostly because I don't really feel like calling everyone to get their perspective. I have two options.

School A: Offered me a funding package including full tuition benefit and a stipend.

I go to School A already. I have good relationships with the faculty, find the location to be very livable, beautiful and comfortable and I have many wonderful friends here. I've gotten good public history experience here and would continue to have such opportunities. Granted it's a really tough year for the job market-- nobody that I know who's applied for jobs with a PhD from my school has gotten hired. For the uninitiated, everyone in our field is operating on the assumption that the job market will continue to be rough.

School B: Waitlisted me for a similar funding package and won't notify waitlisted people until after they accept the admissions offer. Basically, they are asking me to make a blind decision.

School B is located in a huge metropolis on the other side of the country-- living there would definitely be an adventure and would offer more of a singles "scene" (not to mention great cultural and sporting events, the resources of several other universities in town and it is only a few hours away from some of the best libraries in the country)-- and I could take my car there. It has a very strong group of 20th century US historians and offers excellent public history training. School B is more prestigious than School A, and they have a very good rate of job placement (everyone who's worked with the person I would like to work with now has a university teaching job).

So which one would you choose? Short term stability with a risk of not getting a job at the end, or short term risk with a reasonable guarantee for employment at the end? What questions would you ask and what factors would you take into account? Flights between both places and home cost basically the same, for example. Both schools have the same school color, though School B has a cooler mascot. I'm tossing up a poll in the sidebar, but do leave a comment with your rationale.

16 March 2009

obligatory muppet repost.

why i love meghan mccain.

After taking the weekend off from my thesis-- annoyed with changes proposed during my defense that I have no desire to integrate (while I am sure they are very good ideas)-- naturally, it would be the thing keeping me from falling asleep. Turning away from the pages of suggestions to the internet, it occured to me that I have a touch of Stockholm syndrome.

One of the things I like best about The Daily Beast is that it includes voices of conservative writers. I don't have the patience for actual conservative blogs, but I enjoy it when there is an effort at balance in the mainstream media. As The Times has been in flux in this regard (thank goodness they got rid of William Kristol!), The Daily Beast has stepped up. Furthermore, the conservatives they have writing for them are women-- women who aren't afraid to offer some scathing critiques of the movement and the GOP.

I can't lie. I am a junkie for conservative politics. Sure, I'm basically a socialist when the water meets the road, but being as my professional development requires that I set my own politics aside, I get to be as interested as I want. Admitedly, I study conservatives because they shock me. I like a kum-bay-ya history of the women's movement as much as any feminist, but prefer the intellectual gymnastics I have to do when confronted with a bunch of pro-life libertarians calling their legislators about porn and the gay agenda. I just don't get the same sense of wide eyed fascination when I read about lesbian baseball teams.

Anyways, everyday when I read the news and the commentary I ask myself how on earth the conservative movement is ever going to regain its strength. It's turned into kind of a sad story, really, kind of like the Democrats after McGovern, Dukakis... basically every candidate they put forth between LBJ and WJC really. So in all of this tragedy (or maybe it's a comedy) I have been surprised to find that Meghan McCain, daughter of the unsuccessful Senator from Arizona, has become one of the few reasonable voices amidst the cacaphony of crazies (Rush, 14 year old boy, etc. etc.).

The Girl McCain is not a particularly great writer-- there is a laissez faire approach to the editing of her work that does her no favors. But the ideas are good, when she doesn't paint herself into the corner of acknowledging her privledge or naivete. That she can stay afloat with so many caveats says a lot more about the movement than the person. I tried really hard to be dismissive but then I realized her perspective is unparalleled. Though I love David Brooks, it's a shit time to be preaching old school, preReagan sermons and nobody wants to try out his good ideas anyways.

So M. McCain: I find it refreshing that she takes on Ann Coulter, because AC scares the shit out of liberals and the first thing the RNC et al should be doing is to make itself look less scary (though the selfish part of me says "don't ever stop"). I like that she takes a moderate stance on social issues, and recognizes that base pandering is a dangerous thing when trying to attain electoral majorities. Though the writing was particularly bad in her "Looking for Mr. Far Right" piece, I thought it was a clever way to showcase the shambles of right politics. Her recent body image bit was rational and I think we need as many voices as possible, from whatever side, to protest the way women's bodies are attacked in politics.

Ok, so maybe the standards are low, but I think Meghan McCain is establishing herself as a person to listen to in the conservative movement. Or at the very least, a person liberals can tolerate listening to. I have a pretty high tolerance and even I can't handle the vacuous pundits-- here here for more sensible folks making it look like there's a slight possibility that our two-party system can start working again.

09 March 2009

a pretty fruitful day on the interwebs.

I found this image on the design blog Oh Joy!. It comes via a brand of clothing called Makool. I love the picture-- it just says Spring riding to me. Of course, it snowed here again today but with all the teasing sunny days we've had lately, I'm glad it's getting close.

Also, let's talk about the shirt from that image. Wow.

Just looking at its beautiful structure and amazing details makes me appreciate fashion so much more than I did five minutes ago. Its $176.00 price tag, however, reminds me that I have limits. Limits are free.

Also bike-y: the blog "What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today." Very cool concept.

Here's an article from Smithsonian magazine featuring cool Special Collections, featuring my own beloved University Library.

I enjoyed this sneak peak of a ranch home from Design Sponge today. I love the "wood everywhere" look complimented by oodles of cacti and lots of daylight. I am tormented by my lust for a mid-century house done up right. In five years?

Let's not talk about how many images I've set aside for design inspiration lately. The prospect of a new apartment this summer is too exciting.

A neat public art project. Aw, it's fun to be human.

I love that Barack spends his days doing stuff like this and this even if it is kind of sad that he has to put so much effort into undoing Bush-era oversteps.

And to completely overwhelm you, as a public service I have to post this song. I downloaded Sun Kil Moon's album April yesterday (as well as Mark Kozelek's What's Next to the Moon) (indulgent I know, but the cost per listen in the long term is really low...and what can I say? it's always Mark Kozelek week around here) and the first track is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. I love how it just goes on forever. Absolutely sublime and a little heartbreaking. I haven't really listened to the rest of the album because I am so stuck on this song. It definitely makes my Top 4 long songs of all time, right next to Stairway to Heaven, Only in Dreams, and Layla-- particularly when I heard the latter two songs live, respectively. This one is best when you can comprehend the lyrics-- a beautiful song about being a ghost.

miracle meatballs.

Having been on the bike pretty consistently lately, I've had a hard time getting enough to eat (being hungry all the time but not having a taste for anything). I am usually pretty careful about following my cravings because I am convinced it's my body's way of telling me what I need, and lately my body has been like, "WOMAN, give me some MEAT." My muscles want to get bigger and I need the protein... thanks, ODT!

I don't eat a lot of meat usually, and if I do eat it it's chicken or sushi. But the other night, as I watched The Godfather II (I'm working my way through the trilogy...wow) I was overcome by the need for spaghetti and meatballs. I had a bad experience eating ground beef recently (I need to accept that cow flesh is just not something I should attempt at home anymore) so I put some thought into it, consulted allrecipes and this was the result (I fused the recipe with one of the comments and what I had on hand). I've been off of pasta lately too so this was a good way to eat through some of my stash.

Miracle Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup-ish smashed up whole wheat Ritz crackers
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons-ish whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • salt to taste
Mix together. Make into balls (I bet tiny hands would love to help). Bake in 350 degree oven for twenty minutes (wax paper on your pan makes for easy cleanup). Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself what a good cook you are.

Serve with sauce of your choice (I used Newman's Own Marinara Sauce and it tasted just fine) and some Tums-- these rich badboys gave me some serious heartburn.

The nice thing about meatballs is that you could make a bajillion and then freeze them. You could also change up the spices (or not) and serve with gravy for Swedish Meatballs. You could use your food processor to decimate some carrots and celery if you're looking to add some extra veg to your meal. You could combine the pork with any other ground meat (beef, turkey, veal... VEAL!) depending on what you have on hand. You could eat them plain or on a meatball sandwich. Meatballs are really a miracle food-- they take no time to make and offer you all these possibilities.

07 March 2009


I came across this site called Indexed today and thought it was just the thing that to promote on COTGB. Wisdom like this:
and this:

and this:

totally merits a spot on the sidebar. Indexed also has a widget for Mac dashboards that you can put next to your horoscope, urban dictionary word of the day and graduation countdown calender. Handy.

UPDATE: Also added to the sidebar... Big Brother's blog: http://tacomabikeranch.blogspot.com/

A must read for two-wheeled, granola lifestyle enthusiasts, or those interested in a family's journey into happier living. After cataloging some recent changes made in the household he wrote, "
Of course, this all started with biking to work." BEWARE. He is very skilled at selling bike riding as a positive lifestyle choice and you might be inspired to start riding your bike, losing weight and feeling happier. IT WILL BE SO AWFUL. ;)

mood music.

<a href="http://www.joost.com/135de6e/t/Fiona-Apple-Never-Is-A-Promise">Fiona Apple - Never Is A Promise</a>

05 March 2009

if i had only followed cnbc's advice, i'd have a million dollars today... provided i had started with a hundred million dollars.

I'm not usually a big follower of The Daily Show (or anything that requires actually turning on my tv) but Jon Stewart has been out of control brilliant lately. People worried about Obama bringing about the Fairness Doctrine have nothing to fear. Comedy Central has instituted checks and balances in the media more successfully than any other source before it. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press... god I love the First Amendment. [I had problems with the embed here: click the second link in each respective link chunk]

heroic women, part one.

Seeing this picture today inspired me to do a post about how awesome Michelle Obama is-- and then I realized that International Women's Day is on Sunday and really, that requires a commemorative series of blog posts because I don't think we can ever do enough to build each other up and honor each other for what we do. So the first woman I'm saluting in my "heroic women" series is Michelle Obama because she is First Lady.

WASHINGTON - MARCH 05: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama serves lunch at Miriam's Kitchen which provides meals, case management services and housing support to nearly 250 homeless men and women March 5, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The visit was a part of the first lady's effort to connect with the Washington, D.C. community and also highlight the city's best practices. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Michelle Obama is a woman who commands respect. Sure she is gracious and lovely and fit-- but I love that when I see her I am reminded that she is a successful, educated woman who, in front of the whole country, juggles being a wife and mother alongside her job as First Lady. If we couldn't get a female president this time around, I feel like Michelle Obama is everything one could ask for when it comes to promoting powerful womanhood in the Executive branch. I love how Oprah described her in Vogue, "Michelle Obama is a full-blown, grown-up woman. An authentically empowered real woman who looks and feels like a modern woman in the twenty-first century, allowing us to see the best of ourselves in her." Amen Oprah!

04 March 2009

the perils of being a housestudent.

Well, it happened. After four years of dutiful service, my slippers finally bit the dust. From their humble beginnings in a German Pennymarkt to Washington to Utah, these 70% Wolle / 30% Synthetik little guys have been my friends year round. Tonight my toe finally punched through the repairs I made last winter and, feeling like I hobo, I conceeded that it was time to move on. Some new boiled wool slippers are on the way, but I can't help but feel like this is the end of an era.

And by that I mean I wonder if I can write the new slippers off on my taxes as a work-required uniform.
I kid. I'll miss you, deutsche snowflake slippers.