Monday, March 30, 2009


A friend posted this on Facebook, made me laugh so hard I cried. Why? It might be THE perfect cat video. Make sure you have the volume on.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Went to see STOMP! today with a friend in the department (Donna G). I've wanted to see them for a very long time, got the 'inspiration' after attending the symphony several weeks back. Came home, and bought tickets so I'd have to go.

Today was an ugly, snowy day. But since the tickets were in hand, off we went. Nice lunch at Le Peep beforehand, then braved the weather to walk (in my case, hobble ;-) up to the Morris Theater.

Pretty awesome performance. Amazingly athletic, and interesting that everything they used (brushes, trashcans, plastic bags, lighters, matches, etc.) were common products. I supposed they can perform in any town with a Lowes.

Did My Part

Did my part for the economy Friday, went to the closing to refinance my house. Now I have a much lower monthly payment (went from a 15 yr adjustable rate to a 30-yr fixed) and have a nice chunk of change to make some improvements to the house. First on the list? Painting. Then the upstairs bathroom. Both projects are about 2 years overdue.

Did my part for Obama (aside from working for his campaign and voting for him).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Serves Me Right

It's broken. Gotta admit, today it started to smart quite a bit. My doctor called to tell me there was a fracture, and said: just turn the toe medially, tape it to the next toe, go get a podiatric shoe, stay off of it as much as possible, and...clean your room ;-)

Yep, a messy bedroom is to blame. I tripped over a shoe while stepping over a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. My mother taught me better ;-) Two of my colleagues said I should make up a heroic story about saving a cat, people would believe it.

The good news...I have something to include on my "50 New Things" list...

Guess I have to give up the stilettos for awhile. Here's my current "fashion statement" (with Wiley for scale). Talk about "sensible shoes."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wee Wee Wee Wee

Ouch. I hurt my little toe last night, am currently waiting on the x-rays to find out if it's broken. Clearly I should've just stayed in bed this month!

Couldn't put on a shoe today, so while still chilly here, I was hobbling around campus in Birkenstocks. Got a few comments, so I just showed 'em my bum toe.

But it was worth it, what having saved that poor old nun carrying a newborn baby and a ...umm, puppy, crossing the street while a giant 18-wheeler was bearing down on them. Pretty heroic of me I think.

That's my story, I'm stickin' with it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Day

Feeling much better today. Not great by any means, but better. I have a new found respect of food poisoning, I've never had something wipe me out for this long before.

I taught yesterday and really thought towards the end of my second lecture (ironically, about disease), that I would be sick right there in front of the students. Interesting pedagogy I 'spose, but I let 'em go a bit early rather than risk it. Came home, slept for about 12 hours.

Today has been notably better. Bolstered by three things:

1) the VERY pretty flowers Diane sent from the Department:

2) the news that President Obama is going to be our commencement speaker!! The glee amongst the students was great to see, I imagine for most of the faculty it is even greater. I went to pick up some groceries after work, ran into Gene Ulrich, shared the news, and he remarked that his day just got so much brighter. I agree, it is wonderful news!

As to about the most boring basket of food. All bland. When I checked out, the woman asked "you sick?" She wasn't looking at me at the time (which is admittedly telling in itself), but at the Gatorade, chicken noodle soup, plain yogurt, bananas, and potatoes going by.

3) This evening is the final Battlestar (I made the skull Viper pilot figure above to commemorate the 'event'). Bittersweet, but I'm looking forward to the episode just the same.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grapes of Wrath

Boy have I been sick. I ate some big juicy sweet black grapes this weekend, ended up needing two IVs, vicoden, and antibiotics as a result. Seriously un-fun food poisoning.

Today is much better (tho' far from great), with the added 'bonus' that I've lost my voice. Apparently a not uncommon side effect of too much stomach acid in the throat. An interesting sensation, tho' the cats seem a bit confused.

Had to cancel classes today...tho' perhaps not my most unpopular decision, given that it's St. Patrick's day (kind of a big deal here at ND). Couldn't speak, and couldn't be away from the bathroom long enough to teach.

My first clue was when I put on sweats, turned up the heat, and was sleeping under two big comforters, yet was still cold. Definitely not me. What soon followed left nothing to the imagination.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Battlestar Let-Down

I hate to say this...but I'm a bit less than enamored with the past two episodes of Battlestar. And as they were 2 of the final 3, I'm disappointed. I hope the final 2 hour installment is awesome, because right now, the greatest show ever is going out with something of a whimper. They'd have been fine episodes somewhere in the middle of any given season, but not as a blockbuster ending to a blockbuster show.

(I made this fun little cylon skeleton action figure. Surprisingly, there aren't many BSG skeleton/skulls out there...)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Monkeys Flossing

Allstate Update

I posted "Allstate Woes" here last night and likewise put a comment on Facebook, and finally heard from my former Allstate agent this morning. Don't know if the two are related, probably not. But a fun coincidence just the same. He simply left a message for me to call him, no details as to why. I haven't...since I'm not a customer anymore.

It is amazing how many people have hit on yesterday's post (I can check via "details" what page people come to this site from). There must be a lot of unhappy Allstate customers out there.

The Rock Obama

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Allstate Woes

Many moons ago, I remember reading about the raw deal Allstate dealt to the people of New Orleans, and Mike H's testimony before Congress detailing their dirty deeds.

At that time, I found myself in a moral conundrum. On the one hand, drop the company to protest their treatment of people in Louisiana. An easy choice but for two points: 1) my father worked for Sears for nearly 40 years and I felt company loyalty (Allstate was part of the Sears Financial network). I've had their insurance for almost 25 years. 2) For the past 16 years, I've worked with the same agent. He's an amateur archaeologist, and tho' a bit smarmy, a decent enough guy to work with. In the end, I decided that, like politics, "all [insurance] is local." And I stuck with 'em.

Until today. Today I am a new State Farm customer. Home, car, personal umbrella.

Why the change? 'Cuz my agent (John Davenport) apparently screwed up my homeowner's policy - for the past 8 months I've been without insurance. I found out this surprising detail as I was getting ready to close on my refinancing. When I called Allstate, my agent said I'd canceled my policy because I was upset about the rate increase that occurred as a result of my claim last year.

Trouble is, I have never had a claim on the house. Nor have I ever complained about my rate increases...never actually noticed them. So I had him check, and sure enough, no claims. Then, why no coverage? "You forgot to pay your bill" he explained. Nope, I called in the payment to him and indeed got a 3 dollar reimbursement for overpayment - with a hand written note from him about the matter. He checked, and sure enough, the $3 reimbursement on my HOMEOWNER's policy showed up. When we concluded the conversation last week, he was going to check on it.

Haven't heard from him since. I called on Tuesday, said to get back to me by 4 the next day so I didn't lose my loan. Nothing.

I called State Farm, they had new contracts for me within 30 minutes with more comprehensive coverage on all 3 policies at an almost $500-a-year savings.

The moral(s) of the story -- a) always listen to Mike H.; b) check on your insurance rates regularly, could save you a lot of money; and c) the concept of "company loyalty" is dead (except for Apple ;-)

To fully illustrate my feelings toward Allstate today, I made the logo below. Kills two birds with one stone.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh Ooooh

My secret's out...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bailout Woes

Monday, March 2, 2009

I've Been Remiss

I've been a bad blogger, and have been duly chastised by my father. So, here's an update on life of late:

1. Matzel is doing great! He's like a new cat. He's perky, purring up a storm, hardly seems to notice the giant incision on his belly. He even looks different when viewed from the side. He had the physique of a cat who'd birthed a couple dozen litters. While there's a pouch of loose skin, he looks like he's lost half his body weight. I am so glad I did this operation - messiness for the next few weeks aside.

2. I've started a 3-hour a day writing schedule. I'd give myself a B- at sticking to it, but it's definitely gotten me back into working on the monks. Kinda fun from that standpoint. And, I've decided that my trip to Mongolia will be my Full Professor gift to myself, so have some inspiration. I've hung up brochures in each place that I write to keep me motivated.

3. Saturday night I went out to dinner at NOMA's and then to the symphony. Heard an awesome classical guitarist. The South Bend Symphony is really quite good, we are lucky have such a quality group in a city of this size. Indeed, I was so inspired by my evening out, that I came home and bought tickets to an upcoming Stomp show in April

4. Today was the memorial service for Michael Signer. It was absolutely packed. A heartwarming service, particularly the eulogy by the chair of Theology. The gathering accomplished what Michael's career was all about - interfaith conversation. He brought together a large group of friends to celebrate his life, and mourn his passing far too early.