Yesterday was the kind of day where a lot of minor annoyances added up and finally pushed me over the top into just giving up on accomplishing anything remotely useful. That seems to happen from time to time, and it's not a huge setback or anything. But I am still kind of pissed off about the last minor annoyance, the one that nudged me across the line.
See, it was a recycling day, so I had put my bin out on the sidewalk the night before. Towards the end of the day, when several bullshit things had already gone wrong, I went to go get the bin, only to discover that someone had moved it so that it was up the driveway and obscured by an empty trash can. As a result, the recycling people didn't take it, so I ended up grumpily lugging the damn thing back to my house, utterly defeated for the day. I came inside, folded up what I was working on, and resigned myself to eating pizza and watching Netflix for the rest of the evening.
Okay, actually, I'm not that pissed about it anymore, because I've thought of a few good reasons why someone might have moved the bin (to access the sidewalk, to access the driveway) and then simply forgotten to put it back. So it's completely possible it wasn't some malevolent bin mover, but it's still weird. And my neighborhood is a ghost town right now, so that makes it extra weird.
Anyway, mostly I was amused, upon reflection, at the disproportionality between the triviality of that final annoyance and the great emotional wallop it managed to pack nonetheless. Also, no five dollars.
An argument arose the other night: suppose a woman goes on maternity leave. Ought critical job-altering events (ie a tenure vote) occur during that window? Or should the university consider her mental health to be a major part of the leave, and thus have an alternate timeline for people on medical leave? (Note: I'm not talking about pausing the tenure clock because of pregnancy - that affects when your tenure packet is due. This is the case where the person has chosen not to stop the clock, but has the baby days before the tenure committee meets to determine her case.)
I argued that it didn't place a big burden on the large R1 university to have a procedure in place. That they must have so many faculty that this must happen frequently enough to justify an alternate protocol. My dad was not particularly sympathetic - the world keeps turning even though you have a baby/surgery/cancer. Mineshaft?
Nick S. sends in: A well-written, brief, first-person description of living in poverty (which you may have already seen).
When I got pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel. I had a minifridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12/$2. Had I had a stove, I couldn't have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron whilst knocked up.
I know how to cook. I had to take Home Ec to graduate high school. Most people on my level didn't. Broccoli is intimidating. You have to have a working stove, and pots, and spices, and you'll have to do the dishes no matter how tired you are or they'll attract bugs. It is a huge new skill for a lot of people. That's not great, but it's true. And if you fuck it up, you could make your family sick. We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them.
Heebie's take: I have the unfortunate habit of reading things like this through the eyes of my most belligerently conservative students. (It comes from the perennial question "Should I save this for a class someday?" to which the answer is always "NO" because I hate dealing with social issues and so never volunteer for classes where they might arise. There's a First Semester in College course that I could teach, frex.)
I'm always interested though in the most convincing responses to the most trolling college student, who I would expect to say something like "This person is the exception, not the rule." As in, how does one get a handle on representing how typical this experience is, to a student who can't necessarily distinguish sources very well? I suppose it would not be too hard to find stats on holding multiple jobs, versus de-bunking the lurking welfare-queen belief. Heebie, you're rambling.
Credit Nypt sends along: If you don't have anything to post, I might like to hear people's recommendations for jazz music of the post-"Bitches Brew" era. I am surprised by how much I like these Miles Davis albums of the era when he was sort of a Mark E. Smith figure, watching as people play variations on grooves and occasionally chipping in some notes himself.
The early free jazz is too free. This has rhythm.
The Geebies are coming! The Geebies are coming! Tuesday the 26th. We fly in around 1:30 and we're free all afternoon/dinnertime, with the kids.
Ideally there might be a coffee shop or restaurant with a small jungle gym type thing, for super easy parenting where we could just camp out for a spell, while you all drop in at your leisure? Or maybe that doesn't occur in places where space is at a premium? Tell us where to go.
Nathan W. sends in: Buried in the article is this bit, which I think [Heebie has] run into:
The board had always regarded the treatment of women as its mission, Dr. Gilstrap said, but felt a particular need to emphasize it now because the specialty's image was being tarnished by members who had strayed into moneymaking sidelines, like testosterone therapy for men, and liposuction and other cosmetic procedures for both women and men.
Thoughts? Does preventing an OB-GYN from marketing labiaplasty justify restricting them from applying their diagnostic expertise to men?
Heebie's take: As written, the board sounds weirdly dogmatic. I always assume funding figures in, any time people are being weirdly rigid.
A liberal muslim homosexual ACLU lawyer professor and abortion doctor was teaching a class on Karl Marx, known atheist
I hate Hobby Lobby and their goddamn santimonious signs that say "Closed Sundays so that our employees may worship." They are also the only place in town to buy fabric and other arts and crafts items, besides Walmart, so I do in fact go there.
Whenever Citizen's United or other things about corporations qualifying for personhood come up, I get irate, and the lawyers all chide, "It's a legal definition. It's not supposed to make you think that the corporation is actually tucking its children in to bed and saying its prayers." I hate that argument as well. I don't want to retort "The Founding Fathers clearly didn't mean it that way" because in general I don't care what the Founding Fathers intended. Is there any reason why we wouldn't be a more perfect union if corporations didn't have personhood?
(Anyway obviously denying birth control is about control, and not about beliefs. Seriously. I can believe that thoughtful people are genuinely anti-abortion, but I cannot believe there is a thoughtful stance against contraception.)
Didn't Alameida and I have some kind of pact that if I started posting again, she had to start using again? Nut up, sister.
Meanwhile, a mix.
Blonde of Mine -- Ray Bonneville
Memorial Day -- James McMurtry
1922 Blues -- Charlie Parr
Fish Ain't Bitin' -- Corey Harris
Lift My Jug (Song for Hub Cale) -- William Elliott Whitmore
Death's Black Train* -- Charlie Parr and The Black Twig Pickers
Where I Lead Me -- Steve Earle
To Live Is To Fly -- Townes Van Zandt
Have you considered trifling with Heebie-Geebie, my beloved people of Unfogged? Don't trifle, y'all, or they'll take you out in a sack. Jimmy Lewis will tell you all about it.
Houston to San Antone/love'em right, or leave'em alone.
UPDATE: I really gotta put this on here. And the whole ZZ Top album Tejas is mind-bendingly awesome.
They were a crazy-good, rhythmically-complex band wrecked up by the 80s 4/4 machine back beat of BORING. Really. Pan Am Highway Blues? Damn. I command you to click that link. My brother and I were bored waiting in the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, one time, going from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Da Nang, and so we swapped iPods. My bro hadn't listened to Tejas in forever, despite it being an iconic, cruce element of our lives. He blissed out on this but for real. It was a pleasure to watch his face.