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I'm enjoying these precious couple of days of downtime before the semester starts, just walking around all calm and dreamy. It will be good to start the semester, though, because for the past few weeks, I've been experiencing intense moneylust. It's completely socially irresponsible, and I need something to take my mind off it. I think about money all the time, about having lots and lots of it, and what I'd do with it. I've been initiating discussions with friends, asking them what they'd do with a lot of money. If I were wealthy, I'd have:

A townhouse in New York City, not sure where exactly, but I'd have celebrities for neighbors, and an estate somewhere in the south (outskirts of Atlanta or Nashville, or somewhere in North Carolina). In each home, I'd have a darkroom with the best equipment, a photography studio with lots of windows for beautiful light, a big office, a $100,000 kitchen with an island in the middle and one of those ovens that bakes your cheesecake and then chills it. I'd have a huge room with art all over the walls, like 27 Rue de Fleurus. Edited to add: I'd also have track lighting in most of the rooms. My homes would be decorated in a minimalist sparse, simple (I don't want to throw around such a loaded term, I've decided) style with a few hipster kitschy touches, like, say, a Cookie Monster or Smurf cookie jar in the kitchen.

A top-of-the-line hybrid car, with customizations like a high-end stereo and extra-comfortable seats

Every new, small, fast, high-res, multiple-gig-storage techie gadget. I'd have the best PDA, cell phone, digital camera, iPod, laptop, desktop, etc. And TiVo. And a Bose stereo.

Massages several times a week, and manicures and pedicures

A personal trainer, personal chef, and personal assistant

Unlimited credit at Sephora, Saks, Bloomingdale's, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Neiman-Marcus for when I'm in the South.

Yeah, I know, I'm in the wrong line of work for this lifestyle.

Bluejeans and Billfolds

Well, I'm back. Not thrilled about it, but there it is. As always, I had a wonderful time at home; I miss hearing people say "billfold" instead of "wallet," "bluejeans" instead of "jeans." Sigh. Now I have to get ready for the beginning of the semester, but I'm not feeling like engaging in anything right now. I'm easing into it. For the moment, some of the pictures I scanned (more to come) -- you've seen my mom, now here are pictures of my dad from back in his Navy days, roughly age 18-21:

The Dirty South

Tomorrow I go here:

The Southland: Pond Catfish, Homemade Pies, Pit Bar B Q

This image comes from a series on diners I did back in 1997 as an independent study for my photography minor. Here's another photograph from the series, taken inside The Southland:

Old woman with lunch

The Summer in Review

Turns out I'm not doing my tour of Indiana after all. Last night, my friend P. called me and urged me to come home again before the fall semester starts. I had thought I wouldn't be able to find a reasonably-priced plane ticket, and indeed, the flights into Nashville and Huntsville were going for about $500.00, but I found a flight to Birmingham for $226! I leave Tuesday and will be home for six days, which is good, because I've been taking stock of my summer. What have I done? I:

  • Moved into a new apartment
  • Co-authored the introductory chapter of the blog collection and did a lot of editing work before it officially went live
  • Taught a Technical and Professional Writing class
  • Studied for and took prelims (will be done with those soon, anyway)
  • Wrote two short articles for The Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism
  • Made some smart, healthy, and long overdue lifestyle changes and, as a result, lost 32 pounds (eleven dress sizes)

Sounds good, but despite the fact that I've been relatively productive compared to summers past, I'm not happy (for an soundtrack, imagine Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" or Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" playing in the background), and I was thinking that if I had spent more time at home, I wouldn't feel this downcast. I hope I'm right about that.

Prelims are... a guy I dated in college used to say, "a lukewarm dose of hell." (Be sure to pronounce it "HAY-ul.") When I finish the one I've been working on today that's due tomorrow morning, I'll have three down, three to go -- that's two 24-hour ones and one 2-hour done, and two 24-hour ones and one 2-hour left to do. Keep in mind, too, that I've had to juggle this with teaching, a heavy grading load, and two other projects with looming deadlines. :(

I'm still hitting the almond butter jar, by the way, and even eating raw, unsalted almonds from the little store at school. Are almonds nature's Paxil?

Not to be outdone...

Others have posted great 1970s photographs of family, and I of course have to add mine. I wish I had more family photos here in Minnesota, but they're all at my parents' house. Here's one I do have, though -- my mom sometime in the 60s or 70s. I don't know anything about the context:

Morning Minutiae

I love surprising my friends with little, unexpected things that they'll find touching, that will make them happy. The Chicklettes, for example, loved the photographs I sent to my old friend Charges. Yesterday I found another such surprise--a letter from one of my good friends who has two children, the older of whom is six, or will be six soon. She wrote the letter on March 25, 1998, when she was pregnant with the older child. She was filled with joy, talking about how much she loved it when the baby kicked and moved, the changes in her body, buying maternity clothes for the first time, picking out names, wondering if it would be a boy or girl but being sure it was a boy (she was right). I immediately made a photocopy of the letter to zip off into the mail to her. Knowing her, she'll sniffle a bit when she reads it :), and hopefully she'll read it to her son one day. I can't wait for her to get it. has a good collection of old video game sounds.

Diana Krall is playing here August 11, and I can't believe I'm about to once again shell out the cash for that ticket, but the show is well worth it.

Paranoid Blog Dream

Another one to add to the blog dream series. This one's a recurring dream in times of stress, and I suspect this latest flare-up is related to my imminent preliminary exams. For context: In Drupal admin mode, I can see what people search for in my archives, and in my referrer logs, I can see which Google queries lead to my blog. Well, in the dream, mysterious people send me threatening messages this way. I go to "administer," and I see searches for "I want to kill you" and all kinds of other horrible stuff. Then I go to my referrer logs, and there are all these Google searches for stuff like "Clancy must die," etc.

All right, now I've sufficiently creeped you out. :-) I didn't mean to, as one of my students says, harsh your mellow. Now I'm expecting some facetious archive search queries, such as "You need help."

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