Sunday, June 19, 2005

frogs in memoriam

My sister told me today that apparently the guy who killed my friend and his girlfriend is going up for parole. My mom seems to have sheltered me from this news, for which I am somewhat grateful.

However, now that I know, I wanted to see what I could find out about it. I couldn't even remember the guy's name, and didn't care that much. My thinking at the time prior to sentencing, and to a certain extent, my thought now, is that the amount of punishment he gets doesn't matter much- they could torture him, and riddle his body with bullets, rip out his fingernails, whatever, but it won't bring my friend, or his girlfriend back. I'm more concerned with this man, who is my age, getting sober so he won't do this again than I am with him sitting in a prison cell for the next 5 years, which would be the rest of his sentence. In fact, I probably would feel better if I knew he had turned around his life. Our prison system isn't exactly set up for rehabilitation, unfortunately. In fact, he was already out on parole for drug possession when he ran the stop sign and went right into my friend's car. On the other hand, I'm not exactly excited about the prospect of him getting out. When I found out that he had gotten 9 years (even knowing that he might serve half that...), I was shocked at how pleased I was with that. I had prepared myself for being excited at a sentence of 2 years, which seemed like a long time at the time, but is a mere drop in the bucket when recovering from grief. I hadn't even gotten back to normal at the end of 2 years. I think it took me almost 3 years to do that, and now I'm staring year 4 right in the face.

So... I did a bunch of googling. I found the Louisiana Parole Board website, but didn't see anyone with involuntary manslaughter or felony hit and run. Ended up going to Lexis-Nexis to search the Times-Picayune for my friend's name, and found the brief article I was looking for. Went back to the Louisiana Parole Board website, and did a little searching, but couldn't find anything. Googled the guy's name. Couldn't find anything.

Eventually, I googled his girlfriend's dad's name. Her dad was athletic director at a prominent high school in the area, and I thought that maybe there would be something related to a letter writing campaign, or something, since apparently, his influence in the community, and the support and love that everyone related to that school had for him and his family, was no small impact in getting the guy a reasonable sentence.

I found this article instead:

One of his girlfriend's friends from grad school discovered a new kind of toad. When someone finds a new species, they get to name that species, and he named it after her, in her memory. Wow. Made me sob like a baby.

I'm sure I'll hear more about the parole thing when I get home. I think my mom was probably right not to tell me, but it's not devestating or anything now that I know.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

100 Things About Me

This seems to be an obligatory post for all bloggers. So here goes. I'll try not to repeat things I've talked about in other posts.

1. Washington DC is my favorite city of all time, ever.
2. My favorite meal is a virgin Pina Colada, Tom Yum Goong soup, and Pad Thai Jae from Neisha Thai. I haven't had this meal in almost 3 years.
3. My mother is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
4. I have played the piano since I was 3. Unfortunately, I am not as good as you might think, given 24 years of piano playing (some years consist of hardly any playing at all, which is also unfortunate)
5. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
6. Despite my atrocious math background, I was chosen to be in the honors program at college.
7. I got kicked out of the honors program 1 semester before graduation because my GPA was too low.
8. My husband and I have 2 apartments.
9. I am a bleeding heart liberal.
10. I like to watch Barefoot Contessa while working out at the gym. Ironic, no?
11. I took a semester off in college b/c I was extremely depressed.
12. I am a dog person.
13. My favorite movie is The Remains of the Day.
14. I'm not sure if this record has been broken, but I was the youngest person ever in my county to get a library card.
15. I own a Nissan Altima.
16. My wildest dream is to be an opera singer.
17. I used to play air violin as a child, and would still like to learn to play for real.
18. I love foreign movies.
19. I am mildly allergic to cats
20. My parents almost split up when I was 11.
21. Everyone has a "type." My type is "nerdy."
22. I loved living alone.
23. My hair is straight and brown, with a few gray hairs that I pull out the second I see them.
24. I competed in the Miss America pageant at the state level (meaning that I won a local pageant and went on to compete for Miss State, which I didn't win.)
25. I knew one of the girls from the first season of America's Next Top Model.
26. I had a finance class with an Olympic athlete and the son of one of the nation's most famous billionaires.
27. I know I've talked about it in previous posts, but it's such an important part of who I am that I have to repeat it. My best friend was killed in a car accident.
28. I am a feminist.
29. I have been married for almost a year- it will be a year in about a week and a half!
30. I could probably eat fudge and/or maple sugar all day long, if I didn't know how horrible it is for you.
31. I went to a private, all-girls school from pre-k through high school. 14 years.
32. My best girlfriend in high school stabbed me in the back. We're no longer friends.
33. I love weddings.
34. I post on multiple internet boards.
35. I am an expert on using self-tanner. (thanks to my pageant days)
36. I learned copperplate calligraphy to address my wedding invitations.
37. I can name just about every celebrity from my hometown, to the point that my college roommate used to make fun of me.
38. I drink lots of tea. My favorite tea is Lapsang Soushong.
39. I saw going away to college as my only way to get away from parental control.
40. I have never tried illegal drugs of any kind.
41. I have tried cigars, though, but didn't inhale smoke into my lungs- just puffed on them.
42. I don't eat pork, unless it's in bacon form.
43. I am a slight overpronator (this is a running term- it means my feet roll inward)
44. I can drive a stick-shift.
45. I do all my own waxing.
46. I have always liked butterflies, since I was a toddler. I liked them so much that my mom had butterflies drawn on my birthday cake on my first birthday.
47. I took a Cusinart food processor as carryon on a flight once. This was before 9/11, obviously. I found out from my mom that when my grandmother immigrated to the US around 1970, she also carried on her food processor for the international flight.
48. I still miss our dog, who died only a couple of months before my best friend.
49. The best month of my life in terms of number of good things that happened to me was October 1997.
50. I am a member of the oldest continuously-existing literary society in the U.S.
51. I majored in Marketing.
52. I was this close to minoring in Religious Studies.
53. My favorite TV show was The West Wing. It's sucked a lot in the last few years, but I haven't really found a replacement, and I love Allison Janney so much, I can't quit watching.
54. I used to be a rabid fan of Days of Our Lives.
55. I think my most prized possession is my engagement ring. Even more so than my grandmother's wedding band.
56. I once dated a guy who told me that I was the only girl he had ever dated that had never had an eating disorder or a stalker. Okaaaaaaaay.
57. Most days, I don't think I'll make it out of the Ph.D. program with a diploma.
58. I sometimes wish my husband wasn't going into academia, solely for financial reasons.
59. Male TV personality I'd most like to hook up with, if neither one of us were married: Jon Stewart
60. Sometimes I wish I could go blonde and have it actually not look horrible on me.
61. I once had a pair of diamond earrings. They went missing somewhere in my parents' house, and we never found them. Stolen? We're not sure.
62. King of the Hill reminds me of my dad.
63. You know I knit, but did you know that I'm also a natural fiber snob?
64. I think bunnies, mice, and hamsters are cute.
65. I hate washing dishes.
66. I have a sister who is 20 months younger than I am.
67. I am a terrible procrastinator.
68. I am not athletic at all, and only work out for health reasons. I do not enjoy it, and would rather be knitting, or doing something else more fun.
69. I did run a 5K once.
70. I took five years of Latin in high school, and that was what I used to fulfill my language requirement at college.
71. I used to test software for a living.
72. My scariest moment was 9/11. I was living in DC at the time, and working in a government agency just a few miles from the Pentagon. You just didn't know what was going to happen next, and even driving home was scary.
73. When I donate money to charity, I donate to public broadcasting and to my alma maters (secondary school and college).
74. Foreign countries I have been to: Canada, England, France, Hong Kong. I have also been to Japan, but this was due to an unfortunate flight delay on the way to HK, and subsequent overnight stay in the Narita Airport Radisson.
75. I have lived in the midwest, the south, the northeast, and the west coast.
76. My favorite kind of underwear is GapBody.
77. I hate moving more than almost anything.
78. My favorite color is blue.
79. I am a terrible procrastinator.
80. My favorite dessert is creme brulee.
81. I used to have an apartment of really nice furnishings, and I really miss it.
82. I was on antidepressants for 7 months during my first year of grad school.
83. I love thunderstorms, as long as I'm inside.
84. If I won the lottery, I'd pay off my parents' house, pay for their planned remodeling, and set up scholarships in my friend's name at my alma mater (he went to the boys' school next door, and they really pissed me off, so they're not getting my money) and at his undergraduate college. I'd probably stay in grad school, but I'd move to a place where we could get a dog.
85. Almost all my close friends are from high school.
86. I am a good cook, but have started to hate cooking since getting married. I can't just cook for fun anymore.
87. I have loved Saturday Night Live since 7th grade.
88. I am not entrepreneurial at all.
89. I have a friend in high places.
90. I grew up without cable- I didn't have cable until my sophomore year of college, when it was free in the dorms. I then went without cable for 4 years, with a brief interlude of a few months with my EvilBlackSouledRoommate, when I moved in and she already had it. When she moved out, I went back to not having it, until I moved into on-campus dorms, which then got free cable again. (the free cable sucks, though)
91. I cannot remember not being able to read. I could read when I started school at age 3.
92. I am working on breaking an in-law hating pattern that my mother has tried her best to instill in me.
93. I am always cold.
94. I love humidity.
95. My first car was a 1986 BMW 528e.
96. I love yoga, even though my skills ebb and flow depending on how often I go. (right now, not that often)
97. When I was growing up, I LOVED the show Doogie Howser, M.D.
98. I am 5'7" tall.
99. I have 6 first cousins.
100. Tori Amos is one of my favorite musical artists.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

more knitting

Finally got my KnitPicks Shine yarn. It's 60% cotton, 40% modal, and it is so soft!!! I love it. I'm making a red baby blanket out of it for DH's Chinese friend from his master's program. I'm still working on my Clapotis in the meantime, though. I won't bother posting a picture- it looks much the same as the last one, but with more dropped stitches and it's longer now. I have my Stitch 'n' Bitch group tonight, so I'll be working on it more there.

Just got finished with TAing my big residential class on Sunday night. It was a rough class. The class as a whole had a very weird vibe. Very lackadaisical, uncaring, self-satisfied as a group. You'd get individual people alone, and they would be awesome- so nice, curious, serious, but the group norms were such that these qualities were stifled. It really got to one of the professors, who actually cried after finishing one of the session b/c he was so frustrated. I have never seen a professor cry before! It was very strange.

I also had the opportunity to see my good friend who lives in Hong Kong. I haven't seen her in 3.5 years, since I went with another friend to visit her in Hong Kong. Of course my friend brought me a present. She's sweet like that. Of course, I had presents for her too (her birthday is this week) in addition to about 8 videotapes of American TV!! I tape shows that she doesn't get in Hong Kong (like the West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Alias, etc.). We went to dinner- turns out she wanted Buffalo Wings! Buffalo wings are pretty hard to come by on the west coast- at least not good ones. However, we ended up ordering takeout from Hooters! I hadn't been in a Hooters before, but she lived above a Hooters in Manhattan for a whole year, and got take away wings all the time from them. She was ridiculously excited about Hooters! It was so funny. I'll have to post pictures, maybe. (maybe on my other blog....)

In seeing my friend, I also saw DH for an 18 hour interlude in our 3 week separation due to conferences, TA jobs, my sister's wedding, etc. Sigh.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Updated pic of Clapotis

So remember the "thong" I was knitting a few posts ago?

Here it is now:

It's coming along! In the meantime, I have several projects in mind, including:

1 Christmas stocking (made out of TLC CaraMia)
2 Big Bad Baby Blankets (made out of Knitpicks Shine, one in red, the other in... violet maybe)
1 "Branching Out" scarf from Knitty
1 "Lace and Agate" scarf

I also have an idea for a new scarf pattern, but I think I'm going to have to get new, extra long circular needles to do it. I have a goal to get a pattern published somewhere, either in Knitty, MagKnits, or a new online mag called Spun, or somewhere else. If all else fails, and it's a cool pattern, I can always post it here. This goal has no deadline, but it's something I'd like to be working towards.

If only I could set these kinds of goals for school!! Like, "Get journal article published!" Well, that's a much harder goal, IMO, although maybe my opinion is wrong! Getting a pattern published isn't going to be THAT easy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Stupid academics.

I officially hate my husband's university. Well, not his university, but I damn sure hate his department.

Let's just say that I should have seen the writing on the wall when his advisor tried to complement DH by insulting me.

DH got his annual performance review. Stellar, as usual, except that they complained that he's not around enough. They said something like, "We understand your situation" (i.e. they know that his wife is a Ph.D. student at another university, a university that is less prestigious than theirs, studying a subject which they think is stupid and in opposition to theirs) "but your presence around the halls will be more important as the job market approaches."

DH thinks it's reflective of the fact that they don't think a personal life is important (they're also mean to people with kids, by the way), but since many of these people have met me, heard about me, know what I'm doing, I'm taking it more personally. My interpretation is, "Well, your wife's program isn't as big of a deal as yours is. She should follow YOU."

This raises my hackles because it is not their place to say who should follow whom. It is a decision that should be made by me and DH. Not them. Not to mention it gets my little feminist knickers all in a twist. I had to work hard last night not to be pissed at DH as an extension of them.

Basically, what this means is that we're probably going to have to spend more time apart. Since I have a lot of TA obligations during the academic year, it means I have to be around A LOT. Otherwise, my professors, almost all of whom are women who have (or had) husbands, and most of whom have at least one child, are super cool about me going back and forth, as long as I get my work done.