Go away, Coldplay

June 17th, 2008

I’m so sick of Coldplay, and, in particular, I’m annoyed that their new song, “Viva la Vida,” keeps getting stuck in my head, because the iPod/iTunes ad that features it has been running incessantly during the NBA Finals. I’ve never liked Coldplay, mostly because I already hate U2. More than ever, especially in that ad, Chris Martin seems to be channeling Bono.

I am apparently not the only one who has noticed this. When I read the Houston Chronicle headline, “Coldplay Channels U2 on New Album,” I remarked to Dan that it could have been an Onion headline: how does this represent a new direction for Coldplay? Well, whatever — the Finals should be over tonight anyway, which will mean less exposure to Chris Martin’s annoying chest-patting and Jesus-like arm-spreading.

If you like piña coladas and grading AP exams…

June 8th, 2008

This is the first out of the past three summers that I won’t be attending the AP English Language exam in Daytona, which will be taking place this week. Nathan’s imminent (I hope) arrival makes it impossible for me to go, and even if I were there, I wouldn’t be able to partake of the piña coladas, which is really one of the best reasons to be there.

I actually do really enjoy going every year, even though the work is fairly grueling. I grade a couple hundred papers in a day, and it’s a lot of sitting in a chair in a freezing room, but it’s fun to get to know people and the $1500 stipend doesn’t hurt. Plus, not to keep harping on the alcohol, but it does make for a relaxing evening to walk the beach, watch the pelicans, and sit and stare into the ocean with a piña colada in hand. The Hilton at Daytona makes them with whipped cream on top, which is actually the best part. Kelly very kindly made piña coladas at my shower a few weeks ago (non-alcoholic, of course), to try to make up for the fact that I’m missing that part of my summer. They were good, but it wasn’t quite the same experience.

Oh, right … that

June 2nd, 2008

With somewhere between four and six weeks to go before Nathan arrives, I’m finding that I have at least one moment a day where I’m pulled up short and think to myself, “Oh, right … I’m pregnant.” It usually happens when I pass a mirror.

You’d think after nine months of this, I’d be used to it, but surprisingly there are a lot of times throughout the day where I kind of forget altogether that I’m pregnant. This is a good thing. Such moments usually occur when I’m doing really non-pregnancy-related things, like reading or talking to friends. I spend good chunks of my day engaged in tasks specifically related to the baby, like putting away his clothes or rearranging kitchen cupboards to make room for his bottles, but these aren’t the sorts of things that can occupy a whole day. And given that I’m on “bed rest”(ish), there’s a lot of day to fill. It’s a good day when I can still find enough to distract me from just sitting and brooding about being pregnant and wishing he’d just get here already.

The other upside to this is that, even with all the complications that I do and have had throughout the pregnancy, I’m not experiencing a lot of the typical discomforts that the books warn you about. I’m still fairly mobile. No back pain. No heartburn. No irrational cravings. Minimal mood swings. More or less sleeping through the night, if I don’t nap during the day (meaning that I only get up once after a good 4-5 hour stretch of sleep, and I’m able to get back to sleep for another couple hours). So on the whole I am happy that I’m able to forget about the pregnancy for long stretches of the day, because if I were experiencing these things, it would never be far from my mind. On the other hand, you know, it would be perfectly fine if he would just hurry up and get here already.

Moms online

May 29th, 2008

I was reading through a BabyCenter discussion yesterday on whether slogans, ranging from “I still live with my parents” to “The condom broke,” are funny or inappropriate on babies’ and kids’ clothes. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions, but what struck me was the diversity of responses the post generated. I think of BabyCenter as being a fairly suburban, upper-middle-class website, from all the hawking of Maclaren strollers and doula services and “fab mom” gear, and yet the responses on this topic were all over the place.

There were responses that I recognized as coming from very young moms, like some of my students: “BE ALL THE U CAN BE DAT’S DA BEST MAMMA.” There were also responses saying things like, “Since my husband is very involved in our church council, we have to be careful about the image we project in public.” There were very crass statements, like from those who did think that “The condom broke” was hilarious. And, perhaps most bizarrely to me, multiple posts from mothers who have taken their babies to horror conventions and purchased some of this merchandise there. (Seriously, horror cons? First of all, “-con geek” and “mom” strike me as sort of fundamentally paradoxical, but that’s probably just my bias in thinking that -con geeks can’t get laid. But secondly, who takes a baby to a convention, particularly for horror? “Hey, kid, get a load of the different fake bloods over here! Scared yet?”)

I realize that mothers come from every corner of society, obviously. There are few requirements for reproduction (all evidence to the contrary, in our case). I guess what surprised me was the diversity of moms on this particular site. I think of the Internet as playing host to niches of people that gravitate like toward like: programmers over here on Slashdot, high school and college kids over there on Facebook, and a particular type of mom on BabyCenter. Clearly, “mother” is its own category, though, and joining the club of motherhood trumps other boundaries, whether they be educational, taste-based, or even moral.

Have you been injured?

May 19th, 2008

I saw again last night a billboard along U.S. 59 advertising a personal injury lawyer’s services for injuries pertaining to 18-wheeler accidents. I can’t help thinking that these attorneys are getting overly specific. How many 18-wheeler accidents are there every year? And how many people are injured in them? Moreover, how many of that pool of people live in Houston and would need this particular attorney’s help?

A quick Google search immediately revealed a full page of results (and more, of course) hyping 18-wheeler accident attorneys’ services, so either this is much more frequent a phenomenon than I think it is, or they’re trying to create their own market. One website claims that 18-wheeler accidents account for 1 out of every 8 traffic accidents, 500,000 per year, so perhaps it is bigger than I think. Perhaps if I watched overly-sensationalized local news instead of relying on NBC Nightly News I would be more scared.

Feeling like Violet Beauregarde

May 10th, 2008

I was put on bed rest this weekend, due to significant swelling in my feet and spikes in my blood pressure that might be an indication of preeclampsia. This is on top of the fact that, for the last month, I’ve been measuring at least 5 weeks ahead (now it’s 7), because I have too much amniotic fluid. We’ll also find out on Monday through a more detailed ultrasound, whether Nathan himself is huge, or whether my measuring large is just due to too much fluid. Regardless, all of this has me feeling like Violet Beauregarde, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, albeit without turning blue. I’m wondering where it will end.

Annoying things about watching Utah basketball

May 2nd, 2008

  1. Rudest fans in the league. Seriously, the analysts even commented on it when in game 5 a fan was ejected from the game (and then allowed to return for some reason after the half), supposedly for using racial epithets against the Rockets’ players.
  2. As a corollary to the above, there’s apparently one fan who has some kind of bell that he or she rings, and the TV audio picks it up very clearly. So. Annoying.
  3. Games don’t start until 9:30, even in the Central time zone, so they don’t end until around midnight.
  4. Oh, yeah: ending the Rockets’ season two years in a row.

Update: seeing the head-to-head match-up analysis of the Jazz vs. the Lakers at the end of the game, I asked Dan, “Who do you root for there?” His response: “Earthquake.”

Take note

May 2nd, 2008

Out and about this evening, we saw perhaps the most pretentious car we’ve ever seen, at least in Houston: a gold Lexus SUV with a Mensa license plate guard. Note to that driver: you’re really not as cool as you think you are.

Amusing myself with anachronisms

April 25th, 2008

As I’m working on my article (which, no, I will not be able to finish today, sigh), I sometimes mistype the Cmd+I to begin italicization on titles, such that I end up just hitting “i.” This leads to titles like iDictionary and iJourney, which are theoretically plausible neologisms in our modern world of iPods and iReporters. However, since the “i” is being (mis-)appended to 18th-century works by Samuel Johnson, they’re being transformed into highly anachronistic titles, which amuses me (if no one else).

Update: I’ve been urged to note that I did, in fact, finish my article on Friday afternoon. It’s out for final review with my professors before I submit it for publication. Exciting!


April 25th, 2008

I’m so happy that it’s all coming to an end. The semester, that is. I think I may be more looking forward to that wrapping up than to Nathan’s birth, at least at this point. This has been a hard semester, and I can’t wait for it to be over.

Of course, the two countdowns are really intertwined. Part of the reason this semester has been so hard is that the physical reality of pregnancy has often kept me from doing work in the manner and at the pace to which I’ve become accustomed. Moreover, I’m looking forward to the fact that I expect to be at least slightly more comfortable when I don’t have to look nice, shlep a bag around, or walk at least 3/4 of a mile a day to get to and from my classes. And finally, part of my relief at the semester ending is that I can then focus on the birth: planning the bris, getting the house ready, and all the things that I’ve had to resist allowing to overwhelm my schoolwork.

I’m writing my theory paper this weekend, (hopefully) finishing my article today, and then I just have to read for and write my Renaissance women paper. In any event, all of that should be done by the end of next weekend. Then I just have to grade my students’ papers, but I get faster and faster with that every semester. I figure they’re never going to get them back (I think in 6 semesters of teaching, out of about 300 students, I’ve had maybe 5 or 6 ever that requested their final papers back), so I don’t bother to write comments. Read, grade, read, grade, read, grade… It goes pretty quickly.

All should be done by May 8, which, coincidentally, is Dan’s birthday, so it would be extra-nice to be finished by then.