Monday, August 02, 2004

I've moved. The blog moved.

The new blog address is http://11d.typepad.com/blog/.


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Waist High Boxes

Apt. 11D is nearly boxed up. Just have my desk and few dirty dishes to go. The movers arrive at 8:00 am to relocate us to Piermont Ave next to the tracks.

Everybody is doing fine, though Ian nearly lost it when he saw his trains sealed tightly in a box. Steve's hernia is under control, but 112 lb. me has to be the muscles around here. I'm feeling very GI Jane.

Well, time to box up the iBook. Thanks to all for coming back to check on things during my absence. I'll be back next week to tell tales of getting interviewed by two major newspapers about blogging (and my incompetance at giving good soundbite), my new neighbors with Nascar flags waving proudly on their front porch (welcome Red America), and more BS that is my blog.


Sunday, July 25, 2004


I am interrupting my blogging break, because I am unable to contain myself. I have been skimming the blog posts at Convention Bloggers, and I am so juiced up.

I know that for others the participation of bloggers at the convention is all about old media v. new media. Blogs as a battering ram smashing the old decrepit system of print and TV media. Bloggers are exposing old media biases and providing a new, younger style of reporting. And leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

For more, read Patrick Belton and Dan Drezner.

What has gotten me to abandon boxing up my kitchen is the thrill of the bloggers witnessing and participating in this political ritual.

From Kicking Ass:
I hope you'll forgive the boundless enthusiasm of someone who grew up watching political conventions on television and is now finally attending his first one. This really is a dream come true for me, and when I stepped on the floor of the Fleet Center this afternoon and saw the setup, I was honestly giddy.

From Talkleft:
We're here! It's amazing. Beyond amazing. This may be the coolest thing we've done in years. We're running around like a maniac, so here's a brief recap....starting with the plane ride... So, a few minutes after we sat down in our seat, Colorado's Governor Owens boarded and sat a few rows behind us. (Yes, coach for both of us today.) What on earth is he doing attending the Democratic Convention? Well...of course we asked him.

Their joy is contagious. They are participating in politics, and their readers are vicariously sitting in the nosebleed section along with them. These posts reveal not objective, jaded observers, but enthusiastic actors. Makes me wish that I was there.

Blogs themselves might not be democratic, but blogs are good for democracy.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Going, Going, Gone

Why am I being so sentimental
about moving? I have left other apartments without a tear. I guess it's
because we passed so many milestones here in our seven years in Apt. 11D.
Two dissertations and two kids happened here. There are pencil lines marking
the kids' growth on the back of door. We won't be able to pack up that into
a box to our new home.

I would like to write more. But truthfully the sh*t is really hitting
the fan here. Steve, who's timing couldn't be better, suddenly got a hernia
that is going to need immediate surgery. Chase bank is not clearly an important
check fast enough. Sensing all the stress, the kids are acting out by suddenly
crying and spazzing out. Both of our work commitments suddenly got a bit
more crazy. There are last minute attempts to sell an old fish tank and
illegal washing machine. There's no time to be sentimental anymore.

I'll be back in two or three weeks with a link to a new blog and a clearer head. See you then. Take care.

From an article in St. Paul's Pioneer Press:

Clancy Ratliff, a student of rhetoric and feminist studies, is studying the Web logs of mothers for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Minnesota. Ratliff said she got to thinking about how Web logs that discuss the Iraq war and the upcoming U.S. presidential election — often written by men — get as many as tens of thousands hits a day, but that the Internet audience is not as wide for the women who write online about politics in a more personal, everyday-life kind of way, such as parental leave policies of corporations.

"People may think, 'Oh, this is just someone's blog about changing a diaper,' but these are women who are using blogs to have a voice in the public sphere, to get their opinions out there," Ratliff says. "It's a pretty powerful thing for a lot of women."

In a way, these blogs are documenting everyday history: "These people are talking about the daily work of motherhood," Ratliff says.

And I got a plug, too.


In academic circles, few admit to a personal life. Academics like to brag about how much they read over a weekend, rather how much they chilled out. They feel more comfortable talking shop than discussing the weather. For the really hardcore, it's almost taboo to have a life outside of the university. I worked for one university for a year, and no one asked me the names of my kids.

That's why it is going to be so much fun to go to APSA this year. Thanks to blogging, I know some about my colleagues' personal lives and views on topics that have nothing to do with political science. And, yes, they will have to take some shit for it. Just giving you warning, Chris, the thing you have for Avril "Sk8ter Boi" Lavigne will not go without comment.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I just can't stop it. The corn keeps on coming...

I like checking things off lists. There are the small day to day lists: food shopping, dry cleaning pick up, finish that book. And then there is The List that only contains two or three big goals.

A few years ago, the top item on the uber-list was finishing the dissertations. When we were about 3/4rds through with our opuses, it became clear that the academic market was so tight that we would be highly unlikely to find jobs in the same city and might not even find employment at all. (Gee, it took you that long to figure that out?) We considered stopping right there. Walking away before the defense and saving months of time and money. But we finished and were able to cross the dissertations off the list. I think we made the right decision to finish. Life is so much better now that the dissertation is finished. Three years later, I'm still happy to be done.

After I finished, there was a short period of disorientation. What should I be thinking about? What should I be doing?

One of our major goal for this year was to find a new place to live. About a year ago, it became clear that raising a family in four floor walk up sucked. (Yes, we're slow.) But finding a place to live during this housing bubble was far from easy. I rambled on and on about our housing adventures: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In two days, adequate shelter will be crossed off the uber-list. Sure we'll have to pull up carpets, steam off wallpaper, and paint the ugly walls, but those items don't belong on the uber-list. I need a new big goal.

Striving for goals is what makes life interesting. Achieving them is what makes life sweet. It provides a narrative for one's life.

Now that my kids will be tucked away safely in the second floor bedroom and I won't have to deal with the drudgery of being an urban parent, I'm freed up to concentrate on the next big plan. I just don't know what it is going to be yet.


Monday, July 12, 2004


Allison's baby is here.

Maureen Ryan from the Chicago Trib is taking over for Eric Zorn this week. She also had an interesting article on how Blogads are paying serious cash to the bigger political bloggers. I'm selling out, baby!

Want to know why there's not a proper post tonight? Because of these two huge time wasters. Thanks to Dan Drezner and Ampersand for rotting my brain.

An exerpt from the Hostess Diaries in the Times:

Other times, we are less subtle about urging customers to leave. On a cold night around Halloween, Monica Lewinsky and a friend are deep in conversation downstairs when Liza approaches them. "Hi, I hate to bother you," she says.

I can see Monica look up and break into a pretty smile — her face is pale, if overly made-up, like someone who has come from a television appearance. She seems to think Liza wants an autograph. But the waitress tells her she might want to leave the restaurant.

The big smile fades. Liza explains: Chelsea Clinton and her boyfriend, Ian Klaus, are upstairs having a drink.

"Oh my God!" Monica says loud enough to hear halfway across the room. "Why won't these people leave me alone?" she whines, and stands straight up.

The woman she is with asks: "What's going on? What happened?"

"Chelsea Clinton is here," Monica says. "We've got to leave through the back." Her friend's eyes widen...

We watch to see that she steps off the property and then dash back in and upstairs to the bar, where we break into laughter and jump around holding each other. I have no idea why we are so excited.

The next morning, The Daily News reports that Chelsea Clinton and Ian Klaus haven't been out together in weeks, and suggests they have broken up.


Sunday, July 11, 2004


On Saturday, in between packing boxes, Steve, the kids, and I walked about the neighborhood doing chores and entertaining the kids. As we went about our business of getting a change of address form from the post office, taking old boxes from behind other apartments, and having coffee in the cafe, each event was in sharp focus. We knew that this was the last time we would be there.

Some places, like the post office, we won't miss. Good riddance to the post office with its long lines and surly workers. Good riddance to the parking lot so far away. Good riddance to the crackhead who lives in the garbage tunnel, because our super outsources work to him. $5 to shovel the snow. Other people and places will never be replaced.

After an hour walk to the post office, we stopped by Kappy's for a video. Kappy is an eccentric fellow. He rents videos, ships packages, and is also a notary public. His video collect is mammoth and obsessively organized not by genre, but by actor and director. Kurosawa has his own shelf. Tom Cruise does too, and it is still located above a Nicole Kidman shelf. We rented Cold Mountain and Finding Nemo. In the suburbs, there will be no Kappy, just a Blockbuster with 10 copies of Kindergarten Cop.

Cold Mountain was good, though it pales to the book. The movie at least stayed true to the major theme of the book -- a man destroyed by war striving to come home. Of course, this theme wasn't dreamed up by Fraiser, but by Homer 2,500 years ago. And Homer probably got it from someone else. It's an eternal theme that the glory of war is illusionary and the only thing that matters is love and home. All war is Abu Ghraib. What matters most is family and tilling the fields. Beating those shields into plows.

A friend recently sent me this quote from Orwell, "The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a life-belt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet to be fully alive."

Today, we packed a bit. Jonah made a fort out of empty boxes. Then we stopped into the Cloisters, so that I could take pictures of their gardens. We'll be tilling our own fields soon.

Five years old is such a great age. Two years is good, too, but not for going to museums. Five years old is great for that. I showed Jonah the Unicorn tapestries and told him the story of how the mean hunters tricked and trapped it. I showed him the unicorn using his magic horn to purify the water. I left out the Jesus analogies, and its thing for virgins. Jonah, always the softy, was very upset about the hunters. Why are they hurting the unicorn? But why? Why? Then he said that he and his friends would protect the unicorn with big sticks. We let Ian run around the garden paths for a while, and then left to get a pizza.

We're leaving one Ithaka for another this week. (Is that possible?) I'm sure that the remaining three posts this week will be filled with more corn like this.

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