Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite books of 2010

These my favorite books I read in 2010. Most of them aren't from 2010; I'm not as up on things as all that. And a nod to a couple of non-fiction books, because you know I'm in the academic line - neither of these are new, mind you:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Photo from NYC

Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
The last update on the New York trip ... yes, I am a higher ed geek, and so I end up visiting colleges on vacation.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New York trip

Bears in NYC?
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
Other museums I visited while in New York included the Museum of Transit and El Museo del Barrio. I also spent a lot of time just exploring the city; this statue is from Morningside Park. While I didn't eat expensively, I had a lot of great food. And I saw Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which was a good show.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Trip to New York

Off into the sunset
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
Back from vacation! On my first day in New York, I started off by walking the High Line, a rails-to-trails project. Only part of it is open thus far, but it's a really fabulous space. They're doing a great job with it. This photo is of a tiny bit of rail they've preserved; most of the path is concrete.

I also went to the Rubin Museum, a Himalayan art museum. It was pretty nice (and only $2 student admission).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


People have asked me, "So, are you celebrating your defense?" The answer is that I went out to lunch with friends after, which makes the next question, "Did you get drunk?" While I had beer, no. I had to go back to work after.

My real celebration will be next week, when I go to New York City for vacation. No, I don't have relatives there. No, I'm not staying with friends, although I will see some people while I'm there. Right now I have only the loosest of plans - other than a reservation at a hostel, which only a fool or a person with a lot of friends to stay with in the city could dispense with during the holidays. I'm neither of those. I want to see a Broadway show or two, take a couple of capoeira classes, maybe do some yoga, and go to a Christmas Eve service, but most of these plans aren't set in stone. This is probably a shocker to those who know me well, as I am a Type-A planner.

Today I went to Borders to pick up a travel guide and got quite lucky. I inquired at the information desk as to where the travel books were - that part of the store had been reorganized since I was last there - and the woman working informed me she had moved here from NYC two weeks ago. (For the music industry, of course.) She recommended the Time Out guides as the best, and it seemed like the wise course to trust her.

So, vacation.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I have a cold that's driving me crazy, and so I was not happy to realize there was a Titans game in town that would turn my 15-minute commute into a 75-minute commute. This kind of stuff makes me cranky, but there's plenty of blame to go around.
  • Construction on Demonbreun and Broadway, the two main thoroughfares from downtown to the east side, simultaneously? Really? Now I know the Broadway work is repairing flood damage, so acts of God yada yada, but couldn't we have held off on shutting down Demonbreun for construction? No one wants the convention center anyway.
  • Whose genius idea was it to put a football stadium on a bend in the river, where most approaching traffic will get squeezed onto a couple of bridges?
  • And god forbid we spend any money on public transit. It's much more fun when every football fan arrives by car.
  • Those gentrifiers who first decided to move into East Nashville were either fools or fiendishly clever. "I know - let's put all the people least likely to care about football in the part of town most impacted by games. I mean, we need something to complain about. And the stress will help out the local yoga and acupuncture places we're gonna build."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The End

Yesterday morning I successfully defended my dissertation. Yes, I have to do some revisions (typical in my department), but they are nothing unreasonable.

A huge weight has been lifted from me!

Friday, December 3, 2010


That was a first.

We spent capoeira class tonight working on a fairly simply defense (esquiva lateral, negative role) to a simple attack (meia lua de frente, meia lua de compasso) - and if you don't know what those are, it doesn't really matter. At the end of class we had a short roda, and in our in-class rodas we are supposed to do what we learned in class.

That's the theory, but if you end up playing Cojaqui, he's gonna throw some things at you that didn't come straight out of the lesson. So that nice defense you were practicing isn't much of a defense, and you have to come up with something quick. There I am, getting backed into a corner (metaphorically, since "roda" does mean circle), and I need to get back into the center without being kicked in the head.

If you've been reading this blog at all, you know that responding appropriately to attacks is something I have trouble with. We all have protective instincts, of course, but you have to replace those natural instincts with new ones if you're going to succeed at any sort of martial art - or even at a mean game of cards. That's hard when you have to think to yourself, "OK, self, what kicks do I know? Er, what is that coming at me? Oh, it's meia lua de compasso, and an appropriate response would be what again? Uh, can I have some more time?"

Right, so there I am, where I've been dozens of times before, and I go into angla nossa, which looks like meia lua de compasso (and remember, kids, that was part of today's lesson) and if someone is expecting de compasso allows you to dodge away. Which I did, back towards the center.

Don't think I looked graceful, or this was a stroke of brilliance, or that Cojaqui couldn't take me down any time he liked. Don't even think anyone except me noticed anything interesting about the move. But what I realized, and what nearly gave me a heart attack immediately after, was that I hadn't thought about the move in advance. I didn't plan it. Nor was it a rote drill - we have sequences we've learned that I can do almost mindlessly when instructed to do so. Instead, it was new instincts kicking in.

Does that sound like a little thing? After eight months, for the first time I had an unconscious, not-planned, not-inappropriate defense to an attack. Hooray, she can be taught.