Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I turned in my thesis today, after events both kafkaesque and sisyphean. These are the words you can throw out with an MFA. ha. It feels great. I'm also facing the first time in my life I've ever not been in school, since preschool. I went straight from undergrad into my first grad degree and then my second. It's going to be really weird to start thinking in calendar years (or god help me, fiscal years) rather than school years.

It's been a good run, education. I'll probably see you again down the road a bit.

Well hello, video games/free time/leisure reading/24hr fitness. Nice to make your acqaintance...

Monday, April 16, 2007


Today I uttered the sentence, "I thought it was a jellyfish, but it was the moon." Totally with seriousness.

Monday, January 22, 2007

blog for choice

It's Blog for Choice Day. The task is simply to blog about why I'm pro-choice.

I grew up Catholic and pro-life, and many people who know me have heard my story about being in First Friday mass in first grade when Fr. Salmon defined abortion. He hit a tiny plastic baby with a baseball bat, and explained that that is what abortion is. This is the image I lived with throughout my formative years and continue to live with as a gruesome, hyperbolic statement of hatemongering for wicked women. Upon letting go of Catholicism, the associated guilt, and ultimately religion altogether, I came to know what it really means to be a compassionate citizen of this world. It is a much better place when women can decide whether they're equipped to have a child, or to be a mother.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Happy new year and all that jazz. This past weekend I participated in my first ever Mystery Hunt, so I figured I'd blog a little feedback for the folks I figure may be searching for this kind of thing...

I'm not a super seasoned puzzler, might even say I'm a n00b, so I'll keep my comments brief. I'm certainly glad I did the Hunt this year, and I had a lot of fun. I'm super excited for the winning team, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer. The puzzles this year were slick and well done, and everything (modulo round 8 perhaps?) was so smooth. Unfortunately I didn't get to work on a ton of puzzles because it seems that there were never a ton of puzzles open to my team at any one time. The ones I had the least amount of fun on were the ones in which I just googled stuff. Not the most satisfying task. The ones I had the most fun on were the ones for which the primary task of the puzzle was actually fun to complete. This, for me, often means word puzzles. Word puzzles!

To the new writing team: I have some advice. What I say is not referring to what I thought of this Hunt, just my general puzzle philosophy as I've been immersing myself more in the worlds of both solving and writing. I think the canonical rule of puzzle writing should be to make delight the priority. Cleverness without delight is just self-indulgence. The object of a puzzle is to have another mind match yours through this particular medium. The object is not to show off how smart you are. The best puzzles are the ones that would be fun to solve even if there were instructions telling how to solve them. There are some puzzles for which the "aha!" moment is so fantastic that the aforementioned rule doesn't really apply, or maybe it applies in that the "aha!" moment is sufficiently delightful to counteract anything else about the puzzle that may be tedious or mundane. So yeah, keep delight in mind as you're writing the puzzles for next year's hunt. I eagerly await them.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

ohlone tuba ensemble

You haven't heard the Barber of Seville until you've heard it played by an ensemble of two dozens tubas. Ditto Water Music.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

read on if you're interested in elephant penises.

Maybe my reproductive-rights-hackles are a little too easily raised these days, but when I saw a promotion for a television special on the National Geographic Channel about animals in the womb, I muttered something about thinly-veiled pro-life rhetoric. But not being one to discount things out of hand, I tuned in (read: someone tivo'd it, or as we like to say in my house, 'badooped it'). Granted, I only watched the beginning of it so far, but the prognosis is good! They talk about blobs of cells as just that, I don't think I ever heard anything about a "miracle." Not to mention they make animal sex acts look exactly as horrifying as they truly must be.

Case in point number one: Elephant penises are terrifyingly gargantuan and don't even enter the female elephants' va-jay-jays. They just spray their 1/2 pint of semen (school lunch-size milk carton? anyone?) on her backside and hope the little buggers can make it the 6.5 feet to meet the egg.

Case in point number two: I'm sure we've all witnessed a little dog humping now and then. What I honestly did not know is that in a successful attempt, the male dog's penis stays inserted for several minutes and as long as an hour. The two dogs just stand there in a "tie," not mounted, but just standing there butt to butt, looking dumb as dogs usually do. Oddly hilarious. And people think we humans can be impersonal about sex.

If I watch the rest of it and find that my original assumption was right, perhaps there will be an update. I still have to learn about dolphin babies.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the start of a murder mystery... (a class assignment)

Bill Brennan can’t really be that mad at all of us. He was the natural choice for a suspect and he knew it. Sure, maybe there wasn’t an obvious motive, but who besides a pet store owner could have acquired a cone snail to slip into Mrs. Greeley’s tropical fish tank. Who else would have known it was so poisonous. We couldn’t honestly think that Norm over at the bait and tackle could be so crafty. Once the sheriff told us you can get pretty much anything on the internet these days, everyone in town with a computer or with kin who had a computer became a suspect, and that was basically everyone. Bill Brennan was off the hook for now.

As murders go, it was crueler than most. After her husband died, Mrs. Greeley shifted all the love in her body from her husband to her aquarium. The cone snail retrieved from Mrs. Greeley’s house (the “scene,” the sheriff calls it) was so beautiful, brown and densely patterned. She must have seen it in that tank and realized she hadn’t put it there. She probably thought it was an empty shell one of her grandchildren had picked up in a lunchtime swap and dropped in the tank as a sweet gesture. Knowing Mrs. Greeley as we all did, she would have wanted to know the species of mollusk before she let it lie there with the anemones and the sea cucumbers. Who knows how long the damn thing had been lying in wait. It had a little secret harpoon, full of poison, and it killed her. The sheriff shared some information he’d found about the cone snail and said they call one particular species the cigarette snail because you have only enough time for a smoke before you die. Mrs. Greeley had enough time to phone her daughter Luanne and thrash around her house a bit, knocking over the knickknacks and photos. Then the paralysis, and shortly thereafter, the respiratory failure.