Saturday, December 11, 2010


It has been raining pretty heavily all week, with something of a break yesterday, and a torrential downpour predicted for today. The weather service had issued flood warnings- warm temps and rising freezing levels combined with rain do awful things to the mountain snowpack, namely. send it raging toward the valleys.

It has barely been drizzling today, though it has been raining heavily further north, and I understand Portland is having problems with street flooding and blocked drains.

I have mixed feelings about this: I enjoy vigorous weather, and we don't get all that much of it here in western Oregon. On the other hand, floods can be a royal pain, or much worse. Probably the greatest danger in my neighborhood comes from landslides and debris flows. While here on the valley floor such mass movement isn't an issue, you don't have to go far from where I'm sitting to find places where it would be a serious concern and real danger. And it's not as if, as I said earlier, we have been particularly lacking in the precipitation department recently.

Still, I had my expectations for a roaring downpour, and I can't help but feel a little disappointed. I have a feeling that Randall Munroe at xkcd can relate.

Saturd80's, Athens. GA Edition

My little sister went to UGa during the 80's, a fact I've always been a bit jealous about, but these bands got heavy play on OSU's student radio station, KBVR. And since I was never much for the bar scene, I guess I didn't really miss all that much. I am disappointed that Guadalcanal Diary seems to have been largely forgotten.

Guadalcanal Diary, Always Saturday:

B-52's, Hot Lava:

REM, Driver 8:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Call Any Vegetable

Zappadan day seven.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Hope This Is Made Available Online

Douglas Adams fans, prepare and celebrate: BBC 4 is doing a television adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I will see it sooner or later. Oh, yes. I will. I'd rather sooner.

Finals Week

So we reach the end of yet another term here at Oregon State. For those of you students who are stressing over finals, two notes: first if you keep up through the term, finals just aren't that big of a deal. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to procrastinate to the end, but the price you pay is serious stress now. Second, this is by far and away the worst week for instructors and profs as well. I have spent my fair share of time both taking finals and doing projects, and grading them. I would much rather have to take a test or do a project than grade dozens of them. Just sayin'.

As I'm out of academia now, neither concern is one that troubles me much anymore. Many, if not most, of the students have finished their terms, and the streets are noticeably quieter than they were yesterday. By Friday afternoon and the weekend, Corvallis will be dead quiet. I have a love-hate relationship with the university and with breaks: I miss my friends when they're not here, but I enjoy the peace when OSU is out of session. By the end of a term- or the end of a break- I'm ready for change. I grew up in a university community, Ohio University in Athens, and have spent most of my life living with the rhythm and seasons of academia. I can't imagine living without that pulse now.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Holidays, Peace and Re-Creation as needed, and luck with end of term duties, whatever they may be.


Zappadan day five...

30 Years Ago

To be honest, I have never been all that big a fan of John Lennon's solo work. Like a great deal of other music, I just don't react strongly to most of it; it doesn't move me. But as with another example that comes to mind, Michael Jackson, I respect that many others are deeply moved by his music. And I do remember being shocked by the senselessness of his murder 30 years ago today. It was not a shock of personal loss, as it was to so many of my friends, but rather a feeling that has come to be a continuing note in my day-to-day existence: sorrow at the loss for those to whom it truly mattered, and grief at human beings' persistent cruelty and indifference to the suffering of other human beings. And while Lennon's music and lyrics may not move me as deeply as they do others, I think the feelings he was trying to communicate are the same as those I feel all too often.

With that in mind, here are a couple of his songs that I really do like. Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People):

Steel and Glass:

Wednesday Wednesday

From Angel_Wings73's MySpace.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dog Breath

From my favorite Zappa Album, "Just Another Band From LA," on Zappadan day 4.

A Day of Infamy

69 years ago today, Japan's forces attacked Americans at Pearl Harbor. The Big Picture has a collection of 34 photos from that day and its aftermath; some of them, like the above, seem very familiar to me, so I'm giving it the "Iconic Photos" label.

It seems downright impossible that this event was closer to my birth- by over 33 years- than my current age is.

Monday, December 6, 2010