Friday, December 29, 2006

Who's that knocking? Part Deux

Well, it happened again. This time someone high on something was banging at my door around 3:45 am or there abouts. She...and yes it was a she... was pounding on my back door. I was so disoriented when I woke up, I went to the front of the house, opened an upstairs window and shouted. Then I realized the person was pounding on my back door. So around the back I go. She backs away from the door and comes into view briefly after I shouted to get out of here. I couldn't tell at first if it be man or woman, though I thought woman. She said ok but she wanted to get her partner. It was clear she was high as a kite (my guess is heroin or possibly acid based on the way she acted). She was slighty responsive but did not act the way most anyone would when caught at something like this.

I got the phone and dialed 9-1-1. The operator was sking me questions, especially if I got a look at the person. I wasn't sure whether she was man or woman, so I shouted out again, telling her to leave and telling her the police were on their way. She just kept pounding away. When the police got here, they came to front door and I sent them around to back. I could see that she was initially unresponsive when they told her to step down off the porch. They arrested her, asked my if I knew her ("no"), got my name and number. They carted her off. I hope she isn't released soon, as we have had an overcrowding situation in the county jail, and a lot of folks have been released shortly after arrest, if the crime is non violent.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Off to Vestal

Back from New Orleans and now onto upstate New York. New Orleans was grand, especially the dinner at Arnaud's, ahhh yes champagne and bananas Foster are a good way to begin and end a meal. Greg was off to London the day after Christmas (lucky bastard). However, my after Christmas time will be a blast, as usual to see Arthur and Bernadette. I don't think we'll get much snow this year, but we'll find ways to keep ourselves occupied. Next year is Miami as we swoop down on Michael. But for now, the 8+ hour car trip awaits me. I have my ipod set for about 4+ hours of music and will listen to other stuff when I tire of that or run through it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Off to New Orleans

I'll be heading to New Orleans for a few days over Christmas. I'll leave the 24th and get back on Thusday the 28th. I'll see what's up with some family and friends. Christmas Eve will be at Arnaud's. I'll get in mid afternoon and wrap the presents I had shipped by Amzon to my mother's house-a new holiday tradition I suppose, but it sure beats carrying things or actually shopping on Christmas Eve as some friends and I have done, especially during the grad school years.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Light it up

I've put up the holiday lights in the last couple of weeks to cheer things up. Not many folks have lights up this year, or I'm just early. I wanted to put them up before it got too cold, but the last few days have been warmer than usual. The pictures I took came out basically rotten as I didn't have a tripod to steady things, and the exposure is long.

I'll be heading to New Orleans on Christmas Eve and make my way back here later that week before I head out to Binghampton to see Art & Bernadette. The semester is almost over, as I make my final push. If I can grade everything by Thursday (my optimistic plan), then I won't have that kind of stuff hanging over my head, and I can go onto the longer term projects. Or hang out. Either way it will be a good change of pace from the grind of the end of the semester.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Shadow Art Fair

A leisurely Friday night at the Ypsilanti Shadow Art Fair. As Ann Arbor prepares for the winter art fair (and we all know it's the important place around here), Ypsilanti does what it can to pluck debris from the whale. Well, actually we are into our own thing, and Ypsilanti is now becoming the cool place to be as Ann Arbor becomes increasingly gentrified and staid. I picked up this little piece (above) and had a beer at the Corner Brewery. Music and lots of funky folks selling their artsy wares. At least we could beat the winter storm that was supposed to descend upon us (but actually never did).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Cousin Greg & I headed over to Dos Jefes in N. O. after having a great dinner at Couchon. Having a nice smoke, a cognac for me/beer for Greg, and the sound of Chaz' Washboard Trio. A nice time in the grand old city of New Orleans. We met a couple of Greg's lawyer colleagues and weighed in on most of the world's imponderables.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Who's That Knocking at my Door?

This morning about 1 AM, someone starts knocking at my door. I let it go thinking it was probably a bum (bardon my language) looking for something. Three times the person knocks. I then hear the person depart. OK back to sleep. About 15 minutes later again comes the knocking. so I get up, open the window in the bedroom on the 2nd floor above the porch and yell "Hey!" The person walks down the steps and appears in view, a strange woman. I yell, "What's the Problem!!!" She asks, "Is this John's house?" I said, "No!!!!!!!!" She rushes off apologetically down the street. Now I'm starting to feel like Dan Rather, "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Monty Ending

Well, the little bugger was pushing up daisies when I got home. He had gotten around the downstairs a bit, but didn't really do much damage. A pop can was knocked over and a couple of candles. It had gotten all around the sink and stove. Dirty little squirrel footprints all around. No sign of him upstairs.

So I headed to the basement, and there he is or was---keeled over in the laundry basket (of what were once clean clothes). A quick trip outside, and the stiff is gone. I guess he couldn't find the way out from whence he came and also couldn't find any water (althugh it could have checked the toilet in the basement which was nearly impossible to block off) or food. He tried to get into some of the spices and tried to open a package of muffin mix, but all for naught. May he rest in peace.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

2006 IFPE Conference

These photos are simply location shots. I was too busy to get into taking many people shots around the conference. However, this year the membership chair was taking many shots all over. I hope to be able to get some shots of me and my friends from her. It was a very good conference, and the weather was great. This was a lot of fun. The meetings were quite helpful and stimulating. Usually this is not the case at many conferences.

My paper went well, although the Sunday morning 9 am time slot is not conducive to attendance. Since Saturday goes from 8:30 am through 7:30 pm, followed by the conference dinner at 8 pm. Well, you get the idea. But many of my friends roused themselves to make it to the paper. There's a pretty good picture of me giving it that I hope to get. Well, as you can see, this was a nice place to be.

What Will I Return To?

I'm not sure what I'll be coming back to. I arrived home Wednesday night (Nov 1) at 10 PM. As I go to feed Penelope, I see a brown furry creature on the counter wedged in between the wall and the crockpot---a squirrel. I called Critter Control to see if they could send someone out. After waiting for the return call, they tell me they can't send anyone out. OK. So I try to create a sort of funnel system from the kitchen to the front door. I block off the avenues to the stairs and basement as best I can. I line up boxes and furniture. Out comes the broom. Swoosh. The squirrel hops off the counter onto the floor, sliding all over the place since it can't get a grip on the wonderful, slippery Pergo flooring. It bounds into the dining room. I am on the chase. I steer it toward the open door. However, it tries to veer upstairs instead. No luck, so it runs all the way back into the kitchen and crawls into the space around the pots.

Round two. I try to arrange things even better. If I could have put neon nights guiding the sucker out the door, I would have. I chase it out and the same situation happens. It will not take a left and go out the door and instead takes a right into the stuff I'm blocking off the stairs with. I swat around several times. In the commotion I lose sight of it. I gradually move everything I have placed around and no squirrel. I think it must have gone out the door. I set the house in order.

A bit later I spot it. Oh crap. It's well after midnight, I have to bring Penelope to the vet at 8:15 am to board her and then catch a plane to California. I try again, but it goes somewhere into hiding. I don't hear it at all for the rest of the night or next morning. I got to sleep about 3 am.

So, what will the house look like when I return?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Making Plans

I head off to Pasadena on Thursday to attend and present a paper at a psychoanalytic conference, sponsored by the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education or IFPE. Although it's great to get away, and I'm happy to go to a place I haven't been before, getting ready is a pain in the neck. This week is advising week for students, and I'll be trying to see some before I go, working that into doing next week's lecture preps and making a test for next week. Yowza.

Today the Professor's union at the university met with the president and other administrators about finances. In December 2004, they asked us to give back some money that was supposed to go to our retirement fund. The university was attempting to secure loans to undertake a great deal of capital improvement. In order to demonstrate financial solvency, the university figured a variety of cost cutting schemes, including forced faculty generosity. We were told that this would enable the university to eventually improve the campus to a substantial degree. But the plans unveiled at the Convocation were underwhelming. Hence, we ask "what gives?" Today's answers were likewise underwhelming. Unfortunately, our union is as anemic as can be. I'm not really the union type myself, but I have to live with it at this university. I'm not sure where that's heading. But I'll be heading to Pasadena for a few days. I'll try to blog from there (will bring camera).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dreary Fall Day

We have one of those cold, damp days where it feels colder than the temperature says and you want to make a fire to get warm (hey-good idea). Fall has been very wet this year. Each day I leave the house, it seems like it is dark and rainy and stays that way for most of the day. The kind of weather that makes you want to go back inside. But it's better to make the best of it. I took these pictures in my backyard with my Canon Powershot A70, a handy little camera that has made taking pictures more fun. Actually, the camera isn't so special. Rather it's the digital photography revolution. Click away and don't worry about the developing costs or waiting for photos.

I'll be off to Pasadena in under a couple of weeks to present a paper and attend a conference. I suspect the wather will be nice, and it will be a fine change of pace.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Been a Long Time Coming

On to the World Series. Our Detroit Tigers have pitched their way into the big one. The season has been great (until the last few weeks of the regular season). the Tigers sailed along for most of the year and then seemed to collapse at the end of the season, falling out of first place and getting in as a Wild Card Team. Well, down go the mighty Yankees and a sweep of the A's. It will either be a return to New York (to face the Mets) or a rerun of 1968 against the Cardinals. The guys get a week off and then hit PrimeTime for the Series.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is it Really the End?

We knew this all had to end someday. Who knew it would be available today. Follow the link and get off the Merry-Go-Round, folks.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Post Presentation

Overall, the presentation went well. Folks liked the slides, and we later talked about how the pictures can influence people to think in a somewhat different way than when only listening to the words. I forgot to bring my fliers for the book---d'oh. It really wouldn't have made much difference as we had the usual small turnout. Still, I don't want to forget them when I go to Pasadena next month. I will try to make a podcast of the presentation. I recorded it using my iPod and microphone attachment. I probably won't have time to fiddle with it until next week at the earliest, as this week will be busy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Presentation on Sunday

This Sunday I'll be presenting a paper and power point presentation. You can find the details here. The meeting is free and open to the public. I worked for a while on this power point aspect to the presentation, and I think it will turn out nicely. Above is a diagram from my book about the etymology of the word Tantalus. At each step of the way, a word that eventually spwans Tantalus relates to the myth itself. Everyone is welcome to come (if you're in town).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Tails" of the MS 150 (and a New Computer Toy)

This is my first comic creation with Comic Life software. This could be a hoot. Use with photos and such. Make any story you want. This one is Dennis' Passion.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Wind in Your Face

Well, yesterday might have been the last ride for the season, especially with preparation for giving presentations in the next several weeks. Many of the gang from the MS Ride reunited for a Sunday afternoon 28 mile trek on Hines Drive. Wow, was it ever windy. Riding with the wind is a charm, but on the way back we rode against the wind. I decided to push myself and see what I could do. I basically kept the same overall pace returning as I had heading out when I wasn't working as hard. This morning it was hard to get up. I felt great after the ride, and the meal that Jerry & Karen had was delicious. But the effects caught up with me sometime before waking up. I was slugglish for the first half of the day.

Later I did a run of 3+ miles. I strained a calk muscle in the process. Well, I won;t be able to run for the next couple of days anyway, so the rest will do me good or I'm just lazy :>).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More Than You Expect

So I moved a rug into my office today. It's the rug that has been in my living room for about 10 years. It is a nice machine made oriental rug (as the guy from Miers who sold it to me insisted on emphasizing "Machine made", even in his Christmas card). I want to repaint the living room and have the floors sanded and refinished. So I wanted to move the rug to my office to give the office a better feel (instead of UDM institutional).

Trying to get that sucker in was a big ordeal. I was hoping to deftly lift one side of furniture, then other. No such luck. Everything had to come out and everything back in. Sweat pours off my as I do this, crawling around the floor trying to take care of all the damned cables and wiores we have to deal with in modernity. Well, at least the mission was accomplished. I figure the living room will be a long term project, doing it bits and pieces at a time. I'll pay people to do the floors, but I figure to do the painting.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not the Nine O'Clock News - General Synod's Life of Christ

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Small Town America

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival is in full swing today. All across america are similar festivals and fairs around this time of the year. The weather is overcast, and it rained earlier. That has probably put a damper on attendance. I had my haircut this morning, and I asked my stylist, Tanya, if she and her family were going. She said probably not because of the rain. I said that when her daughter Cassandra (a few months old) grow up, she's going to ask why didn't she get to go to the Ypsilanti heritage Festival. Tanya said she'd lie and tell her she went. But, of course.

There is a lot of stuff to be had at these fairs, most of it is junk to me, but a treasure or interesting to someone else. It is enjoyable to see folks out. I stopped by the Ypsi Freighthouse and ran into the Leslie, wife of Bombadill's proprietor Peter Reinhart. She talked me into buying raffle tickets (it wasn't a hard sell). There I learned that Ypsilanti used to have a spring water company named Atlantis. How fitting as tha ties into my book.

Friday, August 18, 2006

As summer ends, a new school year begins...

Today was Convocation day at UDM. The plan for the university was laid out in Power Point by President Stackhausen. Trends look good, and for the first time I had the sense that some of these capital projects will actually begin. Nothing specific on Reno Hall (where the psychology department is). But, hey, I finally got an air conditioner now that it is cooling off! Overall many things with the university look promising, but there's always a wait-and-see needed here. Today was a leisurely beginning. There was no academic regalia. Instead it was casual picnic wear. Here are some pics from around the campus. You can even see the A/C in my office.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Post Convention

Not as many pictures as I hoped. New Orleans was certainly hot as hell and walking between the Division 39 Hotel (see picture) and the Convention Cneter set new records for sweat accumulation. The panel with Brent Slife, Ph.D., Drew Westen, Ph.D. and Stephen Hollon, Ph.D. went very well. Star Wars emerged as a theme as Hollon expressed that he was worried he's be seen as Darth Vader for his interest in RCT, while Drew referred to Brent as Luke Skywalker. I offered that we would take a poll to figure out which character Drew was (given the political slant to his presentation). The interchange among the panelists was quite good, and I received a number of thank yous from various attendees.

The Convention did not seem crowded, although I do not know the official numbers yet. I believe the worry about hurricanes probably scared off a number of folks. The board meetings I ran were also lightly attended, as is usual for the APA (we do most of our business at the Spring Meetings).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back from New Orleans

I returned to Michigan from New Orleans. The city seems less vibrant than usual, as might be expected. I believe that there were fewer attendees to the APA convnetion than usual. I'll try to post more on that later. First up is a post about a great little bar in New Orleans called Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar. It's a great place to hang out, watch the crowd, schmooz with friends, listen to music and have a smoke. I went there on Saturday evening with cousin Greg and Judge Feldman. We hung out and reviewed the judge's latest adventures, including a 20 minute meeting with the president. He was thrilled, and we were thrilled to hear about that. The cigars wound down and we discussed food, women and history, although mostly women.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Water lines

Water lines
Originally uploaded by

I head to New Orleans this week for the APA Convention. Last Thanksgiving I made my way around parts of the city to survey Katrina damage. Not a pretty site in most cases. I'll be bringing the camera again and want to see what difference there is between then and now. As of blog time, there are no hurricanes or tropical storms in the Gulf, as Chris has disintegrated. I hope it stays that way for the convention and New Orleans. I imagine that attendance might be low, as a lot of people are probably spooked about going to New Orleans, even though that would be a better way to help the local economy than simply donating to charity or watching CNN.

The Singularity

I'm working on an article about the Singularity, the subject of a recent book by Ray Kurzweil. In a nutshell the singularity refers to the pace of technological development. The idea of Kurzweil and others is that computer processing power continues to double every 18 months or so (an exponential rate of growth), soon we will have built machines capable of surpassing human intelligence. When we reach that point, we will rapidly develop even better (and smarter) technology. The pace will be so brisk that we cannot quite comprehend the kinds of developments ahead of us. This crossover point is the singularity, sort of like the edge of a black hole. All the rules change. This brings the possiblity of hyperlong lives, if not outright immortality, not to mention numerous other powers. Ultimate happiness at last?

This gets me to my paper---extending the Tantalus analogy to the singularity. Even if we get these kinds of powers, will that put us in heaven with the gods? Won't we complain then as now? To someone who lived centuries ago, our lifestyle would appear utterly miraculous. Are we living blissfully with nothing to complain about?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wipe Out

Well, a bad thing happened to me, and I was stupid. Two for two. This week, when the IT guy came over to install some software, my computer took a hike. He couldn't access the hardrive. After two days, IT was able to recover some of my files, but the names of the files were gone, replaced by 01, 02, 03... So I have to open up everyone to see what it is, rename it and put it in the right place. I may have lost the data files I had been working on. The stupid part was not having this stuff backed up.

So, I bought a jump drive, but now quickly realize that these things don't hold nearly enough for me to back up files without getting lots of them, for $40 a pop. I figure I need to get a backup hard drive, so I don't have to go through this again. But it will be at my expense. It's amazing how much we rely on these suckers. But it also gives me another chance to take a swipe at Windows. My personal computers are Apples. It's long past time for Bill Gates to devote himself to charity. I hope he can actually make that work better than Windows.

Friday, August 04, 2006


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.