Legal Name Change

Because everyone else was doing it. Why Cicada Song? It's the title of a poem I wrote once. Last summer, I was in Maryland for the 17-year cicada, and it was incredible. These guys make a lot of noise.

The Cleaning Checks That Weren't

Here is a run down of my cleaning check experience yesterday:

*Got home, knowing I would have to clean, calculated five hours till 10:00, ideal bedtime.

*Sat on chair, turned on computer, decided to watch a couple episodes of Celebrity Jeopardy before cleaning.

*Couldn't keep eyes open. Realized that listening to Celebrity Jeopardy was as effective as watching it.

*Woke up. Four hours till ideal bedtime.

*Moved to couch, covered myself with new orange blanket. Promised myself I wouldn't sleep long.

*Heard roommate come home. Hid under blanket. Was scared that she would make me get up and start cleaning.

*Woke up. Three hours till ideal bedtime.

*Went upstairs expecting to find justification for my nap in the form of a sleeping roommate. Roommate was cleaning room.

*Started cleaning room with roommate. Found digital camera. Took pictures of new blanket and lamp shade.

*Couldn't find cord to upload pictures to computer.

*Kept cleaning room. Put on "Notre Dame de Paris" for roommate's and my listening pleasure.

*Translated some songs for roommate, cluing her into the fact that all songs on the CDs were depressing.

*Kept cleaning room.

*Finished tidying portion of room cleaning. One and a half hours till ideal bedtime. Went downstairs to stare at kitchen. Removed a carrot from the floor. Took out trash.

*Returned to kitchen. Stared.

*Brother stopped by. Sat him down in front of computer and made him watch Celebrity Jeopardy. Decided it was ideal time to sit down and eat, and listen to brother laughing at Celebrity Jeopardy. "The Rapists for $2000, Alex." "That's Therapists."

*Put Horatio Hornblower III on for brother to watch (it was the reason he came over in the first place).

*Found Tupperware container containing five pins that my neighbor lent to me. Returned to owner's doorstep since owner wasn't home. Was confident no one would steal it.

*Returned to house. Found ruler that other neighbor had lent to me. Returned ruler to neighbor's roommate.

*Returned to house. Made piles of my stuff that I've left in the living room for the last several days (mostly items used in making blanket and lamp shades. Also the 47-piece kitchen set that I bought for $10 at Walmart that includes knives, a knife block, measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas, serving spoons, spaghetti spoon, and a cutting board. Noticed after getting the box home that "Items are heat resistant to 45 degrees Celsius or 119 degrees Fahrenheit." Humans are also heat resistant to 45 degrees Celsius or 119 degrees Fahrenheit. Might have trouble stirring boiling pasta with new spaghetti spoon. Might try using hand.) and placed piles on stairs so that I can take them up to my clean room and put away.

*Found package of straight pins that another neighbor had lent me. Returned pins to neighbor, who was home eating dinner with other straight-pin-neighbor.

*Complained about cleaning checks. Listened to neighbor say, "That's funny... our cleaning checks are next week."

*Went home and checked cleaning check announcement. Date of cleaning check: July 7th.

*Returned to neighbor's to announce that my cleaning checks were also next week.

*Was made fun of for finding it necessary to return to that apartment to announce the fact that I no longer had to clean.

*Likened my situation to the woman in the Bible who finds her lost piece of silver and tells her neighbors. I am like the woman. My neighbors are like her neighbors. The postponed cleaning checks are like the piece of silver.

*Continued rejoicing. Continued to be made fun of.

*Returned to house. Sat down in front of Horatio Hornblower with brother.

*Fell asleep on couch, two hours after ideal bedtime.

Lamp Shade and Blanket

Here's a picture of the things I have been working on lately. I only labelled the things that I've made myself. I'm starting to feel quite proud of myself.

Baby Name Wizard

Cool even if you AREN'T pregnant!


Which I'm not, by the way.


Without going into my third-world working conditions right now and describing the hostile environment, I'll just tell what happened today with the double-sided tape.

I asked the office manager's assistant to pick up some double-sided tape for me the next time she goes to get office supplies. See, I'm the work birthday card specialist. Right now, I use a glue stick to do my cards, but ideally, I'd be using double-sided tape like I used to when I worked in the city (not in the middle of the industrial park where I work now).

I just barely overheard the office manager's assistant discussing the tape with the office manager. The office manager decided that since double-sided tape would only be used for birthday cards, then it's not really necessary. She said that if the accountants looked at it, then we would get in trouble for having purchased double-sided tape. Now, I don't disagree that double-sided tape isn't necessary. I can get by fine without it, but is anyone really going to care about a $2 purchase of double-sided tape? It's an office supply, people! Are the accountants really going to ask what it's being used for? How is it that we're allowed to have a glue stick, but the double-sided tape will send up a red flag to accounting? ATTENTION, ACCOUNTANTS! DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE HAS BEEN NEEDLESSLY PURCHASED! This, from the department that just spent $7000 to frame crappy poster-calendars! This, from the department that is providing all the students with free (and unnecessary) shirts! Accounting might not care about that, but if we recklessly purchase a roll of double-sided tape, we'll all lose our jobs.

Cleaning checks

My room has been getting more and more disastrous. I go home with the intention of cleaning it every day, but then I get distracted by stuff like making blankets, sewing ribbon onto lamp shades and Horatio Hornblower. The lamp shade (two words?) is done now. The blanket is done for the moment, but I can add on to it later. When I find my camera (see aforementioned dirty room), I'll even take pictures and post them. Like anyone cares... I think the only people who read this blog (my roommate) already know exactly what they look like. And exactly like what all the scrap thread looks like... scattered all over our recently-vacuumed floor and our couch.

All my creative energy lately has been completely channeled into decorating my new apartment. I go to bed at night, disappointed that I've already figured out the perfect place for my flowers, posters, furniture... it seems that I've made all the decisions and have only left to wait till I move and implement all my ideas. I go to bed at night, afraid that my living room will clash with my kitchen. Can I really decorate one room with loud reds, oranges and yellows to then go and decorate the next in blue and white? I'm afraid that the living room will clash with the kitchen will clash with my bedroom. The bedroom should be all neutral tones, decorated with art from Italy. Why can't I just stop thinking about it till I actually move in to the place and take a look at things?

I haven't been writing lately. No poetry. No stories. No essays. No articles. No blogs, even. And it's not even for lack of ideas. It's simply because I'd rather sit down and think what colors of ribbons to sew onto a lamp shade than sit and write about anything.

Tonight I'll clean, though. No lamp shade, no blanket. Just cleaning.

David in Spanish Is David in a Speedo

From an Independent Study Spanish course, here is an illustration of "David." I'm used to thinking of David in Italian terms---also muscular (perfect, even!), and nakeder than this guy, even. And I wonder about the graphic artist who created this David in a Speedo. Was she particularly lonely that day? Or was she day dreaming of her boyfriend's/husband's pecs, thighs and biceps?

Particularily interesting is David's expression. His face expresses puppy dog innocence while he stands, baring almost all, posing for all voyeurs. It almost looks as if he's being exploited---exploited for the common good of those who are learning Spanish and need to know that David means David: No shirts, pants or clothes about it.

Let's Arrest the Tiger Mosquito!

In Rome, two summers ago, signs like this were posted all over:


NAME: aedes albopictus,
little puddles of water that are
found in our gardens,
terraces and balconies.

The signs clearly indicated that those found guilty of having pools of stagnant water on their premises would be fined.