Monthly Archives: July 2007

It’d be a great name for a band….

In a previous post, I talked about how people using search engines like Google might end up at my page, even if the words they’re searching for were not used together in one of my posts.  For example, if I wrote one post about opera, and another post about deep-fat frying, someone searching for “deep-fat fried opera” might be directed to my blog.

As someone who uses search engines a lot — I love looking stuff up and learning about, well, almost anything — I’m fascinated by the terms other people search out on the internet. And believe me, “deep-fat fried opera” is not that far out there, search term wise.

So what terms have brought web surfers to Oats in the last few days? Well, as always, “Mississippi porn” is a popular search term. I’m also getting hits from “day of the dead” searches because of my leather jacket posts,  and, given the many times I’ve written about my Quaker parrot, Zeke, “quaker poop” isn’t that surprising (as long as the searcher really is thinking about birds, and not religious sects or breakfast foods).  “Dead husky” I find a bit disturbing. But my favorite search term this time around is “underpant bulges”. I have no idea what I may have written about to show up on such a search, and I really hope it’s not the universe trying to tell me to cut out the Peanut Butter M&Ms.


I <3 Summer

Got up at a decent time this morning (7:30 — hey, it’s summer) and walked the dogs, fed everyone, downed my a.m. Diet Pepsi, etc. About 10-ish, felt like I had never really woken up. So I took a 1.5 hour nap.* A nap — in the morning! I love summer vacation.

And now I’m going to have yet another Pepsi and then make the lining for a friend’s felted purse (yes, Robin, finally). I leave you with something that made me giggle. I can’t credit it, as it seems to be a random bit of web-floatage, but here you go:

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to the recent terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

*I want it understood that this in no way negates the possibility of an afternoon nap.


Susan over at Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good sent out a general meme tag to list 8 things one’s blog readers* might not know about one. And I’m going to consider myself tagged because in the ideas-for-blog-entries department, I got nothing right now.

Item the first: I’m terrified — as in, jump around ineffectively and flap my hands and scream like a train whistle — of centipedes. And millipedes (like I can tell the difference). Even the tiny ones that look like little, mobile false eyelashes. I am not, for the record, particularly scared of spiders or snakes or bugs in general, and right now my side yard is host to 3 0r 4 nests of huge cicada-killer wasps and I think they’re pretty and interesting. But nothing — NOTHING — needs to have more than 8 legs and I don’t know what the heck God was thinking.

#2) I love to fill out forms. If it has little boxes to check and circles to color and tiny lines to fill with even tinier writing, let me at it. Magazine or internet quizzes, questionnaires, claim forms, warranty cards, catalogue order sheets — heck, I fill out forms I have no intention of ever sending in. And I don’t mean I fill them out with joke information; no, I answer each question carefully and correctly. Maybe it’s an offshoot of my love for crossword puzzles, except I did the form thing long before I started doing crosswords, so it’s probably the other way around. Perhaps I’m just a tiny bit obsessive. Oh, and I can’t stand to watch someone else fill out a form for me/for us — I gotta be in charge.

Three — When I was a child, from age 7 to around age 12, I was positive I’d grow up to be a paleontologist, specializing in, of course, dinosaurs. I could reel off names of species and eras and in the sixth grade I persuaded my teacher to let me tape butcher paper around the back walls of the classroom (like, 12 feet of paper) and spend study hall hours drawing and describing the best known dinosaurs of the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods. And let me be clear — this was in the mid-1970’s, before dinosaur-alia was everywhere and the few books I could find said they were slow, grey, dumb, etc. But they were still darn cool, as far as I was concerned.***

IV. I like to sing in the car. Loudly, whacking the steering wheel in some approximation of the beat. And sometimes head-bang a little.

Fifthly: In high school, I had an eating disorder, getting down to 100 lbs. less than I weigh now. I was so skinny, I stopped menstruating for a year and got dizzy most afternoons. I thought my lower stomach was still fat, but looking at a few old photos, I can see that hey, that bulge was made by my intestines and you could have hung coffee mugs from my hip bones.

Anyone who knows me now knows I’ve managed to get past that phase of my life!

6>. I cannot make pancakes, no matter what recipe I follow, what mix I use, what advice I’m given by well-meaning makers of fluffy, yummy pancakes. What I can make are circular, doughy objects that will absorb butter and syrup and sit in your stomach like rocks. After one of my pancakes, you don’t need to (and won’t want to) eat for the rest of the day. My French toast, however, rocks.

Seven: I think Sam Elliot and Frank Langella will be sexy until the day they die, and possibly for a few days thereafter.

VIII= I’m only revealing this to round off the required eight items. I don’t want to hear anything about it, from anyone, ever. Even typing this pains me more than I can express.

In high school, I collected unicorns.

*Right now, my blog readers are limited to my family and friends, because apparently my new WordPress blog won’t show up in search engine queries for several weeks, or maybe forever. So some readers may find they do know all 8 things (assuming I can think of eight things). If you 1) knew all 8 things before reading this and 2) are either related to me by blood or marriage (or former marriage) or knew me in Reno or Bowling Green, speak up and I’ll send you some kind of prize.**

**Disclaimer: it may not be a prize anyone in their right mind would want…..

***In college, I took a survey class in fossil geology and learned that most paleontologists study bivalves (clams) and other bottom-of-the-sea creatures. We talked about dinosaurs for about 1 week at the end of a 15-week semester. I was so disappointed.

Summer. Yeah.

The doldrums have hit — hot weather, days of picking away at this project or that task, thinking of the new semester, and on and on and on. So nothing new to report. In the next week or so, I should 1) finish refinishing my possibly-teak outdoor furniture and 2) line a felted bag I made for my friend Robin, who just got her shiny new Ph.D. and a shiny new assistant professor job to go with it. So maybe there will be pics of wood chairs and a felt bag in the near future. Can you contain your excitement?

In other news, the West is on fire as anyone awake must know, with fires burning in and around Reno suburbs. The fires and smoke and worry and pain for local families and firefighters are things I definitely don’t miss about Reno. Of course, I haven’t had to sit in the basement during a tornado yet (let me be clear — this IS NOT a challenge to fate); that kind of scare might make an honest brush fire seem more inviting.

That’s all I got. As I said, the doldrums.

No pics for you!

I lost my pictures in the blog move — who knew that cyberspace could be as rough as a burly, surly, under-tipped moving man?

I’m going to re-link the vacation pictures in the next few days, but the others will just have to stay lost. Gives me a lovely, legitimate opportunity to post more cute pet pictures!

A Brand New Day….

Well, a brand new blog host, anyway. I’ve transferred the blog to WordPress because my Typepad bill is coming due. Don’t get me wrong, Typepad gives a lot of value for $50 a year. But I can’t justify spending that when WordPress does a good job and is free, especially since I suspend the blog from time to time as school & grading take over my life. Gee, I’m cheap and thinking ahead — who’d have guessed?

Caution: mini-rant ahead…

What’s been going on at Oats since my company left on 7/4? Well, first, lots of sleeping and napping. Second, lots of kitty and bird petting and reassurances of love despite my vacationary defection with the dogs.* Third, daily thoughts that I should mow the lawn that are followed closely by “nah” and the naps mentioned above. Fourth, sanding and refinishing of the teak** chairs I bought for $5 each at local thrift shop. Fifth, a few around-town bike rides. Sixth, reading a friend’s EXCELLENT novel manuscript. Seventh, pretending that the fall semester is not starting in 6 short weeks.

I’ve also been doing some nonfiction reading: Mary Rose O’Reilly’s The Peaceable Classroom, which is focused on English lit and composition teaching and is inspiring, and Thomas Hamm’s The Quakers in America, a history of, yeah, the title says it all. Let me tell you, American Quakers have been a schism-happy bunch of folks, especially compared with British Quakers. Anyway, it’s the second book that leads to my little rant:

The book cites a Quaker historian as saying that Quakers should give up peace activism other than praying for peace because the government [war policies] always win anyway and “enormous expenditures of Quaker energy in peace activism . . . have had little impact and have never stopped a war” (165).

Okay. First, while we hope to be effective in our testimonies, when has Christianity ever been about immediate success? Christ’s crucifixion looks an awful lot like failure taken out of context of the resulting sea change in the hearts and minds of believers — and, given the selfishness and violence so often performed in the name of that crucifixion, an awful lot like failure at many points throughout history up to and including today. But we still see and hope and work for the good news.

Second, peace activism is as much about reaching individual people who witness the activism and planting a seed in their minds as it is about success with the current issue, and who’s to say we won’t reach a tipping point in the future, as we did with women’s suffrage and civil rights, both long, long campaigns that started and were maintained by (apparently) useless acts that could have no real effect on the government?

Third, what about the inherent nobility of doing what’s right, even when we know it’s doomed to failure? That leads us back to Christ’s crucifixion, of course. But even more so, Western Culture has long glorified doing what has been perceived as brave or right in the face of certain failure when fighting wars — look at the Children’s Crusade or Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” or “glorious Gallipoli” (and there are many more examples, both real and fictional). When will we glorify doing what’s right when it’s to prevent deaths, rather than throwing lives into battle?

I’d appreciate others’ comments/ideas on either side of this issue. Perhaps I feel especially strongly about this because embracing the Peace Testimony has been one of the most radical changes I’ve undergone in my Quaker path, having grown up in a WWII family,*** having been pro-death penalty in some cases in my younger years, and just having grown up in the individualistic, gun-worshiping West.

*Of course, the cats would have forgiven my departure if I’d left the dogs somewhere in Wyoming….

**in tung oiling this wood and seeing its natural color, I’m wondering if it’s not kapurwood rather than teak. Kapurwood is another Indonesian hardwood and sort of the “poor man’s teak” in the same way that Reno is the poor man’s Las Vegas — you’re still gonna spend a lot of money.

***And I still honor my father’s service and my mother’s sacrifices to that service. They were doing what they thought was right and good at the time, and I’m not sure it wasn’t right and good; the Holocaust makes WWII an especially complex peace debate, I feel.
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