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Two Books I’d Like

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Out of Transit

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Three o'clock rolled around today and found me in my office at school. This morning saw me head to band practice at 8:00 a.m., only to sit through the entire practice without playing. I'd missed Tuesday's practice and hence the music handout, and they gave my music to the bass clarinetist who sits next to me, but he missed today's practice, so I was out of luck. The plan after band was to head back to the office and do some hardcore studying for my 2:30 p.m. geography test. Instead, based on my on-campus-ness and thus proximity to the university library, I decided to work on something that required the library. My paper for Technical Writing, which is turning into quite the massive tome on gifted education, is just such a something. So I spent from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Ebsco (a collection of databases for searching out academic articles) and cross-referencing with the UNO library to see what I could actually get my hands on. I wound up with about thirty journal articles and books altogether, with call numbers and all. I followed this up with a trip to the library. It took me about an hour to comb through the library, find my books, determine which journal articles were actually worth photocopying, and so on. I nabbed lunch, headed back to my office, ate, and power-studied for geography for an hour. The test was easy - took all of thirty minutes. Which brings me back to my office at 3:00 p.m., when I receive a call from my tutoring student. "I don't really have anything new to go over this week," she tells me. "And I did really well on my last test." This matched my expectations, as last week she was all over her thermodynamics equations like they were hot boys and she was two years older. So I called my buddy Glen about a ride. No va, you see, 'cause he's got strep throat. I was left with the proposition of sitting in my office until Sam could come fetch me around 7:00 p.m. Whine, whine, whine. So I get this bright idea: I'll take the bus. Yeah! It'll be like an adventure. I'll write about it on my blog - do a review of the Omaha MAT system. It'll be sweet. So I go to their website and look up a route and schedule. Because of some convoluted construction at my pickup point, I call and ask where I should be waiting such that I actually do get picked up. By the time I have this idea and all of the information, it's 4:40 p.m., so I pack up and head for the shuttle. The shuttle takes me to Crossroads Mall. I go where the nice lady told me to. It's 4:50 p.m., which means I have twenty-five minutes to wait - I just missed the previous bus. No big deal. I wait. 5:15 p.m. rolls around, though, and there is no number eight eastbound. Mind you, I'm standing here on the sidewalk; there's no enclosure, no bench, and it had rained earlier, so sitting on the ground was a no-no unless I didn't want to wear these pants again tomorrow. Five buses swing past me. It's not until 5:45 p.m. that I actually see a number eight. I lift a hand so the driver can tell I'm waiting, adjust the 60-pound backpack on my back, pick up my bassoon case, and step to the curb. The driver blows right by me. I am very much at that moment saying, "What the fuck?" in my head. The driver apparently snaps to the realization that I had business with her about 100 feet past me. She pulls to a stop, and I run after her with all of the aforementioned luggage. She opens the door. "This is eastbound, right?" I ask. "...not yet, no. I'm just on my way this way. If you want to catch the eastbound, you need to be on the other side of the mall." I look at her dumbly as she says this. "Uh. Ok -" I say, coming to my senses, "- how long will it be before you're eastbound?" Crossroads, I reasoned, is the tail end of this route. It only made sense that she'd be eastbound in short order. "Oh -" she says, and starts counting by fives. "...ah, thirty-five minutes? I go on break here." I am crushed. "Nevermind, then," I say. I really don't want to sit on the bus for that long. In that time, I could very nearly walk home. It's only two miles, after all. She drives off, and I (crushed as I am) start crying. (Did I mention that I'm a wee bit hormonal at the moment? Between monster cramps and the emotional rollercoaster I hit, you should really consider investing in cookies before you approach me.) I pull my phone out of my pocket, as Sam had told me he could leave as early as 5:30 p.m. to come get me. (I had wanted to avoid this - his school schedule requires him to adhere pretty closely to his work schedule to make forty hours.) I tearfully ask him to come get me, explain where I am, and wait. So, I was going to do a rider experience report, and here it is. I never got to ride your stinky buses, Omaha Metro Area Transit. You gave me the wrong fucking directions when I called, and shat on an otherwise decently productive day. I should have listened to my instincts and avoided you at all costs in the first place. No love, Erica


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This is the most fantastically pleasant way to wake up ever: Thunder Rolls ¡Viva la primavera!

Mail foo?

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I'm having trouble with my gmail account - 'Lockdown in Sector 4' message - so if you're trying to get in touch with me, try tesla_uncoiled at that other popular free webmail service that starts with a 'y' dot com. Yes, I'm a nerd.

Originally uploaded by Erica Tesla.
Sam took a handful of photos of me after karaoke tonight - this is by far the best. It is, in fact, the best picture of me taken by anyone, ever. Thank you, Sam.

Yes, we do in fact go to karaoke. On a fairly regular basis, even. I did (Fiona Apple - Fast as You Can) and (RENT - Out Tonight); Fast as You Can is the first song I ever sang at karaoke, several years ago at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I don't think it's my best. Out Tonight would be better if I'd learn one of the bridge-y part melodies a bit better, but the style is much, much more in line with my vocal abilities.

Is it notable that this photo was after a Starburst and two Starbucks-and-milks? If ever there was a drink that could turn me into an alcoholic, coffee liquer and milk would be it. It's just... comfy, and tasty. Yum.

(I'm not an alcoholic, as it were; I spread my alcohol consumption out over many hours, drink about twice a month, and only drink stuff that tastes good, rarely managing to catch a buzz. I never got the drink-to-get-drunk thing. And I still make sure I have a designated driver. Take notes, kiddies.)

Now, to do some homework and get some sleep.
I feel as if I should write something, but today, I'm not certain what that something is. I have a vague tug telling me to write something on gender and sexual identities, but it's still sort of stewing. I have an even vaguer tug telling me to write something about my fundamentally whacked-out relationship with uncertainty, but that's very, very still stewing. I have a hideous compulsion to post a lot of song lyrics. I refuse to do this without having something to say about them, preferably something insightful. Mutter. Vote? Leave a comment - what do you want to see me write about? What opinion of mine do you desperately need word-i-fied?


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Unrelated (I promise) to all of the things that are making my friends wildly happy right now, I am feeling (hooray for trite, vague statements!) low. I believe in biorhythms approximately... oh, not at all, but they are at least illustrative, at the moment: Primary Biorhythms Secondary Biorhythms Perhaps it's this stupid fucking cold I can't seem to shake. Maybe it's the situation with my mother finally worming its way into my mood controllers. Maybe it's that some idiotic fuckhead decided to shoot my 13-year-old sister and her friend while they were playing on the other girl's front porch. (The police officer told my sister her friend was dead. Dead. How the hell do you do that to a 13-year-old girl who's just been shot in the arm, and who just saw her friend take a bullet in her head?) I'd like to wake up in the morning, minus the cold, and hear from both my mother (about her health and how she's doing in general) and my father (about my sister). If I haven't heard from them by noon, I'm calling them myself. The only thing I really know how to do well is take control.


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A month or so ago, my mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I haven't talked about this much (or really at all) on public fora because honestly, I wasn't sure (and I'm still not sure) what's appropriate to share. She had to have some pretty substantial surgery, and her ongoing treatment is also very substantial. All of this leads to (you guessed it) Very Substantial Medical Expenses (tm), which as I understand it will not be entirely covered by insurance. (We're glad she has insurance, though. You betcha.) The Marleybone (map/directions), the best damn Irish pub around and favorite haunt of my family, is having a spaghetti dinner today. All proceeds will go to mom's medical fund. There will also be raffles for a golf foursome out at Quarry Oaks Golf Club ($300 value, $10 a chance), one hour of golf lessons with a professional ($50 value, $2 a chance) and gift certificates to Goldberg's Bar & Grill at 132nd & Center ($10 value, 2 chances for $1). The dinner is $8 a plate, which is (at least for me) about on par with going out for slightly-better-than-fast-food for lunch. It's from 1pm to 6pm - come and go as you please. If you're not doing anything else, we'd love to see you there. Thank you all so very much. (Cross-posted to the Omaha community Livejournal and my own Livejournal, 'cause I mean business.)


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Other than neglecting friends less and sleeping a little more than I would normally, today saw none of my to-do items get done. Some big family-related stress derailed the day early on. On the plus side, I did get to see my family today, and I did some things that aren't officially on my list that are nevertheless nice: six rows on the blanket I'm crocheting, the living room tidied, and a scene wrapped up on the MU* I play on. Downside, I now have a headache. I'm going to bed now, after I take some Aleve. Some days don't really ever pick up.
I'll be crossing stuff off as I get it done. I have... nine days, and a total of eighteen items. I think I can do all of what I have to do, and a good deal of what I want to do, so yay!. First, the have-to-do's, in order of have-to-do-it-ness:
  • HOMEWORK: Write up four labs. Three of them were technically due last week, but they're really lenient about due dates for these.
  • TEACHING: Grade labs - four classes worth.
  • HOMEWORK: Optics, due 3/22.
  • HOMEWORK: Math Methods, due 3/24.
  • HOUSE STUFF: Fridge overhaul. Remove anything expired, green (as in, moldy) or unidentifiable.
  • HOMEWORK: Decide on a topic for my Optics term paper.
  • HOMEWORK: Start working on my Economics honors paper. Due 4/24, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to get less and less time to write stuff like this as the semester progresses, rather than more.
Then the want-to-do's, in order of want-to-do-it-ness:
  • PERSONAL: Neglect friends less. (You know who you are.) (Not that this can really be crossed off as "done", but I'm making good progress. It's not a particularly well-defined task or goal.)
  • PERSONAL: Work on the Protest Signs project. (Bought supplies and started on slogans for this. I'm satisfied that I can work on this in small spurts while in school, with this much out of the way.)
  • PERSONAL: Read Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". (Review forthcoming.)
  • PERSONAL: Newestart design.
  • PERSONAL: Talk to Eric about photography for Mythos.
  • PERSONAL: Writing-foo.
  • HOUSE STUFF: Plan garden. Begin execution. (Sunday. Mom's coming over to lend her gardening brain.)
  • PERSONAL: Start reading Robert Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia". (Nozick's smart. I believe this may mark the first time I've gotten a book from a professor that I enjoyed. I'm working on the second chapter now, which is enough momentum to keep me going, I think.)
  • PERSONAL: Braindump at Sam about OpenNotes.
  • PERSONAL: Braindump at Tyler about Guilt.
  • PERSONAL: Sleep. Sleep as much as the rest will allow. (Sleep GOOD!)
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