Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas happies

One of the best things about the holidays is the way getting together with your family provides those moments which then live on forever in idiosyncratic family culture. Here's a few of our new historic family moments...and please do share your own.

  1. Clare: "when I grow up, be taller, I play organ, eat corn nuts and own knitting needles."
  2. I watched my brother-in-law pantomime the sex act during "Time's Up" in front of my parents. I guess he now is comfortable with being one of the fam now. Woo-hoo!
  3. "The big toe never dips into the millet."
  4. Clare, in a performance marked by spontaneity, perfect timing and impeccable delivery: "I'm a Texas gal, Grandad!"
And though I can't isolate a particular moment to single out, our Christmas was made more festive this year because Casey joined us, and apparently we didn't frighten her. I knew she was a special kind of person, but if you can take the Thweatt clan first thing in the morning in jammies with bedhead and not yet coffee-ed up, you ought to get some kind of public recognition for reckless bravery. Plus, we only get worse as we wake up, and start making ridiculous puns. Casey, thanks for being here. And come back next Christmas. Oh, and come back before next Christmas too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Virgil O. Stamps

Looking for that perfect one-of-a-kind, kind-to-the-earth gift item for that way-too-conscientious earthy artsy person in your life? (you know we all have one, nowadays. if not, maybe it's you.)

Check out Virgil O. Stamps.

I asked Virgil to make me a guestbook for The Gwynne House, and a week later, I had my one-of-a-kind handbound art object in hand (pssst, Virgil, you forgot to tell me how much I owe you...). It is beautiful--exactly the kind of thing I wanted without having any idea what I was envisioning. Virgil is not only creative and kind to the earth--he reads minds too! On the outside cover is "The Gwynne House," and inside the pages have that marvelous old-book thick texture, interspersed with (see pic below) pages from an old children's Bible A-B-C book. Nifty!

On my wish list still...in case anyone's interested...are some business cards backed by recycled kid's art from the little artists residing in Virgil's Brooklyn neighborhood. Or maybe the thrown-out kids books...or maybe (in my stuffy academicky moods) the old German texts...nope, definitely the kiddie art. [Let me know if you do this for me, because if no one does, I'm buying them for myself. Vistaprint was fine...till I met Virgil.]

for the unsung heroes of Endnote tech support

a moment to express my thanks for the technical support available for Endnote software. Wow.

After a couple weeks of almost total hiatus from actual work, I sat down to open up my dissertation files and lo and behold, Word and Endnote were no longer talking to each other. At least not very satisfactorily. Communication breakdown. I'm not completely dumb with computer programs, but neither am I a wiz, and my knowledge is limited to what it is strictly necessary. So unexpected Endnote issues put me in a panic. Those files are important--Endnote enshrines the totality of my dissertation research to date. I don't want to monkey around with that. But the whole point of Endnote is to CWYW. Footnoting while writing text means a break in the composition process, and Endnote not only minimizes that to manageable blips in the thought process, it relieves me of having to parenthetically document inside the text and go back later and convert to footnotes AND keep all the bibliographic info updated and ordered somewhere accessible. It's an amazing thing and after two years I am completely dependent on it. If I had to create footnotes and bibliography on my own without this tool, it would add a whole 'nother year to the dissertation process. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still. It saves me a hell of a lot of work.

When it works.

Which it didn't, but now it does again.

I don't know why things got jacked up, but now that they're okay (with the help of a friendly tech support guy who did not make fun of me and told me which things to go click and unclick), it's all good, and at 2:32 p.m., I can finally try to get some actual writing done today.

If I knew the guy's name, I would totally include him in my acknowledgments.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top Ten Questions to Ask Someone Recently Experiencing Ontological Change

  1. Do you feel taller?
  2. Do I know you?
  3. This means no more marital fighting, right?
  4. What happens if you cuss? Does God take it back?
  5. Can you change water into wine now? 'Cause that would be practical and useful.
  6. Can you be my personal superhero?
  7. Where's your halo? And do I have to launder it?
  8. Did it hurt?
  9. You know, you don't look any different...are you sure it took?
  10. If I call you 'Father,' you know I'm just trying to annoy you, right?