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Monday, October 31, 2005


Our pumpkin carving get-together was successful yesterday. We drank two and a half gallons of cider, to which April and I had added cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. I made molasses-ginger cookies (the umpteenth time I've made that recipe I got from Frances), which go nicely with cider, and April made some very tasty pumpkin bars. Other people brought Halloween junk food, too, so I ended up eating almost nothing nutritious yesterday.

I think my favorite carving was the tiny vampire pumpkin made by Natalie's ~6-year-old son (with some help from Natalie). Since some people live in apartments, we kept a few of the pumpkins to put on our stoop tonight. Handsome, aren't they? (Mine is the second face from right.)

We definitely have enough candy to richly reward any trick or treaters who dare to run our pumpkin gauntlet tonight. I'll miss most of that, though, because I'll be at the review session for our second Microecon "midterm" from 7-9pm. Sigh...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Scooter and Dogpile

So Scooter Libby got indicted. No Karl Rove, which is too bad, but some chance that he still might get it. Anyway, I think "Scooter" is a good nickname for someone involved in a scandal. Granted, it sort of has a city-hall-graft kind of feel to it, but scandal-appropriate nonetheless.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a list of the 20 most frequent searches made by people in the Twin Cities on October 21 at Dogpile.com. Embarrassing for Dogpile: three of the most popular searches are for other search engines.

Last week was brutal in terms of work. (I remarked earlier that Stats is easy -- we just had our take-home midterm, and I retract that.) Things are a bit calmer this weekend, and we're having folks over tomorrow to carve pumpkins, which should be nice. I bought two gallons of cider at the farmer's market this morning, and we're going to heat it up and put spices in it (there's also some rum that will find its way into a few mugs of it...).

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Plame game

I'm having a very difficult time focusing on the stats and econ work I should be doing because of all the bubblings in the Plame leak investigation. It seems like there's a good possibility that indictments could come tomorrow, and they will almost certainly include Scooter Libby, and maybe Karl Rove.

I admit to being completely tickled by the idea of Rove being indicted. His apparent role in leaking CIA agent Valerie Plame's name was wrong/illegal, but it's really about how this case fits into all the machinations of Bush's presidency. Rove has been pulling all sorts of unethical shit for years in the service of of an agenda I despise, and that I sincerely believe is bad for the country. He's frighteningly good at what he does, and he only got caught (er, maybe) in this case because the administration really had to do backflips to make their rationale for war on Iraq work. Unfortunately, the collective realization of how we've been manipulated will come way too late to stop that, but it will reframe the political debate so that Republicans, and the Bush administration in particular, get the public disgust they so richly deserve.

This Old House

The house has been a bit of a pain recently.

First, the arrival of chilly weather made it clear how drafty it is. And my room has been leaking even more, it seems, despite a visit by a very sketchy roofer last week.

But most dramatically, the window in the third floor bathroom suddenly disappeared a couple days ago. Further investigation revealed that the wood on the outside had rotted so badly that the entire pane of glass simply flopped out onto the roof below and shattered. We put up a garbage bag, but the bathroom is now frigid.

Our landlord initially displayed the same lackadaisical attitude toward this problem that he has had toward my leaking/rotting window and our broken oven (though the oven is finally fixed as of Friday). But a harshly worded letter that Sarah and I delivered by hand earlier today got some action, with him promising to get a board over the window tomorrow to keep out the elements until the window can be replaced.

And Jason spotted a mouse leaving the pantry last night, so we'll be getting some mousetraps.

Home sweet home...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Well, isn't that adorable?

Baltimore Sun:

"Eight-year-old girl bags Md. season's first bear"

Not exactly what I was doing when I was eight, and I think I liked it that way, thank you very much.

Magnetic Ribbons

John and I were up in Original Northwood yesterday recording observations for our Policy Analysis neighborhoods project. I saw a car with a green magnetic ribbon on it and thought, "Oh crap, yet another one of those?" Then I read it:

Not bad.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mike Doughty

I went to see Mike Doughty last night (Friday) with John. Mike used to be the lead singer of Soul Coughing. You could definitely tell with your eyes closed that he was in Soul Coughing, and it's not just because his voice is distinctive. All told I think I still liked them together a bit more than his solo work (or rather his new band), but it was a really excellent concert. I bought his CD, but when I got home I realized that the woman had accidentally handed me an album by the opening band (Orinda Fink) instead. Sigh.

I'd recommend you try Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well and 27 Jennifers.

Today our IPS flag football team won the Hopkins coed intramural tournament. There were a total of three teams, and the other two failed to show up. The Policy Tools were therefore victorious, and we get free t-shirts saying so. (We divided up and played in the rain anyway since we had gone through the trouble. I'm as bad at football as ever.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Amtrak athletic

"Amtrak Athletic Dept." t-shirt, anyone?


Saturday, October 15, 2005


When I got back from the farmer's market this morning, I noticed that there were an awful lot of people running by down at the corner. Turns out it's the Baltimore Marathon! It was good to watch the runners go by for a while, and reminded me of our pleasant morning spent watching the Twin Cities Marathon last fall. As you can sort of see from this picture (taken w/ my cell phone, so a little fuzzy), we're at the top of a bit of a hill, so everyone was extra-exerted.

My housemate Sarah reported a few minutes later that she saw a guy in front of our house in an SUV waiting to cross the marathon route who was honking his horn repeatedly at the police officer and shouting "Let us through!" When he got out of his car to yell and shake his fist, she noted that he was wearing a G.W. Bush for President t-shirt.

Along with my usual assortment of stuff from the farmer's market (I've been blowing almost $20/week), I got myself a pumpkin today. It's a tall and slender model, still rather large, probably around 15 pounds. This makes me happy because it's the first time in a while that I've had a porch to perch a pumpkin on, and I'm definitely going to carve it come Halloween. We should get trick-or-treaters, too.

Classes are still going well. I've been happy with my grades on the work we've gotten back so far, with the exception of the 68 (!) I got on the first Econ homework assignment. I did better on subsequent ones, but anything C+ or below is a failing grade in our program...so you can see how I might have been a bit concerned about the Econ midterm we had this past week. I was more stressed out for that test than I've been for any in a long time, but fortunately I came away feeling relieved -- I think I understood everything, and I came about as close to finishing as anyone I talked to (it was impossible to finish in the hour we were given). Unfortunately we have another "midterm" in three weeks.

There's a lot of group work in our classes, which can be quite a time hole. There's the neighborhood home values project from Policy Analysis that I mentioned earlier. There's another project from Policy Analysis on long-term health care. And I'm in a group for Policy Process that is analyzing how the 2005 Energy Bill got to be as screwed up as it was. With all of us in three different groups, plus sub-groups and intergroup coordination meetings, scheduling is a bit hairy. But I guess it's supposed to simulate the real world...

Oh yes, and I saw Cat Power on Thursday night (on short notice) at a bar that's not far from here. Just Chan Marshall, no backing band. It was pretty cool -- the way she uses her voice is haunting. She also leans back from the microphone and wails plaintively to great effect. I think the highlight was "I Don't Blame You," though the covers (incl. "Satisfaction" and "House of the Rising Sun) were also great. Though she appeared to be in a good mood, her infamous volatility was apparent a few times, like when she would start a song, get frustrated, slam the keys on the piano and start a different one.

Speaking of concerts, I've now made plans to visit Matt and Risa in Carrboro the weekend of Nov 11, when Super Furry Animals are playing there. Should be awesome!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Desperation is Unbecoming

Josh Marshall says the same thing I was thinking, only a lot more eloquently:

"I wonder if in his comments today about Harriet Miers the president hasn't finally brought his presidency to a sort of implosive harmonic convergence.

We are, needless to say, engaged in a vast, shambling and tragic occupation of Iraq, the nominal aim of which is to create a secular, rule-of-law-based democracy [to end] the cycle of repression, fanaticism and violence which spilled onto America's shores four years ago.

At the same time, President Bush argues for Miers' confirmation neither on the basis of her 'judicial temperament' nor her judicial philosophy or ideology but because she is a staunch evangelical Christian.

The fact that many of the president's more theocratic supporters don't seem to believe him just adds a level of irony or entertainment to those of us still holding out for the Enlightenment tradition."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Snoop Cure

Mashups, in case you're not familiar, are the vocals of one song combined with the music of another. I've not ventured into them much, but Andy Slabaugh recently posted one on his blog that tickled me. It's Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" mashed with The Cure's "Close to Me." (Since the fun is in the contradiction, it probably won't be as satisfying if you aren't familiar with the songs.)

Head over there to download it before Saturday.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rain, rain

It started raining Thursday evening. It rained all Thursday night, it rained all day Friday, it poured all last night, and it's raining all day today. It had been dry, but I've had enough now -- I think it's the remnants of some tropical depression. Last evening the rain finally managed to find a leak in our bathroom, and the floor got covered with water before we discovered it and parked a pot there.

On the upside, no one was home when I got back (soaked) from the farmer's market this morning, so I listened to the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin at high volume straight through while eating some of my purchases. A very nice rainy day activity.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


At least for this first month, I've had an easier time concentrating on tasks like reading research materials for long periods of time than I did during undergrad. This is probably partially due to the sense of deadline urgency that has surrounded much of the reading, and the fact that I've been good about going places without distractions, like a deserted lawn or the library. But it's still a pleasant surprise, since I had assumed that a hard part of going back to school would be a decreased ability to focus academically since being away from it. It's a good thing I haven't had as much trouble as anticipated, because the workload continues to be rather large.

In other matters, things I have narrowly avoided hitting while riding my bicycle in the past week: 1) an enormous rat 2) a syringe. Yay Baltimore!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Inside Baseball

It came to my attention today that Carleton classmate Peter Fehrs (left) has quit his job and joined the White Sox:

Saturday, October 01, 2005


"The Economist has always had all sorts of ideological disagreements with Mr Bush, but our main problem with his administration has increasingly become incompetence."

(Psst, if you want to log on to read the article, username economist@teague.airpost.net and my high school sport as password.)