On my short drive to the bus stop, I passed the Wolfline #9 Greek Village bus stopped at the Kaplan and Gorman Streets intersection, and enjoyed watching a rather studly student sprinting to catch it. Whenever I see someone running for the bus now, I always think about a driver from a year or so ago who was driving by a student who started running to catch her bus and who, as we slowly passed him, called out, "Run, Forrest, Run."
Since I'd just missed the Wolfline #9 bus, I checked the GPS on my phone that tells you where each university bus is at the moment. I saw that there was a #1 stopped on Greek Way, so I walked to its nearby stop, since it would be the next one coming. So appreciate technology when it makes my life easier.
A guy took a seat to my left and kept his hands wrapped around a large Styrofoam Dunkin' Donuts cup. I could smell the coffee in it, which smelled like it had a lot of cream and sugar in it. A girl across from me read a textbook, and the girl beside her worked on her Acer netbook. It's not unheard of that a student uses a laptop on the bus, but it's not commonplace either.
Shortly after arriving to work, I got a call from Tracey Cloninger's office with the biopsy report on that skin tag they removed from my eye last week. I'd forgotten that she'd said they send out anything they remove, just to be sure. In very clinical terms the lady said, "It was a small, benign polyp and no further treatment is needed." I didn't realize that skin tags were polyps.
I hung up a few things in my office today, which may not seem like a big deal, but it's significant to me for two reasons:
- I hate hanging things.
- The arrangement of these awards is way out of my comfort zone.
Of course, if you were just curious, and you did want to see, exactly what each of those awards were for, you could hover over the picture and see the description in a clockwise fashion. :-)
Once home, I put the icing on the cake (literally!) and topped it with cherries and nuts, before heading out to Anna's for Salon. It's not obvious from the lighting in this picture that the cake is a mint green color:
Tonight was Salon XVIII and our Second Saloniversary. Etta was a surprise guest, and as always it was an absolute ton of fun. Here are a bunch of soundbites, with attributions purposefully omitted, and some of which will be lost without context:
- On the gender of Awardy
- "It's a he to me. I don't know why."
- "It's WOOD."
- On the nature of salon
- "We don't decide things."
- "We're not that kind of 'body.'"
- On the poem of one of the members
- "That was tremendously oral."
- Other assorted gems
- "Children are not a do-over."
- "Hello, Romeo and Juliet? TOTAL rip-off of Pyramus and Thisbe. Just sayin'."
- "I looked for a Hallmark card and none of them said 'polyps.'"
- "Mine are so disappointing. Ready? Let's go."
- "That lusty girl keeps emailing us."
- "That's as big as it gets. Deal with it."
- "I don't like 'hidey-hole.'"
- "I will have the right hand give it to the left."
- "His name is Smitty. He ought to have a flask of whiskey and a peg leg."
- "I'm the weird staring alien!"
- "I distinctly remember saying, who doesn't like panties?"
- "You must've posted it because I didn't get it."
- "The graveyard of the half-assed tombstone."
- "I laughed so hard I squirted milk out of my..."
- "It maht be..."
- "No one aspires to being paunchy, gray, and wheezy."
- "How are you going to operationalize that, Brad?"
- "Apparently I didn't need the climax."
And here is the agenda with my answers embedded:
January 31, 2011
6:30 PM, Anna’s Home
- Your reaction, if any, to this quote from Margaret Atwood: Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté. [Anna]
It reminds me of when I was in the Nematomes book club (1991-2001), in the 4th year, the year of our Lord 1994, when we had Margaret Maron, the author of our June book, Bootlegger’s Daughter attend our meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, we asked her if we should just proceed as we normally do by going around the room each stating what we did, and didn’t, like about the book. To which she replied, “Oh. I don’t think I’d like to hear what people didn’t enjoy about my book. That would be like people telling you that your children are ugly.”
I was absolutely astounded by that response. To me it seemed like such a lost opportunity to see both what worked and didn’t work for readers on a very intimate level, which would be something I would have cherished as a writer.
- Since the "gift by year" for second anniversaries is cotton or straw, let's celebrate our second saloniversary by tapping into our inner poet, which Anna has so delicately and deliciously aroused in us, and each devise a poem that features cotton and/or straw in it to be read at the meeting. [John]
Only Allusions to Second Anniversary Gifts
by John Martin
The land of which I wish I was, look away, look away, look away.
On sheets of soft Egyptian this, I lay, I lay, I lay.
The stuff comprising Peter's tail, hopping down that bunny trail.
And candy consisting of mostly air, wrapped on a cone at the country fair.
Its fibers extracted by Eli’s gin.
A ball of it clears rouge from skin.
A tubular vessel to suck liquids in.
With choc and van, it’s Neapolitan.
Of the yellow-brick Scarecrow’s innards consist.
A poll type's results about which doubts exist.
Those of pine make a landscaped tract.
And the last one broke the camel’s back.
- Linden Street (You don't need to do anything—I just want to share something with you all about where I grew up.) [Sarah]
- Which public places (if any) make you feel the most comfortable? In your element? Ownership of? [Sarah]
Physically: Provincetown, MA
Emotionally: Alone and in the dark, and in a cemetery is nice.
Intellectually: Public libraries, particularly while traveling. (And at Salon, of course!)
- Resolutions, redux! [Kim]
Reminder of 5 ways to help keep resolutions:
1) Be specific (“lose 15 pounds,” not “lose some weight")
2) Aim low (make them obtainable and realistic)
3) Do not break the bank (don’t join an expensive gym and get a trainer all at once)
4) Make it automatic (if you resolve to save more, set up an automatic transfer to do it each month)
5) Get a buddy (makes your resolution public, and gives you someone to be accountable to)
- Award report and ceremony (we need some ceremony pre-planning for this one!) [Kim]
- Any 2010 Salon Superlatives that come to mind. I have these 4 for me: a) Best agenda item name, b) Most compelling discussion item, c) Most surprising discussion item, and d) Most navel-gazing agenda item. :-) [John]
[From Salon VII, Jan 18, 2010] Most affirming agenda item: “What Matters Now: From that e-book, pick words that reminded us of each of the other salon members”
[From Salon VII, Jan 18, 2010] Best agenda item name: “What you gain/lose for the price of a bottle of whiskey during a dictatorship (or ‘Carlos in uniform: A photo and a story’)”
[Both from Salon XI, May 10, 2010] Most compelling discussion item(s): “Regrets: Do you believe in, suffer from, or live with any? (Anna, stolen from Brad) & First impressions of Salon Members. When/where did you first meet? (Sarah)”
[From Salon XII, June 21, 2010] Most personal agenda item: “Reading Jeane’s obituary to a gracious audience (John).” My perception of most personal agenda items of others: Sarah = sharing tap shoes story, Brad = playing Eleanor’s song, Anna = sharing her regret, and Kim = the item that brought out that she thinks of her grandmother every single day?
[From Salon XVI, November 15, 2010] Most navel-gazing agenda item: "Criteria for deciding whether something is worthy of a place on The Salon Agenda [Kim]”
[From Salon XVI, November 15, 2010] Most intriguing agenda item jettisoned: "One minute with your pen" (no homework for this one, obviously) [Anna]”
[From Salon XVII, December 13, 2010] Most surprising discussion item: “If you're a teacher, or have taught, what are your experiences with cheating students, and how do you think UCF Professor Richard Quinn handled his situation. Reference Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbzJTTDO9f4 (John)”
Fastest growing forums in 2010: Language (started mid-August, 13.4 postings per month), Things that Made Me Smile Today (started end of February, 7.7 postings per month), and Venn Diagrams & other graphical representations of ideas (was already started in January, 6.75 postings per month).
- Discuss DIESEL print ad that I will bring to share. [Sarah]
Exactly WHAT is this ad advertising?
- Oprah (Love her or hate her? Why?) [Sarah]
- Everyone’s thoughts on: That’s Not Twain [John]
I'm with the camp who thinks it's a mistake. To me, it is taking out the "teachable moments" of the book for teachers. And that's what teachers are for, to provide context, and then challenge the students to think beyond just the words on the page about that time and place.
The other problem this kind of thing introduces is when to draw the line on when this type of thing is "acceptable" or not. For instance, in stories about the civil rights movement, it would clearly be inappropriate to replace the N-word (and words like faggot, when recounting the Stonewall Riots, and so on), but when is a book considered "about the civil rights movement?" And would the appropriateness of changing it matter if the book were fiction vs. non-fiction. And then, who gets to decide all this, and do they do it on a case-by-case basis, and so on.
- Life expectancies and the Hans Rosling video John posted on New Years. How do you think that people's attitudes about life and death have changed since US life expectancies have changed from 40-75 years? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo
My attitude as I’ve gotten older is that I really don’t want to live to be any older than my body and mind are healthy. And by healthy I don’t mean just functioning. I mean functioning robustly.
And to be honest, I’m looking forward to checking out (hopefully) before the planet starts disintegrating at a much more rapid rate, and I'm so thankful to not have progeny about whose futures to worry.
- What’s a good number of agenda items, and should there be a limit to the number of topics one person can add?
It seems to me that about a dozen is the max we can get through, always dependent upon the turn of the discussions, of course.
As for a limit of items per person, I’d be in favor of letting people post as many as they want to, and then if we get to the limit of 12, and someone wants to post one that they feel strongly about, someone who has several of them can volunteer to give up one of their slots.
Something to that effect without making it some kind of administrative nightmare, which I wouldn’t anticipate. I know if I have several items on the agenda, I'd be happy to give up one or two or just move them to the following month's agenda.
Absolute choice: Love her. (She struggles with her weight, she adds diversity to the straight white older male entertainment mogul club, and she talks about—or brings attention to—"things that matter")
Relative choice: Mostly love her, because like others, I think she's a little out of touch with reality on a lot of the matters she brings forward.