Tuesday, January 31, 2006

not a happy post

Really, it's not. Lest I cause you any undue panic, though, S-Boogie is all right.

There is nothing worse than seeing your child choking with the blind cord around her neck. Foxy and I had a horrible scare this afternoon while we were trying to do our taxes online. Thankfully Foxy saw what was happening before it was too late, but there were a couple seconds of panic followed by a lot of crying. S-Boogie has a couple red lines on her neck where the cord was. It's interesting how in the moment all you can think of is what to do--in this case all it took was getting our fingers between the cord and her neck, then untangling it--but then you spend the next hours going over and over what could have happened. I still feel a little shaky.

I keep going back to that image of S-Boogie standing on the bed in front of the window, and that brings me back to another image. One day while Foxy and I were engaged--on the day we were going to take our announcement pictures, in fact--I went to my park attendant job in Provo. I started cleaning the bathroom, then noticed a boy standing oddly under a tree. He was hunched over and swaying back and forth. As I approached him I realized there was a jumprope around his neck, going up to a tree branch. "Hey," I said, "you shouldn't play like that." Then I saw that his feet weren't touching the ground. I ran to the nearest house, where I asked to use the phone. I couldn't bring myself to tell the 911 operator what was obvious--that he was dead--so instead I sputtered out something about a boy choking with a jumprope around his neck. The firemen and police (I don't remember an ambulance but surely there was an ambulance too) arrived shortly and I watched as they assessed the situation. They put up tarps around the boy but I noticed quite a while later that I could still see his feet hanging under the tarp. The whole time I waited there and as they interviewed me for the police report, I had this eerie feeling of having witnessed something horrible and not really feeling anything because I had no connection to it. Later when I picked Foxy J up at school and started to tell her about it is when I cried.

The pictures we took that evening were no good; we returned to take more later that week.

S-Boogie recovered from the whole thing this afternoon much quicker than Foxy or I did. Within minutes she was giggling and dancing and kissing. She reminded me matter-of-factly as I put her down for a nap that "Mommy crying," which was apparently the worst part of it all for her. It would be nice to be a toddler.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pointless

On Wednesday my students are going to be learning about meeting reader expectations--structuring their papers so that one thing logically leads to the next, so as to not confuse readers. Editorgirl, who, as per Lunkwill's advice, I love unconditionally and not because of her wonderfulness, and whose name I simply cannot uncapitalize at the beginning of a sentence, passed on a wonderful idea that she used when teaching a similar concept to her English 115 students. The idea is that you do something completely random--she played a movie clip, I believe--and then go on with your lesson without explaining. You finish your lesson, say goodbye, and let your students wonder for two days if you are insane or if you were just trying to kill time. Then, the next class period, you ask them why they think you did that random thing. They talk about it, express confusion, and that's when you reveal that you were making a point: if you throw something in your paper without explaining it or tying it into something, you're confusing your reader.

So today I stopped in the middle of my lesson, played "The Last Trumpet" by Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker, then continued with the lesson. While the song played I stapled some papers to hand back. I couldn't look at the students' faces. I fought the urge to giggle, could hardly hold the stapler still. Here's the problem: I am a being of order. Logic holds my world together. Random acts of insanity simply are not me. And now I suspect my students think I'm weird. Weirder even than they usually think I am. And it drives me crazy to let them go on thinking that until Wednesday. And what about the students who don't come on Wednesday? They will go to their graves thinking that I'm some disordered guy who randomly plays new age political rap songs in the middle of class for no good reason. They will point at me on Judgment Day and hold me responsible for their lives spiraling into chaos.

And I will point to editorgirl.

To Anyone Who Received Long Emails From Me Last Week

I would just like you to know that I wrote said long emails as a guilty pleasure, at the expense of the 41 student papers that needed to be graded. I don't regret these guilty pleasures, though, because:

a. Obviously, I value electronic sociality more than I value returning student papers in a timely fashion.
b. Even with my inefficiency all week, I was hugely efficient yesterday and managed to finish grading the papers and return them today, only a week after they were turned in. And I even had time to hang out with a couple of wonderful new friends last night.

To Anyone Who Didn't Receive a Long Email From Me Last Week:
I'm sure I love you anyway.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Three Cheers for Tolkien Boy


1. Hurray for Tolkien Boy for being a novelist. The novel he's working on now promises to be even better than his first. Well, it doesn't literally say, "I promise to be better than the first novel," because that would be ridiculous, but I think it looks like it'll be positively delightful, whereas the first was only affirmatively delightful.

2. Hurrah for Tolkien Boy for being a funny, funny man.

3. Huzzah for Tolkien Boy for being a successful babysitter. He kindly watched S-Boogie last night while Foxy J and I went out for dessert. Well, technically, he watched The Simpsons last night while Foxy J and I went out for dessert and S-Boogie slept peacefully in her room, but the important thing is that S-Boogie is alive and well and apparently unscarred from her first Tolkien Boy babysitting experience. We'll have to take advantage of Tolkers' kindness more often, perhaps next time while S-Boog is awake and can enjoy his company.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Daddy Fob vs. S-Boogie's Self Image

This picture doesn't have much to do with what I'm going to talk about; I just like it. S-Boog got into the living room closet today and accesorized herself.

Today I was reading in my students' textbook, in the section on image analysis, about cultural readings of advertisements. The text uses the example of a couple studies that have been done on the portrayal of women in advertising, ranging from a 1924 Hoover ad that encourages husbands to buy their wives a vacuum for Christmas to a more recent AT&T Corporate Calling Card ad that shows a businesswomen doing Important Things on the phone. The textbook suggests that I bring ads with women in them to class so that I can have my male students pose like the women are posing and see if they look ridiculous. I'll pass, but it is a good point--despite all the advances women have made over the last century, they still are often valued more for their sexual appeal than for any other quality.

This makes me worry about S-Boogie. I tell her rather frequently that she looks pretty, to the point where now after I put her hair in pigtails she'll run to Foxy J and say, "I look pretty." I do this because: it is a matter of fact that S-Boogie is a beautiful toddler; I see her frequently; I therefore notice frequently that she is a beautiful toddler; when I notice my first impulse is to tell her. On the one hand, I think this might be a good thing because I seem to have read somewhere once that girls' perception of themselves is highly influenced by their fathers, and I would like S-Boogie to grow up knowing that she is a beautiful person, even if twenty years from now she's overweight or plagued by horrible acne or hunchbacked. On the other hand, I fear this is a bad thing because I read somewhere once that girls' perception of themselves is highly influenced by their fathers, and I don't want S-Boogie to grow up believing that her worth is dependent upon her appearance, especially when twenty years from now she is overweight or plagued by horrible acne or hunchbacked.

My hope is that I'll balance out the negative impact of telling her how pretty she is by telling her with equal frequency how smart she is. I do this because: it is a matter of fact that S-Boogie is one of the most intelligent two-and-a-half-year-olds ever; I see her frequently; I therefore notice frequently that she is an intelligent toddler; when I notice my first impulse is to tell her. I think this is a good thing. I'm sure I'll regret it, though, ten years from now when my emphasis on her intelligence produces enough anxiety to cause her to not come home for three days when she gets a B on her report card.

Sigh. I'm not sure I like having the future of a human being to mold like putty in my hands.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Guys

This post has been stewing in my head for more than a week now, so let's see if it comes out more than half-baked.

It all started when I was asked to read Guys Write For Guys Read for work. I was asked to review it for nomination in Utah's Beehive Awards because I read young adult literature and because I am one of the few guys who work at the library. My first thought was that I'm not exactly the best judge of what Guys will think of any particular book, because I am not a Normal Guy. But then I realized that that was the old Master Fob speaking, not the new-and-improved Master Fob.

See, I've spent much of my life intimidated by men. The use of the present perfect "I've spent" there could indicate that I am referring to the recent past, or it could also indicate that the action or state I'm referring to still holds true. Which it does, to some extent, but not as much as it used to. At some point during the last year or two, I've learned that I have no reason to be intimidated by men.

It may have something to do with the elders quorum I've been in. I realized recently that this is the first elders quorum I've ever been in where I've felt comfortable. Part of that comes from being in a position--as a counselor in the EQ presidency--where I was forced to interact with the other men in the quorum and find out that they are not as big and scary as I might have thought. Part of it comes from getting to know the EQ president, who is very open about his self-doubt and fears, which are not too different from my own. And part of it comes from choosing to teach lessons on uncomfortable topics like emotional intimacy and sexual addiction, then seeing the other men in the quorum open up and really talk.

It also may have something to do with the therapy group I was in early last year, composed of fifteen straight guys and me. I told them about my same-sex attraction in the second or third meeting of the group, and they seemed to respect me not in spite of it but because of it; and eventually, I think, regardless of it. As the group progressed and we grew closer, the other guys actually looked to me as some sort of leader, the guy who had all the answers. I didn't, but it was nice to see how highly they thought of me.

It may have something to do with the amazing male friends I have. Like Th., who on more than one occasion has broken his rule about emotional exhibitionism in order to make me not feel like a dork for dumping my emotions on him. Or Freelancer, who recognizes that random, unprovoked kisses from his daughter are "the sweetest gift ever." Or Svoid (I can still count him as a friend even though he's my brother), who flies to Milwaukee to bring his girlfriend flowers, then quotes Dostoevsky when he blogs about it. Or Edgy, who is not ashamed of his strange addictions. Or Tolkien Boy, that manliest of men, who admits that even he is intimidated by the "healthy tans and visible abdominals" of the men in the BYU gym showers (I might add, by the way, that I am the man who is most frequently in those showers when he is--I'd be intimidated too, if I had to shower next to me).

Last year I had the opportunity to get to know a guy who I found particularly intimidating. He'd always seemed so sure of himself, so strong, so stereotypically male. I'd always felt inferior and incompetent around him. Once I got to know him, though, I realized that he worked so hard to exude confidence precisely because that's the one thing he lacks. It had never occurred to me that he cared one bit what people thought of him, but as it turns out he's one of the most insecure people I know. But then, the fact that I need to see others' insecurities in order to feel comfortable around them speaks tons about my own insecurity.

My point in all this rambling is that I'm learning that, when it comes to guys, it's not me and them. It's us. I may not be your stereotypical man, but who is? I don't know what makes men men--perhaps it's nothing more than that Y chromosome (and, you know, the other obvious things that go with it)--but whatever it is, I'm not scared of it anymore.

Zero-gravity bunnies, on the other hand, terrify me.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Master Fob: He Sure Is... Different

I just got an email from a random guy who came across "Getting Out" and "Staying In" and wanted to tell me that, as a gay Mormon in a mixed-orientation marriage, he identified with my story. (He explained that I was the second Master Fob he had emailed in search of the author of the essays. Who'd have known Master Fob was such a common name?)

At any rate, he mentioned that he'd found my essays on a blog which advertised them as proof that gay men should not marry heterosexually. So I hopped on Blogsearch and I'm pretty sure I found the right place. As it turns out, the author of this blog lives on Oahu, which, in case you don't know, is where I grew up. Not that that has anything to do with anything; I just found it curious. To be honest, I'm flattered to be mentioned by a stranger, even if he's using my words to come to a different conclusion than I intended. Perhaps I should be bothered by the fact that he's putting me up basically as a cautionary tale of what not to do, but I'm not. People are free to read my story and come to whatever conclusion they want to.

If nothing else, at least Blog Guy posting a link to my article led to Random Guy realizing that he is not alone in the world. Random Guy compared reading my essays to the experience of early Mormons who found the LDS Church and were gratified to learn something they already believed, "that the truth had to be different than all things at that time proffered." If I achieve nothing else in this life, I'll be happy to know that one person thinks I am different than all things at this time proffered.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up For Your Rights

I belong to an opressed class. We are looked down upon, harassed, and denied the rights and privileges of the dominant class. But no more, I say. It's time to protest. It's time to start a movement. And so I ask you to join with me, my brothers and sisters, in the revolution. What revolution, you ask? What movement? The Walkers' Rights Movement!

You see, I am a walker. You may not know this about me because I'm a bit of a closet walker. I do have a car and I do use it, but that's just to avoid the looks of scorn I get when I show my true self to the world. But when no one's looking, late Friday mornings when everyone's at work, I come out. And, man, it feels good. I am a walker. I get tingles just typing that out loud. The italics produce even more tingles.

"But, Fobby," you may say, "how can you claim to represent an opressed class? Surely you chose to be a walker. I mean, you weren't born that way." And if you said that you might be right, by which I mean you'd be dead wrong but I want you to feel validated in expressing your (incorrect) opinion. Yes, it's true that I own a car, as I've already admitted, and it's also true that I use it, as I've also admitted. But look at what I have going against me:
  • I have a two-and-a-half-year-old who doesn't like to sit around the apartment all day.
  • Going for walks makes the screaming and whining stop.
  • I have a flabby tummy.
  • I work for an employer who sponsors a fitness program that pits employees against each other in a bid to win Mall Bucks, and in order to compete seriously I need to get 45 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
  • There's no way I'd have time to get 45 minutes of aerobic exercise a day if I did not do so during the time I am watching S-Boogie. Walking is about the only thing I can do with her in tow.
  • And on top of all that, my mom is an addictive walker, which gives me reason to believe that it's genetic.
So, now that we've established that I have no choice in this matter, you may be wondering what it is that makes walkers so opressed. A fair enough question, by which I mean you should feel stupid for asking it. I'll humor you, though. I present the following:
  • Cars do not notice pedestrians. This has led to many near-death experiences in which a car turning a corner has threatened to run over me and my innocent child. Now, I'm not saying that when I'm driving I don't run over pedestrians, but we're not talking about me as a driver; we're talking about me as an opressed walker.
  • Stores are not made to be accessed by walkers, particularly not walkers pushing strollers. There is never a walkway leading from the sidewalk to the store entrance, which means that I have to weave in and out of parked and not-parked cars in the parking lot. The first complaint holds as true in parking lots as on streets, by the way.
  • Don't even get me started on the various parts of Orem that have no sidewalk.
  • Snow. No one bothers to clear their sidewalk of it. Oh, sure, we'll send out a plow to clear the roads for drivers, but who cares about walkers? And I'm not talking about sidewalks in front of peoples' houses. I'm talking about fobbin' State Street. These are businesses who don't bother to shovel their sidewalks because, you know, who the fob cares about fobbin' walkers? (Pardon my language. I'm getting rather angry typing this.) Have you ever tried to push a stroller over day-old hard lumpy snow? Either S-Boogie gets shaken baby syndrome or I give up on the sidewalk and head out onto the plowed street, braving the oncoming traffic. Remember those cars who don't see pedestrians? Yeah, this is probably not a very safe solution to the problem. Today after making it down eight blocks of State Street I came back up Fourth East so that at least I could walk in the street safely, which I did the whole way because the sidewalks were even worse.
I'm going to begin my revolution with a boycott of all the stores on State Street who don't shovel their sidewalks. The nice thing is that I have never shopped at any of these stores anyway. Now I will not shop there with purpose.

I would call up the Dean of Students at BYU to schedule a protest, but as luck would have it BYU tends to do a pretty darn good job of keeping its sidewalks clear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Faith No More

I have long believed, but now I have a perfect knowledge: poop in the bathtub is gross.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Doo doo DOO, doo doo DOO, FOXY

Tolkien Boy pointed out tonight that Foxy J is an incredible person. I second the motion.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I have also been informed

by a pleasant chime and a little pop-up window in the bottom right corner of my screen that I have a new email message. I know that this is the email sent automatically every time someone posts a comment on my blog, in this case that someone being myself, but still I can't suppress the giddy feeling I get at the thought of a new email.

I have been informed

by a reliable source that I am passive-aggressive. I'm sure he's wrong, but I won't tell him so to his face. The jerk.

Untitled

Several months ago, when I felt that I could no longer conscientiously teach things I didn't believe and I was tired of finding ways to teach Mormon elders quorum lessons while skirting around the parts of Mormon doctrine I no longer believed, I talked to the elders quorum president and asked to be released from my calling as his counselor. He was distraught by my loss of testimony, but he understood that I was doing what I felt right about and graciously accepted my resignation. (As a sidenote, EQP is a muy cool dude.) When EQP explained this to the counselor in the stake presidency who is over him, though, President M told EQP that because he (Pres. M) had made the calling, I would have to talk to him (Pres. M) if I wanted to be released. When EQP explained this to me, I told him that I didn't particularly want to defend my decision to Pres. M, who I didn't know very well but from my limited experience with him seemed like a rather forceful sort of fellow, but if EQP needed me to do so in order to call a new counselor in my place, I would. EQP said he'd rather wait a few months, letting me take an unofficial hiatus from my responsibilities without officially releasing me just in case I changed my mind. I said okay, let me know when you need me to talk to Pres. M.

Sunday night I got a call from Pres. M's secretary. Pres. M wanted me to come talk with him Wednesday night. I've been a little nervous all week for the aforementioned reasons, but I took hope in the fact that both EQP and the bishop had reacted respectfully when I told them that I am, in fact, still reading the Bible and praying, and I am doing what I believe God wants me to, and I have no intention of doing anything without checking first with God. I was still wary, though, about Pres. M's aforementioned forceful personality. I'm not very comfortable with men in authority-type positions, anyway, and to be in a potentially confrontational situation with one isn't my idea of fun.

As it turns out, it really wasn't horrible. Pres. M, like most people, is a good man with good intentions. He expressed concern for me, warned me not to let unresolved sins or offenses from church members cloud my judgment, all good advice. He asked what specific objections I have to church doctrine, though, and that's when things started going downhill. I stumbled over a prophets this and a Book of Mormon that, but managed to say nothing coherent. The problem, I realized later, is that my logical objections to Mormon doctrine are minimal and ultimately irrelevant. What it comes down to is simply that I no longer feel that the church is all it claims to be. And how can one approach religious truth except through feeling?

So there I am, stuttering incomplete sentences about trivial bits of doctrine I find illogical, and Pres. M looks at me and says, "You know, Brother Fob, I teach science. I understand logic. But if I preached science and logic from the pulpit, I'd be stoned. Sometimes you just have to do what God tells you to, even if it's not logical."

I stared back at him. I really really wanted to say:

"I know. Damn. Well. What it means to do something because it feels right, because that's what I feel God wants me to do, despite the fact that every logical fiber of my being tells me to do something else."

I resisted the urge. I told myself over and over that it didn't matter what Pres. M thought of me, that all that mattered was what God thinks of me, that if I said that I'd have to get into a big long explanation of what I was talking about. I told myself that if I said that I'd succeed only in making myself look like a deluded self-righteous prat.

So I said, "Thank you for your concern, Pres. M. I appreciate it." And then I came here to my blog, where people expect me to be a deluded self-righteous prat.

The end.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Among the Giants OR Moonlighting

Many moons ago, in my first creative writing class at BYU, taught by Laura Card, I was introduced to great local children's writers such as Rick Walton and Carol Lynch Williams. Rick's picture books, such as Once There Was a Bull...Frog, are always entertaining and clever, and Carol's My Angelica is one of the funniest books I have ever read. A while later, in preparation for a creative writing class taught by John Bennion, I read several of his short stories and his novel Falling Toward Heaven. I fell in love with his writing. At some point I realized that all these people I was beginning to idolize were in the same writing group. I feel silly saying so now, but at the time I fantasized about being invited to join their writing group. As far as I was concerned, and still am, these are the big guns of Utah Valley writing. I wanted to be one of them.

At the end of the semester, to my surprise, John invited me to join his writing group. I was giddy all over. I thought long and hard about what to bring that first night that would impress them, convince them that I deserved to be in such grandiose company. I ended up bringing a melodramatic little piece of crap, but I don't think that was why neither John nor Carol ever came to that group again after that first night I went. As it turned out, the group was in the process of splitting, with the fantasy-leaning authors going one way and the non-fantasy going the other. Somehow, I ended up in the fantasy group without the person who had invited me to join in the first place. At least Laura Card was in that group, who knew me and was very cool. And really they were all good people, but the truth is I never felt comfortable in that group. And I was not invited to join the other, the one John and Carol were in. So, slowly, I stopped going.

The good thing that came of this is that being in a group that wasn't quite right for me inspired me to form my own writing group, which is how Fob came about. And Fob, as we all know, is one of the most wonderful things to ever grace this or any other planet. The next Bloomsbury Group, really. Except with less casual sex between group members.

At any rate, I've been running a teen writing group at the library with Carol for the last few months. Last month she asked me to join her writing group. Actually, more like told me to. So tonight I went. John and Carol, who have become two of my favorite non-Fob-related people, were there. A couple other very nice and very talented writers were there. And Kimberley Heuston, author of The Shakeress and Dante's Daughter, was there. And she said very nice things about the first chapter of my book. Hee hee. Color me flattered.



***By way of disclaimer, if I had to choose between Fob and this other group I would choose Fob without hesitation. But I don't have to choose.***

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hagar the Horrible

Two posts that were forming incoherently in the vacuous space I call my mind latched onto each other on my way home from teaching this morning and have produced a mutant child.

I. Once when my dad was visiting some time ago, he noticed the many large white boxes filled with comic books that were crowding Foxy J's and my already-crowded room. He saw this as a problem and immediately began brainstorming as to how we could fix it. Maybe we could put in some shelves, or maybe we could lay a piece of wood over the boxes to make a sort of desktop, or maybe we could raise the bed in order to put the boxes underneath. (I don't remember, by the way, that these were the actual solutions he proposed--I'm making them up, but the point is that he came up with several viable solutions pretty quickly.) The fact is that neither Foxy nor I saw the growing mound of white boxes as a problem that needed solving, so we thanked Dad for the suggestions and politely declined the offer to carry any of them out.

The funny thing, though, is that my mind works exactly like my dad's. I don't know whether it's a Fob thing or a male thing or a male Fob thing, but I can't see a problem and not try to solve it. I spend my life noticing cosmic tilted frames and doing my best to straighten them. This is not a bad thing, in and of itself. I solve a lot of problems with this particular neurosis of mine. All the king's men despair at the mass of shattered egg shell, while I figure out where to start gluing. The downside is that sometimes problems are not solvable. Or, sometimes, people just want to tell you about their problems without you trying to solve them. (Apologies to all my friends I try to fix on a regular basis.) And sometimes I think I've got something figured out and I proceed with my solution, but pretty soon I'll realize that it would have been better to leave well enough alone and let the problem fix itself.

II. Last night Foxy and I read the story of Abram and Sarai and Hagar in Genesis. See, Abram and Sarai are getting old and they haven't had any kids yet. They really want kids, and it kills them to think they'll die soon without leaving any posterity behind. They've seen the fertility specialist in Canaan and he can't help them. They've considered in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, egg donation, fertility drugs, but then they remembered that none of those things will be invented for another five thousand years. As far as they can tell, there is no hope. But Sarai has this servant, Hagar, an Egyptian with good childbearing hips. So Sarai gets a brilliant idea. She says to Abram, "Look, the Lord has kept me from bearing. Consort with my maid; perhaps I shall have a son through her" (Gen. 16.2, New JPS Translation). In Sarai's mind, she has solved the problem. It's simple: Abram visits Hagar's tent, strictly business of course, no feelings involved, bada bing, bada boom, Abram and Sarai have a child, everyone's happy, thank you Hagar you can be on your way now.

The text says that once Hagar conceived, "her mistress was lowered in her esteem" (Gen. 16.4). I interpret this to mean that somewhere along the way Hagar became important, and noticed her new importance. Sarai noticed too. She was not happy. She had thought she could handle sending her husband off to have sex with another woman. It's only sex, right? It's not like he actually loves her like he loves me, so it doesn't mean anything. And it solves our problem--I can certainly handle my husband having sex with another woman if it gets me a baby. It seems, though, that nothing went as smoothly as Sarai had planned. Feelings got involved, as they tend to when you're dealing with human beings, and Sarai got jealous. And jealousy, as the narcoleptic Argentine in Moulin Rouge! says, will drive you mad.

And the ironic thing is that, not long after this whole fiasco with Hagar, God steps in, does his miracle thing, and Sarai has her own baby. While Abram and Sarai had seen no solution to their childlessness but to make up their own rules, and according to logic there was no other solution, God saw one. Had they consulted him, he probably would have told them to just wait another year or two. To be patient. But did they ask? As far as the text says, no. And the best thing of all this is that God, being the merciful father that he is (as opposed to the vengeful dictator the Old Testament often seems to portray him as), provides them with this happy solution to their problem even though they acted like silly children and did their own thing.

III (the mutant child). It occurs to me that in my relentless pursuit of solutions, I am often too much like Sarai. I don't trust God to take care of me, so I try to fix everything myself, and I run the risk of ruining everything I'm trying to fix. Now, I'm the last person to say you should sit around and wait for God to step in and fix everything for you. I don't think God wants that; he wants us to think for ourselves, to come up with our own solutions, but then to ask him if that's a good solution before we jump in headfirst. 'Cause, you know, he probably knows that that Hagar chick is nothing but trouble.

IV. Despite what I've just said, I really think Hagar is the victim in all this. She was only doing what Sarai told her to do.

V. In an unrelated note, I'm considering converting to Buddhism.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Nine Thoughts

1. I have submitted my application to Washington's MLIS program, a week before the due date. Though the thought of being a mild-mannered librarian for the rest of my life still produces happy feelings when it crosses my mind, I have come to think of library school as a definite Plan B after English school's Plan A. Me fail English? That's unpossible.

2. I am beginning the process of selling the majority of my comic book collection on eBay. There are a few reasons for this:
a. They take up space, and we're going to be moving, possibly to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in seven or eight months.
b. I just spent another $45 on application fees. The thought of pending moving costs terrifies me. As a side note, a trumps b and laziness trumps all, so I'm listing them for dirt cheap.
c. I'm no longer as enamored of them as I once was. Yes, I still look forward to getting new comics to read each month, but I read them once and take hardly another peek, whereas in high school I read my favorites over and over. What's the point of keeping them around if all they're doing is taking up space?
d. I'm transitioning into waiting to buy sturdy, shelvable, collected trade paperback editions, as opposed to the flimsy monthlies. A nice book I can pull off the shelf and flip through is much better than a plastic-sheathed magazine hidden away in a big white box.

3. I am not very good at maintaining a secret identity. I've messed up already.

4. Played Trivial Pursuit with Petra, Tolkien Boy, Melyngoch, and Foxy J the other night. Petra kicked our butts as expected, but let it be known that former college bowl queen Foxy J stayed nose-to-nose with her up to the end. Just like the last time I played Trivial Pursuit, with Lord and Lady Steed, I ended up exposing myself as the faux intellectual I really am. Trivial Pursuit isn't necessary to expose me, though. All you need to do is get me to try to pronounce pithy. Ask Fob. My true friends, I suppose, are the ones who love me even after I've been stripped bare to my fraudulent bones.

5. Thanks to Edgy, eg, and Fob Sr. for the help on the academic conversation thing. And thanks to Melyngoch for the promised but ne'er-delivered loose change. I ended up tracking down the book Edgy and eg so lowly recommended at UVSC's library, only to decide that what I really wanted was Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The American Scholar," which is all over the web. I'm having my students summarize and respond to Part II, in which Emerson speaks of young men in libraries reading the words of other young men in libraries. They seemed to respond well to the essay yesterday in class.

6. On Thursday I was reminded of what it is that I love about libraries: timelessness. To be in a great, silent room, surrounded by books and books and books, and not care about the passage of time, is heaven. Unfortunately, working at a library produces none of this effect.

7. Watched The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) tonight. Marvelous. Cut the crap, Hamlet; my biological clock is ticking, indeed.

8. Thanks to Petra for the props on the 100 Hour Board. By "props," I don't mean that she said, "Gee, isn't Master Fob a great person?" but that she said, "Master Fob has something relevant to say," which I think is much better props than the former.

9. Garth Nix says that nine is a magic number--being holy three times holy three--so whenever possible one should do things in nines.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lost Generation

S-Boogie has decided that the earrings go on Mr. Potato Head. I fear it's too late for her now. She's going to grow up to be one of those freaks who thinks it's okay for men to wear earrings, and has sex with animals, or something.


Don't even get me started on the unhealthy body image issues Mrs. Potato Head is bound to give her.


Or the unrealistic expectations of what can be stored in one's butt.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Good Night's Sleep

Makes the world a better place.

Last night I was considering quitting both my jobs and checking into a mental institution because no matter how hard I looked I couldn't find an article about how reading and writing create an ongoing academic conversation, which I really need for tomorrow (and I'm positive such a thing exists, somewhere). This morning I'm only mildly stressed. If I don't find something I can use today I will only quit my teaching job, withdraw my PhD applications, and refuse to speak English for three years.

Donations are being accepted in the comments section.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Fob Family DVD


Tonight Foxy and I watched the DVD of family photos my brother and sisters spent countless hours over the last couple years putting together. I have come to the following conclusions:

1. I like my family.
2. There are many unhappy, uncomfortable, and downright painful moments in my family's past. And probably in our present and future too. And I feel no need to pretend those moments don't exist, but I'm also glad to be reminded that there are even more happy, peaceful, and downright fun moments to remember.
3. Puff Daddy's "It's All About the Benjamins" as the soundtrack to my segment of the DVD (my idea, by the way), while fun for a few moments, is somewhat overbearing after a while. I'm glad Svoid faded it out before Lil' Kim started her verse.
4. The Fob (referring to my last name, which you must never know) family genes are strong. Even though my two oldest sisters' father is Seneca Indian, they look more like my mom than any of the rest of us. We Fobs are all very much Fobs. As is S-Boogie. We all have Daddy's nose, if you will.
5. I like my family.

Goal II: Mission Accomplished

Edgy Killer Bunny brought me a six-pack tonight. First day of the year, and I've already accomplished one of my five goals.

Three Posts for the Price of One

1. Bad Parents

We honestly had no intention of keeping S-Boogie up past midnight. Traditionally we don't even stay up till midnight ourselves, even if we try. We were going to let her stay up a little later than usual, come home about ten, and put her in bed. And that plan would have worked, were S-Boogie and Foxy J and I not having so much fun. I blame editorgirl for throwing such a great party.

Lately, S-Boogie tends to wake up just a little before Foxy and I are ready to, so she gets in bed with us and kicks our faces until we wake up. This morning, she got up at about the usual time, climbed into our bed, and went back to sleep. We went to sacrament meeting at nine, came home because her nose is too runny to go to nursery, and she asked to take a nap. What we have here is a tired Boogie.

2. Good Music

Last night I finally succeeded in transferring all our music to the MP3 player we got with the gift card my dad gave us for Christmas (thanks again, Dad). The total rings in at 2552 tracks from 224 albums, using up less than half of the 20 GB capacity of the player.

3. New Year's Resolutions

i. Read the Old Testament. The Sunday school teacher recommended the New Jewish Publication Society Translation of the Tanakh, and I think I might try it out, just to do something different.

ii. Get a six-pack (my own, not someone else's).

iii. Read at least one book per month. I'm embarrassed to admit that, as a librarian and an English teacher, I need to make this a goal. This past semester I just didn't have any time left over after preparing lesson plans, hanging out with S-Boog, working, eating, sleeping, writing, blogging, and occasionally running into Foxy J. I need to make time, though. Somehow.

iv. Read more poetry. I've been reading Foxy's copy of Leaves of Grass and I've been enjoying it. Considering the length and my pace, maybe my goal should just be to finish Leaves this year.

v. Do something fun and surprising for Foxy on a regular basis. (This one's a secret; don't tell her.)

I'll report back throughout the year. Please harass me if I don't.