Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Hero

I find the whole Virginia Tech shooting to be disturbing, at the very least.

But, there was one man killed there who was a hero for his students. Beyond his legacy of teaching, he died helping his students live:
Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mechanics lecturer. He was born in Romania, immigrated to Israel in 1978 and moved to Virginia in 1985.

An Israeli citizen, he had taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years and was internationally known for his work in aeronautical engineering.

"His research has enabled better aircraft, superior composite materials, and more robust aerospace structures," said Ishwar Puri, the head of the engineering science and mechanics department.

Librescu's son, Joe, said his father's students sent e-mails detailing how the professor saved their lives by blocking the doorway of his classroom from the approaching gunman before he was fatally shot.

“My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee,” his son Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. “Students started opening windows and jumping out.”


Monday, April 16, 2007

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Not quite yet, but I leave at butt-ass early o'clock on Wednesday morning. Woot!

In honor of my stress and how much I love my paper at this moment, I leave you with an image (thanks R):

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vocabulary lessons

My grandma, the 80 something year old short Basque lady who is up for anything and a lot of fun, called me today and left a message.

"Oh, hi Deetie. This is Grandma. Listen, have you heard from your mom? How is she doing? oh and can you call me back and tell me what that stuff Imus said means? I think I know what a ho is, but I'm not sure about the rest. Thank you. Bye."

Hee hee! I called her and filled her in on the 'rents situation (they're in Italy doing ancestry stuff) and she did not forget to ask about Imus. Nope, she asked "is he referring to their pubic hair?" I explained to her and then she decided that ho was the worst of the two. She mentioned what she heard ho meant, I think just to make sure that she was right.

Things to write in my journal about today: Taught today, went okay. Tired. Oh, and talked about ho's and pubic hair with my grandma.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where Have I Been?!?

I've been a little stressed lately. Just a bit. My life over the last 3 weeks has pretty much been full of nail-biting. A brief run-through of my last 2 weeks:
-write paper for conference
-smoke cigarettes (for 1 day)
-feel guilty for smoking
-stop smoking cigarettes
-feel better after couple days
-workout lots
-hurt neck
-neck spasms. go to doctor and get nice muscle relaxants. get no work done while medicated, but thankful for abatement of neck and back contractions
-stress some more
-rewrite conference paper
-smoke a couple more cigarettes (I really am serious here. Maybe like 4 in a 2 hour time period.)
-feel guilty for smoking
-stop smoking cigarettes
-feel better after couple days, but can't workout because of neck injury
-rewrite paper again
-family comes for Easter for major bacchanale. Eat too much, drink too much, smoke more fucking cigarettes. NO MORE!

Meanwhile, life has traveled on without me. Not that I blame it. Really? My stress is kinda small, it's not like I'm moving across the country or having a baby or something. But, things have happened over the last 3 weeks. I shall sum up my feelings about these things below.

1. I am sad Kurt Vonnegut died. I liked his writing and he's only 2 years older than my grandma who I loaded up with liquor over Easter (she really liked my martinis!).

2. Josh Bell playing at L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station is awesome. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have stopped to listen because morning rush hour is such shit in DC. Yes, we should be open to more beauty in this world. I can say that I probably would have commented to someone that I heard an awesome violinist in the metro today, but beyond that...I usually had to get to work. I caught a bus from the metro to get to work. That bus only ran every half an hour, so if I missed it I was really late to work. Not good. Now, after work was a different story (esp. later at night, like when I met my husband).
Anyway, I must also admit that L'Enfant Plaza is also where I would go for a pee run if I had gone drinking near the Capitol and had to trek home on my 1+ hour commute home to Maryland when I first lived there. Yeah, LP was the only metro station that had bathrooms right outside! And since I paid for a monthly unlimited pass, I didn't care that I had to leave the station proper to evacuate my bladder. Dude, it was a relatively clean bathroom that always had tp, soap, and paper towels.

3. Don Imus said shitty things and I'm kinda glad he's gotten in trouble for it. I don't normally give a shit about these sorts of things. I have a love-hate relationship with "shock jocks" anyway. When I was in college, I used to listen to Howard Stern for maybe 3 weeks to a month before he'd say something that disgusted me enough/pissed me off enough that I wouldn't listen for a couple months. I went through that cycle for a couple of years until I decided it wasn't worth it anymore.
Being a shock jock, especially an old one, has its problems. Basically, you traverse the thin line of what's okay and what's not okay every day. When you are this relic whose heyday was in the 1980s, well...hate to tell you this, but it ain't worth keeping you around if you fuck up--too many sponsors leave and not enough new ones can take their place. Maybe if you were 25 or something. Then the suits could say that you are young and stupid. It's harder to tell someone that you're 70 and stupid. Oh yeah, the other problem? Rap singers say shitty things about women as a whole. I don't like it, but at least I can say that it's a gross generalization about a large portion of society. Ripping on a small, very specific group of young women calling them nappy-haired ho's? That's too personal. Those young women are not celebrities who understand that their "privacy is expensive" (thanks Johnny Depp). No, those girls are trying to make a life for themselves by going to college and being good enough to play for their basketball team. It was only a matter of time before Imus said something that wouldn't be worth saving him from, and this was it.

Crap. Lost is on. I've gotta go.