Friday, May 29, 2009

After some serious thought, I've decided that I am not capable of objectively reviewing the new Star Trek movie. Was it a good movie? I have no idea. Was it a good Star Trek movie? I hope so? Did I like it? It unhinged my sense of linear time and took me to a place I'd rather be. (So, yes, very much.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This morning, I watched an animated Disney movie about spaceships and aliens (Lilo & Stitch) that I'd never seen before. This afternoon, I watched several episodes of the last season of Stargate while working on my spaceship. (I've been improving its ductwork.) Then, this evening, I went to see the new Star Trek in IMAX form.

Happiness: Spaceships and aliens all day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We got a burst of hot weather this weekend, so I dragged the fans up from the garage.

Elaine was terrified by the square, gridded box buzzing in the doorway. So, I told her it was a robot. Throughout the rest of the evening, Elaine took periodic breaks from anything she was doing to run over to the door, wave her hand at the fan, and say, "Hi robot!"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Linear time can be hard to accept. The pilot of DS9 is about that. Commander Sisko, unable to adjust to the loss of his wife, "exists" in the time and place of her death.

People live in the past and the future all the time. I spent my first three years in Seattle walking Patrick around Green Lake and the surrounding neighborhoods talking to him about the house we would buy when Daniel got out of grad school. Slowly, as the true scale of grad school became understandable to me, talk of a house got replaced by talk of a second dog, which was more attainable. Eventually, I had to give up on living in a future that felt farther and farther away. (After living here three years, I had a much more concrete sense of how long another three years would be.)

When this year and Daniel's job search started, the end seemed finally in sight. Only, it wasn't the end I had promised myself. Without any control over the situation, I had led myself to believe that there was at least a reasonable chance that Daniel could get a professorship in Oregon or Northern California. And I could go home.

But... With the current economy and grim job prospects everywhere, that hope grew dimmer and dimmer. First, the idea of having a choice of locations (hopefully including some I liked) fell away as Daniel only received interest from universities in places like Michigan, Texas, and Scotland. Then, the idea of leaving this limbo at all was struck down as Daniel changed his sights from tenure-track positions to prestigious postdocs. Meaning another two to three years in a temporary location.

I had completely accepted that this summer I would be moving to Pittsburgh, a place I have never, ever wanted to even visit. And then Daniel got an email from UO.

Because linear time is so hard to accept, I can barely believe that two weeks ago I lived in the uncertainty that I would ever get to move home to Oregon. I simply can't reconcile my memories of a self who expected to be dragged haplessly across the country with the self who gets to go searching for houses in Eugene this summer.

This self is much better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We've come a long way in the last month. Instead of spending half an hour insistently repeating "taupe" while I frantically try to translate, last night, Elaine simply laid her head on my arm and said, "So tired."

Then, this morning, she insisted on having a spoon with her buttered toast. I was skeptical; however, Elaine successfully used the spoon to eat the toast, spearing each quarter in its soggily buttered middle.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kookaburraton is gone. Carolynn called us yesterday, so we know she got home okay. The news is still scattered... But it sounds like the rebel koalas were backing down. Some of their demands had been met, and they were coming to a compromise. It was probably an accident... A kangaroo got nervous. Somehow buttons got pushed; switches got flipped. A dial got turned. The practical upshot? The particle accelerator went kablooie. And it nudged Kookaburraton out of its quantum equilibrium. The whole town started oscillating in and out of phase with the rest of Australia. After four and a half cycles... Gone.

There is some speculation suggesting that if the particle accelerator were repaired, it could push Kookaburraton back in phase with the rest of the planet. But, even so... I don't think Daniel and I want to live somewhere so unstable. I'm glad Carolynn made it safely back to her family, but, even if Kookaburraton reappears, I don't think we'll be joining her.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Elaine has developed a taste for Pixar movies. She watched Monsters Inc. while we were at my mom's house last weekend, and she was hooked. Every time we weren't watching it, Elaine would run to the TV, point, and yell "Sars!" (The final syllable of "monsters.") I managed to switch her to Ratatouille after my brain had been pummeled into a gooey mush. And, now that we're home, I've introduced Toy Story 1 & 2 into the mix.

Generally, Elaine's not a big fan of videos she hasn't seen before, but Toy Story had her mesmerized. She made it through the entire first half with barely a blink. (Generally it takes us several sittings to make it through a movie the first time, so that was really impressive.) From my perspective, it was a little weird to watch Toy Story for the first time since discovering Joss Whedon. I hadn't really thought about how dark it is before.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We just heard that a band of rebel koalas have taken over Kookaburraton U.'s physics building. They've issued a list of demands and are threatening to overload the particle accelerator if they're not met. (Apparently, the Kookaburraton particle accelerator could take out a significant portion of the Southern Hemisphere if properly misused.) I can hardly believe it. We were talking about this possiblity only two days go... I didn't think it would really happen.

Carolynn's crazy with worry for her family. We've bought her plane tickets back to Australia, but hopefully she'll be able to get through to her brother before she has to use them.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I stayed up late last night, drinking tea and talking to Carolynn. She told me all about Kookaburraton. She misses it there. She's been settling in better this last week -- watching Sesame Street with Elaine, practicing zen meditation with Heidi, etc. -- but, she clearly wants to go home. The thing is, from talking to Carolynn, I'm feeling less and less sure Kookaburraton is the right place for us.

They do amazing work there. The robots that Daniel would be writing algorithms for are the most advanced in the world. Not only can they beat grandmasters at chess and predict the stock market, they can eat eucalyptus leaves ten times faster than the record holding koala. (Of course, therein lies the problem...) And all the other sciences are just as advanced, as Carolynn demonstrates. Talking wallabies, walking eucalyptus trees, and kangaroos who can do your taxes! Could there be a more exciting city in the entire world?

And, yet, I'm not sure we want to be bringing Elaine up among so much civil unrest. Carolynn says the robots are harmless. Her own people, however, are growing more and more agitated. They don't have equal rights, and the situation isn't stable. Maybe in twenty years, the revolution will have come and passed. Until then, I'm not so sure...

And, well, the eucalyptus trees are anyone's guess.