Monthly Archives: February 2007

New Pet

Okay, so maybe it’s temporary. Sujal came in from work regaling me with his heroic adventure: He braved being passed by what were two opossums. After having survived this harrowing event, we went out to our garage, armed with a flashlight, me in PJs and slippers. We looked around for any creatures finding a cowering opossum in the corner of our garage — cornered by Sujal’s car, a large plastic bin, and other assorted garage “stuff.”

I was fine with living and let live. Recently cats have been getting in our garage and sitting on our cars. We know from the paw prints on our cars and windshields. We began to think perhaps it was the ‘possums. So I checked my trusty wildlife guides — and ‘possum prints look quite different than cat prints. Sujal wanted me to call animal control — so I did, and they directed me (via a recorded message) to the Department of Environmental Protection. When I called them, it was obvious that the wildlife they deal with are sizable, like moose.

I found this cool site, the FAQ page of the Opossum Society of the US. There was also this pretty hardcore site, the National Opossum Society. The first (Opossum Society of US) is really informative, and it seems the ‘possums are our friends, as I felt from the beginning. I can’t say I’ll become a member of either, but at least now I know that they take care of lots of pests, sort of like bats keep mosquito populations down.

Next time you see an opossum, remember, they’re keeping you pest free.

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Back to Bennington

Kathy, my co-worker and personal goddess, asked if I’d blog about my weekend events — so I cannot let her down. I served on an alumni panel at Bennington this weekend. it was an event held for current seniors so they could learn about networking, grantwriting, job-getting, life-making, etc. Jon, Kathy’s partner, asked me before I went if that meant that I was among Bennington’s distinguished alumni, and of course the answer is obviosly, “Yes!” Okay, so maybe my life is not insanely glamorous, but it was fun to talk about hardships after graduation, perseverence, and following one’s passions. There’s a real difference graduating from a place like Bennington — more or less an arts school–than graduating frm most other schools. We don’t have hiring firms come in, no crazy job fairs, etc. Bennington really does urge its students to make the world their own.

Part of what was so fun was to hear what some of my fellow Alumni were doing. In a quick web search, I could find a site on Seth DeCroce ’98 and a Google search on Taliesin Thomas ’98 shows lots of her fame on the web. Having a less that common name helps a lot on the web. I could not easily find a site for Matt Moss ’94 or Brandi Wilson ’99 — but both are working in interesting fields. Matt is working in developing real estate and Brandi is a creatve headhunter. There was also another guy, Chris, and I don’t remember his last name (Tilden, maybe?) — but now I cannot find his info from the planning emails from the college. (Sorry!)

It’s always interestng to see classmates as adults. We all have our lives that we are deeply immersed in, and it’s nice to come up for air. I also love talking to current students. It’s great to see the passionate on the verge of going out into the world. I had drinks with two seniors, Jessie and Brian. They are each clearly brilliant minds, and they’ve been doing impressive work. I love working with high school kids — but it’s also great to see kids at this next level. Brian, for example, is working on gender studies and goes to comp lit conferences. He was telling me about some of his impressive projects, and yet — he still loves the movie “Team America.” I, of course, think there’s something serious wrong with him for that — and yet, it’s the kid at heart (and proximity in age). Good luck, Bennington seniors!

India Oven

We go there all the time, so I figured it is time to write a review. We love India Oven, an indian restaurant in West Hartford, CT on Park Rd. It’s very close to our house, so we go there often, and sometimes in the summer we walk there for a date. The owners are very nice. I’m the one who usually picks up the food, and Govin always asks how Sujal is. It’s kind of fun to be a regular. When we first moved here, it was tough to find a place we liked. We don’t like the Taste of India in West Hartford — far too oily. We liked New India, a place in Simsbury, but it’s a drive for us. I really liked Kashmir in Hartford. The take-out at Cosmos International is also good, but India Oven is our clear favorite.

We highly recommend the paneer shahi korma. It is SO good! Their saag paneer is also good, as is their chana masala. I’m also a fan of the dal makhani. The interior is small, but the dining room is nicely decorated. The Hartford Advocate has a review, albeit by someone who’d never been to an indian restaurant. I can’t say I love the review itself, but the writer does a nice job of describing the owners. Here’s a slightly better review. Anyway, we love the place. I’m about to go pick up our dinner now.

Woo-Hoo! Arundhati Roy Writes Fiction Again

Since I am teaching the symposium class at my school next year, I was reading up on some various authors on the web.  Saddened by the fact that my favorite living author has only published one work of fiction, I check every once in a while to see if she has something on her burner.  After a short search, I found a link to a Reuters article that says she is working on a piece of fiction.  I am very excited.  Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be able to ask her to come to my school — but I’d love to read another novel by her.

Al Baby — makes ya miss MN

In my perusal in the Times, I saw that Al Franken is running for Senate in the state of Minnesota. I’m often not so much a fan of the celebrity-politicians, but Franken seems to be a fairly stand up guy. Thinking about him running makes me miss some of my ol’ Minneapolis days.

Shortly after he wrote Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, I saw him read at the now defunct Hungry Mind Bookstore in St. Paul, MN. Actually, I did not see him at the bookstore, but the reading was sponsored by the Hungry Mind. They would hold their large readings at the Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel which is part of Macalester College. I saw several great authors there: Al Franken, John Irving, Dorothy Allison. I even saw Brett Easton Ellis at the Hungry Mind — though I’m not sure I’d call him great.

Thinking about Minnesotan senators, I can’t help but be saddened by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002. He was a great senator an perhaps could have been a great presidential candidate in 2004 or 2008. His surviving kids began the organization Wellstone Action which seeks to train citizens and potential candidates to pass legislation for progressive social change. Ugh — we need a hero. Will Franken be it?

Snow Day!

Everyone loves a snow day — well maybe we could find a few people who don’t, but most people do. I called my mom to tell her I had a snow day and reminded her that it was one of the perks of being a teacher — hell, it’s also one of the perks of being a schoolchild, too.

One of the best parts of snow-daydom is Chris Kasprak’s The Snow-Day Predictor. It is very fun to check his blog when you hope to have a snow day. Since I linked to it when he first got it running, my own rate of site hits has gone up. I love to brag to my husband about my international readership, but now I have a local readership as well. Okay, truth be told, they are mainly just “hits” — and not even that many, but I like to pretend. I’m obviously not much of a real blogger, but it’s kid of fun to track from where people “hit” my site.

My posts about Lost and Naveen Andrews have been the main sources of my international readership, as I like to brag to my husband. My posts about the indian soap opera “Kahin to Hoga” also increased my international hits. I’m up to about 25 hits per day — more if we are on the brink of a snow day.

My snow day has been mainly devoted to getting through a pile of grading and a pile of sleet. I went outside to shovel, and it was like shoveling sand — very weird. I am happy to say I’ve had more luck with the pile of grading.

To any students stopping over on their way to Kasprak’s site — remember to wear your PJ’s inside out. Have a great snow day.

Little India Letter

I have subscrition to this magazine, Little India, that targets an audience of Indian Americans. I started getting it shortly after Sujal and I got engaged — in pert to have some info on wedding vendors, but also to learn aa bit more about my husband’s heritage. It is a general human interst type magazine — not very literary or hardcore journalistic — but a generally well-written (with a few misused idioms) magazine. My favorite write for the magazine is Lavina Melwani. She does good research and has a readable and intelligent repertoire. I first became interested in her writing with the article, “The Colors of Desi.”

I also love reading the letters to the editor. But this month, there’s one that really bothers me. The text follows and here’s a link

As an American woman involved in a relationship with a married Indian man I suggest you do an article on this issue. He is in an arranged marriage and very unhappy. We have been secretly going out for six years. Why do so many Indian men have affairs with white women? Why are they so unhappy?
Anonymous, Via email

I find it troubling. On one hand, it makes some serious assumptions that a large quantity of men in “arranged” marriages are unhappy. I do not know if this is true. It seems to assume that because one man is (or perhaps anecdotally several), that there must be something inherently wrong. She also assumes that being an American woman makes her white. It seems to imply some fault on the part of indian wives, and it places white women in the position of the floozy homewrecker. And in trying to find something redeeming, I’m wondering if there has been investigation. Is there evidence to back up her claims? It just seems like a senseless thing to do — to send that letter in, and it bugs me. Grrrr.

Television Commercial Music

Sujal has this popular post on his site about music from TV commercials, and it is hugely popular — so popular that Sujal is constructing a site devoted solely to the cause of TV commerical music.  I have toi say I’m one of those snobs that gets upset by the fact that my husband gets most of his music from TV commercials.  Then this morning, as I listened to my refined source of news and entertainment, NPR, I heard a report about the rise of indie bands selling their songs for use in commercials — for exposure, to make some, cash, etc.  They referred to snobs like me — though the snobs they referred to were more upset about bands “selling out,” whereas I’m just not a huge fan of advertisement in general.

Here’s another related story.

Can’t Wait!

Last night (during the Superbowl), I went to go see Notes on a Scandal, in which Judi Dench pulls off this horrible, horrible character with amazing ability and talent. It was a very good film — both Blanchett and Dench were great, and I loved Bill Nighy — but I left the theatre with that pit of despair in my tummy that i get when I see a movie (or read a book) with such characters of malice. I reminded me of when I saw Jean de Florette when I was in high school. The characters were just so hateful. I don’t remember the film well at all. All I remember is walking away with this horrible taste of human malevolence. The movie also made me think of the movie Closer, which i never saw — because it looked like a film solely about human malisciousness. As I was reading IMDB, I saw that Patrick Marber wrote both screenplays. I’m a bit torn. On one hand, I liked the movie because of the really great acting and the complexity of the characters. On the other hand, the characters lacked a bit of complexity, in that I found it very difficult to sympathise with Barbara. I can’t say I sympathised much with the boy involved with the teacher, either. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it — but it is “sticking” with me. Then again, sometimes gum on the show does that, too.

Nonetheless, before the movie there was a preview for The Namesake, a film by Mira Nair based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. A deeply sad novel (Lahiri has this way of making you feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut after you’ve finished reading one of her pieces), it is a beautifully written poignant story. I enjoy the work of both Nair and Lahiri, so I cannot wait until March 9th! Since the movie 300 opens the same day, I feel a double date coming on, as Sujal really wants to see that.

“Articulate”

Here is a good NYT article that discusses the offensiveness of white people calling black people “articulate” as Sen. Biden recently called Sen. Obama. Frankly, the whole statement was wildly offensive — with Biden saying that Obama is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Again — there are so many problems with the statement, but what really gets me is: the first. Biden, if you’re reading, please drop out now.