Friday, June 30, 2006

What it means for nerds to marry

I've started organizing our things for our move, and so the first thing I decided to do was to make an organized list of all of my books, using EndNote. (You can already tell that I am a party person, right?) I decided to start with enlightenment philosophers and 18th century fiction, since it's unlikely that I will need these in the coming couple of months.
So I asked Pete if he wanted me to add his books to the box that I am putting together. His face went blank, trying to find a nice way to put what he had to say next.
You see, Pete and I have seen each other through some pretty rough spots, and through some pretty remarkable triumphs too. In a lot of ways, our wedding is simply a legal sanction on what we've had for years: love, intellectual companionship, and help in hard times.
However, it seems like Pete and I have reached the nerd's version of saving it until marriage: merging our archives. And just in case you think this is a double entendre, it's not. We had a long and nervous conversation, at the end of which we both decided that we might, at some point in the future, mix all of our books together. Afer the wedding. Phew! Pressure's off!
In the meantime, we live together in the same apartment, but until I say "I do" and Pete gets that ring on his finger, our copies of "The Social Contract" will not touch.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Well, I guess that's that.

I finally turned in all of my paperwork (defining my committee, requesting a final oral exam). My Ph.D. is all done but for the shoutin'.
I should feel euphoric. Or I should feel like crying. Mostly, I think that I am still so stuck in the writing process that I feel like I am playing hookie-- I feel guilty for not working. It's kind of like when you get off a treadmill, and you have that moment of your legs adjusting to stillness.
O, also, I feel tired.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This is your Bride on drugs. Any questions?

The bridal panopticon has spread, enveloping even us grooms, who are traditionally less involved in such things. In my Inbox today was a piece of spam from the Wedding Channel. This, I believe, is the fruit of our gift registry at Macy's.

Among other things, this bit of groomspam directed me to a list of the top 10 wedding don'ts. If you're not registered, this link may not work for you. Some of the highlights are quite telling.
5. DON’T tune out.
Some brides are so overwhelmed by wedding anxiety that they turn to over-the-counter sedatives, prescription tranquilizers, or alcohol to calm nerves on the big day. And then they have to wait and watch the wedding video in order to find out what happened. Resist the temptation to medicate yourself through the nerve-wracking final hours. You’ll want to remember this day.
Did you hear that one, Laura? Here's another one.
7. DON’T forget to eat.
Famished, fainting brides and grooms are a bigger problem than you might imagine. Considering skipping breakfast so you can look svelte in your wedding attire? Don’t. It may be your last meal of the day, and you’ll need the energy. If jitters have your stomach in a knot, try to eat a few saltines. As the minutes tick down to showtime, you probably won't have a chance to grab a bite to eat. Many couples are so busy visiting with guests at the reception that they barely get a bite of their own reception menu. Not eating can make you cranky at the least; and cause you to faint at the worst. In a recent survey, 36% of all honeymooners said the first thing they did when they got to their suite after the wedding was… order room service. Eat a meal before the wedding, and try to eat at the reception too.

Now we know there's not a cranky bone in Laura's body, but that's not the point. What does it say about a soceity when a piece of chatty "news-you-can-use" that aspires to innocuousness reveals such a twisted reality? The next time you hear somebody saying feminism is dead, that it has nothing to tell this generation of women, throw this one in their face.

Or if you're feeling demure, maybe just collapse onto the nearest fainting couch, a handy device made by our ancestors who had the foresight to anticipate such eventualities. The finer honeymoon suites, places with histories, retain these relics of a more civilized age.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Father's Day Preview

I will spare our readers a description of the process of selecting bridesmaid dresses for this wedding, but let's just say it involved delicate, sometimes volatile negotiations among the interested parties. The whole thing was resolved in March when Laura's folks, the Maid of Honor, and Laura's older sister Lisa, visited here. They visited a lovely fabric store here in Austin called The Silk Road and found some interesting silks that show one color from one direction and another color from another. My Mom was kind enough to agree to make ties for the groomal party out of the same fabric, and she has finished them. Here they are in all their glory. The little ties on the end are for the ring "buriers," and they are both purple/green, although they look different in the photo. The teal/green is for the fathers of the bride and groom, and the pink/orange is for the groomsmen. There is a tie for the groom of course, but I'm not showing it on the web, as it would compromise my virginal virtue. What kind of guy do you think I am?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Laura's Defense in the Cards

Today after a long and trying week, Laura took four steps down the six-step path to a draft. She turned in three chapters and her introduction to her dissertation advisor and will (Dios mediante) turn in the remaining chapter and the conclusion on Monday. Her committee members are all on board for a defense on Friday, July 14 at 2:00 p.m. in ACE 2.404B. We need the tech classroom for this because one of Laura's committee members is in San Diego where she has accepted a new job. She will be present at the defense via squawkbox.

Laura still has a lot of work to do this weekend, but the light at the end of the grad school tunnel is looking bigger, and we aren't sad to see it. Today, Laura did a 5-card "horseshoe" reading to see how her defense would go. The results are shown above. For this kind of reading, the cards are arranged in first through fifth position, left to right. The first position the one in which you find yourself in the present. The second represents your expectations at the moment. The third represents a surprise, something you do not expect that is coming. The fourth represents your immediate future, and the fifth your long-term future. As you can see, the cards were a little cryptic this time.


The Wheel of Fortune (inverted). This card, according to our reference guide, refers to "the one constant in life, which paradoxically is change." Although her true self, represented by the center of the wheel, remains constant, the rest of Laura's life is spinning around like a bottle at a slumber party. Note, however, that the wheel is inverted. Some people think this means nothing. Laura prefers to see it as meaningful. But what is the opposite? Could it be that she'll stay the same on the outside but the core of her being will shift?


The King of Cups (inverted) is associated with helping and healing professions and is connected to the cardinal water sign of Cancer. It can mean that "a person is about to enter your life who is full of good intentions and kindness but who is also rather wary emotionally," or it may indicate inhibition and a fear of intimacy on your part. And it's inverted, so if we take inversion seriously, it would mean the opposite of all this. Could it refer to Laura's fears that her committee will trash this document she's sweated over so long?


The King of Wands (right-side up). This is a firey card, forming an interesting contrast to the water card representing Laura's expectations. The King represents an increase in creative energy, or the appearance of a warm, generous, firey friend. Could it be that one committee member is going to be overflowing with ardent praise of Laura's work, strong-arming the others past their doubts?


The Page of Cups (inverted). Back to water here. This card represents "a gentle, loving person who offers friendship, or who brings news of a birth, a child, or an idea...the fragile beginning of a relationship." That sounds nice for the purposes of a dissertation defense, but does this mean Laura's getting the opposite?


The Devil. OK. Don't panic. Our book says this image represents a "powerful archetypal energy" but that those familiar with it are not afraid. The Devil, in the language of Jungian claptrap, is the Shadow, that aspect of our deepest desires and basic urges that we would like to bury deep within us, the site of our fear and self-loathing. It's Laura's internal Trementina. However, "if the Devil can be brought to consciousness in a measured manner, the darkness can become light." This sounds more Freudian to me. Where It was, there I shall be ... In Alchemy, the Devil is associated with dissolving and coagulating, and here we are brought back to the Wheel of Fortune, for the Devil can represent the liquidation of what is fixed and the crystalization of what has been volatile. Thoughts on the meaning of this last one?

Monday, June 05, 2006

A peek at Laura's future

We are back in Austin and Laura is sweating blood as she pounds out the conclusion to her dissertation. Tonight after a long day of work, she did a 3-card tarot reading for herself with Joe Rosales's fantastic "Hello Kitty" tarot deck (a gift from me, of course).

The leftmost card represents her past. The middle card is the present. The rightmost card is the future. Here is what our tarot book says about these cards.

LAURA'S PAST-Five of Swords (as yet uncolored). "Know your limits before making changes; certain obstacles exist that must be acknowledged and worked with before successful changes can be achieved."

LAURA'S PRESENT-Five of Pentacles. "Loss, which may be financial, emotional or spiritual-perhaps loss of faith. Difficulties in business or material matters; the need to pay attention to detail" (hmmm. detail work. no paycheck till October...)

LAURA'S FUTURE-the High Priestess. "...she represents the first quarter [of the moon], full of potential and energy which works away quietly until it reaches fruition at the New Moon - described by the Empress ... Using the alchemical model, the High Priestess reprsents one part of the feminine, or White Queen, which needs to be separated and purified through the alchemical process before she can be merged with the King."

Hear that, Lola? No mergin' with me till you're separated and purified.

You all remember how Laura rags on Texas. Unlike our most frequent Austin reader, she never fell in love with this state. Here's what the Tarot book has to say about the High Priestess in relation to this issue.

"...The High Priestess can be identified with the maiden Persephone - daughter of the Earth Mother Demeter - who was snatched way by the dark god of death, Hades..."

OK, so Lola moves to Texas. Learns to like migas, which are unknown in NM. Now does this mean she has to come back to rule over the grim kingdom of the Jalapeño for two-thirds of the year? Perhaps not. The book says that Persephone's time in Hades represents "...the time of gestation necessary before any creative process comes to fruition."

Maybe Lola's future looks like this...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sadly, this bridal registry thing has limits

No. Just home supplies, books and dishes for you guys.