Showing posts from 2008

This Time of Year

I feel empty. It has been a year of huge losses and a huge gain and huge changes. Some structural, some internal. Jobs, relationships. How I see who I am.

I tried to fill the empty feeling with activities: tennis, crafts, socializing. Feelings demand their own time with you. They will not tolerate dismissive attitudes and approaches. They won't be pushed aside. They won't be treated with a systematic approach. They know you are reluctant to face them, they call you to be courageous rather than fearful.

I don't want to face them alone, but I am not in a position or a personality that would easily "share" them with others. There is the feeling of pressure to perform emotionally. I had a huge success and I like to share it with others, and some people are kind and understand the prices I have paid to achieve this success, and I can just feel they understand and they don't force me to talk about the other side of success, but I can share that with them. This is ni…

New Bike

I really like my new bike!!!! I picked it up Friday 10/31/08. (That's Christian W., my neighbor, in the foreground. His mom, Christa W., took the photo with my cell phone).
My bike is a Bianchi Cortina 21" Metalic Silver hybrid, wheel size 700c. I bought it for transportation/commuting to work (campus) and errands (I like close to two groceries, the post office, the library, the coffee shop etc). I'll have the fenders and racks installed soon. Bikeworks assembled the bike in time for me to ride it this weekend, it is probably the last warm weekend we'll have for a while (they don't know about my dissertation chapter deadlines that kept me indoors Saturday and probably will all day today). I rode home from Bikeworks on Friday shouted at the first pedestrian I saw, he looked like an undergrad into the hip hop scene - "hey, I got a new bike!!" And he gave me thumbs up.

Someday I'd Like My Own...

Someday, I'd Like My Own ... Tugboat! And I would anchor it on the bank of the Ohio River, at the port of Paducah, KY.

Jokes: Battle of the Sexes

I'll add jokes to my writing genre.

There are 3 men working on a tall building. They go to lunch and the first guy opens his lunchbox and sees a salad, He says.. "damb it! if my wife makes mea salad for lunch one more time im just going to jump off this building and kill myself."

The second guy opens his lunchbox and sees a sandwich. He also says, "if my wife make me another sandwich for lunch, I’m going to jump off of this building with you!"
The third guy opens his lunchbox and sees chicken, which he is also tired of, So he goes on to says " if my wife makes me some more chicken for lunch, i’m going to jump off of this building with you guys."

At the funeral home, the first wife goes up to speak. She says, "If I had known he didn’t want a salad for lunch, I wouldn’t have made him any, I’d have chosen something else... and went off crying...

The second wife gets up to say, "If I had known that he didn’t want another sandwich for lunch, i t…

My political past.

I guess that we have been friends long enough for me to tell you about the time I led a Partzian Women's Brigade. Or maybe it is seeing Sarah Palin in the media that inspired me to tell you about this. I was the sefica at the Pecko shoe factory in Zagreb on Nova Ves (the building is now the shopping mall, Kaptol Centar). Here I am with Ankica to my left. We're in Samobor on a Sunday outing. I did that all the time, take the whole factory and their families for Sunday outings, and the factory paid for everything. I am the first female factory director in all of Croatia and the ex-Yugoslav territories, for that matter. You can see the tension and jealousy in Ankica's face, even though I gave them such handsome uniforms and hats. I innovated shoe production of the healthy shoes that women who work wear. No, not spiked Cesare Pacoti shoes worn by sminkarica. Those healthy shoes worn by women who work blue-collar jobs, for example, preparing food in the canteen in the basement …

What I Did Last Night, or, Punch Brothers Featuring Chris Thile

At The Canopy Club ( last night, I saw Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile. You know that I like the mandolin.

I had seen Chris Thile a few
years ago, before his rise to fame.

This show, the band played songs from a new album. I guess that is why
they seemed self-conscious. The music seemed to follow their script.
Chris monitored the other players, when they would come in and out of
the songs, and signaled them as well. I know that is standard, but he
also seemed ready to jump on them for missing. They responded to him,
especially joining in as the audience responded to songs, but also
seemed like they were familiar with his bossy side. Maybe that comes
with the role of leader of the band, but he seemed less expansive last
night. For the last three songs, though, they let the music flow and
gave each other room to play their instruments and find their timing.
The whole show was good, but that was the best part.

Wolfgang Vogel, Spyswapper, 1925-2008 (RIP)

Here is Vogel's quote about his life as a Spyswapper, "I was neither a resistance fighter nor a good Samaritan. My paths were neither white nor black. They had to be grey, otherwise it would not have worked." Does it mean the Cold War?

The brilliant thing about Vogel is that he kept the system going, but he did not become a martyr or a victim.

Here is the obituary of Wolfgang Vogel from the Financial Times (Aug 30/31, 2008, p. 8). His nickname was "The Devil's Lawyer."

Does every political era have its moral order? What is ours? Who (what) is in the middle of the "war on terror," keeping it going by doing its dirty work, work it denounces by day?

Break Dance

The oft-talked about NYC Breakers poster on display at Exile on Main Street. Found in a 1983 K-Tel Records compilation aptly named Breakdance.

From the web site of the people who supply my CD player, Exile on Main St.

New Year

I think New Year comes around twice a year. We have the conventional one on January 1. Then, there is the one that starts as summer moves into fall, as school starts, as the weather cools, as you face your routines, as your face who you are again. You face your mortality as the leaves fall and the grass dies and the flowers die and one part of yourself asks the other part if you are gonna finish off these last four months any better than the last eight, or is it already over?

The thing about the "Back To School" New Year is that it is private, so you don't have to let anyone know what is going on in your head, and you don't have to pretend to take change seriously or, if you do, you don't have to pretend to be "positive" or full of hope about it. You can be exhausted and angry, that is fine. There is no emotional script or role you have to fill. So just keep on going that way for a few months.

Paris Hilton for President!

Paris Hilton for President (click here to watch video).

The line, "I'll tell you about my energy policy, right after I read this article about where to fly to to get the best tan!" They are playing the national anthem in the background! Paris Hilton is brilliant. This is the perfect response to the McCain ad because it is a "thank you" for putting my name out there in a new arena - I was looking for something to do this fall. As always with Paris Hilton, she is playing smart and stupid and cunning. Brilliant. It is also a spoof. And she's having fun. And it is fun to watch.


Greenskeepers - Lotion - LyricsI'm looking down the hole
You're looking up at me
You're cold and tired
that is easy to see
Lower the rope to you
a bucket and a light
Your membrane will be soft and smooth
and your heart will be mine.

It rubs the lotion on its skin
Or else it gets the hose again
It rubs the lotion on its skin
Or else it gets the hose again
Yes Precious, it gets the hose . . .

Wooooooo, oooh, oooh.
Wooooooo, oooh, oooh.

The look inside your eyes drives me from control
Evoking visions of my favorite casserole.
And if I eat your heart
I'll also bite your soul
And when I'm done with that
I'll use your skull as a bowl.

It rubs the lotion on its skin.
Or else it gets the hose again.
It rubs the lotion on its skin.
Or else it gets the hose again.
It gets the hose.
It puts the lotion in the basket.
It puts the lotion in the basket.
It puts the lotion in the basket.
Yes it does . . .
Put the lotion in the basket
Put the lotion in the basket . . .
Put the lotion in the basket . . .
. . . …

Cross River Swim First Place Female Paducah Summer Festival


Radovan Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic. Captured. Riding a city bus. In Belgrade. July 21, 2008. He had been practicing alternative medicine there under the name Dragan Dabic. He gave a lecture, “How to nurture your own internal energy” and contributed to Healthy Life magazine. Karadzic organized the 43 month long siege of Sarajevo 1992-1195. Karadzic organized Srebrenica, 1995. I heard on the radio this morning, NPR, that, in Belgrade, the indicted war criminal “disguised himself with a beard.” Yes, I suppose he went unnoticed in Belgrade. Just another bearded man with an instinct to kill.“This is a very important day for the victims who have waited for this arrest for over a decade. It is also an important day for international justice,” Serge Brammertz, head prosecutor at The Hague. I am sure that the victims stopped waiting for the arrest years ago. Karadzic’s arrest took 13 years. It seems only the “international community” has been waiting for the arrest for over a decade. Actually, they have been wa…

Book Report: Boomsday

During a layover in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, waiting to return from Boston, I passed some time in the bookstore. I usually pass my layover time here. It is not a fancy bookstore, but it does have a good selection of good, contemporary works, and here is where I picked up my first Jose Saramango book, Balthasar and Blimunda. I read this book in 2004, on my way to Dubrovnik, where I finished reading the book and left it behind for the next visitor to the guest house. Saramango is now one of my favorite writers.

This time, I found Christopher Buckley's "Boomsday" (2007). I read in the writer's notes that he finished writing in July 2006, so two years before I picked it up. The book lay on a table of current fiction. I often find that the voice and story of current fiction can be too pseudo-spiritual and moralistic for me. For example, I liked "Little Children" but it is a haunting critique, and although it might be dead-on and maybe even needed ... can…

Best Tree House ... Ever

This is the best tree house ... ever. It is in the front yard of my parents' across the street neighbors. It was new to me on my recent visit home. I saw it and understood I would climb up to the tree house. I didn't ask any questions, not if or why, not how and when, not about the neighbors. I understood the moment would reveal itself.

I was up to the occasion. It was 2am on a Saturday and I was barefoot and wearing a short dress. The finale to a social evening. Let's take a minute to put the picture together. I used the wood planks nailed to the tree to climb up to the tree house. The nail on the top plank came loose as I was pulling myself up. A force stronger than gravity pulled me up on deck. My heart pounding. I was in the tree house now. Yah, my instinct was right on about this.

Sorry, this is not the best photo ... ever.

The tree house is a large "deck" built around the trunk and a large branch. They say a contractor built it.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! (July 1). I heard on the radio that today is Canada Day. It has already been a few weeks ago that I was in Boston to present research at a marketing/advertising professor/graduate student conference. At dinner with two of my good friends who live in Montreal and Toronto, Z and M, when discussing Z's upcoming move, the topic came up of how people heat homes in Canada - forced air, radiators...they said Canada runs on hydroelectric power, mostly. Then we were wondering if Canada has nuclear capabilities. Well, the answer is yes (ie Toronto). If you dig a bit deeper, you will find out the secret of our quiet neighbor to the North. Canada has vast uranium resources. I'm just sayn'.

Souvenirs from New England

The trip was lovely, some work at the Consumer Culture Theory Conference, some time visiting with friends in Beverly.

Back to work today...

On the Road

Dear Readers,
I am traveling in New England a bit and will be back with you next week.
Balkan Barbie

Deutschland - auf Wiedersehen!

The Croatia-Germany game has left me emotionally exhausted. And Croatia plays Poland today, while I am on a flight - perhaps it is for the best that I have a break from watching one of Croatia's European Cup games.

When I started watching the Croatia-Germany game, I analyzed it this way: if Croatia scores a goal, that is an accomplishment. If Croatia wins, that is a decisive accomplishment in the history of the Croatian National Football Team.

At about 15 minutes into the game, I realized the Croatian side was passing the ball into space, creating space, crossing the field, and closing down Germany's sides. I thought, hmm, maybe I was too conservative in my estimates. But, maybe not, we'll see, I still expected Germany to score first. I was also pleased that hadn't happened. I think Croatia played rather composed, which helped. Croatia was not the underdog in the game, they were not the least favorite.

Then at around 18 minutes, I realized Croatia was creating momentum a…

Croatia 2: 1 Germany

Slaven Bilić, Croatia coach
"It was a great match and I would like to extend special congratulation to my players, not only for battling hard but also for playing excellent football. There is no other way to beat Germany than to play well. They are a great team and are still one of the title favourites. You cannot allow them to control any part of the pitch and that's how we tried to play against them. For me, this victory is a bigger achievement than beating England at Wembley. I keep getting questions about similarities between this team and the team I played in in 1998. All I can say is that we are Croatians, we play for our fans but we are not the only team who play like this. It was the same in 1998 and it's the same now. We are always emotional, we cannot change that. Even if we wanted to, we don't want to. There are coaches who stay in the dugout and those like me who are more active. I like to take part by giving advice and by being as close as possible to the …

EURO 2008: Croatia Austria Results

Croatia 1:0 Austria, Croatia earned its 3 points!

Oh, but Croatia, why did you not score at the end of the first half? Why did you play that way in the second half? Please, don't do that again.

Some cheers from you hear in the stadium when Croatia plays in EURO 2008 :

"Jebo te koliko nas ima (Damn how many of us there are here) while another is about how few Croats there are in the world generally: Malo nas je al nas ima/Nije vazno strusit ce mo snove svima (We’re not many, but it doesn’t matter/ We’re capable of destroying anybody’s dreams)"*.

*From the web site When Saturday Comes

EURO 2008 Championship

Today's Financial times, US Edition, page 6, covered the upcoming EURO 2008 with the article, "Host countries make a play to shake off fusty image." This quote sums up the excitement and the historical meanings of the Championship games in Klagenfurt and the group that includes Austria, Croatia, Germany, and Poland:

"Having Poland, Croatia and Germany all in one group is unfortunate from a security point of view. Sticking them in Klagenfurt is absolute nonsense, says a seasoned observer. "At least England is not competing, which is a relief."

The EURO 2008 Championship opens this weekend. The schedule for the Croatian National Soccer Team (HNS) is: Saturday 8th, Austria vs. Croatia. On the 12th, Germany vs. Croatia, and on the 16th, Poland vs. Croatia.

My prediction is Croatia will win its group with a crushing victory over Germany and possibly the Championship as well, under the leadership of coach Slaven Bilic.

Today's Financial Times listed these winnin…

Book Report: "No One Belongs Here More Than You"

Right now, I am reading "No One Belongs Here More Than You" (2008) by Miranda July.

The book is a collection of short stories about intimacy. Touching, humorous, disturbing, easy to read. The author's voice is good and she treats her weird characters with compassion. Very good to read anytime, the pages and time flies by. Well written, with good plots, it isn't cheap, but it isn't a grand commitment to read the entire book, either.

Maybe it is a summer book because it is about emotions and how they drive us. We usually think of summer books as emotional. We think of summer as a time for expressing heightened emotions, perhaps a time out of time, or maybe a time for play, the only season we allow play and emotion.

The book is on Amazon.

You might know the author from the movie, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" (2005). July wrote, directed, and starred in the movie.

New Sign



Thank you, my friends, C., E., and J., for the antlers. The antlers makes my house feel very cool! I am working on how and where to mount them, but for now, the are proudly on the bookshelf.

Consumer Culture and Religion (Text is below image)

Byers Vaccum, 77 East University Avenue, Champaign, IL 61801

I took this photo on May 21, 2008, at 6.30pm with my Nokia 5300 cell phone.

I have driven past this store countless times as it is on a busy street I drive to go to downtown Champaign, where friends and I often meet. And of course, I also pass it on the way back home. Yesterday, my neighbors and I drove to Jupiter's to pick up a pizza, which we ate on my back patio (very nice). I was the front seat passenger in my neighbor C.'s SUV, riding as the "shotgun" passenger is a great experience if you are usually driving in your own car . We approached this store, and as we were passing it, I was eye level with the window, and somehow, I opened my turtle shaped tiny purse and took out my camera phone and asked my friend to please slow down so I could take a photo and she did! and the car behind us honked. The neighbor's husband, A. and 6 month old baby, C. were in the back seat of the car, and he was saying, yes…

Forgotten Baby Dolls

Sometimes I see unexpected scenes when I am in the parking lot of mega-stores and I capture the scene on my camera phone (I like the Nokia 5300 I use).

Usually, Target has the most incidences of the unexpected. Here are two photos from yesterday's trip to Target.
I read a news report that the reported incidents of domestic abuse in Croatia is on the increase. That is abuse of women by men. Reported to the police.

Now, I am not for domestic abuse of anyone by anyone.

I am glad to see the reported incidents of abuse are up. It is better than, say, the incidents of women telling their neighbors the bruises on their face are from falling down the stairs or hitting their head on a door.

I hope that something good comes out of reporting abuse to the police. Ok, I know it won't stop abuse between two people. Not that I have been hit, or hit anyone. Relationships have a dynamic of their own, and sometimes, well, we don't really act in our own self-interest. And I have read that accusation, shame, humiliation, and violence go together. It is a dynamic spread across both parties. And it can be hard to see it.

Perhaps if it is a crime, and it is enforced, there might be some hesitancy to beat your spouse. Perhaps it is just enough to say, "I th…

Happy Your Life as a Peasant Woman in a Balkan Village Day


this is the continued pencilnpaper blog

Hi pencilnpaper friends,

Thank you for taking the journey with me over to Balkan Barbie! Enjoy. More posting later today.



Hi, pencilnpaper is now at balkanbarbie!