28 May 2008

¿Tienes Sed? tour, Day 1

I am in Madrid and my neck is killing me. I'm staying on someone's couch, someone who was supposed to be a friend of a friend, but was revealed to have never actually met my friend. Still, he's been kind to me, and gave me whole grain toast with olive oil and I'm grateful for a free place to stay. I remember 0% of the Spanish I studied for 5 years and I enjoyed 0% of my time in the Moscow airport. Perhaps it is the Communism — I know I had briefly converted, but I'm back to capitalism now.

22 May 2008

I regret to inform you/ I am pleased to inform you

Only one word is different.

'I am very pleased to inform you that it is our intention to offer you a funded studentship.'

One year MA in Research Methods, three year PhD in Metaphor Theory. Looks like we're moving to the UK.

21 May 2008


I play the guitar and sing and Naomi goes to sleep without the feeding. Imagine that. I'll need to be playing my guitar more.

20 May 2008

Stephen, moving on up

I got this from Birmingham today, encouraging me to enroll in their PhD program:
In October 2007 the Guardian published a national league table that ranked the research strength of UK universities and the University of Birmingham came 7th in the UK.
In November 2007 the Times Higher Education Supplement world rankings were published, which placed the University of Birmingham 65th among 200 universities worldwide.
Looks tempting. And they just hired me to tutor MA students in their Applied Linguistics/ TESOL course.

18 May 2008

Pretty good

This weekend, I rode my new Louis Garneau and ended up at a dam in the middle of the mountains. It was fabulously beautiful. The lake was about eight klicks around and I took it really slowly, just enjoying the mountain air and the sunlight. Shibata in the spring is, hands down, the most beautiful place I have ever lived. It is really incredible. Yesterday morning I got up at 5:30 and rode into the mist of the mountains, following one road 'til it ended — a river was coming out of the valley. I stopped and stretched my neck back, looking up into the sky with my arms hanging behind me.

Maybe these four or five months will have been some of the best of my life when I look back. I'm so untethered right now. I point my bike at the mountains and go. I will be in Europe next week. I come home to Yoko and Naomi, both so full of joy and encouragement. This will end soon enough, within a year as I start the PhD either here or there and start to think about my thirties in a more serious way. But for now, for today and yesterday, there is nothing in between me and the world.

17 May 2008


Yeah, we all like jokes about black, young visionaries being shot.
Mr. Huckabee quipped, “That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He’s getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor.”

14 May 2008

Come on!

Are there no black or educated white or under 30 people in West Virginia? Hillary Clinton wins the won't-vote-for-a-black-Muslim vote by a 10 to 1 ratio. She is also winning the can't-find-own-ass-with-two-hands vote by a staggering 20 to 1 ratio. This is no time to drop out, you morons who want to 'keep score'. You're all mathematics elitists. Half of Clinton's supports can't even do math.

12 May 2008


Yoko has terrible eczema. It's awful.

I lost my last two weeks of work on my PowerPoint and I'm going to bed.

11 May 2008

Stuck in my head

I know, I'm late. Nate already posted this, but I love it and so should you.

M-m-my. M-m-my. My, my.

Today is Mother's Day: Yoko's first with the Naomi being an actual, real-live shouting baby. Naomi did a good job getting Mother's Day gifts — a water filter, lunch, and a massage. It was nice all-around. Today is also my mother's Mother's Day, so happy Mother's Day to her and also my sister-in-law's birthday and first Mother's Day. So much love was going on, going down, going around.

Everyone keeps saying, 'The math is against Hillary Clinton' or 'The math doesn't look good for Hillary' or 'The math is troubling.' No, morons, she's lost the race. Lost. So yes, in the sense that Obama has more votes than Hillary, the math is against her. I'd love to hear that commentary in the basketball game.
The Lakers are down by 14 with 10 seconds left in the game. Jerry, just looks like the math isn't going to work out for them.
That's right, Greg. The Lakers would totally win this thing if only they had more points. Unfortunately, the math is just not going to happen.
I, meanwhile, am trying to make my own math work to pay for this PhD.

08 May 2008

Eating my soul

Preparing my presentation for RaAM is eating my soul right now.

I got my official letter of acceptance from Birmingham and had some good, but also troubling news. The good news was that I got the most popular supervisor in the program who is famous for her attention to detail and caring about her students. Unfortunately, there was also news about how much they expected me to pay for their PhD. They might hire me to teach a course in the summer, but I still will be putting up more money than I'd like. Here's hoping I get an offer from the OU and I blow this joint.

I did sleep some last night, until the baby kicked me in the face at 6.

07 May 2008

Forthcoming #5

This will probably be it for 2008.
Pihlaja, Stephen. (In Press, 2008) Caught in the middle: Grammar, textbooks, and the Japanese high school. The School House.

06 May 2008

Back in black

I'm back from my travels and have so much to write about riding my bike, throwing rocks into the river, and my baby yelling. Instead, there are other priorities: I just got the schedule from the metaphor conference that I'm going to in less than three weeks, and the schedule says I'm presenting twice. Once on the thing I'm been preparing for the last two months, and once on a the topic of my potential PhD research which I had been rejected from the PhD workshop, but apparently was added as a regular paper presentation. I have, to be clear, done absolutely no research on this topic and will need to throw something together in the next couple of weeks.

02 May 2008

My new bike loves me and you

My black Louis Garneau came yesterday and I have been sprucing it up since. Once I get a new seat, I think I can stop pouring money into it. Yoko said, right as I was thinking, We should sleep with it tonight, 'So, are you going to sleep with it tonight?' I answered, Yes, yes, I am.