Friday, December 30, 2016

This is my commentary on why 2016 is the year with the lowest number of posts (since its beginning in 2002) here at Gully Brook Press.

Friday, December 09, 2016

I don't care much for the new business lingo "looping in." Just sayin'.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I received unexpected compliments today. During a village-related meeting with the State, referring to our (unsuccesful) DRI application, one person remarked "I don't know who your grant writer is, but they should be a published writer" and the other said it was the best of the applications they received from smaller municipalities.
I am extremely alarmed by the recent narrative being pushed, that "fake news" on social media somehow influenced the election and so the remedy is censorship. I believe this is the result of regular media being threatened by alt media, and by regular media's inability to explain the election results. The censorship solution is outrageous -- as if outlets such as the New York Times have stellar record on accuracy! Speech is sacrosanct. The answer to offensive speech is not censorship -- it is more speech. It is a little amusing to see how worked up regular media is over everything, though. They grow increasingly more irrelevant and dig themselves in deeper & deeper.
I am considering changing my security settings on Facebook so that people can't post items on my wall.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

And in honor (?) of election day, another graphic
Forgot to put up our Halloween picture! First time we've done costumes in years!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

November 1 will become a momentous occasion: The one-year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian! It is something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager, and in recent years, I kept thinking it was on my bucket list (a concept I hate, BTW). It had been years since I'd eaten any meat, besides poultry and fish. But for some reason I could not give those up -- even though I felt guilty eating them. Finally, last year, I suddenly went "cold turkey," and it was easier than I'd imagined! I do not miss it at all, and did not, even in the first days. I feel much happier and more aligned with my principles. I was reminded of this today, when I got an email from a local farm about ordering my Thanksgiving turkey. When explaining that they will not know exact weights until the turkeys are "processed," I felt a pang at the euphemism. Not that I think agro-business slaughtering thousands of hormone-injected birds after they lived under inhumane conditions is better, because I certainly don't. But I still was disturbed by the email.

The new lifestyle has some health benefits for me, that I won't go into here in detail (suffice to say that a lifelong problem I had is just about gone). It is probably easier than I'd thought it would be because I am not a vegan. I understand the health benefits and support the philosophical reasons for veganism, but I can't figure out what I would eat. I go to restaurants often, that isn't changing any time soon, and vegetarianism is challenging enough. I might attempt it someday (and may find it easy, who knows) but for now I am pleased and proud to be a vegetarian.

Yesterday I made a vegetable pot pie. I've always loved pot pie and used to occasionally make chicken pot pie, and it occurred to me that it would be a wonderful vegetarian dish for fall. I made up to recipe. First, I made a double crust (2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup butter, 5 tablespoons cold water). Then, I made the filling (saute 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 can mushrooms, a handful of carrots, 1 can small white beans, 1 bag frozen corn, 1 bag frozen peas -- I would have used potatoes too, but didn't have any). Then I made white sauce (2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk, 2 cups stock made from boiling vegetable peels). I poured 2/3 of the white sauce over the vegetable mixture, put it all in the pie crust, baked it for 50 minutes at 400 degrees, and served it with the remaining white sauce. It was awesome.

Friday, October 07, 2016

A few days ago Ted the Cat knocked my Kindle Fire on the floor (from the kitchen table). It was in a case and nothing was obviously broken, but when I used it the next day, it was dim and the color was off. I could fix it by tweaking settings, re-booting didn't help, so I went back to factory default, and that worked. Although having to set up all the accounts again is annoying. First world problem, I know.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The question is, how to handle someone who won't take no (10 times) for an answer, and continues trying to distract, waste time, and hijack?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

We are in week 4 of the semester (hard to believe). It's going well -- my reduced schedule is much better. Toleration is majority freshman for the first time in years (and that's great). Two days ago was my birthday, and I turned 55. State retirement age! But of course I'm not retiring. I did something kind of radical and anti-social -- took my birth date off social media, and so did not get 200 Happy Birthday posts this year. I decided to do it not because of anyone on Facebook, but because I was in a crummy mood over village-related issues and I just didn't feel up to clicking all those "Likes" (LOL). It was a good day though. Ate dinner here, which was fabulous, and that's an understatement.

Monday, August 29, 2016

If it's's time for my annual post about the disgusting frenzy in "The Summer Place To Be." I saw a painful story on the local TV news this weekend about the Travers. The interviewed women were so face-lifted and made-up under their gaudy hats that it looked like the freak show it is. My mantra: Not glamorous, not a sport, it's animal abuse. Promoted by the media! Ugly people on the inside & out.

On another note: my classes start tomorrow! (Semester begins today).

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Fall semester begins next week. I did not accomplish the same things I normally do during my long summer bread (gardening, reading, writing). Instead I wrote four grant proposals and did many other things for the Village, along with teaching my usual two classes. Let's hope the proposals pay off in some way and don't work out to be a waste of time that could have been better spent growing green beans, writing here, and reading Mark Twain! I'm pretty much ready to start the semester. I'm sad about the end of my long summer, but it will be good for me to get out of the house. The animals will be sad though!

Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 has turned out to be a deadly season in Saratoga so far.Yet still people think this "sport" is glamourous -- rather than what it is, animal cruelty.

Unrelated: I made the CFA deadline with nearly 3 hours to spare!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another story that didn't pass the sniff test for me. Initially when she didn't remember anything I was suspicious. Then when the sketch of Santa came out, I was sure.

Unrelated: caught another plagiarizer yesterday. Essay copied almost verbatim from a cheating site on the web.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

According to Kari Spencer, “often... visible outdoor areas are homogeneous, cookie-cutter spaces, where neatly-trimmed grass or a few well-placed flower pots are admired and appreciated by the neighbors. But for some revolutionary gardeners, a feast for the eyes is not enough. They want something edible in return for the hard work, the water and the expense of tending a landscape. These food revolutionaries are maximizing their cultivation area by converting their landscapes, patios, and nearby vacant lots into productive edible gardens. In the quest for more space to grow food, even conventional front lawns are being transformed into maverick, and highly visible, vegetable plots.... the rise of modern vegetable gardeners who are cutting against the grain of current landscape fashion to grow food out in the open once again.”

Are vegetable plants beautiful?  Philosophers have discussed the nature of beauty for centuries, and most come down on the side of subjectivity – that there are no objective standards and it is, as the cliche says, in the eye of the beholder. That said, the connection of beauty to pleasure is something upon which many agree. “Beauty is such an order and construction of parts as, either by the primary constitution of our nature, by custom, or by caprice, is fitted to give a pleasure and satisfaction to the soul” (Hume, 1740). It almost goes without saying that gardens and gardening are good for the soul. Community gardens are known to have some unique benefits for members of the garden. Teig et al. (2009)  found  that  participants  in  community  gardens  chose  to  remain  in  the  garden  because  of  the  social opportunities  they  offered. Vegetable  gardening  also  has  the  potential  to  increase  the  frequency  of  social  interaction.  Lewis  (1990)  argues  that  gardening  provides  gardeners  with an  opportunity  to  socialize  with  others,  since  the action is taking place in publicly visible locations. “Community  gardens  can  increase  the  sense  of community of nearby neighborhoods due to the creation of a mixed - use land, and therefore increase their social capital” (Ozawa, 2010).

 “Creating your own urban farm is as simple as planting your flowerbeds with edibles.  No matter where you are you can grow something to eat. Shift your thinking and you'd be surprised at the places your food can be grown! I believe that virtually everyone has the ability to either grow some food at home, or to find an appropriate location to start a garden. I may sound like a kook who plants my landscape with cucumbers instead of carnations, peppers instead of petunias, and fruit trees rather than ficus, but I am convinced that wherever you go, you can grow food! Now is the time for us to join together and plant the seeds that will transform the places in which we live.  I envision a day when every city and town has front and back yards, community gardens and growing spaces, nurtured into life by neighbors who are no longer strangers, but friends who delight in the edible rewards offered from a garden they discovered together. Imagine small strips of land between apartment buildings that have been turned into vegetable gardens, and urban orchards planted at schools and churches to grow food for our communities. The seeds of the urban farming movement already are growing within our reality” (Peterson, 2009).
 Last night's board meeting really highlighted why the mayor and trustee jobs aren't fun. We immediately started to implement a Community Garden after we were sworn in. Due to the efforts of volunteers and donors (& Bob), the garden is almost finished, and is already producing. The garden chair delivered greens & squash to the food pantry last night. She said the folks there couldn't have been happier. Meanwhile Bob & I were taking heat from four planning and zoning board members, two of whom live across from the garden.

 The garden looks like crap (said by all of them, more than once), like a stockyard, like a gulag, why would we want that as you enter the village, what permits did you get, why didn't we get a letter in the mail (although it was discussed at every board meeting & there are minutes, is on the website, on facebook, and in the village newsletter). It ruins our view when we sit on our porch sipping champagne. "That's your opinion" in response to my protesting that the garden is beautiful. No, it isn't just my opinion. There is scholarly literature supporting my position. Where are their citations? Something from the Journal of Ugly, Mean-Spirited, Elitist, Selfish Commentary perhaps?

Culture change is very, very difficult in this village. But I will not let the naysayers dissuade me.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I have many, many things to write, but I'm razor focused on getting proposals ready for the NYS CFA grants deadline of July 29. Lots of things happening in the Village, some of which can't be public yet.

Monday, June 06, 2016

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" kind of summs it all up at present!

Friday, May 06, 2016

I have been so busy, more so than I have been in years. It's all good, though. I am on a mission to make change. I may fail, of course. But without trying, there is no doubt of failure -- and so, the flip side is that I just might succeed.

Classes ended on Wednesday, and grades are due on May 17. I have been doing my best to juggle the village stuff with my end of semester demands. One thing about the semester that (unfortunately) is memorable is this. About a month ago, the student I knew (who had dropped the class of mine she was in, to my great relief) emailed me to ask whether she could re-enroll. Mind you she'd done no work when she was registered and had missed many classes. As is sometimes the case, the situation wasn't well-handled in terms of the support I needed for dealing with the situation. Oh well. I said no, and thankfully she went away. And now the university has taken action, and the criminal justice system is in process. Eventually this too will be another urban legend on campus.

Something that has annoyed me about both the media coverage and the memos we have gotten at work about the case: The two victims are barely mentioned. I would be so upset if I was a victim of crime, or if my 19-year-old kid was, and the focus was only on the perpetrators.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Ugly Sweater
The woman with the weak chin
The woman in beige
The tall man with the crew cut
The crowded bar
The guitarist playing Christmas songs
The Church woman impatient with it all

Friday, February 26, 2016

I have not written about this story before here (or anywhere) but the detective in me thought it didn't pass the sniff test on day one. As it happens I know one of the students involved and I am beyond disappointed in her. I think what annoys me the most about this situation (besides the president's clumsy reaction) is that because of the three women who cried wolf, our student body was once again exposed as a bunch of binge drinking spoiled brats. That video shows a bus full of students on the verge of puking and passing out. The men they were slapping and punching were hardly capable of standing up, much less throwing a punch. If the three had not concocted a story on social media and called 911 afterwars, everyone would have just gone home and passed out, been hung over the next day and barely remembered. Now it is our new brand, just when kegs n eggs had faded. Idiots.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Busy, busy, busy...Bob & I have decided to dive into politics, and we are running for mayor and trustee of the village, respectively. Visit our campaign website!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My department's new musical logo & tagline! Also, the link to the new youtube channel:

From 12/22 to 1/8, my internet download speed was reminiscent of dial-up. Two several-hours-long tech support chats, three several-hours-long tech support phone calls, two technician visits, three new modems, new exterior wiring, new jack later...the central office took my service down for a whole day and finally fixed it (the problem was somewhere distant). I negotiated free internet service for a month. Eighteen days with 1990s-level access severely impacted not just entertainment, but bill-paying, work (& clock was ticking on new semester prep), communication, shopping. We have all become so dependent on the 'net, and so quickly (which shouldn't be surprising; the same thing happened to a prior generation with the telephone.) I'm SO grateful to have high speed internet back, I'm grateful for a free month, I'm grateful to have finally connected with an extremely competent tech guy in the central office.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

At 54 posts, 2015 was my lightest powting year so far. This is unrelated, but I'm having some annoying internet problems -- involving speed. The connection is stable, but SLOW.