Errands, Day 2 of Back-to-School Week

Self just had enough time to dash home for a quick bite, in between meeting a fellow teacher at ND and swinging by Fed-Ex Office (formerly Fed-Ex Kinko’s) on El Camino and Whipple and xeroxing 288-page manuscript for mailing to FC2 contest — egad, both manuscripts weighed a ton, no wonder now self is walking funny.

And, as self simply cannot do without the multi-tasking, she just had to eat lunch while parked on couch and watching a rock show filmed in London’s Hyde Park just last month. And there’s Sting looking gorgeous, just gorgeous, with graying beard and tight-fitting satiny-looking loden-green T-shirt. And there’s John Mayer who self knows recently dumped Jennifer Aniston, Read the rest of this entry »

What is a Lapu-Lapu (and Sundry Other Digressions)

Self is turning over a new leaf, dear blog readers! She has decided that she is really, really tired of serving dinner haphazardly at 8:45 p.m. (when hubby gets home). Lately, because of too much work (it’s the start of the school year, after all– as if anyone needed reminding!), self forgets that hubby will (eventually) have to come home. Then, when he steps in the door (or sometimes 30 minutes before, if she’s lucky), she rushes to the kitchen and throws together all sorts of odds and ends. What we end up eating most nights is a melange of fried rice and hot dogs.

Is this any way to live? From now on, self resolves that the only way to have a smooth dinner is to start planning in the morning. Which is why, at 7 a.m., self traipses to a website called “Recipes of the Philippines” ( and looks up a recipe for “Baked Fish” (Pescado al Horno)

This is a dish that self remembers from the time she was growing up in Manila. Sometimes the fish used was a “Pompano,” which is a flat fish with wonderful firm, meaty flesh. This particular recipe, the one self is looking at this morning, calls for a “Lapu-Lapu.” And self suddenly realizes that never, not once in all her years of living in Manila, has she ever been clear about what a “Lapu-Lapu” looks like.

She’s sure she’s eaten one (of course), but now she has terrible itch to know what it looks like (since she also wonders how it got that name? Self means: the name of the most famous chieftain in Philippine history?)

And just as she is congratulating herself for having: a) Found that Lapu-Lapu is a type of fish known as a “grouper” (which is a name self has encountered many many times since moving to the States); b) Learned that “grouper” is also “Sea Bass” (which was also son’s “handle” when he still lived at home — that is, she once passed behind son while he was at his computer and saw on his screen the salutation: “All hail, Sea Bass!”), she remembers that yesterday, one of the freshmen in her class at ND told her about a new search engine called “Blackle” that was supposed to be “more energy-efficient” (though self is not sure exactly how that works– does the computer use up less energy when she types in “Blackle” than when she types “Google”?). Self tries it now and the screen really is all black. Hmm, nifty!

Back to the grouper/Sea Bass/ Lapu-Lapu issue. So, on Wikipedia, she learns that a grouper is “a fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.” It has “a stout body and a large mouth.” According to Wikipedia, the fish are “not built for long distance fast swimming.” And they’re pretty ugly fish, too, judging from the picture. The picture on Wikipedia shows one with its mouth wide open and — Good Lord! — it has an enormous mouth (which according to Wikipedia acts like a suction) and also many many rows of sharp teeth. In fact, the fish appears to be nearly all mouth. And its color is an ugly, indeterminate brown.

The fish can apparently grow very large. According to Wikipedia, “there have been reports of them growing big enough to swallow a human bather” and “swallowing an ordinary open-circuit scuba-diver would need a throat that can expand to about 2 feet (0.61 m) square.” (Don’t bother to ask self what an “open circuit” scuba diver is, dear blog readers). Towards the end of the article, there is this: “A newspaper reported a 396.8 pound grouper being caught off the waters near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca on Tuesday 15 January 2008.”

Oh my goodness– a monster fish! And, as usual, self has strayed far from the original purpose of this post, which was to examine her various alternatives for dinner tonight.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Conference Announcement

Academic Autobiography, Intellectual History, and Cultural Memory in the 20th Century: *
*An Interdisciplinary Conference*

March 26-28, 2009, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)

Plenary Speakers:

Ihab Hassan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Shirley Geok-lin Lim, University of California-Santa Barbara
Nancy K. Miller, City University of New York
Alun Munslow, University of Chichester
Robert A. Rosenstone, California Institute of Technology

Proposals are sought for an Interdisciplinary Conference entitled “Academic Autobiography, Intellectual History, and Cultural Memory in the 20^th Century” to be held at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) on the 26-28 of March, 2009. This conference aims to engage the current paradigms of the debate on autobiographical writing by academics (historians, literary critics, anthropologists, and sociologists, among others) and analyze these in the interdisciplinary context of the consciousness of the ways intellectual history and cultural memory may be developed, articulated, and promoted in the twentieth century. Autobiographies by academics who have played important public roles and whose scholarship have shaped the ways we think about disciplines, society, culture, or politics—such as Nancy K. Miller, Eric Hobsbawm, Clifford Geertz, Leila Ahmed, Edward Said, Jill Ker Conway, Ihab Hassan, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Yi-Fu Tuan, among others—may be explored as new approaches to the discourses of intellectual history and culture in our age. We invite proposals that offer new ways to read these autobiographies and analyze their discursive possibilities in the historical, cultural, and academic contexts in which they were written.

Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • the academic as author/historian;
  • academic life writing as history or cultural discourse;
  • academic autobiography as intellectual history;
  • life writing and the definitions of academic disciplines;
  • the intersection between private and public lives in academic autobiographies;
  • academic autobiography as a literary or historical genre;
  • the ways in which the notion of literary or historical discourse may be rethought in the context of this form of writing;
  • the ways academic autobiographies challenge our notions of historiography or literary analysis.

500-word abstracts and a 1-page CV must be submitted (email submissions preferred) before October 15, 2008 to the Conference Organizers at this address:

Prof. Rocío G. Davis
Modern Languages Department
University of Navarra
Pamplona 31080

Fax: 34-948-425636


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