Friday, February 27, 2009


Oh, what a wonderful place Moscow is! This week is the week of jazz in Moscow with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest - 4 days of big name jazz artists, high school students coming to toot their horns, and college students learning to kick back and improvise. There's always a thrill of excitement in Moscow during jazz fest. People walking around, filling the coffee shops, music floating out of everywhere! What joy! It brings a little culture to town in both musical melodies and artistic displays.

Brian is a "downtown rat," which doesn't mean he's a rat, but means he's always downtown, working at the bike shop. So, he knows all the events happening downtown. This week, in celebration of the Jazz Fest, there was an art opening at the "Above the Rim" Gallery, which is in Paradise Creek Bicycles where Brian works. And when there is an opening at the Gallery, there is an opening at the Prichard Art Gallery across the street!

So, we had an impromptu date! We went to the Prichard to check out their new display and eat their yummy hors d'oeurves. And, wow! What a display! There were two featured artists, but I immediately fell in love with Lanny Bergner's art. He makes scuptures from wire and fills them with balls, wire, colors, shapes.... I walked and felt surrounded by the physical transformation of energy incaptured in his artwork! Little balls of light and energy everywhere. It made me so HAPPY to be in that environment. Wow kazow! A jazz band played in the background and beautiful people were everywhere hobnobbing and enjoying the art. And of course, the food was
amazing! I was blown away by the bacon wrapped scallops - a delicious combo of salty-squishy deliciousness! And pineapple! And sushi! And beef kebobs! And coffee! YUM!

After we had our fill of art and food, we went back to the Above the Rim Gallery to check out their display of local women artists' work of the Palouse. Beautiful home! But the real treat was that Kami gave us two free tickets to the Jazz Fest concert that evening, Latin Rhythms meet Dizzy Gillespie. So, we went home, got spiffed up, and went to the Kibbie to enjoy some Latin Jazz. What a show! It was so fun! Jackie Ryan sang amazingly beautiful versions of songs like Red Top and Besame Mucho. So gorgeous was her voice that chills went down my spine. An All Star Trumpet Group jammed to Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton tunes. They had amazing solos where each blended into the other perfectly. A quartet, including Benny Green, jammed out to latin jazz beats. And finally, Jose Rizo's "Jazz on the Latin Side All Star Band" played great Latin Jazz fusion. We got to salsa! Oh, what fun and joy to live in a little community with so much culture! Thank you, Moscow!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Sink Erator Part II

Well, the following morning the "In Sink Erator" still had the stomach bug. When Brian tried to wash the dishes the sink backed up. He proceeded to plunge it to no avail.... So, we called Mr. Fixit the Maintenance Man. And low and behold! The "In Sink Erator" is feeling oh so much better now that Mr. Fixit fixed it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If Only....

Imagine if this had been assigned reading way back during the Big 3, Fall Semester 2006:

"We...urge researchers to carefully estimate the time, expense, and complexity involved in using coded interviews before making a commitment to this research method. Because of the tremendous investment required, we advocate exploring other options before undertaking an interview study" (Bartholomew, Henderson, & Marcia, 2000).

Bartholomew, K., Henderson, A. J. Z., & Marcia, J. E. (2000). Coded semi-structured interviews in social psychological research. In H. T. Reis & C. M. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology (pp. 286-312). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Sink Erator Spit Up

Our apartment came equipped with an "In Sink Erator" that grinds up and distributes food particles into the gray water system in the drains. I always imagine that little bits of potato peels and egg shells go whizzing away to Moscow's waste water treatment plant where some minion has the depressing job of sieving the minuscule particles out of the water. A noble job for imagine the commotion if someone turned on their tap and out came "In Sink Erator" scuzz! Ugh.

Well, today, I was thinking about the minion while doing the dishes and little particles of onion, garlic, and carrot were floating around in the dish water. When I was finished, I pulled the plug and watched the gray-particle-food-sudsy water sink down the drain. Except that, unlike normal when the drain just sucks down the dirty water, this time the water just kind of acted like a swamp and sat there. I could picture the breeding ground for mosquitos in the sludgey water.

Sometimes, when the "In Sink Erator" is full, it needs to be "burbed" so the water will properly go down the drain. Thinking this was the problem and cause of the sludge-water swamp, I casually turned on the faucet and fliped the "In Sink Erator" switch. Oh my goodness! The "In Sink Erator" didn't just need to be burbed! It positively had the FLU! Grey Water came voming out of the drain, swooshing up onto the clean dishes and spewed all over me! Yuck! I turned off the switch before the device could continue up-chucking. But, the swamp water still remained! What to do!?

Well, I did what all brave men and women must do at some point in their lives. I flipped the switch and awaited the purge. Again, the grey water swilled out of the drain, swished around the sink, and spit up spectacularly on the counter! I turned off the switch and watched as the water slowly circled round the drain. It was a half-inch less this time! So, I did it again. And out came the gray water throwing up its "In Sink Erator" contents all over the sink. Little bits of carrot, onion, and potato floated around in the In Sink Erator spit up.

But, there was some success. The water was slowly sinking down the drain and out of sight. Had the "In Sink Erator" finally de-bugged? I decided to leave it at that and hope (and pray!) that all the peels, shells, and vegetable gunk had successfully decided to float down the tunnel and off to the land of the gray water treatment plant. But, the real test will come tomorrow. Will there be another episode? Will the "In Sink Erator" be feeling like its normal garbage gut self? Will the flu persist? I sincerely hope so. And I will be there watching its every burping move.

Friday, February 13, 2009

End Note

I have the best research assistant (RA) position ever. Troy, my major professor, is a voracious reader. She reads at the gym, at home, at work. She reads, reads, reads. And she doesn't just read novels or cooking books, no, she reads scholarly journal articles. Her office is full of stacks of these articles.

Well, this fall, she gave me the best RA ever: End Note. End Note is an amazing piece of bibliographic software that allows you to enter in references, notes, full-text documents, key words, etc, for whatever you need to reference. Then, you open word, start typing away, and insert citations when needed. End Note inserts the citation and automatically creates a bibliography. Wow kazow! All the stress caused by citation anxiety when writing a paper instantly disappear! It's simple, easy, and you only ever have to enter the reference once. From then on it's hit and away you go! I loooooove End Note, which brings me back to the best RA ever.

Troy gives me stacks of articles she has labeled with key words (ways to look up an article) penciled on the top. I then take the articles and open up her master End Note library and the library I enter new citations into. Her master library has 12,060 references in it! I double check the master library to make sure articles haven't already been cited. If they have, I put them in the finished pile. If they haven't, I open up a new entry in the Troy library and enter in the new citation. End Note automatically formats it into APA. It's easy peesy and kind of fun!

The best parts about this RA are the following. The first is I get a glimpse at the amazing citations Troy has found, which often give me ideas of articles to read for my own research. But the best part about entering End Note is multi-tasking! I open up iTunes, direct it to "My Daily Phrase: Italian" podcast and plug in to listen Mark explain Italian in his Scottish accent! In Italian, I can now count to 100, ask what time breakfast will be served, and say, "I'm sorry, I only speak a little Italian. Could you speak more slowly?" Amazing! And all the time I am entering in scholarly articles with names like "Reframing ecotage as ecoterrorism: News and the discorse of fear" (Wagner, 2008) or "Evaluating theories of health behavior change: A hierarchy of criteria applied to the transtheoretical model" (Prochaska, Wright, & Velicer, 2008).

And with that, it is time for me to take myself to the world where scholarly documents and Italian intermingle. It's End Note RA time. E tutto per oggi. That's all for today!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Honky Tonk

This last summer, Leigh Anne asked me a perplexing question. The interp crew was gathered in the K Bar on the eve of my departure from the West to the Pacific Northwest. I was dancing in my seat to Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee" playing on the jukebox. The mountain air was steadily cooling outside but the K Bar stayed hot with the pizzas cranking out of the oven. We stayed cool by drinking pitchers of Alaskan Amber as we bit into spicy slices of the K-Bar Combo. And then the question came. Leigh Anne, while watching me shake it to "It's 5:00 Somewhere," asked, "Nancy, are you a honky tonk gal?"

I stopped mid song and glanced at her sheepishly. She looked at me and said, "Yup, you are a honky tonk gal." And that got me thinking.

There is nothing I love more than the cool air playing off Montana's mountains, the smell of sagebrush after it rains, crooning out the Dixie Chick's "Wide Open Spaces" as I drive through Big Sky Country, and watching cowboys rope and ride at the rodeo (or out in the open). I dream at night of owning a homestead by the Yellowstone River and dream during the day of returning to the frontier and watching the great bison herds on the Great Plains. And nothing fits the western places I love better than the music of the slide guitar, banjo, fiddle, and guitar (geeetar) playing some lonesome call of the wild.

My musical callings have long been oriented towards western songs and Americana. The first music I liked was country. The first tunes I learned on the piano (pianee?) were from early America. As I sit writing this, Dwight Yoakam, Yonder Mountain String Band, Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks, Sam Bush, Alan Jackson, Allison Kraus and, yes, Garth Brooks croon their place-based rythms into my ears. The best concerts I have seen were of Yonder Mountain and Willie Nelson. There's just nothing like singing along to Willie and girating to Yonder Mountain.

Ah, just thinking of honky tonk makes me long for the west! The diesel trucks with gun racks and menacing dogs in the back! The wide open plains that end spectacularly in a ragged range of mountains! The wilderness, frontier, the sublime beauty! The elk, bison, and bears! The way western, country, and bluegrass fit the physical and emotional senses of the place. Oh to be in wide open spaces! As Bilbo Baggins would say, "I want to see mountains, Gandalf, mountains!"

So, perhaps, honky tonk is the epitomy of my sense of place search. It has the power to connect me to place and helps to set my spirit free. Willie Nelson got it right when he said (covered), "give me land lots of land and the starry sky above. Don't fence me in!"

Moscow, you ain't got enough honky tonk for the both of us in this town. I'm heading west! It's time to head east to head west (aka Wyoming and Montana) into the heart of the honky tonk! There my senses awaken to place and my heart fills with the beautiful might of the western landscape. That is where the scent of sagebrush overwhelms my nose when the thunder rolls.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Demise of Number 6

My cell phone beeped, announcing a text message from Matthew. Expecting some continuation to the "anal RV" game, I opened the message and to my dismay read the following words, "Number 6 died on Sunday in town. Wah wah."

"WHAT!" I exclaimed and felt the air whoosh out of my lungs. How could Number 6, the valiant gorer of cars, chaser of humans, leader of the elk herd, be dead?! Dead!

Immediately, I called Matthew for the report on our Mammoth staple's death. He informed me that the ungulate biologist received a report and went out to identify the body. The red number 6 tag hung in the ear of the massive elk. It was affirmative. Number 6 had passed on to Elk Heaven.

No wounds lay on his huge form. His antlers sprawled across the snowy ground. His eyes glazed and gazing at the distant tunnel. I hope he died with dignity, fondly remembering the multitude of cars he had stabbed, tourists he had chased, and elk cows he had impregnated with little Number 6's. A good life's work.

Some people, I suppose, will blame the wolves for chasing, terrorizing, and scaring Number 6 to death. I think it must have simply been the final winter of his long and productive life. As he dreamed of his harem, he must have laid down his great, heavy head in the snowy plain, breathed a deep sigh of relief, and fallen into a wintery sleep.

I sincerely hope next year a Number 6 the Second will rise to the challenge Number 6 left us with. May he chill and thrill us with a high, long, romantic elk bugle. May this future bull amaze us with an enormous rack. May he keep his harem safe from harm. Most of all, may he become the future star that damages cars and chases people behind trees. May he ignite respect for the wild in the apathetic mind. May he thrill and excite us with his grace, power, and bravado.

To you, Number 6, I raise a toast, a cheer, and a thanks for your amazing life.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


"It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.'"
-Bryce Courtenay, the Power of One

"Memories do indeed become sweet with the perspective of discovering that they were more significant to your prior experiences than you imagined at the time they passed before your eyes."
-Tim Sommer

"If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go.... This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future."
- Terry Tempest Williams, Testimony

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
-Aldo Leopold

"Big thoughts are born in big country. If we want to preserve the human imagination, we must preserve the wildlands that inspire us...."
-Terry Tempest Williams

"The power of one is above all the power to believe in yourself, often beyond any ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete, the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, etc. First with the head, then with the heart, more than mixing brains with guts, it means thinking beyond the powers of normal concentration and daring your courage to follow your thoughts."
-Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


It's supposed to be a balmy 50 degrees today! It's sunny outside and the sun is coming up earlier and staying up later. Spring is on the way!