What else I’ve been up to: a list

Wrapping my head around data modeling, particularly entity-relationship modeling, which is bizarrely fun. Also
Dialog, a.k.a. (depending on one’s perspective) “You’re learning Dialog? Oh my God, why?” or “a powerful teaching tool” or “hours of pain, but you’ll be better at power-searching databases than anyone else.” Even though I persistently forget that S is short for both “set” and “select,” I’m actually starting to see the connections between the theory and the practice of database-searching (construction, too), in both classes I’m taking. Which is nifty.

Keeping the invading mice at bay with a combined strategy of traps in the basement, blocking possible access routes, obsessively vacuuming up crumbs, and spraying a peppermint-oil-and-water solution in the places where I’ve seen them. Traps baited with peanut butter only lured more mice into my apartment, where they then kept getting the bait off the traps without getting caught. This gave me a certain respect for their intelligence, but I’d still rather be able to sleep at night without listening for the scritching of unwelcome little feet. Fortunately the strategy  seems to be working, cross fingers and touch wood.

Reading voraciously on the train and over meals. Latest books I’ve read: Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch, which I initially thought might be too grim for my tastes, but it’s a strong contender for my favorite of her novels thus far; Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?, after two years of meaning to read it (very good, I thought); and I just finished Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

Not getting out all that much, thanks to work and school, but planning a few excursions: probably the Philadelphians Against Santorum Halloween cabaret this weekend, and Tosca at the Center City Opera Theater next week. Also, hopefully, Riccardo Muti conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra (Schubert, Hindemith, and Strauss), if I can score a student rush ticket.

Mulling a sort of experimental literary-critical project, which keeps shifting frustratingly out of reach and getting shelved for later.

Getting back into knitting, especially now that I’ve found people to knit with on my lunch hours and familiarized myself with my nearest yarn stores. Loop, on South Street, even has its own blog.

Wondering whether kids on my block go trick-or-treating, and how much candy I should get in case they do, and whether I have time to carve a pumpkin as fabulous as this one. (Maybe not this year, but some year I want to start carving pumpkins into the likenesses of Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies.)

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