Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


"Manny" Happy Returns

The last line of Gordon Edes article says it all: "Let Manny be Manny somewhere else."

Finally. I've been a non-Manny fan for many years. I don't care about the numbers - the stats don't tell the whole story. It's about the attitude, the commitment, the professional courtesy. About not celebrating on your way to 1st base so that what should have been a double is only a single because you're too busy pumping your arm instead of running. About running all the way to 1st even on a routine grounder because there's at least a slim chance you might leg it out. About considering the TEAM above the INDIVIDUAL.

Yeah, Manny, that's what it's about. I don't care if you're a fun guy, a goofball in the clubhouse, a kick to be around. What I - and legions of other Red Sox fans - really care about is how your performance affects the team. It's great that you're a slugger, that you put up high numbers and get those RBIs, but that's only great if you actually play on a regular basis. And think about how much higher those numbers could be if you really played all out, every day.

Time to go, Manny.

And Red Sox management - time to get a backbone, cut your losses, and give in to Manny one more time by acquiescing to his request for a trade.


Mis Compañeros de Clase

When I was working on my PhD at UW, most of my fellow grad students were planning to pursue a career in academica. Of course, what that really meant was trying to find a job as a professor at a "worthy" institution, which often ruled out small liberal arts colleges and especially (the horror!) community colleges. This attitude was one of the many factors that helped me realize rather early that I didn't want to follow the typical path, and my current experience at SCC has only affirmed my distaste for academics who scorn or look down on teaching in the CC system.

I admit, I definitely had certain preconceived notions about what type of student I might encounter in this class, and those condescending assumptions reveal much more about me (my culture, my background) than about the reality of the student population at SCC. Certainly, the majority of students are young, and some of my classmates don't seem committed to doing the work or often have difficulty keeping up in class.

However, the handful of compañeros de clase whom I've gotten to know a bit better certainly don't fit the lowly stereotype of a CC student. All of them are hard-working and adept at juggling multiple obligations and commitments:

W is in his mid-30s. He completed several semesters as an engineering undergrad in Arizona (I think) but then moved to northern CA, got married, and decided to get his real estate license rather than continuing with school. Now that the real estate market isn't so hot, he's taking the opportunity to go back to school to finish his BA. His degree will be from Sac State (CSUS), but he's got a few classes at SCC because they count towards different credit requirements and will help him to complete his degree a bit sooner. One of his Sac State classes is Mineralogy, and he has two lab classes that occupy almost all of his Tuesdays and Thursdays, not to mention that he also still works while going to school.

E is a bit younger, I think, probably mid to late 20s. He's married with a young child at home, is taking a full course load, and just recently completed the first step towards his real estate license. In addition, he runs his own business doing web design, which allows him to stay home with his daughter while his wife works (she's also got some of her real estate licensing completed).

D is in her early to mid 20s. She'll be completing her Associate's degree this semester, and has been working full-time the entire time she's been going to school. She works 40 hours a week as a mortgage broker at a bank and plans to continue with schooling to get her BA and eventually a Masters (in something - not sure yet what). However, she may move to Arizona soon as her boyfriend recently bought a house there. He's in the Air Force reserves (after completing 6 years of initial service and a degree of some kind in sports training), so he comes back to Sacramento monthly to complete his required duty. Her work/school schedule means that she usually gets to bed around midnight and gets up around 5am.

J is in her early 20s and completed several years of Spanish in high school. She gets up before 5am every weekend to work 8-10 hours a day for a baked goods company (Sara Lee? can't quite remember right now...) to re-stock the displays at several stores.

C is in her 40s and teaches German at SCC. She rides her bike to class (kudos to the alternative transportation!).

H is one of the younger students, I think. He's blind and takes the exams with alternative support. He's got great memory retention and pronuciation.

Un grupo muy interestante, ¿no? Estos estudiantes son trabajadores y serios. Y nuestra profesora, Dra. MCG, es dinámica, inteligente, y muy simpática. Ella es dottora de la Universidad de California en Davis, y se gusto enseñar en las universidades de la communidad.

(OK, so I know that's not really the right term for Community College, but such institutions don't exist in most hispanophone countries, so I don't think Spanish really has an identical term)

Me gusto mucho la clase de español!


Linguistic License

I'm taking Spanish 401 at SCC this semester (yay!), and I'm so very much enjoying being back in a language classroom. I am a bit concerned that I may start to lose some of my French or at least start mixing languages, but at the same time, I'm really excited to learn Spanish and hopefully get to the point where I can actually hold a [basic] conversation in a 3rd language.

All of the new vocabulary has made me reflect even more on the linguistic similarities and differences between not only English and Spanish but also between various regional versions of English. One of the benefits of having lived in 3 of the 4 US time zones is that I've been able to notice the diverse pronunciation changes or interesting word usage in different regions while remaining mostly accent-neutral myself (phew!).

Keep in mind that my own personal standard comes from New England, having been born and raised in a medium-sized town about 4o miles south of Boston. So anything that I remark as "new" or "different" is in direct comparison to what I grew up hearing and learning and using.

So, for example, the correct prounciation of aunt is "ahnt" rather than "ant." Likewise, roof is "rewf" rather than "ruhf." Route is "rewt" not "rowt."

(and for those few of you who may understand phonetics, I know these are not the proper phonetic spellings, but I think they get the point across to the average lay person a bit more effectively...)

The state of Oregon is "OR-e-gin," but the city in Wisconsin is "Or-e-GAHN" (stress on the last syllable). In most places, recycle is "re-CY-cle," but in Wisconsin, it's "REE-cy-cle." Oh, and that water fountain over there? It's a "bubbler," dontcha know.

I think fruits and vegetables are referred to interchangeably as "pro-duce" or "prah-duce" - haven't pinpointed that preference to a particular region.

Most of the time, I find regional differences interesting and fun. Sometimes I'll even integrate them into my speech patterns.

But there's one linguistic oddity here that drives me absolutely crazy - people who pronounce the word height as "highth." Really, now, do you see an extra "th" at the end of that word? I think not!!!! It's "hight," people - y'know, rhymes with "night" or "tight." I really don't know where this oddity comes from, but it's quite irritating to the ear and, frankly, tends to sound rather uneducated, regardless of whose mouth it emerges from.

Honestly, it just makes me hecka mad...


Baseball Blues


As much as I hate to admit it, I think Shaugnessy has a point here... Not much hope left for my BoSox this season, with all of the injuries and lack of depth/breadth in all areas (bench, bullpen, pitching, etc.). At least we finally got rid of some dead weight by shipping Wells off to San Diego. Good riddance!


In other baseball news, I learned yesterday that recent Red Sox call-up Dustin Pedroia is a Woodland native and also just happened to ride the shuttle to the River Cats game last night with a woman who knows his mother, Debbie Pedroia. Small world, no?

And the Cats came from behind to win their last game of the season at Raley Field, 7-3 against the Tucson Sidewinders. A couple of home runs gave the Cats the lead, and the franchise set a minor league attendance record for the 7th straight year (i.e. the entire life of the franchise). Not bad...

With stats like that and a great venue like Raley Field, who needs the Kings anyway??!!

VOTE NO ON Q & R - A downtown arena is a great idea for Sacramento, but the current deal on the table (and on the ballot) isn't the way to accomplish this goal. Stop the Arena Tax!