three things, in no particular order:
1. laurel and i went to eleven states, ten of which were awesome. (ohio sucks.) i flew to salt lake city, she picked me up, we spent five days in and around zion national park, then drove leisurely-like through bryce canyon and escalante. one night we ate TUMBLEWEED ENCHILADAS YES TUMBLEWEED ENCHILADAS at hell's backbone grill in boulder utah (population 180). in case you wondered, tumbleweed shoots look like fatter, flatter, softer pine needles and taste rather a lot like spinach. they are great with goat cheese and cherry-chile sauce.
everything on this trip worked out. i can't really even explain the extent to which everything just worked out, but...it all did. case in point (and the point of origin for a new shorthand phrase for la and me, as if we needed more of those): on the very first night of the adventure, we drove into zion at about 10 pm, only to find that the campsites were full up. well, said laurel, we'll just turn around and see if there's a likely spot by the side of the road. the best place, she went on to say, would be a turnout that goes a little distance back, has reasonably good cover from road noise and gawkers, and has flat spots for setting up the tent. "yeah," i said, "and our free, empty campsite also has to have rainbows. rainbows and unicorns."
guess what we found? rainbows and motherfucking unicorns.
later on we found more rainbows and unicorns, including another great free camping spot, the ideal back country permits at zion, an awesome coffee shop in the touristy ickiness of springdale, utah, the aforementioned hell's backbone grill, deer in our campsite, beer and enjoyable silliness in valentine, nebraska, and apologies to the queen mary, which laurel had never heard before i cranked it up for her. we also drove about 1200 miles in just under 19 hours to end the excursion, which is pretty rad.
to quote another of the songs on my road trip mix: AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
2. i have added ryan sheely's spectacular kenya adventures, including mosquito-net-taping and possible encounters with pirates, tribes, and/or pirate-tribes, to my list of friends' blogs. click "ryan" at right.
3. i have passed all my classes for the spring semester (yes, i was worried), which means that i can officially go on to the third year just as soon as i finish my [string of expletives here] field exams in august. political psychology august 23, american politics (redux) august 28, and then it's prospectus-and-teaching time for me. all of which is a long way of saying: NO MORE CLASSES FOR ME!!! in other sort-of-academic news, we have received our end-of-year evaluations, known as fortune cookies for the usually extremely enigmatic "comments" section. in a startling break with past form (and with some of this year's comments), my fortune cookie was less delphic than one might hope (if one's hope were tied directly to one's ability to make fun of the uselessness of these documents). which is a simpler way of saying that they wrote something that was actually useful. my hat's off to you, mr. dgs.
apparently there is a "disconnect" between my exam performance and "faculty evaluations" of my "competence and promise." "people expect great things of [me]!!"
i leave you with an image of laurel and i, blaming the patriarch(y)s, on which, a whole nother post is forthcoming soon, with apologies to twisty faster.