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OTer of the Week #1 -- Spectacles

OT'er of the week Spectacles 2007

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#1 Drew

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 08:59 PM

Hi everyone, and welcome to a new feature I hope will continue here in OT. I call this the "OTer of the Week." It's a chance for us OT regulars (and lurkers) to meet one of our members and learn a bit about him or her. The idea being that the more we know each other in personal ways, the harder it is for us to be antagonistic toward each other. This has worked really well on another message board I frequent, and a great way for people to put a "person" behind the name and avatar.

Here are the rules which should typically be appended to the new thread:

1. The current OTer of the Week chooses the next OTer of the week and starts a thread in their honor.
2. That person's week in the spotlight runs from Monday to Sunday, after which a new OTotW takes over.
3. To keep this interesting please choose someone with whom you typically disagree here on OT, and also someone you don't know well. We'd hate to see it get clubby.
4. Current OTotW should set about picking a successor within a few days in case the search for a new OTotW takes awhile. And also so that person can prepare and write a cute li'l bio like Specs did below.
5. Have fun, and LEARN about each other.

I'd like to thank Specs for being willing to be our first guinea pig. Let's hope this goes well.

But let's meet Spectacles!

Quote

I'm a she --a fact that for some reason surprises folks online, but not in person. :) And I'm 54, born in December 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama. I lived in Birmingham until I was 28, in 1983, when I moved to Pittsburgh. I remain in the Pittsburgh area, where I teach English composition and literature at a community college. When I first moved to Pittsburgh, all I knew was that I needed a break from the South, from my family, and from teaching, so I waited tables for a couple of years until I was sure that I wanted to be back in the classroom. Since my wild and misspent youth I have pretty much made peace with the South, with my family, and with teaching. :)

My father died in 1993, and my mother moved up here and lived with me in the summer of 2002. In January 2003, she had a major stroke that left her right side severely weakened. The greatest accomplishment of my life was that I was able to keep her at home and keep her out of a nursing home since Mom feared being in one. Mom died in January 2006, but before she did, we really enjoyed each others company. Having her with me turned out to be a real gift.

I have one older brother, a retired rector of an Episcopalian Church in California, and I'm still very close to aunts and cousins in Alabama.

I'm a nonpracticing lesbian who lives with two cats--both strays who adopted me last year--and two parakeets, who have their own room, separate from the cats, of course. :) I have a little, two-story cape cod house that I bought in 2000 for the price that some people pay for their cars. It's humble but it's home.

That's pretty much my quiet little life. Oh, and I have a lousy spine and have to walk with a cane a good bit of the time these days--and I'm hoping for affordable health care :) so that I can retire early one day because it's getting harder and harder to teach full-time.

Thanks, Specs. I'll get the ball rolling. . . .


1. Why "Spectacles"? And why Carmen Miranda? (That is who that is, right?)

2. Were you on SlipstreamBBS? I don't recall.

3. What's your favorite work of literature to teach? What's your favorite book?

4. This being OT, I have to ask -- to what do you attribute your interest in politics? Was there any one thing? What do you think most shaped your current views?

5. Favorite thing about where you live?

6. How did you ever end up at Ex Isle?


That's a good start. Take 'er away, folks! :cool:

Edited by Drew, 07 July 2009 - 09:01 PM.

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#2 Rhys

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:07 PM

Great idea, Drew!

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#3 Shalamar

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:21 PM

Thank you Drew, a fantastic idea! I'll think up some questions.
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#4 Palisades

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:22 PM

Great idea, but I'm a private person and not particularly comfortable doing it. Those who are interested don't let me deter you, and I'll avoid those threads so no one feels cheated by my lack of reciprocation.
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#5 Drew

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:24 PM

View PostPalisade, on Jul 7 2009, 09:22 PM, said:

Great idea, but I'm a private person and not particularly comfortable doing it. Those who are interested don't let me deter you, and I'll avoid those threads so no one feels cheated by my lack of reciprocation.

All you need to do is ask questions of the OTer of the Week. :cool:

If someone wants to nominate you, you don't have to accept. :)
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#6 Spectacles

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:43 PM

Before I start answering questions, I wanted to thank Drew for making this effort. When he contacted me with this idea, I told him that I thought it had potential--like Nittany's kitty thread did--for helping us to, as Drew says, "put a 'person' behind the name and avatar."



1. Why "Spectacles"?


Back in the mid-90s when I first created an account at the old Studios USA Xena netforum, I had given zero thought to a name. So when prompted to give myself a name, I looked around the desk and saw my reading glasses. Hence "Spectacles." I always said that I could just have easily been "Snotrag."

And why Carmen Miranda? (That is who that is, right?)

Oh, I just think she's a hoot. People who wear fruit on their head make me happy. And I love old big band music.

2. Were you on SlipstreamBBS? I don't recall.

I lurked. Lil and others from the Xena Nutforum used to talk about the Slipstream, so I'd sometimes stop by and read the OT discussions. Actually, after the first two seasons of Xena, OT is what interested me the most about the Nutforum. I've always been a political junkie.

3. What's your favorite work of literature to teach?


Hamlet. Seriously. I also love teaching Flannery O'Connor's short stories.

What's your favorite book?


I'm afraid that's too hard to say. And my tastes change a lot from time to time. Lately the best book I've read was Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road. Helluva lot better than the movie. But I also love popular fiction--mysteries and stuff. Lately I've been on a Janet Evanovich kick.

4. This being OT, I have to ask -- to what do you attribute your interest in politics? Was there any one thing? What do you think most shaped your current views?

That's a great question and one that I think should be asked of everyone. After all, our political views really are outgrowths of our experiences. I guess in my case, I have a real hard time with social conservatism because I grew up in a socially conservative culture. You can't get much more socially conservative than white society in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1960s. I went to a segregated school until it was finally integrated the year I was in sixth grade. I went to a Southern Baptist church where my Sunday school teacher did not correct her daughter when she made disparaging remarks about Catholics, but smiled approvingly at her. And of course, being a lesbian in such an environment is a scary thing. I never came out to my mother and father. Never....So rigid social conservatism is something I associate with being judgmental, holier-than-thou, seeing others who are different as "less-than."  By the time I was sixteen, I had left the Southern Baptist church and was a damned hippie with a Catholic boyfriend whose best friend was black. :) It still took me a while to come out as a lesbian--even to myself....So I think all that life experience makes me more sympathetic to the socially liberal point of view. There's other stuff, but it's late and I'm rambling and I doubt anyone else is reading this far.



5. Favorite thing about where you live?


The sense of community. It's a blue-collar, mostly slavic and Irish Catholic neighborhood with a Main Street and old people sitting on benches. People smile and say hello and hold doors for each other. We have a Halloween parade, and at Christmas the firemen ride around in a fire truck playing old Christmas songs while one dresses like Santa and waves. I've seen them do it when it's 13 degrees, so I'm thinking Santa must have some antifreeze in him.  It's like a rust-belt Mayberry. My second favorite thing is the climate, believe it or not. I like snow, and summers usually aren't too hot, and springs and autumns are gorgeous.

6. How did you ever end up at Ex Isle?

Elara, who posts here, told me that Slipstream had morphed into EI, so I came over here to see what the political discussion was like. I was pleased to see an OT. I lurked for a few months and then decided to join.

OK, now the cat is insisting that I go to bed. So I'd better.

Edited by Spectacles, 07 July 2009 - 09:46 PM.

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#7 Drew

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:51 PM

I am head over heels in love with Flannery O'Connor. That woman was the best kind of crazy.

What are your favorite O'Connor stories?
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#8 Spectacles

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:04 PM

View PostDrew, on Jul 7 2009, 10:51 PM, said:

I am head over heels in love with Flannery O'Connor. That woman was the best kind of crazy.

What are your favorite O'Connor stories?

You're kidding! See! This is working already. :)

Oh, man, I tell my students that everything they need to know they can learn in "Revelation." I warn them that if they can't be a little worried about their own inner Ruby Turpins after reading that story, then they missed the point.

"A Good Man is Hard to Find," "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good Country People," "Everything that Rises Must Converge," oh, all of 'em. I guess I will forever be pissed off that Flannery O'Connor died young.

One day, I really want to make a trip to her place in Georgia. It's been well-preserved and the descendants of her peacocks still roam....

How about you? Which of her stories impressed you the most?

(And I'll read your response in the morning. The cat is looking at me like he's trying to figure out how to pull me off the sofa.)
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#9 Drew

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:19 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Jul 7 2009, 10:04 PM, said:

View PostDrew, on Jul 7 2009, 10:51 PM, said:

I am head over heels in love with Flannery O'Connor. That woman was the best kind of crazy.

What are your favorite O'Connor stories?

You're kidding! See! This is working already. :)

Oh, man, I tell my students that everything they need to know they can learn in "Revelation." I warn them that if they can't be a little worried about their own inner Ruby Turpins after reading that story, then they missed the point.

Heh. I had a longer response about how I really liked "Revelation," but I wanted to look up the story first to make sure I had the title right. :cool:

Quote

"A Good Man is Hard to Find," "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," "Good Country People," "Everything that Rises Must Converge," oh, all of 'em. I guess I will forever be pissed off that Flannery O'Connor died young.

I'm sure you've read her book of letters: "The Habit of Being." I recommend it to everyone who is curious about what made O'Connor tick, not just for the insight to so many of her stories and novels, but the things that mattered to her and drove her forward. It's awesome. I used to be on an O'Connor LISTSERV back in the early days of the 'net. Had some great discussions there.
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#10 Cardie

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:38 PM

Specs said:

Before I start answering questions, I wanted to thank Drew for making this effort. When he contacted me with this idea, I told him that I thought it had potential--like Nittany's kitty thread did--for helping us to, as Drew says, "put a 'person' behind the name and avatar."

Yes, great idea Drew.  I also thought that it would work just like the kitty thread did (at least for us cat lovers).

Specs, Pittsburgh is such a huge sports town.  Do you follow any of the local teams?  Nearly everyone in my family went to West Virginia University, so Pitt was our great rival.

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#11 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:42 PM

This is BRILLIANT!  Thanks Drew.  Reading all the other questions now I've got to think up something clever.
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#12 Captain Jack

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:43 PM

I like this idea. I think it should be STICKIED too.  Specs is a very good choice to start with.  I don't know why, it just feels like it is.
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#13 Rhea

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 10:54 PM

^I think Specs is a great choice because she tries so hard to look at both sides of a question and to back up her interests with facts. She exposes us to a lot of things we wouldn't otherwise look at or think about.

I can't think of a question right now, but that's probably because I know Specs outside EI. I'll have to come up with something to ask that I don't know and neither does anybody here.... ;)
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#14 Vapor Trails

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:09 PM

View PostPalisade, on Jul 7 2009, 10:22 PM, said:

Great idea, but I'm a private person and not particularly comfortable doing it. Those who are interested don't let me deter you, and I'll avoid those threads so no one feels cheated by my lack of reciprocation.

I feel the same way. It's a nice idea, but I'm also a very private person. It's not something I want to do. I'm more about sharing my artwork and writing than my personal life.
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#15 Elara

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:15 PM

This is a very good idea, Drew.

Now, something to ask Specs... something... I think I've known her too long.  ;)  All I can think of is: who is your favorite comedian (living or dead)? So, I think I'll sit back and hush.  :lol:
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#16 szhismine

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:52 PM

awesome idea Drew. :)

Specs--how did you find/meet your cats? :)
Neville: "My grandmother forbids me from using raunchy language."
Harry: "Well your grandmother is a Blast-Ended Skank!"
Neville: *GASP*
Hermione: "He doesn't mean it Neville, he's just testing out some wizard swears."
Harry: "I mean every word I ever say ever, because I'm Harry Potter." --'Wizard Swears', Potter Puppet Pals

Hermione: "What's your problem Harry?"
Harry: "My parents are dead, my life sucks, I can't hold down a girlfriend, and I'm surrounded by f*ck*ng goblins and sh*t all the time. I mean what the f*ck?"
Ron: "But it's magic Harry. The goblins are magical!" --'Wizard Angst', Potter Puppet Pals

Me: "It's just a matter of looking past [McKay's] arrogant exterior to see his warm, fuzzy, probably angst-filled interior."
Hawkeye: "You harperchondriac girls think everyone has an angst filled interior."

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#17 Bad Wolf

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 12:34 AM

Okay.

Where is your favorite travel destination and why?

Sun or snow?

Do you have a green thumb?
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#18 Captain Jack

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 12:58 AM

Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?







That's all I can think of so far.  More interesting questions later if I think of any.
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#19 RommieSG

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:11 AM

If I get nominated, highly doubtful, but someone let me know. I'm one of the 'OT Lurkers' that Drew talked about. ;)
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#20 QueenTiye

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 02:16 AM

Chiming in to thank Drew for an absolutely brilliant idea, and to thank Specs for sharing of herself! :) This is really great. :)

My question - given your spiritual evolution - have you concluded in favor of atheism, or some other spiritual understanding? And why, in either case?

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