Some of my cross stitch designs

In addition to needlepoint and bargello, I also do cross stitch–though, my cross stitch projects tend to be much less ambitious than my needlework designs.

Here are a few of the cross stitch projects that I’ve done over the years:

The dogs in this design come from Mary Norden’s Ethnic Needlepoint book:


These elephants come from the same book:

I did this for an online gift exchange:

Original needpoint designs

In this post, I noted that most of my needlepoint and cross stitch designs are original. Here are some of my designs

Kilim-inspired pillow


Crosses design


Diamonds design

Every design that I’d done recently before this was all done on 45 and 90 degree angles, so I decided to try something different.

Racism and the Obama presidency

Ever since Barack Obama became president, I’ve pondered the role of racism in regard to his presidency. Now that we are in the final days before the 2012 election, I have finally come to a conclusion about the issue. Racism is alive and well in the US, but you cannot chalk up  the large number of people who hate Mr. Obama simply to racism. Instead, I have concluded that base-level racism just puts people at a different starting place. I look at it this way: a lot of people really hated Bill Clinton when he was president, but at the heart of the matter, he more or less was a good ol’ boy Southern white guy. Racism gives the same people a different starting place with regard to Obama. The hatred for Obama is fundamentally probably no worse than it was for Clinton, but the race issue puts these same people at a higher starting point, therefore the overall level of hatred is higher.

My dissertation

In 1997, I completed my Ph.D. in German literature/cultural studies/translation studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Here are the abstract and table of contents of my dissertation:


The three dramas of nineteenth-century German playwright Georg Büchner represent an interesting case study of how literary reputations are made and how the value of literary texts is determined. This dissertation undertakes a detailed examination of the reception of Büchner’s dramas in Anglo-American culture from 1919, the year the first English-language translation of one of Büchner’s plays was published, through the 1960s, when Büchner had become an established part of the canon of world drama.

Employing a methodology based on the work of Hans Robert Jauß and Michel Foucault as well as several contemporary translation theorists, the goal of this dissertation is to investigate some of the factors that influenced the building of Büchner’s literary reputation in the United States and England. Based on the findings of this case study, it is also the goal of this dissertation to make a contribution to the on-going development of a non-normative, reception-oriented approach to translation studies.

The research of this dissertation is based primarily on the published English-language translations of the plays of Georg Büchner, the texts that were published with the translations, and the published reviews of the translations and performances of Büchner’s plays in the United States and England from the beginnings of the reception of Büchner’s works in England and the United States in the early twentieth century to the 1960s, when Büchner’s reputation had been well established in English-language culture.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Theoretical Groundwork

  • Translation Study as a Linguistic Study
  • Translation of “Sacred” or Canonical Texts
  • Translation as a Process
  • Translation as Rewriting
  • The Power of Reception: The Cultural Turn in Translation Theory
  • Translation and Horizons of Expectation: Histories of Reception
  • Translations as Cultural Manipulation: Rewritings as Regimes of Truth
  • From Theory to Practice: An Interim Conclusion

Chapter 2: German-language Büchners

  • Büchner’s Life
  • Early Failed Image: Büchner as Young German
  • The Socialists’ Büchner
  • Büchner for Social Democrats and Naturalists
  • Büchner’s Reception in Germany: The Twentieth Century
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3: Anglophone Büchners

  • Büchner in America: The Socialists
  • Büchner in the Early Twentieth-Century: The Great European
  • Büchner in America: The German-English Version
  • The Other English Büchner: Büchner after World War II
  • Büchner and the Canon of World Theater
  • Büchner and the 1960s
  • Büchner as an English Classic: Conclusion

Chapter 4: Büchner as Reception Case Study

Appendix A: English-language Translations of Georg Büchner’s Works through 1980

Appendix B: Performances of Büchner’s Works in Britain and the United States through 1980

Works Cited

Needlework projects based on designs by Mary Norden

Back in high school, I started doing four-way bargello needlework. At some later point, I moved on to needlepoint (in bargello, the stitches are the same direction as the canvas; in needlepoint, stitches are diagonal to the canvas). Every time I visit a used bookstore, I check out the needlework section. I’ve bought a lot of needlepoint books over the years, but by far, my favorite designer is Mary Norden, and my favorite book of designs is Ethnic Needlepoint. I’ve designed most of my needlepoint projects myself over the years, but I’ve now stitched several designs straight from this book. Here are two of them that date, roughly, from the mid-2000s:

Four-way Bargello

Back in high school I worked as a dishwasher and cook at a local restaurant. One of my coworkers brought her needlework to do for a little while in the afternoon if business slowed enough for us to take a break. She did bargello, and I was fascinated. I got a copy of Dorothy Kaestner’s Four-Way Bargello and–with the help of my coworker initially–started what has turned out to be a lifelong hobby.

I still have some of  the designs I did back then. They are all closely related to designs in the book, but even back then, I was altering the designs myself.

New web site

My personal web site had long passed its expiration date since most of the content is now hosted in content-specific places: photos on Flickr, my thoughts in my blog, etc. So, I’ve put it all in WordPress and integrated the blog directly into the personal web site. I’m in the process of (finally) uploading all the old photos that I originally published here into Flickr.