Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I had a day full of meetings.  A great way to start a new academic year.

On the bright side they were much more streamlined and productive this time as compared to times past.

I am slowly becoming aware (or being reminded) of how busy I am going to be this semester.  That's on top of teaching classes.

Tomorrow there are more meetings...and a drive into the city (not for anything fun).

And did I mention it was hot.  It's pretty awful.  I am hoping it is summer's last hurrah.  Although we might get grazed by Hurricane Earl on Friday/Saturday.  Events like that used to excite me, at least a little.  Now that I am a home owner - not so much.  I tend to be much too aware of the swaying trees and falling branches.  Unfortunately, a couple of our trees are what you would consider "weed trees" - meaning they grow randomly and really fast (not that you could get high off of them).  This also means they are not very sturdy and tend to have branches - sometimes very large branches - break off.

I don't think Earl will come close enough to cause concern.  There are plenty of other things to worry about.

Monday, August 30, 2010

College Life

Campus is coming back to life - reawakening from its summer slumber.  Voices are reemerging in the hallways along with footsteps and activity.  Bodies float across the quad more frequently.

As I arrived today, I saw parents helping students carry, wheel, schlep, lug, and drag their belongings to their dorm rooms.  I remember when...

I remember when it was me moving on to campus.  The anticipation, the nervousness, the excitement, the relief.  Summer was over and I knew that a grueling experience of challenging my mind and taxing my stamina laid ahead.  But I was eager to reconnect with my friends (of course, there was the excitement of meeting new people the first year) and to hear about their adventures.  There was always the need to get so much done those first few days.  We had to register for classes.  No internet back then, so we had to go to a room and sign up for classes.  There were different time slots according to year, but otherwise it was first in line, first in class.  I learned that there was always a crowd when it first opened in the morning, but when those people got through it was fairly empty until about noon when the crowd lingered until registration closed. 

It was also important to find the perfect time to go to the bookstore for your books; otherwise you would be bumping into everyone and waiting hours in line.  There was always the shock of how much the books cost and the debate whether to buy them used to only save a few dollars.  I hated used books.  I found people would highlight and markup the wrong sections - and that would be terribly distracting.  Why would someone highlight that? 

The best part would be the late nights, hanging out in a lounge or outside on campus somewhere.  Reestablishing the connection to your fellow students, your collegiate kin.  Retelling experiences, lamenting hardship, overcoming disappointment, and reading ourselves for the upcoming challenge.

I never did work as hard as I could have in college, but I did work hard - most of the time.

As I watch the students today I reminisce and in doing so share some of their emotion.  But some of their experiences were obviously unthinkable to me way back then.  In particular the constant contact they have with everyone else.  Cell phones, computers, the internet.  How has that changed their experiences?  There is no catching up because everyone knows what everyone else is doing from their facebook updates.  They don't need to hunt down their friends on campus because they just call them up and ask them where they are. 

But the anticipation, the nervousness, the dreariness, the excitement, the dread, and the preparation for the new semester is still there.  As their professor, I know what awaits them - at least in my classes.  How will they respond?  That's up to them.  Their response is important, though.  It will set the dynamic for the semester, which in turn will determine the nature of the class.  I'm bringing my experience and my nerdy enthusiasm...and yes, my nostalgia...which emotions and experiences will they bring? 

We'll see....

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I feel like posting something, but I don't know what.

I am feeling glum.  I mope.

I would like some stability in my life.  What would it take?

Stupid question.

It's hot again.  I don't like it.  The heat is going to stick around as if to taunt me.

I am starting to think about my courses.  I should try to be creative.  Make my classes different.

I am up for tenure this semester - although it won't go into effect until a year from next semester.  I still need to apply for promotion by December.  That's a separate decision, but it would also go into effect next year.  Those are big hurdles that once passed will bring a sense of tranquility - at least professionally.

Then I can go crazy with creativity in my classes.  The mad eccentric professor...haha.

I am disillusioned with this country.  The level of ignorance and stupidity among some people is truly discouraging.

So it goes...

Last Day of Summer (Break)

Summer is over.

At least summer break is over.  Classes start on Wednesday, but my first class is on Thursday.  Until then, my week is full of meetings and other work related tasks and events.

It will be nice to get back to a rhythm - summer's lack of structure can be hard to deal with.  I have high hopes as to what will get done during the summer months, but it never pans out.

I am also looking forward to cooler weather.  This has been a hot summer.  And humid - something I don't do well with.  The uncomfortable climate can be a great excuse for the lack of productivity.  It always is: heat, cold, grey, rain, or whatever happens to be overhead that day...always a distraction.

A return to getting paid will be good too.  It has been a very difficult summer financially, trying to make ends meet.  Our system of not getting paid during July and August is nuts.  I know I should plan ahead and save up, but it never seems to work out.  This year I need to be better about that.

Stress has been abundant this summer.  I don't think it will go away, but at least I will be busy to keep my mind off of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back in Black

Back in Black

Well...not really in black.

The world has moved on, the online community fizzled, so there is some mourning to be had.

But here I am, to try to resurrect this depository of ideas that has languished for so long.  I need a spark, a catalyst to try to move my "real" writing ahead.  I need to take that mess I wrote six years ago that is commonly known as a dissertation and turn it into something more readable, something that someone would actually want to publish.

And yes, there is always complaining to be had.  I need a venue for that too.

How far will this endeavor go?  Is this a twitch on a corpse that is beyond resuscitation?  Or is there new life in this pseudo space?  I know more likely than not, this will be a soliloquy; a lone voice in an empty room, theater, arena...

But this exercise is not for others...

If someone wants to converse, great.  But if I just rattle off to myself, so be it.

So carry on...