Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Devil's Highway

Not much time to write now, as the finales of Dexter and Homeland are about to start (priorities, you know!), but I just finished reading The Devil's Highway, which is being considered as a possible Common Reading selection for us. (We narrowed our list down to about 15, and I picked this one to read on behalf of the group.)

And wow...what a book. I'll make a case for it when the committee meets again. It's beautiful and tragic and absolutely gripping.  Miraculously, though, it's not preachy and is incredibly fair. Read it and you'll never think about illegal immigration from Mexico the same way again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visiting the National Tree

Jane and I visited the National Tree in DC this past weekend. It was cold and crowded, but fun!


 The New York Tree. I found myself feeling loyalty for a lot of the trees (NC, VA, NY, WV), but ultimately chose 2: NY and WV.

 
The West Virginia Tree.
Jane, the Washington Monument, and the tree.

After Jane took a picture for some nice people, they took one for us.

The tree with just a few of the 57 others that surrounded it.

Jane's arm and the Virginia Tree. It was really crowded down there and hard to get photo ops. Jane said this was okay.

The White House.
Also, we saw this Peep Mobile parked downtown. Random.

Some Thanksgiving pictures...

Once again, I didn't get pictures of everyone, but I did get some good ones.






Friday, December 9, 2011

Done!

With the exception of one last paper that should come in sometime tonight (from a student with the most legitimate, warranted reason for an excuse--seriously!), I am done!

Happy, chair-dancing track, for no other reason except that it popped up in my playlist and I appreciated the whiff of nostalgia. It's an awesome song:

Now I am heading home to do something mindless for a couple of hours.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

End of the semester tallies

Although I've said before that you never want to do the actual math, here we go:

Total pages of end-of-the-semester term papers I've graded so far: Approximately 680 (!). But hey, these are 680 graded pages. On to the exams!

Still waiting to be done:
32 ENGL 204 exams (not too bad--these go kind of quickly)
20 ENGL 312 exams (these are essay exams, so they'll take awhile; each is about 6-8 pages)
16 ENGL 101 final papers (being dropped off by students as I write this, these are mercifully short--about 2 pages each, and because of such a high rate of attrition this semester in ENGL 101, I only have 16)

Already completed: 17 ENGL 377 portfolios.

Interestingly, so far the soundtrack to this season's end-of-the-semester grading has been Broadway. Yesterday was Evita and The Secret Garden. Today has been kind of eclectic: Rent, followed by Man of La Mancha, which I haven't listened to in years. It's amazing how much I remember.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It will never happen, but it sure would be nice...

Just imagine: an actual, true, sane conservative nominee. He's been my top choice ever since he threw his hat in the ring.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nightmare material!

Speaking of signs of the season, here's one: My sister tormenting me with "Elf on the Shelf" pictures. She thinks she's so funny.


The kids don't get my fear at all. I mean, they are genuinely perplexed by it. And I suppose that's a good thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting into the spirit....

I hosted a really fun holiday party for the Sigma Tau Delta students at my house last night. Nearly 30 people showed up, which might be a record for the place. (I also got my butt kicked playing the insanely fun "Apples to Apples.") It was a nice reminder (not that I really I needed one!) of how lovely our students are and how the holidays can bring us together. Yeah, they can do the other thing, too, but let's focus on the good.

This morning finds me working in my office on campus, taking on huge stacks of papers waiting to be graded (another sure-fire sign of the season). However, I've got some Christmas music playing on Spotify and the promise of a break in about 45 minutes when I walk down to German Street for the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sigh...

Well, it's official. No more AMC or OLTL. I really do wish AMC had a better ending. And I think it's too late for OLTL to change theirs...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Missing AMC...

On a day like today--a rainy day when I am working from home--I really miss All My Children. It was the perfect have-it-on-in-the-backgroud-while-I-work-on-the-laptop show, in part because it coincided with lunchtime. (We have all week off for Thanksgiving--very cool.) Good thing OLTL is still there (for now) at 2:00.

And this news (a bit old at this point) is quite worrying. Really makes me wish they had given us more of a proper ending.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog"

by Alicia Ostriker

To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow

To be blessed
said the dark red tulip
is to knock their eyes out
with the slug of lust
implied by
your up-ended skirt

To be blessed
said the dog
is to have a pinch
of God
inside you
and all the other
dogs can smell it

Via the Poetry Foundation. Ostriker has a series of poems with these three speakers. I like them quite a bit.  

They're back!

I gotta say, it's pretty awesome to have Beavis and Butthead back on TV. We are only 3 minutes into the new episode and it feels just like old times!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is (not) Jeopardy!

Just got back from being recruited to be the faculty member in a quiz bowl tournament. Helped some random fraternity win $250. I asked what my cut of that was and an eager young man said, "You can party with us at Homecoming!" No thanks. It *was* kind of fun. And we totally could have won the whole thing ($500) if some eager dudes on my team hadn't jumped in with the wrong answers. Oh well. Back to work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"The Bustle in a House"

"The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon Earth--"
-Emily Dickinson

Last night, at around 9:30, my grandmother, who we all called Nana, died. She'd been quite sick for the past month or so, but until then, had lived quite a good, long life.

Below, I'll post a sweet picture of her with my niece Kelsie, taken at my sister's wedding in April 2010. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Achtung Baby

I'm listening to this album as I work on one of my SAMLA papers. What a touchstone album this is for me! It brings my high school years right back to me (which is good and bad). The music, though, is anything but bad. Lately I've really been digging "Ultraviolet." Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing this documentary, which should air on Showtime later this month.

Okay--back to work I go. I'm in a groove, so I shouldn't mess with it and risk a "Kubla Khan" moment. (No, I am not seriously comparing myself and this little paper to Coleridge and his poem. And there's no opium involved.)

I shouldn't have answered...

So right now I've got two or three telemarketers who are repeatedly calling me, never leaving messages,and  in general, just annoying me. (And yeah, I'm on the "do not call" list, but these are companies with exemptions because I've had business with them recently...credit card companies, charities, etc.) Every once in a while, I decide to answer one, figuring, heck, maybe this will make them leave me alone and save the both of us some trouble. A few minutes ago I did just that. Big mistake. It took me almost seven minutes to politely get the guy (I think it was a guy) to leave me alone. Yeah, I could have been impolite, but I don't have it in me, I guess.

Sigh.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Links, links, links...

Some of these have been in my bookmarks folder for far too long...

1) A great piece about the awesomeness that is Radiolab.

2) A fun article about an arcade that one of my friends in Greensboro has opened up. Go Daniel!

3) A fun tumblr to check out. And although I can understand why its title might confuse you, it is not a bunch of pictures of me hanging out with my friends.

4) Dear Photograph is another great place to visit. 

Reasons for a bit o' celebratin...

1) The Sigma Tau Delta conference went off without a hitch yesterday. Big sigh of relief. And remind me not to do this again next year.

2) I just submitted my last set of midterm grades. Even with four preps this semester, this particular task wasn't that arduous (good spacing/timing on my part, I suppose). Oh, and little to no fun for the past week and a half.

So...some celebratin' music? How about the awesome tune that just came up on my "Wake Up!" playlist on my iPod?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Over at Insidehighered.com...

...there's a great conversation getting started at the Mama PhD blog. I don't have children, but I often wonder how women with children manage it all--and I couldn't imagine doing it as a graduate student or without a partner. I love Susan O'Doherty's closing paragraph, a genuine invitation to keep the conversation going.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yeah, that's not funny...

So Gawker (a site where I spend perhaps too much time) is running this piece about Kim Delaney's speech at the National Constitution Center. The video is cringe-worthy, but the writer of the Gawker piece seems to take a perverse pleasure in it.

But it's not funny. It's sad. There's nothing funny about watching someone who has struggled with addiction going through what appears to be a relapse. The writer of the Gawker piece ought to take a lesson from Craig Ferguson.

(And yes, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Kim Delaney, who was one-half of the first soap super-couple I ever loved, Greg and Jenny on AMC.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two more episodes...

That's all that's left of All My Children. It's kind of surreal. I am also amazed at how quickly I've gotten sucked back in after about a year of not watching. It's gotten so that when I see a commercial for "The Chew" (the stupid show that will take AMC's timeslot), I mutter a curse under my breath.

Anyway, today's episode, which I just finished watching featured the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was lovely and silly and fun. And that's not all: Tad and Dixie, my all-time favorite AMC couple, got engaged (again), and yet another beloved Pine Valley denizen came back from the dead.

There have also been lots of great flashbacks this week and episodes devoted to each of the main families. That's been a nice treat for long-time fans.

There's talk that with the proposed move to the online format, original plans for an ending that tied up all the loose ends has been scrapped in favor of a cliffhanger. Not sure how I feel about that...especially if the rumors of (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT?) a shooting/bloodbath finale are true.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How about that Megyn Kelly?

Who knew she could be so open-minded? Was someone at her network asleep at the wheel when this aired?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sad news, sad memories

Yesterday I heard that a former student took her own life. I had only had this student in one class (a general studies class a couple of years ago), but I remembered her as a bright, kind, and lovely young woman. Some of my colleagues in my department had also taught her (one in several classes) and remembered her with equal fondness. I know it sounds trite, but it's just so very sad and senseless when something like this happens. And it brings back all the awful memories of when the only son of one of my very dear friends killed himself. The people left behind never get over it.

You just want to find these kids before they make these awful choices and tell them, "Hold on! It gets better, but you'll never know if you are not here to see it!" (This is why the "It Gets Better Project" does such great work, not just for LGBT teens/young adults, but everyone who is filled with despair.)

Not a great way to start the week...

UPDATE: This helps a bit.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years...

I won't even try to write anything. I'll just link to this video courtesy of StoryCorps.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A man and his duck

This brings back memories of my dear late ducks, Fred and Tad, who were very good at following me around. Pretty cute stuff. And, uh, who knew you could "train ducks for competitions?"

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ugh, school dances...

Has there ever been a better depiction of the false-hope-inducing, drama-filled, angsty, awkward, painful, and often-ultimately-disappointing world of high school dances than the "Life of Brian" episode of My So-Called Life?

I'm watching it right now as I get some work done and it's so good and so true that it almost hurts. Rickie's words to Angela--"I belong nowhere, with no one. That I don't fit."--kill me. Brian telling Delia that he'd rather go to the dance with someone else might be one of the top ten most awkward TV scenes ever. Angela's super-intense encounter ("Why are you like this?") with Jordan is hot but so frustrating (that's teenage romance, isn't it?). The awesome Delia/Rickie dance scene is also perfect--such a moment of joy and release for these two remarkable characters.

On this re-watch, Corey's words to Rickie stood out to me: "It's just weird, you know, when you have a picture of how something's gonna be, and it turns out completely different." That just about sums up my teenage years, too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fingers crossed...

I've been a bad blogger lately. Same old excuse...busy, busy, busy.

Anyway, I just sent off the Poe article again (after receiving a revise and resubmit last spring). Feels good to have it out of my hands, but (as always!) hitting that "send" button is just so scary!

Friday, August 5, 2011

SMG back on AMC

What terrific news! I first knew SMG on All My Children, where she was just fabulous as Kendall Hart. Yeah, the other actress has made the role completely her own now, but it's still wonderful that Sarah is coming back to say goodbye to AMC (at least AMC on ABC).


Now if only my other saw-and-loved-him-first-on-soaps-and-now-he's-a-Whedon-icon-love could come back to OLTL. Come on, Nathan!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Three down, one to go...

Holy burst of productivity, Batman! I am DONE with my ENGL 377 syllabus. This wasn't a simple "change the dates" revision, either. Our semester is one week shorter now (yay!), I had a new book to incorporate (free to students--yay!), and a bunch of other readings I wanted to include.

Sweet. I was not expecting to come even close to finishing it today, but sometimes that's how syllabizing goes: you think and agonize over choices and think some more and then, all of the sudden, it all falls into place. I even got the photocopying and website updates done.

Now just one more...ENGL 101.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Obstacle to productivity

Hard to get work done on this Saturday afternoon...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Done!

I just sent off final versions of the essays that will appear in the special issue of Studies in American Humor that I am editing. That feels great.

Other goals/projects I've accomplished this summer:

1) Wrote two conference abstracts (from scratch, thank you), both of which have already been accepted.

2) Sent off one journal article for consideration. (Fingers crossed on that one, but it's kind of a major journal...)

3) Taught summer school. That already seems like forever ago, although it ended less than 3 weeks ago.

4) Worked with Advising/Registration. The last session begins today and ends tomorrow. Unfortunately, the last session is always the most difficult (so few spaces left in classes) and my group this time is the biggest I've ever had. But let's be glass half-full on this one: it's the last session!

Still on the summer to-do list:

1) Finish revising my "Black Cat" essay and send it back out. I've actually done a lot of revision so far, but I need to devote a solid couple of days to it to get it completely done.

2) Get those fall syllabi ready. (One down, three to go.)

3) All of those home-improvement ideas I had in mind...working on the master bath, getting someone to put in crown molding downstairs. I have a feeling this goal won't be met. But that's okay.

4) Get a decent head-start on both of those above-mentioned conference papers. 

Okay--time for some celebratory chair dancing...this will do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two awesome things from last week...

Soooo busy this week, but I am taking a micro-break and posting (really briefly) about two of the most awesome things that happened last week:

1) Back from the dead! Saved!

2) 3000! And #3000 was a homer. And he went five-for-freakin'-five. And drove in the game-winning RBI. Awesome.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A bit of a fall TV preview...

Some news on SMG's (that's Sarah Michelle Gellar, for those who aren't Buffy-philes) new show, Ringer. Count me in for the premiere. I hope it's good!

Three messages from students

First two good ones, the kind that feel so very validating:

1) A recent graduate and English minor contacts me with some updates from his post-Shepherd life, including the news that he got a job (yay!). I really like this student--he's smart, hard-working, polite. He was also willing to ask the hard questions, like "Why are we doing this?" (albeit in a respectful way). That's not easy to pull off. I was sort of an unofficial adviser for him as he worked his way through the English minor and the job search. Anyway, here's the best part of his message: "Believe it or not, it wasn't my business degree that they [his new employers] wanted, but my writing skills (way to go English)." I've told him to tell everyone that. 

2) Student #2, also a recent graduate, recently had an interview with a local paper and brought writing samples from this past semester's Advanced Composition class. Here's the good part: the editor, looking over the pieces, told her, "I don't know who your professor is, but I'm glad he had you write a lot!" Now sexism aside (as the student pointed out to me, the patriarchy earns a point for his assumption that her professor was male), this comment made me quite happy. That class was terrific--we had a lot of fun, but man, did the students write a lot and their writing really did improve.

Now the third message...funny in a you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me kind of way: A student who I only know because I was his/her adviser in his/her brief time here (a semester and a half), emails me. I am surprised to hear from this student because A) again, I barely know him/her and B) the last I spoke to him/her it was about his/her withdrawing from school in one of those withdraw-before-you-are-expelled situations (let's just say he/she had something in his/her car that is a no-no). Anyway, he/she explains that he/she is moving back to town and would like me to send a recommendation email to a colleague of mine who is renting out a room in his/her house. 

Let's review the facts: all I know about this student is that he/she had failed just about every class during his/her brief time here and then left before he/she would have been thrown out. And he/she wants ME to be a reference? 

My response: "I could certainly email [my colleague] and tell her that I was your adviser, but beyond that, I don’t have much I could say. We’ve only met once or twice, after all, and the circumstances of those meetings were less than ideal. Let me know if you still want me to contact her."

That pretty much put an end to the conversation.

Happy 4th!

Interestingly, I just came across this article, while working in my office on campus today. Ha.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Checking in...

Well, it's been almost a month since my last post, which says something about how preoccupied I have been this summer. So here's what's new:

1) My summer school class is almost over. I give the final exam tomorrow. I'm quite lucky in that this has been a great class--terrific students helped make the weeks fly by. And I love the material, too, which makes teaching it--even at an accelerated pace--a real pleasure.

2) I am juggling at least four scholarly projects at the moment: two journal articles, the special edition of a journal I am guest-editing, and a conference paper. I'm making fairly decent progress on each one, but I can't believe it's almost July!

3) Summer Advising and Registration starts on Monday. That will cut into my research time (but not as  much as teaching). On the other hand, I get paid (yay!) and it's kind of fun.

4) I am trying to do some "vacation-y" things this summer. So far, that has included a fun weekend trip to Greensboro and another quick visit to New York for Father's Day.

All in all, a pretty good summer so far!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"In Praise of Bones"

I am cleaning up some bookmarks and files on my home computer (as this mini-flurry of posts might indicate) and found this last one: "In Praise of Bones." It's a pretty good explanation of why Bones is worth watching--and a lot of fun.

My favorite part: "If Bones is the kind of show that is largely ignored by the critical establishment because it is neither particularly original nor creative, it still performs an under-appreciated but essential service: to be entertaining without being stupid, to be soothing without being boring, predictable without being unsatisfying. In short, to be a comfort, both comfortable and comforting. Bones is a show about quirky people who do a strange job while talking about how weird their feelings are, and it all adds up to something supremely, lovably regular."

I've been a Bones fan from the start, but felt my affections wane a bit this season. However, the last few episodes won me back--even (especially?) the two big developments in last week's finale:

1) Angela and Hodgin's baby being born--and healthy! Lord, I even got a bit choked up!

2) The Booth/Bones baby revelation. I literally said, "No way!" out loud, then was about to call "BS!" but darn it if Booth's smile at the news didn't sell me on it. Although I find David Boreanaz a lot less appealing after his sordid personal scandals, Booth is still such a great character and that smile and his chemistry with the fabulous Emily Deschanel is quite winning. The baby storyline is a pretty bold move for the writers to make, but I say good for them.

I was also reassured by an interview the executive producer gave right after the episode aired. Here's the especially relevant part for me (although the whole thing is worth reading):

TVLINE | What impact did Emily’s pregnancy have on this story? Would you have gone this route regardless?
Emily being pregnant certainly figured into it to a certain extent. But [series creator] Hart [Hanson] and I were leaning toward this independently of that. The biggest problem we faced going into Season 7 was how to get these two people together while keeping the integrity of Brennan and Booth’s characters in tact. By going this route, we didn’t have to have them go through the traditional love-dovey stage where everything was wonderful and they understood each other and they got past their differences. That’s never going to be the case. They now are together but are essentially the same exact characters. They’re going to disagree on everything they disagreed about before, including how to approach their lives together, religion, family and now how to approach having a child. So we lose nothing but gain a huge amount with the reality that they are now together sharing the biggest thing in their lives.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Can't wait for next season!

"Angela Chase...and 5 Other Deep TV Teens"

This is a pretty awesome list. Although I only watched one episode of Parenthood and didn't really care for it, I can totally get behind the other characters.

Campus construction and Walden

Every time I teach Walden and we get to the conclusion, we spend some time talking about this passage:

"I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!" 

I explain to students that when I read this section, I always think of a certain path on Roanoke's campus, back when I was an undergrad. Roanoke has all of these really lovely brick paths, but this particular path wasn't paved--it was a shortcut students made to sort of bisect an angle made by pre-existing paths. Over the years I was there, the landscapers would reseed that section, but soon enough, the grass would get trampled and that brown, worn-down (and sometimes muddy) path would reemerge. By my senior year, they gave up and put down bricks over that path. It certainly looked nicer than dead grass and mud, but it did feel like a defeat of sorts.

You can be pretty sure that if not for the "ruts of conformity," so to speak, the landscapers would have won that battle. But once a path is already there--once the grass is pretty much dead--it's much easier for students in a hurry to take that shortcut. (Yeah, I get that one could also say that getting off the paved path is defying conformity, but in this case, it's really not true. Only the non-conformists (and sometimes people in really nice shoes) stayed on that paved path.)

Well, now I have an even better example for my students (just in time, as my summer class will get to Walden next week): another group of landscapers have surrendered, this time on a path at near Shepherd's library. From my first week on campus, I wondered how long it would take...


The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe

Revising my essay on “The Black Cat” has led me to Scott Peeples’ The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe, a book that I read from cover to cover yesterday. (It’s that good and that well-written.) Basically, it’s a survey of Poe’s “afterlives,” or, as Peeples puts it, “a description of the most influential and widely debated ways of seeing Poe, a general survey of Poe studies from Griswold’s obituary to the year 2002.” Embracing the most academic of treatments to the campiest of horror films, Peeples’ study is a terrific trip through how Poe has been read and interpreted.

Here’s a good sampler, a fantastic quotation from a 1930 Aldous Huxley piece: “‘The substance of Poe is refined; it is his form that is vulgar. He is, as it were, one of Nature’s Gentlemen, unhappily cursed with incorrigible bad taste. To the most sensitive and high-souled man in the world we should find it hard to forgive, shall we say, the wearing of a diamond ring on every finger. Poe does the equivalent of this in his poetry; we notice the solicism and shudder….It is when Poe tries to make it too poetical that his poetry takes on its peculiar tinge of badness’” (qtd. in Peeples 64). (There’s a wicked little parody of Huxley doing Poe doing Paradise Lost, too.)

Anyway, a couple of pages later, Peeples adds, “Poe does wear his rings on every finger, which may be why Homer and Bart Simpson are among the most successful interpreter of his most famous poem” (66). That’s just good stuff.

Work Cited

Peeples, Scott. The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2004.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures in research...

I'm spending this morning/afternoon doing some research in 19th-century periodicals, including Godey's Ladies Book. I must be getting punchy, because this article title made me laugh out loud: "Pleasing the Parish; Or the Minister's Wife." Yikes. (The article itself isn't that exciting...)

Update: Here's another good one: "Children--What Are They?"

Okay, maybe one more: "How I Came to Detest Babies!" (Yes, that exclamation point is part of the title.)

Signs of summmer...

Cats sunning themselves in the window...


It's much too early in the summer...

...to feel this stressed. Seriously. Yesterday it was almost overwhelming. The problem is that I am trying to tackle a half dozen projects, all with several phases/steps. The solution, I realized last night, is to go back to my "Goals for the Week" lists. Most of my friends know I  make daily (and very detailed) to-do lists, but I tend to only break out the weekly lists over breaks and summers. So here we go!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another reason not to take students on field trips...

"High School Class Finds Body on Field Trip." Can you imagine the paperwork? (Yes, I have a bit of irrational fear about taking large groups of students on trips...)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Carolina In My Mind"

First song on my ipod this morning. Seems appropriate. I always get a longing to go back to Greensboro this time of year.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wipeout Watching Rules

For Bing and Wes, featuring two photos taken last night between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.:

Rule #1: Do not block the TV set. You are awesome, but transparency isn't one of your attributes. Don't get in the way of me and my Wipeout.

Rule #2: Don't judge me. I know what that look means, and I don't like it. I don't judge you when you play with balled up paper or run around the house at night screaming at nothing. Seriously, back off.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman"

With graduation and good-byes on my mind, I found this poem last week and read it at the last Sigma Tau Delta poetry reading/open mic night of the semester, the one where we sort of bid farewell to our graduating seniors. It's not completely appropriate (most of the Sigma Tau Delta graduates are incredibly mature with good heads on their shoulders), but I figure most women (myself included!) can use the reminder that this poem gives us about the company we choose.

"For a Girl I Know about to Be a Woman"
Miller Williams

Because you’ll find how hard it can be
to tell which part of your body sings,
you never should dally with any young man
who does any one of the following things:

tries to beat all the yellow lights;
says, “Big deal!” or “So what?”
more than seven times a day;
ignores yellow lines in a parking lot;

carries a radar detector;
asks what you did with another date;
has more than seven bumper stickers;
drinks beer early and whiskey late;

talks on a cellular phone at lunch;
tunes to radio talk shows;
doesn’t fasten his seat belt;
knows more than God knows;

wants you to change how you do your hair;
spits in a polystyrene cup;
doesn’t use his turn signal;
wants you to change your makeup;

calls your parents their given names;
doesn’t know why you don’t smoke;
has dirt under his fingernails;
makes a threat and calls it a joke;

pushes to get you to have one more;
seems to have trouble staying awake;
says “dago” and “wop” and words like that;
swerves a car to hit a snake;
sits at a table wearing a hat;
has a boneless handshake.

You’re going to know soon enough
the ones who fail this little test.
Mark them off your list at once
and be very careful of all the rest.
 

That photo...

 
All politics aside (as if that's ever possible), this photo has fascinated me, as it has lots of folks. CNN has a pretty good article about it. My favorite part: "But look deeper and that photo becomes historic in a more subtle way. It's a snapshot of how much this nation's attitudes about race, women and presidential swagger are changing, several scholars and historians say."

Again, politics aside (and yeah, again, good luck with that), that's a pretty awesome development in American history.

Done! (For real!)

Just submitted my last set of grades. I am in a state of semi-disbelief, as they aren't actually due until Monday morning. Go me! Time for a bit of celebratin'. For some reason, this has been my anthem for the week. Not sure why, but I do like the sentiment.

No rest for the weary, though (well, not too much anyway). This weekend, instead of grading, I'll be concentrating on a couple of abstracts for SAMLA.

It won't be all work, though. Saturday is May Day in Shepherdstown and the Opera House is playing Jane Eyre, so I'll do my very best to squeeze in some fun.

And so it goes...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Kitchen Fable"

"Kitchen Fable" 
Eleanor Ross Taylor

The fork lived with the knife
     and found it hard — for years
took nicks and scratches,
     not to mention cuts.
 
She who took tedium by the ears:
     nonforthcoming pickles,
defiant stretched-out lettuce,
     sauce-gooed particles.
 
He who came down whack.
His conversation, even, edged.
 
Lying beside him in the drawer
     she formed a crazy patina.
The seasons stacked — 
     melons, succeeded by cured pork.
 
He dulled; he was a dull knife,
while she was, after all, a fork.
 

Almost done...sort of...

Just finished my last stack of papers. Now all that's left are the final exams, which start coming in tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Relief...

Sometimes, the good guys (and girls) actually do win. Yay! (Purposefully cryptic, I know.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A sad day for TV

ABC cancels All My Children and One Life to Live. I am more upset about this than I thought I would be. Those are iconic shows for me--I grew up watching them and still catch up on them when I get the chance. The end of an era...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Paper Airplane

Wow. This new Alison Krauss and Union Station album is pretty darn terrific. Now I just need someone to volunteer to go with me to see them in concert this summer. Finding someone shouldn't be as hard as it's been!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yeah, The Giving Tree sucks...

Over at the Dish, readers take on one of the most messed-up books for kids, with an assist from Sassy Gay Friend. I actually meant to post the Sassy Gay clip eons ago.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sigh...

I had three advising appointments scheduled for this morning. Two of them stopped by almost 30 minutes late and rescheduled for Thursday. The last one contacted me this morning (via email) to reschedule--for the second time. So that's 0 for 3. Not a very good average.

Well, at least I've been able to get some work done.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Figure"

"Figure"
Josephine Miles
 
A poem I keep forgetting to write
Is about the stars,
How I see them in their order
Even without the chair and bear and the sisters,
In their astronomic presence of great space,
And how beyond and behind my eyes they are moving,
Exploding to spirals under extremest pressure.
Having not mathematics, my head
Bursts with anguish of not understanding.

The poem I forget to write is bursting fragments
Of a tortured victim, far from me
In his galaxy of minds bent upon him,
In the oblivion of his headline status
Crumpled and exploding as incomparable
As a star, yet present in its light.
I forget to write.
 

Marry me, Mike Holmes

 
Maybe it's just the completely ignorant of all things home-improvement/maintenance-related part of me, but I've got a bit of a crush on Mike Holmes. He's like a a superhero or something: Contractor Man! He arrives to "make it right," filled with indignant anger to those who have done you wrong. The only thing that would make it better: if he could hunt down the bad contractors and make them pay.

And he looks kinda hot in those overalls.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening day!


Although it is cold, rainy and even snowy outside, it's also that wonderful time of year: baseball season! The Yankees open their season today, with a 1:05 game against Detroit. I'm in class until 1:40 and usually stay on campus until at least 5:00 or 6:00, but not today. I'll be out of here by 2:00, use the DVR to catch up on what I've missed, and settle in to see the boys in pinstripes do their thing.

Follow-up to the previous post

Even without the 8:00 a.m. meeting, I still pulled into the campus parking lot at 8:15, and that was after taking care of a couple of errands (paying the mortgage, etc.). And I felt fine. In fact, I usually get to campus every day between 7:45 and 8:30--no big deal.

So why was/is the idea of the 8:00 a.m. meeting so awful? I suppose it's the difference between being able to come in, relax a bit, check email, settle in for the day, and then get going, as opposed to the "you must be here at 8:00 and then sit at a table while we discuss important matters" vibe that comes from a meeting. If I get to campus at 7:45, but my first class isn't until 9:10, I don't have to talk to anyone for over an hour. I don't have to be "on" yet.

Does that make sense?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The little things...

I just realized that the 8:00 a.m. meeting that I thought I had tomorrow is actually next Thursday. Now, I still have an 8:00 meeting coming up, but right now, I am so thrilled by the fact that it's not in less than nine hours.

Another reason to avoid Dilbert cartoons

This is pretty darn amazing...in a bad way.

A couple of quick cross-posts (sort of) from my advanced comp class's blog...

1) I am THRILLED about Fringe's renewal. Take a look at this interesting piece about it. The piece's author explores how the TV landscape has changed since the days of Firefly. He also discusses the roles fans can play in "saving" a show.

Some important selections:


"Not so long ago, TV shows like 'Firefly,' 'Wonderfalls,' 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' and 'Dollhouse' were mourned by science fiction fans as having been canceled before their time, due -- as it always is -- to low ratings.

Another thing each had in common: They aired on Fox on Friday nights.

So observers of the TV world were surprised Thursday to learn of the network's renewal of the series 'Fringe' for a full fourth season after two months in a Friday timeslot."
 
2) Because there's a Buffy reference in it...

and because it's a very funny piece...

and because I love Adrianne Palicki (formerly of Friday Night Lights, one of the best TV shows ever...), who will be playing the new Wonder Woman...

and because it makes some great points about woman super heroes...

I am linking to this column about Wonder Woman's wardrobe. (Yeah--it's a doozy.) Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Acknowledgments

Just a brief post to sing the praises of Joseph Harris' Rewriting, the book we're using in my Advanced Composition class. The students (and I) have enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's so very practical and still theoretical and mercifully jargon-free. Harris has such a lovely, non-cynical, charitable view of writing. It's quite refreshing.

We've just covered Chapter 4, "Taking an Approach," which Harris calls "at once generous and critical," in which "you adopt, extend, and rework the driving questions and concerns of another writer" (7). One of my favorite suggestions from this chapter is that students consider adding an "acknowledgments" section to their papers:

"I advise students to form the habit of writing a note of acknowledgments at the end of an essay, and in such notes not only to name the people they wish to thank but the specify what they want to thank them for. The classmates who talked through your ideas with you, the colleague who recommended a certain book, the professor whose lecture suggested a useful perspective, the librarian who helped you locate key texts, the roommate who assisted with proofreading, the tech person who showed you how to scan images into documents, the organization that provided support for your research, the friends and family who put up with you when you could think and talk about nothing else but what you were writing--all of these people merit your thanks. Writing is real labor. It requires real time and resources to research, read, draft, revise, and prepare the final copy of a text. And this material work of writing, of the making of texts, almost always involves the help of others" (95).

Isn't that a great idea? We talked about it in class, and I am considering making an acknowledgment section an optional (for some credit) part of their final papers (although it won't count towards the required length).

Anyway, I've just completed grading my students' weekly responses and was excited to see at least one student putting Harris' idea into action, as she wrote an acknowledgment section for her paper, noting specifically "everyone in the class who helped me hash out all my questions on the blog, especially those who responded to my [entry]. To [Classmate 1 and Classmate 2] who always make me happy and excited to talk about my ideas, and to Dr. H, who gave me not only this cool idea, but also gives us to the best forum to find our voices." Yeah, moments like that--where it all seems to come together--really make me remember how much this job rocks.

So here's my own acknowledgment: thanks to Joseph Harris for writing Rewriting. What a great book!

Work Cited

Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State UP, 2006. Print.

Sign you've been in the office too long...

You have your headphones on and want to turn the volume down just a bit. You hit the volume button on your ipod, but can't figure out why the volume won't turn down. Get very frustrated. Then realize that you aren't listening to your ipod, but playing the music through your computer. And yeah, you don't actually need those headphones. Sigh.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can we talk about how awesome Fringe has been lately?

Well, it's always been a great show, but these past few episodes have been simply amazing. "Subject 13" was beautiful, rich, and heartbreaking. If we needed any more evidence that both John Noble and Orla Brady deserve Emmys (not that they'll get them), this episode should end any discussion. Amazing performances. And how about the casting of young Peter and young Olivia? Those kids must have done their homework, as they had the mannerisms of their characters nailed.

Jeff Jensen's got a good piece about the episode up over at EW.com. I am particularly drawn to his last comments, because I have been thinking something similar:

"I’m going out of my way to emphasize my love for the episode because I fear what I’m about to say may sound like a criticism. It’s not — it’s just an observation. As I saw it, “Subject 13″ effectively reduced the tricky, defining tensions of Fringe into one big horrible misunderstanding — one that has produced profound, destiny-shaping pain for many people that can’t be easily forgotten, but becomes easier to forgive once everyone knows what we know. Especially Peter and Walternate. If Peter knew that back in the day, Walter was doing all he could to give him back the life he was supposed to have — a life that he would have lost, anyway, if Walter hadn’t saved him — then I have to think Peter’s frosty regard for a man he refuses to call “Dad” would finally, permanently thaw."

I'm with Jensen: what we learned last week was quite unexpected and moving--Walter wanted to give Peter back, Elizabeth lied to save Peter, Walter gave up sending Peter back to help Olivia--but these revelations in some ways make Walter's (and Elizabeth's) actions much more noble and, in a way, less relate-able, less real. It's a bit of a risk for the writers to take...let's see where it goes next.

Also, Hurley on Fringe? Love it!

Finally, Jensen is so right about Fringe's promo people. They are phenomenal. 

Take that, midterm grades!

Just submitted the last set. That means I can spend this weekend getting some work done on my next conference paper. And oh yeah, maybe that thing called "fun." Remember that?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Firefly???

Could we actually get that lucky? Please, Internet, make it happen!

"Wanting Sumptuous Heavens"

"Wanting Sumptuous Heavens"
Robert Bly

No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.

That pesky space-time continuum...

Today my nephew Aidan turns 6 (which is hard to believe!). I just called and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. I asked him, "Are you having a party?" He answered, "Yes, and you're invited!" That broke my heart a bit because he and my other nieces and nephews are always saying stuff like that, and 90% of the time, I can't be there because I am just too far away.

So I explained that to him. "I wish I could, little man, but I am too far away."

"No problem," he replies. "You can just find a wormhole and be here in no time."

Not bad for a six-year-old, right? Gotta love his optimism!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The View from Your Window

The post's title comes from a daily feature that appears on Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish. You can read more about "The View from Your Window" series here (also the link for a book compiled from the posts). A few months ago (maybe longer?), the folks at the Dish started doing a weekly contest, where they post an image and readers try to guess the location. People are scarily good at this contest. I never even try to guess, but it's fun to read the results every week. Anyway, the results of this week's contest will stay with me for a long time. Give it a read.

That was depressing...

Day two of humans versus the computer on Jeopardy did not go well, at least not for the humans. Watson wiped the floor with the competition. And watching it was 30 minutes of well, not fun. Blake Eskin over at The New Yorker says it pretty well:

"When its data-processing algorithms are on target, it is indomitable, and even its runner-up guesses and slipups made you think about how it works. But after one round of questions, its novelty was beginning to wear off. Our television critic, Nancy Franklin, observed on Twitter, 'On the fun/tense scale, things on Jeopardy are leaning toward too tense, not enough fun. Watson just hits the button faster than people can.'...Of course, Watson’s servers have been optimized for correct answers, not for pleasure, ours or its own....If Watson does not eclipse the best human players by Wednesday, one assumes it is only a matter of months before it would blow them away. Watson has many potential applications in medicine, law, science, and other fields, but its prospects for a career in television are no better than Brad Rutter’s. Who would want to watch a computer win seventy-four nights in a row?"

Simply put, it just hasn't been enjoyable watching these last couple of days, maybe because playing Jeopardy with a computer is like playing Scrabble against a dictionary (yeah, I know that's not a perfect analogy...). Take the humanity out of Jeopardy contestants (their individuality, their strengths and weaknesses) and it's just not the same game.

TV's most datable characters...

EW.com has a fun poll going on right now asking which TV characters are most "datable." There are quite a few attractive candidates on both sides, but you know my votes went to Eric and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights. (I was awfully tempted to vote for Chuck or Richard Castle, though.)

Anyway, below the voting boxes, there are some "fun tidbits from the nomination round." Be sure to check those out. The one that stood out to me: 11 people were willing to date Dexter. I wonder what it says about me that I thought, "Oh yeah, I get that."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tee hee...

News that matters. Check out what the folks of Fort Wayne want to name their new city county building. Major props to the reporter and to the anchors for getting through this story without laughing.

Links, links, and more links...

These have been sitting in my bookmark folder for awhile now:

1) Some takes on the new Great Gatsby movie. We talked about this in my ENGL 301 class (after reading Gatsby). I am going to withhold judgment for now, but I do find Ta-Nehisi Coates' points quite compelling:

"As in so many of the books I love, I found the plot in Gatsby to almost be beside the point. Whenever I see it translated to cinema, the film-maker inevitably crafts a story of doomed romance between Daisy and Gatsby. It's obviously true that Gatsby holds some sort of flame for Daisy, but what makes the book run (for me) is the ambiguity of that flame. Does he really love her? Or is she just another possession signaling the climb up? I always felt that last point—the climb up—was much more important than the romance. What I remember about Gatsby is the unread books. His alleged love for Daisy barely registers for me."

2) Random, but kind of cool: Kevin Harvick's wife is a 1996 graduate of UNCG's English program. See, you can do anything with an English degree.

3) I've been wrestling with how to help students in my advanced composition class write stronger reviews of the Buffy episodes we are watching. Carrie, my friend/colleague, pointed me towards a terrific TV critic, Heather Havrilesky (most recently, she worked at Salon). Here's a link to Havrilesky's take on Glee that rings pretty true to me. I think the show is more great than awful, but it can be so very bad and still doesn't seem to know what the heck kind of show it wants to be. She's got another keeper on Modern Family.

4) A study from The University of Chicago that isn't surprising at all: "Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance." Composition teachers have been saying this for years, but I guess we've got scientific proof now. 

5) And this one is from way back in January: healthy cats pretend to be sick when we annoy them. Duh. They are geniuses that way.

Do it for humanity!

So the long-anticipated match between Watson the computer and the two great Jeopardy champions begins tonight. I am a bit surprised at how much I am emotionally invested in this match-up. It's like a preview of Maximum Overdrive or something. The humans must prevail. Seriously.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pettitte's retirement...

I've always been an Andy Pettitte fan, so I am sad to see him go, but I get why he's doing it. Check out this piece about why he deserves a spot in Cooperstown.

"I'm just trying to win ten bucks here. I don't wanna die."

I've been rewatching Freaks and Geeks this afternoon. It's been awhile and I've forgotten how good it is. And little John Francis Daley is so freaking adorable.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Obligatory weather post

We had our first significant (by that I mean "seriously disruptive") snowfall of the season here in Shepherdstown on Wednesday. We had already had a few smaller storms--enough to keep you off the road for the evening or make you really take your time in the morning--but nothing too bad. Even Wednesday's storm wasn't awful--about 8.5 inches. Shovelling out on Thursday wasn't fun and my back was quite angry with me on Friday, but all in all, I did okay, especially given my already documented snow PTSD.

In my efforts to overcome that PTSD, I told myself that once we got our campus visits done for this year's search, I didn't care if we got another blizzard like last year. And then I knocked on some wood and all that, because I really don't want another blizzard. But I am trying to have a better attitude about the weather now that I don't have to worry about candidates flying in or getting stuck here for four extra days like last year. Now the visits are over and everyone made it in and out just fine. I think that helped me deal with Wednesday's storm.

Still, though, although this winter hasn't had even a bit of the historic punch that last year's winter had, we have had threat after threat after threat of "potentially crippling storms" (that language gives me chills) since before Christmas. We've dodged most of the bullets. (Unlike the poor folks up in NY and New England who have just been slammed. I really feel for them.) But still, just those repeated threats are psychologically wearying for a traumatized soul like me. (And yes, I know that is a bit ridiculous.) And you know what? Phrases like "potentially crippling" make it even worse. As do verbs like "loom" as in, another storm is "looming." And accumulation ranges like 6-12 inches. Six I can handle. Twelve inches is one-hundred percent more. What the hell kind of prediction is that?

It looks like the folks at Gawker agree with me. This post about the terrifying Accuweather maps is spot on. Seriously. I need to stop checking out that damn accuweather.com so often. But I just can't help myself...

Anyway, here's hoping they are wrong about this stupid "Groundhog Day Storm" that could "affect 100 million!"

For the record, the Weather Channel isn't any more reassuring...check out this map I just saw there:


"DANGEROUS STORM WITH FAR REACHING IMPACTS." Sounds like fun.

Rebecca Harding Davis in Boston...

Since mid-December, I've had a Word document filled with notes from Rebecca Harding Davis's 1904 memoir Bits of Gossip sitting on the desktop of my computer. I recently wrote a (very short) introduction to Davis's "Life in the Iron Mills" which will appear in the new volume of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers. (Davis is the second heritage writer the anthology will include--last year's volume included Jesse Stuart's "Split Cherry Tree," for which I also wrote the introduction.) This evening, I am giving myself a little break from other work, and decided it's about time to write about those notes I've had saved since before Christmas.

The bits from Bits of Gossip were beyond the scope of my introduction, but I saved them anyway, especially the parts where Davis recounts her 1860s visits to Boston and her meetings with various American literary luminaries including Bronson Alcott (she was not a fan), his daughter Louisa (more about her below), Ralph Waldo Emerson (she was quite a fan, but felt he was hopelessly out of touch and felt his deep respect for Bronson Alcott was "almost painful to see"), and Nathaniel Hawthorne. These memories are especially interesting for someone studying 19th-century American literature, because they show us an "outsider's" perspective on the sometimes very insular world of the Boston literati.

I'll share just a few parts here. First, on Louisa May Alcott:

"During my first visit to Boston in 1862, I saw at an evening reception a tall, thin young woman standing alone in a corner. She was plainly dressed, and had that watchful, defiant air with which the woman whose youth is slipping away is apt to face the world which has offered no place to her. Presently she came up to me.
'These people may say pleasant things to you,' she said abruptly ; 'but not one of them would have gone to Concord and back to see you, as I did to-day. I went for this gown. It's the only decent one I have. I'm very poor;" and in the next breath she contrived to tell me that she had once taken a place as 'second girl.' 'My name,' she added, 'is Louisa Alcott.'

Now, although we had never met, Louisa Alcott had shown me great kindness in the winter just past, sacrificing a whole day to a tedious work which was to give me pleasure at a time when every hour counted largely to her in her desperate struggle to keep her family from want. The little act was so considerate and fine, that I am still grateful for it, now when I am an old woman, and Louisa Alcott has long been dead. It was as natural for her to do such things as for a pomegranate-tree to bear fruit.

Before I met her I had known many women and girls who were fighting with poverty and loneliness, wondering why God had sent them into a life where apparently there was no place for them, but never one so big and generous in soul as this one in her poor scant best gown, the 'claret-colored merino,' which she tells of with such triumph in her diary. Amid her grim surroundings, she had the gracious instincts of a queen. It was her delight to give, to feed living creatures, to make them happy in body and soul.

She would so welcome you on her home to a butterless baked potato and a glass of milk that you would never forget the delicious feast. Or, if she had no potato or milk to offer, she would take you through the woods to the river, and tell you old legends of colony times, and be so witty and kind in the doing of it that the day would stand out in your memory ever after, differing from all other days, brimful of pleasure and comfort.


With this summer, however, the darkest hour of her life passed. A few months after I saw her she went as a nurse into the war, and soon after wrote her 'Hospital Sketches.' Then she found her work and place in the world.

Years afterward she came to the city where I was living and I hurried to meet her. The lean, eager, defiant girl was gone, and instead, there came to greet me a large, portly, middle-aged woman, richly dressed. Everything about her, from her shrewd, calm eyes to the rustle of her satin gown told me of assured success.

Yet I am sure fame and success counted for nothing with her except for the material aid which they enabled her to give to a few men and women whom she loved. She would have ground her bones to make their bread. Louisa Alcott wrote books which were true and fine, but she never imagined a life as noble as her own. "

It seems to me here that Davis is especially insightful and sensitive to so many important factors: what drove Alcott in her work, what it was like for women like Louisa who really did wonder what their place in the world was, how she very nearly did write herself to death to support her family. Yes, it is a bit sentimental, especially towards the end, but I find the whole sketch quite moving (especially her description of "that watchful, defiant air with which the woman whose youth is slipping away is apt to face the world which has offered no place to her.")

Davis's recollections of Hawthorne reveal her deep admiration for him and his work, not surprising since he was a life-long influence on her own work. She writes of her final meeting with him, a few months before his death. They walked around Concord, and sat down on the grass in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery:

"...In a few months he was lying under the deep grass, at rest, near the very spot where he sat and laughed, looking up at us. I left Concord that evening and never saw him again. He said good-by, hesitated shyly, and then, holding out his hand, said:-- 'I am sorry you are going away. It seems as if we had known you always.' The words were nothing. I suppose he forgot them and me as he turned into the house. And yet, because perhaps of the child in the cherry-tree, and the touch which the magician laid upon her, I have never forgotten them. They seemed to take me, too, for one moment, into his enchanted country. Of the many pleasant things which have come into my life, this was one of the pleasantest and best."

That reads a bit like a fan-girl's dream come true, right? To have one of your favorite writers--someone who has influenced you so much--share such kind words with you? Good stuff. As a side-note, I like this little memory of late-in-his-life-Hawthorne because so much of what I came across while writing my Marble Faun paper indicated how unhappy and unpleasant he was late in life. It's nice to see that there might have been some exceptions to that general mood of dissatisfaction.

You can read more of Bits of Gossip here (the whole thing's on Google Books!) or just look at the "Boston in the 1860s" section here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confession time

All of these are true statements:
  • I am an over-educated person who is supposed to have refined aesthetic tastes (ha!).
  • As a rule, I don't like watching people falling down, getting hurt, or humiliating themselves.
  • I pride myself on watching "quality" TV.
  • I can't stand reality TV.
And yet, and yet, and yet...

Lord help me, I love Wipeout. Love it, love it, love it. I don't understand why*, but it's 60 minutes of TV bliss for me. It makes me happier than it has any right to.

Don't judge.

*I actually believe it has a lot to do with the writers--the jokes are HI-larious. And here, in tiny type, is probably a good place to also confess my love for "Minute to Win It."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day One: done.

Spring 2011 semester: So far, so good.

"Riches"

I first came across this poem back in November when it was on the "Poem of the Day" podcast. I've thought a lot about it since then, so here it is.

(You can listen to the audio here and find out more about the poet here.)

"Riches"
Amit Majmudar

My mother when she feared that we might starve
would give us candy taking up her violin
and playing each of us a bar
My mother when we danced the winter from
our boots and kicked the walls of circumstance
would write the needed letters over newsprint
and crinkle crackling fire till our hands
came back to us attracted to her gift
My mother painted us a still life and we peeled
and ate the fruit for lunch my mother sculpted

my sister earrings out of pebbles sculpted me
out of abandonment and earth my mother said
you are not poor until you’re at a loss
for worlds you are not rich until like Alexander
you’ve conquered foreign languages
somewhere a rich man pokes his fireplace
reminding it to give him heat she said
somewhere a rich man’s hand lunges in search
of sweetness down his horn of plenty
but there is not a fruit his fingers recognize

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Catch-up Posts: Christmas

Christmas really flew by this year. I was only in NY for a couple of days. I actually left on Christmas Day, anxious about driving through the bad weather the next day. But I do have some decent pictures to share. (Again, I wish I had gotten at least one shot of everyone.)

 Hanging out with Aidan on Christmas Eve. This is right before he helped me make the mashed potatoes.

Erin and Kelsie on Christmas Eve.

Colin on Christmas Eve. At this point, I had given the camera to Kelsie, asking her to take pictures while Erin and I finished dinner. This led to some pretty silly pictures, but this one is kind of cute.

Olivia--and Aidan peering in from behind.

Erin and I cooking dinner.

 Jeff and Eric. I like this one quite a bit.

Olivia and I. I look like I'm about to fling her...

Tara and Olivia. Cute stuff!

Holiday Catch-up Posts: Thanksgiving

Just a few pictures...I didn't get everyone this year.

 Colin and Ava.

 Olivia and I.

 My mom and dad.

 The cheesecake! It came out really good this year in terms of aesthetics. No cracks!

Eric and Erin.

Ryan.