RBOC: More Catching Up

Attempts at blogging have largely failed. I'm still trying though. I promise.

In the meantime, things worth noting:
  • April snow froze my car shut this morning
  • for those wondering about when it would happen, word of my departure has reached the students. It happened largely by accident. The first reveal was intentional - a student asked if I could be the faculty moderator for a student atheist group. The second was my slip-up in discussing an event being planned. And more recently, a candidate was brought in for my position, and the department took them to a restaurant where a number of our students work.
  • Surprisingly, the stack of boxes in my office has yet to draw a single question.
  • I came in 7 out of 63 and 9 out of 33 in my March Madness pools. Good enough for a little bragging, but no actual financial gain.
  • I've recently watched Synecdoche, New York and Gran Torino, and loved them both for very different reasons. I strongly recommend both, but each with a warning: the first is not an easy film intellectually, the second is not an easy film in terms of cultural sensitivity.
Hope you're all well.

Signs of Growth

Spring is here. And gone. And back again. And likely gone again tomorrow.


The conference planning continues along, in that way that suggests that the ruling members of the planning committee don't exactly have their feet on the ground. I spent a significant portion of last not looking for my temper which got off leash and access to my e-mail. Drafts were written. Things were quoted - perhaps the worst thing one can do in an e-mail argument. In the end, I found it and reigned it in.

I was tempted to resign, to cancel the things I'd organized and to let them go it alone. I was tempted to give back funding and salute as the remaining organizers were left to twist in the wind.

Cooler moods prevailed. It's been awhile since I've found myself pushed to that point. Had it not been for the love I have for this organization, which has been kind to me and instrumental, I might have.


The other day, coming out of the gym, strangers were talking in the hallway. They were circled, and sprawled across the corridor, so no one could easily pass. There are boundary issues at play here. It's one of the things I won't miss - that sprawling lack of awareness that others might also - must also - pass through space. But I digress.

One man said, "As you can see, I have a problem with shrinkage."

The others laughed. And as I squeezed through, I suppressed the reply that raced automatically to my lips. Ten years before, it would have slipped out before I'd seen it coming. Growing up, my friends and I made jokes on each other whenever they came up, whatever they may have been. It was hard to ignore the urge.

But I couldn't help laughing a little on the way to my car, and wishing I'd only known one of them so I could have let fly.

"You can't call it shrinkage if it's always that way."

Checking In

I'm sitting here, sore from the gym, tired from the whirlwind of the term, reading "Joe Gould's Secret." Lurking at the back of my head over the last few days has been the fear that I am not the academic I thought I was.

I am thinking about writing, which isn't what I do, and thinking it is something I might like to try more. I'm thinking about how the research I do isn't the thing that my students connect with. Shouldn't it be? Why is it when I teach the things around the edges of my part of the field, trying to define it, that it is those things the students connect with?

I'm feeling guilty as my department is slowly descending into panic about my departure. It would help if, when people asked me about the new job, they didn't always begin with "So, you're abandoning us...." A friend mentioned wanting to throw a party for my departure, and I immediately thought of 40 people all starting their celebration for me that way, followed by loud demands for a speech.

Earlier this week, I looked at an ad for an apartment that said tenants could get use of the washer and dryer in the basement for $50 in additional rent, provided the use was limited to one load per week. Everything about looking for apartments depresses me.

All of this is funny as I'm still excited about the position.