Wednesday, April 25, 2007

why Roger Ebert rocks.

Film critic Roger Ebert just wrote a very great article on why he will be attending a film festival, in spite of numerous surgeries to rid his body of cancer that have left him temorarily disfigured and unable to talk. He writes: "We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I’m not going to miss my festival."

Everyone should have this kind of love for their life.

do not, NOT elect this moron

Republican presidential candidate/police state fascist claims that there will be a "new 9/11" if Democrats win the presidency.

I swear, I will move to Canada and become a Toronto hot dog vendor if this guy becomes president.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

last day of my popularity

Today was my last "in the classroom" day of the semester. Only one student wished me a happy summer.

This says something. I have, however, no idea what.

Onto grading. My posts might become relatively erratic as I try to avoid student writing.

I'm ten years retroactively hip

While I love heavy music, I've never been a fan of bands where people just shout or scream. It never seemed a positive step to me to abandon fact, it just seems to make the music more juvenile-sounding and amaturish. This is one of the reasons why I missed the boat on a lot of punk rock.

I know, for instance, that Black Flag was a tremendously influential band, and I realize that I should be a lot more cognizant of their impact. However, I tend to just not like them that much. The same can go for their former singer Henry Rollins' solo work, which to me sounds like a lot of yelling.

Hey, there's nothing wrong per se with yelling...I do it all the time. However, I never charge anyone to hear me screaming. Mike yells are definitively open source.

So although I don't like his albums, I am, however, a fan of Henry Rollins as a spoken work performer. I've seen him a few times and enjoyed it tremendously. I own a pretty cool cd compilation of his spoken word performances. I also have an anthology of his writing that I like (even if it is a little "over the top" at times).

When I found out that IFC gave him a show, I was happy. I managed to get my lovely spousal unit to watch, and now we are both regular viewers.

When the debut episode of The Henry Rollins Show season 2 came out the friday before last, we were tuned in. The guest was Marilyn Manson, and I said to the lovely wife, "this could be a trainwreck." I had no special feelings toward Manson, but he always struck me as a "button-pusher," merely out to be as creepy and controversial as possible, only for the sake of staying in the public's eye.

Boy, was I wrong. He was fascinating, intelligent, charming, and reflective. Both the spouse and I were riveted, and I even felt inclined to delve into his music.

That's how I found myself listening to Antichrist Superstar on the way to work. That's why I find "Beautiful People" stuck in my head. That's why I realize that if I were into this band ten years ago, it might've helped me connect with my students.

If I were to mention it to them now, however, they'd only say something like "that is so 2001." Bastards.

how far we've come (?)

Students at a Georgia high school attend their school's first integrated prom.

Yes, everyone, it is 2007.

Monday, April 23, 2007

food product I should've thought up

On our way back from Cleveland, the spousal unit and I stopped by a turnpike service plaza to...well...get serviced, I guess. After, we hit the food court, and at a bagel place, I saw one of the ultimate food ideas...a bagel dog. It was a grilled hot dog wrapped in bagel dough and baked.

I'm a big fan of weird food. I've even done the 7/11 taquito. So, of course, I had to try one.

Evaluation? Disappointing. It was an everything bagel skin, and the seeds n' such overwhelmed the dog flavor. Furthermore, grease from the dog seeped into the bagel dough, leaving a fairly gross layer of bagel slime.

How can something that sounds so right end up so wrong?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

recap of the decap, academic version

This year, I reentered the academic job market in a limited way. I currently have a lectureship, and as non-tenure positions go, it's about as good as one can expect. I have zero interference in the classroom, great colleagues, and I'm fully comfortable with the college and the surroundings. However, it's still a non-tenured job, and I still only get to teach intro classes.

I want more. I want to deal with students doing in-depth research. I want to be able to build on their previous knowledge. I want to do courses which aren't general overviews or skills courses.

So, this year, I sent out some applications. It was much more relaxing than my previous searches, because I could ignore any job with a high workload, low pay, bad location, community college, or anything that didn't actually fit in with my skills. I only sent out twenty apps, but they were good ones, and I thought that I would honestly fit in with any of these institutions...unlike in my previous searches, where I would try to argue my way into anything at all.

There was one college that wanted more material, but they never contacted me after I sent a huge packet of writings. However, I did get a phone interview for a very nice looking job.

The interview itself went better than I could imagine. When I was asked to describe a course I'd like to teach, one faculty told me my class was something he would want to take. When I explained what I could add to their department, another told me "that's what we had in mind when we wrote the job description." Plus, in research and in talking to the faculty, the job itself looked marvelous, the kind of thing that I could stay at forever. I finished the phone interview really wanting this position.

I have, unfortunately, heard nothing back from them. I'm well aware that academic departments are tremendously busy and backlogged, and that just because I haven't heard anything doesn't mean that I'm out of the running. However, although I would still jump at the opportunity for a campus interview, I have come to the conclusion that I need to proceed as if I will be here next's a better motivator than wondering what one might've done wrong.

I'm working on better positioning myself for another job market run. Last time around, I found myself without an expected book contract, which would've really helped my publication record. Now, I've been concentrating on getting a lot of article submissions sent. I finished the adjunct article already, and I'm deep into my House article. I have a full research agenda on-tap for the summer. I will be nicely positioned next year. I will think positive thoughts.

Of course, the phone interview institution might still want me...I hope so. I'll keep you informed.