Tuesday, January 31, 2017

on aging, 1/31

Physically, there are many changes that happen when you get older. I'm not talking about the expected ones, like hair falling out (pause to run my hands through my still full hair) or turning grey (pause to look at the cool grey streaks in my beard). No, everyone knows and expects these. The ones I'm talking about are much weirder.

When people get older, their ears grow and droop. I'm lucky enough not to notice this one personally, but it does strike some interesting thoughts. Mainly, I have to reconsider the idea of young people who wear ear weights and stretchers. Are they just trying to look like senior citizens? Wouldn't it be easier to just wear hiked up pleated pants?

The other one was something I really did not expect. It seems as you get older, you feet also get wider. They spread out. Simultaneously, most people also shrink as they get older. I don't know if the two are related or not. Personally, I don't think I've yet shrunk (shrank? Shrinked? I don't know, and I'm a writing teacher). But it's not like I go around measuring myself
I do know, however, that my feet are wider. This makes shoe-shopping (which always was a pain due to my large feet) even more difficult than usual. Most places don't carry extra wide shoes, and it's not like I have my own boot maker a la the John Galsworthy story "Quality" (although that would be cool, and I would be much less a jerk than that protagonist).

It has, however, allowed me to see aphorisms in a new light. More specifically, I now know why I am incapable of walking a mile in someone shoes. It's impossible. My feet are just too damn big to fit.
This does, however, leave an unanswered question. If older people shrink and get wider feet, then logically, they should have a lower center of gravity. So why are us old people so vulnerable to falling? Clearly more research is needed, and I might be the man for the job.

Monday, January 30, 2017


How "here" should you be? It is, I have decided, a political matter.

About a week and a half ago, I mentioned that I decided to take a break from social media. I then shut down Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The first I will open once a day to check notifications, but I close it immediately thereafter. The other two, I haven't touched since my social disengagement.

The point initially was to clear my head after the inauguration. I didn't plan for my absence to be permanent; however, I have found it to be pretty advantageous to not be so connected. My phone battery lasts a lot longer. Plus I've been able to read a lot more, which is nice. I also spend a decent amount of each morning with The New York Times so I feel better informed. Who knows? Maybe I will just stay away.

The problem, though, is that being better informed is not always all that relaxing. In fact, some mornings, my daily perusal of the news makes me wonder if my world has become downright Lovecraftian thanks to our manic El Presidente. Being informed is nice, but being informed that the world is soon to be overrun by The Elder Ones? Well, it's enough to make me wanna disengage on a whole other degree.

I'm gonna go the other direction, though. After I finally finish my album long in progress (thanks to all the aforementioned free time), I seem to be writing a protest album. I've decided that I'm not going to let them get me to totally disengage. Instead, I will come after them. I refuse to be driven into apathy.

Politics requires engagement. And I'm gonna be so engaged. Take that, you annoyers!

on aging, 1/30

In an episode of West Wing, Josh Lyman says, "there comes a day where every man realizes he won't ever play major league ball." I know how he feels. Eventually, all people becomes aware they are getting older.

It doesn't come all at once but in dribbles. Eventually, they stack up. Still, as they say, there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. Then, when one finally admits getting older, all those dribbles, all those signs? You start to see them everywhere.

I'm 45. I am, as far as my undergrads are concerned, fairly ancient at this point. This I know, but one of the reasons it's hard to accept is that I don't really feel all that different than I did at 23...that is, until I get around younger people interacting socially. Then I get amazingly aware I am not one of them.

Don't get me wrong. I'm really comfortable with who I am and where I am...but this aging process is something of which I'm becoming increasingly aware.
Stay tuned

Friday, January 20, 2017

social media break

Effective immediately, I am going to take a break from social media. While there might be the occasional music-related broadcast, I will otherwise not be on Twitter or Facebook. If you wish to contact me, E-mail, text, or Facebook messenger even.

I'm fairly pessimistic about the state of the world, and before I can do anything about it, I have to take care of myself first. Besides, I still have an album to finish, and I'd like to do more blogging.

So if you need me, message me. I'd also appreciate notice if any good news happens to you.

Take care of each other. We're all we have.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

joyous screw-ups

Don't get me wrong. It's important for me to be a sympathetic teacher and do my best to boost my students's esteem. I really do try to be a nice guy, because I really do root for my students and want them to have all the success in the world. True, I have to suppress my snarky tendencies in order to do this (and I'm also trying to tamp them down in real life), but it's worth it. Whenever one of my former students comes up and thanks me for my class, it makes the rest of the day shiny.

However, all of the snarkiness cannot always be held in check. It's one of the worst kept secrets in the university that whenever two or more teachers gather, they tend to either talk about bad teaching evaluations or hilarious student mistakes.

Take typos in essays, for instance. Spell check helps with a lot of things, but typos will still slip through because your computer just isn't smart enough to tell whether you mean 'their' or 'there.' These kind of slip-ups are, however, understandable and thus not all that funny.

Other errors, though, can be quite hilarious. Up until today, my favorite typo of all time was when a student said something "was being taken for granite." Not anymore, though. For, as I prepared sample student papers for my new semester students, I ran across this gem: "...technologies designed to help students out in cretin subjects."

I love it when teaching makes me smile, and some days, I'll take that joy however I can get it.