25 December 2006

Line Up

The American Spirit of Christmas is alive and well this year and i would like to take this opportunity to try and educate us all how we can make a slightly better world.

We Americans have an abysmal habit for forming a line. Everyone is so interested in winning the line lottery, sneaking into the new register that just opened up, beating a total stranger to the check-out & we all suffer for it. While i'm surely not the first person to point this deficiency out, i was so struck yesterday at the liquor store by how uncivilized we all are, that i feel it's my Christmas duty to try and fix this.

Step 1:
Everybody chill out. You are not that important & an extra 45 seconds out of your day is a small price to ask for universal harmony. Don't be so discontent with where you are in lif(n)e that you are constantly looking at other lines to see who's going faster or slower than you are. Line envy is just where the trouble starts.

Step 2:
(this is the hardest step) - we need to work toward a more civilized queue.


Finally posted on 3 March 2010 - the basic idea was that we need not, as a society, play a constant line lottery... if we all gave it up, we could just all be happier...

22 December 2006

so sure

So, Friday i bought an awesome Christmas gift & i'm so sure that brooke so never reads my blog, that i'm spilling the beans here, early.

I got her an awesome new bike, that looks something like this one, except that it is more burgundy colored and even awesomer, because it's a bike and not a pixelated image of a bike.

I got a hugely good deal on it, too, because the dealer was switching over from this bike maker. It's gonna be awesome. Happy Christmas, Pleasant Hannukah, and a Supreme Festivus.

21 December 2006


All of my PhD applications are fully in and submitted and i now just have to wait until i start hearing the laughter start to burble out of the vaunted institutions to which i've applied. To celebrate my great turn-in, i've started reading Foucault's The Birth of the Clinic, which will be the first Foucault i've really sat down and read. That guy seems to be kind of full of shit.

I mean, he's taken the first 19 pages to say, essentially, that doctors study disease & the patients are something of a distraction to that study. His point is that the only reason doctors need to learn about human physiology (anatomy? biology? erg, it's so frustrating now that i've been kicked off of UChicago's OED subscription, i don't know what anything means anymore) is so they know what to subtract when studying disease. That is, what it is that may be causes & effects that have nothing to do with the disease, but are naturally occuring in the body.

Ok, so why am i reading Foucault, you may be wondering. Well, when i gave my presentation on Body Worlds, i was pointed toward this book as another way of approaching the ideas i was dealing with. I didn't get around to it until now, and last week, when the great green god granted me an extra 10% off my employee discount, i bought it. Well, thus far it's miserables (that's a french joke), but i do hope it helps me along as i am wanting to rewrite that paper and submit it for publication (so i can send along "amended CV's to all my schools). Oh, speaking of which... this is insane. I'm a film editor now... i didn't even know i was applying and was told by my brother that he'd given somebody my name... suddenly, i'm it. So, if you would like to write a film review about a German film, send it along my way & you, too, can be published (i'll "edit" it). Ok, so this post has lost its trail, but i must prepare to teach the young minds tomorrow, so i'll sign off.

09 December 2006

A Teacher For One Week

I've now come through one week of teaching at Metro Community College and at this point i've not yet been chased out of class or booed. My first week of teaching was a bit nervy, but enjoyable. I'm generally a bit awkward, particularly with new people, and these classes were no exception. I tried to bridge the totally scripted/seat of your pants style of presentation for the first class. I'm not very good at either extreme and found an ok place somewhere in the middle. I must say, i was a bit weirded out by how much of an authority my students seem to see me as. I've, somewhat randomly, come up with some things to say, some things to talk about, and they listen (sometimes) and write down (very occasionally) things that i say.

It's not that i think i haven't anything that i think they need or could at least use, but the arbitrariness of what i'm telling them impresses me, sometimes. In my film class, i showed A Trip to the Moon for no other reason other than the fact that it was a short film i could lay hands on. I had literally never seen it before when we all watched it together in class, which i know is irresponsible (my VCR at home seems to not function any longer), but i had some sort of pedagogic sense behind it. I thought, if we were all just seeing it, we could share initial reactions in a very gutty, reflexive way, but it's just so weird. I surely know a lot more about movies than they do, but for them to write things down that i'm saying... that just ain't right.

Also, on my first day of film class i noticed that my book was a wholly different color than that of most of the students. At first i had a faux-oh-n0 moment thinking that a new edition had come out. I checked the nearest student's copy, which happened to by the 10th edition of an entirely different book. That wasn't good, as i'd planned an entire syllabus based on my book and (after consulting the department and realize that i am a peon) now i have to change it all over to this other book, that i've never read. But, whatever.

The other problem, or at least concern, i feel like i'm running up against is that i may not be thinking of these students as they actually are. The first day of film class i talked about Stan Brakhage, and while i haven't brought it up yet, i'm going to very soon introduce the concept of 'warrant' to my Comp classes. I worry that i may be thinking of these students as if they were University of Chicago students (or even Luther kids), but they're beginning community college students, some of whom are in very job specific programs, not really wanting to write papers (or understand the work of the filmic object in the world). I think there's something to the idea of talking up to people, but perhaps i'm just talking at them...

I dunno. I worry, sometimes, that Chicago really spoiled me. In any case, the students are mine, for now at least. I survived my first week, my first department meeting, and an assassination attempt (more on that later)...

02 December 2006

Veeder strikes back

When i started grad school last fall, i briefly turned over a new leaf, namely, that i would be a better and more contientious (i cannot for the life of me spell this word) student. I thought that i had been exceedingly lucky in duping UChicago into the idea that i was a real and valid student and that the only way not to let the secret out was to actually act as if i were a totally for real student.

Alas, at the end of the first quarter at Chicago, Professor Veeder hit me with the words, "if you won't have the final paper done by the due date you can drop it off at my home." This disastrous line opened the door for the habit i'd gotten into late in my undergrad... that of 'testing limits'. Seeing just how late "late" actually was. At first it was just minutes or an hour that i messed with... A professor'd say "due @ 5pm", i'd walk in at 5:15 and drop it off... but soon it became days and weeks that i was messing with. Fortunately when Veeder said this during that first quarter, i somewhat ignored it and handed in my Gothic paper almost on time, but with other classes i was not so careful. My zombie paper for Cults of Personality became an "idea for a paper" that, true enough, eventually became a thesis, but i did not hand it in that winter...

And now, as i implied earlier, Veeder has struck again... He's kindly agreed to write me a letter, and in an email requesting more information (read reminder) on who i actually was, he told me that PhD application due dates are actually bluffs. Which i read, again, not as a simple statement, but as some sort of challenge. Let's see when i absolutely cannot get into Cadwallada, and when i might have... (anyone know what Cadwallada is? not sure of the spelling... but it strikes me as a fictional university i know from somewhere)

I used to be so into due dates. I remember when the Nottingham program chose not to take me along, part of what so pissed me off was the fact that Perkins had handed his application in late, but was still chosen over me. In the end, i think, all worked out as it needed to, but at the time that was a real problem for me.

But somewhere along the way, i found deadlines to be more schedules to keep someone else in line and not for me. Yet on Monday, i will find myself in front of a class of college kids, taking a class on 'paper-writing' and i will be expected to teach them how to write a paper in a timely manner. Me, who still has application essays to write, with the due dates fast approaching... I will tell them to hand stuff in on time.... or else? Or else what, they may ask... Or else they'll turn out to be a real burn out like me, i suppose...

01 December 2006

Semi-Celebrity Sighting

Tonight as i worked for the Great Green Devil i saw the bizarre, funny guy from the KXVO news. He was walking through the store and at first i couldn't place him, but once i figured it out, i was so excited. I stalked him a little, shelving books in whatever area he was shopping (he seems to have an overzealous interest in astrology). I tried to share my enthusiasm for my mini-sighting, but nobody seemed very excited (or interested, really).

Omaha's channel 11 news is a truly surreal experience. This guy stands up and delivers "the news", which is a collection of celebrity gossip and short video pieces, interspersed by the slightly more ludacris local Fox News people doing "real" stories. The half-hour broadcast is hysterical and often a bit uncomfortable. It's the best kind of satire, because, i think, it doesn't even know how smart it really is.

Anyway. I was briefly pretty excited for the m-list celebrity sighting.