Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What Good News Looks Like:

Hello Charles;

I enjoyed reading your draft and your insightful critique of
(The Author)'s writings. I made my observations directly on the copy. In terms of overall structure, I have the following suggestions:

a) Make sure to reread your thesis for fluidity. There are certain sections that are repetitious and need clarification.

b) You may consider attenuating the biographical component of (The Author)'s life. You have enough text analysis that speaks of
(The Author)'s condition as author and individual. You could omit a few passages about his past without compromising the integrity of your analysis.

c) Think about the choice of certain key terms: dislocation, relocation, dissociation, etc. and their application to the context at hand. Are you using these terms in a consistent manner?

c) Lastly, polish up your draft. The content is clearly there, but you need to go over your thesis and
clarify and reword certain areas.

Your overall thesis is solid, insightful, and unique. You should now concentrate on making the necessary modifications so that you can submit it.

Nice Work!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Great White Way

I sit perched high above the Swamp Valley College Theatre in my exciting new role as theatre technician for a day. Which is actually pretty fun since it isn’t something I do daily and the limited thrill of figuring out the lighting board and crawling around on catwalks and so forth beats the limited thrill of sitting in my office and trying to pay bills with accounts that have long since run dry. A bit of trauma with the light-board, which froze with some lights on, but a little reboot and we are away. As I sit here the first person is just concluding.. a story about birds.. or something. A slight adjustment to the lights.. and we’re away!

That was less traumatic than it could have been… heh.. ran downstairs to run off . Then some really hot dancers who more or less just shook their breasts. All good by me.. just pans of color in the background. Only one dance though.. whaaaaaa! Now they are setting up in back for the choir.. I hope our sound guy remembers to turn down the mikes when they move them on stage…. Heh .. the wireless mike isn’t working all that well for the lead singer. Turns out the guy had his finger on the mute button. But when we tried to run the Jazz-A-Bet show the sound system apparently jiggled the projector because it flashed on and off…

The Kalimba guy is actually pretty entertaining…

But man.. our sound system is terrible.

Oh well, something to do.

After I get over this flu I'm catching...


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Holy Cow of the Blessed Sciences of Cowology.

Last night I walked home from work. Primarily to start working off some the tremendous layer of blubber I’ve laid on working on these degrees. It’s a lovely little 4-mile jaunt and with about 1.5 miles to go (at the point where I can see the last stoplight before I turn off Main St.) I was pondering how far off that seemed and POW.. it hit me…. Location… The Author is all about location. Specifically dislocation and relocation. And all palaver I’d been typing about vague concepts like “outsiderness” and “vision” were really ways to address dislocation and returning home.

Go fucking figure!

I got home and quickly re-wrote the first 30 pages and suddenly it all flows together and I’m not trying to stitch mis-matched half-ideas together. Now Confucius fits with exile, vision is not attempting to uneasily cohabit with writing style, and the story that didn’t fit is a clear steppingstone on the way to where The Author was working when he expired (probably from reflexive Anti-Americanism!).

The bonus to all this is that I also re-ordered the last 30 pages (they still need to be rewritten) and cut large swaths of off-point stuff (all of which I saved, since it was good analysis, just about other things) and still have 15 minutes before House comes on the air.

Now that’s a productive night.

And if only House had actually been on TV tonight. ;-)

I guess I don’t watch enough TV to know.

Something to work on when the degree is complete

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Heavens to Murgatroyd!

I am now officially wireless-less and almost completely phone-less.

I have lost connection to my landlady's ultra-secure (for secure you might well say, impenetrable or even useless) wireless and the (unknown) people whose wireless I had been, er.. "borrowing" apparently got tired of my ceaseless downloading of goat-pornography movies and mp3s of Karen Carpenter singing live. Alas, I have no intarwebs at home!

My stinking cell-phone, on the other hand, now has a broken microphone and while I can see incoming messages, hear them, and even listen to to people talk to me, I am sadly unable to respond. No big deal. I didn't like talking to most of you anyway. ;-p

This means that my communication, already pretty spavined, will become.. well .. even more spavined. I will be reduced to huddling in my disconnected, cold and dark converted garage with nothing but 12 cable channels and the pornography already on my laptop. Now and then I will run over to Cuetopia for a dozen hot-dogs, a case of Schlitz and the quick note to/from the outside world..

One month my rent check will not be in the landlady's mailbox and on the third day of that month she will break in and find my frozen corpse next to a broken cellphone and a laptop with its battery long-since expired.

For the moment though, I'm off to check out Cuetopia to see if it really does have the awesome wireless... I bet they even have a big-screen TV!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Well. .three days of writing then..

did nothing on the thesis but think.. the next two days could be "gnarly" as we say in academia....

on the plus side I got me a "peculiar" noble title...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Charles the Radiant of Chalmondley St Peasoup
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

course I get a different title each time, so I think it's pretty much a randomizer..

like life in that way..

Friday, February 16, 2007

Become a buddhist or chop down trees?

Really, I must be insane and need a nice rest (somehow land-buddhism or repetitive destruction of inanimate objects seem like rest to me)...

This was the longest 4-day work week ever, but replete with garlands and accomplishments. Board loves me, we made some public events work (that really should have failed), some brilliant PR just about to hit, numbers look good. Now everyone is safely tucked in to the 4-day weekend that the killer contract gives us.

And I'm on my work email hitting refresh like a rat hooked on crack-cocaine in a behavioral study -- and a rat that doesn't realize the bad news. Experiment over little rat. Detox your bad-self because with the results about to be published the man in the white coat isn't the pusherman anymore...

But I needs me the crazy thrill of the next email with an insane demand from an administrator; or cancellation from some required vendor; or a new program that needs a prospectus by 30 minutes before the email demanding it was sent; or.. . more stress, STRESS, STRESS!

Seriously, can you get addicted to that shit?

Good news is that a delicious sushi dinner helped me figure out the final structure for my thesis.. I think all the little bits I've been having difficulty reconciling can now be dovetailed.

So that's good..

4 days of writing now.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ho hum..... Saturday was a bit of a work day. As part of our outreach we worked the Tet Festival in downtown Big City. The event was held at the fairgrounds under grey skies and ocassional squalls of rain. Fortunately our booth was inside a building and the rain drove people into it. The festival included dragons, fireworks, folks in ARVN uniforms, and politicians in numbers that would require a man use a second clip. Stupidly (to my mind) the parade for this event was the first thing on the schedule, so by the time a decent number of festival-goers were arriving the dragon dancers were already out of costume, the bands had already played, and the parade disbanded.

The picture over there to the right is the only decent one I could snap and it isn't all that decent. ;-)The local Vietnamese population includes a substantial older population who have still not really left Vietnam in their minds. These guys come out in their ARVN uniforms and boots and stand around looking small, spiffy, and martial. I had never seen a "lady" ARVN before, so I snapped a picture of this lovely lady as she was snapping pictures of the even more lovely festival queens.

A word about that.. I didn't take pictures this year, because the actual beauty contest was later that day.. but the Vietnamese Queen contestants are stunning. The traditional dresses are wildly flattering and these women really have a handle on how to use makeup for maximum effect. I'm not normally a fan of makeup, but the makeup artists here have managed to create something that looks impressive from far away without looking anything like clown makeup when you get close-up. A rare talent...

There were also some ... er.. interesting faces in the crowd, and babymama over there is one of them..

I ate a sandwich, relatively cheap for a fair at $4.50 which, I think, reflects knowledge that the Vietnamese community isn't paying any more than they have to for food. A nice change from say, Art and Wine festivals around here where the vendors know they have the wealthy, stupid, and hungry passing by....

After some talk with friends it was back off to home and nothing productive.

Today is all about cleaning and laundry... a silly way to waste a Sunday, but it's what I've got..

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Work: That Was the Week that Was

It suddenly appears that I am earning my salary. ;-) Tomorrow is the day we measure growth and the day based on which we get funded. As of Friday it looks like we will go into this term with at least 4% growth (it was 5% on Friday, but I don’t want to count any chickens) and its not an exaggeration to say a lot of that comes back to me. This will place us exactly in the middle/top of our goals for the semester (which I felt were optimistic to start) and I will be able to go back to the various shareholders at Swamp Valley College and report the win. This is particularly important with respect to the Faculty Senate, which has a sizeable percentage of wingnuts, malcontents, and adults who barely grew out of shaking and moaning in the corner of their “special” classes in elementary school. Some of these folks fear change, and some others have been in the Ivory Tower so long that they are covered in glycoside burns and roots…. There are also some excellent and thoughtful members of the Senate, but the mix of the aware and the drooling has always amused me.

Part of this growth has been achieved after substantial hammering on one of our VPs. Now he’s getting a bit chippy. We had an email exchange last week in which he warned me that my use of the phrase “Good German” (applied to myself) represented a failure to adhere to our developing “cultural competency” criteria for administrative evaluation. He also told me that if he were my administrator this would have been a “black mark” against me. I resisted the smart-assed urge to respond that the phrase “black mark” was clearly racist in and of itself, and instead did a quick bit of research that demonstrated that the phrase was a perfectly legitimate one in cultural anthropology and that it had a provenance that was explicitly culturally competent.

This ended it, but man I wanted to go after him for “black mark” and the fact that as I am not an administrator, applying administrative evaluations to me would seem a bit.. well.. odd.

Anyway, the growth is a good thing and if I can just get some love in building our summer program, we can grow even more. This will give me that success on my resume that I would like to have before I consider going to Korea to teach. In the near future I’ll have to talk a bit more about how that idea is evolving

Sunday, February 04, 2007

14,000 words in the rearview mirror...

This is getting tougher, since I keep chopping out vast sections of stupidity, but it goes along - Every time I take a break to read something I have additions.. just added a fragment of his final (unfinished) novel to the list of works I discuss... it seems to show that his late-career alteration in style was heading somewhere..

I wonder how far off of my original proposal I am allowed to go? ;-)

"Don't Call it A Comeback -

I been here for years!"

Another dose of hotel medicine.. all the pieces here and with my approvals in my pocket... just got started and I now have 13,439 words under my belt.. this is almost 54 pages so I'm really closing in on the "words" goal without getting close to the "finishing the rough draft" goal. I'm not sure if this is the good news or the bad news. ;-)

"I gotta knock you out!"

Friday, February 02, 2007


Advisor just returned and also returned my thesis proposal. No substantive changes and a few nice catches to boot...

Now it's time to get the old afterburners fired up again and start writing this puppah!

This will be a bit complicated by the fact I will also be training to play Women's Softball (it's complicated, but requires no surgery or hormones) with an every-day regimen. Actually, I hope the two disciplines overlap....

off to ponder......