Sunday, November 7, 2010


I have become a delinquent blogger. That means it is time for me to say farewell. Yes, it is time. It’s a lot to say goodbye to, there are my readers, my blog friends and Dr. No. All deserve a worthy send-off. I don’t know how to do it. It has been a fabulous ride. What can I say? I started Acadamnit, and like all bloggers, wondered if anyone would ever read it. Then I wondered what if people do read it but they are all weirdos? What if I am outed? How would my colleagues react? Can I really obscure my identity? Can I tell anyone that I blog? Fortunately the answers turned out to be:

Yes, people do read it. No, they are not all weirdos. Maybe a couple of weirdos, but overall some very clever people that never cease to make me laugh out loud and have led me to feel “close” in that strange blog relationship kind of way to them. Nope, I have not lost my anonymity. If someone knows who I am- I am not aware of it. Eeew, my colleagues would be PISSED. Yes, I have been able to keep my identity obscured. I have often been tempted to include more personal information…in particular, information that would identify my profession. Have I told anyone that I blog? Yes, one person. One person who is forbidden to ever follow or comment. With this exception, Dr. No and Acadamnit are my little secrets.

Thank you for reading. I will miss this. Feel free to begin preparing the festschrift, perhaps a special edition of Plow Science?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tripping the Scale

You may have noticed that I haven’t been blog-reading or blog-writing much lately. That’s because I’ve been focusing my efforts on blog-rithmetic. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t even know what that is and even if I did, I wouldn’t engage in recreational math anyway. I have just been busy. Busy with tangible work and busy with the mental work required to adjust to tangible work after sabbatical. The shit’s exhausting but it’s not all bad. Some folks talk about the work/life balance. Usually the conclusion of such talk is to keep them separated and maintain dedication to each. This does not work for me. I cannot separate things into “work” and “life” categories. Work is how I spend the bulk of my days, it is responsible for the tweediness of my wardrobe, it is the reason I’ve read more nonfiction than fiction, and it provides money for the booze I drink on the couch it bought. Work is why I am tan in the summer, it is responsible for the bulk of my travel and for a significant portion of the people I know. Work keeps my dog in Milkbones.

There is no separation between work and life, no balance to seek. I am just trying to make work more tolerable and, at least occasionally, fun. But damn I feel busy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Changing of the Reasons

I have to remind myself why I ever wanted this job. I periodically need to think about that. I can always come up with a few reasons, but my reasons change― well, change in the sense that I rank my reasons differently but the reasons themselves are essentially the same. Considering that my job provides me with an endless array of work-related bullshit I need to keep a clear understanding of the positives because the goals and perks are easy to become complacent about. Sabbaticals have skyrocketed to the top of the list. Seeing my name in print remains a constant source of enjoyment and the fact that tweed is an acceptable sartorial fetish keeps these two reasons holding steady in the ranking. Various other reasons have fallen out of favor. For instance that MacAurthur Genius Grant just doesn’t seem to be forthcoming (damn you John D and Catherine T!) but the joys of a lazy boozy Sunday afternoon spent in my Professor House are still pretty good. It's easy for me to forget that as the post-sabbatical bullshit starts to accumulate.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Confession: Thetan Count Rising Edition

When I was young, and I mean young in terms of my academic career- so young that I had just realized what my college major should be, I had some insanely naïve views about scholars. I knew nothing about academic life. I just knew that some person wrote my textbook, taught my classes and wrote articles that were assigned for reading. Collectively they formed a mysterious people, a tribe of scholars that I made both exotic and admirable. It seemed so cool to me that they, these names I knew, were discovering things. I imagined their names attached to those perfect scholars we see in TIAA-CREF ads but more cracked out on tweed. I was ready to undergo training, perform indoctrination rites and drink the Kool-Aid. The moment I decided to be a myrealobjologist, that I would keep that textbook, this image of scholars began to erode. Bit by bit I learned about those people whose tribe I wanted to join, and the deeper into it you get the less envious the society becomes. Did I want to come back from sabbatical and encounter this?

No. Damn. Seriously. This is not what I wanted to come back to.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leaving the (sab)Bat Cave: Screw Technology Edition

This transition from sabbatical life to real life is not so easy. I am suddenly busy, very busy, painful please get out of my office I cannot possibly solve all of your problems right now busy. I’ve lived this life before, but a year of not being busy makes you get soft. So, motherfucking god-damned shit on a stick motherfucking christ my University web system is a piece of fucking shit. (Oh, and anyone thinking what the fuck is with all that motherfucking gratuitous cursing shit just needs to fucking realize that it is not fucking easy returning to work after a sweet assed motherfucking sabbatical). Why does my university have this ridiculous web-based system controlling my access to all manner of important shit? Why is it so difficult to download a class list? When you push the download button next to the class list wouldn’t you expect some useful file to pop out? I do. Instead you get some bizarre file format with a bunch of useless info cluttering things up. I know MY name, it’s MY fucking class. Just give me THEIR names. I don’t care about all their secret numbers, or their parents, or the fact that they joined the Klingon club in motherfucking high school. And what’s with all the weird spacing? Should 30 names really require 82 fucking lines? I just want a list of names. Screw this. I’ll type it myself.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flux Capacitor Needed

Wow. This is big. This changes everything. Here I am blogging away, ice cubes clincking in the scotch glass, lounging in my casual tweeds, it all seems perfectly normal right? But and this is a big BUT, a giant ass-slap to reality kind of but, it is the year 2015 for me. Yes! I am from the future. Holy crap. Who knew?! I must be wearing future-tweed and drinking extra old scotch! Cool! I can prove it! Just look at my syllabus! Today is obviously Monday, August 24! See! My entire schedule of events (readings, exams, blah,blah, blah) are ALL based on the fact that today is Monday, August 24. That won’t be possible until 2015! Clearly I am living in the future. Thankfully the scotch is fantastic.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Leaving the (sab)Bat Cave

I’ll try to keep this short…but, damn. I forgot how much shit there is to do on a daily basis when, like a normal non-sabbatical person, you actually go to work. Damn. Colleagues want you to do things. Students want you to do things. Emails flood in. Next thing you know you have a bunch of shit to review. The phone rings. You spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to erase all your voice messages in the stupid university system without having to listen to them, any of them. I don’t want to hear any voicemail messages. I do not want to know how many there are (a years worth). I am not even willing to just put the phone down while the messages play, or even turn the volume down…there must be some way to just delete that shit instantly. I cannot figure it out. My office phone has this red light that lights up when you have messages. I hate the fucking red light. The only way to turn it off is to deal, really deal, with your voicemail. I refuse to fall victim to this evil “forced listening of my voicemail” university phone system. Screw it, I’m just going to spend the next hour searching for some electrical tape to cover up that damn light. Then I’m going home.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I get it. I really do. For the sake of consistency and the prevention of future headaches we are all required to insert some very specific statements regarding disabilities and academic dishonesty. Fine. I can see the utility of that. But why must I insert multiple paragraphs of ridiculously wordy, overly complex bullshit? Who writes this crap? University lawyers I assume. And why does it keep getting longer?

It’s simple. If you have some type of disability contact these people, here’s their email address, phone number, and office location. They’ll contact me and we’ll figure it out. If you cheat, and yes- you do know what that means (so don’t even try to convince me that you don’t) I will bring academic dishonesty charges against you. Here’s a link to what that entails. Simple enough. But instead, I have to say this, that, and the other thing in order to cover every possible ass you can think of. It’s making the information you are trying to convey more confusing, the specificity is making it more open to interpretation and most importantly, it is fucking up the layout of my damn syllabus.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Random Detritus

The city is distributing new trash cans. I got mine today…

For what percent of households is the first thing they put in their new trash can their old trash can?

What are you supposed to do with it?

I’m not going to throw it away but I don’t need it.

And screw those stupid ass ideas about turning it into a compost bin, planter, rain water collector, or whatever the fuck else bored people come up with. It’s a fucking trash can.

…I guess I just have to be trashier.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Why is this so difficult? At times like this I am embarrassed to be an academic. Here we all are, again. We do this every year. We just need to come up with a class schedule. That’s it. We’ve done it before. But no. No. Instead of just getting this task over with everybody wants to forget a few things. Things that, considering that we all have PhDs, you’d think we could remember. So here’s a fucking list. Memorize it.

1. You cannot require students to take two specific courses and then schedule those two courses at the same fucking time. Really. It doesn’t work. We’ve been through this. Please refer to the minutes of the Class Scheduling Meetings (1985-2001, 2003-2009).

2. You cannot teach “Big Fun Intro Class We Teach to Boost Our Numbers” at 6:00 in the fucking AM. I’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to schedule a class that early. Pick a nice hangover accommodating hour of the day.

3. Stick to the fucking University schedule. You cannot start and end a class anytime you want. Have you not noticed that all classes follow a certain schedule? ALL classes?!? You cannot just declare your class to meet on Mondays and Thursdays at 4:38. That makes no sense.

4. Now is not the time to question the utility of required courses. Don’t question the graduate or undergraduate requirements. Don’t question the major or non-major requirements. Nobody fucking cares about that right now. The stupid course has to be taught so somebody needs to buck up and teach it. There will be plenty of time to discuss its lameness at other meetings. Remember back in 2002 when that class wasn’t taught and shit was all fucked up for years?

5. Get the necessary Class-Poaching Permits* prior to the meeting. Class-Poaching (aka the teaching of a class widely recognized as Dr. So-and-so’s) is permissible with required permits. Do not just try to up and steal a class from a colleague. This meeting is a big enough clusterfuck already. Let’s not add your personal differences into the mix.

*Class-Poaching Permits, depending on the season and species of class being poached, are available in the Department. Fees may vary. Minimum fee involves a simple conversation, maximum fees may include the costs of ammunition, the formation of posses, and ninja suits.