Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hibernation

It’s time for me to take a blogging hiatus, time to crawl into the deepest recesses of the sabbatical cave. Perhaps my skin will turn white, my body larval, a thick coating of slime will develop, and my eyes will become useless. Wait. That would be disgusting. Perhaps I will see only shadows and come to believe that these shadowy projections are real. Well, that would just be cliché. I think I have a pretty firm grip on the whole shadow creation business. Maybe I could discover some rare mineral that through endless montages of “science” and physical conditioning would result in me transforming into some type of superhero. Also unlikely, I hate working out and such things always seem to require one to wear goggles— which look uncomfortable. I could befriend some sabbatical cave creatures. You know, become some Dr. Doolittle type but I think that would piss off my dog.

A more likely scenario is that I will just crawl in and see what happens. Like all hibernating things I imagine I will emerge just as my fat stores are running out or because the right buttons have been pushed. Until then, wear your tweeds with pride and get trashed tonight.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Review Reaction Typology

Type 1
Name: The Finger
Tone: Evil bullshit
Causes: jealousy, chemical imbalances, narcissism, sadism, lack of a life, pettiness, and/or aggravated bowels
Thought to self after reading: “Fucking Motherfucker. What the fuck? Fuck you!”
Preferred beverage after reading: Scotch
Response to editor: “…while I feel The Finger introduced a productive issue for future research, the manuscript is not intended to delve into the ridiculous issue The Finger is so pathetically obsessed with and I will not be adding 5 paragraphs of useless material simply to satisfy their
raging need to belittle me.”
Type 2
Name: The Prick
Tone: Arrogance
Causes: insanely brilliant cognitive powers, arrogance, Autism and related disorders, MacAuthur Genius Grants
Thought to self after reading: “Ouch. That kinda hurt. Really? Crap. I like your work.”
Preferred beverage after reading: Hot tea followed by martinis
Response to editor: “…in response to The Pricks comment regarding the data presented in Table 2, please note that the sample has been increased by over 100 cases that took 5,000 hours to collect.”
Type 3
Name: The Handshake
Tone: Thoughtful
Causes: sanity, responsible use of substances, ability to think logically
Thoughts to self after reading: “Cool. I could do that.”
Preferred beverage after reading: Fancy latte (by which I mean in a nice cup with swirly designs in the foam made by someone who gives a shit)
Response to editor: “…as suggested by The Handshake I compared my results to those of Dr. So-and-So and compiled our findings on page 8 and also completely rewrote the conclusions to be much cooler sounding.”
Type 4
Name: The Stroke
Tone: Ass-kissy
Causes: insecurity, wonderment at awesome font choices in manuscript figures
Thoughts to self after reading: “Whatever.”
Preferred beverage after reading: four PBR’s (in a can)
Response to editor: “…as pointed out by The Stroke a full citation was missing for one of my references, it has since been added.”
Type 5
Name: The Sweep
Tone: I forget to review this so, uh yeah, it looks fine
Causes: poor organization skills, forgetfulness, extreme health problems, stupidity, reviewer is part of the enormous pile of dead weight housed in my/your department, laziness, abuse of substances
Thoughts to self after reading: “What the? OK.”
Preferred beverage after reading: whatever is handy, probably cold coffee
Response to editor: “I agree with The Sweep, it’s all good.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baby Got Back(story)

It’s always entertaining to see how folks end up here in Acadamnit land. For many, a few wrong internet turns leads them here. Arriving in an unfamiliar and threatening neighborhood they quickly roll up the windows, lock the doors, and high tail it out of here. A small few see an intriguing new neighborhood populated by familiar tweeds, bad 80’s sitcom references, good bookstores, and loads of coffee shops. A very small handful of people however appear to be searching for some very specific information, they arrive here in Acadamnit land with directions from Google in their quest for the exact location of mysterious and strange information. I imagine they are extremely disappointed upon arrival. But I also like to imagine why they felt the need to Google such things, so let’s provide a few recently dismayed Google searchers with a back story…(their search phrase is in bold).

giving head in a car
Hmmmmm. Is it different than the boat blow jobs? Horse drawn buggy suck-offs? Ox pulled wagon fellatio? Mule drawn plow mouth fucks? Do traffic signals apply? Would it be illegal to give head in a car while driving through a school zone? Shit. What about seatbelts? They are going to have to come off. Well, maybe if the seat was pushed all the way back… Maybe we should just pull over and fuck. Perhaps if I just use this internet machine for a few minutes no one will know. It’s tough being horny and Amish.

users are losers so don't use drugs mcgruff
Fucking McGruff. Does he want to arrest himself? He’s got to face facts. All he does anymore is sleep, eat, lick his own balls, and shit in the yard. Seriously, he needs to lay off the drugs. Perhaps there is a group of concerned citizens rallying together to get him the help he needs. I better check.

what would happen if i photocopy my tits?
Let’s see here…under what conditions would I want to photocopy my tits and have concerns about the consequences? This is a tough fucking question. Photocopying your tits, ass, or any body part that qualifies as “your junk” is not a behavior I would associate with serious Google inducing concern. I mean, it’s like drinking tequila shots, giving blow jobs in cars and skinny dipping. Activities one should not stop to think about, things you certainly shouldn’t ponder long enough to make your way to a computer and Google (and, under some very dire situation I cannot even imagine, if Googling occurs you should be way too fucked up to type and/or spell coreectly). You either photocopy your tits, down the shot, or drop trou, OR YOU DON’T. It’s a split second decision; some things do not and should not require Google.

nudity in dr. no
That Dr. No is one sexy blogger. I wonder if there’s any nudie pics around? Perhaps a little skin? A little tweed in all the unimportant places? Oooh, I bet Dr. No has great, uhm, sexual organs. That those body parts are, uh, really, uh, large? Huh. Would those nudie pics involve upper or lower body parts? Which parts are exposed by that tweed jacket? Wait. How long is that jacket? Would it be buttoned? Damn. Whatever it is, it’s damn sexy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ATTN: People On Planes

I realize that food is a distraction. Any distraction on long flights, any distraction that does not involve listening to the crappy pop music blaring from the earphones of the miscreant next to you or the overwhelmingly tired stressed out person smells we all start emitting after a few hours, is a welcome distraction. Oh, but the strange bumps and pressures applied to your spine from the person behind you is also not a welcomed distraction. Sorry, the ever encroaching seat back in front you, the one that appears to recline a solid inch further than any other airline seat in the entire universe of airplane seats is also a most unwelcome distraction. But food can be a welcomed distraction simply because it breaks the monotony.

But people please. STOP eating and drinking every motherfucking comestible put in front of you. It is disgusting. Why would you ever want to eat all of that? Just look at it, marvel at its utter disgustingness, nibble at the more tolerable items, and move on. There is no need to eat every last crumb, no need to lick those last carboardy bits of muffin off the microwaveable muffin coffin it lives in, no need to put your finger in the yogurt carton, no need to scrape out the remnants of the pasta from its microwaveable “serving” dish, and there is certainly no reason to even bother trying to drink that shitty coffee from that shitty coffee “mug”.

Who are you people? And more importantly, why are you always sitting around me? From what little I know about you, you are NOT starving, you are not escaping from a war torn, drought/poverty stricken place…you are just a regular ol’ person traveling for business or pleasure. I see no signs of you having some bizarre incessant hunger producing disease, you do not appear to be stoned, I see no reason why you would lack the means to acquire some actual food at our destination. Please, enjoy the distraction of the airplane “food time ritual” but be content to examine the packaging, do a little investigative tasting, but don’t act like this is some tasty meal. Your endless eating, scraping, licking and dispersed wrapper detritus is pissing me off. Fuck. I bet that’s your coat up there all hanging out of the overhead bin too. How do you not notice that? Your coat is completely fucked. Are you just going to leave it like that? I mean it looks like the sleeve is smooshed into the latch. You must be too busy eating and sucking down diet Sprites to notice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I’m Home! Sort of…

My circadian rhythm and appetite are still somewhere else, but my body and about 70% of my brain are home. I had a good trip to Farawayzistan. A few things I missed/are still missing:

Eating: Why does jetlag render me unable to eat? Chewing food reminds me of communion. In my childhood experiences (a practice I have long since abandoned) one of two things occurs always with communion wafers: 1) You chew and chew yet they prove resistant to saliva and mastication, becoming smaller and smaller pieces of cardboard in your mouth that must be swallowed as an one large uncomfortable body of Christ lump; 2) They instantly stick themselves to the roof of your mouth, forcing you to spend the rest of mass attempting to pry the body of Christ off the roof of your mouth with your tongue.

English: That foreign language I learned in 6th grade really wasn’t very helpful. The only thing I really remembered was “Where is the library?” I never felt compelled to inquire about the location of a library. And come to think of it, even if I had wanted to know where a library was, I wouldn’t have understood the directions unless it required only right and left turns at obvious landmarks such as banks, fountains, bridges, butcher shops, bakeries, police stations, and hotels.

Credit Cards: Carrying around large sums of cash because credit cards are not accepted anywhere? Not so good. It makes it rather difficult not to appear as a rich American asshole.

*Now what the hell happened to my house? At least you left me some cheetos this time…but I’m not sure how I feel about the redecorating. What exactly was the thought behind all the purple feathers?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Farawayzistan: The place where I am going

I’ll be far away for a while. All the usual going away criteria apply, so please water the plants, make fun of fonts, discuss deep philosophical issues amongst yourselves, drink my booze, and pick up any packages that arrive. Note: any packages marked NOT PORN are definitely not pornography. Take care of my tweeds and see you in a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Lab Ain’t Like That

I understand that real Sudafed can be used to make meth. I don’t want any meth. I don’t want to make any meth. I just want the feeling that my brain is drowning in phlegm to stop. Can meth do that? I don’t really know, nor do I wish to find out. So I drag my ass to the pharmacy and say that I want some Sudafed. I have to provide identification and sign my name to some quasi-official looking registry. All of this, I assume, is to establish that I want some Sudafed for non-meth making purposes. So why, after going through these hoops, does the pharmacist grab a STACK a motherfucking STACK of Sudafed boxes for me. How much Sudafed do you think your average non-meth making person needs? Why on earth would I possibly want THAT MUCH Sudafed unless I WAS making meth? The pharmacist looked at me like I was crazy when I only wanted one box! Granted, my watery eyes schlubby clothes and dripping nose might resemble a “meth makeover” but I still have all of my teeth. What else are you willing to sell me friendly pharmacist? Let me just sort through my STACK of prescriptions and see what I can find...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All I Saw Was A Tweedy Flash, Officer…

A few of your recent posts reminded me of something. You brought back to me the vivid memory of my typical “non-sabbatical” state of mind during this point in the semester. It is a feeling of gloom brought on by endless grading, too many demands on my time, crappy weather, and impending deadlines. Any excitement about the start of the semester has long since passed and there are too many obstacles ahead for any glimmer of excitement emanating from the end of the semester to shine through. I experience a brief “gloom phase” every single semester. Knowing that helps a bit, but it still feels like crap.

Being on sabbatical means I don’t have to experience it this year, but I am aware that gloom season would be right now for me and I think it’s right now for some of you. It makes me fantasize about a superhero (I picture a tweed cape) that could somehow fly around and relieve all of you stuck in gloom phase of your burdens. But what would that superhero do? I know when I’m feeling this way I know I need to relax. I need a break from grading papers, working on lectures, freaking out about some manuscript I haven’t touched in weeks, and the endless barrage of email. But an overwhelming sense of obligation keeps me from doing this. I’ve decided the only solution is for this superhero to provide valid excuses for imposed relaxation. The kind of excuse you can pass along to your students, Main Office Assistant, TA, GA, and/or colleagues without any trace of guilt and will force you to stop frantically working. This superhero is going to have to break some eggs.

What would our “gloom phase” superhero do? Bad things. Deliciously bad things. Our superhero would pull fire alarms before your class, release non-toxic but smelly substances throughout your building, and cause minor flooding. So sorry, class and office hours are canceled. University email systems are going have to go down in dramatic fashion. So sorry, I didn’t receive those whiny messages about how you have no time to study but do have the time to offer me nonsense extra credit work. Perhaps a minor fire needs to break out. So sorry, who knew the wiring on the Scantron machine was so bad? Jury duty might be required. So sorry, but I must attend to my civic duty. Crazy weather, vandalism, and all manner of suspicious activity might occur, leaving only a trace of tweed fibers in its wake. Shit just needs to go down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The List: A Readers Guide, Part III, The Need For Pants

Well into the afternoon hours I found myself still not wearing pants. Before you get all excited, please know that I was wearing a robe. Perhaps it was a sexy robe. Go ahead, let yourself get carried away with that thought. Picture the fireplace, the wine, me and my silky robe lounging on the bearskin rug. Got it? Now look a little closer. You will see instead that in the middle of the damn day I found myself still not dressed, still sipping coffee, still not showered, still not toothbrushed, and still mindlessly staring at dripping icicles out the window while I sat on the couch. It was nice, all very sabbaticalish. But shit, I need to put some pants on! I’m cool with lazy days around the house, but sometimes you just have to get dressed and put a little effort into the day.

OK. Now I am ready to pour you that glass of wine and discuss a few additional Pulitzer items. So go ahead and put me back on that bearskin rug because I’m clean now and no longer have bad coffee breath. Isn’t that better? Yes, yes it is. Where was I? Oh yes, books. There remain a few Pulitzers worthy of mention simply because they stand out in some way. There are many books on the list that I have largely forgotten. They were forgettable. I know that because I look at them now on my shelf and all I can remember about them amounts to a rough sketch of the plot and main character(s). Actually, I‘m not even sure if the plural “characters” even applies. Then there are the books that stand out, not so much for being particularly good or bad, but for just being memorable. Here’s some.

Grab a cocktail…
The Stories of John Cheever (John Cheever): There are a few short story collections on the list. I’d say this one is the best (but they are all uneven). EVERYONE in this book is having, making, offering, or recovering from a drink. I’m not sure it is possible to get through these stories without being compelled to visit your liquor cabinet, fridge, flask, local keg party, or distillery. One story, “The Swimmer” really stuck with me. (Side Note: I was reading something completely unrelated to this book and someone mentioned this particular story. At first I congratulated myself on being so well read, but then I realized that the author mentioned it as if everyone knows this story. So I guess it’s either famous or the author who mentioned it is an erudite jerk.)

I liked it until…
Foreign Affairs (Alison Lurie): I was loving this book. For my fellow academics out there perhaps you have read this one? It’s right up our alley, professors on leave doing research, talk of tenure, and the relationships between colleagues, all that stuff we can relate to. It’s a good book, in fact the first few chapters are fantastic. But then the plot takes a turn for the worst and characters start reacting to the situation in ways that just seem wrong. It pissed me off.

Too much of a good thing…
Andersonville (MacKinlay Cantor): OK, this is one of those books that cuts back and forth between multiple characters. The book is loooong and the problem is half of the characters don’t really need to be there. I got bored with them. You find yourself reading about Civil-War-person-so-and-so wishing their part of the story would hurry the fuck up so you can get back to Intersting-Civil-War-Person.

The year the prize committee was stoned…
1981, A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole): This is a good book, no doubt about it. I would suggest you seek a little glaucoma treatment before reading it and just go with the flow. It requires a certain frame of mind.

I want to watch CSPAN now…
Advise and Consent (Allen Drury): This book is addictive. The writing is a little clunky in places and it’s pretty pulpy. The entire book centers on the nomination of a new Secretary of State and all the political shenanigans that ensue. It made me want to watch CSPAN. Which I did and I enjoyed it. A special prize should be awarded for inspiring anyone to willingly watch CSPAN. So, good job Alan Drury.

Can I have the cheetos now?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The List: A Readers Guide, Part II, Cue “One Shining Moment”

I guess there are clubs and groups you can join of people who are also reading the list. I had no idea they existed until recently and it seems a little late to join one now. Hi, my name is Dr. No and I’d liked to join your Pulitzer reading discussion group! I already read them all. Seems like a pretty assholey move. Akin to saying Hi, my name is Dr. No and I’m a cheetoaholic, but I’ve already recovered so don’t mind me and my orange flavor- dust encrusted fingers. So indulge me while I continue my wholly unqualified review of the Pulitzer list. Today we’ll explore the books I loved. I don’t really have all that much to say about these books, they just stuck with me. These were the books that I had to continue digesting long after they were finished, I had to let a little time pass before starting a new book. You know? That kind of good.

Top Pick…
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon): Brilliant. Just fucking brilliant. Had anyone asked me “Hey, would you be into a book where the world of comic books plays a central role?” my answer would have been “No.” Comic books just aren’t on my radar. Oh but this book is good. Brilliant. I should note that this book sparked my whole Pulitzer quest. So we can all blame Michael Chabon for making me read A Fable.

Most Photogenic…
Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides): You just can’t forget it. This book is disturbing. I don’t mean disturbing in a gross or unseemly way. It is disturbing in the way that on rare occasions in life someone you don’t know particularly well shares something so deeply personal with you that you have no idea what to do with it. It’s usually not the content of what they told you that is really so disturbing. And after the fact, you know they probably shared this “secret nugget” with you exactly because you are not particularly close. But in that moment of hearing some completely unexpected words you are disturbed. This book somehow takes that very particular sense of disturbed and captures it. For that, I gotta award high props.

Slow & Steady Wins the Race Award…
Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner): It just quietly unfolds. I wasn’t even aware of how much I enjoyed this book until it was over. The story and writing just accumulate in your brain and when the book ends you just think: Well, that was something, something really lovely happened there.

Individual Medley Gold Champion…
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz): This book has a little bit of everything held together by a unique writing style that is simultaneously funny, insightful, and genuine. Shit, that sounds lame doesn’t it? It’s just weirdly good, one of the most unique books on the list. It’s the crazy jello salad your Aunt Edna makes with everything but the kitchen sink tossed into it but it somehow tastes pretty damn good.

All American Player…
Guard of Honor (James Gould Cozzens): This book requires some effort. I’d say for the first 50 pages I was bored and a little confused. Too many characters, too many military titles being thrown around, too many terms that made perfect sense in 1949 (the year it won) that I needed to see used multiple times before I had any idea what the fuck they meant, too much everything. But then it gets really good. Captivatingly good. These characters have personalities, realistically nuanced personalities. I’d like to have them all over for dinner. Technically the book is about military life and race relations, but as indicated by the title it’s really about honor.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The List: A Readers Guide, Part I, Journey To Suckitude

So I read the Pulitzer list for fiction. This task took me five years. Why so long? Because I have a job. Oh, and don’t say I didn’t warn you, but these books have very few pictures, zero pop-ups, and not one came with a little mirror that you can use to make half a picture whole. Remember those? So, lacking such typical hallmarks of fine literature, the task took me a while. By popular demand I will begin by discussing an elite category of books called “who the fuck voted this prize worthy?” or WTFVTPW? Sure, I should probably start with the good books. I mean how many Pulitzer prize winning works of fiction have I authored? (Three is the answer) Where do I get off passing judgment? (My crotch area is the answer) Anyhoo, we can break down WTFVTPW? into various subcategories, so without further ado let us begin.

The book that almost broke me…
A Fable (William Faulkner): Ugh. I’ve already expressed my supreme dislike for this book, you can read it here. But let’s kick a dead horse some MORE. I couldn’t tolerate more than a few pages at a time of this pontificating crap. Nice title dude. Really? It’s a fable? If it weren’t for the title I would have sworn I was reading the newspaper! The last time I hated a book this much was when I had to read that stupid seagull book in high school.

The year the prize committee was on crack…
1986. Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry): This is just a trashy soap opera. Endless drama set amidst horses, cattle, booze, guns, and all the stereotypical “western” crap you can think of. I know 1986 was a bad year. Case in point: The Golden Girls won an Emmy, that stupid band A-Ha won like a jillion Grammy awards, and the Voyager 2 space probe made its first contact with Uranus— and none of us, including our anuses has ever been the same. The book is enjoyable I guess. But a Pulitzer? C’mon! (and yes I made an Uranus joke)

I’m sorry, but, no…
Beloved (Toni Morrison): This is one of those books I feel like you are supposed to like and admitting you didn’t like it makes you an asshole. But I think it has already been established that I am an asshole, so I’ll just came right out and say this book does not deserve a Pulitzer. There are passages that are great, but you know some nachos are great too but that doesn’t mean you want to eat the burnt cheeseless chips that makeup the vast majority of your nacho platter.
The Shipping News (Annie Proulx): Whaaaaat? No.

Well, I’ll leave it at that for now. Rest assured many of the books were fantastic and it was a pleasure to read them. I'll post some book love soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The List

I will now attempt to get all Martha Stewart on your ass and convince you of a “good thing.” You will not be required to spend 10 hours folding hand-crafted paper, collecting pinecones, making hand lettered labels on acid-free paper, nor must you raise any fancy chickens. Of course you should already be doing those things. Don’t you love your friends and family? Where’s your holiday spirit? I mean otherwise your holiday decorations and gifts will be so lame. I’ve already started mining the silver I’ll need to make tinsel and the corn field I planted for popcorn balls is coming along nicely.

So put down your pinking shears and pour yourself a cup of homemade hot cocoa and listen to my little story. If you need to make a run to your cocoa farm, I’ll wait. I have always enjoyed reading. But somewhere in college I got obsessed with my own future profession and concentrated my efforts on nonfiction. This happens. There are some good nonfiction writers, but the bread and butter of my field (and I assume countless other professions) is boring. Boring as shit. You read for information, read for references, read to see how you are cited, read for data. It can be interesting in its own way. You learn to read boring shit, learn to write boring shit, and most importantly you learn to like it. At some point I developed an overwhelming desire to read good writing. Just good writing, just words. I had no idea where to start. Sure, there were a few authors I knew I liked- but what about all of the writing I didn’t know if I liked. How do you find it?

I imagine there are many solutions to this dilemma. My solution presented itself when I read a book I thought I’d hate. I decided I wouldn’t like it based only on the jacket art and description. I read it anyway because someone had given me a copy, I was bored, and there it was. I loved it and realized it had won a Pulitzer Prize which made me wonder if all Pulitzer winners were that good. So I decided to read the Pulitzer list thinking I may not actually like all of the books but that it would at least provide a decent sample of fiction writing. I just finished the list (from 1948-2009). I did not enjoy them all, but it was a good thing. You might like it too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Unmentionables

I see you washed your hands, grabbed a fork, and are now extracting an olive. You seem rather germ conscious. I can respect that. But should I mention that I’ve had my fingers all up in that jar? That I just swish my fingers around in there, seize an olive, pop it in my mouth and go directly back in for more? That this has happened on numerous occasions? No. I don’t think I’ll bring that up. The vodka will kill my cooties right? Or have my cooties built up a resistance to vodka?

Oh, OK, sorry. Sorry doggie but I’m not supposed to give you people food. Here’s some scratches instead. Shit. The way you were conning me out of those last few bites earlier made it seem like you had done this before, lots of times. You worked me like a pro. Did I read you wrong? You don’t have some gastrointestinal problem do you? Those bites they didn’t see me give you earlier aren’t going to cause any problems are they? Answer with your eyes. OK. Got it. Let’s just keep those nibbles between you and me eh? No need to act like I’m your new best friend. Just keep it cool doggie. Keep it cool.

Just right on the corner? Yes, I think I might know the house, maybe, but the area is only vaguely familiar to me. It’s not like I’ve walked right by your house a hundred times or anything. There is no reason to assume that I consider your house the “crazy house” or anything, or that I am baffled by your yard and can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell all that crap is on your porch. Nope. It’s not like that at all. I’m just going to nod and smile.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Next Time Call A Cab

Elaborate, or think of it as “e” (the letter and drug that you should have administered to the audience) “labor” (we did, through 78 minutes) “ate” (a giant slice of random tangent pie with moderately amusing anecdote sauce, as in what you had for lunch). I don’t know how to explain it. You gave a talk. I went to listen. You spent forever elaborating on the boring parts and skimping on the good stuff. You seem well-spoken, well-read, and very experienced on the subject matter. You are pleasant to listen to. I somehow like you, but you just kept going on and on about the trivial parts. You skipped past some mighty interesting slides. I saw graphs! A diagram of some sort! Pretty pictures in some fancy lab! But you just kept right on driving. Driving like a nervous granny right past the exit to Interestingville and Relevancy Avenue. I thought for sure you would get off at Important Implication Town, but no. You just kept right on going. We ended up driving 5mph on a one-way road lost somewhere in the Useless Elaboration District. So, thanks for the ride I guess. I really did want to get somewhere today, I did come out of the cave for you after all… oh well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Decafitated

I’ve spent the last 48 hours with a headache. Not a migraine, just an annoying headache. I tried all the usual things…am I hydrated? Check. Enough sleep? Check. Have I eaten? Check. Have I eaten something more nutritious than the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups I purchased because I finally realized it’s almost Halloween? Check. Have I eaten half the Peanut Butter Cups? Check. Have I also started on the Peanut M&M’s? No. But not a bad idea.

After two days of a persistent headache I found myself in a supremely lousy mood. Usually a couple of Advil and some coffee does the trick. I tried it yesterday, but nada. I decided to try again. Motherfuck. As I stood in the kitchen sipping coffee I notice a small green oval on the bag of grounds. What is that? I look more closely. DECAF! No shit my life has sucked for two days! I’m surprised my head hasn’t exploded. That little green oval bearing such shiteous news is 13x5mm. Millimeters people. 13x5 millimeters. Yes, I measured it before throwing that useless brown dirt in the trash. NO WHERE else on the bag does it announce this critically important tidbit of information. Caffeine addict? Check.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

As Your Host Of Most Post…

…I have to answer my own questions (see the previous post). This is when I start wishing I had posted all those entries about my volunteer work with one-legged unemployed drug-addicted midgets (I mean Little People! Damnit!), my work towards world peace through macramé, the efforts I have dedicated to loosening public nudity laws, and my well known advocacy for underprivileged pot dealers. Instead, I somehow seem to have accumulated a body of posts where I insult, rant, curse, and just generally snark my way through daily life. But so it goes. As ridiculous as my subject matter may be I do find it satisfying and greatly enjoy this little cyber-academic department we have formed through blogging . Yeah, soooooo. Here we go:

Most Liked Post? (by you)
I am quite fond of this one. The concept of a Plow Science journal reminds me of everything that is inconsequential and just downright stupid in my field. The obsessing over minutia, the arguing over this and that, all the minor annoyances that creep into my brain I now recognize as “Plow Science” issues. Plus I enjoyed making the accompanying image. It seemed so obvious to me, like, oh The International Journal of Plow Science would look like just like this. (Followed by, why the fuck is the cover of a fictitious journal clear as day in my head? That can’t be good.)

Most Liked Post? (based on readers comments or hits)
Based on hits, my post about the horrors of scrapbooking wins followed closely by this one. I had no idea my little pool party analogy would strike such a cord and I was surprised by the response. Based on comments (and coming in 3rd place based on number of hits) is this one. I can’t say that post does much for me, but I think it has wide appeal to anyone that has spent some time teaching.

Most Memorable Post?
Hands down it was this one. It’s my I got tenure post. The post itself is not remarkable in any way, but I was thrilled. My very first post was written during the height of tenure insanity and the whole tenure process was a regular source of blog inspiration. It was a huge relief to get it over with and shortly thereafter I went on a fabulous vacation.

Most Indicative of Your Blog Identity Post?
This is a tough one…perhaps this one?

Most Humorous Post?
This is one is even tougher. Who came up with these questions?

Most Regrettable Post?
Well, I don’t regret the whole “what gender am I” post. It was fascinating for me to observe the speculation. At times however the degree of anonymity I have tried to maintain becomes troublesome, a minor identity crisis of sorts. In my real life only one person knows that I blog and as Acadamnit has become a component of my life it sometimes feels like a pretty big secret to be keeping from those close to me. On the other hand, as Dr. No I am also keeping a slew of secrets regarding my identity from a community of people I also have a relationship with. Every once in a while this situation bothers me, most of the time it doesn’t, but this post and associated comments represent the confusion.

Most Misunderstood Post?
No doubt I have pissed off a lot of people with my posts and I’m surprised I don’t receive more angry comments, but I don’t have an obvious winner in this category. (Did you read the beginning of this post? How do I get away with this crap?)

Most Satisfying to Write Post?
This strange little ditty. I’m not sure why. But I just enjoyed it. Non-scholarly writing just wasn’t something I did very often before this blog and this post was just a fun little experiment. I would also consider this post satisfying in that it was the most personal. One of the very few occasions I felt myself jettisoning a little emotional chunk of myself into the blogosphere. Oh, and I always enjoy a good font rage.

Most Likely To Never Be Posted Post?
I’ve accumulated quite a few of these. All of them are shelved for disclosing information too indicative of my profession, my location, and me. I also have a post about Montana, but then I had a few visitors from Montana so I shelved it. So, From the Forgotten Posts File:

ATTN: State of Montana
Hello “Big Sky” people! Welcome. I am very happy to meet you. You are welcome to stop by anytime. We met once, it was a while ago. You probably don’t remember but let’s catch up. I am just trying to be neighborly. Go ahead, drop on by. Need a cup of sugar? I got one for ya. Need to borrow a lawn mower, sure- go ahead, borrow mine. Can I collect your mail while you’re out of town? I may as well shovel your sidewalk while I’m at it. Your yard looks great by the way. I really like what you’ve done with the, ugh, sagebrush. No, no don’t leave. I am really not as creepy as I seem. I don’t mean to come on so strong. I just want you to visit me. That’s all. Just a friendly, neighborly, “drop-in to say hello” kind of thing. Alright, I’ll be straight with you (you are a no nonsense kind of state after all), I have had a visitor from EVERY state in the Union. But you Montana? You stopped by once for about 2 seconds— more of a drive by than a visit. It is driving me crazy…why do you shun me Montana? I like you. I have spent time within your borders (spent time, I did not “do time” if that helps). The entire state is lovely really. So lovely that your residents appear to prefer ranching, hiking, skiing, bitterroot flower gazing, hunting, rodeoing, fishing, and/or actually working instead of Acadamnit blog reading. It’s you and me Montana.


Most Important Post?
I try to steer clear of important issues. I was seriously considering ending this blog (actually, I had pretty much decided it was time to kill Acadamnit). So this post was important in the sense that I decided I would just keep going and see what happened. It was important for me to say that and important to me that you readers were willing to go along.

Most *Adjective of Your Choice* (Inebriated When Written) Post?
Whoa. Definitely this one. I love this post though. I still find it hilarious.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Most Post

As many of my blogging colleagues reach various milestones (e.g., one year blogging anniversary, 300th post, etc.) it has me thinking. Thinking generally makes my head hurt. But, on rare occasions when sobriety takes hold, I like to give it a try. Better yet, I like to pass the onerous task of thinking off to others. I’ve been thinking about my blog, my favorite posts, my least favorite, my most read, etc… So if you don’t mind, please put on your thinking caps and think about the following questions. It would be fun to read all of your answers. (and yes, I’m working on my answers too)

Add a big ol’ WHY to each of these questions. Feel free to answer only the ones you want and to make your own “most” categories.

Most Liked Post? (by you)
Most Liked Post? (based on readers comments or hits)
Most Memorable Post?
Most Indicative of Your Blog Identity Post?
Most Humorous Post?
Most Regrettable Post?
Most Misunderstood Post?
Most Satisfying to Write Post?
Most Likely To Never Be Posted Post?
Most Important Post?
Most *Adjective of Your Choice* Post?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Attachment Disorder

Why? The manuscript is done, everything is in the correct file format, and the letter to the editor is composed. All that is left is to push the damn button. Attach. Just attach the file. Push the button. Puuuuusssh it. But I always pause. What if? What if this manuscript is terrible? What if it’s the worst thing I’ve ever written? The worst thing ever written? Fuck it. Push the damn button.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge

Hey newish colleague. Ssssshhhhhh. Over here. I want to tell you something. The honeymoon is over. We’ve protected you from random service duties for as long as we could but some things are inevitable. The secret administrative agents who relentlessly seek out faculty cannot be stopped. They are lurking with their blackberries and clipboards, collecting contact information, waiting. Always waiting. When the moment is right they will pounce. They will ask you to be on various committees and to attend various functions. Sorry. Choose wisely. Here’s a few tips: The more money they spend on the invitation the better the food. If you haven’t seen the invitation, any event in which fancy alumni, politicians, and/or members of the Board of Trustees will be in attendance will have free booze and better food. Notice I did not say good food, but better food and booze. If you have to attend graduation, go to the mid-academic year ones. The big one at the end of the school year is fucking chaos. Do not attend any meeting being held at the library. Those conference rooms always smell mildly of piss, the chairs are uncomfortable, and the coffee shop makes terrible coffee. But a meeting in that ancient old building where the President’s office is located is worth going to. The chairs are plush, the tables are big old wooden affairs and the view of campus is great. Scholarship committee? Definite no.

Perhaps you are thinking “Hey, shouldn’t I base these decisions on the merits of each function and committee? On my willingness and ability to contribute to these functions and committees?” No. Don’t worry about that. They are all the same. You just need to say yes to a few things, just a few. But they are coming for you newish colleague. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome To The Professordome

Please select the answer that best corresponds to your response to the following situations.

While showering you read that your shampoo claims to make your hair 97% shinier…
A). Wash your hair twice to make it 194% shinier. (1 point)
B). What? Is that based on some median hair shine value? And how exactly is hair shininess measured? 97% percent shinier? That’s a pretty significant increase in hair shininess no? How big a difference can there be between the dullest hair and the shiniest? I’d like to see some data. I guess you could measure how reflective it is… Wait. What was I doing? Have I even washed my hair yet? (4 points)
C). Cool. My hair looks like shit. (2 points)

Your friend seeks your advice regarding a strange odor emanating from their lab…
A). Maybe poochie just needs a bath? (1 point)
B). Have you checked the sediment trap? (4 points)

TIAA-CREF is…
A). That company that donates to NPR. (2 points)
B). The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund. (4 points)
C). Those people with the annoying commercials? (1 point)

I still look forward to…
A). Christmas morning (1 point)
B). Weekends (2 points)
C). Motherfucking SPRING BREAK! Hell yeah! I mean, I just want to catch up on some work. (4 points)

When I google myself I am most interested in the results listed under…
A). Google Scholar (4 points)
B). Google Books (3 points)
C). Google Blogs (2 points)
D). Google Images (1 point)

I have socialized with people from my workplace and the following has happened…
A). Someone started quoting Beowulf. (4 points)
B). Someone got really drunk. (0 points, that question implies that YOU were at the party after all)
C). Cocktail napkins were used to graph the relationship between variables. (3 points)

Please sum the point totals that correspond to each of your answers.

20+ points = WELCOME TO THE PROFESSORDOME! The scotch bar is located along the back wall, the tweed and satchel check is to your right, and one of those stressed out looking graduate student would be happy to park your car.

9-19 points = I’m sorry your name is not on the list. Perhaps if someone inside is a co-author or can otherwise vouch for you…I’ll need a reprint of course for verification. Look, there is nothing I can do. Please join the line forming outside and perhaps we can accommodate you later. You’re just a little too hip to be square.

0-8 points = OMG! My professor is over there! Quick, don’t look and keep walking!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Self Fulfilling Professory

I have a brown leather briefcase thing, it’s really more like a satchel. I rarely use it. Why? Because I like tweed jackets. What’s the connection you ask? Well, once clad in tweed the addition of a brown leather satchel instantly makes me conscious of becoming a walking stereotype. I mean really, I may as well add a pipe to the look. A bottle of scotch in the lower desk drawer, some chalk dust on my hands, crazy eyebrows, glasses in my pocket, an office reminiscent of a natural history museum…damn. It’s bad enough I like tweed. Shit.

It shouldn’t matter. I AM a professor. I mean if anyone is going to be wearing tweed and carrying a leather satchel it may as well be me (or you) right? But there I find myself. Clad in tweed staring at a perfectly useful bag gathering dust in my closet. Why this combo of tweed and leather connotes the ultimate “Professor Uniform” to me I do not know. Well, sure I do- the media. Sorry, stupid question. But why do I find it so impossible to put on this particular uniform? I must conform to countless stereotypes in countless ways but the leather satchel packed with books slung over a tweedy shoulder? I just can’t do it. I am totally happy to be associated with tweed, but you add that one little detail and in my mind there I am in my Professor Uniform. It just doesn’t fit right, or maybe it fits too well, it’s confining, it’s comfortable, it’s sexy, it’s comfortable in a ratty t-shirt that should never be worn in public kind of way, it’s accomplished, or is it prideful? It represents both a goal and a warning. It should really just go live in the extra closet with the rest of my luggage.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It’s Not That Hard

Seriously NSF? You are giving me unmodified Microsoft Excel charts? Is that all you got? My students know better. If you are wondering (as I imagine you frequently are) what the fuck I’m talking about, NSF recently sent out their summary report on the merit review process for 2008. Proflike has a nice review of the important stuff here. But let’s talk charts and graphs for a moment. How familiar is the bullshit “2-D Column” chart below?




If you are thinking “looks fine, what’s the problem?” then you don’t work with numbers very much. That’s cool, I find them frustrating but necessary. If you instantly notice, well, notice isn’t the right verb because those stupid blue and purple bars are so ingrained in your head that it’s more like an instantaneous subconscious recognition, that NSF is presenting unmodified Excel charts in their report then you are familiar with quantified data. You’ve made thousands of such things (and have probably long since abandoned Excel), but you know how utterly lame it is to present such a figure. The colors, the stupid symbols for “Line Charts”, the inappropriate scale it always picks, the gridlines…fuck. You have to take that shit and customize it! Failure to do so is lazy and/or naïve, it is the equivalent of sticking some unmodified SPSS statistical summary into your paper as a Table or starting a paper with the dictionary definition of your topic. The Oxford Dictionary defines “grant” as the: blah, blah, blah. The horror! Seriously NSF? You can’t do any better?

Is there a qualitative data equivalent? Shakespeare quotes, images of “The Thinker” or something?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Busted

I was camping. It was raining. But who wants to be crammed into a tent? So, I stood under a tree. The campfire was nearby and I had one of those board-of-tourism-like scenes in front of me. Mountains, trees, a lake, the whole camping scene kit-n-kaboodle. I thought to myself, cool, it stopped raining…No dumbass. You’re sitting under a tree. You went there with the specific purpose of NOT getting rained on. You not getting rained on does not mean it’s not raining.

That really happened. I’ll blame it on the campfire smoke *cough*. But, and listen closely, Dr. Gabriel, just because your research stealing ways finally caught up to you last semester does not mean the shitshtorm is over. Stop before we all get hosed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

100 Blogging Posts On The Wall, 100 Blogging Posts…

I dedicate this post to you my dear readers, who I will collectively call Annieopiadamngood-bearcoghopefulambivalentgentlemancliovellum-beargravitaslikejc(enough)substance. On second thought, that’s a rather lousy nickname so I’ll just refer to you as “readers” (but you know who you are). The Acadamnit centennial, is it a milestone? A shining moment in blog history? Is anyone preparing a commemorative book/special journal edition/conference symposium celebrating this momentous occasion? Probably not. All it means is that this post is boiling on the Celsius scale, it’s 10 degrees south of due east, we’re damn close to the molecular weight of calcium carbonate, and for those of you consulting your handy dandy periodic tables- welcome to Fermium (yeah we’re radioactive)!

My first post was written during the height of my T&P experience…now I am safely ensconced in the sabBATical cave. What can I say? The SabBATical cave rocks. I had been griping about getting old earlier, but you know, it has its benefits. My life in many ways resembles summer break in high school. I work a few hours and fuck off a lot. I’ve hung out, traveled, gotten trashed in the middle of the day, slept till noon, been to movies, saw my favorite band play, read my ass off, cooked good food, got dressed up, went camping, went to a demolition derby (no shit), and watched some good tv. Fucking high school! But, and this is a profound difference, I a). have some money; and b). am not as stupid as I was in high school. It’s a good combo, high school lifestyle with a grown-up brain. I dig it. When does anyone get a year to just hang? To enjoy all the stuff they normally don’t have time for? …but now I have a year, my own house, no curfew, an ID, and some understanding of how the world works. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about cops anymore (or anyone puking).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hell To The No

So Ink (via Naptime Writing) had a post recently about books you’re supposed to like but don’t. Thank you! I have wanted to rant about a book I read recently but it seemed like such a random post that I shelved the idea. But hey, now I have an “in” so let’s release some book hatred:

It assaulted me with language. I fucking hated it. It made me want to communicate in short sentences for days. Hi. Beer. Great. Yes. Food. OK. Bye. Sorry. No officer. It was one of those books where you have to read 3 pages just to get to the part where someone finishes the damn sentence they started thousands of words ago. I know, I know! You want to know the book. I’ll tell you, BUT keep the following in mind. If the book I am about to name is, like, your favorite book or something you need to do the following: prepare a brief argument to justify your position regarding the novels redeeming qualities (but first quell your anger) and then rethink your position and just agree with me that it sucks. Here we go, A Fable by William Faulkner. Goddamned it sucked. Ooooh, I said GODdamned, could that be a biblical reference? Could you shove the bible in my face any harder Faulkner? Oh sorry Faulkner, you probably don’t understand what I’m saying. Would it help if I wrote “I” followed by 3 pages of uselessly wordy elaboration “get” followed by 3 pages of even more uselessly wordy elaboration “it” already? Sorry A Fable but you are now relegated to the no-mans-land region of my bookcases where you can sit unnoticed and unloved right next to The Shipping News. Have fun with that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

John D. & Catherine T.

What gives? Yet again you have failed to award me a Genius Grant. You seem to favor the type of genius that creates tangible evidence of their scientific and artistic prowess. I have to cry foul! How prejudice of you! What about us geniuses that perform our amazing acts of disease curing and culture changing in a purely imaginary realm? (and no, an imaginary $500,000 won’t do). Just because my geniosity (see! I can make up words, we geniuses do that) has resulted in no tangible manifestations does not mean you should overlook me.

How kick-ass must it be to win one of those things? Can you imagine? …oh nothing much new with me, you know, just been hanging out and winning a MacArthur Genius Grant. …oh that? It’s just a little something I picked up with my MacArthur Genius Grant check. …oh hi there Tenure & Promotion committee, well, let’s see, I did win a MacArthur Genius Grant, does that count? Damn.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Burn! Baby Burn!


I just took my entire Faculty Retreat packet and burned it in my fireplace.

What Is This Meeting About Exactly?

There is an old saying that goes “Only Users Lose Drugs.” It might have been “Only Losers Use Drugs” but Officer McGruff or whoever the hell tried to teach us that in high school was a lousy teacher. (Remember the fake joints they passed around? They were sooooo fake. Obviously if they were real we would have stolen them …which speaks volumes for the quality of anti-drug education I was forced to sit through as a kid…but I digress.) You see, with a little wordplay a stupid little saying becomes funny. Not hilarious funny, but mildly amusing. But when you say “let’s have a committee meeting” I hear “let’s have a commit me meeting.” Not what I want to hear. Not funny.

Commit? As in force me from my lair to attend a gathering of people at a predetermined time and place? To rise from bed early? Or, commit as in check me into the nearest “facility”? Which could happen because I don’t go anywhere near campus until very late at night (and in a ninja suit) and you want your little meeting during prime time don’t you? The sheer volume of work related crap I would have to encounter in order to attend your meeting could certainly cause mental instability. I am willing to attend (for the sake of assuaging the guilt I would feel for abandoning you) but I am not traipsing past the main office, walking by the graduate student offices, or going anywhere near my office. I can attend your meeting but I will be entering the building via the loading dock and by accessing the back staircase I can make my way to the basement storage room or the roof. These are your meeting location options. Please plan accordingly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Would You Like To Lick Coffee Off A Slotted Spoon?

Would you? My coffee maker seems to think you would. Or, if you prefer, I can offer you some coffee soaked chopsticks. Perhaps a spatula is more your style, or some tongs. I call the ice-cream scoop!

Fucking coffee maker. After many months of dutiful service my coffee maker has decided to expand its horizons, to try new things, to explore its creative side so to speak. Apparently making coffee IN THE POT is no longer enough. Today my coffee maker decided to gurgle its water and grounds all over the countertop, dribbling them down into the utensil drawer below and all over the floor. Interesting approach coffee maker, I had no idea you had such creative intentions. If I had my wits about me (by which I mean if I had enough caffeine in my system to function like a human) I would say something about how it’s good to try new things…about how sometimes it makes a big mess but it’s worth a try. About how why the hell can’t I try that, what’s the worst that could happen? It would be all cheesily supportive of pursuing new things. But, fuck it. I’m too busy licking coffee off of this garlic press for that.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Rang?

Oooh look at me! I’ve been lured out of my sabBATical cave by a font crisis. Yes, crisis.

A brief aside: First, yes, I can have an aside after only 3 sentences (more like 2 sentences but whatever). Second, my beloved laptop is ill, very ill. So dire is its health that I had to leave it with an IT dude. He is probably watching porn, playing video games, or chatting with his weirdo role-playing community RIGHT NOW on MY laptop. I on the other hand am stuck on an unfamiliar computer. It feels like wearing rented bowling shoes without socks. Necessary, but icky. For all the moments when proper equipment is necessary, a font rant is undoubtedly one of them. One must have their fonts handy, and one MUST have their previous rants handy because fontrific posts require a little digital maneuvering for uploading to Blogger. Blogger doesn’t provide enough fonts to meet my fonting needs, and if you don’t make your text the right size? Well, that really pisses Blogger off. And yet the special fontphone rang in my sabBATical cave. It was AnnieEm on the line. So duty calls and I must forge on.

If you haven’t heard, Ikea changed their font. That’s interesting. Seriously. Let’s take a look at the switch.


The switch is from Futura to Verdana. Ikea, like most corporations, tweaked standard Futura and Verdana but it’s essentially the same fonts as on your computer (YOUR computer not MY computer- my computer is either stuck in computer ICU or is being forced to display klingon porn). Why has Ikea done this? Again, let’s examine.


Cash is the answer. Verdana is cheap and Microsoft invented, it was designed to be read on a computer screen. Futura is elegant and makes your cheap chair feel a little spiffier. Damnit Ikea! Why? I am, or was, comfortably ensconced in my sabBATical cave. It’s not like you changed fonts to something cooler… I am not anti-font change but you went for something sterile and common. It would be like, crap, like what would that be like? Like if on a box of Frosted Flakes Tony said “They’re Great!” in motherfucking Times New Roman. Everyone knows tigers don’t talk that way (except highly educated snooty tigers and Tony don’t run like that). It would just be wrong. It doesn’t evoke the right sentiment. Chairs, frosted flakes, prescription drugs, strange hair doodads that make tumors appear in your “rocked” pony, it’s all the same. We WILL be bombarded with logos and packaging. At the very least I expect a little creative effort. Switching to Verdana is just sad. There is a petition to protest this change.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blah(g)

It’s time to diagnose the problem. The folk remedies I have tried are not working. Usually a drink, an annoying email, a fresh can of spray-paint to huff, or a trip to the grocery store provides a natural stimulus. What is the fucking deal? I will now subject myself to some free flowing (visit your analyst style) blog-writing introspection. I will lie back on this divan. You can take one of those leather wingbacks. Let us begin.

Our first question comes from Candid Engineer: When you feel the urge, do you run to the computer right away, or do you let it brew for a couple of hours? I, myself, don't fight it.

Well, neither. I get the urge to blog. I have no idea what I’ll write about but I usually sit down with a cup of coffee with the intent to write something, and then it just happens. Or sometimes I like to put on my smoking jacket, don a foil helmet, take my pants off and…oh wait, that’s getting off track. No. I don’t want to discuss that. Never mind. No really, I was just kidding. Uh, so in response to your question, it’s sort of a general urge to write a post but not an urge to write anything specific. Except when Thor…oh fuck. Next question?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blogged Pipes


Strangely, I seem to having nothing to say. This has never happened before. I am sure it will pass. But I have some sort of cloggage in my blog writing pipes. A bloggage we’ll call it. Hhm. I guess I just have to wait it out. So uh yeah, I’ll just go look for that plunger…it’s around here somewhere.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I’ll Just Be Over Here

I just realized that I would normally be thinking about syllabi right now. It’s Syllabi season, that season of the year falling nicely between Summer and Fucking Hell Is It Winter Break Yet Season? season. The time when you realize that yes, you have taught this course before. But last time it was MWF, and now its T/R; and it was a different semester and the holidays were different; oh, and last time you decided that grading those assignments was horrendous and that you should do it different next time; and that damnit you should work in some new stuff since last time you taught it. It’s that season. I don’t have to do that? For reals? Granted, Syllabi season has its charms. All seasons do. But I don’t mind skipping it this year. I feel for you my readers. I do. I imagine you all engaging in the classic Syllabi season rituals as you prepare to entrench yourselves into another semester. I can’t say I miss it, it’s pretty nice to still be in Summer. But I am over here tipping my hat to you. I am sending you goodwill in the manner most appropriate for the season: a great new review article that could be a perfect start (or ending) for your graduate seminar, my bank of exam questions from when I used that textbook, a PBS film I bought that you could totally blow off two days of class watching without feeling too guilty about, and hey I don’t plan on being on campus much and you’re teaching over in megabuilding right? Cause I have a punch card from the coffee shop in the basement of megabuilding and it only needs one more punch for a free drink, so you may as well have it. Good luck.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shit Rainbows Followers Look For A Pot Gold Underwear

What? Do you have a problem with that title? What does it mean you ask? Fuck if I know. What does that mean? Why would someone Google that? Under what circumstances is that something worth googling? I suspect the answer could be very funny, or very, very strange— probably both. Please person who googled that, do it again! Come back here and explain yourself! Did your previous Acadamnit experience leave you wanting more information about pot of gold underwear for your rainbow shits? What did you eat to make yourself shit rainbows? Can I have some? C’mon share! Are you a leprechaun? I don’t know any leprechauns, you could be my first! (If you’re a unicorn, fuck off. I’ve known your type before and you are all insufferable jackasses, you can just shit rainbows all over yourselves for all I care). Pot of gold underwear? That would be really uncomfortable, it’s summer after all and I don’t think gold vessels would look very good under shorts. Look, just come back and explain yourself. Please? Pretty please with fairies vomiting butterflies on top?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Minivan Ice-Cream Man

Since when does the ice-cream man drive around in a damn minivan? (try to say that really fast 5 times…hard huh?) I heard the telltale music clinking its way up my street. I felt the five dollar bill in my pocket. Ice-cream truck. Ice-cream man. White boxy ice-cream van. An ice-cream sandwich! And then I watched a battered blue minivan drive by, ice-cream man music provided by CD. Fuck Me. A shitty ice-cream sticker stuck to the door, clever money making strategy for sure. But I want the ice-cream man of yore.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CC: MeMeIgnoreIgnoreUU

You can cc me on that shit all you want, I’m not falling for it. Most of the cc’s seem like a courtesy, sort of a we know you are on sabbatical and just wanted to keep you informed. But those recent ones? You are damn near begging me to step in with needed information (information that is available to ALL of you I might add if you would just pay attention). I am not going to do it. No. Why can’t anyone else keep track of this shit? It’s not difficult people. CC me on that shit all you want. You will get NO response.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dear Book,

Fucking hell. My house is a wreck. Wrap it up author! You keep sucking me in with crazy fantastic writing. I’ve been subsisting on coffee and nutter-butters for days now. You are completely interfering with my life Book! I thought I would hate you, I tried to read you once before. Your opening salvo of introducing way too many characters at once in a setting I normally find boring is why you sat neglected for so long. I started again. I was skeptical of you Book. Now look at me. I’m a mess. You are not a casual sex type book. We are in a damn relationship now! We need to end this. I love you, but we can’t go on like this forever.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Project Report 3A: Strolling Policy

Please pause for a moment while I mount my high horse, step onto this soapbox, identify who declared me boss, and placed this crown on my head. OK, that’s better. It’s much more comfortable up here, the view and accessories are topnotch. Now that I am situated I have a few things to say:

People of the Blogspot, stop starting blogs about scrapbooking. Stop it. Just give it a rest. I understand that a little memento curation may be in order. I get that. Go ahead and organize your photographs your trinkets, your ticket stubs and such. That day, event, or whatnot may have been memorable. Do it for yourself, your kids, your grandpa, or whomever. But I would estimate that 27% of all the blogs I ran into while strolling through the blogosphere (by pushing “next blog” a billion times) were about scrapbooks. A solid 85% of those scrapbooking blogs are suck-ass-awful. Just cheesy crap that looks so “mass produced scrapbook cliché” that apparently entire families have never experienced a single moment that could not be characterized by a sticker assortment. What the hell is this shit? Stop blogging about it. I find it depressing. It really, and I mean really, looks like you are just forcing personal “moments” to happen. Like you dragged you grandpa to the rodeo just so you could take his picture with a cowboy hat on and buy some cowboy themed decals. That is not cool. Grandpa was half asleep and did not enjoy stepping in animal shit.

That leaves the remaining 15% of scrapbooking blogs. Some of you are in a language I don’t understand (and cannot even identify), some of you seem rather genuine in your pursuits, and some have the benefit of artistic talent. You may continue. But, People of the Blogspot, our avenues and scenic byways are cluttered with terrible scrapbooking blogs. Our streets cannot be strolled safely, assaulted by glitter, ribbons, and damn near anything that can be glued to piece of busily patterned paper, danger lurks around every corner. I think that People with Blogs about Sports Teams (especially you foreign language ones) and People with Blogs about Your Wedding Photography Business should unite and patrol your neck of the Blogspot woods for feral scrapbookers (Photogs: you capture their picture; Sports Team People: you rally your fans and do not let your favorite team and sport be reduced to a patterned picture border template). Fashion Blogs and Cooking Blogs, collectively you must patrol our commercial centers. Use your skills to keep our markets free from cheap counterfeit scrapbook “memories” and the aesthetic shit-pile of glue and paper. Family Bloggers, do not let these people infiltrate you! They want in. They want to invite your kid over, but make sure Susie wears pink (it will look better in the pictures) and they want you to buy their crap (so YOU TOO can have family memories just LIKE THEIRS!).

There is a role for all of us. We must unite. People of the Blogspot, and that means you Blogs with Terrible Financial Advice, Blogs of Artists (who should be outraged at the schmuckiness of it all), and Blogs about Various Things in Nature, we need to unite and form a citizens patrol. I know, it sounds all anti-democratic, it sounds like censorship. We can’t be total assholes about this. Blogs about Particular Professions (even the illegal ones), Blogs about Politics, and Blogs about Angst (the fake kind you have as a youngster that only bad poetry and copious amounts of black clothes can fix): stop hiding in your pigeonholes and join us! We must all resist the bad scrapbookers glittery charm.

We must politely allow bad scrapbooking to enter the ranks of Alf, Members Only jackets, and that weird machine that shook your ass and thigh fat for no apparent purpose (did anyone really believe that would do anything? You know that “exercise machine” that probably ran on steam or something and consisted of a vibrating belt?)…anyway, we need to let bad scrapbooking become a distant and funny in its craptacularness thing of the past. Do not be swayed by the scent of their glue (ask the Blogs about Huffing, you can do better) or their fancy cutting implements, we need to protect our streets. Think of the future bloggers whose dreams were dashed by the viewing of a single St. Patricks Day themed photo frame idea (with INSTRUCTIONS! For only $9.95!). Think of the tourists strolling through our lands and their disappointment at seeing the same beribboned bullshit over and over again. Shit, I live here and I can’t even go for a pleasant evening stroll. Damnit!

Yes, I am an elitist bastard. (dismounting now)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ye Olde Blogge Poste

Let’s play a game shall we? The game will be called How I Know I’m Old. I thought this game existed already. I thought I knew how old I was. I know about time. I understand, in a practical sense, how time passes and its effects. I am aware of my age. I know my birthday. I don’t remember all my birthdays that well…especially the really early ones and the ones that have occurred since I became aware of celebratory birthday substances. Nonetheless, I know my age. But I have only recently begun to realize that I am old. Old. I saw vacation pictures. Not childhood vacation pictures— those just make me feel like a grownup, not old per se, but I saw old adulthood vacation pictures. Shit. I look young. Fuck. I am fucking oooooold. This has me looking for other signs that I am old. Why? Did you read my previous post? I don’t want to be that person. I need to stay on top of this me getting old thing. I do not want to have some ridiculous mid-life crisis. Well…does a sport car always come with it? Can I just have the car part of the typical mid-life crisis?

Fuck. Sometimes new fangled computer things come up that I don’t know how to use. Typical old person occurrence. (Shit, I also used the term “new fangled”. How old person is that?) I never get mistaken for a grad student anymore. I rarely get carded. My dog is old. I look like a baby in those vacation pictures. What else is showing my age? Let’s play.

Books
I have some books that were new and fancy when I was a student. I spent a fortune on them. Now second editions and third editions are out on some. Crap.

Drinks
Well, I still love cheap beer. That’s good. But, I’ve fallen prey of enjoying old people drinks. Hard simple drinks that tasted like lighter fluid when I was young, like scotch. Damn, a scotch sounds good.

Glasses
I went to pour myself a drink and realized I have old people glasses. Young people have a hodge podge of assorted beverage containers. I have like sets of glasses, some for this, some for that…old people drinking vessels. You know, like goatskins and goblets. (Sorry my scotch bottle has some kind of vague old timey dude on it)

I think I better stop now. This could get depressing. At least I’ve read the books now, right? I can order a drink with authority, I quality I find very respectable…and if you wanted a drink I probably have the right glass to put it in (as long as you don’t want a scotch, I drank it all). Crap. But you know those old vacation pictures? They were real pictures, not digital. That’s’ old. Damn.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Do You Need A Tissue?

Dude. Stop mid-life-crisising all over me. Your sticky need for validation is getting disgusting. The car, the drinks, the name dropping…it’s all a bit too blatant. Try to embrace your crisis in a way that does not assault my senses with overly colorful shirts and weak attempts to act as if your “inner cool guy” just happens to be emerging. That inner cool guy you keep spewing out is really a jerk. I fully support your right to have an identity crisis, but tone it the fuck down. Do you really intend to transform into a cliché? Am I supposed to believe that your true calling is a c.1980s style “arrogant asshole with a cool car” dude? That guy always gets screwed at the end of the movie. Please edit your mid-life crisis to conform to the “nerd embraces his nerdiness resulting in acceptance” genre. It suits you better. If you can’t do that, start carrying some baby wipes around with you because you are making us all feel slimy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh It’s Good, Very Good

Ever wondered if it would be OK to just ignore work shit? I mean work shit, not fun parts of your job, but the annoying bureaucratic paperworky parts. It’s fucking A awesome. What was that meeting? You need everyone to fill out what form? Huh? What? I can’t hear you. Sorry! I’m deleting, not opening, and ignoring shit right and left. It’s like a beautiful slo-mo shot of me dodging obligations. It is in many ways, the end of an era…or maybe an error. But either way, it’s nice. I can actually remember why I liked my job. I get to think about weird shit that I find entertaining, measure things, hypothesize and do all that good science stuff. I wasn’t sure when the whole sabbatical idea would really kick in. It is slowly sinking in nicely. This was worth working for.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Immanuel Font

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Suck It Trebek

Jeopardy Categories I Suck At vs. Categories I Could Kill On
(answer I would write for the Final Jeopardy round)

1. Opera Singers************Ape or Singer?
(Kathleen Battle)***************(Singer)

2. Geography**************Google Earth
(Red Sea)*******************(16°43'58.02"S 179°45'5.35"W)

3. German Folk Songs*****German Folk Bongs
(no fucking idea)*************(the Bob Marley Commemorative)

4. Crossword Clues “B”****Sudoku Clues “8”
(bolo tie)***********************(8!)

5. Poets*******************Potent Potables
(Rilke)*************************(Gin)

6. Odds and Ends*********Ends with Odd
(James Polk)*****************(Mary Todd)

7. Naval Battles***********Naval Types
(Guadalcanal)****************(Innie)

8. Anagrams**************A Grams An____?
(if tuck)******************* *(ounce, 0.035th of)

9. Rhyme Time********(**Mime Rhyme
(deck Trebek)***************(Marcel fell)

10. The Bible*************The Bibliography
(Jacob? Esau?)***************(PNAS)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Got Nothing

Typity, type, type. Pause. Typity, backspace, delete. Check email. Oh I know, typity, typity, ta-type type. No. Wait, yes. Backspace, fuck it. Save. Coffee. Typity, type. Maybe I should do some laundry. Maybe I just feel compelled to do laundry because I can’t stand staring at this not done paper. Fuck this not done paper. Maybe I could just eke out a few more sentences. Typity, typity, typity, ta-type, type type. Hmm. Backspace. Delete. Fuck. If I could just finish this paragraph, I could…what? What is going to happen if I finish the paragraph? Nothing. Wait. What if something fantastic were to happen? Perhaps the phone will ring…Why yes! I would love to join the National Academy! Not gonna happen. Typity, type. They’ll never call if I don’t finish this damn not done paper. Concentrate Damnit. Type, type, type, type, type. Didn’t so and so just publish a paper on this? I should read it. Right now. Whatever journal, I’m not paying 20 bucks for that just cause it’s new. I’ll check their personal website. Wow. That’s a really hideous picture. Oh, I didn’t know you went to that school. Is my picture that bad? I better check. Fuck, my webpage would look better with this fucking not done paper on it. Whatever, no more internet until this paragraph is done.

Does it still count as done if you write it and then delete it. No, no it doesn’t. Type. Type. Typity. Backspace. Delete. Capslock. TYPE. WHAT? Why do I always hit that? Stupid. Typity, type. That’s a paragraph, a kinda crappy one, more like a paracraph. Whatever. I should stop now. But maybe I could force out a little more. No. Yes. Fuck. Why did I ever agree to write this? Vanity, that’s why. That’s lame of me. I hate this not done paper. Fucking writer’s block. Save. Close. Whatever.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coniferous Rage

Oh hi there Enormous Tree In My Yard, don’t mind me. I’m just standing here. This giant beaker I’m holding with tongs? Don’t worry about it. It’s just an imaginary container of hydrochloric acid. The giant arm length gloves I’m wearing are imaginary too (safety first!). I wouldn’t really dump this toxic shit on your roots. But if you don’t mind, I’ll just continue imagining that I would…that I am…that I did. Sorry Enormous Tree in My Yard, you are lovely really. But you are spewing little sticky things all over the place. It was OK when they were all over the yard. By the time they spread to the driveway thoughts of a severe pruning with a dull and rusty blade crept to mind. Then they started sticking to the bottom of my shoes. Perhaps you would enjoy a quick dip in the wood chipper? Then my dog showed up looking like some Muppet version of a conifer. Perhaps you would like to get intimate with my chainsaw? Your little sticky growth spawn is now all over my house. Stuck to the couch, in my bed, in my shower, clogging up my dryer lint screen, just generally taunting my every effort at cleanliness…I suspect you are trying to suffocate me. Don’t think you can hide behind your christmasy good looks, your snow draped appearance of months past means nothing to me. I know you’re up to some no good growth spurt but I’m going to continue my imaginary logging competition training (that’s right, look how fast my giant buck saw is slicing you!) until you quit dropping those fucking sticky ass tree shits.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Jingle of a Dog’s Collar Would Be Fine

C’mon Park Service. Do you really want my dog stuck in the car? She would like to see some geothermal points of interest too. And she wants to go for a walk, a real walk, not one where the car remains in sight. C’mon, she’s a good girl! What could my dog do that is worst than anything a human could do? (And don’t answer “dog doo” like you are being all clever or something, she doesn’t use toilet paper, the shit will be gone in no time) You really want my dog to just not see any of the cool stuff and hang out in my car? That shit is wrong.

(P.S. Smokey the Bear, you’re an embarrassment to the world of Ursids. Take the fucking pants off. I know some Park Service design team couldn’t decide how to portray your genitals…but you’re a fucking bear, step up to the plate and act like one by showing some junk.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Criminal Intent

After being compared to a petty criminal, it got me thinking about all the crimes I would like to commit. If ever land myself in jail, it is likely due to one of the following:

Larceny: I found an odd item stashed away in a summer rental house…I really wanted to steal it. It was puuurty and worth some cash. I wish I had. Did I mention how very purty it was? And how it appeared to be wholly unappreciated? That it would have fit in my luggage? I didn’t take it, stupid ethics.

Looting: Hell yes. I have never experienced a riot. However, if I found myself in a large-scale urban riot I will be heading directly to the nearest lighting store and I am smashing the light fixtures into bits. I love the idea of breaking all that glass.

Drugs: A nice little garden would be good. You know, for making rope and such.

Mischief: There is this big red knob…it’s in the stairwell of my building. Every time I walk by it, it screams “turn me, turn me all the way and run!” Oooh I want to turn it.

White Collar: What exactly is keeping me from selling cheap vegetables purchased at Safeway at the local Farmer’s Market for twice the price? All I have to do is remove some stickers, sprinkle a little dirt on top and stick them in some kind of pastoral looking holder (e.g. bushel basket, old milk crate, apple box, etc…). Oh yeah, the ethics thing again.

Kidnapping: Look Isaac Brock, it’s not my fault I have no idea how to reach you. If I could call, email, or text you, I would. But you know, you haven’t given me that option. So if you are ever anywhere near my car, you are getting in and coming home with me. We’re just going to hang out (geez, I’m not a rapist). I’ll make you dinner and blast your music and you just have to hang out for a few hours. That’s all. It won’t even seem like kidnapping…no need to call the cops or anything. Just relax. Can I interest you in a drink?

Defamation: I fucking hate that asshole on ESPN who always holds a highlighter in his hand that matches his fucking tie. Terrible.

Disrupting the Peace: No. Pepsi is not alright. I want a COKE. Why would I order a COKE if I wanted a Pepsi? I am just going to sit here and loudly complain until the international stalemate between Coke and Pepsi is resolved and both become universal restaurant options. Go to Camp David if need be, I want a fucking Coke.

Anyone else? I’m not sure about blog meme etiquette (i.e. does it exist? Can I just make one up?), but it’s rather fun to think about, so if any of you harbor secret criminal intentions consider yourself tagged with the “Crime Spree” meme. (It probably already exists in some form or another, but this one requires herkies and/or fist bumps for proper completion.)