Thursday, October 29, 2009


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)

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


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).