Category Archives: Fate

August 8, 2012, 5:06 pm

The End of Summer Blues: Is It Back To School Already?

“What’s the point of trying to finish my book now!!?!”

It’s getting to be That Time of Year.

That’s right: it’s back to school and whatever isn’t done, isn’t done.  That long lovely summer you were looking forward to in May? Over. Or nearly so. Except for those of you who are still watching ribbon gymnastics and beach volleyball in preparation for your research sabbatical, summer’s ending. What to do, what to do? How to break out of that nasty transition stage where you are just shuffling paper around your desk but unable to to accomplish much — whether it’s your own work or anything remotely connected to starting school — because in a few short weeks the students will descend?

I can’t do anything about the calendar, but let’s try to cheer up with a few Radical solutions to the end of summer blues!  For …

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December 31, 2011, 1:51 pm

Living In The Middle; Or, What I Learned At My First Job

Today is the day I go off the payroll of Zenith University, the institution that gave me my first job. Tomorrow I officially go on the payroll of another university in Metropolis, the city where I went to graduate school.  If all goes well, we will move in mid-summer.

OK, so Zenith wasn’t actually my first job.  I had a fair amount of work experience before I began my twenty years there in July 1991. Prior employment included: aluminum can recycling; substitute receptionist at Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate; popcorn stand attendant at a neighborhood movie house (the summer Jaws was released, no less); stringer for the Hartford Courant; administrative assistant and general dogsbody at a boutique public relations firm; writer/editor at an advertising agency; bicycle messenger; teaching assistant, research assistant, assistant to the Dean of the College; proofreader at the SoHo

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December 1, 2011, 10:52 pm

Going Postal: A Few Random Thoughts At The End of Term

I was at the Zenith post office today, mailing a large box of books to a former advisee now in his first year of graduate school.  As usual, I had to wait in line.  Students, who have little access to ordinary household supplies, have a tendency to purchase a box at the post office for whatever they are sending and then pack the box right at the counter.  This means that when a personal appearance at the PO is called for, and you don’t feel like driving downtown, it is usually a good idea to bring something to read:  each customer ahead of you can take a while to finish up.  When I got to the front of the line, the Mistress of Post rang up my shipment at the Media Mail rate, and I held out my debit card. (more…)

August 28, 2011, 10:13 am

The Canceled Vacation, Back To School Nation, Hurricane Irene Blues

One of our favorite techniques for handling those last ten days before school starts is to go on a short beach vacation.  For the second year in a row, our plans have been canceled because of a hurricane.  Last year we were supposed to go to Stonington, CT. After endless dire predictions (which included the hurricane making landfall at Stonington and a ten year old relative calling to advise us not to go) we canceled, only to watch the storm drift out to sea, leaving a beautiful weekend behind. (more…)

November 17, 2008, 5:53 pm

Edie Sedgwick: R.I.P., an online magazine devoted to death — or, as they say on the website, “What death can mean to the living and what living may have meant to the dead” — reminds us with this story by Paul Wilner that November 16 was the 37th anniversary of Edie Sedgwick’s death. She died of a lethal dose of pills and alcohol, ingested accidentally, like so many fabulous people of that drug-addled era.

Sedgwick, a society hanger on of the Factory crowd was, as you may recall, one of the few celebrities associated with Warhol who was already a celebrity in her own right. She also brought money and class to a very ambitious artist at crucial moment in his career when he had neither.

But for my money, the best thing about Sedgwick (other than that she serves as the focus the book that best evokes Warhol’s early Factory years, Jean Stein’s Edie: An American Girl) is that she may have been the…

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March 21, 2008, 1:02 pm

Notes on the End of Spring Break

Spring break is almost over: in fact, you could say it is over, since around mid-afternoon, various beloved family members descend on our normally secluded life. So, much as I would like to write something fun for everyone today, I have to take a stab at doing some of the things I have left until the last minute. Although I am pleased to say I have accomplished much over break (in addition to screwing up my right knee, so that until I got a lovely shot of cortisone under my patella I spent several days on a cane imagining myself lurching aggressively around Zenith for the rest of my career, like an academic version of Dr. House.) An yet, there are a number of items that remain on my list.

Like grading my midterm exams. Some things never change, eh? Even though I am at a stage in life where I have a grader to help me I still can’t pull myself together to finish. Only my compulsive …

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June 14, 2007, 1:59 pm

Letter To An Anonymous Blogger

I just posted this as a comment on Tim Lacy’s History and Education: Past and Present, and realized that, although it is part of an ongoing discussion Tim has been trying to spark about anonymous blogging, the post I attached it to was old enough that it might get a little lost. This is my own reflection on anonymity, and on having come out as a blogger. I have edited it a bit more because I am a compulsive re-writer; I have also not included a link to the blog under discussion so that no one is confused that it is a critique of that blogger. It isn’t: this is a smart blog by a graduate student, with great posts, and you can find it over at Tim’s place.

Dear Tim,

Thanks for sending AnonymousBlogger to my post about relinquishing my anonymity — I do think anonymity raises ethical and practical issues that everyone at all ranks of the profession ought to think about on an ongoing…

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June 4, 2007, 1:58 pm

One Thing Leads to Another: Blogging Dilemmas and the Sopranos Upcoming Finale

OK. So I was adding a final comment to the previous post, in which a Zenith student has raised some interesting issues about sexual identity and classroom dynamics in the Hallowed Halls, a conversation enriched by several contributions from Gayprof and Adjunct Whore. And as I was doing it, I was having the conflicted feelings I always experience when I end up writing in response to an issue that is specifically about students and life at Zenith. I can only express the attraction-revulsion dilemma this way: remember when Al Pacino, as Michael Corleone, I believe in Godfather III, (having mistakenly thought he has taken the business entirely legit and cut his own ties with organized crime) snarls: “The family. Every time you think you have gotten away they reach out and suck you back in again.” Godfather purists will forgive me, I hope, for having the quote, and possibly even the…

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