- Kind of delighted to discover that an inchworm snagged a ride back from lunch on my sweater http://t.co/wBGcjOGX #
- Sometimes I get invited to the coolest academic events! Poison, experimental cocktails, and speakeasy NYC at USC: http://t.co/pn4SIgyf #
- This piece keeps running through my mind bc it runs counter to so much of the advice that I received about my diss'n: http://t.co/DzwN5wPE #
- Announcing the 2011-2012 Past Tense seminars @TheHuntington: http://t.co/FL2qMQOL All of you writer-historian types are welcome to join in! #
- Looking forward to meeting the #chapmanmedia students & talking twitter on Thursday :) #
- coffee-drinking linked to less depression in women: http://t.co/nsaMdJNX #morninglatteftw #
- sniff. snuffle. sip hot tea. cough. #yuck :( #
- RT @geoparadigm: We are all cyborgs now http://t.co/3P1fykbt via @caseorganic #culture #identity #technology #cyborg #
- Just realized that the tulip bulbs that came my way via Amsterdam this summer have now been refrigerated long enough to be planted. :) #
- Am headed to NYC next month for the #mobilityshifts summit. Who else is going? http://t.co/6EtQAlo4 #
- Macarons, now in English: http://t.co/5ZUlJ4YG #iliketheminanylanguage :) #
Last night I worked a bit late and thought I would step out of my office to find a quiet office suite. Instead, in the fishbowl conference room in the middle of our floor, a Professor led a class lecture about Quantum Mechanics (because of the space ‘crunch’ at our university, even the administrative conference rooms are used as classrooms after-hours). I stood there, looking through the window at the prof’s powerpoint slides for a good 10 minutes until I peeled myself away to head home (if I hadn’t had the kids to care for, I probably would’ve lingered even longer). His lecture about Schrodinger’s equation brought back fond memories from high school when I first learned about quantum mechanics via this book that I swiped from my father’s bookshelves (oh, and then there were those eager conversations with my Chemistry teacher afterwards, too, as I tried to make sense of what I was learning)…
It’s a thrill to know that the faculty that I rub shoulders with on a daily basis are doing such path-breaking work. And that I get to eavesdrop on their lectures (and aid with their pedagogy and research through my administrative position) is similarly thrilling. I’m not cut out to be a Physicist, but I know a thing or two about cats and boxes (and cats in boxes), and I remember when I first encountered Schrodinger’s cat and realized that my view of the world would never be quite the same again.
Image of my favorite Ellykitty in a box.
Lately, many of my friends have been discussing sexuality, specifically how the LDS church approaches the topic (with many rules/strictures/punishments) or how feminists approach it (with openness, but concern about the subjectification of women). It’s a complicated topic, one that deserves a lot of thought and scrutiny. I’ve found that the guidelines offered by Friends (Quakers) are helpful to me in navigating this now that I’m no longer married, but would be curious what guiding principles you live by in your life, so your sexuality brings “delight, fulfillment and celebration” within the context of a respectful and responsible relationship.
Here’s the Advice & Query from the Pacific Yearly Meeting on this theme:
Friends celebrate any union that is dedicated to mutual love and respect, regardless of the unique make-up of the family. We strive to create homes where the Spirit of the Divine resides at the center and where the individual genius of each member is respected and nurtured.
Human sexuality is a divine gift, forming part of the complex union of body, mind and spirit that is our humanity. In a loving adult relationship in a context of mutual responsibility, sexuality brings delight, fulfillment and celebration.
Are my sexual practices consistent with my spiritual beliefs and free of manipulation and exploitation?
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in the shadow of the Mormon temple where I married nearly 20 years ago and where, after that, I returned almost-weekly to perform ritual ordinances. I had some time to think about that place and what it meant to me then, to think about the areas of that building where memorable events occurred, to think about my own naivete. And also my hope. I married just a few years after finishing my cancer treatments. It seemed that my life was so precious and so fragile. I wanted so much to love and be loved (as I still do). I threw myself into my marriage with that intention.
Later in the evening I ate dinner in an intimate french cafe, where the charming proprietor picked up the mic and sang popular french songs as we all lingered over our meals. Of course Piaf is so quintessentially french to me now, she’s almost over-the-top cliche. But every time I hear “Non, je ne regrette rien,” I feel the power of the words once again…as I did last night.
There’s been some times since my divorce that I did have regrets: that I was angry and felt that I’d chosen wrong or had failed to see clearly what was happening right in front of my eyes. But at the same time…I loved fiercely. I was honest and I gave everything I could to that relationship. I’d like to think that that’s the kind of person that I continue to be now, too (though perhaps a bit more careful or guarded after having been hurt). I’m committed to living my life sans regrets, and to being generous with both my past and my present self.
Last night she was so beautiful as she sang, tilting her head back, closing her eyes and losing herself in the music. Though I don’t sing, if I did I would like to think that I could sing that song as she did, or as Edith did. Feeling it with every fibre of myself and knowing that it was true for me, too.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my priorities and goals and focus (or occasional lack thereof of all three things). This poem resonated with me on many levels because of that, and because of the ever-present gnawing insecurity that I’m just not good enough or committed enough to see my projects through to completion.
An excerpt from “For the young who want to” by Marge Piercy (and, by that way, I want to add that her book Circles on the Water is worth every penny–her poetry is thought-provoking and substantial):
Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting[…]
The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
boy else’s mannerisms
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re a certified dentist.
The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better then being loved.
Though I like living in a house for so many reasons, the part I suck at the most is remembering to put the trash & recycling cans out on a certain morning each week. More than once I’ve simply loaded it all up and taken it back to the dumpster/recycler in the parking lot where I used to live because I missed the pickup date at the house.
- Who stole my comfortable bohemian future? http://t.co/7M6ZvZOX #zocalo #
- Wanted to give a shout-out to @boone's comment on my Blackboard post–it's worth a look: http://t.co/QtdP85rM #
- RT @nmhouston @brainpicker: 1969 called, wants its bigotry back – YA authors asked to "straighten" gay characters http://j.mp/qYuh9D #
- Alternatives to Blackboard on @ProfHacker: http://t.co/thmhfOgm #
- I think my little speech full of @zotero-love went over pretty well at the #ChapmanU Digital Humanities Coffeehour this afternoon. :) #
- To all digitally-minded humanists at (or near) #ChapmanU we're having a meetup @Chapmancoffee at noon today. Join us! #
- MT @dancohen: Today's must-read. RT @boone: Blog: I develop free software because of CUNY & Blackboard http://blo.so/93 #
- My latest post on @HistoryCompass: "Travel Course: Chicago" http://t.co/Qd5td8IJ #
- New-ish project, new domain name. #solittletimesomanyprojects :) #
- It's a sleepy Sunday… http://t.co/Vgz4F0jy #
- Professor Hawk wins 2nd place–woot! http://t.co/Pq8cgOW5 #
- It's the digler pie showdown & Aubrey's trying to influence the judges http://t.co/kOGGEQNz #
- Rambling thru @TheHuntington in the sunshine brought back memories of napping along a certain Provence canal on a warm day not long ago :) #
- The Japanese garden is still under construction @ Huntington Library and Gardens http://t.co/ZwUqE49i #
- Finally stayed up late to enjoy the night-blooming flowers in my backyard yesterday. Amazed by the sight & fragrance of it all. #
- Oy, puppy love in the world of social media #shouldhavebuiltonWordPressftw http://t.co/oA8Ox7d4 #
- Loving today's Google logo: http://t.co/KogNwjMN #orange #
- Love that my kids are doing Latin declension around the dinner table tonite. #suchadorablegeeks #
A friend reminded me of this quote yesterday. It was nice to re-visit it and reflect about how its meaning has changed for me this past year…
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”
There’s this fetish out there where some people are turned on sexually by amputees. It’s called apotemnophilia. Some of the folks who have this condition desire amputees sexually and some want to be amputees themselves. To be honest, I don’t understand either proclivity. However, I will say that over the years I’ve met some perfectly nice folks with these leanings and found them to be harmless–even if they are unusually curious about my body.
But occasionally I come across some not-so-perfectly-nice things in connection with this condition. It tends to happen often on flickr, when someone asks to be my ‘contact.’ When someone sends such a request, I typically click through to their profile or their photos to see if I know this person or to find what we might have in common (because, I do love photography and flickr is one of my favorite social media spaces). Oh, but today, as has happened more than a few times before, I didn’t see any lovely landscapes or kitties. Instead, when I clicked through to the profile I landed on a site with terrifically graphic and disturbing images of women’s disembodied limbs [scrub, scrub, scrubbing my eyeballs now]. What I saw…I can’t understand or be tolerant of–it’s simply sick. And it’s one of the main reasons that I don’t watch slasher horror movies or attend zombie walks. My life has enough of the zombie already.
Posting this with a picture of a pretty kitten–a small attempt to overwrite the ugliness dancing around in my brain right now.
This morning I received a message from my university’s career center informing me that they now subscribe to a pay-for service called “The Versatile PhD” which has:
* Examples of successful resumes and cover letters that real PhDs and ABDs used to get their first post-academic positions
* A collection of first-person narratives written by successful non-academic PhDs and ABDs, describing how their careers have developed after grad school until now
* Archived panel discussions where PhDs and ABDs working in specific non-academic fields describe their jobs and answer questions. Past topics include Federal Government, Policy Analysis, Freelance Writing and Editing, Higher Education Consulting, Management Consulting, and University Administration.
In an effort to understand this service (after I determined that my university login was not working to get me access to the site), I went to their website and learned that it’s geared especially towards the Humanities and Social Sciences, “to help humanities and social science PhDs identify and prepare for possible non-academic careers. We want them to be informed about employment realities, educated about nonacademic career options, and supported in preparing for a range of possible careers, so that in the end, they have choices.” It’s a laudable goal, and I commend the Versatile PhD service and my uni’s Career Center for providing options for all of us unemployable PhD-types. But it seems to me, that such stories are available in many places online, such as in Bethany Nowviskie’s open-source (i.e. free) book “#alt-ac: Alternate Academic Careers for Humanities Scholars.”
Call me cynical, but it seems to me that the Career Center could better serve its Humanities constituents by giving them the skills to search the web and become digitally literate in open-source offerings rather than offering canned content about possible careers from a proprietary service.
Do you agree?
Photo taken at THATCamp–a crowd-sourced open-access alt-ac unconference for the Humanities.
I love the work this dancing does with the morning routines of gendered dressing. There’s an undercurrent of violence and intimacy to the patterns that develop through the piece–so powerful.
Now that I ‘dress’ each day for work (rather than defaulting to my ‘Mom’ uniform of jeans and a tshirt), I give clothing much more attention than I used to. And lately I’ve been thinking of clothing as an ‘evocative object‘ of past times and feelings. There’s the dress I’m wearing today that calls memories of a special evening in Brussels this summer, the jacket that hangs on a peg in my entryway that I sometimes bury my face in to remind me of someone that I miss most when I walk in the door in the evening, the texture of a starched white shirt that pulled me back more than three decades ago when I encountered it recently (a father-memory buried so deep), and the clicking of the heels of my black pumps on the sidewalk last night as I walked home in the dark…such a sophisticated sound.
Last month I realized that I no longer wanted the clothing that I wore when I was married. So I’ve cast away almost all of it now (despite the fact that I typically keep many of my clothes for decades)–loving the exercise of an afternoon as I culled it all from my closet and into a large black trash bag. I don’t want those memories to linger any longer next to my skin.
This post is written in reply to Boone Gorges’ post about Blackboard (although I agree with his distaste for the platform, I support it at my university and this is why) :
One of the biggest parts of my job is to support faculty in their use of Blackboard, a proprietary “course-management” software that instructors use for their classes at Chapman University. Let me lead by saying that I don’t like Blackboard. It’s unwieldy, uncustomizable, ugly, and is an unecessarily-siloed space. Very few faculty like Blackboard, although most use it. And most faculty find it daunting–I hold numerous workshops, office hours, and schedule one-on-one consulting sessions for faculty who need help figuring out the software. This is not because of Bb’s complexity, this is because most faculty simply aren’t technologically adept.
I consider my support of Bb to be work that appeals to the “lowest common denominator” (LCD) instructors–these are folks who can’t tell what operating system they’re using and don’t know how to type an URL into a web browser. But they need to use Bb because the students demand to have their course documents on the web, and the instructors need to give information to the students via email. This is how most faculty use Bb–for posting docs and for email. Many also use it for calculating grades. An even smaller percentage use it for students to turn in assignments electronically. Very few use any of the advanced features such as embedding media rich content, holding virtual office hours, or doing file sharing between class members. For those instructors who are using the advanced features, I typically try to lead them out of Bb and into open-source platforms that do this work much better. For example, I don’t encourage faculty to use the Bb blog tool–I urge them onto wordpress.com or to a hosted-install of wordpress.org.
Since I’ve been at Chapman we’ve peeled off many of the extraneous (and costly) Bb features that simply weren’t necessary and weren’t being used. We no longer have Outcomes, Content Collection, or the dozens of random Building Blocks that faculty never use (and why on earth would they use an astrology tool, anyways?). I consider it my job to offer them a simple way to upload and share content with their students. I consider it my job to assess their tech-savviness before I encourage them to make tech-leaps off of Blackboard that will leave them frustrated or unsupported.
In the long-term future I would love to see more of our campus move off the Blackboard platform. But I also know that any move in that direction would add an incredible burden to my shoulders and would probably be asking too much of the LCD faculty members who wouldn’t know how to do collaborative work with web-based tools like the googlesuite products, or use skype for their online office hours, or use dropbox.com for posting course docs. And I’m also not sure that any of those options are necessarily better than Bb, either–because even they might function better and might work better to teach students transportable digital skills, they also require more up-front setup work for the faculty. At Chapman, like many other universities, our faculty are already stretched to the breaking point. I don’t want to add more to their load–I want to find ways to make their work easier with technology.
UPDATE: for those looking to get off of Bb, here’s a post that you might find helpful about alternative free tools.