Saturday, April 30, 2016


Matters proceed as they ever seem to
I find that I have more work to do
And I will get it done
Although I fret about the time
And I fret about what I miss to do the work
And whom I miss to do the work
And who misses me
But I will get the work done
That is what matters

Friday, April 29, 2016


Several things attract attention today. One of them is that today is payday--and so it is also pay-the-bills day. I have already attended to the latter, knocking out as many of the bills as I am able; there are a few that have yet to come in for the month. They'll get paid when they do, though. And I will be having to make arrangements to have them cease before terribly long; when the Mrs., Ms. 8, and I move away from Sherwood Cottage at the end of May, I mean to stop paying for things I'll not be using anymore (insofar as I can; I am under contract for the rent, and I may not be able to get out of the lease easily). It makes sense to me that I would do so, although I wonder about the paperwork I'll need to do. And I will in some senses miss having the things the bills buy for me--those that I will be setting aside. Others will, of course, continue; the shuttlepod is moving south with us, and it may come in handy, given the highway driving I expect to get to do.

Another thing that attracts attention is that it is the last class day of the term. I will be giving exams next week, but they do not adhere to the regular schedule that has prevailed throughout the previous few months. I am not sure how I feel about the matter; I am not necessarily happy to get to do the grading that presents itself to me for the weekend and the early part of next week, and I am looking forward to what is coming up--and a few things are, about which I will no doubt wax poetic in the next days--but I will also miss some of what I have here, some of the things upon which I have come to rely as commonplaces. And there are some students whose presences in my classroom and in my office have been enjoyable; I will miss working with them, however few or many they may happen to be. The same is true for some colleagues, with whom I have grown friendly over the years; I will not be so happy to leave them, although the situation demands it, and there are rewards.

I had thought I had had a third thing, but that seems not to be the case anymore. The idea is lost, and I am annoyed that it is so; knowing I had one and not knowing what it is anymore vexes. But so do many other things. I suppose I ought to face them as they come; I do not see that I have any other option available.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


University of Colorado at Boulder
Southern Arkansas University
Missouri State University
LaGuardia Community College
Borough of Manhattan Community College
Collin College
Santa Fe College
Delta State University
University of Wisconsin at Stout
Minerva Schools
CUNY Graduate Center
University of Houston at Victoria
Farleigh Dickinson University
Mercy College
Cuyahoga Community College
Volunteer State Community College
University of South Carolina at Union
Temple College
Rockland Community College
Krannert School of Management at Purdue University
McNeese State University
Palo Alto College
Kerrville Tivy High School
Louisiana State University of Alexandria
Medina Valley High School
Centenary College
So far
This year
Exclusive of
Those that have already said
And including
From which I have yet to hear
There is
At least
So hope remains
If only a little

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Þorr swung Mjölnr
Jötnar's corpses fell
The leavings of that mighty hammer
Their own leavings more ruinous
Than ere the hammer fell

How often it is thus
That in seeking to fix a problem
Before it can begin
Others are caused
Worse than the thing prevented
Because it never started
It could never work harm

For when anymore do giants walk the earth?
Yet still the strivings of gods and monsters
Harm those who look on
Or not
Having nothing to do with such matters

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


While I was in high school, I was a member of the marching band. Part of why I went into it was to get away from the need for a specific physical education class; marching, it was felt by the district, counted as enough activity to fill the curricular hole. But while I was in it, I had a reasonably decent time; I had friends through it, and the few dates I had, I had through it. Too, my experiences in it spurred me in large part to major in music when I went to college--although that turned out to be a mistake, in the event. Still, it was a decent enough thing to do through high school, and I would have probably done it in college had it been available to me at that point (the university where I did my undergraduate work did not have a marching band when I attended it, although it does now). But it has been long, indeed, since I was in one, and I was never at the front of it; I was never a conductor, director, or drum major. So it is strange that I dreamt of leading one last night.

I do not often recall my dreams, as I have noted in this webspace, so when I do remember one, it stands out, begging for some kind of interpretation--and that demands detail. I was directing a smallish band, perhaps some forty or fifty pieces, with three drum majors assisting; I recall rearranging the band's standard marching block to help support the weaker performers and mask their appearance, putting the assistant drum majors on the back corners of the formation as guides for the marchers at the rear of the group. The idea was that they would help to keep those at the back in step and in time, so that the band would look more unified as it passed on--the recency effect being in place. Banner-bearers were the next I was going to address, but I woke before I could do so, and I did not return to the dream. The uniforms were fairly standard; dark pseudo-military getups for the players, light equivalents for the drum majors--but the specific colors escape me at present.

More details do not present themselves to me at this point; the memory fades as I write. The major points, though, perhaps merit some attention, although I do not have the distance from the event I need to be able to offer any real commentary. I know that some who read what I write in this webspace might have things to say, however, and I would be interested in hearing those interpretations. I recall being taught that all presentations are texts, and I have given something in words; how could I ask for better than to have what I have written plumbed for meaning beyond the surface-level exposition of what was going on and what the words mean denotatively? And I should not subject others' works to my investigation if I am not willing to have what I write similarly investigated; I should not ask others to do what I am unwilling to do, myself, including standing for critique.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Over the weekend just past, my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law were in; they came over from the Natural State to help the Mrs. and me get through what needed doing. She had her recovery from eye surgery to manage (she seemed to be doing well with it when I looked last), and I had grading to do (work continues, as do students' complaints about the results of such work). In the event, some of the work to prepare for our upcoming move away from Sherwood Cottage and the wind-swept plains on which it stands got done. It is a good thing, as work to that end done now is work to that end that need not be done later. But it also has me out of sorts; as I have noted, home functions for me as an exteriorization of the interior. The reverse is also true; changes to my home-space provoke results within me. The disorder occasioned by the packing has made navigating my home and working within it more difficult, and I have not been able to mask my upset at it wholly. (For the record, I am not angry with my people; I am vexed by the situation. It has had me in a poor mood. I apologize.)

But that much is done, now, and moving forward must be done. I will be facing my last week of teaching for the term this week; next week is for exams, after which my tasks are done and my focus can be elsewhere entirely. Students will be working on their final major papers for me through the week--or they should be; I know some will wait until the morning it is due to attend to it--and the exams are more or less ready. Some small printing jobs will be needed, but they are easily managed; I have but to send them in. I will have my students complete a survey, such as I have before; it should not take them long, and it will offer them a quick means to get a few extra points before the exam happens. (I have offered several such opportunities. I am still branded as a jackass, even when I am overtly kind to the students. It annoys.) So getting through the next, oh, ten days of work should happen without much trouble. I hope it will, anyway.

What will happen afterwards is largely unclear. The Mrs., Ms. 8, and I will be relocating to the Texas Hill Country, where I have applied for several jobs already and, as needed, I will apply for more. The Mrs. also has job applications out; we expect the results of one today. What work will be available for us to do, and for what reward, is not at all clear; I suppose something will have to come about, and I do have some...strategies for making my case to people that they ought to pay me for doing things for them, but I am not certain whether they will be successful or with whom. It remains only to press forward, since backward is not an available path of progress, and to see what kinds of things can be set up to make the forward motion easier to carry out.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


I have only made a few posts to this webspace on this day in years past: in 2011, 2014, and 2015. The first, although brief, bespeaks an oddity in the calendar; it was a Sunday on this day in that year, much as is the case now. The intervention of two leap years since then would seem to account for the recurrence. No real importance attaches itself to the occasion; it is simply a thing that I noticed and that seems of moderate interest. I am often distracted by such minutiae, as those who know me know; it is the kind of thing that makes me good at parts of my job, as well as annoying to no small number of people. I more or less accept it; I have not got much choice in the matter--and it occurs to me that I need to be better about accepting quite a few other things as being beyond my choice or influence. Fighting against them has done me no good; it has probably worked to my detriment, although I have no way to measure it.

The second looks back to a reasonably pleasant time. I enjoyed teaching the literature class discussed in the post, and there is something satisfying in doing the kind of light criticism enfolded in the post. I have to wonder if I spent the time and effort on earning a doctorate simply to do such things--and whether I might have come to such a skill set through another path that would have left me better able to support the Mrs. and Ms. 8 better than I currently can. Again, though, I have no way to measure the hypothetical outcomes, and I have to consider that matters might have ended up far worse. I suppose I self-mark as ungrateful to ponder what I might have done differently and to look for how things could be better than they are; I have been told that I come across as not appreciating what I have to say that I want more and to work--however ineptly and without success thus far--to try to get to that more.

The third is something many parents will recognize. Matters in that regard have improved since then, to be sure. Ms. 8 sleeps through the night most nights, and though she does still sometimes dream bad dreams (this morning was such a time), her rest is usually undisturbed, her sleep peaceful. It is something about which I am glad, to be sure. And I am glad that, even if she woke this morning from nightmares, she is smiling and happy now. I think I will enjoy it.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


With apologies to the Bard...

In stories cast in meter and in rhyme
Are words of wonder set in fine array
That has endured vicissitudes of time
To speak in ears that hear them yet today.
So, too, are words of friendship and of love
Made fast in lines of patterns long since set
Apart, in patterns long since set above
The daily talk of credit and of debt.
From shaken shaft of ash and steel that stood
At rivers' sides upon the globe they fell,
And still they find a use as students' good,
A common reference point, a wide-shared well.
Their author, long since dead, is with us yet
As we upon the stage still toil and fret.

Friday, April 22, 2016


That there are deaths in the news is not a surprise. People die daily, after all, and there are many people. Some of the names that are currently in the news are perhaps surprising, although my thought on the matter is that the surprise comes that some of the deaths come only now. The kinds of lives associated with performers, whose deaths are occasioning outpourings of grief (appropriately enough), tend to vitiate against longevity, after all. I do not celebrate the deaths, of course, and I do not deride those who mourn them--but I am largely untouched by them. ("Largely" is due to the inundation of my media feeds with commentary about the deaths. It seems it cannot be escaped.)

I have been preoccupied with other things. The Mrs. had eye surgery yesterday--minor, as far as such things go, but messing with the eyes is not so "minor" a thing. I have been working to attend to her, and it has been...interesting. I have to wonder if this is the kind of thing that she does for me each day; if it is, I am ashamed that I have not been more grateful to her for it. But my reactions are for another time; the important thing is that she is proceeding more or less as expected. We have some other family--my wife's father and stepmother--in at Sherwood Cottage, helping out for the weekend, which makes things easier, and the Mrs. has a follow-up appointment today, as well as others to come. Things seem to be okay for her at the moment; I hope they will continue to be so.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Shall take
The woman I love
Across the rivers
Across the plains
To a city of an archer's fear
A city that stands near
To where a green wood was razed
And reconciliation therefore
Has been codified
But I am unsure is deeply felt

She will be blinded there
For a time
And I shall bring
The woman I love
Back across the rivers
Back across the plains
From that city of an archer's fear
That she may rest
And heal
And come in time to see again
And better than before

I wonder if she will like what she sees
When she can see again

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I was not able to get done as much as I would have like to have done yesterday. The reprieve ended up getting spent largely at rest; it is often the case that, given a bit of time to myself, I loaf about rather than turning my attention to more productive ends. It is not something of which I am proud, to be sure, but it does bespeak why some things do not happen. If I am wearied even by my own work, how much more must they be wearied who do "real" work? And if we are all so tired in our odd moments, is it any wonder that we do not bend our efforts to other things, even if those things would improve our situations and those of others similar to ourselves? (I do not mean to downplay difference, certainly, but there are similarities to address, as well--such as the truth that many or most of those who are being defrauded are being defrauded by the same systems, currently occupied by the same people, even if the people are less the problem than the positions they occupy.) But I perhaps overgeneralize.

In any event, the reprieve is done. I am back in the classroom today, teaching four classes. Three of them will get formal discussion of their upcoming final exams; they happen in less than two weeks. One of them is submitting a paper, so I will have grading to do tonight and tomorrow. I will also have it over the weekend, since the other three turn in papers on Friday. It is a scenario that will repeat next week, with one class turning in final portfolios and the other three turning in the final versions of papers I will have reviewed twice and on which they will have been working for more than a month. And then there are, yes, I will have a fair bit of marking to do. It seems a strange way to close out a job, but it is as it will be; my visit to the wind-swept plains is ending, and so the work I have been doing during it will end, as well. I would be happier about the news if I had some more certain prospects for after the end of the visit than I currently do, but no news has come yet in that regard.

Other regards have yielded news, however. Tomorrow, I will be taking the Mrs. to a medical appointment; she is having an outpatient procedure done that will lay her up for a few days. Her father will be coming over from the Natural State to help a bit, since my wife will be out of commission and I have to get done what I have to get done (because my last paychecks still matter); extra hands are helpful, and Ms. 8 loves her "Papa." (I am "Daddy," the Mrs. is "Mama," my parents are "Gramma" and "Grampa," my mother-in-law is "Oma," and my stepmother-in-law is "Granny." It works out well enough for everyone involved.) If things go as they ought to go, there should be no problems past this weekend--and even those should be relatively minimal. So I continue to hope that things will go well as our work continues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It would seem that I have a short reprieve. There are no papers to grade and no assignment sheets to write. My lessons for the next teaching day are already planned. There is no freelance work facing me. Today, therefore, I get to work on other things; I get to write on my own projects, and to do so at my ease. It will be welcome, certainly; I have not been able to take the chance to do so for a while, and I have missed it. I doubt I will get to the point of being done with any of the projects I currently have in progress, of course; one day is not likely to be enough, particularly with some of the things I have in the works and on which I am moving oh, so slowly. But it will be good to make some progress on things; it will be good to leave more words on the page than I found. Perhaps I will even be able to make sure that they are good words, such that I can benefit from them financially and in terms of my career.

I have taken strange steps regarding the latter. Yesterday, I petitioned to have my old teaching certification reactivated; if the petition is successful, and I believe it will be, I will suddenly be eligible to take on teaching positions in Texas public high schools. As such, many more job opportunities will become available to me than had been the case. One such is at the high school from which I graduated, in fact, and I have applied to it (making the explicit note that my certification is in the process of reactivation, since the application asks after it). The idea of returning to secondary school, of going back to the career I had envisioned while I was early in my undergraduate work, is odd. The idea of returning to the secondary school I attended, even to do so on the other side of the classroom from where I sat while I was there, is even more so. But I have long been a scholar; I am accustomed to odd ideas. It would not be a bad thing to have such a job as I have applied for...

Monday, April 18, 2016


Again, with apologies to the Greatest of Geoffreys...

The drought of March has been pierced to the root
By April showers, and with floods, to boot.
The vines, now liquored, grow and spread their blooms
As cricket-chirping sounds in many rooms
And frogs croak under cloudy nighttime skies
That look upon the world with goggling eyes,
As with each breath the zephyrs push along
The waters and birds after rise in song
To eat the feast the waters leave behind,
In which the birds will all do but their kind,
As working folk to toil return again
For that which must be done--it has no end.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Work continues, as ever it must. I have one more stack of papers to assess today; it is a short stack, fortunately, so it ought to go reasonably quickly, but it still needs doing. I will be getting three more such stacks from the classes whose work I have been reviewing--two more versions of the paper I am reviewing now and the final exam--as well as from the other class I teach--a paper, a portfolio, and a final exam. My classroom work therefore clusters on the weekends for the remaining few weeks of my visit to the wind-swept plains, which should make for some fun times during the weeks to come. I continue to try to teach as I know how to do, pushing the students to do more and work more intensely towards excellent writing, but I admit that I am finding it difficult to maintain my focus on doing so against the end of the visit. I find it hard to keep in mind that there is a point to it and that moving toward the point is a good thing, well worth doing.

That my comments will seem to move towards whining, I know. (I do not mean them to do so; I mean them to be reflective, but I know that what I mean and what will emerge do not necessarily coincide.) I know also that some who will think them motion towards whining have not been facing the end of employment--other than looking forward to a retirement that will likely never be available to me--and so are speaking from a position of privilege that I do not get to enjoy. (Also, as I have noted, I have been looking for more work up to quite recently, and as soon as the relocation to the Hill Country is completed, barring some pleasant surprise, I will be looking for work again in short order.) Back in the day, there may have been less complaint about such things (although I think bartenders would disagree), but back in the day, there were also full-time continuing jobs available and expectations on the parts of employers that they would retain employees for decades at a time. The labor market is different; reactions to it should also be different.

And yes, I am defensive on the point. Why would I not be, when I expect to be attacked? (How's that for "real world" awareness?) And why would I not expect to be attacked when, time and time again, I hear from any number of media outlets, as well as the voices that speak to me mouth to ear, that I and those like me are caught up in senses of entitlement and expect things to be handed to them without effort--when I have been working three jobs and pushing forward more job applications in a month than many who make such complaints have filled out in their lives, and when I see my contemporaries doing much the same things and still neither being rewarded for their hard work nor even acknowledged as doing what they have been told for decades that they are supposed to do? I am not saying that people do not whine, and I am not saying that I do not have expectations; what I am saying is that the whining is nothing new (and the complaints are justified), and that the expectation is that a "recovering" economy will have jobs that will allow people to make a living. But I suppose that is a bit much to ask.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Continued attention to the paratextual details of my posts to this webspace seems to be helping. I am making adjustments to the ways in which I present materials here, some of which have hopefully been noticeable. The way in which I handle the initial capital seems the most obvious; I have taken to enlarging it, backgrounding it in red, and rendering it in white instead of in the darker, more normal type. It is not as the medievals would do it entirely, to be sure (although if there is an example of such color-swapping, I would love to hear of it), but it has a similar effect. I hope that it is a salubrious one, something that makes what I write here easier and more enjoyable to read. And I hope that my continued adjustments to the paratextual features of what I write in this webspace will serve similarly. (Indeed, having such a workshop as this is useful; trying things out here for use later seems a good idea--and I do have future plans.)

Amid the continuous adjustments, I will be continuing to assess the papers my students have submitted. Not as many did as should have done so, but that is to be expected; it is rarely the case that I see 100% submission of minor assignments, and the papers that came in yesterday are preliminary review versions of major papers. It does make for less work for me to have to do, so I cannot make too much complaint. It has the advantage of freeing up some time to attend to other assignment materials; I have to compile information for the final exams my students voted on taking. Most of that task is done, but the documentation needs a bit more adjustment, and there are a few final points that need to be addressed in it. That I will have a little extra time to work on it, thanks to a lowered assessment burden, is good. (That I have to respond to some institutional pressures at the moment is less so, but I am still going to work with those students who have acted in good faith.) So there is that.

There is also this: My mother-in-law is up from Texas. She is attending a function in the City of Thunder, which is but an hour away from Sherwood Cottage, and so she is staying with her daughter, granddaughter, and son-in-law while at the event. It is a good thing, truly. The Mrs. appreciates getting to see her mother, and Ms. 8 delighted at "Oma!" being at the house. (My mother-in-law is of Texas German descent; small touches help connect her to her heritage, as well as connecting my daughter to hers, and I approve of them in general.) I have stayed with my mother-in-law while attending functions in the past, as well, and I do not begrudge returning favors done me; it helps that my mother-in-law is a reasonably unobtrusive houseguest, and her attendance at her event means that I am not being discourteous when I sit at my computer and write in this webspace or struggle to do the work that seems always to continue.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Although it is not US Tax Day--that is Monday, as it happens--taking a look back at things is still worth doing. The records I have left in this webspace about today--2012, 2014, and 2015--track an interesting progression, one that bespeaks a loss of stability in 2013 (which happened, in the event). The 2012 post reflects on a particular set of work and practices that relied on assumptions of stability and continuation that proved false. While the work has since continued, the way in which it has had to do so has caused a shift away from the identified practices. To put it in relevant terms--once again--I have had much occasion to try to pull livestock out of nearby ditches. At present, I find that the stock is still mired in the muck that gathers at the bottom of the culvert, and I am not certain I can get myself out of it at this point. Whether rains will come or a dredging crew will find me, I am not sure, but I am concerned that neither option will end well.

The 2014 and 2015 posts both speak to the search that even now continues, and with some greater sense of urgency against the knowledge that my visit is ending (although with some strange certainty, since some plans are in place). I am still looking for continuing work, something that will allow me some semblance of stability so that I can provide more and better for Ms. 8. I admit that I am in something of a hiatus in that regard, with some applications still outstanding but other direct searching in abeyance until more information comes in and the plans that are in place--those noting a relocation--are enacted; it is hard to keep looking while in transit, and it is harder to be found. I rather need to be found, preferably by someone who has a large sum of money to give me, so I am waiting for a bit--although I am still looking around as I work on the rest of what needs my attention. The visit is ending, to be sure, but it is not ended, not quite yet.

And there is much that will need my attention before Tax Day. (My taxes are not part of it; those are done and paid. I still benefit from tax money, though, so I still thank those who pay their fair share into the system.) Three stacks of papers are slated to come in today, and, since they are review versions meant to help the students improve their performance on the heavily-weighted penultimate assignment (it constitutes nearly a third of their total grade), I really need to get them marked over the weekend. I read quickly, and I grade reasonably quickly as a result, but there are still quite a few papers on their way to me, and assessing them will take no small amount of time--even for me. I am fortunate that the Mrs., who has herself been a collegiate instructor, understands the grading burden (even if she rightly questions my practice in the particular circumstance), but it is still not the thing I would most like to be doing...

Thursday, April 14, 2016


The headlong rush towards the end of the term is begun. Papers aplenty will be coming in, and I will be grading them all; my weekends for the next weeks are bespoken to that end. I am not entirely pleased, of course, as grading is among the most onerous of the tasks teaching entails, but the students will not improve if they do not practice, and experience shows that they will not practice if they are not given the external motivation of grading to push them to do so (for the most part; some few will work whether they are seen to do so or not, but they are only few, and setting the rest aside in favor of those few occasions no small amount of aspersive comment). I do, contrary to popular belief, want to see my students get better at the work. As such, I offer round after round of review on their assignments. Not all avail themselves of it--and then they wonder why their work is assessed as unsatisfactory. Somehow, of course, it is my fault. I must have it out for them...

I try to resist such thinking, of course. I am well aware that every age of people complains about "kids these days." Malory, for example, complains of the people being "newfangill" (I use the example because of my own study). It is a persistent complaint, well documented, and usually not so accurate as might be pretended by those who make it. I know I am not the thing I am accused of being; I imagine my parents are not the thing they were accused of being by theirs, and so on. I do not want to fall into the fallacy of thinking that my juniors are less, at least less than I was when I was their age. Their elders have perhaps been more inclined to reward them than mine were me, and they have not faced some of the specific difficulties--but the latter is a good thing; it means that at least some of the problems are being alleviated (although certainly not all, and certainly not quickly enough). I am not always successful in my attempts, of course, and even if I do manage to resist acting in such a way and treat individuals as individuals, there are a great many that manage to annoy me...

It is to be expected, of course. Teaching is not a customer service position (despite the occasional comment from students to that end--but, as I borrow from another whom I, to my shame, do not recall, if there is a customer, it is the company that hires the student after graduation; the metaphor bears following), but it is one of relationships, and when participants in the relationship have different expectations for it, tension is inevitable. I am often expected to provide front-line customer service (as well as product support and claims resolution); I am charged to provide something else, something that manifests in the grading that I do, often to the displeasure of those who want their degree-plans rubber-stamped, but something that is, ultimately and hopefully, to their benefit and to the benefit of those whom they will encounter later on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I continue to try to get back to myself from the diminution of the past days. I was not gravely ill, to be sure; nothing about me said I needed to be hospitalized, and I am better than I was. But I was out of sorts, and I did get behind, and catching up is taking some effort. It is markedly annoying, and I do not need the annoyance at the moment (as if I need it at any point); a class turns in papers today, with three others doing so on Friday, and I need to have all of them back with comments by Monday. It will be a busy time, therefore, and not the kind that rewards me moving more slowly than I normally do or having to negotiate the annoyance of thoughts muddled by the intrusions of bodily deficiencies. More are popping up, therefore; I would seem to have picked up several splinters in the past few days, although I do not recall when I would have done so. They, too, annoy, making my work harder to do than it needs to be. I will endure, of course, and I will get my work done, but I am not pleased to have to handle the annoyances so that I may do so.

Aside from the annoyance, however, there is little to report. Things go more or less well at Sherwood Cottage and for its indwellers. The Mrs. is exploring new paths with some success; we await news as to whether her performance has merited continuation. (It is not an easy thing to do, to be sure. Waiting is worse than working, by far.) Her regular work continues, going more or less smoothly; nothing is going wrong for her on that front, and that is something of a relief. Ms. 8 continues to be precocious as she learns to do new things--including whistling, both with lips and with toys that make noise. (They were quite fun for me over the last days, when the annoyances included headaches that would not cease.) My mother-in-law will be visiting soon, as well; she has some business in the area, and it is only sensible that she would come by when she is nearby. We do much the same with her, after all, and I cannot say it is a bad thing to repay favors done me and mine.

Also, as I believe shows up, I am working to refine my paratextual presentation in this webspace. Whether it is doing any good, I have no idea; I do not have the separation from the work I do in this webspace to be able to assess it fairly. I continue to be amused by my doing so, though, and I suppose that will have to be enough. I have long since decided that I will not monetize this particular endeavor; I am sure the hosting agency does, but the conditions it imposes for my doing so do not sit well with me, as I have noted at some point which I will not at present go back and find. If nothing else, it can serve as the free and public offering I make to encourage people to look at what I do for money; if what I do gratis pleases, it stands to reason that what I do for pay will be all the more so. Or such is the kind of thing I can imagine that people might someday think, once I actually have something to show off about a bit...I supposed I will need to practice more. How fortunate, then, that I have this space in which do to it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


It happens every so often that I am ill. Yesterday was such an occasion; I ran a fever for most of the day, and I had trouble organizing my thoughts enough to do anything, let alone write. Hence the lack of posting yesterday.

Today, I have some catching-up to do. (Too, I am still a bit off, although I am much better, thanks.) Tomorrow, things should be back to as much a normal as I have to give.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I'm flashing back to graduate school
Sleeping in
Rising slowly
Facing a stack of papers
And a stack of reading
And knowing I will move on

I thought I was supposed to be done with this.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Most of the time
She smiles
She laughs
She learns
She is a delight

She sorrows
She hurts
She cries
She is beloved

Every so often
She screams
She kicks
She slaps
She is still loved
Else we'd not put up with it

Friday, April 8, 2016


For something of a retrospective today, a look back not at last year's treatment of The Patriot Threat, but rather earlier years' treatments of limerick (and the NSFW label should apply):

Political games played by fools
Often transgress many rules
Of couth and decorum
The people ignore 'em
And watch, entertained by the tools

The verses come in no real order
No system applies to their hoarder
Who gathers together
The arrayed words whether
Or not they've been through a sorter

The cat out of the window stares
Looking at birds or at hares
We feed the damned thing
It eats like a king
And like a king, it never cares

And so it has come to pass
That thunder proceeds from the ass
That heavenly farting
That leaves the ear smarting
And makes the celestial a gas

Looking for jobs really sucks
The frantic search for a few bucks
That come from done work
For an arrogant jerk
Will leave me ungiving of fucks

Thursday, April 7, 2016


As I was in the shower this morning, I found myself musing on the idea of what I would do with my money were I a wealthy man. (I had read this comic, and it called to mind an earlier article I had read that notes JK Rowling's surrender of billionaire-dom. [The link is to a different source; I do not recall that I read it in Forbes at first, but it does corroborate the assertion.]) I know that it is greatly unlikely I will ever become a wealthy person. I work in humanities education, in a field whose average salary is in the upper $50,000s for tenure-line faculty (per this source), and I am not on the tenure line (hence the end of my visit), so that I make less. My family once had socioeconomic privilege, but that is some generations back, and it was the kind of socioeconomic privilege that derives not from liquid capital but from real holdings--which we no longer hold, hence the "once." Odds on the lottery are against me. But the thought of having money is pleasant.

So, were I to suddenly become wealthy, things I would do include (and more or less in the order presented):
  1. Pay off the family's debts. Mine. Those of the Mrs. Those of my brother. Those of my parents. Maybe one or two others, but definitely those.
  2. Set up a trust fund for Ms. 8. I won't be around forever, after all, and it would be nice to take care of her even after I am gone.
  3. Put money into savings, bonds, and investments. I have time for slow and steady growth to be workable, but I might also like some more money now. (You expect me to be wholly altruistic?)
  4. Buy a really fancy bottle of booze and drink it with a few people. They know who they are. (You expect me to be wholly altruistic?)
  5. Make vehemently obscene gestures and statements towards a select few people. They will know who they are. (You expect me to be wholly altruistic?)
  6. Set up some scholarships. I was helped, and I would like to pay some of it forward. (You expect me to be wholly selfish?) My undergraduate and graduate schools would be recipients. Maybe a place in New York City.
  7. Build a place to live in a nice neighborhood.
  8. Fill it with awesomeness.
  9. Have a crawfish boil/turkey fry/cook-out, inviting family and the neighbors.
  10. Sleep off the party.
  11. Get right back to work.
I am relatively unambitious.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Work continues, of course. I was able to get the reading done for my freelance piece yesterday; the write-up is started, and I expect to be able to get it done in the next day or so. (I have until Friday. It will not take that long.) Whether more work will be forthcoming, I do not know; in some ways, I hope not, since I will soon be moving into a fairly intense cycle of grading, but I am mindful of the money that my freelance work brings into the household. Since I am still acculturated to the idea that I ought to be bringing money into the household, the latter concern carries more weight with me than the former.

That does not mean, of course, that I will neglect my classroom work. I have not yet; part of why the freelance write-up is only started is that I drafted a sample essay for my students, one that runs to a longer ten pages. It will help guide students in each of the classes I teach this term towards better work on their own projects--or that is the idea. Some favorable attention has already accrued to the essay; I tend to post samples on my more professional blog, where they can be seen and perhaps do some good. (That they allow me to develop a professional portfolio helps, as well.) I have a few other things to take care of in that line, some of which will occupy my otherwise unclaimed office time in the next few days.

The freelancing and classroom work, of course, are not the only concerns that face me, although many of the others are being pushed aside in favor of the work that pays. Not all are, though. For example, preparations for the International Congress on Medieval Studies continue; my paper has been ready for some weeks, now, and travel plans are being cemented. A commendable colleague will be going with me this time, and I am in a position to be able to introduce said colleague to some of the luminaries of early modern studies, so I will be doing that--among the many other enjoyable things the Congress has to offer. Additionally, attention to my family persists, as it ought. Ms. 8 is increasingly verbal; yesterday, she asked for "More berries, please," and she said "Thank you" without being prompted. Her propensity toward climbing is perhaps less pleasant, particularly when she tries to use my (overly generous) love handles to do so (it is a strange sensation, being used as a ladder by a toddler, and not entirely comfortable). But it still shows that she is growing, and that she has an increasing sense of herself and her capabilities, and I am glad to see both. I enjoy having a reason to make sure that my work continues.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Work continues, as ever it must.

My students have begun to fill out the survey I noted yesterday. (I made sure to point out to them that they are getting a choice in their exam from me--and from few if any of their other professors.) At this point, half of the responses are asking for the essay about an assignment not already included in first-year composition. It seems to keep with the overall curricular theme of my classes this term. (I may have noted that I am having my students make arguments regarding their courses of study. It seems they should be interested in such things, although they have voiced complaints about being "bored" with their topics. One or two have noted changing their majors and post-graduate plans as a result of the projects this semester; I feel I have done them a service.) It remains to be seen, of course, if the tendency will continue, as there are still many students who have yet to fill out the survey, but I am struck at seeing the assignment that shows up as preferred at this point doing so.

Also, after a longer-than-preferred hiatus, a freelance order has shown up for me. I have not looked over the details of the order yet, although I soon will. Having the time to attend to other matters that I have had has been nice; it has allowed me to slow down a bit. It has also had a detrimental effect on the family finances, though, and that is far less desirable. Perhaps this new order will be the first in a series of them, and I will be able to get some funding put back a bit in advance of the removal from Sherwood Cottage. We will need the money, as getting from here to there with all of our things in tow is not the least expensive thing that can be done. I do not mind doing the work to that end, even if I am an "entitled and lazy" Millennial. (And I am a Millennial, evidently, although at the leading edge of that age-bracket; I turned 18 in 2000, scant days before the election that resulted in W being promoted from governing Texas to presiding over the Union. Election law in place there and then prohibited me from registering in time to be able to vote.)

So I will be looking over a few papers today, as well as looking at some other work--likely reading a new novel and beginning to make some kind of informed and insightful commentary about it. I hope to get some writing done, as well, both of the sort that I do to help guide my students (and there is more of it to do) and of the sort that pleases me. Some of the tasks are more likely to be completed than others, especially since the Mrs. works all day today, and so I will be playing with and looking after Ms. 8 in earnest. Still, I am in a reasonably good position (although it could be better), and I am not unmindful of it; I am well aware that it could be worse. I could not have work to do, and I would not know what to do in such a circumstance.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Work continues, of course. There is something like a month of class remaining for me, with the exams I give ending on Jedi Day (coincidentally the anniversary of my writing in this webspace). So it will not be long before my visit ends, and the Mrs., Ms. 8, and I will make the final preparations to go...elsewhere. In the meantime, though, there is much to do. As part of it, I am having my students weigh in on the form of their final exam (ain't I nice?), voting on which of four options for the exercise I am willing to write that they would collectively like--or hate least--to do. To wit:
  • A multiple choice exam, largely covering concerns of mechanics and formatting discussed in class and in assigned readings. Note that the presence of the correct answer on the page allows for distractors markedly close to correct; distractors on past multiple-choice exams have differed from the correct answer in such small details as the tense of the operative verb or the placement of a period in an MLA-style citation.
  • An essay exam asking for a brief reflective argument that treats an assignment for inclusion in a first-year writing class. An assignment not already included in the class should be proposed and justified to an audience that is in favor of the current assignment sequence but that can adjust the assignment sequence.
  • An essay exam asking for a brief rhetorical analysis of a specific example of assignment materials offered to students throughout the semester. Attention will need to be paid to both textual and paratextual features, and a copy of the assignment materials in question would be provided. The audience would be the instructor, who may well use the responses to refine assignment materials in future terms.
  • A source-annotation consisting of a correctly-formatted and complete MLA-style Works Cited entry and an effective, appropriate summary of a source to be provided by the instructor in advance of the exam. Assessment thereof would be similar to that applied to annotated bibliography entries' first two components (citation and summary), including mechanical correctness.
To encourage participation, I am offering an A+ quiz grade to students who complete the exercise in a timely manner. (Again, ain't I nice?) But I expect there will be complaints. There always are, and they make harder the work. Still, I do what I can...

Sunday, April 3, 2016


I was going to make some comment

About coding
Using coding
Because thematic appropriateness is good
And I am learning how to code
In at least some small ways

It did not work

The machine always reads the code
As code
And it acts as directed

This is the limitation
Of the machine

It is a limitation
Many face
For we are all constrained
Not only by concerns of hardware
But by the operating systems installed in us
And we can fight them
But only so far

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Over the past days, I have not maintained the practice of reddening the initials and the "important" words in my posts, I know. I do not usually do so in verse, which accounts for the bit at the beginning of this month, but the longer post that ended March does not have that excuse. I suppose I could go back and color it, but I do not know what I would point out as particularly prominent by pixelated pigmentation. It stands out as a more focused and serious piece than most of what I push out into the world in this webspace, and the red-lettering is an affectation meant to entertain. (If it is not working, please do not tell me.) The practice is at cross-purposes with that particular post--which I needed to make, even if having it where it is has...implications about my anxieties and understandings of how such things work. I have, after all, been told that I do not understand the "real world," and I suppose it is an accurate assertion; I do not understand why a state or a nation would not invest in the education of its children and youth.

I am well aware of one of the dominant narratives about it, however, namely that education "turns" people liberal. I am also aware that the systems of formal education in place, at least in the parts of the world in which I have resided, are socio-culturally normative and tend to elide much information and understanding that argues against major talking points of conservative ideology in the United States (which I specify because "conservative" means different things in different places, and I am not discussing them in the current post, partly because I do not know enough to do so intelligently and partly because I am...motivated to focus more nearly locally). There is a prevailing idea in several US educational systems that the US is "the good guy," with the baggage of that unambiguous and overly simplistic descriptor. There is a prevailing idea that the US represents the culmination of all that is right and good in the world, and is indeed the savior of it. In effect, it can do no wrong--or if it is wrong, it is at least far less wrong than everywhere else in the world.

You know where this is going.

I will not enumerate the many things that the US has done wrongly and is still doing wrongly; to borrow from Marvell, we have not world enough or time. (Too, I have ranted about it before in this webspace.) But I will say, and as a person who has been part of several systems of formal education in the United States across more than a decade at this point, and who has seen the results of those systems both in their successors and in the general public, that what the systems teach is not the kind of thing of which they are so often accused. The opposite tends to be true; they tend to reinforce conservative principles, both for good (and there is some good in promoting common understanding, as well as working to instill a common base of knowledge from which people can work in collaboration to move forward) and for ill (and there is much ill in presenting monolithic and seldom-revised or -reconsidered curricula and master narratives about people). Looking at the matter more coldly, it seems that nations and states would have vested interests in promoting such ideas--I remain confused as to why they would not do more with them...

Friday, April 1, 2016


With apologies to that greatest of Geoffreys, the Well of English Undefiled and one-time Clerk of the King's Works...

April has not yet with showers sweet
The drought imposed by March made to defeat,
But the month before was not so dry,
And temperatures unseasonally high
Have called the buds of flowers into bloom
And kept them from expected freezing doom.
How the Ram has run its course and how
The western winds have matters not now,
Nor yet how birds make melodies
In bright plumage the rare person sees.
The pilgrimages taken anymore
Have sent the youth away; into the door
From which they left they have come back again,
Sharing many stories with their friends
As work continues, hastening to May
When my work ends, and theirs, and they will play
While I will not a blissful martyr seek,
But instead more work, for I am meek.