Academic Again, and Mix Tapes

To my academic homies: I am one of you once again.  I've written almost twenty single-spaced pages of lecture(s) in the last two days.  I'm back to churnin'-it-out mode, the mode that got me through a terminal MA and a PhD in six years, the mode that produced the most corner-cuttin' dissertation all of time, the mode that was the envy of my peers and the bane of my half-assed hopes for a tenure-track job at a research university.  This mode, whatever else can be said of it, is useful for lecture writing.

I've been happy to find that writing this much about the Holocaust (note: I am teaching an 11-week course on the Holocaust starting in September) is doable.  I'm not mired in the misery of the subject, although I think I'm treating the gravity of it appropriately.  The task of explaining the history ends up being the same...it's analysis and narrative, even if the subject is infinitely more daunting than, say, the Iron Age.  The teaching part is going to be very difficult, balancing the appropriate attitude and emotional resonance against the necessity of not falling into the Nietzschean abyss (i.e. giving in to the tendency to be so empathetic that you lose sight of the intellectual task of understanding the history and the arguments historians have advanced to "make sense" of something that cannot be made sense of in any normal, quotidian way.)

The other classes are already done, but I hope to be able to swing back around once I finish the Holocaust lectures and do some revision.  I've never been happy with all of the lectures for my modern Europe class.  Examples: so...Spain existed, right?  Also...England?

Unrelated: I've been making mix "tapes" (also known as "mp3s on a CD.")  Right now I'm into making best-of collections of bands I like.  The Scissor Sisters have four albums, and about 50% of their songs are pure gay disco GOLD.  Why not put those songs on one CD?  Devo hits way higher than 50% (albeit not gay disco), but I still had fun trying to boil down their greatness to one CD for my homie (and drummer in the Nervous) T.  And so on.

It's friend S's last day visiting us from San Francisco.  It's been fun.  I look forward to being able to convert the basement into a more full-featured guest quarters type setup, but right now the air mattress will have to do.


Trek In the Park, etc.

Trek in the Park is a very Portland thing.  A bunch of amateur actors, sponsored by some comic book shops but mostly funding out of their own pockets, put on reenactments of classic Star Trek episodes in a Portland public park.  They have the outfits, they have props, and they have a band doing the soundtrack (including a chick whose job is just to sing the really high "ooo oo o o oo oo oooo!" theme song at the start and end of the episode.)

We finally got to go on Sunday w/ homies K + T + little T.  Showing up 45 minutes early was still too late to get prime seating, but we managed to score a second-tier spot with shade, so we had little cause to complain.  The performance was awesome; it was one of those things in which a totally sincere homage to a silly, cheesy thing like the original Star Trek manages to exceed the fun factor of the original.  Also, the wine helped.

It's been a batshit month.  My "month off" has translated into a month on with a ton of family visits, house stuff, socializing, and the originally-intended purpose of working on my classes before Fall term starts.

During all of that, we have managed to check out a few new-to-us P-town spots:
  1. The Old Gold is a nice bar our old homie T works at.  It's about 1.5 blocks away from our house.
  2. Salt and Straw is a fancy ice cream joint on Alberta.  May I recommend the Strawberry Balsamic?
  3. We finally got to go to Pine State biscuits.  They know how to make a bloody mary, my friends.
Our homie S is up from San Francisco for a few days starting tomorrow.  This is very exciting; she's one of those ideal guests who makes everything easier and more fun somehow through sheer force of charisma.  Tonight, we're going to the Overlook neighborhood picnic thing, held at the Lucky Lab (located 1 block from our house.)

We're tired, but it's all in the name of fun.


100 Degrees in the Shade

Frickin' summertime.

  1. It turns out the Oregon Art Museum is really nice.  It turns out I like the California Impressionists quite a bit!  It additionally turns out that there was some totally sweet ink painting on silk done by Japanese artists in the early 1800s...of TIGERS.  Also, they have A/C at the museum.
  2. My brother graduated from his radiography program!  The graduation ceremony was well done.
  3. I got the info on the new faculty orientation hootenanny in September.  I love stuff like this because it assuages my fear that this whole "full-time academic job" thing has been a hallucination.
  4. Three of my relatives from my dad's side of the family are out visiting from back east.  It is really nice to see them.  
  5. We got some decent recordings of The Nervous's last practice.  We are about 70% there...we just need to turn the suck down a little more and I need to finish writing lyrics.  Also: memorize them.
  6. My father in-law is installing a stained glass window in our front door today.  He made it.  
  7. For your summertime taking-a-load-off needs, may I recommend the combination of "gin" and "tonic"?


Manzanita: Destroyer

Oncoming wave!  Two-year-old!  Father of said child scoops her up, giggles ensue, camera falls into the deep blue sea (albeit only for a second and not achieving full immersion), and that is F'ing that for said camera.

My camera led a full life.  B bought it in about 2006, then gave it to me as a hand-me-down when she upgraded (i.e. bought herself a new one) for her crafty beastie business in 2008.  Despite my blithering ineptitude as a photographer, it had provided literal half-dozens of decent pictures over the years.  Now I must wish it well on its final voyage to the online photo archive in the sky, while also apologizing for the fact that I am the kind of confused idiot who drops cameras in the ocean.

Besides all that, it's been a really fun trip.  Plan C is loving our undivided attention and we're loving being forcibly separated from the responsibilities of real life back in P-town.  It's only three days, but we'll take it.

P.S. I plan to replace the dead camera by becoming skilled at doing really high-speed caricatures in colored pencil.