Sunday, July 31, 2005

Happy Third Bloggiversary!

Happy Third Bloggiversary!

Doods! Can you believe it? This blog was born three years ago today. It's also my roommate,
Professor Kinsey's birthday. She just started blogging, so there isn't much up there yet. I've never actually celebrated the date before, but Ralph Luker at Cliopatria pointed out a while back that I've been blogging for some time, so I looked it up. Damn.

But those of you who are familiar with the 'spiel will know that Sundays are days I tend to try to play catch-up. I have much grading to do and a quiz to post. I'm feeling very full after a wonderful birthday brunch in a revolving restaurant, and am suffering the aftereffects of yesterday's really exciting allergic reaction to one of the most useful prescription drugs on the market. Not wanting to post a quiz (lots of cutting and pasting, because stupid McGraw-Hill sucks -- no test cartridge for Web CT. Last time I use their friggin' book. Of course, Web CT is no joy for me to work with, either. If your school is trying to avoid paying the costs of Blackboard (which at least works and is really intuitive), I suggest trying Angel out. Or try Web CT. Some people like it, I hear.

Update: D'oh. Yesterday was the day. I was unable to blog, as I spent all day with my adoptive (in the affectionate sense) nieces, two of whom were in summer camp plays -- Three plays in one day. Noon till 8:30. I am a good auntie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wait! This Is Work!

Wait! This is work!

So this morning, I'm sitting in the chair, listening to my roommate, Professor Kinsey, grade her essays for her many online students. And I thought, "I should really get off my butt and get to work!" And then I thought, "I'm actually reading reviews in the latest Speculum, and they are pertinent. This is work, doofus!"

Blogging, however, is not. Still, it's nice to be getting to a point when I can remember that reading is not just a good use of my time, but in the job description. Hehehee! Job Description! 'Cos, you know, I HAVE ONE!!! For the year, at least! Must. Stop. Grinning.

Blogging about substantive issues to resume shortly.

Monday, July 25, 2005

No Bad Decision?

No Bad Decision?

After much soul-searching and discussion with friends and collegues, I think I have it pegged. A good thing, because I have to talk to people about this today. I leaned towards Rural State U all weekend. I looked at flights. I dismissed the insanity of the distance and trying to adjust in three weeks while still teaching an online class. And came back again and again to a couple of things. It isn't TT unless it's in the contract. It isn't. And I have a one-year position that I would also like here. It starts later. And I can use the library at Flagship U, where they have 98% of the stuff I need right now, on the shelves, where I can get it. Rural U is entirely ILL. If I have to be on the market this year, I need to beef up the CV -- I will do that better where I have friends who will kick my ass. And I'll be an inside candidate for the TT job here, too.

I'm bummed, and kind of hope that Rural State will tell me when we speak that they have managed to make this the TT job I originally applied for, because I really think I'd love the job. And it turns out that my grandmother lived in Rural town as a kid, so there are family roots there ;-) But I just can't see risking so much on even the best of departmental intentions. Sigh. And I know I will be happy with local job.

Update: Rural State couldn't, although they said the worst case would be a continuing one-year -- also nothing they could put in writing. And I'm really happy I will be able to keep working on my paper without huge disruptions. I hate to say this (or maybe I'm just surprised to say it) but the kicker ended up being the accessibility of meterials. Knowing I would have to drive several hours to browse the stacks and find ANYTHING I might want was too much. I am remaking myself into the lion cub I started out as. I doubt I'll ever be leading the pride, but I'm also not going to handicap myself more than I have already. Miaow.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Two Offers!!!

Two Offers!!

Yes, very rural State U has also offered. And they say there is a very strong possibility that they will be able to convert the job to TT in the spring rather than doing a new search. And they are willing to shorten the tenure track (if it converts) to reflect my experience. Similar teaching load. Reasonable publishing expectations. Really nice people. And I would have to move in the next 10 days. About. But a university job nonetheless. And if I have to look for a job next year, is it better from local CC with heavy load (and I'd be very happy with a CC job in so many ways) and more preps but also with my entire support network, or from similarly heavy load but minimal preps at rural state, where I think I would be happy if it does go TT, but will also be a state U on my Cv if it doesn't? I have the weekend to reorganize my life. If you know me IRL, please feel free to e-mail advice. If you are one of these institutions, I really like you both, and this is probably the second hardest decision I've ever had to make. I will be choosing the position where I think I can do my best -- to all of our advantage.

Thursday, July 21, 2005



Local job just offered the one-year. I really want it. They reminded me they will do a national search next year and I have to reapply. I want it! But I also am not insane, and will be interviewing for the university position tomorrow and find out what the TT search prospects are there. Plus salary, benefits info, etc. Because I have to go with the best long-term decision, don't I? Don't I?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

First Ancient/Medieval Carnivalesque

First Ancient/Medieval Carnivalesque

The first Ancient/Medieval Carnivalesque will be held at The Cranky Professor on or about August 5. Submissions (your own or ones that you like) should be sent to Professor AT crankyprofessor DOT com.


Daunted? Yep. Beaten? No.

Phone interview for fill-in position went well, I think. Liked the people. Think I would like the school. Not daunted by the level of work, although I would miss the ability to really teach the sources at the freshman level -- that goes to the TAs. But I'd get to work closely with the TAs, and that would be a blast. But the sheer number of new preps is a bit frightening, time-wise. Moving, finishing abstract/starting paper (although having to talk about research is wonderful for refining what one wants to do in the future!), and getting two totally new preps, plus revising the survey prep to go along with books already ordered, and finishing teaching my online summer class all in the next month sounds a bit ... stressful. But if the alternative is adjuncting? I do not know.

Update: Phone interview today with the VP for Academic Affairs for local job!!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

Got a call this morning from a place where I'd applied for a TT job. Really small town U with grad students. Never heard back. Turns out they've changed the job to emergency one-year with the possibility of converting the person they hire to TT if s/he works out, or will do another search next year. Would I be interested? Back in for three jobs. Phew. Two of them guaranteed to totally screw up any plans I might have had for a vacation and visit with a good friend, but one with the possibility of eventual tenure. Off to prep for interviews! BLEAARRRRGH!!!

And no, I'm not really complaining. Just kind of ... amazed at my life since March. Not rollercoaster -- pinball machine. The kind where balls drop down and go out of play, then all of a sudden, you're playing three at once!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Grading Break

Grading Break

And a bit of a rant. The class: World Civ. 1 -- to 1500 (and of course I chose the book on the fly, Bentley v. A, which barely makes it to 1000 -- fortunately not many complaints, since it's an 8 week term). The assignment: a review of a scholarly article, must be relevant to the topics covered in the course. So why am I getting proposals for articles on the Khmer Rouge?

In other news, I've cribbed my updates from my past post to this one ...

Update: Interviewed today. As usual, had a migraine. Not as usual, forgot to mention it to the committee. For a one-year job, they were interviewing for the TT person they want next year. Needless to say, I prepared for the one-year interview. And I rambled a bit. But I think I hit all the important points. And I hope I didn't sound like someone who is 'settling' for a CC job, because I really liked these people and was amazed at the autonomy faculty seem to have. I'm going to make sure my referrees all mention that really, I'm a teacher first, researcher second. That will always be the case, and this place, despite the heavy 3-3-3 teaching load, seems really supportive of scholarly activity on the kind of schedule I think I could manage, i.e., summers. And they have travel and conference money. And the first thing I saw when I got to campus was a ginormous tabby Manx, complete with collar and tags. And (elsewhere) almost tame squirrels. And gorgeous landscaping.

And did I mention they were very nice and very cool and that I want them to hire me? and yes, I know I have been in two minds about the kind of job I want, but I think this place would be no harder than a serious teaching 4-year, except that I would write because I want to, and not because I have to. Not something to sneer at. And best, I could stay in beautiful part of country where I would rather live than anywhere else in the US except those parts more easily accessible to Europe. So if you know people at local job, let them know how great I am as a colleague and teacher!

I am interviewing for the other job, too. Now slightly freaked out. I am interviewing for a job with big lecture courses and TAs. I have never had a TA. I have never taught grad students. Oddly, I am starting to think I *could* but on a month's notice? I am soooo going to need to prep this interview -- and pray that I get an offer for the other job? Except that I would really like to see if I could cut it in the minors of the Big Leagues. OTOH, with my track record this year, I could be doomed to adjuncting. Bugger. Yes, I am freaking. Back to grading now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ethical Considerations

Ethical Considerations

So a temporary job comes up on the market. Really fast hire. And you know whose job it is, and it looks very much as though the person was shafted (not necessarily by the school). And you have a lot of respect for that person. But you're also collecting unemployment and they do audits to make sure you're really applying for jobs. And it is a job. In this market. Do you apply?

In other news, I'm interviewing for a one-year position that's almost local this week, and spent much of a mandatory unemployment orientation yesterday jotting down ideas for two different papers. I think the K'zoo one may be changing focus a bit? But will fit into the sponsorship better, maybe. Using land transactions to show the geographical movement of leading families and their political influence as the really important family in my time period extend their influence in the only direction they can? I have to finish up Matthew Innes and Simon MacLean first, though, to make sure it's feasible and also not repetitive. And this is is from my thesis, right, so no poaching -- but comments and advice welcome. Damn, I wish I were going to St. Andrews for that conference. Bugger being less than fully employed.

And yes, I know I'm giving way too many hints via my project, but at least it's academic so Ivan Tribble can just ...

Friday, July 08, 2005

No, this doesn't make me paranoid

No, this doesn't make me paranoid

Lovely. So far, this blog has been a great thing for me in terms of getting back on track and helping to revive professional networks. Because of it, I've managed to get plugged in for a couple of conference presentations and a position where my name will be out there more frequently. Yes, I disclose things about my personal life, but not too many details, I don't think. OK, maybe sometimes. But not ones I'd be really embarassed by. I don't rant about colleagues or institutions. And yet, this article in the CHE makes me very nervous. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 07, 2005



That's all I have to say. Too many people I love are in London.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Tagged by Tiruncula

Tagged by Tiruncula

(and no, I haven't written today. But I graded and will be reading when I get home. Memes are a moral imperative in the Real Genius sense)

What were three of the stupidest things you've done in your life?

Like Tiruncula, I’ll take this as three categories of stupidity, because, well, if you know me, you know how true they are:

  1. Partners. Not recognizing the ones that I should have appreciated more and who never got the chance, and regularly ending up with the ones who were jealous of/threatened by me. I think that may be changing, but it took ten years ...

  2. Thinking of scholarly activity as a kind of luxury that gets put after "People's Needs," i.e., never learning how to see my work as a whole and treat it that way

  3. Never learning tact or discretion to the extent that I'd like

OK -- I know those aren't great, but I can't think of any really stupid things I've done that don't relate to them, except for the one Truly Stupid Thing I am most ashamed of -- I once went to a wake -- a close family friend who was for a while my flatmate) and got pissed out of my brain and drove the 10 or so blocks home.

At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

I would say that it's me in my personal decisions -- getting divorced was all me. Professionally (and that's a different kind of personal, really), it's several colleagues, including some of you who have given so much encouragement that I feel I have to live up to it, and of course, DV. And SC who's been there for every horrible part of the divorce and job search, despite not having known me for long.

If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

OK -- I'm picking people who haven't been picked yet, but NK and Tiruncula had ideas I'd definitely steal.

  • Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus, because, well, he's so damned cool
  • Theodora
  • John Lennon
  • Jane Austen
  • Horatio Nelson (or maybe Wellesley)

If it were people still alive, Michael Parkinson, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Sheri Tepper, and Billy Connolly (and Eddie Izzard, maybe)

If you had three wishes not supernatural, what would they be?

  1. A tenure-track job at a liberal arts college with a 3-3 or 3-4 load and reasonable expectations of scholarly activity -- or a lecturer position in the British Isles, because I am only 32% American, apparently.

  2. A tax system in the US that is not regressive and that taxes people enough to pay for health care, public transport, etc. I have seen this work ...

  3. the chance for a visit with a close but distant friend before next year's K'zoo -- two visits would be better.

Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

I wish we had:

  • better public transport outside the city center (where you can't complain, 'cos it's free)

  • an Irish/English/Scottish-type pub that had decent beer

People should avoid:

  • a couple of neighborhoods, but they're off the beaten track

  • the mole at any local Mexican restaurant, which is more likely to taste like satay sauce than anything having to do with chocolate, chilis, or spices

Name one event that has changed your life

When AXADH told me that, if I got a job, I could not count on him coming with me, so I had better consider carefully before applying. I did.

Tag five people.

(apologies for those who hate to be tagged)

Prof. Bitch, meg, Scribblingwoman, 1B*, and (so she has something to do when she gets back ...) Evieballerina. There are a couple of others I'd LOVE to see, but I think they would not appreciate my tagging them ...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Freakish Coincidence

Freakish Coincidence

Saw this on the blog of a British, er ... acquaintance(?) where I sometimes lurk to get the occasional update on a less communicative friend. And got the same score. Weird. What does that say, I wonder?

You Are 32% American
America: You don't love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn't mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you'll fly a freak flag instead...
And give Uncle Sam a sucker punch!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Poor Wayfaring Stranger

That's the song going through my head today. No news on the two jobs that started reviewing applications on Monday. Everybody is pretty sure that I will at least get an interview for the local one-year, though. I hope so.

I moved out of my office today. Heavy sigh. Its owner, newly returned from two years as Dean, is ecstatic, though. And I'm really happy for him. But I miss my office. I have a new place, at the campus where I'm teaching online. But it's another 5 miles down the road. Still, I suppose I should make myself seen there. Otherwise, I have a very good excuse to go check out the wireless setup at Flagship U, where I should start going to work on papers. Although that's even farther. But it's all pretty and pseudo-gothic and makes one feel all studious. I could also just use the library at now-ex school where all my friends work, so as to be available for fun things. Hmmmm.

At any rate, I have a car full of stuff I need to take home and sort to put in storage. More bits and pieces to pick up from AXADH tomorrow. Room reorganization to follow. For now, I'm going to go home and stretch my poor, sore back and maybe do some reading. Today I:
  • finished moving out of the office
  • graded all the assignments turned in by the online class -- not all were turned in.
  • posted lots to the discussion forum -- lots to read, although I had to do some redirecting on the ideas of History as progress and presentism -- and on using the Wikipedia!
  • wrote (well, copied and pasted in tedious detail) a quiz
  • sent a bunch of comments and questions to a colleague on a paper he gave me a while back. With apologies and lame explanations of what I did with the last 2 months that I couldn't get back sooner
  • checked my e-mail and a couple of blogs way too obsessively

Oh! I also have a small social life! Tuesday I went with friends to play pub trivia -- we won, which paid for Tuesday night's beer and last night's Happy Hour with colleagues (a Thursday night summer ritual I've never had the chance to enjoy). And then I went home and (re-)read a couple of articles from Debating the Middle Ages, which I would love to be able to teach some day. Just reminding myself of the bigger picture.