Sunday, July 30, 2006

Photomeme Request #1

Photomeme request #1

Here are some pictures of my (home) office for meg ... I still need to take some boxes of stuff to campus, but it's workable. And I do most of my reading on the balcony or away from the computer. My work office? I don't think I'll be posting pics till it's in order, and then maybe here is not the best place to share, since I'd rather not out myself too much! Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

That Photo meme

That Photo Meme

Well, since it's the winding-down of summer, and I need an excuse to explore, I'm offering myself up to the photoblog meme.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Why am I not as thrilled as I should be?

Why am I not as thrilled as I should be?

I just found out that I have a lower teaching load than I was told. 9 hours a week. I've never ever ever contemplated that I'd be in a job where I taught so little. Two preps (four for the year). There is time for scholarly activity!!! And they are paying me!!! and now I have to do it!!!!

Because, yeah. That's the other part. Expectations of scholarly activity have been raised by a somewhat nebulous amount. If we aren't doing "enough", they will give us more courses.

Yeah, I'm a bit nervous.

And I'm kinda thrilled, and kinda excited. But I don't adjust well to my expectations changing quite this rapidly. Give me a couple weeks, and I'll be reminding myself that I've fallen into a very nice situation.

Just another step in the transition from thinking of myself as a teacher to thinking of myself as an actual, full-fledged academic person, I expect. Self perception's a bitch.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006



Two very cool things. For the first time in recent memory, I opened my newly-arrived Speculum* to find An article that actually has something to do with my research. If you were an early medieval historian, you'd know how rare this is. Not only that, but there was a review of Althoff's Friends, Family ...(and whatever. I can't remember off the top of my head) by Chris Wickham that rawked. Seriously. Such a good reviews and now I must buy the damned book -- which is not all that pricey, thank goodness.

Other cool thing: I just read this over at The Little Professor. It's really, really good.

Now I'm going to shower and move stuff into my new office!

*(Oi! you just shut yer gobs, you non-medievalist lot. I didn't name it!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Carnivalesque XVII

Carnivalesque XVII

Hi Everybody! Carnivalesque XVI is up at xoom!. It's an Ancient/Medieval version, and there's lots of fun stuff to read.

Never been to a Carnival??

Carnivalesque is certainly not just for historians (or for academic scholars). We welcome perspectives from related disciplines, especially literary studies, archaeology, art history, philosophy - in fact, from anyone who enjoys writing about anything to do with the not-so-recent past. You can nominate your own writing and/or that of other bloggers, but please try not to nominate more than one or two posts by any author, and limit nominations to fairly recent posts, preferably since the last edition (on the relevant period) and certainly within the last three months.

To submit nominations you can either send an email to the upcoming host (once a name has been announced), to the carnival email address (carnivalesque AT-SIGN earlymodernweb DOT org DOT uk), or you can use the handy submission form at Blog Carnival.

Potential hosts should be regular bloggers with some knowledge of and interest in pre-modern history (though, again, not necessarily academics). If you are interested in hosting an edition of Carnivalesque, please send us an email (see further down page for details), noting whether you are particularly interested in early modern or ancient/medieval, and telling us a little about your background and historical interests.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New SLAC Fears

New SLAC Fears

So I'm starting the new job in less than a month. Things I hadn't considered #1 -- my wardrobe. There are events. I don't have clothes to wear to country clubs. I have nice teaching clothes (and not nearly as many of those as I probably should have) and interview clothes and jeans. And lots of skirts and cheap t-shirts and sleveless t-shirt-y shells from Target that, when paired with skirts, made me look far more dressed up than most of my colleagues at old CC. And there are times when one wears regalia. AAARGH!

Things I hadn't considered #2. This post at New Kid's reminds me that, while I don't normally swear in class, my classroom speech has become frighteningly colloquial. I think part of that was the part of the country I was living in, and part of it was that many of my colleagues tended to do the same. Part of it was perhaps the student population, and I think part of it was that there was a kind of relaxed attitude where students expected to call faculty by their first names. I think that kind of familiarity tends to blur behavioral lines. I really missed the formality of a SLAC ... but now I'm afraid I won't remember how to behave. Hell and damnation.

By the by, this is not a criticism of either of my old CCs. Campus culture is what it is. Anecdotally, I would say that my colleagues at most recent CC who remained engaged in the wider academic community tended to have more defined academic personae. Hmmm. A question for Dean Dad?

Not Protected by Academic Freedom: Bad Teaching

Not Protected by Academic Freedom: Bad Teaching

It probably comes as no surprise to anybody who comes by here, especially those of you who have read the past couple of posts and their comcomitant discussions, that I suspect Kevin Barrett of being a bad teacher. Admittedly, this is based solely on what I've read, and that may be a little sensationalist. But the Barrett discussion raises the question of academic freedom, as well. And you know? I don't think academic freedom is meant to cover bad teaching, intellectual dishonesty, or any of a myriad of other things.
Stanley Fish has his take on it in yesterday's NY Times. (sorry if you have to log in). I pretty much agree with what he says, except that I also think that academic freedom guarantees our rights to participate in off-campus activities that are protected by the Constitution without those activities affecting the security of our positions.

Hat tip to Gill Polack

Saturday, July 22, 2006

When is it not history?

When is it not history?

Short answer: when you think that, by studying an aspect of the past, you can change the present.

ETA: For "history", read "doing history in the sense of studying and/or professing history" not "at what point does history, the study of the past, stop being history." After reading meg and NK's comments below, I realized I wasn't perhaps as clear as I should have been. This is not about history being a valid field of study ... it's more about what I see as the duties of the historian when actually doing history. I'm not saying that who we are and what our own interests are doesn't or shouldn't in some way influence our choices of subject -- if that were true, we wouldn't have social, intellectual, political, economic, institutional, whatever history. I'm saying that when we let our interests in those things in the now drive and guide how we read and interpret and publicise the past, we are in danger of privileging the cause over the subject or the approach.

Apropos of this post and the comment threads here and at AIR, I've done some thinking. Part of it comes back to a question that most of us deal with on a regular basis, especially if we are in the classroom or lecture hall -- how is this relevant? My answer is, increasingly, "I don't know. Why should it be? Shouldn't you decide how it is relevant to you?"
Not history. Social engineering that uses history. That's a different thing.

I can explain the relevance of History as a discipline. For me, at least, it accentuates many of my natural thought processes and encourages my inclinations towards skepticism and picking things apart till you think they can't be picked anymore -- then putting them back together a different way and looking for holes. The knowledge that my subjects are not like us means that I have to try to imagine what it would be like to be like them: it will always be an approximation, but I have to play by their social rules, which means I have to develop some empathy and understanding. Those skills are things I do use on a daily basis in the present when confronted with trying to understand current political situations, my fellow citizens, visiting other countries -- or even other parts of this country.

As far as why Eastern Francia or Stuart England or Lombard Italy are relevant? I can't help you, except to say that the stuff these people did happened within a greater time-stream that seems to have got us here and now (this is one of those places where the Histroy of Science wonks have it made -- there, you really do seems to be able to relate one event to the next in an idea of 'progress'). Some of this is conscious, some not. Some is based on reiterations of "what happened" that are more or less correct, some of those interpretations have now been corrected -- but we have to deal with the fact that the misinterpretations have had influence. All of this is meaningful, all of this adds to to a greater understanding of the world, but as far as personal relevance goes? That's up to you.

I think that, by learning to understand the past -- and that means knowing that it's the quest that's important, and that, even though we defend our conclusions with every shred of evidence available, those conclusions can be overturned with a single new document, or argued into a new interpretation, and that's a good thing -- we can learn to understand the present better. But understanding the past to change the present? Or to undo wrongs of the past in the present? I think that's where you cross the line and stop doing history.

Part of me thinks that this is particularly a danger for the modernist, or at least some modernists. Perhaps because some perfectly acceptable approaches for modern historians still allow for thinking of history as progess? But the minute one thinks of history as progress, one is almost forced to use the present as the standard of measurement, and that's not going to result in good history.

Perhaps more importantly, the recent past is accessible in a way that cannot help but to be personal. My own views of the Depression, World War II, and post-War Britain are colored by having heard the personal recollections of my grandparents, in-laws, and ex-husband. But I also know that those experiences, even though they've often been presented as normative, might not be. My favorite example is the story of my ex-husband's birth -- he was born in his grandmother's bed, as were his brothers. I asked if that were normal, because he was born in 1951, after all, and was told it was. And you know, it was normal for the people in their neighborhood, which was poor. But another friend was born in a different part of England, four years earlier, and to a different class. For him, the idea of being born at home was abnormal -- even his much older siblings were born in hospital. Intellectually, I of course always knew that these stories in part show -- that people of different social groups probably had different ideas of normality. But there is an unconscious temptation to give more weight to the person, to the eyewitness account, that one knows, and that makes for bad history.

I think that "identity X" history can combine the worst of the dangers I've mentioned. There is an idea of history with a goal, and there is trust of the personal account -- except in this case, the personal account is often the personal experience of the historian and the people closest to him or her. For what it's worth, I think that Americans who are historians of American history have to face many of the same challenges (as do Germans who do post war Germany, etc.). And the more I think about it, if you've chosen to do the history of something because you have a personal identification (in real time) with it and an interest in using it to make your own personal identifications explicable and meaningful, you really aren't doing history -- you're doing sociology or journalism or poli sci or genealogy, but whatever it is, you've crossed the line and compromised your objectivity. Because, if it's all about you, it isn't history, I don't think.

Update: Alun Salt offers his typically cogent views at Archaeoastronomy and Revise and Dissent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

IBARW and History

IBARW and History

I'm not committing to daily posts against racism, despite it being Blog Against Racism Week, but this post from the current History Carnival is one I find interesting, and not necessarily in a good way. Andrew Ross asks:

Do members of oppressed groups today have special access on the past of those groups? In other words, do gay people or Black people, have a special claim to an understanding of the gay or Black past?

And answers:

yeah, I'm afraid so.

This is one of those times I'm glad I study what I do. There was a time when most of the secondary material in my field was written in a way that both claimed and helped to reinforce this idea of special insight (thank you, Ranke, et al.). I'm honestly not sure if it's as true in the historiography of England or Western Francia/France, but pretty much everything I've read on Eastern Francia written before 1950 (and a good bit of stuff written afterwards by people trained before WWII) relies on circular arguments that rely pretty much on a "but of course it was that way because we Germans are like that and they were like that too!" argument. For me, this often means that the secondary sources contain really good information wrapped in analysis that only a fool would accept at face value. (Still ... German MSS editing! = no paleography!)

But apart from crazed German nationalist historians, it's pretty easy to be a medievalist -- and I think it's easier the earlier one goes. OK, yeah, we've got to do the languages and the funny writing (sometimes) and we have to use a much broader range of relatively fewer sources ... but we really are in 'the past is a different country' land. We don't have to worry about identifying with the people we study in the way Ross discusses. We try to understand them and make them more understandable to others, but that's different. Because Ross is wrong about this. In fact, I would argue that what he sees as being better insight is just a faster way to bad history. We don't have to try to make what we do "meaningful for the 21st c.", because we know it's just meaningful, period.

History Carnival XXXV

History Carnival XXXV

History Carnival XXXV is up at Air Pollution! Andrew Ross has collected some great links. Go and read them and be entertained and enlightened!

The next History Carnival will be at CLEWS: The Historic True Crime Blog on August 1st. You can submit your entries here.

Apologies for not getting this up sooner ... I seem to have lost all track of dates.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006



It's currently 91 (feels like 96 w/humidity, and hasn't hit the day's high yet ... yesterday was 98). I am dreading the electric bill -- and I keep the thermostat set to 73.

In other news, the legislators and governor of the state of Florida are now officially dumber than a bag of rocks. The fact that many people in this country think they have a good idea just proves that there are some seriously badly educated people in this country. If you know me, you know where I lay the blame for that one ... let's just say it's not unrelated to the fact that there has been a push by certain factions to privilege holders of education degrees over discipline degrees and that well-qualified teachers of history have a hard time getting jobs unless they can coach ...

But anyway, via one of the list servs I'm on...

Quote: "American history shall be viewed as factual, not as
constructed, shall be viewed as knowable, teachable and testable, and
shall be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the
universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence."

More at History News Network at

LA Times at,0,5940045.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

The Bill itself is at

Thanks to Paul Halsall at The English Eclectic, who pointed this out on the list serv.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Possibly Unintended Imagery

Possibly Unintended Imagery

From a book I'm currently reading:

Those excluded from mainstream society were also distinguished by external symbols, such as the badge stitched on the clothes of Jews or the uncovered, unkempt hair of prostitutes. In short, someone's place in society could be known at a glance. In towns the identity of each social category was regularly displayed through grand processions: each group would parade in the appropriate attire with distinctive insignia, in an order of precedence that reflected its place in the social hierarchy.

First thought -- I get the uncovered heads of prostitutes, but unkempt hair? Was this a rule? "You, whore! Put that comb down! Can't have your hair look tidy!" I'm serious -- was it a rule? Time in question is say, 12th c. For no good reason (or probably too many historical novels?), I was under the impression that in the MA unmarried women often left their hair uncovered (I've heard unbound, as well, but that makes no sense to me at all -- I've had hair down past my waist, and it gets in the way -- for people who work for a living, unbound hair makes no sense), but it seems to me that, were I to make my living as a prostitute, I'd want my hair to do its job and help attract custom.

And that last part. Yes, I know it's true. And I love the processions. But when I read that sentence, I was struck by two images: one was all of the guild masters of Ankh-Morpork trying to haggle with Lord Vetinari over who got which place in the procession -- and I bet the Seamstresses weren't last in that procession; the other was of a very flamboyant gay wedding procession organizer, probably a monk, or maybe like the clerk in Life of Brian ("Crucifixion? Right, that way ..."), organizing the ranks for the procession just so.

I probably need to get out more.

Friday, July 14, 2006



I've been reading through my new World History text -- I'm using Bulliett. Mostly, I like it. The organization is not bad. It doesn't have too many stupid questions. Not so many primary sources, but that's ok. And it's better than most texts when it comes to the Voice of Authority, i.e., there are qualifying comments like, "many historians think," or , "Historian X has argued ...". And in general, I like that there are pronunciation hints. Except. The pronunciations are not mine in some cases. And I don't think it's that my pronunciations are wrong. It's that for some reason, the pronunciations have been simplified. Dipthongs are pretty much non-existent. Everything has been ... USAmericanized? Worse, the majority of vowel sounds seem to be translated to "uh". I know that not everyone pronounces the K in Knossos (and this book spells it Cnossos and says NOH-sus). I'll explain that my way is perfectly acceptable (it is, isn't it??). But Phaistos -- I would pronounce it Fah-EE-stos, or something like, that reflects that both the a and the i are spoken. THe book? FIE-stus.

I wouldn't worry about it, except that maybe I've been wrong all these years? But I think I'm not. I'm actually not bad with the languages -- and especially with pronunciations (although I have trouble with Pfirsich and Kirsch and occasionally French words that end in -in, until I've heard them pronounced properly). But really ... I think I'm more right than wrong here. How to deal with book disagreement in class?

Quiz Fun

Er ... do you think so?


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Carnival reminder

carnivalesque reminder

Carnivalesque Button 17, and Ancient/Medieval carnival, will be hosted by Meg at xoom on or about 25 July. You can forward submissions to meg AT rageaway DOT com or to the carnivalesque e-mail address: carnivalesque At-sign
earlymodernweb DOT org ANOTHER DOT uk or you can use the handy submission form at Blog Carnival.

Carnivalesque is certainly not just for historians (or for academic scholars). We welcome perspectives from related disciplines, especially literary studies, archaeology, art history, philosophy - in fact, from anyone who enjoys writing about anything to do with the not-so-recent past. You can nominate your own writing and/or that of other bloggers, but please try not to nominate more than one or two posts by any author, and limit nominations to fairly recent posts, preferably since the last edition (on the relevant period) and certainly within the last three months.

Potential hosts should be regular bloggers with some knowledge of
and interest in pre-modern history (though, again, not necessarily academics). If you are interested in hosting an edition of Carnivalesque, please send an email noting whether you are particularly interested in early modern or ancient/medieval, and telling us a little about your background and historical interests.

The next History Carnival will be hosted by Andrew Ross at Air Pollution on July 15. ESend your nominations of exemplary posts in history since 1 July to him at airpollutionblog*at*gmail*dot*com
Or you can use this handy form.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ADM Goes Exploring

ADM Goes Exploring

Still not adjusted. Still wanting more human contact. But, I got out today. Drove much further than I thought to go to the closest Trader Joe's, because so far, I haven't been able to find organic chicken in town. I bet there is, if I can find a butcher, and this part of the country should have butchers ... Also, TJ's has really good chocolate (70-90% -- good for the endorphins) and a good wine collection, including the famed 'Two-buck Chuck's', very drinkable plonk at $2 a bottle ($3 in old state, because alcohol taxes were so high). Plus, it's a bit cheaper for things like good cheese, basmati and arborio rice, etc.

On the way back, I was driving along a country highway, but not the serious country highway -- I realized that there is a very direct route to TJ Town, but much of the road has a 25-35 mph speed limit, and there are occasionally tractors. OTOH, that route is gorgeous and jam-packed with buildings that are easily a couple of hundred years old, in some places. Next time, I'll drive that way, and stop at a cute cafe and read and lollygag. This time, I took the interstate, and it was not as interesting, but a good test of the car. But anyway, as I was looking at the trees and bushes and realizing that almost every bit of greenery was alien to me, and that even the friggin' cows look wrong*, I glanced over, and there, as big as a real, life-sized deer, was a real, life-sized deer, grazing in the woods next to the road. A young doe, as bold as anything, in broad daylight. Also, I think I saw a female cardinal and some big bird of prey I didn't recognize (which means not a red-tailed hawk, turkey buzzard, or bald eagle). I should buy a bird book, or at least one of those laminated bird guides.

Picked up some plants, gifts from Purposeful Woman, Computer Genius, The Mathemetician, Professor Kinsey, The Vulcanologist, and The Economist. I will take pictures of them and post them soon! But I still have several to go, because the gift of plants was extraordinatily generous. OH! I did see familiar stuff at the plant place -- bougainvilla, hibiscus, lantana, and a big honking bird of paradise that cost some hundreds of dollars. Er ... won't be buying that. Apparently, most of those things are annuals here. hmph. The tomatoes are budding, though ...

Then, home to swim, because it's still in the high 80s here and something like 120% humidity. Haven't been to the gym this week -- good thing I haven't bought the membership. I really do want to check out some other places, but am tempted to just go ahead and buy the year's membership, because cool colleague works out there, and so does her cool friend, so I might actually be able to hang out. But it's a little too low key -- maybe. I have a feeling I might not like the co-ed gyms here. There's way too much random testosterone, mullets, and tobacco chewing, I'm thinking. Yes, I am a snob. I may have working-class roots, but I do have some standards -- decent dental care, absence of caps indoors, no overt macho bullshit ... these are things I expect in my immediate society.

Anyway, the pool closes at 6, as it happens, so no swim. My apartment is reasonably clean, I have groceries, I have done laundry, and my desk and dining table are both usable. No excuse not to work tomorrow. Shoot -- Thunderstorm breaking. should probably turn off the computer.

*Where I come from, cows are Hereford-y beef cows, with the occasional longhorn, or they are black and white milk cows (Holsteins, maybe?). Perhaps the occasional decorative Brahma bull or herd of Black Angus(es). These were not the cows I am used to. They were black or brown, but polled, so no telling what the horns would have looked like. All young, and I think steers, but they didn't look like 'beef' cattle that I'm used to seeing. Anyway, I've seen cows in England and Germany, and these didn't look like them, either -- although most of those (except the hairy Scottish cows up near Inverness and Cawdor Castle) looked like milk cows. But not like these. I know. They are just cows. I'm only trying to explain that even the flora and fauna seem odd to me.

Sunday, July 09, 2006



What on earth were you thinking?

Another Reason to love Stephen Fry

Yet another reason to love Stephen Fry -- History Matters

Stephen Fry on why History Matters. It's not everything, and I might not exactly agree with all of it, but it's a far better public articulation than I've seen in a long while. Here's a long excerpt, worthy of not being hidden behind a cut:
The biggest challenge facing the great teachers and communicators of history is not to teach history itself, nor even the lessons of history, but why history matters. How to ignite the first spark of the will o'the wisp, the Jack o'lantern, the ignis fatuus [foolish fire] beloved of poets, which lights up one source of history and then another, zigzagging across the marsh, connecting and linking and writing bright words across the dark face of the present. There's no phrase I can come up that will encapsulate in a winning sound-bite why history matters. We know that history matters, we know that it is thrilling, absorbing, fascinating, delightful and infuriating, that it is life. Yet I can't help wondering if it's a bit like being a Wagnerite; you just have to get used to the fact that some people are never going to listen.

No, it isn't exactly political correctness that dogs history; it's more a pernicious refusal to enter imaginatively the lives of our ancestors. Great and good men and women stirred sugar into their coffee knowing that it had been picked by slaves. Kind, good ancestors of all of us never questioned hangings, burnings, tortures, inequality, suffering and injustice that today revolt us. If we dare to presume to damn them with our fleeting ideas of morality, then we risk damnation from our descendants for whatever it is that we are doing that future history will judge as intolerable and wicked: eating meat, driving cars, appearing on TV, visiting zoos, who knows?

We haven't arrived at our own moral and ethical imperatives by each of us working them out from first principles; we have inherited them and they were born out of blood and suffering, as all human things and human beings are. This does not stop us from admiring and praising the progressive heroes who got there early and risked their lives to advance causes that we now take for granted.

Welcome to my first reading assignment of the year, class.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Wishing settling in were easier

Wishing settling in were easier

Well, except for hanging pictures and cleaning up my home office, I'm pretty much settled in. Physically, at least. I know my way around town, more or less, and have sussed out places I'd like to hang out, places I'd like to see, and places to shop. I may have found a gym, and have explored the park adjacent to campus. My English neighbors have agreed to show me the running trail that runs from near our apartment complex through some wetlands. The cats seem happy enough.

In practical terms, moving early was a good idea. In personal terms, not so much. I'd forgotten about the fact that I don't like to be isolated -- and I am a person prone to allowing isolation to build and fester. It takes me a while to make friends, and I'd forgotten how much I depend on them. When my friends are around, available, I don't have to be with them all the time. It's enough to know they're there. But now, everyone I love is very far away. Only as far as a phone call or e-mail, but still, very far. And although this seems to be a friendly town, it's the friendly of polite, and courteous, and superficial welcome. Or maybe I'm just bad at making friends. I'm definitely kind of picky. And it's a small town, so I'm trying not to make too many false steps. But at the moment, I feel pretty anonymous.

There are some great things about the town. Parts are really beautiful -- very old buildings in styles I love, built with materials that don't have to worry about earthquakes. I'll post pictures soon -- Really! I went out on the balcony this morning with my tea, and the cats and I watched wild rabbits on the lawns between the apartments and the houses that on the adjoining property. Every morning, despite having the windows shut to make the most of the A/C (although I think I should shut it off and open the windows on cool nights), I hear the songs of birds that I mostly don't recognize. I hear birds at night, too -- something I never did in Old City.

I stumbled across the mall the other day, where I found that $23 pedicures do exist (big yay!), and there is a bubble tea stand! There is in fact one Thai restaurant, supposedly pretty good, although I've not found it. And there are two Indian restaurants, one supposedly good, the other to be avoided, or so I hear.

It's funny, though. There seem to be several towns here, each with its own population, and I can't yet see where the intersections are. It's very alien. I think this is true for faculty, too, just from the little I've seen. The older faculty, as far as I can tell, all live in the town itself. They live in these amazingly beautiful houses built no earlier than 70 years ago, some much older. They are the old neighborhoods, green and lush and rich, like the old neighborhoods around my Grad U, full of charm and azaleas. They are the neighborhoods of the respected members of the community, of those with roots. New faculty will never be able to afford those homes. They must live a bit further afield. The housing boom that comes from people who work in local humongous city (an hour and a half away) looking for affordable homes means that anything near SLAC is aleady far out of a junior faculty member's price range.

SLAC is changing, too. I'm happy for the changes, because they mean I can continue to research. I must publish to be promoted -- that's a new thing, because SLAC prides itself on being a teaching school. As my departmental colleague said, though, SLAC can't grow the way it wants to, and draw the students it wants, unless it expects actual scholars as well as teachers. But in the couple of collegial conversations I've had so far, I get the feeling that there is far more tension between the old guard and the new over this than I'd thought. I want to do well here, and I'm scared there might be more landmines (aren't there always?) than I had anticipated.

But I don't really know. I've only seen two colleagues since I've been here, and I don't start for weeks. Perhaps, once I get moved into my campus office, and get into tthe swing of things, I'll feel better about this. Right now, I'm really frightened because my old CC library had a better collection, and I've just been told that, no, we don't have access to JSTOR. I have a feeling I've been hired to be the assertive person I was at my interview. I just hadn't realized that meant I might also end up being the person wearing a big freakin' target as I ask for library resources, research resources, and try to get the things I really need to do my job well.

Today, though, I need to get my office together. I want to go pick up the houseplants that my wonderful friends in Old City bought me. Thanks!!!!! I want to tidy up the place and maybe watch the Germany-Portugal match (Gooooo, Deutschland!). Maybe I'll even go to the gym, although that would be three days in a row -- a first for ages. What I'd rerally like to do is find a nice little breakfast place in the pedestian precinct, where I can sit outside and have a coffee and read. Maybe even read something like the Peter Heather book that just arrived. Maybe learn to like the isolation. Well, probably not on that last. Maybe I'd better get organized and put up a to-do list!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I'm just sayin ...

I'm Just Saying ...

There is a word I seldom use. Almost never. It's one of those taboo words, at least in the US. I used it today to refer to Wayne Rooney. While I do not condone violence, I would not be all that displeased to hear that someone had smacked that boy upside the head and banned him from ever playing football again. Ever. I like him even less than C. Ronaldo, who has always been a dirty, cheating, arrogant little [insert any of the several words I can think of here].

And no, I wasn't surprised. Put a thick-headed, doltish, thug like Rooney, a player whose brilliance at scoring goals is well-balanced by the amount of time his head is stuck so far up his arse that it's surprising that he isn't more brain-damaged from the lack of oxygen, on a team, and he will screw it up.

And Sven-Goren? Re Frank Lampard. Can be brilliant. Having a terrible game. That's when a substitution isn't a bad idea. I'm just sayin'.

Dear Construction People

Dear Construction People

Why can I only open my windows from the bottom? I live on the top floor. I have cats. The hottest air in the room is at the top! I can't open my windows all the way, because the screens aren't particularly safe, should a cat lean against them. Which they can, because the windows have lovely ledges and are set about a foot from the floor. Heck, I can't even open them 6 inches! When it's actually below 70 at night, I'd like to have fresh (if muggy) air in the place. I would like to not have to run the A/C all the time.

And, by the way, don't say it's because people can't reach to lower a casement window -- not when you've built the kitchen cupboards so damned high I have to use a stool to reach the second shelf!

This is what we call a design flaw.