Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I got nothing

Massively irritating day today. The org I run was criminally underfunded for next year, which is going to seriously piss off a lot of people, considering we spent the last two years doing everything possible to actually contribute to the university and the department in a major way. If I was a year behind, I'd be fighting mad right now--but I'm gone in a year, I won't be elected again (not eligible, and I said I won't let them FDR me), so all I can do is defer to whoever takes over, and hopefully get myself appointed to my own committee. Heh.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Someone has a case of the Mondays

Not much else this weekend because we went home on Saturday to visit my family, and then yesterday was a major decompression day, made less decompressy by reading an article about eating disorders from the book "Reviving Ophelia" that I made my students read.

Been developing an unfortunate thing for D&D for some reason, I think because my brain is sick of ignoring my imagination and demanding something more fulfilling than the typical academic fare. Which makes less sense to me than it does to you, but that's my cross to bear. I highly recommend the D&D Podcasts with Wil Wheaton and company that are up on wizards.com. I've been working through the original Podcasts that the Penny Arcade and PvP guys did, and those are hilarious too. But, I have to be careful about thinking I can obtain ANYTHING like that level of fun living in the middle of nowhere and not having any dork friends anymore. So I took the next step down, and have been lurking play-by-post games on the Penny Arcade forums. I think that is a circle of patheticism all its own. The writing is awful and the guy running it is doing a ham-handed job, but it's something stupid to kill time on. Which I obviously have a lot of. Mine is a lonely life, for sure. That's a joke.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Trying to make sense of teaching

Teaching is exhausting. I knew it would be exhausting, but I never realized the magnitude of it. Going into this, I knew what kind of professor I wanted to be in the classroom--engaging, someone who would be approachable, someone who would actually give a damn about the students--but that entails more than just designing entertaining lectures and making self-deprecating bald jokes about myself in class. I am constantly e-mailing them or interacting with them online. I'm helping as many of them with their papers as I can, which means constant reminders that USA Today is a pile of steaming crap, wikipedia is awful, and legitimate research is done elsewhere.

I'm really tired, and this is just my first semester, teaching only one class.

A big part of it is also doing the prep for the first time. I spend a ton of time each week going through the book, figuring out what is actually worthwhile, working in whatever geeky jokes I can, figuring out what I have experienced in my own life that is relevant to the material that I can tie in--for example, when I taught race, I talked a lot about growing up white in a diverse community and having a lot of non-white friends, and I also talked a lot about sports in a racial context to demonstrate how race is still incredibly relevant today.

I think it works, but we'll find out when course evals come along. When I was a student I always thought the semester flew by; on the other side of the classroom, time travels at warp speed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We want the funk

Making a new blog is always a gigantic pain in the ass, because the hardest parts of running a blog are the first things you encounter. What do you call it? Because all the good names are taken. On blogspot, you'll spend several hours thinking up random cool blog titles, checking their availability, getting pissed off, and starting over.

That said, Organic Funk is a way better name than any of the ones I thought of originally.

The second problem with debuting a new blog is deciding how much about yourself you want to reveal, because first impressions are everything. This is especially difficult for me because I a) am incredibly private and b) have compartmentalized my life so much that I have a lot of good friends who have no idea what kinds of stuff I do, socially or professionally, and the idea of merging those worlds kind of makes me a little anxious. So that end, the purpose of this blog isn't so much for me to speak topics of interest to one particular audience. This is more for my own amusement. If people get it, they'll like it. If not, I don't care.

As to me- I'm a late 20s academic, finishing my doctorate in sociology with a specialization in criminology and social psychology. That's the standard line when I introduce myself in academic circles. In "regular" guy circles, I'm a sports addict who is running several fantasy teams in any sport at a given time, is constantly thinking ahead to next year's fantasy football draft, treats the NFL and NBA drafts like Christmas, and actually looks forward to the Olympics and the World Cup. In "geek" circles I'm a minor movie and gaming fan, but my real life obligations and lack of any real money over the past 6 years has basically brought that to a grinding halt, so much so that this summer I'll be playing through Final Fantasy X, XII, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Mass Effect again, and I'm pretty much looking forward to that.

Not all of those worlds really work well together.

I have a second blog, but I haven't updated it in forever. It's at backtothefuture2.blogspot.com. That's the blog I kept all last year, but all it does is detail how I went about studying for my prelim examination. Prelims (or comps) are the equivalent of boards in med school or the bar in law school. Suffice it to say, it was awful. But I passed. Anyway, I don't want to turn that blog into a personal thing, I kinda want to just keep it as is. Hence, Organic Funk.

I also write for www.attackedbygorillas.com and will soon be writing for headblitz.com. Today, I'm writing next week's lecture (I teach SOC 101) on sexuality and listening to the second ep of the Penny Arcade-PvP D&D podcast simultaneously. I named my dog Einstein after both the real Einstein and the dog from Back to the Future. Except he's a beagle. And he's staring at me right now.