Monday, June 1, 2015

three-pronged sober monday thirsty

Just one last question before this place finally closes down and we all cram into Walt's 1977 Camaro like circus clowns and zoom away from Oilmont and into the sunset.

OK, actually three questions.

1. Q. Could you honestly say why you have participated in this blog? (The question isn't why, but whether you could truthfully say why.)

   A. ________________________________

2. Q. What has been your favorite part about it all?

   A. ________________________________

3. Q. What are you most afraid of?

   A. ________________________________

Extra Credit: What's the most interesting thing you learned last week?


  1. 1. Yes, I could.
    2a. Interaction in the comments. 2b. That people much smarter than me take time to allow this place to be, take time to post, to comment, and to encourage others.
    3. That a place that offers solace -- to all and any, whenever sought -- may cease to exist.

    Extra credit: a tie between OPH's piece on his colleague's passing, and the first chapter of "Why Teach?" by Mark Edmundson...what I think I learned was a clearer sense of "mono no aware".

    And, thank you, SB, Ph.D., for this and all your posts.

  2. 1. I'm addicted to blogs, particularly academic blogs with medium-small commenter groups (once they get too big, I get bored, plus trolls). This blog has dealt with some of the unpleasant realities of contemporary academia in a way that I actually think might be more productive than the serious sanctimony of more 'professional' sites.

    2. The mix of topics, covering nearly the full reality of academic life. (kind of why I like country and folk music: it's about everything) Some of the writing has been extraordinary (OPH, recently, for example) and some of the commenters are immensely thoughtful and effective (Contingent Cassandra, for example).

    3. Every now and then an issue comes up where it's clear that I'm in the minority of the community, and I have to step away for a while. As a very minor member of the community, I know it doesn't matter much, but I want this to be a mostly positive contribution to the larger academic discourse, as well as a place of support for members, and I fear that might not work out.

  3. 1) Truthfully say why I participate, to WHOM?
    > To you guys at CM? Sure.
    > To my colleagues? Well, it varies from probably to only if I want to be derided for months.
    > To my dean? Hells to the no (although I think the last Dean, who referred to himself as a Spy for the Alliance among the Dark Side in faculty meetings on occasion, and insisted on teaching half of a large, required first year class even as Dean so that he wouldn't completely lose touch with the realities of what the people he lead did, would have got it).

    2) the 'OMG me too!!!!' moments, knowing I'm not alone in my experiences and stresses and worries, and the comment sections

    3) the duck watching me whilst I sleep

  4. 1, yes
    2. a. the on-pointedness of the posts, usually. So many times, they have captured what I experience/feel/imagine about faculty life
    b. the responding/commenting posts - very insightful
    c. Yaro
    d. Beaker Ben's twitter feed
    3. I'm afraid that when/if this place goes down, I'll keep looking for it.

  5. Well, this does seem like a bit early for a post-mortem, doesn't it?

    I can honestly say why I participate. Of course, you'll never know if I'm lying so what does it matter?

    I keep coming back because you people are hilarious and you sometimes break my heart.

    I'm afraid that I'll think of a long essay that explains it all and I won't have a place to show off my deep thoughts.

    Sorry, I don't believe in extra credit. I can't remember last week anyway.

  6. 1. Yep I can. Did you want us to expound on this? If so write a better test question.

    2. I like the posts and the comments. We actually talk about the ugly side of academia.

    3. I will come here and there will be no more posts. Nothing to read, just nothing. So sad.

    Extra credit: You did not tell me on the study guide that I needed to answer this type of question. Wait until you see your evaluation!

  7. 1. I wanted to do what Cal did at RYS. Heck, I wanted to BE Cal.
    2. The people. Yaro, Walter, Kimmie, Les, Darla, and Cal, some I've now met and all that I know - in essential ways - better than my colleagues.
    3. That what we've talked about will never get better.
    4. That Caitlyn Jenner is miles braver than I've ever been.

  8. 1. Yes.
    2. Camaraderie with like-minded, very smart, very funny people who seem to have equal measures of deep caring about education and students on the one hand, and on the other, no more fucks to give.
    3. Something happening to my children.
    -- Wait, was # 3 relevant to this page? Then I'm afraid of this page going away.
    4. That the stone age began waayyy earlier than we thought it did.

  9. 1. Yes [several reasons, in fact, some of them consistent, some of them differing over time]

    2. Not sure I can choose one favorite (and that, too, changes over time), but right now it's a tie between (1) the chance to interact honestly with people in a variety of disicplines, kinds of institutions, ranks/positions, etc., etc., and (2) the chance to hang around with people who are willing to say that much of higher ed is a mess right now, but are still doing their best, day by day, to make the whole enterprise work as well as it can, and to balance their responsibilities to their students and themselves (or, in other words, my 2.2 is the same as Proffie G's #2).

    3. Not sure. It's probably a tie between (1) potential loss of various kinds (particular people, relationships, job, health/ability of various sorts) and (2) just drifting along, not doing anything particularly useful with the time I have left on this earth (which could very well be another 1/3 to 1/2 of my life; of course, it could also all be over tomorrow, or today, but, given present information, the odds favor a somewhat longer horizon). I'm not much of a risk-taker. I'm not sure if that makes me more vulnerable to #1 or #2. I'm also not sure whether writing and research (academic or otherwise) count as much of an antidote to #2, but, truth be told, that's what I'd like to do more of (well that, and gardening, and generally being outdoors, and figuring out how to spend more time with people I care about).

    EC: I can't think of anything right now, despite having a pretty full week. That probably signifies a problem. The most worrying thing I heard, 3rd-hand, is that a former colleague with whom I once interacted fairly regularly may have committed suicide a year or so ago. I need to figure out whether the person to whom my interlocutor was referring is, indeed, the person of whom I'm thinking; one of the sad parts is that, though I distinctly remember her, I can't quite retrieve her name from my memory. But I just googled using the information I have, and yes, I'm afraid it is (was), indeed, her.

  10. 1. Yes. To expound, although not requested, it helps me deal with being a high school teacher with standards, knowing that lessons learned in my class might help them be successful in college. (What do you mean, I have to make up work I miss when I'm absent?!)

    2. Sharing. All kinds of things, topics, subjects, etcetera. I often feel kind of alone, even though I teach at a huge school, because many of my colleagues encourage the flakes, and my spouse doesn't like public education. =(

    3. That this page will go away. I feel like I'm not good at shortening and funnying my encounters, so I never post, but I really get a lot of benefit from reading everyone else.

    EC: I learned that expensive drawing paper can be substituted with high-quality construction paper, and it costs 2/3 less!

  11. 1. Yes. Yes, I can.

    2. That I can be provoked, challenged, and even cajoled to open my heart and mind and step up my game. That here, I encounter the best minds in the world, from whom I learn things I didn't know I didn't know. That I still feel as I did when I first found this place a few years ago, and that I found a voice that could articulate at least some of that feeling.

    Most of all, I like the stew: all the flavors, mixing together yet still distinct, complementing and contrasting, transcending the sum of the parts.

    3. That while I scream into the ether, it provides only brief, selfish catharsis, but helps no-one else. And that my fear will come true, and the ether will become void of any voice but my own.

    Extra Credit: That in a page linked from a page linked from a post here, I can encounter a story about something so incredible and horrific, yet I can read it without my head literally exploding. I did, however, pop a vessel in my nose, indicating at least a transient but significant rise in blood pressure.


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