The Beauty of Blogging

As you may or may not know, sport and I were down in Albuquerque and Las Cruces this Christmas holiday. One of the old acquaintences who we were looking for is John (who was, and is, homeless). When we didn't see him, we kind of panicked and hoped for the best. Turns out he was in jail for sleeping on someone's porch, but looks otherwise alright. Thanks for the story with photos Johnny Mango!


What Does a Weekend Mean?

First "Scholarship Weekend" is now finished and sitting in the "out" basket (out of the "in" basket, I suppose). Sport and I smoothed a grand total of two articles and one chapter. We were also able to read and comment on two of those articles.

The first place I ever encounted these kinds of intense write/revise weekends was at the University of New Mexico. A fellow graduate student, Bill Waters, held a "Scholar's Retreat" with Dr. Susan Foss (which I didn't attend), and later adapted it to a dissertation "boot camp" to get a stable full of dissertatin' fools like myself to finish up. It worked wonders, and I heartily recommend either going to one of these things, or sequestering or regimenting oneself in this particular way (I can blog about specifics, if anyone cares to know what I feel were the difference making techniques--just drop a comment).

The main difference between these boot camps and my current weekends has to do with the consciousness of the field. the consequences of doing slipshod work seem to get precipitously more dire as one tries to write for a field that will soon directly judge whether or not you get tenure. At least that is how I feel now...


Scholarship Time

One of the resolutions sport and I made this year was to conduct a once-a-month two-day scholarship and publication retreat for ourselves. We're beginning our first one today. This blog will have an update in two days...


Thank You Soldiers

I don't see as many "Support the Troops" bumper stickers and ribbons now that election season has passed. To be perfectly honest, I was annoyed by people who stuck these things on just-washed SUVs bristling with child seats, soccer balls, and other assorted middle-class carapace padding, not because I do not want to support those who fight the battles our leaders declare, but because I always thought that the gesture of buying and tilting ribbons so that others could read your slogan was a cheap contradiction. It always felt like the "political patriots" thought that their $2 was enough to not only feel one was supporting the troops, but also that there was enough change left over to rub a convenience store mantra into the nose of those who preferred quieter, or more substantive, support of our fighting women and men (or, heaven forbid, didn't agree with their particular mission).

Ah well, thank you to every one of you who fight and risk for our vision of freedom. I especially want to thank my brother-in-law, who is participating in this most recent conflict. I also want to thank my father and father-in-law for serving, my uncles, friends (men and women) who have and are serving. I also want to say "thank you" to soldiers and families who have sacrificed their safety and sanity, limbs and lives for my country's cause. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.


Ipod Parody

A fiendishly clever parody of what happens during much of corporate design. When company politics soundly defeat good design, you can see it right on the label.


Sport Guest Blogging

A good friend of mine sent me a broom for the winter holiday. She wasn’t commenting on my housekeeping, since she has never been to this home; she, in fact, lives over 1700 miles away. No, the broom was made in North Carolina, my former home and a current halfway point between this friend and me. The Friendswood Broom artists craft brooms from local materials; for our piece they used Bittersweet vines from along the Awannanoa River near Asheville. The broom connects me to those mountains, where I first lived alone.

I found myself attempting to draw the broom recently (I doodle in meetings). As a metaphor, it reflects a number of themes swirling around my life. My friend is sweeping a bad relationship out of her life, and finding a new place to establish a hearth. I am learning to focus on my new home and to be connected with the ground there –beyond cleaning it. The new year encourages me to sweep bad practices away and clean up my psychic spaces for work and home living.

Of course, my partner, DocMara, has been curling competitively, recently. His relationship to brooms grows weekly, and with it my understanding of them. In fact, his holiday gift from curling teammates was a broom of his own. We both appreciate the weight and feel of brooms in new ways when on the curling sheet.

And my faraway friend is a pagan with subterranean understanding of relationships and power. The broom, displayed proudly in our home reminds me of DocMara’s and my pursuit of connecting unfamiliar and overly familiar beliefs, lifeways, and people.


Carb Loading in Fargo

Apple tart. Yes, we are just about ODing on carbs here in Fargo. Death by pastry.

Good thing we've been running and getting to the gym regularly.


Wednesday BakeBlogging

Made two loaves of Coccodrillo (Italian crocodile) Bread. It's name, which means "crocodile" in Italian, comes from the scaly-looking crust. It has an incredibly crisp crust, a very dense and chewy crumb, and an amazing taste. The starter includes dark porter, which helps create the yeasty flavor along with the semolina flour. It takes more than a day to make because of the starter, but it is totally worth it.


Stupid Marketing Idea of the "Noughties"

If I were working in marketing, I would propose paying to put our competitor's ads on these things.


Pleasant Surprise

Today, the local paper includes a story about NDSU's budget request. One tasty morsel in the story was a request to renovate the building that I work in. Now, I don't use this blog to bludgeon those who disagree with my scholarly agenda or to embarass my colleagues or institution, so I haven't complained about the state of the facility. In fact, because institutional innovation makes up the core of my research agenda, I am loathe to use new media to remediate old complaints. Instead, I have branched out into distributed approaches to my workspace--I do most of my work in coffeeshops and at a home office. I have even gone so far as to informally theorize ways of translating the work done in classroom spaces into more personal and distributed settings (a HUGE reason for doing civic engagement, service learning, and other peripatetic pedagogical approaches)

Still, it is nice to see the governor and the university administration agreeing that renovating such a beautiful building (at a low price) is a good idea. It will make it much easier to attract good faculty and graduate students. We have already gotten a really solid stable of scholars and colleagues-in-training, and this move will make that process even easier. Most exciting for me is the possibility of using my faculty office more extensively to help our undergraduate students. With the cramped quarters (we have several parts of the building fenced off because it just isn't safe there), it is tough to find enough space to hold office conferences or even meet for office hours.

Here's hoping that this early budget agreement signals a chance to maximize our department's considerable talent with spaces that facilitate knowledge work.



Uber-blogger Michael Bérubé is calling it quits. Looks like I'm going to have to start an "archived blogs" section on my blogroll.



Thanks LKQ!

My poor island-bound friend LKQ sent this uberkewl pic to me.

Happy New Year 'ito and LKQ!


Snow is much like any change in life. When it first "happens," it pretty much stinks (unless you watch it from a distance--then, it is "pretty," or at least "interesting"). After the deluge, snow provides a needed challenge. It's fun, even.