The debilitating debt of graduate school includes hidden costs that most people don’t consider even later in life after graduation. Many academics have a deep sense of nostalgia for their days of TA poverty, where living on ramen and cheap beer shared in the company of good friends in the same boat got us through until the next measly paycheck. We have an equally deep resentment for the huge bite that loan repayments take from our well-deserved and much-delayed faculty salaries. But the unacknowledged costs of graduate school add up to a substantial amount of cash, yet no one ever includes these costs in any ROI. When youRead More →

I’m entirely jealous of the people of Minnesota on a daily basis. I have friended/liked Al Franken’s Facebook page, and so Franken sends me posts about his work several times a day. Jealous, jealous, jealous. He does so much good, progressive work, and he’s damned hard-nosed about it.

Vitter sends me regular emails too, because I signed up for his newsletter for some stupid reason. They are nothing but

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Lost of folks are sending email with wordy, legalistic disclaimers about privacy and liability. Usually, the emails are from people in corporate offices, but some people at school have them too due to FERPA. These signature files crack me up. The signatures are often difficult to understand, and they sound full of it. The people who have these signatures attached to their emails often have no say in whether or not they send the files. If someone gets personal information by accident, no one is going to forget it. It’s like a judge telling a jury to ignore what they heard from a lawyer. NotRead More →

Faculty reviews and teaching evaluations are such an issue at school lately. Our student ratings are incorporated in our annual reviews, so the numbers count in our overall annual evaluation by the school administration. Now, on the one hand, this doesn’t actually mean much since there’s no material reward for a good review these days and no one’s job is threatened by an average review. On the other, my happiness is still tied to them. In the ideal sense, they measure whether or not your teaching is effective. Frankly, teaching evaluations are political. Commitment to a certain type of pedagogy, for example active learning vs.Read More →

Paranormal fiction and urban fantasy books are plentiful these days, but a large portion of them are vapid. Allie Beckstrom, the heroine in Devon Monk’s “Magic in the…” series, is a welcome contrast to the genre’s disappointingly passive Twilight female characters.   TV shows such as Buffy, Charmed, and So Weird made common the genre’s kick-ass female characters, and opened the door for urban paranormal’s expanding popularity. The burgeoning teen fiction/young adult market, born with the huge demographic hump of Gen Y, cemented gothy/vampy/werewolfy/witchy/faery stories as a permanent fixture at Barnes&Noble. Yet, as the genre boomed, its greatest strength declined in favor of the lowestRead More →

A digital accounting of my life: 1. 100+ emails in my work inbox. Read, yes, but sitting there unsorted and unattended to. 2. 200+ emails in my home inbox. Same as above. 3. 7 pages of links in my “Read it Later” tool bar. 4. 9 rows of links in my nifty Firefox Multirow Toolbar. 5. In the neighborhood of 500 bookmarks in severe need of pruning. 6. A complete lack of synch between my office computer, home computer, and flash drive. 7. I have no idea what’s going on with the BP oil spill or Elena Kagan’s nomination for the SCOTUS. 8. My digitalRead More →

People say that time management is a life skill. This is inaccurate, because managing time requires a sense of how time progresses in order to manage it in the first place. If someone has no awareness of time moving and unfolding, then framing time management as a skill to be mastered makes no sense. For most of my life, I was inept at managing my time regardless of my attempts. To improve, I pored over self-help books and “productivity” systems from Dayrunner to Stephen Covey’s four-quadrant system.  None helped.  The theories and philosophies were inspiring, but failed in practice. I simply lacked a basic awareness ofRead More →

From session #2 with Kristen at Art Addictions The session lasted three hours. Kristen filled in most of the color except for one corner. She also still needs to do the leaves on the tree and the rest of the ripping skin. This one hurt. My limit was definitely two and a half hours, and I gritted my teeth during the last thirty minutes. There’s conflicting opinions on aftercare, but icing my arm down made a huge difference reducing the pain and swelling. By the next morning, most of the tenderness was gone. I still have two smaller pieces planned for the other side ofRead More →