Archives for April 2012

Random bullets of OMFG you’ve got to be kidding me

It’s almost the end of the semester here.  I’m knee-deep, soon to be hip-deep, in grading.  Wheeeeeeeee!

  • I’m collaborating on a grant proposal. I recently took the lead on a small but significant part of the project. An organization with whom I thought it would make sense to collaborate just quoted me a price tag for their participation that is, oh, 9 to 15 times what I expected it to be. And these are people with whom I genuinely wanted to collaborate, in part to establish a long-term relationship that would be beneficial to us all. FML.
  • Fortunately, I’ve found similar organizations that are willing to step into that breach, and for 1/3 the cost of what I expected to pay.  Yay!
  • My students are finishing up their 40-person group project, and I’m concluding this semester’s students-with-iPads experiment.  I’ll have more to say about that, I’m sure, when I see the final product.
  • The final product is going to require a bunch of technical work from me. It will test the limits of my WordPress knowledge, I suspect, but the PHP and CSS that don’t kill me my site only make me stronger more likely not to mess it all up in exactly the same way next time.
  • I also had an honest-to-goodness research question, with human subjects approval and everything, related to the mobile learning experiment this semester.  More on that this summer, once I tally students’ responses to the surveys and card sorts.
  • I remember there was a time when I was desperate for journal article ideas. Now I have more than I can write. It’s not a bad problem to have.
  • I had two digital history interns this semester, and the work they’ve done has been really helpful to me and fun and useful for them.  I have a little bit of summer money to throw their way, too, so they can continue with the project.
  • I learned today from a reputable source that a key administrator thinks my plan to fully integrate digital humanities training into our public history M.A. program is solely a ploy to put “toys” (iPads) into faculty hands. Methinks a conversation is in order.
  • I just had a really nice invitation extended to me from another key administrator. It’s nice to know my work with technology is being recognized around here.
  • I’ve also had lots of warm fuzzies from students lately, in that way that only students can give compliments–you know, along the lines of “I fucking hate my other classes this semester. I wish I had you for all my classes because I enjoy our readings and discussions so much!”
  • Today I signed off on an art student’s senior exhibition pieces.  She did an awesome job, and she even referenced taxidermy.  (She put me on her committee because we bonded over our fascination with human hair ornaments and taxidermy on the first day of my Women in the American West class this semester.)  It was fun, too, to be on a committee with three art professors.
  • In other news: sugar cravings are hard.  I think I’ll be happier when the summer fruit arrives.
  • That said, 11.5 days into my veganism, I’m not really missing dairy.  I suspect I’ll go 30 days without refined sugar or artificial sugar substitutes, and then let myself have one treat each week.  The vegan thing will likely last longer, though I may be a fair-weather vegan; I have a soft spot, for example, for parmesan cheese on pasta, and for buttercream cake frosting.  (If you’re a vegan who has a fabulous substitute for such things, let me know.)
  • I was doing this vegan and sugar thing to see how it would make me feel.  A nice side effect? I’ve lost 9 pounds over the past week and a half.
  • Tonight I had a pretty damn brilliant idea for an infographic/stunning visual image. It’s good that I’m married to a graphic artist.  I hope we can bring the idea to fruition.
  • I’m looking forward to summer.  I have too many projects, and I need to try to remember to relax and enjoy my time with the boy.

So, more good than bad.  Yay.


Today Fang turns fifty.  Honestly, the way he lived his first quarter-century and part of his second, we’re all kind of shocked he’s made it this far.

That said, I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve been able to spend the last 13 or so years with him.  Thanks, Sweetheart, for your love, generosity, creativity, laughter, and all that music.

Rock on, Fang.  Rock on.

RBOC, that-time-of-the-semester, highly parenthetical edition

  • Good god—it’s been more than two months since I last blogged.
  • It’s that time of the semester. Paper deadlines and exams swoop down upon undergraduates. Students cry in my office and, quietly, at the back of my classroom—but not about the course. Even the usually-stoic-in-class veterans are teetering. One student veteran recently pointed out that his classmate, also a veteran, is much more, er, complicated than he is, though the latter student had only been to one war, and the former had been in two. (These are not UC Davis students, I am constantly reminded.)
  • I, too, have deadlines galore. Maybe I need to have a good cry in my office.  I suspect I’m teetering and haven’t yet recognized it.  (I look around the unbelievable mess of my home office: yep, definitely teetering.)
  • I decided, amidst all this deadlining, to give up sugar.  (Those of you who have ever had a meal with me know to look out the window for pigs on the wing.)
  • And then I thought, hell, why not give up dairy and eggs, too?
  • It’s only day two of those experiments, but I already feel better.  And for the hundredth time I cite the Seamus Heaney line: “You are fasted now, lightheaded, dangerous”—a great time to blog.
  • My kindergartener is so awesome.  And so is his dad.  In fact, I suspect my kid is awesome in large part due to his dad.
  • Fang’s fiftieth birthday is on Friday. How the hell am I married to a 50-year-old man? (And why do I look closer in age to 50 than Fang does?  I must investigate the attic for a portrait.)
  • Mostly I’m feeling overwhelmed with the little things at work.  So many little things! But summer is coming, and the little things will, because they must, go poof!
  • Big things, not so much with the poofing.  I wrote a proposal to Academic Technologies to make our public history master’s degree the university’s “mobile learning” program, and (to, I think, the great disbelief of my colleagues) our department won that CFP. That project will come home to roost in a big way this summer.
  • Our interim chair, who is literally counting down the days to the end of his year in that position, yesterday asked me if I was director of our public history program. Um, no. Regardless, he assigned me to speak as the director of said program when our accreditation visitors arrive next week. “Director” comes with more money, yes?
  • I’m very much in absorption mode, an intellectual sponge. Reading, thinking, reading. Downloading articles. Jotting down notes. And then—miracle of miracles—messing around the edges of articles that need substantial revision.  This is usually a sign that Big Writing is on the horizon. That’s good.  Big Writing must get done.

How are things with you, dear readers?