Things I’m thinking about these days

As, of course, a random bulleted list:

  • My fellowship research on how Idahoans have understood health and wellness, as represented by (sometimes very weird) artifacts in a museum’s collection. Found thus far: various fraudulent “cures” for gynecological ills, countless jars containing Chinese apothecary treatments (including shriveled animal testicles, starfish, sea horses, and paper wasps’ nests), Sudafed from the 1960s, cigarettes that claim to ease asthma, a humidifier for the bronchially compromised that appears to have burned a smoky coal tar, and all kinds of fun quack “medical” devices.
  • Idahoans can now legally carry concealed weapons almost anywhere on campus, including the classroom, despite overwhelming opposition to the bill that made such a situation come to pass.
  • Boise State is going through program prioritization, which means ranking every program on campus.  It’s interesting to see how particular characteristics and practices of the History department are perceived by others, for good or ill.
  • Related to above: My history department doesn’t have issues with quality or substance, but it does have a few marketing problems.  I’m trying to puzzle through these challenges and identify solutions by writing about them, and I hope to publish a blog post about it soon. As part of that effort, I revisited my notes from this past summer’s internship with Seth Godin and basked in the warmth of my memories of the great group of people I met last year.
  • I’m reflecting on Seth’s new ebooklet on the placebo effect. Lots of food for thought there with regards to teaching.
  • Also related to program prioritization: I find myself returning frequently to Bryan Alexander’s thoughtful and terrifying posts about the queen sacrifice.
  • Lucas is going to be eligible for his black belt in Taekwondo in September. Time flies!
  • I’m eligible to apply for tenure in the fall.  Time flies!
  • I recently returned from a conference in Monterey and visiting family in Long Beach and Palm Springs. The weather is far better in California right now than here in Boise. I’m craving sunshine and warmth.
  • Thanks to a lively Facebook group, I’ve reconnected with lots of Grinnell alumni who graduated circa 1980-2000, and their humor and thoughtfulness reminds me I ended up in the right collegiate community for me. I was fortunate to spend most of my undergraduate career there, and I’m very lucky to have this online community. The group reinforces for me the importance of undergraduate community, and I’m wondering how to strengthen it among students at my regional, mostly commuter university.
  • Fang is beginning to gain traction in his reinvention of himself as a portrait and event photographer.  This makes me very happy for all kinds of reasons.
  • I’m grateful for really sharp local friends who linger over lunches with me and who play laptop battleship during epic writing sessions.

What’s on your mind these days?


  1. This is so positive and makes me happy to read that although the weather is crappy there and that there are some concerns at work (I can’t imagine going to working and knowing that people can carry weapons like that). I’m particularly thrilled o hear that Fang is beginning to work as a photographer.

    Wow, I can’t believe you’re already going to apply for tenure, time does fly! I remember when you were getting ready to leave. It coincided with the time when I started reading your blog (and Fang’s) regularly.

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