Thursday, October 30, 2008

School Week

I'm still settling in to "losing" the student headaches for the semester. If only they had listened to us earlier in the semester, everyone could have been spared some angst. But I guess that is a normal part of the process - students have to learn in their own ways about the realities of life and in their own timeframe - even if you could have saved them months of time.

I'm headed to a lecture presentation this evening that should be fun - both the presentation and the crowd and then will be doing some research prep for our grants at the National Archives. And that is always fun!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Miami and the SSHA

I just returned from the SSHA meeting in Miami where we also had our H-Net Council Meeting. We're actually making progress moving H-Net toward Web 2.0. It's been a long and frustrating process.

David and I did a session with Gene Provenzo. We had never met him, but Sherman Dorn suggested we do our session on TAH grants with him. While we were a first sesson slot presentation, we didn't really have an audience but had quite an engaging conversation with Professor Provenzo - truly a Renaissance man - truly a refreshing find in today's world. It was also fun to talk to Sherm a bit more at the opening reception.

It's a busy week since the next two weeks are meetings in DC and Houston. And then it will be Thanksgiving before we know it.

We're at the point in the semester where the methods class is more the responsibility of the students and I am primarily providing guidance as they demonstrate acceptable performance levels to be recommended for student teaching.

This week also brings my reviewing student schedules to advise them for the summer semester.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Tuesday

This week again started off with some challenges but they're starting to pile so high that I know it can only get better.

My methods students did a great job working on lesson plans and discussing NCLB yesterday after we watched the Frontline episode on Testing our Schools.

Today I'm off to see student teachers. Hopefully before the rain really starts . . .

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Palin on SNL

While surfing for something else, I ran across While surfing for something else, I ran across these clips on WNBC from Saturday Night Live. Sarah Palin's willingness to laugh at herself is admirable and takes the edge off the critics jabs. Sarah Palin's willingness to laugh at herself is admirable since it's not something all politicians possess in equal measure and takes the edge off the critics jabs.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008


The week, as usual, is flying by. We had some much needed rain which means quite a bit of computer and indoor work was completed. I spent most of the day Tuesday at the office in meetings and grading.

I'm looking forward to Maple Leaf on Saturday.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I survived

I survived four days without email (okay, I checked before I left on Thursday morning and when I returned last night so maybe not quite 4 days). Stress level is noticeably down - especially after seeing colleagues at conference in New Orleans. And the mango daiquiris may have also been a contributing factor.

Now it's back to the real world.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

TV As Culture

Since Little House on the Prairie, I've enjoyed some of the tv programming that debuts each season and delight in anything that can actually keep my attention. Little House was one of my favorite book (sets) to read and it didn't hurt that Melissa Gilbert was right about my age so, in some ways, we grew up together.*

I also grew up in the Aaron Spelling era with Charlie's Angels and later the Melrose Place gang circled around my age and made the lives of others seem quite interesting in a strange and different land.

This season I'm really enjoying Dirty Sexy Money - the New York City setting and Peter Krauss contribute greatly to that. Six Feet Under brought him on my radar even though, like many other actors, he was around but not quite on the radar yet.

The Monday night line-up with Two and a Half Men and then Big Bang Theory - both laugh out loud shows, including the adult innuendo. And How I Met Your Mother definitely has its moments and Ted is just too cute not to watch.

My brother got me hooked on Young and the Restless and I remember my cousins watching it about the time of the 76 Olympics when Nadia used its theme song as her performance song. I had spent more time watching All My Children as a teenager and young adult but Cliff is now Jack so all of that works. And I still admire Susan Lucci's handling of her career and not walking away from a good thing along with the grace with which she handled being a diva on-screen without becoming one off screen - which at least appears to be all too common - and helped me see that the external accolades aren't as important as the internal ones.

Mark Harmon has always been intriguing and NCIS only adds to that - as well as keeping it interesting. Lipstick Jungle is made more interesting by Andrew McCarthy - my favorite brat pack member. Friends was a long-term standby but a bit boring now.

Reruns of Sex and the City remind me why I re-subscribed to HBO. And the movie kept things interesting. Reruns of West Wing are on because of election season and Mark Harmon and Jimmy Smiths kept that interesting but WW also helped me discover Bradley Whitford. I saw him in a New York play - Boeing, Boeing. Boston Legal is sometimes entertaining. Luckily with the DVR it's easy to fast forward through the boring stuff and/or characters you don't like.

I'm sure I'll think of more later.

I'm heading out sans laptop - I don't want to hit that wall again. . . at least not in the near future.

* We aren't aging the same, however, given the Hollywood demands for plastic surgery.

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We're Not Headed for a Depression -

To help us get some historical perspective in these devastating times:

We're Not Headed for a Depression - "In order to promote a much smoother functioning of the financial system, it is paramount to distinguish between the immediate steps needed to cope with the present crisis and the long-run reforms needed to reduce the likelihood of future crises. Let's start with the short-run fixes.
[We're Not Headed for a Depression] David Gothard

First of all, the magnitude of this financial disturbance should be placed in perspective. Although it is the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is a far smaller crisis, especially in terms of the effects on output and employment. The United States had about 25% unemployment during most of the decade from 1931 until 1941, and sharp falls in GDP. Other countries experienced economic difficulties of a similar magnitude. So far, American GDP has not yet fallen, and unemployment has reached only a little over 6%. Both figures are likely to get quite a bit worse, but they will nowhere approach those of the 1930s."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Wall

I hit the proverbial wall with work stresses yesterday and I'm finally learning, now that I'm in my 40s, that I need to pay more attention when that happens if I don't want to pay much more dearly with my health later. I primarily need to start learning to say no. So many other academics are able to protect their intended course of action and I need to keep improving those particular skills instead of being pulled into things I don't really want to do in the first place and, furthermore, don't do anything to advance either my career or the checks arriving in the mail. I'm more than productive and need to preserve my own sanity.

Student teacher observations and classes went well yesterday. Now for the inevitable grading.

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Monday, October 06, 2008


It's not looking like it will be a good day in the markets for any of us. I guess we just keep our fingers crossed and hope the people who made the mess will help us figure a way out of it instead of disappearing with their multiple-million dollar golden parachutes. I know you need highly talented people that are also risk-takers but they shouldn't be so well-supported forEVER even if they monumentally screw-up and ruin peoples lives in the process. (On the other hand, consumers and speculators not understanding and/or acknolwedging caveat emptor is still a very valid core problem to this whole mess.

Working with pre-service teachers today, however, should restore my faith in mankind.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

One more armadillo down

I arrived at the farm today to find one less armadillo alive. That is definitely a good thing considering how much landscape damage they are doing.

It was a beautiful evening out here. I can't believe we're still getting 80 degree daytime weather. But the good news is that it shouldn't rain except for the day we arrive for the Southern History Association meeting in New Orleans later this week.

Last week was a stressful one - but mainly due to situations beyond my control. I just need to keep repeating that there will always be things I can't keep in line and I need to keep practicing "let it go, let it go". Mainly, I need to distract myself when my negative thoughts start swirling around and going deeper and deeper.

I'll start seeing student teachers this week and that is usually a great validation of all the hard work that has been put in to getting to that point for students - especially when they are student teaching for former students that are doing quite well.

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