>RBOC – Gray winter day edition

>Blogging bullets:

  • You may have noticed that I have no blog roll. That’s because it was a Blogrolling blog roll, and Blogrolling has ceased to exist. That’s a shame, because it was a handy system (though the ads on it in the last year or so of its existence were annoying). But I cut and pasted the blogroll before that happened, and when I get the energy for it, I’ll repost an updated version of it.
  • I’m thinking of changing to WordPress. Those of you who’ve made the move, how hard is it to move the archive of the blog? What do you like/dislike about each platform?
  • I’m also thinking of claiming my blog as service/outreach when I do my 5 year post-tenure review or when I go up for full professor. Any opinions about that?
  • My partner has been known as Bullock on this blog because I named him in our Deadwood-watching phase, during which time he grew a Seth Bullock-style mustache and goatee. But Deadwood is long gone and my man is clean-shaven. Plus, even though “bullock” meant “young bull” in Middle English and that’s one of its meanings today, it also can mean a castrated bull, which is not the association I wish to project for my Bullock. (Though it is kind of a funny pairing with Virago.) But it would be confusing to rename him. I’m thinking maybe of just putting a “cast of characters” in the sidebar and explaining the origins of the name. Any other ideas?
  • I have been remiss in telling Pastry Pirate fans that she has long been blogging elsewhere. First she was in New Zealand, working and exploring, and now she’s working in Antarctica. No, really. I kind of think “Baking in Antarctica” should be the title of the blog, but since it started before her life on the Ice Planet Hoth (as I like to think of it), it’s called Stories That Are True.
  • Hey, cool, I managed to blog more than in 2009. Not exactly an awesome accomplishment, since I was really lame in 2009, but still an improvement. What should I blog about next?

Work/Life bullets:

  • Our Christmas tree is up, all the Christmas shopping is done, and all but one present is wrapped (because it hasn’t arrived yet)! Hooray!
  • On Thursday, I wired the deposit for the studio flat in Belsize Park. It’s non-refundable, so this makes it official. I’m going to be living, however temporarily, in a flat in London! I’ve never lived in a flat in London before! Heck, I’ve never lived in a flat before (American apartments, yes). How cool is that?!
  • The one-week rent for the studio flat in Belsize Park (the amount of the deposit) is just over my one-month rent in my awesome two-bedroom Rust Belt Historical District apartment and only about $175 less than our monthly mortgage payment. I’ll never be able to live full-time in a big, expensive city again — I’ve been too spoiled by the low cost of living here in Rust Belt. But hey, now I can afford 6-week jaunts there! So, I may live in Rust Belt, but I can better afford life in the big city in small doses. This is what I keep telling myself, anyway.
  • OMG, my sabbatical is half over!!! Ack!!!
  • Something I realized at the various holiday parties this week: asking me “So, how’s sabbatical going?” is as crazy-making for me now as “So, how’s the dissertation coming?” was for me once upon a time. Also, faculty on sabbatical don’t want to talk about work issues. Come on, people, surely we can talk about something else!
  • Bullock is grading finals. He just said to me, “It must be Christmas time, because a student just spelled Commerce Clause like Santa Claus.”
  • Bullock and I are going to BullockLand for the holidays (with Pippi). I spent Turkey Week in Cowtown with my side of the family and starting this year we’re alternating where we go for Christmas so that we don’t have to do the crazy-making hurryhurryhurry to get to one place and then the next. That makes my going out to LA to visit Virgo Sis and go to the MLA much less stressful (so does going to MLA just to go). Of course, so does being on sabbatical, because otherwise I’d be doing MLA back-to-back with starting our Spring semester.
  • Speaking of holiday plans, in case I don’t blog again before we leave:

>Facebook killed the blogosphere star

>No, not really.

Remember, correlation is not causation. Just because I’m on Facebook pretty regularly does not mean that’s the reason why I have not been blogging as much lately. In fact, the reasons why I’m not blogging as much are the reasons why I’m on Facebook — it fills the electronic conversational gap that my inability to keep up with blogging right now has left.

As for why I haven’t been blogging, that has more to do with my ridiculously poor time management skills this semester. And the reasons for those are something I do want to blog about soon…if only I can find the time! (Oh, the irony.)

But now I have to get ready to go have lunch with a certain very dangerous blogger. And then later I’ll be attending his big talk, followed by dinner.

And tomorrow Bullock and I are off to visit a town with a rockin’ museum to eat some pig’s ear, take in the view from our lakefront hotel, and belatedly celebrate my 40th birthday.


>Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions and encouragement in the posts below about my Chaucer class and my medieval lit. survey course. You’ve definitely convinced me that doing adaptations of Chaucer in a Chaucer course isn’t crazy, and you’ve given me lots of ideas for the medieval lit. class. After this year, I won’t be teaching either again for three years, since next year I have the Old and Middle English linguistics classes, the research methods class for the grad students, and a special topics honors seminar on the subject of my book, and then the year after that I hope to be on sabbatical for the whole year. But that just gives me plenty of time to plan for big changes.

Anyway, I suspect things are going to be a little quiet around here for awhile because of various end of the semester madness. But I’ll see y’all at your blogs. And hey, who’s going to be at MLA? Medieval Womanis organizing a get-together.

>We will resume our regularly schedule programming shortly

>One of my favorite people in the world is coming through town tomorrow for about 24 hours, so I won’t be posting for a few days. And since I haven’t been posting for quite a few days already, it’ll just be more of the same.

In the meantime, I’ll try to think of something substantive and academic to write about. So here’s a question: if a blog post that annoyed the heck out of me is weeks old by the time I get around to posting about it, is it too ‘old news’ for me to post about it? Discuss. (And no, it wasn’t by any of you.)

>Shhh…K’zoo paper-writing in progress

>I’m having a heckuva time concentrating on shaping my K’zoo paper. I’m now convinced it’s kind of dumb, but perhaps I’ll cycle out of that stage in a day or two. But anyway, the writing process, followed by grading jail starting on Thursday, means that you might not hear much from me this week.

By the way, if you missed, Another Damned Medievalist is the host of the blogger meet-up for this year’s K’zoo, and it was decided to do the same early morning official meet-up as last year, with some unofficial, less rigidly organized go-out-for-drinks meet-ups throughout the conference. Here’s the post where she discussed this.


And because I could use a dose of levity around here…You know how purebred show dogs all have ridiculous long names, starting with the name of the breeder (I think), and then also have a family nickname that may or may not be suggested by the formal name? Well, over the course of the last month and a half, here’s what I’ve decided Pippi’s full name is:

Longstocking’s Pippington Gertrude Cottontail McLovin, called “Pippi”

Ok, back to work I go!


>Oy. I have 780 unread blog posts in my Bloglines subscriptions, so if I haven’t commented on your blog in awhile, that’s why. I’ve fallen way behind, and some of that goes all the way back to when I was in England in July.

Speaking of which, I’m “behind” on my own blogging — there are stories and issues and ideas I wanted to post from my month in London, not to mention the vague promise I made to tell you what I was doing with my graduate research methods class (which, btw, is going OK, but I think it needs more substance next time — there’s a whole post brewing there, too). I also have a half-written post on the vast differences between various archives and libraries, and what one gains from working in them. I started that post while I was actually in one of those places!

I’m starting to wonder if I have time for blogging, but I don’t want to lose touch with the friends I’ve made while doing it over the last two years (just missed my blogiversary a couple of weeks ago). This isn’t an announcement that I’m going to quit, but just an explanation of my relative absence in the blogosphere lately. I may just settle into a once-in-awhile posting pattern, and rely on readers who’ve put me in their RSS feed subscriptions. It all remains to be seen. In the meantime, even if I’m not commenting, I’m trying to catch up and I’m thinking of you all — especially those of you I know who have started new chapters in their lives or who are going through hard times, personal or professional. And if it’s any consolation, I’m kind of lame at keeping in touch with friends I know IRL, too.

PS — I really want “blogjam” to enter the idiom (if it doesn’t already exist). Feel free to use it frequently and disseminate it.

>RIP hard drive


Hard drive installed: none.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

(Credit Peter Rothman, with first line altered by me)

Yes, my hard drive died last night. Luckily I backed up the entire drive to my external drive just last week, and also saved all my document, picture, music, and e-mail files at the same time. (Fingers crossed that the fact that I can’t turn off the damn external drive right now is just because it has been disconnected abruptly from the dead computer and so is ‘thinking’ it’s still ‘in use’ — and NOT because something’s screwy with it! Please, please, please!) And I ordered a new hard drive on Amazon last night, which will get here on Monday or Tuesday. This was after Bullock helped me go through all the steps to diagnose the problem and make sure it wasn’t just that the hard drive had gotten jostled and disconnected from a proper sitting in the computer. It is a well-traveled notebook, after all. And then he helped me find the right new hard drive at a decent price online. Thanks Bullock!

In the meantime, I can use Bullock’s old laptop for accessing those saved files and doing work at home. Right now I’m on his desktop, the only computer with access to the internet in our house at the moment. So it may be a few days before I blog or comment (here or at your blog) or respond to e-mails other than work ones. (I have Eudora on my work computer set up to download only my .edu mail, to keep me honest. And I don’t blog from there on principle.)

So the only things I lost aren’t a big deal — annoying, to be sure, but not a big deal: all the damn dates I entered in my calendar for the semester, including the tenure file deadline I finally remembered (but I printed all of that out); a week’s worth of e-mail messages (though those sent to the .edu address are still on the server); the updated CV I worked on yesterday for my tenure file (but also printed out); and the 1000-word response I wrote for that article mentioned below (but that’s been sent to the volume editors and also printed out for my files).

So I am maintaining a Zen-like calm. And now, I’m going for a run.

>A day of diversions (in many senses of the word)

>Oh, so much has happened today, and every little bit of it deserves its own post, but alas, it’s late and I have to be up early tomorrow, and I’m completely knackered. In short: I traveled just under 12 miles on foot today — 6 running, 6 walking to and from the Tate Modern — but about 3 of those miles were due to diversions in the sense of detours. One was caused by a 10K race taking place on my running route (an appropriate reason for a diversion, but requiring a change of route, none the less) and another was caused by who-knows-what craziness that the police had to take seriously, given the recent bombings, thus causing them to close off the Thames walk on the south bank of the river between me and my way home. I was just east of the Globe Theatre and wanted to go west to the Millennium Bridge, but about 12 cops stood in my path and told me “it’ll be hours” before the mysterious event was dealt with. For a moment I thought, “I’m stranded in Southwark!” but then I collected myself and headed to the next bridge eastwards and took a more roundabout way home. And while on that bridge I could see that the trouble was already cleared up and the pedestrians moving freely along the walk. Sigh.

And, of course, the Tate Modern was very diverting. The current free exhibition in the Turbine Hall on cities was really fascinating and I love how the permanent collection is laid out thematically. This wasn’t my first trip there, but it was more leisurely visit this time.

And the other diversion — in both the entertainment sense and the detour sense — really, really deserves its own post. Here’s a highlight: during my run, while I was contemplating the reason why Middle Temple Lane was locked off at Fleet Street and reading a sign on the gateway, a man asked me, “Why are you running through the middle of London? Are you a werewolf?” (Note: I was not in Soho and did not have a Chinese takeout menu in my hand.) There’s a lot more where that freaky pick-up line (because I think that’s what it was) came from, but I’ll have to save it for a “Freak Magnet: London edition” post.

And I still haven’t blogged about the lovely time I had in Specialized Library #1 this week, which I keep meaning to do! Ack!

Tomorrow and Tuesday (and perhaps Wednesday also) I’ll be up at Oxford and may have even less time to blog. We’ll see.

>Readers’ choice!

>Bullock and I are going away for the weekend for a wedding-related shindig (not actually the wedding itself, since that’s in New Zealand), and when I get back I intend to blog something substantive. The question is — what?

Which would you rather read about: whether or not my students’ research papers from the spring were a success and how/why I taught the research process in an undergrad class? What I’m planning on doing in my graduate research methods class this fall?
A post-conference meditation on what it means to finally feel “grown up” in the profession? A post-conference meditation on the mortality of my mentors? Or my fears about looking like a fool and not knowing what I’m doing on my upcoming research trip to the UK?

Or would you rather read something breezy and summer-light — for instance, my newest dog breed obsession? Or how Bullock has transformed his look into a NASA scientist ca. 1975 and why I dig it? Or why I like “The Starter Wife” and have given up on “Hex”? Or how I may break down and get an all-regions DVD player to watch the second seaons of “Life on Mars,” now that it’s out on DVD in the UK? (Uh, I guess that’s it for that last category!)

>Attention! Important Announcements! Read This NOW!

>OK, now that I have your attention…

First, sorry for the silence. Chatter will resume shortly.

In the meantime, here are the Very Important Announcements:

  • The Pastry Pirate is blogging again! All hail the Pastry Pirate! And note that she’s got a new URL.
  • If you don’t regularly read In the Middle, or, if you’re like me and fall way behind on blog reading at regular intervals, then you may have missed this announcement about a Very Special Episode of In the Middle planned for April. You know, April, with his shoures soote… when longen folk to find out the secret identities of very popular and funny psuedonymous bloggers. I have a theory and evidence to go with it. I think I’m right. I should put some money on this. UPDATE: OK, I was doing some “wishful reading” here. GC is not revealing his secret identity. However, the writer behind GC’s blogging persona is going to write in his 21st century guise, albeit anonymously. Still worth watching for (or adding In the Middle to your RSS feed so you don’t miss it).

Substantive blogging will return shortly, probably with a post about what to do with that student who always derails discussion.