Thursday, August 30, 2007

It Begins!

I've started having meetings and getting "training" here for school. So it's about to begin. The main reason we went through this whole move starts for real next Monday when I meet my 20+ advisees and try not to screw up their futures any worse than they will without my help. I quite possibly will not have a computer and printer to help me with this. I'm hoping I can actually move in to my office today but it depends on when the wife gets back with the car that is full of my books and files.

Actually, moving into the office has been a minor trial itself. It took me three weeks to finally get my keys. The folks who were there weren't ready to move out because their new office wasn't ready. So they couldn't turn in their keys. Until they were turned in, I couldn't get them. Perfectly reasonable but annoying. I also talked to maintenance and my office should have furniture today or tomorrow. Right now all it has is a desk from some grade school somewhere. I'm serious, this thing is the same size as the desk you had when you were in 4th grade. And my phone answering message currently has someone mispronouncing my last name and calling me Matt instead of Matthew.

Beyond that the last textbook I needed to finish up my pre-semester prep work took two extra weeks to show up. Luckily it looks like I'll be able to use it for at least the first time I teach this course because there isn't time to order another one.

For those of you reading who are college students or graduates, there is a ton of behind the scene work that we have to do to make it seem like everything in class is happening for a reason. We plan, we fine tune, we adjust, we tinker. Or at least those professors who give a damn do. I don't doubt there are professors out there who have no business being in front of a classroom. I'm just determined not to be one of them.

I also managed to lose my keys to my scooter the other day. Took me five hours to find and unpack the spares (somebody convinced me that I had packed them so I kept looking in places I would have put them to keep them safe and beating myself up mentally that I just couldn't remember where that was. Then I found them in someone else's luggage). But it turns out someone on campus found them AND turned them in to security. In Chicago they would have been long gone. So it's been testing but there are rays of sunshine other than the ones that gave me sunburn last week.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just touring the bridges

We finally managed to hook up with area scooterists and go for a ride on Sunday. Well, area means an hour north in this case. It's not that there aren't a lot of scooters all over our town. Just that most of them are tourists, renters, and the like. I get the impression that some of them are liquor bikes too. What's a liquor bike? Lose your license for drunk driving and get a small scooter. In some states you don't need a license to operate one so it is an attractive option for the drunk with the need to go visiting.

One funny thing that happened during the ride is that I ended up leading it for a little while. I just took it on a simple loop because that is all that was asked of me. But it is funny how often I do end up leading rides. Once I ended up leading a ride of around 100 lost riders in a city I didn't live in because the folks in charge of the ride were dealing with a crisis. Why did I end up being the one to lead the group? Because no one else wanted to. If I was being honest I would say because I'm kind of anal like that. I sort of gravitate towards being the responsible person in group activities. I know, shocking that a college professor would have that sort of personality. I was successful in getting the group back to where it needed to be though.

Supposedly there are folks here in town who like to scooter like we do. It is my favorite method of getting to work (I live four blocks from work and I still take the scooter many days instead of the bicycle. I know, not very green of me). I also love to just go for a ride. See the countryside, get lost and then get unlost. Go places I'd never go otherwise. We did hook up with the vintage motorcycle crew and once I get some help and get my 1966 Honda running properly I'll do some riding with them I hope. But my scooter is reliable, always there and always ready to go. I wish I had a better facility with language to convey the joy it gives me when I go for a ride. I wish you'd come with me so you could see for yourself what I'm trying to communicate. Anytime you want to come with, let me know. I'll dig out the spare helmets.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Working a theme

In light of our lack of male songs, and songs in general, we went to a karaoke night at a local watering hole. It is a cool place, has cider and many other favorites on tap. It even sells scotch eggs as a bar snack. The local vintage motorcyclists use it as a gathering place. If you know or feel similar to how we do, all of this sounds promising so far, doesn't it?

Until you see the group there to sing. It was quite the collection of regulars primarily. Now, to be fair, they could sing. But they weren't really the sort of people that we're likely to socialize with even with the power of the Roke to bind us. I can't prove it, but I think the KJ (that's Karaoke Jockey) was line jumping his friends and favorites. That and the selection was large but not diverse.

To begin with, we got stuck with the titles book not the artists list. And who decides on a song for karaoke with the titles list? You look for the artist you like and then see if they have the song by the artist you want to sing. Most of the songs we like to sing were not on the list.

Christine got lucky and did a Blondie's song she's good at but I went with Cheap Trick and did a lousy job. I sang "I want you to want me" and I'm much better at "Surrender". And the mix seemed weird so that didn't help. I even got heckled by someone. Luckily he didn't decide to respond to the gesture I made to him to show my appreciation for his criticism. It was bad enough, it didn't need an altercation adding to the fun.

I ended the evening with a bag of Krystal's. They so wish they were White Castle. And they ran out of chili for my chili cheese fries. Damn them, damn them straight to hell.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We got the beat?

So last week Christine told me she got me a surprise. It had to be special ordered. She kept saying weird things about what she had to do to get the surprise ready and other strange things about it. Luckily it came quickly because she was really being a little obsessive about it without actually giving hints. It came yesterday.

Karaoke machine. Yes, that's right, I now have a karaoke machine. I love karaoke. Or the Roke, as I have learned actor Paul Rudd calls it. I am a huge ham and a frustrated punk rock god. So this is an amazing gift.

Only one problem. We only have two cds. Blondie, The Bangles, and The Go Go's. Blondie and The Go Go's are, of course, awesome. Only one problem. They're also female singers. So I wait to unleash my inner god of rock. It's like telling a hungry person we have the meat and the fixings, we're just waiting for the buns. Then you'll get your sandwich.

Also, Belinda Carlisle was hella cooler when she was chubby and wearing garbage bags.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What the?

Okay, I'll admit I'm new to the whole "having a blog" thing. But blogger has this feature that lets you click on "next blog" and I suppose the idea is that it creates some sort of sense of community with the blogosphere. So why is it that every time I click on it I either get something in a foreign language that I have no chance of comprehending or amateur porn?

Oh, and a link to one blog that is about someone encouraging you to reestablish your relationship with your savior. Proselytizing on the internet, is that better or worse than porn? I leave that up to you and your moral compass.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

1104.57 miles from Chicago

Yesterday was amazing. We went to the beach finally in the late morning early afternoon. Not the tourist beach, the primarily locals beach. Had a huge strip of sand all to ourselves and the only other people in the water were a few kids splashing nearby. And swearing a decent amount. More than I remember swearing at that age anyway. Yes, I'm not afraid to write it. We frolicked. We let the sun dry us off. On the way back to town we saw pelicans. Plural.

Then in the evening we went to a Crab Shack and Marina for dinner. Got the two person seafood boil. If you've never had a boil, basically it means more food than you should safely eat but you are going to anyway. Crab, mussels, crawfish, shrimp, sausage, and more. Plus all the sweet tea you can drink. Next time is the fried but we'll need a few weeks to make room for it. Then we wandered over to the dock and saw a live wild alligator floating by the boats. It was small for an alligator but I'm betting it was still hoping some chubby kid slipped off the docks.

That's a long way to get to my point. And I have one, I think. If you've ever been on a longer vacation somewhere you have that day before you have to go back to wherever it is you came from. It's a fun day cause it is still vacation but there is a little desperation because you know it is almost over, this is the last of the fun. Well, we realized that day for us is never coming. No packing the car and heading out tomorrow. If I want to go to the beach, I can. And the day after and the day after that. Sure, school will start in a couple of weeks, but if I wanted I could hop in the ocean before or after if I so desire.

And right now you're probably hating me just a little bit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quick design note

Some folks dislike light text on a dark background. Well, it cuts down on the amount of electricity that your monitor uses displaying on a black background.

So worship my eco-friendly design! My ramblings do less damage to the environment than yours! I am the winner!

You moved here from where?

We moved half way across the country a couple of weeks ago. I will write a post on it soon. If I can get my memories and thoughts organized on it into something worth reading in one sitting. In fact it was doing the move that convinced me to finally start a blog of my own. But I try to think about it in my head and it gets all jumbled and I realize there are so many details and tangents so I put it off for another day.

In the meantime, while I’m still in the honeymoon phase on our new place, I want to point out one major advantage to living in a small town instead of Chicago where we just moved from. Here it’s not a production to go someplace. Almost everything in this county is something like 30 minutes away. Everything in Chicago was effort.

Almost no one came to our “big” going away bash. [We did have a smaller affair that had limited space and a bigger attendance, but I digress.] A few dedicated friends but that was it. Why? Because everyone already had a million plans. Too many things competing. Some folks thought it was on a different night. Others thought it was too far away. In a small town you tell folks that you’re going out the day before and I bet as many people showed up as showed up to our final event. Cause it’s something to do.

Of course it also could have been nobody showed up because they didn’t really like me, but that isn’t as good for my ego so we won’t even dwell on that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm still lauging about this one

I went for my first spin around town tonight. I know, it took me long enough. Let's just say that my second spin will be tomorrow.

On the way home I crossed this bridge over the inlet and stopped at a red light right near the main square in town. Some guy pulls up in the lane next to me on this enormous sport bike. He's wearing sandals, board shorts and sunglasses. And that's it.

So I was chuckling a little to myself thinking about how much it would hurt if he laid his bike down just wearing that. Maybe he noticed or maybe he was just showing off. Either way, he starts doing a burnout. I'm trying not to look because I don't want to encourage him but I'm keeping my eye on him just in case.

Those of you familiar with idiots doing burnouts can probably see where this is going. That's right, he starts getting a little sloppy and of course dumps his bike and it lands on top of him. He's response as he tries to jump up and act like he meant to do that, "Whoa." He kills the engine as smoke wafts around him. The light turns green.

Remember what I wrote about this being right near the town square. Which is practically ground zero for tourists. People on the sidewalk are staring down the road trying to figure out what happened. And also looking at me because I am laughing so hard they can actually hear me.

Definitely a good ride.