Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gimme some candy

Happy Halloween everyone. In some ways this has become my favorite holiday. I mean it is hard to top Christmas cause you get presents and maybe that family and friends aspect. And Valentine's day is the anniversary of when me and Wife started dating so that's much more important.

But come on, Halloween you get to play dress up and hopefully get candy. Not from me because I turn off lights and hide from the doorbell (much easier to do in Chicago where many kids only trick or treat in their building). Dress up! Candy! Too cool.

Possibly my best costume ever was the year I went as Vanilla Ice. Wish I had a digital scan so you could witness the majesty. For it was majestic. I even shaved my eyebrow which took days to grow back. For I am willing to sacrifice to make people laugh.

Now I just enjoy one day a year where I get to dress even more casually for class. One of the perks of being a professor is that I get to wear sneakers every day if I want to. And believe me, I want to. But for Halloween I take it a step further and drag out my Misfits skull shirt and other such accessories. I also throw on a cool sports coat cause I'm not a slob after all.

This year the sports coat is a bit warm though. It's still in the low 80s today. I can remember wearing costumes as a kid with a winter coat over it. This year I could wear shorts. Much better. It just doesn't feel or smell much like fall. But the candy still tastes as good.

As a bit of a PS for anyone who reads my blog but not the Wife's, she broke her leg on Monday. Expect a post down the road where I detail what my life as become as caretaker for an invalid.

Friday, October 26, 2007

One more thing about Convocation

I forgot to mention that pretty much every woman who won a service award had her status as a wonderful mother mentioned. When the men were introduced, not one was described as being a wonderful father. They had important careers and hobbies instead I guess.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pomp and ..... more pomp.

Yesterday was the official Convocation at my new school. One of the definitions of convocation is "a collective noun for eagles." This was not one a grouping of eagles. That would have been cool though. I bet the students would have enjoyed it more. Attendance was mandatory for faculty and for students who intend to graduate this year.

For those of you unfamiliar with this type of convocation, probably because you were able to skip it at your school, it is an official calling together of people for a special purpose. Some schools call their commencements convocations, some have them at the beginning of the year so they can prepare for what is to come, some at the end of the year to celebrate what was accomplished. We had ours in the middle of the fall semester, to signify ... uhm, something. Maybe it was so we didn't have to wear our regalia in August.

That was the best part of the whole show, getting to throw on my regalia. I skipped my PhD hooding ceremony because it was on my birthday and so was our favorite scooter rally of the year. Which would you have done on your birthday, partied with friends or worn a gown in front of a room full of people you might have contempt for (I have some issues with some of the folks at Northwestern. It's a love/hate thing)? So this was my first time to wear the full Doctoral robes. I looked pimp. Northwestern graduates get special gowns that are purple with black velvet accents. Almost everyone else was in black.

The downside, I was lined up with people I don't know yet so no one really to talk to during the actual ceremony. We opened with a prayer and closed with one plus three of the four songs sang had religious overtones. This is not a religious school. Technically. And the speeches were pretty boring. I'm pretty sure the wife slept through a lot of it. It was a lot of empty ceremony and I'm not sure who is supposed to actually enjoy it. Outside of the folks getting to make the speeches perhaps.

Still, there is importance in creating community and togetherness. Even if that togetherness is created by getting the faculty together to bitch about having to get together. And did I mention, I looked pimp?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Too smart for my own good

I'm a professor of new media and culture. I started this blog as a test of the technical elements of blogger since I'm having my classes use it. I had to know how to in order to teach it. Now my students may not appreciate this, but the advantage they have is they at least have some sense of the purpose of their blog.

But I'm not so sure about mine. Maybe I'm just overthinking but I can't decide what my goal here should be. Is this some sort of online journal? Should I use it to explore my thoughts on new media similar to what my students are doing? Is it just a dumping ground for random ideas? Is anyone even paying attention other than my wife and one reader in Chicago and two in Kentucky (Hi Monya, Amanda, and Jason by the way)?

I feel like I should try to figure out a purpose otherwise I'm just adding noise to an already overcrowded blogsphere. Did you know that at one point blog tracking site Technorati was reporting that two new blogs were being created every second? That's a lot of noise for anything to get around and through. I think part of this concern is that we're doing the chapters on the failure of the WWW to live up to the sheer volume of hype attached to it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dirty confession

My name is Professor Matthew and I have a problem.

I want one of almost every motorcycle and scooter in the world. Or at least one of all the cool ones.

Well, maybe not that bad but I do want a whole lot more than I have. Or that I can afford. Which is partially funny if you know me because I can get paranoid about money. I've been poor from time to time since I've left home. Never destitute but praying I get paid enough that I can cover rent/eating ramen noodles or peanut butter and jelly for all my meals that I don't get for free from my food service job poor. So often I get a little scared that I'm going to come up short. It makes my wife a little stressed when I get stressed. (In my defense, there are times when she isn't stressed enough but that's not the point right now). But I have a weakness for three main things. Shoes, tattoos, and motorized bikes. If you're careful, two of those three aren't really that much of a burden. My just considering a bike once caused my wife to have a breakdown in an Olive Garden.

For those who don't know, different bikes can fulfill different roles. Some are great for getting around urban areas, some are great for long distance riding, some are great for riding two up with a friend or wife (or whomever you would prefer to ride two up with, I'm not here to judge. Unless you don't want to ride at all, in which case you're a dirty communist and you make baby kitties cry). And some just look amazing. Actually a lot look amazing and again in different ways.

To be honest (and what's the point of lying about this anyway?), the only types of bikes I don't want one of are giant cruisers or giant sports bikes. I don't need to go 200 mph and I don't need a bike so large it can't be lifted again if it tips over. But I can come up with all sorts of justifications for why I need a bigger scooter (sometimes I want to ride on the interstate) and a new Triumph Bonneville or Scrambler (classic bike looks with modern bike technology!) and another vintage bike (just look at a 60s or early 70s Honda CB and tell me that isn't cool).

To put it in perspective, I currently have one really nice scooter and one 1966 Honda. And the wife has a nice scooter that I'm paying for so if she leaves me she has to give it back or buy it off me. We've had as many as 5 at the same time. It's not like I can ride more than one bike at a time. And my current vintage motorcycle needs some work anyway. I really should just concentrate on that and get it running again. Then it will be like I have a new bike again. At least for a little while till I have to fight off the urge again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I should be in bed

"I should be drinking a toast to absent friends instead of these comedians"
-Elvis Costello

I just got done sending a message to one of my oldest remaining friends. It's put me in a bit of a mood. It won't last long hopefully. My bad moods seldom do. On a certain level I'm grateful for that but on a different one they never really last long enough to spur me to do anything about them to ensure they don't come back.

Anyway, to focus on the business at hand, I'm real good about letting friends get away. I've moved a lot as an adult, trying to find my place in the world or what have you. Six states since I've left home for college, if you count the two months in Delaware one summer. I've made eight major moves in my life since graduating from Penn State. And what happens every time is I lose most of the people I've managed to make some level of friends with. Out of sight and it becomes way to easy for them to become out of mind.

Most of the time I prefer the company of my wife to any other person on the planet. Which should only make sense since I married her and all. But there are those rare moments when either she's busy or working or I want to do something that I know she has no interest in or the rare times when I want to talk about her but not with her.

Like this weekend. There's a scooter rally and it is about a five hour ride to get there. Six if you count the stops for gas, water, bathroom, and just resting your back and shoulders. And I have no one to ride it with. So I'm probably not going to go. And some guys I know are doing an event in Alabama but I don't feel strong enough in the relationship to figure out how to get invited along.

Bottom line, I feel lonely but I just don't want to deal with having to go through the effort yet again to make new friends. I want my old friends back. But I'm kind of doubting any of them plan on moving any time soon.

Well, at least it won't last for long. Hopefully.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I don't want to be all gushy and if I'm going to talk about media I'd prefer to do it intellectually, I am a professor of media after all.

But just watch Pushing Up Daisies. It is an impressive show. It's is quirky, hilarious, charming, has just enough action and mystery to appeal to guys and just enough romance and charm to appeal to women. I know, weak adjectives.

Anyway I feel like I've discovered this secret gem and this show is either going to fail because it can't find an audience or is going to become this huge phenomenon and go down hill fast because it is going to change something crucial to what makes it good. Just watch it. I'd try to describe it but I think it would ruin the surprise of discovery.

Just ... angry for no good reason

Somehow I slept through most of my first class today. It's an 8 o'clock class which is hard enough to get up for but the good thing is that once it's over, my day is half over. Well, I have office hours but office hours, even if you are working on grading or lesson plans, never feel like work really. Unless you're on deadline for something that is.

I digress. The alarm didn't go off or somehow I turned it off and back on again or something. I checked the volume so that wasn't it and I turned the time forward and it went off. So what was it? Now I'm behind in that class and I was already about 20 minutes behind where I wanted to be anyway.

I'll never know exactly what happened, which makes me mad. Most of the time I'm really good at letting go the things that I have no control over. Most of the time. But some things just hit me the wrong way and I can't control it. If I'm lucky I let out a small burst of frustration and that is it, it's over and we move on (though it sometimes scares my wife because it is literally a burst. I yell really loud or something to get it out).

But sometimes it just lingers. It gnaws at me and I just have trouble even functioning. It's amazing I've written this much. There is nothing I can do, I can't travel in time and wake myself up so I make it to class. I can't fix this easily. I just have to figure out how to play catch up next week. Not sure how I'm going to do this.

Funny thing is, writing about it helped a little. Go figure.