Long time gone

[This post title is, for me, multi-meta in that it refers to several things.]

It has been a long time since I’ve been here. Part of me is sad about this fact and part of me thinks that is just fine.

A lot has happened since I last wrote here:

I quit my job as a serials cataloger at the University of Illinois so I could concentrate on (then) upcoming weddings and our move.

Sara and I were married in late May in a small but wonderful ceremony amongst family and friends in a cabin on the banks of the Sangamon River.

At the very beginning of June I started prepping for our move to Sioux City, Iowa.

A couple of weeks later, my daughter got married in Oberlin, Ohio in an even simpler, but absolutely lovely and moving, ceremony to a wonderful young man that I couldn’t be prouder to be related to.

On the evening of 3 July we left Urbana, IL and headed for Sioux City. As of 4 July we are residents of Sioux City. This is a vastly different place  than Urbana-Champaign, in so many ways. We are still getting it sorted out but we will.

We had a good week and a half before Sara had to start her job and we made good use of it. Sara worked for 3 days and then we took a vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota to spend some time in a couple of cabins with some friends of Sara’s from high school and their respective significant others and children. On the way home we drove through the Badlands. I have a couple of pictures up but I have 100s more to be tagged, labeled, decided upon and uploaded. Suffice it to say that it was beautiful! And being the against much of pop culture fiend that I am, we skipped Wall Drug (unfortunately not the signs though), Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Once back Sara got back to work and is enjoying learning the ropes of this vastly different, and vastly smaller, university. I got back to work on organizing the house, merging two large book collections, much of which was in storage, along with merging two large CD collections, of which all of hers were in storage. There is still a bit to do on all the house organizing fronts but it is definitely getting there.

Shortly after we got here we bought ourselves a 32″ LG HDTV with built-in netflix streaming so we’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and some other things.

We’ve been taking an online class on HTML5 via SitePoint and in a few weeks will take one on CSS3. They were $9.95 each! So the last 2 weeks that is what we’ve been doing in the evenings when Sara gets home from work. (And, yes, I know the CSS3 course says it is $14.95 but by signing up for both at the same time we got a $5 discount!) I think that for the price they are quite good. As with any class it is (mostly) about what you put in to it.

Speaking of courses, Briar Cliff University has a 100% tuition remission policy for spouses so I’ll be taking a 1 credit class this fall called Madwomen Poets. About all I know about it is that it includes Sexton and Plath. But who cares what, if anything, else it might be? Who could ignore a class entitled Madwomen poets?

I know. I know. I’m supposed to be doing other things, “more important” things. And I am. But it is 50 minutes, 1 day/week. I figure it’ll help keep my mental chops in order. And at this point I still don’t know if I’ll be taking it for a grade or auditing.

As to that more  important stuff … I am ramping back up the work on my CAS thesis via several angles of attack. I am working on the paper proper and I am also working on a journal article, which will be highly related (as in with a little reworking can become a chapter), and I am thinking about trying to come up with a presentation for a conference in early December. The conference is “Semantics for Robots: Utopian and Dystopian Visions in the Age of the ‘Language Machine’. ‘The Language Machine’ is one of Roy Harris’ early books, of course.

As for conferences, I am really sad that I will not be able to attend ASIS&T in Pittsburgh this year. But seeing as we gave up about $40k in income with me not working there is little means of justifying the expense of travel and lodging. And, honestly, the registration cost is plain crazy for an unemployed non-student, non-retiree.

Sara and I decided that the Integrationist conference in Chicago in December, along with being far cheaper, is really more where I need to be right now. I need exposure to more Integrationists and Integrational thinking and I will get far more out of a small conference (as I always do) than a bigger one. Whether or not I can get something submitted (and possibly accepted) I am highly looking forward to it. Nonetheless, this will be the 1st ASIS&T I’ve missed since I started going in 2006.

And if any of my Chicago friends are reading this, I’d adore an invite to stay with you for a couple days in early December (2nd-4th, or so), especially if you are near the Univ. of Chicago.

Tomorrow night we are, thanks to a surprise from Sara, going to see Jackson Browne and David Lindley and the historic Orpheum Theatre here in Sioux City. I have been listening to (early) Jackson Browne for close to 40 years now. I haven’t really kept up with anything since the mid-80s or so but, nonetheless, I am stoked to finally get to see him live for the first time.

We also have a Super Secret Date night scheduled for Sunday night. Sara had that lined up well before we left Urbana. She offered me the chance to find out what it’ll be last night but I passed. I like the surprises! She’s done so well every time in the past. And it also makes me aware that it is past time for me to step up in the Super Secret Date Night scheduling department.

And in case anyone who cares isn’t aware of it yet, my son is in Afghanistan for his 3rd war zone tour. He left just days after we moved. Grrrr.

I guess I best end this for now. It is getting long and the simple shock of seeing a post from me is probably enough already. With any hope I won’t be gone as long before the next time.

It’s like talking to the wall

He’s incommunicado
No comment to make
He’s saying nothing at all

Yeah but in the communique
You know he’s gonna come clean

[Communique – Dire Straits]

Seems I don’t have much to say anymore. We’ve all read of the death of blogging. The move to Friendfeed and Twitter. XYZ.

None of those are entirely true. I have plenty to say and a fair bit to talk about. [I have a whole series of posts about the Ethics of Info Org conference I went to at the end of May planned out and started]. But there are other things that I have chosen to give my time to.

Work

Recently I was engaged in a project at work which involved us processing about 41,000 volumes of serials and monographic series out to our Oak Street remote storage facility in a projected 10-week period this summer. We managed to finish the project in 6 weeks.

I was the primary cataloger, 95%+ of the time. As in I was 95% of total cataloger time spent on it. This means that conservatively I had “critical eyes” on 1000 bib records a week.

I lasted just over 5 weeks before my mind shut down on me. Pretty much literally. Luckily El Diablo was there to step in and finish the project. By the time a couple days passed and I was ready to return they had wrapped it all up.

In other work-related news, I have accepted an offer for another year as a Visiting Serials Cataloger and Visiting Assistant Professor of Library Administration. Yay for knowing I’ll have a job in the near future. The current contract was over 15 August so this is none too soon. [Hopefully the Trustee’s approval will be routine.]

Moving

I have met the woman I was destined to spend my life with. She is my heart and soul and shortly I will no longer live alone.

At the end of the work day, I go home to do every thing that our project team was doing. I am pulling, inventorying, checking, boxing and slinging the boxes for our move across town. “Life is grand.”

Well, life was grand. A wrinkle has been added which complicates things, to say the least. I am kind of stressing right now but will recover. I’d put my moving skills up against anyone’s. Sad as that may be.

In this department life can throw whatever it wants at me. I care little, even if it stresses me in the short-term. I am shortly moving in with the woman who I have chosen to give my time (and life) to. I shall give her as much of it as is required.

Another wrinkle has arisen in the time it has taken me to finish this post. If it appears somewhat disjointed I apologize as the several weeks it has taken has required several rewrites and as many removals and additions.

New Employee Recognition Day

A couple weeks back the library held its annual New Employee Recognition Day. Seeing as I was hired within the last year I was—like all others hired in the last year—introduced by the Dean. Based on the state of this humble blog in the past year I was horrified that the vast majority of my intro came from my About page here. My being named one of “The LISNews 10 Blogs to Read on 2008” was trotted out as I shrank in embarrassment. At least it made me realize I need to update that page.

The blog

Speaking of the blog, there are going to be a few changes around here soon. Does that mean I may finally start posting again? I can’t really say.

One of my first thoughts upon hearing the Dean tell everyone assembled at NERD (Oops, I doubt they mean for that acronym to be used) was to simply kill it entirely. Oh, yes. I did seriously consider that.

But as several other libloggers have written recently, I like having this space in case I do want to share and get around to doing so. It’s nice to know it is here waiting on me.

Was having trouble getting in to my own domain recently for assorted reasons but finally got it figured out. Thus, I just upgraded from WordPress 2.7 to 2.8.1 with one click (after backing up). Plugin upgrades also only required one click each. Wow! Can I just say “Wow!”

Anyway. Enough of this blather for now. It is time to kill this thing and just post it. With any luck anyone still out there will be hearing from me again soon.

Sometimes – Song series 1

when i look deep in your eyes, i swear i can see your soul

out of sight,
your deep dark secrets
ebb and flow like the tide
but all that i see
are infinite spectrums of possibility

when i look deep in your eyes, i swear i can reach your soul

i love the infinite distances
that exist between us.
with persistence, our reach
will be enough.

when i look deep in your eyes, i swear i can touch your soul

guardians of each other’s solitude,
sheltering, yet giving wing,
we are free to take flight in
that beautiful touch of the other
“whole and before an immense sky.”

when i look deep in your eyes, i swear i can feel your soul

from the inexpressible unity of
life death, heaven earth, you me
rises this delicious nourishing love
giving the flowers strength,
setting us both ablaze, eternally.

when i look deep in your eyes, i swear i can see your soul
sometimes …

§


·

Thanks to James and Rilke for the inspiration, motif, and some of the words.

·

James – “Sometimes” from Laid [WorldCat entry].

Rilke, Rainer Maria. 2005. The Poet’s Guide to Life: The Wisdom of Rilke. Trans. Ulrich Baer. New York: Modern Library. [WorldCat entry]

·

Sometime prior to October of last year, I was inspired to begin a series of poems that were inspired by one or more lines from songs. This is the 1st one to be completed.

The 1st stanza is pretty much all me, while the rest are based on the letters of Rilke. Much of the Rilke material comes from a section of a letter that (in one translation) begins:

In marriage, the point is not to achieve a rapid union by tearing down and toppling all boundaries. Rather, in a good marriage each person appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude … (36).

Most places on the Internet cite this (if they cite it at all) as coming from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. That is simply not true. Perhaps as (one of) his best known prose work it just gets the nod, but it is from the above collection and is from a letter dated August 17, 1901 to Emanuel von Bodman.

There is another translation also on the Internet which is what sent me after this in the first place. It was quite a bit of work to finally track this down, and I had the assistance of another librarian to do so. Some day I may write a lengthy post on these kinds of issues [I certainly had meant to long before now].

The Internet served me well in turning me on to the wonderful sentiments expressed by Rilke. And then it proceeded to routinely deceive me as to the source of said sentiments.  The Internet can be a wonderful thing. It can also be horrible in that people (knowingly or not) lie.

Through it all I just keep trying to string a few words together.

Love letter to an ex-girlfriend

I went back through my posts of the last two months and there isn’t much explicit mention of the best distraction a boy could ask for. I think the first (and one of 2, maybe 3) explicit reference is in the post “Living room talk.” There are certainly several other references that were mostly for her that one or two of you might get a hint from, but not much more.

I also notice I didn’t actually post very often. There were frequently week-long gaps and, I believe, 2 13-day gaps.  Not unheard of for me, but rare.  My previous post addresses this quietude a bit.  Let me just say here that it has not been mostly due to my having a girlfriend.

But wait. I do not have a girfriend.

Today [Friday] would have been our 2-month anniversary. It was to be our full moon anniversary. Sorry, relevant to us, no details for you. On Monday she told me she needs to go back to just being friends.

While this is clearly not my 1st choice of realities—like I or anyone else gets a choice of realities—and it hit pretty hard, I am doing pretty well with this development. [This has been one amazingly interesting and personally productive summer, let me tell you!]

The first day or two I really was just kind of in a state of shock.  I wasn’t doing much active processing of this.  And that, I think, was a very good thing.

Since Monday we’ve been talking and have even seen each other a few times, e.g., watched a free movie at the public library together, shared a bag of popcorn, and had salad together after the movie. Again, not so much on the overt processing.  What I have been doing is listening to a lot of music. But here’s the kicker.  It’s mostly been just a few songs, on repeat, and sometimes repeatedly.

Monday evening and Tuesday both remain kind of hazy in my mind.

Wednesday morning began with Not A Pretty Girl and quickly morphed into multiple replays of “hour follows hour” and “asking too much.”

i just hope it was o.k., i know it wasn’t perfect
i hope in the end we can laugh and say
it was all worth it

too much is how i love you
but too well is how i know you
i’ve got nothing to prove this time
just something to show you
i guess i just wanted you to see
that it was all worth it to me

hour follows hour

i want somebody who
sees the pointlessness
and still keeps their purpose in mind
i want somebody who
has a tortured soul some of the time
i want somebody who
will either put out for me
or put me out of my misery
or maybe just put it all to words and make me go
you know, i never heard it put that way
make me go what did you just say!?

asking too much

Wednesday evening I was on my way to Crane Alley and I appropriated Poe’s “Spanish Doll” from Haunted for my own purposes.

This place feels so unfamiliar
And yet I know it well
I think I used to belong here
But the only way I can tell
Is that I miss you still
And I cannot find you here
You left me tattered and torn
Just like that Spanish doll

(Sweet Spanish sweet Spanish… doll)

I went down to the alley way
(Sierra la Bonita)
And found that you were gone …

Except for she wasn’t gone and actually joined me there for a couple hours.

Thursday AM began with “imagine that” from reckoning [of revelling/reckoning]. And pretty much stayed there. Later yesterday [Thursday], while at home, Jude’s “I Know,” from the City of Angels soundtrack was on repeat for almost 2.5 hours.

so here i am at my most hungry
and here i am at my most full
here i am waving a red cape
locking eyes with a bull

just imagine that i am onstage
under a watchtower of punishing light
and in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
and what’s beyond you is hidden from sight

imagine that

I know there’s nowhere you can hide it
I know the feeling of alone
Trust me and don’t keep that on the inside
Soon you’ll be locked out on your own

I Know

Interspersed has been an awful lot of Haley Bonar’s new album, Big Star, which I got in the mail last Saturday. Also prominent would be Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky album. Since the major clarification [for me] on my communications issues there has been a lot of talk, and more thinking, about personal narratives/mythologies, especially mine, and with this … whatever this is … there has been more about hers, too.  And one cannot get in stick throwing distance of my personal narrative without being smacked over the head by that album.

“Late for the Sky,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Farther On,” and “The Late Show” are particularly grounding for me.

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you’ve got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

fountain of sorrow

Now the distance leads me farther on
Though the reasons I once had are gone
I keep thinking I’ll find what I’m looking for
In the sand beneath the dawn

But the angels are older
They can see that the sun’s setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on

farther on [this one is undergoing some serious questioning]

I saw you through the laughter and the noise
You were talking with the soldiers and the boys
While they scuffled through your weary smiles
I thought of all the empty miles
And the years that I’ve spent looking for your eyes
(looking for your eyes)
And now I’m sitting here wondering what to say
(that you might recognize)
Afraid that all these words might scare you away
(and break through the disguise)
No one ever talks about their feelings anyway
Without dressing them in dreams and laughter
I guess its just too painful otherwise

the late show

Honestly, I do have to admit that a little of Ani’s Dilate snuck in there early on. But then what righteous babe could possibly resist “Done Wrong”, “Going Down” and “Adam & Eve” in this sort of situation?

you can’t get through it
you can’t get over it
you can’t get around

just like in a dream
you’ll open your mouth to scream
and you won’t make a sound

going down

you put a tiny pin prick
in my big red balloon
and as i slowly start to exhale
that’s when you leave the room
i did not design this game
i did not name the stakes
i just happen to like apples
and i am not afraid of snakes

adam and eve

I have also had several good conversations with my friend (she’s not my ex, she’s my friend), and with two other people which were particularly helpful.  One was Tuesday afternoon, just shy of a day, and one this afternoon [Friday].  One in person, one by (crappy) phone. My friend also had a good idea of some of this music since I also provided it to her and/or pointed her at the lyrics.

So, a mostly ‘just let it wash over me’ attitude and some highly specific music has kept me sane this week. Or, more accurately, allowed me to move from completely lost in the world [’tis far more complicated, but is another story] to almost as sane as I ever am and reasonably happy with the situation.

You have no need to know what the issue between us is. Truth be told, there is no “issue.” In a sense, it is far more fundamental than that. One reason I am currently avoiding it—as it may still get written about—is that it has occupied quite a bit of my time since Monday evening. And it is as complicated as anything between humans can be. I wrote several pages on it for my friend, but that barely qualifies as a 1st draft; lots more thinking since.  Plus, some clarification from her helped narrow & shift things a bit.

What is love? In how many ways do we use it? And with whom? And what do we mean by it when we use it with a particular person, or class or group of persons?

I love my children, I, in fact, love my ex-wife. I love my mom, sister, niece, …. And I love my friends. I don’t mean the 136 people on Facebook who call me “friend,” of course. I care greatly about every one of them as humans, and even somewhat about them as the individual that they are in the world, but I am not going to say that I love them. Although some of them I do. Somewhere in there a line gets drawn. When? Why? Who?

I love my ex-girlfriend. One. She clearly belongs in my closest friends. We were “friends” before this for a year and a half or so and I always wanted to know her better; to become her friend. We both went into this wanting to protect our (budding) friendship. Two. The things she has enabled me to be, to see, to feel, to dream. Three. Classy way in which she has handled herself in this since Monday and has helped guide me through it. Four. ….

For many reasons, we are entering some serious brave new territory.  The utter absurdity of the messages we get from our culture leave us completely unsure of what we are doing. But we both know that we each care greatly for the other, we each  see great things in and for the other, and I know that the vision of possibility I got from her needs to find a way to only make a slight adjustment and allow me to soar and not go “Poof! Welcome to your old life.” [Not going to go into it in this post but the road I saw open so very, very clearly not only looked exceedingly lovely but also showed me [and some reminders] who I really am and how I might really be who I want to be. These are things I cannot see and can barely dream on my own.]

Certainly, there are some […]

[Saturday]

The writing of this post got interrupted yesterday evening by a reminder of the Full Moon Drum Circle at the university’s Japan House. I quickly finished what I was doing and rushed over to grab my friend and head over there.

All I am saying is that this was the best non-anniversary I have ever had. The drumming was nice, the moon was exquisite, we met another friend there, and then we came home and took our friendship to even greater heights.

Thus. I want to sum up and say that I love my ex-girlfriend.

That I love my friend even more.

And I plan to always.

Who do you love?

There must be a light of some kind

2 views on the slipperiness of words:

Words are clumsy tools. And it is very easy to cut one’s fingers with them, and they need the closest attention in handling; but they are the only tools we have, and the imagination itself cannot work without them.

(Frankfurter 1947: 546) as quoted in Harris, R., & Hutton, C. (2007). Definition in Theory and Practice: Language, Lexicography and the Law London: Continuum: 135. [as seen in my “Words of Wisdom” text widgety thing on the upper right column on my blog’s main page. Wow, I really need to do some CSS work; I can’t stand that being all caps.]

And/Or:

wish i didn’t have this nervous laugh
wish i didn’t say half the stuff i say
wish i could just learn to cover my tracks
guess i’m not concerned enough
about getting away with it

every time i try to hold my tongue
it slips like a fish from the line
they say if you’re gonna play
you should learn how to play dumb
guess i can’t bring myself to waste your time

there must be a light of some kind

ani – light of some kind – Not A Pretty Girl

[light of some kind last used here 3 years ago] Quite interesting some of the issues discussed in that post from just under 3 years ago to those of today. I clearly face many of the same frustrations.

Looking for a light of some kind

So. Words and me lately. Some successes; some phenomenal failures. The failures are failures of presentation, and not failures of intellectual content or intention, but they need to be exposed to a light and I need to figure this out. Thus, my current prayer that “there must be a light of some kind.”

It may be hard to find a light while locked in a gas station bathroom to think, but for now I’m thinking about possible resources ….

the heat is so great
it plays tricks with the eyes
turns the road into water
then from water to sky
there’s a crack in the concrete floor
that starts at the sink
there’s a bathroom in a gas station
and i’ve locked myself in it to think

ani – shy – Not A Pretty Girl

[shy last used here Dec 2006] Still some of those issues being faced, also.

I have decided not to follow up on my Gorman posts, the comments others and I made on them, nor on MG’s presentation. I realize that I said I would but I have changed my mind. Things did not turn out so well and I had to consider myself a failure, on one scale at least.

I have forgiven myself (somewhat) and am trying to put it all in perspective. This has been good for me in that it brought to head something that has been bugging me [about myself] for a while. I am getting some help for the issue, and am open to other ways to think about and act on doing what I need. In that regard, I’m pursuing a few discussions on how others deal with issues of communicating their concerns within the field at large. On that note, my thanks to those who sent me some perspective after writing the failure post.

I intend to continue pursuing the same sorts of arguments, and lines of reasoning, as I have been but I also intend to strive to find a better way of presenting my ideas and critiques. Here in my space I will continue to push the bounds of what passes for “professional discourse” in the larger field, as I feel that there is plenty of ethical justification and even ethical responsibility for doing so.

Towards that end, I hope to soon have a comment policy and a “statement of purpose” which in some manner lay out what it is I am attempting to do: what kind of critique[s] I am making, the purpose[s] of my critique[s], my desire for seeing [and participating in] actual dialog, my express desire to be challenged and called on something when I should be, etc.

On the fine art of not being self-conflagrative

we couldn’t all be cowboys
some of us are clowns
some of us are dancers on the midway
we roam from town to town
i hope that everybody
can find a little flame
and me, i just say my prayers, then i just light myself on fire
and walk out on the wire once again

and i say …

counting crows – goodnight elisabeth – recovering the satellites

This song was once very important to me, primarily this section. Every morning, walking into work, was like lighting myself on fire and stepping out on the wire. Every. Single. Day. During the depths of my deepest struggles to climb out of the depression these words had motive force for me.

In fact, there was a curb out back of my previous library that ran from the street to almost the back door itself. It swept down a small incline from street-side to door-side. Straight ahead [and in line with a pillar and one long edge of the building] it ran until almost the end where it curved rapidly 90 degrees to the left. The surface of the curb was interesting in its own right. It was generally a bit higher than the surrounding sidewalk and several inches higher than the parking lot and drive that it bordered. The surface was not entirely even and even had a slight tilt to the sides at points [both directions], covered in yellow paint it could be slippery faster than the surrounding bare cement, and over time portions [much eventually] got literally torn up and made ragged by all the university service vehicles parking along it, running over it, and tearing it up with the plow in winter. I imagine the elements did a little work on their own over time. [Sadly, now, a few years later the curb is a complete mess and is, as such, highly demoralizing on the rare occasion that I see it any more.]

One day, dangerously depressed, heading into work I was listening to this song when I came upon the curb. “Hmmmm,” I wondered. “While I metaphorically continue to light myself on fire, can I actually walk down this curb?”

I did OK for a first effort. From then on, I walked down (and up) that curb whenever an opportunity presented itself. Winter was frequently not a good (or possible) time for curb-walking, nor were rain and wind, generally. But there were always exceptions. Keep in mind I frequently had a backpack.

I became quite good at “walking out on the wire.” I walked it no matter who was at hand to see me do so. [If this was the oddest thing that they thought about me I was on solid footing. 😉 ] It soon became somewhat of a small omen as to how the day was going to go. If I swiftly sashayed down the entire length then the day would be great; if I made it but had to struggle for it then I needed to be “cautious” [in some regard] that day; if I fell [or stepped] off then just hold on because there was soon going to be another time on the wire.

I sometimes walked the curb more than once in a day, and while each time had some “power”, it was the first of the day that had the most impact for the whole day. Rest assured, I made great strides to not let it actually be causal, at least not on the days I fell off. Sometimes an early “falling off” was just the universe’s early warning system letting me know that “today is not a day to be doing this.”

My point, long in coming, is that I need to learn how to walk out on the wire without the self-conflagrat*

Getting back on the wire—repeatedly—is perfectly fine. Missteps are expected. The lighting oneself on fire first has got to go, though.

NOTE: This was mostly written a week or so ago and should have closely followed the “O, most frabjous day” post.

I have been very quiet lately and there are several reasons for this. Despite the distraction of a new girlfriend and, in fact, thanks to much she offered there has been quite a bit of contemplation and reflection going on here. There still is.  I am working on some things but expect a bit more quiet and hopefully something different (soon).

This has been a most productive summer for me, personally, in many ways.

Shh!

I got a quick IM from a friend the other night wondering how I was doing as I have been quiet lately.

Yes. Yes I have.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of it is lack of time to do all the things I’d like to. There are probably other reasons, too, in certain domains. But the two bigs one are lack of time and the fact that I haven’t exactly been very positive about much of anything lately. This has kept me very quiet.

As much as I may like to complain I do not enjoy burdening my friends with my gripes. And some of the things I have complaints about are very few people’s business anyway.

Another part of it is that being on the job market I must really watch what I say and do. It breaks my heart to even think such thoughts but I can be realistic. [Actually, I think I am far more realistic than most people realize, but that is another issue.]

This is a time when I probably need my friends more than normal. Yet, I have slipped back into my shell anyway. And then that cycle gets exacerbated.

For instance, Anna Creech noticed that I had linked to one of her older posts and the link was broken in some blog maintenance that she had done so she sent me an email with the new link. I greatly appreciated that and fully meant to write her back and thank her. But I haven’t yet.

I installed a plugin to find broken links a while back and eventually it found 680-some odd broken links. [68x broken links out of 93x posts is quite disheartening.] I had fixed a couple of links already but when I fixed Anna’s the count immediately started going down. Rapidly. I tracked the downward progress over the next 18 or so hours and it got down to 196.

And then it started going back up again. After another 2 days or so it was back up to 680. Gah! I watched all this and took notes as it went down and then up again. All of this took longer than I had meant to take to write Anna a thank you note, though. When it all finally stabilized I was feeling bad for not responding to Anna yet. And so I haven’t.

I know it makes no sense. But there it is. [I do hope to write Anna before posting this.]

I have watched another friend come out of their shell and seem to flourish lately which does my heart no end of good. So I have left them alone due to my negativity lack of positivity. Not something they need right now.

I am also applying to jobs. I hate applying to jobs. I spent 20+ years in the Army to avoid just this. I have been in school for the past 10 years, some of which was possibly to continue avoiding this. I have no issues with working, only with applying for work.

I have lots of disappointments in my life and the whole process is full of disappointments. So not so much fun (as most might well agree). It seems funny but whenever I have spent a while somewhere many of the folks come to really appreciate having me around. My current workmates seem to want me to stay (as usual) but they have no job to offer me. I in no way look forward to having to go on interviews and “peddle my flesh.” My flesh is not worth peddling. It is my heart and soul (and mind) that you want. And I am incapable of showing you that in an interview. Well, perhaps not incapable but certainly recommended that I not try.

Alright. Mark, stop!

I promised myself this would not get out of hand but it has already. [And, yes, I cut lots out; multiple times.]

Let me just say:

  • I am tired.
  • I am sore, always.
  • I am stuck in my own head with no one to help sort out the messes.
  • I am really scared that my intermittent illness is coming back.
  • I am looking for a job.
  • I am about to be a non-student student. That is, I am not done but will lose most every “privilege” that comes with being a student. Like the ability to use the health clinic.
  • I’m not happy with much of anything on this blog in a long time. E.g., if WP is to be trusted then no one has linked to me since that idiocy about e-book week back in February and I can’t say I blame ’em. That wasn’t even a conversation I wanted to have and it probably got more links than any other post except a Carnival post.
  • My son is heading back to this fucked up war of ours. Yes, it is ours. Yours and mine. And it is still going on lest you have failed to notice recently.
  • And I am terrified that I will deal with this no better than the first time.

Everything is not bad, to say the least, which is why I changed negativity to lack of positivity above.

  • I have been seriously enjoying the flowers and trees as they bloom.
  • I have been enjoying taking photos of them and actually learning to use my camera a bit (which has greatly helped).
  • I have been enjoying laughing at all the people complaining about the weather. Yes, even my friends.
  • I have a book reviewing gig for a prominent publication.
  • I was complaining to Allen Renear about an example in an article and he fully agreed with me that the authors blew it on that one.
  • I saw many of my far flung friends Sunday at Commencement.
  • I got a nice compliment from a ravishing woman Sunday.

Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile

Lou Reed – Sweet Jane

There’s just too much thinking going on in my head and I basically have no one to talk about it with. And this blog is not the place to do so for most of it.

So. There you have it. I’m being quiet and that is probably best. In fact, best would be to strip out 90% of this post.

I do want my friends to know, though, that I do love them deeply. I am not trying to avoid anyone and would not resent anyone checking in with me if they desire to. No promises on speed or length of reply though. I already owe a couple people a response.

All in all, I’m actually pretty good. I am not depressed right now. Just not exuding a lot of positive vibes lately. And I need to reserve those for the job search and, more importantly, for my friends.

But I won’t let it change me, not if I can
I’d rather believe in love
and give it away as much as I can
To those that I am fondest of

Allen Reynolds – Dreaming My Dreams with You

As for the good, I need to say a very special “Thank you!” to an amazing person I am honored to call friend. We spent a good 5 1/2 hours talking last night. She let me bitch and moan. We talked about the good(s), too. We talked about things I just do not talk about with anybody. And then she let me into a special piece of her world. Thank you!

i search your profile for a translation
i study the conversation like a map
’cause i know there is strength
in the differences between us
and i know there is comfort
where we overlap

Ani DiFranco ¤ overlap ¤ out of range

… and number one is fleshing out these dreams of mine.

Atlanta’s a distant memory
Montgomery a recent blur
and Tulsa burns on the desert floor
like a signal fire

I got Willie on the radio
a dozen things on my mind
and number one is fleshing out
these dreams of mine

Cowboy Junkies — 200 More Miles

A little over a week ago I wrote to a handful of those I consider myself close to to tell them of a recent decision of mine. It was quite gratifying and reaffirming to hear back from many of them over the next couple of days, and by a half dozen of them within an hour of sending them my message! My friends are amazing!

Those locally I have been trying to catch up with personally, although I have missed a couple due to Spring Break happening this past week. [Sara, I’ve been looking for you.]

Perhaps, though, I should start at something like the beginning.

I have been at this university education thing for a very long time. For the last ten and a half years I have been at it mostly full-time. All the while I have been employed at least half-time and often more. There was a 3-year period, sort of in the middle, where I worked full-time and went to school half-time for the fun of it … and because the university paid for it, I was able to take classes with people I really cared to learn from, and it kept my loans in deferment.

I have actually been in and out of the higher ed classroom for far longer seeing as I entered Illinois State in 1998 with 118 hours of accepted transfer credit (90 of which I could apply) accumulated during my time in the Army.

Over those 10+ years of mostly full-time schooling I have “progressed” in the ways in which I deal with the joys and stresses of the classroom and, even more so, with the kinds of work students are expected to generate so that their learning can be codified and graded. It started out being fairly difficult and while it (the product) always remained difficult to produce the ways in which it is difficult changed such that at some point the process actually became quite easy such that producing products which demonstrated my learning was easy. Difficult work, but easy nonetheless [I hope that makes some sense].

I seem to be long past that point anymore. I have loved my time at GSLIS for many reasons, but for a long time now I have been increasingly unhappy with the process of higher education. I have often complained of the semester system—here on this blog and elsewhere—and especially lately have complained of the need come the end of the semester to produce something which an instructor can grade. Have not my efforts to learn, to challenge myself, my classmates and the instructor already been amply demonstrated throughout the semester?

Simply put. I am burnt out.

This was to be my final semester and I was going to end it with a 3rd Mother’s Day graduation. My only real task was to write my CAS paper and defend. After consultation with my advisor, GSLIS admin, and my employer I have decided to put myself on a non-academic “sabbatical.” That is, I am taking an incomplete and doing other things for a while.

I shall not go into all of the details of the thought process or situation but the only negative thing that can honestly be said is that I won’t be “done” in May. Theoretically, I need to finish before the start of next Spring semester.

I am still working my 2 assistantships at 60% time. Thus, I haven’t really freed up much time. I will still attend the seminar on subject access/analysis, although I have unfortunately not been attending Allen’s ontologies class for several weeks now [Remember, I am just sitting in on these classes].

I m still applying for jobs although I am seeing very few that are appealing or which I feel qualified for. There are many other sorts of jobs I would consider but the ones in those lines of work (terminologies) which show up in the places I am looking seem to mostly be massively corporate or government, mostly defense.

Yes, I am applying for jobs. I have had an MLS for almost 2 years now. While I would have preferred to be finished with my CAS before taking a job there is really no reason to do so. As far along as I am now will only require me to come back—if I leave—for one day to defend; everything else can be done electronically.

My goal is to focus my energies elsewhere for a while—large portions of my life have been on hold for most of these past 10 years. What little time I gain by not actively working every free moment on my paper will be easily filled. I already have a list of projects, some major, and I haven’t even had to put any effort into identifying them.

I have finally figured out a system for organizing all those photocopied or printed out articles, book chapters, etc. that will work for me for now and which is flexible enough to grow and change with me and my interests. Many of you probably can’t even begin to imagine the amount of paper I have in folders, folders in boxes, and so on. Let’s just say that it is a lot. So I am entering them into Zotero, frequently backing up Zotero, and physically organizing them. Will I ever get finished? Not likely, no. But if I can get most of the important and more recent ones organized I will be happy.

I’d also like to try and fix many of the broken links in this blog that exist due to the migration from Typepad to my own domain. I haven’t started on that yet and I have concerns about how it might affect people’s feeds but we’ll just have to see. I doubt I can or even want to fix every link but there are quite a few I do want fixed.

Most all of my books now reside in my apartment and not in storage anymore so I would like to get more of them into my LibraryThing catalog.

I also still need to find an email and a feed reader solution to my current woes.

There are, of course, a million other things I could add; some more pressing than others. Asking someone out on a date is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I know of no prospects at the moment. But perhaps a little more engagement with the wider world will present one. 🙂

Lest you think my CAS paper has evaporated, I can assure you that it has not. My plan is to primarily focus on other things for a while, perhaps even through summer. I am in the process of reading two books directly related to my topic but I have put them to the side for a bit. I hope to pick those up soon and work through them a bit more slowly than I have been. Basically, I have been cramming things into my mind non-stop since last May when I more or less came to my topic. No time to think, no time to muse, and certainly nothing approaching slow reading.

A short five years ago I was able to read DeLillo’s White Noise once and then produce a 14-page analysis of the lived morality as presented in the novel which actually impressed one of the professor’s I most admire in the world. Part of that may be due to lots of exposure to thinking about morality—both academically and as experienced in daily life—over the years. But part of it is where I was in my progress of academic productivity [pretty much in top form at that point].

My CAS paper has taken me into a realm where I have little formal education and where much lay thinking is mistaken due to two millennia of Western culture and education. Thus, I have had to work extra hard trying to come to grips with what I want to “produce.” Now that it is time to do so my mind has rebelled.

At first, when I floated the idea of perhaps delaying this a bit it was lovingly suggested that I “just do it” and then I could relax and follow this more where I want to take it as I further develop my research agenda [something I can actually say I have now]. I had to concur that that would be lovely. But I left that meeting feeling quite apprehensive. A week later when I went back to re-discuss my options it was readily agreed that my current plan is what is needed and it was immediately supported.

There are many reasons why the wise woman who is my advisor agreed a week later after trying to nudge me forward a week earlier. The reasons are no doubt complex, but when I asked her why she knew now that this was the right decision I was told that, “You turn gray. Today you aren’t gray and thus I know this is the right decision.” And here I always thought it was simply metaphor.

the sky is grey
the sand is grey
and the ocean is grey

and i feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way

ani difranco — grey — reckoning

This past Thursday when I told this story to one of my best friends ever—and my boss during what was probably the worst couple years of my life—she just looked at me funny for a few seconds. And then she said, “Of course you do!”

I guess all I can say is, “Here’s to learning to radiate all the colors of the spectrum!”

My intention regarding my paper is to distract my mind for a bit, dabble some directly on topic (soon), dabble on the periphery, let the mind do its own thing on its own time in the background, have conversations with others which will force me to be able to say what I want, and to finally get on it “full-time” come the start of the fall semester with the goal of defending at the end of fall.

I have received an enormous amount of support and validation from my advisor, other profs, GSLIS admin, the folks I work with at the Library, and especially from my friends and family. This, more than anything else, means the world to me. Thank you.

Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness.
And I like the whole truth,
but there are nights I only need forgiveness.
Sometimes they say, “I don’t know who you are
but let me walk with you some.”
And I say, “I am alone, that’s all,
you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done,”
But they’re waiting just the same,
With their flashlights and their semaphores,
And I act like I have faith and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends.

Dar Williams — My Friends — End of the Summer

Almost the day : Birthday Month update

Today has been a fairly laid-back day. Considering.

I got up at 10-ish and have been on slow ever since. Pauline & Kathryn’s class was having a reading day and I decided to forego more Protégé work this evening in Allen’s class. We will be doing more next week.

So I have been giving myself a break.

Last night was my party at Crane Alley. I thought it turned out nice [some pictures someone else’s]. Thanks to all who came! I hope you find something to enjoy in your presents but I know music is a very personal thing. More in a bit about the party.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is actually my birthday but it is set to be a little more down-to-earth than last night. I have an hour massage scheduled in the afternoon and there’s a full lunar eclipse early enough in the evening and it is supposed to be clear out. Bitterly cold. But clear.

I know to be a realist about the weather here in mid-February but I have some hope. That is, 28-hour or so forecasts are starting to be admissible evidence in my world.

I’ll probably take myself out to dinner somewhere—no idea—and if anyone wants to join me let me know. You are definitely off-the-hook for buying my dinner but I’d love a little company. Probably 6 or 6:30ish.

I went and saw my friend, Eva Hunter, perform solo Friday night in Danville. Gina was there, too, so that was nice. Eva was willing to sing me a song for my birthday but unfortunately the song I want hasn’t been in her repertoire for a while now. Since before I started seeing her perform 5-6 years ago. 🙁

A large amount of my “free time” after work and sleep from the evening of the 13th until sometime yesterday afternoon was spent compiling these, writing notes, burning and packaging them. Everyone who came to my party got a set. [One person left their’s so if it was an accident just let me know and I’ll happily replace them. But if you’d rather not that’s fine, too.]

I haven’t made a compilation CD since coming to Urbana-Champaign in August 2004. Actually. The last one ended in August 2003. Oh my. A time of pure hell, but a year before I left and moved here still.

This was a hasty project that took up much of my time for 5 days, and it is certainly no attempt to be comprehensive. That would be a fool’s errand. I do like it, though, as I have listened to them over and over for much of that 5 days—certainly since the playlists were finalized. Of course, getting them finalized takes a lot of listening to transitions and such.

Starting tomorrow, I need to get back on track. Sure. It’ll be my birthday.

So I won’t try and make up 5 days of work in one—another fool’s errand—but I will begin with something I enjoy like beginning a new-to-me Harris book that looks very important to my paper.

Back to the party …

Thanks so much to whomever paid for my dinner and drinks. And an especially big thanks to those who took good care of Lisa. She would not let me give her a tip. She said my friends took care of me and very good care of her. Thank you!

She then told me I could come in for dinner next Monday and give her the tip. I told her I would do my best but laughed and said it would be smaller next week.

I got a ride over from a vixen and a ride home from a wonderful couple I wish I saw far more of. Of course, I wish I saw much more of everyone who was there. Tentative, vaguish commitments were made with a few folks. I certainly hope I see Ben around at some point. He’s at GSLIS but I just met him last night.

Rachel knit me a sweet hat during the party, or at least finished it there. Tom gave me a productive-looking book: Hickman, Larry A. 2007. Pragmatism as post-postmodernism : lessons from John Dewey. New York: Fordham University Press.

I had the butternut squash ravioli, which was OK but it was much better the 1st time. I had 4 pints of Guinness (and have felt surprisingly good today) and 3 sips and a lot of sniffs of a fine scotch compliments of El Diablo. A few other sips were had by others so it did not go entirely to waste; not that it did anyway. But more was “consumed” in the typical sense with the help of others.
Oh, by the way, the shirt I was wearing was having a birthday of a sort itself, it is 29-years old.

In between most of the above and here, I took myself out to the diner for dinner and began on that Harris book: Harris, Roy. 1996. Signs, Language, and Communication : Integrational and Segregational Approaches. London; New York: Routledge.

I’m going to close this now as I want to go back to slowly passing the evening. Tomorrow involves work and meetings and so on beginning at the normal time. But that is tomorrow still.

What Martin Luther King Jr. Day now means to me

Truthfully, I will not be addressing that directly as such. Much more oblique will be my comments.

But first some initial resources:

Five years ago today—well, it was 20 January in 2003—I was sitting at home listening to the MLK Jr. specials on the radio (NPR) when at 4:02 PM CT I heard that 12,000 soldiers from Fort Hood (4ID) were being mobilized.

4th Infantry Division (4ID) is the division I retired from and the one my son was serving in at the time. Not that this was publicly known yet, but they were to be the hammer out of the north from Turkey in the initial invasion of Iraq.

Later that evening after a couple pints of beer and attempted reading I went by the ex’s for a hug and some talk. Jeremy called while I was there. Said aircraft had to be on ships down south by the end of the week & they’ll be 2 weeks behind. When I got home from Mary’s I called my mom and then my sister.

So, here I am, almost 44 years old & my baby’s ordered to war. Where did I go wrong? [my journal, 9 PM 20 Jan 2003]

The complete irony of the formal announcement of these deployments on Martin Luther King Jr. Day did not escape me. Nor will it ever.

My son’s deployment was quite hard on me. The reasons are quite complex and I will never fully understand them myself and certainly never be able to explicate them to others.

My son and his family have been lucky so far and he has had a job for the last couple years such that—unlike many who have been back several times in the last almost 5 years of war—he has not. That shall change soon, though. He is on his way back to Fort Hood and the 4th ID.

So here I sit again contemplating my son’s (possible) deployment.

That, and so much more, is what Martin Luther King Jr. Day will forever mean to me.

… consistently we are resistant to love …

Four Bitchin’ Babes. “Beautiful Fool.” Beyond Bitchin’

Song I used to “commemorate” MLK Jr. Day 2003, the mobilization of 4ID and the march to war on my 2003 compilation CD.

Christmas visit with family and friends

I went to Falls Church, Virginia to visit family and friends 20 – 29 December. I got home yesterday evening. Drove to Bloomington (1 hour) and flew through Detroit to Dulles and back again.

Going out of Bloomington vs. Champaign is about $150 cheaper round trip and parking is free, which is a substantial savings. BMI now has free public wireless! Yay! Champaign did already for UIUC folks since it’s owned and run by the University, but I read recently that they opened it up to all of the public. Bravo! Now if only the larger airports could get on board.

I was overjoyed to have wireless in BMI on the way out since my flight hadn’t arrived and I got an update from Orbitz before the airline (Northwest) even mentioned it. It seems our airplane couldn’t see well enough to land and got diverted to Champaign to refuel before coming back to Bloomington. Other planes were landing and taking off, though. We left Bloomington after my flight to DC from Detroit had left; many others on our flight missed their flights.

I used the wireless to get several more updates from Oribtz and found a phone # for NWA. They had me re-booked already on a later flight out of Detroit so
I got to DC a couple hours later.

Coming home, our plane in Detroit had maintenance issues and we finally got another plane scheduled for about 3 hours later. Not too bad, but it’d sure be nice if the airline had paid for wireless. I think free public wireless should be at all airports, for many reasons. But until wiser minds see reason and understand service it’d at least be nice of your airline would provide it once you have a delay. Oh well. Travel; it could’ve been much worse.

I had a wonderful visit with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, son, daughter; and friends, Miss E, and Christina Pikas and her husband, Mark. Thanks all.

Saw several movies. Ate assorted cuisine, including Vietnamese with Christina and Mark. Also had great Chinese with E. Played games. Talked. Went to the Natural History Museum and Botanic Gardens. Helped figure out the audio wiring in a new house. Helped with the cooking, sometimes. Ate lots of tasty food.

I fear Christina’s Mark had to suffer through a goodly amount of librariana/grad school talk. Sorry, dude.

No idea what the mail state is since it’s been held since the 20th. Perhaps it’ll get delivered tomorrow; I believe that’s what I asked for. Online holding of your mail is easy, btw.

I have to say that I’m already feeling overwhelmed. So much to do. Bottom line, I put off a major decision until after this visit. Now, I’m back and facing a massive deadline on the 11th of Jan. I was ordered to leave it be until after my visit, so I did. If this does not go well then it’ll be decision time. I have only discussed this with an extremely small number of people; can only think of 2 at the moment and I did not bring it up on my trip. While I love and trust everyone I saw on my trip, I wasn’t ready to discuss this. Don’t really have the words to explain it anyway.

I did 4 loads of laundry this morning, which is a large number for me. Went to the grocery store. Trying to do final updates to several posts; publishing one. Need to reply to a couple serious comments. Changed the header images on a single post and the main Archives page with some slices of a couple photos I took at the United States Botanic Garden. Published another post [Sorry if I’m overloading you, Christina.]

Photos of Christmas presents (known, to date; see mail comment above). Red penciled the current state of my bibliography. Read some. Watched 3 episodes of the Simpsons Season 2.

I know this is fragmented and brief. So much more could be said about many things.

I relaxed while on vacation, while I did not end on a relaxed and rested note, since I was tired most of the time on my visit. I might ought to broach a serious topic with some other folks, but I have to focus on moving forward towards the 11th first. If I reach that OK then other issues may melt away.

I really did enjoy spending time with everyone I saw. I sure wish my niece had been less sick, though.

Perhaps I’ll write more about this year ending and the new one beginning tomorrow. Perhaps not.