Showing posts from August, 2018

To List or Not: My Life as an Obsessive Lister

Those who know me are familiar with my obsessive list making. Every day I make lists that are long, unwieldy, and unlikely to be completed. It is part of my mania that I separate these lists into three categories: fun items, daily teaching/writing tasks, and ongoing writing projects. I listed the fun items first on purpose because these are the most likely to be completed. Sometimes I do actually finish the daily teaching/writing tasks. If not, they roll over to the next day. The ongoing writing projects are generally tasks that I have been working on since time immemorial, and I am not I will ever finish most of them. They too are moved from list to list obsessively until I finally remove them because I can no longer be so masochistic.

Andrei Codrescu, in a 1989 collection of his "All Things Considered" essays, Raised By Puppets, Only To Be Killed By Research, writes about lists in a tellingly accurate, yet humorous essay, "Today We List, Tomorrow We Fail." He ch…

Seasonal Shifts: Hot Spring Mountain Pictures

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” 
― Edward AbbeyDesert Solitaire

My wife and I recently visited Hot Springs National Park and hiked up Hot Springs Mountain. Many of my pictures tend to deal with the juxtaposition of man-made objects and nature. I love to take pictures that show how nature attempts to reclaim its space.

Pool Sharkin' With The Stray Cats

When I was in high school, my friends and I used to play pool in my basement. We listened to music and imagined ourselves out of that tiny town, although I do not think any of us had the audacity to picture ourselves as pool sharks, hustling townies for their paychecks. More or less, we imagined ourselves fully grown and living a life that did not include lockers and gym class.
The Stray Cats' Built For Speed was one of my favorite albums at the time. I played it countless times during our pool sessions. I vividly remember Brian Setzer's cool vocals rising above the sound of breaks, miscues, and arguments over the kitchen and the granny stick.

When I hear the hits, "Rock This Town" and "Stray Cat Strut" on classic rock radio, I always picture that damp basement and group of guys; most of us still hang out from time to time, but I think I'm the only one that regularly spins the Stray Cats. However, my favorite tracks from that album, which were on CD r…

Life in the Stacks, or Why I Love Working at the Library.

I missed working at the library the last several years, so I plan on working here more this semester. I am still waiting to get my office on campus, so I am sequestered in the library, importing my classes into Canvas and revising my syllabi. Hopefully, I will be doing most of this in my office in the future because I am excited about doing research at the library again.
The library is always quiet, and I love hunkering down between books, and working. The musty smell of the books, old wooden tables, brick walls, are like home to me. I have been working in school libraries for years, and I never get sick of it. However, sometimes I get too comfortable and dose off between the stacks.

Slick Threads: Phantom, Rocker, and Slick.

While digging through my record collection, I found this gem, "Men Without Shame" b/w "Time is on Our Hands" -- a rock and roll record featuring Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats. Dig those threads.
This 45 is the first single from their self-titled first album recorded on hiatus from their more famous band. With the addition of co-founding guitarist, Earl Slick, the band created hard rocking music that exchanged the rockabilly of their former project for an 80s rock approach that include everything from ballads to mainstream rockers. While Brian Setzer was refashioning himself as a heartland rock inspired solo artist, Phantom and Slick opted for rocking out.
"Men Without Shame" is a 6 1/2 minute song that never outwears its welcome with Slick's impressive guitar chops front and center. The solo alone separates the song from the group's former projects. Slick's session work holds him in good stead as drummer Phantom and bassist …

Moving to Arkansas

"One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things." --Henry Miller. Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch (1957).

"I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore." -- Cheryl Strayed. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar (2012).
We just moved to Arkansas so I could start my new teaching job, loading our belongings into a car and a 26-foot truck, trying against all odds to get rid of junk to make the move easier. While I did get rid of books and other nonessential items, the truck was packed (to the gills as the expression goes). I know, first world problems, right? There was barely room for anything else, and when we arrived in Arkansas there were a few damaged items. I hop…