Not much happening here

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Dealing with no water or sewer in the apartment building is not one of the things I would consider to be a good time, but honestly we got lucky. There was no gas leak, though right now they are being careful to not let that happen. (It is a concern, I heard, and one of the reasons why things are moving slowly.) The water didn’t fill our apartment, so we still have a place to live. The bad news is that they have to replace piping, so the timeline is getting longer quicker, partially because the ground is still frozen. At least I have friends around who let me use their shower and bring me water.

But this means I’m spending more time away from the apartment, such as at school and downtown. Right now I’m at the library trying to figure out what exactly I want to focus on with Edith Wharton (so far I’m on a ghost and culture kick) and working on my paper for English 759. I came across this awesome book by accident that I know I have heard of somewhere, maybe on the Barnes and Noble newsfeed or something. It is titled In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the 21st century by Daniel R. Schwarz. The premise is to discuss why the act of reading literature is still an important act for higher education and student learning. It came out in 2008, so it is a recent publication. Everything else on this topic that I have managed to find is late ’90s or earlier. NCTE has some good publications as well, but again most of those are also late ’90s. Still, I know there are more recent ones and I have seen them, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on them long enough to read them. That pretty much is a problem for many graduate students, I think. We see a lot. Unfortunately, we don’t always see it long enough to read it because we are already working on at least two other projects along with our teaching. But considering what I see my professors do, that probably will not end any time soon.

So it goes, as Vonnegut said. He also once mentioned how when things got bad the “shit hit the ceiling fan and spread around the room.” This, I have learned recently, is also a possibility.

But I’m mostly Viking and all Midwestern, so really I can handle anything, right? I believe so. And in most cases I don’t have a choice anyway. It is the same thing with this “Spring” or extended winter or whatever this is. Sure, it is warmer in the sense it isn’t below zero right now, but we still have a fair amount of snow, may still receive more, and the place is like the ice rinks of Mankato, MN. We even had a southern MN inspired thundersnow recently. I just miss the color green. Just a little green and all will be well with the world. Or just about. There is still that problem of humans defining themselves through what they have, students pretending they aren’t really students and so, as teachers, we should all care and take it upon ourselves they have two jobs because that is also the teacher’s fault somehow, and the whole gender inequality thing. All of these things, though, are long stories.

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