Back to school always puts me in the mood for classic rock. Real cheeseball stuff, like Rush: “Summer’s fading fast / night’s growing colder . . . ” Or Rod Stewart’s Maggie May: “It’s late September / and I really should be back at school.” The banalities of the lyrics, coupled with the way they’re etched into the subsconcious by the FM airwaves (this is car music, let’s face it no one listens to this at home) captures the texture of the days—an out of the body experience, as you put on the good clothes and the game face to meet the crush of official business pushing through the thick air of still still-summer days.
Calendars come to life, committees that have slept all summer long come to life. Requests for recommendations, requests to review an essay or advise a project. The Chronicle arrives, and for the first time in months it seems it’s full of must-read stuff. My favorite journal arrives. The blogosphere is alight with important conversations. I have time for none of them. I can feel the links falling through my fingers. I inject my own small dose of chaos into the moiling tendrils of my networks, pestering colleagues for dates on which they can commit to a symposium I’m organizing later this fall. My email lands in their boxes with too many others just like it, virtual hands reaching out to tug at the remote puppet strings of their dekstop calendars.
The parking garage, three quarters empty all summer, is suddenly full. There’s a line at Marathon deli, my favorite off-campus lunch spot. I make plans, I nod my head yes, I make commitments, I make promises. Yes I’ll do it, sure count me in. Sounds good, when do you need it by?
The first few days of a new semester are 24 hour cycles of that morning shower high when you feel like you can do anything.
Picked up the CD after seeing Chingon’s live set on the Kill Bill Vol. 2 DVD. Good, good stuff, check out the song samples—”Malaguena Salerosa” has the signature hook.
Here’s the blog for one of my fall courses, Postmodern Literature. The description follows. You can find a complete syllabus, including a list of books, as a PDF down the right-hand column.
No two surveys of postmodern literature will look alike, and this class is no exception. While we will read some important authors and some important books, our readings will in no way be comprehensive, or even necessarily representative of “postmodernism.” The centerpiece for the course, temporally and otherwise, will be the events of September 11, 2001. Approximately half of our reading will be from works published before that day, and half after. Whether 9/11 is deserving of such a pivotal position in our literary and artistic imaginations, whether it means the end of postmodernism, remains to be seen. 9/11 in any case will not be our sole topic of conversation or point of reference. Its image, however, will prove inescapable, from the cover of the longest work we will read, Don Delillo’s Underworld, to its afterimage in Art Spiegelman’s newly-published graphic novel In the Shadow of No Towers. Related themes for the course will include cities and/as texts, the role of visual and graphical forms in contemporary narrative, and the transition, of both books and society at large, to a global information culture.
This is a plain vanilla MT blog; my other class, Computer and Text, will be making use of Liz Lawley’s courseware software.
Thanks to Chuck for the link that led to the image.
An American visits North Korea. I found it fascinating:
Why go to North Korea? Why go someplace so purposely unappealing to foreigners, especially Americans? For me, after living, working and studying in South Korea for the better part of a decade, North Korea had become a forbidden fruit. I’d tried to go several times but had always been prevented because of my nationality.
Farenheit 9/11 is for weenies. Real mavens need to find a screening of Robert Kane Pappas’ Orwell Rolls in His Grave.
Off to the World Boardgaming Championships for a day tomorrow.
(“Championships” is a bit of a misnomer; you don’t have to do anything to get in besides register.)
Will post some photos on my return . . .
As promised, pictures from the WBC. Everywhere there was a flat surface there was a game. This is the ballroom, one of several large open gaming spaces. More below the fold . . .
A really cool looking game I don’t know the name of.
Another shot of same.
What every gamer hopes to avoid.
My event: the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit.
I won my first two games (the second by decision) and then got creamed in the third. Here’s the board, while there was still some hope left. If you’ve never seen a “wargame” this won’t mean much to you—the little colored pieces are the fighting units as well as various information markers, which are maneuvered over the map board to achieve an objective. In this one I (as the American GIs) was trying to capture a small, anonymous town from some German infantry. I failed spectacularly, but didn’t much mind because it freed me to go do other things. Like look at the vendors’ display.
Mmmm. Games. “For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
My spiffy convention badge. (Eat your heart out MLA.)