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August 15, 2008 - 5:00am
I was out to breakfast with my good friend and his son the other day and his son ordered waffles. The waitress brought the waffles and syrup but didn’t bring butter. He stared at the plate. He stared at her. He didn’t say a word. When the waitress left he told his dad she forgot the butter. “Why didn’t you ask?” his father said. The boy just shrugged. He was shy. I know this feeling. I remember this feeling from when I was nine, but I also know it from my present life. It has become an interesting challenge as I begin work at a new institution.
August 14, 2008 - 10:08pm
Part of my job at Greenback U is to go around to other departments on campus and update them on the University's latest sustainability efforts. A portion of any update is often context setting -- sharing with folks why what we're doing improves sustainability, and pointing out some of the steps other universities have taken or new technologies now or soon to be available. Sure, we have a website, and send out an electronic newsletter, but there's nothing like face-to-face communication when you're trying to help people form an impression or an understanding.
August 14, 2008 - 9:49pm
Where to learn to shoot? Where does a fiftyish female English professor with bad aim and a bad attitude go for some bangbang? UD contemplated this. She considered an NRA class; she considered the many kind shooting invitations from gunnies that she got via this Inside Higher Ed series. She considered taking things slower, the way professors do, sitting around libraries reading about guns rather than shooting them...
August 13, 2008 - 10:26pm
Lately, I’ve been enjoying long walks with a good friend and colleague on our city’s arboretum trails. Years ago, we started walking together a couple of times a week at the end of the day. These walks were a great way to vent our frustrations about departmental politics, share teaching moments, and touch base with each other about our lives. I learned about the challenges faced by small departments and long-distance academic couples while she empathized with the death of my father and my new marriage.
August 13, 2008 - 9:42am
"Past practice" is a magical, if murky, phrase. It's the status given, by default, to policies or practices carried out over time that never quite found their way into actual contracts or handbooks. It's understood to have a binding power of its own, such that any change to an established 'past practice' needs to be negotiated or otherwise made explicit through proper channels.
August 13, 2008 - 8:03am
Living on a farm, I don't travel all that much. The place doesn't take care of itself, and the schedule of chores isn't real flexible -- certainly not to the extent of a day or more. Still, my duties at Greenback do take me on the road (at least figuratively) from time to time. More often, these days, that "road" has rails.
August 13, 2008 - 7:39am
Liz arrived on the ferry with her family last night. Remember when we talked about summer camp for biologists?
August 11, 2008 - 9:27pm
This probably happens almost everywhere, but I'm noticing it more here lately.

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