Short-short State of the Russ Address

In response to queries:  am whacked out from long drive, but awake.  (Woke up in Durham, drove to Dallas)

I have a job interview for a full-time position on Thursday.  Picked the latest possible spot, because I have an unusual teaching method, and am hoping for an “overshadow” effect.  15 applicants for 3 gigs.  I am eligible for 2 of those slots.  Those are very good odds for an academic applicant pool.  Tomorrow I’m going to prep the  “teaching sample” and abuse the Bunny as a guinea-pig.

Delivered a lecture yesterday in Little Rock, same one as at Kalamazoo.  It’s definitely getting a reaction.  There’s a possibility I’ll be asked to deliver it again later this summer by a historical fencing group.

Accidentally ticked off the bro an’ sis with an answering machine message poking fun at them for the Cali heatwave.  Normally, I “bwahaha” as an indciation of “Verbal smiley.”  Sorry, guys.

Grandma is as well as can be expected considering the significant personal suffering she’s undergoing.  Having been in high-level ongoing pain, I can relate.

Angela is cute and has lots of spark and energy.  I have never seen so much sustained cute out of my younger brother in one shot.  Can’t wait for the wedding.

Administrivia for the next semester continues — summerterm.  I have about a week’s vacation now to spend with the Bunny, and am then back into the grind.

I’m sure there’s something else, but until I get a second coffee, I can’t remember it.  Oh, yeah, Scarborough Faire, and hopefully working on the novel, plus a quiver and ~buffcoat, are May/June projects.

Leave a comment


  1. Mike

     /  May 20, 2008

    Sustained levels of “cute” seem to happen when you meet the right woman. As I have been repeatedly reminded…

  2. I dunno, Mike being cute would be like “imminentizing the eschaton”….

    Oh, Russ, our “offense” was also lighthearted, but you handed me back so quickly I couldn’t get that across. But a brahaha might have made things more clear…

  3. I *DID* bwahaha! I did, no, really! 🙂

  4. celogo

     /  May 20, 2008

    Totally off topic, I know, but we have 2 piglets we are raising to butcher. Any chance you might be able to teach us a something about making pigskin leather in 3-4 months?

  5. Madeleine

     /  May 20, 2008

    Russ: Oh, no! James meant that *he* should have brahaha’d on the phone 🙂 No offense anywhere and welcome home!

  6. Cali was almost cold today (I’m in Orange County). I mean high 50’s and foggy overnight.

  7. Yes, I can, Celogomama. Best bet is if you have an old washing machine you don’t mind doing something fugly too, but with proper equipment, I can show a process for making the skins usable.

    Pig is an interesting skin. Really dramatic pores.

  8. Several 2 x 4s and stout nails can work, too, depending on how y’all will want the skins done… we can talk details when they’re getting ready…

  9. celogo

     /  May 21, 2008

    We only have our wonder washing machine. Wouldn’t want to mess that one up. It is already abused quite a bit, given the vast quantity of washes we have to do.

    Could maybe find a cheap one through a friend, if CD thinks we might want to do this more than once. Goat hide could also be available about the same time.

  10. It’s much easier to do a bark-tan than a brain tan… your call, either washer, or lots of 2x4s, and keeping the dogs off the hide while they dry, etcetera.

    (recalling that I’m a beginning tanner, not an expert!)

  11. Mike

     /  May 21, 2008

    Well, according to Russ and Anna I am a rather different individual around Tamara, with “cute” being continually brought up.

    I am still really a brute though on the inside, doing manly things like blow up stuff.

    Speaking on that, is anyone interested in some innerted 155mm HE shells for garden ornaments? I am not saying anything, just curious.

  12. happycrow

     /  May 22, 2008

    Um…. duh? Yeah, absolutely. Used to have a whole slew of inert shells back when we lived with Dad (mostly casings), would love to get some more if they come avail.

  13. Alex

     /  May 22, 2008

    Good luck keeping those shells, especially with all the prices of copper, brass, and other metals. They’ll be stolen in no time if you leave them out.

    Mike, cute and brutish….Oh this I have to see sometime. : )

  14. I think a few such shells would be great if you can acquire them would be fantastic. Might have the added side effect of ticking off Berkeley-ites too!

  15. Burglarizations happen here, but not that badly. Going into peoples’ backyards uninvited here comes with the inherent risk of gaining weight due to lead inhalaton.

  16. Mike

     /  May 22, 2008

    Okay, it seems we have some interest here. That works. Next Question: just 155mm or does anyone want to upgrade to an 8inch?

  17. Mike

     /  May 22, 2008

    And these are NOT casings, these are the SHELLS. All safely inert and the explosive compartments filled with concrete. I can vouch for that (oh my aching back).

  18. Mike

     /  May 22, 2008

    And for anyone wondering if I am somehow horribly abusing the military supply system on this, the answer is no. I am merely asking a hypothetical question should some of these come up for disposal. Normally these either get transferred to another unit or sold for scrap. But this is Fort Sill and we have artillery shells falling out of trees (or landing on them), so occasionally some units will offer them out to any interested parties provided they are not being carried on anyone’s property books. I am hearing some rumors so I figured I would though out the question.

  19. James

     /  May 22, 2008

    You need to call me dude. I do not know if we are going to do the Scarborough Fair thing. There is also the Ft. Worth gun and knife show

  20. Agreed, James, we meant to call you today, and distracted ourselves. Wilco in morning.

    Mike, I’m up for any of that if it comes avail.

  21. Mike

     /  May 23, 2008

    Cool, I’ll work it. how did the interview go?

  22. First of its type I’ve ever had. I lost some points for being fairly junior, and for having research interests (teaching has priority over research at my level, by a factor of three or four light years). My teaching sample got the professors involved, and actually got a follow-up question, and, I think, honestly surprised them … which is what I was hoping for. I have a very unusual teaching method, and if I make it to round two, that’ll be how it gets there, I think.

    If I do, there’ll be two more levels of interviews, each progressively weeding out more of us. Cross fingers.

  23. Mike

     /  May 24, 2008

    Good luck man. Tamara says Hi to you both.

  24. Good luck indeed.

    Oh, and 8″, yes please!

  25. blackpine

     /  May 26, 2008

    Good luck to you! I have to wonder why there is such a perceived difference between research and classroom though. I would think that one would make for an exciting other.

  26. Alex

     /  May 26, 2008

    I can answer the research/teaching question for you. Schools that focus on teaching usually are afraid that they can’t support labs and keep professors around that are interested in research. Those that focus on research don’t like teaching because it distracts from research – i.e. research funding.
    Research universities live off the overhead that professors bring in the form of research grants.
    Teaching universities live off the tuition from the students and don’t want that revenue stream diluted by research efforts.

    It’s money really, and an artifact of the US system. In European and some Asian education systems the two are often combined – it is expected that the professor be good at teaching AND research.

  27. happycrow

     /  May 26, 2008

    Alex, the fundamental difference is that existence of large state-supported research insitutes in Europe that have little parallel here stateside within the liberal arts.

    Community colleges are playing “damage control” for the community, trying to repair teh damage from those who did high school poorly, or else to enable folks who wouldn’t be able to get an education, to do so. In a four-year school, if a student is poorly prepared and has bad note-taking skills, oh well. That’s not seen as the professor’s problem. At a teaching instutite, we are expected to recognize these functions and do our best (assuming a non-lazy-bum student), to catch those folks and help them as much as possible. In other words, the time a professor at a dual-approach university spends helping students will be relatively smaller, as he also researches, whereas at a teaching school, the instructor is expected to spend significant non-classroom time one on one with students, and to solicit students needing help for that time.

  28. celogo

     /  May 26, 2008

    Didn’t know that about community college. We’ve always promoted CC to the kids as a great transition between high school and the huge university classes. A lot of folks out here do it that way, and it makes really good sense to me. Also saves $$$$ in a big way.

  29. The “get-ahead” feature is also a big part of it, as CC continues to eat into High-school’s college prep business.

    The other side of it is, you can clearly distinguish the 4-year instructors, who are material-focused, and therefore feel like their brains are melting if they only teach survey courses, from teaching-oriented instructors, for whom the course is a leveraged means to an end.


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