Things taken out

Review the survey of African art.
1. Go to the Art Institute of Chicago and peruse their African collection. There are more than 400 pieces. You do not have to look at all of them. Find one that you think is interesting. Then find a modern corollary to the piece. Link to both the African work and the modern corollary in the homework post on


If Crimes Were Elevation

Doug McCune has mapped San Francisco’s crime and turned it into an elevation map. Very interesting.

See all the pictures here, as he has arranged them by crime.

Upon closer inspection the prostitution arrests are peaking on Shotwell St. at the intersections of 19th and 17th. I’m sure the number of colorful euphemisms you can come up with that include the words “shot” and “well” are endless.

I love the way the mountain range casts a shadow over much of the city. There’s also a second peak in the Tenderloin (which I’m dubbing Mt. Loin).

Middle Class Poor

Frowning Providence is a post on what it is like to not be able to participate in church because of financial issues. Even more than that it is about the inability of the church to accept a discussion of the reason they cannot participate.

We don’t want to hear that you are doing badly, basically. Reminds me of Deb and how she feels folks don’t want to know you are sick, especially when you are often/always sick.

Just a bit:

In middle-class Christian America the Joneses absolutely demand that you keep up with them because otherwise they feel guilty. I found you only have so many “I-am-sorry-I-cannot-participate”-cards before people start getting frustrated with you. The result is that if you cannot afford basic middle-class requirements such as paying $20.00 a pop for church dinners or even gas for driving to such an event or lunch at the park because you are making do with what’s in the cupboard and that is cereal, your only real option is to disappear from society. Most people do not understand being absolutely penniless for several days a week or month, penniless after enacting the most severe austerity measures and money-saving techniques.

You do have the option of honesty but that is even worse than just letting people get frustrated with you for being unfriendly. If you mention that you can’t afford something it makes people uncomfortable. They immediately feel that you are complaining or begging. As a matter of fact, I found the honest route to be totally unworkable in every single instance I used it, except one.* Frequently church events carry the caveat that anyone who cannot afford to pay is still welcome but I have never had the confidence to take a church up on that one. Who can’t afford $20.00 ever?

The comments are interesting as well.

Right now, though, I think we are in the other end of the spectrum. And it’s why I asked R to quit saying I was eating out with him. I got tired of people saying how we eat out all the time. (We do.) It’s just not your business. But if it’s on facebook, which it is, then it seems to be.

I was insufficiently English-nerdy as a mother.

Poetry, the First Milk has a mother who quoted poetry to her children all their lives.

When at age 4 my daughter Anna became increasingly anxious at bedtime, I tried coaxing her to sleep with the most melodious poems I knew.

“Come live with me and be my love,” I began as I sat on her bed in a triangle of hallway light, rubbing her back. “And we will all the pleasures prove, / That valleys, groves, hills and fields, / Woods, or steepy mountain yields.” She breathed a little more slowly, as did I.

Go read it all. It is amazing.

Romans Making Pottery in Britain

I am teaching a humanities class this year and next and this story caught my attention.

How the Romans Made Pottery in Britain

“What we’ve learned from the suite of replication events on campus is that the firing technologies evolved to fit the materials,” Chatfield said.

The effort also helps trace the influence and intermingling of cultures, “such as European and indigenous encounters in Peru or the Romans entering Iron Age Britain,” she said.

While making the kiln was a lot more work and used a lot more fuel (wood, rather than the alpaca dung used in the Incan project), temperatures could be controlled more efficiently because the closed kiln was protected from the wind.

With this type of kiln, craft production could be organized more effectively and could also be supervised by one person – the fire won’t rage out of control, endangering the community, and people don’t have to rush in to revive a flagging fire that jeopardizes an even baking. The Romans were efficient, if not artistic.

May also be relevant for Dielli.

Work Direction

I have a full-time job this year. I love my school, my department, and my students. The work is not egregious. The administration is supportive. I am incredibly blessed in what I am doing.

However, as I prepared my request for classes for next semester, I realized that my teaching preferences will have to change. Most English folks are lit people and teaching two comps (or three) is a chore for them.

For me it is more the other way around. I am a comp person and teaching the lits is something so that I’m not teaching four or five of the same courses.

There are only five comp courses: two developmental, two freshman, and one technical writing. That’s it. I don’t really want to teach the lowest developmental. I could do the freshman but I don’t want to do all comps at the freshman level, at least not this next year.

So, instead of teaching two freshman, two sophomore, and two senior level writing classes, I will be teaching two developmental, a Brit lit, and a humanities class. Or perhaps two developmental, a fiction, and a humanities class.

I think the humanities class will be good for me. I think the fiction will be fun as well. And we know I like Brit lit….

So why is this schedule suddenly weighing so heavy on my heart? Because I realized that I won’t ever be teaching writing as my focus again. I will perhaps be able to teach online tech writing occasionally, but most of the time I will be teaching two writing and two lit courses. It’s not undoable, and in fact I am grateful for the opportunity to teach fewer classes in one place. It’s just that I will miss writing.

There’s a lecturer position open on the true other side of town (not the middle) that if it had been offered just a month earlier, I would have been thrilled to apply for. However, it didn’t open up until I withdrew from being an adjunct two weeks before school started because I had a full-time job and I didn’t think I could do that course as well. (I dropped that school two weeks before the fall semester started. I wouldn’t look at me for a full-time job under those circumstances.) The commute would be horrific, but the teaching would have been … in line with what I expected to be doing when I was working on my PhD.

My job is a wonderful one. Even if it isn’t what I was expecting to be doing, it is still a good experience. And I can learn and do new things. I’m glad for that. I can do that. So I am going to keep moving and looking for ways that my life can be a good one, while it is very different from what I expected.

It is possible that I will have an administrative position at my school next year. If I do, it will be a half-time job and I will be writing for it. So I guess it is possible that I am going to be teaching writing and doing work that involves writing instead of what I have listed. That might be interesting. It would be different for sure.

I like to learn and doing that work would help me to see a new aspect of the school.

God, please help me to be smart about what I do and how I do it. Help me to know what it is I should be doing and do it to the best of my ability. Please help me to get it together and get stuff done.

Also, please help me with the publication stuff. Help me get it done and make some progress there.

So much for snow…

The mail hasn’t been delivered in three weeks? What would you do if you were hoping to hear on a job?