August 7, 2016
久しぶり。First things first.
Briefly, take a moment with me to stand back and witness the shitstorm that is the 2016 presidential election. Trump, those who follow you, those who made your candidacy a reality, you shame us all as Americans and as human beings.
For normalcy, we have the end of the semester, and with it the heat, humidity, the grading all with the grating cicada din in the background. Sensing that this year's crop of students not quite the equal of those of recent years; more low grades, more failures, and many more poor papers. Hope it's a one-time blip and not the beginning of a trend. Went through that in the nineties, and it wasn't fun.
Was also able to celebrate a union victory in a dispute at one of the universities where I work. ✊ The problem is a good indicator of how the work environment has changed here for part-time university instructors. Of course, not all university environments are so toxic, but something like this would be unheard of fifteen years ago.
Once the grades are in, and maybe before, it will be into the air for a longish stay in the US: Chicago and Maine. Lots of the usual good stuff in Chicago, and a planned lobster pogrom with my wife, Alison, Maine Dave, and his wife Sachiko. HERE is one of his more popular photography projects. Click, you'll be impressed. Until then, grading, grading, grading, and attempts to connect with as many local friends here in Japan as I can before I have to leave.
Now, a bit of sad news. I recently had to say an extremely sad good-bye to a creature that against all odds had become my very good friend. RIP Newton. Never saw it coming, but this little son-of-a-bitch's passing broke my heart. As best we can figure, he was 21 years old.
Soon to come: a short, inexcusably late account of our trip to Korea this past spring. Hope you enjoy it. It was a wonderful short hop that exceeded expectations.
With a final thank you to Mr. Willis Carrier, inventor of the air conditioner, I'm signing off. Got these bags to pack.
March 10, 2016
As they say in Japan, 久ぶろ.
No excuses. This is just another of the many things that needed to get pushed aside to accommodate the lava flow of work that periodically pours down as the semester progresses. That includes friends and family, sadly. Have been in Chicago "on vacation" for two weeks now, but except for the initial days of recovery from a severe chest cold and utter exhaustion, I feel almost as busy as ever–with admittedly more pleasant tasks that are much more under my control.
So far, much of the usual get-togethers with great friends and, of course, my brother and blessedly little shoveling. In fact, yesterday was a beautiful spring day with a high of 74℉. Minor household repair and maintenance, same for medical and dental. Managed a fast blast to Indiana with Bill to see old friend John and his family, and yesterday was kart racing day. The remainder of the trip is pretty full, but I'm trying hard to carve out some reading time…I don't think I can manage any writing this time, sadly. Even the writing of post is time-constrained.
As much as I would like to, I don't think I can avoid a word about American politics. Sigh. My hopes at this point have been reduced to looking back on this election as an aberration, a blip on the scale of temporary mass insanity. The alternative is point where the country accelerated its decline to idiocracy to hyper speed levels. It's all "Trump" in the media, but he's merely the lancet that pierced the ugly boil we all knew was there, hid from view, and hoped would just go away. Now we are awash in the pus. I cry for my country.
Well. More positively, that retirement light at the end of the tunnel begins to grow a bit brighter, with all the excitement, fear, enthusiasm, and uncertainty one would expect. Looking forward to enjoying my last few years of teaching and looking forward to the life that lies beyond.
So, what do you think? Will Tim Cook announce my next MacBook later this month?
Us and Them - Buy my book!
Two Teachers Talking - Podcast with Charles Wiz focusing on teaching English in Japan, and on education and learning in general.
Good morning, Москва. "The Japanese Meeting," and "Topics-Based English Classes in Japanese Universities." Two presentations at The University of Vladimir in Vladimir, Russia. September 2012.
Rita Men Podcast. An ongoing oral history of our days at St. Rita High School, 1967-1971. WAY more interesting than you think. Hope to have the first episodes up in September. (This one is dead in the water, I'm afraid.)
on my iPhone (music
books being read or I wished were:
better in theory
*Stolen from Esquire