Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Started Writing a Novel (WTF?)

I have always wanted to write a science fiction story and implant myself as one of the characters. I have far too much going on in my life to even thing about doing it right now, right? Yes, it is true, right now is not a good time for another project. Nevertheless, I started writing it last night. I also decided to add it to my writing schedule. Only two hours a week. Sometimes I need some down time from teaching, reading, writing a dissertation, and grading papers. I could use the time to do a number of things, but nothing seems as productive as writing a novel. Will it be any good? Probably not. I am really just writing it for a couple of friends and myself.

In Other News.

I recently finished to books:

The Clockwork Muse by Eviatar Zerubavel. I would suggest this book to anyone with a very long and daunting writing assignment (book, dissertation, thesis, etc.)
Prelude to Foundation

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Age of Blogging (for me anyway)

My new phone came in the mail yesterday. I also went out and bought a Macbook Pro today. I know many people have a negative view about Macs. Yes, it is extremely over priced. Nevertheless, it is eye candy; thus, very pleasing to my eye. Last night I used it in class. At least I planned on using it, but I ended up taking most of my notes on a legal pad.

As for class, in Contracts the professor came right in and called on me. I wasn't very nervous, but it wasn't because I prepared. Although, I did prepare somewhat. The reasoon _I was not nervous has to do witg the fact that it all happened to fast. He basically came into class and pulled out a revolver and shot me...who knows how I did? Who cares? It is not apart of the grade. I suspect the only reason for this style of teaching is to force people to read. Trust me, I know exactly how undergraduates treat school. Very few people read. When I was an undergrad, I knew people who didn't read a page. And as a college instructor, I know less than 50 percent of my students read. The socratic method is the way to get people to study.

Before I leave the blog I ought give an explanation for the title. Today I am writing and posting from my Blackberry. Of course, many people post from their phones. I am new to the party. - really have no reason not to post something every day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Update 8/22

I haven’t given up on the blog. I am just a little overwhelmed. Law school + fiancĂ© + work + dissertation = my ass kicked every day. Nevertheless, I am having a great time. Hopefully tomorrow, I will be on a strict schedule. The schedule will get stricter in the next two weeks. I am excited about the getting used to my schedule. I really believe it is healthy to be extremely busy. Closers need many tasks. And I will be running on many cylinders.

Some Updates

I am contemplating grabbing a netbook over a regular PC or a Macbook Pro. The fact that I would be keeping so much money in my pocket and, plus, I will even more mobile with a netbook makes it hard to resist.

I am replacing my Droid Eris with a Blackberry.

All my credit card debt is paid off.

My dissertation topic is set: Just War Theory: I am going be specifically arguing for the individual rights over state rights. On my theory I hope to show that, against almost all just war theorists, there can be just conquest and just intervention.

Starting tomorrow I am giving up soda/pop. Sorry Pepsi and Sprite, I am out of the soda addiction.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Day that was 8/16

So, I finally found the book that I was supposed to read for my dissertation meeting. As it turns out, my officemate made the mistake of carrying the book off to his new office while moving all of his stuff. This is very understandable since our books were arranged as if a cluster bomb went off in our office. I only wish I would have thought about looking in his new office on Friday. Actually, the thought did pop up in my mind, but I was too preoccupied with other things on Friday.

In other news, today was the first day of law school orientation. I actually ran into a few old acquaintances from my undergraduate days. I also met with my faculty advisor. The dean gave a speech, but I don’t know what to make of it. Much of his speech was about the universities curriculum which I had heard about months ago at the welcome day workshop. Anyway, I will say more about it tomorrow, but my main focus was eating as much food as possible – since it is the only way to feel good about the debt I am incurring by going to this school.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Well, I am done grading papers. I feel sick every time I grade papers. The problem with grading papers is that to some degree I am obviously unqualified to grade papers. I mean, I am really good at grading “A” papers and “F” papers (the really good ones and the really bad ones), but as far as the rest of the papers I have a tough time figuring out what to do. The easy answer is to come up with some type of grading rubric, but to me that seems arbitrary. Why should I give 5 points for clarity and only 10 points for reasoning? I once served as a teaching assistant for a professor who believed that there were three grades – A, C, and F papers. “A papers” were either perfect or close to perfect. “C papers” were those papers that were overall readable, but lacked some important element of an “A paper” like clarity. And “F papers” were those papers that were unreadable. I would use this grading scheme, but I would feel terrible about giving so many papers Cs. Plus, really it just hides the problem in brutal, but simple grading rubic. So, for now, I continue to try my best to discern Bs from Cs and Cs from Ds. Oh, and not to mention the fact that at the school where I am currently teaching we also have the notorious “+” and “-“. At least this task is over for now.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good
So, I am excited because my law school orientation begins on Monday. I’ve been waiting to get started for what seems like a decade. I am pretty sure that the J.D. will be the last degree that I receive. Of course, as my mother would say “never say never.” I could always pick up some other degree or maybe a certificate in computer programming. As you can see, I have thought about it, but it is best to say for now that this is actually. So, off to law school; you might suspect that everything is peachy, but all is not well in Camelot.
The Bad
Of course, I should start with my phone that was lost to me in the biker gang scam on Thursday. If that wasn’t bad enough, now it looks like I will be cancelling my service with Verizon which along with the cost for this month is going to cost me a pretty penny – I suspect $300 – and that is very sad news. To make matters worse, in order to make my fiancĂ© feel better about the lack free time I will be experience I have agreed to buy iPhones with her (for the Facetime app). Thankfully, we will not be buying those until sometime in September - $200 more. The iPhone is cool looking, but the only reason I am doing it is to maintain a good relationship. Had that been my only problem it wouldn’t be so bad, right? Well, there is more. Since my bride to be wants to get married at the end of December on one of those island ‘weddingmoons” I have to balance my budget and my schedule in a particular manner consistent with the frugality of the pilgrims who landed in New England; I also have to buy a damn wedding band! Luckily, she will be helping with the cost of the wedding.
On top of all of this, I need to buy a computer. I am considering a 13 inch Macbook, but the price sort of makes it unreasonable, especially with all the other things that I have going on in my life at the moment. It’s portability, plus the fact that it looks like it can basically play the role of my main computer makes me excited, especially since I will be on the road (in bus) a lot for the rest of the year. This brings up another problem, one that it is nearing time to face. I have been able to get away without dealing with the price of owning a car, and buying one for that matter for a while now, but now the reality of my new situation is making it unlikely that I will continue to be able to forego those expenses. I am teaching at a new college a “million” miles from my office and the law school I will be attending. The real pressure comes from the fact that I have to get from that new college to my law school on the bus within two hours and the bus schedule is super tight. I most likely have to depend on a cab or bother a dear friend (who is just as busy as I am).
The Ugly
The worst problem to deal with is my dissertation. It is the elephant in the room. And that elephant is staring at me with a look of utter contempt. I have nothing written. I barely have an idea of what it will be about. Plus, I have a meeting with my dissertation advisor on Tuesday, it should be interesting since I can’t find the book I was supposed to read.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scam Me

Today, I fell for an old scam. On my way home some kids in Dearborn, on bikes, stopped me. I was walking and listening to music on my Droid Eris. I was also reading Asimov's "Prelude to Foundation" - I recently decided to read the whole series. Anyway, one of the kids - there were three - asked me for the time. I pulled the Eris out of my pocket and told him the time (it was 6:44). The kid then quickly asked whether he could use my phone. I hesitated. I am never sure how to respond when some stranger ask to use my phone. So, I decided I would let him make the call, but I would hold the phone in my hand and use the speaker phone. The kid asked one of his comrades for "the number" and I dialed. The phone rang a few times, but there was no answer. So, the kid said "hang up, never mind man, if my aunt calls back tell her Kevin will be there soon." I thought it peculiar, but I put my phone in my pocket and continued on my journey. A few paces later my phone began to vibrate, and sure enough it was the number that boys called. They had parked their bikes and were staring at me. I didn't think much of it, and answered the phone, I told the man on the line to hold and I called the boys back. I put the phone on speaker and held it near the kids face; he grabbed the phone and began to talk. I started to snatch the phone back, but some part of me thought it wasn't a big deal - I would let the kid tell his family member that he was on his way home and that would be that. The same part of me that thought it wasn't a big deal convinced me not to hold the handle bars of the kid's bike - I was truly considering holding it tightly. The boy abruptly began to tell the person on the other line who he was, "it's Kevin, it's Kevin, Kevin." He also began riding his bike in circles. This of course put me on high alert. The kid recognized my alertness, and then rode off, peddling his bike at a feverish pace. Finally, the part of me that didn't think this was a big deal faded away. I then gave chase to the kid, but he had too much of a head start, but he wasn't far enough away that I could hear his victory cry "we gonna party tonight...hellz yeah."

So, there you have it. Every time, without failure, my weak part arises I lose. It is because this weak part isn't rational; it has too much empathy for rationality. The whole time I saw myself in that kids shoes. How many times as a boy had I rode my bike too far away from home with my friends, and desperately needed to call home. But even the kid using a scam like that to steal a phone isn't too far from some of the mildly criminal behavior of my own childhood. Only the Lord knows how many bad schemes my boyhood friends and I tried out. It is too bad I didn't see how much that kid was really like me. From time to time I have been guilty of having these sorts of lapses of common sense and street smarts. Of course, I am going to pay for this. In fact, I am going to pay soon, since I didn't have insurance on the phone and now to replace it I will have to pay out $200. Shit happens. I just need to find a way to close more and then even I will be okay.