There is a family who "own" the house, and their servants. I'm no big fan of reality television, I prefer fiction on television, as I get reality every day of my life just by living. However, there was something strangely compelling about this show. I think it combined my interest in history with the opportunity to see how it "really was" back then in the "good old days."
One thing you realize very quickly by watching this show, if you didn't know it already, is that the good ol'days were only good if you were in the upper classes. Otherwise, if you were a servant or a laborer, you usually worked from about 6am to as late as midnight. Granted, the servants had fun too (or else how would you make more servants?), but there was certainly not the leisure enjoyed by the upper classes in their world.
I recommend you check it out, if you can find it in your local listings. It's much more compelling than watching yet another "Mr. Personality" or "The Real World."
In other news, it's finally spring up here in New Hampshire. We've had two days in a row where it broke 70 degrees (fahrenheit!) and almost all the snow has melted.
On the genealogy front, I had a conversation on the phone Friday night with a cousin of my grandmother. This guy is 90 years old, and lives out in San Francisco. For a guy who's that far along in life, he certainly sounded like he was still spry and vital! It gives me hope that I have good genes in my family.
Now, I have to go to our main office, I may have to give a tour of campus to a prospective employee of our office. We're in our hiring time here, which in the world of student affairs is a fairly normal time of year to be hiring people.
Since my last captain's log, I've been to a student affairs conference in Minneapolis, MN. At first, upon taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel in downtown Minneapolis, I thought the city would be quite a pit of despair. Upon further review, Minneapolis isn't that bad of a place. Decent restaraunts, some bookstores, and better weather at the time than New Hampshire was getting. How could I go wrong?
Of course, after being in Minneapolis, I had to go over to Iraq, to help liberate Iraqis from their oil. Good times.
Then, after that, I made my way back to New Hampshire, where I have been plowing my way through work. That's another reason why I haven't written so much. Traveling and work.
Jumping back to Minneapolis for a second, have any of you been to conferences where the only food available within easy walking distance is at the conference center itself? That's was the only real big negative about Minneapolis. No other food except for snack bar burgers and dawgs at the conference center. Not that I was complaining too much, I'm a carnivore as much as the next person, unless they're a vegeterian. I would have liked a bit more selection or options though. I eat enough at a cafeteria when I work.
In fact, when I finish writing, I'm going to be going to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat.
Next writing, I'll talk about the dance lessons I'm taking with my fiancee. I'm pretending to be cultured.
Tally ho, enjoy the warm/neutral/cold weather!
I recently had a conversation on the phone that got off onto the winding road of things that we saw as kids, that kids will never see again. One of those items were mimeograph machines? Remember those? I have a good memory of the huge beasts from elementary school, great reams of purple damp handouts coming into our classrooms, young students getting high from the fumes...
Ah, those were the days...
My father was a high school teacher before he retired, and I remember as a child, going into the English teachers room with him on days when I would go with him to work, for whatever reason. I wanted *so* bad to be able to play with the mimeograph machine. Turn that handle, have the paper come out, with WHATEVER I WANTED printed on it.
The power would have gone straight to my head.
That's why I write a journal like this. Or, I should say, why I pretend to write a journal.
Some of the main things going on in my life right now are preparations for my wedding, which will be happening in slightly over a year. My fiance and I have our location, our officiant, our DJ, our photographer, and most of the other *big* details worked out. Now, we just have to get the minor details worked out.
Another fun part of my life is the study of my family tree. I keep on pushing the generations back, a little bit at a time. I'm going home to NJ in March to do some more research at local libraries down there. I hope to find information on my mom's side of the family. They come from Elizabeth, which is a big port city near New York. I'll go to the state archives in Trenton, some libraries at Rutgers, and also try to meet up with some of my older relatives, to see what they know about some of these great-grandparents I've never met. I'm also on a photographic search, because I don't even have images of some of these people.
Anyway, I'm off to get lunch. Tally ho!
Now, with my political rant/statement out of the way, hope all out there in cyber-land had a good few weeks away, if in fact you did have no work to do over the break time. Me, I left for home a few days before Christmas, and came back here the Monday before New Years.
As I said to one of my co-workers about the break, when asked how it was, I said, "It varied between periods of great fun and moments of unspeakable horror." He thought I was kidding.
Granted, unspeakable horror is a bit much, but I was going for effect, not for accuracy. I enjoy going home, resting a bit, seeing family and friends, and doing all that homey stuff. This time, however, was a bit different, because we had to put one of my mom's cats to sleep two days after Christmas.
Merry Fu*cking Christmas, indeed.
It was especially hard, because Emily was only 11 years old. She seemed tired and sluggish on Christmas day, but I thought she was just getting into the spirit of the holiday. The next morning, she was obviously unwell, so I took her to the vet. They discovered quickly that she was dehydrated and suffering from a lack of potassium (she couldn't keep her head up, that's how they knew about the potassium). Cats should have a temperature of about 100-102. Emily's was about 96, which the vet said, almost in passing, meant that her "systems were shutting down."
I knew then that this would not end well.
My mom visited Emily in the hospital later that day, and said she was just really unresponsive. The vet was giving Emily a IV to rehydrate her, but there wasn't a lot of hope put out.
The next day, my mom and I went to the vet around 2pm, to see Emily. She was doing a bit better, but could still not really move much. The vet confirmed through the blood work that Emily was suffering from kidney failure, which can really strike cats at any age, not just older cats. Even if medication helped reduce some levels of toxins in her blood, there was no way she'd last very long. So, we had to make the decision to put her to sleep.
I don't know how many of you out there are pet owners, but it's a hard decision to make to put your pet, a companion, a friend, to sleep, even if you know it's the "right" thing to do. Emily had been my cat alone for a few years, when I lived in Boston. Her name was "Killeen" then. When I went to grad school in 1996, I had to leave her with my mom, because living in residence halls, we're not allowed to have pets. So, it wasn't just my mom's cat who I stayed with as the vet injected her with an overdose of drugs, but my cat from 1993 onwards.
So, that was my holiday. It put a damper on things for the rest of the time home, obviously, but now, things are looking better. I remember more of the good things about Killeen/Emily than the last few moments at the vet. I won't forget that time, when I had to say goodbye, but I'll be able to focus more on the better times...
The end of the semester here is fast approaching. Students are leaving, I'm checking rooms for people who are moving over the break, to make sure they're out, and generally just getting things done.
I've got 14 more evaluations of my staff to do, which need to be done by next Friday. Shouldn't be that much of a problem, I simply need to sit down and do them.
I don't remember if I mentioned this, but I got a program accepted at the two major student affairs conferences going on in March 2003. Unfortunately, I can only go to one of them, so I have chosen to go to the conference in Minneapolis. I have never been there before, so I thought it would be an interesting place to see.
No news about the other job yet. The more I think about it, the less I'm sure I want to go back to being at the same college I was at before coming here. While the opportunity is great, perhaps there are other opportunities around the corner, which if I take this one, will disappear.
It's easy to talk myself out of anything.
However, if the offer is good enough, assuming it's made, I'll just have to see how it feels in the moment.
I've been talking with one of my co-workers here about starting up a student affairs weblog site. More to come as it develops, if it does.
I'm off to an end of term holiday party here. So long!
It's been busy here, with approaching the end of the term. Evaluations to write for student staff, prepping for the work we have to do while students are gone, and just general end of year work issues.
I've had an interesting opportunity drop into my lap. I've been in contact with people at my last position, and it seems that the Director of Residence Life position there is open. My friend has asked if I would be interested in having my name dropped into the pool of candidates, and I said, sure, why not? I have nothing to lose by doing this.
Now, I have to see what will happen. I have sent in my resume and cover letter. However, I have committed to being in my present position through the academic year. Therefore, if it was offered and I accepted, I would not be Director at the other college until June or July 2003.
Of course, none of this may happen at all, so I could be thinking about this for no other reason than to make myself crazy. But oddly enough, I have an "interesting" feeling about this. Not good or bad yet, just interesting.
More reflections on this to come...
We're nearing the end of the academic term here. Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday afternoon, and when students come back, there's only about 1.5 weeks left. Exams are on people before they know it. I've been telling my staff that while they're working on exams, I'll be working on their performance appraisals. Fun stuff...
I talked with jjohn on the phone last night, and I made a prediction that if Osama bin Laden is caught by US forces, he may be the first execution broadcast on television. So, you heard it here first.
Personally, I don't go in for the death penalty. I'm more for locking someone in a small room for life, and sliding food into them under a small hole in the door. No human contact, no interaction, no sunlight. Is that more cruel and unusual than the death penalty? Personally, I don't think so, but hey, what do I know.
I was initially told that when my computer got switched, my music files would not get transfered. However, they're all on here, so I get to continue to listed to Ben Folds, Yes, Pete Townshend, Dana Gould, King Crimson, Lewis Black, George Carlin, and the other cd's that I had transfered to the IMac I had.
It's the holiday time of year again, and have you all made your wish lists for this year? I have, and it's DVD heavy. The Babylon 5 box set, the 4 disc Fellowship of the Ring set, the Law and Order season 1 box set, and perhaps some others. I tend not to put cd's on my holiday list, because I tend to listen to some more obscure artists, and it's just easier to buy those myself.
My stepsister, brother, and I have decided not to do gifts amongst ourselves this year, which makes the holidays so much easier. I'm pretty much done with my shopping, although I do still have to get something for my dad. He has yet to offer me some suggestions, but I'm sure they're coming soon. They better!
I just finished reading Kiln People, the new novel by David Brin. If you're interested in a science fiction detective story, I recommend it highly.
Okay, I think that's enough for today. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing a bit like Larry King's column in USA Today. Very rambling, whatever comes to the top of my head. But hey, it's my log, I can cry if I want to.
I found out on Thursday of last week that a program I had submitted to one of the major national Student Affairs conferences, had been accepted. This is cool news, especially since I didn't spend more than 20 minutes writing the proposal. I had reflected on the idea for long enough that I didn't really need to take a lot of time in writing it.
There are two major organizations in Student Affairs, NASPA and ACPA. I submitted the same proposal to both organizations for their national conferences. I would like for the proposal to get accepted to ACPA, because I'd rather go to their conference this year than NASPA. But, if not, I'm more than happy to attend NASPA and do the program there. I doubt if my employer would pay for me to go to both conferences.
Does anyone out there do genealogy/family tree research as a hobby? If not, I recommend it. It's like a drug addiction, but in a good, productive way. Before I started this, back in December of 2001, the furthest back I knew was one branch of my family to my Great-great-great grandfather. Now, through the work I've done, I've pushed all branches of my family back to at least the great-great grandparents, and the farthest back I've gone is 7 generations! It's great fun, and it has helped give me a perspective on a sense of place and time. Not that I didn't have this before, but now, I feel like I know more about where I'm from.
Granted, all I know about a lot of these ancestors are their names, vital dates, and perhaps their job, but it's a start. I have two G3-grandfathers who fought in the Civil War (from NJ). The earliest ancestors in the US came over around 1850. I've pushed back my Scottish ancestors, for one branch, into the late 1700's. Very cool stuff...
I've also been able to make some connections with siblings or cousins of my grandparents, who I never really knew before. That's really rewarding, in it's own way.
Okay, I have to go back to work. I'm typing this on a really slow Mac laptop, because my ICrap is waiting to be converted to a Dell...
For the sake of argument, if you are reading this, you can safely assume that I've spent part of this day:
1. Meeting with my staff
3. Organizing schedules/room/lounge reservations
I'm going to try to use this space for more deep thinking, exploring areas that might be useful to have some written thought processes out there in the world. Or, I'm just going to spout off about whatever comes to mind.
So, with that, here's my deep thoughts for today.
It's election day, and I hope you've all gone out to vote. As I walked to the polling place today (the local high school), I reflected on this tradition, the idea of having a say in how we get to run the town, state, country, whatever. I really do think that voting is important. We can hem and haw over whether we think our vote "counts" or not, but if you don't vote, it's sure to not count.
Also, in this post-9/11 world, voting is perhaps one very obvious way we are different from those who would choose to fly planes into buildings. We choose who we vote for, and if the person who wins isn't our candidate, then that's okay, because we'll have time to throw the bastards out when the next election comes around. We don't pick up guns, and storm the seats of government.
Although, after the last Presidential election, I'm sure some were tempted...
I feel like I'm not getting to the crux of what I'm thinking, about the differences between our system and others. I don't even know if it's relevant today. But I do feel, that anyone who was moved by what happened on 9/11, and still doesn't vote, they need to think long and hard about what happened. Because the attacks were about wanting to destroy the fundamentals of our way of life, and that doesn't mean that the attack was only aimed at economic or military targets. The attacks were meant to produce fear, and fear brings inertia and inaction.
Okay, soapbox mode off now... I need to think a bit more about this. I'm forming a lot of thoughts in my head now, and I'm not sure how well thought through some of them are. And that's how I'm different from our President. I'll admit I need more time to think about something!
Cheers! Now, go vote, you bastards!
Work since my last entry has been good. Busy, which is why I didn't write. I would like to write *something* every day, but I'm not in the discipline of that yet.
I get to serve on our student staff appreciation committee here at the college. It's something I honestly have little to no interest in. Not because I don't think staff should be recognized for the hard work they do, but I do think the "institutional" recognition matters less than those little moments where a supervisor, or someone else simply says, "good job!"
But, in our lives, we have to do what we have to do, so I am a member of this committee. I actually have yet to meet with the other members, but I will be doing so later this week. Perhaps I can be subversive, and make recognition something a bit different than what res life folks usually take as normal. The norm is to do things that allow residents of the buildings to leave little notes on staff members doors. We prepare small slips of paper that residents then write messages on, and put them on the door. Perhaps your high school did this, on special days, as fundraisers. I know mine did.
Anyway, I really don't like this method of recognition, mainly because it sets staff apart from the rest of the residents of the buildings. I think that a general apprecation of other residents could be useful, and maybe I'll do that on my own, where the recognition is not limited to the staff members. Where students can drop these notes at other students doors, just for the sheer bloody fun of it...
My day today has been, and will be mainly about getting ready for the rest of the week. I'm keeping up on basic administrative tasks, and will be meeting with some of my staff members in one on one meetings later today. Great fun, I love talking with my staff.
Saw two movies this weekend, Red Dragon, and Jackass. Red Dragon was much better than Hannibal, but not as good as Silence of the Lambs. Jackass was simple fun for simple people, and there are times I enjoy that. You got a problem with it! Good.
I think it's time for food. Off to eat lunch now. See you all tomorrow.