Personal History

The Beard at Six Months

When I interviewed at Utah State back in October, it seemed like things had gone pretty well, and I was kind of confident I’d get a job offer. So I figured I could be done interviewing and, relatedly, done having to shave. This launched me on a magical journey in which I continued to not shave (or use a trimmer) for the next six months. So here’s an FAQ for some reason. Do people…
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The Most Dangerous Thing I’ve Ever Done

Am heading back to Kauai for New Year’s this year. Was thinking about going on another ultralight flight like I did in ’08. This is the guy I took the lesson from: (source: And then the company he worked for back when I took the lesson is also now out of business because the owner was killed in an ultralight accident last year. Obviously sad and a little frustrating in that this was one…
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Map for My Post-Dissertation Road Trip

Although it’s also sort of a during-dissertation road trip. Not pictured is the flying from San Diego to Pittsburgh and back. Long may it remain unpictured! Presumed worst parts (in chronological order): Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois OK to the Rockies I-80 across Wyo (time permitting, maybe I’ll drive the Colorado route instead) North Texas bkd

The Problems with Living in Pittsburgh

Here’s the short version: the roads, the weather, and the blue-collar mentality. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Everywhere’s got at least three problems… Long version: As ever, I know that once I move, I’m going to eventually start thinking about how much easier life would be if I were only back in Pittsburgh. Preemptively countering that inevitability, I present this list of reality-checking realities. Winter, in particular: snow-melt-freeze, snow-melt-freeze. Perpetual gloom….
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My Life, 1998-2010, As Seen through My Amazon Purchases

More show, less tell: 1998 The Mac Is Not a Typewriter, Robin Williams Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis Ball Four, Jim Bouton 1999 Stats Minor League Handbook 2000, Bill James Stats Major League Handbook 2000, Bill James Best American Short Stories 1999, Amy Tan (ed.) A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin Scream, Dracula, Scream, Rocket from the Crypt (CD) Permission Marketing, Seth Godin Anaconda (VHS Movie) 1999 Minor League Scouting Notebook, John…
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The 48-State Road Trip: One Year Later

Labor day a year ago, I was waking up at 4:30 AM and heading out onto the Nina Moose River with a rented canoe, heading toward Lake Agnes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This year on Labor Day? I’m writing blog posts in order to avoid doing readings for school. What a difference a year makes. Labor Day last year. Labor Day this year. I miss that trip like I assume…
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Worst Birds Ever

I made a pledge to myself two years ago that I’d one day post something on my blog about the birds that used to crap all over my deck when I lived on the lake in Mission Viejo. Was transferring photos off the laptop today and came across the cretins: So infuriatingly not dead. They were always relieving themselves on my deck — the railing and floor. Sometimes they would vomit carcasses…
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Reading Angle of Repose While Moving Back East: The Sequel

Was reading Angle of Repose when I was in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago (the house-hunting trip) and realized where/when I’d last read it: when I was moving to NYC back in 2005. I remember sitting in the airport in Cincinnati (where I was making a connection on Delta) reading it and thinking it was particularly odd to be getting so wrapped up in The West while abandoning it for the most…
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Bathrooms in East German Apartments I Used to Live In

The real tragedy is that I only have photos of 3 1/2 of the bathrooms. And really not the good ones either. Man, but I’d *kill* for a picture of the Döbeln plumpskloh (sp?), especially if it showed off the mid-winter frozen condensation on the window and toilet seat. Man. Oh well. The upside of these photos is that they give me good ideas of what I should do with my house…
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