So New: In Which Dale Herigstad Speaks at Ball State (31 of 90)

On Tuesday night, Dale Herigstad came to Ball State University as part of the Letterman Speaker Series. (Here he’s decked out in his best Neo-Preacher Future Man outfit, which rocked.)

The series, which brought in Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, is one of the coolest parts of my job.

As it turns out, Herigstad – the chief creative officer of Schematic – is friends with Katz, my friend from Sheffield, England who is staying with me this week. So we – along with the dean and associate dean of my college – grabbed a bite to ea at Amazing Joe’s before his presentation.

Herigstad is on the cutting edge of interface design. Which may sound a bit dull. Except interface design is pretty much at the heart of everything in a digital, networked age. (Check out Keiichi Matsuda’s website to see exactly what I’m talking about.)

So, you know, just another night in Muncie, Indiana.

So New: In Which I See the Alison Brown Quartet (28 of 90)

Tonight I had the chance to see the Alison Brown Quartet at Pruis Hall with my friend Megan, who is fast becoming a Go To Partner-in-Crime.

I’m normally not big on music, but I’m a sucker for most bluegrass music (or really anything with a banjo).

And I’m glad I found my way to this show. It wasn’t long – or it didn’t feel long – but it was wonderfully relaxing and entertaining.

At times it felt a bit like Storytellers, as she introduced her songs with rather lengthy stories. But I’m not adverse to such things. Particularly in a venue where the night felt intimate.

Megan and I both agreed, though, the drummer really tore it up. And I was surprised to see a piano player with a bluegrass band. Happily surprised. I always think of my sister and think “I’ll be she could do that better.” He was pretty good, though.

It was a pleasant way to end what has been the busiest week I’ve ever had as a professor. It was filled with work, professional presentations, student fun and relaxation. Which I guess is what the best week’s are supposed to have.

So let me leave you with just a bit of what I saw tonight…

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Homecoming Arrives (Addendum)

I promise after today there will be no more posts about Homecoming. But there are some photographs floating around in the wild that my friends have decided needed to be shared.

Here I am tossing candy to the kiddies who lined the parade route (although it certainly looks as though I am acknowledging the masses). This was taken by Hillary Tribbett, who clearly isn’t one of my students because she does not have the proper fear.

King_Parade 

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So New: In Which I Become Faculty Homecoming King (23 of 90)

Today is an entertaining day in the Arts + Journalism building at Ball State University.

Not for me, mind you, although I do enjoy the smiles and giggles that surround me as I walk through the hallways. Today the glee is for my friends, former students and others who conspired to elect me as the Faculty Homecoming King.

Of course I’m duly horrified at this, which has only excited my friends and students even more. Not because I dislike celebrations. I quite enjoy them. I simply prefer the idea of celebrating work and achievement.

But my upbringing didn’t allow me to beg out of this student-led event. My father (a man of few rules) had told me on more than one occasion that he had one particular rule he always tried to follow with his kids: whenever my sister or I called, he would answer the phone because he figured if we were coming to him for help, we must need something. And, he said, he never knew when that would stop and he didn’t want to miss anything.

I’ve adopted that philosophy in my teaching career as much as I could: whenever my kids do something or need something, I try to answer.

This includes participating in Homecoming.

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So New: In Which I go to Angels in America (22 of 90)

I’ve been aspirational with Something New.

With every event I’ve lined up (save the ones that involve much personal embarrassment, such as tomorrow night’s crowning of the Faculty Homecoming King and Queen), I’ve purchased multiple tickets. I’ve done so to ensure that I don’t flake out and that I remind myself that life is about the people around me, not the things I do.

This weekend, the Ball State University theater department’s Fall series opened with Angels in America. Since I’d purchased season tickets, it seemed a good time to re-connect with an old college friend Steph.

She’s a busy little bee and we don’t get to see each other often, but she decided to drive up for the night.

Normally she’s sporting her Wee Beastie, but the content of this particular play wasn’t suitable for a kid so we decided to make an adult night out of it.

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The Chronicles, Vol. 1: Where I’ll Live Next

I’m early in this process, but I’ve been scouting around the Greater Indianapolis area to find the place that I’m going to live next. I love Muncie, but it’s simply not a place that I’ll find much of a social life. And the plan is to develop one of those.

As part of my plan, I’ll be doing some scouting runs in Indianapolis. Checking out places while I train for my upcoming marathon.

The leading candidate: Broad Ripple Village, which is just south of Meridian Hills on the map below. Off to the northeast of the map – Castleton – is the road I’d take to Muncie. I timed it today: 57 minutes with no traffic.

Ideal? No. But the community is really cute. A mix of Austin and San Francisco. Lots of health nuts running around. Cafes and parks. You know: things for an old sober guy to do.

Check out the Broad Ripple Village Things To Do brochure. (PDF)

On My Father Missing My Posts

I spoke with my dad today. He lamented that he’s already missing my daily posts.

My family has (begrudgingly) accepted that I live in the meta-verse. I exist online in a far more real way that I do in the real world. This has it’s ups and downs. I’ll leave you to debate the merits of those things. For my father, I suspect it allows him a window into my world, one that is hard enough to get when you’re around somebody every day. And we are not.

The daily posts won’t be coming back. Not any time soon. It’s time to get on with my actual writing. School will be finished on Saturday (grades are due) and I’ve dedicated this summer to my writing.

That means less time online. Less time blogging. Less time Twittering.

This summer, it’s all about the words. And the stories.

But I promise to call more, pop.

Running…(88 of 90)

If I’m not careful with myself, I loop.

My mind works in an odd way, one that I’ve written about here and there before. It’s not anything crippling or debilitating, but it’s certainly a thing. The world in my head works in a very specific way. There’s no getting around that.

Still, it’s not entirely a lost cause when I’m paying attention to it. Which I don’t do enough.

But I’m trying to change that in my Year of Change. My Year of Health.

In the year before I came to Muncie, as I sat in the offices of doctors who tried to figure out what was wrong with my heart, I knew that whatever it was – whatever it was – it could be traced back to me. The smoking. The drinking. The decadence and indulgence of my life.

There comes a time when the body simply can’t handle the weight of it all anymore.

My doctor told me that my mind works the same way. I can push it, prod it, ignore it and run it around. But only for so long. Before the crash.

***

I’m one week into my serious training after six weeks of warm-ups.

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. . . (87 of 90)

The use of ellipsis can either mislead or insult, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses them. – Ellipsis in Writing

The running and the not smoking and the not drinking and the empty nights and the end of school and the coming travels have me…itchy.

It’s a common theme, I know, one that’s starting to bore me. I am forced to, when this happens, try to bring myself back into the moment. Where I am now. Where I must continue to get work finished. After all, the work needs to get finished so I can leave with a conscious that is mostly clear.

It is a ritualistic caring though. Not an actual one.

I have come to grips with this as part of my personality. I trust that people can rely upon the good intentions of the writer in this case.

***

Given the context, this could be anything from an admission of guilt or an expression of being dumbfounded as a result of something that another person has just said or done. – Ellipsis in Japanese manga

Year two of my sobriety has been interesting, inter-personally speaking.

They tell you in The Program that you shouldn’t date your first year, a rule I mistakenly discarded because – well, as the rest of the addicts can attest – we look for the easier, softer way. When I crossed the magic threshold, though, I assumed life would get much better in that regard.

I didn’t.

The best – and worst – came with the ending of a part of my life that was never fully realized the way it was supposed to. The Muse is gone from my life now, a decision we made seven months ago. We spoke once, very briefly, after that. It didn’t go well. As should be expected.

She trickles into my mind now and then. Or her ghost does. I wonder now how much I really knew her. We spent a year re-knowing each other as friends, but there were always walls.

The damage I inflicted – and the damage she came with – was just too deep for us.

I am guilty and dumbfounded.

***

1+2+3+\cdots+100\,.

The latter formula means the sum of all natural numbers from 1 to 100. However, it is not a formally defined mathematical symbol. – Ellipsis in Mathematics

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Happenings (86 of 90)

The last week is upon us.

Strange things happen to people during the run-up to the end of the year. Some prepare to scatter. Some prepare to hunker down. Some are leaving forever. Some will never leave.

Add to that mix the relentless stress, sleepless nights and looming deadlines and inter-personal relationships tend to get pushed to the extreme. It’s almost impossible, I would say, to form lasting bonds within this primordial soup. There are those, of course, who handle the pressure better than others, but nobody, I would suggest, who is immune to the happening.

And it’s specific to academia. Or in my experience it’s specific to academia because of the calendar schedule and the churn of people involved. We are always turning over 25 percent of our population and bringing in a new 25 percent to replace them. Not to mention the odd academic salary structure: many full-time professors have 9 or 10 month contracts, which means they are — from the time they come — looking for their next job.

It’s like the House of Representatives around here.

***

I am not much into stress these days. Or I’m less able to handle it. I retreat from it as quickly as possible.

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The Last Days (82 of 90)

Time is slipping away. Quickly. As that’s how time slips.

I am bad at endings, something I’ve been told throughout much of my adult life. I don’t like change. I don’t like new routines. I don’t like re-starting.

I am comfortable being comfortable.

Some people are not. These people make me itchy, although I recognize this is a problem on my end and not theirs. And that means time, by it’s nature, makes me itchy.

Because it brings change. Always. Relentless.

***

There are 8 days left in this semester. Eight days until some of my newly minted favorites disappear into the world, moving along their continuum. I’m happy for them, but saddened that I will return to a school that is 25 percent new for me next year.

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