Weekend Update

This weekend I:

  • and Lime met some people for dinner. Not all of whom I expected would be there, but the ones seated nearest us were cool. However, at an adjoining table was a student invited by one of the LEC teachers. The student is a nice enough guy but I’m kind of annoyed since, when around a student from my own department, I always have to be a little on my guard, or, at least, can’t quite relax and be myself. But happily after the dinner a few of us got together and hung out, particularly the people upstairs who, like me, don’t necessarily see the point in drinking to excess with white people just ’cause they’re white.
  • finished The Sopranos, Season Five. It was good, though the seaso’s end was a little anti-climactic, except for Johnny Sack being nabbed by the FBI. Tony and Carmela’s getting back together was inevitable, and the rest didn’t surprise me much. Shocker moment of the season was definitely Adriana’s fate, even if it was offscreen. More to say when I review the Season later on.
  • Completed revisions and proofreading for (shall not be named) my submission to Nemonymous Eight: Cone Zero. It’s a week early. I probably could have put it off till next Friday, but I wanted to get it done and send it out. I haven’t sent out anything new for so long, y’see, and I need to get on top of that.
  • saw the newest episode of Lost. Cliffhangery, since w’re about to have a month off.
  • looked at my lovely Deutsche Grammophon DVD boxed set of James Levine conducting the Metropolitan Opera Orechestra and Chorus in a performance of the complete Wagner Ring Cycle, but didn’t start watching it yet. But I will, soon. I hope.
  • read some stuff for my classes and lectures: some of Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown, James Baldwin’s “The Stranger in the Village,” a really small bit of Nick Tosches Where Dead Voices Gather, some of Thomas Disch’s The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World, and some of John Strausbaugh’s Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture. Next week I’ll be lecturing on the cultural history of blackface minstrelsy and we’ll be watching Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
  • read a little more for fun, specifically a few chapters of Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End (a book I wish I had time to sit down and just keep reading, as it really does fascinate me) a few more of the short stories in Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales of Ten Worlds, which is the first time I’ve read any Clarke that wasn’t coauthored. Fun stuff, definitely of its time.
  • sorted some of the junk in my office, and even threw some of it out!
  • got the living room much closer to a presentable state.
  • cooked a pretty damned good (if somewhat mismatched) dinner of satay chicken, stir-fried beef and peppers, and lovely bamboo shoots.

Stuff I need to do tomorrow:

  • install a couple of student classblogs on my classes-related website and get them ready to go… argh!
  • prepare a very simple slideshow for my Tuesday afternoon lecture on Edward Said & The Other, blackface minstrelsy, and how this all impacts on contemporary (ie. in use now) archetypes of African-American characters in American popular culture, running the gamut from the “magical negro” to the gangsta rapper.
  • prepare signup sheets for Panel Discussions in my Pop Culture class, and Discussion Leading Day for my Listening & Speaking classes/li>
  • proofread “Wonjjang and the Madman of Pyongyang” and mail it to the wonderfully capable editor of this year’s Tesseracts, who has been a joy to work with. I sent it in tonight. Whew!
  • buy groceries. Lime did it without me.
  • return a plate to my friends upstairs, and pass on my promised spare copy of Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization by Stephen Kotkin.
  • visit my dermatologist, if he’s open on Easter Monday. I have a feeling this’ll be happening on Tuesday instead.
  • reformat one of my external USB hard drives and dump a bunch of data off my laptop into it.

And I wonder why I start the work week feeling exhausted? But this is an unusually busy weekend, as well as a long weekend!
At the end of the weekend, here’s what got done:

  • I installed the student classblogs, but the tech help guys will be needed to get them running. WordPress + MySQ5 on my hosting service, I dunno. Something’s malfy. It’ll be fine tomorrow, though.
  • Got the signup sheets for all my classes done. Some were easy, but one involved outlining all panel discussions for the remainder of semester… no small feat!
  • I got Wonjjang and the Madman of Pyongyang sent off, after editing and proofing it a few times. Whew!
  • I collected images that I can put together into my blackface minstrelsy slideshow, though I’ll be using student preparations as the basis of tomorrow’s discussion. And if they’re not prepared, I’ll just speak briefly and we’ll watch the movie and discuss instead on Thursday.

I’ll be doing the slideshow tomorrow when I wake, and as for the hard drive and the dermatologist, I’m thinking Wednesday for the doc, and next Friday for the hard drive. Lime kindly picked up some groceries, though I’ll have to make another trip later this week, since we’re low on laundry detergent, something way too heavy for her to bring home since we’re happily carless.

All in all, I feel like I’m mostly on top of things, but I’m still thankful that this week is a short one, for me. Actually, in class preparations, I noticed that there are three Mondays and two Wednesdays off this semester. I’m glad my content-heavy courses are all Tuesday-Thursday, as that doesn’t upset my lesson planning in the slightest!

Oh, and another duty has materialized, concerning a possible textbook-related gig. Busy busy busy…

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