August 24th, 2013

Loyola Faculty Portrait

Personal: The End of Orientation

Wiped the hell out. After a week of unceasing orientations, I pretty much dropped last night. As this was the only time that everyone from the extension centers were here, too, and thus the only time you could spend with the full faculty, I wanted to take advantage of that, and so every evening was filled with social events. The orientations more successfully introduced me to everything that I don't fully understand at the university rather than getting me to master them, but perhaps that's the best that can be hoped for. But after an evening of Shepherd's Pie and great conversation at the Shamrock Ale House after seeing Man of Steel again (and featuring such cool topics as discovering that Brian and Dan were from the same town in Connecticut, to Patricia describing for me the imaginative and aesthetic impact of growing up around Chartres), I came in and slept for ten hours. So now it's time to turn to actually doing class prep.

DS9 Temporal Mechanics

Personal: A New Year

I let this journal slide in 2012-13. Partially, this was due to the unwieldy lack of integration between the new, now-awful Scrapbook that LiveJournal gave us. (The temptation to ascribe what seems to be the awful business sense of LiveJournal these days to Russian experience is hard to resist.)

Even more, it had to do with the hiatus my life seemed to take in not finding an academic position for the year, the "involuntary sabbatical" I was taking while living with family and entering the year-old cycle of academic hiring again. I was, in short, embarrassed by my situation, and had no desire to advertise it. A bolder Christian writer would not have been humbled by mere humiliation, I suppose, but I was having a wretched, Mayan apocalypse of a 2012, augmented by the discovery that my mover, one Mark Cordle, had robbed me of everything I had, and just dumped it somewhere. I recovered a bit of my furniture in New Orleans, but that I could have lost most easily. 20 years' work in notes and most of my academic library, my filing cabinets, my computer, photo albums, letters – all of that was lost. So depression was added to humiliation.

And, of course, there was the simple fact that most of the social networking of everyone I knew had switched over to Facebook. For its speed, integration, and its orientation toward small, minor updates shared with friends, Facebook was a far more natural social networking outlet than a full-scale journal is, was, or could be. And so I diverted in that direction as it was likewise the most natural way to keep in touch with a lot of people. But I enjoy the discipline of the journal. I enjoy being able to have access to my life and memories this way, too, which is not something Facebook does well. And I enjoy the equal compatibility that the journal or the blog allows for long topical entries of the sort that my "Theological Notebook" contains, allowing me to even just copy in large news stories or material published elsewhere, all for easy future reference.

And so I'm going to try to revive the habit, now that a new year begins. (August 16th being, as I've said before, the halfway point of August and the start of a new school year in my mind, as well as being the day that I moved to Oregon, Illinois and what would become my real "hometown" as a seven year-old.) I was mentally composing this on the 16th, as I finished up my first day of orientation at Saint Leo, but I felt too tired when I actually got home, or was too out of the habit. So I'm trying to summon will where habit has failed. Here I go.