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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Weekend Fun, Weekend Work 
14th-May-2007 07:34 pm
I See You!
The weekend was full of its fun, as well as the expected work of an end to the semester. After my last class took its final on Thursday – and I have to say that these groups of students have been cooler than cool to discuss this material with – I received the surprise announcement from one student that he'd converted because of the class. Obviously, in an academic context, that not what these courses are about, but the examination of the Jewish/Christian experience carries that possibility. I'd not known that this particular student was at such a crossroads, however, and so after talking a bit at the end of the exam, I was left with the empty room, and a grateful, overwhelmed sense of being in such a place and time where I can have the potential to change the course of someone's life even at unawares. It's an ugly room on the SE corner of the entry floor of the ugly Lalumiere Hall, but I suddenly found myself deeply moved and praying over that empty room in speechless gratitude for the semester. I spent the rest of the evening with Jen once she got free and tried to convey something of the feeling to her as we walked her neighbourhood, enjoying the warm spring night before she left in the morning to go climbing out at Devil's Lake with her crew.

Friday night featured a going-away dinner at County Clare for Moon-Ju Shin, who had defended her English dissertation April 13th on Emily Dickinson's Ecocentric Pastoralism. A bunch of people from Fides – Professor Kurz, Matthew and Elizabeth Sutton, and Maria Keaton – all joined together to wish her well and celebrate her success before she heads back to South Korea in a few weeks. Apropos of her subject, Moon-Ju treated us to a dessert she smuggled into the restaurant: gingerbread made from Emily Dickinson's own recipe. I thought it actually capped my tangy roast pork loin rather nicely.

Saturday was consumed with Barnes' "Patristics Picnic," where all the students even vaguely (like me) associated with the study of patristics gathered together for grilling, conversation, and fun. I had a chance to catch up with a number of people I hadn't run into in a while, and met Barnes' purple-haired French mother for the first time as she made her way from group to group and charmed the lot of us. I even took Anna off Dan and Amy's hands for a wee bit and gave her her first tree-climbing experience, which got her quite excited and even competitive once Renée Harris also joined us. The picnic in time retired to the Lloyds' place and I ducked out around eight as the Barneses arrived once again so that I could get back and grade. That took me until about six a.m. this morning, with grades, as always, being due at noon Monday. After crashing, I got up and began it: the Dissertation Summer. Off to the library I went, laptop in bag.

One bit of festiveness that added to the grading process was that in an idle mood on Friday after dinner I had transferred one of my two as-yet-unconverted George and the Freeks show tapes to mp3 files and listened to that through the grading. This was the first tape I have of the post-Goldschmidt period of the Freeks, the 14 September 1996 show at Corby's Pub (made slightly less than famous in the film Rudy) where a rather unprepared Mark Lang had to quickly step up to lead guitar and learn by immersion. The show also features what I believe to be the premiere of weaklingrecords masterful groove "Wanting, Waiting" and is the first show I have with my personal fave-rave "Gratitude" on it, although I think that one had been premiered at an earlier show. If you know where to listen, you can even vaguely hear me yelling to Doug to continue the band's segue from "Fell" into "Eat Nachos" on into "When I Think of You," which three-part segue became a crowd dance favourite for the rest of the year. Good times.

Setlist for the historians of the obscure:
George and the Freeks: Live at Corby's Pub, South Bend – 14 September 1996

Bittersweet Highway
Southern Cross (by Crosby, Stills & Nash)
Quinn the Eskimo (by Bob Dylan)
The Search for Aeneas
Empty Space
Wanting, Waiting
I Know You Rider (traditional, as by the Grateful Dead)
Thoughts/"Starts on F"
Fell -->
Eat Nachos -->
When I Think Of You
Don't Go
Only Beauty -->
Gypsy Moths and Cantaloupe
Gotta Be Good
Dear Mr. Fantasy (by Traffic)
Bouncing Around the Room (by Phish)
Field of Bliss

Rosemary (by Lenny Kravitz)

Ripple (by the Grateful Dead)
15th-May-2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
That was a wicked fun show. Although Langers, as noted, was terribly unprepared (although I have to say he filled Erik's shoes pretty well, overall). Also, Whiff and JP are more responsible for the groove on Wanting, Waiting than I am. Whiff was like, "Umm...no, I'm not playing it like that. It's going to sound like this." Which sounded pretty cool, so I said, "Sweet. Play it like that." And Whiff responded, "Don't tell me how to play! I'll play it however I want!" and then threw a drumstick at me, without missing a beat.

Ah drunk times at Clifford. Sometimes I miss those days.

Post a link to the show so I can download it!
15th-May-2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Is it okay if I like the Hoobajoob versions better?

[Runs and hides.]
15th-May-2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
It's perfectly o.k.

The Wanting, Waiting outro on Windowpane was really just a nod to how badass you and Whiff are on that song. Seriously Badass. You can put that on your business card.
15th-May-2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
[Returns from hiding place.]

Thanks, D'oug. Going to miss the badassness that will be San Fran in a few weeks.
15th-May-2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
I will raise a glass for you and yours.
16th-May-2007 06:08 am (UTC)
I'd like to see that on a business card. San Fran?
16th-May-2007 06:07 am (UTC)
It was a much more fun show than I remembered: the audience was very enthusiastic, as you can even hear on the tape. And I agree that Mark did very well for the impossible situation he'd been placed in: he'd already come a loooooonnnnggg way from his first solo, back in that HUGE crowd at Bridget McGuire's in December 1995 where he played the same note for 20 beats.

I didn't know that about "Wanting, Waiting." My recollection of its origins centers around a memory I have of walking past Whiff's room one night and seeing the two of you huddled together, him on his set and you bent over your 12-string, working on the main riff over and over. I remember you having read the lyrics to me earlier, very excited about it and almost cackling over the second verse, and then of course the conversation we had outside DeBartolo that seems to be the basis for the third verse, if I'm recalling correctly. Definitely one of the band's gems.

I don't have FTP space anymore, and so downloading is problematic. I can either do a CD for you, or we could arrange a time to "get together" online and use the ftp component of AIM to set up a long overnight transfer everything I've got to your computer.
16th-May-2007 12:18 pm (UTC)
Gmail is the answer! weaklingrecords@gmail.com

Send me the files!
16th-May-2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
Yuck – 24 emails! This'll take a while for me to get through, as it'll tie up my computer. I'll probably do it before bed one of these nights, if that's cool.
1st-Dec-2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Um... hey! Only a year-and-a-half later! Having figured out MegaUpload and taken care of some other files for Mark, I went back and re-uploaded other things I used to have available online. You can get this show and a few others now (just follow the George and the Freeks tag) at your leisure.
15th-May-2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
received the surprise announcement from one student that he'd converted because of the class.

Holy cow. And I thought having students switch MAJORS was a big deal. I don't know that I could have stood after such an announcement.

gingerbread made from Emily Dickinson's own recipe.

I'm always a little turned around by ED -- despite the shared name, I've never really warmed to her. Her intense solitude is daunting, but it's a little cheering to recall her not as the poet in the long white gown, but the person perhaps better known in her community for her baking...

the Dissertation Summer.

That never stops having an ominous ring.
16th-May-2007 06:11 am (UTC)
Yes, it was a bit stunning like that.

Re: Emily Dickinson – I really can't say anything about her.

Yes, essentially my goal is to write an entire crap draft of the dissertation over the course of the summer. I'm well into it now, and it feels wonderfully concrete compared to teaching: "I did this much today!!"
16th-May-2007 06:13 am (UTC)
I knew about the draft-goal -- I'm glad you're making progress! It's very odd not to be doing work this week -- I'm almost missing it.
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