Novak (novak) wrote,

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Personal: Dissertating; Catching up with Liz; the Zoo; Jobs

Dissertating. My life is about dissertating. I'm still having fun with it, with about 100 raw pages written now, but it's such a huge thing, and I'm writing the easiest, quickest part of it right now. I got a huge, annoying curve ball thrown at me last week, though. I received an email last week from the Department which had been just been told by the Graduate School that they were missing my Doctoral Dissertation Outline. Gale, who runs our Department, found that she did not have a copy of it and contacted me. I had not given it a thought after working on it through September and then turning back to my classes after taking care of Fr. Golitzin's requested corrections in October. I printed out another copy immediately and passed it to Gale. Where the original is is anyone's guess. So I thought this was all finished in October but now – after I've already started the dissertation – I'm receiving all sorts of emails from my Dissertation Board with tweaks, corrections and questions. Total pain. I mean, they're good points: I just thought that was all done. So I'm having to backtrack and go through some of the planning stage again, while also writing, and while also trying to polish a few articles for publication. Oi.

Still, I've made a little time off. Wednesday evening had me strolling up Farwell Avenue after stopping by Collector's Edge on my way to dinner at the Twisted Fork. Along the way, I was shocked to come across the police taping off the sidewalk on the bridge over the bike path, about two blocks south of the Fork, or south of North Avenue. Stretched out on the pavement below was a sheet-covered human body, with other police below questioning people sitting on the grass. As I was meeting a former student who was now working for the Journal-Sentinel, I gave her the heads-up on the incident, which she phoned in to her editor. She didn't have to run off, though, because there was a regular police-beat writer who would be assigned to the story. I never did find out what happened: the Journal-Sentinel site is always bafflingly-organized, to me. But I had a fun time catching up with Liz Challice and especially hearing about her five-month backpacking/train-hopping tour of Europe after she had left her disappointing newspaper position in her native southern California. We ended up sliding across the street to a pub called Paddy's with a great enclosed courtyard and continuing our talking and drinking over there until some late hour.

Thursday evening saw me back at the zoo with the Lloyds and Harrises, but this time with a lot more of the animals still out in the evening. Little Renée (who had her third birthday party today, which was my typing break) and Anna were in great form and eager to chat about anything we saw. And it's just a fun way for the adults to talk: rather than getting one or two conversations going where we drift apart into two groups, everyone just sort of kept mixing and matching, moving from one small conversation to another. It was a great way to catch up with everybody and talk a little bit about everything. We got closer to a rhino than I've ever been, saw an immense king cobra, listened to the girls babble insanely about the huge fish from the Amazon while Owen gloried in his new-found communication of purposefully pointing at things, and I heard a great bellow of a snort from one of the hippos floating in their waterhole. Worth the price of admission alone.

The first job posting for a tenure-track position for the Fall semester of 2008 has just been announced. So I have to try to get enough dissertating done this summer that I can be a reasonable candidate for that. Applications are due in October, though, which seems like tomorrow. This one's at the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit school, and they're more of a Religious Studies program looking for someone who's really a theologian, so as to try to gain some strength in Theology itself, rather than the more social-sciences approach. So that's attractive. I've also been tipped for a position at the University of Scranton – again, a Jesuit school – this time around the Poconos of Pennsylvania. For something I've been aiming toward for these last few years, it's strangely mind-blowing to think this type of thing is already coming up....

Oh, and I tweaked an older entry after receiving some photographs from Andrei that illustrated it....
Tags: dissertation, friends-marquette era, jesuits, johannine literature, marquette, personal, photography, teaching, writing

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