It’s not as if I’ve been a long fabulous trip, as you surely would have heard from me.  I’ve been mired in work, mired in school, melancholy about getting back into the swing of things, and generally feeling uncommunicative and surly.

But am bouncing back, in part by listening to someone’s copies of Johnny Cash, Billy Holliday and 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” in the shared iTunes libraries that abound here in the department.  Good taste, my anonymous planning friend.

I wonder how many faithful fans I have lost in my silence, hopefully you are all not such bandwagon Redstar fans but are with me through the whiny, blue ups and downs of being back in school for the 40th year in a row of my 31 years on earth.

Wah, wah, wah.  My mood no doubt in part shaped by the NPR fall fundraising assault of last week too.

There were so definite high points to the week.  I presented at a conference in Atlanta, on gender inequality in the market for academic science (i.e., among faculty who take their research to market – launch companies, patent, etc.), and though I always feel exceptionally self-conscious about my behavior after discussing qualitative findings on gender differences and inequality, it’s nevertheless nice to have a reason to put on a suit, get up in front of a crowd and put my presentation skills to use.  I’m one of those weirdos who likes being up on stage.  Surprising, I know, that someone with a proclivity for confessional, empassioned blogging would also like parading around in front of a crowd.  What can I say, I’m blinded by my own dazzle.

The trip to Atlanta was no bargain, though.  Along with my cousin – who round-tripped to NYC the same day – I discovered that Delta heats its planes to a soothing 95 degrees, clearly to ameliorate the shivery temperatures that abound when packing hundreds of people into a confined space. Feels great in a suit, and surely correlates somehow (though I’m no MIT engineer, so don’t quote me on this) to the Delta shuttle evacuation the following morning due to smoke in the cabin.  Where there’s smoke, there’s 200 overheating passengers crankily stuffed into a metal tube careening around the sky at 500mph.  Fortunately, I had 3 oz of saline solution packed into a clear quart zip-loc to help cool me off.  Love the clearly articulated logic of our constantly changing TSA security measures.  I can see why they’ve been instrumental in helping us manage terrorism in this new global age.  (Just as we’ve learned to manage chronic illness and chronic poverty, rather than trying to eliminate either.)

Saturday was really the turning point in lifting my spirits.  Parents weekend at BC, where my cousin is a senior and a legend in her own time (glad to see I’m not the only one in the family!).  The M.A.S. hauled our aging asses up the street at 11am to quickly grab coffee before turning our attention to some serious drinking with a mini-skirted coterie of “Superfan” co-eds.  The M.A.S. wasted no time in adding some Cossack vodka to his coffee (some throwback to his Scandinavian ice fishing roots, no doubt) and reminiscing about his collegiate days, until he irritated himself with his “back in my day” musings.  I had 2 brownies for breakfast before breaking into my uncle’s Harpoons for lunch.  A couple of family-dominated games of Flip Cup kept us going through the afternoon, before heading home at 5 for a nap and a movie.  Life’s tough when you’re on the academic dole!

This week should prove better than last, especially given the upcoming kick-off event of the season, the M.A.S.’s birthday this thursday.  A little gift giving and cocktail drinking revelry to come.  Hope you’ll all join us in spirit, though of course, for those of you I know, Karibu!



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