The blog has been very quiet lately. I can’t say this is because I am too busy with other, more vital, writing. I should be, but I am not. I just haven’t been disciplined about regular writing. I have gotten two out of eight essays edited for the forthcoming conference proceedings of which I am the nominal editor. I am still waiting on five of those eight, but it’s better than nothing. I am also about half way through the revision of that reject from May. That isn’t going very smoothly, mostly because I now, officially, hate every little line in it. Ah well.
The preliminary session catalogue for the 48th International Congress of Medieval Studies is out. The Congress, hosted for more than 48 years at the charmingly institutional grounds of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Michigan is affectionately called The Zoo by most, and K-soo be PBS. There are over 800 papers spread over 4 days. Free footnote curiosities for the readers who correctly identify my humble (and potentially problematic) contribution!*
*Some restrictions apply. Contestants who know the super-secret identity of PBS are ineligible. Footnotes may not actually fascinate or edify. For entertainment purposes only. Do not take intravenously. Prizes are non-transferable. Void in Uruguay.
The long journey back to the brain mills of Oxon. begins tomorrow but my writing habit must be satiated. Unfortunately that does not promise an engaging blog entry, only a short update and some name-dropping for deserved peoples. Below rest notes on a pen, a book, and some short updates.
During a brief Skype conversation with Z, I lamented my low productivity of late and that I had several things to do on this otherwise unoccupied Saturday. Z thought that perhaps, considering that it was the weekend and a traditional period of rest, that I should skip worrying about work and do something else. Perfectly sensible, except that most of the time, what I consider fun is also very close to what I also consider work. It’s a paradox that the most fun I have usually involves considerable (and not always planned) productivity so fun can be measured as work. Ah well, such is the life of the academically pre-disposed.
I think, if I had spent a little longer thinking about the consequences, I would have seen all of this coming and I would have avoided it. I made the mistake of writing in haste, and with a level of casual criticism that is beneath me. But, like I told the offended authors, I wrote only because I actually care about their work. If I didn’t I would have ignored them from the start. I think I have patched things up, but I did get my name dragged through some mud and that was unexpected, even if I started it. I am aware that there is a deep vein of conflict in the non-academic community of historical martial arts. I did not know its full depths or how nasty they can be to each other. That was turned on me this weekend and it was not pleasant. There were entirely valid counterpoints to my review, counters to criticism I levelled without sufficient support. I’m not used to counters written with that level of invective (although I admit an admiration for their rhetorical flair. I did call them careless with sources, I didn’t and won’t call them poor writers).
That tedious trip back in July wasn’t a complete ordeal. I was somewhat comforted by the happy accident of a new pen. Stylus, a pen and stationery shop on 102nd Ave., happened to be on the route between my parking space and the visa agency offices. Continue reading →
Academia.edu is a sort of facebook-for-scholars, but without the game invitations and image macros. The site allows academics to post their credentials, articles, research interests, CVs, and other details in a forum that is far more accessible and amenable to social networking than the institutional pages that some academics get. Most graduate students and independent researchers have no other way of making their presence known on-line outside of these sorts of forums. Some people on the site post questions to the general readership and one of these got me to thinking. That was a while ago, and this entry took rather longer than planned. This is aesthetically appropriate considering the nature of the original question.
Not the most productive 30 days on record. I remind myself that my goals are often multi-tier, in that there are essential and aspirational goals each month. Total success isn’t actually part of the plan.