Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Full-length-down-coat cold. And snowing.

Dr. Mao

Oh, so that's why my advisers called my dissertation a "great leap forward" in scholarship.


I still haven't figured out this stupid Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion thing, except maybe to berate myself for the backwardness of my benighted, unmetricized homeland. Not that it matters much, since the only relevant weather calculation is: Is it overcoat-and-scarf cold or full-length-down-coat cold?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In pulling up the blog again, I discovered that I had a draft of a post that I never finished from July 30. I figured I could either leave it hanging forever, sadly, in cyberspace; delete it (a tempting prospect, based on the painful content); or just put it out there as a nostalgia trip. Remember those days of midsummer 2004, when anything seemed possible?

Pleasantly surprised by John Kerry's acceptance speech last night. For me watching Kerry speak is something like watching a middle-aged relative rise to make a toast at a wedding: it's rambling and awkward and kind of boring and yet you feel tremendously embarrassed for the guy because he is obviously trying and you would like to like what he is saying, you really would. (During the primaries the only candidate I heard speak in person was Dennis Kucinich, whose cringe factor for me was even higher, especially since I agreed with most of his positions; and I ended up in the Howard Dean camp largely because he was the only one I didn't want to leave the room to avoid hearing.) Given those low expectations, Kerry was pretty impressive...

Well. At least I'm safely in Canada.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Top 3 Theories of What Happened to Tim

1. Swallowed by the academic beast.

2. Wandering the frozen Great Lakes.

3. Bound and gagged in front of his computer monitor.

The truth, though, is far less exotic. As some of you probably know, Robin has been struggling with a serious, chronic illness, and went through a particularly rough patch starting in July. I had to postpone going to Toronto to start my job there. Things have gradually, though slowly, gotten better, enough so that I've gone up to Toronto to start teaching; for the moment I'm commuting back to Chicago every weekend. (Air Canada still feeds you in flight, for anyone who's keeping track of such things.)

So the blog, which had already been staggering a bit, totally fell by the wayside; which wasn't helped by the fact that once I decided I was going to Toronto in January I had to rush to finish and file my dissertation by the end of December. Which, I am pleased to report, was successfully done, so you can call me Dr. Blog.

Starting the new job has been terrifying, exhausting, and exhilarating. I'm teaching two courses--one called Reading Poetry, a "gateway" course for the English department that is more or less a survey of poetry and how to read it; and another on Asian North American (i.e. Asian American and Asian Canadian) literature. I really socked it to myself in the latter course by teaching three Canadian writers right off the bat (Joy Kogawa, SKY Lee, and Bharati Mukherjee--well, an ex-Canadian writer, in the third case), but it turned out to be an excellent way to plunge right in to the eerily-familiar-yet-just-different-enough-to-be-interesting world of Asian Canadian politics and culture.

The teaching itself has been great fun, even if on a weird schedule: I'm teaching two nights a week in three-hour blocks, and even as much as I like to talk it's hard to stay upright and coherent for that long. And thus far I've really been enjoying Toronto, weather and all; traveling between there and Chicago basically just means varying the heights of the piles of snow.

This blog first started when I had an office of my own and long stretches of time sitting in it. Well, I'm doing the same again; we'll see what happens.