This is also published on the new Shindoverse blog:
Over the past few years, much has been made about the harmful effects blogging or tweeting. A quick search through Google can show a myriad of “how to” articles of how to be a good blogger who doesn’t get burned because they do all these things. Then there are the cautionary tales such as the Queen of the Sky and the Phantom Professor, both who got fired from their respective jobs after their blogs and identities were discovered. Also, many prospective employer seek to vet applicants by trolling the Internet, looking to see how these people portray themselves on Facebook. Some have even gone so far as to request log-in information of job interviewees. Unfortunately, there is a lot of paranoia on this issue and it is justified. Continue reading “The Door is Open”
In case of emergency, please call Shindo. This is the number to call, even though you’ve blown off countless voicemail messages from him.
Continue reading “State of Emergency”
If September 11th wasn’t reason enough to cancel a party, then there was a much more down-to-earth excuse the following year. In the party that welcomed the new group of students (including yours truly) the year before, my friend Rosalyn took a fall down a flight of stairs. It was the type of mistake anyone could have made, had they been a little too close to the staircase that led from the living room to the basement floor. While there were handrails, the rectangular hole in the floor that showed the stairs was hardly noticeable. With drinks, high heels, and the stairs’ low visibility, anyone could have tumbled down and hit their head. But it had to be Rosalyn, one of the people who lobbied for the party.
Continue reading “So Much for the Afterparty”
At the Universtity, the English Department traditionally sponsored a welcoming party for the MFA program at the beginning of each academic year. Fortunately, it wasn’t held on campus grounds, but in the home of a student. She was a retired English teacher-turned-professional MFA student as she had been working working on her degree for nearly a decade. The benefit of an off-campus party is the warm atmosphere only available in someone’s house, a gorgeous spread, and the alcohol. The last item is definitely essential as it facilitates socializing, but more importantly, it’s expected. The one that was held in my first semester in the graduate program would be the last one of its sort.
Continue reading “The Party”
In the future, everything will be perfect, right? That’s not how the future perfect works. Yesterday, I had a difficult time trying to explain this verb tense construction to my students at the language school. All I knew was that I would liked to have liked to have explained this without a hitch.
It’s a verb tense that’s used all the time by native speakers of English. There’s a goal, an expectation, some kind of deadline to meet implied. Here is the basic construction:
Subject + will + have + past participle
Example: Tomorrow, I will have completed all my paperwork.
Subject + be (am/is/are) + going to + have + past participle
Example: I am going to be finished with my project tomorrow.
Continue reading “Future Perfect, Past Unreal Conditional”
Henry O’Donough, this post-modernist professor at the University, kept office hours in the afternoon and “bar hours” on Thursday night, on the border of the City, between one of its eastern suburban neighborhoods and the exurban neighborhoods of two cities with names that translate into English as “The Table” and “The Box.” Most of the students who came to this little strip mall dive bar to hang out with the esteemed scholar, interviewer, and editor of several postmodern anthologies, including one that is a perpetual best seller for Duke University Press. And Professor K, ever trying to hold on to the tail of the fast-moving Zeitgeist, has a decent story in O’Donough’s best known anthology. Strangely, during my first year of knowing Professor K, I would go to “bar hours” to hang out with Henry and some classmates, past and present associates of Henry’s, and to unwind from Professor K’s classes, which were always held on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Continue reading “Bar Hours”
Professor Joseph K is the pseudonym of a professor I worked with when I was in graduate school. The name, of course, is borrowed from Franz Kafka’s protagonist of The Trial. This professor, author of small tomes, and armchair anarchist is the nemesis in much of my previous posts about him. Here, he finds himself in the midst of something I really wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. He’s definitely in that category
It’s funny that Professor Joseph K would find himself in the midst of a Kafkaesque nightmare at one point in his career. Some time after I ended my academic and professional association with him, he found himself the subject of a University investigation. I only have second-hand information on this subject. Given that I had been a student and employee of his for two years and that the investigation occurred while I was still in the MFA program, I’m surprised I was never interviewed as a witness. Getting back to the subject at hand, the reason why the University was looking closely into Professor K’s affairs was that a student felt their grade was at stake after she objected to attending Professor K’s class when there was a sexually explicit presentation.
Continue reading “The Process”
In this Six Feet Under episode, Olivier is caught in unprofessional conduct by Claire and tries to buy her off with a grade of her choice.
I should be over something like this. As much as I can dwell on the whole MFA experience and what a racket it was, people like the Professor Joseph K are a joke. Unfortunately, my dealings with him and his self-serving behavior haunt me to this day. At the start, he was the mentor figure, the one who gave me admission to his inner literary circle. In the end, I got tossed aside. As much as he told people that they should do what’s beneficial to them as writers, he wanted people to take his workshops and tell him how brilliant he was for publishing his slender little volumes of deviant behavior. Regarding his writing workshops, there wasn’t much to get out of them. Publishable in his terms meant “I publish you, you publish me.” As a grad school friend of mine said, fiction could not create a villain as evil as Professor K.
Continue reading “The Creative Monster”
Schwag magic is always at work in Comic-Cons. All the free goodies: posters, flyers, buttons, books, DVD’s, and anything you don’t have to pay for. It’s like the all-you-can eat buffet, where things momentarily are cool because you’re not paying much for them. There’s also the story behind them – you got them at Comic-Con. This year, they even issued ridiculously large bags to collect all this stuff – 2 x 3 feet with 2-4 inches of depth. I felt dwarfed by it and I’m pretty close to 6 feet tall. With the humongous bag, it is easy to stuff things in, even when you’re not a fan of the things you grabbed from the promoters. In the photo above, a young man found a creative use for for all the junk he collected over the past few days. Resistance is futile – he will assimilate stuff. He has some duct tape to help complete his mission and his ensemble will no doubt grow exponentially by Sunday. Everyone else is collecting free stuff, but it will all wind up in clutter or e-Bay. Continue reading “Comic-Con, Day 2”
At the west side of the Convention Center, where it meets the Marriot, a few guys had large bubble machines that pushed very light suds through human-shaped stencils. When the guys cut the mass of bubbles away from the stencil, it looked as it people were floating off to the heavens. The process went so fast that lots of them were in the air. Comic-Con attendees were lined up trying to get a good shot. Here’s one of my attempts.