Friday, October 3, 2008

Relieved and Klingons

Well, somebody tried to do something pretty nasty to me. But that's over. If anybody read my blog last weekend, you'll note that it was very, very weird. Somebody locked me out for a couple of days. That's not going to happen again.

On a less frightening note---had a discussion with the MCTC fantasy and SF club that I mentor about Klingons. Quite nice.

Doug

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

At School and an old friend

Well, at work. Yesterday was a pretty good day. Got a lot done and helped a few students. Tomorrow, the lego assignment for professional writing.

For my old friend, gmail messages for you. Read em while they're hot!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back

I am finishing up two writing projects, and things are going pretty well. Busy, though.

Later,

Doug

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Long Day

Long day of teaching and prepping. It was a good one, though. I'm getting ready to go see my mother this weekend. It will be good to see her.

Goof of the day: a student from one of my classes called. I got him confused with another student and gave him great advice for the wrong class. OOPS.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Working

Well, school is definitely in session. Things are going pretty well. I have to come up with a way to deal with DeVaca. But things are pretty good.

Anyway, back to work.

Student Evaluations

Well, got some feedback today from my MCTC students. They essentially liked what I was doing. It's been a long day and more to do.

Doug

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Supplemental--Nebula awards

Supplemental: I read that my story Primetime made a very long list of stories given at least one nod by a SFWA pro. I'm nowhere near the award. But that my name and Nebula are on the same page, that's nice.

Doug

the Chronicle and The Game of Ethnic Identity

Well, I just heard back from the Chronicle of Higher Education. They're paying me 500 dollars for my piece. I'm very excited about this. They even are doing a kill fee if we can't agree on a final version. The article will draw some fire, but I'm quite happy I wrote it.

Jobs: Took a look at the Job Information List at the MLA. Sigh. It's about what I thought. "Ethnic" literature rules. What does this really mean? Actually what it means is minority hires. Now, as somebody who took tear gas at the white house long ago, I'm not exactly a conservative. But this ethnic thing is weird. Obviously, many middle class whites are feeling guilt. About what, I'm not sure.

Do I feel guilt about being white, do I take responsibility for 400 years of slavery? No. One side of my family fought in the Union army. We kicked Southern butt for four years. The other half didn't get here until World War I. So, no, I don't feel guilty at all. My family was part of the solution, not part of the problem. My mother and father were teachers. Were they enslaving poor black people and chaining them in the basement? No, not that I remember.


But some of these ridiculous liberals make themselves feel better about their own status by hiring minorities. And the trouble with this is that we're not talking poor black people being hired from Watts. What we're talking is the children of BUPPIES. Many of these people will say things like, "Hire me because I'm black and pay me more because of it." This is really cynical. And how it serves the ends of social justice is beyond me.

Very few of these people have social agendas that are progressive in any real sense.

I'm absolutely disgusted by this. Indeed, one of the black new hires at the University of Minnesota,told me that the U doesn't give a rat's ass about undergraduate education. It doesn't matter to her anyway. She's too busy with speaking engagements to really care. Indeed, another African American student asked her to be her advisor. She said she was too busy with lecture tour to do it. Is this person the child of sharecroppers? Hardly, her father was in the diplomatic service.

There's also a native American writer at the U. Well, sort of. He's blue eyed and went to Princeton. He's buddies with somebody I know from Harvard. This guy is really pleasant. He turns on his native american identity when it helps him get a job and to get more money. I teach Native American students all the time. They can't turn off their identity. It's who they are. This guy is a sham.

What's really disgusting is that if you look at the salaries of these two (and you can because they teach at a public university), they are much higher than those of their peers. It's not because of their scholarship, but, rather, because of their ethnic identity.

This is gross.


It's almost enough to make me conservative. Well, almost. There is that old liberal idea of a social safety net and a race blind society that I actually do believe in. Silly me. It's identity power politics, baby. And over what? A few fifty thousand dollar a year jobs that essentially are about teaching 18 year olds not to have comma splices. How does this help poor people in any meaningful way? It doesn't. This is what the US attempt at social justice has become.


Shame, shame.


More later, if I don't throw up.

Doug

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Teaching

Well, haven't heard back from the Chronicle in a while. Are you out there?

Hopefully, things will be ok.

I'm taking a quick look at the Jobs Information List that the Modern Language Association puts out. Now, I have some hope, but I can guess what I will find: hundreds of jobs for "Ethnic American Literature."

Now, as a white guy who's also a liberal, I'm appalled by this. Why don't the schools simply say, "No White Guys."

The amount of mediocrity that I've seen at the University of Minnesota English Department is awful. Some of these idiots see the job of being an English professor as teaching their own racial identity. No wonder nobody gives a shit about the humanities any longer.

Diversity is good, but what happened to the idea of being judged according to the quality of one's character and not the color of one's skin. Who said this? Why, Martin Luther King.


Doug

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chronicle of Higher Education

Well, I sold a piece on Friday to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The piece is called "How to make 100k a year as an adjunct English Instructor." It was a fun piece that I pumped out in about three hours. A few glitches, but it was pretty good.

I tutored this morning and now have to prep for class. Time to go.

Doug

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Well, I'm beginning a new school year. Lots to do. Let's see. I'm trying to revive an old relationship. Will I succeed? I don't know. I've been known to attempt the impossible. Sometimes I fail miserably. Other times, I pull it off. But one never knows. Keep the faith. Enough about that.

I'm teaching nine classes this semester. I'm truly privileged to be able to do this. I hope I can keep the faith with all of my students.

I'm also privileged to be trying the job market again this year. I'm pulling in my very extended network. Maybe it will work. Maybe not. Who knows. I'm making twice what I would as an assistant professor. Maybe the right thing to do is to be willing to ride the waves of the free market.

The question I have for myself is why I would want to try this. Unlike my advisor, who has accomplished very little in twenty years and unlike most faculty members that I've met at the University of Minnesota, I think I would publish twenty articles. No more than that and twenty reviews. I'm a much harder worker than most academics in English. No doubt about that.



We'll see.

I sumbitted a piece to the Chronicle of Higher Education yesterday. We'll see how that goes.

I've been listening to Rich Idiot CDs this morning during my morning walk. It's clear that while I'm doing pretty well financially right now, I am still in the foothills. The first major milestone will be a net worth of 100,000, which I should hit in about 18 months, if I'm lucky. That's my first goal. That's doing very well. Now, I need to focus on helping people and growing myself into a better person. Truly, that's the goal of all goals.

Yesterday, I spend a morning doing some values clarification work, figuring out my goals. I recommend such work for everybody.

Here's what I came up with. For the next 19 years, I want to focus on teaching, writing, direct mail copy work and building a life with somebody probably here in Minnesota. I also want to start and sell a small publishing company.

After that, I'm going to be 60. God, it's hard to even talk about that age. But it will arrive. The question is what shape will I be in when it gets here. I'd like to be worth about three million dollars and in very good health and with a teenaged son (and daughter). I'd like to move back to Erie at that point in my life, move into a house right on Lake Erie. I miss the sunsets over the lake and the expansiveness of the lake. Even thought I live in Minnesota, I miss the snow. I also miss Pennsylvania. I want to be in the middle of a wonderful marriage (with somebody dedicated to loving me as much as I love about her). At that point, I would want a son to attend Cathedral Prep, the school I went to. My parents gave me that gift, and I'd like to give it to somebody else. And I want to give back to Erie. I want, at that point, to teach a couple of classes a year at PSU Erie or some other place and spend the next twenty years concentrating on writing fiction and direct mail full time. Of course full time for me right now means 90 hour weeks. I'd like to slow down at that point and work 40 hour weeks and spend one month a year traveling in style to some place I've never been. I've never been to Africa. I don't have much desire to see Asia. I'd like to go back to Greece, to which I traveled when I was twenty. I'd like to see South America, probably Argentina. And I'd like to see Spain again. But all this--and the lakefront house I want--is going to take a lot of money. So, for the next 19 years, it's work, work, work.

When I leave this world, hopefully in my 90s, I want to be able to say to the world: "Well, folks, I was here. Here's what I've left you. Thousands of students taught. Thousands of readers, maybe millions of readers, entertained. Millions of dollars givevn to charity because of my fundraising work and personal contributions. A wife loved, children brought up right, who see their mission as serving the world. This is what I did with what I was given. I made mistakes but I tried to correct them and love and serve given my abilities. How about you? What are you going to show us?" That's the way I want to go out, to whatever is beyond.

Begin in with the end in mind.

Off to work.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back at the mines

Well, summer is definitely over. Teaching several classes at MCTC and a few at various other places. It's challenging but in a good way.

I'm finally finishing Toni Morrison's Beloved. I don't know. I know this is heresy, but I'm not sure I like it very much. Yeah, she deals with the sexual abuse aspects of slavery. But we all knew that. I suppose the kinds of stories about slaves I like involve the slaves shooting their way to the North. Give me Uncle Tom's Cabin and George Harris's Beloved.

I went to an orientation yesterday at the U and it was a complete waste of time and effort. They could have just handed me everything in five minutes. But no, they had to drone on and on. I appreciate the effort, but it didn't do much good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Internet out

The wireless internet at my apartment is down. Couldn't get online yesterday. that absolutely sucked. Ick.
Now, class has started again. I'm back at MCTC and a bevvy of other places. 

So, now, off to work.

Doug

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Updating

I've been updating all of my blog posts here, and I'm going to update my Myspace tomorrow, and click in on my addsense the day after. Slowly, but surely.

I've been reading The Diary of A Young Girl for my captivity narratives class. This is one of those books that I probably should have read when I was thirteen. But I never did. One of the things that strikes me about the narrative is the way in which everybody in the Annex is at each others' throats almost from the beginning. I'm also stunned that Anne is on the equivalent of Paxil for depression. I guess that make sense. It just took me off guard.

Anyway, off to work.

Doug

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meetings

Well, I'm at my workstation at MCTC noticing that they've taken my name off the door and I can't find it anywhere else in the department. That's a bad sign. I'm about to head off to the University of St. Thomas English department for a useless meeting. But life is absolutely full of useless meetings. On another note, I spent last night watching Black Hawk Down, one of my favorite movies.

Off to a useless meeting.

Today: do all labels.

Doug

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home

I'm home from visiting my mother again. Ran into my old trombone section leader, Dave Stevens of the Dave Stevens Big Band. More later.

Doug

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tags and other online stuff

Sometime this week, I am going to go back and edit all my posts on both my blogs to update them with tags.

I don't really think its necessary but someone told me that search engines like them and it will boost my online profile ranking.

Do I need to be so popular?

I am also working on my website. I welcome input. What should be on an authorsite?

Doug

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back to Work

Today I have a bunch of stuff to do. Lots of writing, lots of grading. Lots of report writing to do. I've been focusing on long term goals here. What do I actually want out of life? It's a good question. Money, power to do good, love, etc. Not in that order, though.

Doug

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On my way back to Midwest

I've spent the last few days in PA, my home state, visiting with my Mom in a nursing home. She seems to be doing quite well. We had lunch in a bar today, and I'm winging my way back to MN tomorrow.

My mother is in a nursing home in PA. She has vascular dementia from a stroke about four years ago. I feel terrible for her, since she was such a bright and charming person before this happened. She was a teacher and a very smart cookie. It's a shame.

The folks at the nursing home--Beverly of Cambridge Springs (and especially Julie, the nurse) are very good. But the corporate assholes who run the place try to gouge all their patients and their families. They never institute any of the really good programs that would help patients, they lose every ACU director they hire, and they only return your calls when you owe them money. Shame on you!

Well, home tomorrow (early) to see what's happening in my apartment and my town. And I'm about to wage war against the University of Minnesota Department of English, especially Peter Firchow, Ellen Messer Davidow, and that ridiculous DGS, Lois Cujollo.

Doug

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Class Ending and crappy couple of days

Well, I'm done with work for today. Didn't do very much. I've been slow for the last several days. I blog at My Space.com as well. Check me out there.

But, Primetime, the movie script is done. I have to review the letter from Roy in the morning, and then we send to California. Hoo boy!

Taught my penultimate utopian studies class and had an interview for another teaching job. How many classes have I signed up for?

Enough for right now.

Doug

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday

Good morning.

Have lots on the agenda for today. I biked twelve hundred and seventy five calories in an hour this morning, and I'm moving toward my goal of 1500 in an hour.

I'm fifty pages into Beloved. Not sure that I like it. This may be one of those cases in which I'm left scratching my head wondering what all the fuss was about. Morrison is one of those people. I don't know Morrison, but I used to work in the College Division at Houghton Mifflin. The President of the Division back then had worked at Random House for a while. Her desk mate? None other than Toni Morrison. Publishing is a very small circle of peo0ple.

So, on to the rest of Beloved. I'm also looking over the script bible for Star Trek Voyager. And I'm getting back to work on my book Much to Do About Nothing. And I'm reading, a bit late, a manuscript for a friend.

Off to work.

Doug

Saturday, July 12, 2008

House Cleaning

Some say that spring is the time for house cleaning. Today is the middle of high summer, and I've been scrubbing away. My landlord just put in a new dishwasher, but he had to turn off the water in the entire building to hook it up to the water source. So, for now, I'm still in dish drainer territory.

Spent this morning scrubbing and washing. I also did some framing. I inherited a couple of years ago a pile of stuff from my parents. Pictures, diplomas (theirs and mine) and a bunch of other stuff--like the results of my father's typing test in the Army Airforce in 1947. Apparently, he was pretty good. I also inherited rather odd things like my the dinner menu of my father's airforce squadron for December 1946. Quite tasty, from what I can see. It's interesting looking at stuff from the 1940s. It's like it was a whole different world. Everything was in tan and black and white. It just feels different, less plastic, than our world. It was less plastic.

Also found pictures of my mother in a classroom, back in the eighties or nineties. She looks very sharp, sitting behind her desk, with a "Please Feed the Birds" sign on the bulletin board behind her. In addition, found a "pillow note" from an old girl friend, Anne. She was my very first serious girlfriend back in the 1980s. She was beautiful. We used to leave each other "pillow notes" in the morning. Quite beautiful. I saved one of them. I'm glad I did.

Anyway, cleaned the bathroom within an inch of its life, cleaned out the fridge (wasn't too bad except for the fruit from 1908). And I dusted off my trophies, medals, and book and magazine covers that I have on what somebody once called "the walls of Doug." Everything looks pretty good today.

Now, I'm off to the downstairs gym that my landlord put in. I usually bike in the mornings and listen to financial self help tapes. This afternoon, it's the stair climber. And I think I'm going to make my first quiche in a very long time this afternoon.

Doug

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dishwasher

I'm very excited to announce that my landlord put in a new dishwasher in my apartment today. Yee Hah. It's a small thing, but it's a great one.

Hot as hell in Minneapolis today. Ick. I'm at school right now, but I just about melted getting here. I've got the AC at home cranked up as high as it will go.

Anyway, I just did LDA drops for several of my students at MCTC. I love teaching here, but the attrition rate can be very high, and that's sad.

Well, off to see if I can get back into the job site for the U, which throws me out everytime I try to get back in.

OK, nuff for now.

Doug

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Biking again

Actually, I never stopped. But I've been increasing my time and my distance. I'm up to 1200 calories an hour for a full hour.

In addition, I'm busy helping my students at MCTC work on their papers about dystopia. It's really been a lot of fun. I love dystopias, and I hope they will too.

This afternoon, I'm applying for yet another adjunct teaching position. It should go well.

Doug

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back to Work

Well, the long July 4 weekend is over. And I'm heading back to work. I spent this morning journaling, and I'm going to be working on a couple of writing projects today, in addition to getting back into teaching.

Work will progress on the script for Primetime, which I'm writing with Roy C. Booth. In addition, I'm working on Much To Do About Nothing, and I'm still working on my article about Self-help that I want to submit to Journal of American Culture.

Science Fiction Studies recently handed me my head on a platter with reviews about the piece about Harry Turtledove and Gandhi. Too polemical was the reply. I wonder: I'm on the left and happily so, but I think that these guys are so left wing that they can't hear anything but their own blather. The thing is that academic lefts accomplish so little, except to brow beat their conservative students. Let them go run for office. Good god, that would mean they would have to get off their asses and do something. It's a shame. No wonder things are so bad in this country.


Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

Doug

Monday, July 7, 2008

Plagiarism

I just had an exchange of emails with somebody at the community college at which I teach about the issue of plagiarism.

I said that I thought that plagiarism was a witchhunt that shouldn't be jumped into lightly.
Here's why.
I think the entire notion of plagiarism is completely linked with the notion of intellectual property rights. As I writer, I certainly wouldn't want some big gun somewhere finding something I've written and slapping their own name on it and turning it into some kind of property they can sell. That's no good. But I also understand the issue of borrowing from other writers and internalizing their words. One has to be careful not to let this turn into borrowing. It's a difficult issue, with no easy approach or solution. I think the best thing one can do is to simply teach students to be creative and carefully push them away from words that sound like they belong to somebody else.

Doug

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back from Convergence

I'm back from Convergence. It was quite fun. I met a few interesting people, got yelled at for sleeping in a chair, and served on some panels. I also got a chance to meet Len Wein, a comics writer and editor. I thanked him for making my childhood fun. It was neat to meet someone who made a positive impact on your life. I felt the way I did when I met Harlan Ellison last year and he signed my copy of "City on the Edge of Forever." Interestingly: I met him in the bathroom at Convergence. I seem to run into celebrities in the can on a fairly regular basis. Last year, I almost knocked over Garrison Keilor when he was coming out of the bathroom at the University of Minnesota.

The meeting also made me think about how to deal with celebrities. I think the important thing to do is to simply thank them if you liked their work. They're people too and will enjoy knowing that they had a good influence on you.

In addition, I said hello to several writers that I know: Hillary Moon Murphy, Jason Wittman, Roy and Cynthia Booth, Michael Merriam, and Karl Worf. I also met somebody new, Heidi Waterhouse. (I think that's her name.)

Roy and I also talked about finally finishing up work on Primetime and getting it out to people. I'm heading up to Northern Minnesota soon.



I also served on several panels.

1. I served on the Literature and Sexuality panel. I was definitely out gunned by the people on the comm.

2. I served on Classic Literature and Speculative Literature. I think I made better contributions there. One of the audience members asked some great questions.

3.I served on the Guilty Pleasures Panel. I already feel guilty about it.

It's all good. Tired, though.

Doug

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Convergence

Well, here we are. Almost July 4.

I'm off to Convergence tomorrow. I'm on three panels:

Literature and Sexualitity.

Classic Literature and SF.

Guilty Pleasures.

I'm hosting writer Roy C. Booth and his wife Cynthia at my place tonight and for the remainder of Convergence.

Had dinner with one of my colleagues at MCTC. Good discussion. We also decided to launch a competition. Each month, we will see which of us will get published first. The loser will buy the winner a ride in a Lincoln town car. This should be fun.

Have been reading a great deal about self help. That's interesting stuff.

Doug

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Self Help Literature

Well, I'm at MCTC for what I hope will be my daily blog.

Well, turns out I won't be reviewing Tom Moylan's book for JFA. That's ok. I've got plenty of irons in the fire.

Well, I'm working on my article about financial self help. It's really interesting. There's not much written on the financial side of things. What's available is mostly about personal self help. Much of the research goes back to the mental hyg. movement of the early twentieth century and makes a detour through the mental health privitization of the 1980s under the Reagan Administration and all goes through the middle of the Est movement of the 1970s.

Rescue Man is going out to Sheila Williams at Asimov's.

I'm also working on the script for Primetime. I'm going to Convergence this week.

And I'm going to start work in a couple of weeks on my application for the Gulliver Award.

Things I'll be able to get done by the end of the year:

Financial Self Help
Gulliver Award Application for Rumspringa
Primetime Script
Rumspringa
Public Interest Research Groups
Much To Do About Nothing

That's it for this year.

Doug

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Self Help, financial style.

Well, let's see if I can manage to blog every day.

Today, I taught and worked my newest article about self-help literature. It's going to trace the development of self-help literature from Ben Franklin to T. Harv Eker. I went to the Millionaire Mind Intensive in San Francisco in May. It was quite fun. It was a little over the top, though. But more about that in the article.

Here's where we are in terms of publications for the year:
1. Review of Utopian Fictions, by Peter Firchow, out on the web in April.
2. Review of Dunja More's book on Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, late July.
3. Article on the Public Interest Research Groups, under contract for Encyclopedia of American Reformist Movements.
4. Ezekeiel's Retreat, at Interzone, publication date TBA.
5. Just volunteered to write review of Tom Moylan's new book for JFA.
6. All the World a School, under consideration at Foundation.
7. The Limits of Non-Violence in Harry Turtledove's The Last Article, under consideration at Science Fiction Studies.
8. Bringing Work Home with Her, under considerationa at Andromeda Spaceways, made first cut in May.
9. Rescue Man, under consideration at Asimov's.
10. Doing History, under consideration at Mad.

This is all really good. Tomorrow...update on other writing projects.

Doug

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Summer and writing and news from Down Under

Well, summer is here.

Finishing up work on my piece on gifted children and Octavia Butler and Paul Theroux. Hope to have that out for consideration at Utopian Studies in the next few days. That will be four journal articles out, if it works.

Anyway, did a morning of bill paying. It went pretty well. Finished critiquing a bunch of manuscript for a friend. Also got word that my story "Bringing Work Home with Her" made first cut in Australia at Andromeda Spaceways. That's very good news. Very good news indeed. Wish me luck.

I've got a bunch of stuff out now:

1. "All the World a School" at Foundation.
2. "Gated Communities and Gifted Children" at Utopian Studies.
3. "Bringing Work Home with Her" at Andromeda
4. "You've Got a Problem" (about my dissertation advisor) at AlienSkin.
5. "Rescue Man" at Intergalactic Medicine Show.
6. "Jacobite Revolt" at Jim Baen's Universe.

And I've got some stuff coming out shortly (or is already out):

1. "Ezekiel's Retreat" at Interzone (having heard from them in a while, but that's ok)
2. Review of Dunja More's Female Dystopias.
3. Review of Peter Firchow's Modern Utopian Fictions.
4. "Institutional Crisis" at Extrapolation.


The other things in addition to the screenplay for Primetime that I think I can get out by December are the following:

1. A piece on Harry Turtledove's last article.
2. "Guest Lecturers," an essay about William Dean Howells
3. "Much To Do About Nothing."
4. "Nadia's Gift"
5. "Entertaining Couple."
6. "Rumpsringa."
7. Query for Harper's.

Goal for this year is 10 publications under my own name by December 31. It's going to be tight, but I can probably make it. Wish me luck!

Finished up grading for several classes. It was a rough but rewarding semester. Went to orientation at the University of St. Thomas yesterday for adjunct faculty and attended (partially) a meeting for assessing English 1111 at MCTC. Both were good. I worked on my CV this morning. And I'm off to the library.


Doug

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Post Mother's Day and Gifted children

Well, I'm back from Erie, PA. I saw Mom for Mother's Day. We went to a bar for lunch for Mom's Day. Then we went for a DQ. Mom had chocolate, and I had vanilla. Returned to find chaos from the IRS. Oh, dear. Did some house cleaning yesterday and started planning my summer reading and writing projects. I'm working on a bunch of things. I'm writing an essay on Gifted Children, that I hope will be in a special issue of utopian studies. I'm working on my project on Harry Turtledove that I'm going to try to get in Strange Horizons. I'm also working on my book "Much To Do About Nothing." Those are my summer writing projects, those and a query to Harper's. If I can get those out, I will have had a great summer.

Have to go to work now.

Doug

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back to Work

Ok, now that I've posted all the personal stuff I think I ever care to, it's time to start blogging about the things that matter.

Writing and teaching.

Just had a goodbye dinner with the students from my English 3029 class at the U of Minnesota, probably the last class I will teach there. It was fun. Goodbye all.

Doug

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Supplemental

Hope springs eternal. I have a feeling something very good is about to happen, in the midst of all this chaos.

Doug

Getting Back in the Saddle--Life Goals

Been biking this morning and listening to books on CD. This morning, I'm a little groggy. I'm feeling disoriented. But that's nothing terribly new.

I'm going to be reading a friend's manuscript. I'm not going to be commenting on it here as much as I'd like to, because he's asked for confidentiality.

I've seen the last few days as an opportunity to reflect on the past and move into the future. Well...there's nothing else to do. Here's what I'm thinking: Are my actions consistent with my goals. What exactly are my goals?

1. To get married to somebody special and have a very high quality marriage. I want to be able to see marriage as something sacred. Too often, I think, I've seen marriage as confining. That's not exactly true. Theoretically, I've seen it as important. But have I taken the required steps to make my beliefs and actions really consistent? No, I haven't. There we go. That's the rub.

2. To be a father as wonderful as mine, as good as mine was. That's really important. I had a father who was unbelievably good. I also had a mother who was actually incredibly good and wonderful too, although I had a harder time seeing that because she was a little on the fiesty side.

3. To be the very best writer I know how to be. I'm trying to accomplish that goal. I'm more than willing to spend time doing this. Why is this important to me? Is it simply for a little bit of fame? Sure, that's nice. But the real point of doing this for me is to tell really good stories, to make people laugh, and to convince them that they should support noble goals. This stuff is the real goal of all of this. My specific goal is to explore time travel. I've noticed something else as well. I realize that my writing--although not really about me--is really about me. What I write about tends to happen. The kinds of characters I develop tend to stroll into my life. There's something very special about writing.

4. To be a good teacher-scholar. That's important. In this, I'm really interested in teaching and writing about giftedness and utopia. I was a gifted child, and I believe many people have gifts. I've been reading so much about giftedness lately. I'd like to teach gifted children as well. That's really important to me. I'm fascinated that two of the biggest stories of our time--The Harry Potter Series and Star Wars--are really about gifted children and the difficulties they have. It's interesting. Officially, we're not interested. Gifted children are bad. But we are really interested. That's fascinating to me. It's funny. I actually wrote a story about somebody who was gifted. I'm really unlike most of my professors and peers. I don't have a political agenda in the classroom.

5. To be a publisher of self-help books. I'm really interested in this genre. More later.


OK, I've said what I have to say. More later.

Doug

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Getting to End of Semester

It's April in Minnesota, almost the end of term for the two places I'm teaching at this year. I can't wait for it to be over so I can begin bartending lessons and really cranking on direct mail. It's going to be wonderful. I'm teaching one class at MCTC this summer.

I'm still waiting to hear back on a bunch of submissions. I'm so impatient. But, no news is generally good news.

Off to writing work.

Doug

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday

Just another Wednesday. Taught three classes today. Worked on my two writing projects. First was the Much To Do About Nothing book project. Then I worked briefly on my script bible for Primetime. We're doing ok, but it's slow going at the moment.

In the class that I'm subbing for, I'm currently working with students on papers on death issues. I did not pick the topic, but it's somewhat interesting. Doing this has made me realize that doing research papers without the instructor having expert knowledge in the topics is a really bad idea. Very little learning takes place. Indeed, there's a tendency for the papers to get really, really cookie cutter. That's a shame.

Then again, so much of life is indeed cookie cutter.

Doug

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring new stuff

Well, I'm back.

It's been a long winter. I've got several stories out there under consideration.

First, "You've Got a Problem," which is about my dissertation advisor, is under consideration at AlienSkin.

Second, "Bringing Work Home with Her," which is about a guy married to a spy, is under consideration at Andromeda Spaceways.

Third, "Rescue Man" is under consideration at IGMS.

Fourth, "Jacobite Revolt" is under consideration at Asimov's.

Publications: Review of Peter Firchow's Modern Utopian Fictions is up at H-Net Utopia.

My article "Institutional Crisis" is coming out at Extrapolation.

And work goes on slowly on the tv pilot for Primetime.

Doug

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Supplemental Just Read Empire

Just read Orson Scott Card's Empire. It's strange, about a very near distant future in which the left (the Progressives) take over the US in some kind of coup. Card, in this novel, reads a little bit like a right wing version of Kim Stanley Robinson. Both are pretty politically driven.

Card's characters are pretty good. They're conservative. But they're not monsters. And Card does have a pretty convincing critique of the left-wing of the academy. He sees many of them as complainers, which they might well be.


Off to catch the bus.

Doug

Good Morning

Well, I'm finally finishing the ending of Rescue Man. Figured out what has to happen. A battle between Good and Evil. I can't wait to finish this one and get it off my plate, for better or worse.

Made over six hundred calories with Marcus Buckingham. It was really good.

Tomorrow, I'm going on a fool's errand. But, maybe I'm doing the right thing.


Now, I have to go to correct some papers.

Doug

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Morning

Another Monday morning. Back into the fray. Only about 540 calories. OK and have listened to all the Marcus Buckingham I can possibly stand for right now. What I've gotten out of all of this is that Buckingham is really about contesting the myth that we can all become really better at everything. Not so, Buckingham claims. All of us have certain talents. If we don't have a talent in a certain area then we are doomed to under achieving in that role. Simply put, no amount of practice is going to make up for that lack of talent.

Finally, did 300 words of the ending of Rescue Man this morning. Not very satisfactory. But at least Dave is back in Vietnam again.


Must be off.

Doug

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle and Gifted Children

Back after several days of being sick. That chest cold I wrote about a week ago turned into a lovely week-long illness. Lots of languishing. I'm doing ok now. But I've had to do a lot of sleeping.

Anyway, back to the routine. Did 598 calories and listened to Marcus Buckingham again this morning. It was very interesting--the difference between somebody like him and all of the scholars I read. No Frankfurt School here. Goodbye Adorno. So long Marcuse.

There's a lot of overlap between what Buckingham was saying about strengths and what I read last year about gifted children. That's funny that I'm drawn to this self help stuff and that I am interested in gifted children. Of course, since I was a gifted child myself, I guess it makes sense. Buckingham argues that a lot of people get a little concerned when we can do something very well very easily. In Anglo-American culture there seems to be a pre-disposition against giftedness. We want people to slave away for years like drudges. That's kind of sad.


Anyway, now I need to go slave away like a drudge.

Doug

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday

Well, it's Thursday. The temperature in Minneapolis is just ghastly. I'm getting a chest cold as well. Lovely. Flem everywhere. Ick. On the lighter side....I've cut hundreds more words from Rescue Man this morning. One of favorite creations in this story is Frank, a 60s radical who is a professor and a pain in the butt to everybody around him. Want to get this beast under control shortly and get it the hell off my desk, so I can move on to other projects.

This story is a breakthrough for me. It's a more fantasy than science fiction. And it's about somebody's soul, although I suppose that all of my fiction is really about people's souls.

Went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. More strength stuff, and I broke 620 calories. Good deal. What I remember from this morning's reading is that everybody really knows their own strengths the best. I agree with that. Boy, do I ever.


Well, time to get ready for my three classes that I'm teaching today.


Doug

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Power

Good morning. did around 540 calories this morning. Switched up my pattern and my CD. Listened to the 33 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Read by Don Leslie. I was listening to the story about Count Von Lustig being able to trick Al Capone by simply using a little bit of honesty to cover up his ultimately nefarious designs. It was really very fun. Honesty, as Greene says, is really a weapon to be used.

Also cut another 333 words from Rescue Man. It's getting down to about 73 pages, down from 100. I've cut 27 percent of the length, but I'm not sure how much farther I can get. I still have to re-do the ending.


Off to class.

Doug

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday and Coins

Good morning. Went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. 620 calories and 548 words cut from Rescue Man. Not bad. Now, it's getting really difficult to cut down words now. We''re getting to the point where I have to save words by cutting prepositions. That's a good sign, though.

Anyway, I'm about to call to see how much two Morgan silver dollars are. They might be worth absolutely nothing. But they might be worth something.

Wish me luck.

Doug

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Morning Biking and Strength Assessment

Went Biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. About 700 calories in 30 minutes.

More important, I listened to Buckingham talk about the fact that strengths are things that come out of your appetites. If this is true, I believe that my strengths revolve around Tuna Hoagies and cheesesteaks.

Seriously, I think that my strengths revolve around key childhood coping strategies. Let's see what they are:

1. Imagine. I would always tell stories. (And I had a father who was a story teller).

2. Persuade. I would always try to get my way, and I would feel wonderful when I did.

3. Be funny. To be specific, satire is my weapon of choice. Humor is both a defense mechanism and an offensive weapon. It reduces things one is scared of or is outraged by.

4. Analyze. Although most people don't see the connection, analysis and humor are pretty related.

5. Organize. I always feel better when I put things in their proper perspective.

6. Collect or amass. Trophies, money, tuna hoagies, etc. Maybe quantify is the right word here.


Anyway, those are my strengths. It's time to go put one of them to work. I'm working on cutting Rescue Man. I've already cut over 26 pages. And I'm just getting started. I think that this could be a really good story. It has all the right elements: Combat, love, and cheese steaks.


Gotta go.

Doug

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Late Morning

Starting my morning later than usual. Last night I bought a book called The Last World War by Ward Dayton. It's a first contact/war story. A group of reserve Marines in MO are on duty playing war games. The only trouble is that aliens have constructed a portal and have traveled across the universe and show up in the show me state. There are two groups of aliens, the Grays, who are fighting the Earthers and the Blues, who are fighting the grays and allied with the earthers. This is essentially a Harry Turtledove knock off, without the WWII element. Anyway, I started it last night and finished it about an hour ago.

So, I just did my biking. 649 calories, with Marcus Buckingham. He talked about his kid being concerned with winning all the time. Boy, I get that. I assume that you have to lose sometimes, but I have to be careful to keep myself out of situations where I can't even compete.

Off to hack down Rescue Man.

Doug

Friday, January 25, 2008

Professional Writing

Went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. It was great. Tried a different biking pattern and only burned about 505 calories. But that always happens when I try another pattern. Re-listened to the opening tape of Putting Your Strengths to Work. Buckingham was saying that most people when working get into a flow experience at least once a week. But that really doesn't "feed" them enough. It's true. I remember the thrilling days of yesterday when I was a copy editor at W. B. Saunders. God I don't think I had a flow experience more than once every couple months, and those happened when we had a fire drill.

Anyway, writing gives me that flow. Teaching does it sometimes. Fundraising does it about every twenty seconds. Hmmmm.

Well, off to class.

Doug

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Story, Campbell Awards

Went biking with the Donald this morning. 608 calories. I thought about what Donald and Zanger were saying about thinking big. That's very important. I don't think that many people do this at all. The bigger you think, the bigger opportunities you have. I know that in the last few years, I've begun to think bigger and my horizons have expanded. I've had more and more opportunities.

Speaking of new opportunities, I just finished my story Bringing Work Home With Her and submitted to Strange Horizons just to test the waters. Let's see what they say in about a month.

Found out that I'm Campbell eligible this year. Don't think I'll get it this year. Not enough out there.

Anyway, time to get going. Back at you tomorrow.

Doug

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back from Iowa

I was in Iowa this weekend,. Its even colder than Minneapolis. The town is kind of odd. Very small. One of those towns that seems to arise from nowhere out of the landscape. Flew there on a small NWA prop plane. I absolutely love those prop planes. Snow everywhere.

On my way down, I flew next to a woman from Philly who was going to take care of a friend from college who had met a pig farmer on E harmony, hooked up with him, and gotten married. Nine months pregnant, the friend asked the woman to come out to Iowa and help take care of her. Interesting.

Well, I'm back at my routine. 570 calories this morning. Biked with Marcus Buckingham. I find the whole play to your strengths movement to be quite interesting, but it's so hard to do this in any kind of corporate culture.

Finally, cut three hundred more words from my story this morning. Almost read to go to Tom for critiquing.

Off to direct mail.

Doug

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday is here: Courage and Writing

Good morning. Biking with Marcus Buckingham went well. 430 calories, but I'm trying a different pattern. Buckingham was talking about a manager who does these spreadsheets called clarity reports. For the manager, these reports seem to order not only the work world but the universe itself. For everybody else, they are a pain in the keyster. I've had managers like that. Buckingham also talked about the fact that even thought requesting a meeting to have conversations with your manager about your strengths sounds like a good idea, people can get threatened by this. I can see this happening pretty easily.


Going out of town tonight. I might even not bring my laptop with me. Gasp. So, I might not be blogging this weekend.


Oh, one last thing: I was teaching yesterday, and I was presenting material from research on the importance of writing. One interesting thing I noted was that the writer said that one of the things that learning to write well does is teach initiative and courage. Writing as a kind of start-up activity. I suppose I can see that. As for courage, that makes sense to me as well.

Time to go write....

Doug

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SUPPLEMENTAL--end hack

Just finished hacking my story "Bringing Work Home with Her," in 30 minutes I took out 1021 words and am slowly getting in range of my target of a 5000 word story, exactly. This one is going out to Strange Horizons and F&SF after Tom takes a look at it.

Well, off to Direct Mail. DT

The Strong Week and the MCTC SF Fantasy Club

Good Morning. Outstanding biking this morning. 700 calories in 30 minutes, exactly. Someday, I will reach 1000 in 30 minutes. A flow experience. One of the reasons why I love exercising on the bike is that the calorie counter and the clock allow you to do goal setting. You can break down your ride into 5 minute intervals and 50 calorie increments. I read a Harper's article once where some lame brain said that this kind of attention to the numbers was not healthy. I wonder what his bank account looked like. Actually, this kind of segmentation is what got man out of the muck and mire of pre-historic ages. Maybe the right phrase doesn't come from Decartes: I think therefore I am. But, rather, from self-help planners. I goal set, therefore I am. The diaries of William Byrd (I believe that's his name) substantiate this claim. Of course, Decartes lurks behind the scenes of the self-help movement (although most of the gurus wouldn't recognize him).

In any event, I biked with Marcus Buckingham this morning. The topic of discussion this morning was the strong week. He argues that the week is the optimal planning unit. I think Covey aruges that it's the month. Buckingham argues that the week is a cross cultural phenomenon. And the seven day week is standard. He said that month and year measures vary, but week lengths never do. The only attempt in recent history to make this kind of change happened in the French Revolution. Buckingham argues that during the week you should focus on the things you're strong on and try to stay away from your weaknesses. I agree with this approach. If you spend too much time improving on your weaknesses, you'll drown. That's probably why so much psychotherapy is completely counter-productive and probably, ultimately, fairly destructive.

Finally, I want to salute a great bunch of guys and gals: The Minneapolis Community and Technical College Science fiction and Fantays Club. I'm the faculty advisor for this group and find these folks absolutely great. They're not afraid of being who they are. And that's refreshing.

Well, enough of this. Off to work on my story. Goal is to hack one thousand words this morning.

Doug

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Morning, Minneapolis

Well, went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. Only 548 calories burned. I'm slowing down as we head into the mid week. However, I enjoyed Buckingham's discussion about strengths. These are activities that make us feel strong after we do them.

What are they, for me?

Writing
Fundraising
Teaching (some days)
Biking
Editing (to some extent, in the same way that I liked rock climbing a long time ago)

Buckingham has said that the happiest people are those who do what they love as much as possible. He hasn't used the term yet, but what I think he's talking about is flow experience. If you have a day in which you have several flow experiences, then you're going to have a really good time. I'm relatively lucky in that I have several areas in which I get flow experiences.

Well, off the the flow of the shower......

Doug

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SUPPLEMENTAL--review done

Just turned in my first draft of my review of Modern Utopian Fictions. Awaiting editorial feedback. It's good to get writing projects at least in the pipeline. Next--get my story to Tom in the next few days. DT

More strengths

Went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. Did 651 calories in thirty minutes. It's interesting. Buckingham talked about natural strengths, things we're just good at. What are they?

As hackneyed as it sounds, they are the things that we would continue to do long after we stop getting paid. For example, although I have strong analytical abilities, I'm comfortable using my imagination.

It's my home in some ways. That's interesting. I teach and I'm fairly good at it, but that's not really where my innate ability is.

What are some of my innate abilities, things that flow from my bedrock core personality?

1. Using my imagination to tell stories. Well, duh.

2. Asking for money. I used to ask my mother and father for money. I'm really good at that on a professional level.

3. Listening to stories.

4. Arguing ferociously.

5. Categorizing. I'm a taxonomy junkie.

6. Moving my big legs.

These are bedrock skills that I have. Buckingham would argue that success in life does not stem from figuring out what my weaknesses are, but, rather, capitalizing on these strength, spending more time doing them.

Hmm.. I wrote part of my dissertation on gifted children. I wonder what Buckingham would say about gifted children. Does he say anything about them? I'll find out tomorrow.

Anyway, off to finish the review.

Doug

Monday, January 14, 2008

School's In

First day of class at MCTC. Said hello to my students in an English 900 (developmental reading) and English 1110 (freshman comp). The first day of class is very important. I hope I've started this off right.

Did not bike with the Donald this morning. Damn! I will tomorrow.

Am busy revising "Rescue Man," this afternoon, my 25k story about a hero. I've realized that one of the themes that recurs in my work is that of the man who is a hero, a high achiever. My two big published stories so far, "Ezekiel's Retreat," (coming out soon in Interzone) and Primetime (in Writers of the Future) are about men who are heroic, in one sense of the word or another. I think one of the reasons why I've chosen to write in genre fiction rather than in li-fi is that the genres allow a writer to treat men in a more classic sense than li fi does.

And my experiences in li-fi have been rather strange. I took an MFA class at the U several years ago and was disgusted at the lack of imagination and adventure in the stories. Most of the stories were about alcoholics. Genre fiction seems to allow the possibilitiy of human adventure in the way in which most li fi simply doesn't. And I took a workshop when I was an undergrad at Penn long ago. The stories there, while technically great, made me think I was in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

Although I have a fancy education, I grew up reading Sergeant Rock comic books, Star Trek novels, and Mad Magazine. Sure, I've read Hegel too. But Philosophy of History can't hold a candle to a good space battle.

In any event, Rescue Man is about a Vietnam search and rescue pilot. On his last day in country in 1966, he has to rescue a B-52 crew that has been shot down. He and his squadron get them out, and he's on his way home, when a F-4 Phantom on fire flies by on the way down. The events that happen on this second rescue lead the pilot, Dave Pantano, to the edge of eternal damnation. I won't tell any more.

I'm also finally finishing up the review on Modern Utopian Fictions. Hopefully, it will be off my desk tomorrow. And I'm starting to revise my first draft of "Bringing Work Home with Her," a satire about a former Greenpeace activist who's married to a spy. You've never seen family therapy like this.....

Back to revision

Doug

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Discover Your Strengths

Went biking with Marcus Buckingham this morning. 648 burned calories in 30 minutes. I want to hit 750 tomorrow. I enjoyed listening to the CD and agree with Buckingham that discovering and capitalizing on your strengths is really important. I remember right after college when I worked at W.B. Saunders Company, as a medical copy editor, I was stuck in a cubicle every day, trying to help doctors correct their prose. It was an ok job, but, ultimately, I sure wasn't playing to my strenghts. And I sure didn't make much money. I can't believe I lived on what they paid me.

I'm really captivated by the notion that you should spend as much of the day as possible doing things that play to your strengths. My nice piece of satirestrenghts: selling, writing, making people laugh, arguing, teaching, chatting with people (is this really a strength?), telling stories, accomplishing things when I'm in extreme pain or discomfort.


Here's something that would be interesting: getting famous bad guys to discover their strengths: Al Capone, Atilla the Hun, etc. That's a nice piece of satire.


Off to finish (I hope) Firchow's review.

Doug

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday: Emotions in SF

Did my biking with the Donald and Zanker this morning. Only 480 calories. I'm in a weekend lull. One of the subjects on the CD this morning was loyalty to employees and employers. I think that's right. If you don't have loyalty, you have nothing.

I'm still very excited for Andrea Kail, who was nominated for a nebula this week. I hope she gets it.

In terms of my own reading, I am trying to plow through an SM Stirling book. I confess, while my hat is off to him for his research (he even quotes from Jack London within the first thirty pages of his book In the Oceans of Eternity), I'm having a very difficult time plowing through the beginning of the book. Why? Maybe its the unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce names (that may sound stupid, but I've heard many an SF writer and editor say that if the reader can't say them, it makes it much more difficult to get through the book). So much of SF is very emotionally flat. When I was at Viable Paradise a couple of years ago, an article had just said that SF fan couples are very likely to have children who have Asperger's, a disease that causes children to have low emotional affect. Is this the problem? No, I don't think so. I'm at the other end of the emotional register and I've met a few SF writers who are there as well. I think what it is is that SF is so world-building oriented and driven largely by external conflict that emotional resonance often gets lost.

For example, I plowed through L.Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth over Christmas. It was absolutely breathtaking in terms of the scope. And the adventure was quite fun. But nobody seemed to have any internal life at all (other than wanting to wipe people out or not get wiped out.) But that's ok. I like to have both: good explosions and lots of people going around emoting.

OK, blog time is over. Now it's time to get back to my writing.

Doug

Friday, January 11, 2008

SUPPLEMENTAL--GREAT NEWS FOR A FELLOW WRITER

Wow, just heard some absolutely astounding and wonderful news. Andrea Kail, one of my fellow writers of the future winners just got nominated for a Nebula. CONGRATULATIONS, ANDREA! DT

Data security and Utopia

Taking a break from writing application letters. Last night I did my University of Minnesota Data Security compliance training online. Pain in the tuckus. But it was important. A couple of weeks ago a TA at the U (not me) (I'm done, and I have the illustrious rank of Instructor) got in trouble for doing something pretty outrageous in class. I didn't know exactly what it was, so when he told me that he had gotten fired, I told him to immediately go to a lawyer. TAs can get treated pretty horribly by the professors and support staff in my department (I won't begin to tell you how many times I've seen professors threaten to cut people's funding in the hallway or plow over graduate students--a friend of mine told me about getting screamed at by the DGS over something pretty trivial), so my philosophy has always been "Hit em back!" As Donald Trump would say, if you don't, "you're a schmuck." But when I found out what he had done, I was chagrined. I think I was the schmuck.

Later I found him sitting in front of a computer terminal with the class list for his class open. "I know where they live," he chortled. I was blown out of the water. Oh, god. You serve students (even the ones you hate). You don't track them down. A former TA Mentor, I did my best intimidating voice, "Hey, don't do that." I hope it worked. For everybody's sake. Student privacy comes first.

On a less morally troubling note, I spent this morning working with Peter Firchow's Modern Utopian Fictions. My problem with it isn't the scholarship. He's a pretty smart guy. And his engagement with Golding's Lord of the Flies was kind of boyishly enthusiastic. And his engagement with Hegel, Fukuyama, and Marcuse was first-rate. But the real problem with the book is its end point. Firchow argues that modern fiction ends around 1960. Fair enough. But he ends his consideration of utopian fiction with Iris Murdoch's the Bell. It's a very weird book, about an English post-war intentional community. I don't think it's really very utopian. If it is, it's utopian in the same way Walden is. Tune in. Turn off. Drop out. And, more important, Firchow leaves out perhaps the second or third most important British utopian writer in the last century--Anthony Burgess, who published TWO dystopias in the same year (1962): Clockwork Orange and the Wanting Seed. (What a year: to pump out two books like that. His to-do list must have been pretty amazing. Today: Wake up, have coffee, create most stunning book of 20c, do laundry). The effect of ending the book on this note is that it implies that British utopian/dystopian fiction had a trajectory that I don't think it really had. And Firchow leaves out a lot about SF, the direction utopia and dystopia took in the 60s and 70s.

Well, gotta get back to work and flog myself to the academic masses. Happy Weekend. Back at you tomorrow after bicycling with Trump.

Hiyah!

Doug

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm back. The Academic Job Market and all that Jazz

Hi, Everybody. I'm back. I had a motherboard go down a couple of months ago.

What's new? Well, my fall quest for academic jobs landed in a big zero. No MLA interviews. I'm Dr. Doug these days. But that and a two bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. My advisor's advice about the job market made me almost double over with laughter. She started asking me about my commitment. This is one of those phony techniques that managers in low paying job markets use to get people to continue to work like a dog for nothing. Commitment to what?

Being degraded?

It was the same technique used by crusade preachers to get people to go on crusade to the Holy Land. Nobody ever came back. Check out my book, You're Not Very Important for a great chapter on the Crusades.

Well, I'm applying for a few more jobs this semester, but I'm completely ignoring all of the advice of everybody at my home university and seeing what I can do on my own.

Anyway, writing is going pretty well. I have a new routine that other writers might find useful.

I get up and do crunches, reps with hand weights, and stretches.

Then, I get on my new exercise bike and turn on a Donald Trump CD: Thank Big and Kick Ass. I went to Penn, where the Donald did, but I'm a lot younger than he is. He went to Wharton. I attended the College. When I was an undergraduate, I was very anti-business. Now that I'm older, I'm not. And I find the Donald rather refreshing after years around English professors. Anyway, I try to burn off six hundred calories in 30 minutes while the Donald tells me how to lay waste to everybody who gets in my way.

After I'm done, I leap into the shower (no, I won't tell you what I do there). Then I leap out, do my oral hygene and shave. Then I run to the word processor and pump a thousand words. Then, I spend about 1.5 hours studying and writing direct mail. Now, all this gets done usually before 8:30, when I run off to start my other work.

I find the routine very fun.

Tomorrow...fun with the American Psychological Association.

Doug