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.


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.


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.


Monday, July 14, 2008


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.


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.


Friday, July 11, 2008


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.


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.


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.


Monday, July 7, 2008


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.


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.


Thursday, July 3, 2008


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.


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
Public Interest Research Groups
Much To Do About Nothing

That's it for this year.


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.