Luckily, I remembered.
The best part of forgetting you have a blog? And not posting anything for over a year? You can actually read your old posts with a sense of distance, which is basically impossible to do while you are in the mode of actually writing them. Weirdly, I stumbled back upon my old blog and read through a few posts as if I wasn’t aware that I was the one that wrote them. Of course, this me of 2015 is not the same me of 2017. [Imagine a few sentences here about ontology, Freud, and various psychological studies concerning views of the self]. There are some parts of my old posts at which I cringe, with the stereotypical “Why’d I say that” reaction, but there are others where I am quite fond of my writing. But this is to be expected, and even though a year away offers a certain degree of objectivity, I’m still biased towards myself. That’s what a blog like this is for, I believe.
Things have happened since my last post in 2015:
- I finished my first full year as a tenure-track professor. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed that first year, and I am enjoying this second year even more. I know that at some point in the future (assuming I keep my job and higher education doesn’t totally collapse, a possibility some of my colleagues would argue is more realistic than you might think), I will become disillusioned with the job, bitter at my administrators, and outright curmudgeonly. But I’m not there yet, and I still get excited before each class, anticipate the conversations I get to have with students, and simply look forward to going to work every day.
- I bought a house. It’s small, it’s old, and it’s simple. In other words, it’s exactly what I wanted. When you buy a house in November in Texas, I feel as if you get a 6-month deferment until you actually have to deal with the challenges of owning a home; specifically, growing grass and rising temperatures. So far things have been smooth and stress-free, minus some ants in my kitchen and a front door that sticks. The biggest challenge of being a new homeowner is that this is my first time to live alone. That might be a surprising thing for a 30-year old to say; nevertheless, I’m just now learning what it is to literally be alone. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet, to be honest.
- I met someone. We got engaged. I’m now married.
- The Cowboys won a Divisional round playoff game and are playing in the NFC Championship game for the first time since I was a small child.
- Donald Trump was elected president.
- Unfortunately, the only of the last three statements that is true is the most frightening and seemingly-impossible of the three. And when you consider the other two, that’s a telling statement.
Anyone reading this blog (which now is probably no one, considering my long absence) doesn’t need updates about me, so I’ll stop there. I’d rather spend a few moments talking about books I’ve read and things I’ve watched on various screens. Rather than give detailed responses about each, I’ll instead provide two lists of memorable titles from the past year or so, in ascending order of quality. In other words, I’ll start with my least favorites and end with my favorites. *This doesn’t mean that numbers 2, 3, and 4 are things I didn’t like; it just means that I didn’t like them as much as numbers 5-10. For example, I really, really liked Underground Railroad, The Nix, and Hell or High Water; but I liked 1Q84 and Moonlight much more.
Things I’ve read:
- Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
- Swing Time by Zadie Smith
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- The Nix by Nathan Hill
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (first time to read it)
- The Catcher in the Rye (first time since high school)
- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (second reading–so amazingly good)
- The Sellout by Paul Beatty (this text stuck with me as much as any text ever has; what a reading experience)
Things I’ve seen on screens:
- Batman vs. Superman (so, so, so bad)
- Hail, Ceasar! (not as bad as it’s proximity to the title above may suggest, but towards the bottom for me in terms of Coen brothers films)
- Westworld (meh; so many better options out there for AI, alternative realities, Westerns, and HBO drama series)
- The Revenant (I have complete respect for the ridiculous effort it took for all involved for this film to turn out how it did, but I have no desire to ever see it again)
- Hell or High Water
- The Night Manager
- Love (Netflix series)
- Manchester by the Sea
- It’s a Wonderful Life (I sat down last Christmas eve and watched the entire NBC broadcast, commercials and all, and I can honestly say that I had totally forgotten how perfect this movie is. I almost cried many, many times)
I think that pretty much sums up my last 14 months or so. Teaching, reading, homeowning, and watching. Lots of golf, too. And food.
Teaser titles for upcoming blog posts:
“Pet Peeves: Updated and Expanded”
“Places to Get Decent Beer and Unexpected Culture in Abilene, TX”
“My Case Against TruckNutz: A Manifesto”
“‘Why I Quit Social Media’ and other musings from an adult life lived in 21st century America”
“CDs that I’ve listened to at least 100 times”
“Why Dairy Queen is better than Braums: A Qualitative Study”
I’m sure you can’t wait.