Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago this week, I was getting ready to leave on the Planet SOMA US Tour of 1997. It was a pretty major event for me: a five-week cross-country (and back) road trip where I’d be staying in assorted motels, and sometimes with complete strangers who invited me into their homes on the basis of having enjoyed my website. I updated almost daily from the road (which was rather unusual in those early internet days) and had a really great time all the way around.

For the next five weeks, I’ll be saluting and remembering that trip, and you can follow along day by day if you like, using the nifty “Otherstream Retro” box you’ll see at the top of the front page. Or you can cheat and read the whole story. Or neither one. Your choice. Either way, enjoy it. I did.

Back to School

Random snapshots from my first week as a graduate student:

  • What could be more annoying than slogging your way through a dense, 20-page treatise that atempts to determine the difference between “knowledge” and “information”? Maybe its conclusion that, in the end, it doesn’t matter anyway and that the terms will be used interchangeably throughout the entire text? Aaargh…
  • An urban college campus makes for a nice “feel” but also for lousy parking.
  • It’s nice having access to a university library again, particularly with a good chunk of it being available from home as well. Right now I’m amused by being able to download a century’s worth of articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post for free, but my current obsession is subject to change without notice.
  • I hate group projects.

Filling Up the House

We’ve moved way ahead in our ongoing dream of transforming the Tiki Room into Morticia Addams’ conservatory. All that’s missing is Cleopatra, the venus flytrap.

Yes, this will no doubt be remembered as the week we got serious about finally filling up our house. And the thrift stores were as cooperative as I’ve ever known them to be. We’ve fleshed out lots of the empty spaces, particularly in the basement rumpus room, with a sort of 1967 blend of neo-traditional modernism centered around the mint-condition sofa and matching chair, and a low-slung “party table” (it actually says that on the bottom) with barrel chairs. And there are finally curtains in the bedroom.

Nothing Much to Say

Reflections on my first week back in school (among other things) are yet to come, but it’s been sort of an all-around crazy week, and the weekend isn’t looking much calmer, so it may be a while.

But just so you’ll know I’m still alive, here’s a random shot of downtown Winston-Salem that has nothing much to do with anything I’ve said here.

Art Prints and Textbooks

Check out my dad, having an 82nd birthday dance with my mom, less than two months after his hip replacement surgery.

Before meeting up with my parents, I stopped by campus to buy my textbooks. I’m not sure what shocked me more: the price of the books or the fact that everyone on the entire campus looks about thirteen years old.

It’s very odd making my third return to UNCG. Everything is so different, but small, random things are exactly the same as they were during my first two enrollments, like the tables in the student union where they sell the very same Doors and Bob Dylan posters “art prints” they’ve been selling at the beginning of each semester since about 1968, as far as I can tell.

Am I nervous about entering a classroom for the first time in sixteen years? You betcha I am.