Today I Learned: I Still Have a Blog

The campus library has a quiet room. You would think that sounds recursive but apparently I’m old-school.  The young lady who’d previously did an online catalog search to find where they kept the dictionaries told me it was upstairs.

On the upside, I have discovered not only the salad bar but the Starbucks. So things even out.

Of course, I’m currently sitting in my quiet car eating a grilled cheese sandwich, which goes to show that discoveries are not always timely.

Almost the First Day of School

I decided to spend this dreary day doing administrative things for my upcoming semester. I’ve been out of school for many, many years so I had a rude awakening when I realized the glacial pace that academic administration moves. So taken aback I was, I even posted on Facebook about it.

Don't judge me for using "glacial" in both places. When you find a word that works. Use it. See "Crapola"

Don’t judge me for using “glacial” in both places. When you find a word that works. Use it. See “Crapola”

The parking permit was a bust. I don’t like waiting in line, so I like to get things done early and get on with my life. Preventing new students from getting their permits until the days before classes start creates lines. Blah.

The bookstore was better. Even in various stages of disarray, I was able to find the books I needed for three out of four classes. I went the “Used” route, as they were there and I’m trying to get shit done. Also, I’m the asshole that picks through all the used books to find the ones without highlighting or underlining. I mean, you never know who had those before – they could totally be gas-lighting you with their highlighter.

The class I couldn’t get books for was “Genre Studies: 20th Century Science Fiction.” It’s a pretty good list: Around the World in 80 Days, Best of H.P. Lovecraft, Ender’s Game, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Island of Dr. Moreau, Sandman Vol. 2, Watchmen and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1. I’ve read some of those (Hitchhiker’s more than once) and will be glad to read the rest, but I have this strange stitch in my side when there are books I want (need) and I can’t get them.

I was able to leave with Art through the Ages, Vol E (for Art History), American Literature Vols 1 and 2 (for American Lit), Literary Criticism, Fathers and Children and The Cripple of Inishmaan (for Literary Crit) and a Pocket Style Manual that I grabbed from the English 101 book stack. I’m not entirely sure I should have done that, but nothing I can do now. It’s MINE!

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The Buying of the Books is a ritual for me – an maybe for many other students – when the reality of the semester bears down (Go Golden Bears!) and the work of the next few months becomes real.  The Purchasing of the Permit would have sealed the deal in my mind, but for now, I’m still hanging in the wind with a bag full of books, not fully “official.”

Note: I’ll be adding these books to my 100 Books in 2014 Challenge page, not because they count toward the challenge (they don’t) but because I want to document (for myself) everything I’m reading this year.

Challenge: 100 Books in 2014

There are many people out there resolving to read more in 2014 and I’ve decided to jump right on that bandwagon. I go through spurts where I’ll read book after book after book, then go through a drought where my iPad gets dusty and the book pile threatens to teeter and fall, suffocating me for my lack of attention. But this year, this year will be different.

I bet you’ve never heard that before.

One hundred seems like a lot, especially considering I’ll be a full-time English Lit student this year and will already have a reading list as a top priority. I think it’s doable, and dammit, I’ve got to meet a lofty goal sometime. But as with all things worth doing, there are some rules:

  1. At least 50% of the books have to be written by women.
  2. At least 40% have to be by authors I’ve not read before. I’m thinking this one will end up being a larger percentage, since I’m really trying to spread my wings here.
  3. At least 30% have to be non-fiction (and not just science – which I love, but biographies, histories and memoirs, too).
  4. At least 20% will be self-published titles. There will be a lot of overlap here between self-published and new-to-me authors and that’s just fine.
  5. At least 10% will be popular bestsellers. I know what you’re thinking, “oh, that’s a stretch,” but I’m not one to grab something from the bestseller table at B&N. I typically weave my way back to the genre fiction and find new titles from old favorites.
  6. I will post a short, 1-to-2-paragraph review on Goodreads for each book.

Also:

  1. Books in my class syllabus will not count toward the total.
  2. Books may be physical or electronic.
  3. Books may already be in the house, not all the of the books have to be purchased new (I am a student, ya know).
  4. Books I’m currently reading will not count toward the total  (”Raising Steam” by Terry Pratchett and “Queen of Kings” by Maria Dahvana Headley).

And most importantly:

  1. I have permission to utterly fail to reach this goal.

The purpose of this is the journey, the discovery of new books and authors and the evolution of my own literary tastes. As long as I try, I’ll be succeeding. This is one of those contests where participation IS the most important part.

So, want to take on this challenge with me? 

Goodbye Self-Hosting

ImageIt’s been a long time coming, but it’s time to downsize the web developer and upsize the writer. Part of that transformation means no longer being my own server admin. I’ve had many good years with Liquidweb and they will always be my first recommendation to anyone needing a web host, VPS or dedicated server. But, the times, they are a-changing as Benjamin Franklin famously said.

In all honesty, this was really brought about because I got my Ghost access today and tried it out. While having some fun with Markdown I thought about all the WordPress installs I have to update for work, then the personal installs. And while Ghost is a nifty platform, there’s too much about WordPress I like. 

I just don’t want to do all the work.