Thursday, February 03, 2011

School year tidbits

The beginning of the spring semester always kills me; I don't think I'm really breaking any confidences when I say that we've had three candidates for each of two different junior faculty positions come to give talks in the last two weeks (the final candidate of the group is coming on Tuesday), and of course they must also be lunched and dined and so forth (I am drawing the line at dining this year, lunching is less overwhelming to my schedule!), and their talks subsequently chewed over with colleagues in offices and corridors; it is most tiring for them, and I do not mean to make light of their plight, but it is ultimately rather tiring for the visited as well as for the visitor!

There are a lot of regular talks at this time of year, too: good ones I've heard in the past week include Columbia instantiations of this and this. I wanted to go to this one this evening, but I was so tired that I instead took to my bed!

(Yesterday started very early, with 7am boot camp at Chelsea Piers, and ended late, sitting down around 11:15pm for a very pleasant and satisfying if nutritionally unsound dinner at the Penny Farthing; I had - I am slightly ashamed even to name it - buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese, and G. had fried chicken of evident deliciousness. We had come from the highly satisfactory though perhaps not absolutely stellar - it is such a good play, though! - production of Three Sisters at the Classic; the only thing I didn't care for was the translation, which struck me as obtrusively colloquial in a rather dated way, but many of the performances are very good, and Juliet Rylance was superb as Irina.)

My classes are both well underway, I think; I'm really enjoying being back in the classroom. Yesterday: the last half of The Country Wife, a play which continues to perplex and intrigue me ("Write as I bid you, or I will write whore with this penknife in your face").

Some bits of light reading around the edges: Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air (superb in parts, less compelling in others, but the voice is at its best spectacular); Roger Smith's Wake Up Dead, which I loved. It was a recommendation via The Big Dime, a list that also sent me to Stuart Neville's Belfast thrillers; near the end of the first one now, and finding it very good, though perhaps a bit more conventional/not as much to my taste as Roger Smith's Cape Town thriller.

My only plans for tomorrow are to reread Robinson Crusoe and do a great deal of exercise.

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