December 8th, 2009


It's a winter wonderland out there!

Gorgeous: Snow clinging heavy on the branches, making everything quiet and bright even after teaching night class (my last Tuesday class of 2009). Walking home from the University, I was a bit hesitant, what with an inch or more of snow on the sidewalks. But, alas! My new boots are awesome for blasting through the snow!

Yes, I've entered a new phase in my life. Since 2000 or so, I've worn only Double-H brand strap-and-buckle-and-zip boots, these puppies:

Well, one can no longer buy these in men's sizes. The pair I've been wearing is now a few years old, and considering that I wear them every day of the year, while working on cars, cutting down trees, crawling across asphalt shingles, and so forth, that's a pretty good record. But the straps are falling off, the zippers are failing, and they're generally beat to hell. I've continued wearing them only because I haven't found anything I like better. I mean, geez, you can't even get the traditional Dr. Martens tall, black boots any more - what I wore for several years before the Double-H items. They looked like these, only taller:

Well, a local store (Vanderbilt's for you locals) was having a boot sale after Thanksgiving, and though they carry both the Doc and Double-H, they had nothing I liked from those brands. But, hark! They did have another pair that I found sufficiently good-looking and comfy to boot (ba-da-boom). And I think they look like the boots that people wore on the Battlestar Galactica:

They're side-zip, like the Double-Hs, which means I can lace them to where I want, double-knot, and they're ready to pull on and off (especially handy in airports). But they cost half as much, weigh a couple hundred pounds less, are much more flexy, and - here's what prompted me to write this - offer complete traction in the snow and ice. Hooray new boots!

Which means I can enjoy the snow again. Life is good. If only the parking brake worked on the Saab - thereby enabling irresponsible cornering - life would be perfect.


blog as MFA thesis

I'm on the thesis committee for a former student of mine, Jen, who is writing a blog for her MFA thesis. I think it's a wonderful idea, especially because the University bureaucracy is having fits trying to understand how to deal with this format. But I also love this because the internet is really where the personal essay thrives today, and to ignore the web as a delivery mechanism is to look backwards. And as metaphor for the transience of things - a major theme on the farm - a blog is the perfect form for her project.

Jen's blog is called Up From the Ground, which she explains "is where I explore life as a wannabe Kansas farmer (vegetables, livestock, and home canning included). Competing with this much romanticized return-to-the-land agrarian life is my interest in technology and especially its affect on communication. The two are far from mutually exclusive."

There's some lovely writing about the hardships and joys of farm life in Kansas... and discovering how to succeed (or survive) without a background in farming. So go check it out and support her efforts!