Thursday, January 29, 2015

... vampires & academia, running sucks, AND plants on a snowy day...





The academic semester is concluding week 2 tomorrow and I AM EXHAUSTED! Bah! I must have become commuting-wimpy during sabbatical. Nevertheless, I am so glad to be back in the classroom. It has been a bit snowy in Washington, D.C. so the plants, especially the hyacinth that I brought into the office, really help.

I’m teaching the Vampires in Literature, Film and Pop Culture course through the General Studies program again this semester, and yesterday my students gave short pop culture presentations. During one of the presentations, I learned all about the Vampire 5K. The event is not considered a “race” and in the description it reads that this is a “one-of-a-kind event that pits Citizens versus Vampires in a race for survival” and “This is for everyone out there who says they only like running if they are being chased.” Ha ha ha, I used to always say that. I’ve actually run a few 10K races in the past… more liked jogged them. I’m not competitive and when it started to become work (read that as *not fun*), I stopped. I thoroughly enjoy walking (for or not for exercise) because I’m out in nature and can look around at my environment. Running is a bit different.

Anyhow, this looks really fun. There have been a few Zombie runs that I’ve been considering but I’m pretty sure I can convince some of my colleague to do this with me… even if it’s just for the shirts.

Many universities allow faculty to have research days where we don’t teach. Yet, instead of doing actual research today, I mostly did other work-related catch-up from being on sabbatical. Probably my biggest accomplishment was that I (successfully) maneuvered through our travel requirements for presentations and conferences… although it certainly did take me a while. Last night I learned that I will receive a faculty development grant that will cover perhaps the entire cost of the conference that I will be attending in April. That is HUGE and such a wonderful benefit.  Honestly, I’m a bit surprised. While the committee chair wrote that “[my] proposal was very creative, well-written and an outstanding example!” the topic was vampire-related and I do teach at a fairly conservative university. Just last week a colleague mentioned that I probably shouldn’t be teaching Dracula when the Board of Trustees observes my Intro. class of English majors. WWWWHHHAAATTT???? I’m pretty sure that my head spun like Regan in The Exorcist. Dracula isn’t some lowbrow trash novel… geez! I even require a Norton Critical Edition (because I nerd out on the footnotes!)

Wearing fangs out with my fella... you can almost see his elf ear :D
But other than a snide comment here and there, and still having older faculty mumble, “I see you’re wearing black again today” the job is a dream. And in a field where it is at times publish or perish, I’ve put in the work with a review published in the Washington Post in September, a chapter in a book published in December, and currently my very own manuscript being considered (with chapters sent out to outside readers just last week). If I want to spend a little energy on a 1970s vampire film because nobody else (who should be) is… so be it. (Steps down off soapbox… or perhaps a wooden box *wink*.)

8 comments:

  1. Bah dont listen to those comments. I would so enroll in your class if I lived closer to you! They are just jealous because you are awesome and getting recognised for your hard work and creativity. I am so envious of your job, by the way.

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    1. Awes, thanks Sylvie. I appreciate that. I didn't mean to rant but sometimes, well, ya know.

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  2. Hmm...I'm curious what 70s vampire film you might be working on? One of my favourite Dracula films is the 1970 Count Dracula by Jess Franco starring Christopher Lee. Lee has said that it is one of his favourite Dracula films because he gets to actually speak throughout most of the film unlike the Hammer versions! I am a huge Vampire fan as well as a Hammer Horror and Christopher Lee fan. :)

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    1. Deafula http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123790/

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  3. I second Sylvie's motion; I would definitely take that class if I lived close enough! Ignore the grumps, they're just jealous because you're having fun and they're not. :-P

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