Thursday, May 23, 2013

Now this blog is illustrated!

Note the snazzy new title image, intended to answer the perennial question: just what is a porpentine? (I am not sure that the illustrator of this particular one, Conrad Gesner, had ever actually seen a porcupine, but his imagination clearly made up for any deficiencies in this regard. Anyway, I fell in love with this image when I first stumbled across it at the age of seventeen, in a cheap Folger paperback edition of Hamlet, and I thought it was high time that it graced the blog.)

In other news, Exciting Stuff may possibly be happening next summer (as in the getting-paid-to-travel kind of exciting!), although it's not a definite thing yet. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I am back from the annual Rumpus for Medievalists (and discerning early modernists), and as always, I had a most excellent time. I do have a massive scab on the chin, though, due to circumstances involving too much free ale and mead, too many things I wanted to go to at one time, and an ill-advised sprint across the campus.

I was kind of hoping my colleagues would ask me about it at yesterday's all-day department meeting, so that I could make up a colorful tale about my medieval-rumpus-related injury. Perhaps it would involve me saving a nun from a Viking invasion. Or a grendel attacking the mead-room. Or a green giant could have challenged me to a chin-swiping contest. Or perhaps there could have been a demonstration of trial by ordeal, and I could have volunteered to be a witch and get ducked in the swan pond, and one of the swans could have attacked me (because little did we know that they were not regular swans, but 900-year-old enchanted swans who were really people, and they mistook me for the real witch who had transformed them).

It says much about the general character of the Rumpus that none of these scenarios seems all that improbable.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Semester wrap-up, by the numbers

Number of papers graded: 184 (and 24 exams, and 13 presentations)

Number of papers yet to grade: 37 (and 35 exams, and 15 presentations)

Students enrolled in Basic Comp: 5

Students who still have a prayer of passing Basic Comp: 2

Students who will DEFINITELY pass Basic Comp: 0

Applications received for philosophy position: About 150

New colleagues hired in philosophy: 1

Major undergraduate-research events attended: 5

Number of these events that were full-on conferences in other cities: 2

Number of actual grown-up conferences attended: 0, but will be 1 next week.

Pages written on Kzoo paper: 5, plus one page of half-assed notes

Minimum acceptable page length for Kzoo paper: 8, probably.