The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Teeth Marks

So the boy has discovered how to pry the lids off of his disposable sippy cups. All of a sudden they're not so cute in their multicolored plastic innocuousness. Especially when their contents are all over the new carpet. What stinks worse—soy or organic milk?

I notified both my dissertation directors today that my book is finally out. One knew; he is an advisor to the press (nepotism, anyone? hell, he owed me, story for later). The other didn't and was very nice and cursory with me, as he's always been. I liked him when I was working with him, but I still burn remembering how he put me in my place soon after I graduated. I came back to his office, just stopping by to say hi, now I'm a fellow Ph.D., a colleague you might say, and he made me wait outside of his office door with the rest of the undergrads. Slights like this would get a Sicilian killed... eight years later. I'm sure the worst I'll do is retrospectively grumble to myself about picking up the check when we have lunch at a conference sometime... eight years later.

I still like both of them in that strange father/teacher/colleague/friend/acquaintance way you get with dissertation directors, but I wouldn't hesitate to say that they taught me how NOT to deal with dissertation students. Now if I only had one or two...

The boy and the wife and I are off to D.C. in a couple of days for a joint work trip. Grandparents are flying out to take care of the boy, which is lovely of them. They're anxious, and I don't blame them. Fortunately, he saves the worst for us. Maybe he won't take a bite out of grandma's leg like he does to the wife. I'm looking forward to a good run around the mall and Jefferson memorial, a visit to the barbecue festival at the Capitol, and some Ethiopian food. The only Ethiopian place I've found in Pittsburgh, a nice little yuppified place in East Liberty, serves bland fare. And I've only found good BBQ in one place here (Wilson's, in the Mexican War streets). Wilson's ribs were good, and his sauce quite spicy, but I need some brisket and sausage to go with the ribs.

Running today: took the boy in the jogging stroller to the library and the hippie co-op. He's getting heavier. We were out for an hour. I'm still psyched about breaking 45 min. in the 10K this weekend.

The freshman comp class began yesterday. They're an interesting bunch, half seniors who put things off. I'm hoping to get them all tickets so that we can all attend a play together (one of the plays we're reading). I like doing things like this, but it irritates me more than it should when they say they're going to show and they don't. I have to remind myself I was far worse than that when I was in college—and I actually CARED about what we were doing in class. The play is the only text we're reading that's not in our theme: writing about Pittsburgh or writing by Pittsburgh writers. I started Wideman's DAMBALLAH today and the story "Daddy Garbage" just had me wondering what the corner of Hamilton and Homewood was like in the 1960s. Was there really a snow-cone cart there? These days, it's the place where my 8 months pregnant wife almost got herself a beat-down for walking down the street at 11 in the morning.


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