Reasons for Current Radio Silence
My apologies for having no posts for a very long time. It has been a rather insane month (or year or something). I don't think I have had a block of free time larger than 20 minutes since Christmas. My research days keep getting eaten up with exciting things like our department doing a search, various meetings, scheduling the classes for next year (which killed an entire research day), taking my son to the dentist, my daughter having time off from school, etc. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of clear spots on the horizon: I just depressed myself by looking at the calendar for May because everything was filled up until then.
On the positive side, my classes this semester are excellent. Both the students in Beowulf and the students in the Math/Science Fiction course are the same students that I had in the fall. That's the first time that has ever happened, and it's pretty cool (though a little highschool-ish) to have the same kids all year. They're doing an amazing job in both courses, despite the problems with Beowulf, which we've been doing withing a stinking book for three weeks. Why, you ask? Because a) even though Klaeber IV was not ready yet, publishers stopped printing Klaeber III b) our stupid bookstore didn't order the book on time or didn't inform me that it was out of print and then tried to lie and tell me that I didn't put the order in (thank you, email confirmation). So, publishers of Klaeber III and IV: thanks, morons, for not coordinating yourselves. And to the bookstore: thanks also, morons, for not letting me know in advance. The upshot is that my poor students have been translating Beowulf with photocopies of Klaeber but using the excreble Clark Hall dictionary instead of Klaeber's glossary! And we are only 100 lines behind my schedule. I think my students deserve a freakin medal for doing this.
In other news, Tolkien Studies volume V is just about ready for the printer and there will be some very cool surpises in it. And my trainwreck of an entry on "Maxims, Aphorisms" turns out not to be as bad as I though: basically I am making a pretty good case that there aren't any unequivocal maxims in Old English except for the two poems by that name. So my entry will be bifurcated: half on the two poems and the other half saying that we shouldn't call anything a maxim (everything that's been called a maxim has more commonly been labeled a "proverb").
I also signed contracts for two new courses on CD from Recorded Books: I'll be doing a course on grammar in March and a course on Poetry in June. It's always fun to work with them, and the fact that they think that courses on Grammar and Poetry will be good sellers says good things about both the company and the wider world of listeners and readers.
Speaking of listeners, Anglo-Saxon Aloud continues to roll along. The Minor Poems should be done in two weeks, then Boethius, and then the Paris Psalter (which I'm working on learning to sing). The week of February 18 will feature the metrical charms, which should be at least amusing to Scott Nokes.
I now just have to finish the second chapter of the Science Fiction novel I was commissioned to write, finish my paper on aesthetic selection and then prepare the two lectures I'm giving in Utah in April.
I guess it's better to be overworked than to be bored. I do plan to write about the movement to make colleges spend more of their endowments, Stanley Fish's lame defense of the liberal arts, and more. Eating, sleeping and exercising? I plan on looking into those things. Some day I will read a book for pleasure again, too.