21 December 2007

A few years back, I was working on a project about the 17th century mystic Anna Trapnel. (A good text to start with is The Cry of a Stone.) Her prophecies are wild, and her visions frequently exhausted her to the point that she needed bed rest, sometimes for weeks at a time. Accounts of these experiences almost always refer to Trapnel eating next to nothing and drinking only water and “small beer.”

It turns out that Anchor brews something by that name; tonight I finally decided to try it. If my experience is any indication, Trapnel sacrificed by abstaining from the “good stuff.” The beer isn’t exactly bad, but it’s not much tastier than PBR. Thus ends this experiment in history, never to be repeated.

Good-bye to all that

Yesterday I turned in my key to the English department’s office for graduate students. Lately we’ve had to do that whenever the semester’s over, even if we happen to be teaching in the subsequent term. This time is different for me, though: effective today, I’m no longer a graduate student.

I’ve chosen to leave the PhD program without my degree. The life of the academic no longer seems appealing to me. This decision might seem sudden or even rash, but I don’t think it’s either of those things. For a while I’ve been realizing that I’m not happy doing the more isolated tasks associated with professional academia. I prefer the collaborative environment of a well-run class to the general isolation of trying to write something “innovative” about literature. Academic life feels too strongly to emphasize the latter at the expense of the former—or at least too strongly for me.

This was a difficult decision: I still love writing, reading, thinking, and teaching, all attributes for any decent scholar. I doubt there are many other places where wanting to talk about Piers Plowman or Wulf and Eadwacer wouldn’t be greeted with a few raised eyebrows. But feeling happy and fulfilled are more important to me than such “creature comforts,” and I doubt I’d be happy continuing along the academic path.

Over the next while I’ll be figuring out what’s next; I’ll also be writing more at what I’ll be calling “Textivism.” I’m (at least temporarily) clearing out the “Drasty Speche” archive, including course syllabi and other projects, so if there’s something you’re hoping to save, do it before Monday.

To my students & friends at Loyola: Thanks for a great time; I hope to see you all again, sometime soon.

There’s a ton of stuff under the hood of this site that I’ve implemented but never bothered to harness. (Maybe I should figure out why I bothered in the first place, or at least why I’m bothering to tell anyone.)

20 December 2007

Finals, finally

OK. Grades are definitely in. All of your written work (aside from the final exam, 288 folks) will be available for you in the English department office when you’ve returned from break.

If, for whatever reason, you’re interested in what’s going on in my little world, stay tuned! And if there’s anything from this web site that you want to save for posterity, I recommend you do it ASAP—most likely by Monday morning.

Have a great Christmas/winter holiday—and thanks for a great semester!

17 December 2007


To my (panicked?) UCWR 110 class: I think I figured out what went wrong with entering grades in LOCUS. They should be there now or whenever the university updates their system.

To my English 288 & UCWR 110 classes: I’ll have your papers in the English department on Thursday. They’ll likely be there after the break, as well.

To my English 288 class: your grades will be in LOCUS by tomorrow morning, about 11:00 AM.

More to come … ?

13 December 2007

Course news

I’ll be posting a “semester wrap-up” message on Monday, December 18, if you’re interested.

English 288: I’ll be having “panic session” AIM-based office hours tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 14, 7:00-9:00 PM. You can find me at j0hnb4ll. If we don’t “chat,” I’ll see you at the exam, Saturday at 9 AM. (Remember also to include your essay draft with your final paper submission, which you should turn in at the beginning of the exams.)

UCWR 110: Final grades will be posted to LOCUS by 3:00 7:00 PM tomorrow (Friday). Promise! Update (12/14, 6:30): I entered your grades before hopping on the train to Chicago. Hopefully they’ll show up soon. (Complain loudly to me at erik(dot)vorhes(at)gmail(dot)com if by 11ish tomorrow morning you can’t see your grade. I probably won’t be able to do anything about it until after the English 288 exam.)

11 December 2007

UCWR 110 final papers

I’m leaving campus for the day & won’t be back until Saturday. If you haven’t given me your paper or extra credit assignment, you have until Thursday at 6:00 PM. Send your stuff via e-mail to erik(dot)vorhes(at)gmail(dot)com.

Grades will be in LOCUS by Friday afternoon at the latest. You can pick up any printed materials on Monday, December 17, in the English department office (4th floor Crown). Comments might be sparse. Or they might not. It’s a mystery.

Have a great holiday!

Tuesday Office Hours!

I’m administering a make-up exam from 9 AM until 11 AM. If you want to see me, please stop by after then (and before 4 PM).

UCWR 110 Students: please drop off your papers after 11 AM. Thanks!

10 December 2007

Cleaning things up

I’ll have more stuff to write by next Tuesday. For now: I’ve got a new e-mail address, which is in the right-hand column of this page, to supercede my Loyola and old G-mail addresses. (I’m declaring e-mail bankruptcy!)

More news soon, including a total cleaning of this site. I’ve figured out some Django and life things.

Stay tuned!

PS to UCWR 110 students: check the course site for news.

6 December 2007

288: I’m on my way!

It’s a perfect day to forget my keys. I’ll be to class as soon as I can get what I need from my mailbox.

4 December 2007

Genius on a train

Zora and I take the train from Chicago to Geneva every Tuesday evening, after I’m done teaching. She enjoys the ride. Today she started showing her smarts:

  1. The train announcer says, “The next stop will be … Geneva.”
  2. Zora looks thoughtful.
  3. She looks at me and says, “Go.”
  4. She hands me her bag and the stuff she had out during the ride, one object at a time.
  5. As I stand up to strap on my various bags, she also stands up and holds out her arms.
  6. I pick her up, and we head to the door. Minutes later, we’re outside, enjoying the snow.

2 December 2007

Zora refers to the refrigerator as “cheese.” She also calls cheese “cheese.” Guess her favorite food. Update: sometimes she also calls the refrigerator “bo[ttle].”

This is the archive for commonplace book entries that I published in December 2007.