Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Won't you be.... my teacher?

New Jonathon Coulton song yesterday, Lady Aberlin's Muumu. Very excellent. I'll have to pay him for that one, I guess.

The subsequent discussion in the comments about Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood has a link to this footage of Fred Rogers testifying before the senate (and saving public television) in 1969:

How can one watch that and not sob with joy? He speaks for maybe six and a half minutes, and the crusty Senator Pastore, ("Aaahright, Rogers, you got the floor...") melts before him ("Looks like you just earned the twenty million dollars.")

And so began my evening YouTube journey, during which I also found this short clip of Fred Rogers accepting a Lifetime Achievement Emmy (the good bit starts around 1:24):

As this day draws to a close, I can say it was a beautiful day in my neighbourhood, to be sure, but also a long and brutal day which began with getting stuck on a snow-covered ice-hill, plodded along with multiple difficult personal interactions throughout the day and ended with not much writing or grading being done, and with me still struggling to find words for my jumbled thoughts on the Big D, much to the consternation of many.

And suddenly, in a single moment of bright clarity, I realized that I am still learning from Mr. Rogers.

His lesson for me today is apparently about the power of words, in particular the power of the right words. It doesn't take a lot of words to do great and beautiful things, if they're the right ones.

Thank you again, dear man. I have hope again.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Our little corner of Wonderland

In the previous post, there were a couple shots of our back yard with a little bit of snow, and a glimpse out the window in early January, with actual dirt visible, when we had a brief thaw.

And now for something completely different:

The last few days have left us with snow at least a foot deep in places, pristine and beautiful. Today was bright and sunny, and Tiger was already waiting for me to open the blinds this morning when I crawled out of bed. Ford even got up, without the promise of food, to check it out.

I'm once again trying to write something for my dissertation committee. I've been trying to write something for them for nearly a year. I have 27 pages, of varying quality from intelligent to crap, written in spurts since last March. I'm now adding in the rest and revising it to include the work I did in the fall. I have promised them this thing so many times over the last 9 months, missing so many self-imposed deadlines along the way, that I'm no longer sure what a "deadline" is. I'm on my honour now, to get it to them. This week, I said. For sure. But of course, this week is almost over, and I won't have it to them tomorrow, because it isn't ready. But we're down to the wire now - Lady S. is leaving for an extended away trip at the end of next week, and I must have it in her hands before she goes. I don't care if she doesn't read it for 6 weeks - it will be out of my hands and I can move on with gathering more data.

What are the consequences if I don't get it done in the next couple days? No one knows. Probably not much for the immediate future. But any semblance of credibility I once had in the eyes of my committee is surely hanging by the narrowest of threads. They won't be surprised that I don't give them something tomorrow. They won't even remember I promised it. But they will be surprised to see it on Monday.

Any by all that is bright, sunny, good and fluffy, they will see it.

I look out into my little corner of Wonderland, and I know I can do this.

This is my determined face.