Among the more consistent weather patterns on the Northern Plains is the seven-day rain cycle. In the spring and early summer, precipitation enters the Red River Valley on a regular rhythm. We have dry days on Monday through early Friday, but by Friday afternoon, clouds form. On Saturday and Sunday we have rain, which gives way to sunnier skies on Monday. This cycle repeats itself every seven days like clockwork much like late afternoon thunderstorms in the south or the annual appearance of the sirocco in southern Europe.
Before some quick hits and varia, be sure to make some time to check out the most recent Caraheard podcast. Richard Rothaus and I chat with science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s epic and awesome.
I’ll be down here with THE HAT.
Just in case.
Today, I’m bracing for about 8 hours of meetings and woke up to encounter a dusting of snow. That being said, the UND Writers Conference has been great fun, the UNDlers won their ice hockeying contest last night, and I managed to botch only a little bit of a top secret project.
This is one of most entertaining sports weekends of the year: Formula 1, NASCAR at Martinsville, Final Four basketballing games, World T20 Final, and opening day in baseballing. Unfortunately, many of us will have to work over the weekend, but I hope that I have time to catch some of the festivities.
While very strict rules regarding how we talk about the UND Writers Conference, so I won’t even try here, but you can go and check out the link.
Before the list of quick hits and varia, congratulations to all the folks (like my wife!) who worked hard to bring a pharmacy back to downtown Grand Forks.
We’re up early at Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Headquarters watching the Australia v. New Zealand match in the Cricket T20 World Cup at breathtakingly gorgeous Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala. It’s a nice break from the all the college basketballing this time of year.
The nice thing about college basketballing and cricket is the somewhat gentlemanly pace of play leaves plenty of time for reading across the interwebs and compiling a nice little list of quick hits and varia.
Spring has sprung here on the Northern Plains, and after a couple of grey days, we’re expected to kiss 60 degrees this afternoon. I’m sure that my concentration will begin to waver, and even as the days get longer, I’ll get less done.
To get things started, I did a little interview about the Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota this week on Prairie Public Radio’s Main Street. Check it out here. We also have a cool video.
In the meantime, I’ll do all I can to distract my readers with a gaggle of quick hits and varia:
Milo and Eli taking in the Spring Sun
I will flirt with 50 degrees this weekend as spring looks like it has official sprung here on the Northern Plains. This was the mildest winter I’ve encountered here in North Dakota, and I don’t know whether to thank El Nino or Global Warming!
The week has been pretty exciting here in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World land. You can now order a dead tree version of The Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota for the low, low price of $15.00. That’s right $15.00. Or better still, download it for free.
Next week, Erin Walcek Averett from Creighton University will visit UND to give the Seventh Cyprus Research Fund Lecture titled: “Frightening the Frightful: Grotesque Visages from Ancient Cyprus.” It’s at 3 pm in the East Asia Room of the Mighty Chester Fritz Library. Or you can live stream the talk here.
Finally, you may have noticed that Caraheard Podcast Season 2, Episode 6 dropped yesterday. I think the sound quality is better than ever and the conversation is as good as you might expect from me and Richard Rothaus. Jon Frey, of course, more than holds his own.
Some other fun links for your balmy, early spring weekend:
Smells ok to me.
As I hinted over on the North Dakota Quarterly page yesterday, it feels like it could almost be spring here this week. While it’s always premature to declare the North Dakota winter over, I am pretty sure that we’ve survived the worst of it. I’m looking forward to running outside and commencing the usual springtime clean up just as soon as the last of the snow is melted.
Our world is turning to a delightful, slushy mess, and this gives me a some time to offer a short list of quick hits and varia.
(Plus, I don’t want to distract you too much, because there’s a big announcement today! Be sure to check back to the blog after around 9 am!!)
Comfort in Familiar Things
Wind chill warnings in effect and snow tomorrow evening make this a perfect weekend for putting the finishing touches on a book and making some maps for the Tourist Guide to the Bakken. It’s also a nice weekend for watching some cricket from New Zealand and sitting by the fire while imagining a sun-drenched, late-summer day in Wellington.
Yesterday, I blogged about the dust-up between Michael Smith and the archaeology folks at University of Colorado-Boulder (in a slightly self-congratulatory way). It looks like the little controversy is not over yet, with the Department of Anthropology weighing in with some pretty stern words. While I am still inclined to think of this as a tempest in a teacup, I was pleased to see that the comment from the chair of anthropology largely echoed some of my own sentiments, but then took it in a different, less sophisticated direction: “blogging on the internet evidently does not require understanding, a sense of professional courtesy or ethics, or much thought of any kind.”
To be sure, blogging (on the internet or otherwise) does not require those things, but it does provide a window into the dusty pre-professional quarters of our disciplines. While we might want to hide these thing, I worry that this kind of “black boxing” of the academic process (to borrow a term that might site nicely in Prof. Joyce’s talk) does little for understanding how our discipline functions. Prof. Smith’s response to the lecture, in my experience, is the kind of thing that academics say all the time after talks (and who hasn’t directed hyperbole at an ideal that we don’t quite understand). Blogging as a platform allows scholars to make these impressions and observations public and to expose the messy “sausage making” process of academic and intellectual work. As embarrassing as it is for me to admit, there are talks that I have called incomprehensible when it turns out that out they were significant and important.
Folks like Prof. Smith can be blunt and honest on his blog. His reputation as curmudgeon with nearly dogmatic views is well-known and well-established. This persona takes a certain amount of confidence and courage because exposing the sausage making process through a blog entails risk. His apology, to my mind, did enough to clear the air as did his open conversation in the comments section of his blog. The response from the anthropology faculty at Colorado, in contrast, sought to reinforce professional and disciplinary standards which I’m not convinced that enforcing stilted standards of academic decorum on blogs makes academia a better place. But don’t believe me, this post didn’t require “much thought of any kind.”
If you couldn’t care less, here’s little gaggle of quick hits and varia:
Sometimes you wear the elephant, sometimes the elephant wears you.
Week four of our semester. A mild February. Satisfactory progress on a bunch of projects. A Cyprus Research Fund Lecture coming in March. One more series of good cricket to keep our attention. Everything is just swell here at Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Headquarters.
The only thing not lovely in my world is the mankading scandal at the cricket under-19 world cup, and if that’s all I can complain about, life is very good indeed.
It’s the time when the semester has settled into a bit of a routine and the excuses that have kept me from the pile of tasks have run their course. Heck, Australia isn’t even playing test cricket right now, football season is nearly over, and NASCAR and Formula One are still weeks in the future. These are the prime productive weeks of the semester.
But before I get back to work, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some pleasantly distracting quick hits and varia:
It’s call “the wing”