I guess I never really understood the concept of the howling wind until I moved to North Dakotaland. For the last few days, the wind has just beaten us into submission. In fact, on Tuesday, the university closed for a “ground blizzard” which was created by 40 mph winds whipping the loose snow into an impenetrable white cloud. Wednesday was so cold and blustery that a 5 minute walk from my class to my truck left me shivering uncontrollably. Things were a bit more mild last yesterday, but I was still grateful for my COVID mask, not to protect me from The Omicron, but to protect my face from the wind. This morning, while I write this, the wind continues to bluster and buffet about.
Fortunately, I’m under a blanket and by the fire as I write this and while my day and weekend will be kind of hectic, I’ll should have time to watch some playoff football, catch some of the Sixers game tonight, and wrap up production on a book. Hecks, I might even find a few hours to read something for fun. We’ll see. I don’t want to get too crazy.
I do hope you have less wind in your day and find something to enjoy in these quick hits and varia:
I managed to survive both physically and mentally my first week of the new semester. More than that, I’m feeling pretty energized right now. To make things even better a predicted snow storm seems to have almost entirely missed us and the Eagles are in the playoffs.
If I were more of a night owl, I might even plan to stay up to watch the final test of The Ashes where Australia has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start. Or I might make an effort to stay up to watch the Joe Smith fight someone called Steve Geffrard on Saturday night for Smith’s light heavyweight title (after Callum Smith, Joe Smith’s intended opponent tested positive). Hecks, I could even imagine staying up to watch the second half of the NFL games on Saturday and Sunday, but I probably won’t.
Instead, I’ll stockpile some sleep, get some lingering projects sorted, and prepare for the second week of classes.
I’ll also try to do a better job gathering some quick hits and varia:
This just might be the final varia and quick hits of 2021 since next week is Christmas Eve and the week after that, inconveniently, is New Ears Eve (which marks the annual renewal of our ears). If you’re looking for a bit of holiday joy, go and check out North Dakota Quarterly’s blog post this week.
After a few days over 30° this week, the weekend is going to be seasonably cold and I’m going to use that as an excuse to stay near the fire and check out the stretch run of the NFL season, watch my beloved Philadelphia 76ers turn in the 2021 Phillies, and maybe catch one or two of the big fights this weekend. I’m most intrigued by Artur Beterbiev fight tonight in Montreal. He is one of a very small handful of fighters who I consider a crazy punching robot. Most of the ongoing day/night test match in Adelaide takes place well after my bedtime, but I’d be remiss not to congratulate Australia on an impressive first innings.
I have just a few more papers to grade, a little stack of mostly interesting things to read, and a couple of slightly hibernating dogs who will need walks. And I’ll also be diligently collecting posts for the first varia and quick hits of the new year.
It’s the final Friday of the semester and the snow is in that weird intermediate stage between melting into icy patches and simply evaporating into the cloudless blue sky. This means that any stretch of payment visible is a possible icy mirage. Mind your step!
As the grading marathon begins, I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to be distracted by a wonderful weekend of sports. The first Ashes test has turned into something interesting as England appear to have come to terms with the changing conditions at the Gabba. The weekend also brings the stirring end to one of the best Formula 1 seasons in recent memory with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton tied for points heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi. Finally, Vasiliy Lomachenko returns to the ring this weekend to face Richard Commey, who is always dangerous. With a win Lomachenko returns to the conversation at 135 where there’s a fascinating log jam developing between George Kambosos, Devan Haney and Gervonta Davis each looking to become or remain undisputed champion.
It also happens to be a New Book Week at The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. Check out Rebecca J. Romsdahl’s Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist. As with all books from The Digital Press, it’s available as a free download and as a low-cost paperback!
Of course, no week is complete, without some quick hits and varia:
There’s snow on the ground and days are getting shorter and shorter, but it’s also so close to the end of the semester, I can almost taste it. So wintertime giveth some research and writing time, but also taketh away daylight.
It feels like everything slows down in the wintertime. My sports calendar for the weekend looks lazy: some late season college football, the F1 guys in Saudi Arabia, and I’ll likely watch my Sixers on TV tonight. Australian Test cricket starts in about a week and the rhythm of that sport will dictate our holiday ritual and the sight of the grassy pitches under the warm Australian sky will remind us that longer, warmer days will return!
This weekend, I’ll keep slogging away on my to do list which continues to grow faster than I can cross things off. Hopefully, I’ll push two books along in the production process (and maybe a third) and continue to catch up on reading and syllabus writing for next semester. All of this is fun stuff, but sometimes, like an all you can drink scotch bar, you wish there wasn’t so much good stuff at once.
In the spirit of that sentiment, here’s some quick hits and varia:
Double Dog Walking
A cold Thanksgiving provided a nice enough opportunity to develop a thicker fat layer for the winter ahead! It also reminds us that for all the meteorological and experiential data, Thanksgiving well and truly is the start of winter whether it feels that way or not. This means it’s seasonally appropriate to watch this new YouTube series: Ornament Histories.
In keeping with the seasonal change, I will make sure the savor the last tastes of fall rituals. Tomorrow, of course, is The Game (Ohio State vs. Michigan) and the rest of the weekend is lousy with other college rivalry matchups. There’s a warm-up match between Australia and England next week to decide the last few open spots for The Ashes (including, it would appear, wicketkeeper, and the number 5 batsman which will both likely play a role in supporting the sometimes fragile Australian top order). The only other thing on my sports calendar for the next few days is the overhyped and much delayed Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos fight. Lopez will likely make short work of the game Australian, but in boxing one is never quite sure.
Other than that, I have plans to work on grading, to think about syllabi for next semester, and to maybe squeeze in a bit of reading and writing to put myself in a good place for what will invariably be a hectic month between semesters and an even more hectic spring!
I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable (if you’re in place that celebrates) and that you enjoy some quick hits and varia:
It’s winter in North Dakota with cold winds, old snow, and a warm fire. The early and late winter are always the hardest. In November, our bodies haven’t quite adjusted to the cold temperatures and icy wind making the 20s and 30s feel like 10 below. By April, we’ve just gotten tired of crusty snow piles and endless days without warmth.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things happening this weekend to keep us distracted as we adapt to the new season. The Formula 1 guys will try out the Losail International Circuit in Qatar to a chorus of protests. My Ohio State Buckeyes will face Michigan State for another must win game against a highly ranked opponent. And tomorrow night Bud Crawford gets the high profile opponent that he’s been asking for in Shawn Porter as the headliner in a solid night of boxing.
In and around sporting events, I’ll be working on syllabi for my spring semester classes, doing some reading and writing, nudging a new book into production, walking the dogs, and trying to catch bits of the ASOR annual meeting.
I’ll also be on the look out for some quick hits and varia:
And just like that, it is now winter on the northern plains, and this means that I’ve made my traditional “first snow” post of 2021. The wind is gusting, the snow is blowing, and the temperatures look to hang out below freezing for the next few days.
Fortunately, I’m up to my eyeballs in indoor things to do this weekend. There’s the Mens T20 World Cup final on Sunday and Formula 1. There’s also some basketball and football. Three intriguing boxing cards are happening featuring Kid Galahad, David Benavidez, and Jaime Munguia. Plus there is a book to finishing proofing, one to finish reading, and a bunch of late semester paperwork to sort out down the stretch of the semester.
I hope your weekend is filled with indoor tasks and quick hits and varia:
Just as a little reminder:
We’re being told that this weekend might be the last gasp of fall. The leaves are mostly off the trees, the temperatures are comfortably below 40 at night, and the days are getting shorter and shorter. This weekend, though, as a parting gift from 2021, we’ll once again nudge the 60s, if only for one day.
With the end of the World Series, it feels like fall and winter sports start to find their rhythm. The NFL season is nearly half over, every college football game matters, and NBA season is a long way from meaningful, but the early games are always interesting. The group stage of the men’s cricket T20 World Cup is winding down and people are looking ahead to the semifinals (England and Pakistan have advanced to the semi-finals, and the final two spots will go to Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa depending on the outcome of this weekend’s contests). The NASCAR guys have their final race to decide the championship in Phoenix and the Formula 1 party makes its annual stop in Mexico City where the title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will likely only get closer. Of course, the biggest sporting event this weekend is probably the Canelo Alvarez boxing match against Caleb Plant to unify the the super middle weight titles.
Despite all these wonderful distractions, I think I’ll probably spend quality time with my books, some light-duty writing, and probably a long walk and an easy jog to soak up the last of 2021s warmth.
And perhaps with some quick hits and varia:
We had wind and rain this week, but somehow a good many of the leaves remained on the trees. This means my leaf clearing duties will likely be a week away, but maybe I’ll start to take down the rose bushes and some other out of control plants this weekend.
Despite these less an appealing responsibilities, I do have some of my normal plans. Tomorrow at 9 am, for example, is Australia-England in group play of the men’s cricket T20 World Cup. Then, tomorrow night is the big Penn State-Ohio State game which has special bragging rights in my family. The NASCAR guys head to Martinsville this weekend, which the Eagles have a bye week (Revision: actually they play the Lions). If you’re into the sweet science, I have a feeling that the Jose Zepeda vs. Josue Vargas fight on Saturday night will be about as good a boxing match as one might like to see.
I’m also excited to work to catch up on my reading, to do a little writing, and to finalize the page proofs for a book that’s 75% done!
And, I’ll always stay on the look out for new quick hits and varia: