Tuesday, October 30, 2007

oh, not again

Red Sox - ye-haw!

You all know what a sports fan I am not, so the degree of my enthusiasm may be underestimated at this moment. Nonetheless, please believe that I am jubilant, delighted that a Colorado (state of losers) team lost, that the wild card team lost, and miserable that this means I must now spend months listening to my NPR anchors discuss basketball.

A while back I blogged about my reoccurent problems with collection agencies who get my number thinking it belongs to someone who owes money, should be in jail, etc. A few years ago I would get calls at 6 AM demanding that I turn over the offending person, never mind that I had never actually met them.

Well, it's on again. "Fred" must be in some serious trouble because he or she (it's one of those names that could go either way) gets lots of calls at my number. After three months, I now know the correct address for Fred, or at least the last known address. Generally I can tell the caller that no, they may have my number in their computer, but if they are looking for Fred who lives on a particular street, they have the wrong place. No, I don't know Fred and I can't help them find him/ her (would someone please tell me their gender?!) If ever I meet Fred, it won't be pretty.

I get calls from all over the country. Would that one of them came from Dog the Bounty Bunter on A & E, but no such luck.

Today's call (the third from this number this week) came from Oklahoma. I went into my usual spiel, "No, never met Fred, no clue how my phone number ended up in your database, don't know Fred, never seen Fred, can't pass along a message..." OK, this is a partial lie. You got my phone number the same way that the other twelve (I am not making this number up) people got my number: computer error. Somewhere along the line, people screwed up because, hey, we make mistakes.

No one makes mistakes in Oklahoma. I am (obviously) sheltering someone who has committed a terrible act. Exactly what sort of act (theft? murder? witchcraft? eating too many Twinkies?) I do not know... but the caller says that i do. I appreciate this optimistic vote for my psychic powers, but no. "You know Fred!!!" insisted the caller. "Yeah, that was the name of my lab partner in biology class back in the Reagan administration."

The caller has threatened to send police by on a visit. Police, I'll spare you the time: Fred ain't here. If it's Dog you decide to send, please send Leeland instead of Dwayne.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

idols and idle and ideals

Thanks to Matt for asking where I've been. The last few weeks have been draining and I've not been much for chat (yes, I consider my blogging time a kind of chat!) I've concluded that I need a full time staff - masseuse, housekeeper, maid of all work and a butler to greet me at the end of each day with a glass of Merlot and the day's mail, edited of all spam and junk mail. This is probably typical mid-term stress kicking in (yes, profs get it too) and I remain deeply grateful that I have a job about which to feel stressed and tired.

Oh, yes, and a cook would also be nice. I'll just sit in my study, mark-up bluebooks and dine well.

That's an easy ideal and would probably turn into something of an idol and make me idle.

I've read a couple of pieces by faculty (various institutions, not just mine) for whom the "interview and campus visit" process were little more than sherry, port, red wine, then enormous dinners, mimosas with breakfast, and then give you talk and teach a class. Any campus visit is partly a question of "can I stand to work with this person over the long term" and certainly putting them through such a thing would be one way to test that.

A professional lifetime of such weekends... it amazes me that any of the great books of that period were written at all. Then again, the topics tended to be more interesting (far less esoteric, I think) and relationships seem more convivial. I chat with my colleagues, but it's not the same. Has much been lost? Yes, but so has it been gained. Maybe that's the ideal.

Not that I still wouldn't like a butler/ masseuse who can cook.