Stars…

In Isabella…

We took this tonight at Flathorn Lake picnic area in Isabella.

The exposure itself took 25 MINUTES…. yep, that’s 25 minutes with the shutter open.  The red at the bottom right is the northern lights… they were pretty faint to the eye, but the camera saw them.

Don’t tell me that Andy’s not both technical (i.e. smart) and artistic.  This photo is awesome and I’m happy I was there with him when he took it.

Philosophy is not in the top 20..

… most useless college majors.. I’m not sure how that happened.

Jobs for philosophers are notoriously difficult to get… and impossible to get as an undergrad.  Really, to be employable as a philosopher you need a Ph.D.

Philosophy majors do learn useful skills — the ability to read carefully, write and make an argument.  Perhaps that’s enough…

Maybe it’s because many philosophy majors go to law school?

Actually being a philosopher involves sitting around thinking, reading and writing articles nobody (including your own mother) will read… I’m not sure how that is more useful than majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology or Chemistry (#7 & 8) — or Photography (#14) or Psychology (#18)?  All of those majors result in useful skills and actual career paths…

hmmmm…. makes me wonder about the validity of the study.

School updates..

I actually CAN use the projector…. barely…

First — I have to note that when I googled “image college professor”, it took me 11 pages to see a female face…. 11 folks…. apparently women aren’t college professors on the internet.

My real purpose is to give an update on the semester…

Andy’s having a great semester, getting good grades and taking amazing photos.  His professors seem to love him…

I’m now done with the Conference I was organizing.  That’s lovely, as I’m now free of little details and lots of e-mail to answer.

My courses are nearly done — which is good and I’m actually caught up for the moment… that will change soon enough. In some ways I’m behind, as I need to get my summer syllabi done and copied… sigh…. it’s 40 degrees and raining out there and I’m behind because the copy center doesn’t have the copies yet.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with the curriculum committee — which should be interesting — I’m going to discuss several possible courses with them… that I’d develop on sabbatical.  YEA!!!!!

Final Destination……

Have you seen the movie Final Destination? The kids change fate by missing a plane crash and for the rest of the movie the angle of death is stalking them?

Patty’s Camera’s are being chased by the angle of death as well.

On our group birthday trip to Duluth Patty’s nice digital camera was stolen out of her car along with her Ipod.

Perhaps you have read the fate of her last camera dashed against the rocks near Grand Marias by the Temperance river.

So Camera number three has the full insurance package on it………….as long as we can salvage the piece with the serial number on it.

So today Patty was parked closer to the door at school, and as we have the campus rule that you must smoke in your car, I chose to smoke in Patty’s Toyota.

I sat down…………gosh no lighter?   I looked in Patty’s purse to see she had one.

I have been using lighters for a long time and I feel qualified to use one safely. I lit my smoke and tossed the lighter back in her purse like a good bff so as not to steal it.

But see………………..even though I had released the lighter………..it was still burning…………all by itself……………right next to the camera.

If I hadn’t happened to take a quick look back the camera would have been lost…………….probably the purse……….perhaps the Toyota…………………….Spooky!

Easter Memory…

This post was inspired by one of my bloggy friends… Seeking Solace..

One of my favorite Easter memories involves vomit…

One Easter my mom and aunt thought it would be a good idea to have Easter at the Grandparents’ in Slater, Ia.  I was probably 6, my sister and cousin would have been 3 — the only reason I think this is because I don’t remember my cousin’s younger sibling being there — but, he could have been an infant…

So, we drive from Minnesota to Slater, have the usual dinner and candy extravaganza — and then drive home in the afternoon….

My mom drove a blue Volvo — my sister, cousin and I fit in the back seat.

About the Minnesota / Iowa border (so, maybe 2ish hours from home) — the first of us blew chunks (it was either Pam or Em..) — technicolor chunks of chocolate, ham, peeps and jellybeans and the ubiquitous rock candy my grandparents always had for us… all over the back seat of the Volvo.

As we passed Buck Hill (for those of you not from MN, you should know that Buck Hill is a ski area in the south part of the Twin Cities metro — and our signal that we were almost HOME)…. the other young one blew her chunks… again in the back seat…

Given my propensity for vomit — I’m still impressed that I held it in until we hit the driveway — I remember running up the sidewalk and actually making to the bathroom… and being very proud that I didn’t puke in the car.

The Volvo was never the same —

Happy Easter!

Cameron’s House…

Is up for sale in Chicago..

You know Cameron, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

You can buy it for 1.65 MILLION…

It’s worth it, Obviously….

Advantages…

I’ve been thinking a lot about unrecognized and institutional sexism…

Especially in Academia…

In a community in which outright sexism is now taboo, it still happens with shocking frequency.  Part of the problem is simply one of socialization, men have historically dominated academia — and they tend to hire people the perceive as similar to themselves — male.  Part of it is probably about communication styles, comfort and directions of research — but no matter what the cause, the effect is the same… and it sucks.

It goes beyond hiring — even when women are hired into tenure-track positions, they tend to do more service and get paid less.  Because they do more service, they publish less and are promoted less often.  They are also less likely to be invited to do “key note” presentations, because they tend to have less time to do the mountains of research and publishing necessary to catch the attention of the folks who make those decisions…

I think the roots of this are very deep — girls internalize the idea that being smart isn’t something boys like.  They tend to go for “soft” majors in college and thus are a large percentage of some fields and a minority in others… philosophy is one of the fields in which women are a minority.

I think that, in the end, girls turn into women who sell themselves intellectually short.  This makes me sad– mostly because I see so much of it in my younger self.  I also think that women are more likely to take school/life considerations into account when choosing both undergraduate and graduate schools.  Men, on the other hand, are given reasons to believe in and pursue their academic goals, and considerations of life are simply less important to them.

I suppose what’s really bothering me about this is the fact that a male academic I know well had many advantages — support of his department, a great committee, time to write and lots of encouragement from his family and faculty — and he still hasn’t finished his dissertation.

When he went on the academic job market, part of his frustration was that women in his field seemed to get hired and he didn’t… but — he didn’t have a completed dissertation either… hmmm…

I contrast his circumstances with my own.  I made the best academic choices I could, within the set of limited choices I had.  I went to an affordable undergraduate school and only really had one choice in terms of grad school.  Partially because of the perception that they wouldn’t lose me if they didn’t give me funding, I also got very little financial support from my grad school.  I took out loans, worked / taught the whole time and finished my courses.

Two months after finishing my coursework, I moved back to Minnesota because Hubby was accepted to grad school.  I was happy to move back here, no question — but, I left Nebraska with only an idea about what my dissertation would look like — having not even passed my Ph.D. candidacy qualifying papers (at my grad school, in my discipline, we don’t do comps — we write papers that have to be passed by a committee).

It took several years for me to reach “Doctoral Candidate” status.  I’m sure it took longer because I was 400 miles away AND because I was teaching full-time, most of it at Century.  My dissertation took equally long to complete, for many of the same reasons.  The one summer I took off of teaching to write, I had cancer…

The thing is,  I still finished — AND I have a tenured teaching position.  In order to do it, I spent much of my available free time writing, revising, researching and traveling back to Nebraska for meetings with my advisor.  In other words, I worked my ass off…

I can’t say for sure — but, I think I’m as smart or smarter than my male colleague.  I know that my work is as interesting as his — and in retrospect, because I finished, I was a better “bet” for the support I didn’t get, partially because of my gender and geographical limitations.

The male colleague hasn’t finished and still complains of sexism in academia… pal, don’t talk to me about sexism until you’ve walked the halls of academia in my heels.