63 pages of notes + 2 articles + 1 Wikipedia entry (backtracking purposes only)
Archive for April, 2012
I’ve been intellectually lazy for the past few weeks … I’ve worked my way through all 18 of the numbered Stephanie Plum mysteries, I’ve rewatched Firefly, and I’ve almost finished my latch hook rug for The Coach’s office. I’ve slept in late and stayed up late. And, of course, there have been those pesky interruptions from ye ol’ office: I had to review budget proposal and cast my vote, I had to sign and return my summer teaching contract, and I even finished writing my summer syllabus. Now, however, I find that I need to finish a conference paper and get back to work on the Big Book Project. I thought I’d get some work done today — and I did do a little free writing — but now I think I just want to crash on the couch, read the Sue Grafton novel that I checked out from the library, and watch tonight’s episode of Bones.
Since my sabbatical is coming to an end, I’m going to give into my “badder” (get it?) angels and walk away from the computer. That means, I need to set a schedule for the rest of this week. That conference paper deadline has crept up on me. Seriously, the conference isn’t until the middle of June, but the paper is due May 1. Oy! So, here we go:
Tuesday: Get up. Take freewriting notes and edit into a more coherent start to the methods/analytical framework for the book. Go to the mid-day matinee and eat my free popcorn. Come home. Make red beans and rice. Watch my Tuesday night shows.
Wednesday: Get up. Start filling in my preliminary outline for the conference paper. Attend ERA meeting. Run to campus and sign contract for next year’s IPSA conference. Come home. Make boudin. Watch my Wednesday night shows.
Thursday: Get up. Work on conference paper. Bang head against wall. Make pork chops for dinner.
Friday: Get up. Work on conference paper. Whine about how sabbatical is coming to an end. Go to dinner with a friend. See local production of The Laramine Project.
Saturday: Sleep. Go to library for more Sue Grafton books. Work on conference paper. Complain about how paper is going.
Sunday: Sleep. More conference paper. Make The Coach take me bowling or to the driving range or something like that.
Monday: Hopefully I will have my paper done by Monday so I can do nothing because …
Tuesday: Write up an article review. Go to campus for meeting. Spend rest of day being annoyed.
Officially, I am back on the clock on May 8th. If things work out for me, I am taking May 2-7 off to do nothing but sleep and play, sleep and cook, sleep and watch movies. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Tacky Goodness — all the way from Great Britain!
I plan to wear these in October.
The Coach and The Traveling Ph.D. at Fort Sumter
See all the South Carolina Pix @ Flickr!
Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, oh, how you disappoint me. Apparently, I am too old and too frugal to fully appreciate your charms. Although I wouldn’t call the trip a complete disaster, I will say it was a bit “challenging” from the moment we pulled out of our driveway. Even though Nuvi the Garmin Goddess and Mapquest both predicted a 12 hour drive, it turned out to be more like 14 hours – which is entirely too long to spend in the car with your spouse, especially when we were both recovering from trips earlier in the month.  I have to give The Coach some credit, though; he drove that Mustang like a bat out of hell as we hurled through the Smokey Mountains. Of course, he also stopped at a gas station that had the nasty bathroom I’ve been in since the trip I took to Peru a few years ago.
Some days were good, others not so much. Mostly, we struggled with First World Problems. On our first day, we were going to visit the aquarium before going out to see The Coach’s high school play baseball. We had about 45 minutes to spare, but when I got to the window and saw the price, my immediate reaction was to say “Oh, hell no!” and walk away. It seems that the tour book we bought at Barnes and Noble was slightly outdated. Instead, we ate an expensive lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe  and came home with a couple of kitschy souvenir glasses. Thankfully, our afternoon was much better, even though the team took a beating. We met up with The Coach’s colleague — this cute little guy who reminds me of Hermey, the elf that wants to be a dentist in that Rudolph Christmas special — and ate dinner with the team and coaches at this awesome restaurant that was a fusion of Italian food and Brazilian steakhouse. Seriously, I haven’t had steak that good since the time The Coach and I went to France over ten years ago (and yes, The Coach still talks about that steak). And, since we were with the team, we got the group discount — so our dinner was actually cheaper than our BBQ and burger lunch.
On our second day, we made a run down the coast towards Charleston to visit the USS Yorktown and Fort Sumter. I’ll admit that this was more for The Coach — he’s a military history guy — but the ship was pretty cool. We ate an “authentic navy meal” in the galley, where I was hoping for my Dad’s favorite meal, “Shit on a Shingle” , but ended up with meatballs and rice. We wandered around the various tours, took pictures of the planes, and laughed about the fact that the ship (boat?) had been retrofitted to include an escalator for the pilots sometime during the Korean War.
Around 1:30 or so, we caught our boat out to Fort Sumter National Monument. Sadly, I can’t tell you much about the Monument because we were only there for one frickin’ hour. That’s right: we spent more time on the ferry out and back than we did on the actual island. Seriously, I’m not stretching the truth here. By the time we listened to the Ranger talk — which was interesting and taught me new stuff, like the fact that the Fort was actually used through World War II! — and took a couple of pictures, we had to load back up on the boat. We didn’t even have a chance to go through the museum! The upside was that we made it back to Myrtle Beach in time to see the boys win their baseball game.
TIP: Patriots Point is totally worth the money, but don’t book the mid-day trip out to Fort Sumter because you won’t have enough time to really go through the Naval Park. Instead, book the last trip out to Fort Sumter. Another idea would be to call the ferry company and see if you can book a longer tour of the Fort because they don’t give you that option on the website. Finally, pack a hat and some sunscreen. There’s no shade out on the island.
On our third day, we had high hopes that we’d be able to sit on the beach, but the weather didn’t cooperate. You see, we spent the morning running around at Alligator Adventure — using the second day of our tickets so that I could take more pictures of the alligators and turtles and such.  Plus, we also had a smallish argument about lunch (we were running a bit low on cash by this time) and ended up at the Mellow Mushroom for pizza. Now, The Coach and I have eaten at MM before in Baton Rouge and thought it was pretty decent. The one in Myrtle Beach, however, was just nasty. We made a huge mistake when we ordered one of the local specialties — a shrimp pizza that was just foul. The shrimp was so overcooked that I just couldn’t eat it and the crust was damp. But, we didn’t complain because we were in a hurry to go to the beach. After all, what’s the point of going to a town with “beach” in the name if you don’t actually go to the beach?
Alas, by the time we got dressed and drove down to the beach, a big storm was brewing. Lord knows, we tried to spend some time just sitting there, but the winds were too strong to do anything other than hunker down. Honestly, the sand was scouring us, which might save a person some money on a facial, but is not exactly comfortable or good for your glasses. In the end, we lasted about 10 minutes before we gave up — but not before running down to the water and dipping our feet into the Atlantic. Instead, we wandered around in a couple of the ubiquitous trinket stores while we waited for the rain to stop. It never did. And even though hermit crabs were on sale, The Coach wouldn’t buy me one even though he did get t-shirts for his brother and mother. [PIX: Trying to keep the sand out of my nose!]
I’ll admit that I was pretty cranky by the time we got back to the hotel. After all, we stayed an extra day just so we could go to the beach — and that was after we found our hotel room hadn’t been cleaned the day before.  The Coach made amends, however, by getting us a reservation at The Melting Pot. Hey, there’s nothing like cheese and chocolate to cheer a girl up! The food was amazing, our server was funny, and we got to play with our food. What’s not to love about that? And, because our reservations were early enough, we made it back to the ball park in time to sit around for 15 minutes before the officials cancelled the game because another round of rain and lighting was about to come through.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. The weather was pretty dismal, so I didn’t get to go Congaree National Park on the way home. We were both cranky, so we didn’t stop at the Cowpens National Battlefield. We did stop for our BBQ at the neo-confederate restaurant, but ended up sitting in the Gamecocks room, so no political commentary there. In the end, we didn’t even drive straight home because we were sick of the car. Instead, we stopped at a really nice Marriott in Nashville, thanks to a coupon I picked up at a rest area. Based on a tip from the gal working the late shift at the hotel we ordered an amazing pizza from this place called Mozzarella’s and called it a night.
Would I go back to Myrtle Beach? I’m not sure. If I did, I would definitely do some things differently — like use The Coach’s mom’s timeshare to stay in a condo right on the beach. I’d go to “The Pig” and pack picnics for the beach. I’d avoid Barefoot Landing, but go to Broadway at the Beach. If I decided to spend money on attractions, I’d opt for the actual zoo and botanical gardens, go up in the giant Ferris wheel, or make a go of playing all of the adventure golf courses in The Strand. In fact, the only thing I would do the same is go back to The Melting Pot.
Or, perhaps, I’d just go to Charleston.
Last week, I learned that my local AMC gives away free — yes, free! — popcorn on Tuesdays. I wish I had learned this earlier because I would have gone to the matinee every week all by my lonesome. As it is, I only have one free Tuesday — as in, next Tuesday — left before I have to head back to the trenches. But, let’s not think about that …
Today, I found myself headed out to see Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and I left the theatre deeply satisfied. Not only did I get that free popcorn, but I also had the theatre all to myself and, goodness knows, I love a private showing. No idiots on cell phones. No people getting up to use the john. And, even though parts of the movie were highly implausible — such as, you know, salmon fishing in the Yemen — I quite liked it. I left the theatre feeling quite pensive and relaxed.
I really should do this more often — the sneaking out in the middle of the day to see a movie. Movies — even crappy ones — make me feel all bright and shiney and happy. I wonder if I can find a way to integrate this into my fall schedule?
Geek the Library!
Acquired today while chowing down at Panera
I was feeling kind of cranky and depressed this morning — especially after the dog barfed in my Mustang on the way to get her stitches out — so I decided to leave the house and get some comfort food in the form of creamy tomato soup from Panera. Three things happened that made me smile:
The girl at the counter told me that she loved my Dr. Who t-shirt;
I ran into two of my students who were in bright, cheery moods; and
Someone from the library asked to take my picture because I was reading in public during National Library Week.
So, now I’m a happy geek … and I have the bracelet to prove it.
Lemur: Alligator Adventure @ Barefoot Landing
I used my cool aquarium setting to take this shot
A South Carolina Blog Entry is coming soon, I promise.
South Carolina BBQ
Yes, I ate this on Good Friday and God did not smote me.
The Coach, however, stuck with the fried fish.
I could do a commentary on the neo-confederate theme, but I’m too tired to be political.