Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for January 2005

Why I Shouldn’t Travel Alone

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As my plane approached Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Wednesday night the stewardess came on over the intercom and announced that since our plane was almost an hour late she would read off a list of connecting flights and the gates from which they would be departing. Seizing the chance to be a savvy traveler, I grabbed the magazine in the seat pocket in front of me and flipped quickly to the O’Hare map.

When the stewardess said “Omaha, Gate B-3” the guy next to me said, whistling, “Whew! You’ll have to rush since we are arriving in the C-terminal.”

“No worries,” I said. “I bet all the flights are delayed.”

When I emerged from the plane at Gate C-5 I made a beeline for the nearest set of monitors and, to my horror, I processed the following:

“Omaha . . . Flight . . . Gate . . . 3 . . . NOW BOARDING”

With this I turned and sprinted down the C terminal, running along the moving walkways. Plunging down the escalator to the walkway between the terminals, I wove between strolling travelers with breathless apologies for them as I skirted by.

At this point I had two alternating thoughts: here I am, running through an international airport, driven by romance; and I really need to go to the bathroom.

As I emerged into the B Terminal I hung a right and jogged the length of the terminal arriving at Gate B-3 to an empty gate area and a sign reading “Boston.” Breathless and confused, I first found the nearest restroom and then emerged to find the nearest set of departure monitors which, upon a more studied inspection, were still announcing:

“Omaha . . . Flight . . . Gate C-3 . . . NOW BOARDING”

Which, of course, was 40 feet from where I had started my sprint through the airport at Gate C-5. Damn.

I was not totally to blame (due to the announcement error by the stewardess) but I still felt pretty silly. Just goes to show that double-checking your own snap judgments is often a good idea.

I ended up catching a flight to Lincoln instead with the only consequences being a laugh at myself and my baggage finding me a day late.





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January 31, 2005 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Pictures

Shout Out

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This weekend I am flying to Lincoln for a visit and while there Charity and I will be working on some wedding preparations. This entails doing things I have never actually considered doing before such as selecting caterers, being premaritally counseled, and attempting to decide on tux styles. I find the last one amusing; I wonder if I will ever wear a tux outside of a wedding context.

As these details might overwhelm my meager mental capacities for creative blogging I am stealing an entry idea from the Grand girls. For those shy readers who feel like intimidated by commenting, here is your chance to start.

Who are you out there? Where are you from? Are you currently reading this to procrastinate?

I am a bit curious who has been reading along the way, but if you would like to keep the mystery in your visits that’s no problem.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(side thought) I am also curious what perceptions I give off via the blog. When people meet me at the wedding how accurate will their conceptions of me from their reading here?

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January 25, 2005 at 11:26 pm

Posted in General

In Praise

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This week I’ve been reading The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939 by E.H. Carr. I’m trying a new style of reading where I go back and review the chapter I have just read; rereading my highlights of major passages and ideas to try make sure I actually understood them.

I have also been circling events or words I don’t understand and trying to learn about them as I review the chapters. For example, while Carr confidently refers to the Treaty of Neuilly I had never heard of it. I tried finding a quick and easy UNC resource that would help me do this but the library page confused me. Somehow I googled my way to Wikipedia. It has proved extremely helpful and of impressively high quality.

As I learned about the navel mutiny at Invergordon in 1931 a few minutes ago it occurred to me that this qualifies as a wonder of the modern world. Not only do I have instant (and free) access to detailed summaries of obscure historical events at my fingertips, but the whole thing is written by individuals who are compiling knowledge together for public use (if there is nothing written on a topic you are given the option of writing the entry yourself!).

Sometimes I pooh-pooh people talking about the internet changing the world; sometime I think it is.

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January 20, 2005 at 11:59 am

A Thought about Mornings

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The snow is swirling outside the windows of Hamilton Hall. I love the snow and I love the peacefulness.

When I was writing Charity this afternoon I was talking about why I enjoy mornings. At first I wrote that I love the stillness of the mornings, the quiet around the apartment, and the quiet of the frozenness of outside.

But when I think about it I realized that one reason I love the morning is that if I take the time to be still in the stillness of the morning I find that there is a stillness inside of me that quietly echoes the stillness outside my window.

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January 19, 2005 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Reflections

At the Museum

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The Roommates

When I saw the attire of the other Thomas Lane roommates this evening I grabbed my camera, hoping to get a picture of the four of us somewhere in the North Carolina Museum of Art.

My original thought was to get a picture of us gazing contemplatively, perhaps at large painting, while looking educated and urbane. Unfortunately (or fortunately) most of the displays on the main floor were off limits for photography so we used this backdrop instead.

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January 16, 2005 at 12:51 am

Posted in Pictures

All the King’s Men

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As the late afternoon light faded into this rainy evening the damp, evening air swept in off our deck and into our living room through the cracked backdoor. The moist air brought with it the sound of a windy rain rustling the treetops and pitter-pattering against the deck. In the fading light I finished Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men.

I wonder some times if authors write the first 2/3s of a book to make the last 1/3 matter to the reader. As I finished, I had the urge to turn back and reread the last 30 pages again without the pull of needing to know the ending which causes me to skip down the page for plot points. The end is the place where the strands of story the author has written plunge together and tumble; the place where the choices of the characters are weighted with meaning and implication.

For about 20 minutes after emerging from page 438 I remained in the spell of the book. I like that feeling of being swept away and into another’s world. It made me remember again why I like to read novels so much . . . and it made me want to smoke; to have an excuse to mentally still for a moment longer.

For All the King’s Men the last chapters of the book redeem it. The tone, cynical and hard throughout much of it, is washed away in a rain of sorrow which brings self-recognition on Jack Burden, the narrator; a sorrow brought about by the greed and stench of the politics he is surrounded by and involved in.

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January 13, 2005 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Reviews

Apology for Infrequency

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If you frequent this site you have probably noticed a drop in the quantity if not the quality of my posts over the last couple of months with December being particularly sparse. Part of infrequency has to do with the process of getting engaged (and therefore doing a lot of verbal processing). But another part has been the side-effect of being disengaged as I’ve been discouraged about my schooling.

How does that translate into less blogging you ask? I’m not sure if this is an answer but it’s what comes to mind.

For me blogging is the one art form I actively engage in. Blogging is my chance to be creative. When blogging is what I want it to be I use it to try to find my own voice: to play with words, to experiment with punctuation, to try to capture moments with a subtle vividness and with grace. For me, to blog is to try to find what is universal in my experiences and to capture those experiences in my own voice.

If I’ve done that less lately I apologize. As I’ve looked away from the hard parts, and the good parts, of struggling with pursuing being political science professor as a career I haven’t engaged my life well and that spills over into my blogging. In my funk, I’ve caught myself looking for entries rather than finding them. The funny thing is that I recognized the effects in my blogging before I’ve been able to find the source.

So this semester I’ve got a game plan. I’m taking a directed readings course which my professor and I are titling “the Great Books of International Relations” to try to find out why people study IR. I’m writing a thesis to see if I could complete a dissertation. I have my time charted out. I am going to look the beast in the face and see if I can tame it or if I will walk away in May. This is good because this stance is essentially a hopeful one. I’m embarking on a small quest and by stepping out I am implicitly believing that answers will come.

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January 12, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Reflections