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if you were to ask us…

on a scale of one to ten, do you like living where you do?

we’d probably say no… we love our daughter, but where we live, despite the cuteness of our humble abode, sucks. (and we think it has to do with the city, rather than the neighborhood.)

on a scale of one to ten, do you like your job?

she would say, yes, except her commute and the fact that she can never pick up the slack when my life gets hectic…

i would say, only when i really stop and think about it… it’s complicated, i would say. there are a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous



Move to Iowa City!

Anyway, does that put your numerical answer at 5–6, then, for both homes and jobs?

Regardless, it sounds like a good reason to move to Iowa City!

yeah, but would the u of i have me?

Now that’s a silly question for Jesus to ask.

Or, you could start a restaurant!

is this the time of year in which everyone is disillusioned with their jobs, or is it just you, me, and the three or four people who just quit their jobs where i work?

oh my! they quit? (i don’t really know who they are)

i think my malaise has less to with my job (i think) and more to with the pace of life in this city that is too hectic and too frou-frou for us.

i think… though, sometimes at three in the morning i wonder, what am i doing? and then i realize, i can’t do crap, except what i do…

to what do you owe your despair?

the short answer is that it is hard for me to feel ok working so hard for an employer (i.e., administration) that has such different priorities and visions and values from my own. mb has no trouble with this, as she sees work more as means to an end rather than the central facet of one’s identity, which is where i more or less am.

i’m looking for other options as i type, really. if i could come to terms with living in a big city (or its vanilla suburbs), i would head for DC in a heartbeat (even before the semester started) to work in a non-academic setting there.

K and I are on opposite sides of the work-as-a-means-to-an-end and work-as-primary-identity, too, which tends to mean if she’s unhappy or frustrated with work, she’s exceptionally unhappy or frustrated in general.

In the midst of our plans to pack up and move last year, we talked a lot about DC, too…

Also re:9, are you looking at journalism again, or turning think-tanky?

more the latter.

I’d say seven or eight: Urban environment, highly educated populace, tons of culture and services, London in less than two hours, having a car is completely unnecessary. The only possible drawback is the weather, but it doesn’t bother me that much at all. It bothers B tremendously however, and I can’t imagine her giving this place any more than a five.

And if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Why the interest in DC, G? Aside from a Georgetown alumna I know, everyone I’ve spoken to who has lived there or spent long periods of time there says it is a hell hole.

ooohhh… will you get your own thinking log?

The thing about DC is that everything is there—think tanks, nonprofits, unions, the media…We were admonished by a very inappropriately maternal faculty member here when we said we were thinking of moving to DC: “Don’t you know how expensive it is there!?”

When it comes to our adopted home town, I vacillate…I love it; it’s a lovely, easy place to live (especially if you happen to be immune to severely cold or hot weather, like G). Then again, the hold it gets on people like us can be creepy; it’s too insular…After all these years, it would probably help us to expand our horizons a bit..But as G said, for me, much of it comes down to how happy I am with my work, which right now, is not so much.

yeah, but JH you’ve a millennium of mystique surrounding where you live!!!

i’ve got the face lift that the olympics gave us 130 years after Sherman burned her down

You’ve also got a city whose upscale subdivisions sometimes have the price range of its houses printed on the welcoming sign (“Placid Lake Heights – homes from $600,000 to $850,000”)

Or is that just a legend?

BG –

FU for you! I dig our situation here more and more. We live in a old, urban neighborhood, blocks from mansions and blocks from the projects. We can walk to at least six decent, unique, local restaurants, an independent cinema and two colleges. Montgomery is rich in history and culture and arts and university life, with the added bonus of lots of corrupt and passionate politics.

On the downside, FU isn’t exactly progressive and does not value undergraduate academic life like it should, but on the upside, with a modicum of work ethic, creativity and smarts, you are sure to leave a significant legacy and imprint on a young university.

On the downside for the city, the eastern sprawl is accelerating and just as homogenous and awful as most car-centric suburbs. On the upside for the city, we are entering the golden age of urban revitalization and redevelopment smartly downtown, a la Chattanooga and Memphis.

There are also plenty of university resources: Faulkner, Alabama State, Auburn Montgomery, Huntingdon College and USAF Air University.

Montgomery is a great place to lvie, even if you wouldn’t want to visit here.

no, that is not legend… that is all truth, indeed. and, all the kool houses in the city are being torn down for monster million dollar homes…

jrb, nothing is off the table, but nothing is going to be done at this point, at least for another year or two.

i’m just grousing

the reason nothing will be done, at least at the moment, is because i do like teaching literature and culture much more than teaching language. though i certainly don’t mind teaching language, i much prefer getting to teach 3-4 lit/culture classes per year and only 1-2 of language, rather than a lit class every other semester or less, depending on the u that employs you.

I can appreciate the grousing. My wife and I spent the first 6 years of our marriage spending exceptional amounts of mental energy trying to reckon what was next. Having found a fulfilling place and work, we are using that mental energy much more peacefully and productively. I wish it for you.

I bet working at a think tank would be really interesting.

But not as interesting as moving to Iowa City!

do they have think tanks in iowa city?

i bet they all run on ethanol…

Yep. (K’s been wanting to work there for years.) And there’s another nearby.

Four comments in one:
1. maybe we should all (jrb excluded, b/c he is happy with his job) get together and form a business. i am thinking of architecture, glassblowing, and/or chocolate making. there is bound to be some city/town where we could make that happen.

2. bg should def stick to his guns. 4/4 teaching schools need a foreign language teacher who wants to teach literature like a squirrel needs a human prostitute. whether a human prostitute needs a squirrel is prob another question altogether and depends upon lots of factors.

3. (i do like jrb’s enthusiasm about his uni, but i have learned from brief experience that the admins have to want the kind of impact that you want to make: their idea of excellence has to match yours, etc., and nobody wants strategic planning from the underlings.)

4. today, i thought seriously about applying for an administrative assistant job at a big nonprofit located near enough to here to commute. the job ad closed last week, though, so i didn’t have to make that choice.

As for C’s Nos. 2 and 3, you certainly are right. Most of my enthusiasm and excitement springs from my very personal experience in this rising professional school, not the undergraduate program. At the law school, we have exceptional leadership, and we all generally know which direction to row. My undergrad colleagues, some of whom y’all certainly know from HU, might have different tales to tell, although they are making good progress, despite the administration’s priorities, by sheer force of will.

26.4: There is another administrative assistant position at another large nonprofit within your commuting distance—the application closes today. However, I don’t want you to apply for it. The pay isn’t very good, and I believe you can do more than file papers and schedule meetings.

(Not to cast aspersions on your abilities to file or to schedule, of course. I am certain you would be excellent at both. In addition, I don’t want to downplay the importance of a competent filer and scheduler to an organization: they, too, are vital, as K will gladly attest, chained as she is to someone who is, in many ways, incompetent.)

we shall see. but prob not going to try admin asst just yet. nor am i going to discuss my impending career plans (if there are any) on here any more right now. if anything interesting happens, i shall let you all know.

24 (again): If a think tank is full, where does the ethanol go?

if a think tank is not full, where doesn’t the ethanol go?

A small amount did go into our gas tank today, but it didn’t help my thinking one bit.

well, that could be because you need a tank rather than whatever nipponese auto you have… indeed, the base/superstructure relationship is at work even here

Tanks aren’t for thinkers, but they run well on ethanol.

if something runs well on ethanol, it is not for thinkers.

however, most thinkers need a good cold tankard, too many tankards, though, might impair the operation of a tank… but not space-shuttles, or so they say.

A space shuttle probably couldn’t lift a tank, not in once piece anyway; on the other hand, ethanol has already raised the price of a tankard.