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2014: Year in Review
Dec 31st, 2014 by Dr Karma

I haven’t blogged much this year. This is partly because it’s been a crazy (busy) year, but it’s also partly because it’s been a pretty awful year in many ways. Some lowlights: replacing two cars (one replacement is a lemon that is in the shop as I write this); several trips to the ER; most of the year in physical therapy; between 2-7 medical appointments each and every week (expensive + time consuming!); Grandma dying; Vanessa moving away; taking in Mindy (not because Mindy is awful, but just because having to deal with another person in our too small place and having her disabled & thus needing to move in is awful); several medical procedures.
All of this happened in a year in which I taught 18 courses, served on several committees, edited the Atwood journal, edited Prized Writing, ran the upper division comp exam, edited a collection on Atwood for Cambridge, and hit quite a few conferences.
In short, I’m tired and fairly cranky from being tired and being in pain.
I’m really hoping that 2015 is a lot better. As a symbol of starting that, let’s talk about the good things that happened this year:
My classes were generally good. Some were very good. An independent study I did with an honors student was awesome. Teaching was a wonderful break from everything else.
I have become one of the favorite people of Artemis, the cutest baby in Davis, who gets to come over to my house at least once a week.
My boyfriend is awesome and our time together is consistently enjoyable, as we provide each other a refuge from the rest of the world.
My friends are amazing. They are supportive, generous, and thoughtful. I’m especially grateful to have been able to travel with Melissa and with Vanessa, to see Vanessa and Tiffany this holiday. Plus, friendship usually involves good wine.
I’ve been able to see some great plays and other live events, most notably in Ashland and here at Mondavi, where I caught Willie Nelson and Mike Birbiglia.
I’ve read some great books. Some I’ve mentioned here earlier in the year. A few more favorites: The Goldfinch–beautifully written. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves–my favorite book of the year–set in Davis, thoughtful, compelling, gorgeous. The Kingkiller Chronicles–picked this up on a lark–so good, so well paced–could not put them down. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared–dry Scandinavian wit resulting in a very fun read. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic–this is sort of a cross between Outlander and The All Soul’s Trilogy.

Here’s to more of the good stuff. And now, just because, comet Lovejoy:c2014_q2_2014_12_16dp950

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25 Years of The Simpsons
Dec 17th, 2014 by Dr Karma

320xToday is a Simpsons anniversary. On December 17th, 1989, the first full length episode, a Christmas special, appeared.
Of course, the characters premiered in 1987 on The Tracey Ullman Show. What most people don’t know, however, is that “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” was not meant to be the first episode. The season was supposed to start at the beginning of Fall, with “Some Enchanted Evening.” However, the creators/producers were unhappy with the animation that came back from the finishers–it apparently looked too much like The Flintstones–walls shaking when doors were closed, etc. David Silverman helped clean things up and quality was favored over starting on time, thankfully.
A quick memory:
As a rabid Simpsons fan before the show even started, I was very much looking forward to the Christmas special. We set the family VCR. Mom watched the show with me and found the message of family love inspiring. I found that the show solidified my love for my yellow dysfunctional family.
My mom took the tape over to our extended family during the Christmas holiday. My grandmother denounced the show since Bart talked back and never watched it again. My mother turned to one of her sisters at the end of the episode, saying something along the lines of, “See, this just goes to show that you can have a great Christmas without having any money.”
It was patronizing and insulting, and I was mortified, but it wasn’t The Simpsons’s fault.

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