Back to Neptune

Veronica Mars is new tonight for the first time in weeks, I’m burned out on the Internet, and exhausted on top of that. So tonight, I’m going offline to spend time relaxing with my two favorite women. Thankfully, one of them is real.

Not gone, far from it

It’s been a long, stressful, and largely unhealthy holiday season for me and my fam, such that this blog has been the least of my concerns in this end-of-year shuffle. That said, I do have every energy and intention of writing here, and other places, in 2006. I’m not gone, and I’m not going away- yet.

Consider yourselves lucky though. Instead of trotting out a few long-winded “2005 Best Of” and “2006 Predictions” posts I had originally planned, I’ve consolidated and shortened a few thousand words into a couple of posts I’ll drop over the next couple of days.

Before I do though, warm congrats to our friends Kate and Seth, who tied the knot today in a simple ceremony at a nearby hotel after years of stressful and fruitless wedding planning. Mazel tov!

Win ‘Cinderalla Man’ on DVD!

Want a chance to win a free DVD of this past summer’s critically-acclaimed Cinderella Man? Then head over to Network Landscape, the TV/DVD blog I publish, and read Henry’s instructions for entering the contest!

Shameless shilling: Network Landscape covers TV, DVD, digital video, and other interesections of content. Thanks to the site’s head writer, Henry, we’ve got frequent giveaways of great DVDs like Cinderella Man. Other recent giveaways have been LOST Season 1, Home Movies, Second City Vol 4, and more.

Is there an ideal gender mix in academia?

In which I link to Rex Hammock twice in one day: Rex reports that colleges and universities are seeing a drop in male students. As Rex quotes, from the WaPo:

“Colleges and universities across the country are grappling with the case of the mysteriously vanishing male. Where men once dominated, they now make up no more than 43 percent of students at American institutions of higher learning, according to 2003 statistics, and this downward trend shows every sign of continuing unabated.”

So to recap: Secondary education was long dominated by men. Now it’s 60-40 in favor of women, and as the article says, the trend shows “every sign of continuing.”

The question that fascinates me is, what mix of sociological and other factors got us here? Was it an activism-based shift in trends, a simple shift of societal tides, or a mixture of both? And now that we are here, what do those who campaign(ed) against male-dominated universities say about the opposite? And how do they feel in general about this news?

Commenters, share your thoughts, or link to places where others do.

Keeping the Christmas tree

This may anger or distress some people, but I have to make a quick mention of the fact. You can call yours whatever you like, but in my home we’re going to keep calling it the Christmas Tree, not the “Holiday tree” that unfortunately appears to be sweeping the nation.

At the right is a shot of our Christmas Tree from 2003, when we lived in an apartment so tiny the tree was in our bedroom (and right next to a giant clunkly old dangerous heater, besides).

The picture conjures some fun memories: The TV was given to me by a friend and former roomate from my days in Boston; it lived a long and productive life for several people before finally dying out on my wife and I one day after the Superbowl in 2004.

The dresser it’s on is one I had from age 8, and finally gave up just a few months ago (it wasn’t built for two, to say the least). The ripped part of wood at the base of the dresser arrived there just a few months before this picture was taken- it stems from a gigantic hole in the ceiling of our bedroom. One day, ceiling bits and much water came in, unnannounced, and the room became so damp the wood literally peeled off the dresser. Come to think of it, that may be why the TV failed only two months after!

The couch, a corner of it visible, was one of the most comfortable I ever owned, despite (or perhaps in part?) to it being ragged and faded. Though it was too short to lie down and sleep on, it fit two comfortably. It sat lower to the ground than most, but not low enough to feel seemly. I inherited it from my first roomate in college, who got it himself when he and I took a trip around our college town scanning for couches and found that one on the lawn of a bed and breakfast, being offered for free. We snapped it up and immediately installed it our room, innocculating ourselves from tempting common-area couch raids.

The couch, the dresser, and the TV are all long gone, but even though they evoke fond memories, they’re all just things, so it’s okay.

The Christmas tree is just a thing, but it might be a bit more. Either way, in our home it’s sticking around for a while longer.

UPDATE: Yesterday, we went to cut down our tree from an ecologically-responsible Christmas tree farm near us. The photoset is here. We’re planning to decorate it today- pictures in a new post later on.

Happy Thanksgiving

Xmas lights at night, originally uploaded by jgclarke.

A shot of our house on Thanksgiving eve, also the first snow of the year. We’ll have more lights to come this weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, wherever you are.