Friday, August 23, 2013

12 Years A Slave - Trailer

A Hollywood blockbuster on slavery in the US alone could come out every day.

Historians should have their own multi-billion dollar film studio. 

Here's the trailer for 12 Years A Slave

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lightning (Usain) Bolt Photo

If anyone is ever looking to get me a gift of some kind for Labour Day, please get this for me.  Blown-up and framed.  Want that hanging on my office wall next to a portrait of me killing a lion with my bare hands.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Christopher's Words of (Un)Wisdom

I've had a roller-coaster of a summer.  Here are a couple of life lessons I've learned:

"In the job market, just like in the animal kingdom, the youngest/prettiest/most-charming/most-cutthroat will survive.  And be your boss."

"Gentlemen (and ladies).  Do not let what's in between your legs drive you.  You'll only end up in a ditch with a broken leg."

"Being good at one thing is the same as being good at nothing: unless the people around you care, your achievements are irrelevant."

"The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ"

Considering NCAA football season is right around the corner, I can name my kid "@Te'Second*insertcommonsense*Coming" but I can't name my child Messiah.  The US is messed up. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"The Afternoon I Decided to Leave Academe"

It's a quick read.  As a matter of fact, I will just post it below.

‘The Afternoon I Decided to Leave Academe’–and What Happened Next

August 8, 2013, 12:07 pm

Many Ph.D.’s who write about leaving academe knew it was not for them. I envy those people. I enjoyed being an academic, and I loved teaching. As a kid growing up, all I wanted to be was a teacher, and when I entered university, my career goal shifted to being a professor. When I decided to end my quest for a tenure-track job, I told a friend that, some day, I hoped I would enjoy whatever I ended up doing as much as I enjoyed teaching and being a historian.

I will never forget the afternoon I decided to leave academe. I had just learned that I was second in line for a visiting assistant professorship, with a three-year contract and a 3-3 teaching load. We were well into the summer, and this was my last hope of a job for the following year. The pay was less than $40,000 a year; the hiring committee admitted to me that the salary was probably not enough to cover living expenses in the area.

That afternoon I hit the brick wall. I had spent three years on the academic job market and felt further away than ever from my goal. Was I to work yet another year as an adjunct, scraping by, with no promise that the next year would be any better than the previous three?

I phoned my good friend who was facing the same reality. His dream was to be a professor, but, like me, he could not land a job. We had told each other the same piece of advice over and over again: It’s not you; it’s the system. The system is broken. You are not a failure; the system failed you. I told him that day, “I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.” He responded, “I don’t blame you.” The following year, he also left academe.

I cried at the end of the phone call and cried a lot more in the following months. I was angry—at myself, at the system, at the administrators who were cutting tenure-track jobs, at those who’d caused the 2008 economic crash. I kept looking at job boards, trying to find a reason my decision to leave was wrong. I spent days depressed, watching crap TV and drinking cheap wine.

Finally, when I started having success as a research consultant, I turned a corner. No, my consulting career is not the same as being an academic, but I have incorporated into my new profession things I enjoyed about academe: research and writing, leading workshops, and giving presentations. I still feel sad when I look at my history books, or when friends are creating their syllabi for the coming semester. But, over all, I enjoy my new life. People treat me with respect, they value my contributions, and my research is having an immediate impact.

Over the past few years, I have met many Ph.D.’s who are excellent teachers with exciting scholarship and impressive CVs. They, too, can’t find academic jobs. They, too, are looking for a way to move forward professionally, where they can make a living and have their contributions valued. Many, like me, have spent months consumed by grief over the loss of their dreams and fighting a sense of failure. But, as people who earned Ph.D.’s, they are hard-working and too ambitious to stay in a broken system. And they all eventually found new professions that bring them satisfaction.

L. Maren Wood earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the founder and lead researcher of Lilli Research Group, a small education-consulting firm in the Washington, D.C., metro area. She will be blogging regularly for the Ph.D. Placement Project about nonacademic career issues for Ph.D.’s.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

MoBot vs. Bolt: What Sport (Should Be) All About

If you haven't heard this story it goes something like this:

The best 100m-200m sprinter of all time (Usain Bolt) will be racing the UK's distance king (Mo Farah) in a 600m race.

And here are my two cents on the outcome:

Anyone who has followed Bolt's career knows that first and foremost he is a 400m runner and has trained at that 600m distance.  Fullstop.  So ya, he can sprint 600m no problem.  And if there were a 600m event at the Olympics, he would prolly win that race too.  (Shoot if he trained for an 800m, I'd say he'd medal too.)

For those non-400m sprinters out there, there's a hell of a difference between sprinting 400m and 600m.  Shoot there's a hell of a difference between sprinting 400m and 402m.

And the problem?  Ya the lactic acid will be baking cakes in your hamstrings and quads, but the problem is much more psychological.

If they build a 600m track for this MoBolt showdown (I want a shirt that says that), Bolt will win.  There's something that happens to your mind when you cross the finish line and you have to keep on going.  Bolt only crosses the tape once.  Mo does it like he's changing train lines on the Tube at Victoria station during rush hour.

So my winner?

All genuine sports fan that want to see the best compete against the best.