Category "About Inner Geek"
July 17, 2005
About Inner Geek
As a professor at the University of Minnesota, I teach, conduct research, and participate actively in the university and my professional communities. A student once asked me if I ever got bored doing research on the same topic - Never! Every day is different, bringing new opportunities for discovery and for building relationships. I am a family psychologist interested in the interplay between individual and relational development within family contexts. Favorite family drama: "Six Feet Under."
I'm also a musician, currently singing with the Waltham Abbey Singers and the Schütz Secret Singing Society. The latter is just a group of anywhere from 10 - 20 folks who gather monthly in someone's living room to sing, just for the joy and camaraderie of it. I also had the pleasure of singing for two years with The Gregorian Singers. These groups feed my love of Early Music and a capella singing in relatively small ensembles. I've also sung in the Motet Choir of the House of Hope Presbyterian Church and the Cathedral Choir of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral. Several years ago, I was on my way to a professional conference and used the flight to study the scores for an upcoming concert. I pored over the pages throughout the trip, rehearsing the music internally. At the end of the flight, the person seated next to me asked, "Are you a musician?" My instant reaction was to demur and say "no -- I just sing in a choir" --- and then I caught myself and confidently responded "Yes." An identity moment. A favorite book about musicians: An Equal Music by Vikram Seth.
I'm also a cat person - we have four wonderful Tonkinese members of our family: Pookie, Shadow, MacKenzie, and Sadie. Their personalities and interactions have been the source of many spirited conversations in our family - watch for occasional Friday cat blogging.
Technology has always been a strong interest - I use computers intensively in my research (both quantitative and qualitative), and I find technological advances stimulating and exciting - hence, recent posts about Google Earth and the VeriChip. I am co-author of a blog about Quantitative Family Research Methods. Favorite tech movie: "GATTACA."
My research concerns relationships in adoptive families. The relevant themes and topics address issues central to the human drama: the development of identity - one's own narrative - within the contexts of family and other interpersonal relationships. All of this must be considered within historical and cultural context as well as the perspectives of multiple disciplines. Favorite adoption movies: "Secrets and Lies," "First Person Plural."
Travel has enriched my life immeasurably - I've lived in very different parts of the United States: upstate New York (10 years), north central (8 years) and central Texas (17 years), northern California (2 years), and southeastern Minnesota (19 years). I will be moving to Massachusetts in 2008, so look forward to living in New England, where my sister and father now live. I've also traveled extensively in other parts of the United States and have spent various amounts of time in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, and Russia.... so far. So many more places to experience. A favorite movie involving exotic lands: "The English Patient."
June 7, 2006
Blogoversary Eve Reflections
It seems somehow fitting that I approach my first blogoversary with this, my 100th post. Since starting Inner Geek last June, this blog site has received almost 2500 visits. (Some of these visits are from me, of course, since Site Meter records a visit every time anyone looks at the blog site.) It's been an interesting and enjoyable ride, but it's required effort too -- effort that could have been expended on other things. So as the blogodometer prepares to turn, it's time to reflect a bit about the experience and question whether I should continue, or just say "it's been fun - on to something else."
I decided on the title "Inner Geek" last summer while on a walk around the Broad, a man-made lake on the campus of the University of East Anglia (where I'll be returning in July). I had been thinking about blogging for a while, inspired in part by Yvette, over at Six Impossible Things to do Before Breakfast. As a former (high school) journalist and editor, editor of numerous newsletters and publications over the years, and writer of technical articles that must be presented in a highly formulaic way (APA Style), I was attracted to the idea of blogging because I could say what I wanted about whatever topic I wanted to discuss. No APA style manual, no deadlines, no editor (other than myself). Citizen journalism. And hey, I am a geek of sorts - always have been interested in the latest in technology. My tech colleagues call me an "early adopter" - and that doesn't have anything to do with adoption.
I've had several amazing encounters during the year. Last December, I wrote a post in memory of my favorite undergraduate anthrolopolgy professor, whose obit I had encountered in the Austin paper while visiting there for the holidays. Five months later, I got an e-mail from his wife, thanking me for capturing his spirit. She sent my blog on to her daughters, one of whom contacted me. We had a delightful set of exchanges, and she sent me a picture of him as well as the text of the tribute read at his memorial service. None of this would have happened had I not blogged about him.
Last August, Susan and I spent a week in Door County Wisconsin. I posted a number of pictures from that trip and raved about Malibu Moo's Frozen Griddle, in Fish Creek, where I had my daily dose of vanilla custard with Door County cherries folded in. Heaven in a cup! When she googled her shop's name in order to start marketing for the season ahead, the owner was led to my entry. She wrote me and we had some great exchanges. She noted that we were both musicians and sent me 3 of her CDs - she's a flute player.
Both of these experiences made the world seem a bit smaller and less isolating and alienating -- and for that, I'm grateful. In both cases, my correspondents were led to my blog by Google -- and this is consistent with Shane's comments that Google likes websites and blogs that have "edu" domain names. (So be careful what you write on UThink, because it will be captured by Google.)
Inner Geek has also allowed me to brag about others -- I wrote entries honoring my father, my mentor, my wife, my colleague, my grandchildren and a number of other folks. It's also allowed me to call attention to issues that I worry about -- homelessness, health insurance, adoption, discrimination. I've also enjoyed blogging about travel experiences and sharing reflections about my parallel universe as a musician. (Back to the citizen journalist theme.)
But it's also taken effort, and I'm never too sure whether all this writing has an audience. I've let go of audience-building as a way of justifying the time ... I do it because I want to. But if I were a "better" blogger, I'd probably post every day (or at least every other day) and do more marketing and things that would promote cross-postings on other sites. I don't have the time or inclination for that.
So as I approach my blogoversary, I'm reflecting on the blog-year past and thinking about whether I should continue. Stay tuned....
June 24, 2009
Resistance is Futile
As the Borg said to Jean-Luc, "Resistance is futile." That's how I've come to feel about Facebook. Yes, I'm on it now. The thing that put me over the line was the birth of my nephew last week. I know that Facebook is where all his pictures will be, and I want to keep up with him, so ..... (Not to mention that quite a few of my fellow bloggers have moved from blogging to Facebook.) I signed up a few hours ago, and discovered some old high school friends I haven't communicated with since graduation.
I also discovered, to my surprise, that my division at the university has a facebook page of its own! Needless to say, I have signed on.
Facebook has double interest for me now. The grant application we are working on involves social network analysis, and of course, facebook is the ultimate social networking tool. We will be studying social networks in a different way, but the experience of being on Facebook is giving me some new ah-ha's about social networks in general. Stay tuned for more on that...