August 29, 2005

academic milestones

Today is significant in two ways: (1) it's my first official day as an associate professor (with tenure), and (2) it is the 10th anniversary of my first time teaching. Wow, it's hard to believe that 10 years have gone by since 4:00 on August 29, 1995, when I entered Ballantine Hall 330 to teach Indiana University's sociology s335 -- "race and ethnic relations" -- as a graduate student. At 4:00 today (in about 45 minutes!) I'll go sit in my first U of MN classroom (Appleby 219) and re-read my Fall 1995 teaching journal....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:18 PM

August 25, 2005

suburban dreams/new urbanism

I live in a 93 year-old house in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Prospect Park. Every once in a blue moon I wish I lived in a new house in a new suburban subdivision, one where I'd be long gone by the time house repairs are due, like today's replacement of a dead hot water heater. Wait a minute, I just remembered that one doesn't have to give up all the quirks and charms of city life for a new house, s/he can opt for New Urbanism-inspired developments like Minneapolis' Heritage Park or The ATL's Glenwood Park. Cool. I, however, will stick with 90 year-old+ houses for now. There's just something about them that can't be replicated in new construction....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:53 PM

August 22, 2005

men's fashion

Like many people, I thought that capri pants were worn only by women. Today, though, I saw a young African-American man wearing a pair. A google search reveals that he's not alone. Well, at least in terms of gender in general, but I don't know if too many other Brothas will follow his lead....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:46 PM

August 18, 2005

a movie mess

Remember the first time you used a computer word processing software program? If like me, you probably made a document that used five or six different fonts on each page; inserted many italics, underlines, and bolds; and included mutiple indentation and line spacing changes. While making the movie The Girl From Monday the director must have been on a continual acid trip back to his first word processor days, as every scene contained at least three of the following: skewed angles, slow motion, stop motion, blurred focus, black-and-white (non)color, and sledge-hammer narration. If netflix allowed ratings of zero (current scale is 1-5; 1="hated it", 5="loved it"), that would've been my vote.

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:06 AM

August 16, 2005

banned childhood movies

On Sunday I saw a movie that I was forbidden to watch as a child, The Blue Lagoon. I can understand why any parent would not want a 12 year-old to see this thing in 1980, with its extensive nudity and theme of sexual awakening. On the other hand, I'm a bit puzzled about my parents' reluctance to let me watch a film released a few years later (one I saw for the first time earlier this year), the 1983 TV movie The Day After. One would think that a 15 year-old honor student would be encouraged to watch a movie that questioned the wisdom of a nuclear arms race. I should probably remember, though, that while the movie is tame by 2005 standards, it was graphic in 1983, and the network's extensive promotion of free grief counseling phone services woud only increase parents' concern. But still, I coulda handled it....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:21 PM

August 11, 2005

open house

Yesterday I went to an open house for a large commercial property in my 'hood, 2929 University Ave, owned by Prospect Park Properties. The building used to be the headquarters for Kemps Ice Cream, but now is being renovated into a multiple use facility. The highlight of the tour: a walk through the 15,000 square foot freezer where ice cream was formerly stored. It would make a great setting for a horror movie, with its burnt out lights, large puddles of murky water (I think that the power had been off for a few weeks prior), and creaky/rusty chains swinging around. Several of the leasing agents thought I was there scouting out a business location vs. being a curious neighbor, so maybe I should set up an appointment and pretend to be a Hollywood location scout? Hhhmmm.

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:14 PM

August 9, 2005

race in the Weeds

Showtime has a new show called Weeds, about a White suburban mother who starts selling marijuana to maintain her standard of living after her husband dies. The show walks a fine line between solid social critique and stereotype reinforcement. Take one of main character Nancy's sidekicks: "Heylia, the strong-willed matriarch of an inner-city family, is the pot supplier for Nancy's new business." Her initial behavior in this week's episode signified her as a modern-day mammy [according to some, a "matriarch" is a "mammy gone bad"], but as the show progressed we got hints that she has a deeper complexity...and that Nancy has more than a superficial understanding of Black culture (one telling line, delivered with an ironic smirk: "I'm just a bitch-ass...bitch!"). While Showtime will never be able to atone for cancelling Dead Like Me, Weeds could get really interesting....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:37 PM

August 4, 2005

reading Harry Potter #6

I can hardly believe that today is when I'll start the sixth Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, since for books 4 and 5 I got them at midnight on opening day and started reading in the morning. This year, though, the book came out the day I flew to the Dirty South for a week-long trip, and then when I returned I had another full week activity (a creative writing class with lots of homework). Then this week I had to catch up on stuff that piled up over the previous two weeks. Who says that summer is a lazy time?!

I think I also delayed the start date because a favorite activity is now officially dead. I read HP books 1-3 out loud with a friend, Tom. We started book 4 together, but he couldn't find the time necessary to read the whole thing with me (book 3 took us 25 hours!), as he was at the start of a new relationship. I read book 5 entirely on my own, and now book 6 will also be solo 'cause Tom is married and has a 6-month old son, so there's zero chance he'll be coming out for our old pastime. Oh well....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:43 AM

August 1, 2005

cool comix

"Ever feel gloomy? Would you describe yourself as 'disenchanted'? Do boys make you mad?" These are questions asked at the angry little girls site. Visit Kim, Deborah, Maria, Wanda (the fresh little soul sistah!), Xyla, and all the rest to discover "what kind of angry" you are.

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:41 PM