Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Random bullets of back home

So I’m back from overseas, back to work and teaching shortly...

Some randomness:

- Probably the thing I love the most about being in Europe is the enriched sense of public space. People really feel a sense of ownership of their cities. They understand that their cities are – or should be – for them, and they really occupy them. When I lived in Lyon, my greatest delight was to pass the Opera building on Sunday nights, when its steps and overhang were taken over by a dozen or so really freaking great breakdancers, just doing their thing on the territory of this public building. That was always the strongest symbol to me of a different mindset in this regard. But even the café culture – spilling out onto the streets – is so indicative of it. But Paris’ crazy Haussmanized grandiosity really can actively work against the perception of space as belonging to people – as it was meant to do, of course. The Place de la Concorde – forget about it. That is not human scale. Those are the parts of Paris I don’t like.

- Of course, when I move for the new job, I am moving to a place that has a non-existent public space culture – this is a large part of my apoplexy at this whole thing. I will be leaving a City that actually has some activism around public space, which is one of the things I love most about it. Boo.

- Heathrow Airport has turned into an absolute nightmare since their liquid-bomb-scare. Whoa. It is such nonsense. I was really mad, actually – the dazzling illogic of it all.

- However ambivalent and angst-y my trip was, I was able to take time off from teaching-work and stress, which, as I have mentioned lately, was getting to me. I feel as if I am quite easily able to leave work behind, when I go away. I am grateful for this ability!

- My laptop’s (i.e. my only personal computer’s) 2/@ key is broken. Without it, I can’t do lots of important things, including signing in to Blogger now that I’ve been forced to do the switchover. Boo. I think rather than getting it fixed, I may just get a keyboard for it. I know fixing keys is a nightmare.

- On my last night in London, after going out to dinner, we came home and watched this special about the 100 Sexiest People. Near the top was Blondie. And I realized: here is a route to much-needed joy. Dancing to Blondie. Have to do that soon. (I have a great fondness for Blondie, stretching back to when I was very little and my awesome dad wanted to indulge all my musical interests, which included Blondie and Kiss [obviously because of what, to a little kid, were their provocative names!] He bought me Kiss’s Destroyer when I was six.) Anyway, yeah, dancing to Blondie…that’s a surefire way to bring some joy into my life.

- And today, went back to Uni City. And discovered that the (actually very good, and edited by a student of mine) school newspaper has named me the hottest professor in my department. I was mortified. My colleagues haven’t stopped teasing me all day. What with this, and the baby professor photograph and accompanying crap description of my research, I’m really doing wonders for my image as a serious academic.


Sarah said...

Well, you are hot. But I will continue to take you seriously...

medieval woman said...

First off - welcome back! I'm glad that you're home safe and feeling a bit more rested than when you left. It sounds like you had to tackle some bears while you were there, but at least you were in Paris to do it.

I love the way you've described the Parisian/European attachment to public space - I couldn't agree more. It's a very important thing in Holland as well.

But also, now whenever I think of you, I'll always attach a little mental chili pepper to the image (a la "Rate My Professor") - I, too, respect you even more now! :)

Anonymous said...

In terms of the 2, I can't offer any advice... but for @, you can use the good old ALT 320. I always do that in South America, because I can never get the sequence right for the key for @.

MaggieMay said...

Hee! You're hot! Of course, I always suspected this, but it's nice to have ti confirmed :)

You're so right about the public space thing. It is THE thing I like least about my location right now: no sense of public space, and utterly dominated by cars. Blech.

What Now? said...

Welcome home! And the hotness article will not follow you around in your career, I'm sure, so you can be mortified on a local rather than broader scale. What a weird article for the paper to have done!

dbm/gaa said...

She is hot folks, New City won't know what hit it!