I am still alive.... just a year older. I turned 29 yesterday.



Posting in the Summer

This posting in the summer thing is really dang hard. My schedule has altered so greatly that my whole system has been thrown into chaos. I will, however, keep reading. The posting will, however, continue to be intermittent at best.



It has been too long since I last posted. I have been traveling on the east coast - enjoying good food, good music, and good friends. I have enjoyed my travels but I am also glad to be back and, once again, have some sort of routine to my life.

I have continued to read while on my vacation - I still am planning on continuing the Blog-A-Book posts - I have not finished any one of them. I am halfway through "The Fountainhead," "Walden," "Will in the World," and "Theory's Empire." As soon as I finish one of them, I will create a blog-a-book post.

After spending a couple weeks relaxing, I have a real drive to get things done for next semester. So - full speed ahead.

I also look forward to catching up on all your posts.

Ahh... it is good to be back.



I have wanted to change my template in honor of summer. I hope that everyone likes it.

I haven't blogged in a few days... although I do check and read your blogs. Things have been incredibly hectic over in my piece of academic wonderland. Here are just a few of the happenings....

1) My father-in-law went into the hospital with heart problems. Mr. Aspiring flew out to spend time with his dad over the weekend. His dad will need to undergo surgery but it is fairly routine (as far as heart surgery goes). His problems appear to be truly solvable so, while we are not fully out of the woods, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

2) My good friend just had a baby. She was in labor for sixteen hours. Wonderwoman!!!

3) I have spent time doing some planning for my big trip out east. So excited.

4) I have been working really hard on a) thesis research, b) PhD applications, c) various readings, and d) conference (publish ????) papers.

5) I have also been planning a dinner party for this weekend. It started as dinner for 16 and has morphed into a BBQ for 35.

So, needless to say, life is pretty hectic here in the fast lane of Academic Wonderland. I have in mind to do some blogging about academia and raising children as well as what truly consitutes diversity. But my mind is mush currently so it will have to wait.


Blog-A-Book #7

I am a little disappointed in my progress this summer. I have tried to dedicate time to reading - but with working full time, it seems that I am not getting nearly as much done as I would like. I must try harder.

Blog A Book #7
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander

I picked up this book at Borders without knowing the first thing about it. The front cover drew my attention and the back flap kept it - so I decided to pick it up. Sometimes this is a good way to pick a book, othertimes I find myself disappointed. This time, however, I must admit that "The Kitchen Boy" is a damn good book.

There is quite a bit of secret combinations in action throughout the book - so I don't want to go into too much detail for fear of spoiling it for anyone. But I must say, I was gripped throughout even though I knew how things would end more or less (the Tsar and his family would be killed). When a writer can keep a reader on the edge of the seat with historical fiction (a genre where the surprise factor is generally mission) I am impressed. It was this way with Alexander's book.

Overall - just a good, short read.



I am working on some syllabus revisions - and I wanted some feedback. Am I being too much of a hardnose here? I am trying to avoid headaches later in the semster by being really direct up front. I am also trying to create a document that will allow me to back up unpleasant decisions later in the semester.

Your regular attendance is a requirement. You are allowed not more that three absences this semester. Any unexcused absence after three will lower your grade one full letter; any unexcused absence after five will result in your failing the course.

Late Work:
If you feel that for some emergency reason (emergency is here defined by the same standard as 911 Emergency Services) you will not be able to turn in your assignment on time, contact me the day before the assignment is due to discuss. Other than that, late work will not be accepted.

This course requires that you have and check an email address. If you have not already done so, forward your university email address to whichever account you check on a regular basis. Additionally, this course also requires that you use the University Online Environment. I, Aspiring Academic, will be explaining to you how to access this system, check announcements, post comments, and submit you papers. However, the responsibility for understanding this system rests with you, the student. As your teacher, I am more than willing to take whatever time you need to understand the system, however, difficulties with University Online Environment, except in the case of a downed system (which I can check), will not be accepted as an excuse for missing or late assignments.

It has been a long week or so... I have been very busy doing a whole number of things. But I am back with another Blog-A-Book.

So, without futher ado... Blog-A-Book #6 Islam: Religion, History and Civilization

To be completely honest, I found this book to be rather poorly written. The sentence structure, word choice, and descriptions in the book left a whole lot to be desired. Additionally, instead of a anthropological approach - I found that this book was written in an attempt to convert its audience to the practice of Islam. I felt kind of cheated because that was not the way in which the book was billed - however, I always finish what I start.

Aside from overly preachy writing and disturbing logical fallacies - this book also contained the most unuseful laundry lists. When I wasn't slightly perturbed, I was flat out bored.

I have read some really good books on Islam and I firmly believe that an understanding of Islam is imperative. Additionally, I have quite a bit of respect for the vast majority of Muslims. However, I would not suggest this book as a primer (or anything else for that matter) in understanding the Islamic worldview.



As seen at PhD Me's

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

this quiz was made by Lori Fury