Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nose, You Remember Grindstone, Right?

Originally uploaded by Waldie's World
Well, I am so so far behind on my blog, and I know it.

And this is just a quick post tonight. This week is my first week of grad school. It's been very enjoyable thus far. I've made some friends, met some nice professors, and have gotten excited about what we will be learning.

I also lost my hat. $#@&!

This week is three days of orientations (two down, one to go), then two days of field placement. Saturday is all day meetings about two of my classes which are "Distance Education" classes even though I will be in the room with the professor; thus, everyone must come to Columbia prior to the first session. Then next week is "Block Week" which is five full days of field placement (plus my two night classes).

THEN, the next week is Labor Day and we have no classes. The funny thing about that is that Mondays are the days I have 3 of my 4 classes, so factoring in the holiday, I really won't start two of my classes until September 10th!)

I also secured a 10-hour a week Graduate Assistantship which will be in the Office of International Programs for Students and will be starting the first week of September as well.

Lots going on. It's about to get REAL real, son.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Africa Tetris!

Yes, really. It's the coolest thing. And it's pretty hard.


I scored 11 minutes, 28 seconds on the medium setting. I am a nerd.

It is 1:30 am and I Cannot Sleep.

You Are 77% Tortured Genius

You are smart. Brilliant in fact. And while it's a blessing, it's also a curse.

Your head is filled with everything - grand ideas, insufferable worries, and a good deal of angst.


You Communicate Like a Woman

You empathize, talk things out, and express your emotions freely.

You're a good listener, and you're non-judgmental with your advice.

Communication is how you connect with people.

You're always up for a long talk, no matter how difficult the subject matter is.

Yes, but I make love like a real man!

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.

You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.

Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.

Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!


Your Dominant Intelligence is Spatial Intelligence

You've got a good sense of space and how the world around you looks.

You can close your eyes and "see" images. You have innate artistic talent.

An eye for color and shapes, you're also a natural designer.

Since you think in pictures, visual aids and demonstartions help you learn best.

You would make a good navigator, sculptor, visual artist, inventor, architect, interior designer, or engineer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Your Daily Dose of Minutia

OK, I’ve been home over a week now, so I guess I should get back to blogging. I’ll get some more posts about the rest of my Vicksburg trip up soon. But first, I’ll catch you up on what’s been happening in the last few days.

I've been really lazy. Sleeping late. Especially last week. This week I've got lots to do, but those first few days back, I tried to do as little as possible. Paula completed a Triathlon. Fuzzy ran a half-marathon.* I slept late. But I did it with style.

For those of you who do not yet know, Katie is now gainfully employed. She is the Community Education Program Coordinator for Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Today was her first day, and she seems to have had a good day. She was all cute and nervous when she left this morning.

I have also been on the job search- or rather, a graduate assistantship search. But a regular old part-time job would work, too. Earlier this summer there was an opportunity to get an assistantship which would have been a good one, but perhaps a little hard to work with my schedule. I was willing to give it a go, but alas, the funding fell through. I got back to Columbia and immediately started prepping the old resume. Thanks to Doyle Stevick, I have lots of leads, and I went to campus last Wednesday and wandered about turning in applications to folks in the College of Ed and the campus library (which was more fun than it sounds because I had my Somali buddy Aden with me and we stopped in to see Fabian and Dianess Maganda). I have an interview with someone this Wednesday afternoon (also thanks to Doyle), so hopefully that’ll turn into something.

I’ve also been gearing up for the new volunteer recruitment season for our refugee tutoring program. We’re looking to expand to ethnic groups other than Somalis, though they will still likely receive the bulk of the tutors we get.

Katie and I have enjoyed just hanging out after our 6 weeks apart. We hit our regular joint Pizza Man on Tuesday with our pal Mike, I hung out with Doyle and Kara Thursday night, we had Thai food Saturday, we've been back to the Somalis's apartments, and Katie and I have been watching lots of DVD’s. Nothing exciting, but really nice. So that’s what’s up. Next week kicks off the semester with orientations and internship meetings. It’ll be fun, though.

* Oh yeah, seriously- big ups to Paula and Fuzzy. Great job.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by baldman76
Unbelievably, six weeks have come and gone and my time in Mississippi has drawn to a close. Tomorrow morning I grab my suitcase and a small black kitten, load up and make the 10 hour drive back to South Carolina.

The cliché says “Home is Where the Heart Is,” and if you split your love between two places, it means you are blessed with two homes. My home is Columbia, South Carolina, with my wife Katie, but I've also been home with my folks for the last six weeks. I am very glad that I was able to make this trip. I just wish I could do more to help.

OK, so it's on the road again. More pictures and stories when I get settled in in SC.

Peace, Shalom, Salaam.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


This afternoon I went to the Vicksburg Family Development Service and led a 45 minute discussion about why you should volunteer and the importance of community service. I was asked by Dave Heard (who is a part-time employee of the coffee shop) if I wanted to talk about my Africa trip or something, and I felt that I could really speak about volunteering from strong first-hand experience. I spoke to 12 or 13 boys and there were 5 adults as well. It went pretty well.

I say this not to toot my own horn but to say that while Vicksburg may be far from perfect, there really seems to be people working to try to make it a better place. Maybe there always has been and as a teenager I never noticed, but with the downtown revitalization, the active arts community and then groups like the one I spoke with today, I am finding Vicksburg more appealing. There's problems, yes. But there are folks who try to help, and that counts for a lot.

More Visiting

When I make these rare extended trips home to Mississippi, I never get the chance to see everyone I want to see. This time is no exception, but I am really happy to have seen as many folks as I have. And it's not just the folks I always make it a point to see. I have seen several folks that I have not seen in years. And I must say, I have MySpace to thank for some if it, because I have reconnected with some friends and acquaintances that I had lost touch with since my departure from MS in January of 2001.

Last Monday, after having lunch with Lindsay Cacamo, I ran into Erica (Penginger) Livingston, an old running mate with whom I spent inordinate amounts of time for many years while living in Jackson. Erica was in town from NYC because her Grandfather passed away, and though it was a terrible reason to bring her back to MS, I look for silver linings, and seeing her was great. Both of us had things to do the day we bumped into each other, but having not had a real conversation with each other in years, we settled comfortably in at Cups just like old times and visited for the next four hours. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to meet up again before she left town, but the chance meeting on Monday was swell. Yes, swell.

Continuing with the visits, last Wednesday I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Chris and Laura Collins and their three adorable kids. I had seen Laura back around Thanksgiving but only briefly, but that was how I learned they were back up from the Coast (Katrina pushed them back northward).

Chris and Laura


I got to know Chris while working at BeBop Record Shop in Jackson back in 1998. I worked in the store warehouse for a few months and really hit it off with lots of the folks there. Laura was the bartender at Hal and Mal's and- really- everyone loves Laura. She's just cool cool cool. They moved off to the MS gulf coast sometime before I left for AmeriCorps, and though I kept up with their whereabouts, I really haven't talked to them in years. Now they're back in Jackson, they have three great kids, a great house and life seems to be treating them very well.

I will always have a bond with Chris because I saw Tom Waits in concert with him back in 1999 at the Chicago Theater in...uh, Chicago. At the time, Tom Waits had just put out his first album in years (Mule Variations), and the tour was a BIG deal. Chris's sister lived in Chicago (this was before Erica was there), so we both ended up there for the show, albeit it separate shows. There were two, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Chris went to see Waits on Thursday night, but I had scored two great but EXPENSIVE seats (Fourth row, Orchestra Pit!) for the Friday show with no one to use the second ticket. After much cajoling, Chris relented and agreed to buy the ticket and go see the show with me.

Great show. We sat on fold-out chairs in FRONT of the front row. Twenty feet from the man himself. The show was great- fabulous, really- but it was that much better because there's someone else who knows how great that show was. It's a bond that can only be understood by a true Waits fan...(By the way, the jerk has now seen Tom Waits THREE times, but I don't hold it against him. Much.)

So it was great to visit Chris and Laura, meet the kids, wrestle the kids, climb in a big pile of pillows with the kids, ride bikes with the kids, take pictures with the kids, play on the playground with the kids- These kids are really cool kids, y'all.