I love LA…

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Now that my first tenure portfolio draft is mostly behind me, I’m letting myself get excited About my trip west. I’ve pretty much officially decided not to go northwest toward Seattle and Portland after the conference. It’s just more driving than I want to do; I’ll probably do them on a later trip, maybe next year and maybe involving a side journey to Alaska. Yes, that’s a pretty big maybe.

I’m really looking forward to some significant time in Los Angeles, which is someplace I never seem to get enough of. Also on the agenda is some road-tripping around the other parts of California that I actually miss and haven’t had a chance to see since I moved.

I probably won’t be spending any real time in San Francisco or the Bay Area except for the few days I’m in Oakland for the conference. I may do a little exploring in the East Bay, but that’s about it. I may spend a day or two in Sacramento as well, and I may actually venture southward on the 99.

I should probably book a flight this weekend. Should be a fun trip.

Gate City Boulevard

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Word on the (ahem) street is that High Point Road and Lee Street in Greensboro will become something called “Gate City Boulevard” starting this summer. This does not thrill me, as I’m generally not in favor of changing longtime street names in cities just on principle. I’m especially unimpressed when there’s no good reason for the change (like, say, to honor a historic individual or event) or to make navigation easier. This change will do neither.

I think this post from six years ago still holds up pretty well with respect to changes on the main drag of my old (and once again current) neighborhood. I still say High Point Road could stand a helping hand, but all in all, it’s a street that works well for its surrounding area and I’m not in favor of some grand scheme that will ultimately fail by trying to transform it into something it’s not. High Point Road is a working class boulevard serving an extremely diverse population from a variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds. It’s never going to be an upscale retail strip, no matter how many trees you plant on it. I’m all for adding desperately-needed sidewalks, and I’m fine with some cosmetic upgrades, but I don’t want to see the city lose sight of the fact that High Point Road is not some abandoned ghetto strip. It’s a street where most storefronts are occupied by businesses that employ people and serve the area. Any changes need to take these current occupants into account.

But back to the whole renaming thing. Greensboro has generally been kind of anal about renaming streets to serve navigational goals (i.e. not having streets change names every few blocks like in Charlotte). Your urban spatial history lesson for the day:

  • The most ridiculous example is the extension of Elm Street south of its form intersection with Eugene. The two streets did not intersect until Eugene was extended out from downtown in the early 1970s, at which point the city felt compelled to rename five or six miles of Elm Street south of the fork “Elm-Eugene Street.”
  • Holden Road used to run only from Friendly Avenue to where Wendover Avenue is today. The thoroughfare now known as Holden Road consists of new roadway plus chunks of what used to be Oakland Avenue, Pinecroft Road, and Osborne Road.
  • Friendly Avenue is made up of what use to be known as Gaston Street (downtown), part of Madison Avenue (Sunset Hills and Westerwood), and Friendly Road (from Aycock Street west).
  • Church Street downtown south of Summit Avenue used to be known as Forbis Street, while Summit Avenue from Elm to Forbis used to be called Church Street. Confused?
  • Randleman Road was originally Ashe Street within the city limits, and Ashe Street originally ran all the way downtown, ending along what is now called Federal Place.
  • Most of Merritt Drive was originally known as Pomona Road. the part that was actually in Pomona had another name, whose name escapes me now.
  • United Street was originally the westernmost of Oakland Avenue until the connection was broken by Wendover Avenue and the new Holden Road.
  • Yanceyville Street south of Wendover (through the Aycock neighborhood and by the old stadium) was called Bagley Street.
  • Murrow Boulevard was formerly part of Pearson and Percy Streets.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive was originally called Asheboro Street.
  • Vandalia Road contains pieces of what used to be Rocky Knoll Road and Freeman Mill Road. Creek Ridge Road and Branderwood Drive also have chunks of what used to be Freeman Mill Road.

I’m sure I’m missing a few. Feel free to chime in. And if you’re interested in seeing old maps of the city, this link should be fun for you.

A job with a view

Deep into my tenure portfolio this week. The first draft is due in just a few days.

Actually, it’s a really good way of reflecting on just how much I’ve accomplished in the past five years. I’ve been much busier than it sometimes seemed, and I’ve actually completed a pretty impressive body of work.

In fact, it was work that got me through the dark times a few years back when I felt like the whole world was collapsing around me. It gave me a goal–something to work toward–and it made the days seem not quite so pointless. When you’re already depressed and suddenly a lot of really crappy things happen, it’s easy for days to start seeming pointless.

Work gave me something I felt like I could control, and that’s something I really needed at that point. A lot of other situations at the same time in my life had left me feeling like I wasn’t in charge of my own destiny, which is pretty fucking unpleasant, especially when you’re a control freak by nature.

Anyway, that whole desire to excel at something (or at least to control something) turned out to be a really good thing career-wise. it’s hard to believe I’ve been at this for more than five years. And I still think “tenured university faculty” is about the last thing anybody expected from me ten or fifteen years ago. But it just may happen now, assuming I can complete a lot of paperwork successfully, document everything I’ve done sufficiently, and convince the powers that be that they should keep me forever rather than can me.

Should be an interesting six months or so, anyhow. I’ll keep you posted.

Perks

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I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go for lunch today, so I just kept driving until I ran out of land. It was fun.

That’s one of the perks of being a divorcé with no kids, no pets, and a burglar alarm. You can leave your house at 9:00 in the morning and not get home till midnight, without having to be concerned whether anyone else will worry, starve, shit themselves, complain, or otherwise react in any way whatsoever.

I think I wrote about this once before, fifteen or so years back, but I can’t be bothered to look for it to create a link right now.

Thank you, Christians…

…for this long weekend that catches me by surprise every year. Since I’m a nonbeliever, I never know exactly when it’s Easter until something suddenly reminds me I don’t have to go to work on Friday.

That said, I’m still not at all pleased about that whole “religious freedom restoration act” thing, so if you guys could help take care of that before you leave tomorrow, that would be great.

Randomly Saturday afternoon

At the close of a busy week:

  • Therapy session on Wednesday where I discussed conflicts I’m experiencing over sex. No Freudian clichés there, eh?
  • With April comes the real beginning of the intense phase of my march toward tenure. It’s going to be a long six months. Interestingly enough, I had one or two of those “I’m not a fraud. I really legitimately deserve to be considered a professional in my field” moments this week. Those are nice.
  • Listening to the last day of live DJs on CBC Radio 3 yesterday made me sad. I’m not pleased about the changes. I don’t think anyone is.
  • Continuing to ponder whether Los Angeles or Seattle would be a better post-conference antidote to my required visit to the Bay Area. Suggestions welcome.
  • Still waiting for the teabaggers to launch that Ted Cruz birther movement.
  • Still waiting…

Marching on…

As ever, I’ve been doing this for way too fucking long.

March 2010: Pittsburgh, eerie foreshadowing, and duct tape. And why is the SNCA conference always at some really inconvenient time for me?

March 2005: New computer, ska librarian rendezvous, and assorted quips. Not my best work, I must say.

March 2000: Apparently the most important thing in my life was the new Krispy Kreme. Or Fred Phelps. Or something else. Otherstream in it prime, maybe. Maybe not.