2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Of interest (perhaps only to me) in this report–the common topic(s) of past posts that continue to bring traffic to the blog, and the fact that I posted NOTHING last year, which is pretty sad. One reason I’m posting this report of last year’s (non)activity, then, is to encourage one of my resolutions for 2014: revive the blog!

It’s likely that the topic of most interest will see more post. What else will I be writing? To be determined. Suggestions welcome!

Thankful

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Could go on a long time about this, and some friends have been microblogging thankfulness all month. Two things in particular for Thanksgiving Day:

  1. My family. I know many people have to deal with difficult, annoying, even dangerous family members, and there are many comedy routines and movies about this kind of films. I don’t mean to boast, but my immediate and extended family is pretty great and I was blessed to have the opportunity to see quite a few of those I rarely see (because of distance) at my nephew’s recent wedding.

Three members of my dear family.

2. On a completely different subject, the British Library announced today that their ” Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts content is now available for download and reuse. Although still technically in copyright in the UK (and a number of other common law territories) the images are being made available under a Public Domain Mark* which indicates that there are no copyright restrictions on reproduction, adaptation, republication or sharing of the content available from the site.” Obviously, reason and respect, and acknowledgement of the source is expected.

This will make future presentations and studies so much more interesting.

Ancient architecture

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Wednesday September 12, we visited two notable mosques–Suleimaniye and Beyazit. Of course, I also had to take notice of the university.

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We drove past parts of the old city walls and the Aqueduct of Valens, where a photograph of the entire group was taken. (Link forthcoming) Meanwhile, it looks more or less like this

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Lovely and scenic lunch followed atop (or near atop) Galata Tower (photo forthcoming), followed by yet another, even more striking, mosque–Rustem Pasha

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The afternoon concluded with a brief tour of the spice bazaar, which is really more about color and scents than imagery, but here’s a glimpse:

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All these posts should be more detailed, but I have limited time and a slow connection. Updates next week, I hope.

Before the beginning

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After a day of travel that actually began yesterday, I arrived in Istanbul, Turkey today. Along with about 115+ others from the U.K., Australia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., I’ll be spending the next five days learning about the history of this city and visiting some of its most famous sites, many of which also feature as settings for two historical novels by the author Dorothy Dunnett.

For now, here’s a view of the city skyline, as portrayed by my hotel room, since I haven’t been more than a few blocks from it yet, and that was this evening:

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More to come!

Summer’s end

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Oh, all right–summer actually ended a few days ago, if you think Labor Day marks the end of summer. Or if the start of the school years marks the end of summer, then for me and other professors at my university, summer ended August 16, when we gathered for the annual “faculty orientation.” Students moved in the following weekend and classes began August 21. Summer has well and truly ended.

I’m declaring an end to this blog’s summer vacation, as well.

What did we do on our summer vacation? Taught summer school (British Lit 1); wrote and presented a paper at the 5th Biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses, “Banter, Battles, and ‘Kissy th’ Face': Sugarshock!‘s Quintessential Whedonverse.” Others have reported on the conference, and a comprehensive report (co-authored by Ian Klein, Ami Comeford, and me) will be published in Slayage later this year.

I enjoyed my first visit to the northwest, even if a week allowed only glimpses of Vancouver, BC, and Washington state. My cousins in Walla Walla took me to see the Pioneer Park Aviary. Just as we arrived, a double rainbow appeared over the park! Perfect.

I slipped in a couple days at the beach, thanks to an invitation from an aunt and uncle. All in all, a very good summer.

It’s near the beach!

Medieval literature, World literature survey, and first-year comp classes are well underway now with first paper assignments coming in soon. Next week, I’ll be traveling again, so expect some photos and color commentary.

Don’t look back, Joss

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Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego

Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems like everyone’s talking, tweeting, blogging about Joss Whedon’s triumph with The Avengers. Believe me, I’m as stoked as anyone—or I would be, if I’d seen it, which I haven’t yet, for some very good reasons. But I will! Tomorrow! Looks like the movie made bazillion dollars without my $10, so that’s all right.

Here’s what I wanted to say, though: One thing that’s come up in many columns and interviews is “What’s next?” For example, this Wired column/poll, “What Should Joss Whedon Do Next?” The choices include “Astonishing X Men movie, new Star Trek TV series, continue Firefly, Buffy Season 8 for TV, Dr. Horrible 2, Avengers 2…” and “other” with a fill-in blank.

All those are great ideas, but I chose “other.”

Here’s what I think Joss Whedon should do next: “Anything he wants.”

As much as I loved Firefly, Buffy, and other projects on that list, I think Joss Whedon’s imagination shouldn’t be taking him back to stories he’s already told, or that someone else started–unless it’s someone truly great that he truly adores, like Shakespeare. Let’s just let him loose and see what he comes up with. If the past predicts the future, I’m pretty sure he’ll come up with a good surprise.

World Poetry Day

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Somehow I did not hear about World Poetry Day until this year, although evidently it’s been a thing since 1999. Perhaps I was too busy moving from California to North Carolina that year to think much about international poetry.

Anyway, in honor of World Poetry Day, here’s one of my favorite world poems:

A Walk
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

I also recommend, for today and every day, the Poetry Foundation Mobile App.

The 2012 TV Rewatch: Babylon 5

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For a few months I’ve enviously followed tweets and Facebook updates from my friends Dale and Ensley Guffey as they watched one of my favorite 1990’s science-fiction series, Babylon 5, written & created by J. Michael Straczynski. But I had plenty of things to do without starting my own personal rewatch, alone. Then recently, through Google+, Ensley connected me with another B5 fan considering rewatching the show, Elaine “Eli” Barlow. Behold the power of social networking!

Today Elaine’s multi-author online rewatch of Babylon 5 launches at Babylon 5 Revisited and Rethought with seven authors from different parts of the world with very different points of view, including one who’s never seen a single episode.

Too many great things about B5 to mention here, especially as I’m late for a meeting, but all will be discussed in detail in the coming weeks at Babylon 5 Revisited.

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

(And to start 2012, this is my 300th post! I resolve to make the next 300 more various, entertaining, and educational.)

Winding up the Buffy Rewatch

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Only two more Tuesdays  of Nikki Stafford’s Great Buffy Rewatch to go! What a year of blogging nostalgia and discovery, not to mention all the other pop culture projects Nikki has going on, to say nothing of her life. She’s a real hero (“Into every generation…”).

In addition to the first three episodes of Season 7, I also posted about three mid-Season 7 episodes last week, and I’ll be among those returning for the big finale on December 27, so tune in.

In other Whedon Studies news, the kind and wise Mr. Ensley Guffey has made today’s blog post Whedon Christmas central, opening comments to all who have written or edited Whedon-related books, just in time for holiday shopping. Thanks, Ensley, from my co-editors Lynne Edwards, James South, and me! A lot of other great colleagues’ books there, too.

In the world, exams are done, grades are in. Kind friends–bless them!– helped replace my kitchen lights. Let the baking begin!

P.S. Temporarily switched the blog background from light to dark to better enjoy WordPress’s winter “snow” feature, which always amuses me.

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