Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh, dear. This is embarassing.

I've discovered something frightful: I think I may have an inner academic. Like an inner child, but . . . no, really a lot like that. It is curious, gleeful, occasionally silly, very unfocused, and always finding something compelling. This is completely NOT something I'd have guessed about myself a year or two ago, but I think I found some joy in scientific literature.

I realized the existence of this inner academic when I was pursuing the work of James Sedell and others through the '80's and '90's, down the length and (narrowing) breadth of my beloved Willamette River and the changes it underwent through centuries of human activity. I hopped and meandered about the internet from place to place quite contentedly until I discovered I no longer had access to OSU's online Library of scholarly literature because I'm not technically a student anymore. I need access to follow the trail of scientific writings to expand a budding train of thought and curiosity about the Willamette's historical floodplain, and I can't. I just about stamped my foot in indignation. I want it NOW.

I'll hold my breath until I have it, just see if I don't. 
My, what grad school has done to me!

On an unrelated note, I've changed jobs. I have gone from Outdoorsy Badassery to Cubeville. Not that I'm complaining. The Outdoorsy Badassery was naturally badass, and, well, outdoors, but it was only ever supposed to be a short-term gig. It was hourly labor, and scheduled to end in December at the latest, and that was a constant worry. Currently, however, I'm scheduled to work full time, in perpetuity (assuming I do my job and don't relieve myself on someone's desk or whatever), with benefits like health insurance and a retirement plan thrown in for kicks. Also, the current job is still focused on doing good work I can be proud of, and that matters.

Given the often litigious and confidential nature of my new work, I won't be discussing it here much, but there's still plenty to talk about. One book I highly recommend to everybody I talk books with is Bob Harris' memoir Prisoner of Trebekistan. In it, the self-deprecating (yet Jeapordy-winning) author relates how he concluded that a life dedicated to pursuit of knowledge is a life worth living, a state of being with a never ending, ever wondrous mission. Now, the guy does his best to make the world a better place on the side, too, which I also admire and try to emulate in my own way, but I bring it up to point out that the tiny scholar jumping up and down and holding his breath in the back of my head won't ever really leave me alone anymore. 

It seems I have little choice but to pursue more higher education. Nothing else will placate the tyrannical bookworm in me. The units I earned in pursuit of my Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management from OSU will transfer just fine, and get me 1/3 of the way to a Masters in Natural Resources from the same institution. Even if I only take a single class at a time (which may be necessary since I'm no longer Un/der-employed and have to spend 2 hours on the road daily just to GET TO & FROM CUBEVILLE) I'll be constantly introduced to new concepts and ideas that'll spark my interest. Thus, you can expect to read my thoughts, magically converted to legible pixels for your entertainment and edification, on every class I take, whether it be EcoFeminism (an actual course option, though relax, Dad, it's not one I'm sure I'm Hippy enough to take) or Water Resource Conflict Resolution. I'll most likely be starting Winter term, not Fall, but I'll have Library access again!

Maybe that'll make the little mortarboard-wearing motherf*cker shut up, for a short time, at least. 
Quote of the day:
“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.”
Carl Sagan

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