The last week of summer break is always bittersweet
August 31st, 2012

The last week of summer break is always bittersweet. It has that sunset feel about it, the end of unstructured time and the unhurried calm of campus life. We have had such a spectacularly warm and sunny summer that it’s even harder than usual to turn and face the next cycle of crowds and meetings and the rush of demands.

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Yes, I was in hot dry California all last week, a real and not, for a change, on a working vacation
August 24th, 2012

Yes, I was in hot dry California all last week, a real and not, for a change, on a working vacation. I like California, especially the dry southern landscape that spawned Hollywood and a kind of surreal kingdom of vanity and eccentricity. I doubt there’s anywhere quite like it. A stroll on Venice Beach makes you feel like an extra on some tv show. You could gawk for hours at the boy skateboarder dudes dazzling the crowd in their new seaside concrete park, or just lose yourself in the array of costume and weirdness on the boardwalk. Indeed, it’s difficult not to feel as if you’re in a movie, with so many familiar, iconic features in the environment and that punishing sun throwing an even glare onto everything. At once on display as public spectacle and profoundly indifferent to the mainstream, Venice Beach is a dream.

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This postcard comes to you from hot sunny dry California where I am enjoying a reunion with two old friends
August 17th, 2012

This postcard comes to you from hot sunny dry California where I am enjoying a reunion with two old friends. I took the photo last night at the Hollywood Bowl, fulfilling a long-held fantasy of mine to attend a concert there. It is situated smack in the Hollywood hills. You can squint a bit at the famous Hollywood sign in the right-hand corner of the shot. I have known the friends for almost three decades, since we were first thrown together in our tenure-track infancy at the University of Maine, Orono. One of the friends works at CALTECH and so all kinds of delicious California treats have been arranged. I have seen the Hollywood Bowl in so many films (think Rebel Without a Cause, etc.) that experiencing it had a special thrill, embracing the iconic familiarity of it all.

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Postcards From the Edge will return next week, as the Dean of Graduate Studies is out of town, and away from her computer
August 10th, 2012

Just when I thought I had emptied my brain fully of all blog-worthy thoughts…
August 3rd, 2012

Just when I thought I had emptied my brain fully of all blog-worthy thoughts, a colleague sent me the following:

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