Weekend Potpourri: Gradeapalooza Break Edition

Something very strange is happening this semester. I decided to set up the syllabus so that I could get everyone’s big project with a little more time left in the term, allowing myself a bit more time for Gradeapalooza. And although it’s early, it actually seems to be working. There’s still a long way to go, however, so I’m sure I’ll still wind up in a frenzy at some point. Nonetheless, I’ve plowed through a set of research papers from my freshpeeps today, and that’s enough/all I can take for the day. So here we go…


Friday marked the release of Lacunae, the college’s annual literary magazine, and since this is my second year running it, I think it went a bit more smoothly this time. For one thing, I moved the schedule up a bit and got it out before finals begin later this week, and that in turn allowed me to resurrect our student/faculty public reading, which I arranged to coincide with the magazine’s release and to serve as a launch party.

It was a bit of a close thing — the copies showed up after lunch on Friday, and the reading started at 8 p.m. — but we had plenty of copies available for people who wanted them, and five of the students who contributed to this year’s edition read to a nice-sized crowd in the college’s black box theater.

The Spawn read one of her new works, a disturbing little piece about the … unusual things one might find in the Appalachian hills. The young woman who received this year’s “Best In Show” award shared her winning story with us, and we heard a nice mix of stories and poems from the other three student readers. On the faculty side, readers included my colleagues David Rachels and Gregory Cole, and some guy called Mondo wrapped things up.

So I think I have to call this one a success, but I also want to emphasize that this was a team effort, from our marketing department (who handled design and printing) to the Theater department, who were kind enough to provide with a nice space for the launch event. This is, of course, a non-profit enterprise, and I really appreciate the willingness of my coworkers and friends to put in the extra effort that made this (I hope) a good experience for the kids. Thanks, everyone.


My plans got changed a bit yesterday, when my friend and NoirCon organizer Lou Boxer announced that this year’s NoirCon would have to be cancelled, due to the unexpected death of co-organizer Deen Kogan, about which I wrote a few weeks back. Lou assures us that this is only a temporary setback, and that the event will resume in the future. I hope so, because I enjoyed it so thoroughly in 2016. And heck, I didn’t even get to try a cheese steak when I was there before, so I need to get back.

However, this means that I may be able to make an appearance at this year’s Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, FL, this September. Maybe I’ll see you there!


Along with the Lacunae release, Friday also would have been my mom’s 74th birthday. I think of her each day, of course, but some days feel more significant than others. Still, earlier this week I thought of something that I think is revealing about the family in which I grew up, and of Mom in particular.

Mom had what seemed like innumerable medical problems over the course of her life, but some were more cringeworthy than others. In the early- to mid-80s, she had terrible pain in her face. (My brother and I settled for being pains in lower portions of her anatomy.) So she went to the doctor, and when she came home that afternoon, I asked her what they had figured out.

It turned out she had a blocked tear duct, and the blockage had to be cleared. Specifically, it had to be, well, reamed with a needle, and of all the painful things Mom endured, she would always list that as number one on the Parade of Horribles. Eventually, it became our family’s gold standard for unpleasant experiences. Didn’t get the promotion? Well, still not as bad as a needle in the eye. Dumped by a girlfriend? Beats a needle in the eye. A bout of flu? Well, you get the picture.

I grew up in a family that valued toughness in all sorts of flavors, and while I would learn in 2009 that some things are worse than a needle in the eye, I guess my mom’s lessons have remained useful.


But on to something more pleasant. I tend not to remember my dreams, but the other night was an exception. Among other things, the soundtrack was a song I like a great deal, and so I’ll share it with you as I wrap this post up. From the legendary garage-psych pioneers the 13th Floor Elevators, this is “Splash 1.”

Here’s hoping we all get home to stay. See you soon.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

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