Sunday Afternoon Potpourri: Bare-Faced Truth Edition

It’s been a cool, but brightly sunny weekend. I confirmed the “brightly sunny” part by going to a Mondoville lacrosse match yesterday afternoon and getting a noticeable sunburn in a mere two-and-a-half hours. It’s the classic “farmer’s tan” pattern — a little on the forearms, more from the collar to the hairline. Fortunately, I was wearing my baseball cap, so it could have been worse. Adding insult to injury, Mondoville lost the game, getting doubled up by the #4 team in the country. We were ranked #19 going into the game, so the result isn’t exactly a shock, but we had hoped for better.

But now I’m in my office, and the blinds are working as they ought, so here we go…


The big news on campus is that our indoor masking mandate comes to an end at midnight tonight, at least for the time being. Profs have the prerogative of continuing to require masking in their classrooms and offices, and I know some of my colleagues will insist on that, but I’m not planning to require that of my kids. I told my classes on Friday that they are welcome to mask if they wish, but it’s each individual’s call.

I’m certainly looking forward to working without mine. I’ve followed the rules throughout, and on the scale of human misery, the inconvenience of wearing a mask while I lecture is pretty low. But as I’ve noted in the past, my hearing difficulties have meant that understanding my students’ speech has been even more of a challenge than usual, and of course it’s hard to pick up on facial cues with masks in the way.

But mainly, I’m just looking forward to seeing and my kids without any of us having to fiddle with the darned things. I try to think of my classroom as a community — of writers, of readers, of learners — and I think it’s harder to have that with masks. They don’t only conceal our expressions; they also invite us to see one another chiefly as vectors of disease, to be isolated (or depending on your views of masking effectiveness, pseudo-isolated) and restricted.

As I said, I’ve followed the rules (with the occasional absent-minded lapse that is my professorial right), and should the administration reinstate a mask rule in the time ahead, I’ll perform accordingly. But both practically and idealistically, I’m glad to be meeting my students genuinely face-to-face.


I gave blood on Friday, after receiving a call from the regional blood bank telling me they could use the help. It was my 32nd donation since I started doing this nearly six years ago, bringing me up to four gallons total. According to the figures they put out, that means I may have helped save nearly 100 lives. I doubt the numbers are quite that high in practice, but I’m glad to have helped anyone at all.

Friday’s visit was of a type I’ve only done a couple of times. Because I have an unusual/rare blood type, they asked me if I’d be willing to do what some organizations call a “power red donation“, where they harvest my red blood cells, and then pump the plasma and platelets back into my body. The collection means I lose twice as many red cells as usual (which in turn means I’ll be off the donor list for 16 weeks before my next donation, as opposed to the usual 8), but because red cells are the most commonly required blood product, each power red pint can benefit as many people as up to four whole blood donations. Similarly, I’ve done a platelet donation in the past (with a much faster turnaround time), but since that involves about a one-hour drive to the blood banks each way, this works better for me.

I was a little fatigued after this donation (usually I’m not troubled at all), but other than that, I’m just fine. As it happens, there’s a blood drive on campus later this week, but as I mentioned, I received an appeal for Friday’s drive, and the campus drive won’t have the gear they need for special donations like mine, so I was able to do more good this way.

Of course, the need is constant, and if you’re eligible, I’d like to encourage you to participate at a drive or center near you. There’s no special talent required — all you have to do is bleed, and thus far, even I’ve managed to do that. Four gallons’ worth.


Once again, I’d like to remind you that another one of my stories is now available for public consumption. “One of Us Is Dying” appears in Death of a Bad Neighbor: Revenge Is Criminal, Jack Calverly’s new anthology. The book is available both in dead tree and e-ditions, and you can order your copy here.

By the way, I intend to attend this year’s Bouchercon in Minneapolis, so if you want any of my work signed, I should be pretty easy to spot. I usually am, and I’d love to see you, whether it’s for the first time or a repeat acquaintance.


Well, I have a little lesson planning to do, so I’ll wrap this up for the time being. But first, some music and a quick story.

One of my freshpeeps this year is from Sweden — she’s on the golf team, which has quite a few international students. (Some of our sports teams go long on international kids; many of our women’s basketballers are Australian — we had an Aussie coach for many years, and the pipeline remains — and our lacrosse team unsurprisingly has quite a few kids from Canada, and from that alien terrain known as Maryland.)

Anyway, a couple of weeks back I ran across a band of garage revivalists called the Beet Freaks. I liked what I heard, and after hearing they’re from Sweden, I mentioned them to my freshpeep, adding that they are from a city called Örebro.

“That’s my home town!” she said, although she wasn’t familiar with the group. She did say she liked the music, though. So what I shared with her, I share with you. Here are the Beet Freaks with a track from their new EP. This is “Hey Little Lover.”

And what the heck — how about a bonus track with this moody little number?

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, Music, Pixel-stained Wretchery. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s