Friday, June 30, 2023

Seen on the Street

 I was in the SF Bay Area last week, and saw this: 


 Several friends quickly identified it as a new Tesla truck.  And one of my cousins said that it looked like they had done the camouflage wrap to make it harder to tell what's up with the car.  Except, since anyone who's looked has seen pictures of the new truck (see link above), what's the secrecy for?

I'm obviously not the intended buyer for this sort of truck, and it's a good thing, too, because it really doesn't appeal to me.  The back seat, for one, looks useless.  There's a pretty steep dive over the back seat that makes it look like you'd have to be short to sit there, and the window's miserably small to boot.  (I spent a lot of time as a kid in the backseat of cars, and a tiny window is ucky.

Anyway, it was fun to see something so new; not something I'm likely to see up in the Northwoods for a good while, I bet.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Retired: A New World to Explore

 It's been a while.  Let's just say that there's so much unbloggable stuff for a chair, and anything that's bloggable is boring.  I don't think anyone wants to read about the hassles of trying to figure out which funding streams can be used for supplies, which for travel, which for stipends or other payments to people.  But now, all that's somone else's worry.  

I've been retired just over a month now, and I'd like to say I'm deliriously happy.  I'm pretty close, anyway.

It's long seemed to me that the most interesting blogs are written when people are doing new-to-them stuff: new PhD programs, new faculty positions, and so on,  So maybe this blog will be interesting in my adjustment to retirement.  At any rate, for a long time, the blog's been a way or recording memories in a semi-public way, and it can certainly have that function for now.

I'm not going to do some massive catch up post; I think I'll just catch things up bit by bit.  For now, I just finished Alison Bechdel's new book, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, and I'm disappointed to say it didn't do much for me.  I really used to love Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For.  A friend gave me a collected volume, probably one of her first ones, and then I got some others, and really enjoyed them.  They spoke to me.

But Secret didn't.  I think part of it is a graphic novel issue.  There's so much in the pictures that they slow my reading down a lot, and I just don't get immersed the way I do with regular prose writing.  I haven't read tons of graphic novels, just this and Persepolis, and Maus, so I guess mostly memoir, and memoir isn't a genre I really love a lot anyway.  At any rate, with the ones I've now read, it seems like you get a scanty sense of the narrator, and no sense of depth in other characters.  Maybe Bechdel was trying to respect her partners' privacy by not giving a strong sense of their lives, their individuality, but you don't get much.  And what you get, your told: so and so is strikingly beautiful or something, rather than being shown what makes them beautiful.

Bechdel's art is, as always, crisp and readable.  I could look at her drawings a lot more and be quite happy.  I liked the connections with the Romantics gang (Wordsworth, etc) and Beats (Kerouac), but Bechdel doesn't really get at the problematics of either movement in a deep way, nor think about how problematic her identifications with those folks are, and how they might add to her unhappiness.

Finally: the therapy thing.  As I understand it, the point of therapy is to help you accept and deal with things to be as reasonably happy as you can so that you don't harm others nor yourself unnecessarily.  Bechdel's narrator has been in therapy for a long while, but it doesn't seem to be working, really.  But it never seems to work, does it?  I never seem to meet people who say, "yes, therapy helped a lot and now I can deal with things reasonably well."

I read Secret because some friends and I have sort of formed a book group and one of them really wanted to read it.  For me, I'm finishing Maus next (it's taken forever) and then I'm thinking of rereading Pearl.  But I'll need to find a newer edition than I have (mine is from maybe the 30s?)