Democratic National Convention

I frequently rail about the damage the Bush administration has perpetrated on America. I rarely comment on hope. But after watching the 4 nights of the DNC, I've got to say that I dare to hope again. Whether one is for Hillary or Obama, these last 4 nights have energized the Democratic party.

I was profoundly impressed with the strategy. A clear message, delivered with authenticity and passion, methodic, rational, honest...I dare say that there might be hope. The organizers did a phenomenal job of making the most of the opportunity. Thank goodness the Clintons are smart enough and astute enough to use their power for the good of the party, and not just the party, but the welfare of the country.

I watched tonight's installment with a friend who was severely abused by the Bush administration when he was in power in Texas. She spoke the truth (in a photograph) and he ruined her career. Her story is not so different from countless other Americans. An alcoholic bully, fronting a psychopathic cabal of politicians, has squandered our country, its people, its resources, its hope.

I miss my mother terribly tonight. Everything that she stood for, fought for, was vindicated tonight. She worked with Dr. King to register black voters in Texas in the early 60's. She championed Mexican American and African American students at a shit-kicker university in Texas in the mid-60's. She mentored brilliant minority artisans before it was outre. She even got us kicked out of a Black Panther meeting!

As Juan Palomo, journalist extraordinaire, stated in my mom's eulogy, "She was a feminist before the word was defined." The addition of women's and gay rights to the Democratic persona would have made her ecstatic. I can only comfort myself in the thought that it was women like her who forged the path, who made tonight possible.

I have written about the depression of the last 8 years, and how Bush's sociopathic characteristics trigger my personal Traumatic Stress Syndrome symptoms by reminding me of 20 years spent as the ersatz partner of another alcoholic sociopath.

These last four nights have been a capstone to my own healing, my own recovery. It doesn't matter whether it was Hillary or Barack who got the nomination, the most important thing is a valid, viable alternative to the insanity of the last 8 years.

Does this sound like hyperbole? I assure you it is not. It is what I live with day to day. Tonight I was able to acknowledge and validate my own journey, and those of countless brothers and sisters who have been through the same distress that I have.

But most of all, I miss my mom, and know that if she were here, she would have been in Denver, would have thrown her entire self into the changes that must come about, must occur for us to be a Good American once again.


Music posts

The folks at b5media were kind enough to export all my posts from The Good Musician so that I can now access the content. I really enjoyed researching and writing for them, even though they are a news group, which is not particularly my style, except in blogging about education. I'm thinking about adding those posts to FOP, but don't know if my peeps would enjoy that or not. Have an opinion? Let me know.

In the meantime, our friend Glenda the Good Witch at UT has set up a university-wide blog, and our division has assigned six of us to populate The DIIA Blog. It's live, accessible from the UT Web site, and when our new Web site is launched, we will host it there.

The DIIA Blog will feature posts on education in the 21st century. Instructional technology, pedagogy, theory, and news from higher education. Team blogging is very stimulating. More ideas to bounce around, which generates more post ideas. We have technical, assessment, pedagogy, and blogging expertise represented on the team, and will invite guest bloggers from time to time. I am the official elderblogger of the bunch. Should be informative, fun, and help add that human touch to faculty development, which can sometimes be rather dry.

At the moment, we're brainstorming a sub-title. I NEVER have trouble brainstorming, but for some reason, I am not inspired to come up with anything, I suspect because our division has such a broad range of services. It's a challenge to come up with something that covers all the above and much more, while avoiding long, drawn-out, acronym-laden blurbs.

Once our Web 2.0 is live, I'll add the link to the FOP blogroll for you educators out there.


What a long, strange, HOT Austin it's been

It's the hottest summer in years, and the electrical wiring in my place burned up. No A/C for ten days. "Couch surfing," as my sister puts it, trying to find someplace cool to sleep, and plug in the C-PAP.

Place really needed re-wiring anyway. Probably the original string, ca. early 1930's. Second floor, no insulation except for limestone exterior walls, leaky windows, so it gets really hot if the A/C isn't on. Like in the vicinity of 110 or thereabouts.

Now, in that kind of heat, my body shuts down. I want to hollow out a hole under a house next to some cold water pipes, and stay there, all day long. From the time the sun comes up til around 11-midnight, it's an oven. Fruits and vegetables dry in a day and a half. I've seen this. Regularly.

It's a strange relationship we have with our domiciles. At least mine have always been. Maybe it's that parsonage habitual moving, but always at least a small home base. That's pretty remarkable, considering I moved halfway round the earth and back, to find that the U.S. had gone ballistic, and the cost of living jumped dramatically those two years.

Especially in Austin, my treehouse in the safest place for me in Texas. If the weather doesn't get you, the freakin' cowboys and, yes, frat boys drown the town in alcohol and slaughter folks all over town, especially on I-35, the busiest interstate in the country. An over/under right next to the capitol and university, with trucks from Mexico blowing soot and smoke in the air, it can get a might difficult to breathe.

From the sleepy 1968 town with a radical student population, to a small '80s city, just developing Hwy. 183, to the dip at Dell and all of a sudden at least five skyscrapers nearly finished downtown. And there are more going up. It looks like a 33% growth in the last 10 years to me. I have no idea where all these people are going to come from, or what they'll be doing, but it appears to be booming in commercial real estate. McMansions are popping up like mushrooms in the older neighborhoods.

I realize that people want their property to have value. I know from a lifetime of living in parsonages in one sense or another, that houses need upkeep. It still amazes me that I live less than 10 blocks from where my dad lived in the '70s. Blows my mind even more to flash when I'm driving in the 45th St./Letter Streets and see a neighborhood of brick bungalows my dad built in the 30's for the CCC. Good stuff, gorgeous and very organic stuff, but getting old and wanting repair.

I am back in my treehouse now, all of the above happening during the busiest time of the year at work for me. I sorta coasted on the top of the wave, and had a fully WNL blood report a couple of weeks ago, so life is good.

The photo is at Riverside Drive and South 1st St. just before the bridge and onto Lavaca. The Austin skyline is totally unrecognizable and has effectively hidden the capitol in a little bowl.