Month: May 2020

Blink, Miss a Link

Link to the Brink

Haven’t forgotten about the blog and hope to be back with more frequent posts, as I promised when the quarantine started. But, for now, I have tons of links, several days worth. So, without further ado:

Hugs and Trips

qwinne’s post made me think. I don’t believe I have ever hugged a student. If a colleague goes in for a hug, I won’t avoid it, but I definitely won’t initiate it. I can’t recall if I’ve ever hugged my now-80-y.o. former mentor. Maybe? Probably not. I am not a touchy/huggy  person, in general. I don’t like to hug friends or most members of my ancestral family. (Again, I don’t avoid hugs, but anyone who’s paying attention will notice me stiffen and I never initialize any form of social touch, except maybe a handshake. There’s on-the-cheeks kissing as a form of greeting in my ancestral culture, which is just disgusting, and I thankfully don’t have to suffer through that anymore.)

However, I am very affectionate as a parent. I love LOVE hugging my kids and husband (and, before I was married, my boyfriends), but other that a couple of select family members (no, my parents are not among them), I don’t want anyone breaching the perimeter of my personal space.

Blogosphere, are you as prickly as me? Pricklier or cuddlier? How do you feel about (non-creepy and contextually appropriate, such as greetings or congratulations) hugs within a professional context?


A biennial conference in my field was to be held in Asia in 2021 in a picturesque but very remote and expensive touristy location. Amid Covid concerns, we discussed moving it to a cheaper and more accessible location that provides the organizers with added flexibility in terms of moving dates or going virtual, if need be. Yet, some members of the advisory board brought up the alternative location’s lack of picturesqueness as an issue. 

Even in the best of times (and we won’t have the best of times back for a long while), I hate HATE complicated conference travel. I don’t have the time or the energy to spend two days traveling inland via numerous transportation mechanisms to someplace pretty, only to be jetlagged in the conference hotel the whole time. I know the older (and richer) members of the community fly out several days early, bring their spouses, get over jetleg and relax, all before the conference starts. I don’t have the time, money, or will to do that. I have never wanted to attach vacations to my work. I want my work travel to be to places that are easily accessible; I want the hotel close to the venue; I want the presentation rooms to have comfortable temperature and seating, as well as enough outlets and Wi-Fi bandwidth; I also want the technical program to be enticing. These are the things I want; I am not going on vacation, so I don’t need or want the surroundings to be pretty. I want my vacations to be decoupled from my professional life, but I may be in the minority.

Blogosphere, how much do you care about location when you travel for work? Do you append vacations to conferences? 

Crisis vs Crisis

During these unsettling times, I find the self-indulgence of a midlife crisis to be almost comforting in its relative normalcy. It feels weirdly soothing to be pissed with the world because I’m no longer 20, because there’s so much I want to learn and do and be, yet  there just isn’t enough time or freedom to do it all. I need several lifetimes for what I want but I don’t get to have them, and getting myself properly fuckin’ infuriated over it is as good of an antidote as any for the low-level dread emanating from the internet.

Anyway, here are some comments I left over at Clarissa’s in her recent midlife-crisis thread.


A number of people IRL change careers or add a second career in the middle age, so it’s not just about the personal life, although it can be. I have been in the throes of a raging midlife crisis for several years, with no end in sight. I think the hallmark of a midlife crisis is the question “Seriously, this is all there is?” or “I’ve done everything I’ve set out to do. Now what?”Basically, re-evaluating of priorities and crafting a new set of goals that no longer hinge heavily on education or reproduction, but tend to be better aligned with a mature individual’s core values and their true passions (many of which were neglected since childhood in the pursuit of a lucrative career and/or mating prospects).


…there is research showing that a vast majority of people in the developed or semi-developed world do go through some form of midlife crisis. There’s psychoanalysis work dating all the way back to Jung and Freud on why it happens and why it’s developmentally appropriate.


So you did actually have a midlife crisis, but, since you were unencumbered by familial relationships, you could just leave once you decided you wanted to. Most people in their forties or thereabout cannot. I am the primary breadwinner and will be 60 when my youngest finishes college. I would love to just leave everything behind and go try to make a living as a screenwriter or move to Australia to do whatever or half a dozen other options, but I cannot, because there are people who depend on me financially and emotionally. Most folks have similar restraints. The midlife crisis stems from the conflict between the responsibilities of adulthood and the unfulfilled desires of youth, which comes to a head once a person has reached the end of the blueprint (education, mate selection/family, professional ascent).

Winky Links

COVID Poetry

https://cliffarroyo.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/pessimistic-about-optimism/

Stinky Link