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Posts from the ‘Snapshots’ Category

And now for something completely different …

Today I began my one month foray into Academic Advising.  Rather than picking up a summer teaching course, I decided to step out of the academic cocoon that is the math department to see what else is going on around the university.  It turns out there’s quite a bit.

Me, pretty much all day on my first day of advising.

Me, pretty much all day on my first day of advising.

UF’s Preview program has been recognized as the nation’s best academic advising program (I don’t know who gives out awards like that, but still I’d imagine it’s a pretty competitive field) and I’m proud to be a part of it this year.  Every incoming freshman is required to come to campus for a few days with their parents for a formal introduction to UF.  Along with a faculty advisor, they declare a major and we sit together to work through their first semester schedules.  We’re there in part to make sure their schedule include critical tracking courses and to smooth out certain academic hurdles, but it’s already clear that the main thing we faculty do is to reassure them that 1) yes, your schedule looks a lot different than what you did in high school, but 2) it’s supposed to!  Students tend to be reluctant to schedule classes that sound like fun. Some that came up on my first day were: “The Meat We Eat,” “Sports Media and Society” and “Marriage and Family.”

My advice to these incoming freshman (and to any undergraduates anywhere):  If you don’t have at least one class each semester that just involuntarily brings a smile to your face when you think about it … you’re not doing it right!

Nolapalooza, 2013

NOLApalooza celebrated on the Chelsea's chalkboard.

NOLApalooza celebrated on the Chelsea’s chalkboard.

Last night at Chelsea’s Cafe in Baton Rouge, the Barefoot Pedals Foundation hosted our second annual celebration of the life and legacy of a dear friend, Jeff Nola.  As before, the feature event was a fantastic show by Questionable at Best,  a band that Jeff formerly played with featuring fellow Barefoot Pedals board member Ben Tuminello.

The increasingly inaccurately named, Questionable at Best

The increasingly inaccurately named, Questionable at Best

I have to say, there are vanishingly few bands that will seamlessly cover The Meters, Peter Gabriel, Bill Withers, Hall and Oates and Justin Timberblake in the span of a few hours. For better or for worse, last night’s show also featured a guest appearance by yours truly.

Even if things get a little too heavy, we'll all float on ...

Even if things get a little too heavy, we’ll all float on …

Beyond his love for music, Jeff Nola was known for his commitment to working with young people, particularly through Mission Trips that took him to New Orleans, Arizona, Kentucky and even Mexico.  We have decided to honor this work by initiating a project of our own:  an annual youth conference based in Baton Rouge focused on social justice and mindful action.

We will share more details over the next few months, but please feel free to read through the following document that outlines our current thinking.  If you have any interest in getting involved, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  We’re very excited to get this collaborative off the ground.

Leadership Through Mindful Action

Click to access the current version of our guiding document.

It snows in Salt Lake

You can eat well in Salt Lake. Really!

You can eat well in Salt Lake. Really!

This is what it looks like when snow melts and then refreezes all over a city.

This is what it looks like when snow melts and then refreezes all over a city.

Christel warily inspects the icy glaze on top of the usual snow.

Christel warily inspects the icy glaze on top of the usual snow.

Gainesville: Rainbow World shouts down Dove World

The night began as most do with a threat of rain combined with a searing sun.  Given the right angle, you can regularly find a brilliant rainbow.

Scurrying through the sprinkles, I made it to my favorite downtown food spot, Lunchbox, which specializes in Latin and Asian-style tacos. I’m partial to the fried flounder when available.

The highlight of most Friday evenings is a free concert in the Bo Diddley Plaza.  Armed with tacos and beer from Lunchbox, this is a throughly enjoyable way to appreciate Gainesville’s hippie-inclined local community. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.

Friday nights also tend to bring out Gainesville’s most notorious resident, the pastor of the fringe church, Dove World Outreach Center, who sparked an international incident last year when he burned a copy of the Qur’an. The group is also known locally for their relentless anti-gay chants, most infamously featuring the epithet “No Homo Mayer,” and proclamations that most folk that are out about about downtown will eventually find their way to hell.

Tonight though, the Rainbow World shouted down the Dove World.

Tonight, the chants of the Dove Worlders were drowned by the persistent beat of Gainesville’s silent hippie majority and their bongo drums.

Spring makes an early arrival in Ohio

Who says I’m too busy to stop and smell the flowers?

I happened across this Magnolia tree in Victorian Village yesterday.  The gorgeous aroma filled an entire block.