Borrowing a trick from Tom Macwright to keep the flow of posts, here’s what I’ve been up to recently (where I might define recently sort of broadly, since I’ve never done this before):

First off, I got engaged! I feel like I have a lot I want to say about that, so I’ll save it for another post. Suffice it to say we’re both quite happy, and we got some killer rings.

The rings

I’m also teaching a class at Columbia for the second time this year, but for the first time in-person. The course is Investigative Techniques, a class that’s sort of a rotating gig for journalists to give master’s students a crash-course in the tools of the investigative trade. It’s quite fun, and it’s all very practical stuff.

The first session went well, I think. It’s gratifying to teach something and immediately see the wheels turn, even if it does end up with your students finding your old blogs.

It is, however, a little disorienting to teach in-person while a pandemic still roils the planet. I’m thankful that Columbia has a vaccine mandate, and I don’t personally feel at risk any more than I do going to a bar or restaurant, but it’s still odd. Taking furtive sips of water under my mask, needing students to repeat themselves because of the muffled sound, having a well-thought-out Zoom contingency plan to deal with inevitable breakthrough cases.

I taught a similar course earlier this year entirely on Zoom, which definitely had benefits – like not needing to leave my house and always having students’ names visible below their faces. One nice thing about teaching in-person though is the flow of conversation is significantly less awkward, and provides for more interesting class discussions.

I’ve noticed the similar when I’ve been back to the office. It’s nice to see people and have conversations that aren’t pre-scheduled and in the same computer window all of your other conversations are in. Being in the same place as people is nice! Who knew.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of this pandemic, it’s that I can absolutely work remotely, but it’s important to at least occasionally see your colleagues (or students) and connect.

Anyway, here’s some things I’ve read lately (ok, listened to the audiobooks of):

  • Don’t Panic by Neil Gaiman - I’ve always loved The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The books are classic, and the radio series has such fun sound design. It was interesting to hear some of the behind-the-scenes stories of missed deadlines and squabbles, but it’s pretty long.
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - As adorable as everyone says. It’s pretty cheesy, but it’s heartwarming and everything wraps up nicely in the end. It (and The Song of Achilles) really made me want to read more LGBT-focused fiction.