Rivers and Years

A new year started Sunday, but a new semester starts today.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is the most daunting.  The last two semesters (spring 2022 and fall 2022) were different yet draining, so I’m not sure what to expect this time around,  Once again, though, I think Caulfield is onto something.

Frazz RiversYesterday was one of those logistical/routine-maintenance days that breaks allow for.  Took the car into the shop, had a visit with the dermatologist, spent some time at the gym before heading into school to get some work done.  Lots of little, necessary things that will hopefully make the next few days go well.

But there’s always the detritus that Caulfield mentions, the stuff that clings to the bottom of the shoes you wore as you walked through the river.  Often, it’s a matter of habits or dispositions frustrations that don’t go away just because a ball drops when a clock strikes midnight.  But there are also new things in the mix: new students, new routines, new tasks to craft and execute.  That’s a good thing.  And I’m hoping that today is the start of a good semester.

(image from gocomics.com)

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Sunday’s Best: White Space for the New Year

Snow plays a nice role in many of today’s Sunday strips.  From simple gag to creative use of space, the white stuff is a nice way to represent some of the hopes of a new year.  First, the simple gag from FoxTrot:

FoxTrot White SpaceThen there’s the use of white space in Frazz that tries to recapture some of the “hush” of a quiet, snowy morning while also working in some New Year humor:

Frazz White SpaceAnd then, finally, there’s today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes with some nice white space coupled with an opinionated Calvin talking New Year changes:

Calvin White SpaceIt’s always interesting to see what Watterson does with snow and borders (or the lack thereof).

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Speaking of white space, still a couple of more days before officially heading back to work. Unofficially, I’ll be heading back in tomorrow and Tuesday for a few hours each day.  Beyond that, it’s appointments and trying to settle in for a quarter with new students and the topic of ethics.

(images from gocomics.com)

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Caulfield Calls It: The Truth of New Year’s Eve

Caulfield calls it correctly in today’s year-ending Frazz strip by Jef Mallet:

Frazz Caulfield Calls ItHere in Honolulu, it will look (and sound) like hours of fireworks from every direction.  It’s pretty cool at first, but it’s definitely old by about 10 o’clock,  We’ll see how it goes (and how long it goes) this year. An early, good night sleep, probably won’t happen for most of us here.

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Yesterday was a travel day for me.  Turns out the best time to get to a Chik-Fil-A without waiting in line is at about 4:15 in the morning.  One last chicken and biscuit to end the year was nice.  The flights were fine with the exception of a medical emergency from MSP to HNL that had us diverting for a stop at LAX to help the passenger get help.  The plane finally landed in HNL about two hours late, but it did allow for seeing a beautiful sunset.

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There’s a lot that could be said about 2022.  I might get there eventually.  It was, without a doubt, a difficult year, particularly the first half (with the second half being difficult in different but connecting ways).  But there were also some good moments, good people, good books, and good places.  Maybe I’ll get some of it down here over the next few days.  But for now, I need to try and prove Caulfield at least a little wrong by running a few errands to get ready for the new semester that starts next week.

(image from gocomics.com)

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Sunday’s Best: A Geeky Christmas

There was some decent holiday cheer in the funny pages today, but Bill Amend’s weekly FoxTrot had the best blend of Christmas and geek culture (which is what often sets Amend’s word apart).  The first panel is funny in a cool way, but things get progressively more destructive (because who really wants a Death Star?).

FoxTrot Nerdy Christmas(image from gocomics.com)

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One Word (of many) for the Year

ImplosionYears begin and end with words . . . or, more fittingly, one word each.  Over the last few years, many people have taken to the idea of “claiming” a word for the new year, a word they would like to focus on and live into.  At the other end of the year, though, is the annual quest to choose the word that best fits what has actually happened, which is a good challenge in its own way.

Over at Vanity Fair, Kenzie Bryant has gone for the latter, year-end task.  In her look-back piece, Bryant declares that 2022 has been “the year of the implosion.”  And she has interesting proof to back up her claim.  She wisely starts, though with defining the term:

An implosion can occur because the middle is hollow. There is no there there, and nothing can’t support something, so it’s all done in. Collapsed. It’s categorically different from an explosion—those take out everything around them. With an implosion, if anything was relying on the imploded thing for support, it too would topple. With enough of them, it adds up to a general atmosphere—a vibe even!—of broader social flimsiness. A tension that barely holds. Entropy.

Bryan is most concerned with the “frauds” that fell through this year, which I understand but also find a little frustrating.  Things don’t have to be fraudulent in order to implode.  But the point is well-taken, and the “social flimsiness” that she mentions is true on multiple levels.  “The centre cannot hold,” Yeats wrote.  The same is true for many organizations and institutions and relationships and habits, even.

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Like many others, I’ll likely spend the next couple of weeks reflecting on the year.  Like some, I’ve been doing it for a while now.  I don’t think 2022 will easily boil down to one word for me.  It would be wise, I think, to take Bryant’s assertion as a warning, as an opportunity not so much to dance on the remains of the implosion, but to consider the foundation and infrastructure we have lived this last year with, to check on the soundness of things before we build more in the new year.

(image from news9live.com)

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Sunday’s Best: Hereby Resolve

If Christmas brings out one side of Calvin (the side that wants it all for himself), the New Year brings out another side (what everyone else needs to do).  Today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes is a good picture of that.


(image from gocomics.com)

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Sunday’s Best: An Academic Exercise in Ethics

It feels like snow brings out the best and the worst in Calvin, as today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes attests.  I need to keep a better file of these for class next semester.  It’s great how Calvin starts with an interesting thought and then ends with a “pow!” and running away.

Calvin Academic Ethics(image from gocomics.com)

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Sunday’s Best: Seasonal Reverse-Engineering?

There were a couple of great strips in the Sunday funnies today, but this one captures something nice about the season we are in.  Here’s today’s Frazz by Jef Mallett.

Frazz Drab Weather(image from gocomics.com)

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Math Wizard

Class the last two days has started with a showing of Sam’s speech from the end of The Two Towers concerning stories and the people in them.  Once again, very few students have actually seen the movies (and a smaller number have read the books).  It’s interesting how much the zeitgeist changes.  There aren’t even that many Marvel fans in my classes these days.

This past Sunday’s FoxTrot strip had a nice nod to the Lord of the Rings, or balrogs, at least.  Take a look.

FoxTrot Math Wizard(image from gocomics.com)

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Sunday’s Best: Chasing Contrails

Here’s today’s Frazz strip by Jef Mallett, chosen mostly for the immediacy of the subject matter.

Frazz Air TravelI’m posting this from the airport in Victoria, British Columbia, where the wait time for security check is always about five minutes.  I’m hopefully that the flight back to Honolulu will be a little tighter than the trip over, when I had a one-hour delay in Honolulu followed by a two-hour delay in Victoria (it was a foggy morning).

It’s my first time leaving the country since Covidtide.  And while it’s not that far away, it’s still something.  I was pleased to find most of my favorite spots still standing (though one big loss was the shuttle from the airport to downtown, which I discovered a couple of days before flying out).  I spent a lot of time walking, which was great.  It was a good way to relax.  It was sunny more than usual, which was nice.  It was also cold, which was to be expected but always its own surprise.  I did get to see the annual “Santa Parade” as a made my way from the lamb kebab shop to the hotel.  The crowd was good and festive.  It’s always a nice way to cap off the time away.

If all goes well, I’ll catch my flight from Vancouver to Honolulu after checking through customs.  Then it’s a good night’s sleep before returning to work in the morning.  Anything is possible with air travel, though.  Still, I’m hopeful.

(image from gocomics.com)

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