“Experiencing Rush” – Buy Now!

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You can buy my book, Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion (2014-11-16; hardcover & e-book), at Rowman & Littlefield (the publisher), Amazon.com (or a non-US Amazon, such as in Canada or the UK), Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, etc. Thanks!

Experiencing Rush - full cover

Experiencing Rush – full cover

What I Do

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  • Music History & Culture Writing: including Books, Chapters, Articles & Papers
  • Music: Choral Singing, Piano Accompanying, Song Leading, Vocal Solos & so on
  • IT Consulting: Developing Websites & Content, such as Music-Related Projects

University Music Positions

The administrators hovering over university music departments may eventually figure out that “large enrollment undergraduate courses for non-music majors” are the only thing keeping their books balanced. They might then realize that they should hire tenure-track music professors who actually specialize in such things (e.g., the history and culture of popular music, film music, and so on), instead of hiring permanent faculty members mainly for subjects almost no-one studies or cares about.

Discussion of “Class Struggle” (about part-time university instructors)

Re the CBC’s Most university undergrads now taught by poorly paid part-timers (includes an embedded player of the radio documentary):

Having a large part-time workforce of adjunct instructors is not an unfortunate consequence of under-funding universities.  It is a planned consequence of higher education trying to sustain too many programs, taking in too many students, and having way more non-faculty employees (administrators, etc.) than it has tenure-track and tenured faculty members.  Pat Rogers (of Wilfrid Laurier University) and Ken Coates (of the University of Saskatchewan, formerly of the University of Waterloo) have basically given up on higher education actually being for education.  “Saving money” for student residence climbing walls and whirlpools is now the priority, even though money is not actually saved, because of hiring a new administrator for every little thing.

The “statistic” about an adjunct (a.k.a., contingent, sessional, etc.) instructor making $28,000 to $45,000 a year for teaching the same number of courses (four) as a faculty member making $80,000-$150,000 is misleading.  Most adjunct faculty do not teach full-time:  I typically made around $16,500 for three courses per year.  Even as a Visiting Assistant Professor, I only made $22,000 for four courses.  Maybe things are different in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math), but adjunct instructors and faculty members in most disciplines simply do not make the kind of money indicated.  Also, numerous Ph.D.s eventually leave academia and become things like school bus drivers, real estate agents, yoga instructors, and welfare recipients.  Some of us also publish books and articles, present papers at academic conferences, and so on, but none of that provides a living wage.  Writing usually works out to less than minimum wage (not to mention that it’s only a part-time venture), and, in fact, presenting at conferences costs money.  Usually, it’s just faculty members who can get conference travel funds.

Most adjunct instructors continue to hold out hope for landing permanent academic positions, and they thus resist saying much about their circumstances of low pay, limited or no office use, no benefits, no pensions, and so on.  Conversely, most tenured and tenure-track professors won’t go on record on this issue, either, because they would almost invariably appear to be unsympathetic.  So, documentaries such as this one end up having to interview administrators, even though the over-hiring and over-prioritizing of them is one of the main problems in higher education today.  If you don’t believe that this is an issue, see also the Huffington Post’s New Analysis Shows Problematic Boom In Higher Ed Administrators.

Big Moose Lake (vacation)

Standing near the dock at the lake

Standing near the Dock at the Lake (Big Moose Lake)

From August 1-8, I was on vacation in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York, staying at Vicky’s family’s “camp” (a.k.a., cottage) at Big Moose Lake. The camp was given to her grandfather (an attorney from Albany) for helping recover money lost by some inn-owning sisters. Big Moose Lake had also been the site of a notorious murder, in which a young man used the remote location to kill the young woman he had gotten pregnant. The story was transformed by Theodore Dreiser in his novel: An American Tragedy (1925) and then also further transformed (and re-set in California) in the classic Hollywood movie: A Place in the Sun (1951).

the Lucas/Orvis cottage at Big Moose Lake

the Lucas/Orvis camp (formerly called the “Hinman Cottage”) at Big Moose Lake

Emma, Dougal, and ducks

Emma (Vicky’s daughter), Dougal (their Cockapoo), and passing ducks; loons were also commonly heard, especially early in the morning

living room

the living room, including a library, a stereo (mostly featuring a CD of “bear songs” for kids!, although NPR and a few other radio stations did come in), and an old Victrola

foyer, fireplace, staircase, kitchen and dining room in background

the front foyer, staircase to the upstairs bedrooms/bathrooms, Baylor (Vicky’s Irish Water Spaniel), and fireplace, with doorways to the dining room and kitchen in the background

We thought we’d be roughing it, because a tree had landed on the roof and cut out the power a few months earlier. However, the electricity had been back for a few weeks by the time we got there and was more properly repaired on one of the days we were there. On the other hand, there’s no cell phone service in the area (but there is a land line), limited internet access (sporadically from a nearby inn or by parking near the local fire station), and no TV (although some camps do have satellite dishes).

Big Moose Fire Station

Big Moose Fire Station

shoes hanging on wire

shoes hanging on wire, right beside the fire station (yes, that IS weird!)

The best option for internet, etc. is the nearby town of Inlet (a 20-minute drive), which has a public library, an excellent ice cream shop (Northern Lights), and other nice stores and a great restaurant (the Screamen Eagle). The next nearest town is Old Forge (about a 30-minute drive), and it is quite a bit larger.

an excellent ice cream shop in Inlet

the excellent ice cream shop in Inlet

I missed out on a fairly major hike on August 4 (Chimney Mountain), because I was trying to get over this swollen-gland and sore-throat thing and also had plantar fasciitis in my left foot. So, I hung out with Vicky’s two dogs, took some pictures, listened to a bit of NPR, and rested a lot. I also started reading this book I’ve been meaning to get through, as well as the Sunday, August 3 newspaper from Utica, brought by some additional family friends visiting from there.

Vicky with Jeannine and Tara (friends from Utica)

Vicky, with Jeannine and Tara (friends from Utica), August 3

much of the gang

much of the gang, including some of our Utica area visitors, August 3

When the others were around, I went to a craft sale at the Big Moose Community Chapel, helped with meal preps and cleanup, occasionally swam a bit (and/or floated on this plastic, inflatable island thingie), and so on.

Community Chapel craft sale

Community Chapel craft sale, August 2

Big Moose Community Chapel

Big Moose Community Chapel; it’s an historically-registered site

Community Chapel

Community Chapel

We got some nice photos behind the chapel and down by their dock.

Vicky, the Queen of the two-person selfie!

with Vicky, the Queen of the two-person selfie!

With Vicky near the dock at the community chapel on craft sale day

With Vicky near the dock at the Community Chapel on their craft sale day; I had just purchased that hat, in addition to a balsam-fir-scented decorative pillow; August 2

Unfortunately, the family staying with us (the Pyles, who are close friends of Vicky’s) unexpectedly had to leave on August 5, because their basement in Burlington, ON got badly flooded during a very heavy rain storm the previous night.

getting ready to load up a canoe

The Pyles getting ready to load up a canoe

Miko (about to go kayaking?)

the Pyle’s big dog Miko (about to go kayaking?)

From mid-day August 5 until August 8, it was mostly down to three of us (Vicky, Emma, and me), except for a visit by Jeannine and her husband Charlie on August 7. On August 6, I joined Vicky and Emma for the hike up Bald Mountain.

"Bald" Mountain (no comment!)

“Bald” Mountain (no comment!)

Vicky and Emma, halfway up Bald Mountain

Vicky and Emma, halfway up Bald Mountain; this is the spot where they met Jeannine some years earlier

proper footwear, intertwined

proper hiking footwear, intertwined

the fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain

the fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain

Vicky at the top of the fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain

Vicky at the top of the fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain

from fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain

from the fire tower at the top of Bald Mountain; that’s Emma sitting below

Bald Mountain

coming down Bald Mountain

a knotty section halfway up Bald Mountain

a rooty section halfway down Bald Mountain

Vicky's wicked root/route (she's OK!)

Vicky’s wicked root/route (she’s OK!); remembered fondly (?!) on the way down

early, foggy morning

early, foggy morning

Computer Maintenance

I just ran Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (the free version) on my computer for the first time in a couple of months. It scanned 548772 objects, so I guess I’ve been more productive than I thought! I also have AVG AntiVirus (free) installed, occasionally run an older version of AVG PC Tuneup (they haven’t charged me anything to keep using it), and use EaseUS Todo Backup (free). Those are some good options, although they are less “cloud”-oriented than some of you may like. They are also not exactly fast, so run them overnight.