Monday, August 04, 2008

Brave New World

Today I had a delightful lunch with HistoriAnn, who is currently visiting Midwestern Funky Town. It made me remember the things that I like about blogging. Oh, sure, there are the fake personas and convicted criminals inhabiting blogland that scare me silly. But the blogosphere also provides really good opportunities to meet cool people. With only one or two exceptions, I have never been disappointed by meeting a blogger in real life.

Alas, though, my little bloggy has been far on the back burner to the Never Ending Research Project of Doom. It dawned on me the other day that I have been working on NERPoD in one form or another since my first year in graduate school in 1996. That is a long time. Let me put that in perspective for you:

    When I started NERPoD, Bill Clinton had just been elected to his second term.

    When I started NERPoD, nobody had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky or would have considered “Blue Dress” a punchline for a joke.

    When I started NERPoD, the Nintendo 64 was cutting-edge entertainment technology.

    When I started NERPoD, there was no such television show as CSI.

    When I started NERPoD, there was only one television show with “Law & Order” in the title.

    When I started NERPoD, George W. Bush was governor of Texas, a state that I swore to avoid for that and many other reasons.

    When I started NERPoD, Motorola had just introduced the first ever “clamshell” cellular phone.

    When I started NERPoD, TWA airlines was still flying planes.

    When I started NERPoD, McDonnell Douglas was still manufacturing planes.

    When I started NERPoD, it was possible for people with a lot more money than me to take a concord plane.

    When I started NERPoD, Barack Obama had never held an elected office.

    When I started NERPoD, Woolworth’s stores still existed.

    When I started NERPoD, George Lucas was known for his legacy of Star Wars rather than being known for trashing his legacy of Star Wars.

    When I started NERPoD, Princess Di was still alive.

    When I started NERPoD, all the Heaven’s Gate cult followers were also still alive.

    When I started NERPoD, they were still filming Titanic.

    When I started NERPoD, the Macarena was all the rage.

    When I started NERPoD, state “sodomy laws” were still considered Constitutional. Fourteen states, including Texas, still had them on the books until 2003.

    When I started NERPoD, I had a completely full head of dark, luxurious hair that I never imagined would recede (I partially blame NERPoD).

    When I started NERPoD, Exxon and Mobile were two different companies.

    When I started NERPoD, gasoline cost $1.27/gallon.

    When I started NERPoD, the Department of Justice still filed antitrust lawsuits.

    When I started NERPoD, you could still smoke in California bars and restaurants.

    When I started NERPoD, singer George Michael had never been arrested.

    When I started NERPoD, Charlton Heston had never been president of the NRA.

    When I started NERPoD, there was no such thing as “Google.”

    When I started NERPoD, it was not possible to clone mammals.

    When I started NERPoD, Netscape was the internet browser that everybody used.

    When I started NERPoD, I drove a Daihatsu – the best-built car that I will probably ever own. I miss that car.

    When I started NERPoD, Tony Blair had never been Prime Minister of Britain.

    When I started NERPoD, Jean Chrétien was the Prime Minister of Canada (Bonus points to non-Canadians who can name the current (evil) Prime Minister of Canada without an internet search).

    When I started NERPoD, Rachel Ray had not yet launched her master plan to become our new imperial overlord.

    When I started NERPoD, the only “reality” television show on the air was MTV’s The Real World.

    When I started NERPoD, there was no such thing as a “euro.”

    When I started NERPoD, I still used “Pine” to check my e-mail.

    When I started NERPoD, my waist was three inches smaller.

    When I started NERPoD, there was no such word as “blog.”


Sisyphus said...

NERPoD, hee! That's what the alien nerds used to travel to our planet in, right?

And there are many many fond and unfond memories your list brings back, but I'll focus on the most important: 1.27/gallon, WTF!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

What exactly IS the NerPoD in regards to?

Mel said...

Doesn't everyone know that Canadia's PM is Stephen I'm-Undead-and-Glow-in-the-Dark Harper?

tornwordo said...

Up here they call him "Arper". Boy this makes us feel old. That's only 12 years, and so much has changed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, GayProf! It was great to meet up with you, too. What GayProf was too gentlemanly to say in his post is that in RL Historiann is a 70-year old man who shuffles along in a track suit. (Thanks for not blowing my cover, buddy! And I thought it was really cool that you wore your WW costume, complete with the red boots!)

Alan said...

When you started the NERPoD, I was in grad school ... the first time. Ugh. Look at it this way, at least you eventually left ... that's progress. :)

Earl Cootie said...

I love pretending to be just-awakened from a years-long coma to see how much has changed in whatever given time frame I've assigned to my coma this time. I don't think I ever look far enough out into the world though. I'm usually awed by the first thing or two then get stuck there. Your list raged widely. I like it.

And yes, Harper, of course. Easy one.

pacalaga said...

Woo! I get bonus points. Dang, I remember Pine. In 96, I had just graduated from college with an engineering degree I would not use in at least the next 12 years.

Curtis said...

Lordy. You have been working on the NERPoD for a LONG time.

Okay, without checking google (my new religion) is it still Harper?

dykewife said...

boy was 4 years old, i was in the beginning of a major emotional/psychological breakdown.

did you know that the year before that someone tried to assassinate chretien? yep, he got into 24 sussex drive and armed with a plastic fork from kfc (arming assassins for over 50 years) and was foiled by mme chretien when she slammed shut and locked the bedroom door on the desperate man wielding deadly plastic ware.

yeah, the rcmp sure took it on the chin that time. no wonder disney has been granted licence to reproduce the official mounty stuff.

Clio Bluestocking said...

Damn you! Now that freakin' Macarena song will not get out of my head. Thanks a lot.

By the way, did you have another name for NERPoD way back then, before you knew it was a NERPoD?

Java said...

Man, that really puts the NE in the RPoD! A lot of stuff has happened since '96. I had no idea.

So, are you going to get it finished this summer??

Alan said...

completely off topic, but have you seen this?

dpaste said...

Grad school seems to be the recurring theme here, as I had just started grad school myself in 1996.

GayProf said...

Sisyphus: And $1.27 was considered an outrageous price in 1996. It went down again after that.

Genghiskuhn: Oh, what does GayProf ever write about? Race, U.S. imperialism, Latinos, blah, blah, blah.

Mel: Good for you for knowing Zombie Harper. I often pose this question to my undergrad classes. It is entirely common that not a single student knows the answer -- or even which political party is in control of Canada -- or even which political parties exist in Canada. This is even worse given that we are in a bordering state with Canada.

But can you name the current president of Mexico?

Torn: I can't believe 12 years have gone by! I still feel like that same eager student who entered grad school.

HistoriAnn: To be honest, I could take the fact that you turned out to be biologically male, but a track suit??? I didn't want to say it at lunch, but I am not sure that I could be friends with somebody in satin sweatpants.

Alan: Oh, yeah -- There has been progress. NERPoD has also been through many incarnations. I hope (knock wood) that this will be the last one.

Earl: Sometimes I wish that I could forget things about the past 12 years.

Pacalaga: Huh -- They keep telling us that engineering is one of the degrees that is "practical" unlike history.

Curtis: Sadly, it is still Harper. Shouldn't there be a vote of no confidence or something?

DykeWife: I have said it before and I will say it now: Every Canadian should be outraged that the Mounties were sold off to a U.S. corporation. It is criminal. I am not Canadian and even I wonder where your national pride is.

Clio: I think my name for it in 1996 was something like "Pleasant Little Paper with Big Ideas that Will Be Done Quickly."

Java: Goddess, I hope it will be done this summer. It is killing me.

Alan2: I had heard tale of this project, but had not yet seen the trailer. It is about time she gets her own cartoon.

David:Clearly the smartest people started grad school in 1996.

Anonymous said...

Good god.
12 years on the same project? In 1996 I was a student teacher. I got my first computer (thought I didn't want one... bit of a holdout I guess). I also started my long dark night of singledom.


What's "pine?"

dykewife said...

oh, you bet that me and most other canadians were pretty pissed off when the rights to produce official rcmp images were licenced to disney. they figured that disney was a large enough (and aggressive enough) corporation to go after people who would use the image without that licence. it is said it was done to prevent "mounty scholock" from being produced and sold.

the problem is that disney was offered a deal that no canadian company was offered. it wasn't a fair deal at all to canadian corporations. it's still a thorn in the side of many canadians. :( including me.

Anonymous said...

I first thought of the Commodore 64 when you mentioned Nintendo 64. That would have been A LONG TIME ago if Commodore 64 was correct. You used to drive a "Dai"-who-who? I don't remember much from that year. It could be my old age. Oh wait, I was under federal investigation for embezzling HUD funds. That's right!

I hope the project sees the light at the end of the tunnel soon!

Roger Owen Green said...

By 1996, I had dated and broken up with the woman I'm now married to. No wonder the '90s were strange.

MB said...

Ha Ha. Thanks for letting your fellow Americans know about the evil lurking in our prime minister's office. For the record, Chretien was only a little less evil.But at least, like Bush, he tried to hide it under a very thin veneer of charm & bufoonery. With Harper there is no such pretense - ushering in a new ruthlessness that, as I watch Obama manouvering himself into the right-wing (or is that the west wing),I wonder if this is one Canadian export we might not wish to share.

Greg said...

Good gods, Gayprof, that WAS a long time ago.

So, what can we do to help you along with this process? Send us each a few pages for proof-reading? Help you write a snazzy conclusion...? Maybe you need a survey to support your findings, which we could create for you here at teh Center of G...

: )

Roger Owen Green said...

You've been clear that the whole gay marriage thing isn't really your issue, and I do appreciate that. But it does seem to be where the gay rights issue is going in America, especially with counterattacks like this one: or

Anonymous said...

I'd never thought to give my dissertation the "Beloit College Mindset" treatment (see: for this year's edition of "What freshman don't know) ... but I did get great joy out of shocking the undergrads with statements like "You know that really intense relationship you had in high school, the one that lasted the longest? I have paragraphs in my dissertation that have been under revision longer than that."

Wishing you all the best with NERPoD [and I understand you can't explain further without revealing too much]!

Anonymous said...

When I started NERPoD, many bloggers overthere who start their blogging from time to time.

Joey said...

Regarding your support of Mike Nifong (as I posted on a ways back), I don't know how much it has to do with confirming my worldview as much as doing my part not to let academic sneaks and bullies get away with trying to hurt innocent people. If you can show me one post of yours where you take a different view of the case (after your "they're guilty" post on Angry Black Bitch) then...If you can give one statement on the New Black Panthers invited to Durham to chant "Guilty" at the falsely-accused (singling out the Jewish Reid Seligmann and his family). Or having the players and their familys' addresses handed out by activists to the Panthers and every other nut. The DNA lab withholding evidence. The homophobic Victoria Peterson. The subsequent lawsuits. This was a serious event (not a comic book) and I think you should show enough integrity to update your views. (And if you ever come to NYC, I'll be more than happy to speak with you in person about this).

Joey said...

P.S. - As far as keeping the case alive, I don't have to do that myself. The books (Until Proven Innocent still considered the best) and history will do that.

GayProf said...

Joey7777: Hmm -- I just visited the archives of Angry Black Bitch and could not find anywhere that I wrote "they're guilty." Do you have a link? Or is this a fantasy of yours?

The only comment that I found that I wrote on ABB was about this incident was about how the media framed race, particularly whiteness, around the case. In that comment, I was careful to use the term "alleged rapists."

In actuality, Joey7777, I rarely commented on the Duke Case on other blogs (best as I remember -- and it has been several years now). And, once again, I never wrote an entry on the incident on this blog.

Whatever the case, I have no problem apologizing if I explicitly or implicitly declared them guilty without a fair trial. If I really did write "they're guilty" (which doesn't sound like me as I am usually more cautious, but who knows?), that was unjust. Bloggers on the left can learn from that incident and I think that many did.

Anonymous said...

Hey, are you buried? I know you still have some time before school starts; time for a post?

dykewife said...

you need to check out this comic

i think you'd be able to relate.

dpaste said...

Since I have no other way to contact you I am passing on two things.

First this:

Then this:
Watch the video. There is a moment in the first 60 seconds I think you'll enjoy.

Unknown said...

Pine! I totally forgot about Pine! Awesome!

Professor Zero said...

Good God. Amazing. When I started NERPoD, there were no cell phones. Actually there were none such until late in my assistant professorship. JESUS. I feel antediluvian.

Professor Zero said...

P.S. Perspective. In 96 I started my visiting job after not making tenure and after having been convinced not to go to law school, but to persevere. HMMMMM.

Snooze said...

Your NERPoD timeline cracked me up.

gwoertendyke said...

i only recently realized that i rely on you for some levity, at least once a month.

i miss you.

Anonymous said...

Please post soon, anything!! I miss your perspective and so do so many others!!!!!!!! Throw us a crumb!!
Have you even posted since Palintology began? Have you said anything about the "bailout" ?? Nooooo!!!!!
How can I form an opinion until I have heard yours???

Elizabeth McClung said...

I'm not sure what month it is, but probably not august, so I hope you are okay. Thank you for the time warp, which is very similar to when I have parital strokes and get stuck as a teenager in the late 80's and talk endlessly about needing to go fill up our four gallon tank with water (drink tap water in LA? Suicide much?), and how to avoid getting sucked into a cult where you pass out pamphlets on the street in order to get fed and have your "new name" which is Moon Earthchild.

Starting a research project when Princess Di was still alive, wow, that somehow hit home for me that.....YOU'RE OLD! Sorry, I meant the project is older, not you, becuase you started it in 9th grade like I did.

pacalaga said...

Since we apparently can't send out the Mounties to find you, can we at least have Wonder Woman guest-post so we can stop wondering whether the students (or the NERPoD) have officially driven you over the edge?

Oso Raro said...

I do think perhaps a "Gone Fishin'" post might be a good thing, or a grand Adieu. Your blog is quickly falling into the 'Sudden and unannounced death' category, which, while not unusual in the blogosphere, is somewhat surprising for a blog with a diverse and wide body of readers.

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