It's been a busy month or two. I've been trying to get that book I'm editing finished so I can send it off to the publishers. I'm not sure I'll be doing another one any time soon... I'm also running a summer research program for eight undergraduate students, mostly from Appalachia (seven of the eight). That's been an enormous amount of work, but also a lot of fun. Mostly. Some highlights:
Welcome to the Big Smoke
On their second night in town the eight students decided to venture out to a local Mexican restaurant. They were seated next to a table with three flaming gay guys. Did I mention it was happy hour? Half price Margaritas? Make that three drunk flaming gay guys. Remember, these kids are almost all from small towns in a very impoverished part of the country. So these gay guys decide to make friends with the students. They even invited them to go watch the cross-dresser show the gay guys were appearing in. And one took a real shine to one of the male students (the female students thought this was the funniest thing they had ever experienced). A good time was had by all (except maybe the male student being hit on), and the gay guys paid for the students dinners...
We'll Send Then Home Better Than They Came (In More Ways Than One)
The students don't have a lot to do in the evenings, so they joined the campus athletics facility ($20 for the whole summer). They've become addicted to spinning classes given by this guy Patrick. Apparently Patrick could make a living as a motivational speaker - he pushes the students way past the point at which they thought they would collapse. They come in each morning exhausted from the class the night before, but they keep going back... And I'd bet that at least half these kids had never worked out before coming here.
Well That Was Awkward
The one bad part of this program so far (and hopefully the only one), came to a head last week. One of the faculty mentors was verbally abusing one of the students - the one working in his lab. This faculty member apparently has a history of being verbally abusive to the people in his lab. I had to pull the student out and put him in another lab (much to the student's relief). The really awkward part? This faculty member is very much senior to me. Thankfully, my chairman was ready to back me up if need be.
Fun, fun, fun.