Sunday, January 8, 2012

Looking Back, Looking Forward

One of the best things about working at Kennesaw State University is that all full-time faculty need to perform an annual self-review, along with a plan for what we want to accomplish in the coming year. It's a great moment to step back, look at what you've accomplished and what passed you by, then reassess and re-gear for the coming year. I'm not one for resolutions, but I think this would be a good time to perform something of a personal ARD / FPA. That's check out the past year in review and make some specific and general plans for 2012.
Mark Kostabi, "Two Cats Make Plans"
I feel like last year was kind of a mixed bag. Let's focus on the positive, first, though:
  • Wrote a bunch of songs for FAWM (February Album Writing Month)
  • Went to the New York Song Fight! Live. Had great time, met a whole bunch of folks for the first time. Learned a lot about performing live.
  • Shadowed SpinTunes 3
  • Had my first moderate Song Fight! hit my with Circle Titles II: "Bourbon and Boobs."
  • Had a brief but very successful collaboration, Juliet's Happy Dagger, with Brooke Tournoux.
  • Released two albums: Longing the Mirror in April (mostly FAWM material) and then Secrets Replete in September.
  • Joined Google+ and learned how cool Hangouts can be.
  • Met a metric tonne of really great stars at Dragon*Con, including chatting with Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer.
  • Started this blog up again in earnest and gave it a good run of content for a few weeks.
  • Raised funds for, arranged and coordinated the 2011 Francophone Film Festival at KSU, pretty much all by myself.
  • Celebrated 10 years of marriage by a long and luxurious weekend at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
  • Taught FREN 2003, and accelerated and intensive Intermediate French course for the first time. Used it to test successful the use of Integrated Performance Assessment.
  • Continued to score well on Student Evaluations of Teaching effectiveness and by many measures, had many student successes. 
  • Made lots of new friends all over the gorram place: Jon Eric, Chris and Les Howard, Denise HudsonJulia Sherred and many others at Dragon*Con (Go ScotchCast!) and SpinTunes.

So, all in all, a pretty damn good list, especially musically and socially. Yet, there are some things that I didn't manage to accomplish, outright flubbed, or just had a rough time with:

  • Presented no research at any professional conferences. Didn't even attend a conference, despite that things like ACTFL should probably be becoming a priority for me.
  • Published nothing, at least professionally.
  • Publicly performed my music only once.
  • Continuously had mechanical problems with my Genuine Black Jack Scooter.
  • My grandmother has recently contracted - and is presently still recovering from - a bad case of bronchitis.
  • My presence as an Admin at [iO] Gaming has been erratic.
  • I got a guitar method book and did about two pages of exercises.
See, this is one of the great things about making lists like this. When I started this post, I was really feeling rather negative about how 2011 went. But 'lo and behold, there was a lot more good stuff than bad, n'est-ce pas?

So, let's build upon the successes and rectify some of the failings.


  • Attend the 2012 Song Fight! Live.
  • Participate in the next SpinTunes (yup, I've already signed up).
  • Participate in the next FAWM.
This are are easy; they're what I really want to do to anyway. More difficult goals are these:
  • Find a local open mic and attend regularly. Use that work on my vocal strength.
  • Work more on my guitar technique. I need to set up a feasible goal to shoot for: so many exercises to master a week, or something.
  • Explore some different musical sounds. I feel like I've found a limited range of things that I'm good at, but it's getting stale.


  • Keep going to Dragon*Con and meeting awesome people.
  • Get back into being an active [iO] Admin, more than just showing up on the servers.
  • Keep in touch with all my new friends. This doesn't have to be full-bore, all-the-time, but a  "how are you?" email every now and then is always a good idea.


  • Maintain this blog more regularly. This is a tough one. With the last burst of activity, I ran out of both topics and energy as the semester began to draw to a close. I've got a few things hanging around to write about, but I think the key is just to get in here and write something, to keep up the practice and focus on some concision. (This post is not a good start to the latter goal, I know.)
  • Present research about the video game Portal at Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association Conference in Boston in April .
  • Present research about the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose at the Film and History League conference in Milwaukee in September.
  • Get two of my four current research manuscripts published.
  • Coordinate the 2012 Francophone Film Festival.
  • Have more fun in class. This is the really big thing, I think. Honestly, I take myself a wee bit too seriously a lot of the time. (I know, shocker.) I'm going to expand this goal into a blog post of its own in a short while, when I wrap my brain around just how to go about this. Any suggestions are welcome.

It's well past time to sum things up. All in all, 2011 wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty good if I take the time to focus on all the neat things I did. Sure, there are plenty of things to do, and frankly none of these are critical. But I like to dream big, and I hate to sit on my laurels. So, here's to this year being even better than the last.

1 comment:

Renee's Thoughts said...

I have to agree with the lighten up in class ideal... I can see though progress... in just 2 classes I have laughed more I think than one month of classes from last year put together! You are doing good so keep it up!