I hadn’t planned for this entry to be entirely about my friend Nikki. And, after a fashion, it’s not really all about Nikki. But it’s been a day where multiple circumstances have had a strong Nikki aura to them, so it only makes sense to put a name to that.
- Today, I wound up having lunch at the Dinkydome after my morning teaching. Which meant that the most convenient route for me to take to the strike location for my afternoon graduate seminar [sorry, no link yet, since the syllabus is still in flux] took me across the 10th Avenue Bridge . . . which gave me my first up-close, in-person look at the wreckage of the I-35W Bridge . . . which, even more than a month later, is a mind-blowing sight to behold. I’m not even going to try to capture in words what it feels like to see that much twisted steel and buckled concrete in one place — if you can count the full expanse of the Mississippi River plus several hundred feet on each bank as “one place” — since words won’t do it justice. But it makes it even harder for me to imagine what it would have felt like to be on the 10th Avenue Bridge precisely when the bridge right next to it crumpled without warning. Nikki didn’t have to imagine such a thing (though I’m sure she wishes that things were otherwise), since she was there.
- My graduate seminar — which happens to include Nikki — looks like as strong and promising a group as any I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching. And I’ve taught my fair share of stellar groups of students. Saying something like this in public, of course, will undoubtedly inspire some former student to wonder what was wrong with the cohort they were in when I taught some previous seminar. So let me assure any such folks, here and now, that any shortfalls in their cohort were someone else’s fault entirely. If nothing else, the occasional weak links in my graduate seminars — they’ve been rare, but the ones that I’ve had have tended to be pretty memorable in their weakness — are probably not folks who’re keeping tabs on my blog.
- The ongoing saga of the AFSCME strike at the U. continues to be . . . well . . . ongoing. If there are active negotiations underway again between the administration and the union, neither side is saying so publicly. So folks like Nikki — who’s also one of the striking workers — will apparently be walking the picket lines for the foreseeable future. And I’ll be teaching my graduate seminar off campus for as long as the strike lasts.