The Weblog

Home for the heteronomous

Friday Afternoon Confessional: It is accomplished

I confess that although grading remains, my first year in the classroom ended yesterday. I’ve posted some reflections elsewhere, but for those needing the executive summary: it’s been an extremely valuable experience.

I confess that one effect of teaching this year has been to reinforce my tendency to distrust members of my own gender: there are excellent male students, but the worst students, in my experience, have all been male. For the female students, there’s just a higher baseline of competence, simple things like actually showing up to class regularly, acknowledging that deadlines exist, checking their e-mail every day — whereas the guys can often be total wrecks, including one plagiarist and a couple who essentially never showed up for class. I confess that I don’t like to keep track of attendance formally, but include a disclaimer in my syllabus that a “clear pattern of absenteeism” would hurt their grade. I worried that the standard was too vague, but in one of my classes this quarter I found one unambiguous standard — if you show up to class and I don’t recognize you at all, that’s a “clear pattern of absenteeism.”

I confess that I am keeping my apartment in Kalamazoo until the end of my contract and that I am somewhat worried about the fact that it will be sitting mostly idle for over three months this summer. I confess that part of me wishes that I could move all the way out now (and hence move all my stuff to the new apartment in Chicago) and just find a furnished studio for next year, but that leaving things basically as they are was seductively easy. It probably won’t make much difference either way, honestly.

I confess that I have become weirdly obsessed with the distinctive foods of midwestern cities, particularly the Flint-style Coney Island hotdog, and that I have bored countless friends talking about it. I confess, however, that everyone I’ve talked to views their local food tradition as “natural” — including a Chicago-area native who, implausibly enough, finds nothing strange about the full salad that is put on top of a Chicago-style hotdog — just as I view the Flint Coney as the only true one.

I confess that I have gotten tired of the new Domino’s recipe. After having it a few times over the course of the quarter, I’ve decided that it’s too gimmicky — it’s as though the entire pizza has been built on a foundation of garlic bread. Of course people are going to like it better! The more basic Papa John’s is likely to be my go-to when I return to Kalamazoo next year. Until then, I’ll be eating pizza that’s actually good — such as Stefano’s and Pizza DOC in Lincoln Square or (the supposedly “best” pizza in the country) Great Lakes in Andersonville — and, when I’m in the mood for corporate pizza, Sarpino’s.

I confess that I’m probably fortunate that there is a paucity of fast food chains in the immediate area of our new apartment and that some remarks from colleagues to the effect that I’ve obviously lost weight since the beginning of the school year and look so much better will hopefully motivate me to exercise more and over-indulge less this summer than last. I confess that my continued love for fast food leads me to believe that it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be anything other than a midwestern boy. My one clear counter-example, namely my strong preference for walking over driving, is not so much a change as a return to the patterns of my childhood, when I walked to school from first [sic] to eighth grade. I even carried my band instrument (the baritone — like a mini tuba, for those who are uninitiated in the ways) on a luggage rack for a couple years. It’s a miracle I was never beaten up.


June 4, 2010 - Posted by | Friday Afternoon Confessional


  1. I confess that I’ve been lazy all week, especially with regard to reading, as the only reading I’ve managed to do is half-hearted introduction-I’ll-get-to-this-soon reading.

    I confess that one of the things that most impressed me about the apartment I viewed today was that the tenant moving out had good taste in books and music, and that I somehow correlated this with the tenant taking good care of the place (although, it was in good shape, but it’s hard to judge how much my perception was clouded). I am going to put the deposit down on this place tomorrow, and I confess that I’m extremely relieved, because I’ve hated driving downtown for three consecutive days and counting.

    I confess that I may continue my reading-laziness, as I’ve been watching the series Weeds. I confess that the odd sexual tension in this show is mostly what keeps me watching. The plot is pretty predictable, although maybe I’m being too harsh after being schooled on hardnosed dramas like the Wire and Breaking Bad.

    Comment by Dave Mesing | June 4, 2010

  2. I confess that my favorite pizza is from Trenton, New Jersey, but damn, Great Lake pizza is good. I’ll put it up in the top tier with the DeLorenzo’s on Trenton’s Hudson Street and the Wooster Street, New Haven triumvirate. Definitely better than anything I’ve had in New York City.

    I confess that I was raised on Chicago-style hot dogs and have browbeat many a friend out of putting ketchup on their dogs.

    I confess that I got wonderfully sleepy last night about halfway through Jules Feiffer and Alan Arkin’ Little Murders. I’m looking forward to finishing it. It’s kind of Ionesco via Great Grimy New York.

    Comment by k-sky | June 4, 2010

  3. I totally understand the polemic against ketchup in the Chicago hot dog tradition. It just looks fucking disgusting to me.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 4, 2010

  4. ketchup, the tomato based products are said to be cancer preventing
    i confess i’m anonymous on FB, perhaps it’ll ban me for good now b/c i requested the name change again within 24 h or won’t allow me the name change and i’ll be stack with the new name
    preparing myself for the lesser results

    Comment by read | June 4, 2010

  5. I confess that my favorite pizza is Belgian flatbread pizza, which is pretty much the anti-Chicago pizza.

    Comment by Dave Mesing | June 4, 2010

  6. I confess that every time I am being interviewed I want to scream, “You FUCK!” and spit in the interviewer’s face, piss on the desk, burn down the building, that sort of thing. Jobs should be taken, not given.

    Comment by Matthew | June 4, 2010

  7. This makes me want to weep.

    I think I’m losing it.

    Comment by Matthew | June 4, 2010

  8. I confess there is a McDonald’s .31 miles north of your new apartment, and a White Castle .42 miles north of that. WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

    Comment by ebolden | June 4, 2010

  9. I confess that if there is something known as Belgian pizza it is probably as Belgian as French fries are French.

    Comment by Guido Nius | June 5, 2010

  10. I’m not sure whether it is technically supposed to be called Belgian pizza or not, but it’s pizza that’s served at a place that specializes in Belgian beer and food. It’s basically just thin, crispy flatbread, good red sauce, and quality cheese.

    Comment by Dave Mesing | June 5, 2010

  11. You are right on with the Dominos. Even if you were eating the box itself, slathering it in garlic butter would be a massive improvement. You’d still be eating cardboard, though.

    Comment by Hill | June 5, 2010

  12. I confess: RIP David Markson.

    Comment by Sad | June 7, 2010

  13. Los Angeles doesn’t have a distinctive hot dog culture, as far as I know, unless you count the Mexican-style bacon-wrapped sausages served off a griddle by street vendors. I never had a Pink’s dog until sometime in my twenties, and it wasn’t that great — I could do without ever having another.

    I confess I grew up eating Oki dogs (hot dogs and pastrami covered in chili and cheese, and wrapped in a tortilla), but these are so odd and to be honest, terrible, that they can’t be considered to comprise a regional food culture. The last time I had one was when I returned to LA after living elsewhere for about eight years. The place was the same as I remembered — hot, filthy, graffiti-covered, empty except for a strung-out skater kid eating ice cubes — and the dog was the same, but I was different — too grown-up to hang out there, and too old to digest the food.

    Comment by jms | June 7, 2010

  14. but these are so odd and to be honest, terrible, that they can’t be considered to comprise a regional food culture

    Isn’t that normally how a food qualifies?

    Comment by ben | June 7, 2010

  15. I confess I misused the word comprise in 13 and it’s bothering me.

    In response to 14 I think you have to have some entrenched general popularity within the region, and I don’t know anyone who eats Oki dogs on a regular basis who isn’t a teenager and/or a drug addict. It’s more a regional food oddity than a culture. That said, since first I mentioned them in 13 I’ve kind of been craving one.

    Comment by jms | June 8, 2010

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: