Archive for April 7th, 2012

The Dragon!

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Dragon Tale: The Sequel

As I mentioned here, we have had a child… “installed an expansion pack” as I mentioned, but I just gave the (basic) origin story, not any of the details… so here we go:

As I mentioned, we had a boy. He weighed in at four pounds even, and measured at 18.5″ (although a visit to the doctor’s office after he was home suggested a little less, maybe 17.5″, the 18.5″ is what’s on record).

And the name? Jack-Henry Geddylee Evans, with any monograming initials planned as JGE.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read that correctly, and here’s how the name came to be.

First, it’s family – my father’s name was Jack, my grandfather’s name was Joyce Henry (nickname, Jack). We initially talked about going with “Jackson,” but after hearing stories of some other children named Jackson (who are, apparently, um… challenging?), MC nixed that one real quick. My middle name is Lee (and his maternal grandmother’s name is Leigh), so I wanted to somehow incorporate Lee into the name. Not much of a problem with Jackson – Jackson Lee – but with that ruled out, we had to consider other options.

Which led us back to Jack-Henry.

In a history class in high school (US History, I think, with Mr. Blackstock), while discussing some historical personality – probably someone whose role may have been important but name had become little known – after we were told his name a girl in the class, Verneé Foreman, said something like, “No wonder we don’t know it, his name was stupid.” A conversation followed that touched on symmetry and flow of a person’s name, and twenty years later the essence of the exchange was still with me.

Jack-Henry Lee just wasn’t going to work. In the back of my mind I could hear Verneé going, “It’s stupid. There’s no flow.”

After kicking it around for several weeks, MC finally said, “What about Geddylee?”

I stared at her for a moment, then, hesitantly asked, “Really? And you would be okay with that?” She confirmed, and the name was set. (For those that don’t know, yes, I am a Rush fan. Still don’t get it? Go here.)

While in the NICU, he had to spend some time under the billie light, or as we jokingly called it, the “tanning bed,” and no, he did not like the shades.

And, also while in the NICU, for at least the first week, he had to be attached to a central line station to maintain the IV and to control the initial drugs (prophylactic antibiotics) and tube feedings until he would latch on to breast feed or take a bottle (which was pretty quick, so in the grand scheme he only had formula for a couple of days). Imagine my surprise when during his second day (after I had gotten some sleep), I’m standing in his NICU pod, and I see this:

Focus on the numbers… 2112! And, after following the bouncing ball, it looks like the listed release date for the album was 1 April 1976 but other information indicates a possible March release, which makes it all even more serendipitous… but with the middle name of Geddylee and the station labeled 2112… Coincidence? That’s all I’m saying’…

But here we are, a little over a month later, and he’s been home for most of it, and he has a tendency to get cranky around a camera… (“Really, dad? Another picture?” *facepalm*)

So, there you go… the rest of the introduction. Now you can say you know Jack(-Henry).

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Scoring Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated things on the application front, so here we go. The current standing is: Grad Schools 4, Jeff 0, with three still to be determined.

I mentioned here which schools I had applied to (and the short version of how I decided on them), but to catch up anyone new, here they are again:

  • University of Denver (PhD) (dated 28 February)
  • University of Edinburgh [Scotland] (PhD) (received 20 January)
  • University of Glasgow [Scotland] (PhD)
  • Boston University (MFA) (received 3 April)
  • Indiana University at Bloomington (MFA)
  • North Carolina State University (MFA)  (received 21 March)
  • Seton Hill University (Low-Res MFA)

Edinburgh was the first response, documented here, and while it was disappointing it wasn’t that much of a shock (follow the link and you’ll see why). Similarly, Denver and Boston were very similar – wonderful geographical areas that I would not at all object to living in (note: Boston’s program is only one academic year in length, so it would have only been me going up – no sense uprooting a household for just one year) – but not necessarily a “whiz-bang” factor when it comes to speculative fiction (read: I didn’t see any faculty information that indicated interests in Spec Fic). NC State, however, was more of a blow. It’s (pseudo) local, and has someone on staff that actively publishes Spec Fic. The letter was a little cryptic as well, so I’m not sure if it was the writing sample or some other documentation that didn’t sit well with the committee, or just the pool was that strong.  Denver and Boston, however, were at least supportive in their rejections, as can be seen below.

If I might offer a reflection, the department usually advises our applicants to be prepared for a possible three-year effort to apply for and secure admission into the graduate program that matches best with the individual’s portfolio of accomplishments and plans for professional development. – University of Denver

Please do not be discouraged. We are not geniuses at this and have made mistakes in the past and will in the future. We encourage you to continue working on your craft and to apply again. In the past we have accepted applicants on their second, third, even fourth attempt–and they have flourished. – Boston University

So where do things stack up now? The three that are still pending are probably my top three choices anyway… well, Glasgow was probably my second – behind Edinburgh – but it’s still Scotland, there is someone on staff that does consider/direct Spec Fic thesis projects, and I’ve generally heard good things about the program. IU at Bloomington’s program focus is on the teaching of creative writing, which is the other side of where my interests are. Both Glasgow and Indiana University were submitted/forwarded for review back in January, so maybe my not having heard yet is a vote in my favor (and, for the record, MC’s vibe indicates probable admission at IU – we shall see). Seton Hill, however, just closed for applications yesterday so the wait clock officially just started.

It’s still too early to have any serious discussions about moves and travel plans, but we have done some looking. Both Indiana and Glasgow are three year programs, and would involve huge lifestyle adjustments – moves, job changes, etc. Meanwhile, Seton Hill would involve almost no changes, just me taking off for a couple of weeks a year for the “residencies” – where I go up to the campus (in Pennsylvania) for a week at a time and do “classroom sessions” and do everything else from home. Glasgow would provide a greater challenge to the planning, what with visas, exchange rates, employment restriction considerations… not to mention a newborn (and getting a passport for a newborn!). If it ultimately ends up as Glasgow, it might come down to doing what I’ve been calling a “split-year” (basically, I would go over for the first year, and assuming I pass the first-year boards next spring, MC and the baby would then come over for the remainder) – an option which would suck total ass. It would, however, give us time to get all of the appropriate documentation in line (read: the baby’s, and work clearance issues for MC), and allow me a chance to feel out the Glasgow area for real estate options (read: actual site visits).

But everything hinges on hearing from the last three. For those keeping score at home, there you go.

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