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The news from Pleasantville

Ah, summer! It was good while it lasted, and though the warm temperatures linger here in the South, the leisure time does not. With the turn of the calendar page to September, it's back to the classroom, back to academic study, schedules and deadlines.

Scott Pleasant, who is newly married, coordinator of the Writing Center, chair of the Big Read Committee, ukulele strummer, baseball lover, former Virtue Trap musician and new owner of an old dog, tells how he spent his all-too-fleeting summer. 

1. Planned assessment studies for both the Writing Center and the Big Read program in 2011-2012.

2. Worked in the Writing Center. We're planning big things for the upcoming year.

3. Presented a paper at the International Conference on the First-Year Experience in Manchester, UK, in late June. It was a nice conference, and I met some good professional contacts. During my session, I presented a plan for a study we're doing this fall and gave some preliminary data. Next year, if I'm able to go again, I hope to present the full results of the first year of the study.

4. Got married to Rosemary Barra (now Pleasant) of the COHFA Dean's office (in the best decision of my life). This happened on May 14 at Dan Ennis' house. It was a great event, and after the ceremony, we had a big reception at the Crafty Rooster in downtown Conway. We had a party there the night before, too.

5. Took my new wife on a "baseball honeymoon" to three minor league and one major league baseball game. Over a five-day period, we went to see the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Greenville (SC) Drive, the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Atlanta Braves. We could have had tickets to two Braves games, but we decided to drive home instead. On that trip, we also went to the Tennessee Aquarium, the Atlanta Underground, and the Fork and Screen theater in Atlanta. This was not the "real" honeymoon. We're going to a cabin in the Tennessee mountains in November for that.

6. Adopted a dog, Loki, a mutt who might otherwise not be alive if we hadn't. She's 6 1/2.

7. Started a new rock and roll band with Joe Oestreich of the English Department and Karman Gossett, a local business owner in Conway. The name of the band is the Pimpernels, as in Scarlet, but without the Scarlet. Virtue Trap is now defunct (sadly), but the rock goes on. We're recording demos now, and we expect to start playing some shows later in the fall. Or not. Whenever the bread is ready, we'll pull it out of the oven.

8. Bought a juicer. I use it all the time. I recommend a mix of celery, carrots, tomato, cucumber, lemon, and green apple. Add a little ginger root to give it some zing. It sounds awful, but it tastes good. Not great, but good. And it makes you feel fantastic.

9. Been very disappointed by the poor performance of my garden. All of the fresh tomatoes, squash and zucchini I was hoping to eat have failed to appear. Thank goodness for the Conway farmers' market on Saturday mornings. If it weren't for them, I'd have to get the veggies for my stews from Wal-Mart. (But I would be glad to buy from Wal-Mart if I needed to. After all, my mother-in-law works there, and she's on the profit-sharing plan. What's good for the 'Mart is good for the Mom.)

10. Installed some new shelves at home. Rose loves her new shelves.

11. Increased my ukulele collection to 23 now, I think. Anyway, I bought two more.

12. Played a ukulele show June 9 or 10 at Fresh Brewed Coffee in Myrtle Beach. Played another one Aug. 27.

13. Met up with two old high school friends at minor league baseball games. I recommend this as a way to re-connect with old friends. If there's a lull in the conversation (and there will be), you can just concentrate on the game for a while. If the game is boring, you can talk.

14. Saw Rush (the Canadian rock band) with Arne Flaten, chair of the Art Department and former singer in Virtue Trap. Rush totally rocked, of course. It's the first time I've seen them since 1984 – a 27-year gap. I think I've aged more than the band has during that time.

15. Saw all the big blockbuster movies that you're supposed to see in the summer -- all except the new "Transformers." I missed that one somehow.

16. Saw Cinderella at the House of Blues on their 25th anniversary tour and Willie Nelson there, too, on his probably 100th anniversary tour. 

17. Enjoyed the summer. I like grilling, watching baseball, gardening and all the other summer stuff. But I'm ready to get things started in the fall, too. It's time to get the students back on campus, and it's time to bring on college football.


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