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This guy – Jeffrey Foucault – has been a solid favorite of mine for years. He just released a new recording and one that I have on repeat at the moment. Powerful words wrapped in simple chords and gritty vocals. Americana. Enjoy.

Do the dishes
With the windows open
Soak the dirt
From under your nails
Pour a double
Put a record on the table
The light’s always perfect
Just before it fails

Bow your head down
When you break bread together
Close your eyes
Make a circle of hands
There is nothing
That cannot be taken from you
In this life
You just hold on
To the love that we have

Swing the ax
In the hours before daylight
Note the sparks
That attend to the blade
A thing made free
Of itself leaps apart
And the heart divided
Would do just the same

Take the backroads
With nobody on them
Find a river
And make yourself clean
Go down to water
If you would be delivered
Of sinner and sin
Seen and unseen

Step outside
Let the stars reel around you
Cup your hands
Around a bright flame
In that darkness
Let the heavens confound you
It’s all just a story
Even the sound of your name

Two Gifts

In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us.

~ Mary Oliver, “The Bright Eyes of Eleanora: Poe’s Dream of Recapturing the Impossible,” from Upstream

Q: Do you have a song that you are particularly proud of?

A: I don’t. I like some of them better than others. Every record has a few that prove themselves deeply reliable on the road, and over time those become the heart of your work, but you have to write them all to write the good ones. As a rule the simpler ones are better. (Emphasis mine).

~ Jeffrey Foucault, singer/songwriter 


“Well, when you’re running, there’s an edge… Between… What is and isn’t too fast . . .But, um, it’s not a sharp edge. It’s stretchy. And if you’re brave, you push on it.” – TrackTown, the movie.

So, work is changing for me. I began working in technology as a K-12 educator, specifically 4th and 5th grade. I was always the guy who people came to in order to “fix the printer,” or some other item that they were using. Eventually, I left the classroom and took a position as a Technology Coordinator at the private school where I was teaching and continued to do that for two years.

I went back to school and ended up moving into higher education as a person who helps faculty use technology in their teaching and research. This led me to my current place, the College of Design at the University of Oregon and into my current role as the manager of our service desk. In this role we fix computers, set up new ones, apply licenses to our software and help faculty, staff and students navigate the systems that are set up for access to servers, wireless, and other technology related services. I also help instructors use our online learning management system and work in classrooms with technology. There’s a lot of variety and the work is quite fulfilling.

At the College of Design we also have a large-format print shop, in which there are 4 large-format printers. This space is known as the Output Room and gets used by a variety of people to print their large drawings, posters, and the like. Two weeks ago the person who runs that shop took a new job across campus and I have now been placed in charge of the Output Room along with our Technology Service Desk. So it’s more responsibility and it’s more learning for me in an area where I know only a little. The past two weeks have been a time of training for me to gain knowledge of how this place operates.

Fortunately I am inheriting 8 student employees who work in the Output Room. This will bring a total of 16 student employees that I supervise on a daily basis. It is this aspect of my work that I enjoy the most as I get to educate and work with some wonderful young adults. I can’t say enough about them, really. We have a variety of students majoring in different subjects, from architecture to human physiology, to economics to digital arts. All of them are open to learning and do a very good job at understanding the computer systems we support and how to interact with our customers. There are times when I must remind myself that they’ve only been on the planet for 18, 19, 20 or 21 years, which isn’t all that long. Still, helping them understand technology, customer relationships, how to communicate clearly and work as a team is something I greatly enjoy.

As for the Output Room student employees, I will be leaning on them to teach me the ropes starting on Monday. They know the workflows and the demands of the place and it is time for me to watch, observe, take notes, help out and learn. There is new software to understand and new hardware, too. There’ll be new scheduling to be done and eventually new student employees to hire as these all graduate and move on in their lives.

I’m fortunate to really enjoy coming to work each day and this will only make it that much better. There’ll be a learning curve for me, and some bumps along this road, but I trust that I can do this and make it happen.