Skip to main content

Autobiographical essays, more or less

On being a curmudgeon (Essay #64)

What I’m like as a person, or at least a person on campus.

My laptop (Essay #65)

What my laptop aays about me.

Foods of my families (Essay #66)

Some food memories.

Embarrassing teaching moments (Essay #81)

A break in that series.

Sleep (Essay #16)

On getting enough.

Making good choices (Essay #73)

Something that might be termed a bait and switch or perhaps even a ripoff. (Read the essay for why.)

If you ask a prof a question (Essay #62)

Reflections on my not-so-legendary primer.

Vast swaths of American Popular Culture have passed me by. (Essay #12)

One of my favorite mom quotes; one that I now feel that I have to say way too much of the time.

Addressing people (Essay #38)

On my difficulties figuring out what to call people.

Dad jokes (Essay #83)

What my students say about my jokes.

Is anal retentive hyphenated? (Essay #94)

It was late, and I had to write something. Blame my muse.

Fall break, 2016 (Essay #96)

Reflections on how I spent my break.

The Tigger suit (Essay #105)

A family heirloom.

A response to the request Please write an essay about this year’s election.

Thanksgiving 2016 (Essay #132)

Reflections on one of my favorite holidays.

Pebble Watches (Essay #148)

Some of my favorite timepieces.

Sleep Cycles (Essay #152)

My sleep cycles, throughout my life.

End-of-semester reflections (Fall 2016) (Essay #153)

My every-semester exercise with Karla Erickson.

The 2016 Grinnell Holiday Party (Essay #154)

A wonderful followup event to that exercise.

On being a pack rat (Essay #155)

Why I have so much stuff.

A day in the life of SamR (20 December 2016) (Essay #159)

A not-so-typical day.

Christmas eve, 2016 (Essay #165)

Reflections on Christmas eves, past and present.

Mid-semester planning (Musing #260)

A planning session with Karla Erickson.

End-of-semester/start-of-summer reflections (Spring 2017) (Musing #323)

Another planning session.

Implications (Musing #354)

Things people say that make me worry.

What do you listen to? part one (Musing #360)

My students asked. I promised to try to answer.

I’m free! (Musing #362)

Reflections on finishing a three-year term as chair.

What do you listen to? part two (Musing #369)

Continuing my answer to my students.

Introversion (Musing #370)

Embracing a core characteristic.

Meanderings (Musing #384)

Whatever happened to M Mark and related musical questions

Among the reasons SamR is not a SysAdmin (Musing #391),

Screwing things up, once again.

Shadow (Musing #415)

My mother-in-law’s dog.

Ridding myself of random stuff (Musing #420)

A step towards a less disorganized SamR.

Getting rid of stuff (Musing #423)

A follow up to the prior musing.

Being nicer (Musing #424)

On changing my initial inclinations.

Begin nice (Musing #425)

A follow up on the prior musing, more or less.

A biography, of sorts (Musing #429)

A few paragraphs for a poster.

Thirty years (Musing #430)

Happy thirtieth anniversary, Michelle!

How are you, Sam? (Musing #442)

A new/old answer.

Feeling fortunate (Musing #459)

A better answer.

Understanding a bit more about my father (Musing #475)

A complex and moral man.

A coat and tie (Musing #525)

What I seem to be wearing this semester.

My coding habits (Musing #541)

Ways I think about updating code. (At least that’s what I planned to write about.)

Dumb cooking mistakes (Musing #547)

An adventure from my college days.

Maybe I’m not a curmudgeon (Musing #553)

Questioning my identity.

Paul Nossiter (Musing #558)

Mom’s first and last boyfriend.

My favorite mug (Musing #561)

A quick musing for a late night.

Red-green color blindness (Musing #564)

I see red. I see green. But I’m still red-green color blind.

Forgetting the Joe stories (Musing #571)

Is it more important to remember the context or the content?

Giving up processed sugar (Musing #581)

Can I really do it?

Annotating the Web (Musing #586)

Early research projects.

Excavating the office (Musing #589)

Things that gather in boxes.

Rural high-school sports (Musing #610)

An advantage and disadvantage of living in Grinnell.

Sleep(less) cycles (Musing #614)

Some effects of insufficient sleep.

A short biography (Musing #619)

Or at least shorter than the last one.

A semester of a coat and a tie (Musing #627)

What I wore to work this semester.

My hair (Musing #641)

As tangled as this musing.

Traveling light (Musing #654)

One backpack to hold my laptop, CPAP, and three days’ worth of clothes.

Why me? (Musing #658)

Getting interviewed for a promotional video.

Nuts to allergies (Musing #660)

I hate mine.

The other Rebelskys (Musing #681)

There are other Rebelskys!

Bad beard decisions (Musing #686)

I shouldn’t have shaved.

Planning some fun summer activities (Musing #692)

Sometimes organizing can be fun.

Sometimes it’s best to rely on professionals (Musing #710)

Dealing with a broken ceiling fan.

Doing it yourself (Musing #711)

Dealing with a broken side-view mirror.

Fair rides (Musing #723)

Different choices Michelle and I make.

The first day of my Obermann fellowship (Musing #728)

Starting a different aspect of my career.

I thought you might like this (Musing #733)

Becoming my mother.

Thirty-one years (Musing #735)

Looking forward to at least thirty-one more.

Staycation 2018 (Musing #739)

My second vacation of the summer!

My first Obermann seminar (Musing #743)

Encountering great minds.

Calming down (Musing #755)

It happens, once in a while.

An evening at a conference (Musing #756)

In my hotel room.

Traveling to the Obermann Center (Musing #761)

Reminding myself about how fortunate I am to live near work.

Promoting Grinnell (Musing #767)

Why me?

My second Obermann seminar (Musing #768)

Receiving feedback.

How (not) to adapt to the end of daylight saving time (Musing #799)

Things we do for our children.

Driving (Musing #805)

Recalling long trips.

Thanksgiving 2018 (Musing #817)

Being thankful.

The fantasy and the reality of my Obermann Fellowship (Musing #838)

When expectations are too high.

Starting fresh (Musing #847)

Starting a new year, more or less.

AFK (Musing #855)

A good day.

I’m an idiot (Musing #856)

At least some of the time.

Forty years (Musing #860)

I miss you dad.

A sign of the apocalypse (Musing #862)

Cleaning my office.

Naming my space (Musing #867)

No, not CS Faculty in Exile.

One decade (Musing #871)

I miss you mom.

Red, green, black (Musing #872)

Is there a difference?

Things we lose (or at least things I lose) (Musing #876)

A pitfall of accumlation.

Changes in my teaching (Musing #879)

Is the more things change, the more they stay the same a cliché?

Driving Midwest to Northeast, or vice versa (Musing #881)

What’s wrong with sixteen hours in a car?

U.S. Route 6 (Musing #882)

The longest continuous highway in the U.S.

Our 2^5 anniversary (Musing #885)

Here’s to at least another 2^5 years.

A day on sabbatical (Musing #889)

Some thoughts on assessment.

DadR’s weekly report, week 1 (Musing #895)

Notes for my family.

The Beatles (Musing #910)

My muse made me do it.

Dishwashers (Musing #916)

And their proper use.

Gratitude (Musing #938)

It’s that time of year.

Eggnog (and other holiday memories) (Musing #948)

Memories of holidays past.

Letters to colleagues (Musing #952)

Goals for next semester.

Teaching plans for next year (Musing #953)


Mood swings (Musing #957)

Learning to deal with frustration.

Sympathy for my sons (Musing #958)

Feeling like a bad Internet meme.

Cooking (Musing #960)

Returning to old habits.

It’s getting better all the time (Musing #961)

Recovering from an earlier musing.

Visiting the University of Chicago (Musing #967)

It’s changed.

SamR’s undergraduate workload (Musing #969)

Perfectly reasonable.

Looking ahead to my next Tutorial (Musing #973)

Fingers crossed!

Sadness and Joy (repeat) (Musing #981)

Reflections from the end of the winter holiday.

Feeling surprisingly thankful (Musing #983)

Or maybe it’s not that surprising.

Volunteering for NESFA (Musing #987)

Triggering assorted memories left in my head.

SamR’s week in review (Musing #992)

What does SamR do with his time?

The Pyramid (Musing #995)

Adventures on a strange machine.

Shoveling (Musing #998)

A joy of Iowa Winters.

SamR’s week in review (Musing #1006)

What did I do this past week?

Workshop prep (Musing #1015)

My first assignment for ENG-207.

My first manuscript for ENG-207 (Musing #1017)

Can you find a thesis?

Annotating myself (Musing #1018)

Or my manuscript, or something like that.

The end of an era (Musing #1019)

So much time in the sauna.

Acting April Foolish (Musing #1036)

Just call me Sam(son).

A personality quiz (Musing #1039)

It appears that I am like characters I don’t know.

My newer office (Musing #1042)

Small and mobile.

After the head shave (Musing #1043)

The new adventures of an Uncle Fester look-a-like during the pandemic.

Comfort food (Musing #1047)

Come for t’ food, stay for t’ puns.

Interview prep (Musing #1050)

Bits of autobiography.

Innumeracy (my latest manuscript for The Craft of Creative Nonfiction) (Musing #1058)

A pathography of sorts

Difficulty focusing (Musing #1065)

What was I writing about?

A comedy of errors, of sorts (Musing #1085)

Visiting my lab.

Email signatures (Musing #1086)

Fun with the things no one reads.

Another MIT press sale (Musing #1087)


Recalling my past (Musing #1093)

Perhaps failing.

Back to the office (and lab) (Musing #1094)

It feels so good.

Answers to fourteen questions (Musing #1097)

More or less. It dependds on how you count.

Thankful (Musing #1111)

Another Thanksgiving

Resolutions for the New Year (Musing #1118)

Going with the flow, or with the crowd, or something like that.

The latest installment(s) of the Rebelsky Family Reading Group (Musing #1119)

Ever-changing family bonding.

Happy 90th Birthday Mom! (Musing #1127)

And related imaginings.

It’s time for a change (Musing #1128)

The title says it all.

Getting my gig at Grinnell (Musing #1129)

Ending up in the middle of ….

Two weeks! (Musing #1131)

Starting my new life.

Four weeks! (Musing #1134)

Plugging along.

Six weeks! (Musing #1140)

I’m alive. I’m great.

Three-fourths of a lifetime (Musing #1142)

More or less.

Words fail me (Musing #1143)

It’s hard to know what to say.

Eight weeks! (Musing #1147)

Am I settling into a rhythm? Perhaps.

Moving offices (Musing #1148)

It’s utterly terrifying.

The last day of classes (Spring Term Two, 2021) (Musing #1150)

A peek inside Sam’s tangled brain.

Fragmentary Beatles-related memories (Musing #1152)

Fragmentary, like most of my memories.

Discarding stuff (Musing #1157)

Or at least offering to discard stuff.