2014 In the Rear View

For all the background of my annual lists, see my previous new year posts–2013 In Review and 2012: The Year That Was.

2014 was a good bit of “meh” with dazzling moments of brilliance mixed in. I’ve got lists below, but a few anecdotes also seemed appropriate here.


One day in 2014, Wolfe was really cranky about bath and bedtime. I held up his crab bath toy and said, “Look, it’s your namesake.” So now we’ve got a kid who calls every crab he sees “namesake.” For Christmas he got a book about being a pirate and there are namesakes all over the place. His mother and I get a big kick out of it. Hopefully he will too when he gets older and figures it out.

Lineage of Education

In the martial arts, schools trace their lineage back hundreds (or sometimes thousands of years). There’s a similar tradition in academia, where you can see how a person’s advisors have shaped their research and interests. I’ve encountered all kinds of people in higher education. Some are so earnest it hurts. Some actually do believe the theories they espouse. And some are just in it for the prestige(?), or power, or whatever. I have to ask myself what camp(s) I fall into. Hopefully not the phonies but sometimes I feel like I am one. This isn’t to say anything about my senseis (in either martial arts or academics; I’ve managed to have pretty good luck) but rather something I’ve realized about myself: we can’t always choose our Sensei, but sometimes we learn something from the act of trying–and sometimes we learn things from people who aren’t teachers, or at least don’t claim to be.

Best Books I Read in 2014

  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  • Dr. Sleep by Stephen King
  • Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color by Victor Villanueva
  • An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method by James Paul Gee

Favorite Poem (Not Published in 2014)

  • “When I Have Fears” by John Keats

Best Movies I Watched in 2014
(didn’t get to many, and the ones we did get to weren’t good)

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

Songs I Listened to in 2014

  • “Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crüe
  • “Sanitarium” by Metallica
  • “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
  • “Take Me to Church” by Hozier

Bad Moments of 2014

  • Wolfe’s febrile seizure and trip to the ER by ambulance in January
  • Chun Lee the cat shuffling off this mortal coil in December
  • Numerous intrusive medical tests over the space of four months (good moment: finding out I was fine)

Good Moments of 2014

  • Presenting at my first academic conference
  • Running my first (and possibly last) ever marathon
  • SHU In Your Write Mind conference
  • Getting to see my Uncle Dave and family during summer vacation
  • Late summer trip to Gettysburg with Natalie and Wolfe
  • Ryandale May was born! (And I was there for the whole mess)
  • Paper accepted for AERA conference (which garners around 13,000 submissions each year)
  • My mom and sister visiting for Thanksgiving
  • Winter break trip to Gettysburg with the whole Team Duvall
  • Lots of family walks


That’s about it for me…I wish you a great 2015. I achieved my 2014 goal of having fewer prostate exams. So for the new year, my goal is to just be awesome, to myself and others. Excelsior!


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