Thursday, February 4, 2010

Troubles in Idaho

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A few weeks ago I went for a visit to the Utah neighboring states of Idaho and Wyoming. I’d been planning this trip for a little over a month—ever since I found out there would be a Brandi Carlile concert in Jackson, and realized that I could also conveniently check out Idaho State’s English Ph. D. program in Pocatello on the way.

The visit to Idaho State turned out to be a huge disappointment. I was hopeful about the program, because it meant that I could stay close to home for my Ph. D. and enjoy the benefits of in-state tuition (Idaho and Utah have reciprocal funding programs).

Alas, it was not meant to be. I was told I was a very viable candidate, but the recession had all but stopped any opportunity for additional funding. Tuition would be around $6,000 (in-state), and living expenses would be about $8,000—$14,000 of debt a year with no guarantee of a job in the Arts after graduation is NOT an option. I would finish the program with approximately $60,000 of debt. To put this sum into perspective for myself, I started to count how many BMW motorcycles (the most expensive motorcycles on the market) I could buy for that kind of money, and the total came to three—two new and one used, fully loaded BMW GS1200 Adventurers.

In addition to the bad fiscal news, I was also told the Ph. D. program at ISU would not even prepare me to teach in a level one research school (BYU, U of U). If I earned my degree there, I would only be able to teach at two-year institutions. I can already do that with my Masters.

Consequently, my future plans in Idaho came to an abrupt end. I am currently considering alternative, slower-cooking possibilities.

Thankfully, to drown my sorrows, I went to the Mangy Moose Saloon, located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to see Brandi Carlile sing some good old-fashioned folk-rock. It was wonderful.

Even better, the Mangy Moose was euphoric. I’m not sure how many of you know I am a Moose Nut, but I was up to my eyeballs in the gift shop. I got a Mangy Moose shirt, mug, bumper sticker, and even a pocketknife. It was pathetic how little control I had. I was a very happy camper.

However, the most exciting event of the night actually happened on the way back to Idaho Falls, where my copilot and I were staying the night. It was approximately 1:30 in the morning, just as we had driven over Moose Creek, when we saw something huge in the road: a Moose Cow, with baby in tow.

Can you freakin’ believe it? What are the chances? “On my way back from the Mangy Moose, as I was driving over Moose Creek, I nearly ran into two moose, at 1:30 in the morning.” You have to smile at the coincidence of it all. I was tickled pink.