Collecting the Past

On Tuesday I was taking a break from the copious amount of grading I should have been doing and decided to Deja Me myself. If you are not familiar with the term, it refers to doing an Internet search on yourself. Back in the day, we considered it a sign of insecurity to some extent, although I admit to occasionally doing it in order to discover items which have been lost to the past…dropped along the way of the journey to now.

Part of the reason for doing so was that Friday I did an interview with my colleague Hank Smith who is also retiring from teaching in about 75 day…me after 38 years and Hank after 42. It was to involve memories of how we got to herenow and thoughts about what we may do in the future.

And this Internet search was no different. Items were found. And I choose to share them today, what with Winter Storm Titan bearing down on us.

There were acknowledgments that I had reviewed certain mathematical texts. I shall ignore those. I shall also ignore most of the links to comments I have made in various places. And apparently one can purchase a copy of my entry in the Marquis Who's Who i(Women in Science volume, as I recall).

SAGE is the short name for the organization Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders. On June 16, 2012 they published one of my essays: Aging Transgenders: Quality of Life at their SAGE in the News website.

I also discovered a link to a Muse in the Morning from February of 2008:


For as long as space endures,
for as long as living beings remain,
until then may I too remain,
to dispel the misery of the world.

--Shantideva, The Bodhicaryavatara
(The Way of the Bodhisattva)

Phenomena XXVII: living




Short Circuit     

Sapient spark
arc of life
light and heat
radiant energy
signifying something

So much potential
so often diminished
grounded through
selfishness and greed

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--February 4, 2008

Someone with the nick universal health posted some quotes to My Left Wing. Included in the collection was:

Courage is doing what one needs to do when it needs to be done and keeping true to ones moral and ethical convictions at the same time.

--Robyn Elaine Serven

The other quotes in the collection were attributed to the likes of William Gilmore Sims (Politeness), William Ellery Channing (Fidelity), Omar Bradley (Prudence), Aristotle (Temperance), Edmund Burke (Justice), Horace Mann (Generosity), Albert Pike(Generosity), Albert Schweitzer (Compassion, Gratitude), Henry Ward Beecher (Mercy), Madeleine L'Engle(Humility, Simplicity, Good Faith), Robert Louis Stevenson (Tolerance), Edith Wharton (Purity), St. Francis De Sales(Gentleness), Arthur Schopenhauer (Humor), and Mother Theresa (Love).

I discovered a book review I wrote entitled A book that will delight those who detest transsexual people. It was listed as "the most helpful critical review" of Bernice Hausmann's Changing Sex: Transsexualism, Technology and the Idea of Gender.

I belonged to numerous email lists through the years…and still belong to one, but it is not every active anymore. But some of the ones that have dropped along the wayside have archived their posts. Occasionally one of these is rediscovered. The following pst was entitled Interview on local news:

I transcribed the following from a tape of the newscast(s). As far as I can tell, KTHV has no news website or any transcription service.

One thing I learned is that I wouldn't want to transcribe stuff for a living.


For those who are interested (if not, ignore it, okay?):


KTHV News, September 24, 1999

6pm news:

Video: Robyn Serven is chatting with Carolina Boyd in front of the KTHV studio in downtown Little Rock.

Announcer: A California teacher is changing his sex from male to female. It's a case one Arkansas educator can relate to. Robyn Serven says he met a lot of opposition from her employer when she had a sex change several years ago. She's a college professor and tonight at 10 she'll tell us why she did it.


10pm news:

Andy (unknown last name): A male California teacher wants to become a woman. It's a situation all too familiar for one of the University of Central Arkansas' teachers. Carolina Boyd joins us from the newsroom to explain. Carolina?

CB: Well, Andy, Robyn Serven lived as a man for 44 years before undergoing the procedure to become a woman. This assistant [sic: should be "associate"-RES] professor says this decision was met with some opposition from her bosses. However, just like the teacher in California, Robyn says she's a qualified teacher
regardless of gender.

Video: Robyn walking on the campus of UCA.

CB: Robyn says when it comes to her job, don't think of her as a man or a woman...think of her as a teacher.

Video: Robyn sitting on a bench outside near the Student Union, talking to the reporter.

RES: I was a good teacher and I'm still a good teacher. If anything, I think I'm a better teacher. I have more empathy for my students than I used to.

CB: Seven years ago, everything changed for Robyn when she underwent the sex-change and became a woman. [cringe!--ed]

RES: Whether I change my sex or not...if that interferes with the process of learning, then that's a bad thing. But if it doesn't interfere with it, then it shouldn't be an issue.

Video: Dana Lee Rivers at a news conference in Antelope, CA.

CB: But it has turned into an issue for Dana Lee Rivers. The California teacher is preparing for a sex-change and because of that, she lost her job.

DLR: My teaching ability is not going to be impaired, it's going to be enhanced, when I can be truly, truly, truly who I am.

Video: Robyn Serven on the park bench.

RES: She's getting blamed for telling her students, you know, about her life. Well, so what! You know, there are people like me, there are people like her, there are people like us, and you know, we are people, too!

Video: Robyn walking away on campus.

Robyn says unlike Dana, she didn't lose her job because of her decision, but the road has still been difficult. She says her life has changed for the better and she has no regrets about it.

CB (in newsroom): Now Robyn says she loves teaching most of all, but she's not sure it's something she's going to do for the rest of her life. She said she would like to eventually write about her experience and possibly one day move out of Arkansas.

Andy: So, Carolina, does Robyn have any words of advice for that teacher in California.

CB: Robyn said she has actually had some email correspondence with Dana Lee Rivers, the teacher in California, in the past, and she said that she basically told her to stand up for herself.

A: Carolina Boyd. Thanks.

And finally, I discovered that a group(?) calling itself ReoCities has salvaged some of GeoCities ("the ashes of GeoCities" as they call it). GeoCities hosted free websites back in the day…and then was purchased by Yahoo! (which informed users that it considered all content in those sites to be the property of Yahoo!). I immediately began to remove material from the site which I did not wish to lose ownership of. But I left some, in the interest of education. Well, apparently Yahoo! finally decided to dump those pages from its servers, so ReoCities has come to the rescue:

We've rebuilt the walls to the Cities and the streets where a large part of the early settlers of the World Wide Web used to live in. You can still find them where they were before, but not all of the houses have been rebuilt yet.

My own site was at WestHollywood/8440. When was this? We're talking around 1994. In some sense this was my attempt at blogging before blogs were invented.

What remains are links to Who Am I?, A Month in the Life

, and MY wisconsin Adventure.

I shall end with another of the Phenomena series:


'The comprehension of self', that is the Beyond of all dharmas."     

--Siddhārtha Gautama, The Questions of Suvikrantavikramin

Phenomena III: delving

Film at 11     

Deep down below
past even the words
are ideas and concepts
normally unthought
except by the weird
unkempt minds
of those who dare
to be different

Whipped creaminess
of dangerous notions,
syllables expressed
too rarely
and more seldom heard,
whizzes by faster
than can normally
be sensed

Grabbing on
to a possibility
I was taken downward
further than
could conceive

There is truth here
There is more
wherever I look

And who wanted
to be normal

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--December 28, 2007




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For some reason...

Robyn's picture

...not all of my html works here.

Resurrecting the past can sometimes be fruitful...and sometimes be painful.  I'm hoping someone besides me finds it to be the former.

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very interesting

aigeanta's picture

I Google myself mostly to look for stuff I need to get deleted from searches. I had personal info exposed a couple of years ago and it has been a challenge keeping that stuff off the Internet. I've been a web denizen since 1995 so there are some interesting relics out there. Thanks for sharing, as always.

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