Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Me and Billie Joel -- at the library

Well, Billie isn't here, he's on my ipod -- but, his music makes me work and type faster, so that is a good thing.

Due to a schedule snafu, I'm going to be on campus tomorrow for 6 hours before my first class -- thus, a chance to get stuff graded.

Right now I'm working on my Supreme Emergency paper -- the one I've promised to nearly everyone (my department at BNCC, another department, my dissertation supervisor and about 45 students... really, everyone) by tomorrow... or, at least drafts to some and a final, final, final version by Friday.

The scary bit is that it looks like I'll actually make it.

If I can get grading done tomorrow, I could be without work that is pressing for the weekend --which would be f-ing amazing. Really-- I can't recall that happening in my recent memory.

With that said, I'd better get back to work!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

home for a few days...

This is a short week back in BN state... I got home tonight (Sunday) and leave again on Thursday. Effectively, three full days until I see the hubby again.. not so bad.

The drive home wasn't too bad -- somehow the Corn state grows every f-ing time I have to cross it... but this time my new car sterio with the ipod connector made it easier. Now I'm going to have to make a bunch of 6 hour long playlists to get me across the state... lots of Swear Jar's music, Flogging Molly and other stuff that makes me drive fast....

This weekend I got a haircut. My hairdresser has finally (after 12 or so years cutting my hair) decided to give in to the curl. This is because her own hair is getting more curly as she gets older and she's figured out how nice it is to just put some product in it and go.... I've been a wash-and-go girl for a loooong time, so it is nice that she finally figured out that there are better things to do in life than to mess with hair that can look decent without all the messing.

I also got ALL the laundry done in the homeowner's snazzy washer and dryer. I love their washer, it is one with out a central agitator and a lot of computerized settings. The dryer is also highly computerized with lots of cool features -- maybe my favorite feature is the estimation of how long it will take to complete the cycle. That let me watch more Boston Legal on DVD... as I didn't have to keep checking it to seeif it is done. Our laundry is currently filing four large laundry bags, all folded and waiting for me to put it away--- hmmm... wish there were little laundry elves to do that...

Hubby and I even got to Coldstone, finally -- I'd been saying we should go for weeks... and according to hubby, it is my duty to remember to go. The only thing we didn't get done was the pumpkin carving -- hubby will have to do that and the trick-or-treaters on his own.

I think I'm going to go to bed early tonight (on clean sheets -- ) and do my class prep and some grading in the morning before I go to school. I have some incentive, as I don't have class for Tuesday and Wednesday this week done.... which is very unusual for me. it is just that time of the year --

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Extra Credit...

Since Blogger won't let me comment, I'll write my own post about a post at -- Reassigned Time: Extra Credit.

At my large CC the students come in, go to class and go out again-- often very quickly (the parking lot is like a subruban high school, and equally dangerous at class breaks...). They have a very low level of participation in extra-curricular activities. I would fault them for being short-sighted and ignorant, except that I WAS them when I was an undergrad.... I worked too much, took as many credits as I thought I could pass with an A and treated the campus like a high school I didn't want to spend any more time than necessary around... and it was my loss.

Fast-forward to me as a college teacher. I teach a hard subject and all the majors I've taught have been conversions (i.e. they come in as something else and I persuade them to major in philosophy...). So-- they don't realize that the subject is difficult when they walk in the door. This usually leads to lower than expected grades... Like Dr. Crazy, I don't think they ought to be punished for that in the end -- sometimes it is difficult to understand how much and what kind of work needs to go into preparing for an exam or writing a philosophy paper...

My most recent solution to this continuing problem is to allow students to get extra-credit for going to an extra-curricular activity and writing a 2 page reflection paper about the experience. They may do 2 of these, which together are worth 20% of ONE exam or 10% of one paper... (my points system weights papers much more than exams.. they are worth 5 points each). The catch is that they need to participate on-campus -- in something, really --- anything. It may be going to the play, a campus activity or club meeting... it may be doing set work for drama or attending a debate event. It really doesn't matter what it IS... as long as they are doing something on-campus outside of their regular classes. They are also having to write about it -- which is a chore for most of my students.

I find that this does cut down on the grade-grubbing experience... when I can show them what they missed and they can make-up some of the points, the argument is much shorter. There are rarely instances in which this will give a student a grade they don't deserve... it may pull a student from a very high B to a very low A--- or a very high C to a very low B. Since we don't have pluses or minuses... and those students would be getting a B-plus or C-plus, the impact on them is great -- and I see it as some level of compensation for the straight grade options we have...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My gradparents, what a pair...

My grandparents live in a small town, not too far from the interstate between my state and Red State. I drive by their exit often, feeling guilty about not stopping -- but I'm usually with someone, or my Grandparents aren't home (they go to Florida for the winter). This time, I decided to stop and see them and I'm glad I did.

Grandma will be 90 soon. We've already had her birthday celebration, go figure..., Grandpa turned 87 the weekend we celebrated Grandma's birthday. Of course, since my family has very poor communication skills, Grandma was rightly confused about why she got the party and Grandpa didn't, but after the whole thing was explained to her, she relaxed and enjoyed the party.

I love to stop to see my Grandparents, but there are always patterns --

Grandma's last job was as a social worker. She's great at asking questions about what is going on in our lives. She's also fantastic at gently guiding us to do what is right, honest, fair or just plain good. Since she's an 'in-law', she is good at listening to others. I like to think I am more like her than like my grandfather. My mom and sister are/were more like Grandpa....

My grandfather was an environmentalist in the 70s... he piloted and ran a project to reclaim land that had been open-pit mined for coal. The idea was to re-build the lost layers and plant them with grasses that will allow the soil to gain nutrients etc... He also has some very strong views on ethanol and I remember as a kid riding in his uber-fuel efficient Subaru... before it was the car of the soccer mom.

Our conversation drifted between the topics of academia, science and debate. Both of my grandaprents saw the British touring team visit their university before WWII, and it left a lasting impression. It was a pleasant conversation, in that Grandpa didn't bring up how little college professors work... like he usually does.

*****Warning -- the usual dissertation / Grandpa tirade to follow... it will probably be the content of the rest of the post, so you can stop reading if you'd like...

Also, as usual, Grandpa trotted out the bound copy of uber-cousin-in-law's dissertation. I'm not sure why he does that every time I see him. I know the dude wrote one.

I also know the dude had the advantage of being married to someone with a trust fund and whose mother-in-law bought them a house to live in while he was in grad school.... so Dude didn't have to work or take student loans to supplement his income... heck, with rent paid by MIL and equity to buy a place when they moved on, Dude is an under achiever...

Dude also had access to scholarships and other kinds of research opportunities that I could not access. I really, really, really don't want to go into all of that with Grandpa, but I'm afraid I might do that next time I see the bloody thing come out of the bedroom.

Hell, with all of that support, the dude's dissertation should have resolved one of the world's great mysteries, attained world peace or at least produced a catbox that would clean itself.... or cats that don't crap. Instead it is an obscure work about something that doesn't matter...

On the other hand, my ethics of warfare topic actually applies to the real world. it isn't about some dead king somebody who is both dead and obscure -- it is about a topic that has immediate impliations on the lives of many.... so there.

Laundry road trip...

So -- hubby has a washing machine and I have 5 bags of laundry to do... 5 big bags.
it costs me $2.50 per machine load to finish a load... but my fuel efficient car can get me to Red State for about the same price as washing all of those things in the lanudry room.... and I get to see hubby.

So, I decided to surprise him. I never lied about what I was doing this weekend. I just packed the laundry into the car and took off. I called him from the Corn state to make sure he'd be home and couldn't resist telling him. 2.5 hours later I made it.

-- now that I I'll do the laundry and work on papers this weekend... with hubby.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lonesome for my office...

This time of the debate season, I start to miss working in my office. I miss having some time to chat with my pals on the hallway. I miss the casual conversations in the copy room and the goofy atmosphere on Friday afternoons.

I think this is increased this year, what with me being out of town so much and leaving on Thursdays.

In November I'll be home over Thanksgiving weekend, but that is probably the extent of it... I'll be in Red State twice and in the Cheese state with the debaters another weekend. This means that I leave my office about 11:00 AM, pack and go away...

The casualty in all of this are those nice comfotaing casual relationships... the small talk hubby dislikes, I find I miss. In normal offices it would be watercooler talk. I had a decent amount of that today, for a change -- I had some time to chat with Wise Woman, a little with Dog Dad, Debate Coach and Roomie...

I also had news, via another friend, of Dog Mom's new job -- she loves her new place and school and can't wait until her hubby can join her... although I miss her, I'm happy she is well.

Productive day at the library...

Tuesday afternoons are my block of time to work on things I need to get deeply into. This works out very well and I love the fact that I'll be doing it next semester as well.

Yesterday I went across town to the library with a coffee shop (gotta love that!!). I took one of my papers and made the committment to myself that I would have a full version of the paper before I left for home -- and I actually did it. It took me until closing time, but I have a full version of a paper defending exemptions to non-combatant immunity in supreme emergency situations. The scary part is that I think it is really good.

It feels to me that this paper is a huge leap forward in my writing. I started this paper from scratch in early August when my ever-so-wise dissertation supervisor gave me several pages of detailed feedback on what I thought was going to be a good paper. In essence, he told me that I'd done a good job of the research, but the writing was uneven and needed a lot of work. He also told me that the paper wasn't focused and didn't make a cohesive argument. And he was right -- very right. It was 30ish pages of rambling and not really an argument.... so, I started over.

This time I followed his version of advise I give to my own students. Pick a topic that is a problem in the world. Discuss how other people have decided the problem ought to be resolved, tell me what is wrong with their solution and then tell me why your proposed meta-solution would help to solve this individual problem. That is what I did.

Now -- the interesting bit is that while I was at the library, I got an e-mail from the Red state job people. They said that their position announcemnts weren't complete and that there is a second position open down there, for which I am a much better candidate. This makes a difference in the writing sample I'm going to give them -- the supreme emergencies paper shows them that I am a much better fit for them than what I'd planned on using.... aargh. Now I'm going to have to polish this paper rather quickly to get it in.... I suppose there is nothing like the pressure of a time committment to get me going, huh??

Sadly, my students will have to wait for their papers a bit longer.... I suppose they'll survive.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Come out, come out whoever you are....

So -- I know that there are quite a few of you who know me... and I know who you are as well.

If I don't know that you know me -- and you read -- please let me know so I can not be surprised when things come up in conversation... and, because I'd like to know :).

e-mail me at: my full first name . my last name @ the first word of my school name. edu

The rest of you --- keep commenting or reading or eating your Cheerios or whatever...

and they found their people...

We are, just now, done with our third tournament of the year. There are quite a few more to go, one more tournaments this semester, one over break and quite a few between January and March. Already, my students are making friends on the circuit and talking about what nice people they are meeting.

and it is true --

Kind of like travelling with someone who hasn't done much travelled in the past, watching a new team find new friends in the debate community is a lot of fun. They remind me of why the debate community engaged me 10 years ago and why I will miss all of this when I'm done coaching.

In particular, Sunshine has found her people. She doesn't fit in with our traditional student population -- she's nearly 30 and engaged in what is going on in the world. She's very verbal and excited about geeky things like school. Clearly, the 18-20 year-old stoner/party animal doesn't get Sunshine. Debate geetks get Sunshine. She's contemplating doing speech events just to make sure she's a better scholarship candidate, and to be sure she's able to compete no matter what...

I think our November/January break is going to be hard on Sunshine--- she's going to go into debate withdrawl. I feel for her, the debate DTs are pretty harsh.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Couple's therapy / Debate coaching...

I've always said that a debate partnership is like an arranged intellectual marriage. Sometimes those partnerships need a little maintenece, and that is what I did tonight... and it was good.

I had a flash of brilliance this morning when I decided to write a set of questions each debater was supposed to answer. Some of the questions were intended to get the debaters to focus on their own successes and weaknesses, some questions focused on their partner's abilities while others were intended to get conversations started about the partnership itself. There was a short set of questions about coaching and tournaments that gave me some feedback as well. The debaters completed the sheet independently and then their partner read what they wrote and we discussed the answers.

All in all, it is the best way I've done these meetings so far. My boys gave one another feedback, as a result some brewing communication problems were discussed openly and my girls appreciated one another and made some decisions that will help them improve. My debater who is used to doing things well fast got an adjustment in his expectations and everyone took some time to reflect on what they've learned and how they can do better the rest of the year.

I am really proud and amazed at how well this bunch is doing. They've only been debating for two months and they are having decent success. They've been working hard and have formed a good squad. I really hope they all make it to the end of the year... I'd be proud to take them to nationals.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

aaah -- home....

It is nice to be back in BN state... As the inside joke goes, it is nice to know math again... ( a slam on the corn state we spend lots of time traversing to get here...). We made it home from Red State in 5:45, with two short pit stops -- I'm getting this team trained to travel with me. I don't mind driving a few hours at a time and I hate to stop for more than about 10 minutes...

I came home to find that the cat-children are fine and were happy after I filled the food dishes with oldest cat's food, which they all love.

this week...
I got my logic exams graded at the marathon tournament, but I didn't get any of the papers done... so Tuesday will probably be a coffee shop grading day this week. This week is a light teaching week, as my logic classes have class time to work on group projects about logical fallacies. This means I'll be in my office, but not presenting in front of the class. I'm also doing team conferences in debate this week, as both of my competitive teams have had three tournaments and it is time to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, new strategies and goals for the year. Doing this earlier is nearly impossible with a new team, as they don't know what they are talking about.

I'd also like to get at least part of our January travel plans settled -- before ticket prices increase. Hubby is doing a seminar in a warm, dry southwestern state and I'm going with him to hang out at the Holiday Inn and work on dissertation stuff in the relative solidarity of a hotel room. I can't wait -- it will be nice. In order to do this, I also have to book the team's airline tickets to Colorao for January, as I'll be meeting them there at the end of our time in the sun.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Debate update -- suits

both teams were 3/3... the boys got NPTE points and LG will get a speaker award -- but, shhhhh if you see her, don't tell her -- I want a surprise. I'm pretty sure she'll get some kind of trophy, which will be her first one.

I kind of feel bad about the girls not breaking. They had a judge who "wanted to vote for them" -- but didn't. I know the feeling as a judge, but if you want to do it -- then f-ing DO IT.

i'm generally very happy about how the teams have performed here. I worried that it would be much worse. Both have better records than they did a couple of weeks ago in the iligitmate state and I'm getting reports that their speaking is improving a lot.

They are watcing a parli elim round right now, then we'll go out for dinner / hang out and eventually eat something, then come back for awards at about 9:00...

Tomorrow we go home. My battle plan is to wake them pretty early, get a good hearty breakfast into them and then hit the road. If I do that, they'll sleep most of the way home and I can make some time before they wake-up and need a cigarette.

If we are out of town by 10:00, I can be dropping them off by 4:30 and returning the van by 5:00 -- that'll be nice. I like to have Sunday evenings and since hubby is staying here, I'd like to have some time to decompress and drown my sadness in some good old-fashioned crappy TV.

Another tournament...

I feel like I do a lot of complaining about debate here -- and, while I do complain about it, there are also positive things, so I'll start with those.

At least this one has a lot of my friends in the judge pool.... (I'll do a separate post on that one...)

not that my debaters actually got ANY of them as judges... well, one --- but, out of 12 prelim rounds (6 per team) you'd think that more of them would have popped up. That was more bad luck than anything.

I also like this tournament because I know where everything IS. We lived in this city for 9 years. I've been at this tournament, on this campus for 10 years. I know how to find all the buildings and I know where to hang out in the student center (like I am right now) for the best people watching.

I also like the person who is in charge of the program here. He's a close friend and very wise in his distracted way...

The schedule is brutal on the first day. On campus by 8:30ish, leave and second dinner by 10:00 PM.

The tournament requres preparation and walking to rounds to happen in 15 minutes. This impacts the quality of debate, as students don't have enough time to develop arguments. This is especially hard for new debaters, like mine -- when a few more minutes with me might have helped...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Now that I'm here, I want to stay...

I'm in Red State for a tournament. I'm also applying for positions here -- and I would really like to get one.

I'm in a tricky position -- and one for which I need some advise.

Do I spill the beans about hubby working here as a motivation for my application?

On one side...the school that doesn't know him has had a couple of t-t hires not work out-- one came from a fancy-pants school and wasn't happy at Red State school. The other had a spouse in another state and found employment elsewhere... so the stability answer may go a long way...

On the other hand, I hated the "I want to live in your city" answers as reasons to apply to our CC...

Maybe what I'll do is to leak it when I drop off my application, but not have it as part of my actual interview.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another debate weekend...

We are at hubby's uni for a debate tournament.

This tournament 10 years ago was my first ever experience judging. I watched IEs and timed them on the classroom clock. EEK.

This is also the first tournament for hubby to make it to elimination rounds (his first tournament ever... by the way).

A year or two later this tournament was the first time I'd ever seen hubby debate. He was in finals with his brilliant partner and won... beating the team that would go on to win NPKQRS nationals that same year.

Last year D1 was in semi-finals -- making me regret my tatoo deal. if Swear Jar and Dude make me get a tatoo, I'll die of shock and they'll have to tatoo my corpse...

If things go the way hubby and I would like, in a year or two this will be the ONLY tournament I'll judge at -- and my judging will count as university service toward my tenure package... of course, we both need to be hired into t-t positions first... but, it doesn't hurt to dream a bit.

Great Audio Book... World War Z

World War Z, by Max Brooks -- simply amazing.

The main idea is the question of what would happen if an epidemic of zombieism (is that a word??) started to take over the world. One bite by a zombie and when you die (for whatever reason) you come back to life as a zombie.

Brooks' zombies want to eat human flesh. They have no intelligence and cannot run. They also can't be scared, nor can they be stopped by anything other than a direct head wound.

They are also taking over the world -- eating/infecting as many humans as they can.

The brilliant aspect of the book is that it is centered around interviews given after the Zombie war was won. Each interview is self-contained and tells part of the story of the way the problem originated in China, was spread worldwide and finally how the war was won.

It is about 7 hours long -- get it for your next trip or put it on your ipod for your commute. It will chang the way you look at t he world.

Surprise exam results...

So... the class I don't like --- and the boorish boys who irritate me... they actually did pretty well on the exam.

The Last-minute Lucy who wanted help with a basic thing 10 minutes before the exam didn't fare as well, but overally they have a pretty decent average and some of the most obnoxious of them did very well. hmmmmm.

Maybe teaching them proofs won't be a complete pain in my backside after all.... and maybe their obnoxiousness is really a signal that they care and not that they don't give a darn...

things to think about...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My dork class...

So -- I teach the same basic material to two sections of students.

One section actually pays attention when I talk and as such doesn't ask stupid and redundant questions. They get better grades and I don't feel like quitting teaching when I'm done with them.

Then there is the OTHER class. This class can't follow written or verbal directions, they can't seem to pay attention for more than 5 mintues and they certainly don't do their homework.

This class got a quiz back last week and is currently taking an exam. They blew-off exam review last time and now are paying the price.

Frankly, if they all fail it wouldn't really bother me much... as they tend to fall into two categories..

--- Dork Boy: this category includes the earlier stink-eye student, the one who must be high most of the time or else is borderline something and the cocky kid who works for a minor-airline and thinks he's brilliant because some distant relative was an important politician. None of these students listen when I say things to anybody but them, and usually they don't listen when I directly answer their questions. I find myself repeating things several times and telling them stuff right before the exam that they needed to know in order to do classwork in the last month. The core of the problem is that they are so busy running their own mouths and planning the weekend that they can't focus on what I'm saying, or they somehow dismiss what I have to say.

--- Absent Annies: These are the ones who are either here in body only or miss a lot of class. They take the optional days off when they don't understand the material and then expect me to go over it again. The miss quizzes and then don't get that I don't give make-up quizzes etc. This group would do ok in this class if they actually came to class an were ready to learn. Without that, they'll fail.

To be fair, I do have a few in this section that I'd be sad if they failed... in my head they belong to the other section.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Misc stuff...

Read "High School Confidential" -- it is a really good undercover look at where our students come from.... and it is scary as hell.

See "Over the Hedge" -- it is out on video and really funny.

Wish my teams luck at the big scary tournament.... Swear Jar and Dude are in open while Sunshine and LG are in JV. I'd like to have a trophy or two -- but I'm not really expecting it to happen.

Secret note to Ms. Snot

Listen honey, I've been around this thing for a while and the fact that you decided to change a deadline and then get snippy about it doesn't impress me in the least. I remember when your event was small and friendly. Keep at it and I'll decide it isn't worth the hassle. I came close last time around, but somehow I couldn't resist this time -- keep it up and you'll drive away two of the last three people who have been there EVERY year for quite a while... yea, long before you even knew about it and long before he was there... As it is, I'm going to feel no compunction about not doing an extra thing to help you out... sorry, too busy with my own stuff or contemplating my navel to help you. I know you won't connect it to being rude to me and hubby, but so what --- maybe next year we'll go elsewhere.

edited to add: And, you dumb snot, if you had one little thought in your brain, why wouldn't we be there -- aargh....

Friday, October 13, 2006

I lost time in the Cheese State

So, ever since we got back from Illinois, via Wisconsin, my watch has been 5 minutes slow.

I wonder where the time went....

"I feel Cheated" SS

I have a student I'll call 'Sleepy Suzie' SS dozes off occasionally in the front row of my 7:45 logic class -- not that I really blame her for this, it is at 7 freaking 45 in the morning twice a week...

Yesterday we had the following conversation... in class -- after handing back a quiz on which SS didn't do so well....
SS: I feel cheated, this is like math.
Me: Yep, there is a reason this will satisfy a math credit when you graduate.
SS: but, the counselor told me this wouldn't be as hard as math.
Me: Didn't you listen at the beginning of class when I told you this would be hard and that it was very similar to math?
SS: but the counselor said...
Me: Does the counselor teach philosophy? As far as I know, the counselor hasn't taken this course or even sat in on even one session of logic. On the other hand, I teach it regularly and told you at the beginning this was hard in math-like ways.
SS: I still feel cheated
Me: Maybe you should discuss this with the counseling office, how they gave you the wrong impression of this course.

at this point, several other students started to chime in with things like, "I'm not good at math, but I'm getting an A" etc...

This has been a constant issue for me at BNCC. There seems to be one or two counselors who think they know everything and are not at all ethical when they are advising students.

Last year I had a student tell me that the counselor told him that he should take my classes and not Wise Woman's classes. They flat out told him that Wise Woman wasn't a good teacher and that he should take me instead. If counselors are faculty (which they consider themselves, by the way...) then they ought not be saying those kinds of things about other members of the faculty. Granted, I've had students say similar things to me -- and I've defended Wise Woman, as I know she's a good teacher -- but I'd never had the source be the counselors. I took it to my Dean, who handled it from there.

I have also heard this stuff about logic before from counselors via the students. It is only the most mouthy and least wise students who actually come out and say it... and I think I can get SS to tell me which counselor it is so I can get to the bottom of it. It is really irritating that they set up these expectations for students telling them that Logic isn't math -- when, if they knew anything about logic OR math, they'd know that propositional logic is something that is also taught in high-level math courses. Not only are they doing math without the numbers, they are doing HARD math without the numbers. And if the counselors had taken my course, they'd know it is hard-- and it starts getting hard right about now, every f-ing semester.

It seems that my warnings at the beginning of class were ignroed and the counselor's promises during an advision session months ago were retained... hmmm. I hope these little punks never meet a military recruiter. They'll be in Iraq so fast, and think they are going on vacation.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hubby is on the way home...

Hubby is on the way home right now.... I've been on the road he's driving quite often, and I'll be on it several times in the near future... I know it well.

About now he's hitting the city that shouldn't be, and is much more sprawly than it deserves to be.

Pretty soon he'll pass my mom's hometown (he'd better wave, as is the tradition).

Near mom's hometown is a billboard that has been revised (in spray paint) pretty often... it is all about factory farms and is either factory farms good or factory farms bad -- depending on which group is ambitious this week.

He's going to go by some really good rest areas, clean, comfortable with free wireless.

In a couple of hours he'll know how to do math (inside joke.. idea is that in the state he's in, they can't do math --).

In about four hours he'll be here.

yea!!! the cats and I miss him.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Although I love the TV show -- this is a RBC post with numbers....

3 kitties who miss their Cat-Dad.
1 wifey pining for the hubby in tie-dye
1 wife waiting for her hubby to come home.
48 hours from now, hubby finishes crossing the corn fields between here and Red State.
1 more Monday (well -- Wednesday, but Wednesday = Monday) until he comes home
1 more Tuesday (actually Thursday, but Tuesday = Thursday) 'till I see him again.
2 months since we've used the other garage space.
1 week of Fall Break for Hubby's school (thank goodness for snooty private schools and their instance that they need a fall break)
1st time hubby does a week of my schedule... (stay up late, get up early -- work, work, work)
3 nights going to bed without hubby
2 mornings waking up without him
1/2 way done with our first semester apart.

10 days in the sun planned for January.
9 more debate tournaments (or so..) this year.
6 more airline trips planned (debate and personal)
25 pages revised and almost ready to go out after tonight

3 weeks until I have my dissertation paper due to the philosophy colloquium (book club :) -- we are a CC, you know).

1 new/old restaurant found that I'm going to take hubby to... excellent, fresh Chinese food

1st snow is supposed to fall tonight -- early even for here.
1st time I'm glad I teach late on Wednesdays.

9:33 PM, time to go to bed

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Things I "learned "from debate --

I only judged three rounds this weekend, as I bought out of one of our judging committments to do some work. As a result, I only learned three new things in debate rounds this weekend....

Dennis Hastert was caught propositioning paiges...

There are magical words in resolutions that make them dicate whether or not a fact, value or policy case needs to be run and that these things are in the rules for debate (they aren't -- at all, especially not in the set I helped to WRITE!!!).

Any military that goes into someplace without a specific military objective WILL rape local women. It is inevitible.

Who said debate wasn't educational for judges as well as competitors??

Observtions from the road...

Iowa has much better rest areas than Wisconsin or Illinois...

Illinois is "illegitimate".

A small town near the Wisconsin border is destined for destruction, according to my team -- we decided it was filled with ghouls and should be flattened to make a huge rest area.

It pays to complain -- after all of our hotel problems we got 25% off the bill. I used it to apply to Girl and Dude's room, since they pay for it themselves and the school can afford to pay for craptastic rooms at the Best Western.

With my team, a stop at Denny's for a huge breakfast is a great investment in time. With fully tummies they sleep longer and we can actually drive quite a ways without a request for a potty or a smoke.

I like the groups "Flogging Nellie" and "Tenacious D" -- who knew. I'm still not a fan of "Tool", "Nine Inch Nails" or "Rage Against the Machine".

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tournament update... touranment #2

Ok... so, the place itself isn't bad -- although it is just another crummy midwest city with a decent sized college...

The hotel itself sucks -- we don't have one of our 4 rooms where everything works properly.

It was also Homecoming weekend, so the hotel party scene was pretty intense last night and my debaters didn't get much sleep. I didn't have a problem, but the smoking rooms were where the night life was. Next time we'll stay at the Super 8 with the rest of the teams who knew better this year.

Tournament wise it has been ok--- both teams are 2-3 going into the last round, so nobody will get an elimination round in this time out... but, the girls are speaking well and the boys are learning to work together. These early tournaments are all about learning, not winning -- so I feel good about putting them into open and not novice.

Speaking of that -- I had to have a little chat with a judge today -- that judge told my female team -- AND the team they were debating -- that neither of them belonged in the open division. That just isn't cool -- you don't tell a team who has to debate two more rounds that they don't belong there.

I was going to take it up with his DOF later -- but the other team's coach confronted him in the hall and I supported him -- bottom line, the judge is supposed to watch the round not pass judgment about the competitors -- I really f-ing hope that my girls are 3/3 today, because that will show that I was right in putting them into this round and that he was wrong.

What really got me, on another note, is that the kid (and he is young, so kid works) told my debaters he had all kinds of experience, yadda, yadda, yadda --- which is a lie -- because I know who had experience and I didn't know him. Additionally, he wasn't even competing in 'big people parli' -- he was in the 2-year honor society version, which sucks so badly I won't take our students there -- and this little jerk is telling my students where they should be... I don't think so.

I don't think it hurt them for this round -- they seemed to brush it off and get on with prepping their case -- but, it is inappropriate and I'm planning to let his DOF know that he needs to chat with this person before they are sent out again. It shouldn't be a problem -- as the DOF has been my friend for 7 or 8 years -- since before he had his own program etc...

I'll also forgive the little jerk and not hold it against his teams -- I'm guessing it was him that told a team I judged last night that they should run a really bad case...

On the good news -- there is a fancy-pants school we've managed to beat at least twice now ---same team -- one more time and Sunshine 'owns their soul'. Swear Jar is debating them now, going for the 'soul kill' now as well -- this is the team that eliminated Sunshine and Swear Jar from competition a couple of weeks ago... and they want revenge good.

I am kind of sad that Swear Jar and Sunshine couldn't get along. I really do think she'd be the best partner for him in the end... but, he wasn't mature enough to deal with her high-maintenence personality, so he lost a good partner... It was nice to see Brain agree with me :).

I'm looking forward to getting home at a decent time tomorrow. I'm going to tell them to pack tonight and I'll call them when I wake up. We'll check out and head out of town -- they can all sleep and I'll drive. We'll be home in the late afternoon at the latest and I'll actually get to have a Sunday night. Wow.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Insights from the library

1) Philosophy of Language sucks... really...

2) I think that writing/research is considered important because it is harder to do than teaching. It is hard to write a good paper, easy to teach a class --- or, at least easy to teach classes when you have a TA to do the grading, students with decent ACT scores and can actually read.

Even with my high teaching load (5/5 baby..) I still think it is easier to teach than to write.

Of course, #1 may explain that as well.

A snapshot of my afternoon...

Me with my ipod playing Ben Folds "Philosophy" (thanks D2 -- I'd have never heard Ben Folds without you...).

Writing on my PowerBook G4 (12 inch, small and silver :) -- hubby's idea for me, I love it -- he was right again, both about the computer AND the ipod AND the nice headphones...).

At my favorite library, across town near where I grew-up. .....I managed to snag my favorite seat... a view of the changing leaves, gray sky and an outlet nearby. This was the library where we'd go in high school to finish 'humanities' projects, converging on the place as a group to borrow books, laugh and read eachother's work...

Revising (some more) my Philosophy of Language paper.

In spite of the fact that I woke at 4:30 AM (thanks extra-toed cat... NOT), had a rough class this morning and a kind of dull philosophy department meeting at noon, this is a good day.

back to work for me --

Monday, October 02, 2006

Debate Practice

Tonight we did 6 rounds... seriously... well, each speech was only 1 minute long and the rebuttals were 30 seconds with 5 minute prep... but, we did them.

Sometimes it is hard for me to help debaters develop because I didn't have a traditional debate education myself... so I don't know how others do things. The coaches I worked with generally only did practice rounds to prepare. The problem with that is that it isn't always the most efficient way to do things.

After talking with Brain, I came up with the idea of doing 'stop and go' (i.e. I stop them when they mess up...) rounds with mini-rounds instead of full rounds. This gets each student experience doing the thinking on their feet part a lot more often than normal. The shortened time shows them that they can do it...

Most of the team did very well with this, although Sunshine had some troubles. I really love her, she's a very nice person who tries really hard. The trouble with her is that she can't decide what she wants in a partner. When she was with swear jar she wanted more input and more help from him -- that he didn't realy want to give --- now she doesn't want the responsibility of being in the responsive positions, but she doesn't think she has the opportunity to frame arguments... yep, that's right. She also wants to be with a more experienced partner -- but, Swear Jar is all there is for more experienced people, and she really didn't get along with him.

I'm really having a hard time with her helplessness. She wants to be an independent thinker, but she also wants me to tell her what to say. I can't do that -- she has to do the hard work of learning how to formulate the arguments --- because I can't tell her all the things she needs to know in every round. I can come close and guess at the topics, but I'm not at all perfect in that regard.

It was also pretty funny tonight when I asked Swear Jar where he thought our case structure came from. He gives so much credibility to stuff he learned at camp, he doesn't realize that hubby and I developed a lot of the stuff he uses... he thinks we got it from someplace else.

Funnies on the radio...

So, I listen to 'chick talk' radio... i.e. talk radio that is mostly women...

Neither of these stories is about my family, although they could just have easily been my parents or grandparents.....

A while back one of the radio hosts was talking about a time when her father was in emergency surgury and the mom chose to call from a pay phone because she was concerned about using her minutes. The daughter, after the emergency had passed, explained to mom that she really should have used the cell phone for this kind of situation -- that is why they have it. At a minimum, the mom should have left the phone on so the daughter could reach her immediately. The mother responded that she didn't know when the daughter would call her back, and she didn't want to use her minutes waiting for the call back...

Mom thought minutes were used when the phone was ON...

and then there is this one...

Daughter convinces parents to buy a DVD player. Parents finally buy the DVD player and rent their favorite movie. Daughter calls the next day to see how they liked their new DVD player.... only to be told that the DVD player was defective in that it was French. Mom was irate that this store in Iowa would sell them a French speaking DVD player. She thought they'd unloaded it on them because they were old.

Next stop, fall break

I seem to be ok in 2 week spurts... we can do these sprints when we are separated without a lot of trauma.

Hubby leaves on an early flight this morning --be at the airport at 6:00 AM is icky no matter what. I'm going to come home and take a nap before I head to school.... I have afternoon classes and coaching tonight, I need my rest.

The nice thing is that hubby will be home for fall break in two weeks. He'll drive up, so he can have a car, and then we'll drive down to Red State the following week for their debate tournament. I'll go back with the team when they are eliminaed from the tournament on Sunday sometime.

Since we'll stay with hubby, we'll get to be together for the week... YEA!

Next weekend we go to a tournament I've never been to -- it should be a decent tournament for us, as several of the teams we've beaten so far are pretty close and expecte to attend -- and we don't anticipate the really hard competition showing up for that one... :). Kind of like a kinky Snow White, we like it hard enough, but not too hard :).

I'm looking forward to fall break, although I'm not sure hubby completely understands my schedule -- it ought to be fun to hear him groan when my T/Th alarm goes off at 5:00 AM....