Saturday, September 30, 2006

Right now I hate Garrison Keilor

On his show rigt now he's singing a f-ing song about some old woman whose sister died and she's going to Colorado to take care of her affairs.

What kind of song is that?? It isn't even a particularly sad song... he makes it sound like, even at 91, this isn't a sad time for the woman... her younger sister dies and she's all business. Like she won't miss someone who knew her when she was young. Like it isn't a tragedy to bury a sibling, no matter how old they are.


Garrison hasn't lost a sister. I have . Almost 5 years later it still sucks. a lot. Mom is getting older and it is going to be up to me to take care of her when she needs it... not that I mind, but it shouldn't have been this way.

Pam's birthday is at the end of the month. She would have been 35.

She died a month after her 30th birthday.

Besides, who told Garrison he could sing? I'd like to kick the tune-deaf ass-hat in the balls (it must have been a man... ).

A secret note to my logic classes

Warning -- if you want to stay positive about students -- skip this post :)....

One simple thing -- getting the letters in the right places on the venn diagrams.

You couldn't do it, not even to earn doughnuts for the whole class. The deal was simple, if everyone in the class did it right I would buy y'all doughnuts.

I told you several times that you need to put the subject of the conclusion on the left circle and the predicate of the conclusion on the right circle and the middle term on the top circle.

I promised you doughnuts from the yummy independent doughnut place in my neighborhood... they are so good, and would have been a great treat for you the day you got your exams back...

but you had to go screwing it up. You couldn't follow one simple set of directions about how to do things.

Not even when yummy sugar treats were on the line.

You are pathetic... and I'm not at all sure how you are going to pass this class at this rate. What is really sad is that both classes lost their treat within the first few papers I graded.

If you can't pay attention to the simple details, the small ones that I stress in class -- how in the f-ck are you going to do complex deductions? No wonder a bunch of you failed this class before, you really can't follow directions -- and, that other teacher (wise woman) gives very good and precise directions and expects you to follow them.

goodness, I weep for the future -- please, keep your retail jobs and your jobs as rent-a-cops... please don't become nurses and real cops -- because you can't follow directions and I don't want your intellectual failures to come back to haunt me when I need you to save my life or the lives of someone I love.


Grading Jail vent, logic...

How in the world can someone sit in my class for weeks and not get it and not say anything -- at all. Don't these bozos know the exam is coming? Can't they see that they are not getting the same answers in their homework that I'm putting on the board? Can't they look at their notes from when we did these f-ing problems in class and sort them out in practice?

For goodness sakes, there is no reason for some of this crap--- I gave them a reference sheet so they don't have to memorize the procedures and they still can't hack it.

If they withdraw, fine -- I want them to go, as it only gets worse.

Monday should be fun... if you hear an agonized scream about 2:15, it is because I've handed back their exams and they are freaking out. It is their own fault -- they didn't choose to come in during their optional days and none of them came to my 7:45 class's open sessions -- they could have come in to ask questions in office hours or before or after class -- I'm around and available, especially after class because I teach my next section in the same room 30 minutes later -- but they run out of class like there is free pot in the hallway.

Oh well, in the end, they'll all only be eligible for a C, so the final exam should be easy (I have a graduated exam system for logic, so if they can only get a C, they only have to do easier proofs...).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Another reason to love BN state...

The best grocery store chain in the world.. or, at least the best of any of place I've lived... has a new on-line grocery delivery service. You place the order on their amazingly good website, choose a delivery time and presto, groceries at your home.

Since I hate to go to the grocery store, this is really amazingly good.

It is worth the 9.95 delivery fee.... especially since I impulse shop at this store all the time and I know that I spend more than $10.00 when I do so. Now I can order from work and have it come when I'm home --

I love the internet.

Hubby's home...

A few days ago the evil airline's automated voice called me to tell me hubby's flight had been cancelled and he was re-booked on a 5 AM Friday flight. After I finished rudely telling the automated voice that this wouldn't due, I called a real person and asked her nicely if she could take care of this for me. It turns out that while we were talking the evil airline reinstated the flight and all was well.

So, Hubby made it home from Red State.

All is well in the household, I have someone else to give affection to my affection-hungry cats. By the way, aren't cats supposed to be aloof?... someone needs to tell my cats about that part of being a cat...

We'll do some errands today and do some work, I'll make homemade mac and cheese tonight for dinner and chicken parmesan tomorrow night -- hubby wanted some comfort foods and we both feel like hibernating. Last night we went out to dinner -

It is nice to have my Google home.

Next weekend is a debate tournament in Illinois, the next weekend hubby will be home for a whole week!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Brain the coach

My pal Brain came to watch a round last night. I love having him there, because -- without prompting -- he tells them stuff I've already told them -- but they didn't listen to. A second voice is helpful that way.

Sunshine and LG make a good team. They'll win some rounds at our next tournament.... I'm sure Dude and Swear Jar will do wel as well, as long as Swear Jar can keep the attitude under control.

Next week we'll work on the attitude -- funny thing is that Brain and one of his old debate partners actually got ballots that said, in effect, 'you make me mad but I have to vote for you' -- I don't recall him being as bad as Swear Jar and Swear Jar doesn't have the debate background to get a ballot from a judge who hates his guts --- so things have got to change.

I told Swear Jar yesterday that he was alienating himself from his team and that Dude was his last partner, so he'd better make it work. I hope it does, because he's a good debater -- I'm just kind of afraid we have a Voldemort situation developing on the team... where there is one kid who is a good debater but can't work and play well with others. At least Swear Jar showers and isn't as obnoxious as Voldemort....

In a way, I feel bad for Swear Jar --- he developed this debate persona in the context of another team... then they all went elsewhere and he's left as the snarky cynical one without the others who get him. He played a function on the team last year, but this year he's more like the cranky uncle who nobody wants to sit next to at Christmas dinner...

I also feel bad for Golfer, as his partner Herbie is busy with things that take priority over debate. Herbie did this last year too, so it is no surprise.... it is just sad, because Golfer is much improved after camp and has to rely on random partners for the next two tournaments....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big Block of Cheese Day, #7

One of my favorite TV shows, ever, is the West Wing.

They did a couple of shows about, "big block of cheese day" -- the day where the West Wing opens it's appointment calendar to people who wouldn't otherwise get an appointment.

My first day at BNCC, I described this weird new thing I'll call Super Student Day to hubby, who dubbed it Big Block of Cheese Day -- SSD is a day when all day classes are cancelled and the faculty gives presentations about ways students can develop successful habits, opportunities for success etc.. at the college. Some students call it "Students Sleep in Day", and sleep in, but the parking lot was actually fairly full today.

Usually I pass an appointment sheet around in class and about 20 students make appointments to come see me, about 20 show up, only 10 of whom have appointments :). It is kind of like a whole day of office hours. The faculty are relaxed and we spend some time chatting in the hall. Generally, it is a nice day for us ---

I spent this SSD doing debate stuff. Super Dean (i.e. my Dean) organizes SSD and a while back she asked me to have a demonstration debate on a topic of interest to students. This time she asked me if I'd like to have a table to do some recruitment. In a moment of weakness I said I'd do it. I don't think I'll do it again.

The thing about debate at these kinds of events is that I'm not going to attract the kind of debater I want on the team with casual contact. Debate requires a lot of dedication, effort and time. Someone dropping by my table to snag some candy or a certificate to use for extra-credit... so, it was a waste of my time.

In the afternoon my four least experienced debaters, Sunshine, LG, Dude and Golfer, did a public debate on legalizing prostitution. They did a wonderful job. They were smart, funny, articulate, compassionate and persuasive. They spoke well and represented the debate program well.

It was different from other SSDs, but it was good.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Studio 60 and coaching debate...

I'm falling in love with the TV show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. If you haven't seen the show, figure out who Aaron Sorkin is and watch some of his other stuff to warm-up... skip this post because it won't make sense :).

I'm also seeing that there are elements of the show that remind me of coaching debate.

Managing expectations and inerpersonal relationships is a major part of my coaching day.

Coercing people to give their best performances and to take risks and challenge themselves is a continuous process.

Prep Time and tournament preparation might as well be managed by a clock on my office wall with huge red numbers.

That last one needs some explanation... here's the short version.

Prep time -- Every parliamentary debate round has a new topic. Each team has 20 minutes to prepare to either support or defeat the resolution. Especially with young, new teams I help them prepare before I run off to judge my rounds. This means I help them to create strategy and write/refine arguments. The image of the red clock ticking down to the second hit home with me. The end of prep time is scary and fun all at the same time.

Tournament prep -- is more like the week in, week out process of preparing, writing new cases etc.... after every weekend tournament we start over again. I feel like my big red clock is set at 10 days, ______ hours until we leave town again...

And, working with debaters is a lot like working with commedians and writers -- they are very smart and very talented, and keeping up with them is a challeng in itself -- probably why I like them :).

More debate thoughts...

Tonight I'll see 4 of the students I spent the weekend with -- and the other two who I hope will be jumping on the competition van in two weeks. We'll do a quick de-briefing and then one practice round. I want to be done by 7:30 or so... we are all tired and a little sick of being together. On the other hand, we are changing partnerships and everyone needs more work, so I can't just declare a night off.

I looked at some of our results from the weekend... and saw that every round we won was against 4-year schools, most of which are private, selective and expensive. Their debaters generally have high school debate experience and all the schools on the list have full-time coaches with communication studies degress and years of coaching and competitive experience. Our little team of no-experience kids beat them in front of some excellent judges. That makes me happy... very happy.

I also noticed that I didn't miss hubby this weekend as much as I thought I would... a few reasons for that.

1) There is no time to be sorry for myself and when I have a quiet moment I'm exhausted.. too tired to play the pity party.

2) I'm around people who know him, we talked about him and they know that I'm not some freaky late-30s single woman -- like I assume strangers see me as.

3) I was around a lot of old friends, and my new friends --i.e. my team. I was too busy in down times chatting with intelligent people I like to miss the intelligent conversations hubby and I have when we are together.

Every year, before debate season, I swear this one will be my last. Every year in late March I swear the next will be the last (as I'm usually committed at that point), but when I get into the new season I see why I do it... new debaters, same old friends -- debaters turned judges that are also my friends...

I think I'm going to need a 12-step program to quit -- "debate addicts anonymous" here I come.

They test, I blog...

I'm giving a test in logic today -- it is nice that it coincides with my debate tournament hangover day... it feels a lot like a real hangover, but without the fun of the booze and debauchery of a traditional hangover. I wonder how the coaches who drink a lot feel after a tournament... talk about a double-whammy... eek.

I made them laugh before the test by writing "Do not skip class next time" on the board -- I'm trying to solve a serious problem by being very direct. At this school they seem to think that the day after an exam is a day off from content. When they think that in other classes, they can get caught up -- but when they think that in Logic, they miss the basic symbolization techniques and are messed-up for the rest of the semester.

I also had a student come in today asking a question from the first week of class. He's a nice enough kid, but wow -- what was he thinking we were doing all this time? I'm worried about his exam. I hate to have students fail the first one, because this class just gets harder.

What I learned over the weekend, #1

We tell our students that debate is a learning experience -- but it is a learning experience all around --

I learn about my students...

Swear Jar wants to go to law school with a BA in economics. I could easily see him as the next Jim Kramer (crazy stock guy who bites the heads off of foam bulls) -- he'll probably skip the bulls, but he'll have something crazy and innovative.... If he doesn't do that, he could just as easily end up in jail for some kind of business financial scandal ---

LG (she needs a new name) is currently working someplace that makes her a lot of money but isn't good for her excellent mind. She wants to go to med school after her BA. Her previous experiences combined with her MD will make a huge difference in the lives of others. I'm going to do whatever I need to do to help her.

Sunshine is a wonderful and smart woman who works harder than any other debater I've met. The fact that she's dyslexic and is doing so well amazes me. Like LG, she's had jobs that made a lot of money but rotted her mind and she quit, taking a pay cut and loss of benefits etc. She's not sure what she wants to do -- and would probably be happy to stay at BNCC as long as they let her :).

Dude and LG have known eachother since 3rd grade and are currently dating. He wants to be a lawyer and seeing how quickly he picked up debate concepts, formulated his own arguments and original responses, I'm sure he'll do well in law school. He's the biggest puzzle to me on the team so far -- although his dating LG says a lot, as she doesn't put up with any crap -- so I'm sure he's amazing in ways I'll find out later in the season.

Overall, I predict a good season. If these four are still with me at nationals in March, I'll be a happy coach. Each one of them is worth the time and effort I put into them. They are starting to figure out how to work well as a unit and support one another. By March they'll be a great group and I'm sure they will have gained more from doing debate than from any of their other classes.

I learn about my former students..

D1 can wear a suit and not explode or collapse. He's doing well at his new school, AKA "the Borg" -- and he seems to be maintaining his individuality within that system. YEA D1 -- I miss you and am happy to see you doing well.

I learn from my students --

I'm learning about modern music. Listening to Nine-Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Heavy D, Smashing Pumpkins, Slipnot and others in the van has been interesting. I doubt I'll actually acquire the stuff, but I can start to understand parts of it.

I learn from other programs ---

Debaters from fancy-pants schools aren't that much better than my debaters from BNCC.
Debaters whose coaches have had a lot of competitive success aren't producing debaters that are significantly better than my debaters from BNCC.
Not drinking with my students is a good idea and it isn't being a "buzz kill".
I like the people who coach 'the Borg' and lots of other coaches.

( I can't say this is learning... but...) Other teams told my students the following:
Israel doesn't have any weapons.
If we provide a national healthcare program, we'll end up in a nuclear war.
Men shouldn't be talking about HPV and other women's issues.
Torture is good.

and, my students had good common-sense answers to that stuff --- and more often than not, the judges went along with them -- yep, it was a good weekend.
Pure Nerd
82 % Nerd, 43% Geek, 43% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


I found it at Dr. Brazen Hussy's, but, due to debate tournament hangover I don't have the energy for a link...

Home from tournament #1...

We had a good trip to our first tournament. I took two teams, (four students) only one of which had any previous experience. I've had trouble with this tournament in the past, but today things were much better.

Swear Jar and Sunshine were 4-2, made it to elimination rounds and lost the first on 2-1. Sounds promising, no?? Actually NO -- they make one another nutso... so we'll change. Ms and Dude both date and debate together.... which isn't a good idea ..... they were 2-4 and Ms got a speaker award -- not bad in their first tournament ever.

I'm going to put Swear Jar and Dude together and then put Sunshine and Ms together. I think it will be good all around -- I'll probably take them to another tounament in a couple of weeks --

It was fun to see old friends and make some new ones. Our region has gained a huge debate-coaching talent, whom I knew from elsewhere. The idea that this person will be at tournaments all over our area from now on is great!

Time to go to bed -- we left on Friday morning and back at about midnight Sunday -- yea, I'm earning my release time!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dear Blog teaching buddies...

Back me up,

I just got the following e-mail, more or less, from a student.. it is Thursday night....

Dear Prof,

I was very sick on Monday and couldn't make it to class. I have class immediately before the exam, but I would like to meet with you for an hour or so at 11:30 on Monday to go over some things.

sick student...

My response:

Dear sickie --I can't be on campus at 11:30 on Monday. I have office hours at 1:00, your exam is at 2:15. Due to big-deal class cancelling event, I won't have office hours on Tuesday. If you think you need more time, you need to make-up the exam on Wednesday at 1:00.


What I didn't say --

Dear Faker,

hmm, a little late -- did you just notice that there is an exam next class period? You've been mentally AWOL for a while now, haven't you. Also -- since when am I at your f-ing beck and call? and, I'm not in the mode of judging how sick someone has to be not to come to class. You are an adult and you will either pass or fail this class at your own will. If you can't follow simple directions like, 'get the names and numbers of a few classmates', then you have larger issues.. besides, having a little runny nose wasn't a good reason to miss high school and it isn't a good reason to miss college either. The difference between high school and college is twofold: First, you are paying for your classes and will have to pay to re-take them. Second, just because we don't call your mom to see where you were when you miss, doesn't mean that we won't cover new stuff in class.

In some small way I hope the exam is painful for you. It will teach you that when I hold class and you decide not to come, you WILL miss something. The only question is whether or not you'll be able to catch-up. Put on your running shoes and your thinking cap and get to work.

prof who refuses to re-teach class in her office.

I'm feeling a little mean for not going in early to meet with sick student. That is my soft side -- maybe I'm having a weak moment or something...

On the other hand, 11:30 on Monday has never been part of my office hours, and for good reason.... For example, this weekend I'm going to Missouri with my debate team and if they do well I'll be lucky to drop them off at school by 1 AM on Monday. I also teach late on Mondays and usually don't come in until almost 1:00... because I like to have a life and the time I can do so is MW mornings. Being on campus at 11:30, reliably, with a parking spot and all, means I really need to plan to be there at 10:50 when the previous class gets out and some of the mall-rats I call students hop in their cars and zoom off like they are escaping high school.

I guess I'm also irked because I didn't get this e-mail on Monday. I would have suggested they come in on Tuesday afternoon sometime, when I was hanging around waiting for a meeting anyway -- if that didn't work, I'd have suggested some of my other 5 office hours I have this week.

Secret note to stink-eye student...

Dear dim-wit...

When I say in e-mail that you'll have to have a doctor's note saying you couldn't come to school for the quiz, a piece of paper from the doctor verifying that you were in the THREE DAYS before the quiz date doesn't cut it. You see, what I need is something like, "Mr. Dumb-ass couldn't come to class last week because he was suffering from a chronic case of head-up-ass and driving in that condition is dangerous." Not -- "Mr. Dumb-ass was seen here three days before the quiz" --

So, when I won't accept your paperwork, don't be surprised. The stink-eye wasn't necessary.

Also, since you missed class material when your head was up your ass last week, this week it would have been a good idea to come to the catch-up day, instead of leaving.

Good luck on the exam next week, you are going to need it. The stink-eye should be directed at yourself, not me.

Your logic instructor...

(I owe the term 'stink-eye' to a blogger -- although I'm not sure which one -- so, if you use the term and I stole it from you -- thanks... I owe you one)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Students with unusual jobs..

I recently found out that two female students of mine were both 'exotic dancers' -- one is currently working and the other used to work at the same club.

This came as a surprise to me, as these are average looking girls who are excellent students.

I'm not sure what I expected exotic dancers to be like, but it wasn't two brainy girls with perfectionist streaks and lofty academic goals. These women are bright, articulate and have excellent senses of humor.

and, they either do or have taken their clothes off for money.

For some reason I'm having a hard time connecting these girls and exotic dancing. It is difficult for me, I know, because I know them in a very different context.

I think the other reason I'm having a hard time with it is because it is sooooo outside of my range of experience. I've worked all kinds of jobs, but they have always required that I keep my clothes on.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't want to judge these women and the choices they've made. In many ways I admire them, they are very comfortable with their bodies in ways that I will never be. They have the courage to do what it takes to support themselves and go to school at the same time.

The ethicist and part of the feminist in me says that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. They are using their bodies and taking advantage of the system which has placed them in a difficult financial situaiton. They are using society's ideas about sex to their advantage and taking advantage of a culture so sick that men (mostly) would pay them a pretty good amount of money for nothing more than taking off their clothes and moving on a stage.

On the other side, I worry about the morality of being a sex worker. They are exploiting their sexuality -- the most intimate aspect of themselves -- to make a living. Further, are they exacerbating the body-image issues of US women?

I think in the end I'm going to keep treating them the same way I did before I knew about their dancing. I liked them both before and I still enjoy working with them on our common academic pursuits. They deserve no less from me -- additionally, they deserve the help and respect I can give them in the non-stripper part of their lives so that it will become their only life. If that means helping them to get scholarships so they can transfer to other schools to finish their degrees -- then great! It may be the only way the will be able to end their dancing lives.

The sad part of all this is that I can't even give them the girly-girl kind of advise on hair and make-up because I'm not good with them... their excuse is that stripper make-up is a lot different than normal make-up --- and they only know the stripper proportions and techniques :)... I have no such excuse.

Random thoughts...

-- I used a whole roll of toilet paper on my own. I'm starting on #2 today. I've also stopped closing the door when I'm here by myself. By the time hubby gets home next week I'll probably find silverwear optional.
-- I installed one of those automatic shower cleaning things last night. It was easy, I hope it works.
-- Today is the first ever BNCC philosophy department retreat. We are having a pot-luck at one of the member's new homes.. it should be fun. I really like my department and will miss them terribly if I end up working in Red State.
-- Yesterday I had 9 students come to my optional 7:45 class. Not bad out of a class of about 40. Of course, the looming exam will bring them out... and the fact that they didn't do well on the quiz :).
-- Some students just don't get it... they miss class in the prior week, missing the quiz -- and then they stop by at the beginning of the optional class time, but don't stay. They'll learn the hard way that they needed to be there.
-- There is an advertisement on the radio right now for snowblowers at Menards, and I love it! I like the fact that winter is on the way!
-- Hubby and I might be going to someplace warm in January so he can do a longish conference-like thing. I like this idea... 10 days in a nice hotel, me with a car, a pool and a pile of books. I especially like that his conference has nothing to do with my area, so I don't have to feel guilty about not participating.
-- I missed 'talk like a pirate day'. I only used "aargh" once, and that was in conversation with wise woman.
-- Hubby won some money at poker last night --yea!
--I had a nice chat with my favorite Great Aunt last night. She kind of randomly calls me to check in. She was trying out her new cell phone and was very proud of herself :). She's also the only one of that generation who sends e-mail. What is funny about her is that she'll write long letters long-hand, but she seems to treat e-mail like telegrams. I didn't tell her that there is an opening for Chancellor in Red State as she's the one who thinks I'll be Chancellor one day... I'm not quite ready for that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The semester is really rolling now...

I've had my first sick grandparent call....

Student: Hi philosophy factory, I'm in your class and missed the quiz last week because my grandparent was sick.
Me: Oh, I'm sorry to hear about your grandparent.
Student: (not sounding sad -- explaining that the grandparent had multiple strokes, fell off the roof or was abducted by aliens, just sick...) when can I make-up the quiz?
Me: you need to check your syllabus
Student: huh?
Me: It clearly says in your syllabus that I don't give make-up quizzes, sorry.
Student: I know it says that but (I thought I was special, or that you were just kidding about that, or that there is is a magic sick grandparent card I can play) I thought I could make it up.
Me: sorry.

I give quizzes in my logic course. The class meets twice per week and about one class in four has a quiz on the materials we've been covering. I give the answers out the next day in class and post the key immediately after the second class takes the quiz. For this reason, I don't give make-up quizzes. This is completely explained in class and a question on my syllabus quiz -- they know this...

Even better, this week in my 7:45 logic class, we have optional days... They are my way of dealing with the various levels of students in my class. Some students get it right away -- they see how the problems work, understand the concepts quickly and can do all the problems in any section after just a bit of work and perhaps my in-class explanation... and then, others have a really had time getting it -- they can have it explained to them MANY times and still don't get it.

Optional days are for those slower students. The really quick students don't come to class because they don't need the help and practice. In theory, I'm left with the ones who need more help. In truth, the ones that need the most help also skip -- but, they are beyond help and are going to fail -- because they aren't doing the work often enough to see that they don't get it. What I end up with is the middle 1/3 of the class, the earnest ones who have had a so-so quiz and really want to get a good grade.

Because the class is smaller, we do other kinds of work -- they put stuff on the board, they work in small groups to finish problems etc... it is more like a logic workshop than a class. I like it, and it satisfies the "active learning" component that I'm supposed to put into my logic class -- which is otherwise not very active :).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A new normal?

Although I'm still not at all used to not living with hubby, I am becoming more accustomed to our weekend patterns....

Thursday evening and Friday we play and have some fun together. Saturday we intersperse work and play, and Sunday we break up our work with occasional play. It isn't a bad pattern, if only we also had the weeks together.

Next weekend is the first debate trip of the season. It will be nice to see old debate friends again -- although one of my friends is no-longer coaching -- and I will miss her... What is sad is that on our debate circuit, there is only one woman I can think of who has been around longer than I have -- one of my Red State pals, and she's not on the road very often at all... it really is time for me to end the debate addiction. It will also be odd to be there without hubby. I've done some tournaments without him, but not many. This will be the first year he hasn't been doing a decent amount of travelling with me. I guess I'll just have to call him to decompress -- he got me into this coaching thing, he can at least talk me down from smacking an obnoxious teenager once on a while.

Hubby will come home the following week -- we'll do pretty much the same thing we did this weekend... except we'll have to find something else to do in place of the golf -- I suspect petting the cats will take a chunk of that time, as will hanging with Brain.

Due to debate trips and hubby's fall break, I won't be back in Red State on my own until early November. The next time I come to my other home, I'll have a few debaters with me and we'll be all business. It will be their third tournament, and it will be a pretty big one for them. Someone will crash on the very comfortable couch I'm sitting on right now while others take the livingroom couch, the bed in the basement or the extra room upstairs. It will be kind of weird having this house full of my current team, most of whom don't even know hubby all that well. This is a house designed for company and with 3.5 bathrooms, I'm sure we'll all make it to the tournament both clean an on-time.

Next time I'm here on a personal visit it will be a bit different around here then -- less green, more brown. A real chill in the air and old, sad, frozen Jack-O-lanterns around the housing development. If we want to hit any golf balls, we might have a chance to go to the driving range on a warm sunny afternoon, but the courses will probably be closed or on winter restrictions by then. My new clubs will have to wait until spring for momma to come play with them... sigh.

After that trip, will be our anniversary, Thanksgiving and my birthday -- and then the end of the semester... wow.

There is no place like Red State

So -- last night we were watching Red State U play a highly ranked team.

Red State LOOOOOVEEEEESSSSSS its football program. I thought I knew how much before last night, but now I see another level.

All evening there had been severe weather across Red State. Severe Thunderstorm watches and tornado watches. That stuff just scrolled along the bottom of the Red State football game.

In a normal state, when the major metropolitan area is under a tornado WARNING (i.e. there is a tornado out there), they cut to the weather guy and away from regular programming.

Not in Red State -- no, they do a split screen, so they are showing the football game on the left side and the weather guy telling you to get into your basement on the right.

Since they were pretty much telling us that the tonados were aime at hubby's place, we took our computers and other stuff we didn't want to be blown away down into the basement..... no TV in the basement, but we did have a radio.

So -- we listened as they described the storm coming closer and closer -- and watched on the internet as it got closer to us...all along, the announcer -- between reports of the funnel clouds, was giving updates from the game.

In the end, the tornados didn't touch down, we didn't get blown away and the Red State team lost -- boo hoo... oh well.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am like my Mom...aargh

I had a sudden realization today, I like being on an odd schedule.

Let me explain... my mom is a nurse. She started in nursing before I was born, raised me as a nurse --and for a while a single-parent nurse and she's still a nurse. She hates to work the day shift. There was nothing that made her more nuts than a whole string of 9-5ish shifts in a row. She hated the same schedule, rutt-ness of it.

I thought she was a wacko -- and, for other reasons she kind of was -- but, it bothered me that she would choose to work evenings, weekends and nights when I was a younger teenager, because she'd be away from home when I was there. Of course, she' explain that she was most needed at those times and being part of the supervisory team of nurses entailed that one of the 5 of them had to be on at all times -- because, without them the hospital really would stop working. She also told me about the bizarre mix of patients. Wealthy Jewish patients and people from the neighborhood, mostly African Americans and Native Americans. The combination of her stories taught me a few very good lessons, a) you don't die from being tired, b) we have serious race and class divisions in this country, but everyone gets sick and needs my mom at some point, and c) helping people get better so they can have good lives is very important... and, for her, d) it is better not to work 9-5 in an office if you can help it...

I thought she was dead wrong on d) - thus my shock at realizing I like my schedule this semester -- it is something like 12:00-9 MW, 7:00-12:00 T/Th --- no 9-5 for me... and I'm spending very little time in my office, which works well for me -- not th at I don't miss Wise Woman, Dog Dad, the Sister and the New guy --- but, I'm getting much more done and am having more balance in my life this semester than any previous semester. I wonder what next semester will be like with the release time for debate??

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tired, the good way

We played 13 holes of golf today...

About noonish hubby and I hit the golf course. Soon it started to rain. The course has a rule that if you don't finish the 5th hole, they'll give you a rain check. At the end of the 4th hole, we decided that the thunder sounded closer and we ought to stop. We got the rain check and went home.

On the way to the grocery store we noticed that the sky was blue and the wind was blowing. We decided to use our rain check. I played better than I had before, on occasion I actually hit shots over the green. Not bad for someone who doesn't keep score.

After golf we went to Boston Market for dinner, then the grocery stores -- Wild Oats for the fun stuff and the Bag-N-Save for the stuff we couldn't find a Wild Oats.

In all, a nice day in Red State.

Red State is behind...

It is kind of funny, BN state is fairly progressive, along with being cold and snowy.

Red State is much more conservative -- but, still not too bad in THE CITY (there really is only one --- I don't consider grad school city an actual city).

Red State city will soon have an Apple Store. It has a new Whole Foods store, about which it is very excied, and it has most of the nice chain restaurants etc... that most places have.

It is also about 2 weeks behind in the weather.

In BN state, it has been kind of chilly and rainy. Yesterday in Red State it was in the low 80's.

Visting Red State when BN state is below zero will be nice, not exactly a tropical vacation -- but not the bone-chilling, ass-freezing cold of BN state, in January.

New Clubs

I'm not a good golfer. I'm so bad that I don't keep score. I go with hubby once in a while, take about a million swings at the ball, hit it once in a while about 30 yards and walk to it. Getting a cart is a complete wasted of time for me, as I am NEVER in it -- except to sit down to wait for someone else to finish...

Until this weekend.

You see, last time hubby and I went golfing, it was a lot of fun -- but also frustrating... then I tried his clubs.

For those of you who don't know me in person, I'm about 5 foot 9 or 10 --- and well-endowed. In order to hit a golf ball with women's clubs, I had to reach around my well-endowedness to get to the club. For shorter clubs I had to either stand pretty close to the ball or hunch over... it didn't make for a good swing.

The thing about women's clubs is that they are shorter than men's clubs.... and that makes a difference when you are trying to swing a club around a pair of D-cups.

Last night we went to "Golf Galaxy" to get some clubs. They had a nice starter set there for me. Then we went to the driving range to try them out... I only outright missed a couple of balls and I only had a few terrible shots... the rest actually made some distance. Amazing.

We are going golfing today and I might talk hubby into going on Sunday as well (Saturday is FOOTBALL day around here, which actually would be a good time to go ----except watching the game is kind of fun in this state.).

This will probably be the last time I golf this year, as the clubs will live in Red State and hubby visits in most of October due to debate and his fall break.. The next time I'll be here, I'll have a van full of debaters with me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Off to Red State

Today, if things go as planned -- by 2:00 I'll be in Red State. YEA!

2 more classes to teach
1 more quiz to give
1 purse and 1 backpack to pack
1 fast (I hope) trip to the airport...

and I'm off!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Crisis averted, for now...

So, we had a little bit of truth-talking with the boy debater about how he was treating and reacting to the girl debater.

The boy debater was more or less called on the carpet, in my nice way (this time) for treating her like a dummy, which she isn't.
He admitted that he was freaked out about the first tournament, and that is probably how he reacts to that -- which is consistent with his other behavior, so I think it is the truth. I told him not to spill it onto her, as she has plenty of freaked out on her own...

Morning cats in the DC

It is particularly tranquil morning in the DC. I don't teach until later -- so I'm listening to talk radio ("chick talk") and the early fall sun is coming in the windows. During the summer I keep the curtains closed, as this room has no direct A/C. Now that it is getting to a decent temprature outside (under 75 -- yea, I need to live in the Tundra..).

The result of my opening the curtains is that the boy kitties gravitated to the new sunny spots.

and they looked pretty darned good. Of course, now that I'm writing about how peaceful they are, they are in a tussle... I find it fascinating that blind kitty can still beat extra-toes.

tomorrow... I see my hubby

And, tomorrow I go to Red State -- to my other home... the one filled with other people's stuff, where hubby lives like a hermit crab and has way too much yogurt in the fridge. The home that isn't exactly a home because it has no cats... but hubby is there, which is what really matters.

Over the weekend we'll celebrate the 5 year anniversary of hubby getting out of the military. Yes - he was technically in the military on 9-11-01, on terminal leave and in school full-time. We figure that only the plane hitting the Pentagon kept him from being part of the stop-loss order that went out in the week after 9-11.

We may go play golf, Red State has some really good small golf courses. This is excellent, as I'm a terrible golfer (boobs get in the way!!!), although I love to go out if the weather is perfect (70 and sunny :).

There will be a Red State football game on Saturday -- and, although it would probably be the perfect time to golf as everyone will be watching THE GAME, there is something fun about watching Red State football on TV in Red State. Since this weekend will be their first real game (as opposed to playing the high school teams from elsewhere who make most of their budget by getting beat on by Red State football school) it could be fun. I may go to the grocery store just for kicks, as I know the game will be on the loudspeaker... it will make Red State feel more like home.

So -- by the numbers...
1 more wake-up until I see hubby
4 more classes to teach
6 debaters to coach
2 debaters to have a 'talk' with
11 abstracts to read
80 logic quizzes to take with me
1 logic exam to go with me
3 cats to leave at home

I think I'm going to enjoy my last weekend off before debate season gets rolling... because, this weekend I'm in Red State, next weekend is debate tournament #1...

Area paper update...

Last night I worked on the philosophy of languge paper... I pruned it down and I think it is finally a coherent paper. It is now in the percolation stage -- to come out next week or so for a final polish and a send-off.

I also sent a poke e-mail to the history guy... It was, more or less, 'you know that paper you've had since June, would you please read it now so I can get on with it'? combined with 'the other two will be ahead of you, even though you had the fewest changes and I got it back to you within a couple of weeks of your sending me the comments -- so get off your butt and read it for goodness sakes!'.

This weekend, while I'm in Red State, I'll work on the supreme emergency paper (i.e. the paper to be known as chapter 5). I tend to work well on that stuff while I'm there --- and have my own version of the DC in the hubb's house :). After the philosophy of language paper is polished, the supreme emergency paper will get the polish and I'll send it off as well.

After that, I'm wondering about how I should proceed -- should I do the revisions on chapter 1, or start chapter 2? I'm leaning toward working on chapter 2, as it is one of the new areas of my thinking and, the shape of that will probably influence what chapter 1 looks like. I think this is what Supervisor calls, "writing from the inside out". I don't know why chapter 1 has to be perfected before I do chapter 2...

Just so you have an idea about what the dissertation will look like, I'm thinking about 5 chapters that look about like this..

chapter 1: current just war theory and what is wrong with it (what it doesn't cover and what it gets wrong)
chapter 2: revision of curent just war theory to be seen in light of X ethical theory
chapter 3: new area of just war theory -- justice before war -- formulated in light of X ethical theory
chapter 4: kind of new area of just war theory -- justice after war -- formulated in light of X ethical theory
chapter 5: how X ethical theory works out two main challenges for just war theory, double effect and supreme emergency exemptions to non-combatant immunity

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Things maybe I shouldn't watch...

I'm going to Red State on Thursday --- YEA!

I'm flying...

So, in the last few days I've watched:

"United 93"

Part of the 9-11 special that was on Sunday night.

"Standoff" -- the new show after "House" -- that was about an Air Traffic Controller who freaks out and takes the control center hostage.

Perhaps that wasn't a good idea....

On the other hand, I might have made the airline gods smile a little yesterday when I helped a newly recalled NWA flight attendant figure out how to stay in school and go back to work flying.

Debater trouble and strife...

Most of the team is humming along well... the new couple had a decent round yesterday. Herbie and Golfer made a respectable opponent to them... then, what is supposed to be my top team came in the room... and things were clearly not happy.

He's kind of young and arrogant, she's older and less confident than she should be. They had only a so-so round and it should have been better.

I'm going to have to talk to them -- and I hate doing that kind of stuff... but, it is necessary if they are going to have a decent year together, or apart...

If they can't get along I'm going to have to rearrange the teams -- although I'm going to give it until at least after the first tournament to see what happens under competitive pressure. He doesn't really want any other partner, so he's going to have to get along with her. I think he's a bit freaked out because he's the most experienced one on the squad and he went to camp over the summer and learned some new buzz words she doesn't know. I have a sneaking feeling he thought that D1 would hang around and debate with him.... but, I could easily be wrong about that.

We leave a week from Friday for that tournament. Wish us all luck...

For the debater and/or coaches out there -- if you have any tips on helping someone be a better 'tool' please let me know... she could use them.... an e-mail would be helpful, or you can get me on the message boards...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rules I'd make if I were in charge...

A note from the library ---

If I were in charge of the world, men would not be allowed to wear flip-flops. Ever.

Just because they look comfortable, doesn't mean that flip-flops are a good look for an otherwise respectable looking guy.

Every instance I've seen with guys in flip-flops leaves me a bit more scared about the depth of the gene pool.

Guys, if you want respect and want to finish off a perfectly respectable t-shirt and jeans outfit, don't choose the footware of choice for 13 year old girls at the mall.

Seeing your toes doesn't make women swoon any more, and in fact we'd really rather not see them. Cover them up, or at least wear some decent sandals, birkenstocks or something.

the footwear fashion police

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Weekends, in short supply...

Although I miss hubby, I am enjoying a relaxed weekend.... and, I really should enjoy this one -- as the next couple of months looks like this...

Weekend 1 (this weekend), relaxed, working on papers and getting stuff done...
Weekend 2: I go to Red State
Weekend 3: Our first debate tournament, Kansas City...
Weekend 4: Hubby comes home
Weekend 5: Debate tournament Northern, IL
Weekend 6: hubby comes home for fall break...
Weekend 7: Debate tournament in Red State (we'll stay with hubby, and he'll judge -- yippee!
Weekend 8: probably a debate tournament, if not, I go to see hubby (probably Colorado)
Weekend 9: the opposite of weekend 8 (tournament is in CA)
Weekend 10: debate tournament, Wisconsin...
Weekend 11: our anniversary, hubby is planning a romantic trip :)
Weekend 12: hubby is home for Turkey
Weekend 13: My next weekend likely to be home alone
Weekend 14: my birthday, I'll probably go to Red State,
Weekend 15 Hubby comes home for winter break.....

Good thing I bought a new suitcase today, huh :) -- it is just the right size for me for a weekend -- and it has great wheels and lots of nifty pockets. The kind of scary thing is that most of my weekends are planned from MLK weekend to Spring Break.... before I know it, it will be next summer!

Advise for Adjuncts....

As often happens, I found some inspiration from a post at Dean Dad's...

When I was an adjunct it took me a whle to figure out a few very key things... After I got these down, it became easier for me to handle the adjunct game.

1) Don't rely on having anything more in your classroom than some walls and desks and plan accordingly. Likewise, make any copies well in advance, as you have very little pull with the people who can fix the copy machine.

2) If it isn't in writing, you won't get it. This goes for TA support (never had any... still don't), and other things like rooms and technology.

2a) Make friends where it will help you, with the support staff! I was quite lucky at one of my main Red State schools to have made friends with the department secretary who also functionally ran the department. I got a good (close) room, the class schedule and assortment of classes I wanted and a decent office because she made the assignments and she liked me.

3) My ethical committment was to the students, not to the college or the department. My committment to them began the first day I got paid, and ended when grades were submitted.

3a) Avoid giving incomplete grades, as you don't know if you'll be around to change the grade later if necessary. Tell the student this and if they complain, tell them to go to the department chair or (if their parents have clout) higher -- explain the adjunct system and tell them that you would be happy to change it later IF you are around -- but that it isn't at all a sure bet.

4) Going to meetings for things that are beyond the scope of your classroom and/or length of contract is a waste of time. Often the department doesn't care what you think, as you may not be around to live with the implications of any given vote. Generally, these people didn't work too hard to hire you and they realize that you got the job because you were sucker enough to take it and you were available. To them, you are some odd category of 'other' faculty....

4a) Also, these meetings are great places to lose your job --- if you get on the wrong side of the politics, suddenly you won't be an adequate teacher and not renewed --- I saw it happen to several friends.

5) Always look elsewhere for teaching opportunities and don't turn any down unless they conclict with an already scheduled session. When you turn them down, tell them why and that they need to ask earlier next time. If you do your job right, you can be the first one they call for sections and won't have to wait until the last minute to know what you are teaching.

5a) think of yourself kind of like a free agent --- only the system sucks. You do have what they need, you are a competent and qualified person that will teach classes they don't want to teach or can't teach themselves. If you keep your head down, do your job with as little fuss as possible and are reliable, you'll be able to choose when you move on and they will let you go fondly, as they understand that they couldn't have you forever.

6) Try to get as many different kinds of sections as possible. If you have several divisions within your discipline, make sure you teach as many of them as you can. Smaller departments are looking for people who can teach a variety of courses, so although having a variety of preps is harder while you are doing it -- you are doing what amounts to a teaching internship and it would be doing yourself a disserviceif you fail to get the most out of it.

6a) If you have the opportunity, teach in as many different kinds of places as possible. Try to get in the the SLAC, the larger university and the community college. Try to get to teach different ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups and urban/rural situations. This will give you experience with any kind of student -- and make you more employable as a result --because you'll be able to say, "yes -- I taught non-traditional black students at X school, their population was much like your's -- these are the challenges I faced and I overcame them by doing X".

7) Don't make too much work for yourself. Figure out ways to save time in prep and grading and use them shamelessly. This may mean skirting the department rules -- but chances are good that nobody will find out :).

8) As soon as you have your schedule for the following semester, tell your students what else you are teaching that they could take from you. Getting a core of students who take another class looks great to the department and makes it harder for them to change your section at the last minute as you can tell them that they'll have to explain the change to the students who expect you to teach the course. It also is easier for you if you have some repeats, as they can help the others figure you out and you know them..

Adjuncting can be decent if you have low expectations, keep your professionalism even when they aren't treating you as a professional and make the connections with your students.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Phlosopher at Blockbuster...

So -- when a philosopher has a quiet weekend, with papers to work on and laundry to do, what does she do but go to Blockbuster for some movies... 6 movies.

"United 93", "Ice Princess" (because I used to be a figure skater long ago...) "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Bee Season" (because my spelling is awful and kids in spelling bees remind me of debaters and there is only one movie about college debate...), "Rumor Has It" and "40-year old virgin" because they looked kind of fun.

I'm not at all sure which ones to watch first -- but I did get some odd looks from the guy at the movie store.

the DC ---

Which either stands for 'dissertation chamber' or 'dissertation cat
This is where I usually work and post from...

The extra-toed cat loves to be in here with me. Of course, being a typical cat, he has to be in the way -- We got him the same year I started grad school and hubby started debating... wow. The number of papers written, articles read and stuff graded in his presence is really amazing...

The first couple show him how he usually is, in the way---

and this is when he's being a good boy.

Philosophy is Fun...

This morning I'm in the DC, prepping slides about Hume and his theory of morality and it just hit me that teaching philosophy is fun... I'm actually enjoying class prep.

There seems to be something wrong..

either they shouldn't be paying me for this or I need to get out more --

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blog character's Halloween costume meme

Found at Dr. Crazy's...
the meme is:
" If I were designing a [my blog title/pseud here] Halloween costume, it would consist of..."

I've never really considered what a worker in the philosophy factory would look like... but I'll work her from the top to the bottom...

Hair: Einstein-like crazy hair wig -- probably a bit gray, and totally out of control.
Glasses: smallish, and sliding down her nose, so she can give offending students 'the look'
Top: black sweater, chalk dust on the butt-- over a bright colored top... comfort over style for this woman.
Pants: standard black teaching pants, of which she has many pairs
shoes: birkenstocks, of course -- since Halloween is in the fall, and it gets cold up here, they will be her winter birks, not the sandals.

Watch -- timex with a black band, takes a licking and keeps on ticking, you know...
Teaching: a huge pile of books and a disorganized pile of paper.
Researching: a computer bag stuffed to the brim with books and articles
no make-up, ever for this woman ----

Pets: several cats, none of which actually likes her -- so they are proper cats.

The key to the costume is putting on a distracted air... as if she's always being interrupted in the middle of a good, long think.

I tag -- whomever wants to... I'm not into coercion.

A goal for the year...

'tis the season for the first day of school... the radio station I listen to is talking about it a lot, which makes me think about my first days of school.... and, look forward to my last day of school. Were I handy with a scanner, I'd post the photo of me on my first day of school... I have it around here someplace.

So -- my goal for the next 15 months (end of Fall 07) -- to be able to post the photo of my first day and of my LAST day of school -- from Kindergarten to PhD defense, in 30ish years.

Hubby's a star...

Hubby was interviewed on a Red State radion station recently to talk about a current event.

By all reports he did very well and generated a lot of calls. Of course, I had to coach debate while he was on.. but Brain has it on tape, so I'll get to hear it second-hand.

Not bad for his second full week on faculty---

YEA hubby!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

RFP Wednesday "Lost in the Wild"

"Lost in the Wild" by Cary Griffith...

This book, in an odd way, holds a special place in my heart. The setting is key... as the "wild" is, more or less, the area of the north woods near my parents home in Northern Minnesota. I read it while we were up north over the summer, so it was kind of spooky to look out into the woods and realize that the area you are in isn't that different than the area that put the lives of the lost people in danger.

The essence of the story tells the tale of two people, who get lost on separate trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness area / Canada's Quiteco wilderness area. They both thought they were able to survive in the wild, and both were in serious danger.

The story highlights the strength of individuals who face huge obstacles and have to rely on themselves in very challenging circumstances. It is also about the strength and persistence of the rescue workers who took extraordinary measures in order to find them.

If you want a book about a wilderness area like no other, read this book.

Cat Dreams

I just had a dream about bringing oldest kitty to BNCC -- hubby and I were doing a debate event during the day and then I was going to do my regular Wednesday teaching marathon. In my dream, oldest kitty was going to spend the day in my office at BNCC. I was having a hard time keeping control of her (which is odd, because she's so old she's more like a suffed animal than a wiggly cat..).

When I woke up,

I had extra-toes on me, and I was holding him...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Three odd students...

Today the moon must be right or something... or, perhaps they are feeling more comfortable in the semester --because today I had three odd encounters with students.

The first was with an older student who is auditing my ethics course. He kind of looks like I envisioned Socrates to look... long white hair, white beard and a thoughtful but contentious demeanor... on break today he asked me today what I think the soul is. I had a non-answer for him, and he pressed it... so I gave him a vaguely religious answer -- which seemed to satisfy him.

The second was immediately after class. Usually students with these kinds of questions come to my office, but she came to ask me in the same way she would ask about a hard concept in class... -- she had an ethical question concerning her interactions with her abusive spouse and whether or not she was doing the ethically wrong thing in planning to divorce him. It was kind of a complicated situation (as these often are) and there is one very strict reading of the situation in which she would be wrong in divorcing him.

Before you get too worried --- I explained to her how he wasn't holding up his end of the agreement, which was a condition of her keeping her side of the bargan.... at the end of our short and rather public conversation, she seemed to understand that it would be ethical to divorce him -- whew.... I didn't sign on to be a marriage ethicsist (if there is such a thing...)

The third was at the end of my office hours, a student came to me because they wanted to move out of the course of a teacher in another discipline who did not seem to be a good teacher. This is not news to me, and the tactics this person used on this student in the first couple of weekes of class seem to be in line with reports from other students and other semesters. This student and I discussed the disadvantages of joining the class late, but since there was an extenuating circumstance, I allowed him to register.

I'm most comfortable with my discussion with my abused student -- I know that was right -- and she was looking for my position as an ethicist.... the others, I'm less happy with. I'm not sure I should have given my personal opinion on the nature of the soul, and I'm not sure I should have allowed the third student into my course -- mostly because I let them miss an opportunity to learn from someone who is very politically different than he is.

What do you think?

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Accepted", the movie

Warning -- partial spoiler alert --- if you care :).

I'm sure y'all have caught drift of the premise of the movie "Accepted" --- a few high schoolers who didn't get into college made-up a college as a way to scam their parents. Something goes wrong and suddenly they have an entire cohort of mis-fit students.... so, the main character (played by the Apple guy in the Apple vs. PC TV commercials) comes up with the 'let the students build their own curriculum' theme -- which works rather well until they guy who played Goober on some 90s TV show about a high school plays the villian and threatens it all... I won't spoil the ending for you... just in case you want to see the movie.

All in all, it wasn't a bad distraction after dropping hubby at the airport. It was funny in just the right ways, especially since I teach at an open-enrollment institution... i.e. the place where they come when they can't get in other places ... I understand the message society sends to HS grads, 'if you don't go to college, your life will be ruined'... and for a while the movie was getting into that message and social critique rather well.. and then it turned into a celebration of T and A, and alcohol... but, it had some potential.

Go to the early show, get it on on-demand for cheap or rent it when it comes out -- it is good enough to spend $4.00 on, but if you are looking for something deeper or really funny, keep looking.

Llama fun facts

Llamas gestate for 350 days...

Some llamas will run through a spinkler when they are too warm.

Llamas use a communal dung pile, which makes clean up easier.

yea, I want a llama....

A weekend of shopping

Hubby and I are good at shopping...

We shopped for food and political stuff at the state fair. We went to the largest mall in the country as well as the oldest indoor mall in the country this weekend. We also went to three different Apple (computer) stores.

In the end we have a variety of things we kind of needed and some new toys. He got a new snazzy PDA and I got some amazingly good deals on red leather stuff -- I got a new computer/school bag, a planner, a new purse and a new wallet... all of which were on significant sales ---

Hint: if you like Franklin Covey stuff and have a school ID, they'll give an education discount -- - same with the Apple store.

It sure is nice not being the sugar-momma anymore! YEA hubby gettiing a paycheck!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

and the grading begins...

We aren't to grading jail status yet --

but I am to the 'deal making' status... i.e. I'm going to finish grading my logic quizzes and get my ethics prep done before I go shopping for a planner / new bag or some treat :).

Celebration Quest...

After our trip to the State Fair, we decided that hubby deserved a new toy -- as yesterday he got his first TWO paychecks from his new school.. (don't ask me why two... the money is nice, don't ask why).

For the first time since getting out of the Air Force in 2001 hubby is making a good salary. I was happy to be the primary earner in our family, as he'd done it for many prior years, and I'm equally happy to have us make nearly the same amount after taxes... so I agreed that a celebration was in order.

I got Apple Care for my PowerPook... (which, by the way doesn't count... really) and we decided that hubby should have a new PDA...

Have you been shopping for them lately? It turned into a 'quest'.

Hubby and I occasionally take shopping to be a competitive event.... us against the retail establishment.

We've been known to pick a relatively obscure item and HAVE to find it.

We went to two Best Buys, two Office Max stores and two Franklin Covey stores before we found the right PDA, for the right price, with a credible display, decent set of accesories and someone to explain the details to hubby....

we found those people at Franklin Covey.. so, now hubby has a spiffy new PDA and I have some ideas about what my new thing will be as well :).

Friday, September 01, 2006

State Fair food report

Before I cover the food, I have to tell you that I am going to have llamas when I get old and hubby will have to cope. They are sweet, communal animals with intelligent eyes and a bit of spunk. They also have necks long enough to look me in the eye, but backs low enough to be the size of a big dog..... We should have several, as a lonely llama would be too sad. Clean up is easy, they make a communal dung pile (according to the llama info sheet) and don't poo much.

Food report...

1) the classic corndog/pronto pup: It was perfect. We were hungry and inhaled inhaled them, but they were darned good.
2) Milkshake, carmel -- yummmm.
3) Cheese Curds: perfect... hot, greasy with a beer batter. A little catsup in the side of the white paper carton and all was good. I ate about half, which helps you not want to kill yourself about 20 minutes after eating the last one.
4) about half of a huge corndog: hubby and I shared it -- and couldn't finish it.
5) Fried Green Tomatoes and corn fritters: they came as a combo... the corn fritters were great, hot and crispy with kernals of corn. The fried green tomatoes were icky... the tomato kind of tasted like a nasty pickle.
6) Hotdish on a stick: The best new thing at the fair -- imagine hamburger hotdish, stuck on a skewer and served with gravy.

Wisconsin State Fair?

Oh wise and powerful internets, I have a question...

Do any of you know what they carve out of buter at the Wisconsin state fair?

Wisconsin, being the dairy state and all, must carve something spectacular out of butter.

Their website is not immediately informative... and my mom wants to know.