Friday, May 30, 2008

...back from Vegas...

Overall, it was a really good trip. We threw ourselves 110% into being on vacation and came back a little sunburned, exhausted and not quite broke.

We stayed at the Luxor this time -- and I wouldn't really recommend it. The Luxor is the big black pyramid shaped hotel on the airport end of the strip. What could have been a really cool hotel turned out to be mostly a dimly-lit huge square hotel.... and completely predictable. Sure, inside there are places where you can see up to the top inside -- but, it isn't all that great. Walking inside is very disorienting and we spent the first couple of days just trying to figure out how to get to and from our room.

They also closed the large pool after Memorial day -- so what should have been nice, relaxing time without a huge crowd turned into squishing all of us around one pool and the sound of jackhammers as they worked on the other pool.... not exactly what I was looking for...

Tuesday afternoon I found the spa at THE Hotel.... dammm.... I'd move in there if I could. I got an expensive pedicure, but getting access to that amazing spa was totally worthwhile. No matter where we stay next time, I'm going back to that spa -- for the day.

Tuesday night we went to the Second City show -- which was great. One skit was a 'dramatic recreation' of a conversation in a bathroom. The great bit was that they did the skit with IE black books, using/mocking all the conventions of Duo. They turned the pages, did the exaggerated opening and closing thing, hugged the books to their chests, had blocking and coordinated head moves etc. Most of the audience didn't really get the sketch, but Hubby and I really, really got it.

Wednesday we left Vegas and went to a natural red rock area north of town. We were thinking about going to Area 51 -- but it was a bit too far away.... so instead we went to the chocolate factory/cactus garden.... and, after a nice long nap, dinner at a nice Italian place :).

Thursday we did the King Tut's toumb and virtual reality ride stuff at the Luxor (not really worth full price, but worth the 2 for 1 deal..), then we went for lunch at the deli at the Mirage -- because I love their chopped liver -- and then we went to the atomic testing museum. That was really interesting, as it outlines the history and procedures they used for atomic testing not that far from Vegas itself. Since our flight didn't leave until 11:54 PM, we napped, checked out late, ate dinner and began our trek home.

The flight home was predictably bad... mechanical stuff delayed us about 45 minutes, the seat was uncomfortable, Hubby got stuck next to a fat guy, and the lights above our seats didn't work --- so, since we were uncomfortable we couldn't sleep AND we couldn't read because it was too dark. Yea, we were glad to get home this morning.

More later, including a list of the Mysteries of the Luxor.... as seen by a couple of long-time married folks from BNstate.....

Monday, May 26, 2008

off to Vegas!

We're going to Sin City....

Having been there before, I'm excited.

You've got to love a quick visit to a place that is openly tacky -- even proud to be so.

I'll probably sneak in a visit to the neon museum, possibly the atomic testing museum and for sure the M & M store. Beyond that, it will be trashy books by the pool for me.... while hubby wins money at poker (knock on wood).

The cats will survive until we come crawling home early Friday morning.... although, suspect they'll engage in their own brand of revenge puking -- but, that's why I have a spot bot!

After this week, I'll have more serious sh*t to deal with - but, between now and Thursday night it's Vegas time!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why third-wave feminists should love SATC

Stiletto feminism

lipstick feminism

sex with men and women


All words to describe the Sex and the City attitude.

The show has some pretty fun clothes, cute story lines and more coolness than any of us can manage in real life. Clearly, Samantha, Charlotte, Miranda and Carrie live in a fantasy world.

But, the question is WHY is it a fantasy world?

I think it goes well beyond the clothes, shoes and limos. It goes well beyond dating male underwear models, hunky carpenters, sarcastic attorneys and wealthy business men. The movie is for and about women and their friendships. It is the kind of fantasy that makes the best kid of chick-lit. It is about women working together, supporting one another and being family when the biological family isn't all that.

The show isn't about the lives of the idle rich (watch a "real" housewives of _____ episode for that) -- rather, it is about how women, supporting one another, can handle a crisis with style. Each character faces problems common to women -- but she doesn't do it alone. The character in crisis has a posse of women to help her, put her in her place and put things in perspective. The fantasy element isn't that they live their lives without challenges, but rather that they survive challenges with grace, humility and maintain their friendships.... and, more than occasionally, they get to have good sex -- and talk about it.

Isn't that the image third-wave feminists want of women? Aren't Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte exaggerated versions of the women we want to be? Shouldn't we all strive to be a bit more like all of them?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The Art of Racing in the Rain"

I don't normally buy the books at S'Bucks, but this was one I couldn't pass up, and I'm glad I didn't...

The book is by Garth Stein, and it is the story of a family narrated by the dog.

This is one smart dog, and it is quite a wonderful book. If you want a book that's compelling, entertaining, and all around good -- get it. I'd like to think that I've lived with dogs like Enzo, but I know that isn't quite the case...

Especially if you love dogs, read this one....

Monday, May 19, 2008

RBO... the day....

  • Today was my first official day of summer. That means I worked on my dissertation and went to the gym. I'm making progress on the chapter, so I'm pretty sure I'll make my goal of having a decent draft by the end of the week.
  • The gym will open the outdoor pool on Friday (I hope) -- to kick off the first day of a season of outdoor water aerobics! It's a good thing my hat arrived just in time -- I had to order from Big Melon Gear ), 'cuz I have a big head...
  • There are lots of geese an ducks in the water features outside our apartment. It is fun to see the little ones.
  • I officially love our apartment -- for the washer/dryer. I let the laundry pile up. At our old place, it would have taken me days to get caught up -- between trips down the hall to the pay washer and our rude neighbors, it wasn't easy to get the stuff done. Between Hubby and I, we sorted, washed, and folded a lot of it yesterday -- and I finished the rest today.... and, we don't have to worry about it getting stolen, left on the counter or otherwise handled by the other residents of the building.
  • I have all the flowers, veggies and herbs planted on my deck -- now, if only it would get a little warmer so I could comfortably sit out there.
  • My three domestic goals for the summer are to keep up on the laundry, dishes and plants... It shouldn't be too hard, since doing dishes is one thing I do to try to get un-stuck when I'm writing. Folding laundry is kind of nice, because I get to see the clean piles of clothes go into the closet... and it feels as if I'm actually getting something done. The plants make me happy -- and give me good stuff to eat.

Book suggestions?

So -- I'm really, really a nerd if I'm going to Vegas to read -- huh?

I'm not so into gambling, drinking or shows. I don't have the money or really the inclination to shop.

What I do like is to sit by a really nice pool, drink some fruity drinks, and read bubble-gum books.

Vegas has nice pools.... now, I need suggestions for the books.

I tend to like books that get classified as 'chick-lit' -- I'm not into romance novels and, although I like some mystery/crime sorts of books, they have to have really good characters. I do read some science-fiction, but not all that often and I don't do any kind of fantasy or horror stuff -- except for an occasional Stephen King -- and only really 'The Stand" kept my attention. I like biographies and autobiographical stuff too -- as long as it isn't too detailed.... and the person is actually interesting (I just finished a book by/about two of the guys on Deadliest Catch).

So -- any suggestions?

Downloading porn...

..or, rather philosophical articles about porn -- yep, that was how I began the day today.

Now I have a folder on my desktop called 'ethics, articles re sex workers'.

I'm looking for a good article or two about porn or sex workers for my ethics classes next year... I'm thinking about assigning the book "Candy Land" by Diablo Cody and an article or two -- the book is a first-had account of a year in the life of a stripper -- she's an otherwise normal person and as such, her account, should resonate with my students.

Now, on to chapter 2....

porn and war, all in one day ---

Saturday, May 17, 2008

avocado grilled cheese...

For the record, slicing a fresh avocado and putting it in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich is really, really, really good.

Hubby thinks it is GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But he's wrong, it's good.

Friday, May 16, 2008

3 steps ahead....

Dear X,

I'm ahead of you -- so far ahead you can't see that I've already done what you're asking me to do.

It is all there -- if you'd look.

I know you are busy, but you'd be less busy if you'd just recall that you've got the information. Also, from now on, assume I've met or exceeded the deadlines, 'cuz I'm good like that.

Now I'm going back to the first day of my summer, if you don't mind.


ps, I also get up earlier than you -- so don't be so surprised at my quick e-mail reply.

Lessons from the dissertation chamber... day 1

I planted some catnip on the deck last night. This morning I touched the plants and then sat down at my computer....

As I was typing, New Kitty went a bit nuts and mock-bit my hand... the hand I'd just used to touch the catnip plants.

Lesson learned - New Kitty is really, really sensitive to cat nip, so in order to get work done --wash hands after gardening...

If she figures out there are actual catnip plants out on the deck, she'll bust down the screen door.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

done, done, done and DONE

Spring 08 is in -- done, over and finito...

I had a student hand his paper in at the latest possible moment... he claims a chain of calamaties that seems pretty plausible --- and his paper isn't all that different from an earlier draft, so I know he wasn't spending the time working on it...

I had a hallway meeting with the elder statesmen/faculty guy... really, dude, give it up. Some students just don't like you -- and she's one of them. You'd think that after all this time and experience you'd realize that and not take it personally.

For now, I'm going to close up the office and not think about it for a while...


another reason to love my logic final....

... besides being quick to grade, they separate the cheaters from their cheatees...

I realized this when I looked at the paper of a suspected cheater just now... I couldn't prove it, but the students sit close together, act like a couple and get similar grades -- sounds pretty suspicious. One of them had poor performance on the first quiz and had to re-take it -- so I thought she was the cheater -- it turns out the other one was... until I saw his final exam...

The thing is, peeking at your neighbor will get you enough to get a B on any logic quiz.

In order to be exempt from the exam, you need to have an A on one of the last three quizzes -- so, cheaters tend not to be exempt from the exam. She was exempt and he wasn't.

So -- the people whose papers they peek at aren't there to peek at anymore....

and they have to do the problems themselves.

Funny how he did pretty well on the quizzes, but easier problems on the final stumped him.

I can't prove he was cheating earlier, but suffice it to say that I'm pretty content giving him the grade he's earned.

of logic exams and fall syllabi...

My Logic students are taking their final, which is my last final for the year.

I'm done with the other grading. When they are done, I'll be able to grade their exams and enter all of my grades for the semester... then, I'll be officially DONE.

I should be working on my fall ethics syllabus --- the regular ethics class, as I haven't decided on Feminist ethics books yet (I'm waiting on stuff to come in the mail... sigh). The next thing I'll have to do is to write syllabi -- Logic isn't hard, just fitting the same course material into a new semester's dates -- but Ethics is always a semi-new course...

So, right now I'm posting so that I can delay working on something that isn't due until August... hmmm... advance procrastination is a new one...

The nice thing is that when I'm done with grades, I'm going home to plant the deck garden and read a book. The afternoon off will be my reward -- tomorrow is a dissertation day.

Dean Dad says it so well...

Go read his post...
"I like the idea that a kid without the money to 'go away' to college has access to the same academic rigor as the kid with rich parents. A former colleague of mine used to say that algebra is a civil right, and I agreed with him. To offer the less-well-off a diluted product offends my egalitarian sensibilities. If we're serious about access, it has to be access to academic rigor. Otherwise we're just babysitting. The rigor should be fair and impartial, and we need to explore the right mix of support services, tutoring, and the like to help students succeed, but that's okay. At the end of the day, the best service we can do is to provide a truly higher education, even if it takes some doing. Which it does."

This is why I do so many of the things I do at BNCC... why I'm on the Honors Council, why my next project is to push for writing intensive courses, why I designed my Logic course the way I do and why I'm going to have to give some students I find nice and charming not so good grades in Biomedical Ethics. This is why I go out of my way to work and promote the tutor program, why I started the debate team and why I've done assessment projects.

Thanks Dean Dad!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One more dose of attitude....

... and I'm free.

I'm sure to get the stink-eye from the under-performing, 'I live in my parent's basement and am generally too high to get to an 11:00 class AND pay attention' pair - who would have been in decent shape had they not ignored my warnings that they were missing an assignment. The pair had the audacity to demand partial credit for the work they've known was incomplete since February. They were shocked when I declined to do so, after the deadline for make-up work had passed.

You know, being a bitch is really kind of fun sometimes. I think I'm going to have to find some ways to exercise my inner-bitch over the summer... I wouldn't want her to get soft or out of practice.

ah.... back to serenity...

At least on my desk...

I my toss out the old stuff and organize the new stuff kick is over.

My desk is no longer over-flowing with files.

The little white wicker stool next to my desk is no longer topped by a precariously balanced pile of 'crap to think about later'.

My articles are neatly filed in one drawer of my file cabinet. Their corresponding cards are neatly filed in their own little card box.

and -- don't 'ya know it, the cat who was insisting on being in the middle of my desk chaos has gone elsewhere.

A bonus, my favorite office supply place (Russell + Hazel -- Google them!!) has a line for Office Max called "Kit" -- and it was on sale. I'm thinking I may need some more things... hmmm.... I hope they aren't discontinuing it. Even though Russell + Hazel has a big store in BNstate, getting there requires a lot of traffic and across town nonsense, so getting it at Office Max would be nice, even if the stuff isn't exactly the same.

Getting caught up.....

The combination of the end of the semester and allergies has me tired. Add to that something that had me up in the middle of the night, and a cat who loves to complain -- loudly.

I'm also tired of going to water aerobics being tired. So, I'm skipping class this morning -- and I'm going back to bed to get caught up on my sleep.

but -- I'm going back to bed as a woman who is currently caught up on her grading.... until tomorrow.

When I get out of bed, I'll get caught up on laundry while I work on the dissertation filing system.

Later, I'll plant some plants before Hubby and I go to happy hour sushi ($1.00 rolls and other goodies if you eat linner... ).

Not a bad plan for the day, eh?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grading jail update...

24 papers read -- 1 to go, because he can't seem to keep track of due dates. Once I have it read, then I can calculate and enter grades -- YEA!

15 logic finals given, 11 graded.... which means I have 4 to go for that class... then grade entry.

Thursday I'll give another 15 logic finals -- which shouldn't be difficult to grade.

By Thursday afternoon, Spring 08 should be history!!!!!!!!

Cleaning out my files...

It started with Hubby's desire for more desk space. Which resulted in a trip to IKEA (for a cart to go behind him) and a new bookshelf for me.

That was last week.

It is ending with piles of articles on my desk and some career decisions...

I don't want to write about ancient philosophy any more... I know my pal's hubby loves it, and I'm glad he does, because I find it tedious and quibbling over an interpretation of some ancient term just isn't my thing. So all the Ancient Philosophy stuff went in the trash (recycle, but trash sounds better :) ).

I don't want to do philosophy of language any more... I find it interesting, but I'm not good at it. I might as well leave all that stuff to the people who are passionate about it, because I think it isn't my gig. All the philosophy of language stuff went away---

I do want to keep doing feminist stuff -- so I'm keeping those articles. In fact, I'm going to submit a paper to a regional feminist philosophy conference, so we'll see how that goes....

Of course, the whole point of this was to get a handle on my just war articles -- and so they sit in a big pile on the left of my desk -- and I've now made a smaller pile of cards to go along with them. The plan is to file the articles by author's last name and keep the cards handy, so I can look at them for inclusion in the dissertation.

I suppose I should also make cards for the stuff I have electronically only--- and recycle the stuff I have both on my hard drive and on paper... hmmm.

It does feel good to get rid of all that stuff I'm not using --- like I've finally figured out the area paper business is done and I can choose what I'll write about. That's a GOOOOOD feeling.

Monday, May 12, 2008

BNCC locals...

Do you know anybody who would like to have a very nice dog?

She's well-behaved, about 5ish years old and very, very nice. She responds to commands and is very affectionate. She currently lives with kids and is very sweet. She's a medium-sized short-haired spaniel...

One of the adults in her current household doesn't like her, and if she could find a better place to live, it would be better for her. The adult isn't abusive, but he does seem to limit her contact with the family.

So -- send me an e-mail if you'd like to know more... I'd take her in a second if we didn't live in an apartment that doesn't permit dogs. She's much more difficult to hide than our illegal cat, so it really isn't a good idea right now.

RBO ... the day....

  • Good dissertation news in the middle of the night--- and some equally good feedback, so YEA!
  • I've de-cluttered the desk once again.... It is more streamlined, so it is easier to work. Also, it is more cat friendly, so New Kitty (who has been here a year, but will be New Kitty until there is another youngest cat) will have places to sit that aren't right in front of me. Now, if only I could train her to actually use those places.
  • I'll do a couple of dissertation hours this morning. I'm almost done with a draft of chapter 1 --- it is that boring intro / theory stuff, but it needs to be done. I think I'll hold onto it for a while, as those things may change. But -- I need to do it to get the stuff out of my head -- and so that I can easily reference it in later chapters or figure out that it needs to change...
  • My goal is to have the draft done by the end of the week, so I can get a running start on chapter 2 next week.
  • I'll get 23 or so papers this afternoon -- the good news is that the are second versions, so they aren't all that difficult to read.
  • Tomorrow I'm taking my super-tutors to lunch -- they are so wonderful and have been so helpful they deserve it... and -- if I could charge a 'I didn't do my homework' fee of $5.00 for every time a logic student came unprepared, I could take them on a first-class trip to Vegas to forget the little suckers -- alas, all they'll get out of it is a nice lunch....
  • Other grading news -- I'll have about 29 logic finals to grade -- out of about 70 logic students -- not bad... the rest earned an exemption from the final because their grades were good enough (i.e. on their quizzes they proved they could do the same kinds of problems I'd put on the final...).
  • Late afternoon will find me on the deck planting --- phase 1. This is always the most fun, because I'm starting from scratch -- new dirt, new pots etc --- I didn't invest much in the pots, but I got good dirt (the stuff with the water holding is amazing) -- and so far all I have are herbs and veggies. The plan is to give the best spots to the working plants -- and then fill in with flowers as needed. In the end, I hope to have a little green oasis on my deck. I already have a couple of comfy chairs and someplace to put a can of pop, so the plants will give me a new place to read a book -- either dissertation or non-dissertation related....
  • And -- the view from my office window keeps getting better. My apartment is on the end of the building, and while my bedroom windows face an abandoned golf course and swamp, my office windows face a trailer court -- at least, when the leaves go away -- we can see the neighbors quite clearly. Just yesterday the leaves really started to fill in, thus reducing our view of the trailer court -- the plough (pond/slough) is also quite pretty this morning...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

RBO Last day of class...

  • Today was the last teaching day until August. Amazing. A few finals to grade, an office to clean and then it is dissertation all the way to August...
  • It isn't as if I'm actually ready for next year -- my book order is a week over due, and I've made no decisions about the class with International Womyn. In fact, I've ordered a few more books to look at -- oh the decisions.... I love having a new class to think about.
  • I've also lined up a new tutor for next year -- and I'll have one of my super-tutors from this semester.... although she'll be in a different class. I think she'll like a break, some new material and some different challenges. Of course, she'll probably be right sick of me by December... but, I suppose if she didn't get that way when she was on my debate team, seeing one another for two classes T/Th won't do it to her...
  • The cleaning person came today. It is such a luxury to have her come clean -- just because I don't have to think about it -- it is sort of like having someone style your hair and fuss over you... it is a pampering thing.... and the fact that she likes my cats is a bonus. I try not to feel guilty about hiring her to clean, I reason that she's independent (and may not pay taxes.. who knows, not my business), she makes a nice hourly wage -- nearly as much as I do -- and she has a pretty flexible schedule that accommodates her college and family schedule. I also trust her -- probably because I liked her as an ethics student well before she came to clean. I do worry that the economy will make her lose some customers -- and since I'm blessed not to be in that situation, I wouldn't stop having her come---
  • I did two solid dissertation hours today, so I'm caught up for the week.

How dumb can they be?

Really, it isn't hard to understand.

My classroom is impacted by outside sound.

I've been complaining about music from student events interrupting my classes for 5 years.

How hard is it to understand that they can't put up huge speakers in the area outside the windows and expect it to be ok....

of course, they really don't give a f-ck. And that is what has made me so angry. The events are stupid and really ought to be held in the cafeteria, as all they do is provide a venue for cheap food. Nobody really finds them a source of school pride or spirit-- they just go outside and eat, then go to class...

Well, that isn't exactly fair -- a bozo student from several year ago manages to make every one of these events... it is really pathetic, he sits out there and talks to people until they make their escape. Really, if you are so nostalgic about BNCC, you are a sad, sad, sad person... go elsewhere and get a life. You only imagine we liked you when you were here...

Yea for my state...

I just found out that couples who get married in my state are able and allowed to change his last name to her last name when they get married.

In 40 states, the only person doing any name changing is the female...

... now, if only they'd let same-sex couples marry here.... sigh.

No -- no way, no how.... really, no.

A couple of bozos in my logic class weren't happy with their final points total.

They decided that they only had to fulfill half of the assignment, so they should get half the points -- right?

umm -- no--- because...

1) when they got the original assignment back, they had the opportunity to do it right and turn it in again for full credit -- they ignored that opportunity.

2) When they got their quiz back in late April, I wrote a note about missing that assignment... which they ignored.

3) They also ignored my 'drop dead date' -- i.e. the date after which I will not accept new work. That date was Tuesday -- So I could do an end of semester grade and have a chance to correct any data entry problems.... this, folks, is NOT one of my (rare) data entry errors.

So -- No, bozos 1 and 2, you can't get credit for that. To be honest, had you come to class more than 50% of the time -- and had you not been stoned when you did show up -- maybe you'd have taken my warnings seriously... .as it is, you'll be lucky to get a C or D in the class...

ps -- I dare you to go to my dean to complain... yep, go -- in fact, I'll know when you go up there and try to plead your pathetic case -- because she'll laugh you out of the building... really, you need a logic class more than most.

How to Fail Logic...

The process for failing Logic is really quite simple -- all you need to do is to use any of the following techniques -- choose the method you find most attractive...

1) Ignore the instructor when she says you need to come to class. Think this is just like all the other classes and skip to your heart's content. Don't let the fact of quizzes keep you coming, or the fact that you are essentially learning to think in a new language phase you -- it really is more important to get that extra hour of sleep... so go ahead and do it.

2) Don't do the homework -- because, after all, if it were important the instructor would collect it. Instead, come to class with an empty notebook and no questions to ask. Ignore the instructor when she tells you that the class content will be doing the problems you need to do -- and thus answering the questions. Allow the students who are on the ball to ask all the questions THEY have... because you really don't know which of the problems are hard and which are not.

3) Don't take advantage of the tutor. She's friendly and available at a variety of times -- but, you are too smart to need it -- even though the instructor tells you that you'll probably need to see her or the instructor from time to time to get questions answered. Also, ignore the fact that you can get bonus points from meeting with the tutor -- those points get added onto your quiz scores to let you be exempt from the exam... Instead, figure that the tutor is getting paid because the college likes her, not that this is a class many students have problems completing... because you know better than the instructor and college administration -- who can see the real numbers about student completion, and know that you are different and special.

4) Miss a quiz and be too disorganized to make the deadline for re-taking your quiz. Instead, tell your instructor that you want to take it, have her send it to the testing center etc... and then let the quiz be returned when it expires. Figure that the information on that quiz isn't important, or that you can just do extra-good on the next one to average it out to OK...

5) Skip exam review -- see above about classwork and homework. Add to that, the fact that your final exam grade (because you're required to take it -- when much of the class is exempt) will BE your class grade --- so, how important could exam review be?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Goals and rewards...

This week I have a few kinds of goals...

1) Teaching --- wrapping up the year. So far I've done end of year stuff for my logic classes. My Bioethics class will turn in their late stuff tomorrow. So, tomorrow I'll grade and record their stuff. I also have some service-ish stuff to do... which should be fun, but takes time.

2) Healthy -- Generally, trying to eat better. This is slow, because my stress and exhaustion coping mechanisms are food related... So, I'm working on gradually getting better eating habits. Exercise is the other goal -- 3 days this week... Monday Hubby and I played in the pool for an hour. Today I did water aerobics, and I'll do them again on Friday. Also -- I'm trying to be in bed by 9:30 every night I don't teach -- so far so good on that one again.

3) Dissertation... I have 15 dissertation hours on the schedule -- so far I've done 2. I'll do 4 this afternoon, 5 on Friday and 4 on Saturday.

If I make all three goals, I'll give myself a garden shopping spree on Saturday afternoon.

As for next week's reward --- it is waxing, lots of waxing....(nothing icky or that doesn't show in shorts -- don't go there).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beflore the janitor kicks me out...

... I have to post to say I'm done with another Logic class' pre-final grades.

This is where I determine who needs to take the final and who is exempt...

I have a total of 26 who need to take the final -- out of both classes.

Funny thing -- the ones with the lowest grades also didn't see the tutor --- hmmmm.

Also, Ms. Trouble (the one who lied about me elder-statesman, has blown off class until two weeks ago etc..) just handed in a very revealing extra-credit assignment. She makes lots of sense, now --- and now I see why she blocked-out elder-statesman faculty member when he asked what he thought was a common cultural question (about the Bible... umm, maybe not...).... The fact that I understand her doesn't mean she might not fail the class.... it is objectively graded and she's got to perform -- but, the puzzle of her behavior is making more sense and if she has to take my class a second time I know how to get to her.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dissertation Advice, please...

So -- I'm looking at having a whole summer off to write.... but, I need some advise.

How did you get your dissertation done?

I know a few things about myself --
  • I work and write better in chunks of time no more than about 5ish hours.
  • I work better when the apartment is reasonably clean, although sometimes doing the dishes helps me find a new idea...
  • I work better when I get time to go to the gym...
  • I don't work particularly well late at night, unless I'm on a roll or under a deadline...
  • I do work pretty well early in the morning -- when it is quiet inside and out...
So far, I've made a schedule for the time between now and Vegas.... It takes my commitments into account and adds some dissertation time every day. I also have the Gym scheduled 3 times per week -- and I'm more than likely to go to two of the three, as my favorite water aerobics teacher has class at the nice gym :). This week will be about 15 dissertation hours, next week 25 and the following should be 38 hours --

after all of that, I'll need a bit of time in Vegas to read trashy novels and watch beautiful people by the pool at the Luxor....

So, am I not accounting for something I should?
Is there a bit of advise you found helpful that you'd like to share?

In the end, I really don't want to waste this summer. I don't want to spend it watching re-runs of home shows or otherwise wasting my chance to take the whole summer off.

At the end of the summer, I'd like to have at least 4 semi-decent chapters. The first of the four will be done by the end of the month -- and I'll have an outline for the next two in percolation (they are related...). I figure I'll have the next two chapters in semi-decent shape by the 4th of July and chapter #4 in outline form.... We'll take almost a week in July to go to Canada, so the 4th chapter will happen between our vacation and the time school starts -- about 5 weeks.
As seen at Bitty's

1. What is your name? PhilosopherP
2. A four-letter word: Pets
3. A vehicle: pair of skates (I'm stuck on this one..)
4. A city: Paris
5. A boy's name: Patrick
6. A girl's name: Patricia
7. Alcoholic drink: Pivo (according to my cousin..)
8. An occupation: Philosopher
9. Something you wear: Pants
10. A celebrity: Patrick Stuart
11. A food: peanuts
12. Something found in a bathroom: potty
13. Reason for being late: Parking
14. Something you shout: Pass
15. An animal: penguin
16. A body part: the male dangly bit... (I just can't type the actual word here, yes -- I'm 9).

RBO ...Last week of Spring 08..

  • Hubby's home -- The local radio station does a kind of shout-out bit every morning... This morning Hubby got one from me and the cats... it ended with 'now, get out of bed and write your dissertation' -- His mom also listens and called :) -- yea, it was good.
  • The office is pretty neat, but the living room and kitchen are a wreck, so something has to be done about that today...
  • I've already finished my logic final, so tomorrow afternoon I'll copy it and I'll be ready for finals week.
  • We'll go to the gym and grocery store today. It is nice to have company doing it...
  • 3 weeks from today, we'll be on the way to Vegas.... I've got to order a hat on-line (my head is too big to buy one in the store... sigh).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

So -- we're going to Vegas...

We got some good financial news -- (back pay from last July) YEA!!!! And, while we'll stash the majority of it, we decided to book a trip to Vegas.

We'll have three and a half days, three nights at the Luxor --- for under $650 air and hotel--- which is pretty good. Since I don't gamble, I'll spend pool time with my books while hubby (hopefully) wins some cash at poker. I do need to remember to bring my own books, as it wasn't easy to find books in Vegas last time...

Between now and then, I want a draft of the first dissertation chapter to hit the 'percolation' pile.... and maybe a sketch of chapter 2....

Saturday, May 03, 2008

three keyboards....

Hubby brought home three key boards.

He only has one desktop....

Don't ask why ---- I tried and didn't get an answer.

He also brought home a huge box of granola bars--- which will probably take us the summer to consume.

The view from my desk....

This is the typical state of my desk... The desktop scene is from a trip to Canada a few years ago -- it makes me think of the perfect summer day, so it has been there for a while. Notice the keyboard standing up behind New Kitty -- if I don't do that, she'll plop on it. Next to the monitor are my dissertation notebooks --- and under new kitty is a desk blotter calendar, both from Russell + Hazel (I LOVE their stuff...). The little rug next to the keyboard is my mouse pad.

This is where I'd prefer New Kitty sit -- off the desk mat (can't I have 2 square feet of space to work, cat?). It also shows the mouse pad and more clearly shows my slick Mac keyboard.
Here is New Kitty looking out the window -- She's looking for her Daddy.... who is on the way home as I type---- he's even in the STATE!!!!! YEA!

This is what she's looking at --- you can't really see it, but the bottom of the photo shows the small water hole right outside my window -- pretty soon the trees will fill in and we won't be able to see the trailer park we've been looking at on the other side of the water hole.... YEA SUMMER!

Here's Extra Toes in Hubby's chair -- it is immediately to my right. What you don't see is that on Hubby's desk is a pack of orange tic tacs (Juno fans will get it) and a cartoon that says "don't forget, blow J**** are like flowers for men".

So --- show me your workspace and your working companions.

New Kitty's big adventure....

She's been plotting her escape for weeks.

Every time the door opens, shes around -- looking for a chance.

Last night I came in with groceries and she made a dash for it....

into the hall -- and (in her pea brain) FREEDOM.

Of course, when she got there, she didn't know what to do. She ran down the hall for a bit --

then I got lucky, as she turned right --- toward the elevator.

Since she isn't tall enough to reach the button, I was able to grab her.

Thank goodness she bypassed the stairs!

I woke up talking to Hubby.....

... but he's not quite here yet.

After more than a few 'challenges' getting out of Red State, Hubby didn't leave there until late afternoon/early evening -- so he stopped for the night about 2ish hours away, when he was getting dangerously sleepy.

While I'd rather have him here, I'm happy to have him safely tucked into a bed at the Country Inn and Suites in Corn state than rolled over in the ditch someplace along the interstate.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Preparing for re-entry.... Hubby style....

Hubby is on the way home.... he got a late start, so he might spend the night in Corn State on the way -- -which will mean he'll be home mid-morning tomorrow.

I am really looking forward to having him home.

his stuff is another matter.

He's got the Jeep full of stuff. 15 boxes, a computer, suitcases --- imagine a green Jeep liberty with a smiley-face spare tire cover, crammed full of books, DVDs, clothes and stuff -- hurling its way toward my mostly neat and pretty full apartment.

Hubby comes with stuff -- and I suppose if I have to have the stuff to have hubby, then I'll take him and 10 times the stuff he's bringing with him, 'cuz he's worth it..... but, I really do wish he was a minimalist instead of a collector....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ups and a Down... all in a day....

First, because I'm a whiner at heart --- the down is an e-mail exchange with someone I've known for a while. This person is being inconsistent in their application of standards. I know they're being inconsistent, but they won't admit it. They won't admit they were wrong when they went one way -- or that they are wrong now when they are going the other way. Even worse, they are somehow trying to flip this to be that they aren't going two different ways in the two instances.

folks, this isn't something that is subjective -- or otherwise open to interpretation. This is a yes/no question -- and I'm pretty sure it is the Baby Boomer in this person that won't admit wrongness -- either now or then.

Now -- bullets of up
  • Hubby is almost home -- lots of chores in Red State, some misc. stuff and a drive -- either tomorrow or Saturday he'll be here. Tripple YEA!
  • We are getting back pay -- I thought we were getting a lump sum instead of back pay -- but, rather we are getting back pay (our raise as of July 07). This is really super-duper news.
  • I have some really cool colleagues -- wonderful people who make my daily work much better. Dog Dad, Wise Woman and someone who will need a synonym... but who will know who she is.... (maybe International Womyn?) and Asian Woman. Each of them was just exactly who I needed to chat with today --- after the downer stuff this morning.
  • Dog Dad and I had a nice chat about teaching logic -- and a bit about the downer stuff. I trust him to tell me the truth about things like the downer stuff.
  • Wise Woman is such an overall fair and kind person, she really ought to be cloned so all of you can work with her too. I appreciate her perspectives on things and I know that even when we disagree (we don't this time, but we have in the past) we can talk about it and remain friends.
  • International Womyn is someone I've known in a couple of contexts for a while... and now we are starting a whole new cooperative venture together --We had a great meeting today to discuss and plan our teaching adventure, and I love the way she thinks. I know I'm going to learn a lot from her, and I hope I can provide something of equal value for her in the future. Plus -- the course itself is going to rock!
  • Asian Woman is someone who works really, really, really hard --- and her students love her, as they should. I like her because she's ambitious, organized and humble -- a really nice combination. She's really good at taking and adapting input. We had a talk today about a big project she's just finished -- and I was really impressed at her leadership skills and her ability to think critically about something she's just put a lot of work into.
  • I also have some fun, funny and wonderful tutors ---both of whom were willing to dive into logic tutoring and really dig in to help students who often haven't bothered to help themselves. My students and I are VERY lucky to have them--- I wish they'd just stay and tutor for me forever.... alas, they have lives.... dang it.
  • As for my students -- I do have my share of dumb-asses, but many of them are clever, nice and funny. They work hard and take their classes seriously. I admire their abilities to balance work, school and home ---- or I admire their ability to dig in at the last minute to catch up and learn what they should have learned a long time ago....
  • One of my students is from Liberia -- and his project is building a school at home. He came to me to discuss filing the school with books and computers. I'm really not the person to talk to, but he comes back to hash out ideas.... somehow he has the idea that I can be a huge help to him -- so he comes back to let me know how he's progressing. Dang it, I know he's going to make it happen -- I can see the drive and determination in his eyes -- I also saw him give a presentation on a hard topic (FGM) and do it with a frank style that is hard to follow...
  • Another girl decided last week to put her mind to learning logic -- and, with lots of tutor help, is actually doing it. She put herself in this position -- (and so far won't admit it) -- but, if she pulls it off, I admire her.
  • Then there are the ones I'll call the 'kindred spirits' -- a single expecting mom, a 38-year old lesbian, a mother of 11, a dreamer boy in search of good conversation and the brother of another student. Each of them has made this semester good and fun in their own ways -- by seeing that I'm both their teacher and a real person. These are folks I'd have over for a beer or something.... and all of them are going elsewhere next semester..... and I'm going to miss them.
  • I also have four spheres of internet pals.... all of whom I do really love.
  • To the blogs I read and occasionally comment on -- and who read and comment here --- thanks for giving me the sense of community I've been missing. Y'all are like a wonderful small town or decent sized college full of warm, thoughtful and spunky people.... and I'm glad you are willing to put yourself out there for the rest of us....
  • To 'the girls' -- y'all know who you are. Y'all are a really special network and fill a niche I didn't realize was empty.
  • And then there is the debate nationals board -- every year we hold a series of on-line discussions to explore options for the next championship tournament. This time we've added a couple of great people to the board -- and I can easily say that the whole of you are among my favorite people ftf or on-line. I'm quite pleased to do another year with you. I love that we can disagree, debate and be adults about our disagreements. It is no secret that I think this is a rare quality among the members of the debate community --- so I really do feel blessed to have y'all in my virtual life.
  • And last, but not at all least, is my dissertation supervisor. I put him in the virtual category because we mostly communicate via e-mail. I've been really hot and cold about working on the dissertation for many years now, and all along he's been noting but civil and supportive. In many ways, I'm like a needy on-line student who ignores the class for weeks or months at a time, and then comes back to say 'I'm ready to work now -- pay attention to me', and he's been honest and kind to me every time I've returned. When he has bad news, he's kind in delivering it and when he senses I need some encouragement, he gives just enough to make it better. Best of all, he gives my work thorough and solid criticism and does so in a timely manner. I hope that in turn I'm sufficiently respectful, hard-working and thankful of his time --- but I suspect that isn't always the case. For all of you grad students, he's another one that ought to be cloned so all of you can work with him.
Now, it's time for a root beer float and bed....

I couldn't make this up...

On class evaluations...

The quesion was something to the effect of what was memorable about the class?

The answer was something like, I keep getting comments on my papers about failure to proofread, but "I'm not doing the typing most of the time."

Under anything you want to tell your instructor....

The answer was something to the effect of "I don't know how to type, so my friends type my papers and get most of my materila mixed up."

So -- the people you get to type your papers mix up your perfectly good grammar? That is next door to 'the people I've paid to write my paper have bad grammar, but it isn't my fault'.

and -- I have no idea as to why the student wasn't responsible for proofreading the stuff they handed in...