Friday, April 30, 2010

On a different calendar...

Yikes -- Stu ignored e-mails and phone calls from a panicked partner and then flatly refused to admit he did so. Stu's partner and I decided Stu had drifted away.

Today, Stu showed up -- and (contradicting himself), both wanted to present -- without the assistance of his partner AND claimed that he thought he was scheduled for next week.

Then, Stu begged to be allowed to present next week (umm -- no, 50 minutes = 4 10 minute presentations -- that's why we have a frigging presentation schedule -- dumb ass).

Stu really needs to pay attention.

I'm being a softie and letting him write a paper, like his (former) partner. That's only because I can't be sure (former) partner actually had functional e-mail and phone info -- because (former) partner is pretty flaky.

Also, in general, this is the time of the year that they start to figure out how much it costs them to not take the on-line quizzes and participate in the on-line discussions -- in a hybrid class.

I -- on the other hand -- need to keep reminding myself that it's ok to permit them to fail. Their failures are not my responsibility and I know that failing often teaches more than a false C.

Class updates...

  • Ethics students are doing well with their presentations. The presentations take the form of a pecha kucha, in which students have 20 powerpoint slides, each displayed for 20 seconds, to answer a question.. The presentations weren't perfect, but they were original and they moved quickly enough to avoid boredom. The best thing is that I didn't hold their hands in the process, I didn't do a bunch of developmental assignments or anything. They signed up for their groups, organized themselves, did the work and hopefully learned something. I tried to give clear expectations, consult when asked and then check in at the end to make sure the group had something to present.
  • Logic is in a bit of a panic now -- of course, some of them are just now realizing that when I told them to do an on-line quiz for points, I meant it. Not doing that quiz means they don't get to opt out of the final -- AND the final replaces their last two quiz grades... so there. They could still fail... hmmm. These folks really shouldn't tempt me, I can enter an A or and F with equal effort -- and I'll do it.
We have one more week left -- and next week is logic week -- lots of grading, wrangling and begging will happen. I'll consult the syllabus, ask why they think they are special enough to get an exception and deny just about everyone.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My DVR...

.. has better taste in programming than I do.

OK -- I'll admit it, I've been trying to record Jerseyliscious.

I saw about three episodes, then my DVR revolted.

During the first revolt, the DVR locked up when I tried to play the file --

The second revolt gave me an error message.

The most recent attempt was simply a file of 0 minutes length.

hmmm.... I'm trying to trick it today by having it restore what it thinks is a duplicate showing...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hubby's the best!!

I've been various forms of "sick" since mid-January... between low hemoglobin, two surgeries and allergies, I've been dragging my ass around since the semester started.

One thing I really wanted to do, but hadn't found the energy to accomplish, was to get rid of all the pots on my deck and start over. The plan is to get a couple of comfortable chairs, two big pots with new dirt and end up with a container garden that needs less work to maintain.

The first step was the most onerous -- clearing out all the old stuff -- and Hubby did if for me this morning. This afternoon we'll go get the furniture -- and, once the weather is a little more predictably warm, the plants will be the last thing...

Then, y'all are welcome to come sit on my deck....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chemo had its advantages...

... the advantages of being bald aside -- I don't remember my seasonal allergies (which are equally bad in spring and fall) happening when I was doing chemo -- probably because my immune system was so down, the allergens didn't get me.

So, now when I'm "healthy", I'm also locked in my AC blowing my nose and hoping it rains -- soon!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home again... from the hospital..

The surgery went well.

We're getting to be a little too familiar at the hospital -- sigh.

I'm considering proposing a punch-card for surgery -- pay for four, get the fifth free -- kind of like coffee, but not as much fun.

We'll have test results by the end of the week or so... but, we have no real reason to be worried.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's fun to see your friends...

... quoted in the New York Times..

The article isn't about the form of debate I coached -- but, the second person quoted (Jim Hanson) has been my friend for a long time... we're both on the board for the national championship tournament Hubby dreamed up many years ago.

It's also a very good thing that policy debate teams are going digital -- When the airlines charge $50/ tub, and each two person team has about 6 tubs, you are automatically adding $150/person to a team's travel budget. On most trips, if you don't bring a team's tubs, you can bring another person who wants to actually debate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Maybe there's a secret election...

... or, perhaps our most senior department member is having a senior moment...

We had a department meeting today. As usual, attendance was sparse -- but, nearly all of our disciplines were represented AND -- (best of all) by the people I really like.

One person came in a bit late and handed me a note.

The note was a proxy vote for Classy Lady. It was from Sweet Old Guy.

The puzzling bit is that we aren't having an election. As far as I know Classy Lady isn't "running" for anything.

Last week we had a call for folks interested in being department chair. Classy Lady didn't say anything to me -- and she's told me many times that she doesn't want to be department chair.

I'm not sure what Sweet Old Guy thinks Classy Lady is running for -- but, I'm sure Classy Lady will be glad to have his support.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On being an actual adult... at least on occasion...

Or, to be more precise, someone who has -- at least for a bit -- managed to use time wisely and had it pay off.

Y'all know I had surgery 5 weeks ago -- and was off work for 3weeks plus break.

What I may not have told y'all is that I need another surgery -- it's scheduled for Monday. It isn't a horrible ordeal or anything, more of a precaution -- but, it's necessary. The recovery time is 1 week.

Last week was my first week back to work from surgery #1. I worked my butt off to get stuff ready for my next week off, and to be ready for finals etc. This entailed writing quizzes and exams etc. In fact, I pretty much finished my class prep for the semester.

This week I started on the summer syllabus. I'm not kidding -- don't hate me :).

It's a good thing I didn't procrastinate like my students -- because one of my colleagues needed me...

Dog Dad had a non-life threatening but pretty-danged-painful medical emergency.

On Tuesday night my Dean called to tell me Dog Dad was in the hospital and we needed to arrange subs for him first thing in the morning.

Turns out that Dog Dad has a hell-a Wednesday, and I have one class.

It also turns out that my class doesn't meet when Dog Dad's 4 classes (including a night class) meet -- SO, I could sub for all of them.

Dog Dad subbed for me so I was happy to return the favor --plus we get an hourly rate for subbing and prep time--- so, I made some bonus $$ yesterday...

If I hadn't planned ahead and worked like crazy last week, I'd be up crap-creek this week.

I think it's that kid of planning my students just don't get. They don't see that stuff you'd never expect can throw your plans off in a big way. Yesterday, instead of no prep and 1 hour of teaching I had about 4-5 hours of prep and 7 hours of teaching (his 6, my 1 -- all the prep was his..). I could be flexible because I was ready...

Also -- Dog Dad was well-prepared too. He sent files with teaching notes and the quizzes I gave to his classes. His teaching notes taught me interesting stuff -- and they were an interesting look into how he thinks about topics/articles I teach too. He also had really nice classes -- which is probably a reflection of Dog Dad's overall niceness.

So -- even though I've taught a boatload in the last three days, I'm happy with the results.

And -- I spoke with Dog Dad today. He's planning to be back next week -- and healthy. I'm really happy about that.

People who look like your pets...

.. if, your pet was a person.

There's a young student who hangs out near my office.

Yesterday I noticed that he looks like the Minion would - if the Minion were human.

He's short, Asian and has really spiky black hair (kind of long spikes, straight up..).

Really, he's the human verison of the Minion.

My next move is to get a photo of this student -- hmmm.....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

E-mail hacks and scams...

Last year an old friend's Facebook got hacked. The hacker sent out a message saying my pal was stuck in London, needed money etc.

The grammar in the message was bad, I didn't think my pal was in London and I wondered why he didn't call his parents who have plenty of money. I actually saw that "he" (i.e. the hacker) was on Facebook as my friend and asked a couple of questions -- the hacker got pissy and I figured out it was a scam.

Just now I got a similar message from an old student. She got mugged in London, send money here etc.. This time I knew it was a scam because her grammar was too good -- and the message too calm sounding. Clearly, it wasn't written by my student -- who couldn't write her way out of a paper bag and was ALWAYS uber-excited.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

They think they live in the country...

but, it really can't count as such -- they are a 70 minute car/train ride from Manhattan.

The story relates tales of folks who moved out there, then couldn't stand the lack of "civilization" and "fled" -- back to the suburbs/city.

ummm--- yea. The complaint was that White Plains NY was 40 minutes away for shopping...

Super-mom's kind of country -- now, that's "country" -- 70 minutes in the car gets you close to Two Harbors, and leaves you about 50 minutes from Duluth. 40 minutes might get you Finland, MN --and a bit more will get you Ely, MN.

Funny thing is, a good number of folks up in Super-mom's area think Duluth IS "the city"... and "the cities", are just too much traffic.

I suppose it goes to show that everything is relative -- but, I still think the folks in New York state are kind of silly, and not really in THE COUNTRY.

Now that's country...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Um -- duh...

Why in the F would I have a sub for my logic classes and NOT expect students to come to class.

A bozo just posted on the class discussion page asking if he needed to be in class the last couple of weeks.

Bozo has a quiz tomorrow -- all on material discussed in class.

It's going to be fun to watch him take it...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

We got a letter...

... like the rest of the residents in our building.

In essence, it asks us to keep an eye out for vandals. They've been scratching the inside of the elevator doors, making a mess and generally being icky neighbors.

I know how to catch the right quick -- a simple spelling test.

Inside our elevator someone scratched "fagget" -- so, we could just ask folks to write the word -- and, bingo, the bad speller gets evicted.

Dissertation -- now, I wait...

I really wanted it on it's way in March... but, here it is Easter and the copies will be on the way to Red State tomorrow.

It's really lovely not to have dissertation work to do.

Instead, I worry that they won't like it.

I worry that they won't think it's sufficient to call me Dr.

I worry that I made some HUGE mistake which will make them all mad.

I worry that they'll ignore it.

I worry that the only day they can all possibly meet for my defense is a day I can't get to Red State.

On the other hand, it feels really, really good to have sent it. If actually defending it feels this good, I'm happy--

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The dissertation is on the way --

-- or, rather it will be on Monday morning.

It's really, really weird to think that the whole committee will be reading it sooner or later.

It was also kind of anti-climatic to say goodbye to it in a Kinko's... there should have been some kind of cosmic "ta da!!!!".

I think I'll take a nap.

In my neighborhood...

There was so me excitement at the Fleet Farm...

I was wondering why I was hearing sirens yesterday...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Dissertation update... perhaps one of the last!!!

One huge advantage to having surgery is that, while I'm not teaching, I could finish revisions on my dissertation.

Working a couple of hours at a time -- I have all the small content revisions done.

Today I'm planning to do all the formatting stuff required by Red State school.

Tomorrow -- copies, and I'll send them to my committee.


Up early...

... and hearing sounds of spring from outdoors.

Mostly crickets and frogs chirping in the swamp.

Maybe I'll go back to bed.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

My home state...

I'm so proud of BNstate -- we have pervert bears....

The town where this happened isn't all that big -- and I think the location is probably out in the woods a bit...