It’s midterm season all around the various campuses (campii?) that have engaged my services this semester, which means that my time has been eaten up and my spirit has been beaten down and I’ve spent the better part of two weeks raging at the futility of it all – “IS THIS ALL THAT GOT THROUGH TO YOU STUDENTS?” I chant in rhythmic horror, frantically searching the house for something stronger than Yorkshire tea with which to drown my sorrows.
Until I get to a student who actually understood the material and could express that understanding clearly and concisely, which happens more often than my blackened academic heart ever suspects that it will. Then I get a grip and go back to my tea.
So I’m lots of fun to be around these days, yes indeed I am.
Here are a few things that have come up lately that should have been real blog posts, but instead have been relegated to a list whose subtext, more or less, reads “I’m not dead yet!”
1. It is way, way too early for Christmas music. The radio station to which most of the radios in this house have mysteriously been tuned does not agree, however. This may not end well.
2. Students would be surprised how much their grades improve when they simply turn in the work that has been assigned to them. Many would have to go lie down.
3. Lauren has taken to wearing my old firehouse softball league windbreaker these days, which makes me absurdly happy. It’s a black satin jacket with “League Champions 1985” emblazoned around a drawing of an old-fashioned helmet, and my guess is that she is the only person in Wisconsin with such a jacket. Hell, there may not be any of those jackets left even in Philadelphia. Memories.
4. At some point this week I will either clean out the paperstorm in my office or die in an avalanche. Vegas line says “too close to call.”
5. I stopped listening to the news on the radio almost a decade ago, when I realized I didn’t trust the Bush Administration to tell me the truth even when it would have been to their advantage to do so. Since then I have listened mostly to sportstalk radio in the mornings as I drive up to Not Quite So Far Away Campus. This is getting increasingly harder to take, however, as fewer topics involve actual sports and more involve lawsuits (actual or inevitable).
6. I had no idea that literary criticism of science fiction was a thing. A colleague of mine lent me an actual journal with academic articles about the subject, and I find myself intrigued by the concept but simultaneously a bit worried by it, in the sense that analyzing the innards of a frog worries me. You can do it and learn a lot from it, but - as the old saying goes - the frog tends to die in the process.
7. Having a tornado watch in November is a new thing for me. It’s a good thing the climate’s not changing, because otherwise? I’d be worried.
8. Students always love the story of Sylvester Graham.
9. Kim spent most of yesterday cleaning out her office closet, and somewhere in there she located my Emergency Clown Nose. I find myself very tempted to wear it to the next meeting I am forced to attend.
10. Curling season has started up again for Tabitha and Lauren. Someday I’ll join in.