Thursday, January 23, 2014

News and Updates

It’s been one of those weeks, as the illusion of plentiful time was cruelly and definitively shattered by the approaching semester.  Suddenly, all the things I thought I had weeks – weeks – to do had to be done yesterday or sooner.  But ain’t that just life?

1. We had our semi-annual All Day Meeting down at Home Campus this week, in part to bring us up to speed on whatever is going on around campus that has changed since August and in part to discuss the new ways in which the state government is working hard to eliminate education in Wisconsin and what the odds are that we might possibly survive in the near term.  On the plus side, there was also lunch. 

2. I think I have my classes set up now, which is good since the online class started on Monday.  The new version of the course software has turned out to be pleasantly useful and convenient despite its occasional troubles, a fact that has caused me no end of surprise and delight, and my online students are a cheerful group so far.  That goes a long way in a class where you never see anyone face to face.

3. When you are an adjunct lecturer on multiple campuses at the same time, you might want to think twice about reading a novel about a day in the life of an adjunct lecturer on multiple campuses at the same time, no matter how funny it is or how accurately it calls up images of your home town, as such novels do tend to make you question your life choices.

4. We got a new electric teakettle to replace the one that we burned out through overuse, which is the proper evolution of such things.  The new one is a far more serious machine than the previous one.  It has a brushed steel exterior instead of the cheery white plastic of the old one, and when you press on the big lever at the bottom a bright blue light turns on and the kettle sounds like a jet engine taking off.  I feel like I should be making more of an effort than I am, just to keep up appearances.

5. This week I had a friendly and entertaining conversation about the issue of guns in the US with someone who is on the other side of that debate.  It can happen.

6. As a coin collector, it is always a good day when someone crosses your palm with silver.  I am now the proud owner of a 1963 Roosevelt dime, which is probably worth about a buck and a half but is still pretty cool.

7. It’s been really, really cold here in Baja Canada, with air temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit and wind chills even further down on the scale.  But, as the Swedes like to say, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.  We’ve dug down into our sweatshirt and corduroy supply, fired up the new teakettle, and kept ourselves toasty.

8. I discovered this week that the little red indicator on Kim’s car does not, in fact, refer to the battery even if the battery did need changing.  Despite being square and having two little buttons on top that looked very much like the contacts on a battery, the icon actually alerts you that the coolant system is failing.  So now we have a new battery and a new radiator, and eventually the car will call to mind the old joke about George Washington’s axe.

9. It’s strange how old songs just come bubbling up out of the back of your mind to haunt you for days, and how it’s so rarely the song itself that makes you stop and think but the context – when you heard it, who you were with, what you were doing.  This happens more and more as I get older, and someday I suppose I will just get lost in a fog of those songs and never find my way out. 

10. This is the season when all the book gift cards come home to roost.  It’s a pretty good season that way, whatever the weather.

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