Thursday, December 16, 2010
And yeah, we got about 2 inches of snow today. That's my kind of snowfall.
Now it's onto some other tasks including: 1) a short piece I need to write on Rebecca Harding Davis's "Life in the Iron Mills," 2) contacting and scheduling our campus visits for the search we're running, 3) writing new syllabi (already!).
Then there's that whole Christmas thing...cards to write, presents to buy. And so it goes.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
But, as I mentioned in my subject heading, music helps. I've got a Christmas mix going on my iPod which includes my current favorite holiday (non-religious) tune, which you can find here. Other favorites include this one and this one. I am going to stop myself here, though, as no one like a big old list of links...
Anyway, back to work I go. Happy grading to my academia-living friends!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
2) At the risk of being political in this space, I can't stop myself here. Remember when John McCain seemed to have integrity? What happened to this guy? This is as good an excuse as any to link to one of the most brilliant things the Daily Show has done lately: the "It's Gets Worse" video they made for McCain.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I am surprised that the author (and the comment-leavers) haven't mentioned Veronica Mars, which was, I thought, a great heir to the Buffy tradition.
Yeah, I still miss Veronica Mars. Bad.
"Perhaps the World Ends Here"
by Joy Harjo
2) I really need someone to be watching Dexter this season so we can talk about it at length. This last episode has completely gotten under my skin.
That is all...back to work I go!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
So I am reminded of this poem by Cathy Smith Bowers, which Andrew Sullivan recently linked to on his blog.
How entranced, each time, she sits there,
her eyes, I swear,
filling with tears
at her master's
inimitable brilliance. It's
clear to me what's
bounding through her
head: The greatest,
yet, of all the generations!
My husband says
she's just waiting
for her rations.
Bing and Wes aren't quite this earnest (well, Wesley might be while Bing might just indeed be "waiting for his rations"), but God bless 'em, they really do seem to listen with something that looks a heck of a lot like interest and (sometimes) appreciation. Yes, I know that's not really what's going on, but it's awfully nice to imagine that it might be.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Should have done a bit more proofreading. "Accounce," one of the words I actually added, isn't a word at all, and spell-check doesn't check subject headings (why not, I wonder?). So there it is--flying towards the in-box of every English colleague on campus, with a glaring typo in the very first word.
Lovely. Just lovely. The moral of the story? Just go home.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
1) It's the 25th anniversary of She-Ra. I still have my action figures in my parents' attic (who freely intermingled with my brother's He-Man figures). She-Ra rocked. She also inspired some of my earliest feminist thoughts, including this question: "How come He-Man can appear in 'very special' episodes of She-Ra, but she doesn't get to cross over to his show?" Seriously.
2) It's the 10th anniversary of the first episode of Gilmore Girls. I will admit that I didn't start watching this show until about the third season (and then frantically caught up one summer as I was dissertating), but what a show! I miss it still.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
1) Oprah will reunite the cast of The Sound of Music. I love love love this! The Sound of Music is my sentimental favorite movie. I even like reading/grading to the soundtrack. Can't wait!
2) Maybe lots of people knew about this, but somehow yesterday I stumbled across this old (1950) Time magazine article. Kind of mind-boggling to think of Congress policing Hollywood morality. Actually, I am sure plenty self-righteous folks in Congress today would think this is a good idea. By the way, my mom was named after Ingrid Bergman, but she was born before this scandal. I wonder if my grandparents would have made the same decision post-scandal.
3) Lots of folks are talking about this piece: "Tragedy at the Virginia Quarterly Review."
4) Some good people got arrested for non-violent protests against mountain-top removal earlier this week, including Jason Howard, who I met last year when he visited Shepherd with Silas House.(In the photo, Jason is the first person on the left, and Silas is the third.) Thoreau would be proud of them. And so am I.
5) Someone needs to see this movie with me. I'll pay. I'll even buy you popcorn AND candy AND a soda. And I don't even do that for my niece when I take her to the movies. Seriously, this thing looks like so much fun.
6) "When Your Infant is Secretly Famous in Japan." To quote South Park, "Simpsons already did it!"
7) And yeah, this O'Keefe dude is a total douche. And a pervert, too. Loser.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I suppose it didn't help that I had another long day at work: there by 8:00 a.m. and getting home at almost 8:00 p.m. It was a day of back-to-back meetings and classes--and barely any time to answer emails, eat lunch, even use the bathroom. Still, I should have made time for that phone call.
Anyway, maybe her mom will show her this blog entry and help her read this part: Olivia is one of the coolest kids on the planet. She's funny and always full of joy and embodies the phrase "a zest for life." She's smart as a whip--so much so that she continually impresses her parents and the rest of us. And she's amazingly sweet and kind. I've never seen her do something mean. Think about that--how many kids can you say that about? I always have a smile on my face after talking to her. Plus, she can perform (singing and dancing) the entire score of Mama Mia. Not bad, right?
Happy 7th birthday, Olivia!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
So, yeah, my job rocks. I love that I can say that, especially when so many people can't. Makes me feel very blessed and lucky.
Did anyone catch Meghan McCain on Rachel Maddow's show last night? I hope so. If not, take a look: Part I and Part II. Politics lately has depressed me so much that I try not to think/talk about it too much. But when I saw this interview, I felt a bit of hope for the Republican party. If young people like Meghan are the future of the party, then we should be okay.
Poor Meghan. She gets eviscerated by the right and the left, but to me, she is smart, articulate, and reasonable. Sure, she grew up entitled and wealthy, but that doesn't make someone a bad person. (This seems to be the charge from some vocal factions on the left...) The attacks from the right write themselves--the same old depressing, divisive, and hateful rhetoric that basically translates into: "If you don't believe EVERYTHING the radical right believes, then go to hell. If you say ANYTHING reasonable, rational, or charitable about the left or even the mainstream, then you are a traitor."
Maybe Meghan falls into the "woe is me"/martyr role a bit too easily, but take a look at what people are saying about her in comments on blogs, etc. and you'll see where she's coming from. (Let's not even get into the attacks on her physical appearance.)
Anyway, I found myself so encouraged by listening to her. Then Rachel Maddow had to end with the (sadly accurate) statement that moderate Republicans like Meghan are getting voted out everywhere. Way to dump some water on that spark of hope, Rachel!
Friday, September 3, 2010
I really want to channel Ross Gellar and his turkey sandwich rage. "Did you mistake it for YOUR Diet Coke?"
Thursday, September 2, 2010
"It is not so much that I miss you"
It is not so much that I miss you
as the remembering
which I suppose is a form of missing
except more positive,
like the time of the blackout
when fear was my first response
followed by love of the dark.
Okay--one more: this one's a bit adult, but hilarious.
In a lightning bolt
I see our statue of Buddha
(a wedding gift from Uncle Gene)
which always sat
on top of the speaker cabinet.
When a visitor asked,
“So, does Buddha like jazz?”
you said, “I hope so.
He’s been getting it up the ass
for a long time.”
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Okay, so I know I've posted about this topic before (a long time ago), but sometimes I get real satisfaction out of reading old (and sometimes really old) criticism of a work. As I work on this year's SAMLA paper--about Hawthorne's The Marble Faun and Constance Fenimore Woolson's "Miss Grief"--I am working my way through the relevant sections of J. Donald Crowley's Hawthorne: The Critical Heritage. For those outside English studies, these "critical heritage" books are great resources--basically anthologies of criticism/reviews of a major writer's texts. A couple of gems from James Russell Lowell's April 1860 review of The Marble Faun in The Atlantic Monthly:
"Had he been born without the poetic imagination, [Hawthorne] would have written treatises on the Origin of Evil." (This one makes me laugh because it's pretty darn funny and because Hawthorne already kind of does write about the "Origin of Evil.")
One more: "If you had picked up and read a stray leaf of it anywhere, you would have exclaimed, 'Hawthorne!'" I'm not quite sure what I think of The Marble Faun. It's took me two tries to really get into it and even now, it's not what you would call "fun" reading. And in lots of ways, it's very different from Hawthorne's other books. But, like Lowell says, read any page, and there's no denying it's all Hawthorne.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
If you haven't seen one of these before, they are HUGE (like 3 inches long and the thickness of a cigar) and totally "ick!"-provoking. When I killed it, a substance that looked like lime jello gushed out. It was like something from a science fiction movie. Ugh. Ick. Gross.
Here's a helpful informative Youtube about the little buggers:
(The bit about the parasitic wasps is both cool and absolutely disgusting.)
I had a long conversation with my friend Vogel today about how I might not be cut out for this veggie gardening thing. (Flowers, shrubs, etc. I am pretty darn good at...) I am just too emotional and the constant vigilance is a bit wearying. It's like, just when you think you've handled one crisis (squash borers, for instance, or deer nibbling on the leaves, or collapsing tomato plants, or drought-like conditions that have been here all summer), you find a HUGE FREAKIN' WORM THAT SHOOTS BRIGHT GREEN LIQUID AND HAS A RED HORN ON ITS BUTT! (Sorry but the all-caps seem necessary here.)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I had a mysterious $9.99 charge on my cell phone bill this month...for something called "Jamster." I have no idea what that is and definitely didn't intend to buy/subscribe to it. So I called customer service, told the very helpful woman on the other end of the line that I had no idea what Jamster is, and she canceled the subscription and credited my account. How cool is that?
The best I can figure is that my phone, which I keep in my work bag and which occasionally turns itself on, must be the culprit. There have been times that I take it out of my bag and find that it has gone online or something. (See, I don't even know the terminology!) The customer service rep explained, "Well usually you have to confirm those kinds of purchases on the phone's screen." I am sure she was right--I just happened to be unfortunate enough to have the random moves and jostling of my bag click "confirm" before I realized the darn thing was even turned on.
I confessed to the customer service rep that it was probably (although indirectly) something that I did, but she still credited my account. That made me happy. Go AT&T wireless!
Then, to prevent it from happening again, she put that parental control block on the phone so that I can't purchase anything over the phone. So I am all protected...from myself.
I am so not part of the texting generation. (But that doesn't mean I don't still covet an iPhone.)
Speaking of generation gaps, I posted this link on Facebook this morning and it's gotten tons of responses, so it must have touched a nerve. My initial reactions: the Buffy reference (#6) is a weird one--why refer to the movie, not the show? Also, #4 made me laugh out loud, #19 is kind of poetic, #32 is just weird, #46 is cringe-inducing, and #49 is all kinds of awesome.
About the Buffy movie thing, I get that it's probably included because the movie came out in 1992, the same year most of these freshman were born (!), but the movie references (Hemery High and Lothos) are pretty obscure compared to the show's references.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I do wish I felt a little more excited for this semester. Not sure why I'm not. Maybe that will come. I am excited about my ENGL 377 course. I think this one will be fun.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Interestingly, this is bugging (ha!) me more than I thought it would. Kind of depressing to watch something you were once so excited about just wilt away and die. I am not sure if I'll try growing these specific vegetables again next year. Maybe at least the zuchinni, because I love it so much.
On a happier note, the tomatoes are still thriving, the peppers are still (slowly) producing, and that last cucumber plant is hanging on.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
For tonight, I made some homemade meatballs, too. I have enough meatballs and sauce leftover for about three more meals. And I also froze two quart-sized bags of just the plain sauce. So all in all, a good first endeavor! Maybe I should try pizza sauce next...
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I've only written the first paper assignment, but know (more or less) what the second and third will be, too. I'm still kicking around ideas for the last paper and group presentations, but at least the topics are set, and that feels good.
One class down...two to go. Well, technically three, but I am teaching two sections of the same class, so it feels a lot more like "two to go."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
1) Wendell Berry pulls his personal papers from UK over the University's relationship to the coal industry.
2) Silas House takes on an absurd, infantile, sexist attack on Ashley Judd over MTR.
Seems like a good place to include a Berry poem...how about this one?
"The Peace of Wild Things"
Friday, July 23, 2010
Then I got home, turned on the Weather Channel and saw why...
....because it's 104 freakin' degrees outside.
Not 104 with the heat index.
Not "feels like" 104.
It's literally 104 degrees.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
P.S. I'm also contemplating taking up canning. Lord help me!
Now, yeah, I've taught ENGL 101 before (lots of times), but I am shaking it up this time, using an entirely new textbook and writing new assignments. Like last year, my 101 class is part of a "learning community" with a section of Psychology 101. Last year, all I really did to link the two classes was have them talk about what was going on in PSYC 101, especially when each student took a turn leading in-class writing. We also spent some time talking about the paper they wrote for their psychology class. But really, that was about it. When my colleague and I decided to link our classes again, I decided to do better. I hope this will lead to all the goals at the heart of the learning community mission: connections between coursework in different classes, better critical thinking, and a higher retention rate for enrolled students.
So here's what I am doing: throwing out the old textbook, which is a good book (and edited by a former colleague!), but didn't allow for readily apparent connections to their psychology coursework. The old book is the required text for all 101 classes, but I can get around that rule because of the learning community. (I see it as my subtly subversive way of beginning to challenge the "required text" idea for everyone.)
For alternative class texts, I was really inspired by an article the students brought in one day about "Little Albert" and the famous experiment about conditioning. Now I gotta say, I had never heard of Little Albert or the experiment, but I was instantly intrigued. And it was one of the best discussions we had all semester. "We should be writing about that!" I thought. Why not, I wondered, just use a series of articles like that one--or a series of readings about famous psychological topics/studies--and base most of the course assignments on those? So that's what I've been working on...finding those articles/topics. For years, I've been saying that I really want to teach a composition class using less than ten readings, since I don't believe you need a big old (or even little old) reader to teach writing.
Fortunately, my teaching partner (also named Heidi) is pretty awesome and very into the idea. She pointed me towards Forty Studies that Changed Psychology, which I've been working my way through. Equally fortunate, Erin, my younger sister, is also a psychologist, so she looked through that book and pointed me towards some studies she thought students would be drawn to.
I also ordered They Say/I Say as our main writing textbook and was especially glad that I did so after my friend Aaron said how much he liked it. It's a slim little book--and almost completely focused on practical moves that good writers make. (I ordered a handbook, too, the one the whole department uses, and one that I have a soft spot for since it was the one I bought my first semester at Roanoke and used all four years--and through much of graduate school.)
My big problem/challenge now is coming up with the actual writing assignments. I think, for instance, that we'll spend some serious time talking about Little Albert, the Milgram experiment, the Kitty Genovese murder, and the Stanford Prison Experiment, but for the life of me, I can't think of freshman-level assignments about them. There's also one that Erin told me about involving false memories--I can't think of the name right now--that should also be good. Basically, I need four or five decent prompts (for essays ranging from about 3 pages to about 7) that freshman can handle.
I tried to find some inspiration from online videos...
Check out this footage of poor Little Albert. Again, maybe most people know about this study, but it was new to me. My students (lovable little jerks...) were like, "You don't know who Little Albert is?" As if they knew before they took the freakin' class. Anyway, the video...
By the way, H.P. Beck and G. Irons' 2009 article, "Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson's Infant Laboratory" (American Psychologist 64. 7: 605-614) is one of the most intense pieces I've read all summer--it had me on the edge of my seat! I am thinking I'll base an essay prompt on it...what that prompt will be, though, I have no idea.
Then there's the Milgram Experiment, also quite depressing... I know the students will eat this stuff up, but again, what kind of essay assignments can I base on it? Anyway, here's the first clip (1 out of 3) from a recent recreation of the experiment.
And here's a link to some original footage...again, no idea how to connect this to essay prompts. Maybe sleeping on it will help.
More to come, I am sure, but for now, if you've got any great essay prompt ideas, feel free to share them!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
2) Holla Back DC! Fighting back against street harassment. There's at least one good 4Cs paper in here, isn't there?
Because this humble and homespun love
— just as you see it, simple, unadorned —
is what keeps our feet on the ground,
is what engenders the fruit of our nonconformity,
and throws us a lifeboard amidst the shipwreck.
Every so often our love blazes like thousands of stars,
gets dressed up to go out and uncorks
bottles of effervescence, cases of laughter.
You see, every so often, when the moment is right,
our love recalls that is it, like we are, a survivor.
(via the Speaking of Faith podcast/website)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It's so strange because Wesley is, in his home environment, absolutely the sweetest, most loving, friendly cat you'll ever meet. He's downright dog-like in his demeanor. He even seems to like dogs who visit. All of that goes out the window at the vet, though. I always try to assure the staff that "his bark is worse than his bite," and I do believe that's true--he's never actually bitten or scratched anyone or even tried to, but you can tell they aren't taking my word for it. Heck, I wouldn't if I were in their shoes.
So every year, I stand there, embarrassed and apologetic for bringing in this nasty beast. It's not fun, despite their reassurance that they deal with much worse.
And how about Bing? How does he handle it? Well, compared to Wes, he's an angel. In fact, if he does any growling or hissing, I think it's just because Wes gets him so scared. Today, poor Bing just sat on the exam table waiting, but I could feel him shaking in fear. The doctor even said, while listening to his heart beat, "You may be quiet, but your heart is racing."
Thankfully, the vet visits are always pretty short--in and out in about 40 minutes or less--because it's not an awful time for me. I know they are terrified and feel lost and uncertain and there's nothing I can do to really reassure them. Even when they cower against me for comfort or protection, that only makes me feel worse. Last year, Wes took a flying leap from the exam table, across the room, and onto my shoulder. It was impressive and sweet, but majorly guilt-inducing.
As soon as we get home, though, they snap right back to normal. It's actually quite sweet: as soon as I put the evil boxes (the cat carriers) away, the boys walk around like they are so freakin' happy and grateful to be home. You can practically hear them saying, "Yeah! My house! We're back! I love it here!"
The wonderful thing about certain animals, especially those not gifted with a whole lot of intelligence (like my dear Wesley) is that they seem to very quickly forget just who it was that brought them to the vet. He runs to me for comfort and protection and as soon as we get home, he's all over me with a story to tell. My loose translation: "You wouldn't believe what I've just been through! But I am so happy to be home with you, oh person I love so very much!"
If this is what it's like to take a little kid to the doctor, my friends who are parents have even more of my undying respect!
Bing, post-vet visit, looking out an upstairs window.
Wes, in my lap, post-vet visit.
I sauteed this baby--the first fruit of the season--a couple of weeks ago. Delicious! (There's another possible crisis in the garden right now...perhaps some kind of wilt. I really hope not.)
Sometimes summer brings us awful things, like last week's heat wave. This is how my car greeted me about a week ago:
How rude, right? And this was in the evening, not even the heat of the day. Ugh. Thank goodness that's over (for now.)
These past couple of days have been better, bringing us some much needed rain. We went about three weeks without a single drop falling, so you can imagine how my lawn looks right now. It's still kind of humid and a bit gross, but compared to last week, it's paradise!
I just emailed a copy of the Poe article to a journal (who shall, at this point, remain nameless) and will later drop two paper copies in the regular mail. I've done this a number of times before, but that actual moment of sending the email or mailing the package still terrifies me. I always take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and then let go. Gulp.
Cross your fingers, say some prayers, etc.
(This picture is from April or so. It's a pretty good encapsulation of the "Year of Poe" in my professional life. From the presentation at the Faculty Research Forum in November to the Poe Seminar in the spring semester to the final push (for now) on this article, it's been a whole lotta Edgar. And, as I write about in the paper, Wes and Bing have been a part of it all. They were, in fact, the inspiration for the paper.)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Overall, it's been kind of fun. Those two days are quite busy and stressful at times, but it's cool to meet the incoming students and (separately) their parents. We even get a couple of free meals in the dining hall, which rocks because A) it's free B) no cooking dinner of packing lunch those days (and no dishes!) C) the dining hall is actually pretty darn good.
Most importantly, so far, despite the paucity of General Studies offerings, we've been getting people into workable schedules. Session 4 will be tough, as it will be slim pickings. But based on how well today's session went, I am a bit more confident than I was in the beginning.
And I can't make this point strongly enough: the "A-Team" (student leaders who assist with the whole process) is awesome. What a fabulous group of students! They make me even prouder to work at Shepherd. (Hmmm..that's cheesy, but genuine!)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Anyway, I've been meaning to do a quick post about the Emmy nominations and could use a break from Hawthorne. Overall, I am super-excited about some of the nominations, especially Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. It's about time! Connie Britton needs to win this one. She just does. Did you see Friday's episode? Amazing. Also, check out this interview. Don't you just want to be her friend? Other thoughts:
All the love for Modern Family, the best new show of the season (yeah, including Glee, which I do love, but more about that below). But no nomination for Ed O'Neil? He really is fantastic on that show--a wonderful combination of funny and sweet. You buy him as a dad, a grandfather, and as Gloria's husband. Makes you totally forget Al Bundy, a character I never liked.
Nominations for more of my favorites: my beloved NPH, Michael C. Hall, Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, and Rose Byrnne .
The nods to Lost: Matthew Fox really was a lead actor/heart of that show, so an Emmy this year would be awesome (but maybe not at Kyle Chandler's expense?). And hell yeah, Elizabeth Mitchell! Good thing I'm not an Emmy voter, because I'd have a heck of a time deciding between O'Quinn and Emerson (but would probably end up voting Emerson.)
Love that Burn Notice gets a bit of notice with the fun nomination of Sharon Gless. This isn't a superb show, but it's a lot of fun and she's terrific on it. These summer shows (including The Closer) are changing the way we think about TV. I like that.
Very happy for Julia Louis Dreyfus. New Christine was a show that was too funny to be canceled. (Ausiello's got an post-nomination interview with JLD here.) Too bad Better Off Ted didn't get any love either. Man, that show was hilarious--like Arrested Development with less of a mean streak.
Glee...well, I've been thinking a lot about this, and I am not sure how I feel about all the Glee nominations. Don't get me wrong: I love, love, love the show, but part of me doesn't believe it's superior TV. I think that what I love so much is the music. The writing can be so sloppy and cliched, some of the acting is pretty bad, and lots of times, you can't tell if it is a big old satire or serious. Lea Michelle deserves her nomination, as does Jane Lynch (someone needs to put together a gift book of Sue Sylvester insults), and Matthew Morrison's nod doesn't bother me.
The Glee nomination that intrigues me is the nomination for Chris Colfer. No one saw that coming. I'm not sure if it was his performance that was Emmy-worthy or the writing of his storylines, especially with his dad, played Mike O'Malley (who totally deserved his nomination). That was excellent stuff. A friend and I have had conversations about the character of Kurt: she hates him because he's so obnoxious and bitchy, but I think that makes him more realistic. What that portrayal shows you is that it is hard to be a gay high school boy (duh, right?) but instead of making him a sweet, always-victim, he's a bit of a brat at times. He makes a play for Finn even though he knows Finn is totally straight. That seems real. I don't know...it works for me. The same is true for Artie's struggles as a disabled person.
But other storylines (Finn's sadness over his absent dad, Rachel and Finn's on-again/off-again status, Ken and Emma's relationship early in the season) confuse me about the show's tone. It's like the show can't make up its mind about what it wants to be. (Kind of like Nip/Tuck, also created by Ryan Murphy.) Watch an hour of Glee and then an hour of Chuck. Chuck hits all the notes (seems like an appropriate metaphor): acting, writing, production, and has a sort of central theme/heart. Glee puts on a good show in terms of music and some laughs, but minute for minute, it seems to me to be the weaker show. Anyway, if any of you, dear readers, watch Glee, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this show--especially the whole satire vs. serious question.
Some snubs that bug me: No best drama for Friday Night Lights? No love for Chuck? No nomination for FNL's Zach Gilford? Nothing for John Noble on Fringe? Each of these is an absolute crime. But here's the deal: this year, it seems, there are far fewer of these types of crimes, and that's progress.
Up next, re-reading some Hawthorne (for my paper at SAMLA later this year), and after that, maybe some fall syllabizing...
I need a life, but can't find the time.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
And now, converting my freshly-edited article from MLA to Chicago style. Three and a half pages done out of 19. Fun stuff. I need a break.
Friday, July 9, 2010
1) Rep. Mike Weinstein's awesome campaign ad. This catchy little tune was stuck in my head for a hour or so yesterday.
2) Six thing from history that everyone pictures incorrectly. My favorite line (about what Greek statues really looked like): "Ancient Greece looked more like someone crashed their LGBT pride parade into a Mardi Gras Festival."
Major crisis, right? Well, it was, but thankfully, I had a print-out version, which my awesome friend David passed on to my awesome friend Aaron, who scanned it for me and emailed it to me yesterday. Yay! I shudder to think of the labor I would have had if that print-out had not existed...I still have my scribbled on, earlier drafts, but they are a mess. Plus, what makes it to the next draft is never an exact replication of those scribbled annotations, etc. So yeah, David and Aaron are awesome.
Next step: clean up the scanned version. As you might know, when you convert a pdf to a Word document, things get slightly messed up. Characters get switched, certain formatting gets lost, etc. Fixing the errors is a time-consuming process, but obviously less time-consuming than having to retype the whole thing. Plus, it makes you re-read everything again--and closely--which is always a good thing at this stage of composition.
Yesterday, after the end of Day 2 of Session 2 of Freshman Advising and Registration (more about that later, maybe), I spent about an hour cleaning up the document. It was actually kind of fun work. Yes, this is because, neat-freak that I am, I even enjoying cleaning documents. Plus, it was cool to see the progress in front of my eyes. Then the student I was doing an independent study with showed up, so I had to stop for awhile. She actually showed up about 15 minutes early, so I saved my work on the network drive, and only the network drive. This is okay (theoretically) since the network drive is super-secure and backed up every night, etc.
When an hour had passed and the independent study meeting was over, I turned back to the computer, which was displaying some pop-up messages about "network connections" being lost, etc. No big deal--this happens, then things get fixed. The document was still on my screen so I thought, "just in case, I'll save a copy on my desktop," but then Word crashed (don't know why) and that didn't work. And when I restarted my computer, the network drive was unavailable. Email wasn't working either. I eventually went home, where my Shepherd email was working (in web form) and there was an from IT explaining that there were all kinds of server problems, etc. "No big deal," I told myself, because I know that document is okay--just sitting on the network drive waiting for me to get back to it.
But now it's almost 11:00 on Friday and the network is still inaccessible. So much for getting those revisions done today. Very frustrating.
End of my technological venting session.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
1) From Gawker, "How to Survive the Heat Wave with No Air-Conditioning." Fortunately, I have AC at home, but I am such a mega-cheapskate that I use it pretty sparingly. Anyway, the tip about using a regular old electric fan made me laugh: "Park the fan nice and close to your face and it's double the pleasure. Pretend you're Tyra Banks at a photo shoot and your weave is just blowing in the wind." I also like their tips about losing your socks. That one is so absolutely true (right down to making sure your feet aren't all stinky!).
2) A fabulous new blog: Catalog Living, which imagines those perfect yet slightly "off" catalog photos from Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc through a couple named "Gary" and "Elaine." I will admit to doing some serious coveting while looking through these sorts of catalogs (or for that matter, houses in movies like It's Complicated), but then I always think, "Do people actually have houses like this?" No one I know. And when do we cross that line from "cool conversation piece/decorating element!" to "huh?" My sister Tara is actually pretty good at this. Her house is kind of amazing. I did once scratch my head at her purchase of a ball of twigs for her coffee table. "What will you do with that?" I asked. I don't think she ever answered.
3) Glenn Beck University. Just the title is funny...or horrifying. Whatever.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The Corner - National Review Online
(I hardly ever visit the Corner anymore--I just went there today to see what folks were saying about the Byrd vacancy. Imagine my surprise at seeing SU front-and-center on the first post!)
Here's the NPR story...
And yeah, my mom isn't right on this one. Sorry, Mom.
Also, here's a sweet little story I heard from a colleague at Shepherd: our most recent Shepherd Byrd-named building is the Erma Ora Byrd Nursing Building, named after the Senator's wife. who died in 2006. Anyway, Byrd showed up for the 2007 dedication. This colleague says that after the ceremony was over, she saw him sitting in his car, just staring at the building, a bit overcome with emotion. This image of an old, tired man, sitting in his car, missing his wife and proud of the building that bears her name, is a powerful one for me. So RIP, Senator Byrd.
UPDATE: Here's Shepherd's statement on Byrd's death, complete with lots of pictures of his legacy here.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
But just a short story for now: my tomato plants, which are now taller than me in places, collapsed! They were in cages, but the cages got pulled out of the ground...it was like a domino effect. The big one took the other two down with him. So picture me out there, in the 90+ degree heat, sun beating down, desperately trying to get them back up! After lots of twine, several expletives, and some prayers (funny how those last two can go together), things seem to be under control. Fortunately, I could just tie the cages and some of the really big stalks to the fence. There were some casualties--lots of snapped branches, lost teeny-tiny baby tomatoes--but I think, all in all, it could have been much worse.
Ahh, the stresses and joys of gardening!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
1) Check out this interactive map of where Americans are moving. You could have a lot of fun with this. I checked out, for instance, where most of the people in Guilford County, NC (where I used to live) are coming from. No surprise--lots of movement from the Northeast.
2) As a somewhat intense coupon clipper/bargain hunter, even I was quite impressed with this guy.
Sharon DeLevie and her mother Joan
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
1) The Drunk History series from Funny or Die. The thing is, take out some of the drunken excesses, and she sounds a bit like me teaching Frederick Douglass to my class. Or the pretentious drunken (and hilarious) conversations at any party in graduate school.
2) Louis Black on Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's. Awesome.
3) A 1927 map by Paramount Studios of fake filming locations (places in California that sort of look like other places.)
4) Love love love this vending machine.
5) A rare video clip of one my personal heroes, Victor Frankl, talking about man's search for meaning. (Read the book!)
6) From Saudi Arabia, the most terrifying commercial ever. Seriously, it's nightmare material...
7) To wipe that previous clip from your mind, check out this one, of a baby hearing sound for the very first time.
1) I feel obliged to state that the Chuck finale was fantastic. Everyone needs to watch Chuck. Seriously. I get that Lost was a kind of niche show--not for everyone. But Chuck has something--and something good--for everyone.
2) While I am still mourning the end of Lost, we've still got the other best show on TV, Friday Night Lights. Check out this fan promo for Emmy nominations for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. It is a crime that they haven't been recognized yet. The video encapsulates all the reasons it is so amazing.
2) The Lost exhibition. Yet another reason to get up to NY soon. Can you imagine owning some of these props? (Yes, the "you" in that last sentence are my imaginary, Lost-loving readers. And I am imagining said readers responding with, "That would be awesome!" Don't kill the fantasy.)
3) An epilogue on the Hurley/Ben era? Sounds sweet. Here's one possible idea.
4) Remember those 50 questions Lost needed to answer in it's finale? Well, according to this report card, they didn't do so well. But you know what, I don't care. It was still amazing. According to this column, I was tricked into liking the finale, and that might be true. But again, I don't care.
2) Jane's amazing mom passed this link onto me yesterday: "Emily Dickinson's Poetry Blooms at New York Botanical Gardens Exhibit." Another incentive to try to get up to NY sometime soon!
3) To Kill a Mockingbird turns 50.
4) Sarah Palin's spoken word poetry.
Monday, May 24, 2010
What a ride. Six amazing seasons. I never gave up on you, Lost, and I am so very glad about that. I never even really felt tempted to give up--not a bit. I just had some faith (John Locke would be proud!) and went with it.
Off to bed I go! My summer class starts tomorrow morning!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
1) The penultimate episode of Lost. (Hope it's better than last week's episode, but even a bad episode of Lost is better than 90% of everything else on TV.)
2) The Joss-Whedon-directed episode of Glee, featuring special guest star Neil Patrick Harris. (Check out an interview with Joss about the episode here.)
The dilemma, of course, is that they both air at 9:00. Lost wins out. Thanks to my DVR, I'll watch Glee right after. After all, Glee is a good way to come down from an intense hour of Lost.
Right now, I'll just be happy to have Chuck stick around. Focus on the good, right?
Plus, there's this sad little hard-working part of me that's like, "Well, no 'Christine' or 'Cold Case' means an extra 90 minutes a week to get grading done." Ack.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
A Cedary Fragrance
by Jane Hirschfield
I wash my face with cold water --
Not for discipline,
nor the icy, awakening slap,
but to practice
to make the unwanted wanted.
Recorded version--with some interesting context--available here.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010