Thursday, April 29, 2010

A few links...

It's been a long week, but (finally!) I am making progress on two big projects--both due on Friday--and will reward myself with a bit o' bloggin'. (Yes, I still have all of that grading to do, but that's another story.)

First, I'm just going to come out and say it: Chuck and Sarah are my favorite TV couple right now--one of my favorite TV couples ever. As I've mentioned before, this show just makes me smile. Not to sound too cheesy, but after a long, rough, and stressful Monday, for that one hour, I was in a much better mood. It's the perfect combination of good storytelling, humor, drama, and fabulous acting. The music's pretty awesome, too. I love that the writers let Chuck and Sarah get together (take notes, "Bones" writers, this is how it can be done!) without diminishing any of the show's energy (so far.) Check out this bit of Chuck Love from the folks at

Second, I think this guy was probably in one of my classes at some point. Give it a read and find yourself moving from laughter to tears and then back to laughter. My other teacher friends no doubt understand my point: "I emailed you, Dr. H. Did you get it? How come you didn't respond? It's been a whole 2 hours!"

Third, from this morning's, a pretty cool tribute to Susan Gubar from a former student that also goes a step further, asking important questions about curricular requirements, specifically about seminars.

Okay, now onto those 70 ENGL 204 papers...

Friday, April 23, 2010

South Park

Andrew Sullivan is all over this censorship debacle and says it so very well here.

Bad teacher???

So I just emailed this story to a friend, but it feels right sharing it here, too.

Originally, yesterday and today were both supposed to be “no classes” days here at Shepherd—unless we had snow days. And you know how that turned out…

Well, we are all caught up in my MWF classes so I told them, “You know what? We don’t need to meet that day. But I will be available during our class time in my office if you want to talk about your papers.” These papers are due on Monday. Anyway, I know I told them at least a dozen times: “We won’t have class, but I’ll be in my office during our class time.” Early this week, I got even more specific: “Although we don’t have class on Friday, I’ll be in my office, Knutti 201C, from 9:00-1:00 on Friday. Come by if you want to talk about your papers.” I even sent out a flipping email with the same message.

So today I get to school, open my email and one of my shining star students (yes, I mean that sarcastically) has written me asking when I’ll be in my office today.

Words fail.

So here’s my question: am I a bad teacher if I don’t respond???

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Paper-Grading Math

So my friend Tim just told me, "NEVER count the pages. You'll put a gun to your head," but I couldn't help myself and he was too late. I'd already done the math. Here's the amount of pages I anticipate having to grade at minimum in the next two weeks, not counting final exams:

ENGL 407 papers:
20 papers of 15-20 pages each
Minimum number of pages: 300

ENGL 355 papers:
18 papers of 10-12 pages each
Minimum number of pages: 180

ENGL 204 papers:
70 papers of 5-7 pages each
Minimum number of pages: 350

Grand total: 830 pages minimum.

Fun stuff. Fellow teachers, feel free to share your own miserable mathematics of grading.

Even more links...

These are the non-academic variety.

1) On my last trip up the NJ Turnpike, Jane (my awesome road-trip buddy!) and I discussed at length the names of the rest-stops along the way. I still don't get, for instance, why they have a James Fenimore Cooper rest-stop in New Jersey. My favorite name? The Walt Whitman Service Area, of course. Anyway, Gawker takes on the idea of renaming the rest- stops, and it's all kinds of funny.

2) The headline reads, "Veronica Mars Movie Could Still Happen, Arrested Development Perhaps Not." What the heck is the difference between "could still happen" and "perhaps not"? Anyway, I've got a bit of a sad (possible) spoiler alert here: as sad as it is to admit, neither one of these is going to happen folks. We were lucky to get each of these two shows for three awesome seasons. The final stage of grieving is, after all, letting go. Now let's dry our tears as we enjoy our DVDs.

3) Every time someone in my family (usually my dad) sends out a ludicrous conspiracy email, I head to, find the de-bunking article, and send it back to him and whoever else he sent that first email to. (Is that obnoxious? I can't help myself.) Anyway, here's a cool profile of the folks behind

4) And finally, cute boys with cats. Yes, please.

Links, links, and more links...

It's the calm before the storm here, so to speak. Post-wedding, pre-grading onslaught. Yes, there are still dozens of tasks to get through today, but I really want to share some links that have been collecting in my bookmarks for a couple of weeks now.

First, the academic links beginning with the serious and ending with the downright funny:

1) Another great column from Libby Gruner, someone I met and admired in my brief time at the University of Richmond, at This one takes on rubrics, spreadsheets, and the changing nature of being an English professor.

2) A nice little piece about keeping a notebook from

3) "Five Ways the Google Books Settlement Will Change the Future of Reading." Google Books has already changed the way I do research, so this article was especially interesting to me. A brief example: back in 2004/2005, when I was working on my dissertation, there was an childrens' book by Mary Mann that would have liked to get my hands on. Yes, I could have requested it via ILL, but it would have come in microfilm and that point in my process, I just didn't want to have another "must read on a small screen in the library" book to get through, especially for what would probably translate into a mere paragraph or footnote in my dissertation. So, I didn't get it. A few months ago, though, I was able to view and print the whole darn thing, thanks to Google Books. For people like me, interested in 19th-century and earlier texts, Google Books is amazing. I've also used it to print out big chunks of periodicals, for instance, to illustrate for my Seminar students the contexts in which some of Poe's stories appeared.

4) The field of English studies has been saved by "Neuro Lit Crit." Thank goodness. Some doubts and reactions here.

5) So a professor in California runs a website with advice for picking up hookers in Thailand. I don't see a problem here. (Actually, it's kind of an interesting piece in terms of how you handle abhorrent personal behavior that doesn't technically affect someone's work on campus.)

6) [Veering towards the funny/irreverent here.] "20 Percent of Librarians Have Done It in the Stacks." Isn't that the entire reason for working in the library? This also makes me think about my librarian friends in new ways...

7) "A Princeton Professor Dissects Ke$ha's 'Tic Tok.'" Absurdly wonderful.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wedding, Part One

So my sister got married this past weekend and the whole thing was quite pretty. However, I am so very busy and it will take forever for me to post my own pictures. (Plus, I don't have all that many, since I was in the bridal party and didn't have many chances to have my own camera out.) But I can post just a few I've grabbed from other folks to give you a taste of the day. Enjoy!

The happy couple.

The flower girl and ring bearers.

Tara and I.

Kelsie and Olivia.

More to come...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thinking of the miners...

The amazing Denise Giardina writes about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. At least 25 people dead. This time, there had better be consequences for Massey Energy. If you want a little bit of background about this company, start with this movie.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday afternoon cuteness...

Love love love this. The expression on the girl in the middle is just bonus awesomeness.