Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening day!

Although it is cold, rainy and even snowy outside, it's also that wonderful time of year: baseball season! The Yankees open their season today, with a 1:05 game against Detroit. I'm in class until 1:40 and usually stay on campus until at least 5:00 or 6:00, but not today. I'll be out of here by 2:00, use the DVR to catch up on what I've missed, and settle in to see the boys in pinstripes do their thing.

Follow-up to the previous post

Even without the 8:00 a.m. meeting, I still pulled into the campus parking lot at 8:15, and that was after taking care of a couple of errands (paying the mortgage, etc.). And I felt fine. In fact, I usually get to campus every day between 7:45 and 8:30--no big deal.

So why was/is the idea of the 8:00 a.m. meeting so awful? I suppose it's the difference between being able to come in, relax a bit, check email, settle in for the day, and then get going, as opposed to the "you must be here at 8:00 and then sit at a table while we discuss important matters" vibe that comes from a meeting. If I get to campus at 7:45, but my first class isn't until 9:10, I don't have to talk to anyone for over an hour. I don't have to be "on" yet.

Does that make sense?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The little things...

I just realized that the 8:00 a.m. meeting that I thought I had tomorrow is actually next Thursday. Now, I still have an 8:00 meeting coming up, but right now, I am so thrilled by the fact that it's not in less than nine hours.

Another reason to avoid Dilbert cartoons

This is pretty darn a bad way.

A couple of quick cross-posts (sort of) from my advanced comp class's blog...

1) I am THRILLED about Fringe's renewal. Take a look at this interesting piece about it. The piece's author explores how the TV landscape has changed since the days of Firefly. He also discusses the roles fans can play in "saving" a show.

Some important selections:

"Not so long ago, TV shows like 'Firefly,' 'Wonderfalls,' 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' and 'Dollhouse' were mourned by science fiction fans as having been canceled before their time, due -- as it always is -- to low ratings.

Another thing each had in common: They aired on Fox on Friday nights.

So observers of the TV world were surprised Thursday to learn of the network's renewal of the series 'Fringe' for a full fourth season after two months in a Friday timeslot."
2) Because there's a Buffy reference in it...

and because it's a very funny piece...

and because I love Adrianne Palicki (formerly of Friday Night Lights, one of the best TV shows ever...), who will be playing the new Wonder Woman...

and because it makes some great points about woman super heroes...

I am linking to this column about Wonder Woman's wardrobe. (Yeah--it's a doozy.) Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Just a brief post to sing the praises of Joseph Harris' Rewriting, the book we're using in my Advanced Composition class. The students (and I) have enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's so very practical and still theoretical and mercifully jargon-free. Harris has such a lovely, non-cynical, charitable view of writing. It's quite refreshing.

We've just covered Chapter 4, "Taking an Approach," which Harris calls "at once generous and critical," in which "you adopt, extend, and rework the driving questions and concerns of another writer" (7). One of my favorite suggestions from this chapter is that students consider adding an "acknowledgments" section to their papers:

"I advise students to form the habit of writing a note of acknowledgments at the end of an essay, and in such notes not only to name the people they wish to thank but the specify what they want to thank them for. The classmates who talked through your ideas with you, the colleague who recommended a certain book, the professor whose lecture suggested a useful perspective, the librarian who helped you locate key texts, the roommate who assisted with proofreading, the tech person who showed you how to scan images into documents, the organization that provided support for your research, the friends and family who put up with you when you could think and talk about nothing else but what you were writing--all of these people merit your thanks. Writing is real labor. It requires real time and resources to research, read, draft, revise, and prepare the final copy of a text. And this material work of writing, of the making of texts, almost always involves the help of others" (95).

Isn't that a great idea? We talked about it in class, and I am considering making an acknowledgment section an optional (for some credit) part of their final papers (although it won't count towards the required length).

Anyway, I've just completed grading my students' weekly responses and was excited to see at least one student putting Harris' idea into action, as she wrote an acknowledgment section for her paper, noting specifically "everyone in the class who helped me hash out all my questions on the blog, especially those who responded to my [entry]. To [Classmate 1 and Classmate 2] who always make me happy and excited to talk about my ideas, and to Dr. H, who gave me not only this cool idea, but also gives us to the best forum to find our voices." Yeah, moments like that--where it all seems to come together--really make me remember how much this job rocks.

So here's my own acknowledgment: thanks to Joseph Harris for writing Rewriting. What a great book!

Work Cited

Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things With Texts. Logan: Utah State UP, 2006. Print.

Sign you've been in the office too long...

You have your headphones on and want to turn the volume down just a bit. You hit the volume button on your ipod, but can't figure out why the volume won't turn down. Get very frustrated. Then realize that you aren't listening to your ipod, but playing the music through your computer. And yeah, you don't actually need those headphones. Sigh.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can we talk about how awesome Fringe has been lately?

Well, it's always been a great show, but these past few episodes have been simply amazing. "Subject 13" was beautiful, rich, and heartbreaking. If we needed any more evidence that both John Noble and Orla Brady deserve Emmys (not that they'll get them), this episode should end any discussion. Amazing performances. And how about the casting of young Peter and young Olivia? Those kids must have done their homework, as they had the mannerisms of their characters nailed.

Jeff Jensen's got a good piece about the episode up over at I am particularly drawn to his last comments, because I have been thinking something similar:

"I’m going out of my way to emphasize my love for the episode because I fear what I’m about to say may sound like a criticism. It’s not — it’s just an observation. As I saw it, “Subject 13″ effectively reduced the tricky, defining tensions of Fringe into one big horrible misunderstanding — one that has produced profound, destiny-shaping pain for many people that can’t be easily forgotten, but becomes easier to forgive once everyone knows what we know. Especially Peter and Walternate. If Peter knew that back in the day, Walter was doing all he could to give him back the life he was supposed to have — a life that he would have lost, anyway, if Walter hadn’t saved him — then I have to think Peter’s frosty regard for a man he refuses to call “Dad” would finally, permanently thaw."

I'm with Jensen: what we learned last week was quite unexpected and moving--Walter wanted to give Peter back, Elizabeth lied to save Peter, Walter gave up sending Peter back to help Olivia--but these revelations in some ways make Walter's (and Elizabeth's) actions much more noble and, in a way, less relate-able, less real. It's a bit of a risk for the writers to take...let's see where it goes next.

Also, Hurley on Fringe? Love it!

Finally, Jensen is so right about Fringe's promo people. They are phenomenal. 

Take that, midterm grades!

Just submitted the last set. That means I can spend this weekend getting some work done on my next conference paper. And oh yeah, maybe that thing called "fun." Remember that?