Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coming next semester...

I've taught this course before at other schools, but this will be my first time teaching it at Shepherd (as part of our new core curriculum). Our department designed what are essentially two new "special topics" courses at the 200-level (non-majors). While my theme is "Creepy Lit," the common syllabus is flexible enough for other faculty to do lots of different themes. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Midterms done!

Just completed entering the last set of grades. I still have soooo much to get done in the next month or so, but it feels really good to have this task behind me.

Chair dancing celebration song, inspired by the film, which I caught the end of today on VH1 as I finished my last stack of exams.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"I Go Back to May 1937"

I found this recent poem of the day from the Poetry Foundation quite moving.

"I Go Back to May 1937"
Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the   
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks,
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips aglow in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,   
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are   
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.   
I want to go up to them and say Stop,   
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,   
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,   
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty face turning to me,   
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,   
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,   
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I   
take them up like the male and female   
paper dolls and bang them together   
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to   
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

(Audio here.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bing vs. Bag

We get a bit crazy here on Friday nights.

Midterms week

Got into the office before 8:00. Leaving at 7:36. Sounds about right.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone"

I just posted a link to this article on the blog for my ENGL 360 class, because we read Mary Wilkins Freeman's "A New England Nun," in which the protagonist finds herself so changed by years of living alone that she ultimately chooses a single life when her fiance returns (after 14 years--long story) to marry her.

I've been teaching Freeman's story for about five years now and each and every time, more and more students express sympathy for and understanding of Louisa. (And yeah, plenty still just say she's weird and OCD and all that...). I am not sure how big and permanent this trend is towards single living is, but clearly the choice is becoming more accepted.

And holy cow, can I relate to most of the anecdotes/examples in the article. Wow.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

90s Nostalgia

If there are three better back-to-back hours of kitschy-so-bad-it's-good-and-man-did-I-love-this-when-I-was-15 than episodes 14, 15, and 16 of Season 2 of 90210, then it's news to me. These are, to refresh your memory:

Episode 14: "The Next 50 Years," the very special episode when Scott shoots himself.
Episode 15: "U4EA," when Emily Valentine slips drugs to Brandon.
Episode 16: "My Desperate Valentine," when Emily Valentine goes crazy and tries to set the float on fire.

Pure perfection. And I don't care who knows it: even with (or because of?) his crazy 90s hair, that Dylan McKay is still so dreamy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Year in review...

...well, the academic year in review, so to speak. Our annual reports are due on March 1.* It's always a strange process, but man does it reward good record keeping. All those little workshops or events you went to? It's terrific to have that all written down in your trusty planner (so don't throw out last year's planner until after you complete that report!). Still, every year there's at least one thing I have to do a little internet searchin' for. This year it was "When was graduation?" and "What the heck was the name of that workshop?" All in all, though, it's kind of rewarding to see the template get filled up with information about your courses, your scholarship, and all that other stuff.

Mind-numbingly boring to do, but rewarding at the same time. And yeah, a rip-roaring fun way to spend a Saturday night.

*Which is really weird, right? They used to be due on April 1, which was also weird, but now it's a month earlier. So we have to track/record our activities from March 1 of one year to February 28/9 of the next year. It's especially strange because you start/stop mid-semester.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can't wait for this!

Check out the trailer for the new Great Expectations on PBS. Looks terrific...I have, ha ha, great expectations for it.