Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Believe It or Not

Believe it or not, I'm walking on air.
Never thought I could feel so free-ee-ee!
Flying away on a wing and a prayer!
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me!

Just saw a YouTube clip of the opening to Greatest American Hero, and felt like sharing with all of you. Awesomely catchy tune. (And yes, we've all seen the Seinfeld usage, no need to invoke it.)

So I survived yesterday, which was momentous. I had a midterm Tuesday morning, so naturally Monday night I had a Writing Center shift, studied for two hours, watched Studio 60, studied for an hour more, slept for 4.5 hours, studied more, went to WC Training (more on that to come), then took the midterm, went to class, then worked another WC shift until 8:00. All in all, a long and painful day, where I discovered that Red Bull does in fact give you wings, but tastes like ass and upsets your stomach. Though still not as bad as the time I pounded the ginormous can of Monster energy drink and jittered the rest of the day.

The midterm was easy, because I had studied. It was all multiple choice, based on rote memorization, and no real thought was necessary. As someone who survives by being able to write well about things I really don't remember or understand, I was personally affronted by a multiple choice exam for a 500 level course. But then, I also finished in 25 minutes. Still, I think that in a class on modern communication, where the first lecture emphasized the fact that changes in technology are good because it means people don't have to memorize as much, is extremely hypocritical for making people memorize a lot. Had I failed, I planned elaborately to throw the midterm down in front of the professor, spit at his feet, and accuse him of this very hypocrisy. Luckily, that didn't happen.

At WC training that morning, we discussed problems of racism and racial inequality in the classroom and in conferences. And, for the majority of the time, I just kept hearing Homer Simpson saying "I'm a white male, ages 18-45. Everyone cares what I think, no matter how stupid." He then pulls out a can that reads "Nuts 'n' Gum: Together at last!" I'm just happy I didn't laugh out loud, and get branded a horrible racist by my peers.

So my question for you all: what should I go as for Halloween? I'm pondering going as my alter ego from NBC Nightly News. Thoughts? Or other suggestions? It needs to be something cheap and easy, just like me.

Oh, and go Cards! Though I do look forward to Quantum attempting to burn St. Louis to the ground. But then, aren't we still slotted to burn down Minnetonka, MN, before anyplace else? Or have we abandoned that idea?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This is NBC Nightly News...

My students took their midterms today. On one of them, under "Instructor", she wrote "Brian Jennings." Now, as insulted as I am that she couldn't remember my name (and it isn't a hard name to remember), I'm more amused that she remembered it was the last name of a newscaster, and just confused Brian Williams and Peter Jennings (or at least, that's what I like to think happened).

Unrelated, on Veronica Mars last night, they set up an entire intricate plot of theft and betrayal, including a villain named Larry, just so the wronged football player could storm in at the episode's end and say "Where's the playbook? Where's the playbook, Larry? You're entering a world of pain!" Any show that goes to such intricate lengths to toss in a Lebowski reference is clearly awesome.

Monday, October 09, 2006

God Bless America

Once again, dear readers, I come to you after Studio 60, when I just don't feel like doing any homework anymore. This show has been catching some heat on some of the blogs I link to, and I can understand the criticism (mostly that people just don't seem to care about the drama of putting on the show itself). I respectfully disagree, part of which comes out of my own experience in theatre throughout high school and college, where the ability to get the show out there when it needs doing was always paramount.

Besides, tonight was just laugh out loud funny. The Baseball-Strindberg dual metaphor scene alone made the entire show. Not to mention the constant pitcher bashing, the scene with the exotic dancer and the boot, and the hookers, pimps, crips/bloods, and army men dragged in for the late night audience. Comic gold. And did I mention the Strindberg? Or the tripartite breaking window gag?

Anyway, an update on my time at the Writing Center. This past week I've come across some trying times, as for the first time I've had to deal with the people who, God bless em, just couldn't write their way out of a paper bag (with a very sharp and pointy pen, and a very thin bag). With these poor souls, we only normally get half an hour, and the paper is due the next day, so it's hard to say "You've got this all wrong, rewrite it," or "You clearly have no idea how to do a close reading," or "I'd fail this if I were your TA." I'm still not quite sure how to help these poor bastards, other than offering some basic things they can work on (This is what a thesis is. This is what you don't have.) and praying their TA is merciful. And, since these are English papers more often than not, I know who their TA is, and I know if I were grading it myself in their position, I wouldn't be all that merciful. Not with a first paper. But then, I'm cruel and sadistic that way.

Which leads me to my next point. Tomorrow should be fun, as we are discussing ESL (English Second Language) students in our training. For said training, we had to watch a video, the opening of which discussed the different styles of writing found across the globe. Naturally, when they repeatedly told us how they differed from American expectations, my response was "Because they're stupid. What moron would write a paper that way? Lousy country." Followed closely by "That's all well and good. But if you're in America, you'll write like an American, or fail my course." Followed by chanting of "USA! USA! USA!" I'm culturally sensitive that way. At any rate, it should make training fun tomorrow, provided I don't actually say these things out loud, and get fired faster than you can say "hegemony." Which was ironic, considering one of the books they showed during this video was a copy of Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism. (English joke.)

In closing, to all my friends out there, please update your blogs. McJew, you've been in Manhattan for the better part of two months now. I want to hear the further exploits. And Brownsox, you may have written something recently (recently for you, at least), but it's freakin insane. Have you ever considered a heavy drug regiment?

Oh, and the Tigers are in the playoffs. My world doesn't make sense anymore. But go Cardinals!

Monday, October 02, 2006

We're not old. We're not!

So my post-Studio 60 blog is getting to be a habit. Tonight was fun, but not as good as last week. Matt and Danny definitely make the show worthwhile, though, and their banter is awesomely good. Also appreciated were jokes about Moliere.

The title of this post comes from the shock I had today. Whilst observing in the Writing Center (where I now work, earning a fat paycheck that may actually raise me out of the poverty level this year), a student casually commented that she remembered exactly where she was on 9/11. She was at school, dutifully attending classes. In the eighth grade.

I, of course, was lazily whiling away a morning in Atlanta, preparing to begin my senior year of college. I now feel very old, in a way that I haven't felt old before. Guess I'll have to drink a lot this weekend to counter that feeling. Cause when you're hung over, you don't feel anything but hung over.

This weekend, watched Groundhog Day (on sale at Target for $7, made me nostalgic for winter and angry at the 80 degree weather we had today) and saw Little Miss Sunshine (very good, even though the English grad students were the only ones laughing at the Proust jokes, which made me feel like an intellectual snob (which I love)). I also found that one of the great joys of being a book reader is going back and rereading books you haven't touched in forever. I tend to use whatever's at hand as a bookmark. I normally find bits of paper, straw wrappers, napkins, hunks of cardboard, actual bookmarks (I'm always more shocked by these than anything else, though I still don't know where my Saruman bookmark it), etc. This past weekend, I found an old Far Side comic, from around 2000. Brought me great joy, for some indescribable reason.

Other than that, I'm spending the week besieged by students, who all feel the need to meet with me and discuss their papers, due this Friday. I think I frightened them last week. Excellent. But not quite so excellent, they all need to meet outside my office hours, so I'm pretty much cancelling everything else I have going. But if it means I have to read a few less crappy thesis statements, I'll be content. Or even more pained, as they still write bad papers even after meeting with me several times.

But then, who really knows how the mind of the undergraduate works? Not me, that's for sure. I guess I'm just too old.