Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day of Suck

Today is going to be a day of suck, I can already tell.

I slept for about seven hours last night, and yet I feel like I've been awake all night. My alarm woke me up right during the middle of a dream (about Hogan's Heroes, I shit you not), and now I feel very disconnected, as if not all the synapses are firing properly.

Damn brain.

Good weekend, though. Friday was bowling and drinking. Hambone (formerly Boone's) was celebrating his birthday, so we got him stupidly drunk. I believe he had at least one shot of every major type of alcohol, not to mention a shot of Goldschlagger to top the night off. Saturday was a sweet little party where I got to remember how horrible red red wine can be the following morning. And on Sunday, H's actual birthday, we had cake. With oreos crumbled up and mixed in. Not in the batter, mind you, but in the middle layer of frosting between the two sections of cake. And not only oreos, but mint oreos. Boots, Hambone's significant other, really outdid herself in the baking of this masterpiece. Though we did mock her slightly for the chipper little face she drew on top of the frosting. But all in all, cake on a Sunday night is definitely a good thing. Maybe even the best thing.

Now working Writing Center on both Sunday and Monday nights. That kinda blows.

Watched the season premiere of Heroes last night (mild spoilers ahead, so be warned). All in all, seems like a nice start after a craptacular season last year, though it did feel like they were just throwing plot after plot after plot against the wall, just to see what stuck. I think too much was happening too fast, with very little setup, which worked for the plots they had laid groundwork for last season (Nathan, Peter, Claire), but very poorly with the new plots that just felt thrown in for the sake of having new plots (Hiro, Mohinder the Abysmally Stupid). I think they got so much flak for moving too slowly last season that they tried to counter that right from the get go, but they still need to find a happy medium.

Some specific gripes and thoughts:
-The whole Mohinder-infusing-powers Spiderman/The Fly subplot is already irritating me. It came about far too quickly, and seems like an ungood way to go. And it seems to offer further testimony to the fact that Mohinder is, without question, the stupidest scientist ever to live. Ever. Plus, it has Maya in it, who deserves to die.

-Whatever happened to the Haitian? I'm ok with the fact that we got no Micah thus far, since he always annoyed me. But the Haitian? Where's he at?

-How the hell did Sylar (last seen fleeing Mohinder the Abysmally Stupid's lab in NY) manage to get to California in what seemed to be in series time about two hours, let alone find Claire's house, where she was supposedly living incognito? That irked me.

-Since when do Peter's powers involve the ability to put someone in someone else's body?

-How awesome is it that Weevil and VM are hanging out again as supervillains? Loved that.

-Seriously. Mohinder = Stupid. Can't emphasize that enough.

-Linderman! Whee! I really hope they're taking a page from BSG and making him like the Invisible Six. But please, no red dress for Mr. L.

Ok, that's all for now. Still trying to fight off lethargy and finalize paper prompts. Peace out, blogodrome.

Monday, September 08, 2008

After the Boys of Summer Have Gone

That's right folks, it's the start of a new school year. Sorry I've been away for so long. I wish I could claim I was busy. I wish I could claim I was sick. I wish I could claim I was just too drunk and hungover to post. Ok, I can kinda claim the last one. But even with that in mind, there's been a criminal negligence of blogging on my part. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I'm still working on a post dealing with Dr. Church's wedding (seriously, I have a partial draft saved), and I promise a post on Cryptojew and Hillbilly's wedding and my subsequent New York debauch. But tonight's about the start of the school year, not the end of summer, so those tales will have to wait.

I'm just gonna say it. The start of this school year has been majorly majorly odd. I'm teaching a class for a postdoc that none of us could contact until the week before school started. We had no idea at all what we were teaching. No idea who this person was. Not that we would have prepared, mind you. But we're educators. We like to be in the loop.

I'm teaching sections on Wednesday afternoons, with lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That also is massively screwed up, since I'll be leading discussions on texts we haven't finished yet, or forcing the students to remember stuff we talked about the week before. Now, I'm not sure about you, but when I was an undergrad, I never remembered stuff past the week we read it. There's like a rule or something--once Friday afternoon hits, you are entitled to forget that week's work until the midterm comes around. So that should make sections interesting.

Also, my student rosters have changed about 90 times over the course of the week. I'm now back up to 29 students, when at one point I was down to 27 (out of two sections, when usually you have between 35-38). At least I'm back up to even numbers (14 and 15), as opposed to this weekend, when I was at 11 and 16. I guess I can run a section with those numbers without too much trouble. Excepting, of course, the trouble from the whole Wednesday afternoon thing.

Finally, I'm teaching an extra workload in the Writing Center this semester, so I need to constantly be double checking whether I'm scheduled to be working at the time. I believe, right now, that schedule boils down to working Sunday and Monday nights, and Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Which means that Wednesdays and Thursdays, between WC and section or WC and lecture, will be extremely stressful. Of course, that still only amounts to roughly 5-6 hours of work on each of those days, as opposed to the usual 8 hours or so most people work.

God I love being a grad student.

On the plus side, some good stuff has been happening as well with the start of this school year:

-I keep getting asked to do stuff. Which is really awesome, since it lets me pad out my CV further. And since the bulk of my energies this year involve me getting ready to go on the job market next year, every line is a little bit of help. Though that does mean that I have to keep doing things for people. Oh well.

-We now have a new office mate, Woodford Reserve (or possibly just Woodford for short in future posts). Despite the loss of the Red-Headed Stepchild, this is still very good news, since WR rocks quite a bit, and is actually a good friend of mine, as opposed to getting stuck with some noob that KH and I need to smack around.

-I'm doing fairly well at not meeting the new people. I've met a few, and the few I've meet seem sociable enough. But I've met enough people. No more new people. Unless I've already met you and we exchange pleasantries (like the new person who is one of my fellow T.A.s for lecture), then don't plan on establishing any meaningful relationship with me. I'm sure you're very fine people, but I'm not going to be around long enough to make it worth your while to know me. Which is your loss, since I'm awesome.

-I handed in a draft of my second dissertation chapter today. Fuck yeah!

-Captain Americanist is squatting in the office across the hall this semester, since the usual prof there (Spousal Hire) is on leave. I foresee many idle hours wasted as we throw shit at each other across the hall.

-We drank five boots of beer last Friday, after spending several hours at the bar with $3.00 pitchers. All in all, drunkenness seems to be at its usual September levels.

-The tv I'm watching is really stellar at the moment. Burning through Dexter season two with the Norwegian, and tearing up Deadwood season three on Netflix. Really doesn't get much better than that.

Finally, per usual at the start of the semester, I've asked my students the staple "Who would win in a fight, Batman or Sam Jackson" question. I'm assuming the awesomeness of The Dark Knight is really stacking the deck against old Sammy, since Gotham's defender won handily, 21-6 (of course, these numbers reflect the students who were there last Wednesday, and may in no way correspond to my current students). Some choice responses, with blogger comments in italics:

-Batman. Dude's got heart.
-Jackson, because he's Mace Windu and jedis would destroy Batman. Loses points for referencing Star Wars prequels, but leads to an interesting intellectual exercise. How could Batman ever beat a Jedi?
-Batman, because Christian Bale is amazing and has Heath backing him up. Umm, maybe they didn't actually see the movie, where Heath did his damnedst to kill Batman. Plus, Heath? Dude's kinda dead. Although a zombie Heath Ledger might well help beat up on Sam Jackson.
-Batman has Morgan Freeman on his side. Now that's another fun question. Of the wise, badass black superstars, would Freeman take down Jackson?
-Batman, because Samuel L. Jackson is whack. Did they change the meaning of "whack" since I last checked? I thought whack was a good thing...
-Batman, b/c SJ doesn't have a cape. Clearly this person never saw The Incredibles.
-Jackson. He was eaten by a shark and is still alive to talk about it. At least until "Deep Blue Sea 2: Deep Blue Sky (Sharks on a Plane)"
-Batman, b/c Dave Chappelle is a better Samuel L. Jackson than Samuel L. Jackson is. Ok, that's kinda awesome.

Ok, that's all for now folks. I'm off to have some bourbon to celebrate the end of this chapter. More posts promised on a much more regular basis.

(Oh, side note for my Northwestern friends. One of my students this semester is from a little town called Minnetonka, MN. I nearly burst out laughing when she told me this, and could only respond that I knew someone from there. I didn't have the heart to tell her that my drunken college buddies and I had made a pact to burn that town to the ground and salt the earth. Which we still need to do, by the way...)