Saturday, September 29, 2007

I don't need this.

I just read a short paper by one of my students, and it's appallingly misogynistic. Appallingly. He actually says that women are inferior and that men don't need them; that all they're good for is child-bearing.

I believe that this student is serious, because he said some similar things (and other crazy sexist stuff) in class the other day, and in an earlier paper he referred to his ex-girlfriend as a whore, going into quite a bit of detail about how awful she was.

I just sent my department chair a lengthy email describing the paper and asking her what I should do--whether there's someone on campus I can go to with this, or what.

The thing is, I don't want to teach him. I just don't. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be able to change his views on women this semester (and how would I do that?), but by continuing to teach him--and possibly passing him--I feel that I'd be endorsing, or at least permitting, his view. I'm on the verge of tears writing this; his paper was so hateful and insane that I'm not sure how to cope with him. (He's always decently polite in class, by the way, so it's not as though I've had problems with him in the past.)

I just feel shocked and appalled and--attacked, frankly. And I'm afraid that, even if he stops writing this kind of horrible garbage, he'll still be thinking it, and I don't know what to do about that.

*****************************************************
And with that, I just might stop working for the night. Where's that beer?

Oh, the Things I Need to Do

5:00 might be a little late for a to-do list, fine. FINE. But here it is anyway, because this must be an Evening of Productivity. And possibly of Beer, As Well.
  • finish grading comp papers
  • prep one class (just one! The other's getting done tomorrow)
  • fix a healthy dinner, for God's sake
  • making a few minor revisions to the CV and book proposal--nah, just the CV (hey, how do you cross things out in Blogger?)
  • read one article
  • (maybe) rough out revisions to the Conditional Article
Today was not as productive as it maybe could have been, though I seem to have kept busy. I did, finally, do several important house things, like make granola and repot a plant, and I got through a small amount of reading. But a colleague organized a Grading Party at the local coffee shop (a small Grading Party--just the three of us new folk), and that was less productive than humanly possible. I got through a lot of papers, but not four hours worth of papers. Oh well. I suppose it's good that I occasionally speak to people on the weekends.

Boring post, sorry. But that's the view from here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conditional Triumph

My article has been (conditionally) accepted! I have some very minor revisions to make and one or two issues to sort out, and then that annoying parenthetical can--I hope--be deleted. Huzzah!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Much Better Now

Yeah, I don't know what was going on with me this morning. Or last night, either. I was in some kind of blue place: feeling very vulnerable and alarmed. About everything. By mid-day today, though, all was well again, and I can't remember what I was so freaked out about.

No, I'm not on top of my grading (I'll get through it this weekend) and yes, I have a really difficult class to prepare for tomorrow (with a virtual guarantee that half of them won't have done the reading--it's hard, and papers are due--and that those that have won't understand it, so, you know, eck), but it's okay. Everything is just fine.

You know what's funny? I think that that expressionless stare I mentioned in my last post has something to do with my improved mood. In the first weeks of class, I was pretty unnerved by any and all discipline issues (nothing too major, but I have some whisperers in one section and a couple of jokey, noisy students in another). For a long time, I didn't feel comfortable telling them to knock it off or otherwise being stern. And, well, I'm pretty much getting over that. I'm also a lot less panicky about those students who consistently just say things in class that are way the hell off. At first I would try to salvage some meaning from them ("Yes, there is a sense in which Beowulf really just wants to be loved"--okay, I never said that, nor would I ever, but you get the idea), but at this point--hey! I'm the professor! And, well, you're wrong! Next!

(I'm gentler than that, obviously. But my Strategies of Redirection are definitely improving.)

One thing I'm trying this year is keeping a teaching diary. So after every class, more or less, I write a little paragraph about what I did, how it went, my thoughts on my performance, and any issues with students that came up. It's still pretty early in the year, so I haven't reread any of this yet, but it's helping me to think of the development of my teaching skills as a process--something that will change and (presumably) improve with time. It's also nice to reflect on things that worked. Such as having a great discussion on X topic (I try to note the topic), or really feeling confident and in control of the material, or actually having fun now and again. I think that this diary will be a good tool down the line, too, and will help with all kinds of things, such as answering teaching questions in job interviews or remembering how in the hell I've taught Spenser in the past. Also--while I don't think that this'll be an issue--in the unlikely event that I have a real problem with a student, I'll have a record of any questionable interactions with him/her from the beginning.

(No, I haven't had any questionable interactions yet. But I'll write them down if I do.)

So yeah. It's a challenge. It's a challenge, quite frankly, just having a proper job: In grad school, I never had this many obligations--of the kind that have to be met immediately, with dire consequences if they aren't. And I'm learning. It'll be fine, just fine. All shall be well and all that.

In stark contrast to my previous post

Not much to report. Just checking in to say that I'm tired. And a little cranky. And somehow behind in my work, only two days into the week, after a solidly productive weekend. What the hell?

Grumble, grumble. Too much to do today and all I want to do is sleep in....

But okay, I think I know what's going on. We're in the middle 1/3 of the semester (it's the 6th week, after all), and, as Porpentine recently said, the honeymoon is over. A good number of my students don't seem to be keeping up with the reading. Some of the freshmen seem to have become more relaxed with one another and simultaneously less concerned with impressing me. And I, I am tired. I need an actual day, or even just a half-day, entirely off: when I can be thinking about things other than classes and not dwelling on how much work I'll have to do later, once the non-working is over.

In better news, though, once Wednesday is finished, I always feel as though the weekend is almost upon me. Each class just meets one more time, and then I get two days away from campus! Hooray!

ETA: Coffee helps--as does the realization that there might be a hormonal element to my particular despair (much as I hate admitting to that as a cause). I feel much more capable of dealing with the world now. And today, we are talking about what kinds of claims can and cannot be defended--even though technically that's supposed to be the focus of Comp II. Whatever. Today, the stick bears down.

(--In the mildest possible fashion. Seriously, I am not a scary teacher. Although I am working on a certain expressionless stare that seems to be effective in dealing with the more rambunctious elements....)

ETA2: Another thing that's probably stressing me out? I should be hearing back about an article any day now. I'm very nervous and hopeful; somehow I've convinced myself that my entire future rides on this thing (which it doesn't! it doesn't!).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lunatic

Last night, as I was tossing about in bed getting ready to sleep, I noticed quite a bright light coming in through my blinds. As I live in the middle of the fields and there usually isn't a lot of ambient, urban-type light around here at night, I got up to look out the window and see what all the brilliance was about. And no, it wasn't some brand-new street lamp grinning in the window, but the moon--a just-past-half-full moon visible beyond the black branches of the tree in the side yard.

I've always had a thing about moonlight. I remember the first time I really noticed moonlight: I was twelve, and I'd got up to go to the bathroom. On my way back to my room, I saw a strangely bright, bluish light striking the wall above the stairs that went down to the first floor. There was a semi-circular window high up above the front door--we had one of those two-story foyers that were all the rage--and its shape was perfectly replicated in blue-white light. Intrigued, I went down a few steps until I was standing right in the gleaming half-disk. Before me, framed in the window, was the full, white moon. I stood there for a while in a kind of awe. I was a kid who loved fairy tales and fantasy, and the moon had some kind of resonance for me--This is what they're always talking about, I must have thought. The bright white moonlight. A moon so bright you can see by it.

I've noticed the moon here, often--almost every time I've come home after dark, in fact. I'm amazed at how clearly it lights up the yards and the houses, the shadows it casts through the trees. The moon always fills me with a weird kind of yearning: that's the word for it, yearning. I don't know what I yearn for, exactly, when I see the moon, but a powerful desire for something comes over me, a desire mingled with a nostalgia for a time I can't remember. If I had to guess, I'd say that I'm yearning for a life in which the moonlight matters, if that makes sense. In which I'm aware of it on a daily basis, and it makes a difference.

So last night I opened my blind, and then lifted the screen so that I could actually put my head and shoulders out the window and see the sky more clearly. The stars were out, too, though somewhat dwarfed by the brilliance of the moon. It's more than a little trite, I know, but it's easy for me to imagine the vastness of the universe when I look at the stars. I find them somehow reassuring. The world is big and wide and the moon is high and cold; the stars burn on and on and on. I knelt there for a long time, looking at the moon and the stars and the blue light on the grass, the black branches against the sky. When I finally went to bed, I left the shade up so that the moonlight could rake across me in my sleep.

Attention to such things: it's something I've usually lost--or never had, more likely. Not with any kind of consistency. Mindfulness, awareness of the existence of your own life, starts in such long looks. I also spent fifteen minutes last night watching a tiny bug that I had rescued from drowning dry itself off in the palm of my hand. Perhaps I needed these moments last night. Watching the bug slowly uncoil its antennae and reach a trembling limb out to the tip of my thumb, or the spinning of a leaf black in the white of the moon, I felt a kind of connection with things outside of myself (and my job). I slept well and dreamed vividly in the moonlight.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ho Hum

It's Saturday night, and the plan is to watch a movie I've had sitting on my desk for lo these many (3) weeks. But my to-do list for the weekend is so long that I feel I have to do some more work before I get into that. Also I haven't done the dishes yet. The truth of the matter, however, is that I don't want to work any more. And so I'm mucking about on the internet, instead.

Today I have:
  • read and prepped for 2 classes
  • read for a third class
  • ordered books for some down-the-line course prep
  • graded 9 mid-length papers, 5 one-page papers, and two batches of a quick homework assignment (this grading, in toto, took 2.5 hours--my hand hurts)
  • gone to the grocery store
I really feel like I did more than that. I mean, I worked pretty steadily all day. One course reading/prepping session took about three hours, so I suppose that that slowed things down--but still. I must grade the rest of those mid-length papers this weekend (six to go!), and there's a whole bunch of job stuff that I need to get a handle on immediately. And I need to prep the third class--although that should be quick, since we're actually reading excerpts from a text that I did significant work on for my dissertation, so I can very easily give lots of contextual stuff and whatnot.

Weekends are just too short, though. I'm not at all used to this kind of schedule (o graduate school! how I miss thee, already!), and the weekdays just pass in a blur with no time to do anything outside of what's immediately required. Then there are the meetings, of which there are a lot more than I would have anticipated--departmental meetings, all-faculty meetings, new faculty meetings. And I've agreed to advise a student organization, which shouldn't take up too much time, but they're getting their year started and are meeting rather a lot at the moment. Oh, and yes, I'm trying to get some exercise a few times a week, since my new location doesn't give me the long daily walks that I'm used to. It's astounding how little time there is for anything else--even things like cooking and keeping the apartment reasonably clean--once all of that stuff is added up.

No, this isn't one long whine, although I know that it looks like it. I'm truly just amazed at how busy I am this year; I knew that I'd be busy, intellectually, but I don't think I'd quite absorbed the reality. (I've used that phrase hundreds of time in my life, I think. No wonder my dissertation had to do with experience as a means of gaining knowledge, eh?)

Meanwhile, a small mystery:
I received a yoga DVD in the mail the other day, with no note. The Boyfriend didn't send it to me; neither did my mother. There are a few other suspects, but I haven't fully investigated yet. I assume that I'll eventually figure out where it came from, but in case I don't, I would like to extend my appreciation here--thank you, anonymous sender! Even if you never read this (and unless you're a particular one of my suspects, you probably never will), my gratitude and pleasure is hereby publicly broadcast.

Friday, September 21, 2007

For Some Reason

I don't know why, exactly--maybe I'm just tired--but this morning I want to stay home and hide.

Well. It's the last day of the 5th week of the semester. We're officially in the middle of things; perhaps that has something to do with it--the need for a break? Last weekend, while wonderful, wasn't exactly restful. It's true that my weekend to-do list is appallingly long, but at least I'll have two whole days to work on it.

All right: I need to pull myself together here. Everything is going to be fine. I even have a fun activity planned for my last class of the day; I mean, okay, it's seriously nerdy fun, so I'm not sure that all my students will think that it's as great as I do, but whatever. I'm looking forward to it.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trying to Work, and Failing

I need to prep for tomorrow--we're talking about Plato, for Christ's sake--but I'm having some problems focusing. Why?

Some theories:
  1. The relatively huge number of jobs in my field this year. (Twenty-five straight-up medievalist jobs on the JIL so far, by my count. And that's not including all the "early English" and "Medieval or Renaissance" jobs.) And some of them would be amazing--of course, these are jobs I almost certainly* won't get, but I do love the dreaming part.
    (*The "almost" has no business in that sentence, obviously. Nonetheless....) (See? The dreaming at work!)
  2. One of the jobs that's posted is a job I had an MLA interview for last year. Why might this be? And what are my chances this year? During market-season I develop a highly idiosyncratic system of statistical calculation; it's time I get back into that.
  3. I dunno. I'm tired. Got in at about 10:30 last night after a solid 11-hour journey (door to door). The Metropole is too damned far away. Not a place to go for a weekend. This makes me sad.
  4. I just went to a "tenure and promotion" info meeting. Of course, I'm not on the tenure-track here, but there's a chance that I could be eventually. So this was somewhat interesting.
  5. My two comp sections continue to be dialectical opposites. Intriguingly, however, they have switched poles: the formerly-sluggish is now lively and fun, while the other one has gone from happy and talkative to downright mute. Ech. (But the lit classes are great! I love them!)
  6. I have promised myself that I can have a beer when I'm done prepping, but I really want a beer now, and thus I am not prepping.
  7. I have been very stupid in the arrangement of my Netflix queue, to my aggravation. So I have a stack of movies I don't want to watch (or don't have time to watch), and the TV shows I enjoy will not come until I have watched them. Why do I do this to myself? Oh, why??
Okay. I want that beer. Reward system, I command you to work!

Friday, September 14, 2007

2pm EST? Are you kidding me?

Argh! So it's entirely likely that, what with my travel plans and all, I'll get through the entire day without seeing the new JIL. After the months of waiting!

Responsible Mihi says that this is probably for the best, given that I'm not exactly over-prepared for today's classes (this seems to be a regular Friday phenomenon). But Responsible Mihi has been getting too much airtime these days, says Irresponsible Mihi. Sigh. It doesn't matter which Mihi is in charge. It's out of the Mihis' hands.

At any rate I won't be blogging or blog-reading during my Metropole Weekend. Rest up, y'all, and I'll see you on Monday....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

J to the I to the L

The fun is about to begin.

Anyone want to join me in a rousing chorus of "One Day More"? (Yes, I sing tunes from Les Miserables whenever they can be even remotely linked to the events from my life. Who's asking?)

I am not sick!

It was option no. 3: allergies + lack of sleep. Last night I slept for 9 hours with the windows shut, and today I am right as rain (whatever that means). Hooray! The trip to the Metropole will not be tainted!

I do have an awful lot of work to do today, though. I must:
  • comment on 9 more papers
  • prep two classes
  • read for one of these two classes
  • figure out what on earth we're doing in the other class next week
  • teach one class
  • meet with two colleagues (about different things and at different times)
  • laundry
  • get ready for my trip
Um. This is looking more than a little daunting. And I'm pretty sure that there was something else...but what?

Seriously, I can't remember the last time I was as busy as I have been this month.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So now I feel like a jerk.

Why do I feel like a jerk? Let me tell you.

My comp students wrote first-person essays this week--narratives about significant events from their own lives. Creative-non-fiction-type things.They submitted the drafts today, and I'm giving them some comments and suggestions for revision.

I am, on the whole, very happy with what I've seen so far. While the writing could use work in some cases, all of the essays I've read have clearly been written with sincerity and integrity. Reading them is helping me to get a much stronger sense of my students as people, which can only mean good things for our relationships through the rest of the semester.

One of the things that we've been talking about a lot is the importance of concrete detail and description in effective writing. In my comments, I've been locating places where they should "show" instead of "tell" and suggesting what kinds of details might work to enhance their narratives.

So why do I feel like a jerk?

Here's why.

Some of these students have been through a lot of bad stuff. And they're writing about it in their essays. So here I am, reading about quite horrific personal experiences, and writing little notes like, "Can you show us how he/she was abusive?" and "How do you know that your mom is unhappy with her life?" and the like. (These are not real examples, but close enough.)

Yeah. I feel like a jerk.

(In my defense, I do try to make up for it in the general comments at the end of each paper, about the difficulty of writing about X or the power of the essay as a whole. But still. Maybe creative writing teachers have a clearer sense of how to go about critiquing this kind of writing; I just feel like I'm poking a stick into a wound. You know?)

Ugh.

Well, the theory is that I've internetically caught the cold that Dr. Crazy received telephonically from her mother. Or that one of my many sick students has slipped me some of his or her germs. Or that my allergies are just especially bad today (too much goddamn lawn-mowing around here!), compounded by the fact that I've been getting up too early. Seriously. Way too early.

Luckily the teaching today was light. We did peer-workshopping in both sections of comp, which meant that I didn't have to perform. (Of course, I do need to read and comment on 32 papers by Friday, so I'm paying for my comfort.) In the survey we wrapped up SGGK. I love teaching my survey; I really do. My energy level always seems to be at its best in that class.

Anyway, I came home after class, changed into pajama pants--one thing graduate school taught me was to spend as little time as possible in things like bras, belts, and socks--and took an allergy pill just to see whether that would do anything. It's too soon to tell, but I'm hoping that some sleep tonight will clear things up. It has to! I fly to the Metropole on Friday evening.

In other news, one of the things about this small college in this small town is that I essentially have to be a Professor at all times (unless I'm ensconced in my apartment. With the blinds shut. And even then, there's a student in the apartment underneath mine--not one of my students, luckily). The students, they are everywhere.

Zum beispiel:

-I have been swimming three times in the last week, and ran into students on two occasions: I am therefore buying a new swim suit. The old one is a disgrace and it's bad enough that my students are seeing me almost-naked without my worrying about the weak elastic causing me to flash them at every flip-turn.

-I attended a yoga class last night, and the teacher is the mother of one of my students.

It's crazy! I don't really mind all this, but it is taking some adjusting, and I'm not used to paying so much attention to my dress and appearance. On Saturday, for example, I ran into one of my students on my way home from the liquor store; luckily the six-pack and bottle of wine were safely concealed in a canvas bag, but that didn't stop my bra strap from exposing itself.

Yeah. So that's Field Town, and me in it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Memity meme

Hilaire has tagged me for the quadromeme--so here goes!

4 first names of crushes:
1. Andy (I was 5. I have no real memory of this, but my mom swears I was in love with him.)
2. Jesse (First big post-attainment-of-the-age-of-reason crush! And oh! The pining!)
3. Mike (Early high school. We finally went out, in a rather chaste and embarrassed way, for a couple of weeks. Then I saw him in shorts and his hairy legs freaked me out.)
4. Ryan (I never actually talked to him. I think I knew all along that if I talked to him, the illusion of his coolness would be utterly destroyed.)

4 Pieces of Clothing I wish I still owned (and/or that still fit):
1. The jeans that wore out last year. They were really comfortable and I currently lack truly comfortable jeans.
2. A one-piece polyurethane number comprising ultra-short shorts, a big belt, a flashy sleeveless upper bit and a zipper that goes all the way down. It's shiny and blue and insane. I still have it, actually, only the zipper broke one time when I was trying it on, alone, in my room (I swear!). I only wore it once and never even got the chance to take off my coat--that's a long and embarrassing story....
3. A flannel shirt that I bought sometime between college and grad school and donated in a misguided fit of professionalizing my wardrobe. It was soft and I liked the colors.
4. A pair of combat boots that a girl in my high school history class gave me for some reason. They were brutally uncomfortable but super cool--the big steel-toed kind that laced almost up to my knees. I wore them with cut-off jeans and a Pixies tee-shirt and was bad.ass.

4 names I've been called at one time or another:
1. Binky. This was in the seventh grade. It irritated me to no end, and my friends never told me where it came from.
2. Fingo
3. Ja
4. Bean Brains (thanks, Mom)

4 professions I secretly want to try:
1. Ornithologist
2. Engineer
3. Bookbinder
4. Novelist (like, a real novelist)

4 musicians I'd most want to go on a date with:
1. Uh, Morrissey? Like you even need to ask.
2. David Byrne
3. David Bowie (I love me my David B's)
4. the woman from El Perro del Mar--she seems odd enough to warrant an evening out

4 foods I'd rather throw than eat:
(This is a difficult category. I'll try to keep it vegetarian, since to do otherwise would be a cop-out.)
1. peas (I like peas OK, but they seem like they'd be fun to throw--you could chuck a really good handful all at once, and they would just go everywhere, wouldn't they?)
2. durian!--although it would be a little dangerous. (Remind me to tell you sometime about durian, the fruit that offends all five senses!)
3. licorice
4. figs, maybe? I don't know. I guess I like most foods.

4 things I like to sniff:
1. late roses
2. really ripe grapes on the vine
3. beech trees (or whatever those trees are with the peeling bark that smell like autumn all year long)
4. church air

4 people I tag:
1. sisyphus
2. fretful porpentine
3. tiruncula
4. you!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Adjusting to the Professorial Life: A Call for Posts, Of Sorts

Tonight I was thinking about how I'm settling into this new full-time teaching thing (we've just finished up Week 3). It's been a real series of highs and lows--a pretty regular cycle of them, in fact. One day things are great, and I love love love teaching; the next, it just, well, isn't, and I'm not sure that I do. At those points I question how I'm ever going to get used to this lifestyle, and how on earth people manage to prep a huge batch of courses, accomplish any research on their own, and still eat lunch. (As it happens, my schedule is such that I do effectively miss lunch at least three days a week. That might have to change, some day.)

And then I thought: Hey! Remember when you were in the midst of job-market agony last spring? Remember how helpful it was to read about other people's experiences, and to know that you weren't the only one to ever go through this stuff?

So it occurred to me that maybe I could get some similar help now.

Thus, I ask you, blogfriends: What do you remember about your first weeks, months, semester, or year as a full-timer? How did you feel about your courses, students, self? What kind of advice would you give to someone just starting out in her first job? Or did everyone else launch into their teaching careers brimming with confidence and a series of fabulously successful lecture notes?

I actually had very little teaching experience coming into this job (four semesters as a TA and one semester adjuncting a single course), so it's entirely possible that I have more to adjust to than most people in my position. Nonetheless, I would thoroughly enjoy--and, I expect, be greatly heartened by--your own stories. So, if you're inspired, please share! (Either in the comments or on your own blogs, if you prefer.)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Grading

That's right, I'm grading. And you know what else? This is the second batch of papers I've graded this semester. I sure do get things going early, no?

It's good, though, to get an early gauge on how I'm pitching my lectures/discussions, especially since this is a whole new batch of students and I don't quite know what to expect. So far, it seems that I'm going too fast for some and too slow for others--in other words, doing about as well as I can reasonably do.

But for some reason (crazy, I know, to be fantasizing about doing other things while grading) what I really want to do these days is go back and reread Malory's Morte. Odd, I know, since it's not the most page-turning of novels or whatever. Perhaps I'm nostalgic for my first reading of it? Although the time in my life when I read it was not an especially happy time, so I'm not sure that that explains it. I do like some bits an awful lot, but the persistence of this craving is a little puzzling. And since I can't conceivably fit it into any current or upcoming research projects, and I have plenty of other work on my plate, it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to indulge.

Anyone else have obscure reading urges? Is this a common feeling--the desire to read a very specific book, even one that's not necessarily a favorite?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Day in the Life of a New Professor

7:20 am. Alarm goes off. Actually, this is the third of three alarms; a whole battalion is set nightly to avoid over-sleeping.

8:00 am. Get up. Shower, coffee, etc.

9:00 am. Decide to postpone work and go to the post office to mail rent, which is four days late. Delay was caused by long weekend and an income-free summer. Luckily, however, there are now a few hundred dollars in the bank account--but not as much as anticipated, because of course income is taxed and employee must contribute to health insurance and various pension funds. Anyway, rent is now in mail, thank goodness.

9:30 am. Get home. Engage in some preliminary "organizing" activities.

10:00 am. Start working, more or less, by reviewing prep for 12:30 class.

11:00 am. Realize that no real work is being accomplished; stave off fear that there's no possible way to fill 75 minutes with the material at hand. Rummage through file cabinet and miscellaneous paper piles for twenty minutes seeking the copy of the book prospectus that had advisor's comments on it. After some panic, locate said prospectus in a file folder labeled "Cambodia."

11:20 am. Decide to eat lunch.

11:30 am. Eat lunch. While eating, read over the annotated prospectus. Consider possible revisions. Wonder in bafflement at when those revisions will get done. Concoct ambitious working program, which is then noted in day planner. Observe that all courses and course prep are absent from day planner, providing a false sense of freedom and possibility. Indulge in said sense of freedom and possibility regardless.

12:00 pm. Go to campus. Putter about office for a bit, attempting to come up with some last-minute discussion ideas for class.

12:30 pm. Teach class. It's fine. Worry was unnecessary. Notice, however, that it's quite warm in the room, and keep arms firmly clasped to sides to avoid embarrassing sweat exposure.

2:00 pm. Two hours of "office hours," during which exactly two students stop by for a total of maybe seven minutes. Use the first half-hour to install file cabinet components that require actually breaking metal against desk. Feel satisfied with own strength, and contemplate telling any passing students not to "mess with the doctor." No students pass, so witticism goes unused. Figure that that's probably for the best. Use the next half-hour or so to prep for tomorrow morning's class. Tomorrow's afternoon class is already prepared, thanks to the long weekend. Feel all self-congratulatory about this.

3:30 pm. Realize that readings for tomorrow morning's class haven't been photocopied. Interrupt own office hours to rush to photocopy center. Be reassured by cheery employee that copies will be in mail box by 9:30 am. Experience relief.

3:40 pm. Return to office. Decide to read ahead, because many many papers are about to come in over the next two weeks.

4:45 pm. Decide that it's far too late to be at the office. Go home.

4:55 pm. Perform complicated military maneuvers against the fruit flies colonizing the kitchen trash. Take out the trash.

5:00 pm. Strip down to undershirt and put on pajama pants. Reapply deodorant (it was hot, after all). Commence blogging. Contemplate drinking beer. Try to ignore the fact that the ambitious proposal-revising plan is already out of step with actual (non-) accomplishments. Mentally list things that need to be done for job market. Feel momentary panic, but stifle said panic with further beer-drinking contemplations.

Hm. Beer?

??

There's a man in my yard scanning the lawn with a metal detector.

I can't imagine what he hopes to find out there. Have I unwittingly rented an apartment that rests atop a pirate's treasure?

Monday, September 3, 2007

So! What's been going on over here?

Hm. Perhaps bullets will make me feel more efficient.
  • The Boyfriend was in town from Thursday night until this afternoon. It was really wonderful to have him here; it made me realize how much farther apart we are now, and how much I miss being able to hop on down to the Metropole every two weeks (I even fleetingly missed the Bad Movie Bus). But I'll be flying out there in less than a fortnight--for a very short visit, admittedly, but I'm looking forward to it already.
  • We had a good time, TB and I did, driving around in a rented car and attempting to enjoy the sights. Unfortunately nothing in the Fields is open on Sunday, it seems--a fact that we failed to take into consideration (or even anticipate) yesterday, resulting in a rather rambling cruise around a nearby town, an ice cream at the DQ, and a stop in a scruffy sports bar while we waited for a movie to start. The movie, by the way, was Superbad, which was about what you expect--and before you wonder at my cinematic choices, let me just say that I love the kid who used to play George Michael in Arrested Development, and it's totally worth it (well, maybe only a little bit worth it) to sit through the puerility of the first half-hour of the movie in order to enjoy his George-Michael-worthy anxieties later in the film. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
  • We watched several other movies, too (a truly relaxing weekend!), including Apocalypto. I have some very strongly--well, "mixed" is hardly the right word for my feelings about M. Gibson. I have a problem or two with him. But one thing I will say is that he does not hold back in any way in his directorial decision. At least not in this one (I haven't seen the Jesus movie, although as a medievalist I half feel that I should): The man commits to his scenes. Good fucking god.
  • I am currently about 70% prepared for class tomorrow. This is the class that could almost run itself--but my superstitious side believes that it'll only almost run itself if I spend at least two hours looking over the readings and making copious notes, with lots of things in ALL CAPS and/or heavily underlined.
  • Being with TB this weekend made me think a lot about what I want for the future. Well, that's misleading. What I mean is that it confirmed what I want for the future, namely for us not to be long-distance forever, my lord, of course, and has roused in me that old impatience. A bunch of jobs appeared on the Chronicle site today--only a couple in my field, alas--but looking over them brought back the familiar feelings of eagerness and anxiety.
  • It would be awfully nice to have a car, I confess.