Monday, May 28, 2007

still seven

still seven ducklings!

While I'm in the midst of writing and packing and watching the painting [super school chum Mary likes to paint, so she just comes over and does it! weird! but appreciated!] and pointing at things for the handyman to do, I'll post duckling photos. Maybe cat photos. Certainly nothing substantial!

I'm just glad the ducklings are all still alive.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the botany word of the day is...

polypetalous (adj): having a corolla of separate petals

It sounds so highfalutin. Also, pretty.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

boring post that's really just my non-work to-do list

Comments of encouragement are welcome and appreciated, because I'm beyond stressed. Following is my non-work to-do list. I will cross things off as I complete them. Boy do I hope I complete them...

* French exam 5/22 3pm
* wait for French exam results and stress the hell out
* wait for Noelle to say ok to the French prof "pass" notification email
* Thoreau+Muir chunk of thesis (20pp), drop off for John
* get Thoreau+Muir thesis chunk back, make edits
* fix up thesis intro
* fix up thesis ch1
* fix up thesis ch2
* fix up thesis ch3
* write very brief conclusion
* give complete penultimate draft to John for review
* Friday: get draft back from John at tea time
* have John sign signature page
* make changes and print final drafts for other readers
* drop off at school for Bob and Noelle
* have Bob and Noelle each sign signature page
* make any changes per readers
* make sure Noelle submits all the paperwork for August grad/see that I don't have to do anything else
* print thesis on regular paper and take to grad studies for review
* get thesis back from grad studies and make any changes
* send thesis back to SJSU with Mary
* wait for SJSU to send back a page with a signature so I can make a copy to scan and go in the PDF that I will eventually send to the printers
* wait anxiously for SJSU to say all is well and I do indeed have my MA degree!
* find final exam from fellow who took make-up test
* submit final grades for section 03 after his grade is determined
* get new hosting account for
* make domain a subdomain of
* make DNS changes
* cancel current hosting account
* cancel current hosting account
* painting: day 1
* painting: day 2
* mr. handyman: new toilet, w/d closet doors, fix faucets in bathtub
* get mr. handyman back here to fix leak around toilet
* go to flooring place and schedule install of vinyl floors and baseboards in bathroom and kitchen
* finish the minor prepping things for flooring installers
* Thu/Fri have flooring and baseboards put in
* go to Home Depot and figure out options for better closet doors
* do misc spackling, sanding, touchup painting, get transition piece
* Mr. Handyman: tighten up some stuff in bathroom, install shelf in closet, install vent in ceiling
* get/install new blinds for windows
* call Dale re: almost ready to go
* meet w/ Dale to determine logistics for sale
* get this thing on the market
* pack up books and items I won't use in the next month
* go to Ikea and pick out things I want in new place
* call cable people in Pullman
* talk to credit union about closing account after move and house sale
* go to Pullman and get shit together before move
* after visiting new place, actually determine things from Ikea to get, if any
* move! June 30
* get lots of money from house sale
* pay shit off
* buy books for fall semester
* become happy scholar-type person in progress

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Friday, May 18, 2007

quack quack quack quack quack (ad infinitum)

fast little suckersSome ducklings have hatched. Seven, in fact.

I know this because of the incessant quacking from my pond for the last five hours.

The mama duck is taking her young'uns all around the pond, introducing them to the nooks and crannies and the safe places to hide from the neighborhood cats and BIG SWOOPY RED-TAILED HAWKS.

mama 'n' young'unsHow do I know there are red-tailed hawks in the trees here? Because I just saw one swoop over the duck family. The mama duck is trying to quack it away right at this moment.

I watched the hawk swoop down, and the mama got in its way so the little ones stayed safe.

For that moment, at least.

dervish ducksI should note that the male ducks are not being all that helpful.

Sure, one is hanging out with his family, but he's not being terribly protective.

It'll be a stressful time, trying to raise up these ducks.

The mama is teaching them to stay close, but they're fast little suckers as seen in these few photos I snapped this morning.

They finally stayed put for a second...and then they were off.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

not bitter!

Following on to Bev's post [I sure do post a lot in response to Bev. Bev is pretty darn cool!], I would just like to note that I am not bitter.

I actually just typed "I am not butter" before I backspaced and corrected myself. I'm not butter, either.

Sure, the end of the semester is crappy what with the students who just drop off the face of the earth or choose to do a piss-poor job on their final paper because something else is "more important" ...or 10 times more important...or they mistake a city for a reporter...or they miss the point of summarizing...or, well, you get the picture.

But hey...I did what I could. Could I have done more? Probably. Could they have done more? Certainly. But we did what we did. I know that everyone who tried to be student-like ended up in a better place compared to the starting point. Some only moved a few inches, but some moved a few miles. Can't help everyone, can't please everyone, can only do your best.

So, I'm not bitter (which is a good thing since I'm only starting this long academic journey). Not by a long shot. Not even during the holistic grading norming session when the example of the "1" (out of 6) essay came from this student of mine.

I prefer to look at the positives. I don't know all of the positives because I haven't seen the grades for the final exams besides the aforementioned 1/1 (2 == F) and some single scores on exams I had to give to another grader because they belonged to my students. One kid, who had been riding the C bench all semester (it's an A/B/C/NC course), wrote a 4 essay...a pleasant surprise.

Really, at the end of the day, I can only hope for some positive comment such as this one from a student who emailed me today:
Honestly, you made it well worth having to come to class @ 730 in the morning! I had a blast and I thought I would let you know that! It was really fun, even the times when I was the only one who got your jokes!
Note to self: work on jokes and possibly an exercise in the use of the exclamation point, although in this instance I'm totally fine with it.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

last day of class

students working hard for extra creditToday was the last class I'll ever teach at SJSU (barring some strange twist of fate in which I earn my PhD and come back). In this photo [click to embiggen], we see students hard at work on what was supposed to be a really easy 25-matching-items extra credit test-like thing. The highest score was a 23! As you can see in the photo, they were all really was kind of funny!

I honestly didn't think many people would show up (the final exam was on Saturday), despite the extra credit test-like thing and the free doughnuts. But all except a few showed up. Hooray!

I don't blame the ones who didn't. It's lame to have the final exam and then still one more class period. That's just the way we do it here for this class (and 1B) because of the way the final is given (to everyone) and graded (holistic scoring in a day-long extravaganza before exam week really begins).

Holistic grading day is tomorrow. My responsibilities as a teacher will end after tomorrow's fun and then an hour or so on Friday (I hope) when I drop their grades into my Super Awesome Grading Spreadsheet, get the results, put them all into the PeopleSoft system, and email the students with their exam and class grades.

I'm a little sad.

Sadness is mitigated by the thesis and language exam looming over me.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

my very own fandango bag puppets

my very own fandango puppetsI am a huge fan of the Fandango commercials that are shown in the movie theatres. They're so freaking absurd (and funny) that I usually end up laughing so hard I nearly pee my pants before every movie.

I'm easily amused.

If you've never seen these commercials, here are a few from YouTube: funny #1 and funny #2.

One of my school chums was a Theatre Arts major and is a substitute teacher, thus she knows from crafts. She made me four of my very own bag puppets (shown above). If you look at the very large version of the photo you'll note that she used ACTUAL HAIR EXTENSIONS on the one puppet.

If Fandango still had this contest going on, she'd totally win.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

must be time for final papers...

...because the number of searches for "summary of battle of the ants” has increased exponentially in the last few weeks. How funny. And sad.

People. Seriously. Read the text. It's not difficult. The "ants" portion is only 1200 words or so. If you can't summarize 1200 words that really and truly are about (at the most basic level) a war between black ants and red ants that ol' Henry David watched, then your paper isn't going to be any good no matter what you find online.


just sayin'

Cutting and pasting a chunk of text and changing the word "criminals" to "crime makers" does NOT count as "summarizing the text in your own words."

[Hat tip to my school chum Peter for telling me this about his student. Unfortunately, his student was also my student, last semester, so of course now I feel like crap. Not really. Just for a second. Then I remembered: I did not teach him to do that! In fact, I specifically lectured on how that was not an example of summarizing. Oh well. What are you gonna do.]


Saturday, May 5, 2007

funny AND true...

"A student who thinks Regina Saskatchewan is the name of a reporter may not be equipped to make informed decisions about the provenance of his sources." -- Bev


Thursday, May 3, 2007

fall seminars

All registered! So excited!

Of course I still have to finish my thesis, take my language exam, graduate, and move but...details schmetails.

This calls for some LOLcat.

Corncob kitty, I choose YOU!


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

staying positive

From an e-mail by a student who wasn't in class today and didn't turn in the essay that was due:

"I know professors hate to hear this, but my other classes are just 10 times more important."

Here's how I've chosen to file this in my brain: "Hey, I'm being treated like an actual professor and not a graduate student."

There's less heartburn if I think about it that way.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

awww, Rev. Alden died

Veteran character actor Dabbs Greer dies at 90

He was a busy man.

He played one of my favorite Little House characters. That episode where he was going to marry the widow woman and crappy Mrs. Oleson blackmailed him such that he wouldn't? Sad. Or when they brought the evangelical preacher/healer fellow into town and everyone just thought he was the shit and poor Rev. Alden had no flock? Pissed me off.