Saturday, March 17, 2007


Right now I'm in the middle of an Apline stack of grading. It's interesting because the class that I'm TAing right now is so different from what I've generally taught in the past in content and methods too. As an example, I used to grade fairly long papers every few weeks and maybe a blue book test at the end. Now I'm grading homework assignments and quizzes and tests and all sorts of things every single frickin' day it seems, including some assignments that are incredibly subjective.

The subjective assignments are very difficult for me. If it's a paper or an exam, I can generally get a good grasp on whether or not the student understands the material or not, but with these, well, I'm going more on how I feel that they did. They're group projects too, so there are students who I know are good and competant but got dragged down by a less-than-stellar partner or two. There are also a couple students that I'm pretty suspicious of, but they didn't really do much, so I'm not sure how to evaluate them. As a student I really dislike those kind of assignments, and I have to say that I like them even less as a grader.

I will say that there are a couple of students who are really making me feel very good about this class. It's been like this every class I guess, but it's just because I'm looking at the gradebook right now, it comes to mind. I can see the grades of one particular student slowly, steadily move up and up. She was convinced that this class was just too complicated for her. Not so, I said, not so. A little while ago, she said she may just change her major.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Vile Vile Flickr

Time was up so I had to switch over to the Yahoo! login. I haven't used a Yahoo! account for anything but their damnable music player in years. Of course that ID wasn't an anonymous one, so I have to get another one (the price I pay for being famous beyond my means in real life). "Overread" wasn't available, naturally. So I went for 'cordialhermit.' I wanted 'socaiablehermit' which was how my old landlord used to describe me. It fits pretty well, too.

So, anyway, I'm now a cordial hermit. at Yahoo! Feh. I think I'm developing an online multiple personality syndrome. I think this'll make my 4th or 5th idenity online. That can't be healthy. On a related note, the university wants me to remember a new password for another vital online entity. I'm seriously beyond the overload point for passwords. I've got so many I'm at the point where I'll need to write the less commonly used ones down. And that defeats the purpose of passwords! Well, kinda.

Anyway. I hope you ate pie yesterday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day!

I just wanted to wish you all a very happy pi day! Everyone should eat some pie today! Unfortunately, I haven't eaten any pie. I did eat an apple however. And... you can put apples in pies... Alternately, you can spend a few minutes reciting pi. I guess that'll work, too. Not nearly as tasty though. And I ain't doing that.

I'm happy to note that one of my students actually wore a pi shirt today. How cool is that?

By the way, if you don't know why today is pi day, just look at the date :)

It's also White Day - which is the day that all guys get their gal some chocolate. Valentine's the other way around, dontcha know?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Crosstown Traffic

Part of getting myself out of the funk I'm in is going to be a new push to start blogging more. So, here we go.

This may take a bit before I remember how to do all this, but I'll try.

First a note to the bus driver who tried to run me off the road and then opened his passenger door in the middle of the road (and a stop light) to tell me off:

Sir, while I respectfully admit that it is recommended that a bicycle not be ridden in the middle of the road when there is a lane open to the left, the lane to my left was a right turn only lane, and I didn't want to get in the way of people turning right. While you might have had a solid argument, when I said that I believed bicycles had the same right to the road as cars (and perhaps buses as well), I think that there was probably a better answer than to shout out, "well not in front of me they don't!" and keep as tight to the right side of the lane while passing me.

Feh. I actually feel a bit chastised because I went to check the law when I got back home only to find out that I wasn't entirely in the right. As near as I can tell, I was legally in the clear (and riding safely, I might add), but the law recommends that bikes only stray from the curb when making left turns and when avoiding unsafe road conditions. So I guess keeping out of the way of right turn only traffic isn't on their list.

Still. He could have been more polite.

Wow, that was a longish post on nearly nothing at all. fun.

Also, apropos of nothing, it will be very clear to those that survived my lyrics quizzes of many moons ago that my music taste changes only glacially, and I am loathe to admit the value of any music that is new to me. That being said, I have started listening to some Decemberists on the recommendation of the good Dr. Scrivner. For some reason I have also stumbled on the wacky joy of the Ditty Bops (Wishful thinking and Sister Kate are particularly fun). The Fratellis' Chelsea Dagger and Flathead were quite fun until I realized that one of them turned up on an Apple ad. They have been since downgraded to merely fun (but I still listen to them heaps).

Wow. Long post. Maybe I can still do this.

Hmm, Oh! You're Still Here?

Warning: Whining and self-absorbed blather ahead.

It's kinda funny that now the the photo365 blog is going gangbusters, my normal blog dries up.

Actually there's a little more to it than that. I've said this before, but I guess I still haven't gotten into a healthy pattern here at Urban Sprawl U. I'm still struggling with my motivation, and I guess I'm trying to figure out what in the world I'm doing here. The people around me all seem to have really nice conctrete plans about where they're going and how they're going to get there. There're all over writing grant proposals and sending off papers to journals and conferances, and well... I'm not.

I know that these are common anxieties to face after moving and for people looking into a long slog through the PhD process, but that doesn't really make it easier. And if I'm honest, I can see a little bit of it in the other gradfolk around me too.

The other problem is that I had to cut back on my running becauase of the tweaked knee so I wasn't able to run the marathon, so now I feel like a big slug with no energy at all.

This week I'm going to be turning in a paper to turn an incomplete into a complete from the fall, and frankly it's nowhere near my best work. I had an interesting topic, but let the professor lead me on to one of the professor's pet ideas and it really didn't work that well. Rather than tossing out the bad and workign on the good I've spent too much time trying to keep it all in there to please the prof. All that extra time is just going to end up as a couple of paragraphs in the intro talking about how the pet ideas might frame the argument. Ugh. It'll be good to just get that paper out of my head.

Spring break is going to be a very needed thing. But why am I more excited about maybe being able to get out and take fun pictures than being able to put together some good research time?

As a side note - one of my good friends from Old U called and told me that not only is her day job going super well, but she's also just hooked a super-sweet internship at the Smithsonian! Rock on! She has a social life and is dating, and she's got a career working. I really am very happy for her, but jeeze... Maybe I should have taken the MA and gone to DC too - seems to have worked well for her.