Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Midweek report

Oy, I'm tired.  Not dragged out, quite, but definitely tired.  With four classes to teach, three days a week, with first-week pandemonium all around, I guess this isn't a surprise.

Things have started off well enough, barring a few bureaucratic snafus I've run across.  Without going into details that I don't want online, I found that a few people in different parts of the periphery of my job did not do things that they should have done, thus leaving me holding the bag.  Or, if not holding the bag, then at least leaving me the only one aware of the problems and therefore responsible for getting them fixed.  I'm learning very fast to be outwardly patient and forgiving when my instinct is to throttle them.  Anyone who can screw up things that much is, by the same token, powerful enough to be needful at some future point.

I tell myself that it's too early to develop impressions of my classes, and that we need to get through at least the first week before I make judgments.  All the same, I'm getting some ideas of each class' dynamic.  I'm curious to see if those dynamics shift after the add/drop period ends, and the classes solidify.  I don't even want to write them down here yet, for fear that just putting it down in black and white will influence my thinking further.

I also took a page from numerous other professors, including a new friend of mine here (yay, new friends!), and went to the trouble of explaining proper email etiquette to my students.  I was careful to point out that this is a new phenomenon, and that I was certain that no one had ever told them about it before, lest they think I was scolding them.  (I was scolding them, actually, but I didn't call anyone out on specifics.)  I can be mildly amused when a student who is obviously trying to deploy best practice from high school addresses me in person as "Mr. Koshary," but it drives me up the wall when they email questions and demands without so much as a greeting, or identifying themselves.  I decided that I should nip it in the bud this week, rather than try to let it roll off my back.

In between, I got a TA (yay again!), figured out that the pseudology department's refrigerator is pretty much out of commission (boo), and dragged my carcass all over the central areas of the Ghosttown U. campus, since no two of my classes are in the same building.

In fashion matters: I'm currently experimenting with my wardrobe to see which trousers I can wear without dying of heat exhaustion, and which shirts will look suitably professional without bathing me in sweat the moment I step out of doors.*  I'm a sweaty guy in the heat by nature, so it's tough to feel smartly put together when the temperature is this high every day.  I did surprisingly well today with one of my best pairs of pants: some thin – tropical weight, maybe? – wool trousers that I half-expected to choke me in the thick, muggy heat of Ghosttown.  Then again, today was really overcast and unusually cool, so maybe I shouldn't speak too soon.  I went with some thin cotton pants on Monday, but sort of screwed up my control study by wearing a thin button-down with a tank-top undershirt to minimize the sweat stains.  That ensemble was sweat-inducing.  Never again.  But now that I think about it, I also made the mistake that day of schlepping my MacBook around with me.  I figured out quickly enough that I could just log into the university course management software and access what I needed directly from the computers at the lecture podiums (podia?), but I was already dragging that extra weight on my back.  When it was nearly 100 degrees out.  Never again.

Now I'm at home, blissfully free of work clothes, and contemplating a second glass of the cheapie nero d'avola that I picked up the other day.  I'm going to meet with my TA tomorrow, and then I'm hoping for a low-obligation day.

*I know, I'm a prof and I could teach in a Nudie suit if I had a mind to, but I feel like I should leave such theatrics to my post-tenure life.


  1. Hooray on a mostly-good, mostly-done first week! I look forward to hearing more deets soon.

    Are your classrooms at least airconditioned? If so and if you have the time, I've found that a pit stop in the restroom before class to mop face and splash cold water up to my elbows really helps--both to actually cool down and just to collect self so I feel less sweaty and disheveled.

  2. I approve of the Nudie suit and can't wait until the time in which you are properly covered in rhinestones!

    Until then, you'll just have to get a white seersucker suit! Big ten gallon hat, the whole thing. More seriously, I've seen lots of people here carry pocket handkerchiefs and it totally makes sense now --- it's nice to be able to mop your face after walking somewhere. Or maybe you could get one of those hats with fans embedded in them I see on the late night tv.

  3. If you are where I think you are, then I suggest some seersucker for your wardrobe! A snazzy bowtie isn't a bad addition, either. ;)

    I would do the "neener-neener from the cool and comfy North," but we're about to get blown up by a hurricane, so...yeah...

    Chin up! It's only this hot for another 2 or 3 weeks, then tapers down to a nice 80 degrees until Halloween, at which point it's perfect weather for a few months. You'll be kissing the (unfrozen) ground in December-March, trust me. Living in the South has its advantages.

  4. @Flavia: Yes, we have AC, so I might give your suggestion a shot. Speaking of which, though, I notice that my office AC unit has an impressive amount of mold growth along the blades of the grill. Is this going to cause my untimely death?

    @Sis and Hap: Oddly enough, you two are not the first ones to suggest seersucker for me. :) I've also heard recommendations that I accessorize my seersucker with a walking stick and mint julep. I'm nearly certain, though, that this would constitute bad form for a VAP. (Except on game days, when apparently this is virtually required.)