Monday, October 29, 2012

Good wishes

I'm constantly over-tired and underslept nowadays, and I would like to complain about a number of things.  Right now, though, I can't be bothered: I'm too busy nervously checking the news about Hurricane Sandy.  Almost my entire family is sitting right in the storm's path at one point or another.  I can't even think right now about the property damage some of them will surely sustain; I just want everyone to make it through the storm and its aftermath alive and well.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


  • Dear Student: when you email me less than an hour before class asking to take a meeting with me later that day to discuss material, you should probably show up to class that day as well.  Just a thought.
  • I am sorely tempted to apply for one of the numerous job postings for a new chair for a Department of Pseudology at one university or another.  Permanent tenure and nice salary in a pleasant living location?  Sign me up!  Honestly, if you want to bring in an outsider to serve as chair, then you have some serious internal politics to sort out.  Wouldn't a young PhD only a few years out of grad school be an ideal breath of fresh air to run your department and soothe all fragile egos involved?  Surely there is no strong need for the new chair to have held tenure – or even a tenure-track job – before taking up the post!  Whaddya say?
  • I've never received as many begging emails from students as I have this year.  My Intro to Libel and Slander is one of the staple gut courses for the hard science distribution requirement, as well as a requirement for the pseudology major, so a few people need to take it in any given year, and a whole lot more want to do so.  I'm both amused and a little grossed out by the way they suck up to me in these emails, hoping that I will bend the registration rules for them.  I'm glad to hear, young padawan, that you have always been fascinated by pseudology and long to take the course to satisfy your voracious intellectual curiosity.  However, since you haven't bothered to set foot in a pseudology course until your senior year, and you seem to have no idea what pseudology is except for its convenient timing and fulfillment of a distribution requirement, I remain somewhat dubious of your motivations.  (It's a dead giveaway when they express interest in the fundamentals of Fibbing and Little White Lies while seeming to be utterly unaware of what Libel and Slander are.)
  • By the way, I'm not doing anyone any special favors with this registration process until the students who really have to take the course have had a chance to register, so stop asking me!  Won't do it!!  Kthankbai
  • Oh advisor, my advisor, where have you gone?  That letter of reference ain't gonna write itself.
  • The weather here in Cornstate is a little scary sometimes.  I guess the thunderstorms here are about on par with the ones in DOU-Town and Ghosttown, but they come much more frequently here.  Plus, this is the first time I've had to worry about driving for miles in an intense thunderstorm.  What is more, Cornstate is a good bit further north than DOU-Town, so we're getting less and less daylight by the day.  At 7:30 this morning, I was on the road in near-total darkness, which made the occasional flash of lightning in my field of vision almost literally blinding.  Didn't enjoy that.
  • Oh, that reminds me: Dear Cornstate, the drainage on your highways sucks.  Please do something about that.  Oh wait, I forgot: a large portion of this state seems poised to elect another Tea Party jackass who seems bent on privatizing the entire government and depriving it of revenue, except the part that keeps women from getting abortions.  Because all government is evil, except the part that enforces your personal morality upon other people's bodies.
  • P.S. Fuck you, Tea Party.

Friday, October 19, 2012


A few weeks ago, I was having coffee with a friend about my age, and we were discussing all the stuff we do every day that gives that "wow, I guess I'm an adult" sensation.  We're young enough that we still have occasional flashes of feeling like adolescents impersonating grown-ups, and perhaps we even flatter ourselves a bit that we are so youthful as to be mistaken for mere pups still wet behind the ears.  (In my case, these latter sensations are intensified by being the youngest member of my department.)  But, when we're honest with ourselves, we admit that we have been adults for a while now, even if we don't always feel like it.

Why wouldn't I feel like an adult, aside from being younger than my colleagues?  As my friend and I agreed, it was the sense that we didn't necessarily know the right or best thing to do in a given situation, and we just had to do the best we could to make it up as we went along.  I'm still in shock at the realization that this, in fact, is what everyone does.  No one really knows what they're doing.  Everyone is making it up as they go along.

My friend and I also agreed that this realization had a much more unsettling implication for us: all those adults that we looked up to when we were children, who seemed eternally ready for anything and infallibly knowledgeable about everything important, were actually doofuses just like us making it up as they went along.  I mean, jeez, when my parents were my age, I knew them!  Knowing that my parents were neither more knowledgeable nor wiser than I am now, when they seemed to know everything, gives me an almost terrifying feeling of how fragile and fallible the whole world truly is.

This makes me feel simultaneously better and worse about how I'm navigating my way through some heavy unbloggable stuff relating to my family.  I really dislike wading into situations in which I don't know what I should do, especially when there are real consequences for a number of people no matter what I choose to do.  But, at least, I'm no worse off than anyone else.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stress dream?

This is the dream I had just before waking up this morning:

I was checking into the hotel for the Big Giant Pseudology Conference this year, and since I'd never been there before, I quickly got lost trying to find my room.  (It was one of those floor plans with little mezzanines up and down, so it was hard to know what floor I was on, sometimes.)  I was wound up about looking competent and professional around my colleagues, so I was trying to hide the fact that I had no idea where I was in the hotel, and couldn't find my room.  Naturally, the more that I tried to find the room and avoid making a fool of myself, the more colleagues and friends of friends I ran into, until I seemed to be at the center of a knot of people.  We were having an animated conversation about language and pedagogy – one of them noticed that I spoke a particular language – and I tried to keep up my end of the conversation while sitting down on the floor of the confusing lobby and opening my laptop so I could try to figure out from a web page or something where the hell my room was.  And all the time, more people that I wished to impress favorably kept passing by and stopping to chat.

And throughout the entire experience, I was completely naked, and was constantly trying to hide this fact from everyone by sidling along walls to hide my rear and using my courier-style computer bag to strategically hide my front.  I had no clothes on at all, so I don't know whom I thought I was fooling,  But in any case, I felt pretty much trapped by the time I was sitting (naked) on the lobby floor, since I had taken the laptop out of the bag and had the laptop balanced on my lap.  (Strategically.)  I seem to recall rising anxiety that someone would suggest a restaurant for dinner or check the conference program and try to take the computer from me to get the logistical details.

Now that I'm awake, out and about, I can't tell which fact offers me more relief: the fact that I'm off for all of next week for CBU's fall break, or that I'm clearly wearing trousers right now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I'm too busy gradinggradinggrading to say much right now.  But this post says it all for me

For tangentially related reasons, I'm feeling pretty angry about overly entitled and privileged bourgeois people whining that they are insufficiently entitled and privileged.  *Scowl*  I'll let that post speak for me, lest I start a rant.