Forthcoming, February 2010

As I whined about a few days, I am in the midst of grading.  I have 18 papers left, and, dear reader, my eyes literally hurt. My fingers are numb. My brain has rebelled. The essays are mostly fine, so at least I don’t have constant ogida.  The stress is mostly all of the other stuff I need to do (finish writing several projects; lecture/class prep; search committee business; working on my college’s blog–I’m an editor–etc etc etc).

I did manage to do other things this weekend (a department gathering at a local pub; running both mornings; chores; lunch with the hubby at yet another local pub).

So, this is a placeholder posting, identifying more for myself than for anyone else what postings are potentially forthcoming next month:

  • Mary McCarthy’s 1963 best selling novel, The Group, has been reprinted by Virago Press: I’ve been reading the latest re-views and recently reread the novel, and I have oodles of reflection: who would have thunk it?
  • I finally started using the little Nike/Ipod thingy that tracks my distance and speed when running.  It’s no GPS device, so it’s undoubtedly not entirely accurate, but I’ve got to say that I’m even more motivated to run each morning than even when I was only mildly obsessed pre-Nike/Ipod thingy (note: I actually do not wear Nike running shoes–so this posting will also be a review of the many pouches available to the anti-establishment running shoe wearers). 
  • Amazon has made Kindle software available to PC users: I’ve downloaded a slew of “free” e-books (Alcott, Austen, etc) to test out on my Netbook.
  • The trials, tribulations, and joys of teaching Chopin’s The Awakening in a general ed. survey class where male students outnumber women students (a novel that is on a dream high school reading list that Dr. Crazy has started, but not on very many actual high school reading lists, like Quills, mostly because it’s a beautiful novel about SEX).

eightysomething essays

Somehow, I managed to plan so poorly this term that on my desk now sits 80-something essays that need to be read and evaluated by next week (40-something literary analysis essays on Huck Finn; 40-something argument analysis essays).

Clearly, I wasn’t thinking.

I’ve just finished alphabetizing them to see who submitted them on time (of the 15 or so students who have not submitted assignments, some have been MIA for 2 weeks; others e-mailed me blank or funky, unopenable attachments; and one poor soul handed me his flash drive to prove that he has his assignment done but was unable to print it).

I decided before I left for the evening I’d read one lit essay, just for kicks. And, in what I hope is a good sign, it’s a fabulous essay: a mostly well written, well supported argument about the humanity of Jim that also refutes several of the objections that were raised during class discussion.

I feel a little less stressed already.

On a lighter note (and a possible assignment for our next discussion on The Awakening):

Grading Hell

So, my old office is now all packed, and at this point uninhabitable since boxes take up every free spot.  My new office won’t be ready for a few more weeks, but I’m excited about the move (I love the required purging that happens whenever I move, too).

I saved all the cartoons on my bulletin board, though only one of them may grace my new office door.  Here’s the one that’s been amusing my colleagues and students for over 3 years.  It’s even funnier in July when I am not facing a stack of student essays…

"Are you sure I didn't already grade a few of these?"

Be sure to visit Matthew Henry Hall’s website for more of his academic wit.