Greetings, everybody, from Honolulu, where I will be participating in a Japan-focused academic seminar for three weeks, and then doing independent research
Long day in the air, of course. With, of course, the difficult decision of "okay, how do I pick a movie that I am interested in, but don't really need an actual screen or particularly good video quality, and I may fall asleep in the middle of it..." Ended up watching a recent (I think? It's part of the "Bones is pregnant" season...) episode of "Bones," which was.... odd. I mean, it felt like they'd taken some of the character development backwards, in terms of "Bones does not understand your strange earthling emotions, or the ideas you are trying to communicate." Also, there was a new character who was "Ah ahm from thus South, and thus will always wear a baseball cap, even with my labcoat, and tahk in colorful idioms and generally come across as an uneducated hick, even though I am brilliant." Really disconcerting example of "southern stereotypes stuffed into a show by people who are not actually from the South."
Right; I suspect that this level of babble about silly things, I am very tired, and should thus go get some sleep.
I have this fantastic multi-episode documentary on the Mogao Caves, which I picked up last summer. They are spectacular, they are super-important for anything having to do with the Silk Road (seriously; you can look at the decorations and see depictions of textiles and carpets which were being traded, and pictures of the different peoples who were trading), they are a major site of Buddhist art, and, frankly, they are just super-cool.
( Of course, finding time to watch them has been trickyCollapse )
I... have just double-checked the exam schedule for the Fall semester, and every one of the three classes I have this semester is scheduled for the last day of exams.
Every. Single. One.
Wednesday morning? Written exam, with additional take-home component due at the same time. Wednesday afternoon? Written exam. Wednesday evening? That is when the final paper for the third class is scheduled to be due, since that is when the official exam space for that class is.
Why, you ask, is this important?
Weeelllll... the final grades for the semester are due that Friday. At noon.
Every. Single. One.
1) Dear Student: If you're going to send around a gleeful e-mail stating that somebody has made a secret film of the upcoming exam and posted it on the Internet, you might want to double-check and make sure your professors are not on the recipient list.
2) Dear Other Student: Your passionate-- nay, strident-- declaration that you are giving 110% to this class and cannot get less than an acceptable grade would be much more convincing if you bothered to do things like spell "Belgium" properly.
3) Dear Fellow Faculty: You know, if you figure out that a student has pranked their classmates by sending them a link to humorous music videos and claiming that it's a link to a secret film of the upcoming exam, would it really be too much trouble to tell your colleagues who are teaching the class with you that that's what happened?
4) Dear Student-who-always-complains-about-their-g
5) Dear Class: Guys, the class software lets me track who is and is not doing the readings. And one of these semesters, I'm going to remember to both put that in the syllabus and assign a point value to it. For now, wanna take bets on what's likely to be on the exam?
Today, we had Convocation, which is a festive set of inspirational speeches, and "light refreshments," which in this case meant standing in line for either water or lemonade. This year, they trimmed the speeches, and added the feature of having all the first-year students split up into small(ish) groups and
Of course, this meant that there was a performance of the alma mater. Which I had managed to forget is, in fact, college-specific lyrics set to Franz Joseph Haydn's Movement II (Poco adagio) of Opus 76 No. 3.
Which most people probably know as this... or more likely this*, because that's the one that, um, turns up in all the movies and all that.
So that caused several moments of "Buh... wait, what?," trying very hard not to giggle, and pondering how many students might be having the same problem.
It really doesn't help that my own undergraduate alma mater, at least for the university as a whole** was college-specific lyrics set to the old Civil War ballad Aura Lea...
...which most people probably know as ...this
It is amazing that I managed to keep a straight face (mostly) for four years...
*Technically, the first one is the third verse of the second one, because using the whole piece became extremely problematic after the war, even though the original context was nineteenth-century unification, not twentieth-century conquest.. and of course the Haydn piece was originally set to lyrics praising Emperor Franz of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and was the Austrian national hymn until the abolition of the monarchy in 1918.
** Which was the same for the men's college-- the women's college had our own alma mater, thank you very much, composed by an alumna back in the 1920s. Which is cool enough to squash almost all "Hey, how come the song for the MEN'S college is the song for the university as a whole?" annoyance.
1) ACK HALP I AM GOING TO CHINA IN TWO (!!!!) WEEKS!!!
This is going to be amazingly cool; I know that... but.. um.. China! Two weeks! Somehow, this was easier to handle when it was a month away... two months away... not something where I'm legitimately panicking about everything I have to get done before CHINA. I have my visa (it has the Great Wall on it. I should not find this so amusing), I have my plane ticket, I have to make a list of things I actually need to go out and purchase before the trip.
2) Ok, so, summer class, so far, not a disaster, I think.
Yeah; I honestly can't tell. I mean, there weren't massive numbers of students dropping after the first meeting, so that's good? I'm trying to get them out of the classroom as often as possible so that
3) Anybody know if holy water works against ants?
I was so happy to be in an apartment where we didn't have to worry about a constant stream of ants coming in at the kitchen window.... and now we have a constant stream of ants coming in every other fool place. They've gotten into the wall between the porch and the kitchen, and are thus doing fun things like coming in where there's no baseboard... or where the joining caulk between the counter and backsplash has shrunk... or from a tiny hole where the walls and ceiling meet in the corner.... or from out of an electrical socket... *headdesk*. Heroic Roommate heroically cleaned the kitchen when she realized that they were getting into the cupboard, and we have now placed ant bait up in non-cat-accessible areas (the main reason for not doing that previously was because the ants were coming in at floor level, and putting the ant poison next to the cat food area = not of the good).
4) Two weeks of intense tech-related training has left me very tired, but with lots of good ideas about things to use in class. Here's hoping that they work!
5) See item 1.
(Been forgetting to actually mention this, because of all the other many, many things going on)
I will be going to China for three weeks this summer!!! End bit of June, first bit of July. Beijing, various other bits including Harbin, ending up in Shanghai.
Study program for academic-types, which means that it will be very busy, but also fairly amazing. Probably won't seem really-real-for-real until I'm actually there, of course, because these things never do.
Any useful travel resources and/or suggestions about activities, foods, things to avoid, oh Interwebs?
Ah, the end of the semester. Not just the end of the semester--the end of the Spring semester. Good times. Everybody is going nuts, my inbox is full of Very Special Excuses and Panic*
Not, of course, that there are not legitimate excuses. Because of course there are. But, really, day after day after day of panic and illness and family emergencies and car-related emergencies and oversleeping and crazy stress and oops I've lost my computer and oh no my computer died and multiple deadlines.... yeah
This is not helped by the fact that they've started group presentations this week, and many of them seem to be doing amazingly half-baked work. *headdesk* I dunno-- end of the year? Groups not gelling? Not really caring? See, it's not that there haven't been excellent presentations. But.... I'm hoping that things pick up later in the week, because if they're all at the level most of them have been at so far, it's going to be wretched and boring for everybody. And a pain in the tail to grade (not least because, upon careful re-reading of the assignment, it's not that they're getting it completley wrong,, it's just that they're being ridiculously broad and giving no details and just providing a laundry list of "Our topic is X. X is very important. This is what X is. X originated in the following location." And
*Very Special Excuses and Panic are a known academic phenomenon. Seriously; "The Chronicle of Higher Education" has an entire forum dedicated to their
Hmmm..... well, after a good conference and so on, and a very nice visit to the sister (including meeting the baby!), my travel plans have been derailed by the weather down southwards.
The funny thing, of course, is that a) the weather up here is actually perfectly fine, and b) the bad weather might or might not have affected travel through here. Hard to say.
Fortunately, the sister and co. are happy to have me around for another day (well, the cats are indifferent, and I'm not sure about the baby... but generally speaking, there is happiness). And I get to have more time to get some work done; also not a bad thing.
Here's hoping I don't get halfway tomorrow and then get stuck in the airport....
ETA: And now the estimated departure date is Tuesday, due to another set of cancellations (which, looking at Monday's weather, was not exactly a shock). We'll see how it goes; Delta kept trying to put me on flights on Wednesday (including their first suggestion, which was that I leave the scheduled time tomorrow and then have a forty-two hour and twenty-three minute layover in Atlanta), and I'm not sure if that's because they anticipate possible cancellations or because the schedule-bot just needed to be poked a bit (see above re: forty-two hours...).
ETA2: Three for three....Delta has now rescheduled me for Wednesday. Which means that I will actually be missing class, as opposed to "missing a day the university cancelled anyway due to bad weather." Oh, and did I mention that Wednesday's weather for Boston is going to involve a significant storm and the likely accumulation of over a foot of snow? *headdesk*