Friday, October 31, 2008


Who knew it would come around so fast? Today is only October 31st, but I'm getting in some practice for tomorrow's big jumping-off.

Yes, this is a post.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flip! and other stuff

Because I am involved in a "use-cool-technology-while-teaching" group here at High Plains U, I was given a Flip Video today (part of the enticement for being a member of the group). It's the coolest, and pretty soon I'll be posting video I've taken with it. Probably of my cats.

Why the cats, you may ask? Well, because I'm not feeling so well lately, so I'm not getting out of the house or office much. I'm in the beginning stages of yet another round of bronchitis, which makes me the opposite of happy and healthy. As of yet, I'm only in the out-of-breath, tight-chest, occasional coughing phase, but I'm looking forward to the all-out, I'd-rather-be-dead, I-really-can't-breathe phase. Fun times! Oh, and did I mention it's advising week?

Certain of my students continue to annoy. Perhaps I will videotape their pissy expressions (with! my new Flip!) and send them video to let them know how they look in class. It's a start.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enjoying The Freshmen

This morning it was my turn to guest-lecture in our department's 1000-level course, for incoming students in the variety of majors that make up the department. The course is a "topics" course and also serves to meet the university studies description of an Intellectual Community course.

The faculty member who teaches this course on a regular basis has an oddly arranged load, and he consistently asks for other department members to guest-lecture while he is away at conferences. So, that's ok, I don't mind doing it. I always take some aspect of my specialty in the department and has things out, usually with a powerpoint slide of some kind, discussion questions, group work, etc. The common theme I've seen across semesters with this course is the huge difficulty in getting students to have a conversation, to talk, to engage themselves with the content. Perhaps this is unavoidable and understandable, since I'm only a guest-lecturer and these students are (mostly) not in my major.

However. This semester I didn't have much time to prepare, so I just wrote a few notes and headed off to class. No powerpoint, no group work, no fanciness at all. In the hallway outside the room, I took a deep breath, murmured "I am the pack leader," walked into class, and took over. I introduced myself. I asked the students to do a quick-write on two questions, and then we talked about their answers for the remainder of class.

And boy did they talk! It was amazing. Every single student in the class said something. There was one girl in the back who was addictively texting during the whole class, but I could tell she was listening, so I let it go. There was another kid on the right with his feet up on the table, but I decided to interpret that as his casual nature rather than an attempt to be offensive.

I let them out of class five minutes early (in order to walk back across campus in time for my advising appointments) feeling absolutely positive about the class. Cool! I AM the pack leader!

Speaking of pack leaders, here are my current obsessions:
* The Dog Whisperer
* The Dog Whisperer
* The Dog Whispere
* Twilight
* The Dog Whisperer

That is all. Notice the absence of Harry Potter -- I've managed to stop obsessively rereading the series by reading one of the Dog Whisperer books and then moving on to Twilight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Conferencing Bullets

Ages since I last posted, so I thought I would update with some bullets.

* I'm currently in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, attending a regional conference with some folks I like. Next year I'll be the program chair for this conference (!) and I'm actually feeling pretty good about it. I'm pretty organized, and it's a fairly small conference, so ... no worries.
* It's snowing outside. Bummer. But since it's supposed to also be snowing in High Plains City, I think I would be experiencing this no matter what.
* I'm paying $12 a day for the internet, so I'm pretty sure that part of the reason I'm blogging is because I want to get my money's worth.
* My friend Red is now Associate Dean of the college. She's my roommate, and has a bigger travel fund than I do.
* Slogger received an email about a couple looking to find a new home for their 7-month old Miniature Pinscher. I guess he's considering it, but I hope it doesn't turn out to be another Oscar. Oscar was a cute little dog we saw on a Friday a couple of months ago at the local animal shelter. He was perfect for us, but Slogger was hesitant, so we didn't take him. By the time Monday rolled around, Slogger had decided that Oscar was the dog for us; however, when I called the animal shelter Monday morning, Oscar had already been adopted. Much mourning over the lost Oscar ensued.
* My students and I are all thrilled that we didn't have class on Thursday. Thrilled, I tell you! And I'm also letting them out of class the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Thrilled again!
* I think I've already gained 10 pounds at this conference, and it is only the second day.
* I bought these shoes. They should be there by the time I get home.
* Last night I had to finish an algebra assignment before we could go out and have a drink. Took me two hours. Erg.
* There's a candidate for one of our searches(it's a high-powered position and I'm on the search committee) at this conference, and I want to pull him/her aside to talk about the search, BUT I want to do it in a way that doesn't reveal anything to his/her colleagues. Can't seem to find this person alone to do that . . .

And that's about all I've got. Here's hoping that the snow will melt before we're ready to head home . . . .