Category Archives: blogging

Quick update and some social media comments.

The complainer from Monday came to see me (twice!) about her essay, and had perfectly pleasant interactions with me with nary a peep about whatever it was that she found so offensitive last week.

So I am bewildered. I asked my Chair, and he said she hadn’t been to see him either. I have no idea if this is a thing which has slunk quietly away, or a thing which is hiding in the bushes to pounce.

King of Flakes is very, very quiet. I think this might be because after my yelling about how much they sucked last week, my students actually lifted their game, and the presentations on Wednesday were truly awesome. KoF was probably too busy peeing his pants to think of anything to say.

In other news, I am actually using the Twitter quite a bit, if you want to follow me and see me doing daring shit like teasing John Dickerson.

Do you have gmail? Google Buzz seems to have merrily doxed everyone and assumed that you want everyone you email to know who else you email. (I wonder how many adulterers got busted yesterday and today?) I spent a bit of time today shutting it down on my personal accounts, with the help of this article.

Can I just have a quick rant here and say, I blog anonymously for obvious reasons. I have separate home and work email, and I don’t want students who google me to find a profile of me from google that tells them personal stuff about them like I spend a lot of time talking about Dubious Sex Toys. They do not need to know that. I prefer it that when they google my power word they find a few, very dull things about me.

Unlike that creepy guy on RYS who stalks his students on Facebook, I have no interest in their personal lives, and I want to discourage any reciprocal curiosity.

I work hard to make sure that I am not very interesting to google; I love it that I am helped by having the same name as an equally dull nursing prof in another country, and some nice lady from Nebraska. Let me keep my business my business, google.

I did leave Buzz on for the fyclpodder at gmail dot com address, if you want to blast us a quick comment or link, but we don’t check it nearly as often as we do our Facebook group. Of course, this may change, if everyone drops Facebook for Buzz, as the media pundits are predicting.

Edit: Okay, weh, weh, weh, I’ve been whining about a minor inconvenience, but there are some people for whom the sharing of email contacts means a serious risk of physical harm. Shame, google. Shame.

Yesterday Morning: the Good News and the Bad News

Good News: My Children’s Lit Class is meeting at the Children’s Bookstore for our field trip, which is usually lots of fun.

Bad News: I still have to get up at sparrowfart to go teach Milton to the early class. Milton!

Good News: Students are far more into Paradise Lost than I am, so my instruction to “talk about it amongst yourselves and figure out a list of questions you want me to answer” cop-out actually produces some interesting discussion.

Bad News: Despite my repeatedly leaving a pile of essays invitingly for them on my desk, the Marking Fairies have not made an appearance.

Good News: I get to go home and be fortified by coffee before I walk around the corner to the Children’s Bookstore.

Bad News: When I use my break time productively to check how my character is going in Forumwarz, I find I have been the target of repeated assholings by those jerks, The Knights of LOL.

Good News: More exciting sock yarn arrives in the mail.

Bad News: I am the kind of dork who gets excited by sock yarn.

Good News: Most of my class have turned up at the bookstore and they are having an excellent time browsing, reading and discussing the things they see. Woot! Education is taking place before my eyes.

More Good News: When I go to purchase Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, the nice bookstore owner tells me I have $10 in frequent flyer credit.

Bad News: Students are clearly skeptical about my excuses for not having their essays to hand back. Damn you, Marking Fairies!

Good News: Disgruntled Students are distracted by the arrival of Feckless at the store. Students always like to get a glimpse of your personal life.

Not Bad at all News: Weird Korean Sub and Bubble tea place down the road has been replaced by Vietnamese Cafe.

Good News: It’s busy-ish, but there is a table free.

Bad News: It becomes apparent that the table is free because it is next two Ladies (not women; women do not have the kind of conversation these ladies are having) of a certain age, who are lunching and talking about their inane lives in appalling detail, VERY LOUDLY. Srsly, it is sad that your mutual friend has cancer, and isn’t it good that she seems to be recovering, and how nice that her nice children were so nice to visit her, but we really don’t want to hear about it. Other things we also don’t want to hear about: your dog’s manicure, or whatever the hell it was, and who came to visit at Easter, and what you made for dinner.

Good News: The spring rolls are delicious.

Bad News: The Loud Ladies’ conversation has taken a turn for the gynecological. Your friend Holly, do you really think she would be happy to know that you told an entire restaurant how many times she “tried” before she got pregnant?

Good News: Both Feckless and I have iPods. So we put them on.

Bad News: Now, of course, we cannot converse about how yummy the food is, and did I notice if there was any more chili sauce.

Good News: Also armed with cellphones, we can text each other. So we do. Feckless texts, “This is SO much better.” I reply, “I am going to pwn them on my blog.”

Bad News: When we finish eating, and disconnect the tech, the Ladies are still at it.

Good News: The current topic of conversation – the son of one of them, who is a Special Snowflake currently studying at a post-secondary institution and cannot make up his mind what he wants to study – offers the opportunity for some lulz. Snowflake Son apparently has dropped a lot of classes, including, most recently, Sociology, because he is “trying to find his path.” “Oh well,” consoles the other lady, “he is a deep thinker.” This last observation prompts me to reply, “That clearly isn’t genetic.”

Bad News: I didn’t say it out loud. I know you were hoping one of them was going to hit me with her handbag.

Good News: Food was excellent value for money. Also, the Ladies provide us with an excellent topic for snarky conversation on the way home, all the way to the Badly Built House, which, despite a booming housing market in this city, remains unsold after several months. Tip for property developers: giant cracks in the stonework tend to deter potential buyers.

In other news: Sarcastic Bastard got an essay with a little photochopped picture of a rubber duck with a stapler in the upper right hand corner.

Happy Easter and other crafty pursuits.

Hem. I have been slack. This is due to many factors, but I put most of the blame squarely on knitting, which I have been doing a lot of. Also hanging out on ravelry, because that is what us knitters do, nowadays, apparently. (If you don’t know about ravelry, it’s like Facebook for people who knit, except that it has actual, useful applications. Also, I am sorry to tell you, if you don’t know about ravelry, you are tragically non-hip.)

I learned to knit in my teens, when it totally wasn’t cool, out of a book my mother gave me which had nice, clear instructions for how to make more hideous garments than you would ever care to shake a stick at. She did this because she already, at that age, had me pegged as “crafty”; better at womanly pursuits like cooking and sewing (I was making my own clothes by the time I was 12) than she was. Which was a slight contradiction, because, in fact, she was the one who taught me to sew, but I committed the cardinal sin of apparently enjoying it, rather than seeing sewing as a chore, or a frugal duty. My mother was a pretty strong feminist, you see; not that I am not, but she definitely had that whole doing things that are gendered female is bad thing going on. At least in some areas. One day I will tell you all about her 3 husbands. But I digress.

Well, not entirely, because I kind of wanted to write about this tension between craftiness and intellect, clearly exemplified by Stephanie in this post. Stephanie is quite possibly the most intellectual person I know, and her blog is smart and funny and highbrow and sometimes very moving (and again, if you don’t read it: tragically non-hip), and yet it made me really uneasy to see her expressing that idea that somehow talking about crafting objects is inappropriate; like somehow admissions that you are good with your hands maybe means you are less good with your brain. Or maybe that’s just my issue showing.

The other side of the coin, which really doesn’t help with the whole “smart feminists can’t also be knitters” meme, is that conversations on ravelry’s forums show a tendency (horribly common in female-dominant communities) to succumb to pressure not to express unpopular opinions, because, however civilly they are expressed, saying contentious things is “not nice”. And heaven forbid that women utter any words that are “not nice”, because of course that opens them up to being labelled as bitchy.

Unfortunately, I cannot point you to the discussion to see for yourself, because ravelry discussions are only visible to members. The discussion was about Yarn Harlot, and whether her humour is gendered, but it rapidly descended into a whole bunch of shrill “You can’t talk about her! She’s a member here! You are not nice!” hysteria. Even though the discussion was exceedingly civil, and in some cases quite literary critical, rather than personally critical (my opinons were of the milder sort, but unpopular – I don’t think she’s very entertaining, but for god’s sake don’t tell anyone). You’ll notice the strong strain of anti-intellectualism mixed in with the whole “be nice” directive here, too, dear reader.

Having managed to alienate another mostly female community by (according to my adversaries) “overthinking and bringing feminism and literary criticism into everything,” I felt I knew where this was going, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave it alone. It bugs me that I cannot be a smart woman who thinks about stuff, and at the same time, a woman who is good at traditionally female activities like knitting or sewing, or who has an interest in Boarding School Stories for girls, or a Nintendo obsession.

I don’t have an answer, or a pearl of wisdom, here. Apologies if you were looking for closure.

Also, we made some kick-ass Easter Eggs.

Can’t talk – Mario.

I don’t think I mentioned that our wii broke a while ago. In fact, I may have failed to mention that my family are totally Nintendo’s whores, but we so are. We have 4 DS handhelds for 3 people (including a special edition pink 1st generation DS that Feckless and StepLadder won in a contest), and we had a gamecube, and now we have the wii.

Nintendo’s customer service is totally awesome. Unlike, say, the cable company or the IT guys at work, Nintendo customer service dudes’ default position is not that you are an idiot who is lucky to have electricity. Rather, they offer sympathy for the problem (“Hard drive failed just after you beat Bowser? That’s so frustrating! That battle is really long!), and they listen when you describe the symptoms and tell them what you tried. Bonus points for the one who was helping me, because he refrained from howling with laughter at StepLadder, who was wailing piteously in the background that her “heart was broken”.

So we had to send the wii to them for a couple weeks, but they returned it promptly, fixed, and replaced the game that was zorched by the defective harddrive. It’s been home for nearly a week, and I have been playing Mario Galaxy quite a lot. Hence, the not so much blogging, because I am pretty sure you don’t really need to know how many stars we need to get before we can beat Bowser again so then we can play as Luigi.

Funny things happened at work, but I wrote about them for RYS, so go read it over there. I need to grab some more 1-ups.

New Year’s Resolution: Post MOAR

Since I got this shiney new computer, and I can blog from anywhere, I figure I really should blog from anywhere.

We’ve taken the spawn skating the last couple of days. She seems to have taken to it like a duck to water – she has her father’s native athletic abilities not mine. It’s nice to have a rink just down the road, and to see her enjoying it, just because it is fun.

I thought about asking if she wanted lessons, but people take skating lessons so seriously in this town; there are girls in her ballet class who are there because, at age 7, they are taking skating seriously enough that they do other activities, like ballet, to support their skating. Getting up at 6 in the morning to go skating 3 or more times a week seems like a recipe for sucking the fun right out of it, to me.

Of course, I say this as a parent who makes her kid go to ballet and violin, so maybe I am just one-eyed and pushy in my own way, but I hope not. A couple summers ago we tried diving, since she was really keen to do it, and all the kids there were taking it really seriously. At 8. One mother said her child was doing diving because she had fractured her wrist horribly – twice! – in gymnastics, and “her career was over”. At age nine, and her mother said this in front of her.

I don’t want my kid to be an athlete (my grouchiest pal would say that is because I am an incurable egghead), but I love it that she is good at physical activities and confident in her own body. That’s such a difficult gift for girls to retain as they grow older.

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