23 September 2006

This and that

This week has been far, far better than last. My students are still bizarre and other things are odd, but at least they're not all driving me up the wall.

I did learn this from one of my students: Every [school] applicant, regardless the method of enrollment, must physically consort with a [school name] education counselor before completing the enrollment process. We are nothing if not friendly, I guess. (Notice he didn't say faculty must consort - thank God for that!)

I we had dogs, here's what they'd be wearing for Halloween:

Ethan is going as Mater from the Cars movie, and has spent the better part of the week saying "Trick or Treat from Radiator Springs" and similar phrases in Mater's voice. Should I be proud of his accent and mimicry skills, or appalled that a redneck voice comes to him so easily?

21 September 2006

Too much honesty

Note to self:

if ever taking a class again, instead of teaching it, remember not to explain poor performance in the following way:

Well, I know I didn't participate hardly at all last week and I completely missed an assignment but I went to Seattle to audition for American Idol and honestly walked right passed my laptop that was all ready to go. I was so stressed about everything else I guess. And I didn't know anyone so I had no access to a computer. Anyways, I know I missed a lot from last week but it was for a good reason. To me at least. I will do much better at planning on getting my homework done before I go on any future trips. I am sorry.

Very good - telling a teacher that American Idol (of all things...shudder) is more important than her class.

Can you hear me sawing away on my tiny violin?

16 September 2006

Sensational Similes, Marvelous Metaphors

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners. . .

1) Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2) His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3) He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4) She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5) She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6) Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7) He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8) The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9) The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10) McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11) From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12) Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13) The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14) Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15) They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16) John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17) He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18) Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19) Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20) The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21) The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22) He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23) The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24) It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25) He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Check the Moon

I normally don't buy into the whole "weirdos and full moons coincide" thing, but this week has made me reconsider. I've been too busy, however, dealing with said weirdos to see if, indeed, the moon is full, if Mercury is in retrograde (whatever that means), etc.

The week began simply enough - four of my classes had work due for grading, one was in a discussion period, and two more were just beginning. Things went smoothly for many days, I graded a ton of papers, grumbled about grading the rest, etc. Then, Thursday happened.

My day began with an email containing a PowerPoint presentation from one of my students. The final project in his class involves a PPT presentation, so I didn't think too much of it. What did I find upon opening the file? Why, a detailed presentation outlining his upcoming incarceration for failure to pay child support! What did you expect? I know some people have different views of what's tmi than others, but really, did I need to know this? And even if he is about to be jailed for being a deadbeat dad and felt the need to tell me, did he have to do it via a PPT demo?!? I'm trying to forget I even read this thing of his - not only is it none of my business, but it's not like deadbeat dads are the most sympathetic group of criminals. BTW, he totally admits he is guilty.

The day was certainly off to an interesting, and telling, start.

Other fun awaiting me that day (in no particular order) - the arrival of a self-published "screenplay" written by a former student of mine named Hiroshima. Her twin sister is named Nagasaki. They are Cuban. I kid you not. The story is a rip-off err...modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, written in both English and Spanish, and was accompanied by a letter from the author asking me to put her in contact with "anyone I know" who could help her bring the story "to the stage." Last time I checked, it'd be easier to bring a screenplay to the screen... So, anyone wanna bring this screenplay to the stage? I'm sure any theatre on Broadway will do.

My plagiarist returned to class, with nary a word of explanation for himself. Mark my words, I am running EVERYTHING he writes through my diabolical plagiarism checkers (bwhahaha...)

The night ended with one of my new students sending me three "joke" emails to my school email address. Now, if you are reading this blog, you know how I loathe those emails. Some people can send them and I like them - those of you reading this, for example, probably meet my minimum standards for snark and irreverence, and so I say, send me what you have. But others? Uh, no. I don'' want to read anything that begins "Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Too CUTE!" and then displays the sender's entire address book. Ditto for "proud American" emails. (Blech!) What have I done to deserve this? I asked the student to kindly remove me from her joke list and only email me about school business. She replied saying that she writes to "another Nanci' and must have "guessed at the wrong email address." Uh huh. I'm sure the "other Nanci' not only spells her name with an "i' but also has an email account at the school's domain.

Friday's weirdness level was back to normal, I am pleased to report. No more PPT demos outlining upcoming incarceration schedules, no more Tony Award-hopeful screenplays, and no more CUTE! emails. Just one student telling me she "felt degraded" when I graded her paper and generously gave her a low B after politely pointing out she'd done the assignment all wrong but luckily included enough detail that I had something to work with. I know someone else who teaches this course who'd have given her an F. Maybe that person should be my new hero?

If I sound cranky, I'm really not, I more just amazed that all the weird things can happen in one 24 hr period. Thank God for the weekend!

12 September 2006

Happy Holidays

I think when you're 5, a mid-September birthday really does seem to fall just a few moments away from Halloween. Ethan certainly seems to think so, so he's decorated my cake accordingly.

As for his gift to me, I think giving someone a cake pan for their birthday is something like telling a genie you "wish for more wishes."

At least I know it was heart-felt!

Which plague?

Don't all medievalists need to know which plague they'd have?

Which Medieval Plague Do You Have?

Congratulations! You have the Red Plague! Known today as Smallpox, you are highly contagious, suffering from fever, chills, headache and a terrible backache. Within days you will develop a red rash over most of your body. You will then probably develop pus-filled blisters on your skin. You will be sick for weeks. The good news is the mortality rate is only 25% (good odds for the Middle Ages!). The bad news is you will probably be left with ugly pox marks. On the plus side, you will be forever immune to it if you survive. Too bad you will probably give it to everyone in your family.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

06 September 2006

Uli wuz robbed!

How on earth could this:

Beat this?!?

04 September 2006

Even if I didn't have an MA in history...

...I'd be bothered by this! (This is definitely worth clicking on the images to read all the comments!)

Thanks to Gillian for this :-)