Thursday, April 19, 2007

a sobering week

I confess that the shootings in Virginia have hit me close to home. You can't teach for more than a month without encountering at least one student who worries you. In my time I've had quite a few, and there's one about whom I still have nightmares. (If I turn up dead, his name is one that should be investigated. I'm serious.)

Education becomes so personal, so intimate and yet because of its cyclical nature, it's easy for faculty and staff (and administration) to hope that "if I just get through this semester, the problem will be over." The problem forgotten by faculty will almost certanly live on for the student - heck, I'm still annoyed at the unprofessionalism of a prof I endured my freshman year.

I teach in a building with stout doors, ones that lock when closed. Since Monday I have faithfully closed (and thus locked) them at the start of class. So what did I do today? When someone knocked at the door, I opened it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

after seeing the records for Sam's latest visit

Oh, you're here! Thank goodness. I am pleased. Mind you, it's about time you showed up.
Hi Sam! Good dog.
ooo, yes, scratch my ears.

Do you know what she did to me?

That vet lady. Do you know what she did to me?
The shots? Yeah, I'm sorry, but it's a law, and really, it's better for you in the long run, particularly since you chase wild game.
That's not what I mean and you know it. I've had shots before.

Do you mean the bath? I know you hate water and all, but truly, you really were in need of one.
The bath is all right. The ladies scratch my ears and gve me biscuits. I'd rather just have the biscuits and the fur-dryer session, but I can handle it.

(long pause)

I'm sorry - you're an older dog and, well, sometimes a dog's gotta, um, be examined in certain ways.

I may sulk.
How about I let you finish my taco?
Oh, OK, I forgive you. Now, about those ducks...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

fowl, take II

This time it was geese from our fair neighbor to the north and, fortunately for them, they chose the neighbor's yard. Sam did his best woofing, but they understood the concept of "fence."

My neighbors are out of town, but will not be happy when they return. I wonder if the geese understand the concept of "man who owns guns" nearly as well... or do they already have personal injury lawyers on their speed dials?

Monday, April 02, 2007

birds! raven and the crow - and the goose and the duck -

One of the aspects to living in the "big city" and its surroundng environs which does not cease to amaze me: the waterfowl. That is to say, there are a lot of them. Flocks. Flocks of flocks.

Last week I was stalked by two Canada Geese as I walked from my office to the car - obviously I was too close to something and had beeter leave right away. That, or produce food.

This morning a pair of mallards was very obviously scoping out my backyard for a nesting location. The male was obviously on guard duty and the female was methodically waddling through the bushes and undergrowth.

"All right, Sam! outside! Look, Sam - ducks!"
Oh! Ducks!

The backyard is now poultry free.