Thursday, January 31, 2008

edge of memory

Just for historical documentation:

a sudden memory - I was blackmailed into helping out with my high school yearbook (yes, it was blackmail and he's now in the Marines in Iraq, OK?) - one day we got a call from a man whose father was an alum at our school. For whatever reason, he knew nothing of his father as a person, so what we could tell him, based solely upon his father's yearbook entries, was deeply meaningful.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

40 + 20 -20 = 40

We are fast approaching add/drop deadlines. I have 40 students in one of my classes. I do not flatter myself that it is full because they love me - the class is required and the time is right. The room seats 40, maybe 42 in a tight pinch. I refuse to go above 42... but I am still getting requests from people who drop the name of their adviser in hopes that it will help them get in.

#1 - I don't know your adviser, don't care about your adviser and if your adviser was any good, they would have been in touch two months ago like the other advisers who talked me into admitting their kids.

#2 - no.

#3 - you want in my class? Get me a raise.

On a happier note - Ginger! That's the one I couldn't remember. Whatever happened to her, anyway?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

a short quiz

In thirty seconds or less, name all of the Spice Girls. Bonus points for knowing their real names.

I can't.

Monday, January 21, 2008

living space vs. real estate

Most bathrooms are larger than my office. Many closets are larger than my office. I share my office with another prof. There's room for desks, coats and a chair and then maybe a tight turn around.

Naturally, when another prof demanded a different office space, our was the first one the powers that be came up with as a suitable alternative. Said power of being has an office easily four times the size of mine, and single occupancy.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

what's in a name?

Because the 2008 primaries started, as best I can tell, back in 1988, I have started to fixate on odd details. I live in Indiana, so my primary vote won't count (though I will be voting, on principle if nothing else.) Nonetheless, I feel that I should pay some sort of attention.

The religious angle does not interest me (and I probably know more bout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints than many journalists who pretend otherwise), I don't worry about divorce, and I long ago left the wars in Iraq and Afganistan in God's hands. Thus what is left for me to obsess about?


More specifically, the candidate eventually elected will be prayed for every Sunday for the next four years. I often read the Prayers of the People at church, and I have noticed that some names ring "more dignified" than others. "Frank, our governor, Mitch, our governor" - I wish them well and wise, but they lack dignity somehow. I never did like praying for "Bill, our president" always preferred "William." George is dignified, but I tend to prefer name of two syllables.

So, where does this leave me, the burned-out voter?

Michael = dignified
Barack = unusual, but passed the two syllable test
John = one syllable, but dignified
Hillary = two syllables
Rudy = two syllables, kind of odd, but can we handle Rudolph?

Not sure how I feel about Mitt.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

more technology, advanced and otherwise

Well, it's been a busy week here at lemming headquarters. As I am a particularly cruel and vindictive person at times, I was delighted to hear that the tech person about whom I last blogged as "resigned to spend more time with their family." Don't let the door hit you on the way out or I will.

Tech's replacement proved to be funny, helpful, understood me when I said "well, I click on the yellow bit and then the red button doesn't come up" and I am prepared to bear his children.

Continuing the stream of happiness, not one but three former students e-mailed me pictures from their vacations. "Oh my gosh, prof lemming, I read about location x in your class and here I am in front of it!" That was cool.

I've started thinking about the syllabus for one of my classes for the spring - I still have a few weeks. I've done the class before, but in a different format. I think I', going to pitch the old bits and start from scratch. This will make for more work (ick) but will be more interesting for me and hopefully for them.

I recently mentioned to one of my favorite college profs that I did occasionally doodle in their class - it had actually helped me follow what was being said. Said prof was horrified. "You did? Really?" This makes me feel better about the students I saw doodle in my class at the end of last semester!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008!

which will mark a return to blogging.

Long time no write, I know. I spent most of the last six weeks of 2007 in a nasty battle with the tech support powers that be. Let's just say that I resent doing tech support's job for them, on my own time, and that it really ate up a lot of my Christmas Spirit, the dulcet tones of Mariah Carey notwithstanding.

Then I opened Christmas Cards, physical and virtual, and was reminded by former students that I really did teach them something along the way. All right, all right, the cockles of my heart are warmed and I will carry on. Maybe I can shame tech support into being useful for a change.

I caught most of a segment on 60 Minutes the other night which proved, tongue in cheek but still definitive proof, that the geeks now do run much of the world. One of the interviewees was the founder of Geek Squad. Said founder commented that he very intentionally puts his workers in the black clip-on ties for two reasons. the first is to remind his troops that they are professionals. The second is to keep them humble. The biggest complaints he hears about tech support people is that they speak a foreign language and that they are arrogant jerks.

The techno-babble doesn't bother me. 99 times out of 100, I find that tech support people are more than happy to explain a term to you - indeed, and pleased to be asked. It's the arrogance that drives me up the proverbial wall.


lemming: I need help with this.
Tech: This is the link.
lemming: I clicked on that link and I got an error message.
Tech: Click on this link.
lemming: I just did. I told you, I got an error message.
Tech: Cut and paste this link into your browser.
lemming: I just did, for the third time, and I keep getting an error message which says that this site does not exist.
Tech: Well, that's the right link.
lemming: Have you actually tried this link?
Tech: well, not as such, but that's the right link.

The year can only get better!