Wednesday, March 29, 2006

some frustrations

This morning there was a national news item about a man in California who found a purse full of jewelry and turned it in to the police. Apparently, he thought it was all costume jewelry, but it turned out to be real, and all together it was worth around one million dollars.

And I thought, "This is sad, when a person doing a simple act like trying to return a lost item to its owner makes the national news."


In other news, I got really angry with my students yesterday and all but yelled at them. For some time now, they've been annoying me by asking questions that are answered on the syllabus, or not having their readings done and claiming that they didn't know about it, or trying to get extra points out of me. Yesterday, though, I hit my limit pretty quickly. They turned in their first papers, and I noticed that several of them hadn't formatted them correctly, despite the clearly-laid out formatting guidelines in their syllabus, along with the threat of a 10-point deduction for not following said guidelines. So I mentioned that deduction (which, admittedly I shouldn't have done), and they all went crazy wanting to come get their papers and staple them, or re-format them and hand them in later that day, or ... And it didn't take long for me to start telling them, "Look, I'm sorry, I don't want to take points away from you, but that's the policy, and no you can't change your papers now that they're turned in, and I did tell you about the formatting before, at the beginning of the semester, and it's in your syllabus and I shouldn't have to tell you anyway, and guess what? -- life is tough, and it's time you get used to it!" I just felt sick and tired of taking so much responsibility for them and helping them out so much -- especially when they have a syllabus that has all this information on it to begin with.

Oh yes, and I got an email yesterday from one student, explaining why his paper is late (he is having a hard time juggling two jobs and school) and asking me to still let him turn it in and get a grade on it. A big part of me wants to just say no, it's not fair to all my other students, and you knew about this deadline from the beginning of the semester, so I absolutely will not take. (I also have a "no late work" policy, which is clearly printed on -- you guessed it -- the syllabus.) But part of me also wants to be merciful and take it for a reduced grade or something ... it's worth a total of 20% of his grade, which means the highest grade he could possibly get if I don't take it is 80%, and most likely he would end up with a C of some kind. *sigh* I might have to call Katie and see if she has any advice on this one.


The last quote was from The Thin Man, a movie I just love!

Plain? It's as ugly as a parson's widow! (62 points)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

a new update

spring break

Spring Break was lots of fun. Only Erin and I went, and we left on Saturday morning. Erin was fun to drive with. She always chooses a ‘guy’ — someone who’s driving just a little faster than her, or about the same speed, so that if there are any cops or there’s anything troublesome ahead, her ‘guy’ gets the brunt of it, and she’s been warned already. I never did that before, but I rather enjoyed the experience. We had lots of good conversation, too, and Erin is one of my favorite people to talk to, so that was great.

We didn’t really do anything in Missouri, we just hung around, did a little bit of homework, and ate lots. Erin’s mom is a great cook, and she had wonderful food for us, and they also took us out to eat a couple of times. My favorite part of the trip was when we went to Sikeston, Missouri, and ate at Lambert’s CafĂ©, “the only home of throwed rolls.” It was a little like eating at Tucano’s in Provo (mmmmm, Tucano’s ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... OK, I’m done zoning off and salivating now) — Right. It’s kind of like Tucano’s, since there was tons of food, I was super stuffed afterward, and they came around giving you free food if you wanted it. They had fried potatoes, macaroni and tomatoes, and fried okra, among other things. (By the way, I tried fried okra for the first time this trip, and I really enjoyed it.) And one of the other things they had were some fabulous, fresh, hot rolls, which they threw at you. So if you wanted a roll, you’d just stick your hands up in the air, and they would throw one at you, even from all the way across the room. It was great fun.

I stayed until Thursday, and that morning I left and drove home. In fact, I got a tad lost on the way home. It was sunset, and I was driving west, so I missed the sign that indicated I was supposed to turn left to stay on Highway 380 going west, and thus ended up on Highway 69 going north. Before long, I figured out that I was on the wrong road, and I stopped at the next town and bought a map. The whole thing only took about 45 extra minutes, and I got home in one piece. And I had a fabulous time driving my rented Ford Escape. Happiness.

like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife ...

Since the beginning of the semester, I have never yet had my British Lit professor commend me for anything I’ve written. On occasion, when something catches his eye that one of us has written about in our response papers, he’ll mention it in class and either ask us to tell the class about it, or if we don’t want to, he’ll tell them. But he’d never said anything about my stuff. Most of the time that doesn’t bother me, since I usually write a bunch of crap for that class, but every now and then I’d really spend time on it and give it some real effort, and I still got nothing.

The last day before class, which was also the last day that I posted here, I was agonizing over writing a response paper for “The Watsons” by Jane Austen. I finally forced myself to write something, which started out “I’ve had a really hard time appreciating ‘The Watsons’ ...” And then I finished it up by writing about what a difference it makes in how you read when you’re internally motivated to read something versus when you are forced to read it for, say, a graduate class. The whole paper really said nothing at all about “The Watsons” itself, but I managed to squeeze out two pages of it.

And ironically enough, Scott (my professor) asked me to talk about it in class. He said he was surprised to hear me talking about this, since he feels like he doesn’t really force people to read. I think he may have missed much of my point. He told us to read as though we’re reading for fun — meaning that we don’t have to try to analyze while we’re reading, or try to find significance in things, or whatever else. And he did mention that he’s had several students over the years write about how they hated something so much that they didn’t even finish reading (which I’ve done more than once, though I haven’t written about it). But my point was that I wouldn’t even be reading half of this stuff on my own, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m in this class and he’s assigned it to us.

monday, monday ...

Yesterday wasn’t such a great day. It was rather productive, so that was good. But other than that, it was pretty frustrating. My iPod, which I just sent in about two weeks ago to get a new battery, no longer works. I’m not sure that it’s still under warranty, so I don’t know if I can get it fixed again. And then, my internet is on the fritz. I’m worried that it may be a problem with my Ethernet card ... *sigh* That means that I can’t rely on being able to check my email, or Google things, or IMDb them, or FTP stuff for my website, or chat with Jim, or ... the list goes on. I tell you, you don’t realize just how much you rely on these things until they’re gone. It kind of reminds me of the time when I was so excited to get sheets after I first got to Lancaster.

the quotes

The last quote was from Toy Story. Gosh! I just got looking at that post again and realized just how long it’s been since I last posted. That seems like ages ago.

"I read where you were shot four times in the tabloids."

"It's not true -- they never came near my tabloids."

(83 points)

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

procrastinating ... again

I should be writing a response paper to "The Watsons" today, and boy am I having trouble with that. I suppose I could write something about Zofloya instead ... except that I haven't even begun reading it yet.

I'm really excited for Spring Break, which is next week. It looks like Erin and I will leave Saturday, and we're going to visit her family in Missouri. I've been looking forward to it for at least three months, so it's nice that it's finally so close. I'm not too picky on what we actually do there -- it's just the thought of being somewhere else, and not having to go to classes every day that makes me so happy.

I really, really, really don't want to go to my class today. That's largely because I don't have a response paper yet, and little hope of having a well-written one by the time I get to class. I'm trying to really force myself to go, though, since I have already missed more days in that class than I should have. And because it's good for me to be doing things I don't want to do.

The last quote was from Key Largo, a great movie with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, and Edward G. Robinson. Classic. I expect most of you will know today's quote, but I have to add that Jim is not allowed to score points on this one, since we were discussing it last night.

Farewell, my friends, I go to a better place! (13 points)

Monday, March 6, 2006


This week is the second week for visual texts in the English classes I'm teaching, and we're supposed to watch a film and analyze it. I've been debating with myself since October about what films to show, and I still haven't decided!! We start watching these films tomorrow, and I still don't know what to do about them. Good golly! I've been strongly considering The Third Man and The Princess Bride for some time, but I just can't quite bring myself to a point.

In other news ... well, there's really nothing else to say. Nothing that interesting has gone on lately. Except that I did take a 4-hour nap on Saturday. We had an early temple trip that morning, and by the time I got home, I just couldn't function anymore. So I took a nap and didn't get up until 4 hours later. It reminded me of the time right after my mission when I frequently wound up taking naps that lasted anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. (Yes, I said naps.) I was just so physically exhausted from the mission, I couldn't control the desire to sleep whenever possible.

The last quote was, indeed, from "Love Changes Everything," a song by Andew Lloyd-Weber. And the other one in that post was from Alannis Morissette's "Head Over Feet."

One Rocco more or less isn't worth dying for! (181 points -- it's rather obscure)

Thursday, March 2, 2006

4 weeks = 1 month

I have been avoiding talking very much about Jim on my blog, because I don't want you all to get sick of it. But I do have to tell about something he did today.

About 5:20, there was a knock on the door, which I recognized as Jim's. He came just to bring me some beautiful pink tulips in commemoration of our 1-month anniversary. We count from the day he asked me out ... I guess since that was the first day he made me outrageously happy.

Anyway, I just had to share how wonderful my Jim is. I really, really like him. And he treats me great. "Like I'm a princess," in fact. (17 points for that one)
Yesterday's quote was from School of Rock.

Love makes fools of everyone -- all the rules we make are broken. (22 points)

Wednesday, March 1, 2006


So today I wore my flip-flops to class. They're rather flimsy, and I've had them for most of a year ... they're not in the best of condition anymore. We went outside for class, and right after I sat down, I realized that my left flip-flop had completely come apart. Which meant that when I walked home, I was going to have only one shoe, and I decided to just walk home barefoot. Hey, as long as one foot's gonna be dirty and hurting, why not both of them, right? So I walked home barefoot. It was nice. Really!

I think it's important to walk barefoot every now and then. For me, it's a reminder that life is not always about constraints or protecting yourself. That sometimes, life should be about being vulnerable. That it's good for the soul to remember the care-free days of childhood, running around the yard barefoot and running through sprinklers with all your clothes on.

Who knew that walking barefoot could do so much for a person?


I should be writing a response to Lady Susan right now, but I'm having a hard time finding anything interesting to write about it ... I haven't had so much trouble with a response paper yet this semester. I just don't seem to be able to think too well. So I thought I'd post to my blog quickly.

Last night we had the missionaries over for dinner. It was good. We had pork chops and creamed potatoes with green beans (which Erin made ... yummy!). We have a brand new elder here now -- he just arrived last week sometime. He seems pretty nice.

Oh, and the weather has turned really warm. The last few weeks it was rainy and cold every day, but it's now warmed up again. And I mean warm. It's currenty 78°, and it's supposed to get up 87° before the end of the day. It's only March, mind you. Oy! The one thing I most dislike about Texas is the heat. This also means I'm going to have to give up wearing my cute new pajamas with the sheep on them.

Well, I guess I'll get going now ... I only have another 30 minutes to finish my paper, if I'm going to have time to actually get ready for the day before leaving for class.

The last quote was from "The Great Muppet Caper" and the one before was "Muppet Treasure Island." Sorry, Elizabeth -- close, but no cigar.

It will test your head, and your mind, and your brain. (41 points)