Monday, February 27, 2006

Professors are People Too

Some days, teaching can be extremely draining. The effort of putting yourself out in front of all those people and being "on" for such an extended time can be exhilirating, but can also be difficult to come down from. But on days when students take out their stress on you ... well,

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You get the idea. I do think that part of the problem is that students don't recognize that professors are people too. If you invest a good deal of time into a course and (say, for example) work a good deal on a study sheet which you believe accurately reflects what a student should have learned, it isn't particularly encouraging to be told that it in no way bears on what they think they've learned. While this sort of revelation might, at times, be necessary, it is made worse when said students don't bother couching these problems in polite discourse, perhaps since they don't realize that:

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Professors are people too.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Many Ideas of Ideas Girl: Part One

Suffice it to say, Ideas Girl has many ideas of her own. Since she cannot type yet, I will try to convey some of them on her behalf:For the following idea, a little bit of background is perhaps necessary (well, a very little bit of background). You see, Pampers Cruisers have pictures of Sesame Street characters on front of them, a sensible design given the excellence of Sesame Street characters.

Ideas Girl models her diaper (12 Months Old)

To help Ideas Girl consent to get her diaper changed, it is necessary to present her with a choice between two of them. However, the ratio at which these characters appear will shock and appall you. In a 74 pack, there are 17 Elmo's (sometimes pronounced Ohmo or Yelma), 16 Big Bird's (BiBir), 16 Cookie Monster's (KeeKee), 16 Ernie's (Amy) but only 9 Grover's (Groger or Grogro)! While all of the characters are good, Grover is clearly the best. So, no matter what choice you offer Ideas Girl, she will often simply insist on Grogro. At the very least, Grover should be given equal representation. And preferably, there should be an all Grover box. This way, no matter what two character choices you are given, you can rest assured that if you veto both choices and insist on Groger, your demands will be met. Also, Ideas Girl has pointed out the following problem: What up with there being no Oscar (Oker) ? She demanded an Oscar after rejecting four of the five other choices. Oscar lives in a trash can, so being on a diaper is really a no brainer! We can overlook the lack of Zoe (ZZZo --- who until recently was on the departing end of the diaper) or Bert (Amy or Bird). But some insults cannot go overlooked. Pampers should give Grover equal representation and include Oscar in the regular Cruisers packs. In addition, they should make an all Grover pack for special occasions.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Genetic Account of The Stylings of Ideas Man (With a Husserlian Shout Out to Joe)

Perhaps you've been wondering why after years of keeping my ideas to myself, I've decided to inflict them on the Web. I was going to initially write, "inflict them on more people" but this wouldn't be technically true, since I have been inflicting my views on my students for years, and they outnumber my meager readership by far. But why have I finally decided to inflict my ideas (and, more frighteningly, my stylings) on others?

The answer (and this is the most frightening thing of all) is that I was inspired by my mother-in-law's blog:

To be more precise, I was inspired by how seriously she is taking her various blogs as a money making enterprise. To be painfully precise, I was inspired by the thought of her leading my poor, impressionable nephews in a karaoke version of "Who Let the Dogs Out." Who let them out indeed? You did, Mary Ellen.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ammon Manfredjensen (A Total Bastard Who Will Someday Die)

Jnet's comment reminded me that I should inform you all of an evil man who may occassionally try to masquerade as me (you can tell the difference because all of his ideas are derivative of mine. They look exactly like what my ideas would be like if I were trying to imitate myself).

His name is Ammon Manfredjensen. (See, he even stole his identity from Fawlty Towers). He is so derivative. I hate him.

Ideas ideas

It goes without saying that I have lots of ideas. I do not, however, yet have an idea as to what sort of ideas I will post here on-line. In the meantime, here's a highly scientific personality quiz. This quiz has been designed to be able to tell everything about you. If by some amazing chance of internet serendipity, you happen to read this blog, please take time to post your results. I am always curious about the demographics of my (fictitious?) readership. And perhaps this will help to decide the direction of future ideas.

1) The first word I would use to describe myself is:
a) outgoing
b) shy
c) intellectual
d) Rastafarian
e) happy
f) none of the above

2) My favorite color is:
a) red
b) blue

3) I find other people:
a) interesting
b) loathsome
c) good to eat

Score as follows:

1: a) 500; b) 400 c) 300; d) 200; e) 600; f) 100

2: a) 10; b) 20

3) a) 1; b) 3; c) 2

If you scored:

100-210: You are unworthy of living. Ditch this whole notion of individuality, get with the program, and maybe there might be some hope for you.

211: You are a communist Jamaican. Dye your weed red, mon and pass it around!

212: Doesn’t your religion forbid cannibalism?

213-220: You are a Jamaican, and a communist, but you find the masses vulgar. Keep the red Mary Jane to yourself!

221: You like beaches

222: Don’t eat all the tourists!

223-310: You are one mellow Rastafarian who does not like crowds. Find a quite spot, look at the sky, and light up!

311: You would spend all of your time analyzing all the reasons you liked “red,” except you can’t help but get distracted by others! Focus more on them and less on your work and maybe when the revolution comes you won’t be denounced as a secret burgeousie.

312: You are the sort of cannibal who a) likes to try lots of recipes and b) likes spicy food. Try toe served with a fennel ragu spiked with Sriracha.

313-320: Looks like you’ve chosen the right profession for you! You’ll have plenty of time to let your misanthropy grow as you sit alone in the stacks, wondering how you can get your colleagues to exempt you from faculty meetings and sipping your Ruby Red Squirt thoughtfully.

321: You should live in New York City: It has many good libraries, you are bound to meet someone interesting, and it is in a blue state.

322: You should live in New York: It has many good libraries, you are bound to eat someone interesting, and it is in a blue state.

323-410: You should live in New York: It has many good libraries, it is in a blue state, and it will confirm all of your worst suspicions about humanity.

411: Try to overcome your fear of talking, because this will be the only long-term way to deal with the lonely emptiness that fills you up as you walk through the bustling city streets, looking at all the happy smiling faces of people deep in conversation with the ones they love. Oh, and stop wearing that red hat. It makes you look fat.

412: If you lurk in the bushes, you can often catch your victim without having to say a word to them. Do this at night while wearing infra-red goggles: It makes hunting your prey more efficient and more attractive!

413-420: That mountain-fortress you bought for yourself in the hinterlands of Wyoming is paying for itself already! If Dick Cheney comes by and tries to commandeer it for his new “undisclosed location,” that trip to the gun-shop post Assault Ban expiration ought to pay off in spades.

421: You are a sad, lonely person with a deeply poetic side. Go to the beach, look at the blue waves, and listen to the happy people, laughing and playing in the ocean. Look at them longingly. When someone comes up to you and accuses you of being “pervy” sigh at the sadness of constantly being misunderstood, “spontaneously” break out into that poem you’ve been composing for the last six years (the one that rhymes “lacking” with “khaki”). Maybe they’ll see deep into your soul and become your soul-mate. Maybe they’ll kick you in the teeth.

422: If you lurk in the water, you can often catch your victim without having to say a word to them. Do this at night while a snorkel mask and plastic-fin: Everyone will just think you’re a shark (this will also clear out the beach and leave you that mealtime privacy you crave).

423-510: You make me sad. You are a twisted, hateful, misanthropic soul. Oddly enough, you are also a Metrosexual. That’s right, I am talking about you, Mr. Rumsfeld. Now get us out of Iraq.

511: POW! That is the one word to describe you! You are just like how Tom Cruise would have been in Top Gun, if only he had worn red Rayban’s (because you do!).

512: Finding people to meet, greet and eat is never a problem for you! Here’s a tip: Stick to Cabernet Sauvignon: It pairs nicely with the cuts of meat you crave.

513-520: Hello, Mr. President! Thank you for taking my quiz! You thought I didn’t know you secretly hate everyone but yourself, Dick Cheney, and Kenneth Lay, didn’t you? But you are wrong. I am a scientific quiz. I know all.

521: You are more like Iceman than Maverick.

522: You are like Iceman would have been, if he had liked to eat people (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that according to certain Lacanian readings of Top Gun, perhaps he did).

523-610: You are an enigma. You are always the life of the party, but you have a deep mournful soul. You go home at night and torture yourself for all the witty urbanity you display.

611 or higher: Get out of my sight! I have no use for you. If you’re so happy, why are you even taking a personality quiz?