Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Changing Colors

Also known as procrastinating badly. Or skiving off. This is what happens the first week of classes when one class dies from under-enrollment. No FTEs for me! Of course, the bloody thing was listed incorrectly in the course catalog -- as a 9-hour per week plus online component for a paltry 5 credits. Probably shouldn't be blogging from school, either; I'm chalking it up to a professional development rant.

Anyway, I've changed the colors to something I hope is less offensive (the spouse thought the old color scheme was icky), and am now going to write a dread lecture for tomorrow's Early Modern class. Actually, I do need to hop it -- I'll be at the Medieval Academy Annual Meeting, which is in Seattle this year -- otherwise, I'd be out of it, having spent all my travel funds for the year.

As a brief note, though, as I promised on the Invisible Adjunct site, I'll be blogging more now, and about more substantial stuff. Hell, maybe I'll even come out of the anonymity closet, although I'm not sure about that while I'm on the market. At any rate, you can expect to hear about the Medieval Academy. If you'll be there, look me up!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

These are a few of my favorite rants

Lots of things going on, and no time to blog. That's my life these days. How do other academics do it? Blog, grade, teach, keep up in your field, write lectures/craft discussions, do new preps, do service, write that bloody book review (oops! thank goodness I have two more months), clean the house, walk the dog, keep the garden from overflowing, and look for permanent work -- not necessarily in that order? Which leads me to the question of why non-academics think academics have it so good.

I am not complaining about the amount of work per se, just so you know. David Lester might still call me a major whiner, but then he seems to be particularly non-service oriented. But really, I do work harder at this than any other job I've ever done -- at least during term. And there's a lot more stress -- there's this overwhelming guilt if you feel you aren't giving good teaching. I wouldn't change it for the world (unless I have to go back to adjuncting for too long, and then it will be a difficult decision based mostly on finances), but it's very time consuming.

Still, I am now deliberately taking time to comment on a few things I think are important -- in no particular order:

  • The firing of commentator Sandra Tsing Loh -- which I think was plain outrageous. This response by the NPR Ombusdman helps mellow my intense irritation with NPR, but not much. I know it wasn't within their purview to keep it from happening, but it was pretty darned wishy-washy of them to not speak out loudly against it.
  • Most of the comment section and in fact the initial editorial by Ruben Navarette, most of which seem to be more of the Gen X same. Excuse me, but if the boomers are supposed to be the "Me Generation," how do we catalog the Gen X-ers? I know a lot of really nice Gen X-ers, BTW, who really aren't disaffected, apathetic, selfish, and full of opinions that are based on faulty half-baked conclusions, but then, there are those who really are the rule. Maybe it's vengeance against the boomers? I dunno -- I think I may have to get back to this one, because the more I think about it, the more annoed I get. It wouldn't be so bad, but I'm about to grade a bunch of papers, many of which are written by X-ers who I know have started with the conclusion and looked for evidence to back it up, instead of looking at what the evidence says.
  • And speaking of argumentation and evidence, I'm still very concerneed with the entire Bush political apparatus. And the way they work. You know, that repetition of semi-truths in hopes that the rest of us will forget the question? Condy Rice is an expert. Never met a question she couldn't sidestep. But she does it well in her little mock Chanel suits and her throwback to Jackie Kennedy hair. Give the woman a pillbox hat, somebody.
  • People acting as if it has to be either Martha Stewart or Ken Lay. Or Halliburton, for that matter. Put them all in jail.
  • Outsourcing. Not going there in depth at the moment, but for the record, I think that, if people want to shop at Walmart and get Walmart prices, they need to accept that jobs will be done abroad by cheaper labor. Ditto for high-tech services. You want to have an American job and earn decent wages? Look for the union label, people. That said, I bet we could hire a lot more people in American companies -- or at least not renege on proised benefits-- if the top execs didn't make as much as 400 times what the worker bees make.

I'll be back on some of those later. Perhaps I'll even be attacked for my horrible ultra-liberal, aging hippie beliefs. Please note: Aging ever, hippie never.