Wednesday, September 30, 2015

oops

I forgot.  I was going to post something, but I'm fried--graded fifty awful papers in three days (three of which read like they were written in another language and put through Google Translate or something, and one more of which was written in AAVE*). 

And, on top of that, the imp threw up on Saturday, was fine all day Sunday, and threw up in class on Monday.  And the pixie woke up then threw up this morning.

So, I forgot.  Forgot all about posting something. 

Sorry.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Forcibly fornicate a web-footed water fowl

My pixie has caught my cold.  And, if that wasn't bad enough, the imp threw up on the way back from a Sam's Club trip...in the floorboard of the Subaru (which is what I drive throughout the week). 

I have papers to grade.  The kids are down for naps, so I'm going to print all of the rest of them off.  Here's hoping I can manage to get that done while taking care of puking imp and sniffling pixie.


Friday, September 25, 2015

FFOT: a list

My health is at the top of it.  I have not been so sick so often as I have this year since high school.  I'm fucking sick of it. 

My son's behavior, including waking up and playing at completely unreasonable times, is next on the list.  I do not know what time he woke up this morning, but he was draggy and exhausted when it was time for school.  I may well have to put him down for a nap this afternoon.

Life in general.  It has been majorly fucking with my schedule for getting things done.  Between getting sick, and having surprise bombs dropped on me by the kids' teachers, I'm having to scramble to keep up, and I'm not keeping up. 

Grading.  Grading can fuck right the fuck off, just in general.  I enjoy reading the papers and engaging with student ideas, for the most part.*  I hate--HATE--putting a number/letter value to the work.  Even with the rubric helping it's a difficult pain in the ass. 

Politics, politicians, and "leaders" who kick kids with cancer out of a park.  Enough said.

Twatwaffles who haven't the first clue how to use a 4-way stop.

I think that's all, for the moment, but I'm sure more will crop up as my day goes on.

What's bugging you?  Sound off in the comments.

*I do enjoy reading my students' writing.  When it's intelligible, and isn't just random words strung together in no particular order, which has no bearing on the fact that language is supposed to convey meaning.  Unfortunately, intelligible papers are in the minority this semester.  




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Free is worth what you pay for it.

I think I've figured something important out. 

A few years ago, before I had the kids, I worked with the football team.  I tutored, and helped them correct, their writing about five hours a week.  Was paid about $10/hour for it.  I'd've been happy to do it for free, but for something a colleague (the one who set the whole thing up) said: "You have to set a price.  If you don't, they won't value what you're offering."

Most of my students don't pay for their own college tuition and/or fees.  They get grants, scholarships, and loans for that.  They don't have to bust their asses at work, trying to earn the money to pay $300+ per class, plus the approximately $700 for all the other assorted fees and textbooks.

From what I've seen, few of the traditional students--those who take out the most in loans and grants--don't value their classes.  They love classes like the "university experience" class (what used to be Freshman Orientation, and was a 1 cr hr 6 week course, but is now a 3 cr hr 16 week course), because they're "easy A" classes, or classes that it's "okay to skip because the professor doesn't care." 

And Bernie Sanders wants to make all undergraduate work "free." 

The thing is, most people see the grants and loans as "free" money.  They don't think about how much it's going to take to pay off the loans.  They don't think about the future.  And they damn sure don't think about what others have to do to earn the money for the federal grants.  It's "free."  Not worth anything.

I think I'm beginning to understand why so few value their voting rights.  Free is worth what you, yourself, pay for it. 

Because, with most of these kids, if they're not the ones earning it, then it's worth nothing.  They don't see others' sacrifice, and absolutely don't look toward the future. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fuck.

I cannot write of how many times I snapped awake--like, all the way awake--from flashback nightmares, last night.  I lost count after the third time within about an hour. 

And I'm picking up papers today.  And will be grading for the rest of the week. 

Speaking of which...that's what I'm doing now: grading revisions and extensions. 

I need more coffee.  Lots and lots more coffee. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Now THAT is feminism on the level of the original movement!

The ladies who began the feminist movement, way back in the eighteenth century, faced danger.  Physical danger.  They faced being jailed and beaten by the authorities.  They faced being beaten by their fathers and husbands, and occasionally, by strangers.  They knew the danger existed, and faced it with courage and dignity, protesting despite the dangers, demanding equal protection under the law, the right to own their own property, and demanding the right to be acknowledged as having an existence separate from their fathers or husbands.  Or sons.

Yes, at one point it really was that bad: women did not legally exist in their own right.  Their protection under the law was nil.  Their existence was solely as property of the men in their lives.

They won their battles.  Women do have equal protection under the law, judging by some arguments--looking at facts, it can be argued that women now have greater protection under the law than men do.

At least in America.

Yet the feminist movement has not quietly stepped back in triumph, waiting to see whether those changes are sufficient--they've kept attacking.  They have, in this country, begun to attack their own: other women who do not want a career outside the home; children, for having the temerity to need their mothers; men, for having the temerity not to roll over and be dominated by feminism while trying to protect their families.

They do this despite the fact that not all women everywhere enjoy the same protections that American women enjoy.

American feminists behave this way for one reason, and one reason only.

American feminists are cowards.

There is another feminist movement overseas that I do admire.  The women in Russia, and in the Middle East, and in Eastern Europe do not have the same rights and protections that we American women have.  They do not have the same guarantee of safety.  They face beatings, incarceration, mutilation with acid, and even murder when they demand the same protections before the laws that men have, demand the same rights.

Yet, despite the very real physical danger that they know they face by protesting their treatment and making demands for fairer treatment, they protest anyway.

I admire that.  I admire that deeply.

And I regret, just as deeply, that I once, many years ago in my early college years, considered myself an American feminist.

I am not that kind of a coward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If not now, then when?

As a parent, I have a policy.  My policy is that I am not raising children, I'm raising adults.  I expect a lot out of my kids, and most of the time, they rise to the levels of my expectations. 

Examples? 

They clean their own rooms every night. 

The imp makes his own breakfast, packs his lunchbox after I've made his sandwich, makes sure he has everything he needs in his backpack, and does for himself as soon as I get him to his classroom door. 

The pixie, when we get to her classroom, hangs up her backpack and pulls her folder out.  She keeps track of her own folder and hands it to her teacher as she goes into the classroom to find her seat, then starts on her seat-work. 

Each of my children is responsible for their own choices and actions, and is responsible for the rewards and/or consequences they earn.  And they know it. 

Last Friday, the pixie forgot her folder on the bench where we wait for her classroom to open up.  We got all the way to her classroom door before I noticed it, but when I did, I stopped her, reminded her that she'd forgotten her folder, and that she was the one responsible for it, not me.  She chirped "Oh!  Let me go get that!" and trotted off to go grab it. 

I got a lot of weird looks from the parents dropping their kids off.  One of them muttered, "She's only four!" 

What I have seen with regards to how the other parents handle their four year old children rather...upsets and disgusts me. 

I have not seen one single, other person that doesn't either carry their child's backpack for them, or strip the backpack off the kids' backs to hang it up, pull the folder, and hand the folder directly to the teacher. 

What I want to know is this: do they expect their child to grow up to be a well-adjusted, responsible, functional member of society?  And if so, how can they possibly expect that when they're teaching their kids that mom/dad/grandma/grandpa will do absolutely everything for them, leaving them with nothing that they, themselves, need to keep track of?

I refuse to do anything for my kids that they can do for themselves.  And by doing that, I'm teaching them that they are responsible for themselves.  By doing that, I'm teaching them that nobody owes them anything.

By doing that, I'm working to ensure that they grow up into independent, responsible, hardworking, functional adults.   

Friday, September 11, 2015

We didn't learn anything.

Fourteen years ago, the most egregious attack on American soil sent us to war.  Thousands of American civilians were murdered, and our main military headquarters was attacked.

The most visible of the multiple attacks was this:
Take a good look.  Remember.  Remember the fires.  Remember the people who jumped from the upper floors because they couldn't escape, and didn't want to burn, only for their bodies to break on the concrete and pavement hundreds of feet below.

Now.

Tell me you don't still carry the rage from that day in your heart.

Tell me you're not horrified and angry that we are still letting this ideology flourish. 

Tell me you're not terrified by our open borders that permits this ideology to sneak through.

Tell me you're not disgusted that we still let these...creatures...enter our country legally, through diplomatic envoys and student visas.

Tell me you're not outraged by the slow drain of our liberty to create a "safer" nation.

Tell me you're not revolted by the spineless mouth-breathers in congress that did not permit our last halfway-decent president to prosecute the war they unanimously declared to the point where the ideology was defeated, the way we did after the second most egregious attack in December 1941.

If you can honestly say that you don't feel that way, and that nobody you know does, then we, as a nation have forgotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Und now...

Now, it's time to get off my ass and get the things done I couldn't earlier in the week because I was grading papers...

Things like laundry, dishes, more cleaning in the kitchen, and a bit of cleaning in the living room to try to stave off the avalanche of stuff teetering on the edge of the coffee table. 

Time to break out the Metallica.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

OMFG.

Y'know, I've been horrified by the way my discipline has been taught in public schools for the past several decades. 

I have just had it brought to my attention that history has had it worse.  I had a student argue that the national security agencies need more authority to better protect us from internal terrorists and saboteurs in time of war, and that were it not for such agencies, Pearl Harbor and the September 11 attacks would have had far higher casualty rates. 

Oh. 

Oh, no.

OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!  This kid had NO IDEA that the LAST TIME we were protected from internal terrorists and saboteurs was during WWII, when FDR rounded up the Japanese and put them in concentration camps. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the proud product of public education: the active idiot.

Please.  Drop out.  And go die in a ditch, somewhere.  I wouldn't trust you with an idiot stick, and you'd probably be demanding $15/hr to mop floors even if I did.

That's all of the emailed drafts...

I've finished up going through the emailed drafts--a total of eleven papers graded this morning.  Not too bad, considering how shitty they are.  Honestly, they're lucky I've set a maximum number of points that can be deducted based on mechanics, punctuation, run-on sentences, and fragments.  They're also lucky that punctuation and mechanics errors count for a quarter point each.  Several have gone way past the max points that I'd deduct from their final grades. 

And, looking at the first course site submitted student draft, the rest aren't going to be much better. 

Grading's going to take me a fuck-ton longer, per paper, than I had anticipated, judging by the last four semesters' papers.

I wanna go 'round slapping language arts teachers, right now, all the way from elementary up through high school. 

Six more graded in 2 hours.

Seems the ones submitted by email and/or the course site's assignment links for turning things in are much better than the ones handed in via hardcopy...but this semester's students are notably worse than last semester's.

Once more unto the breach...

I'll be taking the kids in to school in about ten minutes, and then I'll have around 3 hours child free to see how much grading I can get done. 

Wish me luck. 

After I pick up the pixie, I'll have to feed her lunch, then get her down for a nap, then grade MORE papers.  I'm too far behind to do otherwise.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oh, bloody hell...

I started grading papers last night.  It's been really fucking hectic.  I'm going to have to bust ass tonight and all day tomorrow to get stuff ready to hand back by Wednesday. 

Last night, I spent two hours, and got three papers graded.  Most of that was spent on two papers. 

They.

Were.

Terrible.

I could tell from reading the paper that neither student understands spoken English, nor comprehends it written.  Nor can they write coherently in it. 

No, they don't speak Spanish.  They speak Arabic. 

I've left each a long, handwritten note on the back page of their paper, and have suggested they go find a tutor.

The rest of their class shouldn't be so much of a challenge.  

I have two more, just like 'em, in the other class.  We'll see how well that works out.

Mind you, I do not believe that they're all so fucking incompetent in English--the third student I graded also speaks Arabic as a first language, and his paper was MUCH better.  I also watched and walked him through the composition of that paper, so I know it's his.  Want to know what I think made the difference?

He sought out a tutor to help him before peer review day. 

Seriously, can we just give an English competency test as a requirement for college, for both native and foreign exchange students?  It would make my job so much easier...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Random ramblings

We went up to my in-laws' house, yesterday.  Odysseus's much-older sister and her grandson (our kids' second cousin) visited yesterday, too, and the bigger boy brought water guns.  He'd obviously put significant thought into matching his water blasters to my kids' sizes.  The three kids had a blast, although the pixie wasn't happy with the aftermath: she got stripped down to the skin, and dry shorts put on (with no underwear).  She told me she was "terribly not comfortable" and wanted to go to the store for dry panties.

The imp...well, we had recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy with him.  He loved it.  Loved Groot, and loved Rocket.  The other boy had the refill bucket covered, and squirted the imp every time he tried to reload.  The imp, however, was using a watergun with a magazine.  Odysseus showed him how to detach it, reload it in the garage bathroom sink, and put it back.  The imp slaps the magazine home 'til it clicks, gets this huge smile, and says, "Oh, yeah."  Just like Rocket in the movie when he got ahold of a blaster (which the imp's watergun resembled). 

It was hilarious.

The imp also had a milestone this week: he lost his first tooth.  Poor little guy lost it at recess, and lost it in the rocks on the playground.  He bawled.  A lot. 

(The tooth fairy left him a note that she'd found his tooth on the playground, and brought him money anyway.)

I ordered a 10 pack of Hero 616 pens.  They arrived this last week--some of the nibs are slightly off-center with the hood, and in one or two, the nib tines were misaligned, which will make them scratchy and unreliable (but which is easily fixed).  I have two of them loaded with ink--green and red--and I'm very satisfied with the quality.  The pens themselves are slightly smaller than the 616 my mother bought for me, and have stainless steel nibs, rather than gold (like the one my mom gave me has).  They write incredibly well, and seem like they'll be nice, reliable writers. 

The cats are still trying to adjust to a different lifestyle and schedule of most of us being gone most mornings.  Sometimes, Shadow gets clingy, and sometimes she gets mad and won't interact with us at all.  Cricket...I'm not sure she remembers we've been gone after we get home. 

I've picked up my first set of papers from my students.  No, I haven't started grading yet.  I'll be working on grading starting later this afternoon; we'll be going to the local range after babysitting gets here for the pixie.  After that, I'll be much more relaxed, and in a far better mood for actually figuring the grades (which is the part I HATE).   We'll also likely be watching Clint Eastwood comedies later this evening, after the pixie goes to bed. 

I've got about four pages handwritten of The Schrodinger Paradox.  I've been too busy this week to sit down and type them up--the handwritten bits were written during a few minutes snatched here and there, while I was waiting for something, or when I had the draft book at hand and nothing else that needed done at the moment.  I should hopefully have some time for transcription this coming week.

Friday, September 4, 2015

FFOT: careless, oblivious fucktards

Specifc ones.  Ones with kids.

Two incidents that I personally witnessed this week:

1.  A mother about my age with a two year old, picking up her four year old at the same time I was.  She brought the family puppy (cute dog, by-the-by), and permitted the toddler to control the leash and harass the puppy the whole time we waited for the preschoolers.  While she herself played on her fucking smartphone, and ignored the small child and puppy.  The puppy, after almost fifteen minutes of constant harassment by the toddler, attempted to bite--I put my purse between dog and toddler arm, and the woman FINALLY picked the dog up.

2. A grandmother, waiting for a four year old from my pixie's class, had two smaller grandsons (about 2 yrs, and maybe 8 months) in the car...in the sun...with the windows down.  I pointed out the shaded parking spots just behind her, and she said she was fine.  And the boys in the back were in the shade, so they were fine.*  AND THEN SHE FUCKING LEFT THEM IN THE CAR TO STAND IN LINE TO PICK UP THE FOUR YEAR OLD because she could still see the car. 

Parents: first, never let a small child be around an animal unattended.  That the first woman not only did so but let her small child control the dog's leash, AND IGNORED THE CHILD, is stupid.  That particular woman can fuck off, and I'd be happy to help her take a selfie of the interior of her esophagus after I've shoved her phone so far up her ass that she'll taste shit for a month.

Second: yes, the car's roof shades kids in the back seat at certain angles.  HOWever.  A black car roof GENERATES heat into the interior, and it's a lot more comfortable to small children strapped into car seats to have the CAR'S roof shaded.  I can attempt to shove the grandparent's car up her ass, but I'm sure the keys would be sufficient.  I imagine having the car alarm go off every time she twists around or something might draw attention to the fact that SHE LEFT HOT KIDS IN A HOT CAR TO STAND IN LINE IN WHAT BREEZE THERE WAS.

I'm sorry, people but the safety of a child FAR outweighs convenience or boredom.  If it doesn't, then that person does not deserve to have care of a plant, much less a child.

*Lethargic, panting, and literally having clothing soaked with sweat is NOT FINE.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I'm dyin', here!

Shamelessly stolen from FB:


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WTF???

Who studies these things?  How much money was wasted on this study?  And who fucking cares about why Tutenkhamun was mummified with a stiffie?

Honestly, my despair at the state of academia is only partially fueled by my own discipline.