Thursday, February 26, 2009

In no particular order

A list of things I have wanted this week:

  • More sleep
  • Self-grading papers
  • Inspiration and time to write
  • An exciting new crochet project. Or two. Or...
  • ...New yarn?
  • My current book club selection to get more interesting, faster, preferably
  • Patience to deal with the semester's first plagiarist
  • Self-grading papers
  • Motivation
  • Money, either in the form of a paycheck or the selling of crafty things
  • Self-grading papers
  • More time than even the day off I got mid-week
  • Sleep
  • Self-grading papers
  • Self-grading papers
  • Self-grading papers...

Now playing: Cursive - May Flowers
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A cup of nostalgia

By chance, I found myself at an overpriced, over-branded coffee shop located in a big box store. You know the shop, undoubtedly--it rhymes with... well, um, a word I don't use much for fear of the soap my mama used to wash my mouth out with. That shop.

I don't much fancy their coffee--once you get used to buying it locally roasted, the watered-down stuff that coffee shop likes to pass off as coffee doesn't taste like much. Besides that, my morning cuppa aside, I've not been much for the coffee lately. That left tea as an option.

What I ended up ordering was what they grandly dubbed a "black tea latte." Whatever. It was basically tea with a bit of sugar to cut the bitterness and some milk. It was wonderful. It was sheer nostalgia.

Tea has always been a key fixture in our house. My mom would make us all tea on the weekends; mine was generally more milk than tea when I was younger, with a lot of sugar and some hot water to dilute it further still. Sometimes Mom would add a bit of cardamon to the pot, other times fresh mint. The tea was the constant, though. As I got older, the water decreased, but I still drank it with milk. And a lot of sugar.

Finally, when I decided I was Grown Up and wanted it without milk, I wheedled for plain black tea, and I got it. In time, the three teaspoons of sugar winnowed down to one spoon, still black. I still prefer it black.

But today, with that bit of milk in it? Pleasant memories made the tea all that much richer.

Now playing: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Another Day Full Of Dread
via FoxyTunes

Friday, February 13, 2009

Multimedia Friday: Artsy fartsy

So I was messing around with pictures of my crocheted projects, trying to salvage some overexposed shots to get my things up for sale on etsy. I saved some with some tinkering. Others...? We-ellll...

Know how they say that if is ain't broke, don't fix it? What about when it's broke? What do you do? Isn't that license to screw it up further? Please tell me yes, 'cause that's what I did.

I present a crochet project turned abstract art.

The splashes of blue convinced me that this had potential. Is it frameworthy? Eh. Probably not. It sure was fun, though.

Now playing: Rocky Votolato - Makers
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, February 12, 2009

People are disgusting.

The last few times I went for a walk, I had it in mind to take a trash bag--and forgot. Littering's been on my mind lately, though, so when I went out today, I actually remembered a bag.

Right along the walking trail was not so bad. Bits of candy wrappers and old tattered plastic bags, mostly. A couple of tennis balls, three golf balls. Just off the trail, however, was another story--plastic bottles, beer cans, more plastic bags, more candy wrappers, Styrofoam cups, bits of Styrofoam cups, broken bits of kids' toys. Few of the items were very big, but when they were all put together, they filled most of my bag.

I guess I'm just an idealistic tree-hugger, but how much would it take for each person to do just a little bit? Start with the matter of not littering. Honestly, a small candy wrapper could certainly be shoved in a pocket until the next trash can (which, by the way, there were at intervals along the trail). Likewise, a plastic bag could be crumpled up and stashed in a pocket or backpack or knapsack or whatever. And for those who are not necessarily litter bugs themselves, how about just picking up one piece of litter on a trip? Just. One. Candy wrappers are generally in bright, obnoxious colors and therefore easily spotted. It doesn't take a lot of exertion, and once you've done that, there's one less piece of litter on the ground. If each person picked up one piece of trash on each trip they're outside, it could make a significant dent.

I try not to get soapbox-y with my hippie-ish ways. I just think this is a matter of common decency. Honestly, the kids these days...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today I love my job

After the first assignment, which centers around a reading from their textbook, my students will be choosing a topic to write the rest of their papers on, culminating in a researched position paper by semester's end. Today we talked about potential research topics. In one class, I pretty much had to pull teeth to get anyone to generate topics. My second class? Not so much a problem.

They covered a lot of ground, between current events and ongoing debates. Church-state issues, English as the official language, movie rating system effectiveness, and stem cell research--sound research topics.

Of course, some were also off the wall.

"Aliens!" (On the off-limits list, I told them, but space exploration funding went on the board.)

"Bestiality!" (Not on the off-topics list, but not recommended. I'd want a detailed outline well in advance, figuring that would deter 'em. Calling their bluffs usually works. Also, awkward moment: "What's bestiality?" from a different student)


"What kind of pirates?" I asked, "File sharing or high seas?"

"Both!" They mentioned a couple high-conflict areas where pirates really were problematic. I was writing topics on the board quickly, trying to keep up with the rapid fire of ideas.

"How about Jack Sparrow?" one clown asked.

"As much as I'd appreciate a cover sheet with Johnny Depp on it, no," I said.

"Celebrity obsession!" someone else called out.

I paused before writing that one down. "Well played," I had to say.