The harumph and the happy

I don’t know what to do with myself.  I can read or listen to anything other than what is on my list!

I just started the heel flap for the second sock of this pair.  I had first sock syndrome and it took me forever to finish the first one.  However, now I decided to actually get the second one done in two weeks so I can wear the pair!  Unfortunately, I also realized that my heel flap needs to be frogged back and recounted.  I am four stitches off what it should be!

Tonight I had a lovely conversation with some of my students about their upcoming final paper and how much they loved the class (even if it was difficult).  Yay!  +10 on the good feelings-o-meter!

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Ah, Friday!

This is how Dobby tackled the morning:

Dobby the Dane

But are there any snoozes for me?  Any laying about without a care in the world?  Nope.  Since 8 am, my morning has been filled by inane conversations with students that end with me endlessly repeating one thing:

Read the damned syllabus!

don't make me slap you

 

cuff down sock #1So, to take a break away from people who want me to do their thinking for them, I am going to finish knitting this sock.  It has been sitting on the needles untouched for the whole of November because of Nanowrimo and I’d really like to wear them before Christmas.  It is time to get a move on so I can cast on for the second sock!  While knitting, I will be repeating over and over the phrase my mom used to use when upset with her students (or her kids):

This too shall pass.

colorway 2995

This yarn is Opal Kaleidoscope in colorway #2995.  It isn’t much to look at on the ball, but it sure is knitting up with interesting stripes!  And it is perfect for this pattern.

The Weasley Homestead patternThe pattern (free) is called The Weasley Homestead by Erica Lueder.  It is quite easy.  [Don’t let my snail pace fool you.]

 

 

**  May your day be blessed with naps, warm socks, and free of the mad desire to hit someone with a hammer.  **

Hodge Podge Monday

It’s a Hodge-Podge Monday.

1.  Northanger Abbey.  Still reading…

2.  Dr. Who.  Ok, I feel like I am the only person on the planet who has never seen Dr. Who.  Happily I can now watch it on Amazon Prime!  Did I know what it was?  Yes.  I’m watching Season 5 now (2010) and I’m not quite sure I like this version of the Doctor.  I really adored David Tennant.  Maybe Matt Smith will grow on me?  Please say yes.

3.  Fail Notes.  There comes a time during every class when I have to send notes to students about the mathematical impossibility of them passing my course.  I hate to do it.  Although I want my students to succeed, some feel that it is my fault when they do not pass the course for lack of work, lack of discourse, lack of attendance, or refusal to ask for help.  I sent quite a depressing number of these out this morning.

4.  Garden of the Damned.  This summer has been exceedingly difficult.  Even with watering, my plants didn’t really start to flower until the rains began at the end of July.  It was depressing.

Now, my tomato plants can hardly stand up for the weight of the fruit.  The fruit on my Cherokee Purples (not pictured) have started turning red but they are also suffering from wilt…so that will be a race to see if I get tomatoes before the plant dies.  However for these two varieties, I think they will turn red soon.  Yay, tomatoes!

My three squash plants exploded and then started blooming during the last week of August.  I think I am going to trim them back to concentrate on a few squash.  It is likely that I will have to put these under a makeshift greenhouse if I want the pumpkins.  We usually get our first freeze in late September or early October; however, this year has been very odd and so I don’t know if that will hold true.

My first sunflower opened on September 2.  Only two of my plants sprouted from seed.  I thought these were supposed to be taller, but they are about 4′ right now.  They are very lovely and have several blooms on one stalk–this is the first bud to bloom.

I don’t know what will come of the weather this year.  August has been miserable and humid–I have to keep on the air in the house because it is so continuously damp outside.  Normally, I stop mowing the yard in mid-July due to the blazing heat and then return to mow two or three times between September and October to mulch out the leaves.  This year I stopped mowing in May but have been mowing twice a week in August just to keep the grass at a level that doesn’t clog the mower; there aren’t too many hours in the day where the yard is relatively dry (from the humidity and night condensation).  Even the county mowing crews are having issues with their giant industrial mowers because of the thick wet grass!

So, what that means for the garden?  Your guess is as good as mine.

5.  Writing.  I have been re-outlining my plot and squiddling around on Scrivener.  Everything is so easy in this program:  all I have to do is slide a notecard to a different spot on the pinboard.  No fuss.

6.  LYS.  My local yarn store is closing on the 15th.  I got a Zauberball hank last week, but I think I’ll go grab a few more DPNs for socks before the end.  It was nice to have a reliable place to go talk to someone who knew what they were doing and could help you when you found yourself confused by a pattern.  I will miss them.

Well, I must dash.  Linus, my eclectus, is smooching at me to uncover his cage.

Almost….

I will be done grading final essays by tomorrow evening…and then I will take a very long nap.

                                                                           Source: facebook.com via Alletha on Pinterest

 

Things will be back to normal soon…

Ban it! Burn it!: Bite me.

In writing and literature circles, one frequently hears discussion about the danger a man with a pen–a writer, a poet, a free thinker–can pose to the establishment.  And, with writers across the centuries jailed under political circumstances in countries all around the world, one must consider that the statement “the pen is mightier than the sword” is absolutely true…or at least the fear that it might be true is.

Trying to kill an idea is like saying “I forbid it” to a teenager.  The result:  exactly what you do NOT want to have happen.

Ideas are fickle things…they come and they go.  Most of them whisp out without fuss.  However, in the face of ultimate opposition, conflicting ideas will generate enough energy to alert the masses to the clash and ultimately alter the thoughts and behaviors of society.

Think about the whole gay marriage issue.  From a logical standpoint, if two people want to marry and share all the legal/societal obligations that go with that contract, the decision affects only those two people.  At no point in history has a marriage between any two people in New York ever had an impact on Joe Schmo living in Texas (or the couple’s immediate neighbors, for that matter).  But with all the hubub in the Republican party (and various others inclined to jackassery) and the whole North Carolina “man and woman” marriage policy being voted in, the opposite shove came from no less than the President and Vice President of the United States.  So ain’t that just a kick in the pants?

Books are no less threatening to some.

Consider the frequently challenged classics listed with the American Library Association.  Seriously?  I read several of the books on this list in high school (some for class and some for personal) and I can’t remember a single thing other than I either liked the story or I thought it was terribly boring.  No words stand out.  No scenes stand out.  And speaking from teacher experience, at least 60% of the time a student never finishes the book (and sometimes doesn’t even crack it open); the book isn’t worth two beans.  But, if someone makes a fuss about it–it will often guarantee that the book will not only be read, but remembered specifically for the objectionable content.

Reasons people give for trying to ban a book:  sex, language, religious objections.  Hmm.

  • Sex.  Talking about it or reading about it doesn’t make someone more/less likely to go out and begin a life of rabid promiscuity.  I get that we have uptight religious roots that run through our social ideology as a nation, but get over it.  The kids see more graphic sex on TV before they are ten than they would ever find in a whole library of books in their lifetime!  So, quit denying it exists and just talk to your kid about how you want him or her to view that part of the human experience.
  • Language.  Again, this is everywhere.  You can’t escape slang.  You can’t escape euphemisms.  You can’t escape swear words.  You can’t escape the cultural baggage that these things carry with them.  Whitewashing language with political correctness may make you feel better, but it acts like an arrow pointing to the elephant in the room.  If you object to swearing or other words, by all means, make sure your child knows this and knows WHY you feel this way.  But use that as an opportunity to discuss the issue as it comes up rather than an opportunity to deprive your child of a good book.
  • Religious objections.  This country was founded on religious freedom.  That means I can experience my spiritual path and you can experience yours–with neither one of us trying to destroy the other.  So, if your objections are based on your own particular religious views that is perfectly fine; use it to explain to your own family why a book is not suitable in your eyes.  However, if you want to foist your objections of the book to control my access to it, you are pushing your religious values over mine.  And, historically, that never ends well…

So what do I have to say to book challengers and banners:  bite me.

If I object to a book it will be because the book didn’t live up to my expectations.  For example, I strenuously object to Melville and I refuse to read Moby Dick.  Why?  Because I have read his other works and the experiences were so dreadful that I refuse to repeat them.  He and I do not see eye to eye; his language is so dull and the ennui so great that I would rather chew tinfoil.  Someone should have burned his manuscripts.  But would I dare to ban his work from other readers who might find something wonderful, something edifying, in it?  Not on your life.

What do I want all readers to remember:

  1. Books are living things.  No one reads the same book.  We are creatures of individual experiences and expectations; we meet the book differently.  What a book imparts to me will not be the secret it whispers to you.
  2. Books are not obligations.  If you have an objection to the book for whatever reason, you are free to walk away at any time.  No one is forcing the book upon you.

 

Because I am apparently crabby today, I thought I should lighten the mood with a funny:

 

Back soon…

Hi everyone–

I’m still messing around with the blog, but it is getting close to what I want…so the major rennovations are done.

However, I must hare off to finish up some grading–the kind I enjoy putting off until the last minute.  Until I return, let me leave you a beautiful song:

 

Punch my buttons!

Wow.  I think I need therapy.

Over the last couple of years I have found a few books that really wind me up.  Granted, the storyteller needs to be quite exceptional in order to make me angry enough (from a work of fiction) to spit tacks.  But I don’t know how the writer is manipulating the work in order to trigger such a strong reaction.

What I have observed:

  • None of the story elements are unique–personal/interpersonal issues, social/political issues, problems, actions
  • Each character behaves in alignment with their disposition and motives.

So what is it that is really punching my buttons?

I tell my students that academic writing is not an emotional desert, but that the language is geared toward reserve.  It makes the opinons behind the writing no less passionate for all the missing first and second person pronouns.  We also discuss how to handle something that really knocks us for a loop or finds that little red button in our brain that makes us crazy.  While I can teach students how to handle those kinds of real life situations–first by being aware of the issues that make one go off the deep end–I am not quite sure it can be applicable to fiction.

Who am I kidding?

I am very well aware of issues that irk me, issues that make me want to crack skulls, and issues that scare me enough to want to live in a hole.

Do these novels touch on some of these issues?  I would be lying if I said no.  However, I have read other novels about these same issues and while I might be slightly vexed as I read the feeling won’t carry on when I put the book down.  So, again, what are these particular authors doing as they tell the story to cause such a visceral reaction in me?

I mean to find out!

Belly growl

It is 5 am.

I’ve been up since 2:30 am.

I’m currently making chicken and curried rice because the thought of breakfast wasn’t appealing.  Hungry.  It smells so good!  I am still operating in night mode.

The “before class begins” nerves are apparently setting in a day early!  Grrr.

No one should already need a nap at 5 am.

I’m a classics slacker!

Ok.  I was supposed to be digging in to Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd yesterday and today.

I did not.

I got sucked into Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man on audiobook!  And damned if I was going to shut it off to either read Hardy or work on my syllabus.  Some days require fun.

[Who knows what I’ll get up to when I have to slog through Clarissa next month!]

Now the novel is over (until the sequel comes on Tuesday).  And, while Hardy seems a much more lively option to revising and restructuring my syllabus, the syllabus is more pressing.

To amuse yourselves, imagine me hunched over the keyboard determining grammar exercises and writing assignments and doom.  With a snoring cat on my lap.  And maybe a beer.  Yeah, let’s go with that.