Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Observations from Grading Jail

A couple observations:

*I have some really smart students. Seriously! A goodly number of my students have written thought-provoking, really original research papers. It's not that they're all perfection or something, but many students really do good thinking, and it's a pleasure to get to see that happening in papers they've worked on in conjunction with my class. Remember, I teach stuff that's not usual US reading, but my students have really engaged with the plays and texts, and I'm excited by their work.

*Mastering the art of procrastination is tough. Ideally, the master procrastinator would put off work to the point where s/he could finally do it under pressure, quite well, and get it done with perhaps moments to spare before the due date. I'm not so good at this, and, alas, my failing isn't in finishing too quickly. Still, one class is done!

*I'm weirdly uncomfortable about some things. I'm not good on the phone, for example, and am especially uncomfortable trying to get things done by phone. (I prefer person to person, face to face contact.)

I got my basic trip reservations done! (Note to self: procrastination is BAD!)

And, in the very recent past, I've managed to get six months of my prescription filled (because I'll be out of the country); I must admit, I was expecting every stage of this to be a struggle, from the doctor's office to the pharmacy to the insurance company. And it wasn't! It probably helps that birth control isn't a narcotic, but still, YAY, and thanks again to the pharmacist who was so helpful! (And seriously, I'm guessing the insurance realizes that birth control is WAY more cost effective than a potential high risk pregnancy in someone my age!)

Honestly, if I could get refills without the usual hassle, I'd be happy to buy OTC without any involvement from the insurance company!

*I'm not Christian, but most of my family is, so we do Christmas. I've stumbled on some presents so far, but not all the important ones. Have I mentioned that I'm really bad at malls? And apparently have few or no ideas? What board game is really fun for 10 year olds? (And fun for their aunt to play, too!)

*We have some student workers in the department office; one of them has been working for us for a while, and is getting ready to graduate soon. He's enthusiastic and just so danged cool. When I hear people complain about the "younger generation," I want to introduce them to some of the students I know and work with. I hope they do better than MY generation! (Yeah, I used to think my generation would do better. I'm not so optimistic at this point.)

And it's time to get back to grading!


  1. I have to admit, I'm partial to the classic board games. I vote for Clue! Or, if the kids like words, Scrabble. These aren't board games, but I liked Yahtzee and I know kids who like Apples To Apples (but get the Juniors 9+ version). And then there's Pictionary!

    This probably won't come as a surprise, but I like jigsaw puzzles, too.

  2. Get Khet. It's like chess with lasers. Everyone I know who has played it, from ages seven to sixty, has loved it.

  3. How about Settlers of Cataan? Very addictive. And Rummikub is a perennial favorite in these parts.

  4. I actually like chess.

  5. Depending on what country you go to, birth control pills may be over the counter...

  6. If it doesn't have to be a board game, Killer Bunnies is awesome. For kids and adults. It's a card game (and with various expansion packs).

  7. My family is not practicing Christian, and we just added someone Muslim, but we celebrate anyhow. Someone just called it "giftmas".

    I remember some 8-yr olds and many adults having a truly addictive time with Connect Four a few years back. Taboo is also a favorite of mine.

    I remember doing my dissertation research, and was surprised at how not big a hassle it was to get 6 months of Rx. Considering they block you if you are a week early re-filling, one phone call to get a letter to get 6mos worth seems odd.

  8. What about the "Cadoo" series - similar to pictionary, but with a twist; my 11 year old loves them. Clue and Scrabble are good, too, because it's easy to get someone to play with you -- important when trying to play a board game! Last, I recently found a twist on the Rubik's cube called Rubik's Revolution - it has 6 electronic games in one cube (I'm not sure how well it will go over, I'm saving it for Christmas stockings). Enjoy your family!


  9. I second "Settlers of Cataan," though I'm not sure they still make it.

  10. Anonymous7:13 AM

    Goodness, yes, Settlers of Cataan -- they do still make it; it's very popular -- and if you need a game playable by only two people, there is a card game version as well. You may need to look in a specialty game store, but if you can't find one of those there's always the Internetz.

    Also among things you might find at that specialty gaming store -- if said 10 year old is into racing or cars, Formula De' is a great racing game that uses dice to simulate car gears. Playing rules can be customized to be simple, or as detailed as you could ever possibly want (including weather conditions, etc.)