Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The first question in this week's Miss Manners column brought back a memory. When I was in college, I was invited to a friend's house for dinner. He was from an "elite" family - or at least upper middle class. Educated parents. Classy neighborhood. The dinner was formal, and the two sons even changed into white shirts for the occasion (both were the jeans and tee-shirt type). When anyone spoke, all around the table put down their utensils and focused on the speaker with rapt attention. I was afraid the food would get cold if I talked too much! It was something I had never experienced before; in my family someone is constantly talking and vying for the floor. I never considered whether dropping everything to pay attention was proper etiquette, but it did seem excessively polite, and to have my conversation be so respected made me feel important. Later, however, sad life events regarding my friend - their son - made me wonder if the reason they did it was because they were unused to dinner time talk - if they sat silently eating through most meals, and having lighthearted chatter was a novelty?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nothing much to write, except that is very cold here. I checked the Old Farmer's Almanac, and they said: "Nov 18-22: Sunny, seasonable." In 1953, Elwyn Davis reported the weather today to be "62 at 12 PM. Warm dark murky drizzling rain set in early PM. Strong southerly wind developed evng with showers." For 1934, his weather entry was "Continued foggy, gloomy, warm, misty. Brisk south west winds evng. & partly cloudy." The 1975 entry: "41 at 7:20 AM, 34 at 8 PM. Colder - cloudy AM, clearing - sunny PM. Wind northerly - starlight evng, still" while in 1926 it was "Mostly cloudy, Raw cold air, light winds."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I guess the State's situation is so bad...that we needed three more $178,000 / year Governor's office staffers. What a hypocrite. Why do I suspect they will be exempt from "the pain" of forfeiting their raises and lagging a week's pay?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Student presentation week. It's a time of the semester that I like a lot, and not just because for me, it involves less work in terms of preparing for class. (Critical right now because this is also a time when I have a lot of other work to do - both grading and advisement.) I get to see some really stunning student efforts. Most of the presentations are really, really impressive. Many are quite nervous, but they do a good job. Unfortunately, there usually are a handful, especially in my lower-division class, where the lack of effort is glaringly obvious, and this semester was no different. I'm quite irritated at a few of the students in the lower division class, in fact. I require peer assessment, which causes some consternation - both for the slackers and for those who put in serious effort. It even generates some "smart mouth" when I explain the rules. But, most of the good students appreciate the opportunity.

State budget is dreadful. Lots of rumors. I can't worry about it, though. (Easier said than done.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

I managed to download some of my files before it happened, but AOL hometown went away on Friday. I didn't download all of them, unfortunately. I do have them all saved, on an old USB zip drive (which I am keeping my fingers crossed will still work). I had already established space on Verizon to transfer the files over, but my webpage creator (Adobe PageMill) only works on "old faithful" (my Win 98 computer) and I haven't ever purchased anything to use on my XP machines. I can't just FTP the old pages to Verizon, because the links need to be changed to reflect the new address. Plus, the site could use a face lift, and I may as well tackle it with this change. Using something new to develop the site will require a learning curve. Verizon includes one of those easy site builders, but it isn't very flexible and there will be a lot of re-work regardless of what I do. In any event, I am not going to have the time right now to really focus on this - although I may do something quick in the interim. Not sure. This is crunch time in the semester, when there is so much work that I hardly have a minute to type this. So, to all of the folks who arrive here via searches for One Room Schools, or the Battle of Saratoga, or Bungalow Houses (there are others, but those are the popular search terms that come to mind) ~ I'm sorry! I'll restore everything as soon as I am able. It might have to keep until January, though (but I am not sure I will be able to make myself wait until then). Stay tuned.