Finished grading! I almost can't believe it, there were so many assignments. I thought it would take me longer. I try not to end-load my classes too much, but at this point in the semester, it is inevitable.
I've been thinking about the presentations on Thursday night in my lower division class. I believe as a whole it was the strongest batch of presentations in that class -- ever. (I've been teaching it since 2005). They were really good overall - also diverse. That was a relief from last semester, when as I recall, 4/6 were almost identical. This semester, I strongly discouraged choosing addiction of any form as the topic. I would have been OK with one on AA, but I was not sitting through five -- or even two -- with a similar focus (AA, GA, NA, OA, SA). And I've decided also that I am not going to allow any student to choose OA or SA ever again. As a result, no group chose addictions. The six presentations were: two on religion (one on Islam, one on Christianity); LGBT; an after-school program for at-risk K-12 students; pornography; and a nursing home.
Finally: been having some fun messing with telemarketers. Bob picked up the phone over the weekend, and maybe because we had watched the movie Mrs. Doubtfire the night before, he said "hellooo" in an accented falsetto voice and proceeded to lead the salesperson around in circles. My father often does this to unwanted callers, and I've noticed it is a better approach than yelling, citing the do not call registry, or slamming down the phone, in terms of feeling happy afterwards.
So just now I did it to my almost daily nuisance: One of those pathetic souls with a fake name in a debt consolidation hot room.
I politely responded "yes" to his questions in the beginning - this drew him in. Then every so often, when he would take a breath or ask me a question, I said something nonsensical in a spacey, falsetto voice. For instance, I said, "what did you say your name was again?" and he said "Edward" so I said, "Edward... what a lovely name. My grandson's name is Edward, such a wonderful name."
When he said "do you have at least 15 thousand in credit card debt?" I said "credit cards! So convenient." When he said how much do you pay per month?" I said "oh, a lot of money." He asked me over and over, specifying, "400? 500? 600?" and I said, "As I've answered three times already, a lot of money."
By this point he was getting really irritated -- so I interrupted with "you said you could save me 40 percent, just like Progressive!" He repeated the part about savings -- trying not to lose his patience. I said, "yes, just like Progressive! You know, the car insurance ads on TV! With the gecko! You know those ads? I love those ads!"
It was all I could do to keep it together and not laugh hysterically -- but I planned to go the distance and not lose it. Sadly, at this point he hung up and my fun was over.