Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

Back again, hopefully more regularly from now on. Yeah, yeah, I know I've said that before.

So what's been going on? The spring term of the course I was teaching is finished - anonymous student survey gave an instructor rating of 6.57 out of 7 and a course evaluation of 5.71 out of 7 (yea, me!). The summer course was canceled due to low enrollment - one of the hazards of retail education (as opposed to years spent teaching college students with guns to their heads taking a required course), but normal for this time of year - and I'm looking forward to the fall term. In the meantime, I've been tutoring a student who, I suppose, would have taken the summer course were it available. Because of time limitations - it's a prep course for an exam which will be offered in its current form for the last time at the end of June - the sessions have been pretty concentrated, covering what was 20 hours of classroom material in about a week and a half of after-work meetings. A pleasant experience - the student and I have gotten along well, she's worked hard and I love doing this stuff. Just a tiring and, for writing purposes, a time-consuming one.

And now I'm off for a few days. Considering the schedule for next week includes a colonoscopy (I picked up the gatorade-from-hell from the pharmacy yesterday), a dentist visit, and a checkup at my doctor's office, how much I'm looking forward to it says something about the current state of my tight-woundedness. A few other projects I wistfully hope to fit in include trying out a couple of cupcake icing recipes (Nigella's cupcake recipe worked great; the royal icing she used with it didn't appeal to us over here); finishing writing an article I hope to get published somewhere (faithful reader and all-around terrific person Oldhousegal will remember giving me some much-appreciated editing suggestions a couple of hundred years ago - yes, I finally hope to finish it); and finishing building a new case for my magic items. We'll see how many of those things actually got done by the end of the week. Pray for me.

No, Really, it is a Speaker

Since the last post I have gotten to fly to another state for a show, and learned an important lesson: if ever you're feeling in need of attention, put a wireless PA speaker in your carry-on bag. You'll get to meet lots of nice peo
ple from the TSA. Just be sure to allow extra time at the airport. (I did notice that they were so focused on the speaker, they didn't examine the battery-pack unit for the lapel mic. Tsk, tsk.)

The Sixteenth Minute

We're seeing a barrage of entertainment news: Jon and Kate, Rob and Kristen, Heidi's and Spencer's contentious interview with Al Roker, etc. etc. The nature of celebrity makes for a great study of the human thought process, and there are great debates to be had on things like the definition and importance of celebrity, its role in our culture, etc. Here's one thing I'd always thought there was no debate on: "celebrity" should, at some point, involve someone you've heard of. Who in the world ARE these people?

Hey, Cookie...

The radio is on as I write this, and as part of a news report about a product recall of packaged cookie dough I've just learned there are more than 40 groups on Facebook for people who love raw cookie dough. Who knew? I suspect a good number of folks who feel a need to be a member of one of those groups enjoy their cookie dough while watching entertainment news.

Go West, Young Man

The-bimbette-formerly-known-as-Miss-California has been back in the news again. Let's put aside for a moment our inexplicable penchant for putting a microphone in the face of some woman whose ambition is to be Miss Someplace-or-Other and being
shocked - shocked! - when she says something less than insightful. Past entries have already made clear my disdain for beauty pageant perpetrators, so I won't repeat that here. Still, this latest episode is even more fun than usual because of her total, unabashed insistence that every aspect of this has been someone else's fault.

I'm reminded of a friend who served in the Marine Corps and was awarded their "Good Conduct" medal. He explained that, within the ranks, it's sometimes referred to as the "never-been-caught" medal. The real mystery about these beauty pageants is not why it seems as if some mis-guided contestant gets exposed - literally and figuratively - e
very year. It is by what public-relations miracle doesn't it happen to more of them?

Maybe it's a good thing there are people who think these contestants represent the feminine ideal. It means less competition for the women really worth sharing your life with for those who know better.

I Got You, Babe

One celebrity news item that did catch my interest this week was Cher's public statement concerning her daughter's sex-change operation.
The matter of having to issue a public statement about something so private in the first place notwithstanding, I loved what she wrote. A stage persona is just that; in the clutch, Cher has once again shown herself to be the epitome of grace and dignity. If you've not seen it already:

"Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support. I respect the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny and although I may not understand I will strive to be understanding. The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child."
"Although I may not understand I will strive to be understanding." Take that, Miss California.

Obligatory Cute Cat Picture

This is from this morning. Just a quick cel-phone picture, but I thought it was worth sharing. They do
grow, don't they.


Tawnya said...

well in my journey I have been private and back to public. I am public now, so I hope to see you there! I love school, but I can see how it would be time consuming for both students and teachers. On the Celb stuff, if you don't know who they are, they don't matter!! That is how I work it anyway... Take Care!

Angie said...

Good to have you back Ben. I don't know much about Cher except that she used to be married to Sonny. I didn't know she had a trans-gender daughter.

Great post which I enjoyed reading. Hope all goes well with your various appointments. At least they'll be done and out of the way.

oldhousegal said...

Welcome back! Enjoy all your medical procedures this week. I had a colonoscopy 2 years ago and it was a piece of cake, didn't live up to all the hype at all.

Love the kitty pics!

Amy said...

Cupcakes, Colonoscopies, and Cats. Life as usual in the Mr. Ben house, huh? LOL

Washer Mom Val said...

Refreshing to have you back. Nice dose of observation. That Cher quote is amazing.

Grammy Staffy said...

Ben thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I appreciate your input.

Sorry your summer class was cancelled. That happened to me a few times too. Enrollment is really down at my local college. At the last faculty meeting they annouced that our dept. may not even offer winter classes this year.... just Fall and Spring... I am glad that I am retired and not depending on teaching for income any more.

Cathy said...

First I commiserate about the lovely mix you get to pick up at the pharmacy - I wish you well on the results and commend you for having it done. Keep us informed. Poor Angie lol she thinks Cher is just someone who was married to Mr. Cher? Cherilyn Sarkasian did alot for women (and men, but in other ways) taught the female animal that she could be enticing and enjoy it, go outlandish if the mood hit, and though not a rocket scientist she did have her singular outlook and kept it, never buckled. Was surprising to find out she could act, esp after "Silkwood". Enuf bout celebs and their purgatories lol. Just glad you stopped by!