Monday, May 26, 2008

a post for Sisyphus...

... who asked for more amusing AP bloopers. I'm sure there will be many more to come next month, but here are a few left over from last year:

"Jody has obviously learned some words (educated himself) that he knows people don't know and soon rises above and becomes mayor. No longer having to work for his money or make himself look better by wearing "pimp-associated" suits, he can just be himself."

"Upon being married, her story is recited to her husband and the veal of shame is lifted only to find hatred."

"In Germinal, the main character (who will be referred to as Jacques for the purpose of this essay) Jacques leads a revolution of miners against the wealthy mine owners ... Germinal was written in the 1600s ... and builds on Marxist ideas."

"His values began to change from being a general to owning an abundance of shirts."

"The Great Gatsby gives us a good perspective of life during the prohibition. At one istance alcohol was legal and in another it wasn't. This has great literary merit because the struggle Gatsby went through is going on today in a different form, marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug."

"On his exhile he comes across a royal band and murders everyone due to their obnoxiousness. Continuing his trek he comes across a Phenix that terrorized the kingdom of Thebes."

"The meaning of the book Frankenstein as a whole was that you shouldn't create something you know nothing about ... If you don't know how to express love to others but yourself, as Victor had done, then this is evidence that you yourself are incapable of handling another being especially loving it, even when your unsure of how it'll look."

"'Like father, like son' comes unfortunately to the feet of innocent bystanders in life as trainwreck parents drag their children in the dirt beside them."

"This action drove Heathcliff away, leaving him bitter and shellfish."

"And ultimately, Gatsby's obsession leads to his demise, proving that living in the past is not just unhealthy, it can kill you as well."

"Without the past, exsistence would not be."

"Blanches way of thinking throughout the whole novel is crazy. She actually doesn't think throughout the novel she just does things right before they happen and I'm telling you that's not how it works."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

right, so why did I let myself in for this?

My plan for the summer:

Today - June 3: Finish writing article and send it off. Finish syllabus for summer class. Clean out office. Box up ENTIRE APARTMENT. Possibly, put stuff into storage; possibly just leave it in the apartment, depending on whether the landlord will let me get away with not paying rent for July.

June 4-12: Go to Louisville to grade AP exams.

June 13-17: Drive to Parentland. Fill out paperwork for summer class. Finish prep for summer class, which is not precisely in my field and covers some material I haven't read since undergrad, and has three-and-a-half-hour class sessions.

June 23 - July 30: Teach summer class in Parentland. At some point, go to Deep South Town for a long weekend to scout out apartments. At another point, possibly go to a wedding. At yet another point, possibly return to New SLAC Town to let the movers in, if stuff is not already in storage.

July 31 - August 6: Drive to Deep South Town.

August 7 - New faculty orientation.

Now, the AP grading and the summer course are both things that I signed on for before I got the job offer at Misnomer U., and can't back out of now. By and large, it's just as well that I have a few sources of income for the summer, since the new place doesn't pay moving expenses, and the summer teaching will involve a lit class with a current enrollment of six students, which is the best kind of teaching. But still, aarghh.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Details, graduation, other stuff...

-- The rain stopped just long enough for graduation (and has now picked up again, in time to remind me to stay home because papers and final exams don't grade themselves). I knew only half a dozen or so of the graduating seniors, since most of my students here have been underclasspeople, but it was nice to have a bit of ceremony to provide a closing parenthesis to my year here. Opening Convocation (yesterday, a million years ago) was one of those "wow, I'm actually faculty now" moments for me, and this was another one; I still get a kick out of wearing the robes, even though I got the cheap off-the-rack ones and I envy the people who have floofy tams and colorful stripes.

-- So, the new place: It is a small public university in the South, with a pretty, historic campus and some interesting quirks; as such, it feels like my natural habitat, although it is definitely farther South than anywhere I've lived before. 4-4 load, small classes, a few more upper-level Ren lit courses on the books than there are at New SLAC; also, they have a real medievalist, so I don't have to be the Brit Lit to 1800 person. So all in all, it's got many of the traits I like about my current job, while it may be a better fit in the long run than New SLAC could ever be. It will be known here as Misnomer U., partly because it makes both "New SLAC" and "Last Chance Saloon" into misnomers, partly for a reason that is unbloggable because it would identify the place, but trust me, the nickname is apt.

-- The new town looks pleasant enough, from what I saw of it; it is significantly bigger than New SLAC Town (there are very few places smaller than New SLAC Town) but still quite walkable. It is, however, very much in the middle of nowhere -- the closest New City-sized places are two to three hours away -- and there seems to be, literally, no public transportation at all. This is not good news for those of us who hate and fear driving, but I guess I'll have to get used to it, and at least I have a car that isn't falling apart.

-- I've turned down or cancelled three interviews for one-year positions. I felt a bit iffy about this, since I don't yet have a written contract in hand, and one of them was a campus interview for what would have been a dream job if it were only tenure-track -- but I'm exhausted and burnt out from this whole process, and I just did not need that extra level of stress on finals week, and the folks at Dream SLAC needed to make a hire on a tight timeline with limited interview slots, so it was definitely the ethical thing to do. At least I have the ego boost of knowing that Dream SLAC thought I was campus-visit-worthy.

-- I was going to do a post about what I learned from my three years on the job market, but the more I think about it, I'm not sure I've learned that much at all. Only this: I returned, and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. And yet those accidents of time and chance determine the shape of the entire story when you tell it afterward, and in time you forget about them and think: I deserved this or It was meant to happen this way.

I keep wondering about the two other people who took PhD exams in Renaissance lit with me. I hope they've found something; they deserve it, and it's because of them that I'm all too aware that I had an unfair advantage at this game by virtue of being healthy, single, and debt-free. And so it goes. I suppose everyone has their share of unfair advantages and disadvantages, and by and large they balance each other. But I hope those two people made it through.

Monday, May 5, 2008

because late-season miracles seem to be my specialty...

I have a job offer. It is tenure-track. I said yes.

That is all.