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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

An unfortunate reprieve

I feel somewhat embarrassed to even refer to this as a "reprieve," but as it happened, Paul is sick, Kristin's life is in chaos (and her kitchen ceiling on the kitchen floor--again), and the unfortunate consequence is that we've canceled our planned dinner for this evening. We were all looking forward to it, but I have to confess that I'm also happy not to be heading in to the City tonight; I am so tired and generally loopy that getting home early is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

As it happened, I did opt to show the video of my presentation in class today. I don't know how much the students got out of it, though some of them had some interesting responses in terms of the ideas they'd picked up on. (One response was completely irrelevant and virtually content-free, but I was not at all surprised.) One gratifying moment is that one of the students actually got and laughed at a little joke I made early in the presentation (which no one in the original Portuguese audience so much as smiled at--largely, I later found out, because they're not used to the American manner of informal, colloquial, and humorous presentation, so they probably didn't understand that laughter was expected).

Some haven't turned in their essays yet. One more withdrew. One loved the Le Guin short stories and wants to read more by her--and also at last is going to meet with me to discuss improving her notes. She's one of the best students in the class, and by rights she should be knocking everything out of the park--she has the native intelligence and work ethic--but I think she's still learning what's expected, what's possible, if you will.

Advisement was surprisingly busy today; I think students are starting to realize that the day we get back from the break is when fall enrollment starts, and the smart ones realize they need to be ready to jump on their classes right away to get the ones they want. So I didn't get to work on the final essay assignment for the 102s, except to look over and print out the questions/ideas I got from a colleague who has paired the Le Guin novella with Avatar in the past. Of course, I'll need to almost completely reconfigure the topics, but at least she's given me something to bounce my own ideas off.

I also finally looked at the stuff put together in the Lib Guide by the brilliant colleague in the library. I just printed out articles she'd found that I hadn't; at some point, when I'm home, I'll have to find and send her the link to one article I found that she didn't list in the guide. (It's a good article, despite an annoying insistence on referring to the Athsheans of the novel as Ascheans.)

So, after looking at all of that material--the ideas from my colleague in the English department, the critical essays that are in the Lib Guide--I should be able to come up with a few different approaches to the novella, or the novella in conjunction with the movie. I hope.

But to do that, I need something approaching a brain, and at the moment, my brain has pretty well switched off. I can't even go any organizing of all the heaps and stacks around the office to see what needs to come home with me over the break, what I might be able to get a start on here in the office between classes tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I am facing the added wrinkle of having to get a rental car for the day while my car is in the shop. That will make for a calm, easy, relaxed morning, as you can imagine. I made the reservation for the rental today, and arranged with the shop that I will drop off my car tonight so they have it first thing. This means walking from the mechanics' garage to my place, but it's a beautiful day--and the fact that I can get out of here early, as well as the fact that I don't have to walk home after a late night in the City, is something to be grateful for.

I am not taking my car on the highway, however: if it's going to break down on me, I'd prefer it did so on smaller roads. But I'm going to leave in the next few minutes so I can get home while it's still light. And stay tuned tomorrow for an other installment of Prof. P's exciting adventures.

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