3 comments Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm not surprised that ABC cancelled Pushing Daisies, but even so, I am still upset. The show was so unique, inventive, and downright charming that I was drawn to it. Its stark juxtaposition between light and dark and illustration of life, death, and life again was unlike any other show I had ever seen. It's whimsical whodunnit world and fantastical feel made we want to see more.

Still, I had the inclination that the show would go. Bryan Fuller's ingenious shows have a tendency to disappear as quickly as they appear. They are too different, too strange and abnormal for most people to grasp. Perhaps even too intelligent and sarcastic. Dead Like Me only survived two seasons on Showtime, dying out before fans like myself were able to see what happened to Georgia Lass and her families (both real and reaper).

What's most upsetting to me, though, is that the shows that are so trivial and similar remain on air. If it isn't about promiscuous and pompous doctors, one-line wonder crime sleuths, or over-sexualized "real people", then it apparently isn't worth air time. Ultimately it is insulting because it shows the arrogance of Nielsen and the mundanity of the general American public. It's a shame, really!

4 comments Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recently I was asked to create the flyer and poster for my department's bi-annual event, the speech showcase. Since my 9 page syllabus sparked interest in my graphic design skills (Yes, I seriously had people telling me that all 9 pages were beautiful), I accepted the invitation. As you can see above, I developed three flyers/posters.

Since it is winter, I am guessing that the blue ones are going to be more popular. Therefore, I only submitted the left and right ones to my consultant. I personally like the one on the left because it is more fun and lively. It is also seasonal! I still like the right one, but I feel it is too conventional and, therefore, somewhat boring.

What do you think? Any suggestions on anything I should change, delete or add?

4 comments Friday, November 14, 2008

You know it has been a bad day when you return home exhausted and agitated. A growing sense bitterness toward the world bites at you. If it latches on, tenaciously clamping down, it drains you from one day to the next. You begin to dislike the ordinary day-to-day tasks and you begin to have a strong distaste for the ongoing stories and excuses that others make. The anger makes its way through your body. Affecting each organ like a poison, it retards your thoughts and thins your blood. Your patience grows thinner and you feel as if there is nothing truly worthy of your time. If resuscitative action isn't taken soon, it will consume you whole.

Lately, I've been more angry than usual. While school has been fine, I've noticed that my patience for my students in one of my classes is incredibly thin. Although I have tried to be positive with them, I can't help but feel embittered by their manipulative attempts to slips assignments past me or to try and talk their way into a better grade. While I have taken action to combat this in the form of dressing up and returning to a strict demeanor, it doesn't seem to be working. They don't seem to understand that when I say something is meant to be turned in on time, it means when I ask for it. They don't understand what my schedule is like and instead think I must conform to their time frame.

It is mostly frustrating, but it is also alarming. One the one hand I am upset by the fact that I can't seem to manage this one class as well as I have managed classes in the past. On the other hand, I feel like this is part of a growing trend in education. As I look at this class of mis-matched students from all walks of life, I can sense a growing belief that not only should 100-level classes be incredibly easy, but that every 100-level class should grant an "A" to everyone. It's a growing belief that, quite honestly, agitates me beyond belief. However, as much as I have tried to combat it in this class, I have failed. The students somehow feel entitled to a better grade and because I refuse to "give" it to them (because they have not earned it), many of them are ready to negatively evaluate me.

In all honesty, the negative evaluations do not bother me too much. This evaluation will, most likely, coincide with many other professors' this semester and it is ultimately not going to affect me that much, if at all. It's the disrespect that bothers me. It's the lack of personal responsibility that annoys me. It's the fear that this sense of entitlement is the future of education and, therefore, the future I will inevitably inherit as a problematic in education.

I am trying to be positive. I am trying to be hopeful. Ultimately, I am trying to remember that this is just one of many stages and phases I must go through. Yet, I can't help but feel that this is something I will continue to encounter, again and again. I want to know how to deal with it. I want to effectively combat it. Most importantly, I want to feel better.

4 comments Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today, for a class project, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a box of legos. This week we're exploring micro and macro structure in the sociocultural tradition and I thought it would be a near perfect way to examine how we create structures. What I forgot, however, was how much I love legos.

I haven't played with legos since I was seven, err nine, err... thirteen. Hell, I could be wrong about that too! I am, however, confident that the last time I played with my legos was before middle school because only socially-handicapped people who were on the debate team or card-holding members of the mathletes continued to play with them. Of course, I was on the debate team; but not until high school. So, ipso facto, I could've still played with them up to high school, but I assure you that I did not. At least, that's what I want you to think!

So, today, after spending thirty dollars on a three-in-one set of legos, I totally couldn't resist the urge to bust open the box and break into the plastic bags to build a house. In fact, I could hardly contain myself while working on serious grad school work that needed to be completed. It was almost like the inner child in me was crying for release or, perhaps, I met the threshold of my sanity for the day. Either way I ripped into the box when I got home and spent the next hour and ten minutes making one of the three options. As you can clearly see, my beach house design is freaking amazing. Large open windows. A balcony. Cobblestone walkways and a grill.

Of course, I did rely on the guidebook. What? It's not like I had a whole collection of sets to make my own house! Although, if I had more lego sets I totally would've gone crazy and made my own little abode!

Who says you can't relive the childhood you have within you? Either that or grad school really has pushed me over the edge. I'm siding with the good nature of release and creativity, though. I have to for my own sake!

4 comments Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lately, in our building, there has been a piss perpetrator. He has pissed on the seat of the bathroom almost everyday for the last month and half and nothing was done. The GTAs, including myself, were highly concerned, but afraid to post a flyer for fear we would lose our bathroom privileges. Some of us even cleaned up the messes so that we wouldn't get blamed for the piss perpetrator's nastiness and lack of cleanliness and concern for others.

Fortunately, we shouldn't have to worry about it as much now. The former debate coach (one of my favorite professors) and smart-ass extraordinaire posted the flyer linked above.

Hopefully the pisser finally hits the can, properly.

4 comments Saturday, November 08, 2008

The cosmic forces of the universe have thrown something new my way again. Life has been good, albeit busy; but yesterday was a cause for some concern.

Yesterday was like any other day. I woke up early and I went to work as usual. I conversed with faculty and friends and got my work done. The highlight of my day was my haircut appointment, which was in the early afternoon. I got there on time and, as usual, I shared random stories with my stylist.

My stylist usually asks about some of the more random things that have happened in my short teaching career. Ever since I told her about the student who wanted to bring a gun on campus as a visual aid, she has had a good-natured curiosity about how students are behaving at college. Often times she asks out of concern for me. After all, some of the student situations have been strange and I think she simply wants to make sure I am doing well.

This time I told my stylist about a strange student I had last semester. This student was an awkward and anxious young woman who e-mailed me incessantly. The problem was that she also found my personal e-mail address (which most of you know) and instant-messaged me once. The instant-messaging incident was strange, not because she found my personal e-mail address, but because she made me feel uncomfortable. It totally violated the student-teacher boundary and I let her know that. I soon blocked her from instant-messaging me and thought nothing of it thereafter. Although, as I noted to my stylist, she was still a bit strange with the e-mails until the semester was over.

Make that "strange with the e-mails" up to the present.

Yesterday night, around 5:30, I received an e-mail from said student with the title "An Formal Apology." I was uncertain, but I soon clicked it open. The e-mail basically read as an apology from a jilted and somewhat deranged individual. In it, my former student told me that there were things I needed to know about her before I "wrote her off as a basket case". She then went on to detail that she felt I had "developed a soft spot" for her and other women with sensitive body issues and eating disorders, and that she "felt drawn to me" because of it. Ultimately, though, she felt like she needed to apologize because she "needed to relieve the tension from her conscience" . She concluded by telling me that she had withdrawn from the college to seek rehabilitation and a less disordered perspective and wanted to apologize for making me feel awkward only because she felt that I was a kindred spirit.

Suffice to say, I was freaked out. It seemed beyond coincidence that I had gotten the e-mail the same day I had mentioned her to my stylist. In my state of shock, I immediately called a good professor of mine and talked to her about the issue. I read her the e-mail and listened to her feedback. She told me, in a jocular manner, that what I went through was basically a rite of passage for all teachers, instructors and professors. She detailed some of the weird experiences she had dealt with and reassured me that this was similar. In particular, she told me not to reply to this student because she felt that this student was "grasping for straws" because she wanted a renewed connection with me since she had not heard from me in months. I appreciated my professor's advice and I heeded it with great concern.

Perhaps too much, though. In light of the e-mail, I decided to remove my MySpace account, privatize my blog, twitter, and facebook (to the extreme), and archive all of the e-mails from this student with the label "Odd Student Issues." I know it is a bit extreme, especially since the e-mail really was not stalker-ish, but I wanted to be safe. I don't want this student to find me, to follow me, or to try and get to know me. Removing or hiding my presence from the places she could find me makes me feel better. It makes me feel further removed from her, and I need that to feel secure. I've had some weird instances in the past and I simply do not want to have to similar instances again. Therefore, "privatized" is the modus operandi from here on out, and I'm more than fine with it. Hopefully you are fine with it too.

2 comments Saturday, November 01, 2008

I think it is evident by my lack of posts over the last three months that I have been either insanely busy, incredibly lazy, mysteriously abducted, or found dead. Given that I am writing to you right now though, I think the last option isn't realistic. I'll let you decide, though.

I will not bore you by delineating the details of what has happened since my second year of graduate school, nor will I post a litany of random happenings. Instead, I'll let you assume that it has been similar to the previous year with one clear exception that you may or may not believe: I am actually less stressed and less emotional than last year.

This semester has been an amazing source of struggle and devotion, and I've been having a blast! As geeky as it is, I retook the GRE for the third time and rocked it! My verbal and quantitative scores were some of the best I have ever had and I got the average I need for all the schools I am applying to. To add to that, I also found out that my paper got accepted into a regional conference to be held in February! I was one of only seven people to make it into the organizational communication panel, and I am positive that the competition was intense, so it means even more to me that I made it in. Not only do I get to jet away from Idaho in February, but I will also have the chance to meet various scholars from other colleges, some of which I am applying to! I'm most hopeful that I'll get to meet a few professors from UC-Boulder as that is the top school on my list, but even if I do not get to, the experience of presenting at my first conference will be enough for me.

Aside from that, I've been meaning to post pictures with my entries, but I don't have a camera. Unfortunately my digital camera is still broken, so I can't take pictures and post them on here. I have, however, requested that I get a new camera for Chirstmas. If I am lucky, I might just get one. Otherwise, it is going to be a while before I can afford a camera. Naturally I'm a little disappointed that I do not have a camera because I love taking photos and I miss snapping shots as a past-time activity. I'll keep you posted. Although, I guess you don't have to worry about the vanity shots...unless I re-discover photo booth on my MacBook.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to stay devoted, motivated, and relaxed. I've found a way to maintain the balance of school and life, although it is thrown off at times (especially during grading speeches, the bane of every COMM 101 professors existence). However when the balance is in motion, I am a machine, a scholarly stud, and an all-round alacritous, erudite, guy-natured guy ready to take on anything that comes my way. I'm looking forward to getting back to the balance and back to everything that lies ahead.