"I am the dog? I am the dog? If anyone is the dog in this situation, it's you." Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally
Ok so the mail order husband site is a hoax or more accurately a marketing technique. It's for a marketing firm, designed to show a new and innovative way to amuse and lure your next client. It is rather amusing, althought I have to admit I'm disappointed. I still need some one to go and find a mail order husband site. I will not rest until I know that there are men on sale on the internet! Go on make my friday night, I dare you to do it.

How sad-it's a friday night, and I'm posting on my blog. This is just the type of non stop excitement you can expect from a young prof. like myself.
I've been very depressed today. I almost started crying while I was getting my hair cut. And no I'm not that attached to my hair. It was just that the relationship I have with my hairdresser is something like the relationship some people have with their bartenders. He knows me and all my little emotional scandals quite well. I have even put him on the trail of my latest desire-a Russian boyfriend. In fact, to the latest aim I have decided to set up a special email account entitled russboyfriendproject@lycos.com. Yes, in the same vein as the "Date My Sister" project from Spark (which is a classic piece of internet something or other). If you would like to send mail about this website, please send it to the russboyfriendproject address.
This brings to mind something I was discussing the other day with a former student of mine. Are there any mail order husbands? I mean, I have to think that there is a huge industry here just waiting to be exploited. Or are men less willing than women to get married just to live in the US? If anyone has any ideas on the subject (including websites for mail order husbands) please let me know.
So as I said before I was very depressed while I was talking to my hairdresser. You see, for a while we were going through similar experience. I was abadoned by the man I was supposed to marry two weeks after Sept. 11th. He gives no indication that he even remembers that I exist. Paul, my hairdresser, discovered that his lover of 17 years was cheating on him about two months after that. Paul left him that day. Now I find out that Paul is "dating" his lover again. His lover is seriously pouring on the gifts. Gold rings, trips to Puerto Rico and stays in 900 dollar a night hotels. So you can see where I might be depressed. Here the lover did an about face almost immediately where as mine is off having the time of his god damned life while I have to fight the urge to throw myself under the subway. Paul says all the things that everyone says "oh he'll suffer. Some one will do the same thing to him." But this is wishful thinking. Nothing is more attractive to a human being than the idea of justice, whether it comes in the form of divine intervention, karma, or the legal system.
Well, I hope he does, but even if he does it isn't really satsifying because I don't get to cause it. If he wanted to come back and I made him crawl over razor blades and then roll in salt, then I might have some satisfaction. But allowing some other girl to get to see him suffer, it doesn't do a lot for me. Oh so he suffers, but at least he's not sitting at home in front of his computer on a friday night. My big plans to go ball room dancing tonight were shot when my gay partner hurt his knee today. I can't even go out with gay men anymore.
In other news I decided to do a little search for the mail order husbands thing. I came up with http://www.mailorderhusbands.net/ss/ which gives every indication of being on the level. I recommend going to the site to check out their latest sucess story. The claim on the site that despite language difficulties the new couple is "fluent in the language of love" made me instantly think of Ricky's Mom in Better Off Dead. (A classic John Cusack film-go out and watch it right now! Well, you can finish watching Heathers first.) Anyway, I can't imagine for paying for THAT guy. If I ever consider it, I want someone to shoot me.

Well I'm very tired today. That last entry took a lot out of me so today is going to be very brief.
One of my students asked me to recommend some novels to her. She has decided, on her own, that she wants to read more, and so she asked me to tell her what to read. I'm always amused when people ask me to tell them "what they should read." I usually ask a series of questions to figure out what kind of novel best suits their tastes. Most people just don't understand that I don't believe that there are books that everyone should read (should I make this student suffer through "A Room of One's Own" just because most of my high school did?) , but there a wide range of fabulous books. It is merely a question of finding fabulous books that suit one's tastes. So I gave her a few that I thought she might like. It made me feel better to see a student initiating development on her own.
For me, being a teacher is more about learning than teaching. When I was a student, I would learn things well enough to pass a test. Now when I give the tests, I find that I know the material far better. (Part of this, no doubt, is because I have been teaching the same material with some variation for three years.) But still there isn't a week that goes by that I don't have a revelation about some way of conveying information to a student or even a break through in my own analysis of a topic. As a result often I require the students to make presentations or teach (usually only for ten minutes) the class about certain topics. You might risk fudging something when you are taking a test, but standing in front of your peers you are going to be sure to know that material cold.

Day three and I'm already about to slack off on the blog-as it is I have eleven minutes to post this or I have officially let a day slide by.-The horror.
Well, I have apparently used up all my free time on match.com, and they want me to pay for the pleasure of having assorted freaks in my general vicinty send me emails. I know for a fact that match works for some people. I am not one of them. When I first signed I got a huge response, even before my pic was up (I'm sure that I chose to title my profile "bunny girl" had nothing to do with it). To some degree I can understand why. In a profile you see a pic, you get some general info and that is it. What usually happens to me in a bar or a club is that people see me, and they think I'm about 20 years old and this cute girl and then I turn out to be a professor at a reputable university and this glaze of fear comes into their eyes. (I know that was a run-on sentence.) It's gotten to the point where I have developed a sick enjoyment in it. For example about a month ago I was in a local bar, and this guy keeps looking over at me and smiling, but he is clearly with this blonde woman who is standing next to him. This scenario, unfortuantely, is not un-common for me. Sure enough as soon as she goes to the bathroom, he gestures that I should come over. I won't so he comes over to me and he actually says, and for this he is priceless, "So do you come here often?" I manage not to fall off the bar stool in convulsions of laughter. So I ask about his "friend" and he assures me she is just a friend and then continues on to say "Actually she just broke up with me." Oh fabulous. So the very new ex-girlfriend comes back, and she introduces herself. This is not what I am hoping for. I am hoping that when she returned this guy would go away, but, no, the party has followed him. So now I'm chatting with the girl, and she clearly knows that he is interested. She's trying to sell him to me. She tells me, "You know, he's a sweetheart. I don't deserve him. You couldn't ask for a better boyfriend, but you know I'm just going through a lot of stuff right now and it's just not fair to bring some one into all of that." Oh right, you find the one decent guy in ALL of the tri state area, and you are just going to throw him away because it isn't fair?! Forgive the skepticism. I tell her that this is all fine and good, but I really should be getting home, and she buys me a drink. She actually gets me another drink to keep me there. So now the man situates himself between us. He is alternating asking her to keep going out with him (he's not buying her "I have issues" wrap either) and asking me to give him my number. (All the while drinking LI ice teas way too fast.) Finally ex girlfriend storms out of the bar, leaving me with the artist formerly known as the idiot. So he starts in with the more normal small talk. Now I'm silently begging him to ask me what I do for a living, I'm looking for every opportunity. Finally I say that I hadn't intended to stay that long because I have to get up in the morning for work. (Hint, hint.) He asks me "So what do you?" So I casually say I'm a professor. The next question is always where. And I casually give him the name of my oh so reputable school. And then I get the look-the eyes widen, the jaw goes slack, and always there is silence-and then after the requisite moment of stunned silence there is the comment, the comment that always accompanies the look, "I'm afraid to talk to you now." What should I have told you? That I'm a professional lamp shade? That I have a very rewarding career as a door stop? It's not my fault that I have a brain the size of a buick. Honestly, I don't even think I'm that smart, but once I tell people what I do, they act like I've said I recently received the Nobel Prize in Science for my work in neurochemistry (No I'm not a science prof.). I'm just a teacher! I have closet music. I often burn my toast in the morning. I have had some utterly disasterous fashion moments (mainly in the 80's-dig the power bows and the reebocks). It's not like I'm balancing the budget.
Getting back to match. So anyway I joined match thinking that maybe if people knew in advance I could avoid that stunned silence. It kind of worked. I no longer got the stunned silence, mainly because only freaks ever emailed me. I checked my profile a million times, but no where in the profile did it say "Freaks only" or "If you have a hand growing out of your forehead, then you're the man for me" I mean, it's late so I won't get into the details now, but my idea that I would find a better man through the internet is thoroughly shot. (Not in the least by the guy who wanted to have sex with me while he fantasized that I was a fourteen year old girl-no joke.I will however give him points for honesty, which sadly puts him ahead of some respondents.) After the initial rush, I'm now leveling out at about one email every two weeks. And match wants me to pay for the priviledge? I think not. I think the pedophiles and other assorted deviants find me well enough on their own.
I really should go to sleep. Tomorrow is my worst day. I have to get up at seven and be in front of a class at nine. I tell you these kids today. Nothing makes me feel older than teaching eighteen year olds. After a couple of classes I just feel like I should be drinking moonshine on some broken down porch with a ukele. I passed back their tests today. So of course there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. These kids will violently argue with me over half a point. I mean, how is getting an 83.5 going to change your life significantly? Beyond that they got on my case yet again for not having their papers, so I just gave it to the hard and fast. I said, "Alright listen I assigned a 6 to 8 page paper. Which means that I have at the very least 360 pages of student writing to read AND comment on. It takes me about an hour to go throught three papers and write comments, which you don't even read. So you will get your papers next week. You ask me again and I'll wait another week to pass them back just to spite you. You really should be more worried about the mid term which is on Monday." So then they move on to gripe number two which is that I have missed class twice. They feel since the university won't allow them be absent three times I should be held to the same standard. Again, not the day to start with me.I channeled Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks ("That's the trouble with your whole Mtv microwave generation.") So I said, "Ok when I was student the same rule was in place. I was hospitalized once and had to argue with my doctor to let me go so I wouldn't fail out (three absences is a de facto failure). Not only that, but when I did return to school I had all my work ready. I did all my work in the damn hospital.So if I don't come to work one day it's probably because my feet have fallen off or the aliens have landed. I was even prepared to teach on 911 (The university cancelled classes about ten minutes before, but I volunteered to stay and help counsel students.) You still have to prove that you can take responsibility seriously. And considering the grades on the test, you have a long way to go." I suppose this is my version of "When I went school, I had to walk barefoot in the snow uphill...both ways." Oh well, the hospital story is absolutely true. So was 911
On a side note, a student sent me an email recently informing me that the reason why she shows up twenty minutes late consistently is because she has a "self induced sleeping disorder." What the hell is a self induced sleeping disorder? Is she slapping herself in the face at 2 am? And more importantly, what does it have to do with my class since she has me at 2 in the afternoon? Is a little reason so much to ask? So I asked if she could provide documentation of her sleeping disorder, and of course she couldn't. She tried to explain to me that I just can't understand. Again, big mistake. I've had a sleeping disorder since I was eight. (I should at this point relate that at one time a friend of mine said to me "You know, it's just no fun to complain to you because no matter what happens to me something worse has happened to you." And the worst part was she was jealous!) So I told her that I sympathized, but if she really has a sleeping disorder she needs to talk to somebody about it and figure out a way to deal with it and not expect me to allow her to be late to class when everyone else has to be on time.
Oy, these kids today.
Well my wrists are starting to hurt, and you've probably had enough of me by now so I'm signing off.

"I choose not to choose life" Irving Welsh-Trainspotting

I would like to take this point to apologize for not being all that web savvy. I don't know how to do html formatting or any of that. So that accounts for the ready made blog format and the lack of underlining and so forth. I'm working on it, people, I'm working it. If you would like to send helpful formatting tips, they will be accepted. Maybe not implemented but certianly accepted.

Ok so I finally started to grade papers, and now I know why I avoided it for so long. I always start off with hope. The hope after three years of teaching is that the papers won't be so bad that they will make my eyes bleed. I've only read three so far, and I can feel the red tears welling up as I type. I gave them student samples of the format I wanted, we discussed how to go about writing such a paper and what to include, I gave them a dozen hypothetical examples. I gave them a typed lengthy description of exactly what I was looking for in a paper. And do I get something even vaguely resembling what I asked for? No. The worst part is even the simplest part they screw up. They have to buy the MLA guide, and so I require that all works cited pages be in proper MLA format. (This is a university wide requirement, unfortuantely some of the teachers are rather relaxed about implementing it. However the student complain about having to buy the MLA so I try to make it worth their while every chance I get.) I've checked all the papers. Not a single one in MLA. It says in my syllabus all papers must be MLA format, it said in the paper description it has to have MLA format, on all their previous papers I made it clear they were being docked points for NOT following MLA format, and do they take five minutes out of their day to check MLA formatting? No. It makes me weep for the future.

And this is what has made me lose faith in humanity. After a year of teaching, I commented to a fellow teacher "You know, I've lost my faith in humanity. That's it." His response was, "You had faith in humanity?" And I told him, "I didn't think I did, but apparently I was wrong. I always believed that people, if properly motivated, could open a book and actually look something up.Take five seconds out of their day to get something done right." What I failed to take into account is that the proper motivation for opening a book these days is an electric cattle prod liberally applied to the nether regions.

And it's only one. Imagine how rosy and idealistic, I'll be after my second class.

Ok, well this is the beginning of who knows what. I always wanted to have a blog, but I thought I didn't have the time. Then I realized that I spend hours online and having a blog would justify some of that time.

Don't trust the description of the blog. I have no idea what this is going to become. I guess there could be some kind of appeal in watching the blog evolve over time.

Right now I'm trying to get up the energy to go and get milk for my tea or get my butt off line so I grade the huge stack of papers that are lying next to my couch. I have about forty, and each one is at least six pages. For those of us who aren't good at math (like me) that's about 360 pages of student writing, and, to make it particularly challenging, it's all on the same topic. Before any one who is reading this blog decides to say, "It's your own damn fault, you assigned the paper," I would like to state that in my own defense the university I work for not only dictates to me a minimum amount of papers, but also the length of the papers and the basic topic.(To be fair these requirements are in place because I teach a required course for all freshmen. The requirements are in place to try and make all these courses basically the same at the core.) Anyway, I'm better than most professors. Some of the people in my department never hand papers back, some take over a month. I usually take a week. I've had these papers for two weeks, and I haven't even started. Every day I tell myself I'm going to grade one or two, every day I end up watching "Law and Order" or "Life of Brian" or reading "Ravelstein." My friends jokingly offer to grade them, I seriously accept them. There was a joke in high school that teachers graded papers by throwing them down the stairs. If a paper landed on the first stair it was an 'A', second stair a 'B.' It's beginning not to sound like a bad idea.
The real reason I have an aversion to grading is because of all the comments I have to write on the papers, which my students never read. When I grade papers, I'm sure to make a lot of comments, both positive and negative. I put the letter grade on the last page. When I pass back a paper. do my students look at the comments? No, they just rush to the last page. Often they contest grades with out even looking at the comments. So I guess this aversion to grading could be a passive aggressive attempt at punishing them.

Well, that was fairly work related. Tomorrow I shall try to throw in something a little more scandalous. It's only monday, and I try to keep the depravity to the weekend. Perhaps, if tomorrow is boring, I shall relate the events of last thursday, which will hopefully be more entertaining than a Freudian analysis of why I won't grade.

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