Monday, May 21, 2012

Unloading the Brain Pan

Just a smattering of little stuff needing to go somewhere:
  • My mother likely had a heart attack -- a mild one -- last Thrusday. She's still in the hospital undergoing some tests. Her spirits seem good, though she's fairly weak as she battles not only the heart trouble but also an infection and kidneys functioning less than normally. Not fun.
  • It may look like we're seeking buried treasure or looking for Walter, but we are in fact digging up small portions of the back yard so we can find the sprinkler system this house was supposed to come with. So far, we've discovered a stuck petcock valve that's supposed to turn the whole system on, plus one buried sprinkler head that matches the sprinkler head in the front yard that Intermountain Gas dug up, dumped, and didn't tell us about, leavint it for us to discover. Yeah, I'll grouse a little, but at least we're finding things. The sprinkler head in the back yard was buried about two inches deep, leading me to believe the system hasn't been working for some time. The stuck valve and the PVC pipe masquerading as the supply line lead me to believe we'll be doing a lot of digging before this system is completely functional. Not looking forward to that. But at least I got to buy a pick for the work, so that's something. A new tool is always a good thing. I'm also lucky to have a brother who has done this kind of work before, guiding me along.
  • I don't understand some of my students. If you don't get what you're supposed to be doing for an assignment, does it make sense to wait until the night before it's due to start asking questions? Not to me it doesn't. But I do my best to answer these questions -- on a weekend when they'd been warned the network would be undergoing some maintenance, so I answered the question the day after the assignment was due. We'll see what happens there. Teaching at BYU-Idaho is an interesting thing. They make you feel very guilty if you're not in constant, individual contact with your students. But I'm an instructor, not a baby-sitter. I know it's best -- part of the good, better, best we get pounded with -- to dig into why our students aren't on track for getting their homework done, but the truth is getting email reminders won't cut the mustard and getting a call from an instructor could be interpreted as passive aggressive or downright creepy. It's their job to keep up with their schoolwork, not mine. They are adults, after all.
  • I still think if I ever get to teach a class on creative writing, one of the things I'm going to have my students do is to write the novelization of at least a portion of their favorite movie. I think it would be a good exercise in helping them to write vividly and to translate cinematic/visual elements ot their writing to liven things up and to make them feel more real. I say this as I read the novelization to "Young Frankenstein," by an author who certainly could have benefitted from such a class. I include myself in the 'could benefit' category myself, which is why I think this is such a spaking idea.

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